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Protestors Try to Topple Andrew Jackson Statue in D.C.; Trump to Head to Arizona Despite Surge in COVID-19 Cases; NASCAR Drivers Rally Around Bubba Wallace After Noose Found. Aired 6-6:30a ET

Aired June 23, 2020 - 06:00   ET



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are still reacting. The only way to get ahead of the virus is to way tamp down the cases in any area.


DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Seventy-five percent of the ICU beds are already occupied in Florida. We are right back to square one.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: COVID-19 is now spreading at an unacceptable rate in Texas, and it must be corralled.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Young people are going out, as they do think they're invincible. They're getting the virus, and they're spreading it into the community.

JOHN VAUSE, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Donald Trump is expected to attend several public events in Arizona, where the number of daily coronavirus cases has been steadily surging.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When you put a bunch of people together in an indoor space, those are the perfect conditions to have a super- spreader event.


ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Alisyn Camerota and John Berman.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and all around the world. This is NEW DAY. It is Tuesday, June 23, 6 a.m. here in New York.

And while you were sleeping, violent clashes broke out between police and protesters near the White House. Protesters attempt to topple a statue of former President Andrew Jackson. Then they spray-painted the columns of the historic St. John's Church.

President Trump went on Twitter to attack the protesters, and he also retweeted an unrelated viral video of a black man punching a white man. The president did not explain why he wants more people to see that video. JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: So, this morning, half the country seeing a

rise in coronavirus cases, including almost the entire western United States.

Today, President Trump heads to Arizona, one of the states seeing the biggest increases. You can see it there in the chart. Arizona's positivity rate is now more than 20 percent, meaning that more than 20 percent of people being tested do have the virus. But the people attending the president's Phoenix event will not have to wear masks.

Meanwhile, we learned that two more staffers who attended the president's rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, they have tested positive.

The death toll in the United States has now surpassed 120,000 people, and it all comes as four of the nation's top health officials will testify on Capitol Hill this morning.

We want to begin, though, with the activity we saw overnight outside the White House.

CNN's Joe Johns is there -- Joe.


A heavy police presence in Lafayette Square just across Pennsylvania Avenue from the White House this morning after a busy night last night, as protesters set their sight on the statue of former president and slave owner Andrew Jackson. They were trying to bring that statue down, which brought on a clash with police. A chemical irritant was used during that clash.

The protesters also spray-painted the letters "BHAZ" on the columns of the old historic St. John's Episcopal Church, which is just right across the street, as well. That an apparent reference to "CHAZ," or Chaz, the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone in Seattle.

All of this went into the night. This morning, there obviously is a lot of police presence.

Also, interestingly, last night, the Secret Service cleared out the press area here at the White House, sending away four journalists who were working the nightshift here, including two from CNN, apparently a mistake. They put out a statement. It says, "When things happen outside the White House complex," normally they'll lock down the building. But last night, it appears that the four reporters were, instead, pushed to the street where the, quote, "violent demonstrations" were happening.

So, this morning, we are back to the uneasy peace that started out here at the White House after the death of George Floyd and the ensuing protests -- John.

BERMAN: Joe Johns at the White House. Joe, keep us posted as it develops over the course of the morning.

Also new this morning, a surge in coronavirus cases in Florida. That state has now topped 100,000 total cases. Nearly 3,000 new cases were reported on Monday alone. Several cities now requiring masks to be worn in public. There's no statewide order.

CNN's Rosa Flores live in Miami, wearing a mask, with the very latest -- Rosa.


You're absolutely right. Multiple mayors in Miami-Dade County requiring masks to be worn in public at all times, this as Florida and 24 other states around the country are showing increases in coronavirus cases in the last two weeks.

Despite the staggering numbers, though, Governor Ron DeSantis not requiring masks statewide.


FLORES (voice-over): Florida was one of the first states to reopen, and now it's the seventh to surpass 100,000 confirmed coronavirus cases. Here in Miami, masks are now required at all times while in public.

MAYOR FRANCIS SUAREZ, MIAMI: When we see the elevating numbers in new cases, in hospitalizations, in ICUs and in ventilations, we have a duty to inform the public of that. We have to tell the public what we think is the best way to combat it.

Implementing this rule, wearing masks in public, is the best thing that we can do as a group of mayors to help, again, reduce the number and the spread of COVID in our community.

FLORES: And in Arizona, the Department of Health Services reported over 2,000 new cases for the fifth straight day, as President Trump heads there for a series of events, including a Students for Trump rally in Phoenix, where a mandatory mask policy will not be enforced.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm not worried about it. No, not at all. We watch it. We're very careful.

FLORES: The county requires masks inside all public spaces and outdoors when six feet of social distancing cannot be maintained. Arizona Governor Doug Ducey blaming the increase partly on increased testing, but also saying his state had expected a summer peak.


GOV. DOUG DUCEY (R-AZ): We knew that when we lifted the stay-at-home order, we would have an increase in cases. The objective has always been so that we could slow the virus. The virus is not going away any time soon.

FLORES: In Texas, daily coronavirus cases and hospitalizations have nearly doubled over the past month. And Governor Greg Abbott says he's ready to take tougher actions, if needed, to slow the spread. GOV. GREG ABBOTT (R-TX): The way that hospitalizations are spiking,

the way that daily new cases are spiking, surely, the public can understand that if those spikes continue, additional measures are going to be necessary.

FLORES: California Governor Gavin Newsom says the state recorded 35 percent of its total cases over the past two weeks.

GOV. GAVIN NEWSOM (D-CA): Wear your masks. Practice physical distancing. We still need to work through the first wave of this virus.

FLORES: And with half the states in the country now seeing coronavirus cases on the rise, health experts worry about what could be around the corner for hospitals needing to care for new patients.

GUPTA: We should be having a new discussion, which is bring this down to near zero. Instead, we're talking about how to keep the hospitals from redlining once again.


FLORES: Now, Governor Ron DeSantis maintains that there are plenty of hospital beds in the state of Florida to deal with the pandemic, but the state of Florida does not release the number of daily COVID-19 patients.

Now, we are getting a sense of what those are looking like from Jackson Health. That's one of the largest health systems in the state of Florida. John, hear this. In the past 14 days, Jackson Health has reported an 88 percent increase in the number of COVID-19 patients -- John.

BERMAN: Rosa Flores in Miami. Rosa, thanks very much.

So, what happened in Florida? Why the increase that we're seeing there, in Texas, in Arizona? And what does it mean for you, no matter where you live? We have important lessons next.


CAMEROTA: This morning, why are the numbers of coronavirus patients going up dramatically in Florida? That state has reached the milestone of 100,000 total cases. The number of new cases there is accelerating, and more people are testing positive.

So, joining us now is Dr. Andrew Pastewski. He's the head ICU physician at Jackson South Medical Center in Miami. And we also have CNN national security analyst Juliette Kayyem. She's a former assistant secretary at the Department of Homeland Security. Great to see both of you.

Dr. Pastewski, you're the head ICU doctor. Tell us what's happening in Florida as a whole, but specifically, in your ICU. I understand a week ago you had eight patients. So now where are you? DR. ANDREW PASTEWSKI, HEAD ICU PHYSICIAN, JACKSON SOUTH MEDICAL

CENTER: Yes, a week ago, we had eight patients, none on a ventilator. We were feeling like we were handling this well. We had a nice COVID floor, 24 beds with the capability of four ICU ventilators in that unit, so we thought we could use that as our COVID floor going forward.

And within ten days, we're now at over 40-plus patients, four on ventilators. We've had to find a second COVID unit and are looking for a third COVID unit right now.

BERMAN: That's a five-fold increase in ten days, just to give people a sense of how quickly things are accelerating in Florida and how fast things have changed.

I want to give people another sense of how Florida looks, compared to another state we talked a lot about over the last three months, and that's New York. Just look at this. You can see in purple there, that's the New York cases going down, down, down, down, down.

And Florida, in green, is this really rapid increase, Juliette, and that tells a story.

JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Yes, it tells a story, essentially, of leadership, I think, at this stage. For a long time, Governor Cuomo in New York, I think, has aggressively, even if belated, tried to fight the virus statewide. In other words, statewide rules that were trying to drill -- bring down the number, save the hospitals, and also have surge capacity.

What you've seen from DeSantis, the governor of Florida, is essentially a lot like Trump, just sort of ignore the problem. We can handle it, not a big deal. No statewide rules, no statewide orders. And then -- and then you start to see the numbers.

And so, what I'm looking at now is these governors who had sort of been living in the dark. What you're starting to see is them recognizing they actually don't have a handle on this. The doctor was mentioning the numbers.

And you're starting to see cities within these states and counties begin to enforce masking orders, because it's really the only tool left at this stage to try to protect the population that's already out and about.

CAMEROTA: Doctor, is there any pattern in what you're seeing of the patients? Here in New York, or when the virus was first hitting in March and April, the -- the preponderance of patients were older, you know, 70s -- in their 70s, in their 80s. What are you seeing now?

PASTEWSKI: Well, we do have pretty much two sets of patients. I'd say about half of our patients are older, nursing-home patients. Most of them don't get that sick. They just can't stay in the nursing homes down here right now, so they just kind of stay with us for a few weeks until their tests are negative and go back to the nursing home. Or Jackson has created a COVID long-stay place for some of our Jackson system patients to go for.

But I'm also seeing about 50 percent of my patients younger.


PASTEWSKI: Fifties, 60-year-olds. I have a couple parent-child combinations, mother-daughter, that sort of thing. So, you are seeing a good mix, and I would say 50 percent of my people are what we would consider under 70 years of age, which we would consider young, pediatric age in our population.


BERMAN: Under 70 is pediatric in Florida. That speaks for itself.

Juliette, what kind of management challenge does that present? On the one hand, if 50 percent or greater of the patients are younger -- 50 years old and younger -- it may mean the mortality rate's not as high, not as many people might die, but it does present some different challenges.

KAYYEM: It does, and these are the numbers we don't have in particular from Florida, which is, what is the hospitalization rate of that pool that's not going to die? So that's good.

But it's going to sort of burden the resources of -- within Florida, therefore, depriving others of those resources. So, basically, that's the challenge right now.

So, even though someone doesn't die doesn't mean that they're not expending a lot of time in the hospital or that they're going to have long-term harm. So, these 50-year-old women that you hear about, we don't know what they're going to be like when they're 60 or 70, these long-term harms.

The second thing I have to just say is, you know, we are in the first wave. There's no question about it. Florida and Texas and Arizona. We may have a second wave in the fall. There is no time now for these jurisdictions to get ready, to get surge capacity, get supplies for the second wave.

So, unlike in Europe, that has a down time right now, that's starting to get ready for a potential wave in the fall, our states, many of our states are just going to see sort of first wave into second wave, and that means that resource depletion will be just, will be obvious at that stage.

CAMEROTA: Doctor, are you seeing a lower lethality rate now with the patients? Are fewer people in your ICU dying than were dying in ICUs three months ago?

PASTEWSKI: Yes, we actually closed our COVID ICU approximately two months ago, because we were down to only one ventilator patient for a while, and that was have an elderly patient. And I have not had a young person on a vent for a while now. The first few -- the first month, I had 50-year-olds all over the

place and lost, actually, a good friend on a ventilator at 55. But now I have not seen that.

And I speak to other intensivists at other hospitals. Some of them don't know that there's any kind of COVID surge happening, because they only handle the COVID ICU patients. My group at Jackson South sees every COVID patient, in hopes of catching them before they get sick, so I know that the numbers are higher. But other intensivists, they're not -- they're not seeing it right now --

CAMEROTA: And is that --

PASTEWSKI: -- because they're just not getting into the ICU.

CAMEROTA: Is that the therapies are working? I mean, what accounts for that?

PASTEWSKI: No, I think that the strain has become less virulent. Viruses typically don't want to kill the host. That's not how viruses survive, long-term. So, I think we're seeing a shift in the virus so that it's not necessarily so deadly. Obviously, it's still deadly to some elderly people.

But that being said, I have a 100-year-old sitting very happily in my COVID floor just watching TV every day, smiling, waving at us, but her test just won't come back negative, so she can't go back home to the nursing home.

CAMEROTA: Oh, my gosh, such interesting stories and so unique to hear what's happening in your hospital, in your ICU. Dr. Pastewski, thank you very much.

Juliette Kayyem, thank you, as always.

CAMEROTA: Now to this. NASCAR driver Bubba Watson speaking out for the first time after a noose was found in his garage.


BUBBA WATSON, NASCAR DRIVER: Sorry, I'm not wearing my mask, but I wanted to show whoever it was that you're not going to take away my smile. And I'm going to keep on going.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bubba! Bubba! Bubba!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bubba! Bubba! Bubba!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bubba! Bubba! Bubba!


CAMEROTA: More of Bubba Wallace's interview from after the big race in Talladega, next.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know I love you, man. We all do. Take care of yourself out there. Put us in a good spot. Get yourself a deep breath, get your mind right. Let's go shut these haters up.


BERMAN: That's NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace, getting a pep talk from his team before finishing 14th in the big race at Talladega Speedway. Dozens of drivers rallied around him before the race, pushing his car in this really powerful and dramatic show of support. Incredible imagery there. This after a noose was found in his garage.

Wallace, of course, the only African-American driver in the top tier of NASCAR. CNN's Dianne Gallagher live in Talladega with the latest here -- Dianne.

DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, and John, you know, I talked to some of the drivers as they were setting that moment up. That was completely organic. The drivers set it up amongst themselves through these group text messages.

I've been to a lot of races. It was unprecedented what we saw leading up to the race and then after the race, as well, as those drivers pushed that car up, their sign of solidarity. Bubba Wallace becoming emotional as he got out of the car. And then the owner of that iconic No. 43 that he drives, the king, Richard Petty, comforting him during that moment.

After the race, Bubba Wallace overcome with emotion, goes up to see fans who were wearing Black Lives Matter shirts, many of them a diverse crowd up at the fence to congratulate him on completing that race. And here's what he had to say.


WALLACE: The sport is changing. The deal that happened yesterday -- sorry I'm not wearing my mask, but I wanted to show whoever it was that you're not going to take away my smile.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bubba! Bubba! Bubba!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bubba! Bubba! Bubba!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bubba! Bubba! Bubba!

WALLACE: And I'm going to keep on going.

All in all, we won today. The prerace deal -- the prerace deal was probably one of the hardest things I've ever had to witness in my life.


This is truly incredible, and I'm proud to be a part of this sport. (END VIDEO CLIP)

GALLAGHER: Yes. Yes, and look, that sport, though, the area where the noose was found was in a restricted area that was limited to essential, credentialed personnel only. So, it's quite possible that the person who did this may have been out on the track during those emotional moments.

Now, NASCAR has enlisted the help of the FBI, which is now investigating. They're looking at cameras and interviewing people who were in the area at the time. NASCAR has said that, once they determine the individual or individuals, John, who put the noose in that garage stall, they are going to be banned from the sport for life.

BERMAN: Yes, well, that's the least of what's going to happen to them, I imagine. Dianne Gallagher, thanks so much for being with us this morning. Really appreciate it.

Joining us now, CNN political commentator Bakari Sellers. He's the author of "My Vanishing Country." Also with us, Axios political reporter Alexi McCammond.

Bakari, I have to say, now added to the list of things that I don't think I ever thought I would see, OK? The beginning of a NASCAR race, before a NASCAR race, it was more or less a Black Lives Matter protest or march on the track at Talladega, an incredibly powerful image there. And it clearly got to Bubba Wallace. It was clearly emotional for him.

BAKARI SELLERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, it was a powerful scene. I mean, who would have guessed that NASCAR would be leading all major sports in their activism right now? NASCAR and probably the NBA. I mean, it's running laps around the NFL in the things that it's doing proactively about showing this issue and lifting up social justice and lifting up their driver, Bubba Wallace.

But I am just so pleased with the whole community, not just the drivers, but even the writers: Alan Cavanna, Marty McGee. The writers in NASCAR, combined with the drivers, the entire culture is shifting.

And let me just be honest with you, John. They're going to lose some fans in NASCAR, but they're going to gain a whole lot more. And just watching this growth means that things are changing.

We just have to keep a mindful eye to make sure that, as weeks go by and as days go by, we start to see more black people in the corporate leadership structure of these NASCAR teams, and we actually see real tangible change.

CAMEROTA: And Alexi, at the same time that that's happening, President Trump last night retweeted an unrelated video of a department store altercation in which a black guy punched a white guy. With -- for no -- I mean, no explanation, no reason he gave of why that would be relevant. And you know, I think that at times we -- we come to think of -- we

sort of overlook President Trump's Twitter feed, but that -- why does he want that message to get out right now?

And of course, we can play the game of, imagine if President Obama had tweeted the inverse of that. Why?

ALEXI MCCAMMOND, POLITICAL REPORTER, AXIOS: Yes, you know, and thank you for having me, and good morning to you all.

I mean, I'm obviously reminded of the tweet that he sent not that long ago where he said, in part, when the shooting starts, the looting -- or, "When the looting starts, the shooting starts." And that's something that, you know, a lot of Republicans close to him privately started to take issue with.

And this is another example of something that President Trump is doing, apparently, to fan the flames and sort of, you know, exacerbate these racial tensions that we're already seeing played out throughout the country.

And racial tensions is generous. These are overt and egregious acts of extreme racism. The noose for Bubba Wallace is just one example of what we've seen.

And you know, I think that what's interesting is the president likes to lament the fact that he thinks news against him is fake news, but he's consistently only pushing one side of the narrative on this. He's not acknowledging the motivation for the protests, the problems with police brutality, the problems with racism, systemic and systematic. He's not talking about these broader issues that black Americans are facing.

The only thing we really hear from him is that he's done more for black Americans than any president since Abraham Lincoln and that unemployment is so low for African-Americans that we should be happy.

That is not the narrative of America, and that is missing. All those things and more are missing when he's tweeting out these videos that are instead -- plays, it seems, to his base that love that type of red meat.

BERMAN: And what's striking to me is that, while there are those trying to play wedge politics, or drive a wedge there -- and the president is clearly one of them -- again, Bakari, what NASCAR and others are saying is, No, thanks. No, thanks. It seems to be that whatever might have been receptive to wedge politics before isn't as receptive now.

SELLERS: Well, let's be hopeful. And right now, we see history is changing. And history is turning.

And this is when you have to ask yourself a very simple question: What side of history are you going to be on and how are you going to be remembered? And I think that many of us have -- have echoed for a long period of

time that Donald Trump was going to be on the wrong side of history. And he appears to do so.

I mean, you can choose the side of Bull Connor, Lester Maddox and George Wallace if you want to. But even Richard Petty and Bubba Wallace -- And I mean, that just feels good to say.