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Austin Mayor: Hospitals Will Be Overwhelmed Soon; European Union Resumes Talks On Reopening Borders; Killing Of George Floyd Puts Police Misconduct Under New Scrutiny. Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired June 26, 2020 - 07:30   ET



MAYOR STEVE ADLER (D), AUSTIN, TEXAS (via Cisco Webex): Status quo will not protect us.

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

ADLER: You know, it was a combination of things. At one point back in April, we had really stomped down on this virus.

We started opening up the economy and I think three things. First, is we opened up before we really had testing capacity and tracing in place. Second, we opened up in phases but we didn't open a phase and then get the numbers, analyze it, and then see if we could go to the next phase. We had one phase that came after another.

The big thing though, I think, is that the community, when you open up an economy, has to couple that with religiously wearing face masks and religiously maintaining social distancing. That has to be part of opening up the economy and that's something that did not happen here.

BERMAN: It didn't happen, I think, maybe in the entire country.

What happens when the people of Texas look on T.V. and see the President of the United States refusing to wear a mask? What message do they get when they seem him holding a rally with 6,000 people not social-distanced?

ADLER: They get a real strong message that this is over -- that the virus isn't going to go after them. That we've moved past that now and it's simply not true. It creates a real conflicting message when here locally we're trying to get people to do it.

I know it was mandatory here in the city, wearing face coverings. The governor took that away.

To his credit, he is consistently saying that people should wear face coverings -- these face masks. He says it's the most important thing that people could be doing. Our governor wears face masks. The problem is that by not making it mandatory, even he sends a conflicting message. We have to make it mandatory. The people in the state need to

understand just how important it is. And our message has to be as clear as it can possibly be, recognizing that the president's messaging, no matter what we do here, is going to undercut this important message.

BERMAN: It's interesting. Gov. Greg Abbott is a Republican, you are a Democrat.

What kind of political pressure do you think that Gov. Abbott feels? He has changed his tone some over the last week or so but obviously, he has not yet made mask-wearing mandatory. He has not yet imposed new restrictions on people.

How much pressure do you think he feels from the president?

ADLER: You know, right now, I think probably my governor is feeling pressure from both sides. He sees what's happening. I mean, even he recognizes that we're facing what he called a massive outbreak, so he knows that it's there.

He's talking to the same scientists and doctors that I'm talking to. He sees what's happening, which is why he gave us, as cities, the opportunity to go back to make masks mandatory. It made it a little bit harder because we have to do it through businesses rather than doing it directly.

But he sees that. And the things that he's saying are the right things to say, so he gets credit for that. But he also gets hit pretty hard from his right and so we're caught kind of in this middle ground and that's creating, in part, the confused message that people are hearing.

BERMAN: It's incredible to be talking about political ground when people are getting sick, right? When people who are getting sick and filling the hospitals might ultimately die. I mean, it doesn't seem like politics should be a part of this.

ADLER: And politics shouldn't be part of this. You know, we purposely, here, focus on hospitalizations because that lets us avoid the whole discussion about testing and who's being tested and whether it's more testing.

We're focused on hospitals and in Austin, my count in my hospital last night was a third higher than my seven-day average. My hospital count right now is over 200 percent higher than what it was two weeks ago.

That's not a political question. The virus is not political. It is now beginning to fill my hospitals and that is a serious public health, practical, real crisis.

BERMAN: Let's talk about that more because those are new numbers to me. Your hospitals are 200 percent more filled than they were a couple of weeks ago. That's a lot.

You say your actual hospital count is a third higher than the seven- day rolling average. What that means for people who are bad at math, like me, is that that average is going to go way up in a few days.

How close are you to being at capacity and what are the risks inside your health care system?

ADLER: Our -- the modelers at the University of Texas are telling us that on the current trajectory that we're on we're going to hit the capacity of our available Covid beds in mid-July.


We have a window here -- a very small window -- maybe seven days, maybe two weeks, if that -- probably not -- to have people really change behaviors. To wear masks, to do the social distancing so that we can see its impact.

The problem with this virus is everything is a trailing indicator. So the people who are going to be in my hospital today got the virus three weeks ago. The people in my hospital in three weeks are getting it today.

So even if we were to take a drastic action, my numbers are still going to rise. That's what cities across the world saw. That's why cities get caught short.

I am with you now in trying to convey that message every way I can to my community. Now is crunch time. We really do need to change our behaviors.

BERMAN: Mayor Steve Adler, really interesting discussion.

I have to say it's the exact same language we were hearing from public elected officials in New York, and New Jersey, and Connecticut two months ago -- the exact same language -- we have seven days to fix this. I can't believe we're back at it again two months later in this country.

I appreciate you being with us. We wish you the best of luck. Let us know how we can help over the next seven days -- two weeks.

ADLER: Thank you.

BERMAN: Alisyn.


The European Union considers reopening its borders. CNN has reporters around the globe for you.



In Brussels, the headquarters of the European Union, today, E.U. ambassadors -- there are 27 of them -- will meet face-to-face to determine whether or not U.S. citizens can come into Europe. One of the key deciding factors will be the rate of infection in the United States and the rate of infection in the European Union.

The World Health Organization is warning Europe that it has, in 30 countries, a rise in infection rates. Eleven of those countries, they say, it is significant. And they say that if something is not done about that rise then it could potentially overwhelm the health services in those countries.


Brazil has reported more than 120,000 new cases of Covid-19 in the past three days alone. The death toll is close to 55,000 and no signs of peaking.

On Thursday, just the state of Sao Paulo surpassed Italy in total coronavirus cases -- 248,587. And yet, several cities in Sao Paulo and across Brazil continue to relax restrictions, reopening stores, shopping malls, and heading back to offices.

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm David McKenzie in Johannesburg.

South Africa has just recorded its highest increase in Covid-19 cases and has pushed past the 100,000 mark of confirmed cases. Now, this country is now the epicenter of the pandemic in the continent.

And despite that, WHO officials and some doctors here are saying they're not seeing the large increase in deaths associated with the increase in cases. Now that could be, they say, because of a younger population, but also because of lessons learned from earlier hotspots, like prioritizing oxygen over ventilators, in some cases, and using steroid treatment in the most severe cases.

Now, whether that helps avoid the worst of the surge, that remains to be seen.


CAMEROTA: Our thanks to our correspondents.

So your health can suffer during this pandemic even if you never get the virus.


VISAYSHA HARRIS, GRADUATED COLLEGE DURING PANDEMIC: It definitely has been a struggle. My life was kind of ripped away from me.


CAMEROTA: Dr. Sanjay Gupta is going to examine the mental health toll of this crisis, next.


[07:43:00] CAMEROTA: As the number of coronavirus cases in the U.S. soars, anxiety and depression are also on the rise. Young people are some of those suffering the most.

CNN's chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta has more on the toll the pandemic is taking on our mental health.


HARRIS: I'm having to go home. I am now finishing my school online.

Will I have a graduation? How's the job market going to be? Everything kind of just started rolling in and I realized this is -- this is not good.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Twenty-two-year-old Visaysha Harris is doing OK but it's becoming harder to put on the brave face. Instead of moving to New York for her dream job, she's back home living with mom. Like all of us, her life was interrupted in mid-March.

GUPTA (on camera): How did you sort of process that given that all -- where you were in your life at that point?

HARRIS: It definitely has been a struggle. I definitely went through a bit of depression when I first moved home. My life was kind of ripped away from me.

GUPTA (voice-over): Since mid-April, the CDC has been asking Americans about their mental state and what they found is at once shocking and not surprising. A third of the country reports experiencing symptoms of anxiety or depression. And consider that a year ago, between January and June of 2019, just 11 percent of American adults reported similar symptoms.

And who do you think is most affected? The answer, young people -- 18 to 29-year-olds, like Visaysha.

HARRIS: At the end of March, beginning of April, I stayed in my room -- I stayed in here. My body just wasn't processing my new normal. I was sad, I was depressed. I just felt so terrible about everything that was going on.

DR. GARY SMALL, PROFESSOR OF PSYCHIATRY AND BEHAVIORAL SCIENCE, UCLA: So this pandemic has really been an assault on everyone's mental health, and especially for young people.


GUPTA (voice-over): Dr. Gary Small is a professor of psychiatry and behavioral science at UCLA.

SMALL: When you're young, you're more subject to peer pressure. You have worries about your future, your career, establishing relationships. And I think the uncertainty that the virus presents really adds insult to injury. GUPTA (voice-over): The one thing that helps more often than others, social support.

GUPTA (on camera): You and your mom getting along OK? Are there -- are there natural tensions that occur between moms and daughters?

HARRIS: Sometimes you have cabin fever but I love her, she loves me. We know how to go to our different rooms and then come back to the living room or the kitchen and just bond.

If I do go out, I need to be more aware of what I'm doing because I know that I'm coming home to my mom who is more susceptible to getting the virus.

SMALL: Now when we go out in public we're cautious if people come too close to us. We make sure we're distanced enough and it may make us a bit anxious.

On the other hand, that causes chronic stress, chronic anxiety, and that's not good for our brains. It actually worsens our memory ability. It can lead to depression and anxiety disorders.

GUPTA (voice-over): One thing that can help address both the virus and the anxiety of this pandemic --


GUPTA (voice-over): -- a mask. By wearing one it's a way to show that you are far less likely to infect someone else and a reminder that we're all in this together.

HARRIS: There are people who don't seem to care, but I'm a person who cares and I will consistently wear my mask.


GUPTA: One of the things that really came out of our reporting there, as well as that we think about stress and people say I want to live a stress-free life. The reality is that's not -- that's not possible under any circumstance, right?

Stress is not the enemy here, it's the relentless nature of the stress. And I think that that's what's affecting people like Visaysha even more so now. It's harder to find a break from the stress.

So I think there's some advice in there for everybody. I mean, as hard as it is in these uncertain times, try and find areas in your life where you can get a little bit of a break -- a little bit of a respite from all that -- all that stress.

CAMEROTA: Absolutely, Sanjay. It's affecting all of us to some degree, but some people obviously --


CAMEROTA: -- more than others, and it's invisible. You know, obviously, the mental health struggles that people have are invisible. So I'm so glad that you are keeping an eye trained on it and bringing it to our attention. So thank you very much for that reporting.

GUPTA: You got it. Thank you.

CAMEROTA: We want you to know that if you or someone you know is struggling, you are not alone. You can get help. You can call the Crisis Text Line -- you can text them at HOME to 741741. You can also call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK, 800- 273-TALK. People are out there waiting to talk to you.

BERMAN: And again, we're all feeling this right now.

So this morning we want to remember some of the 124,000 Americans lost to coronavirus.

Lillie Mae Mitchell (ph) was a former machine operator who loved playing the lottery, cards, dancing. She was a mother of five who enjoyed singing in her nursing home. Lillie is remembered by her daughter as a wonderful spirit. That's a beautiful picture.

William Stone loved his family, his church, and yes, the Pittsburgh Steelers. His wife of 41 years says that he wasn't a very materialistic person -- simple things meant a lot to him. She adds that she misses him and will carry him in her heart forever.

In Phenix City, Alabama, assistant police chief Gail Green-Gilliam died after battling coronavirus for just three weeks. She worked on the force for more than 30 years. Gail was a foster parent for special needs children and adults. The mayor extended his deepest condolences to her family and the police department.

We'll be right back.



BERMAN: It has been one month since George Floyd was killed, triggering these new calls for police reform. It has police departments, large and small, considering their interactions with the public and reassessing recent deadly encounters.

CNN's Omar Jimenez live in Chicago with the latest on this. In some cases, so many of these instances happened a year or more ago, but only now being looked at with fresh eyes.


Take Colorado Gov. Jared Polis, for example, who says Elijah McClain should be alive today as he appoints a special prosecutor to reexamine the facts of that 2019 case. And his is among a number of cases now being looked at through a different lens in the wake of protests after the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and so many more.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) JIMENEZ (voice-over): It's now been one month since George Floyd's death.

PROTESTERS: Black Lives Matter!

JIMENEZ (voice-over): Since then, nearly every night in places across the United States, protests demanding justice and change, forcing some police departments to reckon with biases and even racism head-on.

CHIEF DONNY WILLIAMS, WILMINGTON, NORTH CAROLINA POLICE DEPARTMENT: Today is a challenging day for me because as your new police chief, one of my first major tasks is to announce the termination of three veteran Wilmington police officers.

JIMENEZ (voice-over): In Wilmington, North Carolina, video detailed in an internal review showed one officer describing a woman he arrested as a Negro and an "n" word on multiple occasions, while another officer said he's ready for a civil war and "felt society needed a civil war to wipe 'em off the f-in map. That'll put 'em back four or five generations."

Attempts to reach each of the three officers for comment were unsuccessful.


WILLIAMS: Why are we releasing this information in this way? It's because of the times that we're in and it's the right thing to do.

JIMENEZ (voice-over): Another action protests have pushed is revisiting cases where justice may be in doubt.

POLICE OFFICER: Stop! I have a right to stop you because you're being suspicious.

JIMENEZ (voice-over): Back on August 24th, 2019 in Aurora, Colorado, 23-year-old Elijah McClain was stopped by three white officers on his way home from a convenience store after a 911 caller described a suspicious person wearing a ski mask.


JIMENEZ (voice-over): In an ensuing struggle, officers said McClain reached for one of their guns, according to a report from the district attorney, before McClain was placed in a chokehold and he briefly lost consciousness. But then, began struggling again, according to the report.

POLICE OFFICER: If you keep messing around, I'm going to bring my dog out and he's going to dog-bite you. Do you understand me?


JIMENEZ (voice-over): McClain was given the powerful sedative ketamine by paramedics who arrived on the scene, according to the report. He later had a heart attack in the ambulance and was pronounced dead three days later. The state has now appointed a special prosecutor to investigate the case.

POLICE OFFICER: You need to calm the hell down.

JIMENEZ (voice-over): In Tucson, Arizona, body camera footage shows police wrestling with 27-year-old Carlos Ingram-Lopez after being called to the home where police say he was drunk, yelling, and running around the house naked.

Ingram-Lopez went into cardiac arrest while handcuffed and was declared dead at the scene.

The three officers involved resigned. The police chief offered his resignation as well, but that was rejected by the City Council.

PROTESTERS: Arrest the cop!


JIMENEZ (voice-over): And then in Louisville, an officer involved in the shooting and killing of Breonna Taylor was fired more than three months after police broke down the door to her apartment in an attempted drug sting and shot her eight times while exchanging gunfire with her boyfriend.

TAMIKA PALMER, BREONNA TAYLOR'S MOTHER: Of course, I'm happy to hear that it -- that he was fired. He should have been fired.

It's just the beginning, though. It's so much more to go. There's so many other people involved. Somebody still has to answer for what happened to Breonna, though.


JIMENEZ: And an attorney for the Taylor family says the other officers need to be held accountable and charges need to be filed.

Now, in regards to the McClain case, two million people signed a petition to reexamine the facts here -- all people who say what's come out so far isn't enough and they want more answers -- John.

BERMAN: All right, Omar Jimenez in Chicago. Omar, thanks very much for that report.

I should note that coming up in just minutes, we're going to speak to Kentucky's Gov. Andy Beshear about the latest in the Breonna Taylor investigation.

CAMEROTA: John, Attorney General William Barr echoing President Trump now, claiming without any evidence that mail-in voting is not secure. Barr said in a new interview that an election predominantly done by mailed-in ballots could potentially be compromised.

The thought does not square with public health officials in the administration. They are encouraging voting by mail, whenever possible, as a safety precaution during the pandemic.

We should also note that "The Washington Post" reports that 16 officials in the Trump administration, including the president himself, have recently voted using mail-in ballots.

You can join CNN's Jake Tapper for a new CNN special report, "TRUMP & THE LAW AFTER IMPEACHMENT". This will air Sunday night at 10:00 p.m. eastern only on CNN.

And NEW DAY continues right now.

ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Alisyn Camerota and John Berman.

BERMAN: Good morning, everyone. Welcome to our viewers in the United States and all around the world. This is NEW DAY.

And this morning, a record number of new coronavirus cases -- the single-highest day yet. Four months into this pandemic after everything we should have learned, after every opportunity where leaders should have led, more people reported sick in one day than ever before. Nearly 40,000 new cases reported yesterday, which tells you maybe officials didn't lead, didn't learn - or maybe it's fair to ask whether they didn't care.

The president is complaining about too many tests. He proudly refuses to wear a mask, and he held a campaign rally with more than 6,000 people. Every one of campaign staffers there now in self-quarantine.

This morning, 32 states are seeing a rise in cases. All the states there in red, the states in deep red, a larger increase in new cases.

The CDC says the number of Americans infected with the virus is likely 10 times higher than reported.

CAMEROTA: And overnight, Arizona and New Mexico joining Texas and eight other states in pausing their reopening plans. Texas is reporting an all-time high in new cases and the city of Houston faces a dire critical care shortage.

And this morning, the White House Coronavirus Task Force will hold its first briefing in nearly two months.

BERMAN: All right.

Joining me now is Democratic Congressman Raul Ruiz of California. He is also an emergency physician. And, Congressman, I should note you have been out there conducting tests.

REP. RAUL RUIZ (D-CA): Correct.

BERMAN: Literally, administering coronavirus tests in California. So we appreciate that and we appreciate the work you are doing to help keep people.