Return to Transcripts main page

CNN NEWSROOM

As COVID Cases Rise, States Struggle With School Reopenings; Only About 10 Percent Of ICU Hospital Beds Open Across Arizona; Dallas County Judge Calls On Texas Governor To Add More Restrictions To Slow Spread Of Coronavirus; Justice Roberts Sides With Liberal Justices To Block Louisiana Abortion Law; At Least 80 COVID-19 Cases Linked To One Michigan Bar. Aired 12-12:30p ET

Aired June 29, 2020 - 12:00   ET

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


[12:00:00]

ERIC MACKEY, ALABAMA STATE SUPERINTENDENT OF EDUCATION: --the Department of Health, public officials, medical officials and local Mayors and town councils to all of our openings possible.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN HOST: Yes, I mean it is. Talk about a challenge on your hands it's pretty remarkable. Thank you for coming. Good luck, we'll check back and I really appreciate it.

MACKEY: Thank you.

BOLDUAN: Our coverage continues right now. It is the top of the hour everyone. I'm Kate Bolduan. Thank you so much for being here with us today. As we're talking about right there and we continue to talk about is a troubling rise in cases of coronavirus.

It is as if I am reading you the news from March or April but no it is June 29th and yes this is a very scary reality facing much of the country right now. You can see the numbers there on the screen as we show you all the time more than 10 million cases globally, more than 2.5 million cases in the United States and more than 125,000 deaths.

31 states are trending in the wrong direction after aggressive reopening efforts in many places. Now some of those states like Florida and Texas are backtracking closing down bars and beaches now once again as they trying to get their spike under control.

But Dr. Anthony Fauci he is warning that even states that have a handle on cases are still in danger because of a lack of personal responsibility.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: Even in states that are telling their citizens to do it correctly they're doing that. There are crowds they're not physical distancing and they're not wearing masks that's a recipe for disaster.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BOLDUAN: Florida is one of the state's seeing its cases spike. CNN's Randi Kaye is there for some in Palm Beach County. Randi lay out for folks what is happening there what's behind it and what they're trying to do about it?

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it would depend on who you ask Kate? I mean, right now we're certainly seeing a spike in numbers more than 5200 new cases today. Although on Saturday we had a record high of more than 9500 cases.

So the state is breeding a bit of a sigh of relief but we are seeing spikes here and that's a big reason why the local officials in some counties have decided to close the beaches in the State of Florida for the July 4th weekend?

If you take a look, here you can see it's still pretty crowded although folks are social distancing but they just don't want to see a spike on top of a spike as they put it. So those in Palm Beach County where I am, Miami-Dade and Broward County have all decided to close the beaches.

We heard from some of those county officials earlier to lay out their reasoning as to why listen to this?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DAVE KERNER, VICE MAYOR, WEST PALM BEACH COUNTY, FL: The community spread that would go with that that amount of people on the beach. We're not in a position to handle that from any metric.

MAYOR CARLOS GIMENEZ (R), MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FL: I was afraid though the surge of people coming in for July 4th weekend and our inability possible inability to control that. The problem is young people, people 18 to 34, 35 to 44 are the basically just disregarding the rules that we put in place.

(END VIDOE CLIP)

KAYE: So the 25 to 34 year olds according to the Governor have about a 20 percent positivity rate. So those are not numbers that are very good certainly alarming. The Governor Kate you asked why this is happening said that there's been a graduation party. He's also writing this off to more testing the State of Florida has doubled its testing from about 24,000 to 45,000 a day.

But he still hasn't closed the beaches statewide for July 4th weekend nor has he mandated that everyone around the state wear masks. So that's also a problem although some counties are deciding just like they're closing their beaches to also mandate masks when you're outdoors and you can't safely social distance.

You need to wear a mask and certainly when you're indoors. One of those counties Kate is Miami-Dade which has seen an increase in hospitalizations for the last 15 days consecutively certainly very concerning. BOLDUAN: Absolutely and again you watch that lack right? The actions you take today its two weeks - a week 2 weeks 3 weeks to see the actual result and so people need to be made to just get out it and hope for the best. Great to see you Randi, thank you.

Arizona is seeing a spike in new Coronavirus cases as well with more than 3800 new cases added just yesterday. That's the single highest daily increasing cases according to Arizona Department of Health.

The number of cases has tripled just this month along with the surge in cases hospitals desperately running out of space. State's reporting that nearly 90 percent of its ICU beds are already full. CNN's Stephanie Elam, she's joining me now from Phoenix with this state story. Stephanie how is the state handling this?

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, this is not exactly what anybody wants to see here Kate. And we take a look at the fact that their ICU beds are almost 90 percent full here. The hospitals are moving to surge capacity figuring out where they can get more space.

We know that one - the health system here Banner Health saying that they are actually contracting to get 200 registered nurses to come in and help. Some of those nurses have worked in New York during their difficult period.

[12:05:00]

ELAM: Now coming here to Arizona we also reached out to Banner Health just to verify some information we saw that they are actually putting in some COVID space inside of children's hospital saying that they're actually used 3 unoccupied floors of Cardon Children's that is going to be expanded for adult bed capacity.

Think about what this means or this means that they need more space to treat these people here? What's also interesting is that Governor Doug Ducey has said that people should wear a mask. I could tell you we're driving it yesterday there are signs on the highway saying where a mask. Mask up AZ you can see that all throughout the area.

However, he's left it up to the counties and the cities to make this call about whether or not they're going to require mask? So Maricopa County which is where Phoenix is that is where you'll see that people are now required to wear mask.

But it's not universal across the state and they're concerned that the state opened up too quickly in some areas. Health officials saying that they saw too many people getting together in those large groups and that a lot of this maybe community spread.

And so they're telling people and these businesses to stay the distance apart as necessary and also to make sure people are socially distant otherwise are saying they're going to come after the bad actors. But the Governor is saying he's relying on people's sense of community to do the right thing to say socially distant and to wear masks, Kate. BOLDUAN: And Stephanie, Elizabeth Cohen pointed out in the last hour. There's also some really concerning data out about the status of contact tracers in Arizona and other hot spots and wherever you're hearing about that there?

ELAM: And this is such a huge part of it. And you seen it in very large states were California is ramping up their contact tracing to be able to call people and say hey listen you were in contact with somebody who is tested positive?

We want to get to you make sure that you have the resources and make sure you're quarantining. Well, based on this new information that's coming out to us Arizona has about 5 contact tracers per 100,000 people. And based on this, researchers are saying that they should have about 30 people dedicated to that.

So well below those numbers here that means that potentially someone could test positive but the people around them are not getting that call to alert them to the fact that they could in fact be also positive and that they need to get tested.

And that is a huge part of the concern of this community spread that people aren't getting word about that and if they're a symptomatic. They could be taken that virus further out into society Kate.

BOLDUAN: Absolutely. Short of a vaccine, contact tracing in those mitigation factors that is key and we're not seeing it happen yet. Good to see you thank you Stephanie. So let's go to Texas now where the number of Coronavirus cases is also surging.

You can see in just the last 2 weeks how the average number of cases has increased dramatically? And in Dallas County the second most populous in the state they soared past their record number of daily infections 570 new cases just yesterday.

Joining me right now is Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins. It is good to see Judge, thank you very much for being here. I was looking at the way people are describing what the states looking at this weekend? It was another record high of Coronavirus hospitalizations which is extremely troubling sixteenth day in a row for the state.

In your county yesterday you reported another record high of daily infections, what we're looking at? What is behind the rise in new cases in Dallas County?

JUDGE CLAY JENKINS, DALLAS COUNTY, TEXAS: Now essentially it's the Governor's reopening of Texas in ways that were different than what the CDC and the Texas doctors' recommended.

And then the messaging behind that where do you stop the local governments from having requirements that we had created with business and health care locally that had made to spread somewhat controlled in March and April?

When we were leaving the country in deaths per capita and spread and now as you pointed out we're going in the wrong direction. So I asked the doctors to come up with a list of what the government needs to do to correct this? And I sent that to him 2 days ago. And then I would state what--

BOLDUAN: Sorry Judge, but that's what I wanted to get at because of what you're seeing, you wrote this letter to the Governor because he has paused the state's reopening. He's closed down bars. He has made some adjustments but from what I see that you wrote in your letter what the doctors are telling you?

And what you're seeing, that's not enough he needs to go well beyond that is what it seems your letter - you're suggesting the letter? What are you seeing that you think the Governor is not?

JENKINS: Well, we're seeing and you know we should all be seeing the same things and that is what the doctors are telling us. And what they're telling us is that hospitalizations here in Dallas had doubled for COVID just this month and also in our region.

I think we're at the tipping point down in Harris County where Houston is and so the doctors are asking is return to safer at home on people for business - for us to have universal masking for businesses that cannot be 100 percent mask like a cigar bar or exercise area or to the bowling alley some of these things that close.

[12:10:00]

JENKINS: And those businesses that do remain open, they're going to remain open at 50 percent occupancy with everyone that can telecommute - telecommuting. Additionally the Governor removed all of the regulations for daycare when it had put the CDC regulations in place and restricting daycare to essential workers. It's all found in that letter.

BOLDUAN: I want to show you some video. I know you've seen it. It happened in Dallas is when the Vice President Mike Pence visited just yesterday. He was in Dallas for an event and he was wearing a mask, a large part of the crowd this event was held in a local church of course was not wearing masks.

And then there was the performance by a choir of about 100 people singing obviously as you can see not wearing masks. They did wear masks when they sat down. You've seen this with everything that we just discussed and what you're asking and warning the Governor about here what did you think when you saw that?

JENKINS: Well, it's a worry for the people that are in the crowd there because what we're seeing we're expending a lot more of a volume then when we're just sitting and so that was very dangerous very unfortunate. But its sends a mixed message you know the Governor said everything's great, everything's going well, get the economy open.

And even if people choose not to go to bars or not to go to an amusement park and ride a roller coaster that sort of messaging relaxes their standards you know and their daily life. And so when we see them as well as going to a performance for 100 people reading on it, it sends a very bad message. We need to speak with one voice and that voice needs to be to follow the advice of the doctors and the specialist to prepare their entire adult - in this moment and that's infectious disease epidemiology and public health. The Governor needs to act decisively and you can listen to those voices and take their advice. We do that we've got a chance of pulling out of this tailspin.

BOLDUAN: How close do you think you're counting the state is being overwhelmed by cases? How worried are you?

JENKINS: Well, I think you pointed out earlier Dr. Fauci, points out all time, whenever you see today in the numbers is about 2 weeks behind what is actually happening on the ground? And the things that you do today will have an effect in no sooner than two weeks.

So the time to act is now. I am very concerned because the doctors are very concerned and Kaye made my piece early on that I'm not a doctor and it's my job to listen to them and to act decisively. The Governor is taking a lot of the control away from the local government.

You know I was the first person to go stay for home in Texas and many other local governments quickly followed. And we had things on a good trajectory until the Governor around May 1st said start doing what you're doing and took it over him?

And then went on talk radio and criticized Republican local officials we would fall under our lead. And so it's very difficult now for anyone to get us out of this other than the person who got us into it. So we need a Governor to act decisively now and do what the doctors are asking.

BOLDUAN: Judge, thank you. Thanks for following the science.

JENKINS: Thank you.

BOLDUAN: Coming up for us. Supreme Court rules on a controversial Louisiana Abortion Law putting all eyes once again on the Chief Justice today. Also ahead President Trump says intelligence about Taliban militants being paid by Russia to kill U. S. troops is not credible. Why he says he was never briefed on the matter?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[12:15:00]

BOLDUAN: A huge decision from the Supreme Court today. The Chief Justice John Roberts and joining the court's 4 liberal leaning justices in striking down Louisiana's restrictive abortion laws it would have closed all but one abortion clinic left in the state.

The justices struck that down today. Chief Justice Roberts citing earlier precedent in saying that the Louisiana law amounted to an undue burden on access. But also importantly Roberts choosing the integrity of the court over personal ideology it seems.

CNN's Ariane de Vogue joins me now for much more on this. Ariane, as was pointed out to me earlier this is the first time that Chief Justice has ever voted against abortion regulations. What do you make of this decision?

ARIANE DE VOGUE, CNN SUPREME COURT REPORTER: Right. As you said the Chief Justice here sighting with those four liberals to strike down the Louisiana Abortion Law it was 5-4. This was a law that required doctors to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital.

Clinics and doctors who challenged it said it was medically unnecessary. It was a failed attempt to restrict abortion. Whereas Louisiana said look it's a public safety measure. It's necessary for public safety. A little bit of context here keep in mind it was just 4 years ago that the court struck down a Texas law.

And in that case Chief Justice John Roberts was on the other side. But today he said in this opinion he vote separately. So the four liberals wrote the main opinion and then he wrote separately to join them to give them his vote.

And he said this; the Louisiana Law imposes a burden on access to abortion just as severe as that imposed by the Texas law for the same reasons. Therefore the Louisiana's Law cannot stand under our precedents.

So there he is, he is providing the fifth vote but here's what's really interesting in his opinion he also suggested that similar laws might be able to stand in the states.

[12:20:00]

VOGUE: So today this is a win for the clinics but they see more challenges ahead. And they see that this is all playing out in the heat of the election.

BOLDUAN: We cannot forget that, that is for sure. Thank you Ariane I really appreciate it. Coming up for us more than 80 cases of Coronavirus thought to be linked now to one bar in Michigan. What happened there and what's happening now that's next?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[12:25:00]

BOLDUAN: An alarming story out of Michigan and likely now a cautionary tale for everyone. At least 80 people have tested positive for Coronavirus after visiting a bar in East Lansing, Michigan earlier this month. That's even with the restaurant, the pub, the bar following social distancing guidelines for table spacing and capacity.

Health officials are asking anyone who visited the Harper's Restaurant and Brew Pub between June 12th and 20th to now self quarantine. The bar is also now closed until they can make changes to make sure that their bar is safe.

With me now is the Mayor of East Lansing, Ruth Beier. Mayor, thank you for coming on. MAYOR RUTH BEIER, EAST LANSING, MICHIGAN: Thank you for having me.

BOLDUAN: Of course getting this virus that's just the cases that were aware of. Of course, I mean the Free Press was reporting that infections connected to this that was found like 100 miles away. Do you have your arms around how big this outbreak might be yet?

BEIER: Well, the science tells us that we don't yet. What we know today will change and for about the next 10 days probably there will be a new cases cropping up. Unfortunately our County Health Department has done a great job of contact tracing and they're working with other counties to make sure that everybody who was exposed knows that they were exposed and everybody that they've had contact with also is aware.

BOLDUAN: Everything that I'm saying is that the County Health Department says that the bar was following the rules when it came to guidelines for employees and capacity and table spacing. So that leaves, I mean - I'm still kind of sitting here wondering what happened here are the guidelines wrong or people are not following them.

BEIER: So as you know Governor Whitmer closed much earlier than other states and opened much later. And she actually has some very strict guidelines. And the bar did meet the guidelines for capacity and for keeping our masks on their employees and the employees were happy to wear a mask.

The problem is that they did not require masks for entry and they did not enforce wearing masks inside. So to say that they met the requirements of the Governor's Executive Order is not quite correct. They met two out of the three big ones.

But that being said, it may be that it wouldn't have mattered that much because trying to keep masks on young people in a dance bar is probably a folly. And it might be that this particular bar Harper's will have to change its model for a while so that patrons sit rather than mingle.

I mean the whole bars was about dancing and mingling and having a good time close to each other which probably we can't do during COVID.

BOLDUAN: And Mayor I've read that you said that you don't want bars and restaurants reopen until there is a vaccine which of course could be - I mean we don't know when? Its next year sometime we don't know? Why do you think that's necessary at this point? What are you seeing?

BEIER: So when I was talking about with bars like Harper's. Michigan has actually done a great job of keeping restaurants and small bars safe. It's the big ones that tried - I mean Harper's has a capacity of 950 in the not very large building. So I mean they're designed to be close to each other.

My concern when I said that what my reaction was to the elephant in the room that nobody's talking about which is we are in a pandemic and therefore you can't go places safely. You just can't and a lot of people can choose like me I can choose not to go to the bar. Those young people could have chosen not to go or to wear masks. And I would hope that they would.

But there's an entire class of people that nobody is talking about and they tend to be people of color and they're the people that have to go to work. And they have to be exposed; the essential workers and all the service workers in the country are being exposed to COVID because that's the way our economic system works.

And that's a problem that needs to be addressed. It is a public health crisis for the lower income and people of color.

BOLDUAN: Yes, that risk then that responsibility of community has not changed and this is a stark example of that. We'll check back and Mayor as we said it's - you're still going to see more cases pop up due to just this kind of one situation at one bar. Thank you Mayor for coming in and I really appreciate it.

BEIER: Yes, thank you.