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As Pandemic Situation Worsens, Pence Paints Deceptively Rosy Picture; Florida Governor Will "Trust People to Make Good Decisions" on Masks as Cases Hit Record High; Texas Governor Puts Restrictions Back in Place as Cases Soar; U.S. Travelers Unlikely to be Allowed into E.U.; White House Recommends Supreme Court Overturn ObamaCare; The Measures to Protect Trump from Coronavirus; U.S. House Votes to Make D.C. a State. Aired 4-5a ET
Aired June 27, 2020 - 04:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Record-breaking COVID cases in the U.S. States are stopping plans to reopen, as the vice president praises the government response.
No warm welcome from the E.U. for U.S. travelers. American tourists could be banned from visiting due to the coronavirus.
As the U.S. faces two crises, one on health and one on race, President Trump signs an executive order, protecting statues that many conservatives cherish.
Hello and welcome to our viewers all around the world. I'm Natalie Allen. CNN NEWSROOM begins right now.
ALLEN: We begin with this: the United States has reached a milestone. The death toll since February, now 125,000 and climbing. It all adds up to remarkable progress, according to Mike Pence. The leader of the Coronavirus Task Force greeted reporters on Friday with a string of make-believe accomplishments.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: As we stand here today, all five territories across this country are opening up safely and responsibly.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ALLEN: That's simply not true. The virus is gaining ground in more than 30 states; six set daily records. Many places now concede they opened too early and too many people behaved recklessly; 11 governors are putting the brakes on reopening any further, two have sounded a retreat. The vice president seemed oblivious.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PENCE: The truth is, we slowed the spread. We flattened the curve.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ALLEN: But the U.S. has never flattened the curve. It was a bumpy decline during the lockdowns but now it's roaring back bigger than ever. Leave it to Dr. Fauci to deliver the medicine to a reluctant nation.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: Everything from maybe opening a little bit too early on some to opening at the right time but not actually following the steps in an orderly fashion, to actually trying to follow the steps in an orderly fashion but the citizenry did not feel they wanted to do that for a number of reasons.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ALLEN: More now on the vice president's jaw-dropping briefing with our Nick Watt.
PENCE: As we have seen new cases rising -- and we're tracking them very carefully -- there may be a tendency among the American people to think that we are back to that place that we were two months ago.
The reality is, we're in a much better place.
NICK WATT, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): But, yesterday, we saw more new cases in this country than ever before.
PENCE: As all 50 states are opening up our country again, people are going back to work.
WATT: No mention of the at least 11 states that are now pausing or rolling back reopening.
DR. ROCHELLE WALENSKY, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: 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.
WATT: At noon in Texas, the bars were ordered to close once more. Houston is now recommending people stay home again.
REP. VICENTE GONZALEZ (D-TX): Clearly, we opened up too fast too soon. In my district in the Rio Grande Valley, we had a 700 percent increase in just the last 30 days.
WATT: In Texas, there are now more new cases and more COVID-19 patients in the hospital than ever before.
DR. LEANA WEN, EMERGENCY ROOM PHYSICIAN: My only concern is, are these restrictions too late? Are they enough?
WATT: In Florida, the day reopening began mid-May, fewer than 1,000 new cases were reported, today, nearly 9,000, again, an all-time record high. They just outlawed alcohol consumption in bars again, still no statewide mask order, but Miami will now fine anyone who won't wear one, hoping that helps.
MAYOR FRANCIS SUAREZ (R-FL), MIAMI: We really don't want to have to go backwards and undo some of the openings and potentially reimpose a stay-at-home order. But you can't discount that option as a possibility.
WATT: Meanwhile, some of those Northeast states hit hard early now hoping to have kids back into modified classrooms come the fall.
MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO (D-NY), NEW YORK CITY: I can tell you, plan A is the maximum number of kids in schools.
WATT: Today, the vice president pointed out that around half of new cases are now in the under-35s.
PENCE: Which is, at a certain level, very encouraging news.
WATT: Sure, they suffer less, but maybe spread more? Here's another rose-tinted interpretation of the numbers:
DR. ROBERT REDFIELD, CDC DIRECTOR: We have seen a progressive decline in deaths.
WATT: That may be true, but some say, just wait.
DR. PETER HOTEZ, BAYLOR COLLEGE OF MEDICINE: We know the death rates will -- the deaths will follow the big resurgence in the number of cases.
WATT: And, those cases are now rising at record rates in Florida, Texas, California, the three most populous states in America.
The governor of California now telling one county their numbers are so bad they need to return to a safer at home order.
The mayor of San Francisco is saying that some reopening that was planned for Monday is now on hold -- Nick Watt, CNN, Los Angeles.
ALLEN: The task force briefing on Friday was not the only first one in two months. It wasn't even held at the White House. It was at the Department of Health and Human Services. The group initially met daily but its briefings were limited a few weeks ago. As Dr. Sanjay Gupta tells us, it was full of contradictory and misleading spin.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Watching that press briefing really did feel like an alternate reality versus what happens on the ground in the United States.
If you look at the graphic, we can see how much things have changed since the last Coronavirus Task Force briefing. The numbers are going up. Now at the highest level they've been, in terms of new infections since the pandemic began.
I think when you have a Coronavirus Task Force meeting for the first time in two months, they would address these concerns, hotspots and present plans forward. There wasn't any of that. It was more of a minimizing of the current state of affairs. Vice president saying that all 50 states are opening safely and responsibly; that's not true.
We know several states have put the pause on reopening, so concerned are they about the new infections in their states. We heard there was 45 days of slowing the spread. There was a downturn for a little bit. But the lowest number of cases in this country, about 17,000 cases at June 1st.
Is that the best we can do?
They said they greatly expanded the testing. The reality is, whatever the testing is, it's still not enough in this country. If you look at the road maps to recovery, they talk about 5 million tests per day. Right now we're at about 500,000.
And the idea of testing has caused some flashpoints, even within the Coronavirus Task Force, according to some new reporting. The CDC didn't have an effective test released initially. There's been a lot of criticism for that, well reported.
But the concern is now middle, end of June, we still don't have enough testing. We still don't have enough antigen testing, quick, reliable testing that could help the country reopen. And I think there's a lot of frustration among task force members that that hasn't happened.
So the first task force briefing in over two months. And what we were left with was a spin, trying to paint a rosier picture than the situation actually is in the United States. And sadly, no new plans going forward.
ALLEN: Joining me now is virologist Dr. Muhammad Munir from Lancaster University in England.
DR. MUHAMMAD MUNIR, LANCASTER UNIVERSITY: Good morning, Natalie.
ALLEN: One expert likened the situation in the U.S. as a four-alarm fire. ICUs are being filled again. The administration remains tone deaf, without a master plan to address this.
How does the U.S. put out this fire?
MUNIR: Yes, absolutely. I think (INAUDIBLE) when the number of cases are going up and up again. And going at the scale that had never seen during the coronavirus pandemic.
MUNIR: That's primarily due to premature opening up economies and also mixed messages from (INAUDIBLE) stakeholders, including government and the researchers. At this point, the critical point is to revisit the whole scenario, going back in the state where we have been before and ramping up the capability.
I know the ICU would be under immense pressure (INAUDIBLE) and get closer from the initial infection to the sickness. But I think the good point is that probably the most (INAUDIBLE) are little more (INAUDIBLE) than in the first place (ph).
ALLEN: From the very beginning, the United States has lagged behind in testing.
Is it too late to ramp up testing in these hot spots?
MUNIR: Not really. Every time there's a new cluster or emergency, there's a need for the testing and to improve the existing testing There's never been late for improving the testing capabilities.
Now as a number of increases the need for testing, (INAUDIBLE). So I think it is an urgent need to revisit the whole scenario and reamplify the capability. And learning from the previous experience, as we know. In the beginning, there were a few glitches into the testing.
So certainly, there's a great need and probably the most important time, now, to really test and isolate people before it comes into the situation where the U.S. has been before.
ALLEN: You say that just days after President Trump said what we need is less testing. I want to talk to you about what a doctor in Houston said. They are days before running out of capacity. Then they'll have to tell sick people to stay home. Tell us what hospitals will be up against yet again.
MUNIR: I don't see by any means that the testing need to be reduced. Yes, you can test less but that would not identify cases. The test is there to identify how much the infection is there. If the infection is there, it would be detected. And if not, it would not.
Getting back to the hospitalizations and the capabilities, this is a grim situation. Every effort should be put in place. This is the only situation where Africa has done better than America. It would be a shame if the coronavirus would go out of control in the second wave.
ALLEN: What do you make of this administration's blase attitude toward wearing masks?
The medical community is literally begging people to wear masks. MUNIR: Certainly, that's another information that's confused people from the beginning. At the government level, it's a chance to advise or mediate. I'm not in a position to take the masks on. Between this and the politicians, the public has been in that critical stage.
And now, even, according to my information, some states are positive to have the mask, while others are not. That's the role of international organizations to really make a unanimous decision that all countries in certain situations, has to wear masks (INAUDIBLE).
ALLEN: That's another challenge in a country with 50 states and every state is going its own way on this.
Let's look for a bright spot here. Talk about the gains that people have made with months of experience in dealing with this.
Will people getting sick have a better chance?
MUNIR: Yes. We have learned a lot six, seven months into this pandemic. That includes what are the treatments that have been working. Now we have two drugs that are relatively better. Dexamethasone and remdesivir, although that's a little bit difficult to catch. But we can count on it. Probably the ventilators are not that critical, a shortage. So learning from the previous experiences and building onto the infrastructure, there are some good signs that we can count on.
ALLEN: Muhammad Munir with Lancaster University in England, we always appreciate your time and expertise. Thank you very much.
MUNIR: Thank you very much for having me.
ALLEN: The coronavirus is factoring into a critical ruling by a U.S. judge on the detention of migrant children. The judge says children in family detention centers must be released by mid-July because of the virus. They will go with parents if possible.
But if not, Immigration and Customs Enforcement must place them in alternatives or place them in a COVID-free setting with consent of their parents or guardians.
Ahead on CNN NEWSROOM, the European Union may not be the place to be for U.S. travelers this summer.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JUDGE LINA HIDALGO, HARRIS COUNTY, TEXAS: Our public health capacity is strained or exceeded. Health care surge is not only likely but already in progress. This is a serious situation.
HIDALGO: We cannot let this moment pass without action.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ALLEN: A Harris County, Texas, judge there. The situation is dire. Officials are taking drastic action to slow the spread of the virus. In the past 4 days, they confirmed more than 23,000 new cases. CNN's Alexandra Field has more from us from Houston.
ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A major turnaround in Texas, as COVID-19 cases soar. Governor Abbott, one of the first to open up is walking it back.
Bars must close but can still guarantee deliver. New restrictions on restaurant capacity and additional limits on outdoor crowds. Houston is now a hot spot. Some local officials want the governor to do more.
HIDALGO: There's no evidence out there to show that anything short of a stay-at-home order will do. We have between 10 to 30 days before we get to capacity.
FIELD (voice-over): Here in Harris County, the countries' third largest county, the local COVID warning system is raised to its highest level, severe, indicating an uncontrolled outbreak, a strain on testing and tracing and a recommendation for people to stay home. Texas continues to smash its daily record of new confirmed cases. Hospitalizations have been climbing since June.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We see a trend towards a younger population both in our community testing and who is being admitted to our hospitals.
FIELD (voice-over): Some health officials blame the state's early reopening.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was a layered effect. So first restaurants at some percentage. Then gyms and hair salons. And then, bars and restaurants. Mother's Day, on top of that, Memorial Day and the marches and you have had other graduations.
FIELD (voice-over): A pop-up hospital in a Houston parking lot earlier could soon reopen inside the NRG Center, home to the Houston Texans.
This virus is out of control in Houston. If we don't act to get it under control, extremely bad things will happen, sickness, death, our economy progressively getting shut in.
FIELD (voice-over): A city that thought the worst was behind them, facing an even greater challenge -- Alexandra Field, CNN, Houston, Texas.
ALLEN: Americans hoping to take a post-lockdown holiday in Europe this summer might end up quite disappointed. Diplomats tell CNN travelers from the U.S. are likely not to get into the E.U. We get more about it from Kiley Atwood.
KYLIE ATWOOD, CNN SECURITY ANALYST: Most travelers from the United States are unlikely to visit the E.U. when they open up to international travelers next month. This was an agreement made by the ambassadors to the E.U. from their countries.
This is effectively a reflection of the fact that the United States has a growing number of coronavirus cases. One of the things they looked at is the rate of coronavirus cases in these countries.
That's why they decided that the U.S. was one of the countries where they would keep travelers from being able to visit the E.U. countries. Another country where they'll keep travelers out from is Russia. There's a whole host of countries that can visit the E.U., including Canada and Australia.
Earlier in the week, secretary of state Mike Pompeo said he had been talking with his counterparts all around the world, including in the E.U., to determine safe travel protocol. And he acknowledged that the U.S. didn't want to create problems elsewhere -- Kylie Atwood, CNN, the State Department.
ALLEN: Let's talk more about it. Salma Abdelaziz joins me now from London.
Good morning, Salma. This move by the E.U. is quite extraordinary. It could have an impact in many ways.
SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN PRODUCER: That's right, Natalie. And it is indeed extraordinary. But it is unlikely, simply put. It's very unlikely that U.S. travelers will be allowed into the European Union right now.
We had one E.U. official who spoke to us. His statement here.
ABDELAZIZ: "U.S. chances are close to zero with their infection rates, not even they can believe in that possibility."
You heard earlier, we have gotten reaction from the State Department on this, essentially saying that they appreciate the transparency from the E.U. and look forward to working together.
A vague statement, making it seem that the United States believes there is a door for negotiations. But these criteria has yet to be passed. But it's a matter of passing those points on the checklist. It will be facts and numbers. This is a health decision and not a political one.
Once the rules are in place, you have no exceptions. When you have an American president that believes in exceptionalism, he may perceive this as a political decision.
ALLEN: He could very well do that. What are the potential economic indications of this decision?
ABDELAZIZ: They could be huge. And Mike Pompeo alluded to this, that it was important for the European Union to fully reintegrate with the American economy. This is not just about tourism but also that the United States is one of the E.U.'s largest trading partners.
Tourism is important; many E.U. countries rely heavily on tourism. At least 15 percent of Spain's GDP relies on tourism. France, 10 percent. So there's massive financial implications. But E.U. officials are not willing to risk lives for economic gain. They are not willing to risk a second spike in the virus to reopen their economies to the United States.
So yes, while Americans will be leaning heavy on the economic coordination between the two countries, that will not be considered an exception. And if you don't tick the boxes on that checklist, you won't be allowed into the E.U.
ALLEN: That shows the downward spiral that this virus continues to have on the United States. Salma, thank you so much.
The White House Coronavirus Task Force held its first public briefing in weeks on Friday. But the rosy spin left some health experts baffled. A closer look after this.
ALLEN: Welcome back to our viewers here in the U.S. and around the world. I'm Natalie Allen. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM.
With coronavirus infections rapidly rising, the White House Coronavirus Task Force on Friday held its first public briefing in almost two months. Vice president Mike Pence addressed reporters and painted a rosy picture of the administration's efforts to stem the crisis.
But the facts don't back up his assessment. Since the last task force briefing in late April, the new case numbers dipped slightly and then went up and up. Now alarming spikes are being reported in multiple states. Here's Jim Acosta.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): With COVID-19 sweeping across the South and out West, the administration's Coronavirus Task Force finally reemerged, but Vice President Mike Pence appeared to be looking at the soaring number of cases through rose-colored glasses. PENCE: All 50 states and territories across this country are opening up safely and responsibly. We slowed the spread. We flattened the curve. We saved lives.
ACOSTA: But that's not quite true, as a surprising spike in coronavirus cases is spreading from Florida to Southern California, forcing some states to pause their reopening.
Task force Dr. Anthony Fauci tried to add a dose of reality, gently putting his finger on some of the nation's missteps.
FAUCI: Everything from maybe opening a little bit too early on some, to opening at the right time, but not actually following the steps in an orderly fashion, to actually trying to follow the steps in an orderly fashion, but the citizenry did not feel that they wanted to do that, for a number of reasons.
ACOSTA: Fauci tried to make an appeal to individual Americans to do more.
FAUCI: You have an individual responsibility to yourself, but you have a societal responsibility.
ACOSTA: It was the first task force news conference in nearly two months, with a change of scenery, as officials addressed the pandemic at the Department of Health and Human Services instead of at the White House.
TRUMP: And then I see the disinfectant, where it knocks it out in a minute.
ACOSTA: Where the briefings came to a screeching halt back in April, when the president suggested that Americans inject themselves with disinfectants to kill the virus.
As for the wisdom of holding crowded campaign events like the president's rally in Tulsa last weekend, Pence tried to dance around the question.
PENCE: We still want to give people the freedom to participate in the political process.
QUESTION: So, how can you say that the campaign is not part of the problem?
PENCE: Even in a health crisis, the American people don't forfeit our constitutional rights.
ACOSTA: Pence also declined to give a full-throated endorsement for masks, despite wearing one in public the day before.
PENCE: The first principle is that people ought to listen to their state and local authorities.
ACOSTA: Former Vice President Joe Biden said he would try to mandate masks. JOE BIDEN, FORMER U.S. VICE PRESIDENT AND PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I would insist that everybody out in public be wearing that mask. Anyone to reopen would have to make sure that they walked into a business that had masks.
ACOSTA: The administration is considering a new approach to halting community spread with something called pool testing that would have health officials testing batches of samples from people in groups.
If the batch is positive, individuals in that group need to be tested. If a pool is negative, that means the whole group is likely safe.
TRUMP: If we didn't do testing, we would have no cases.
ACOSTA: Even as the president continues to downplay testing, he is struggling to lay out what he would do if he won reelection, never really answering the question on FOX.
SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS HOST: What are your top priority items for a second term?
TRUMP: Well, one of the things that will be really great, the word experience is still good. I always say talent is more important than experience. I have always said that.
ACOSTA: "The Wall Street Journal" argued, Mr. Trump "still has no second term message, beyond his own grievances and may soon need a new nickname for sleepy Joe Biden. How does president-elect sound?"
While Mr. Trump attacked Biden's occasional gaffes, he had one of his own, appearing to say the former vice president would win the race.
TRUMP: But, I mean, the man can't speak and he's going to be president because some people don't love me maybe and all I'm doing is doing my job.
ACOSTA: Even in the middle of a pandemic and a recession, the Trump administration is asking the Supreme Court to overturn ObamaCare.
ACOSTA: That's despite the fact that nearly a half million Americans who lost their health insurance during the pandemic were able to obtain coverage through ObamaCare.
The president has not yet explained what he would do to replace ObamaCare if it's overturned -- Jim Acosta, CNN, the White House.
ALLEN: Let's talk about the administration response with Natasha Lindstaedt.
Good morning to you, Professor. Thanks for coming on.
NATASHA LINDSTAEDT, UNIVERSITY OF ESSEX: Thanks for having me. ALLEN: Well, 32 states are moving in the wrong direction. The E.U. is
looking at blocking U.S. travelers because of that. And the vice president says, quote, "We're in a much stronger place," end quote.
Is the Trump administration being honest with the American people?
What do you make of their stance?
LINDSTAEDT: They seem to be completely in denial. It sounded like two different press conferences, the one by medical experts like Dr. Anthony Fauci and one by vice president Mike Pence, who is remaining very loyal to the president and toeing the line here that everything is getting better and we are flattening the curve.
It's clear to anyone that can see that the curve is not flattening. And he made the statement that states are going to be reopening, when they're going to have to make reversals. We had huge spikes in cases like Florida and Texas.
And Georgia and Texas are deciding they have to step back on their efforts to reopen, because the cases are going out of control again. It's as if the Trump administration is not aware of this.
And one of the more interesting exchanges that was highlighted, was this idea that Pence feels that our individual freedoms are more important than protecting others from the virus.
A reporter was questioning him about going against local health officials, in some of these campaign rallies. And he said it's about our individual freedoms and protecting the First Amendment.
This would be contradicted by Fauci, who says it's all about social responsibility and protecting our community. So there seems to be a disconnect between the medical experts and the Trump administration.
ALLEN: Do you think the administration is purposely acting unfazed because it's an election year and they want to try to present national crisis, everything is all right here?
LINDSTAEDT: I think that's what Trump is trying to do, create a narrative that everything is fine, we're going to have a comeback. But there's been so many missteps on the way they handled this. They didn't test and trace extensively in the beginning. I know they are testing more now.
They didn't shut down things early enough. And they reopened too soon. And there wasn't a federal response. There's not much to brag about here. What's left is trying to portray, you know, fantastic optimism about what's going to happen and we're doing well and great, basically to ignore the realities.
But we can see the cases are spiking and not going down. We can see, in comparison to other countries, we're doing comparatively, much worse.
ALLEN: With all that's on this president's plate right now, when asked by FOX News, what his top priority items are for a second term, again, this was his answer.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
QUESTION: What are your top priority items for a second term?
TRUMP: One of the things that will be really great and the experience is so good. I said that talent is an important term.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
Can you tell what the intent of that answer was there?
LINDSTAEDT: No. I can't make much sense of it. Trump hasn't really come up with much of a plan, how he's going to get us out of this mess. We also have a pandemic going on. And he tried to get the Supreme Court to strike down on the Affordable Care Act, one thing that can protect Americans with pre-existing conditions.
In response to all of the tensions going on, in light of the protests and the atrocities from the past and current that are continuing, that African Americans face, he decided to sign an executive order to protect monuments in a militarized way.
So there's been very little action. There's not much of a plan. I don't know what he's trying to communicate to the public with that past statement. It's muddled. And it reflects that he doesn't have a lot of policy experience.
LINDSTAEDT: This is known by populist leaders. When they have to govern, they don't have much to offer because they lack the experience that is needed to effectively lead a country.
ALLEN: That's was apparent in that answer, wasn't it.
You mentioned an executive order to protect monuments that are important to conservatives. You also mentioned he's asking the Supreme Court to overturn ObamaCare at this precarious time in our country.
It just points, again, to one solid thing for his administration, his playbook doesn't change. But polls indicate that playbook isn't working.
LINDSTAEDT: Right. And I think his campaign team needs to switch things up a bit and clarify a message that would resonate with people that supported him in the beginning, that would be about lowering taxes and being favorable to businesses and small businesses.
That's what he should be talking about. Instead, he's getting distracted, pushing for the Supreme Court to undo ObamaCare is vindictive and not sensitive to what most Americans are going through, given we're in the midst of a pandemic. And the push for the monuments to be protected, that only serves the
base. That's not what the majority of the country really wants. These are historical monuments that we can associate with a negative period in our history.
And momentum is pushing for these to be taken down. So he seems really out of touch with the pulse of what's going on with the majority of the country and seems to be really only able to cater to a rapidly dwindling base.
ALLEN: We always appreciate your insights, Natasha Lindstaedt. Thanks for your time.
LINDSTAEDT: Thanks for having me.
ALLEN: Facebook is promising tougher action on hate speech after an advertiser has threatened the bottom line. The social media giant has been criticized for inaction on Trump posts. But on Friday, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said Facebook will label controversial content and tighten policies. Here's a quote.
"We want to do more to prohibit the kind of divisive and inflammatory rhetoric that has been used to sow discord."
These are other companies that have pulled their Facebook ads. One critic called Zuckerberg's latest comments 11 minutes of wasted opportunity.
Some Americans think wearing a mask restricts their rights.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No matter the circumstance?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No matter the circumstance. It should be up to you. You're right.
ALLEN (voice-over): Freedom versus public health in Florida, where coronavirus is on the rise. Why things are looking grim in the Sunshine State.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAYOR FRANCIS SUAREZ (R-FL), MIAMI: We see our hospitalizations go up, our ICU beds go up, our ventilators are going up, still with sufficient capacity but going up. It's worrisome. (END VIDEO CLIP)
ALLEN: Miami's mayor there, Francis Suarez, on the growing COVID-19 numbers in Florida, as he made wearing face masks in public mandatory.
On Friday, the state reported almost 9,000 new cases, bringing the total number to almost 123,000 and deaths to more than 3,300. Democratic congressman James Clyburn appealed for people to wear masks.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JAMES CLYBURN (D-SC): I grew up believing that the first sign of a good education is good manners. I think it's good manners to look out for your fellow. And I see all of the staff is wearing masks. I don't know what this is.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ALLEN: CNN's Miguel Marquez has more of what's going on in Florida.
MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The sunshine state in state of crisis. The number of coronavirus infections climbing at alarming rates with Florida reporting nearly 9,000 new cases, its highest single day to date.
Cities like Hollywood now mandating masks be worn in public even outdoors except when exercising.
LISA FEINTUCH, WEARS MASK EXCEPT WHEN EXERCISING: I do think for the safety of everybody, especially with the numbers rising here, just do it. It's selfish not to.
TINA LAPRE, WEARS MASK ONLY AT WORK: I think it should be up to you, honestly.
MARQUEZ (on camera): No matter the circumstances?
LAPRE: No matter the circumstances. It should be up to you. It's your right to wear it or not wear it.
MARQUEZ: Except it you could give it to someone and it could kill them.
LAPRE: That's -- I mean that's life. At this point, I mean, I can also give someone the common cold. I could also give someone the flu, right?
MARQUEZ: Those maybe don't have as high a death rate.
LAPRE: I think it's a little overrated.
MARQUEZ (voice-over): While some see government mask orders as infringing on their rights, officials here once confident they had beat the virus are scrambling to contain it.
New infections skyrocketing, Thursday statewide 13 percent of those tested came back positive. In Osceola County, near Orlando, 23 percent positive for the virus.
In Lee County, Fort Myers, nearly 20 percent positive. In Dade County, Miami, 14 percent positive and here in Broward, nearly 12 percent positive. All way too high.
MAYOR JOSH LEVY (R-FL), HOLLYWOOD: Right now, our -- in Florida, we're doing this. You know, the gating criteria really supposed to be doing downward. So, as long as you maintain and go downward, sure you can keep reopening. But so -- for now, it's paused.
MARQUEZ: Hollywood paused at the first stage of reopening.
Look, the mask order is a good thing, she says, because it protects me, my employees and my customers.
As wearing mask has become increasingly political, driven largely by the president and his handling of the crisis, even some supporters are beginning to question his judgment and their vote.
OZIEL ELIAC, TRUMP VOTER: You ask me five months ago, I'm going to said you definitely Trump because he handle everything right. But now, with all --
MARQUEZ (on camera): Because of the pandemic.
ELIAC: The pandemic and also Black Lives Matter and all those what happened now, it's complicated now.
MARQUEZ: The governor of Florida, Ron DeSantis, saying two things.
MARQUEZ: For the most part, it's younger people that they are seeing test positive in recent days, suggesting it's just as serious because they can give it to older people and it can make them very ill or kill them.
They're only seeing more positive cases because they're doing more testing. While that makes sense on some level, remember, this is the percentage of positive cases. Whether it's 100 or 100,000 people being tested, that rate of positivity is going up at a very, very sharp rate.
The governor not ringing the alarm bell here. But many cities and counties across the state of Florida see this as a public health crisis. Back to you.
ALLEN: Will the United States add a 51st star to its flag?
We'll have that story next. (MUSIC PLAYING)
ALLEN: For the first time, the U.S. House of Representatives has gone on record voting to make Washington, D.C., America's 51st state.
But will it happen?
Here's CNN's Tom Foreman.
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Cue the fireworks and patriotic music, just in time for Independence Day. Washington, D.C., is closer than ever before to becoming a state.
REP. STENY HOYER (D-MD): The District of Columbia statehood bill H.R.- 51, is passed.
FOREMAN: A vote in the House of Representatives made it happen and proponents are thrilled.
DEL. ELEANOR HOLMES NORTON (D-DC): For three generations, my family has been denied the rights of others Americans take for granted.
FOREMAN: But hold on. Supporters of statehood still face a long, hard road, first because the Constitution says D.C. should be a neutral ground where lawmakers from all states can meet and govern.
The new proposal would carve out the center of D.C. for that purpose. But critics aren't swallowing that doughnut.
REP. JODY HICE (R-GA): Washington, D.C.'s status as the capital of the United States is exactly as our founders intended.
FOREMAN: Second, the balance of power. In 1961, passage of the 23rd Amendment gave D.C. residents their votes in presidential contests, but statehood would give the largely Democratic region a voting representative and two senators. Many Republicans really don't want that. And many Democrats find their opposition really offensive.
MAYOR MURIEL BOWSER (D-WA), DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: People should not look to us and say that we're too urban, we're too black, we're too liberal and we have to justify our American citizenship and representation.
FOREMAN: And, third, demographics?
When it was pointed out in debate that Wyoming has fewer residents than D.C., Republican senator Tom Cotton said, no kidding: Yes, but those Wyoming folks are miners, loggers, construction workers. SEN. TOM COTTON (R-AR): Wyoming is a well-rounded working-class state.
FOREMAN: If statehood were approved, the new state's initials would still be D.C. for Douglass Commonwealth, a salute to Frederick Douglass, former slave, abolitionist and author.
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): We have come a long way.
FOREMAN: But the Republican-led Senate and the White House have vowed to stop this effort in its tracks, meaning those who have literally waited for decades for this to happen will have to wait at least a little bit longer, because, frankly, that is the state of politics in the District -- Tom Foreman, CNN, Washington, D.C.
ALLEN: I'll be right back with another hour of CNN NEWSROOM.