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Trump Visits Wisconsin Amid Sinking Poll Numbers; Florida Records 5,000+ New Cases for Second Day in a Row; Trump's Sinking Poll Numbers; Coronavirus Cases Rising in Florida, Texas and California. Aired 4-4:30p ET

Aired June 25, 2020 - 16:00   ET




ERICA HILL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They currently have five available.

DR. UMAIR SHAH, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, HARRIS COUNTY, TEXAS, PUBLIC HEALTH: We're running out of that time. The runway is short, and our health care system is filling up. And we need to do everything we can as a community to fight this pandemic.

HILL: One of the best ways to fight COVID-19, wear a mask.

DR. JEANNE MARRAZZO, UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA AT BIRMINGHAM: I think it's incredibly unfortunate that this has become so political.

HILL: There's no statewide mandate in Florida, where more than 5,000 cases were added Thursday.

DR. ANDREW PASTEWSKI, JACKSON SOUTH MEDICAL CENTER: It is scary here. Younger people are getting sick.

HILL: Face coverings are required in hard-hit Miami, where the mayor is now considering fines for anyone who ignores his order.

MAYOR FRANCIS SUAREZ (R-FL), MIAMI: If we don't want to go backwards, the only option that we have right now is to order masks in public.

HILL: This afternoon, the CDC announcing the actual number of infected Americans could be 10 times higher, roughly 20 million people.

DR. ROBERT REDFIELD, CDC DIRECTOR: It's about 10 times more people have antibodies.

HILL: New concern for pregnant women, the CDC reporting they may be at higher risk for severe COVID-19 illness, especially black and Hispanic women.

The agency also noting more young people are being infected and obese Americans, not just the morbidly obese, are at higher risk, this as new hot spots describe a scene with signs eerily similar to New York in late March. DR. PRITESH GANDHI, PRIMARY CARE INTERNAL MEDICINE PHYSICIAN: We are exhausted, reusing PPE, doubling our drive-through capacity, doubling our respiratory capacity. And it isn't enough.


HILL: There is such a renewed focus in many ways on hospitalizations, on ICU admissions in California, where the number of new cases reported today is down from that high of more than 7,000 yesterday. It was still over 5,300.

And that is a massive number in the state. Hospitalizations and ICU care there is also up. And Governor Newsom saying just a short time ago that he's watching those numbers very carefully, and if and when COVID patients begin to strain the resources in hospitals, and specifically ICU beds, the governor says he will consider then pulling back the reopening in his state -- Jake.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: All right, Erica Hill in New York, thank you so much.

Joining me now, CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

Sanjay, I mean, all of this was not only predictable. It was predicted by you and other health experts on this show and others. Why do you think we're seeing such spikes in cases and hospitalizations in Florida, California, Texas, which really to be honest, have had different approaches to tackling the virus?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I think that all of them, the thing that they do share in common, though, Jake, was none of them met these gating criteria that we talked about before they reopened.

I mean, some closed sooner than others. Some have been more diligent about talking about masks. But look at this gating criteria, new COVID cases down for 14 days. Why is that? Because you can then take from a -- what's called the mitigation phase, where you're just trying to slow things down, to containment, to saying, I'm going to get my arms around this virus.

If you have the case numbers going down 14 days, you're much more likely to be able to do that. And the bottom line, let's put that sufficient testing program in place. Can you get tested if you need to get tested or if you want to get tested? Everyone that wants to get tested can get tested, that's still not true, no matter where you live in the country.

And, Jake, the whole country sort of started late. So, no matter where you are, California or Florida or Texas, there was a lot more cases in these states than I think anybody realized before we started doing anything at all in terms of staying at home.

TAPPER: And we pointed out on this show and others that none of the states that were reopening had met those gating criteria, not one of them. Deaths are a lagging indicator, which means that first you see the

cases, then you see the hospitalizations, then you see the deaths. Are you expecting to see a sharp increase in the death toll in the coming weeks?

GUPTA: We are going to see more deaths. I think there's no question, just by seeing what's happening in the hospitals.

I think there's a couple of points, though. One is that we have learned some lessons from the last couple of months, Jake. Ventilators, for example, may not be a great option for a lot of these patients, because it doesn't seem to be associated with much improved mortality.

We have a couple of medications that are in the mix now, including one that's more widely available, this dexamethasone, and obviously remdesivir, harder to get, but that could have an impact, a positive impact, on mortality overall.

I think the big issue, Jake, is really -- if you look at what happened in Italy initially, why was mortality rate hovering around close to 10 percent at one point, it wasn't because the virus suddenly became more severe. It was because people couldn't get into the hospital and get the care.

That's what I'm really worried about in places like Houston specifically in Texas, and several places in Florida, where my parents live. If the hospitals become too full, people will die unnecessarily. And that's going to obviously be sad, tragic, but it will also drive up the mortality rates.


TAPPER: And, Sanjay, just looking at the chart there, there's 2.4 million total cases in the United States that we know of, confirmed cases.

The CDC said today that their rough estimates are that there's actually 10 times as many cases than that, so 20 million, because of asymptomatic carriers. That's stunning. And it also suggests that these individuals, if they're asymptomatic, are spreading the virus to some people who won't be asymptomatic.

GUPTA: That's right.

And part of this, I mean, is a fundamental problem that we haven't been testing enough. I mean, I know I beat the drum on that every single time and people are sick of hearing it. But these numbers wouldn't be nearly as high, these projections wouldn't be nearly as high if we'd been testing aggressively early.

There are now young people getting tested that couldn't get tested before. So that is accounting for some of what the CDC is saying. But there's no question you have a significant population out there that have no idea that they are carrying the virus in their bodies right now, that they are spreading the virus right now. They are walking around unmasked right now thinking they are totally fine, but they're actually giving the virus to other people right now. So these numbers are going to continue to go up, despite these -- the measures that we're talking about being put in place.

TAPPER: There's a biology professor at UMass Dartmouth who told CNN that younger people testing positive for coronavirus at a higher rate, which is what we're seeing now in some areas, is a -- quote -- "smoldering fire" that will soon hit vulnerable populations, whether their parents or their grandparents or people that they work for.

How should this change how younger people approach their interactions?

GUPTA: I think that the basics apply to everybody. I think that that's the thing.

I mean, there's good news and bad news here, Jake. The good news is that we have seen around the world that basic public health measures, including masks and physical distancing when you're out in public, make a huge difference, not incremental, not insignificant, a huge difference.

I mean, again, South Korea, they never went into lockdown. They have fewer than 300 people who have died. Their population is 50 million. So they're a smaller country, but you can do the math. It's a significant, significant difference.

So young people have to wear masks. They have to maintain the -- physically distance. They have to behave like they have the virus. And they probably have to be particularly careful if they have been in some high-risk activity.

Like, I -- we were talking about the protests and talking about the rallies in Tulsa and in Arizona. Those were high-risk activities. People who attended those activities probably should quarantine themselves for 14 days after an activity like that, young or old.

So, the basics apply, but they just have to be applied uniformly.

TAPPER: We were talking about this earlier in the show. The IHME model, which is often cited by the White House, projects that if 95 percent of the public starts wearing masks, it would save more than 30,000 in by October.

How do they determine that?

GUPTA: They look at a few things. They look at the overall mobility, like how mobile are people becoming as things open up. And then they look at some of the data on how well masks decrease transmission.

And there's all kinds of data on that. We have looked at some of the same data, but they're basically putting that together. The thing that strikes me, though, Jake, still, look at the other way. That also means 25,000 more people will die even if we use 95 -- even if 95 percent of people are wearing masks. I mean, I don't mean to sound dire here, but the argument about going

into some sort of stay-at-home again may become increasingly clear over the next several weeks.

TAPPER: Sanjay, there's this new study that found pregnant women with COVID-19 are more likely to be hospitalized, more likely to be admitted to an ICU, more likely to be put on a ventilator.

What's your takeaway from the study?

GUPTA: I looked at the study pretty carefully. Obviously, a lot of interest in this. Over 300,000 women were followed. And there was differences, as you mentioned.

There was no mortality difference. I mean, the likelihood of death at the very bottom was the same. One thing that -- about this study, though, Jake, if you look at hospitalized, many of those women, I realized the pregnant women were hospitalized for pregnancy-related things as well in that study.

So I don't think that you can say for sure pregnant women who have COVID are much more likely to be hospitalized vs. non-pregnant women, because there was other things that were driving those hospitalizations.

So there's clearly something going on here. But the idea that pregnant women, somehow, their biology is different, and they're going to get sicker from COVID, I don't think that we can say that yet, based on this study, based on my analysis of it.

TAPPER: All right, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, thanks.

GUPTA: You got it.

TAPPER: And be sure to tune in tonight for a CNN global town hall, "Coronavirus: Facts and Fears," hosted by Sanjay and Anderson Cooper. That's right here on CNN, 8:00 p.m. Eastern time.

Trump's campaign just responded to the new poll numbers that have Trump losing ground in several key states. We will have that for you.

Then, three more Major League Baseball teams are reporting players who have coronavirus. What does that mean for the season, as teams begin to head to training camp next week?


Well, one of the most well-known sports voices joins us.

Stay with us.


TAPPER: In our politics lead today: President Trump is in Wisconsin right now. That's a state where, according to a Marquette University Law School

poll, Joe Biden is widening his lead over President Trump, 49 percent to 41 percent, up from 46 to 43 in early May.

And, as CNN's Kaitlan Collins reports for us now, Trump's sinking poll numbers come as he deliberately downplays the rising number of coronavirus cases in the U.S. and focuses instead on divisive culture war battles.


KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Attempting to put the pandemic behind him, President Trump left Washington today for his third trip in less than a week with his eyes on another battleground state.


But try as he may, Trump landed in Wisconsin with coronavirus cases in the U.S. at their highest point since April as the fallout from his decision to hold a rally in the middle of a pandemic continues.

All of his campaign staffers and dozens of Secrets Agents at Saturday's Tulsa rally are now quarantining after several of their colleagues tested positive, as Trump and his top aides are downplaying new outbreaks across the country.

MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: In some 38 states across the country, cases are stable or even declining.

COLLINS: But that's not true. According to the latest figures from Johns Hopkins, 20 states are steady or declining.

Today, Trump's top economic adviser who wrongly claimed in March that the coronavirus was contained predicted there won't be anymore widespread shutdowns.

LARRY KUDLOW, WHITE HOUSE ECONOMIC ADVISER: We have to live with this from time to time but that's a different matter than the whole country.

COLLINS: Today's presidential visit to Wisconsin will look a lot different than his last one. Instead of holding a massive rally as he did in January, Trump is visiting a ship builder as he hopes to build support in a state where he's now falling far behind his opponent.

A new poll of registered voters by "The New York Times" shows the president trailing Joe Biden by double digits in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania.

Before leaving Washington, Trump laid a wreath at the Korean War memorial on the 70th anniversary of the conflict. But Trump's attention has been focused on a different kind of memorial lately.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The FBI is investigating hundreds of people throughout the country for what they have done to monument, statues and even buildings.

COLLINS: U.S. Marshals are told to be prepared to help protect those monuments and Trump says he'll sign an executive order threatening severe punishment for those trying to bring them down even though a law stating that was enacted almost 20 years ago. TRUMP: Now, they are looking at Jesus Christ. They are looking at

George Washington. They are looking at Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson. Not going to happen.


COLLINS: Now, Jake, as several of those campaign staffers are quarantining this week, we're told that some of the surrogates who are in the audience at that rally have undergone coronavirus testing, to make sure they don't have it. The campaign had urged a lot of them to be there so the president had this show of force for his return to the campaign trail. And many of them chartered a plane together and flew on it and many were not wearing masks on that flight, Jake.

TAPPER: They sent out selfies, pictures of them without masks. Thank you so much, Kaitlan Collins.

CNN's David Chalian joins us now.

And, David, Trump in these polls is trailing Biden in a lot of key battleground states, Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Florida, Arizona, North Carolina. What does that tell you?

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Well, it tells me something about the mood of the electorate and the map. First, the mood. The president is just losing on the major two issues facing the country, the coronavirus pandemic and, of course, the battles for social justice in the aftermath of George Floyd's killing, Jake.

Overwhelmingly voters in these battleground states, you name them, six critical states that determine the outcome of the election, when it comes to the virus, they want to see whatever needs to be put in place to combat the virus, even if that harms the economy. Not just open the economy at any cost. So that's one place Donald Trump is out of step.

On these protests, there's overwhelming support for the protest that we've seen across the country. They are not interested in just hearing his law and order message. Demographically, he's clearly losing right now with some groups, independents, even white voters that were with him in these states, Jake, who are not with him right now. That is going to be critical for him to work and regain some of that support he had four years ago.

TAPPER: Yes, it's why he's focusing on the most violent protesters, the ones ripping down statues.

In a call with reporters, Trump's communications director, Tim Murtaugh, said, quote, we put no stock in public polls of any kind, and he pointed to polls being incorrect in 2016. How much stock should we put in polls? CHALIAN: Well, listen, I think polls are helpful to give us a snapshot

of where things are. They are particularly helpful, Jake, when they all agree with each other, which right now they do. Nationally, he's in this double digit deficit to Joe Biden. In the battleground states you just showed in Kaitlan's piece there, two Wisconsin polls came out showing roughly the same thing, a state he won he's in real trouble in right now.

We're 4 1/2 months away. What these polls don't do is predict the outcome of the election 4 1/2 months from now, but it does paint the picture the work the president has ahead of him to get re-elected in November.


TAPPER: Right, but there's still 4 1/2 months of aggressive campaigning and who knows what else to come.

David Chalian, thank you so much. Appreciate it.

Be sure to tune in Sunday night for CNN's special report. My team and I investigate "Trump & The Law: After Impeachment". That's at 10:00 p.m. Eastern. Give it a look.

Florida's cases are spiking but the governor there refuses to make masks mandatory. A stark warning from one doctor in that state.


DR. LILIAN ABBO, CHIEF OF INFECTION CONTROL, JACKSON HEALTH SYSTEM: If you don't like wearing a mask, you're not going to like wearing a ventilator.


TAPPER: She joins us next. Stay with us.



TAPPER: In our national lead, Florida is reporting more than 5,000 new cases of coronavirus in just the last 24 hours. And this is the second day in a row this happened. Health experts are now warning children and young adults who are ignoring mask wearing and social distancing guidelines could be contributing to the surge. Just this week, two 17- year-olds in Florida died from the coronavirus.

Florida hospitals are seeing an increase in coronavirus patients. Jackson Health System in Miami-Dade County reporting 108 percent increase in COVID-19 patients in just two weeks.

Dr. Lillian Abbo, chief of infection prevention at Jackson Health System, joins me now.

Dr. Abbo, thanks so much for joining us. What are you seeing at your hospitals? Have you personally seen an

increase in hospitalizations?

ABBO: Yes. Good afternoon. We are seeing an increase in total cases testing positive as far as hospitalizations.

TAPPER: And Jackson Health System where you work has seen 108 percent increase in coronavirus patients in the past 16 days. Why do you think that is? That is such a dramatic increase.

ABBO: So, both Jackson Health System and the University of Miami Health System, we're seeing a steady increase in the number of patients that are requiring medical, surgical care as long as some intensive care unit. They're younger adults. We're not seeing 80, 90 years old like we were seeing earlier in the pandemic and we think there are many reasons why this is happening.

But one of them, since we reopened the economy, people have a false sense of security that the pandemic is under control, that perhaps this was made up by health care providers and the threat, perhaps, is not real. That to us is extremely concerning.

TAPPER: Right now, the average number of coronavirus tests in Miami- Dade coming back positive is 27 percent. The goal, of course, was for these positive tests to not go above 10 percent. How concerning is this?

ABBO: Very concerning. The last thing you want to see, instead of flattening the curve we're going the totally opposite direction. And this really has to stop. We really are all part of the solution. We cannot continue to see a continuous decline of cases because we don't want to have to go back to shutting down the economy.

This will have catastrophic consequences for Miami-Dade County and for the state and will definitely increase the mortality. So, when you see cases going up, that means that we're soon going to start seeing hospitals running out of capacity to take care of patients that don't have COVID.

And we don't want to go into that route. We want to take care of everyone, those with COVID and those without COVID.

TAPPER: Do you feel confident that your hospital, specifically your intensive care units are going to be able to handle the surge that's going on now and perhaps worse in the future, in terms of specifically ICU beds and ventilators.

ABBO: So, at this time, we capacity across our health system to handle cases. We have capacity to take care of COVID patients. We have enough supply of beds. We have enough supplies of equipment, and everything we need, including protective personnel equipment.

My concern is as the numbers go up, this is also affecting health care workers. So, if we don't stop this pandemic from continuously spreading, our physicians, our nurses, the environmental services personnel, everybody else who has to come and work in the hospital is going to start falling sick as well. And that is a danger we saw in other parts of the world and also New York.

So, it's not just being able to have enough beds, but the capacity to staff those beds with the personnel to come and take care of you and the population when they get sick. So, it's crucial that we really take actions such as wearing the mask, washing our hands and social distancing. And this has to be continuously enforced. So both our patients and our health care workers are here for you when you need it.

TAPPER: When you said -- you said enforced, especially about masks. Governor DeSantis, your governor, Republican of Florida, said yesterday on a day reporting a report number of cases that he still will not require masks despite the urging of some lawmakers, despite the urging of the mayor of Miami where you are who said he wants to issue fines for anyone in public without masks.

But it sounds like you want not only enforcement but maybe even more leadership from Governor DeSantis.

ABBO: I have -- I've said this before. I think we need leadership across the United States. We're called the United States for a reason. And we have to be united if we want to conquer this pandemic.