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Thirteen States to Pause or Tweak Reopening as COVID-19 Cases Rise; Air Travel Expected to Rise for Fourth of July; Operation Warp Speed Set to Begin Clinical Trials. Aired 2-2:30p ET

Aired June 29, 2020 - 14:00   ET



BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: CNN's Nick Watt is live in Los Angeles, where Governor Gavin Newsom has mandated the closure of bars.

So, Nick, tell me about all the measures just being taken to try to stop the surge there.

NICK WATT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Listen, Brooke, the governor says he's looking at the data and right now, California is seeing more new cases than ever before, more people in the hospital than ever before.

So as you mentioned, he has now said that in Los Angeles County and six other counties in California, any bars that did -- just one second, sir. Any bars that did reopen now have to close again. It's a similar thing we're seeing across the country, people pausing or even rolling back on reopening.


WATT (voice-over): Because of this, this, and this --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We had to change a tube on somebody that has no oxygen, he could have died --

WATT (voice-over): -- we are now hearing this:

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Arizona is on pause.

GOV. GREG ABBOTT (R), TEXAS: We will continue to take action based upon the data.

WATT (voice-over): Thirteen states, now pausing or tweaking their reopening plans. South Florida's beaches will be closed again for the Fourth of July.

MAYOR JOY COOPER (D), HALLANDALE BEACH, FLORIDA: We're all in this together now, and we will get through it if everyone cooperates --

WATT (voice-over): But will they?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The window is closing for us to take action and get this under control. WATT (voice-over): In only four small states are new case counts

actually falling. While in these six states, COVID-19 hospitalizations are now at an all-time high.

Bars across Texas, also closed again.

MAYOR DEE MARGO (R), EL PASO, TEXAS: Forty-six percent of our positives were 20- to 30-year-olds and we think that was a direct result of congregations in the bars --

WATT (voice-over): And infections among a younger crowd create a problem.

ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: What you're seeing is community-based spread, where 20 to 40 percent of the people who are infected don't have any symptoms. So the standard classic paradigm of identification, isolation, contact tracing doesn't work, no matter how good you are.

WATT (voice-over): Dr. Fauci now says he'd settle for a vaccine that's 70 to 75 percent effective. But maybe not everybody would be willing to take it, making herd immunity --

FAUCI: Unlikely, and that's one of the reasons why we have to make sure we engage the community as we're doing now.

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): Until we find a vaccine, these are really important.

WATT (voice-over): Even the Senate majority leader and the vice president, almost now advocating masks. Still not the president.

ASHISH JHA, DIRECTOR, HARVARD'S GLOBAL HEALTH INSTITUTE: We have a quarter of all the world's deaths. We have the worst response of any high-income country in the world.


WATT: Now, you mentioned, Brooke, that Jacksonville, Florida, just joining the list of cities now mandating masks. And of course, Jacksonville, where the Republicans will hold their convention, they hope, come August.

Also, it looks like the president himself might be softening a little on masks. His press secretary just said that he has no problem with them, and he is encouraging people to do whatever their local officials are telling them to do when it comes to face coverings -- Brooke.

BALDWIN: But when it comes to the president himself wearing a mask at the RNC, that's TBD. Nick Watt in L.A. --

WATT: Right.

BALDWIN: -- thank you very much. Speaking of masks, we are also hearing from Health and Human Services

Secretary Alex Azar on masks, essentially saying it is up to the individual.


ALEX AZAR, SECRETARY OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES: Our advice remains the same, though, for everybody: social distance under all circumstances. And if you can't, wear facial coverings. But you don't need a national mandate, what you need are local leaders determining the circumstances in that community. But really importantly for us as individuals, assess your individual circumstance.


BALDWIN: Dr. Rob Davidson is an emergency room physician in Michigan and executive director of the Committee to Protect Medicare. Dr. Davidson, it's so nice to see you again. I know it's been a minute, but we have a lot to talk about.

Let's just start with masks. And what's your reaction to Secretary Azar's comments there?

ROB DAVIDSON, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, THE COMMITTEE TO PROTECT MEDICARE: I think it's absolutely ludicrous for the leader of the Health and Human Services Department to tell us this is a local issue. This pandemic is obviously global. And in this country, this is a national problem. It does not know borders, and we can't depend upon municipalities, depend upon states when, at the federal level, we know, we understand what needs to be done.

I agree we need a national mandate, and I think the president should model that behavior by wearing a mask whenever he's in public.

BALDWIN: You posted a video on Twitter to prove to people that wearing a mask doesn't affect their oxygen intake. We'll show some of it right now.


DAVIDSON: And again, zero risk, an oxygen of 95 to 100 percent is considered normal. As you can see, mine's 99 to 100 percent the entire time I've had this on. I came in early, I've had it on about 15, 20 minutes. I never get short of breath wearing my mask at work. Again, a simple act, you could save someone's life. So please wear a mask.



BALDWIN: Dr. Davidson, why did you do that?

DAVIDSON: Well, because I see some bunk science out there, people posting memes about oxygen levels critically low and you know, the negative health effects. I've gone to restaurants to get take-out, and I've had people working there tell me, Well, I have asthma, I can't wear a mask.

I said, Well, I have asthma, my son has asthma, we wear masks when we're out in public, I wear them for six to eight hours a day at work. It doesn't impact these health conditions.

And so I just think it's important that we have the armamentarium with us so we can discuss this issue and we can push back against anybody, including the president, who thinks that this isn't critical.

BALDWIN: The vice president, head of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, just pushed back yesterday on claims that the uptick in coronavirus cases is a result of these states reopening too quickly. This is what he said.


MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I know there's a temptation to associate the new cases in the Sun Belt with reopening, but it's important to remember that states like Florida and like Texas actually began to open up in early May. For the better part of six weeks, John (ph), we did not see any significant movement.

In my conversations with governors in Florida and in Texas and in Arizona in particular, we're monitoring very closely their hospitalization rate, and we continue to be very confident that they have the supplies and the support and the capacity to give people the level of care that any of us would want a family member to have.

JOHN DICKERSON, CBS CORRESPONDENT, FACE THE NATION: The experts are saying these states walked into a problem with their eyes wide open because they opened too early. And that's a mistake which seems to repeat the original mistake, which was to downplay and not take seriously the nature of the threat.

PENCE: Well, I beg to differ about the reopening, and I beg to differ about downplaying.


BALDWIN: Dr. Davidson, is the vice president in denial?

DAVIDSON: Yes. And I think there are two critical points that he made there that have to be reckoned with. First, he suggests that reopening is like a light switch, and it isn't how it happens, just because they started to allow people to move out and to go into different businesses.

If you look at movement data from cell phones in those states, they didn't happen immediately, they happened slowly over time because people are nervous about getting back out. And we see now that people are getting out more, we see these numbers going up.

And the other piece, his defense of these measures, saying that the hospital capacity is there? I mean, I'm wondering what he's waiting for. Are they waiting for a thousand and two thousand deaths a day before they recognize that this might be a problem? We're giving them all the clues they need. We need to kind of slow things down and recognize the problem.

BALDWIN: Here's my last question. I'm thinking ahead to this weekend, Fourth of July, right? People want to go out, want to have a little fun, want to get together. They may or may not heed all of the warnings, so I want to play what Dr. Fauci said to my colleague, Elizabeth Cohen, about the fact that people are still, you know, getting together in crowds and they're not social distancing.


FAUCI: 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.


BALDWIN: Recipe for disaster. You're the doctor. My question is -- and I'm hoping your answer is no, but -- is it possible ,you know, with all the uptick and surges in cases -- we were just watching this Miguel Marquez piece of all these -- you know, this one coronavirus wing in Houston -- is it possible we could go back to square one?

DAVIDSON: Go back to square one with the coronavirus, as in --


DAVIDSON: -- the total lockdown, is that the question?

BALDWIN: Yes. Just -- yes.

DAVIDSON: I think that -- yes, is it possible? I don't know if there's a political will anywhere in this country to do that. I think it's possible that the conditions will arise within the next three to four weeks, that that would be the judicious act.

You know, I hope people can, if not stay away from one another, please wear masks when they are doing so because we know now that masks can decrease the risk. And anything we can do to keep from more places getting like Houston is now, like New York was back in March and April, that's what we need to do.

BALDWIN: Dr. Rob Davidson, thank you so much.


BALDWIN: Breaking news at the U.S. Supreme Court today as Chief Justice John Roberts once again sides with the more liberal justices in striking down this Louisiana abortion law. Hear how the White House is responding to that.

And President Trump, denying that he was briefed about a possible Russian operation to pay the Taliban for killing American troops. And the White House is now trying to cast doubt on the intel itself.

And the European Union is meeting today to decide if Americans will be allowed to travel there as COVID cases spike here at home.


You're watching CNN, I'm Brooke Baldwin, we'll be right back.


BALDWIN: We are back. You're watching CNN, I'm Brooke Baldwin. The U.S. Supreme Court is making a major decision today, ruling five to four against a Louisiana law that aimed to limit the number of abortions performed in that state.

And it marks the third time in just the last couple of weeks that Chief Justice John Roberts actually sided with the liberal-leaning justices on the bench. He ruled to uphold the DACA program and then sided with the opinion to extend anti-discrimination protections for LGBTQ workers, and now today.

So CNN's justice correspondent Jessica Schneider is following the details. And so tell us more just about the ruling, and also how the White House is responding.

JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Brooke, the Supreme Court this morning, saying that this Louisiana law is unconstitutional. This big win for abortion rights advocates coming, as you mentioned, at the hands of Chief Justice John Roberts, siding with the liberals in this case for this five-to-four decision.


it's really interesting and important because the chief justice has actually never voted to strike down an abortion restriction until this morning, he's always voted to uphold these abortion restrictions.

So why exactly did chief justice feel like he needed to change the way he voted? Well, he said that it was all about precedent. And back in 2016, this Supreme Court struck down a nearly identical Texas law that was much like this Louisiana law, so the chief justice really said that he had no choice, he had to abide by the Supreme Court's precedent.

Now, this is a Louisiana law that would have restricted abortion, essentially, for most women in Louisiana. It said that doctors in the state had to have admitting privileges at hospitals within 30 miles of where the abortion was performed.

And challengers said that would have effectively left just one doctor in the entire state of Louisiana to perform these abortions, it would have shut down the remaining -- out of the three remaining clinics, two of those clinics. So this is a big deal for the state of Louisiana in particular.

But of course, you know, the White House, taking a swipe at all of the liberal justice here, but also at the chief justice, although not by name. The press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, she released this statement, in part, saying, "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."

So the White House there, taking a swipe at all the justices who voted for this including the chief justice here. But notably, Brooke, it is important that although Chief Justice Roberts, he joined with the holding, he also wrote a concurring opinion, where he left open the possibility that restrictions like this in other states, depending on the circumstances, they might stand.

So this really might open the door for other states to try to pass and legislate more abortion restrictions, and once again send it to the Supreme Court for, really, the final decision here. But for now, Louisiana's law will be blocked -- Brooke.

BALDWIN: Jess Schneider, thank you so much.

A couple other big cases on the calendar, including one involving the president. We'll talk. Thank you very much.

Coming up next here on CNN, Dr. Anthony Fauci admits even a vaccine may not get the U.S. to quote-unquote "herd immunity" that it needs from coronavirus. So we'll talk to one of the doctors actually leading this clinical trial for COVID-19 treatments, what he thinks about that.


Plus, President Trump retweets not just one, but two incendiary videos as the nation continues to grapple with racial unrest. Hear how the White House is explaining them.


BALDWIN: Air travel surged this past weekend, and now experts are predicting an uptick in travel during the upcoming Fourth of July weekend. And that means some passengers can expect to board packed planes. Let's check in with our team of CNN correspondents for more headlines from around the country.

PETE MUNTEAN, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: I'm Pete Muntean in Washington, and air travel has reached a new high point of the pandemic. More than two million people passed through security at America's airports between Thursday and Sunday, the busiest day on Sunday. Traffic is still a fraction of what it once was, a long slog (ph) to levels from a year ago.

The most interesting thing, though, is that you now have a higher chance of being on a completely full flight. American Airlines has now joined United Airlines in saying that it will sell every seat on board its aircraft.

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Stephanie Elam in Arizona, where the number of new cases announced in a day hit an all-time high of 3,858 cases. This is also concerning especially when you look at the ICU beds that are filled, almost 90 percent of them are filled. Hospitals, now working on their surge capacity, making more rooms for more beds within their hospitals.

Overall, the governor is asking for people to wear masks, but he's not mandating it statewide. SO individual towns and counties are making that call. Like here in Maricopa County, where they're asking people to continue to socially distance themselves and to stay home.

CAROLYN MANNO, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: I'm Carolyn Manno in Orlando, Florida. Back on March 11th, Rudy Gobert, became the first NBA player to test positive for the coronavirus, prompting the entire league to shut down shortly thereafter.

Now, nearly four months later, he says he has not fully recovered. the Utah Jazz center, telling a French newspaper that his sense of smell is not 100 percent and that specialists he spoke with say it could take up to a year for that to come back.

The potential lasting effects of the coronavirus is new territory for all professional athletes, preparing a return to sport, that have tested positive.

Gobert admits he isn't sure whether he is currently fully fit to play, and will only be able to gauge his fitness once he's back on the court. The Jazz resume their regular season here in Orlando on July 30th.

BALDWIN: All right, thanks to all of you.

Large-scale clinical trials for three coronavirus vaccines are expected to get under way by September, but there are several big unknowns, even if a vaccine is found. How effective will it be, and then will people actually want to take it?

A CNN poll done just last month found one-third of Americans said that they would not try to get vaccinated against COVID even if the vaccine is widely available and doesn't cost very much.

The nation's top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, addressed that with my colleague Elizabeth Cohen.


FAUCI: I doubt seriously that any vaccine will ever be a hundred percent protective. The best we've ever done is measles, which is 97 to 98 percent effective.

Oh, that would be wonderful if we get there, I don't think we will. I would settle for a 70, 75 percent effective vaccine, because that would bring you to that level that would be herd immunity level.

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: If only, say, 70, 75 percent of Americans are willing to get the vaccine and it's only say -- I think you just said 70, 75 percent effective, is that going to get us to herd immunity? FAUCI: No, unlikely. And that's one of the reasons why we have to

make sure we engage the community as we're doing now, to get community people to help us, for people to understand that we are doing everything we can to show that it's safe and that it's effective, and it's for the good of them as individuals and in society to take the vaccines.


BALDWIN: Let me bring in Dr. Davey Smith, the head of Infectious Diseases and Global Public Health at the University of California-San Diego. He is also leading a clinical trial for COVID treatments as part of the government's Operation Warp Speed, that's part of the NIH initiative where Dr. Fauci is director.

So, Dr. Smith, it's nice to have you on.


BALDWIN: We'll get to your trial in just a second. But, you know, listening to Dr. Fauci, he said that he would settle for a coronavirus vaccine that's about 70, 75 percent effective, even though it's likely it wouldn't provide this quote-unquote "herd immunity." What do you think about that?

SMITH: I agree. It takes two things to make herd immunity: A really, really good vaccine -- which I don't think we're going to have one really soon -- and then it also requires high uptake. And given that people don't wear masks even though it might help them and help others, we're just not seeing a good uptake in masks or vaccines.

BALDWIN: Herd immunity is just the notion that everyone would be immune. And so if a vaccine won't fully stop this virus, if it's not 100 percent effective, what will?

SMITH: I would feel better if we had some treatments out there that could actually help people. So with people who are not immune and then were to get sick, we would still have something that would keep them from getting into the hospital. We just need more time to find those treatments.

BALDWIN: And back to just the point about the vaccines, because you know, this CNN poll last month found, as we mentioned off the top, a third of Americans said that they would not try to get vaccinated even if the vaccine's widely available and it doesn't cost much.

And Dr. Fauci was talking to Elizabeth about how there is a general anti-science, anti-vaccine feeling among a number of Americans. What would your message be to those people?

SMITH: Well, I'm really frustrated because it's not just that we're protecting ourselves when we take a vaccine, but we're helping protect others who might not be able to take the vaccine or maybe that the vaccine wouldn't work for, like grandparents or older moms and dads, that's the message that I would like to get across. BALDWIN: And, Dr. Smith, how is your Operation Warp Speed going? Give

us an update.

SMITH: It's going really, really fast. So we're hoping to have a trial launched by the end of this month, to start testing new drugs that are coming available, specifically for coronavirus.

BALDWIN: You're feeling good, you're feeling hopeful?

SMITH: I'm feeling hopeful. I mean --


SMITH: -- the trials start hopefully at the end of the month. But by the end of the year, hopefully we'll have one or two treatments, maybe even the beginning of next year, that will be very useful.

BALDWIN: OK. Dr. Davey Smith, thank you so much.

SMITH: Thank you.

BALDWIN: Good luck, good luck. We need it.


We have just learned that seven members of Congress, all Republicans, were just briefed about reports of a Russian operation to pay bounties to the Taliban militants for killing U.S. troops. But as we just heard in that White House briefing a couple minutes ago, Kayleigh McEnany said that the president was never briefed about it. We'll talk to a retired brigadier general about all of this and how the U.S. should now respond.