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Coronavirus Cases Rising in 31 States in U.S.; Dr. Anthony Fauci Warns Gatherings without Facemasks Possibly Contributing to Coronavirus Spread; Minneapolis Police Officers Charged in George Floyd's Death to Appear in Court. Aired 8-8:30a ET

Aired June 29, 2020 - 08:00   ET



JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: States going in the wrong direction, more than half the country in deep red. Those are states increasing by 50 percent in cases. You can see California, Texas, Florida, how they're doing.

So how bad is this? We went back and pulled the map from Memorial Day about a month ago. Look how much more red there is today. Back then, only 18 states had rising cases. Today 31 states have rising cases. Back then, there were 10 or 11 states which were actually seeing a decrease, those are in green. Today you can barely see the green, only four states showing a decrease in cases.

ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR: Health Secretary Alex Azar warning the window is closing to get the pandemic under control, and in a new interview with CNN, Dr. Anthony Fauci says people gathering closely without masks on is a recipe for disaster. All this as Vice President Pence is now encouraging people to wear facemasks. The president, however, focused on other things and still refusing to wear a mask.

CNN's Randi Kaye is live in West Palm Beach, Florida. The beaches there will be closed, we know, over the holiday weekend, and there is growing concern about the new cases and hospitalizations there, Randi.

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, we're on the beach here in Palm Beach County in West Palm Beach specifically, and we can see there's a few people out on the beach here, a few stragglers catching the early morning sunrise here, and that's because, as you said, they are going to lose their rights to come on the beach come the holiday weekend. We'll get more information on that today, but Palm Beach County does plan to close the beach for the holiday weekend, so does Miami-Dade, and so does Broward. They will all be closed.

It's all because they don't want to see a spike on top of the spike, they're saying. Already yesterday more than 8,500 new cases in the state of Florida. And if you think that sounds bad, it is. In fact, it's 144 percent jump above the previous Sunday high. So things are definitely bad here in the state of Florida.

And if you take a look at who is getting affected the most here in the state of Florida, it's not the elderly, like you may think. It is actually the younger people, the group that has the highest positivity rate right now is 18 to 44-year-olds, specifically 25 to 34-year-olds. The governor is saying they have a 20 percent positivity rate.

Still, despite that, there is no mask mandate here in the state of Florida. The governor says he's not going to mandate masks. He's going to leave it up to people to do the right thing. It's certainly a sticking point among many. Here is what one gentleman told us.


VINCE BUNGO, PALM BEACH RESIDENT: First of all, I'm protecting you guys, because I'm wearing a mask, and I want people to protect me the same way because I don't want to get it. And it's just selfish to go around without a mask and spread your germs when you're carrying it. Seems very selfish to me.


KAYE: So some local governments are putting a mask mandate in place on their own, including Miami-Dade, and there's good reason to do that certainly in that county. "The Miami Herald" reporting today that one- quarter of the new cases in the state of Florida are coming out of Miami-Dade County and that hospitalizations have risen there in Miami for 15 days in a row, so certainly sounding the alarm, looking for that mask mandate in several counties here in the state. John, back to you.

BERMAN: Randi Kaye on a fairly empty beach in West Palm Beach. As of this weekend, people will be banned from going there at all. Randi, our thanks to you.

In a new CNN interview, the nation's top infectious disease expert Dr. Fauci says the current surge is fueled by Americans ignoring guidelines about social distancing and wearing masks.


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: There are crowds. They're not physical distancing and they're not wearing masks. That's a recipe for disaster. What you're seeing is community-based spread where 20 percent 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, because you don't know who you're tracing. They're out there, they don't even know that they're infected.


GUPTA: Joining us now, CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta and Dr. Ashish Jha, he's the director of the Harvard Global Health Institute. And Sanjay, something that Dr. Fauci said there I think coincides with something we heard from Miguel Marquez who did a stunning report from inside a Houston hospital. And I want to tell people that hospitalizations in Texas, and I think we have a graphic for this, are way up. They more than doubled in just a month. The hospitals are filling up in Texas, and what Miguel tells us is they have no idea where the peak is in Texas right now. So this curve is rapidly increasing and they have no idea how high it will go.

SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: And they have to figure this out in terms of what their surge capacity is going to be. I think a lot of states sort of got lulled into a sense of this was maybe over or it was definitely going to be headed downward. No surprise. I don't think there's any state in the country that probably didn't have some of that potential sort of lulled into that complacency, and there is no state in the country that is not still probably at risk.


So what are you going to do? I watched Miguel's report, which was amazing. He also mentioned these health care providers going through eight different sets of PPE in a shift as they take care of various patients. And we talked about PPE shortages in the past, and we thought, again, we were through that chapter, and now obviously we're seeing it. And not just in Houston right there in Miguel's report but obviously in other places around the country as well.

HILL: As we look at this, we also heard from Dr. Fauci in that interview with Elizabeth Cohen. He talked about how some states were doing things well and some weren't. Some would get an A and some would get a C, though he wasn't necessarily naming names or naming states as it were. What stood out to me with that when you juxtapose it with this editorial in "The Wall Street Journal" which concludes by saying no one has done everything right in this pandemic, and the America-is- a-failure reporting is as excessive as Donald Trump's occasional claim that the pandemic will soon be over." Basically saying that it's not as bad as it looks, Dr. Jha. Would you would agree with that?

DR. ASHISH JHA, DIRECTOR, HARVARD GLOBAL HEALTH INSTITUTE: I would not agree with that. I think it's pretty bad. We have a quarter of all the world's deaths. We have the worst response of any high-income country in the world. Our numbers probably only look good in comparison to Brazil and Russia, but not to any industrialized country, and they're heading in the wrong direction. So I don't want to overstate it, and there are states that have done, I think, a terrific job, but as a nation, we're really falling behind here.

BERMAN: And Dr. Jha, I want you to focus in on one point here that you've written over the last few hours which I think is very interesting, because, some people, and I imagine the "Wall Street Journal" editorial is one of them, is pointing to the curve in the death rate, the number of daily deaths. It's still decreasing or it's fairly low. One of the reasons that people think this might be is because right now it is younger people, by younger I mean younger than 50, people being infected, and they're filling up the hospitals. But you warn this may not be a metric that you want to lean into.

JHA: Yes, so first of all, there's no question that younger people do better than older people with this disease. The point I was trying to make in my social media post was that, by the way, that's true for every disease. Young people do bet with heart attacks, young people do better with pneumonia than older people do, so that's not an unusual feature.

The other point is when people get sick enough, we're seeing hospitalizations of young people -- when people get sick enough to be hospitalized, and we're seeing a lot of young people in hospitals, they do quite badly. A 40-year-old with COVID who is hospitalized has about the same mortality as a 70-year-old with a heart attack. So once you're sick enough to be in the hospital, it's a pretty serious disease.

HILL: And Sanjay, we talk so much about the simple things that can be done, wearing a mask that not only protects other people but protects you as well. And you have a couple of great examples that you can walk us through just to show how much that can make a difference.

GUPTA: Yes. I don't know what gets through ultimately in terms of getting people to wear masks, but I do find some of these stories really, really compelling. We hear about these big events, I think we have this example of a birthday party in California. One person shows up symptomatic, not wearing a mask, some of the other guests not wearing masks. What happens at a party like that? And people about this because this is their lives right now, right? They're thinking about parties, they're thinking about Fourth of July. One symptomatic person. Obviously if you're symptomatic you should stay home, but regardless, potentially infected up to 11 other people, that one person.

Now, people may also remember the hairdressers in Missouri who also had symptoms, but both of them wore masks. They did certain things like they staggered appointments, they had physical distancing within the salon, things like that -- 147 close contacts. You're cutting their hair, that's a close contact, 46 of the people were subsequently tested negative, the others were quarantined and watched, none of them developed symptoms. So the idea that two symptomatic people with clearly close contacts but wore masks, did not end up infecting seemingly anybody else, I think is significant. It just goes to remind that if you wear a mask, even if you don't have symptoms, even if you're carrying the virus, it goes a long way towards protecting those around you.

GUPTA: Dr. Jha, they're closing bars in Texas and Florida, some counties in California. How far will that go toward making things better as the number of new cases and hospitalizations increases in those states?

JHA: I think in the hot spots of the country, Arizona, Texas, Florida, parts of California, we really have to ask the question, can we afford right now to have any indoor gatherings of any kind, including restaurants, bars, any night clubs or some places with nightclubs still open. All of that stuff I think has to shut down.


I'm not necessarily as supportive of shutting down beaches. I think we can keep beaches open and not have them get overly crowded, that would be fine. But indoor spaces really are the high risk. And then of course, as Dr. Gupta just said, they've got to be doing mandatory mask wearing in all of those places. It's going to be very hard to get through this without that.

BERMAN: They're not. They're not doing mandatory mask wearing statewide at least in Texas and Florida. They're leaving it to the local officials there, and I don't think that's going to change based on the political will of the leaders there. Dr. Jha, Dr. Gupta, thank you both very much.

JHA: Thank you.

GUPTA: Thank you.

HILL: Mississippi lawmakers move to get rid of the Confederate emblem on the state flag. We'll discuss that big change, next.


BERMAN: The fired Minneapolis police officers charged in the killing of George Floyd will appear in court today. The arresting officer Derek Chauvin is charged with second-degree murder and manslaughter, the others officers are charged with failing to step in as Chauvin kept his knee on Floyd's neck for minutes. CNN's Josh Campbell live in Minneapolis with the very latest here. Josh, what do we see today.

JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Good morning, John. The next phase in the prosecution of those four officers charged in the death of George Floyd will be taking place behind me just in a matter of hours. And there are so many angles to this that we are watching. The first, we're wondering if we'll actually get an indication of what Derek Chauvin's defense strategy will be, that, of course, the former officer charged with second-degree murder. He is the officer seen on that bystander video with his knee on George Floyd's neck.


Now, I was in court here earlier this month, and two attorneys for two of the officers charged were pointing to Derek Chauvin and his seniority saying that he is largely to blame for George Floyd's death. Again, we're waiting to see whether Chauvin's attorney will counter that, whether we will get an indication of what that defense strategy will be.

And secondly, we are keeping an eye out to see whether today will be the day we see motions to dismiss the charges in this case by defense attorneys, that's not unusual in murder cases.

I talked last night with an attorney for one of the officers who said they are very much in the process of seeking to have these charges dismissed. We're waiting to see whether that will happen today.

And then finally, will there be protests outside court? Now, this is obviously a community that has been closely watching developments in this investigation. We also know that the Police Union here has come out and said that they believe these four officers were denied due process and fired prematurely.

This is shaping up for a possible heated exchange here outside of court, should different parties with those differing views come out to actually protest. CNN has a team from across the country. We will be inside court. We will be monitoring developments outside and we will of course continue to bring you the latest -- Erica.

ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR: All right, Josh, we will look forward to those updates, thank you.

Developing overnight, Mississippi lawmakers voting to remove the Confederate emblem from the state flag.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: By a vote of 36 to 14, the motion passes.


HILL: Governor Tate Reeves says he plans to sign the historic bill into law, a new flag design without the confederate symbol would go before Mississippi voters in November.

Joining me is Wes Moore, author of "Five Days: The Fiery Reckoning of an American City." It's great to have you with us this morning. I'd love first of all, just to get your take on what we saw happen in Mississippi after 126 years.

WES MOORE, AUTHOR AND CEO, ROBIN HOOD: Well, this was the absolute right vote and it was a long overdue vote. But the truth is, we need to reckon with the decision to make the state flag that in the first place.

You know, loving your country doesn't mean lying about its history and what comes next? How we will not only have this new flag, but also policies to the state that speaks to the residents is going to be incredibly important.

I mean, it's important for people to remember and recognize, Mississippi has the highest percentage of black residents in the country -- 37 percent. Mississippi also has the highest poverty rates in the nation at 20 percent.

And so making this decision on this flag was important, it was imperative but also now the next steps about how they can remedy the impacts of segregation and racism.

HILL: Yes, it's important that it go beyond that, to your point.

The President over the weekend retweeted video of a supporter from Florida saying "white power" twice. The White House came out afterwards and said in a statement the President didn't hear what that person said, but instead saw the tremendous enthusiasm from supporters.

What really stood out to me in that statement from the White House Deputy Press Secretary is that the President and the White House did not denounce that racism that we saw in the video; at this point, do you think it would make a difference if the President did say I don't condone this language? I don't agree with white power? Would it make a difference at this point?

MOORE: It would make a difference because the silence is deafening. Black Lives Matter is a call that after centuries of disproportionate, violent and traumatic treatment of black people at the hands of police that no one seemed to care that a call rose from the black community by three black women initially that our lives do matter because for many people they felt like it didn't.

And so to hear or to not hear even acknowledgment of that, it does matter and the thing that's important for everybody to recognize, to include the administration is, you know, no one said black lives matter more.

Justice isn't competitive. It's literally called equality, and so for the response that we heard, even from the administration that it needs to be all lives matter, it's just -- it is designed to be dismissive and it's noticeable.

HILL: And you can't say that all lives matter if you're not willing to say all lives matter, black lives matter, and they should be included.

I want to talk about your book because there are so many interesting points in it and obviously, it is so relevant to what we're seeing today. But I just want to pull an excerpt from it first.

So this is where you're talking about institutions and so you write, "In that chaos, you feel a need to rely on the institutions that are supposedly in place to support you and your family, your school, your place of worship, your city government, your fire department, your police department. The individuals who make up these institutions pledge to uphold your best interest and safety, to protect and serve, but what happens when those pledges are broken, when those institutions break down?"

This is something that black Americans and people of color have been saying for decades, if not centuries. Do you think, though, that message is finally starting to come through, that these institutions, right, are not holding that pledge with Americans in the same way, in many ways, in many places just because of the color of their skin.


MOORE: And it's something that we all as black Americans have not been saying, but frankly, it's been our taxpayer dollars, our work that's been helping to build a lie.

It's important for people to have a frank and honest conversation about the history of this country, and how this country was built and the fact that I should feel and my family should feel just as much ownership in this building as anyone else's family.

So, I think what the beckoning call and the cry for right now when we say how do we address these things? How do we address the fact these things continue to happen and it's not just about inequitable policing, that inequitable policing is an effect, but it's not a cause.

When we're talking about the cause, it is dealing with this issue of race and systemic racism that is baked into a larger system, and how can we as deliberate about rebuilding a system as we were deliberate about making a system to have these caste elements that so many people feel as permanent outsiders in what is this promised American dream.

HILL: I think, too, you really helped put it into context when you took about who Freddie Gray was and how he grew up and the challenges that he faced really from his birth and so part of what you write is, "Freddie Gray and so many other boys like him grew up in the type of poverty that permeates everything, how you're educated, the water you drink, the home you live in, the air you breathe, the school you spend most of your day in, the way you're policed, whether or not you will die in the same poverty you were born in."

We are seeing this not only in the story of Freddie Gray, but we are seeing this even right now unfold in the story of coronavirus and we talk about underlying conditions and we talk about the environment and why black and brown people are impacted. It's such a different rate. It's because of all of these same reasons.

MOORE: That's right. I mean, we've had these twin crises that our nation has faced now. One is the crisis of a virus, the other is the unneeded reminder of the disproportionate way police, police in certain communities.

But the truth is, it still comes back to the same central element and that same central element is race. When you look at COVID-19, it has impacted all of us, but not equally, where African-Americans and people of color are both contracting and dying at twice the rate, same thing with inequitable policing.

And you're right, part of the tragedy of Freddie is that it was not just the policing system that failed him. This young man who grew up in true deep poverty. This is a young man who was born underweight. He was born addicted to heroin. His mother lived in poverty for all of her life and battled addiction for much of her life.

The home that he moved into when he gained enough weight to be able to move out of the hospital was a home that had endemic levels of lead in it. In fact, in 2009, it was cited in a civil lawsuit because the endemic levels of lead.

So, this was a young man who was lead poisoned, born underweight, addicted to heroin. His last attended school date was when he was 19 years old, so it was not just the police system that failed Freddie Gray. Everything failed Freddie Gray.

HILL: One last quick question for you. We're tight on time. But I am just curious, as you look at everything that is happening, long overdue, let's be honest, does it give you hope in this moment?

MOORE: Yes. I'm hopeful that we are going to be better, and I'm hopeful because I'm a student of history. I'm a student of history of understanding that we have had real progress. We have now where the three founders of Black Lives Matter years ago were called terrorist by people.

And now, we've got every corporate place and every person is now acknowledging, at least most people are acknowledging the role of Black Lives Matter and the role that it has played in pushing our society forward.

The thing that I'm hopeful for, though, and I want to push for is that progress is not inevitable. Progress is something that we have to push for and that progress, we are talking about the moral arc, bending towards justice. It doesn't happen automatically. It happens because we have people from all over who are pulling on it to make sure that the arc actually bends towards justice.

HILL: Wes Moore, really appreciate you joining us this morning. Thank you.

MOORE: Nice seeing you. Thank you.

HILL: California is closing down bars in several counties as new coronavirus cases soar in the state.

California's Lieutenant Governor joins us live, next.



JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: California has ordered bars to close in Los Angeles, and six other counties as new cases continue to rise in that state. More than 10,000 new cases were confirmed just over the weekend.

Joining me now is the Lieutenant Governor of California, Eleni Kounalakis.

Lieutenant Governor, thanks so much for being with us this morning. I know like other states, part of the rise in California is because of a very real increase in testing, but not all the rise, because we look at the positivity rate that is also going up.

We look at the rate of hospitalizations or the number of hospitalizations, that, too, is going up in California. So my question is, why? Why is it happening in your state?

LT. GOV. ELENI KOUNALAKIS (D-CA): Well, thank you so much for having me. It's great to be with you, and it's great to have an opportunity to continue to send the message to people in California and all over the country that the virus is still out there, it's still deadly and everybody should be wearing masks and taking precautions.

But your question is the right one. Why is it growing when we know we've been under lockdown for months? California was the first state to issue the stay-at-home order and the fact of matter is that this is a very contagious virus.

And so, even though we flattened the curve, even though our positivity rate was well under five percent, because we lifted the order and people are back out there, they are in nonessential work and manufacturing, reopening some restaurants, going to each other's homes for backyard parties.

And unfortunately, people have not been taking adequate precautions, and so the Governor yesterday issued an order to close down the bars in seven counties.