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Rise in Coronavirus Cases as Economy Reopens; Double Lung Transplant Covid-19 Patient; Demonstrators Marching in Atlanta; Trump Erases Health Protections for Transgender Patients. Aired 9:30-10a ET

Aired June 15, 2020 - 09:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


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POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: So, this morning, cases of Covid-19 have spiked in 18 states. The state of Florida is now reporting record high cases for its third straight day in a row.

Let's go to our colleague Rosa Flores. She joins us in Miami Beach this morning.

Rosa, the mayor of Miami not pleased. I think they think people aren't taking enough precautions. They may reinstate some of these restrictions that have been lifted?

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You're absolutely right. That's what he's telling CNN.

You know, Poppy, last week experts were very concerned because Florida was reporting about 1,000 cases a day. Well, that changed over the weekend with about 2,000 cases a day.

Now, according to Governor Ron DeSantis, this is due to outbreaks in agricultural communities and in prisons. But as you mentioned, officials in big cities are also very concerned, including here in Miami Beach and also in the city of Miami, where the mayor there says that the uptick started about a week ago. They've been tracking it. They're concerned because of the potential uptick due to Memorial Day weekend and also protests. And he says, Poppy, that if the situation continues to worsen, he could consider reinstating restrictions.

Poppy.

HARLOW: OK. We'll see what they do.

Rosa, thanks, we appreciate the reporting on this note.

Now to a remarkable story of recovery. Listen to this. A woman in her 20s, so very young, on the brink of death from coronavirus is now in stable condition this morning after a double lung transplant. The transplant believed to be the first of its kind on a Covid patient in the United States. With me is the doctor who performed that remarkable, remarkable

surgery, Dr. Ankit Bharat, the chief of thoracic surgery at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago.

Thank you, Doctor, for being here.

I had -- I did a double-take when I saw this article on Friday on cnn.com about what you guys had done and I was particularly stunned because she's so young, right? You don't hear about people in their 20s getting so sick. How is the patient doing this morning?

DR. ANKIT BHARAT, PERFORMED FIRST EVER DOUBLE LUNG TRANSPLANT ON COVID-19 SURVIVOR: Yes, good morning, Poppy.

So the patient is doing great. She continues to get stronger every day.

[09:35:00]

And we are -- we are hoping that in a couple of weeks she will be able to tell her own story.

HARLOW: What was it like to do this complex of a surgery on her? She'd been stuck on a ventilator, I believe, for six weeks.

BHARAT: Yes.

HARLOW: She was young. I'm not sure if she had preexisting conditions or not. Can you speak to that and just how complex of a procedure this is but something that finally saved her by getting her off the ventilator?

BHARAT: Yes. So, Poppy, she actually quite a beautiful, young woman in her 20s. She had a minor medical illness that, you know, I'm not able to disclose right now, but we -- we are hoping that she'll be able to tell her own story in the next couple of weeks.

But, you know, so she came to us, got pretty sick very quickly, required a mechanical ventilator and then, you know, and then (INAUDIBLE) that heart/lung support device very quickly. So the virus caused a pretty severe and pretty rapid damage to her lungs. And, you know, and then, ultimately, as we supported her, she cleared the virus, but the damage to the lungs had caused, you know, these capitations inside the lung and that was driving multi-organ failures. So we wanted to really save her life.

Now, I will say that, you know, ever since we started to see these patients at our hospital, we were anticipating patients who will get to this situation. So we, you know, studied patients who actually ultimately died from this virus, you know, from autopsy studies and so forth and prepared ourselves to offer this treatment for patients.

HARLOW: I --

BHARAT: So it was technically (INAUDIBLE) but we were quite prepared for this. HARLOW: OK. I understand that a few days after the surgery and a few

days ago she looked at you and she said, thank you for not giving up on me.

BHARAT: Yes.

HARLOW: Is that -- is that -- what was that like?

BHARAT: You know, that was the, you know, the best thing we could have heard. You know, the -- you know, as health care providers, there's nothing better that we can hear. You know, this patient was young and she, you know, struggled for a while. And there was a lot of debate about how long should we stretch this? You know, she was on the ventilator with no signs of recovery, and, you know, there were questions about whether we should redirect codes (ph) of care for her and so forth. But we just didn't want to give up on her. And then she echoed that when she woke up.

HARLOW: Finally, what is your message, as we see spikes right now of Covid patients in 18 different states and increase in hospitalizations. Clearly a public that is having, you know, isolation fatigue, if you will, or --

BHARAT: Yes.

HARLOW: I wonder what your message is to them, with a relatively healthy woman in her 20s, who could get this ill.

BHARAT: You know, I think there's so much we still do not know about this virus. And I tell, you know, while this is more common in the older patients, you know, it doesn't spare anybody. And I think, you know, we -- we absolutely need to take all those precautions. We need to follow the -- the guidelines that have been laid out by the CDC and our government officials. You know, it can really, you know, cause pretty severe and life-threatening illness in all age groups. So it's very important to take those precautions.

HARLOW: Dr. Ankit Bharat, our thanks to you, your entire team. It certainly takes a village, no question. And we're just so glad that she's doing better. I hope she can -- I hope we can hear from her, as you said, in a matter of weeks.

BHARAT: Yes. Thank you.

HARLOW: Thanks again.

Well, professional athletes are becoming leaders in the national call to finally end racial injustice and police brutality. Next, WNBA Hall of Famer, activist, mother, Lisa Leslie and her powerful message to the country.

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HARLOW: You're looking at live pictures out of Atlanta this morning. Atlanta Hawks head coach Lloyd Pierce is set to speak at this major march for justice that is happening right now. Many leaders in the sports world are speaking out, they're demanding action, including my next guest, who writes in a powerful letter to America, quote, dear America, our whole lives you've wanted black people to love you, to pledge their allegiance to you. You want us to love you when serving in uniform, but when we're out of uniform, you throw us aside as if we never served and protected you. You want us to love you when we protect your fancy cities but you design them to keep us out. You want us to love you on the grand stage of the Olympics, but you give us no peace or justice at home.

Four-time Olympic Gold Medalist WNBA Hall of Famer, activist and mother, Lisa Leslie joins me now.

I was so moved reading your letter over and over again. And I kept thinking about Langston Hughes (ph) and I kept thinking about 70 years old and what happens to a dream deferred, Lisa. And you say, you've smothered us with your hate and apathy to the point where we are protesting in the middle of a pandemic and risking our lives.

Why are we still here today?

LISA LESLIE, WNBA HALL OF FAMER AND FOUR-TIME OLYMPIC GOLD MEDALIST: You know, Poppy, it's tough. I can tell you that having this opportunity to talk -- thank you, first off.

But having the opportunity to write that letter, I started writing that probably like May 28th. This -- all these emotions because being a part of the media, you know, I work for CBS Sports Network, I'm on a morning talk show "We Need to Talk," and we've covered this topic for I feel like three, four, five years now, especially with Kaepernick taking the knee. And I tell my colleagues that this is a topic for you, but this is our life.

[09:45:02]

As black people, we don't get to turn this off. Even me having this moment in time on this show, when we go off, it doesn't go off for us because I have a black husband who has to drive, who's out right now driving. I have a son who's outside shooting ball. And it -- it just never turns off for us. And we're just asking Americans to take the blindfold off, if you will, and to see us, that this struggle is real. We just lost Rashard Brooks, as we saw at the Wendy's. It -- our life and the value of black American's life is not the same as everyone else.

The one (INAUDIBLE) for you guys is (INAUDIBLE). You know, we see that the world now recognizes it. But now how are we going to address that?

HARLOW: And, Lisa, how -- how are we all going to address it to our children? I mean you write so powerfully about your son whom you just mentioned saying, you know, why should we have to explain to our son you can't do everything you see your white friends doing?

LESLIE: Yes. And, you know, it's difficult because he has -- his eyes have been opened in a way -- you know it's almost kind of like when you have the talk with your kids about, you know, sex. It's like their -- it's a certain age that that's appropriate. And I just feel like we've -- our lives -- our world has been so disrupted with racism and so disrupted with inequality and injustice that we can't shield our children from it because it's on the news, it's topics that's even happening at schools before Covid-19.

So it's difficult to really be in this situation parenting these children and trying to raise them to make good decisions. But also, I challenge the other 88 percent of non-blacks to say, what are you telling your children because we're not going to break this cycle if we're not communicating to our children that it's wrong to judge people based on the color of their skin.

HARLOW: Yes.

LESLIE: It's wrong to treat them differently because we're born, you know, with more pigmentation. Like, it's so silly almost and our kids are really surprised that we're having this conversation. And they're like, oh, is that what all this is about?

HARLOW: Exactly.

LESLIE: Like, it makes no sense.

HARLOW: Yes.

LESLIE: We're like (INAUDIBLE) yes, that's -- that's what it's about.

HARLOW: I should note, Lisa, you know, for context for folks who might not know this about you, that you lived in Compton through, you know, the Rodney King beating and the ensuing riots and still here we are, you know, 30 years later. And you write something to your white friends. You say, friends that say I'm sorry this is happening to you, you have a message for them.

LESLIE: Well, yes, because it's not just happening to me. It's happening to us as a race. And I think that's the disconnect also, that you feel like, oh, my God, for my black friends, I love you. I've had, I think probably over 25 real messages from my friends that I love. I mean, I've never been raised in a way to treat people differently based on color. My family's blended. So everybody's mixed. Somebody has a black dad, a white dad. Like, we're just all mixed in that way. And so, for me, it's like, I'm not the only one experiencing this. I need for you all to recognize that this is a human problem of injustice and I need for everybody's voice, if you know that you're not racist and you weren't raised that way, then you've got to use your platform and join the fight and help us, communicate this, educate your friends that do look like you, because we have to change this narrative and we have to change the way that we see each other. And it's now. We don't have time to let another generation go by and us not fix this.

So I'm using my voice and platform because I look at my son every day, and my daughter, and I don't want to -- I'm not going to live in fear for their safety. We teach them to do the right thing. Obviously to have the right manners. Yes, we have to respect law enforcement. I get that. We have to know the law also. But we also need law enforcement to enforce the law.

I know that we've all learned that if a person's running from you and their back is to you, you're not supposed to shoot them in the back.

HARLOW: Yes.

LESLIE: I do remember that.

So we need to get on an even playing field for our law enforcement.

HARLOW: Yes.

LESLIE: We have to go vote. We have to have police reform and figure out how we can have -- do you realize that the police officers, their education is just high school? They only have to have a high school diploma? Why is that?

HARLOW: So, Lisa --

LESLIE: Education plays into the lack of decision-making when they're out there in the field.

HARLOW: So -- so many important points. I hope everyone who has not yet read your letter goes and reads it. I tweeted it out. I'll do that again with this segment today.

Thank you for being such a powerful voice on this.

LESLIE: Thank you, Poppy. Thanks for having me.

HARLOW: We'll be right back.

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HARLOW: The White House, if you missed this, it's an important headline, announced it is eliminating regulations put in place during the Obama presidency to prevent discrimination against transgender patients in health care.

Our legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin is here.

Jeffrey, even Republican Senator Susan Collins said this was wrong. She said it's discriminatory. How significant is this?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN CHIEF LEGAL ANALYST: Well, just keep in mind, this is what this rule is about. If you go to an emergency room and the doctor says, we won't treat you because you're black, or we won't treat you because you're catholic, or we won't treat you because you're gay, that's against federal regulations.

What the Obama administration did is they said, if you are transgender, you have to be treated equally. And what the Trump administration did last week is they said, you know what, medical professionals, you are free to discriminate against transgender people.

[09:55:04]

You can turn them away from your hospitals, from your emergency rooms, and that's what the law is today because of this change of -- of policy.

HARLOW: The pending Supreme Court decision that we could get today, or very soon, on, not only transgender rights, but gay rights in total, would that upend -- upend -- could that upend what the administration has done here and protect them?

TOOBIN: Well, it might, but it's even broader. This is an immensely significant decision. You know, I think most people don't realize that under federal law you can go to one of your employees and say, as a boss, you know, you are doing a terrific job, but you're gay, and we don't want gay people here, and you're fired. That is legal today under federal law.

What the Supreme Court is deciding is whether that will really continue. That's the stakes in this case. It's titled -- it's called Title 7, a very famous law, and that's what the Supreme Court will decide whether employment decisions may be made on the basis of sexual orientation.

HARLOW: We're waiting for some possible, major decisions from the high court, so don't go too far.

Jeffrey Toobin, thank you very much.

TOOBIN: Moments away.

HARLOW: Moments away.

Thank you very much, on this. I think it dropped Friday, and we don't want to miss it. Thank you very much.

Protesters demanding action, demanding an end to racism in this country, racial injustice by police. Look at them marching in Atlanta right now to the Georgia state capitol calling on lawmakers to make major changes.

We'll be right back.

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