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U.S. Sets Single-Day Record For New Coronavirus Cases; Trump dismisses severity of coronavirus as cases surge; Austin Mayor Says, Hospitals Will Be Overwhelmed Soon. Aired 7-7:30a ET

Aired June 26, 2020 - 07:00   ET



JOHN BERMAN, CNN NEW DAY: Looking forward to that when it happens.

As for football, you know, Malcolm Jenkins said on this show yesterday, Coy, he's not comfortable going back as things stand right now. So we'll see. We'll see.

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yes. That was a great interview that you had with him and those were strong, strong statements from him.

BERMAN: All right, Coy, I appreciate it. Thanks.

New Day continues right now.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN NEW DAY: And we want to welcome our viewers in the United States and all around the world. This is New Day.

We begin with the United States setting a single-day record for coronavirus cases. Nearly 40,000 new cases were reported yesterday. Four months into this pandemic, the country is going in the wrong direction. This morning, look at your screen, 32 states seeing a rise in cases.

The CDC has new research showing the number of Americans infected is likely ten times higher than reported.

Meanwhile, the president wants to slow down testing. As you know, he refuses to do the only two tools that we have to stop the spread, and that's wear a mask and socially distance. As a result, every campaign staffer who attended his Tulsa rally is now in self-quarantine.

BERMAN: Think about that. So governors in states that were eager to reopen are now reassessing their plans.


GOV. DOUG DUCEY (R-AZ): Arizona is on pause.

I didn't say we're going to go on to the next phase.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have not met the criteria to move out of stage four.


BERMAN: That's interesting, pause, but not reverse, pause to a status that put them in a situation right now where cases are rising.

Later today, the White House coronavirus task force will hold its first briefing in nearly two months.

Let's begin with Lucy Kafanov live in Dallas. The cases in Texas continue to rise at alarming levels. The hospitalizations rising as well, Lucy.

LUCY KAFANOV, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's a big concern, John. The numbers are going up, three consecutive days now of record-breaking numbers in terms of new cases, hospitalizations, also breaking records, steadily increasing over the past two weeks.

Now, the fear is if this trend continues, hospitals could start running out of room, especially those critical intensive care unit beds. That's already a worry in Houston, which has been hit incredibly hard. The mayor of Austin telling CNN that by mid-July, his hospitals could be under pressure.

Here in Dallas, there is still space in hospitals, but city officials met yesterday to talk about a potential plan to turn the convention center here into a pop-up field hospital to make space for new patients. The governor also issuing an executive order to try to create more space by limiting elective surgeries in some cities. He is hitting that pause button. Take a listen on what he had to say.


GOV. GREG ABBOTT (R-TX): As we work on a daily basis and you should anticipate more orders coming up in the coming days, as we continue to focus on what are the best strategies we can employ to protect the health and safety of our fellow Texans.


KAFANOV: The worry here though that pausing this reopening isn't going to stem the increase in cases, businesses can still see customers, bars are open, there are social distancing measures in effect, but it's not a shutdown like we saw before and those cases still rising. John?

BERMAN: All right, Lucy Kafanov, Texas, the second most populous state in the Texas seeing this rise.

Florida, the third most populous state, they have now reported more than 5,000 new cases for a second day in a row. Look at the graph there. CNN's Rosa Flores live in Miami Beach with the latest. Rosa?

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: John, good morning. Mayors in Southeast Florida taking matters into their own hands, upping enforcement here in Miami Beach. Officials tell us that at least four businesses were closed due to COVID-19 violations.

In the city of Miami, officials there can now fine people for not wearing masks in public. And in Miami-Dade County, they're cracking down on sporting facilities that are not following the rules. This as Florida is reporting two consecutive days of more than 5,000 cases per day.

Now, this surge, according to officials, is due to young people out and about, not wearing masks, not social distancing. And now we're seeing Floridians flocking to testing sites, waiting in long lines to see if they have this virus. All of this as Governor Ron DeSantis continues to double down. He is not requiring masks statewide.

Now, he has said that he is leaving that decision to Floridians. Well, take a look at this video. He decided to wear a mask during a press conference yesterday, This as we have a sad new reality this morning here in Florida, as we learn that two 17-year-olds have died.

Now, until today, Governor Ron DeSantis has said and maintained that no one under the age of 18 had died in this state.


Well, now, John and Alisyn, that has changed. We learned that a 17- year-old in Ft. Myers and another 17-year-old in Pasco County has died from COVID-19.

CAMEROTA: Okay. Rosa, thank you very much for that sad update.

Joining us now is CNN Medical Analyst Dr. Rochelle Walensky. She is the Chief of the Department of Infectious Diseases at Massachusetts General Hospital. Also with us, David Hayes Bautista, he's a distinguished Professor at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and the Director of the University's Center for Latino Health and Culture. Great to have both of you.

Dr. Walensky, I just want to pull the map up again for where we are at the end of this week, because this map of the country looks very different than it did how we just started this week. I mean, when we started this week, there were not 23 -- sorry -- what are we at right now? 32 states are seeing these upward spikes. That's the red and the orange. That is significantly worse than even just how we started this week. And so we're going in the wrong direction. What do you see?

DR. ROCHELLE WALENSKY, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: Good morning, Alisyn. You know, this virus is unforgiving. I think some of the statistics that you cited earlier are really key to understand in context. So what we know is that, yesterday, we saw nearly 40,000 new cases. That is higher than the number of new cases we've had in any other day in this pandemic history in this country. The prior highest was on April 24th, at around 36,000. But I want to remind everybody that on April 24th, we were one month into an economic lockdown. People were not going out.

So we have this peak in the context of not being locked down. We have an exponential rise in many places and we're not locked down. So it makes me very worried about where we're going to be a month from now.

BERMAN: Yes. And, Dr. Walensky, we're pausing. In Texas, they're talking about pausing where they are, keeping the rules in place that have created a situation where you're having the highest single-day case count in this pandemic, when you're having hospitalizations double. That's where you're pausing. Will that make things better?

WALENSKY: Well, so I want to remind people, if you go to the Texas Department of Public Health website, when we -- when we shut down as a country, around March 22nd, Texas had about 300 new cases per day. Between June 24th and June 25th, Texas had 6,000 new cases. Texas has a 20-fold larger problem today than it did when it shut down. And I know they are not interested in going backwards, and I know that they are suffering economically, but they have a tsunami about to hit their hospital doors and I am very worried.

CAMEROTA: Professor Hayes-Bautista, California is also in trouble, where you are. So what's the situation?

DAVID HAYES BAUTISTA, DISTINGUISHED PROFESSOR, UCLA SCHOOL OF MEDICINE: The situation is, while we have managed to flatten the curve somewhat early into the pandemic, we need to understand, this is simply a pandemic that the disease is rolling out. It doesn't click on and off like a light switch. So while some parts were affected first, the rest of the country is being affected now. Unfortunately, we now need to reconsider what are we going to do?

BERMAN: So, Professor -- sorry, I didn't mean to interrupt you, Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: Same thing, just what is the answer?

HAYES-BAUTISTA: Well, part of the problem is that what is a typically public health problem that we know how to handle has become weaponized, so the fact that wearing a mask has become a political statement, which, unfortunately, when everyone needs to be wearing masks and social distancing and having half the population out doing it basically undercuts our ability to control this pandemic.

BERMAN: Why is it a political statement, Professor? I don't understand it. I don't get it? Who is that on? The president clearly could make a difference here by walking into the camera wearing a mask.

HAYES-BAUTISTA: It's as simple as that. If we stop and think about smoking, people don't smoke in rooms the way they used to when I was an undergraduate at Berkeley. It means civil society needs to be moving in the same direction. But we have our civil society being torn apart, and it has been under this administration over any number of issues. This is just the latest on. But, unfortunately, under this one, people can die very quickly.

CAMEROTA: Such a great point. We don't see smoking as a political issue. We don't see not driving drunk as a political issue. This is a health issue, Dr. Walensky, but that's not how, as we know, so much of the country is treating it, including President Trump. And now, after the Tulsa rally, there was all sorts of concern about what would happen after the Tulsa rally. We don't know yet if people in the audience got sick. However, every one of his campaign staff that was there, and Secret Service, are having to self-quarantine.

WALENSKY: You know, I think that we could anticipate that this was going to happen when we start seeing positive tests from the campaign staffers. I give them credit for self-quarantining, because I think everybody recognizes that they were likely exposed.


It does make you pause and wonder how many people were otherwise exposed and the 6,200 people who attended that rally and the people who were working that rally.

And then I want to just remind people, many people are not going feel sick, right? So those 6,200 people are going to go out, they're going to go home, they're going to visit their parents, they're going to see their grandparents in nursing homes. And that is how this virus will spread.

BERMAN: Professor, listening to both of you, I have to wonder, Professor Hayes-Bautista, how much of this is a choice? And I know that that may sound harsh to people, but if you know the consequences of holding a campaign rally, if you know the consequences of not wearing a mask, if you know the consequences of not advocating for greater testing, are you making a choice to allow people to get sick?

HAYES-BAUTISTA: Well, it's not only a choice to allow people, it's a choice that if I choose not to wear a mask, I am choosing the choice that I could possibly infect others and cause them to die, as well as myself. This is something just is about me. It's not about me having a heart attack because I'm overweight. I can't breathe on you and give you a heart attack. I can breathe on you and I can give you coronavirus.

CAMEROTA: Dr. Walensky, now the CDC has new information, I think, based on antibody test results that are coming in, that they believe -- and again, this isn't a university, this is a -- the CDC, a government arm, that ten times the amount of people are -- or have been infected with this virus than we previously know.

WALENSKY: I think that's probably pretty accurate. You know, what we knew in the beginning is, as influenza-like illness was going up, we had no tests. In the end of March, when people were starting to get sick, I specifically said on these airways, if you are not sick enough to come into the hospital, we do not have test for you, so don't test. We know a lot of folks are asymptomatic and have disease.

So I think that there's been a lot of either asymptomatic or untested disease out there. The CDC estimates around 5 to 8 percent. We have seen in some of our studies here in Boston somewhere around 10 percent. So I think that's pretty accurate.

But understand what that means. If today, we are saying 40,000 infections out there that we've documented, and we think it might be tenfold higher, that's 400,000 people out there transmitting the virus. And then you think about the incredible task of trying to contact trace and really contain things, it's extraordinary. And if I sound pressured and panicked, it's because I am.

CAMEROTA: Okay. On that note, Dr. Walensky, Professor Hayes-Bautista, we really appreciate both you've and all of your expertise. Thank you.

HAYES-BAUTISTA: Thank you. Thank you, It's a pleasure.

CAMEROTA: According to a White House official, President Trump knows masks are important, but he doesn't, quote, want that image or to admit that he's wrong. More on the leadership void, next.




DONALD TRUMP, U.S. PRESIDENT: So we have more cases, because we do the greatest testing. If we didn't do testing, we would have no cases. Other countries, they don't test millions. It's up to almost 30 million tests. So when you do 30 million, you're going to have a kid with the sniffles and they say it's coronavirus, whatever you want to call it.


CAMEROTA: That is the most juvenile logic I think we've ever heard. Sources tell CNN that President Trump is aware that his handling of the coronavirus pandemic is hurting his standing in the polls, but he seems unwilling to change course.

Joining us now is CNN's Chief Political Correspondent, Dana Bash. Dana, the country is getting circumstance. This morning, the map is more red than we started on Monday. What is the president thinking?

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I contributed to that story on with Jim Acosta and several other of our colleagues. And what one of the sources we talked to told me is that the president does realize that he has to change course. This is a source familiar with the president's thinking.

And now here comes the but. The but is, he has to do something really dramatically different and that is really basic, also, show leadership with this -- with the coronavirus. And what the source specifically said is that it's one thing to be a little bit in front of the public, it's another thing to be a little bit behind the public, but you've got to be in the ballpark, and the president is not on the coronavirus. And that includes and is obviously illustrated ultimately by the mask.

And, you know, this source, according to -- and others simply say that the idea of him wearing a mask, it is going to be almost impossible to get him there. But people are trying to do that. And it's -- it is not just because we all know, as you were talking about with earlier guests, that it mitigates the virus, but because it is a -- now it becomes such a powerful and potent symbol for right now his lack of leadership or his kind of thumbing the nose in the phase of this virus that is really, really devastating this country, health wise and economically. And I don't even think it's an open question about whether he's going to change. I think it is very, very doubtful, based on everything we've seen and the sources we've talked to.

BERMAN: Yes. And, you know, you heard a version of it last night. The president did an interview with Sean Hannity on Fox T.V. And he talked about home field advantage, batting practice type questions, he should have been able -- he was asked what is essentially the Roger Mudd question. Why do you want to be president? And he couldn't or wouldn't or didn't answer. Listen.


SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: What are your top priority items for a second term?

TRUMP: Well, one of the things that will be really great, you know, the word experience is still good. I always say talent is more important than experience, I've always said that. But the word experience is a very important word. It's a very important meaning.


BERMAN: That doesn't answer what your top priority is.

BASH: I mean, that was remarkable.


How about, bring the economy back or, you know, make sure that people have healthcare, or, I don't know, try to eradicate the coronavirus and make sure that the federal government is on it when it comes to a vaccine. I mean, those are just -- I'm just spit-balling here off the top of my head, never mind what I know based on talking to sources his campaign and aides in the White House are desperate for him to do, which is to stay focused and not talk about things that are not relevant to Americans.

I mean, the time for the entertainer in chief is not now. And that is what people are trying to express to him and impress upon him. And based on that answer, as you said, home field advantage, I mean, Sean Hannity took ball and just lofted it over the plate and he missed.

CAMEROTA: Joe Biden has been talking about President Trump and his lack of leadership during this time, so here's one moment of that.


JOE BIDEN, PRESUMPTIVE DEMOCRATIC NOMINEE: He's like a child who can't believe this has happened to him, all his whining and self-pity. Well, this pandemic didn't happen to him, it happened to all of us. And his job isn't to whine about it. His job is to do something about it, to lead. (END VIDEO CLIP)

CAMEROTA: Apparently voters agree. The latest polls from The New York Times to Fox News show Joe Biden leading in even battleground states. Maybe we can pull up some of the Fox News polls to show people Florida and then there's Georgia, North Carolina, and Texas, as well.

And so, Dana, the people that you talk to, the sources that you have around the president, his advisers, how nervous are they at this moment?

BASH: They're nervous. And it's not even just nervous, they're kind of dejected. They're depressed. And by the way, you say battleground states, Texas, Georgia, I mean, Georgia has been trending more blue, but certainly on a presidential level, we haven't had Georgia and Texas up on the screen in a very, very long time, particularly with it being in the margin of error on this Fox News poll, like we're seeing right now. I mean, that is -- alarm bells are going off.

Now, privately, they insist in Trump world that their internals don't show things as bad as public polls do, but they're not good. And they realize that it is just the combination of all of these things, but tactically speaking, it is kind of running for re-election 101, when you're president of the United States, to make the big picture conversation about, you don't really want to fire me.

Oh, and, by the way, look at the alternative, to define the alternative, the alternative being Joe Biden, and he can't stay focused on that, even though his campaign is trying to do that in paid ads and otherwise, because of the way he is using, you know, negative terms like kung flu, the way he is going after people on Twitter, it is all making it about him, which it already is, but even more so, it is undermining the campaign's attempt to try to make it a little bit more about his opponent.

BERMAN: One decision overnight, very interesting that both Democrats and some Republicans think may hurt the president, the administration filed a brief with the Supreme Court to eliminate Obamacare. Get rid of Obamacare completely. This is the Supreme Court case that will -- may not be heard before election day, but still, they're now on paper saying, get rid of it. 20 million Americans who get their healthcare through it did this during a pandemic.

BASH: Yes. And, look, I mean, it's hard to not see that as a gift to Democrats. And the reason I say that is because of what we saw in 2018. I mean, one of the main reasons Nancy Pelosi is speaker and Democrats have the majority in the House is because of the issue of healthcare. Yes, there was anti-Trump fervor. Yes, there was kind of exhaustion and a desire to cast an opposition vote, and that is for whomever is on the ballot that has a D in front of their name, but healthcare was the number one issue that Democrats talked about successfully, meaning, he is going to take away Obamacare, elect Democrats to the House, so he can try to stop that.

And, look, the Trump administration clearly sees that perhaps the window is closing, if, in fact, he doesn't win re-election, to make a promise that Republicans have been making since Obamacare was enacted, possibly to fulfill that promise, which is to get rid of Obamacare. But Democrats see that as a hugely winning issue, particularly in some of those swing states that we were talking about.

BERMAN: Dana Bash, great to have you on. Thanks for joining us on New Day.

BASH: Good to see you, guys.

CAMEROTA: Happy Friday.

BERMAN: You too.

So the mayor of Austin, Texas, sounding the alarm, warning that hospitals could be overwhelmed by coronavirus patients within weeks.


We'll speak with him, next.


CAMEROTA: Texas breaking records with new coronavirus cases as the governor announced it would pause reopening at its current phase three. That means restaurants can have occupancy rates of 75 percent, bars, they can be at 50 percent, amusement parks and carnivals can open at 50 percent.

Joining me now is the mayor of Austin, Texas, Steve Adler. Mayor, great to have you with us. Explain to me how pausing where you are, pausing at the status that has allowed cases to hit record levels in the state will make things better?

MAYOR STEVE ADLER (D-AUSTIN, TX): Pausing will not make things better. The trajectory that we're on right now has our hospitals being overwhelmed, probably about mid-July. So the status quo, the path we're on right now is the path that right now has us in danger.

We need to do something that's different than that. We need our people in our community here to act differently.


The status quo will not protect us.

BERMAN: What happened? I mean, how did it get to this point in Texas?

ADLER: I think it was a combination of things.