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Pence Misleads Americans As Some States Set Virus Records; Senate Republicans To Unveil Police Reform Bill. Aired 7-7:30a ET

Aired June 17, 2020 - 07:00   ET



ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN NEW DAY: We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and all around the World. This is New Day.

As of this morning, close to 117,000 Americans have died from coronavirus. But President Trump and Vice President Pence are trying to spin that as a success. Pence, the head of the coronavirus task force, published an op-ed Tuesday, that doctors say is riddled with misinformation.

Here are facts. This morning, 21 states are reporting an increase in new cases. Ten of those states are seeing a spike of 50 percent or more. Florida, Texas and Arizona setting records for the most cases in a single day. Arizona and Texas also reporting a spike in hospitalizations, meaning more people are getting seriously sick.

We don't know the number of hospitalizations in Florida or Oklahoma because their reporting is not shared in the same way. But local officials are concerned about what they're seeing.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN NEW DAY: Folks, listen to the numbers, the facts. A senior CDC official tells CNN that the vice president is, quote, cherry-picking data to fit his and the president's narrative. The American people need facts. The last White House coronavirus task force briefing was more than seven weeks ago. Dr. Anthony Fauci admits in a new interview that he has not talked to the president in two weeks, something that happened a couple of weeks ago, as well.

Also developing this morning, we are hours away from Senate Republicans unveiling their police reform bill, as protests continue across the country calling for real and lasting change.

Let's begin our coverage with CNN's Rosa Flores. She is live in Miami.

Okay, so walk us through the numbers, Rosa, because the facts are cases are going up sharply in Florida. Is that changing the state government's response?

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, Jim, it's not. Governor Ron DeSantis digging in his heels, saying that he is not going to shut down the economy. But as we look around the country, like you said, 21 states are showing upward trends of coronavirus cases this morning. And despite that fact, the Trump administration continues to downplay the pandemic all while medical experts say that the crisis is far from over.


FLORES: Here in Florida, Governor Ron DeSantis is continuing to reopen the sunshine state, despite seeing its highest single-day increase of confirmed coronavirus infections since the start of the pandemic.

GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): No, we're not shutting down, you know, we're going to go forward. You have to have society function.

FLORES: Florida will now host the Republican National Convention and could be the temporary home of the NBA and the WNBA. But as crowds return to public spaces, like restaurants and malls, a warning from one woman who says she's one of 16 friends who tested positive after visiting a recently reopened bar in Jacksonville.

ERIKA CRISP, TESTED POSITIVE FOR COVID-19: At the time, it was more, out of sight, out of mind. We hadn't known anybody who had it personally. Governor, mayor, everybody says it's fine. We go out, it's a friend's birthday. Well, it was a mistake.

FLORES: At least 21 states are seeing an uptick in daily new coronavirus case over the past week, this as Vice President Mike Pence made stops in Iowa without wearing a mask. The leader of the coronavirus task force downplaying the severity of the disease, as President Trump encourages states to ramp up their economies more quickly.

Pence writing in a Wall Street Journal op-ed, the media has tried to scare the American people every step of the way and these grim predictions of a second wave are no different. We've slowed the spread, we've cared for the most vulnerable, we've saved lives, that's a cause for celebration.

ASHISH JHA, DIRECTOR, HARVARD GLOBAL HEALTH INSTITUTE: The problem is the pandemic is not done with ups. Unfortunately, it's still in the early days. If we do not want to end up with hundreds of thousands of deaths across the country by the time this whole thing is all over, we've got to change course and really move towards suppressing this virus.

FLORES: On a call with governors Monday, the vice president making this claim.

MIKE PENCE, U.S. VICE PRESIDENT: In most of the cases where we are seeing some marginal rising numbers, that's more a result of the extraordinary work you're doing expanding testing.

FLORES: But according to Harvard researchers, the United States needs to do at least 20 million tests per day to safely reopen by late July.


The current rate is roughly 500,000 tests daily. And with the president still set to hold a campaign rally in Tulsa, Pence falsely claiming that numbers in Oklahoma are on the decline.

PENCE: Oklahoma has really been in the forefront of our efforts to slow the spread and in a very real sense, they flattened the curve.

FLORES: The truth is, Oklahoma has seen newly reported cases increase since late May. A senior CDC official slamming Pence for selectively choosing data to highlight, telling CNN, you can cherry-pick a handful of counties and use that as a way to say things are not as bad as they look, but that's not the reality.


FLORES: Now, process this with me for just a second. If it's important for a president to communicate, to be briefed by his top infectious disease expert to make informed decisions during a pandemic, according to Dr. Fauci, he hasn't talked to President Trump in two weeks. And, Alisyn, that's according to a Fauci interview with NPR yesterday.

CAMEROTA: Yes, that was very interesting to hear and concerning. Rosa, thank you very much.

Joining us now is Dr. Zeke Emanuel, he's a former Obama White House Health Policy Adviser. He's also the author of the new book, Which Country has the World's Best HealthCare? He is also part of Joe Biden's public health advisory committee and safety task force.

So you're basically the perfect guest, Dr. Emanuel, to have this morning. And let's just start with everything that you just heard Rosa report on the vice president and what he is saying.

Is -- almost 117,000 Americans have now been killed by coronavirus. Is that a success story, as the vice president seems to be suggesting?

DR. ZEKE EMANUEL, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Hardly. We're way up there in terms of the number of deaths and the number of deaths per person, well more than China, where it started, well more than Taiwan, well more than Japan. There are many countries that have done a much better job than we have, Germany, to pick a few other cases.

It does seem that the administration wants to move beyond coronavirus, but the virus isn't going to cooperate. And, unfortunately, by opening up so rapidly, we have just increased the number of cases we're going to see and the number of deaths we're going to see.

CAMEROTA: And what about the conflict between where we're seeing cases spike and Vice President Pence suggesting to governors that the story that they should tell is their success in testing? Are these spikes in Arizona, in Texas, in Oklahoma, in Florida, is that because they're doing more testing or is something else happening?

EMANUEL: So let's make two points. First of all, we still have roughly the same number of cases we had in March, in April and May, 20,000 new cases per day. It's just moved from New York and New Jersey and Connecticut down to the south and the west. So we're not seeing a decrease nationally in number of new cases. We're seeing a slight decrease in deaths because doctors are handling the cases better and understand not to put patients on ventilators.

You can have a small percentage increase because of testing in terms of number of cases. But when you see 50 or 150 percent increase in the number of cases you're seeing, which is what we are seeing across the south, that's not testing. That's new cases. That's community spread.

The other thing the vice president likes to say is, these are just embers. They're not embers when you get 20,000 per day, which is the consistent number or even 50,000 per day. They're community spread and your interview with that woman who went to a bar just demonstrates how

it happens.

CAMEROTA: And so what happens next in Florida, in Oklahoma, in Arizona, in Texas? I mean, I remember well what happened here in March, in New York. And it was a scary time. And so what is going to happen in these states where they're seeing some 50 percent spike?

EMANUEL: You're going to see a spike in the number of cases and then a few days or a week later, you'll see a spike in the hospitalizations. And then a few days later, you'll see a spike in the deaths. And unless you actually implement these public health measures, physical distancing, wearing masks, avoiding crowds, not going into bars, you are going to have that. It is inevitable, despite all the happy talk coming out of the White House.

CAMEROTA: What grade do you give the United States right now for its handling of coronavirus?

EMANUEL: I'm a professor, so I'm used to grading. Probably somewhere close to a C minus, D. We have not done a good job. Our testing is still, as you pointed out, 500,000 per day. All of the experts, myself included, think we need 3, 4, 5 million at least per day.


We're just not getting it.

CAMEROTA: Your book is called Which Country has the World's Best Healthcare? And I know that you had to scramble to rewrite the coda, because coronavirus hit just as you were putting the finishing touches on it. And so when you ripped up your old coda and rewrote it to include coronavirus, what was the urgent message you wanted to get out?

EMANUEL: Well, you have to actually pay attention to this virus. One of the things I said is it's mainly a public health problem and we have not invested in our public health structure as we have spent so much money on healthcare. You know, right before the coronavirus hit, the president proposed a 19 percent cut in the CDC. It tells you all you need to know about how not committed we are to public health.

And places that were committed to public health, and I say Taiwan in the book, they have a health card that they track people going to the doctor. They were able to merge it with their immigration system and find out who had been to China, who had respiratory symptoms without a positive influenza test. They were prime candidates. They informed their doctor if these people need to be tested. They've had 500 or fewer cases of coronavirus and seven deaths among 24 million people.

So it's possible deep deaths way down, but we didn't do a very good job. And I pointed out, having a health card as part of your healthcare system would be a big advantage in terms of fighting coronavirus.

CAMEROTA: So which country did the best in fighting coronavirus? Was it Taiwan?

EMANUEL: Oh, Taiwan is definitely the standout best, because it's less than a 100 miles from China, a million Taiwanese work in China. You have hundreds of flights between the two countries and yet, as I said, 500, less than 500 cases, seven deaths. Their Ministry of Health did a fantastic job.

CAMEROTA: And what about the premise of your entire book, Which Country has the World's Best Healthcare? What's the best answer to that?

EMANUEL: Well, one of the things we do is we evaluate countries on 22 measures. And it depends on what you really care about. Do you care about universal coverage? Well, then it's not the United States and almost any other country actually does it better.

Do you care about waiting times, not seeing the doctor, having to wait, well, then Germany, Switzerland, France are probably at the top of your list. Do you care about not paying anything when you go to see the doctor or are admitted to the hospital? You have to then think about Britain, Canada, Germany lead the list there.

So it depends really what you care about. Do you care about choosing doctors and hospitals? Americans usually say choice is really important to them. It turns out many other countries have much better choice of doctor and hospital than we do. Germany, Switzerland, France lead that list.

So, you know, it really depends on what's top of mind for people. And there's not going to be one country that is excellent at everything.

CAMEROTA: In your book, you point out that we need to get the coronavirus, tackling it right, not just for now, but for the future. And you give an ominous warning. I'll read this portion. Coronavirus is not a one-off or a black swan event. We should expect more emergency infectious disease outbreaks.

Well, that's scary, Zeke. When should we expect these? What's your timeline here?

EMANUEL: Well, if you just look through -- look at, you know, SARS started in 2003-2004, since that time, we've had H1N1 influenza. We've had Zika. We've had a couple of bouts of Ebola. We've had MERS. There are lots of infections out there. And as we do more with the environment, we encroach on spaces where the bats are, for example. We can predict that we are going to have more infectious diseases.

We need to monitor the world better. We need to prepare our public health system better. And we also need to educate the American public about what to do when we have these infectious disease outbreaks.

We can't be shocked. We have to be prepared. You know, lots of experts are worrying about an influenza pandemic. We don't know when that might happen, but the reassortment, the genetic changes of the virus are happening all the time and we need to be much better prepared than we are now going forward.

CAMEROTA: Well, your book --

EMANUEL: And the new administration is definitely going to have to do that.

CAMEROTA: Your book couldn't come at a better time. It's called again, Which Country as the World's Best Healthcare. Dr. Zeke Emanuel, thank you very much for being on New Day.

EMANUEL: Thank you very much. Good to be back.

CAMEROTA: President Trump signs an executive order on police reform without mentioning for debate over systemic racism. So what will Senate Republicans unveil in their bill today? That's next.



SCIUTTO: House Democrats and Senate Republicans are gearing for a clash on Capitol Hill over their competing police reform proposals. In a couple of hours, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senator Tim Scott will unveil the Republicans' bill. This one aims to incentivize states to take certain actions, not require it, as the Democrats' bill does.

Joining us now, Errin Haines, Editor at Large at The 19th, and CNN Political Analyst David Gregory. Thanks to both of you.

Errin, if I could begin with you, when you look at the differences between these two proposals here, I mean, the big differences are, and we could put this up on the screen, really whether you require or incentivize. The Republican proposal incentivizes through financial means, a ban on chokeholds, except when a police life is in danger, Democrats require it.

On tracking police misconduct, and this is a real issue here, because if a cop is accused of something wrong, he or she could move to another jurisdiction that doesn't follow them. That would be maintained by the states on the GOP proposal. There would be a national registry under the Democratic proposal.


Give me your sense of what makes a difference here.

ERRIN HAINES, EDITOR AT LARGE, THE 19TH: Well, David, good morning. It's good to be with you. And I think what you're talking about is just as you said. I mean, incentivizing versus requiring. Listen, we heard Senator Tim Scott, who we know is someone who has worked on these issues for the past five years, as one of two black men in the Senate, and a black man who has experienced, you know, interactions with the police that have been less than I deal. Even as a sitting U.S. senator on Capitol Hill, this has happened to him.

And so he's trying to come at this from a personal perspective, but at the same time, a lot of the activists that I'm speaking to who have been working on these issues say that the Republican plan does not go far enough. They are calling for things like, you know, getting rid of qualified immunity, which the president and other Republicans have signaled is a non-starter for them.

But, really, I think what you're seeing from Democrats is wanting to build on a lot of recommendations and findings, for examples, that came out of the Obama/Biden administration's 21st century policing task force that were looked into.

And so, obviously, with the Senate being Republican controlled, there's going to have to be some type of compromises between these two pieces of legislation to move forward. But I think that there does seem to be a call for some sort of action coming from both sides, and so bipartisanship is going to be required to make some sort of progress on police reform.

CAMEROTA: Yes. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was saying that we could expect something as early as next week, David.

And so the incentive that the Republicans in the Tim Scott plan want to use is withholding federal dollars for the states that don't implement these reforms. That's powerful incentive. I mean, is that powerful enough, you think, for states to adopt this?

DAVID GREGORY, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: I think there's just got to be such an emphasis on demilitarizing a lot of these police departments and on really dealing with the rules of engagement, which are playing out in these cases of brutality. And I just think that legislation that doesn't look at that in a very serious way is going to fall short.

You know, there's strategy here, because there's a need for speed, there's a desire for speed, which is remarkable to get this done before July 4th. So I think Democrats, as Errin suggests, want to push, try to amend, try to strengthen, get to a ban on chokeholds. There's going to be some difference there. You have got pretty united House on this point, and Democrats, who really feel like they've got to deliver, it could be more difficult in the Senate.

And both sides are sensitive to the idea that if they're taking tough votes or if they're standing in the way some legislation moving forward, that they'll be blamed for it. So there's not a lot of room to maneuver, to get -- to reconcile some of these differences.

So, yes, I do think some of those incentives are strong for states, but I think not going to a place of outright bans is going to cause a fight. SCIUTTO: You know, Eerin, we've seen the president wade into issues like this before. I think gun control might be a comparison, where there was public outrage, there were demonstrations. The president says he's in support of something and then calculates that it will damage his standing with portion of his base and then backs off.

And I wonder if you're seeing the same phenomenon here, particularly with the executive order yesterday, which didn't really do that much, is the president more concerned about angering police and supporters of the police who support him, or does he want to see actual change?

HAINES: Well, David, I think what we saw -- at this point, we have President Trump not acknowledging either of the pandemics that are currently ravaging this country, right, not acknowledging really the seriousness of the pandemic of coronavirus and now not seriously acknowledging the pandemic of systemic racism that has been laid bare during this coronavirus crisis and exacerbated by the inequality around policing in minority communities that we are seeing with the deaths of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd and others.

So what we saw in the rose garden yesterday was a speech that was remarkable, but unsurprising given the president's history on addressing race. It was a speech that I think really kind of spoke more to his base and not to the moment in our country where we are having a national reckoning on race.

He was flanked by law enforcement officers and family members of slain black Americans, and yet you heard, as you mentioned, no mention of systemic racism, but rather touting his progress -- what he sees as his progress for black America around issues, like HBC universities, jobs numbers, school choice, touting those things, criminal justice reform even, as opposed to speaking to peaceful protesters.


He was emphasizing a law and order message that he has really been speaking even before he was elected president.

And so, you know, I think that the message that that is sending is not a message that is meant to show African-Americans that he understands this moment, but really was more looking ahead to November and trying to remind people of, you know, what he's done on race headed into the fall.

SCIUTTO: David, very quickly, we only have ten seconds left, but I just wanted to get your take on how the vice president and the president are trying to downplay any concerns or fears about coronavirus as they approach this rally, the president's rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, this weekend. Yet, they're quite concerned about their legal liability of people who go to this rally and they're making them sign waivers. How do you square that?

GREGORY: Well, I mean, it's striking. I think they're just putting a lot of faith and that somehow they'll come out of this rally unscathed. The data is going to lead us here. Every public health official being lead by Dr. Fauci is saying that this is the kind of environment you should avoid. It's very simple. It's not a safe thing to do in the name of politics, which is the priority here instead of keeping people safe.

SCIUTTO: Errin Haines, David Gregory, thank you both very much, great to talk to you.

The country's largest police force, the New York Police Department, is already making changes in the way it operates. The city's police commissioner is going to join us to explain, next.