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States Seeing Rise in Cases as Restrictions are Lifted; Anthony Fauci, CDC Director to Testify at House Oversight Hearing on Coronavirus Response; Trump Admin Racing to Replenish Stockpile Amid Second Wave Fears. President Trump Set to Travel to Arizona for Next Campaign Rally After Tulsa; Bubba Wallace Gets Huge Show of Support from NASCAR Drivers; Dow Set to Rise After Navarro Clarifies China's Trade Deal Remarks. Aired 9-9:30a ET

Aired June 23, 2020 - 09:00   ET



JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: Very good Tuesday morning to you. I'm Jim Sciutto.


This morning, U.S. coronavirus deaths stand above 120,000. Cases are spiking right now in 25 states including Arizona where the president is headed moments from now for several events. Right now in Phoenix, Arizona, a mask mandate but at the president's event, no masks required.

SCIUTTO: So a very simple question, why? Especially as CNN is learning that the administration is racing to replenish the country's stockpile over concerns of a second wave already.

Also this morning Dr. Anthony Fauci and CDC director Robert Redfield are testifying on Capitol Hill on the administration's pandemic response. We are getting a first look at what they will say, including new information about testing that's important to you.

We're going to bring that to you. Our teams are covering every angle. First, CNN's Rosa Flores, she's in Miami where cases now up really remarkably.

Rosa, how much and what's the state doing about it?

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, local mayors are taking action. They are requiring everyone in public to wear masks. Now this as Florida and 24 other states around the country are seeing upward trends in coronavirus cases in the past two weeks including Arizona where President Donald Trump will be hosting a series of rallies today.

In phoenix, masks are required but will not be enforced for these events. The Department of Health there says that they have seen more than 2,000 cases daily for past five days and according to the governor the uptick is due in part to increased testing.

On to Texas where cases in hospitalizations have doubled in the past month. Governor Greg Abbott saying that he is willing to take tougher action to slow the spread and now here to Florida, the state that's seen more than 100,000 cases just yesterday, now take a look at this graphic because it starts on May 4th, the day that Florida reopened, and you can see that the uptick took a few weeks to start, but now it's in full swing. And now just yesterday, several mayors in Miami- Dade County requiring the public to wear masks at all times while in public.

Now, Jim, they specifically mentioned an increase in hospitalizations and an increase of people needing ventilators -- Jim.

SCIUTTO: That's notable for sure, because that speaks to people getting sick, right? Not just testing positive, Poppy.

HARLOW: For sure. Rosa, thanks very much.

Soon, four of the nation's top health officials will testify on Capitol Hill about the administration's response to coronavirus. We've have learned that the head of the CDC, Dr. Robert Redfield, says that it's developed a single test that can check for both the flu and for COVID-19 at the same time.

Sc That's key because of course in the fall, that's the concern. Both striking at the same time. Seasonal flu and COVID.

CNN senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen is here.

Tell us about the significance of that particular test for people, that could test for both COVID and the seasonal flu.

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Jim if they could make this happen, this would be a big help come fall and winter and here's why. People when they get sick with COVID, when they get sick with flu, it's often very similar symptoms and doctors need to rule out both of them once flu season starts.

Now it's not such a concern but once flu season starts it could be either. So to be able to test for both in one test would be huge. It would save time, it would save money. It would probably end up saving lives. So this is a test that would test for an A strain of flu, a B strain as well as for COVID.

Now with this testimony from Dr. Redfield, we're also going to hear about the need to get a flu shot. We hear this every year but what we're going to hear is that this year it's especially important. We already have a huge strain on our health care system with COVID. If we have COVID and flu hitting our health care system at the same time, we just heard from Rosa about strain on ventilators, on all parts of the system, that is going to get even worse if people don't get flu shots.

Right now, not even half of Americans get flu shots. We're going to hear Dr. Redfield say that number needs to get higher -- Jim, Poppy. SCIUTTO: Interesting. Yes, not just a good idea anymore but maybe


Elizabeth Cohen, thanks very much.

Well, to be clear we're still in the first wave of this, even though it hasn't dissipated but that there are fears already about a second wave in the fall of the COVID pandemic, and it now has the government replenishing the Strategic National Stockpile.


CNN's Leyla Santiago joins us now with more. What exactly goes into that stockpile?

LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, we know what the health officials are trying to get to, We don't know exactly what's in that stockpile right now. And Jim and Poppy, important to note, this come at a time where we're really hearing conflicting messages come from the administration.

One adviser saying there will be no second wave, another one saying yes, we're working to replenishing in preparation for what could be a second wave. So important to know what HHS officials are looking at here. They're trying to accomplish three things. They don't want to depend so much on foreign supply. They want to take an insight on the supply chain and private and public partnerships, and they also want to make sure they have the right breadth of products.

So what does that look like? Well, they're looking at the worst 30 days from the last five months and multiplying that by three to get a 90-day supply. And they're hoping to do that by late October. This information coming from a health official with Health and Human Services. And so the concern is what happens if before late October we start to see that resurgence, that second wave that so many people are concerned about.

And what we're seeing as I have spoken to a lot of state officials is that they're not waiting on the Strategic National Stockpile. They're saying, look, we're going to establish our own state stockpile for the first time so that if this comes, we can be prepared -- Jim, Poppy.

HARLOW: Leyla, thank you very much.

Joining us know is Michael Osterholm, director for the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota.

It's very good to have you. Thanks for being here.


HARLOW: If we could begin with what is happening across the country, spikes in 25 states. You look at Los Angeles, for example, another single-day high just yesterday. California recording more than 35 percent of its total infections in just the past few weeks. Obviously this follows how states are opening up, but in a state like California where you do have mandatory masks, I know not everyone is abiding but you're still seeing this. So that does that tell you?

OSTERHOLM: Well, I think we're at a very critical point in understanding what's happening with COVID-19, not just in the United States but around the world. Your most recent report here suggests about the issue of waves. Many of us have moved beyond waves. I don't believe we're going to see a second wave. I think what's going to happen this is not going to stop. In other words, a wave implies it goes up, comes down, and goes back up.

I liken it now to a forest fire, it's just going to burn and keep burning, and it's only going to get more and more fire out there. And so I think the idea that we're just about to see a trough and then a second wave I think we have to move beyond that. That means we have to have the resources now.

I think your question about in terms of what's happening in states, I just remind people two weeks ago we had 17 states with increasing cases. Now we're at -- I believe 26 states and we're likely to move more states into that category of increasing cases very shortly. So we are seeing what in a sense is the reaction in the virus to opening up and having much more contact with each other.

SCIUTTO: Doctor Osterholm, in the midst of this, the president is making the argument that the cases are only going up because this country is testing more. Now when he said that this weekend, the White House said he was just joking but the president tweeted again today with the apparent seriousness.

I want to give you the opportunity to speak directly to the president, anybody in the administration who is watching right now, respond to the president's argument here that cases are only going up because the U.S. is somehow testing so well.

OSTERHOLM: Well, I speak to everyone when I speak, so I'll just say right now that it's clear and compelling evidence that we're seeing increasing numbers of infected people among the increased testing. So if it wasn't increasing as an actual infection problem in the community we can test a lot more and the percentage of positives would go down. In fact that's not happening. In many states the testing is increasing but the percentage of those people who are positive is actually going much higher. So it clearly is being transmitted at a high level in a number of places.

I think the other thing that we're seeing today that is different is we're seeing more and more younger people where we're now only getting positives but we're seeing people who are hospitalized and severely ill. So that is a clear indication that this is spreading and this is not an artifact of just more testing at all.

HARLOW: Yes. I have a 36-year-old friend hospitalized for this. I mean, and so the fact -- I think there has been a belief among many that because they're young, this just isn't going to hurt them. So even if -- I was just going to say even if they're not hospitalized they're still often going home to older parents and grandparents. I wonder what you think that portends for the fall. Any hope of schools being open?

OSTERHOLM: Well, I think we're going to have to take this day by day, but I think right now we have to assume that we're not going to see this trough in cases and then have the big fall hit.


We have to just assume that in the months of July, August and September the case numbers could just continue to increase. Remember, the one thing that we do have going for us right now is outdoors. Transmission occurs less frequently outdoors and in that sense we're lucky. But what concerns me is that of course we're going to be moving back indoors more and more as we get into the fall. So again, that case number could just continue to increase and increase.

So I don't want to leave people with the sense -- when I said there was not going to be a second wave that means it's going away. It's not. We're still at 5 percent to 6 percent of those population in the U.S. that's been infected with this virus. It is not going to slow down the transmission until we get to 60 percent or 70 percent. And that's I think the important message, as you just said, we're going to see the transmission and it will continue.

SCIUTTO: I always ask you this and others who's getting it right in terms of the response to this. And it struck me today because Dr. Richard Besser was on CNN earlier and he cited the case in New York state which has been aggressive in terms of testing and contact tracing. Certainly relative to other states that aren't even really bothering much to do much of it. And he said that there, a lot of people aren't complying because they don't want to say who they've had contact with. They're worried about losing their jobs if they test positive, et cetera.

And that just concerned me because one of the states that's been most forward leaning in the response doesn't seem to be able to get a handle on it in a key way. Testing and contact tracing. From your perch who is getting it right if anyone?

OSTERHOLM: Well, we're making the assumption that contact tracing is going to have a big impact on the pandemic. We have said over and over again, you know, test and trace to open up the economy. I've always thought that that was an overstatement. I have had a lot of experience with contact tracing over my career. I started the very first program in the world, for HIV contact tracing back in 1985. We've have had a lot of experience with that.

I think there are going to be huge challenges to get contact tracing to have a big impact on this pandemic. I wouldn't say stop it, but I think we have to be realistic, it's not the answer in and of itself. You know, we're stuck with this virus and there aren't any easy answers except distance, distance and distance. I can't say that enough times.

Poppy, when you mentioned about young people going to see their parents or grandparents, how many times this weekend and Father's Day celebrations did people actually in a sense stepped over the line when a 25-year-old is with his older father, and did they bring home the virus? That's the concern we all have right now. That's why distance is so important.

SCIUTTO: Well, Dr. Osterholm, to your credit, you were one of the early warning systems on this from weeks, months ago, and you stuck to your guns and you've been proven right on so much.

Dr. Osterholm, thanks very much.

OSTERHOLM: Thank you very much. Thank you.

HARLOW: Thanks.

SCIUTTO: Still to come this hour, the FBI is now investigating the noose found in the garage of the only black driver in NASCAR's top tier, as NASCAR says that those responsible will be banned for the sport -- from the sport for life.

HARLOW: Plus, minutes from now the president heads to Arizona, another state where cases of COVID are spiking. Why the city of Phoenix is not going to enforce their policy requiring masks during his visit.



SCIUTTO: Welcome back. President Trump is headed to Phoenix, Arizona today for a campaign event. He is expected to address thousands of young supporters inside a mega church there. No masks we should note are required. Arizona, however, is fast becoming a coronavirus hotspot with more than 2,000 new cases for the fifth straight day. I'm joined now by Marc Lotter; he is the director of Strategic Communications for President Trump's re-election campaign. Mark, thanks for taking the time this morning.


SCIUTTO: I want to begin on the question of testing for COVID because the president tweeted again this morning that cases are going up in the U.S. because we are testing far more than any other country. This after the White House for the last several days said that his comment in Tulsa was just a joke. Is it a joke or is he serious that he believes that the only reason cases are rising in this country are because the country is testing more?

LOTTER: I think he's asking people to remember as the numbers are increasing to put it into context. That -- it's because also -- that we are also testing more, that those numbers keep -- that they keep going up. So while we understand that people are going to be reporting on those numbers, it's also important to have that broader context that this is not just because of increased cases, because of transmission, it's also because we are testing more.

SCIUTTO: But we -- I mean, for instance, we just had like Dr. Michael Osterholm on decades in handling and responding to pandemics. He makes the note -- he makes the point that it's not just the numbers that are going up, it's the positive rate, people testing positive more, which means more people are getting infected. The president in his tweet is saying it's just about the test. I mean, does he believe it's not spreading to more people, the infection?

LOTTER: I think it's -- I think it's an indication of both that we are getting it because there is more testing and because as we have seen and as the experts have anticipated, as you started to open up, you will see --


LOTTER: You will see a greater spread. So both things can be true.

SCIUTTO: OK, let's talk about then Arizona, so you're going to the city of Phoenix here which has a policy -- the city that requires face masks -- and I should note that the president, this administration has often said let the states decide. Let local leaders decide how to respond. So the city has a policy requiring face masks, but that will not be enforced during the president's rally. Why is that?


LOTTER: Well, this is not an official campaign event, this is an outside group that's doing this, and they're making masks available. They're going to be providing information and allowing people to decide for themselves. And as we discuss even heading into the Tulsa event last week, that's what this is about in America, is giving people information, giving them the resources and then letting them exercise their freedom, their first -- you know, their choice to whether they want to make the -- wear the masks themselves or whether they feel safe enough and not doing so.

SCIUTTO: But don't you want the president to be a leader on this? At the last event, several of his own campaign tested positive for it including two secret service members. The science -- you talk about the science, the science is very clear here that wearing a mask greatly reduces transmission. Why isn't the president leading on this?

LOTTER: Well, I think he is leading in supporting freedom and giving people the right to choose for themselves. I know you were talking earlier about flu shots, and many people, they're recommended, many people don't get them. I mean, that's because they make that choice that they are -- they are accepting the risk of possibly not getting a flu shot versus getting the flu.

So we recognize the freedom and cherish the freedom that people have in our country to be able to make those decisions for themselves. We'll give them the information, make sure they have access to the -- to masks and to other hand sanitizer and other things, but ultimately, it's up to them. This group is also a group of young folks, it's students for Trump. So this is a -- they're going to make those decisions based on what they think is in the best interest of their personal health.

SCIUTTO: But you know that indoor events with crowds -- again, this is the science, it's not opinion, are particularly good at spreading this infection. And we're all taking precautions. You're doing this interview from home as a result because you know the risk of transmission is real. Why not inform those people coming out to the president, why not choose then an outdoor venue where the risk would be lower?

LOTTER: Well, and this is an event we -- I did not schedule this event, they made those decisions on what kind of resources are available --

SCIUTTO: Tulsa was indoors --

LOTTER: What kind of venue --

SCIUTTO: Tulsa was indoors.

LOTTER: That was indoors as well --

SCIUTTO: That's a campaign event --

LOTTER: We had -- that was a campaign event, and we also think that was an opportunity, it was a venue that was available. We're going to let people make those decisions whether if they don't feel comfortable going to an indoor event versus an outdoor event, then they're free to be able to not come. No one is being forced to go to these things. We're letting people make the decisions for themselves.

SCIUTTO: I want to ask you about the position -- you, of course, are with the Trump campaign of the Campaign Manager Brad Parscale because following the Tulsa event, Lou Dobbs, clear supporter of the president called the Tulsa rally -- a mass GOP strategist Ed Rollins, he said the president has no message, and CNN is reporting that Jared and Ivanka -- Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump were upset with Parscale following that event for raising expectations. Just quickly, is Brad Parscale's job in trouble?

LOTTER: No, not that I'm aware of. In fact, I know that -- I think Jared and one -- a senior adviser to Jared and Ivanka pushed back on that CNN report saying it was not true. Brad has built an enormous team here, a very successful and talented political operation like we have never seen before. And I know that all of us that work know that we're happy he's leading us and we're ready to push forward to win with the president in November.

SCIUTTO: Were you disappointed with the turnout in Tulsa, given that the president himself said that a million people had responded they were going to come?

LOTTER: I can -- I understood the turnout in Tulsa. We had a lot of issues there. Obviously you had protesters that shut down one of the entrances for a short time. It was also very hot and there were a lot of people that were expected to come there. But again, this was allowing people to make their own decisions. So if we had packed the arena and had the overflow, I would have understood that.

But I also know that when you had over 20 million people watching it on television and on the digital platforms, there was an enormous amount of interest in the president's message, and that's really the most important thing.

LOTTER: Marc Lotter, thank you for joining the broadcast this morning.

SCIUTTO: Thanks, Jim.

HARLOW: Great interview, Jim. Ahead, we're going to follow up on what happened to Bubba Wallace because look at this remarkable show of support for him yesterday after a noose was found in his garage stall. We're going to be joined by former African-American NASCAR driver Bill Lester next.

Plus, we're moments away from the opening bell on Wall Street, the Dow now is pointing downward, a little higher open now, that's like reversing course though, the Dow up 243 points in futures trading. The White House trade adviser Peter Navarro clarifying his statements on the China trade deal. In an interview, Monday, he had said the deal with China was quote, "over" because of the breakdown in political and economic channels during the COVID pandemic, and then reverse course on that, the president had to clean it up with a tweet. Navarro later said the phase one deal which was signed by both countries is still in place.



SCIUTTO: This morning, President Trump is threatening to go after protesters who clash with police after trying to topple a statue of President Andrew Jackson who was a slave owner.

HARLOW: This all happened just steps from the White House in Lafayette Square. Yesterday, demonstrators attached ropes to the monument, tried to pull it down, it didn't work and officers dispersed the crowd. Well, this morning, the president tweeted, he is invoking the Veterans Memorial Preservation Act to punish an vandals with up to 10 years in prison.

SCIUTTO: Another story we're following this morning.