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Coronavirus Cases Continue to Rise in States Across U.S.; New York Asking Travelers from States with Coronavirus Hot Spots to Self- Quarantine; New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is Interviewed About the Coronavirus Pandemic. Aired 8-8:30a ET
Aired June 25, 2020 - 08:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: While thousands of workers at Disney World in Florida are now petitioning to postpone their reopening.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: So somehow in the middle of all this, people are fighting about wearing masks, literally fighting in some cases. And this comes as new model projects that if 95 percent of Americans wore masks, 30,000 lives could be saved. North Carolina and Nevada, the latest states to issue mandates for wearing masks, you have to do it, Florida's governor as of now refusing to make it a requirement.
We learned overnight that dozens of Secret Service officers are being told to quarantine after working at President Trump's rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where, as you can see, most people were not wearing masks.
CAMEROTA: Joining us now is CNN's chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta. Sanjay, things feel very serious this morning as we watch these three most populous states in the United States have these significant spikes. So we're talking about California, Texas, and Florida. We might have a graph for what we're seeing there. They took different approaches. The political leadership took different approaches, but they're all now in this same mess. What's happening?
SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Well, this is not the conversation I thought we'd be having near the end of June, that's for sure. I thought we'd be talking about some of the things that have worked and celebrating some of those things. We're not. We're going in the wrong direction. What those three states have in common, and you're right, they did take different approaches, but every state opened up before they actually passed through these criteria which should have allowed them to open up.
And I know that people heard about these criteria, maybe they took them seriously, maybe they didn't. They came from the White House itself. But the whole point was to have 14 days of a downward trend before you opened up. Why would you do that? The reason was that you could have a low enough sort of a number of cases in your state that you could start to get control. You could start to test enough, you could start to contact trace enough, and you could start to put out the flames of this viral fire going on in your state. None of the states, including California, abided by that. There's also I think this tension between what is the policy versus
what are the people are doing. So even if the message has been for the last several months, as you guys have been talking about all morning, that you should wear masks, it only matters if people actually end up doing it or not. And even in California, there were many times where you saw these clusters of people getting together, not physically distancing, and not wearing masks, despite what Governor Newsom was saying there, for example.
So large state, opened too early, mask policy sort of unevenly distributed across the country. And you're seeing the consequences of it. These numbers are going to go up. We kept talking about a second wave. We can just put that discussion in the rearview mirror now. We don't even have the luxury of talking about that anymore. We're going to see significant spikes pretty clearly now within this first wave.
BERMAN: When you say these numbers are going to go up, it's not just new cases which are going up. It's not just hospitalizations which are going up, but ultimately the number of deaths are going to go up again because they lag behind here. And it's just a fact and it's unfortunate. And, as you say, it's troubling that we're having this discussion again. You didn't expect it.
The issue of control, and Sanjay, this is the discussion we had two months ago, in Houston they're running out of ICU beds. They're running out of ICU bed capacity, so remind us of that discussion we had two months ago of why that's so important or why this situation they're in in Houston and Arizona can be so dangerous.
GUPTA: Yes, I think there are over 90 percent of the ICU beds now occupied in Houston. And by the way, it's 75 to 80 percent in Florida as well, so these are really, really concerning situations. By the way, take a look at this real quick, if I can just tell you. April 9th, you had around 36,000 people here in the United States, April 25th, around 34,000, and now you take a look at where we are now. Basically, close to those same peaks, we're going to surpass them. June 1st, we had the lowest number of people infected in this country, 17,000 or so.
And I think in the United States we basically decided that was the basement. That was as good as we could do, 17,000 people becoming infected every day, hundreds of people dying every day was the best we could do. That's sort of what that graph shows. And now we're going to have the significant spike again.
But I think the idea of these hospitals becoming overwhelmed, they're going to have some surge capacity, but the problem is that that's ultimately going to dictate I think the policies of that particular community or even that state. Right now, you have people coming out saying, I'm definitely not going to shut down again. I'm definitely not going to mandate masks again. I don't think they're going to have the ability to make those decisions after a while, because if the hospitals become overwhelmed, and that is a real possibility. We saw that in Italy where you saw hospitals where people could not get in despite the fact that they were, very, very sick, they needed to be hospitalized and likely ended up dying at home. [08:05:05]
If that sort of thing starts happening, I think the policies are going to become very, very obvious in terms of what needs to be done. People are going to have to stay at home, masks are going to have to be worn in essential situations, and that's it. That's the only way we can start to get some semblance of control again.
CAMEROTA: Sanjay, in terms of what we've learned about how this virus is spread or best spread, I don't know if you caught last hour when I was on my soapbox blathering about how it was from human beings --
BERMAN: That could be any hour. The soapbox could be any hour.
CAMEROTA: Yes, really, you can tune in any time and see that, but the point that I was making was that human beings are the super spreaders, human beings, even those that look completely healthy are the ones who are projecting the virus, and then we can basically forget about surfaces. Are you about to tell me that that is entirely wrong?
GUPTA: I think human beings are the primary spreaders. I think surfaces are still a concern. I think in a situation like this, you have to try and do the best you can to mitigate all potential exposures. We are in a really tough spot here. So I don't think we're -- you can start to say, hey, look, I'm not going to worry about that anymore. That's fine. That's great. I think right now we need to be worrying about everything. These numbers are going up.
I don't want to panic people in that sense, but this is troublesome what's happening here in the country right now. There is still a path forward. We have to realize that, but at some point, we're not going to have a very clear path forward anymore and the virus is just going to spread to a point where we can't control it.
I think we talked about this a couple of days ago, what metaphor do you want to apply here -- forest fire you can no longer control, a cancer that has spread and has metastasized throughout the body, what is it? How do we get this message across to people that we need to do something, we still have the capacity to act.
So if we say, hey, look, here's what I'm telling you today. Don't worry about surfaces, I'm not really sure that that's that relevant right now. You're right, human beings, close contact, unmasked is the most likely way that this virus is spreading, but it is a very contagious virus, and we're learning more and more every day about how even people who are young, who don't have any symptoms, can be some of those super spreaders as well.
BERMAN: I have got to say, we're four months into this, Sanjay, I don't think I've ever heard you sound so frustrated as you do this morning in terms of where we are. And I know --
GUPTA: I have been getting up at 4:30 in the morning every day for five months. I go to bed at 11:30 every night. All I do is read and immerse myself in this virus. I talk to people all over the world trying to figure out what's going on, and I cannot believe that we are in the predicament that we are in right now. With all that we have known, with all of the bells that have been sounded, the alarms that have been made across the world, I cannot believe we're in the position that we're in in right now.
We're the greatest country on earth. We should have been able to figure this out early, we should have been able to test, and now we're still having arguments about whether or not we should put these band- aids on the problem, such as masks. Effective band-aids, but still band-aids on this problem. And we're still not even sure that we want to do that. We have got a patient bleeding out in front of us, we know what to do, and we are not doing it. And it is -- yes, it's frustrating for sure.
BERMAN: Sanjay, on vaccines, we have heard happy talk. Dr. Anthony Fauci says that it's a question of when, not if. He said as soon as January, 2021, but then the president says things like this. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, (R) PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This is the first after COVID, after the start of the plague, as I call it, and it's an honor to have you here.
As far as the joining with us on the vaccines and therapeutics, by the way, because the therapeutics to me, if you gave me a choice right now, probably therapeutically maybe I'd like that even better, but we're working very well on both. I think we're coming up with some great answers. I think you're going to have a big surprise, a beautiful surprise sooner than anybody would think.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GUPTA: You have an issue with this type of talk, Sanjay.
GUPTA: Well, everybody wants a vaccine. And you have scientists that are making remarkable progress by all accounts. But one of the things that has struck me as I hear the optimism, and not only from the president but also, as you mentioned, from Dr. Fauci and others, is that we also need to see the data. We have been reporting on this for several months on therapeutics, even including remdesivir and dexamethasone and obviously the vaccine trials. And typically, what we are seeing, and this is different than any time in the 20 of reporting that I've been doing this, we are getting press releases from the companies themselves. We are getting preprinted data from these companies that has not been peer reviewed, has not been published, stuff that, frankly, we would never put on your program, we would never be talking about on your program because it wouldn't rise to the level.
So we keep saying we want to -- you have optimism. You say there will be a vaccine by the beginning of next year, something that's never happened before. Typically, vaccines take decades, not months to make. Where's the data that gives you such optimism? We've seen one preprint that showed eight patients who developed neutralizing antibodies, that's very good to have those sorts of antibodies. But we are talking about one of the biggest public health disasters in our lifetime. We need to see more data for me to be able to share that same sort of optimism.
BERMAN: Sanjay, I have to say, we're lucky you get up at 4:30 every morning for us. I think what you're doing is saving lives. We are so appreciative for the work you're putting into this.
GUPTA: Thank you.
BERMAN: Be sure to join Sanjay and Anderson tonight for a new CNN global town hall, "Coronavirus, Facts and Fears," that's at 8:00 p.m. eastern. Bill Gates is their special guest tonight.
New York now one of three states ordering travelers from coronavirus hotspots to self-quarantine. How will it be enforced? New York Governor Andrew Cuomo joins us live next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. ANDREW CUOMO, (D) NEW YORK: It's only for the simple reason that we worked very hard to get the viral transmission rate down. We don't want to see it go up because a lot of people come into this region, and they could literally bring the infection with them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: That was New York Governor Andrew Cuomo explaining why he joined forces with the governors from New Jersey and Connecticut to announce a 14-day self-quarantine for travelers that have been in the eight states experiencing the highest surge of coronavirus.
Joining us now is New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.
Good morning, Governor. It's great to see you.
First, let me just ask you -- in practical terms, can you just explain how this is going to work?
If there's a driver driving up on I-95, from Florida, who is going to stop her at the border of New York?
GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D), NEW YORK: Yes.
Good to be with you, Alisyn.
This is not a blockade. I don't believe a blockade is legal. The federal government at one time threatened to blockade New York, which means you couldn't come in. You couldn't go out. I don't believe that's constitutional.
But states do have the authority to regulate their own public health. The law is, if you come in from another state, you have to self- quarantine for 14 days. If you don't, and you get caught, you will have violated the law, you can be fined.
It's like any other law, Alisyn. You know, you can speed in your car and if you don't get caught, you're fine. You can have -- you can drink too much and you can drive home and if you don't get caught, you're fine.
But if you fly in to New York, we'll have your name. We'll know where you're supposed to be staying. There will be random checks. You get pulled over by a police officer and he looks at where your residence, and says, how long have you been here?
You get sick, Alisyn, you go to a hospital from out of state and you test positive and you're within the 14 days, you violated the law. You're going to have a problem.
CAMEROTA: But, Governor, what do you mean there'll be random checks, at people's homes, at people's workplaces? What does that look like?
CUOMO: Well, we know people who fly in. You fly in here from another state. We know what flight you came in on.
And we'll have inspectors who are randomly looking at the names on the list and calling to follow up to make sure you're quarantining. And if you're not, then you're in violation of the law, and you will have a mandatory quarantine, and you'll be fined.
I think most people are going to honor it. You know, they understand why we're doing this.
We have one of the lowest infection rates in the United States right now. We had one of the highest as you know. We worked very hard in New York, and the people of New York sacrificed for the past three months.
They closed down, they wear masks, they socially distanced. We have the virus under control. And we don't want to see it go up again.
It's that simple and people understand that. So I think they're going to -- I think they're going to honor it --
CUOMO: -- because people at the end of the day, they get it now. It took them too long to get it. But this country gets it now.
CAMEROTA: Remember when Florida did this to New Yorkers and I remember you being not so pleased and calling it political at that time. So what's different now?
CUOMO: Oh, it's still highly political.
Look, I said the same thing for three months. You can just play the tape. I was listening to Sanjay on the section before.
Three months ago, I said we're playing politics with the virus and the virus is going to win. It was all politics and the virus -- you can't beat a virus with politics. The virus isn't Democratic or Republican.
We were in political denial. And people were saying, don't worry about it. It's only the flu. Go about your business, open the economy. Liberate, liberate, liberate New York.
We took a different track in this state, but I said it's going to catch up with us, and you're going to see that virus go up and you're going to lose Americans you don't need to lose, and it's actually going to hurt the economy. It's not going to help the economy.
You open up the economy too fast, the virus goes up. The stock market is going to go down.
CUOMO: And that's right where we are. And we can't deny it anymore.
We played politics and we lost. Now follow the science. That's what it's been about from day one.
And what we're saying in New York is, look, we did the right thing and New Yorkers paid a terrible cost as you know, Alisyn.
CUOMO: They have been locked up. They have been closing their businesses. We have the virus under control finally. We had to flatten the curve.
CUOMO: We don't want to go back.
CAMEROTA: Remember back in May when Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida had talked about how basically blocking people from hot spots at that time New York had been very effective for Florida. So let me play that for you to remind you.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. RON DESANTIS (R), FLORIDA: I quarantined them in March and everyone in the New York media was blowing a gasket. How could you do this?
That was the right decision. That was the number one landing pad. Had we not done the quarantine, you would have had way more cases, hospitalizations, the whole nine yards. I have no doubt that that quarantine saved lives.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: So what do you say to him today now that the tables have turned?
CUOMO: Oh, I say to them all, look at the numbers. You played politics with this virus and you lost. You told the people of your state and you told the people of this country, White House, don't worry about it. Just open up, go about your business, this is all Democratic hyperbole.
Oh, really? Now you see 27 states with the numbers going up. You see the death projections going up. You see the economy going down. It was never politics. It was always science.
And they were in denial and denial is not a life strategy. You see -- now, they're saying, don't worry. It's not really that the virus is going up. Just the testing numbers are going up.
I don't even know what that means mathematically. And forget that. Your hospital beds are filling up.
You know what that means when your hospital beds fill up? It means more people are getting sick. That's what's happening. And it's now undeniable.
This country paid a terrible price. We today, Alisyn, have the lowest hospitalization rates since this started. We're under 1,000 --
CAMEROTA: Today. You're saying New York today is setting a record?
CUOMO: -- today.
Yes. I'm going to announce the numbers later this morning.
But the lowest hospitalization rate since we started. We're under 1,000 people hospitalized for coronavirus, 996. That is the lowest number since we started. We have 17 deaths today which is one of the lowest numbers since we started.
CUOMO: So, this -- this is after three months, Alisyn, of everyone working hard and doing the right thing and taking this seriously.
I got lambasted by everyone saying, just open up the economy. You're overreacting. Don't listen to all these scientists who are saying the virus could go up. That's just fearmongering.
It wasn't. It was -- they were facts and facts are facts, even in this crazy political environment. Even at this crazy political time.
CUOMO: And the people who played politics now are causing this nation great havoc. You're seeing it all across the country. You're seeing the deaths numbers going up.
CUOMO: We'll lose tens of thousands more Americans it's a real American tragedy that we're living through right now. CAMEROTA: Well, Governor, we're very happy to hear that the numbers have gone in the right direction and that you have something to celebrate in New York today, at least.
Thank you very much for being on NEW DAY.
CUOMO: Alisyn, who's -- who's your favorite Cuomo, Alisyn?
CAMEROTA: You know the answer, Governor. You know the answer.
Great to see you. Thanks so much.
Now to this, the mother of Breonna Taylor breaking her silence after one of the police officers who's accused of killing her daughter was fired. We'll bring you her words, next.
CAMEROTA: Just moments ago, the mother of Breonna Taylor, the Louisville paramedic shot and killed by police in her home spoke out for first time since one of the officers involved in her daughter's death was fired.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TAMIKA PALMER, BREONNA TAYLOR'S MOTHER: Of course, I'm happy to hear that he was fired. He should have been fired. It's just the beginning though.
It's so much more to go there. So, there's so many other people involved. Somebody still has to answer for what happened to Breonna though.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: Joining us for reaction, CNN contributor and safety for the New Orleans Saints, Malcolm Jenkins.
Malcolm, great to have you here with us.
And, in a sense, this is a microcosm of the situation, the question I really want to ask you this morning, the mother of Breonna Taylor saying she's pleased with what's happened so far, but she wants more. As you look at what's happened in the country overall the last few weeks, how much more needs to happen?
MALCOLM JENKINS, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I think at this moment, you know, we all want justice for the incidents that have really opened this country up with Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd. We want justice in those cases, in the form of arrests and convictions. But I think the larger thing that we want to push we're seeing the groundswell of energy is because we want to change the way that we're doing policing in this country. We have stop responding with police force to incidents of mental
illness, to take police out of our schools. To have police focus on violent crime. And that's it.
And I think we need both Republicans and Democrats to put their politics aside. And really come up with incentives that create local governments to be able to build up these non-police force responders, to make sure that we change completely the way we do policing in this country.
BERMAN: You're asking Democrats and Republicans to put their politics aside. I don't know that that happened. We saw in the Senate the Republican put a plan -- the Republicans put a plan out, the Democrats said it wasn't nearly enough, it wasn't a nonstarter, won't even go up for a vote.
So, what's your assessment of what's happening there?
JENKINS: Yes, I think that the bills that are being proposed are really weak, to be honest. The Republicans put out left out the qualified immunity that if you're listening to the community and the people, they want to be able to hold police officers accountable. But I also think, you know, we -- it can't be just about banning chokeholds and things like that. We need to change completely the way that we do policing.
And I think if you listen to the law enforcement community as well, they don't want to be responding to homelessness or mental health issues. They're not trained to do that. So I think we see violent crimes and things like that on the rise, that's where we want our community -- or our police to focus in the community.
BERMAN: What's your opinion with what's happening with symbols, and specifically with statues around the country? There are statues coming down. John C. Calhoun, you know, pillar of the Confederacy, early supporter of slavery, coming down in South Carolina. But also people are targeting statues of Ulysses S. Grant, Teddy Roosevelt, and the president is reacting by say I'm going to protect every statue in this country, even asking Washington, D.C., to reestablish the statue of a Confederate general.
What's going on here?
JENKINS: Well, I think what you see is this, you know, two movements are happening. One, trying to erase the history or the Confederacy as we should. It's not American history. And I think there's a groundswell of, y know, this energy to preserve that history.
But we all know, you know, what that Civil War was about.