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U.S. COVID-19 Infections Surpass 2 Million with Number of Hospitalizations on Rise in 12 States; Interview with Former Ferguson Police Chief Delrish Moss; Confederate Statues Downed by Protestors Around the Country. Aired 10:30-11a ET

Aired June 11, 2020 - 10:30   ET




POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: So as the number of cases of COVID-19 in the U.S. has now surpassed 2 million, the Coronavirus Task Force will meet for the second time this week, later today. It's interesting, Jim, because we haven't really, like, seen them out in public much at all in the last few weeks.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: No, deliberately held behind closed doors more and more, less appearances by Dr. Fauci and others. This comes as a key model followed by the White House predicts that nearly 170,000 Americans will die from coronavirus by October, almost 60,000 more than the current death roll.

CNN's senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen joins us now. And I wonder, this model suggests a second wave coming in September, which experts have often warned about, and that's the way these flu outbreaks often behave. But we're also seeing an uptick in many states already, today. I mean, are we in the midst of sort of the durability of the first outbreak, first wave, if that's the right way of describing it?


ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: I think we are, Jim. And that's why I try to avoid using the term "second wave." Because, to me, that sounds like, think about waves at a beach. You get a wave, and then it subsides. A wave, and then it subsides.

We have not had anything subside. As you -- it's not like the flu. The flu basically, you know, does go down to teeny, tiny numbers in the summer, that is not what's happening here. So let's not think of it as a second wave. We are still in the depths of the first wave. We still have, in this country, hundreds of deaths a day, sometimes even more than a thousand deaths a day. That still sounds, to me, like that's still a problem, right? This has not gone away.

Now, will it get worse in September? That's what's being projected. But let's not fool ourselves. This first wave is still strong, and still going on. HARLOW: I think that's a really good point because I do see people

thinking that this is over, and acting like this is over, and it is not. Since Memorial Day, the number of coronavirus hospitalizations has gone up in at least a dozen states -- hospitalizations, you've got an additional 22 states trending downward, while nine are holding steady. Is this all because of when states have reopened, or is there more at play here?

COHEN: Yes, it is largely due to reopenings. So when you get people together, the virus is going to spread more. Now, there are gradations of opening up, right? I mean, there's a difference between how some states are doing it and how other states are doing it. There are mitigation measures you can take, you can open up but still people are socially distanced, still people are wearing masks. So there are shades of gray here. But, yes, the more we get people together, these numbers are going to go up.

SCIUTTO: President Trump has said that we may have some flames coming, but we'll put them out if there are other spikes, outbreaks, whatever you want to call them. I wonder if that's true, right? Because politics are part of this, and also people's motivations. And you have so much impatience, it seems, in this country, that.

From the experts that you talked to, could you ratchet up stay-at-home orders again and get people to comply if there are outbreaks? Is there concern that that may not be possible?

COHEN: Yes, for sure. There are concerns that it's going to be difficult to tell people, Hey, you know what we told you to do in March, and then we sort of undid it to some extent? We're going to do that again. That is definitely going to be tough.

This is going to be a hard road ahead. People are going to have to get used to being told to do different things, and also making decisions on our own. I personally have had many decisions -- many discussions with friends and family, Hey, do you think it's OK if I go to the grocery store, do you think it's OK if I get on an airplane? These are all decisions that we're going to have to make for ourselves.

HARLOW: Elizabeth, thank you for being on top of all those headlines for us, we appreciate it.

This weekend, the "Sesame Street" team, back on CNN for a new family town hall about COVID-19, and staying safe this summer. You're going to want to watch this with your kids. They are fantastic, "THE ABCS OF COVID-19," at Saturday morning, 10:00 a.m. Eastern, right here on CNN.


SCIUTTO: We have seen the bodycam footage, we've seen the protests. Now, will we see real reform? I'm going to speak to the former Ferguson police chief who helped institute reforms in that city after Michael Brown's death. That's coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) SCIUTTO: From Capitol Hill to communities big and small, the calls for police reform are growing louder in many communities by the day. Our next guest knows exactly what it takes to carry that out. He was hired as the first permanent black police chief of Ferguson, Missouri after a white officer there shot and killed Michael Brown, an 18-year- old black man. I'm sure you remember that story.

Delrish Moss is now a captain with the Florida International University Police, and he joins me now. Captain, great to have you on this morning. Thanks very much.


SCIUTTO: You've heard this question asked and answered differently, depending on who it's asked to -- the president, police officers, et cetera. Is there systemic racism? The president, the attorney general say no in the police. Is it? Does it differ, department to department? And what does that mean exactly to you?

MOSS: Well, one of the things is, we talk about policing as a monolith but there are 18,000 police departments, and they all are very, very different in terms of personality and even, in some cases, the laws based on the states that they're in.

But there is no doubt that in the American system, that race has certainly been a factor, and remains a factor that we've had to grapple with for years. And so whether it's purposefully systemic or not, the fact that we have people in the system -- I think it adds to the soup, if you will.

SCIUTTO: Now, to your point, every department is different. There are some national policies, right? And there are some national changes being proposed now on the Hill, for instance, a national ban on chokeholds, also changed to qualified immunity, which is a legal standard which has allowed police officers to avoid penalties in civil court for abuse of force.

Even if, to your point, each department is different -- and it is -- are there national changes that you believe are necessary to make policing more fair for African-Americans?


MOSS: Well, look, certainly policing has been trying to nationalize some of the standards. I mean, one of the reasons we look at best practices is when we've gone through an accreditation process, is to kind of create some national standards to look at best practices so that we all know and are doing the best and the latest things in the profession.

And so we are always trying to improve the profession, and certainly we're open to the dialogue of making additional improvements because at the end of the day, we serve at the pleasure of the people.

SCIUTTO: What is your reaction to the move -- among some, not many -- to defund the police? And I should note here that many who call for defunding are not saying dismantle the police department -- as you've heard proposed in Minneapolis -- but diverting some funds from policing to other social services, that perhaps the police shouldn't be leading the way on: dealing with mental health, for instance.

Do you believe that there is some wisdom in that, that the police should have some responsibilities taken away from them?

MOSS: Well, you know, I've not been shy about saying that there are certain things that we're not trained to do, there are certain things that we just aren't capable to handle, if you will. And more and more burdens are being put on policing, more demands are being put on policing to do more things.

But I don't think defunding is the answer. I think that we should be beefing up some of those other services. For instance, in Ferguson, one of the things we were trying to accomplish was the creation of a police social worker program, basically working with Washington University to create social workers who helped us deal with some of the underlying issues that led to crime. And hopefully, by doing that, the point was to actually decrease the need to call the police.

SCIUTTO: I wonder, in the five years since the Michael Brown killing there and the protests and some of the violence we saw in Ferguson, have you seen -- or six years, I should say -- have you seen improvement?

MOSS: Well, there's definitely been improvement. First of all, the Ferguson Police Department that exists today is vastly different than the Ferguson Police Department that was there in 2014. Over 70 percent of the people there now are brand-new to the Ferguson Police Department. Not always brand-new to policing, but certainly to the Ferguson Police Department, so it's diverse.

We've gone -- they went from having three African-Americans and three women on the department when I got there, to over 50 percent African- American and about a third women when I left. So it's a much more diverse force, it's a much more well trained force and it's a better force that works more closely with the community.

SCIUTTO: Well, Captain Delrish Moss, we appreciate the work you've done. We know you had a lot of challenges there, and it's good to hear of some positive change that can happen in the wake of incidents like this, so we wish you the best of luck, going forward.

MOSS: Thank you very much, I really appreciate it.

HARLOW: Great to hear from him.


So, overnight -- you've probably seen this -- protestors in Virginia, tearing down a statue of the president of the Confederacy, Jefferson Davis, and that is just the latest monument to come down in cities across the country.


HARLOW: Well, protestors in Virginia tore down what many say was an offensive and painful reminder of slavery and racial oppression in America, a statue honoring Jefferson Davis, the president of the confederacy, ripped down overnight in what was the capital of the Confederacy, Richmond. He served, obviously, as president of the Confederacy during the Civil War, and was later charged with treason.

SCIUTTO: This as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi renews calls to remove 11 Confederate statues on Capitol Hill. You also have the military open to a discussion of renaming bases named for Confederate generals.

CNN's Alexandra Field joins us now. Tell us what more and how broadly this is happening.

ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Jim, hey, Poppy. It looks like people are just not waiting for politicians, political leaders to take the action here, they're going and taking this action themselves, deciding what should and what should no longer stand the test of time in this country.

Just overnight, we were seeing the defacement of statues of Christopher Columbus, both in Houston, Texas, where the Columbus statue had its face painted red, hands painted red, a sign, left on the chest that read, "Rest in peace, the head from your oppressor." In Miami, similar scenes, a Christopher Columbus statue defaced, spray- painted with the words, "Black lives matter," "George Floyd," and "Our streets."

In Portsmouth, Virginia, we've seen what we saw for a few nights now, more action in Virginia among the people to take down symbols of the Confederacy. There was action to take down one Confederate statue; one protestor was actually injured when part of the statue fell down.

And yet again, another night in Richmond, where you are seeing crowds taking apart pieces of this city's past that they say no longer reflect where we are today, that are symbols of oppression, that are symbols of a racist past, that are symbols that they don't want to see in this city any longer. There it is, the statue of Jefferson Davis, laying on the ground.

And of course, as we've said, this is something that has been happening around the country. We've seen the takedown not just of these Confederate statues and symbols, but again statues of Christopher Columbus, not just in Miami and Houston but also defaced in places like Richmond, Boston and even St. Paul -- Poppy, Jim.

HARLOW: Powerful images, very important. Thank you, Alex, we appreciate the reporting.


Also, huge development just in the last hour, the nation's top general now says appearing in his combat fatigues with the president, walking across there after protestors were forcibly removed from Lafayette Square, was a mistake. His words, "I should not have been there." What is the president going to say about this? Stay with CNN.



KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR, NEWSROOM: Hello, everyone. I'm Kate Bolduan. Thank you so much for joining us for the next couple of hours.

We start with, really, an extraordinary --