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tv   The Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer  CNN  August 7, 2020 2:00pm-3:00pm PDT

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ohio governor mike dewine. that is sunday morning at 9:00 a.m. and noon eastern. i'm pamela brown in for jake tapper on this friday. our coverage on cnn continues right now. this is cnn breaking news. >> welcome to our view years here in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzerthe pandemic ha claim ld the lives of more than 160,000 americans. the situation in new york state has improved to the point where the governor andrew cuomo is clearing the way for schools to reopen next month including the nation's largest school district. that would be new york city. also breaking, talks between the
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trump administration and congressional democrats for another round of pandemic stimulus has just collapsed. the treasury secretary steven mnuchin says he will recommend president trump make good on his threat to take matters into his own hands through executive orders. let's get some more on the pandemic right now. cnn national correspondent athena jones is in new york for us. schools there and indeed across the state, they will be re-opening. >> reporter: hi, wolf. that's right. one expert said this week that if new york can't safely reopen schools, i don't have hope for any part of the country. so this is good news for parents and teachers. but i want to stress that whether they open in-person classes will be decided district by district. here in new york city schools will be offering both remote and in-person learning options for the fall term. and the chancellor here says he will be watching the numbers like a hawk. and if the positivity rate for covid tests reaches 3%, they will be moving to remote learning for the entire system.
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it's back to the classroom for millions of students in new york. governor andrew cuomo clearing the way for all schools to reopen for in-person learning if they choose, including the country's largest school district, new york. >> today is the deadline to look at the infection rate and make a determination. by our infection rates, all school districts can open everywhere in the state, every region is below the threshold that we established. >> reporter: new york was once one of the highest rates in the nation. but they are down from nearly 15% at the beginning of may. the school year is already underway in some states like georgia where there are new concerns about safety after dozens of students and staffers tested positive for coronavirus in just the first few days. teachers are concerned about in-person classes. >> i will consider it being safe
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if we absolutely go districtal for the first nine weeks. we have to do this based on scientific research. it cannot be any other way. >> reporter: a sophomore was suspended after tweeting this photograph of a crowded hallway at a school where masks are not required. the school later reversing the suspension. >> i was concerned for the safety of everyone in that building and everyone in the county because guidelines of the cdc have been telling us for months now weren't being followed. >> reporter: guidelines like social distancing and mask wearing. but georgia's lieutenant governor insists in-person classes are a must. >> and it's a work in progress and we're going to do the best we possibly can. but to just stay at home and not be able to deliver education is not an option. it's not an option here in georgia. >> reporter: the debate over schools in america rages as the pandemic is skewing younger. 64% of cases worldwide occurring in people ages 25 to 64. the proportion of reported cases
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in teens and young adults has gone up sixfold. and the share among very young children and babies while still small in raw numbers has increased sevenfold. meanwhile, as daily nationwide deaths are averaging over a thousand for the last 11 days with 1,250 deaths reported on thursday, five former cdc directors on a forum in abc news calling for a national science-based plan and a consistent, coherent message to get the virus under control. >> we are the wealthiest nation on the planet and we see countries all around the globe that have been able to take measures to get this under control in ways that we haven't even come close to. americans are voting with their clicks. 1.6 billion clicks on the cdc website. >> reporter: one place not planning to follow cdc guidelines, the town of sturgis, south dakota, where a motorcycle rally expected to draw hundreds of thousands of people kicks off today. no masks required. even as the covid positivity
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test rate stands at around 8%. >> reporter: and one more thing about those cdc guidelines. the agency has updated its mask recommendations urging people not to use masks with valves or vents. they say that one-way -- it keeps the wearer cooler by allowing air to escape but it also allows respiratory droplets to escape, which could infect others. >> thank you very much, athena jones reporting. let's go to the white house right now. jim acosta is with us. jim, stimulus talks up on capitol hill. they have collapsed. the president, we're told, is now apparently getting ready to take some sort of executive action if a deal isn't necessarily reached. they still have until the end of today. >> reporter: that's right, wolf. with negotiations falling apart over a coronavirus relief bill, white house officials say president trump is now expected to take some kind of executive action to provide financial support to americans who are struggling to find work during this pandemic. the executive orders are likely
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to include enhanced unemployment benefits as well as some kind of action on suspending evictions from rental homes. at least that's what the talk is from the white house. administration officials in the meantime are throwing cold water on the president's goal of having a coronavirus vaccine ready by election day. one senior administration official described that time line as highly unlikely. president trump's claim that a coronavirus vaccine could be ready by election day is receiving an injection of reality, as top administration health officials are saying, don't bet on it. >> november 3rd? >> i think in some cases yes, possible before but right around that time. >> reporter: a senior administration official told cnn that time line is not realistic saying it's, quote, metaphysically possible but highly unlikely. and anthony fauci said scientists may have to wait until november or december just to find out if a vaccine really works, adding maybe we'll get an answer as early as october but i
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doubt it. >> trying to put a finer prediction on the timetable, i don't think any of us have enough information yet to know how that's going to shake out. >> reporter: the pandemic battered economy with the unemployment rate falling to just above 10% with 1.8 million jobs added. even with so many americans still out of work, congressional democrats and white house officials have been at odds all week over a coronavirus relief bill, with house speaker nancy pelosi pointing the finger at top aides to the president. >> i have been in the white house when the president slammed the table. that's really what mr. meadows did, slam the table and walk out. >> reporter: mark meadows is jabbing right back. >> i think for those who are suffering, they should be asking their democrats in the house and the senate why have you failed to meet the needs that we have so rightly expressed? >> reporter: without a deal the white house is signaling mr. trump will take executive action. >> the legal drafting is complete. we've had intense discussions
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about this in the last several days. i don't want to make a prediction. >> reporter: democrats are also keeping an eye on election day accusing the administration of making changes to the nation's postal system that could slow down mail-in balloting. a group of democratic senators wrote the changes appear to pose a potential threat to mail-in ballots in the 2020 general election. the president likes mail-in voting in florida but not in other states like nevada. >> florida's got a great republican governor and it had a great republican governor. >> reporter: the president is seizing on comments made by joe biden who seems to say african-americans are less diverse than latino community. >> the latino community is an incredibly diverse community with incredibly different attitudes about different things. >> reporter: biden tried to clean that up, tweeting in no way did i mean to suggest the
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african-american is a monolith. >> i don't know what's going on with him, but it was a very insulting statement he made. >> reporter: the president's attacks on biden are tricky for mr. trump who has a long track record of racially offensive behavior including sharing this video featuring a supporter shouting "white power." and the u.s. intelligence community issued a startling statement on election security today as the u.s. is closing in on the fall campaign. in that statement intelligence officials warn russia is trying to damage former vice president joe biden's chances to win the white house. the statement from the intelligence community also says china prefers that president trump fail in his bid for a second term. these warnings from the intelligence community come at a critical time for american voters who are largely unaware that the russians were interfering with the election four years ago. >> jim acosta at the white house for us, thank you very much. let's get some more on all of
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this. dr. leana wen is joining us, the former health commissioner of baltimore. as you heard, governor cuomo of new york announced that the infection rate is low enough that all school districts across new york state can open for in-person classes. do you think these districts' safety plans on paper will work in practice? >> it's a good question, wolf. it depends. i do think that governor cuomo's announcement overall makes sense because new york as a whole is doing it relatively well. and he is basing his decisions on the science and also on the number one determinant of whether schools can reopen safely, which is the level of community spread. but that said, these school districts still have to face some really challenging decisions themselves, and, specifically, they need to make sure that they have all the guidelines by the cdc implemented as much as possible. so they need to look at dedensifying schools. they should look at whether they have enough testing contact tracing because it's not a
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question of if there will be outbreaks, it's a question of when. and i think that having the decision being left up to the schools makes sense. but we also need to do a lot more to provide the resources so that these schools can reopen and protect the students, and, very importantly, the staff and teachers too. >> that's so critically important. the world health organization, dr. wen, now says that the pandemic appears to skew younger right now with most of the cases by far among people ages 25 to 64. how much does the behavior of these younger people influence whether schools, other essential parts of our society can safely function? >> well, i think we are seeing that the dynamics of the disease are changing as a result of young people who are working and who may be experiencing some degree of quarantine fatigue as well. but i think we also know that when schools reopen, we are going to ski an uptick in cases, especially in communities that don't have coronavirus under
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control. and as a result the dynamics of the disease are going to keep on changing. younger people tend to not get as sick, but they can definitely be vectors for transmission because none of us live in a bubble, and we are going to see rises in the number of cases overall, especially if we do not have good surveillance systems in place to prevent an outbreak from becoming an epidemic. >> that's also true. let me ask you about the governor of ohio, governor mike dewine. as you know, yesterday he tested positive for his scheduled meeting with the president. that meeting didn't take place. but then a few hours later he had a second test and he tested negative. what do you think happened here? >> so this is a bit confusing. because the coronavirus tests that are out there, the false positive rate is pretty low. so if you test positive, generally you do actually have coronavirus. i don't know, i do think that governor dewine i believe is planning to have a third test, which will be important. but i think this underscores a
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broader point about testing, which is that there will be inaccuracies. and actually that's okay because in all medical tests, there is going to be some level of a false result. but perfect cannot be the enemy of the good here. i actually think we should have far more testing. what the governor has access to is what we should all have access to. it would be wonderful if we had widespread testing for people to take before meetings, before going to school. and particularly for asymptomatic screenings. even if we miss 10% of cases, that's still better than missing 100%. we are not testing asymptomatic people so we are missing everyone. let's at least have something and not have perfect be the enemy of the good. >> you would think that by now we would have that testing capability all over the country. the conundrum lots of americans are facing right now is whether to get that quick test result that might not necessarily be as accurate or face a possible
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delay for the more accurate test. you wrote about this in "the washington post." what factors should people be weighing? >> i think there is one most important factor. and that is what is your risk factor? if you have medium to high risk of having coronavirus, if you have symptoms, if you've had exposure to someone with covid-19, you should definitely get the more accurate test. but if you're using this for screening. if you want to get together with relatives and you want to all get tested in advance as an example, you don't have symptoms or exposure, you're in a low virus area, you should get screening test, the one that's faster. ultimately we should not be making a tradeoff between speed and accuracy. but i think this is one way for us to get out of the situation we're in, to invoke the defense production act, get millions of these fast screening tests out there and test everyone. that's frankly what we use for the rest of medicine. higher risk people get the more accurate one. lower risk people get the
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speedier one. up next, is fear stopping dr. anthony fauci from giving the american public serious health advice on mail-in voting? plus, will president trump make his nomination speech from the white house despite strong pushback from many of his fellow republicans? thinking about your financial plan...
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. as president trump spreads misinformation about voting by mail, dr. anthony fauci today declined to comment on whether voting by mail is a safer alternative to standing in line -- in long lines often, waiting to vote on november 3rd. let's talk about all of this with our chief political correspondent dana bash and our
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chief medical correspondent dr. sanjay gupta. dana, dr. fauci today, he refused to comment on the safety of voting by mail saying he didn't want to be pitted against the president. perhaps that's understandable. but how problematic is it that he can't give the american public serious health advice without fear of potentially upsetting the president? >> it's very problematic. and the most remarkable thing is how he has been so adept at not answering but still very much signaling what he wants to say. i notice when he did the interview earlier this week with sanjay that sanjay asked him a question and he didn't answer it. and as he was not answering, he said i'm not going to say what you want me to say because i can't give that sound bite. he telegraphs what he can't say and when he's doing that, he's saying what he wants to say. the fact that he can't just say flatly what is plain as day,
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which is obviously voting by mail when it comes to medical safety, it of course is safer than going and standing online, even if you're socially distanced, even if they're taking as many precautions as possible. he can't say that because the president is arguing till he's blue in the face that that's riddled with fraud, which we should say again and again and again there's no evidence of that. >> and that's important, sanjay. because, forget about politics. it's common sense, as dana says, that sending in your ballot by mail would put you at a lot less risk as opposed to going to a polling station waiting in line. what should voters know to protect their health heading into the election in november? >> yep. well, first of all, can i just say dana is a very insightful reporter? because that's exactly right, how dr. fauci communicates. and it took me 20 years to sort of figure that out. but i think there's no question, you know, when we talk about the fact that there is a contagious
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virus that is circulating, one person can infect two or three people. if you're going to be in clustered groups and you're going to be there for long durations of time, it's a risk no matter what. by the way, people always say, well, what about the protests? this is a common threat that often comes up? those are also risky. there's no question. the virus doesn't care what the event is. now, it is better if you're outside versus inside. it's obviously a lot better if you're wearing a mask versus not. if you don't have long duration of contact, that helps things as well. but with voting in person is that it's often times the people who are working in those polling places, those voting places as well. they're there all day. they're potentially exposed to lots of people, typically indoors, lots of surfaces that can be touched. it just raises the risk. if you spread people out, that increases duration. the virus doesn't care. the virus just wants to find a host. so if there's a host close by it's going to make the jump. that's what viruses do. and a lot of people who work at
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those polling stations are older people and may be in greater danger of the coronavirus. the president tries to imply that the country is on the rebound. but the death toll is projected to reach 300,000 by december 1st. clearly that will influence how people view the election and whether they feel safe to vote in person. >> yeah. no question about it. and this is just, you know, exhibit z starting with a of how the president, despite the fact that he wants so much to will the virus away, to will the reality that he wants to be the actual reality is just not possible because of the medical reason that sanjay just laid out of the way that this virus moves. it doesn't bend a political will. it doesn't get charmed by the president's rhetoric or anybody's rhetoric. it's just not the way it works.
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and as this has gone on for so long, whether people are in a big city or a rural area now, understand the problems with this virus, no people with the virus know people who know people with the virus. it is hitting home more than ever before. there's nothing that the president can do to change that. >> you know, it's amazing, sanjay, the president keeps saying we're doing great. but when you look at these numbers and i checked today how the united states is doing compared to some other industrialized countries. look at this. the u.s. yesterday at 1,250 confirmed deaths here in the united states in one day. but look at these other countries right now. united kingdom, 49. germany, two. south korea, one. clearly they have things so much better under control than we do. >> it's at once horrifying and possibly inspiring. it's horrifying because we're
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more than 1,000 people that died. i know some of these folks. i have talked to some of these families. it's really -- it's devastating. we keep putting these numbers up on the screen. man, it's unbelievable the situation that we're in. but it's inspiring, wolf, because, look, they don't have anything we don't have. the we have in fact more resources than some of the countries you're comparing us to at this point. and we can get there. it's going to take us longer because this infection has become more widespread in the united states. so just like with any human body, a more widespread disease may require more aggressive treatment. but it can still respond to treatment. we just have to do it. it's amazing to me that it's still at this point we're not doing the basic things, the basic primary measures to bring these numbers down. >> it is not only amazing. it's so disappointing and so sad. it's an awful situation and a
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failure here in the united states to correctly over these past five, six months deal with this. dr. sanjay gupta, thanks so much. dana bash, thanks to you as well. coming up, why a promising coronavirus treatment will likely be in short supply. who would be first to get it? we'll update you on that when we come back. stop struggling to clean tough messes with sprays. try clean freak! it has three times the cleaning power to dissolve kitchen grease on contact. it works great on bathtubs. and even stainless steel.
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very encouraging news. we might see a very promising antibody treatment for the coronavirus in a matter of a few months. but it's also clear at this point most americans won't necessarily be able to get it at least at first. our political correspondent sarah murray is working the story for us. these antibody treatments, they appear very promising. >> they do appear promising. they're already being tested on humans. they could be available months before a vaccine is available. but there are still a lot of questions like exactly how many doses could we get this year and who will be the people that would receive them? an antibody treatment that could protect people from coronavirus could be available as early as this fall. but warning signs loom for getting it to the millions of americans who might benefit from
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it. >> i think the monoclonal antibody cocktails have a lot going for them. >> reporter: health experts are optimistic that monoclonal antibody treatments could help prevent coronavirus infections and stave off the worst of the disease for sick patients. it could be a life saver in nursing homes, hospitals or even for americans with severe underlying conditions. both regeneron and ely lily are currently testing them on human and clinical trials. there is no guarantee it will work. but both say they are already scaling up production in anticipation, even in a best-case scenario though, only a few hundred thousand doses are likely to be available this year. >> no matter what, we probably won't be able to make enough capacity. we'll have to direct them where they can do the most good, assuming that they work. >> reporter: according to a duke university study, based on the numbers in august, the u.s. would need more than 60 million
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doses over the next year to treat every american hospitalized with coronavirus, fighting coronavirus at home, or exposed to coronavirus from someone in the same household. the federal government isn't buying up potential drugs in the same way it's preordering vaccines. >> the advanced purchasing of therapeutics is going to be slower. >> reporter: so far regeneron is one of the only companies with a government contract. >> we can do it fairly, we can do it reasonably, and most important we have to do it. >>. >> reporter: but the government's shoddy track record is already raising concerns about potential shortages of antibody treatments. >> distribution of other things during this pandemic, as you have described, testing, ppe, masks, ventilators, all of those have been with controversy. and i hope that we're learning from those. >> we may be in this position
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where, yeah, there's a miracle cure that can then prevent or cure covid-19, but we do not have the manufacturing to meet the demand. >> reporter: congressman foster worries low supply could lead to wealthy americans using their money or connections to jump the line. >> we're committed to the equitable distribution of medicine. and that should not involve a patient's ability to pay. it should not involve their status in society or their political connections. >> everyone's going to want to be at the front of the line. >> reporter: clinical trials at nursing homes which lacked pharmacies and additional staff to administer ivs, have other logistical hurdles ahead. >> they also have rented trucks that are full of infusion chairs. >> reporter: now we asked the government for more information on how this would all work. and the head of therapeutics for "operation warp speed" said to cnn they are trying to scale up manufacturing as quickly as possible, that they are
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committed to transparency. and that the cdc and department of defense are already working on ways to distribute therapeutics as well as vaccines. but as far as specifics she didn't offer many, wolf. >> very good report, sara. let's get some more on all of this. the chairman and president of access health international is joining us. thanks so much for joining us. how promising do you believe these potential antibody treatments are? >> well, i think antibodies are going to be successful. i think they will be successful in treating people early in the infectious process. once the virus is progressed to do a lot of bodily damage, it will be hard to stop it just by stopping the virus. but it has another very important use. that is protecting health care workers who are exposed on a regular basis. this is not an easy drug to administer. i developed one for an tlax that does the same thing. protects people from people infected and will save them if they should be infected. but you have to inject it
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intervenously. it takes a difficult manufacturing procedure. it can be done. i think we can certainly protect our health care workers. we can treat those people in that window before they start to get very sick but are already becoming quite ill. it's very promising, and the other good news is there are about at least by my count, at least 25 groups that are on this trail. there are some that are in the lead and we're going to get those relatively soon. but there is something else that's coming, and that is a chemical drug, a pill. those will be coming too and those will be a lot easier to use, a lot easier to distribute, and will do the same thing. that's what we have now for hiv and that's what we can have for this too. >> let's hope we get all of that. so what needs to be happening now, professor, so that once a treatment, any treatment is proven safe and successful, what needs to be happening now so that we can actually get it to
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the people first of all in most need but then to so many others? >> well, i think the first things that we have to do is to make sure for the antibodies that we have the manufacturing capability. we've seen billions of dollars, almost $10 billion thrown at the manufacturer of vaccines. we need to do the same thing at a very large scale for the manufacture of these antibodies. there are over a hundred antibody drugs being produced. the world has a lot of capacity. these are for rheumatoid arthritis and many things. we do have capacities to make a lot. we just have to use them properly and get the industry to focus their capacity on producing these drugs at least for a short period of time. it can be done. then, of course, we have the infusion centers, which the hospitals have for their own staff and for the patients. if we're going to extend that more broadly for people who are exposed, which i hope we will,
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then what they were talking about earlier is having trucks equipped for infusion is a good thing to do. i think by that time there will be pills to take. make it a lot easier. pills are much easier to manufacture. they're a lot cheaper to manufacture. and we're going to have a series of pills you can take to stop this virus from killing you and to stop you from getting it if you're exposed. >> let's hope it happens sooner rather than later. so many lives are at stake. william haseltine, thanks so much for joining us. >> you're welcome. thank you. coming up, we'll have the latest on this week's deadly explosion in beirut. the lebanese just announced that president trump has promised the united states will be sending urgent aid. your bank can be virtually any place. so, when you get a check... you can deposit it from here. and you can see your transactions and check your balance from here. you can detect suspicious activity on your account from here. and you can pay your friends back from here. so when someone asks you, "where's your bank?"
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stay with us for more on the coronavirus crisis. but there's also breaking news we're following in the aftermath of this week's deadly explosion in beirut. lebanon just announced president trump in a phone call with the lebanese president said the u.s. will send urgent aid. cnn's ben wiedeman is in beirut. >> reporter: there was this conversation with president trump and the lebanese president. we haven't heard the white house version of this. but apparently president trump pledged that the united states would take part in a conference being organized by the french government in paris to try to
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organize relief aid for lebanon. the lebanese president pledged to president trump that he would continue his efforts to reform the lebanese government and to fight corruption. now, it's not quite clear what is being done at the moment to achieve those two ends. what's interesting today is that one of the major lebanese television stations announced that they would no longer carry any live speeches or statements by lebanese politicians or officials because they no longer have faith in them. they said we don't want to hear words, we want to see action. now, action is being taken slowly in this investigation to find out what was behind the blast tuesday evening that killed more than 150 people here. we understand that the head of lebanese customs was questioned
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and has now been detained in connection with that investigation. that's in addition to 16 officials in the port who have also been put under arrest. today we also heard from the secretary general of hezbollah who flatly denied that hezbollah had anything in the port. he said not a bullet, not a rocket, no explosives, nothing. now, it's questionable among many lebanese whether that is actually the truth. many people believe that hezbollah has some sort of controlling interest in the port here. and in addition to that, we had the opportunity to go to one of beirut's main hospitals dealing with covid. they have been overwhelmed by a flood of the injured from that blast. and there is a problem developing here. many of the hospitals in the area of the port were damaged.
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they were also taking care of covid patients. and today we saw 274 new cases of covid here. that's a record. so you have reduced capacity because of the destruction and increased demand because of the new numbers of cases. wolf? >> it's an awful, awful situation and our hearts go out to all the people of lebanon right now. ben, we will stay in close touch with you. thank you very much. coming up, a key model says 70,000 american lives could be saved this year if almost everyone here in the country wore a mask. but, this is an important question. which mask should you be wearing? we're going to get new details from a brand new cdc guidance report. that's next. all the way out here just for a blurry photo of me. oh, that's a good one. wait, what's that? that's just the low-battery warning. oh, alright. now it's all, "check out my rv," and, "let's go four-wheeling." maybe there's a little part of me that wanted to be seen. well, progressive helps people save
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we're learning more about what kind of masks we all should be wearing. brian todd is working the story for us. brian, i understand some new guidance on masks from the centers for disease control and prevention. >> reporter: there is no guidance. public health experts are streamlining the advice they're giving americans what masks we
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should be wearing and say there's never been a more important time to listen to that advice. for months, america's top health officials and experts have pounded home the message, we have to wear masks to combat this pandemic. tonight, the u.s. government says not just any mask will do. the cdc says we should not wear masks with one-way vents or valves. a trainer of front line medical personnel wearing protective gear shows us why. >> masks with valves have a one-way valve, and this doesn't work, because what happens, we've known this for a long time, when i breathe out, that valve only opens and allows that air to escape from me, which could infect you. >> reporter: public health experts say thetop of the line n-95 surgical masks should not be worn by members of the public, should be reserved for front line health care workers. what kind of masks should the rest of us be wearing? >> reporter: tightly woven fabric, bed sheets make ideal facial masks because they can be
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cleaned and the woven material is really tight, so again, anything like that works well. anything material that stretches does not make a good mask because it will allow these to escape. >> reporter: are there enough top of the line masks for doctors and nurses on the front lines? for weeks the trump administration has been telling us there are saying this about personal protective equipment. >> ppe we hear remains very strong. >> reporter: but nurses, governors other front line workers across the country have said they're struggling to get enough masks and other supplies. >> the struggle is real. in the number of hospitals, nursing homes, long-term care facilities that i work in every day, yes, they're struggling. they're struggling with supply chain issues. >> reporter: the fda loosened requirements for companies to get emergency authorization for masks and other gear as new studies and projections drive home the point, mask wearing is simply a matter of life and death at this moment in the pandemic. the institute for health metrics and evaluation of the university
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of washington now forecast america's death toll from coronavirus could reach nearly 300,000 by december 1st, but if 95% of people in the u.s. wear masks, that number could drop by about 70,000 fewer deaths. >> it is unquestionable that if you deny the virus the opportunity to transmit, that slows the pandemic down. if you deny it enough opportunities to transmit, it will go extinct so everything that you can do to stop giving it the opportunity to infect another human being is extremely helpful. masks are a large part of that. >> reporter: and front line professionals are now saying enough, enough of people refusing to wear masks, or simply not remembering, or caring enough to take the precaution. >> that's a very, very little mental effort to minimize the loss of life. it's just ridiculous. it's disrespectful, it's in humane. we're human beings.
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>> reporter: medical experts do concede there's been way too much confusion over the wearing of masks, different guidelines over which masks to wear, how to wear them, build weather to wear them as well. one expert points out, even our top experts will make mistakes sometimes. what's important he says is that our medical leaders are transparent with us on what they're learning, when they're learning it, and it's very important he says that we listen to them, especially regarding mask wearing. wolf? >> it's critically important everyone when they go outside, wear a mask, you'll save people's lives and you might save your own life at the same time. brian todd, thank you very much. there's more breaking news we're following, the u.s. now inching closer and closer to 5 million known coronavirus cases, as the death toll climbs, but testing declines in more than 2,000 states. this isn't just a wifi upgrade.
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>> announcer: this is cnn breaking news. >> welcome our viewers in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer in "the situation room." this hour the united states is on the brink of 5 million confirmed coronavirus cases, that's about equal to the population of the chicago and houston combined. the case count is going up, despite a decline in coronavirus testing in more than half of the country. the rate of new deaths on the rise in 15 states. tonight more than 160,000 americans have now lost their lives over the past five months, and yet the one-time epicenter of the pandemic, new york, has turned things around enough that the gover


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