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25 States Report Increases In Coronavirus Cases; Top Health Officials To Testify on Capitol Hill; Rayshard Brooks Funderal At Ebenezer Baptist Church. Aired 7-7:30a ET

Aired June 23, 2020 - 07:00   ET



JOHN BERMAN, CNN NEW DAY: Welcome our viewers in the United States and all around the world. This is New Day.

And this morning, the U.S. death toll from coronavirus has surpassed 120,000. 25 states, half the country reporting increases in new cases, some you can see there in deep red, more than a 50 percent increase.

President Trump heads to Arizona this morning, one of the states seeing the biggest increases. Arizona's positivity rate is more than 20 percent, meaning that more than 20 percent of people being tested do have the virus. Those attending the president's Phoenix event will not be required to wear masks.

And in just a few hours, four of the nation's top health officials will testify on Capitol Hill.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN NEW DAY: While you were sleeping, there were some violent clashes between police and protesters near the White House. Protesters attempting to topple a statue of former President Andrew Jackson, a slave owner, and they spray-painted the columns of the historic St. John's Church.

President Trump went on Twitter to attack protesters, and he also re- tweeted an unrelated viral video of a black man punching a white man. The president did not explain why he wants more people to see violence.

BERMAN: All right, we're going to begin with the coronavirus pandemic.

Joining us now, CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta. Also with us, Dr. Jeanne Marrazzo, she is the Director of the Division of Infectious Diseases at University of Alabama at Birmingham.

And I just want to put up these graphs again so people can see the increases in at least one state. This is Florida. The number of new cases, you can see the rise in number of new cases there. It's not just because there's more testing. Ignore the nonsense coming from the president on this. Look at the positivity rate. More people being tested are showing that they have the virus. And then finally, in terms of it didn't have to be this way, compare Florida to New York. You can see purple there, the cases in New York going down, down, down, down and down. And in Florida, the general trend is way upwards there, Sanjay.

And the question is, why? And what's the significance of this?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Well, look, you know, I think that the idea that Florida, in general, closed late, they opened early. There's always been a concern about Florida, you know, given the demographics there. 20 percent of the population is 65 and older, so they're more likely to actually get sick from this virus, require some sort of medical care, hospitalization, be at increased risk for death.

So, you know, I do remember Governor DeSantis not being too concerned about this virus early on, even sort of taking a victory lap at the White House with President Trump in the Oval Office. And the reality is that the virus hasn't changed. The virus is still out there. It's very contagious.

So there are states around the country that are saying, hey, look, we dodged this. That's unlikely. Even if you think that things were okay, the virus has not changed. It is still out there. It's still contagious. So Florida is an example.

Where I live here in Georgia, another example, you know, sort of being pointed to as a bright spot. It's not Florida yet, but the idea that the numbers are starting to go up considerably, hospital beds are becoming increasingly occupied, is a huge concern here.

CAMEROTA: Dr. Marrazzo, we just talked to the head of the ICU unit in Miami, Florida, at the Jackson South Medical Center, who talked about how their cases in the ICU have gone up five-fold. They had eight people in the ICU last week. Today, they have 40. Obviously, they are concerned about being stressed, being spread too thin, and that the numbers are half of people 50 and younger. So that's new as well, not all in the ICU, but in terms of the cases.

And so are you seeing that? And what do you think is going on?

DR. JEANNE MARRAZZO, INFECTIOUS DISEASE DIRECTOR, UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA AT BIRMINGHAM: Yes, Alisyn, good morning. You really hit on a couple of points that I think are really critical.

First of all, younger people have been in the vanguard of going out and mixing in society as society has opened up, and that makes perfect sense. They are feeling, I think, invulnerable. They clearly aren't quite as affected by the virus. Although we don't really know that yet, because, again, as Sanjay said, we are really only confronting a very early phase of this pandemic. So, I think that it's quite possible we might see an increase in complications in young people.

The other thing I would point out about the ICU bed situation that people keep forgetting is that there are time lags between the peak numbers we're seeing reported and the consequences that get people into the ICU.


So you're looking at this two to three-week period. So what makes me very concerned is that we are already seeing a spike in ICU admissions in a place like Florida, which, as Sanjay said, is relatively ready for a very scary outcome, especially with older people. And yet, the cases are continuing to climb.

So, we're going to be facing another ICU demand surge in not that long time. So, really important for us to think about the implications there in terms of readiness and in terms of blunting the consequences of these increased cases.

BERMAN: Sanjay, you've been looking at the age distribution closely. Your team sent us this graph which shows, in terms of people who have been getting it, how the age distribution has changed and just how many younger people are starting to get it.

GUPTA: Yes. You look at that, look at the 50 to 64 age range specifically, and you see, you know, it start to shift there in terms of the number of cases and the number of deaths. And by the time people 65 to 74, it totally flips, cases and death rates.

This is the concern. I will say that we've been following this data, the early data that came out of Wuhan that said, like, who is most vulnerable here. And most of this data has sort of held up. I mean, as Dr. Marrazzo was saying, the idea of people who are older, people who have pre-existing diseases as well being more vulnerable, that has stayed the same.

But I think the thing that we learned in February is this idea of asymptomatic transmission. So even young people who may not be feeling sick, who may not feel like they're -- you know, they're not vulnerable to this, can still spread this, and that's the concern in Florida.

Already 75 percent of the ICU beds occupied, it might even be higher now, it sounds like, based on your conversation with the doctor in Miami, but we're still at the beginning of this uptick in Florida. I mean, this is a real concern here. We're having the same conversations now in the middle of June that we were having in the middle of March.

CAMEROTA: Dr. Marrazzo, President Trump doesn't like testing. I mean, he's on the record, basically. He doesn't like testing. He, over the weekend, basically admitted that he wanted to slow it down. And so, he -- I'm not sure that he grasps that, yes, testing might show more -- if you test more people, you might show more numbers, but testing also allows people to protect other people. If you know that you're positive, you behave differently. If you're asymptomatic or think that you have a cold but then find out that you're positive, you stay inside and behave differently and don't infect as many people.

And also, isn't there -- explain the inverse relation between the more you test, the rate should go down for how many positives you get because a lot of people will come up negative as well. MARRAZZO: Not only that, Alisyn, you'll probably be detecting people who have milder cases of the infection or are even asymptomatic. So you may be detecting more cases, but you may see a decline in the number of deaths and hospitalizations. That would be ideal, because that would give us a sense of really what's going on.

I mean, look, what the president is saying is the equivalent of don't ask, don't tell, don't look, don't find, right? And that's a very kind of superficially comforting, but ultimately really specious level of comfort, because if you don't find what you need to find, you really can't deal with it. So, obviously, we need to test. We need to know.

And the other thing is that people knowing they're infected can allow them to seek care earlier, right, if they start to feel bad. We know that we can stave off having to put someone on a ventilator if we can get them into the hospital. We're now studying more early treatments, including oral treatments are coming on board, not just intravenous treatments. So, we really do want to find people, not just to protect the people around them, but to help people protect themselves from getting really sick.

BERMAN: Look, let me play you what the president is saying here, because, Sanjay, I want you to really help drive a stake through this, because I think it's wrong and it's dangerous at the same time. So, the president was confronted with this idea of did he really ask doctors to slow down testing. Listen to this.


REPORTER: Did you ask to slow it down?

DONALD TRUMP, U.S. PRESIDENT: If it did slow down, frankly, I think we're way ahead of ourselves, if you want to know the truth. We've done too good a job.


BERMAN: I know that explaining the president's positivity rates may be a bridge too far, Sanjay, but the bottom line here is that there are increased hospitalizations, dangerously high levels of increased hospitalizations in Arizona and Texas. The positivity rate is going up in those states and in other states as well. It's just wrong, what the president is saying.

GUPTA: I was covering the rally live on Saturday when he said that.


And I remember my heart sort of sank right away. Yes, I told them to slow down the testing. That's what he said.

First of all, it made my heart sink because it's the one thing really that, you know, we need to be doing more of to try and get ourselves out of this mess. It's the one thing that many countries have done well that has helped their case counts be in the hundreds, not the thousands, hundreds of thousands. But also, you know, there was always this sort of this idea that we did not do testing early here. We were behind the ball. When that cruise ship came in, the president said at that point, why do I want to test all those people? Those are going to make my numbers look bad. I mean, it was always sort of, you know, seemingly in jest maybe at the time, but then when he said it again at the rally, my heart sank, because I thought, has he been telling people to slow down testing?

I'm curious what the coronavirus task force would say to that? We haven't been able to talk to them about this, as you know. But that would be a travesty. That would be a travesty of public health. In the middle of the biggest public health disaster in 100 years, to say to stop doing or slow down doing the one thing that could help us at least get out of this mess really was sort of mind-numbing.

BERMAN: The president's telling the American people he doesn't want to know if more people are getting sick. He doesn't want to know if more people are ending up in the hospital. That's dangerous.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Dr. Jeanne Marrazzo, thank you for being with us. I really appreciate it.

MARRAZZO: Thank you.

BERMAN: We are going to get a chance to hear from Dr. Anthony Fauci and the head of the CDC and the head of the FDA in just hours. One of the questions that lawmakers want to ask them, we're going to speak to one of the members of Congress who will get a chance to ask these questions, next.



BERMAN: This morning, four of the nation's top health officials will testify on Capitol Hill before the House Energy and Commerce Committee. An advanced copy of their joint testimony shows they will warn lawmakers that they do not expect the pandemic to end any time soon and that the upcoming flu season could make it much worse.

Joining us now, one of the members of that committee, Democratic Congressman Marc Veasey of Texas. Congressman, thanks so much for being with us.

You will get a chance to question these top health officials, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, given where we are today. What do you need to know?

REP. MARC VEASEY (D-TX): First of all, I need to know what the administration's response is going to be moving forward. Right now, they've failed miserably. I mean, there hasn't been a coherent national response from President Trump from the very beginning of this thing. I would like to know, is Dr. Fauci, people from the Center for Disease Control, are they finally going to work in coordination with the president? I think that the president saying, oh, you can take hydroxychloroquine, you know, we don't need to have that much testing, and then the CDC saying that there needs to be testing, Dr. Fauci giving one set of recommendations. I think it's confused the American public. I think that one reason why states like Texas have responded so miserably to this is because of the leadership from Washington, D.C., and something needs to change. We need to hear there's going to be a level of consistency on how we respond to COVID-19.

BERMAN: Why do you think it is that the president is saying he would like to see a slowdown in testing?

VEASEY: I think that he's obviously, you know, playing politics. There are some people that don't believe this is real. And instead of being a real leader and stepping up to the plate and saying, look, we've lost over 100,000 people in this country, we've had over 2 million people test positive. And he'd rather sort of play to this base. He could actually use his bully pulpit and speak to his base and say, look, we need to take this more seriously, and I think that you would see a different response.

When I saw his, you know, poorly attended rally on Saturday, and you saw that there was no one indoors wearing masks, almost no one indoors was wearing a mask, I could not believe it. And it's just another example of failed leadership that Trump and Republican governors like in the state of mine are doing that have actually made this problem a lot worse than it ever had to be.

BERMAN: Let's talk about what's happening in Texas right now, because Texas has seen a rise in the number of new cases. We can put that graphic up so people can see the case numbers going up over time. And it's not just because there's more testing in Texas. We know that the positivity rate has gone up as well and the rate of hospitalizations.

You know, testing -- hospitalizations aren't about testing. It's about sick people right there. So we can see those numbers going up. So, why has that happened in Texas?

VEASEY: Again, because the governor has decided to follow instead of leading on his own, like governors in other states have done. The governor here has decided to sort of follow along with the idiocy of President Trump, and there's just never been a consistent message here.

First, it was like, we want to reopen as much as possible. We know that there have been churches -- I asked the governor a question on a call that we had. And I said, look, in Sacramento, California, there was one church -- there was one single person that attended a church there, and they think that that person is responsible for 40 other people, with a single church. And he said, well, we know that that can be a problem, but we don't want to tell churches that they have to close. We don't think that the ministers are going to make the congregants sick. It's always been about, well, it's bad, but it's not.

And his latest declaration that we need for people to wear a mask, but I'm not going to tell them, is a total joke. You think of Texas and you think of the great leadership that we've provided and the great examples that we've set over the many years, and this is a total embarrassment. The governor is saying that we need to wear a mask, but he's not going to tell us?


He needs to tell Texans that, hey, we need to wear masks. We need to do the Texas thing, and we can get past this. But instead, he's playing national politics, and it's disgraceful.

BERMAN: Do you think there should be a statewide mandatory order to wear masks?

VEASEY: I absolutely do. If you look at what wearing masks can do and how it reduces transmissions, and we're the second largest state in the union, we absolutely should have a policy statewide where we wear masks. Because right now, a lot of mayors, they're trying to figure out exactly what to do. And then you have Republican mayors that, you know, they don't want to push back too much against the president or Abbott, and it's just, you know, making people sick.

Right now in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area -- and, of course, we're one of the largest metropolitan areas -- we are the largest metropolitan area in the state, and our hospitals are really preparing to be overrun because of the record spikes that we're starting to see.

BERMAN: What role do you think --

VEASEY: I'm sorry, go ahead.

BERMAN: I'm sorry. What role do you think the protests that we saw or have seen over the past weeks have had in the rise of new cases?

VEASEY: I think that any time people are together in a group, they need to be careful. But from what I could tell from local protests here, most of the protesters had on masks. I didn't see very many protesters without a mask. And most all of the protests were being held outdoors, which is a lot safer than being indoors. And what you saw in Tulsa the other day with people that were actually inside of an arena with probably very little circulation and, you know, passing COVID back and forth.

BERMAN: Let me play what Governor Greg Abbott -- because you've been very critical of what he's done -- let me play some of what he said yesterday.


GOV. GREG ABBOTT (R-TX): COVID-19 is now spreading at an unacceptable rate in Texas, and it must be corralled. If we were to experience another doubling of those numbers over the next month, that would mean that we are in an urgent situation where tougher actions will be required to make sure that we do contain the spread of COVID-19.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BERMAN: So, what actions do you want to see and when?

VEASEY: We're in an urgent situation right now. This virus has not changed since the very beginning, where we saw deaths and hospitalizations. Nothing has changed. You know, we need for the governor to, again, be strong, and say we need for everyone to start wearing masks and taking this more seriously.

You can go into any grocery store here in Ft. Worth or in Dallas, and you will only see about 10 percent to 20 percent of people wearing masks, people not taking social distancing seriously, and it's because of the leadership out of D.C. and in Austin from the governor.

He needs to start taking this more seriously and needs to finally face the fact that corona's not going anywhere, and come up with a real strategy to make people and mandate the wearing of masks. that's the very first thing that the governor can do to sort of make right.

And we have a lot of catching up to do, obviously, because the response so far, since, you know, February-March, has been completely lackadaisical.

BERMAN: Congressman Marc Veasey, we appreciate your time. Good luck at the hearing, which begins in just a few hours. I appreciate it, sir.

VEASEY: Thank you.

BERMAN: Alisyn?

CAMEROTA: John, we want to take a moment to remember some of the more than 120,000 Americans who have died from coronavirus. Ward Harlow Jr. was a former elementary school teacher, a chess master, and he loved pitching horse shoes. His daughter describes him as a gentleman who loved his family deeply. He's remembered by family as someone who believed in kindness and love.

John Richardson was a math teacher and special education coordinator for more than 20 years. John was also a talented musician who loved his family dearly. His daughter hopes her father will be remembered for his strong work ethic and for being a good human being.

Ruth Loris' son remembers his mom as hardworking, putting every ounce of effort she had into everything she did. When it became clear that she would not recover, her family arranged a FaceTime to say their goodbyes and remind Ruth how much they loved her. She passed away 15 minutes later.

We'll be right back.



CAMEROTA: Rayshard Brooks will be laid to rest today more than a week after he was gunned down by a police officer outside of a Wendy's restaurant in Atlanta. The funeral will take place at the historic church where the reverend, Martin Luther King Jr., once served as pastor.

Joining us now is Reverend Raphael Warnock. He is the senior pastor at Ebenezer Baptist Church, who will be delivering the eulogy today. He is also a Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate. And we will get into that in a moment.

But, Reverend Warnock, it's great to have you here with us this morning. Can you share with us what you plan to say in this eulogy today?

REV. RAPHAEL WARNOCK, SENIOR PASTOR, EBENEZER BAPTIST CHURCH: Good morning, Alisyn. It's great to be with you. I'm sorry that it's on such a somber occasion.

As I kissed my little daughter this morning, I thought about the children of Rayshard brooks. I've spent a lot of time with them over the last few days. I remember spending just a little time the other day with his eight-year-old daughter.

Think about this young girl, who earlier that day had celebrated her birthday party with her father. And from now on, her birthday will always be associated with his dying day. That's an unspeakable loss that these children have to come to terms with along with the rest of the family.


And so, my primary responsibility later today is to walk with his family as they walk through the valley of the shadow of death. Tomorrow, we will raise the issues.