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Jacksonville, Florida Mandates Face Masks Ahead Of RNC; Justice Roberts Sides With Liberal Justices To Block Louisiana Abortion Law; White House Briefing As Trump Stirs Culture War, Avoids Coronavirus Crisis. Aired 1-1:30p ET

Aired June 29, 2020 - 13:00   ET




KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Thank you all. I'm Kate Bolduan. Thanks for joining me today. Our coverage continues now with Brooke Baldwin. See you back here tomorrow.

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Hi there. I'm Brooke Baldwin. You're watching CNN. Thank you for being with me. And, of course, I want to welcome our viewers here in the United States and all around the world.

This pandemic, quote, is not even close to being over. That is the warning today from the director of the World Health Organization as 31 states report an increase in new coronavirus cases. Florida, Texas, Arizona and California are reporting record numbers of new infections. In fact, only four states are seeing a drop in new cases.

And as all these numbers continue to rise, at least 12 governors are either pausing or scaling back their reopening plans. Health Secretary Alex Azar gave this warning right here on CNN and appeared to contradict what Vice President Mike Pence just said last week about, quote, unquote, remarkable progress in the fight against COVID-19.


ALEX AZAR, HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES SECRETARY: Things are very different from two months ago. We now have three therapeutics. We have hospital capacity. We have reserves of personal protective equipment. We're speeding our way towards having vaccines. So it's a very different situation but this is a very, very serious situation and the window is closing for us to take action and get this under control.


BALDWIN: Well, here is how serious it is. Breaking just moments ago, the City of Jacksonville, Florida, keep in mind, that is the site of the Republican National Convention upcoming in August, just required face coverings for everyone. We'll get to Florida here in just a moment. But, first, one of the first states to reopen is now dealing with a major spike in cases, Texas. The governor there, Greg Abbott, says the spread of the virus there has taken a, quote, swift and very dangerous turn. Cases in Texas have jumped from about 2,000 a day to 5,000 a day.

And CNN's Miguel Marquez is at this hospital live for us this afternoon in Houston. And, Miguel, you were granted rare access inside that hospital with a large number of COVID patients. What did you see?

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, a lot of what we saw is what we have seen in other places but it is here now. Rare access indeed, rare because hospitals don't usually allow reporters in but it is such a serious situation here in Texas and this hospital and other healthcare systems across the state are looking at an absolute terrifying public health crisis.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, everybody ready?

MARQUEZ: Houston, Texas, now home to a major coronavirus outbreak. A procedure all too common when treating the most seriously ill with the virus, this patient on a ventilator, the breathing tube replaced to improve oxygen flow to the lungs.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One, two, three.


MARQUEZ: The tube pulled out, caked with dried secretions from the lungs' rife with the coronavirus.

The new tube immediately improves oxygen flow.

JOSEPH VARON, CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICER, UNITED MEMORIAL MEDICAL CENTER: That's the first one for today. So that was -- we have to change the tube and it's somebody that has no oxygen. People could die if his tube was malfunctioning, because a balloon at the end that was ruptured, so he wasn't getting enough oxygen.

MARQUEZ: United Medical Memorial Center, a 117-bed hospital serving a mostly working class community in North Houston, some things we have seen elsewhere, on a ventilator, a patient's chance for survival goes down, way down.

VARON: The problem is that once you intubate them, the chances of them leaving the hospital is less than 20 percent.

MARQUEZ: Unlike other hospitals we have seen, this facility is transforming itself into a sort of COVID specialty center.

VARON: Last three weeks I have seen more admissions and sicker patients than on the previous ten weeks. So it's been an exponential increase on the severity of illness and then the number of cases admitted. MARQUEZ: Its COVID unit expanding way beyond its intensive care unit by turning whole sections of the hospital into temporary airtight chambers, creating negative pressure zones to keep the airborne virus moving up and out. And strict protocols are in place for moving in and out of these zones, everyone must have a test for coronavirus before entering, even journalists and protective gear now so abundant that everyone triples up, some employees getting through eight sets or more of PPE in a single shift.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now, this is for the people that you are treating so that they know what it would look like.

MARQUEZ: In the 100 days they've been treating patients with coronavirus, only one nurse has developed the sickness. She is now being treated by her own colleagues.

You are the frontline worker in the battle against COVID and you now have it.

TANNA INGRAHAM, ICU NURSE, UNITED MEMORIAL MEDICAL CENTER: Yes. And it's -- I wouldn't wish this on my own enemy because I hurt from here all the way down, the base of my neck, and it's getting any sleep is almost like -- it is impossible.

MARQUEZ: She is not sure how she got it but it may have been a patient who had stopped breathing and despite multiple layers of PPE, the physical effort to save his life may have put her own at risk.

INGRAHAM: I was coding him. And as I was pushing down, air was coming but that's the only position that I could do it with.

MARQUEZ: The isolation of the disease difficult to deal with even for someone who knows what to expect. Her thoughts now with her nine and ten-year-old daughters.

What would you say to Madeleine and Abigail right now?

INGRAHAM: Baby, mommy loves you and misses you. I hope you're having a great time in California. Okay. I'm done.

MARQUEZ: The Lone Star State is now in a full-blown surge with coronavirus cases and hospitalizations rising at alarming rates. In Travis County, Austin's convention center is preparing to host an emergency care facility. Bear County to San Antonio saw a more than 600 percent increase in hospitalizations in June. And in Houston, hospitals are nearing capacity and preparations are underway to turn NRG Park, where the Houston Texans play, back into an emergency medical facility. It was taken down in April.

GOV. GREG ABBOTT (R-TX): If I could go back and redo anything, it probably would have been to slow down the opening of bars.

MARQUEZ: Texas now reversing parts of its aggressive effort to reopen its economy. Bars now closed again throughout the state. MOHAMED ALAM, OWNER, THE ORIGINAL RED ROOSTER: It's been difficult.

MARQUEZ: Mohamed Alam owns two night clubs in Houston, both now closed until further notice. He is now fighting for his life.

How do you think you got COVID?

ALAM: When the club opened, I have a -- the thing is they like to give me a hug and everything. So they try to give me hug or shake hand or maybe there was paying the money, counting the money return.

MARQUEZ: Today, United Memorial Medical Center is at about 80 percent capacity.

VARON: Please understand, these patients are very sick. These are patients that are about to die. So we have to admit them. And once they're here, despite everything we do, I mean, they have to stay in the hospital anywhere between five and ten days at a minimum. So those beds will be occupied for a period of five to ten days. So, sooner or later within the next two weeks, we're going to be at full house.

MARQUEZ: Dr. Varon, who has now worked for more than 100 days without stop has become a sort of coronavirus specialist. For now, it appears to be paying off. 96 percent of patients admitted to the hospital, he says, beat the disease.

VARON: COVID is a very fluid illness. It's an illness that changes. And what I knew four months ago is completely different than what I do now. The way I treated patients two months ago, it's 100 percent different than what I do now.

MARQUEZ: Does this still surprise you? Does the disease still do things that make you scratch your head?

VARON: Every single day, I get surprised, every day.

MARQUEZ: Dr. Varon now aggressively attacking inflammation and blood clotting, using everything, from vitamins, physically rotating patients, antibiotics, hydroxychloroquine for some, even STEM cells soon, anything from having to put patients on a ventilator. The virus still confounding doctors and surprising those trying to avoid getting it.

This husband and wife who did not want their names used share a room in the coronavirus unit here. They say they did everything, staying home, wearing masks and keeping their distance from others.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's a little bit scary. I wish that people would take it more seriously. They should take it more seriously. You can't -- you can't trust people just because they look healthy, because a lot of people are walking around looking healthy and they're not healthy.

MARQUEZ: It's the biggest challenge those that don't know they have it are giving it to others making them sick and possibly killing them. VARON: In Houston, there are two types of patients, those that have COVID and those who will get COVID. My concern as a healthcare provider is that when they get sick, they all come to me at the same time, which is what's happening at the present time. And that's what's going to kill patients because we won't have enough resources.



BALDWIN: Miguel, I want to thank you. Watching that piece, that is a gut check for every single one of us. And I know it's summer and I know some people, depending on where you are in the country, think do I need to wear a mask? Those doctors, that nurse who's sick, those patients showed you why we all still need to.

And I still -- it was only a couple months ago when you got the access inside that New York hospital and I'm just wondering since this is Houston and this is some months into this, does this hospital feel like they've learned from other hospitals now that we are several months in?

MARQUEZ: They have learned so much about the disease and how to fight the disease and how to prepare for the disease. I mean, this hospital is just the way that it is, arranged itself, looks completely different than the hospitals I was in in New York City.

What is the same is that surge of patients they're now seeing, what will kill people is the virus, yes, if they're sick enough but what will kill even more people if hospitals like this and others across the state get so full that they can't take people in and people are sitting literally in their parking lot waiting for a bed and expire out there.

All these cars that are parking up or going in somewhere, these are all people who have been waiting to get tested. They started lining up at 1:00 A.M. this morning. This hospital alone, they have five different sites around the city.

They have tested about 85,000 people. He just updated us on those numbers. They're now seeing a positivity rate of 16 percent. Two days ago, it was 13 percent. So the rate of transmission is doing this here. It's terrifying.

They don't know where the top of the peak is. They had a sense of that in New York at the worst of it. They have no sense of that at least here right now and other hospitals we've spoken to don't seem to have a very good sense of it.

BALDWIN: One difference though, at least in what you said in your piece here versus several months ago was, remember the whole issue over PPE and gowns and that kind of thing, and did you say they're now able to -- was your word triple up on the gear they have so much?

MARQUEZ: They had us put their PPE on. You do one layer, then they do a second layer on us. And then before you go into the specialized units, they put a third layer on, doubled up on the gloves, doubled on the bits over the feet.

It is so difficult to move from one end to another but they've had great success in keeping their staff healthy. But that is also one thing they need. They are desperate for doctors. They are desperate for nurses and even cleaning staff to turn those rooms around and get others into those beds. All that stuff and absolute desperate need right now in Houston, Texas.

BALDWIN: I am tweeting this at brookebcnn. This should be required viewing just for every single one of us just as a reminder. This is so far from over.

Miguel Marquez, to you and your crew, thank you very much for that. That was extraordinary.

And that's Texas, right? So let's talk about Florida this afternoon. Breaking news out of Florida, as we mentioned at the top of the show, the City of Jacksonville has just announced that they will start mandating face masks for public and indoor locations starting right now. This comes amid skyrocketing coronavirus cases across the state, numbers so alarming that mayors in Florida are shutting down the beaches for this 4th of July weekend, which is obviously a massive deal.

But when you look at this here, Florida is reporting more than 18,000 new infections this past weekend alone. That brings a total number of cases in the state to 146,000.

CNN's Randi Kaye is live in Palm Beach County. But let me just go back to Jacksonville for a sec, Randi, because -- so mandatory masks indoor or outdoor, and that's starting now? Tell me more.

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That is starting now. And what's so interesting about that, as you mentioned, is they joined many other counties because the governor has not put out a statewide mandate on the masks, Brooke. And that is important and it is worth noting that it's Jacksonville, of course, because, as you noted, that is where the RNC convention is.

But the governor now saying about that convention that he is not ready to say that masks won't be required there but he is saying that masks are a work in progress there. He says he hopes -- these are his words, he thinks it will be fine by that time. It's a couple of months away.

But, Brooke, a couple of months ago, we were doing better than we are now. So I'm not sure what he is basing that on. But getting back to the beaches here, they are going to close. If you take a look around me, you could see there's going to be a lot of disappointed people for the holiday weekend. Here in Palm Beach County, they're closing, Miami-Dade, they're closing, Broward County, they're closing. The Florida Keys just announced that they are closing as well for the holiday weekend of July 4th.

Of course, the three big counties here in South Florida were hardest hit, Palm Beach, Miami-Dade and Broward, 60 percent of the cases coming to those counties. But the real problem is that we are not going down. Right now, over the weekend, as you mentioned those numbers, there were more than 9,500 cases just on Saturday.


That was a record high. And they're also very concerned about the younger people, more and more cases among younger people, 18 to 44. 25 to 34 is the big group, about 20 percent positivity rate among those, Brooke. So it's certainly very concerning what's happening here in the State of Florida.

BALDWIN: I know the beach is fun. I know 4th of July is fun. But, man, you take a look at what's going on in that hospital where Miguel was in Texas, and that's all we need to see. Just all of us be so careful. Randi Kaye, thank you, at the beach in Palm Beach County.

Meantime, the White House is now lashing out after the conservative chief justice of U.S. Supreme Court delivers yet another major blow to the Trump agenda, this time siding with the liberal justices on a massive abortion case. We have those details for you today.

And Dr. Anthony Fauci speaking to CNN and delivers a new warning about a vaccine for COVID-19. Why he says it may not be totally effective, and why that could actually rest in your hands.

And why the president of the United States is sharing videos of supporters chanting white power and then this couple pointing guns at peaceful protesters. We have to talk about this.

You are watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin. We'll be right back.



BALDWIN: We are back. You are watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin.

Another major decision out of the Supreme Court with 5-4 ruling, the justices striking down this Louisiana abortion law which was aimed at limiting the number of abortions performed in the state.

Chief Justice Roberts, yet again, siding with the liberal leaning justices on the bench. This marks the third the chief justice has swung to the left on a consequential decision this year alone. He ruled to uphold the DACA program and sided with the opinion to extend anti-discrimination and protection for LGBTQ workers.

The White House has responded to this, releasing a statement that reads in part, quote, instead of valuing fundamental democratic principles, unelected justices have intruded on the sovereign prerogatives of state governments by imposing their own policy preference in favor of abortion to override legitimate abortion safety regulations.

Steve Vladeck is a CNN Contributor and Law Professor at the University of Texas School of Law. So, Steve, what do you make of the chief justice's rule, not just his role in this case but the last two? STEVE VLADECK, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Yes. I think, Brooke, it's a little early to suggest that the chief justice has, overnight, become some kind of closet progressive. He hasn't.

BALDWIN: That has not happened.

VLADECK: No. And indeed I think we saw that in both of the other cases the court decided today, especially the one about the Consumer Financial Protection Board.

But, you know, Brooke, this is a case where I think the chief's institutional sensibilities were really offended. I mean, the court decided a very similar issue four years ago and the case out of Texas similarly. The Louisiana law was modeled on the Texas law. And so the chief says, listen, I'm not a huge fan of this jurisprudence but it's up to us to change it, not to the lower court.

So I think this was very similar to another case from a couple years ago where the chief wrote a similar concurrence after he defended it earlier, saying, I don't love this doctrine but we, the Supreme Court, once we hand these decisions, it's up to us to decide whether they're still a good law, not state legislatures and not lower courts.

BALDWIN: Right. I think to your point, wasn't it after the DACA ruling when the chief justice essentially said, he had written, all right, here is how you can repeal it legally to your point. So, not a closet liberal, thank you so much for that quick analysis, Steve Vladeck. Good to have you on.

I want to move on to this. The White House's leading expert on the pandemic is speaking to CNN, warning that a vaccine for coronavirus may not be totally effective, what Dr. Fauci is saying now.

Plus, as more Americans join the movement for racial justice, President Trump is sharing disturbing videos, including one showing this couple pointing their guns, look at this, at peaceful protesters, coming up.



BALDWIN: With coronavirus cases surging both across the south and the west, there are three big questions right now about the vaccine. When will there be one and how effective will it be and will people actually get it? The nation's top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, talked to my colleague, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen, about exactly that.


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: I doubt seriously that any vaccine will ever be 100 percent protective. The best we have ever done is measles, which is 97 percent to 98 percent effective. That would be wonderful if we get there. I don't think we will. I would settle for 70 percent, 75 percent effective vaccine because that would bring you to that level of what would be herd immunity.


REPORTER: -- about the Russian bounties and whatnot. But can you say that he was briefed today?

KAYLEIGH MCENANY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Look, I'll say this, that the U.S. receives thousands of reports a day on intelligence and they are subject to strict scrutiny, while the White House does not routinely comment on alleged intelligence or internal deliberations.

The CIA director, NSA, national security adviser and chief of staff can all confirm that neither the president nor the vice president were briefed on the alleged Russian bounty intelligence.

REPORTER: Has he been since briefed, since all these reports came out?

MCENANY: So, let me back up and say this, that there is no consensus within the intelligence community on these allegations. And, in effect, there are dissenting opinions from some in the intelligence community with regards to the veracity of what's reported and the veracity of the underlying allegations continue to be evaluated.

REPORTER: One more question if I could. Is he upset that this intelligence was reportedly shared with the British government but not him?

MCENANY: I have no further comment other than to just point you back to the two assertions that I made previously.



REPORTER: Thank you, Kayleigh. How did the president not briefed on the Russia bounty story? Was he out of the loop by his own intelligence community?