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Coronavirus Hits Record Highs In Three Populated States; Dozens Of Secret Service Agents Self-Quarantining After Trump Rally; Grand Jury Indicts Three Men In Ahmaud Arbery Shooting Death. Aired 7-7:30a ET

Aired June 25, 2020 - 07:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


JOHN BERMAN, CNN NEW DAY: ICU beds are almost at capacity.

[07:00:02]

This is all having real-time consequences. Disney is delaying the reopening of its California parks because of a spike in cases there and thousands of workers at Disney World in Florida are now petitioning to postpone their reopening.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN NEW DAY: Meanwhile, some politicians in hotspots are trying to claim that wearing a mask deprives them of freedom. A new model projects that if all Americans wore masks, 30,000 lives could be saved over the next weeks.

North Carolina and Nevada are the latest states to issue mandates for mask wearing. And we learned overnight that dozens of Secret Service officers are being told to quarantine after working at President Trump's Tulsa rally, where people did not wear masks.

BERMAN: All right. Joining us now, Dr. Jeanne Marrazzo. She is the Director of the Division of Infectious Diseases at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Also with us is Dr. David Persse. He's the Public Health Authority for the Houston Health Department.

Dr. Persse, I want to start with you because you are in the middle now of what is one of the nation's new coronavirus hotspots. That's Houston. We're talking about Harris County.

And just so I can show people what's going on and what the problems are, in terms of ICU bed usage, there are 1,500 ICU beds occupied out of 1,622. That's a 92.5 percent, 92 percent.

Now, I know that you can surge and accept more beds, but that's unsustainable. What kind of pressure does this put on the hospital system there?

DR. DAVID PERSSE, PUBLIC HEALTH AUTHORITY, HOUSTON HEALTH DEPARTMENT: Well, it puts tremendous pressure on the hospital system, and not only the multiple hospital systems that we have, over a nine-county region, tremendous pressure, not only on the systems, but also in the personnel. They're working very long shifts, are very tired, they're wearing lots of PPE and it's exhausting, and we've been doing this for months now.

CAMEROTA: And, Dr. Persse, I also heard you say that until people understand that perfectly healthy-looking people are the ones who are spreading this virus, they won't be able to really get their heads around how dangerous it is to be with their best friend or a family member, that this is sort of an invisible threat and you don't think that people have quite grasped that yet.

PERSSE: No, I don't think that people have grasped that. When we have to have the local government come out with a mandatory masking order, that's because people are not wearing masks. And once people get sick and have some of symptoms, I would like to think that every American at this point know that they are potentially affected with COVID and therefore potentially spreading it.

So it's the people who aren't feeling ill or perhaps the people who are just in denial of the situation who are the ones that we can't get ahead of, who are contact tracing in our traditional (INAUDIBLE), we can't get ahead of the person who doesn't have symptoms and get them to quarantine. So the thing that they need to do is they need to start wearing masks and social distancing all the time.

This virus doesn't care. This virus will take advantage of any opportunity that you give it.

BERMAN: So Dr. Marazzo to you, and just so people get a sense of what else is happening around the country, let's talk about Florida, for instance, where we've seen an increase in hospitalization and increase in new cases. And this chart is an increase in the percent of new tests that are positive. The positivity rate is approaching 20 percent. That's a dangerous rate. What that means is that 20 percent of people who are being tested are positive. It shows us that the increase in new cases isn't just about more testing. It's about this virus spreading within the community.

And given the political realities -- and I know both of your jobs are as doctors in healing people, but there are political realities now, which are that it's awfully hard to tell people to go home after you've let them out. How do you slow this down?

DR. JEANNE MARRAZZO, INFECTIOUS DISEASE DIRECTOR, UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA AT BIRMINGHAM: Right, John. You outline, I think, the major challenges we've been talking about for months now. And I do feel like we're really revisiting exactly what we saw happening in New York, in Seattle, in some of our west coast cities.

Basically, we have been talking about this question of asymptomatic spread or pre-symptomatic spread, as Dr. Persse said. When people are sick, they really will stay home. The challenge has been and continues to be to emphasize to people that feel really well, particularly young people who clearly get milder disease with this infections, and sometimes may not get any symptoms at all, that they could be just as responsible for spreading the virus as somebody who's sneezing it across the room.

I want to come back to this concept of masks. I think it's incredibly unfortunate that this has become so political. It's a no-brainer that when you cough, when you sneeze, you cover your mouth, you cover your nose. There is nothing political about that. It's just a matter of courtesy and common attempt to keep people healthy. We know that masks do prevent spread of this transmission.

[07:05:00]

And the best evidence we have is probably from healthcare workers who, when they have adequate PPE, have managed not to get infected, which is really critical, given Dr. Persse comments about how our healthcare workforce is really being threatened.

When you hear Houston is having trouble, Houston is one of the great medical cities in the world. And the fact that those ICUs are overwhelmed, that the children's ICUs are now admitting adults, that should really alarm people and make them sit up and take notice.

CAMEROTA: And just to put a finer point on the whole political nature of this, there's this councilman, Dr. Perssse, in Arizona, who seems to believe that wearing a mask is a deprivation of his own personal freedom rather than protecting someone else from getting gravely ill or even dying and he staged this rally, looks like about a hundred people showed up, about how they shouldn't have to wear masks. And he even compared his own discomfort in wearing a mask to George Floyd's final words. Here it is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GUY PHILLIP, SCOTTSDALE CITY COUNCILMAN: I can't breathe. I can't breathe.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CAMEROTA: He's been roundly criticized, we should say, from other politicians in his state. But do you think, Dr. Persse, that that's why we're seeing these huge spikes, I mean, these record-breaking spikes in so many states this morning?

PERSSE: I think that a lack of wearing masks and having it politicized is absolutely contributing to it. And it's just a shame. And I don't think history will look back forgivingly upon the United States and Americans for going down this road.

You know, wearing pants can be uncomfortable, but we wear pants ever day, everywhere we go, right? We wear seat belts when we get in the car. They're not always the most comfortable. We do it all the time. America needs to adapt to wearing masks just like we adapted to wearing seat belts. Wearing seat belt protects you, but nevertheless, not drinking and driving protects those around you. We're not supposed to drink and drive either.

BERMAN: I am an active member of the pro-pants lobby, Dr. Persse, just so you know.

CAMEROTA: Prove it. We haven't seen you from the waist down for a long time. BERMAN: I'm in favor of it most of the time.

Dr. Marrazzo, the decision by Connecticut, New York, New Jersey to ask people, and in some cases, order people to quarantine for 14 days when they come into these states, how effective will that be? How effective are those types of measures?

MARRAZZO: So I think there's a -- two questions there. How effective is it going to be as a social message and how effective is it going to be as an enforceable message? With regard to the latter, it's clearly not enforceable, right? It's really an honor system, as Governor Cuomo emphasized. You're asking people to do this because, again, we're coming back to this issue of trying to take care of each other and not wanting to see what New York did.

So I think the message is much more important as a symbolic gesture. What New York is saying and what the governor is saying is that, look, been there, done that. We do not want to go back. You know, we have this sense of seeing these disasters from afar, whether it's this situation, an ICU overloaded, an earthquake, a hurricane, and it's really never us until it is us. And I think this is the very same situation.

So I really respect the governor and the people who are sending this message out, because what they're saying is, look, we lost people. We worked really hard. We're devastated. We were devastated by this. We do not want to go through that again.

BERMAN: It's a great way of putting it. It's never really us until it is us. And in many ways what we're seeing in many of these states, we saw two months ago in other places.

Dr. Marrazzo, Dr. Persse, great to have you on this show. Thanks so much for being with us this morning.

MARRAZZO: Thanks very much. It's good to be here.

BERMAN: There's new fallout this morning from President Trump's rally in Tulsa. Dozens of Secret Service agents have been told to self- quarantine. We'll discuss, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[07:10:00]

CAMEROTA: Developing overnight, CNN has learned that dozens of Secret Service agents are being told to self-quarantine after working President Trump's rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where many supporters, as you can see, did not wear masks or socially distance.

The president continues to downplay the pandemic as the country's most populous states report record increases this morning.

Joining us now, CNN Political Analyst David Gregory and Nobel Laureate Economist Paul Romer. Great to see you. I'm not going to remark on the possible similarities between you two, yet we'll save that for a kicker. David Gregory, so we don't know how many people, if anyone, got sick at President Trump's Tulsa rally. People worried that that was going to happen. And now, the Secret Service, it turns out, itself, is so worried that dozens of the agents are being told to self-quarantine for 14 days because it's possible and likely they were exposed.

DAVID GREGORY, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: It's just so irresponsible. I mean, it speaks for itself, right, how irresponsible the event was, how overtly politically self-obsessed it was at the expense of public health. And, frankly, for people who would show up at a crowd like that are just ignoring basic common sense public health. I certainly wouldn't let my children go to any political rally. I don't care what party you are, who you support. It's just not smart. And I certainly wouldn't do that.

And now you see this split in the government, the fact that the Secret Service is taking it seriously to want to have agents self-quarantine just shows you how irresponsible this was.

BERMAN: Look, I'm not going to wait to comment on the similarities. Obviously, you're talking about the fact that Paul Romer is a Nobel Laureate and David Gregory is due to be one.

[07:15:04]

GREGORY: Is that -- I thought --

BERMAN: Imminently, imminent, an imminent Nobel Laureate.

Professor Romer, to you. I do think one of the things that's striking this morning where we are in the pandemic is so often it's presented as this binary choice between public health and the economy. But what we're seeing as states like Texas and Arizona and California have these new problems with increasing cases is that they're directly tied together. Disneyland, not opening when it was scheduled to, because of the enormous number of new cases there, Apple has just announced it's closing stores in Houston. These two things are tied.

PAUL ROMER, NOBEL LAUREATE ECONOMIST: Yes. No, you're exactly right. We have to cure this disease. We have to treat the health crisis if we want to resolve the economic crisis. And the usual stimulus measures, the trillions of dollars we're spending, they will not get our economy back to normal unless we're sure to, you know, address the underlying cause. And, unfortunately, we have completely failed to do that so far.

CAMEROTA: Mr. Romer, let me stick with you for one more second. Because in terms of the solution of how we get out of this mess, you've contributed to a royal society report that just came out yesterday. And in it, you write, the COVID-19 epidemic can probably be ended and normal life restored, perhaps quite quickly, by weekly testing, together with household quarantine, and systemic contact tracing. With all due respect, haven't we been told that before, but I think that the leadership of the United States has decided that at least the contact tracing part is too onerous, somehow, and the president doesn't like all the testing?

ROMER: Well, you know, it's so true and it's such a huge waste for us to live with these two crises when we could solve them both. We've got to keep telling them and keep pointing to examples where this works. Look at Wuhan, where they tested 10 million people in two weeks. It was about $13 per person to run all of those tests. And they wiped out the virus in that city.

So we can do that in major cities. We're going to run an experiment in South Hampton in England to try to do this there. We should do it in the United States too.

BERMAN: David Gregory -- go ahead, David. I'm sorry.

GREGORY: Yes. I just want to -- I want to make two quick points. The one obvious point is that Dr. Romer is devilishly handsome. Two -- but I think what's interesting is about the -- you know, other layers of testing, right? Like asymptomatic testing, as well, isn't that a big fear in communities where you want a larger sample of asymptomatic testing, because I do fear, and we see it a lot among younger people who were getting together, it's summertime, and they could be spreading the virus. It's very hard to tell teenagers, people in their 20s, hey, you have to really think about this. It's not so much for you, it's for other people.

But I think this is also the political test, right? Because here you've got to be nimble. States are opening up, so leaders, and, of course, at the federal government have to be able to say, we have to live with the virus, we have to think about those who have to work and the huge unemployment. But we have to find a way to do it that's responsible. And we're going to have to live with abridgement -- if people sense that their rights are being abridged, I mean, after 9/11, we started taking our shoes off and doing all these things at airports in the name of countering terrorism. And now people say that wearing a mask is somehow an abridgment? I mean, come on?

BERMAN: Yes, leaders need to lead. And we're starting to see the impact, David, I think, of voters not seeing the leadership that they want. There's this new round of polling out from The New York Times this morning looking at the key battleground states showing Joe Biden opening up with such a very wide lead across the board against the president there.

And one other thing I want to get to, because we just got this, and I don't know if people have seen it. Carly Fiorina, who ran for the Republican nomination for president, okay, she wanted to be the Republican nominee in 2016, she just came out -- I don't know if we have the sound ready yet, because it just crossed, but she just came out and said that she is going to vote for Joe Biden.

She says, I've been very clear that I can't support Donald Trump. As citizens, our vote is more than a check on a box. You know, it's a statement about where we want to go. And I think we need now actually -- what we need now is actually real leadership, she says, that can unify the country. I'm encouraged that Joe Biden is a person of humility and empathy and character. I think he's demonstrated that throughout his life.

It really is such a long way from 2016, David.

GREGORY: Such a long way. And, obviously, she tangled with Donald Trump. And, you know, he was personally insulting and she obviously questioned his fitness for the job then. And so it may not be a surprise to a lot of people, but here is a conservative, this is a business Republican, and this is another Republican saying, enough. I can't deal with Donald Trump anymore.

[07:20:01]

I think Donald Trump is in a really bad political spot now. We've been seeing it for several weeks. The economy responds to the virus, questions about corruption, all of this, I think, are starting to hurt him. We're a long way away, so these battleground polls are early snapshots, but I think that the president's behavior shows he feels he's really under siege.

ROMER: Could I say something here?

CAMEROTA: Yes, please.

ROMER: I think it's very puzzling that this president has been so opposed to testing because it isn't working in his interest. As we've pointed out in this article, if we rolled out a massive testing program, this pandemic could be over before the election. So there's a level of just incomprehension and self-destructiveness, which I think is really extraordinary.

CAMEROTA: He thinks it makes his numbers look bad. He thinks that the higher the number of positive tests, it makes him look bad. But, of course, there's that paradox with the more you test, the lower, theoretically, of a positive rate you would have.

ROMER: Well, what makes him look bad is that we've got two crises. It's not the numbers, it's the economic crises and people are dying. And there's a way to stop that. I can't understand why he doesn't see that it would be worth it to him to just stop it.

BERMAN: Paul Romer, David Gregory, a pleasure to have you both on at once, proving you are different people.

GREGORY: That we're not the same person.

BERMAN: Thanks so much for being with us tonight.

CAMEROTA: Thank you.

Coming up, in just minutes, we will speak with New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont about the quarantine order for travelers. And a grand jury indicting three men on murder charges for the killing of Ahmaud Arbery, we have all the details for you in a live report, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[07:25:00]

BERMAN: A grand jury has indicted three men on murder charges in the shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery. The decision comes after prosecutors took three months to press charges initially.

CNN's Martin Savidge, who's been covering the story for months and months, live in Cobb County, Georgia, with the very latest. Martin?

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, John. Yes, when the Cobb County district attorney announced that a grand jury had ruled in this case, I think there was genuine surprise, not the fact that there were indictments handed down, but that it comes so quickly. Because you see, coronavirus has not just impacted our lives, it's impacted the courts.

But, in fact, the grand jury was able to rule and they handed down nine counts against three suspects. Those counts include malicious murder, which is implying that you intended to kill someone, four counts of felony murder, that's, of course, someone dying in the process of you committing a felony, and then four felony counts, including false imprisonment.

The district attorney, Joyette Holmes, described it as another step forward in seeking justice for Ahmaud. Kevin Gough, the attorney for one of the men, that's William Roddie Bryan, who took the video, said he was surprised that his client was indicted, said he's only been a witness that provided a key piece of evidence.

Meanwhile, Ahmaud Arbery's family had this reaction.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARCUS ARBERY, AHMAUD ARBERY'S FATHER: I just don't want to see them on the streets again, because my son, he is gone and he is not coming back, so they need to see what they've done. And they need to see every day when they wake up and realize what wrong they did. And they got to answer to God for it, because I know they're going to hell for it, because God don't -- God don't uphold stuff like that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

SAVIDGE: If convicted, all three men could face life in prison. The next question to be debated could be the possibility of bond. Alisyn?

CAMEROTA: Martin, thank you very much for the update.

Now, the police chief in Tucson, Arizona, is offering his resignation this morning after a video of a death in police custody became public. Back in April, police were called to a house where they say27-year-old Carlos Ingram Lopez was drunk, yelling and running around the house naked. We want to warn you, this video is disturbing to watch and it is difficult to see exactly what is happening here.

I know it's hard to tell what you're seeing, but officers wrestled with Ingram Lopez as he yelled in a dark garage. They eventually handcuffed him and they left him lying in a prone position for 12 minutes. That's when police say he went into cardiac arrest. Attempts to revive him were unsuccessful. He died at the scene.

The three officers who allegedly committed multiple policy violations there resigned from the force last week. The case has been referred to the Pima County attorney's office. no word yet on any criminal charges.

BERMAN: Developing this morning, the Colorado governor's office says it is now examining the 2019 death of Elijah McClain, a 23-year-old black man who died in police custody. This renewed scrutiny comes after 2 million people signed a petition demanding an independent investigation.

This is the body cam video, the police body cam video of the interaction that ultimately led to McClain's death. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stop. Stop. Stop. Stop. Stop. I have a right to stop you because you're big suspicious. Turn around. Turn around. Stop tensing up, dude. Stop tensing up, bro. Stop tensing up. Stop tensing up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let go of me. No, I am an introvert. Please respect the boundaries that I am speaking.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stop tensing up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm going home.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: relax or I'm going to have to change this situation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Leave me alone.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sir, can you please cooperate?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you leave me alone?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, we're going to talk to you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: First off, you guys started to arrest me and I was stopping my music to listen. Now let go of me.

[07:30:00]

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BERMAN: All right, that's hard to watch. CNN's Omar Jimenez with the latest on this story.

END