PBS NewsHour full episode, July 16, 2020

AMNA NAWAZ: Good evening. I’m Amna Nawaz Judy Woodruff is away On the “NewsHour” tonight: the realities of resurgence. As COVID-19 cases continue to spike, officials are reimposing restrictions and asking residents to act responsibly Then: rollbacks. Some major policy changes from the Trump administration you might have missed Plus: inequality exposed. The racial gap in COVID-19 death rates reveals a health system that’s long failed black Americans REV. HORACE SHEFFIELD, New Destiny Christian Fellowship: Because of the hue of our skin, you know, we’re being treated differently than other people. And COVID-19 just vividly portrays just how that exists AMNA NAWAZ: All that and more on tonight’s “PBS NewsHour.” (BREAK) AMNA NAWAZ: The list of pandemic victims keeps getting longer tonight, with 3.5 million cases nationwide. And the political fallout keeps growing for President Trump Meanwhile, the issue of face masks has become a front-line fight for a key state this November Lisa Desjardins begins our coverage LISA DESJARDINS: In Georgia, a political collision over life-and-death decisions As the virus surges, overnight, Republican Governor Brian Kemp signed an order banning any public mask requirements, that in direct conflict with several cities and towns which have ordered masks be worn Today, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said she is keeping her mask order in place KEISHA LANCE BOTTOMS (D), Mayor of Atlanta, Georgia: It’s a simple thing to do. It’s an easy thing to do. And we will just continue to push and ask people to do it, despite the disagreements that we may have LISA DESJARDINS: This one day after President Trump visited the state, praising Kemp and reopening to a local TV station DONALD TRUMP, President of the United States: You have reopened, and you’re just — you’re getting close to 100 percent open, and you have really kept the virus, the level, down, which is an incredible tribute to a lot of good, talented people LISA DESJARDINS: In fact, the virus has grown in Georgia, with near record case totals yesterday Now indications the crisis overall is taking a deeper political toll on President Trump Mr. Trump replaced his campaign manager, Brad Parscale, yesterday with a top adviser, Bill Stepien The shakeup comes as his campaign grapples with declining poll numbers. In the past week, separate polls put presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden ahead of Mr. Trump in four key battleground states, Arizona, Pennsylvania, Florida, and North Carolina, all states the president won in 2016 This as, nationwide, Mr. Trump faces doubt on his top issue, jobs, where his approval rating is down to just 36 percent. But on the White House lawn today, economic adviser Larry Kudlow pointed to Wall Street and expressed cautious optimism LARRY KUDLOW, Director, National Economic Council: The pandemic is a temporary natural disaster. The market is now up almost 45 percent from the March lows LISA DESJARDINS: Democratic speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi called for Republican senators to push for a larger national response from the White House REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): This is such a massive dereliction of duty. People are dying. And so what we are saying to the Senate, join us in asking a president to use executive action for good, instead of ill

LISA DESJARDINS: Criticism now is openly boiling over from the president’s own party In a Washington Post op-ed, Republican Governor of Maryland Larry Hogan detailed what he called a jarring lack of response and even interference from President Trump that he said left governors hopeless and states in danger Hogan wrote: “While other countries were racing ahead with well-coordinated regimes, the Trump administration bungled the effort.” White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany rejected the criticism KAYLEIGH MCENANY, White House Press Secretary: This is revisionist history by Governor Hogan, and it stands in stark contrast to what he said on March 19, where he praised the great communication that the president has had with governors LISA DESJARDINS: All of this as the upcoming Republican National Convention is in murky waters, too. The Grand Old Party announced it is scaling back, limiting attendance to 2,500 for the first three days, and about 7,000 for the final day, when President Trump attends, that as COVID-19 cases in host state Florida surge Today, another grim record there, with the most daily COVID-related deaths yet recorded New data show that nearly one-third of all kids tested in the Sunshine State have been positive for the virus While there are hot spots, the problem is growing nationwide. In the past two weeks, cases of coronavirus have increased in some 41 states across the U.S For the “PBS NewsHour,” I’m Lisa Desjardins AMNA NAWAZ: Georgia Governor Brian Kemp’s order has put the issue of masks front and center in that state With me now is Kelly Girtz. He is a Democrat and the mayor of Athens-Clarke County, Georgia, which moved to require people to wear masks in public earlier this month Mayor Girtz, welcome to the “NewsHour,” and thanks for making the time I want to ask you about some late news we have just gotten about Governor Brian Kemp and the state attorney general suing the Atlanta mayor, Keisha Bottoms, and the City Council for their requirement for public mask wearing What is your reaction to that? KELLY GIRTZ (D), Mayor of Athens-Clarke County, Georgia: Amna, this has all been so deeply frustrating We simply want to create a platform for health and safety for the local population. I have been in constant contact with Mayor Bottoms and other mayors throughout the state And, in lieu of action on a statewide basis, as we have seen in other Republican-led states like Alabama and Arkansas, we need to act as local boots on the ground who are keeping people in our communities safe We are going to continue with our order in Athens-Clarke County, as Mayor Bottoms has also indicated she is going to do, and Mayor Davis in Augusta and Mayor Johnson in Savannah, because we understand that, as science has demonstrated over the last many months, it is simply safer to have a mask on for those around you The droplet dispersement, the aerosol dispersement is diminished by use of a mask. And so we’re going to follow this. And I have to say AMNA NAWAZ: Mayor Girtz, let me — let me just ask you, if I can. I apologize, sir, I know your time is limited But even the head of Georgia’s Restaurant Association has said it’s confusing for people to have different rules in different counties You need one set of guidelines. Let businesses decide if they should require masks What do you say to that? KELLY GIRTZ: It’s been interesting, because large and very small retailers have said to me, we like a mask order, because that sets a citywide or a countywide standard, and so we know, from one block to another, one vendor to another, the public is going to have the same experience We’re also the flagship host for the University of Georgia here in the state. And just a couple of weeks ago, the university system indicated that every student, faculty member and staff member was going to have to wear a mask in interior spaces at the University of Georgia and in all other public universities in the state And so what we want to do is be able to provide the same solid foundation on campus and off campus here in Athens AMNA NAWAZ: Mayor Girtz, let me ask you Both your hospitals in Athens were full yesterday You had to divert patients to other facilities Experts say you are not yet at your peak Do you have what you need now to meet the moment and to handle the influx of patients? KELLY GIRTZ: Unfortunately, we don’t have what we need The hospitals are very nimble, and they’re able to open up some overflow wards interior to their spaces. But it’s taken longer to get test kits here. And it’s taken much longer to get test results here People call me every day here in my office and say, I’m feeling sick, I have come into contact with somebody who’s COVID-positive, and it’s going to take me five days to even get an appointment to get a test And then I’m hearing that it’s taking somewhere between four days and eight days to get results after that test. That’s antithetical to the kind of things that need to happen. I mean, I sit here in front of you, and I wonder, can I get annexed into Germany or at least North Carolina? AMNA NAWAZ: Mayor Girtz, I should mention, as you said, students are coming back to campus at the University of Georgia next month With all this confusion over which rule stands on the face masks, in a matter of seconds, are you worried about compliance and the virus spiking in a few weeks?

KELLY GIRTZ: Absolutely Here we are in July, and we haven’t even had the student population return. I wonder very much, where are we going to be in September in October and November, when more people are inside, and not in outdoor spaces? AMNA NAWAZ: That is Mayor Kelly Girtz of Athens-Clarke County in Georgia Thank you so much for your time. Please stay safe KELLY GIRTZ: Thank you, Amna AMNA NAWAZ: In the days other news: The U.S., Canada and Britain accused Russian hackers of trying to steal research on possible COVID-19 vaccines. The three nations said a group known as Cozy Bear, linked to Russian intelligence, is targeting academic and pharmaceutical groups It’s unclear whether any information was actually stolen The FBI announced today it is investigating a sweeping security breach at Twitter. That comes after hackers accessed high-profile accounts on Wednesday, including Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Bill Gates and Kanye West, among others. They then tweeted from those accounts, promoting the cryptocurrency Bitcoin. We will get more details on this and the alleged Russian hacking of COVID research later in the program The European Union’s top court has voided an agreement that let big tech companies share data on E.U. citizens with the U.S. Privacy activists in Europe welcomed the decision Austrian activist Max Schrems said he hopes the two governments will guarantee that users’ data is protected in the U.S. as strongly as it is in Europe MAX SCHREMS, Activist: Silicon Valley will simply realize that either U.S. laws are going to be changed to a certain extent, or they will literally have to move a lot of their operation to Europe and even split their systems into two parts AMNA NAWAZ: The case grew out of disclosures by Edward Snowden, a former contractor at the U.S. National Security Agency. In 2013, Snowden revealed that Facebook was giving U.S. security groups access to European users’ data The Vatican is telling bishops they should report all claims of clergy sexual abuse to police, even if local law does not require it. That new guidance issued today aims to force church leaders to investigate such cases It also urges them not to dismiss allegations made anonymously through social media For the second time this week, the United States has executed a federal death row inmate Wesley Ira Purkey died by lethal injection today at a federal prison in Indiana. He’d been convicted in 2003 of kidnapping and murdering a teenage girl in Kansas City. This week’s federal executions are the nation’s first in 17 years The Trump administration fired off new warnings about China today, in a growing pressure campaign Attorney General William Barr said Americans have become too reliant on Chinese goods and services. And in Grand Rapids, Michigan, he accused the ruling Chinese Communist Party of mounting a — quote — “economic blitzkrieg” to get ahead of the United States WILLIAM BARR, U.S. Attorney General: Globalization does not always point in the direction of greater freedom. A world marching to the beat of communist China’s — Chinese drums will not be a hospitable one for institutions that depend on free markets, free trade, or the free exchange of ideas AMNA NAWAZ: Already this week, the U.S. stripped Hong Kong of preferential trading status It also rejected Chinese claims in the South China Sea and imposed travel curbs on employees of the telecom giant Huawei. Beijing said today it will stand up to what it called gangster logic The U.S. Supreme Court today refused to intervene in a fight over convicted felons’ right to vote in Florida. A state law requires that they pay all court costs, fines and restitution before they can vote. A lower court had upheld that law, and the Supreme Court has now left that order in place The head of Medicaid and Medicare, Seema Verma, is under fire over alleged mismanagement of $6 million in communications contracts. An inspector general’s report says she let a Republican media consultant have too much authority over federal employees. Verma says the findings are based on — quote — “unsubstantiated assumptions” and incomplete analysis The pro football team in Washington, D.C., is facing allegations of long-running sexual harassment. The Washington Post reports tonight 15 former employees, female employees, say they suffered suggestive comments, verbal abuse and sexual overtures. They say it was routinely ignored or condoned The Post reports, three top employees with the franchise who have resigned in the past week are among those accused. The team says it has hired a law firm to investigate In economic news, another 1.3 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits in the last week. That’s unchanged from a week earlier On Wall Street, the jobless news helped to push stocks lower. The Dow Jones industrial

average lost 135 points to close at 26731 The Nasdaq fell 76 points, and the S&P 500 dropped 11 Still to come on the “NewsHour”: the Trump administration rolls back environmental reviews to speed up construction; a widespread hack of high-profile Twitter accounts exposes big tech’s weak points; the racial gap in COVID-19 death rates reveals a health care system failing black Americans; and much more Over the last few months, the global pandemic and worldwide protests for racial justice have dominated headlines But at the same time, the Trump administration has been pushing through its campaign promises to roll back environmental regulations, scale back immigration, and scrap financial protections President Trump held an event on the South Lawn today to tout his progress DONALD TRUMP, President of the United States: Before I came into office, American workers were smothered by a merciless avalanche of wasteful and expensive and intrusive federal regulation These oppressive, burdensome mandates were a stealth tax on our people, slashing take-home pay, suppressing innovation, surging the costs of goods, and shipping millions of American jobs overseas. We ended this regulatory assault on the American worker, and we launched the most dramatic regulatory relief campaign in American history, by far AMNA NAWAZ: We want to take a step back now and take a deeper look at some those big policy shifts over the last few weeks For that, I’m joined by our White House correspondent, Yamiche Alcindor Yamiche, it’s good to see you Let’s start with what we reported just yesterday on the president rolling back a longstanding environmental regulation. What exactly happened there? YAMICHE ALCINDOR: Well, we’re really living through a chaotic and historic time, and the president has been laser-focused on trying to get conservative wins and really ticking off a conservative to-do list And in that, what we saw was the president reversing some 100 environmental rules. So, just yesterday, he focused on the National Environmental Policy Act. Now, this is a policy that dates back 50 years. President Richard Nixon signed this law And what it said was that federal agencies were required to look at how an infrastructure project would impact the environment and the climate before approving a project. President Trump said this was too much red tape. It led to a lot of delays, he said, for things like highways and pipelines and power plants And, as a result, he’s doing away with that rule Opponents of the president’s actions say that this is really bad, because communities, including low-income communities, they won’t have a say on whether or not things like a highway rips through their neighborhoods, and maybe hurts the environment around them But the president is adamant that deregulation is a top priority for him. And even today, of course, he’s in the White House — on the White House lawn talking about how deregulation was a key part of why he should be reelected and why he felt like he was doing all the things that conservatives elected him to do AMNA NAWAZ: Yamiche, you just mentioned some 100 other environmental regulations? What else should people know about? YAMICHE ALCINDOR: Well, the president has really been taking off so many things when it comes to environmental deregulation But I want to focus on two. The first has to do with commercial fishing. This is an Obama era rule that was created. It was about 5,000 miles about 130 miles off the coast of Cape Cod. President Obama said that there should be no commercial fishing in that area Environmentalists said that was to protect animals like whales and others from being hurt But commercial fishermen really pushed back on that and said that this was about their livelihood. President Trump is now saying that that fishing can continue on, and that people should be allowed to fish in that area The second thing I want to point to is another Obama era rule. And this had to do with Alaskan bears and how animals in Alaska can be hunted So, the Obama administration said that you should not be allowed to bait grizzly bears with things like bacon-soaked doughnuts, or you shouldn’t also be able to blind hibernating mother bears or their cubs and then shoot them, or even shoot swimming caribou But the Trump administration is saying all of those things should be allowed. So, they’re rolling back that policy. And hunters say that this is a good thing for them, because they see this as an infringement on their rights But environmentalists say that this is really cruel to the animals and that the Trump administration is allowing things that are inhumane to happen to these animals AMNA NAWAZ: So, there’s another central campaign pledge from President Trump, and that was to reform immigration and our immigration system What has he been doing, and what’s the administration been doing on that front? YAMICHE ALCINDOR: Well, of course, the president has made immigration a central part of his administration. And it is a central part of his reelection campaign So, in this regard, the president has been looking at building the wall on the southern

border. And the head of the Department of Homeland Security said that they are going to be bypassing some 26 or more environmental rules as they seek to build more and more of the wall And, as a result, things like the Clean Water Act and other things are not going to be things that they’re going to be looking at as they try to put new barrier up on the southern border Opponents of this say that this is going to really hurt communities, it’s going to hurt the environment to try to get this goal that President Trump has Another thing that the president and the Trump administration is doing is looking at asylum seekers. So there’s been a lot of talk from President Trump about illegal immigration, but this is targeting legal immigration And in this case, they’re using the coronavirus pandemic and saying that asylum seekers might be denied asylum in the United States if they’re seen as a public health risk. That could mean that they went through a country that has an outbreak of the coronavirus It is, of course, important to note that the United States is leading when it comes to coronavirus cases. And there are opponents of the president who say that this is really the president chipping away at legal immigration He’s done so much when it comes to asylum seekers, including making them remain in Mexico, as we have noted on this show But this is focusing specifically on asylum seekers and their health AMNA NAWAZ: And, Yamiche, you have been tracking a number of other underreported policy changes in the last several weeks What else do people need to know about? What else has changed? YAMICHE ALCINDOR: One other big change that happened is that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, they’re doing away with this Obama era rule that said that these payday lenders — these are, of course, short-term high-interest loans that people take out if they’re in need — that they — that these lenders will no longer have to look at whether or not the people they’re taking out these loans, whether or not they will be able to pay these loans back, so looking at their income and their ability to pay back Opponents of the president’s actions say that this is going to put a low-income people and people of color and single parents, a lot of the people who take out these loans, that it’s going to put them in a cycle of debt, because they’re not going to be able to pay back these loans And, as a result, they’re going to have to take out another loan to pay that loan back But people who are supportive of the president’s rules and his changes, they say that this is going to allow more credit to be accessed to low-income people who need it It is a controversial rule. It’s something that Senator Elizabeth Warren pushed for to get, and now she’s blasting the Trump administration for doing away with it AMNA NAWAZ: Yamiche, when you look at the body of all these decisions, all these changes, what can you tell us about why President Trump is making these moves? YAMICHE ALCINDOR: President Trump is focused on trying to give conservatives something that they feel good about So the president has been facing all sorts of backlash on his handling of the coronavirus Just recently, the Republican governor, Larry Hogan, put out a pretty scathing op-ed, where he said that the president is not taking care of governors all across this country. But, in this case, these rules are meant to kind of throw a little red meat to the base Something else that’s important is that this is all happening as the president is changing up his own administration and changing up his own campaign. In this case, he got a new campaign manager. And that’s, in some ways, hinting at the fact that he’s worried about his standing in the race, as we see polls in battleground states showing that the president is behind Joe Biden Another thing to note is that the president is really trying to make sure that conservatives feel that he is being loyal to the things that he promised. This — deregulation was a big thing that the president promised, including judicial nominees And he’s — he has done some of these things that makes conservatives feel like, even if I don’t like the brashness and the tweets, the president is in some ways doing what conservatives want him to do AMNA NAWAZ: All with just months to go before the election That is our White House correspondent, Yamiche Alcindor Thanks, Yamiche We return now to the two cyber-intrusion stories, the hacking of Twitter and the allegation that Russians tried to access vaccine research So, what does all this mean for social media security and for the upcoming election? Here’s William Brangham WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Amna, a stark warning came last night from the U.K., the U.S. and Canada: Not only were Russian operatives trying to steal information about the development of a coronavirus vaccine, but it was being done by the same Russian intelligence unit that hacked into the Democratic National Committee back during the 2016 presidential election The British foreign secretary also said Russian agents attempted to interfere in last year’s British general election And Twitter suffered a serious intrusion last night. The accounts of Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, Michael Bloomberg, and other high-profile people were all taken over by hackers. The hackers tried to get people to pay money to them in the cryptocurrency known as Bitcoin We look at these broader issues that are brought up by these with two experts who are familiar with the methods used, the possible damage and the threat to our democracy Nina Jankowicz is the author of “How to Lose the Information War” and a fellow at The Wilson

Center, which is a Washington-based think tank. And Dmitri Alperovitch, he traced the 2016 DNC hack to Russian intelligence while he was at a cybersecurity firm hired to investigate that breach. He’s now starting a nonprofit that focuses on cybersecurity and trade Welcome to you both. Thank you very much for being here Dmitri, to you first About this Twitter hack, can you just give us a sense, what is it that we know happened? DMITRI ALPEROVITCH, Co-Founder and CEO, CrowdStrike: Well, we actually have some breaking news to reveal just in the last few minutes before we went on the air And that is that we may have possible attribution to who may have been behind this attack. This is the worst breach of social media platform on record. And it was quite devastating to Twitter itself, because what the attackers did is, they managed to get access to an internal tool within Twitter known as God Mode that allows internal Twitter employees to manage accounts of anyone on the platform And what it allowed the attackers to do is take over an account, being able to log in as that user, being able to obviously send out tweets, but also potentially look at direct messages that that person may be engaged in, reset the passwords, change their e-mail addresses and the like And what looks like have happened is that someone had gained access to that internal tool, potentially by social engineering Twitter employees, and getting access to that internal Twitter network, and then started reselling access to individual accounts on Twitter So, we may actually have a number of criminal organizations and individuals that have used that access, that have bought it for about $250 in the underground channels, to try to take over accounts of both celebrities and major political figures, in order to perpetrate this Bitcoin scam, but also potentially to do other nefarious things WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Well, Dmitri, that’s some obviously interesting developments we’re learning about just this evening Nina, to you This is not the first time that Twitter has been breached. We saw the CEO, Jack Dorsey, of Twitter got his account hacked. This does not look good for Twitter, which is obviously an enormously important social media platform NINA JANKOWICZ, The Wilson Center: No, it doesn’t look good for Twitter. But, frankly, Twitter is not the only social media platform or the only tech platform or the only company that is dealing with poor data stewardship right now Facebook has had a number of breaches. In one, 90 million accounts were affected, when people used the view as function to exploit a loophole and gain access to accounts The list is very long. And I think this points to a need for some really good regulation, regulation that has teeth, so that our social media platforms that have so much information about our likes, our dislikes, our habits of engagement and consumption, our personal information, are held accountable when this data goes missing or when they aren’t protecting it to the degree that they ought to WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Dmitri, is that your sense? Is there something that we could do to — obviously, these warnings have been shooting off like red flares for years now What are we not doing to encourage and force — force the hands of these companies to try to tighten up their security? DMITRI ALPEROVITCH: Well, I do think, when it comes to Twitter, they have had plenty of warnings In fact, just last year, a number of individuals were indicted by the FBI that were working inside Twitter on behalf of the Saudi government, and were providing the Saudi government with private information using their access on various dissidents that the Saudi government was interested in So Twitter had plenty of warnings that, not just criminal groups, but nation states, were interested in the data that the company has on individuals all over the world. So, they really needed to get their security up and monitor very, very closely access to these internal powerful applications that allow you to get private information, but also to take over accounts Clearly, something went wrong here, and more needs to be done WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Nina, let’s turn to this other allegation of cyber-intrusion, which is the allegation that the Russian security forces have been trying to penetrate the computers of companies that are developing coronavirus vaccines What do we know about what happened and what they — what might have gone down there? NINA JANKOWICZ: Well, what we know so far is that the same Russian group that hacked the Democratic National Committee in 2016 was trying to gain access to intellectual property and supply chain information related to the vaccine development for the coronavirus So far, we don’t think any public health was affected, likely just economic impact. But this is really a scary indication of where we are in terms of countering Russian information operations. We have had for years to get it together, and we have done very, very little to deter Russia and other bad actors, of which there are many, from these sorts of exploits

Not only are they trying to deal with coronavirus vaccine information. They’re also still trying to influence our elections, which are approaching ever more quickly. The U.S. government has not done enough to deter these organizations And the Trump administration instead has curried favor with Putin and trusted Putin’s word over the word of its intelligence community I think this is a dereliction of duty. And, certainly, I think we all need to be very worried for what’s to come in November WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Dmitri, you’re obviously familiar with this particular Russian unit You have had some dealings with them, so to speak, in the past What is your sense of what they’re trying to get at? Were they simply trying to look at the development of the vaccine? Were they trying to steal something? What do we know about that? DMITRI ALPEROVITCH: So, this is actually one of the units that was responsible for the hack of the DNC. And it’s not the most well-known unit The one that everyone thinks of and the one that was indicted by the Justice Department a few years ago was known as GRU, Russian military intelligence, that not just — didn’t just hack the e-mails, but also leaked them out publicly and provided them to WikiLeaks This is a different unit that went into the DNC year prior, and, as far as we know, was not responsible for any leaking of information It was probably engaged just in political espionage on campaigns And it’s believed to be tied to SVR, Russian civilian intelligence agency, that was sort of the precursor — the successor to the KGB And I’m a lot less concerned, to be honest with you, about this particular attempted hack, because the reality is, every country in the world right now, every intelligence agency is probably tasked with getting information vaccine developments And I would certainly hope that the U.S. intelligence community is doing the same thing against Russia, China and anyone else that is working on vaccines, because it is in the interest of every country to develop a vaccine and solve this crisis as quickly as possible We have thousands of people that are dying every day. So, of all the things to be concerned about — and there’s certainly plenty, and the Russians are doing a lot of nefarious things that we should be confronting — this is ranking very, very low on my list of concerns WILLIAM BRANGHAM: All right, Dmitri Alperovitch and Nina Jankowicz, thank you both very much for being here AMNA NAWAZ: Now the second of a two-part Race Matters report from Paul Solman on how past and present inequalities have sapped the wealth and health of black Americans Last night, Paul focused on economic matters Tonight, he looks at health outcomes, all magnified in the time of COVID His report is part of our ongoing series Making Sense PAUL SOLMAN: Within 48 hours, Desmond Tolbert lost both mother and father to COVID-19 DESMOND TOLBERT, Georgia Resident: Both your parents at the same time, it’s hard PAUL SOLMAN: Back in April, black rural Georgia, where the Tolberts live, had some of America’s highest pandemic death rates, foreshadowing today’s stunning statistic, that black Americans are at least twice as likely to die of COVID-19 than whites, almost four times more likely when you control for the fact that the black population is younger REV. HORACE SHEFFIELD, New Destiny Christian Fellowship: I have never dealt with so much death in my life in such a short period of time as this PAUL SOLMAN: Longtime Detroit civil rights activist Rev. Horace Sheffield, 65, had COVID-19 himself in March. He recovered. But his congregation has been decimated REV. HORACE SHEFFIELD: We all experience death in urban settings, people who are killed before their time in violence and all that, but nothing like this at all, ever PAUL SOLMAN: Prison guard David Felton is one of Sheffield’s parishioners DAVID FELTON, Parishioner: I was in the hospital for five days, off work for 30 days, after contracting COVID K.C. WILBOURN-SNAPP, Parishioner: I also had a relative that passed from COVID-19 PAUL SOLMAN: Fellow congregant K.C. Wilbourn-Snapp K.C. WILBOURN-SNAPP: He was 51 years old SHAFINA CHE WIGGENS, Parishioner: I lost my husband to the virus. I also had it myself So it’s been pretty tough PAUL SOLMAN: Shafina Che’s husband, Dajuan Wiggens, was 47 SHAFINA CHE WIGGENS: He died March the 31st PAUL SOLMAN: Why, if he’s only 47? SHAFINA CHE WIGGENS: Well, he did have high blood pressure PAUL SOLMAN: And thus the puzzle that prompted this story: Why are African-Americans dying at a much higher rate than whites? TREVON LOGAN, The Ohio State University: Factor one would be essential worker employment PAUL SOLMAN: Economics explains a lot, says Professor Trevon Logan TREVON LOGAN: A second factor would be density of living arrangements and higher rates of public transportation use PAUL SOLMAN: As Marcus Thorpe put it of his 90-minute New York bus commute: MARCUS THORPE, New York City Resident: If you don’t have a car, you got to get on something You know what I’m saying? PAUL SOLMAN: And there are a number of other problems that threaten the health of black Americans broadly, like the food desert, which is L’Tanya Holley’s D.C. neighborhood

L’TANYA HOLLEY, Maya Angelou Public Charter and Public Learning Center: There’s not a grocery store in this area. The urban farm up the street was closed down. So what are the people supposed to do? They have to eat MAINZA SNAPP, Detroit Resident: Where I grew up on the East Side, it’s not uncommon to see Coney Island McDonald’s, whatever, the fast-food restaurant PAUL SOLMAN: That’s Mainza Snapp of Detroit MAINZA SNAPP: And then you see the liquor stores everywhere promoting cigarettes, alcohol, every single thing that you wouldn’t see in a white neighborhood DR. LISA COOPER, Johns Hopkins University: We do know that socioeconomic status has a huge impact on a whole host of health outcomes PAUL SOLMAN: Public health physician Lisa Cooper is professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins DR. LISA COOPER: African-Americans are at greater risk for developing chronic diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease PAUL SOLMAN: All contribute, says Dr. Cooper, to a health condition among blacks sometimes called weathering, which has been linked to cumulative stress DR. LISA COOPER: The body responds as if it’s, you know, trying to defend itself. And so there are elevated levels of stress hormones PAUL SOLMAN: Which everyone knows are no good for you DR. LISA COOPER: Also leads to premature aging And so it would explain a lot of the phenomena that we see among African-Americans RASHAWN RAY, University of Maryland: There is another study that looked at telomeres PAUL SOLMAN: Telomeres are the protective caps at the end of chromosomes that get shorter with age, explains sociologist Rashawn Ray RASHAWN RAY: And what this research found is that black teenagers who are living in neighborhoods that are underserved, that have high levels of crime, their telomeres are the same length as elderly men, suggesting the ways in which weathering and chronic stress has impacted them PAUL SOLMAN: But let’s be clear. For black Americans, economic stressors are just part of the story DAVID WILLIAMS, Harvard University: America has recently awakened to a steady drumbeat of unarmed black men being shot by the police PAUL SOLMAN: A TED Talk by sociologist David Williams DAVID WILLIAMS: What is even a bigger story is that, every seven minutes, a black person dies prematurely in the United States PAUL SOLMAN: Why? DAVID WILLIAMS: Research has found that higher levels of discrimination are associated with the elevated risk of a broad range of diseases and even premature mortality PAUL SOLMAN: And that’s separate from the effects of economic disadvantage DR. LISA COOPER: Racism has an independent effect on health. You can have African-Americans who are upper middle-class who are experiencing much higher rates of disease than you would see among white Americans at the same level of socioeconomic status DR. WILLIAM GRIER, Co-Author, “Black Rage”: We feel it is a very important cause PAUL SOLMAN: In 1968, psychiatrists William Grier and Price Cobbs co-authored a book called “Black Rage.” DR. PRICE COBBS, Co-Author, “Black Rage”: All black people are angry, not just a few militants whom one may see on television Black people in this country have had it PAUL SOLMAN: By 2020, says economist Sam Myers: SAMUEL MYERS, University of Minnesota: It just builds up. It builds up. And, at some point, you just explode Let’s stop shooting our young men PAUL SOLMAN: Myers, born deaf, hardly needs to lip read to understand a not untypical encounter with police in Minneapolis, where he’s been a professor for decades SAMUEL MYERS: Put your hands up on the dashboard I mean, I learned very quickly that it is dangerous to reach into your pocket to get your wallet, that the police officer instinctively believes that you’re reaching for your weapon PAUL SOLMAN: Outrageous, arguably. Enraging, for sure SAMUEL MYERS: And so what we have done is that we have kind of moved our anger internally, because we believe that we have a job to do with respect to proving that we are worthy, that we are capable, that we are productive citizens. But that’s what happens when that builds up TREVON LOGAN: I have been pulled over by the police more than 10 times in my own life PAUL SOLMAN: Again, economist Trevon Logan TREVON LOGAN: I think it’s impossible for anyone who’s lived as an African-American in this country to say that they haven’t experienced racially specific stress. And that stress will have physiological consequences PAUL SOLMAN: Which may explain why, by age 55, more than 75 percent of black Americans have hypertension, blood pressure higher than 130 over 80, compared with less than 50 percent of whites You have high blood pressure? TREVON LOGAN: Yes, definitely REV. HORACE SHEFFIELD: That’s why this COVID-19 has been such a harassing menace in our community, because people already were unhealthy PAUL SOLMAN: And less access to health care makes matters worse, says Rashawn Ray RASHAWN RAY: Black men are less likely to utilize health care because of discrimination that’s embedded within the health care system

There’s a recent study, really important for COVID-19, showing that blacks were six times more likely to be turned away from testing once they even went to the hospital MAN: This family’s story is so upsetting PAUL SOLMAN: In a Detroit case that made national news, 56-year old Gary Fowler died at home on April 7, having been denied a test at three hospitals. His father had died of COVID hours earlier. His wife was hospitalized the same day. His children later tested positive, including stepson Keith Gambrell KEITH GAMBRELL, Detroit Resident: I understand now why black people are the highest affected mortality rate with this, because we’re being pushed home to die and infect our family PAUL SOLMAN: That’s one reason why Reverend Sheffield has started a testing program that’s already served thousands REV. HORACE SHEFFIELD: We understand that, because of the hue of our skin, you know, we’re being treated differently than other people. And COVID-19 just vividly portrays just how that exists PAUL SOLMAN: And continues to For the “PBS NewsHour,” Paul Solman AMNA NAWAZ: By some estimates, the global economy will take a $12 trillion hit from the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s already happening in Italy, the third largest economy in Europe From the town of Grottammare on the Adriatic Coast, special correspondent Malcolm Brabant reports MALCOLM BRABANT: Four-month-old Angelo looks contented. At his tender age, he has no idea just how vulnerable he is. But Angelo’s Nigerian mother is worried about where his next meal will come from, which is why she’s lined up outside this food bank. She didn’t want to give her name WOMAN: With the COVID, it’s a little bit difficult to feed my son. So, I just came to pick some few things to feed my son MALCOLM BRABANT: It’s not just disadvantaged immigrants who are reliant on food banks Italians who’d managed to cope before the pandemic are seeking help Before COVID struck, Samuela Paoloni was supporting both her sister and mother. Now all three are virtually destitute SAMUELA PAOLONI, Unemployed (through translator): I used to be a baby-sitter, but now I can’t find anything MALCOLM BRABANT: This food bank in a disused cinema is the tip of a global iceberg. It’s estimated that an extra one million Italians have fallen beneath the poverty line as a result of COVID-19 And around the world, according to Oxfam, it’s estimated that 500 million people are now considered to be poor as a result of the pandemic The distribution center serving 100 food banks along the central Adriatic Coast is dependent on gifts. The pandemic has stimulated generosity, with supermarkets and restaurants donating food that would otherwise have gone to waste Their contributions have been essential because of the increased demand from the streets The operation is run by Francesco Galieni FRANCESCO GALIENI, Food Bank Distributor (through translator): This is certainly a very sad situation, seeing people struggling, especially children. We have had alerts that children are really in need of food aid. In Italy, it’s estimated that a million children need food aid because they’re going hungry MALCOLM BRABANT: It’s collection day for the parish of the 16th century Pope Saint Pius V. The church in Grottammare is feeding 50 families, which means about 150 people in total. The collection is being supervised by parish priest Don Federico Pompei FEDERICO POMPEI, Church Pope Saint Pius V (through translator): With COVID-19, poverty has increased. The poverty that existed has become more profound. And those who were poor have become even poorer. Those who weren’t poor are on the verge of becoming the new poor MALCOLM BRABANT: Sixty-five-year-old shoemaker Giuseppe is one of the new poor. Divorce and losing his home before the pandemic were bad enough. But his troubles were just beginning When COVID struck, his temporary contract with a shoe factory was canceled. He has no idea when he might work again GIUSEPPE, Unemployed Shoemaker (through translator): How do you expect me to feel? I can’t describe it. I can’t find the right word. I feel demoralized I’m not use to this kind of thing, because I have always had a job MALCOLM BRABANT: Like other food bank clients, Giuseppe has been given an appointment, so social distancing can be applied. He collects staples, such as pasta and cooking oil. Giuseppe

has fixed expenses, including $400 monthly rent, and has to keep his car running in case a job surfaces GIUSEPPE (through translator): It’s a help It means I can save some money. But it’s the bare minimum. You get given some stuff, but it’s not everything you need MALCOLM BRABANT: But Giuseppe’s dependence on food aid could last longer than he expected because the Italian shoe industry is in trouble Giampietro Melchiorri’s shoe factory is treading water. Half of his 30 staff are furloughed Last year, the company grossed $7 million from shoes like these that retailed for $250 to $400. Before the pandemic began, the company had hoped to expand Now Melchiorri fears disaster GIAMPIETRO MELCHIORRI, Shoe Factor Owner (through translator): Unfortunately, on the 21st of March, when the prime minister told us to shut down, personally, my dream was shattered Our objectives were no longer attainable It was as if the world totally collapsed on us MALCOLM BRABANT: Other shoe factories are also suffering a similar downturn in fortunes, so, unless he gets a lucky break, Giuseppe must conserve his handout for as long as possible GIUSEPPE (through translator): It certainly is a help. I can’t tell you if it’s going to last me for 10 or 20 days. It depends MALCOLM BRABANT: The elderly helpers at the food bank are shy about their volunteer work They don’t want to give their full names ERICA, Volunteer (through translator): We are concerned. When you see people going hungry, you can’t be untroubled MALCOLM BRABANT: The Catholic Church is at the heart of Italian society. In this parish, charity is essential because of what Father Don Federico believes are the inadequacies of the state FEDERICO POMPEI (through translator): What needs to happen is that the promises of aid need to become reality. Unfortunately, bureaucracy is slowing things up a lot. People are struggling because their needs aren’t satisfied MALCOLM BRABANT: Over the past week, an average of 11 Italians have died every day from COVID, down from 900 a day in March If that trend continues, the economy stands a better chance of recovery, and so do the new poor. But if a second wave comes, then, across the world and in Italy, more people will go hungry For the “PBS NewsHour,” I’m Malcolm Brabant in Grottammare AMNA NAWAZ: Since the very beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have heard stories of loss and lasting illness But for most, the virus is not a death sentence So tonight, we wanted to bring you some of those stories of survival and hope ALASTAIR BITSOI, Coronavirus Survivor: I am a COVID-19 survivor ZAIMAH HABEEB, Coronavirus Survivor: I survived coronavirus JAN JOHNSON, Coronavirus Survivor: I’m 91 years old, and I survived coronavirus ARLYN QUITEVIS, Coronavirus Survivor: I’m a nurse practitioner, I’m a front-liner, and also a coronavirus survivor BEVERLYN QUITEVIS, Coronavirus Survivor: I’m also a COVID-19 survivor DENISE DELPONTE DESARNO, Coronavirus Survivor: I’m a coronavirus survivor, and I donated plasma as well I had a fever, but it was never as high as they stated on the news. I was very lethargic ALASTAIR BITSOI: I had gotten sick, but I have never — like, it felt like I was at a sauna or a sweat lodge, like, where I was just like wet JOHN MENG, Coronavirus Survivor: Body aches, fatigue, and then a little bit of nausea I didn’t have any shortness of breath, no fever at all JAN JOHNSON: I was asymptomatic, and I had no — I didn’t feel any different than I did normally BEVERLYN QUITEVIS: They did a chest X-ray, and I had a severe bilateral pneumonia AMANDA ELLIS, Coronavirus Survivor: I was gasping for breath, probably about every — 20 or 30 times a minute. And a couple of nights, I said my goodbyes to the world and woke up in the morning, not knowing that I would GENA ROSS, Coronavirus Survivor: In the hospital, I sang songs to myself. I tried to comfort myself. And I prayed a lot. And I made videos on Facebook to let people know, you know, this is what’s going on with me, but trying to encourage people too ALASTAIR BITSOI: Knowing my status, it gave me some relief in some ways. This is not good news I’m positive, but it’s also good news, in a sense that I can focus my body on where I need healing ZAIMAH HABEEB: I would take in a very, very, very deep breath and hold it for five seconds

And then I would breathe out very slowly And I would do that over and over During those moments, I just would think about how I needed to get well for my kids and that I had so much to live for JOHN MENG: Even if you’re someone who’s relatively healthy, living an active lifestyle, with no underlying illnesses, and relatively young, your life can really be impacted by this virus ARLYN QUITEVIS: Some patients are kind of — kind of on the fence sometimes when reaching out to their primary care doctor But if there’s something that’s off and you’re concerned, definitely seek medical advice Don’t wait JAN JOHNSON: Just take it one day at a time Don’t worry about the future. Just be grateful about the past AMANDA ELLIS: I always thought that, at the end of my life, I would have time to say goodbye, and maybe not. I’m going to, you know, spend my time to make sure that the people I love know that and why ZAIMAH HABEEB: I had no idea how much people cared for me. You just never know the difference that you make in someone’s lives. And I have heard people say that to me: Like, wow, we really need you to get better because you’re an inspiring person to me And I’m like, really? Thank you GENA ROSS: I made it. I got my double negatives And I’m so excited I got to hug my daughter. I got to touch her face. I got to feel like mom again, instead of like some just big ball of germ JAN JOHNSON: I just feel lucky to be alive ALASTAIR BITSOI: One thing that has helped me through this process is having hope. I’m taught, through everything you face in your life, you always have sihasin, or hope DENISE DELPONTE DESARNO: So what if we’re in phase three or we have to stay in another week. We have our health. We have our family It’s only going to get uphill. It can’t get any worse, because you have — you have come out of this BEVERLYN QUITEVIS: Hope is on the way. I always believe that. Hope is on the way. This will not last long ZAIMAH HABEEB: The morning is going to come, if you can just make it through those tough moments. Hang on. Stay strong. You can do it (LAUGHTER) AMNA NAWAZ: And tonight’s Brief But Spectacular features pediatrician Lucy Marcil, who integrates free tax and financial services into her care for patients and their families as a way to help improve their overall health DR. LUCY MARCIL, Pediatrician: People trust their doctor. We ask them really intimate questions all the time. We ask them about sex, about mental health, about alcohol use But I bet, if you think about your own experiences, you have probably never had your doctor ask you how much money you make If you have less money, you have worse health outcomes in almost any disease you can think of. Poor children in the U.S. die at higher rates. They are one-and-a-half more likely to die. They’re twice as likely to be hospitalized So, it really is a health issue, and it’s negligence on our part not to be asking about it. I had a mom in clinic last week who is trying her best to raise two lovely kids, but she’s been homeless. She’s been in several abusive relationships. She’s encountered mental health problems And, as a result, it’s been hard for her to keep steady jobs. With her, for instance, I asked her, “Have you filed your taxes?” She said: “I’m not going to. I only made $3,000 last year.” And I was able to explain to her how, if she did file, the U.S. government would give her $1,200, which would be a third of her annual income. So that’s just a small example of the way in which we try to prescribe tax preparation as a health intervention in pediatric clinics We found that 60 percent of the families we serve have never heard of the Earned Income Tax Credit. It’s not just about getting the money back that’s been withheld from your paycheck. The government is going to give you extra money. And, often, it’s thousands of dollars For people who do know about it and are filing their taxes, they might not know that free tax preparation exists in the community. So it’s a huge relief to them often when I say, we can do this right here in the office for you And they say, you’re not going to charge me? We have done, over the last three years, about 2,000 tax returns and returned over $4,000,000 to families. The very first family that we served was a great-grandmother who had custody of a 2-year-old. And after we got her back several thousand dollars, she said to me: “I was able to buy luxuries. I bought a winter coat and fresh vegetables.” And we live in the United States of America A winter coat and vegetables should not be luxuries when you’re trying to raise a child So, the patients that I have that have used StreetCred, I feel I have a deeper, more trusting relationship with. You know, I think they recognize that I’m someone they can tell anything to, that I’m interested in their problems, not just interested in telling them about how their kids should drink less juice, which they should. No one should be drinking juice Unless we show that we really care for people, they won’t trust us and let us help them

My name is Dr. Lucy Marcil, and this is my Brief But Spectacular take on reimagining what a doctor’s visit looks like AMNA NAWAZ: And that’s the “NewsHour” for tonight. I’m Amna Nawaz For all of us at the “PBS NewsHour,” thank you, please stay safe, and we’ll see you soon