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Dr. Anthony Fauci: "Going To Be A Lot Of Hurt" If People Keep Ignoring Guidelines; GOP Senator Lamar Alexander Urges Trump To "Occasionally" Wear Mask; Dr. Anthony Fauci: Could Hit 100K Cases A Day If This Doesn't Turn Around; CDC Director: Daily COVID-19 Deaths Increasing In Arizona; Tri-State Area Expands Travel Advisory To Eight More States. Aired 12-12:30p ET
Aired June 30, 2020 - 12:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: And we have a program that's already operable right now. Thank you.
SEN. LAMAR ALEXANDER (R-TN): Thank you, Senator Murkowski. Senator Warren?
SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA): Thank you very much Mr. Chairman. Dr. Fauci you came before the Health Committee 7 weeks ago to discuss the country's response to the COVID-19 and at the time you told me that the U. S. did not "By any means have total control over this outbreak" but you also told me that we were "Going in the right direction"
Now on the day you testified before the Committee that was May 12th, 2020 there were about 21,000 new cases of Coronavirus. Yesterday there were about 40,000 new cases of Coronavirus. Dr. Fauci, did these numbers show that the country is still moving "In the right direction" and that the Coronavirus pandemic is under control?
FAUCI: Well, I think the numbers speak for themselves although we do have a number of parts of the country doing well. I'm very concerned about what's going on right now particularly in the four states that are accounting for about 50 percent of the new infections but the other vulnerable states.
So I'd have to say the numbers speak for themselves. I'm very concerned that I'm not satisfied with what's going on because we're going in the wrong direction if you look at the curves of the new cases. So we really got to do something about that and we need to do it quickly. Short answer some question is that clearly we are not in total control right now.
WARREN: Thank you. Thank you very much and our case numbers are getting worse and our death rates are going to get worse sin. During the same period of time some other countries around the world have controlled the virus.
They're reporting fewer cases each day and they are able to provide targeted of testing and to keep it all of it up so that they can tell what's happening? And follow up if there is an outbreak in other words controlling the Coronavirus can be done but because of bad federal leadership we have not been able to do this here in the United States.
So Dr. Fauci the last time you were before this Committee, you told me that if the U.S. did not have "An adequate response" that the country would "Have the deleterious consequences of more factions and more deaths"
Now I know that we've made some progress but half measures won't save lives. Dr. Fauci, I'm asking you to be very direct with all of us on this. If we don't fully implemented widespread testing contact tracing programs and social distancing practices that everyone seems to agree that we need can we expect these spikes and infection to keep happening in different places around the country?
FAUCI: Thank you Senator. I'm always direct with you and I'll tell you in direct answer to your question. That if you look at what's going on and just look at some of the film clips that you've seen of people congregating often without masks of being in crowds and jumping over and avoiding and not paying attention to the guidelines that we very carefully put out.
We are going to continue to be in a lot of trouble and there is going to be a lot of hurt if that does not stop.
WARREN: No we don't get our act together more and more communities around the country are going to see these dangerous surges of COVID- 19. Dr. Fauci back in March you also said "Looking at what we're seeing now you expected there to be between 100,000 and 200,000 Coronavirus deaths and millions of infections in the U.S."
So let's flash forward to late June, here we are at the end of June. We've already seen 126,000 deaths with infection rates rising rapidly. Dr. Fauci based on what you're seeing now how many COVID-19 deaths and infections should America expect before this is all over?
FAUCI: I can't make an accurate prediction but it is going to be very disturbing. I will guarantee you that because when you have an outbreak in one part of the country even though in other parts of the country they're doing well, they are vulnerable.
I made that point very clearly last week at a press conference. We can't just focus on those areas that are having this surge it puts the entire country at risk. We are now having 40 plus thousand new cases a day I would not be surprised if we go up to 100,000 a day if this does not turn around. And so I am very concerned.
WARREN: Can you make any kind of estimate on what we're looking at overall on the number of deaths?
WARREN: Before this is over you made an estimate back in March between 100,000 in 200,000 but we have a lot more information now and we're already at 126000 deaths? FAUCI: Right. I can't make estimation because that would have to be modeled out because when models are done and that's where those original numbers came from Senator. As I've said very often models are as good as the assumptions that you put into the model and those assumptions often changed depending upon what your response is?
So I would really be hesitant to give a number that will come back and either be contradicted overblown or under blown. But I think it's important to tell you and the American public that I'm very concerned because it could get very bad.
WARREN: All right. I appreciate that Dr. Fauci. We all want our economy--
ALEXANDER: We are well over time Senator Warren.
WARREN: I would just like the same time that my Republican colleague's got because I want to say we want our economy to--
ALEXANDER: Your time is up Senator Warren.
WARREN: --can't keep for--
ALEXANDER: Now I'm being just as fair to you as I was with Senator Sanders and other.
WARREN: --my Republican colleagues got a lot more time. Mr. Chairman.
ALEXANDER: Senator Warren, I always treat to you fairly and I would appreciate you respecting the Chairman's rules. If you'd like to make a closing statement goes ahead and does it but I don't appreciate your question--
WARREN: Thank you, I appreciate that Mr. Chairman.
ALEXANDER: -- fairness and presiding (ph) over the hearings because--
WARREN: -- understanding based on what others have done that you were allowing more time since we had such important witnesses.
ALEXANDER: Well, when you are Chairman you can make that - you can make those decisions.
WARREN: Thank you. You know, I just want to make the point that we can't keep pretending this virus is getting better when it isn't. That's how we end up with messages like the situation in Texas. Racing to reopen too soon then scrambling to close down before the hospitals get completely overwhelmed.
If we don't get our act together this is our future see sawing back and forth between two new restrictions and then exploding cases in repeated shutdowns in this future thousands more Americans will die and our economy will be brought to its knees.
We've got to have a national strategy that makes testing available to every school, every business, every hospital and every church anywhere that Americans come together. We need to expand contact tracing and we need leaders starting with President Trump who have enough backbone to face reality distribute our resources set our standards and step to them because if we don't the result is going to be more economic wreckage in more detail. Thank you Mr. Chairman.
ALEXANDER: Thank you Senator Warren. What I've tried to do in this hearing is to ask Senators to stay within 5 minutes and the answers within 5 minutes and if the answers go beyond that I've tried to be respectful of that but to - but I would ask Senators not to ask the questions and well past 5 and then expect to make a speech at the end. Senator Scott?
SEN. TIM SCOTT (R-SC): I thank you Mr. Chairman and I will certainly respect your time--
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Hello everyone, I'm Kate Bolduan. Thanks so much for being here with us. We have been watching all together has been a very important hearing taking place on Capitol Hill with the nation's top medical experts, top public health experts, top infectious disease experts talking about the current state of the fight against the Coronavirus and the current very troubling surge and spikes that are being seen and felt around the country.
Right there with Dr. Fauci, I think a very important message. He says that he fears if things don't change and we could be looking at 100,000 positive cases, new infections every day saying the country is going in the wrong direction right now.
Let me bring in CNN Medical Analyst Former Disease Detective at the CDC Doctors Seema Yasmin.
Dr. Yasmin it's great to see you again. You've been watching this hearing along with us. I want to just get your take on what you've heard today?
DR. SEEMA YASMIN, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: So I remembered Dr. Fauci's comments just a month ago warning us that if America didn't get its act together we would see needless death and needless suffering. And that's exactly what's panned out Kate it's as if his expert guidance has not been heeded since February and March.
We're now seeing 12 states with increases in hospitalizations so not just increases in positive test but actually people sick in hospital within Arizona were deaths are increasing. So he talks about these vulnerable states especially Arizona, Florida, Texas and California where I am.
These vulnerable states where it seems like we opening too early and not following the right steps may have been responsible for this crisis situation.
BOLDUAN: Clearly we are not in total control right now.
BOLDUAN: Dr. Fauci almost seemingly pleading with the country to wake up once again and realize that the virus isn't taking a summer vacation. Something else that seemed also to be very clear, very clear message from this panel, Doctor, that people should wear masks. That it makes a difference.
From Dr. Fauci to Dr. Redfield to even the Republican Chairman on the Committee, Lamar Alexander saying that he once again thinks that the President himself should wear a mask. Let me play what Lamar Alexander said even before he offers his opening statement.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALEXANDER: I have suggested that the President occasionally wear a mask even though in most cases it's not necessary for him to do so. The President has plenty of admirers. They would follow his lead. It would help end this political debate. The stakes are too high for this political debate about pro-Trump, anti-Trump mask to continue.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: Dr. Yasmin, that is in direct contradiction a complete contradiction from what we are seeing from the President right now. Why is this message so important?
DR. YASMIN: I was fascinated that those were the opening remarks of Senator Alexander before he got into anything else he went directly this point about the politicization of masks and as we just saw urging Trump to wear a mask from time to time because of the influence it can have on his followers.
And we have data now, Kate that shows us that in the U.S. those states that didn't just require or recommend masks but actually mandated them saw a big reduction in the number of new cases over just the last two weeks. And you compare that to about 11 states that did mandate and they saw big drops in the numbers of new cases.
So we have evidence that shows that wearing mask works we also have evidence that shows if about 80 percent of Americans were to wear a mask for the next few months we'd see a reduction in about 35,000 deaths.
So that's what's at stake here that you can wear a small piece of cloth over your face and actually save other people's lives but it is becoming a political hot topic and we are still not seeing enough Governors mandate masks in the states especially states like Florida that are really hard hit right now.
BOLDUAN: Absolutely. On that, let me bring in CNN Political Correspondent Abby Phillip. Abby, there were a lot of very clear messages coming from this panel but one after another the message on masks could not be clearer and it could not be more of a complete contradiction from what we hear from President?
ABBY PHILLIP, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Exactly. It's been really striking the way that the President has been so resist to what has evolved frankly. I mean, I think we should be clear that there are some people wondering why all of a sudden we are talking about masks now when months ago some of these very same people were not necessarily encouraging the wearing of masks.
And the difference has been that the information that we know about how masks can be effective has changed. What has not changed is that the President hasn't gone along with that. He has led the charge in creating a culture war around mask wearing among his supporters.
I have seen it myself when we were at that rally. That was a key opportunity for the President to say not just for handing out masks but I encourage all of my supporters when you are in that event wearing a mask.
He did not do that and in fact so many members of Congress who accompanied the President to that rally also chose not to wear masks in a clear statement that the political view was that mask wearing was a statement of solidarity with President Trump.
The opposite view is what you see in this panel today and I thought it was very notable that Dr. Fauci really contradicted Vice President Pence who a couple of days ago said he's seeing this encouraging news about the trends and Coronavirus cases.
Dr. Fauci was very clear. The news is not encouraging. We are headed in the wrong direction and he said that if there's not intervention things could get worse and that the numbers of people seen in a couple of months in terms of deaths will be basically scary to people.
I mean, I think that's really a wake-up call for everyone that these numbers can get much more scary than we're seeing right now.
BOLDUAN: Yes. It is back to the future or the opposite in what we are seeing because as if people aren't - they have been beating the drum on masks for quite some time but this contradiction now between what you are hearing from the experts that everyone says the country should rely on?
And what you are hearing from the President of the United States is so stark today and what we heard in this hearing? Do you get any indication, Abby, that there could be changes? You saw Mike Pence wearing a mask, though, also then not wearing a mask the complete mixed message from him.
Do you see that there is any suggestion that this plea from the nation's top medical experts is going to change anything in the White House?
PHILLIP: Well, I can't predict what the President's going to do and I think most people even in the White House can't predict what the President's going to do? But there are some signs politically that things are shifting around him.
So you're hearing not just from the medical experts to wear a mask. You're hearing from political leaders in Congress you're also hearing from people the President listens to like the Fox News host, Fox and Friends hosts say you know the President should wear a mask. You are hearing it from conservative media I think that is a very important and significant because this is how the President takes his cues. He cares a lot about what his allies in conservative media are saying?
When we start to see those people urging him to wear a mask and to send a message to his supporters you might start seeing a shift. But what are the challenges for President Trump is that mask wearing - he's using it as a political cudgel against his opponent Vice President Biden.
And I think as long as that is the case he's going to be very resistant to pulling back from that. He's been trying to send the message that that Biden wearing a mask makes him weak. The President is going to be very reticent to align him with that but it might be necessary.
The consequences are so significant they are life and death they are not just political. And I think you're starting to see his political allies saying more and more Mr. President you've got to let this go. Mask wearing is the only way that you're going to improve the coronavirus situation and thereby improve your political standing going into November.
BOLDUAN: Mitch McConnell including Lamar Alexander saying very clearly there as well. This gets to where the country is right now with the search for this? Let me bring in CNN Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen because Dr. Fauci's message, you interviewed him just a couple days ago Elizabeth, about kind of the status of things and the path forward.
When Dr. Redfield said that they were so concerned because hospitalizations are now going up in 12 states and now they're saying the death rate now going up in Arizona. What did you take from the tone, the tenor of what you heard from Dr. Fauci today in when he said that the country is headed in the wrong direction?
ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Katie it was very similar tone to what I heard when I spoke to him a few days ago. He genuinely sounds sad. I have been interviewing him for years and years HIV, H1N1 you name it and he you know - he is a man of great energy and a man of great you know we can do it attitude.
And you still hear that but I also hear certain sadness like how did this happen? None of this is surprising Kate and I think that's so important to remember experts have been on your show on CNN for months saying hey guys watch out?
It may feel like the first wave is over and we're going to hit a wall but that's not the case this could get much worse. This was predicted by many, many people and I've said on your show Kate you don't have to have a PhD in Immunology to know that when you get people back together that gives the virus the chance to spread.
So what I heard in Tony Fauci's voice was hey guys this is a really unfortunate situation that we're in. We're going in the wrong direction. I asked him did this have to happen. And he said in many ways it did not have to happen.
What I hear in his voice is come on guys, come on Americans we need to get it together. We need to start thinking about other people which means wearing a mask and we need to start thinking about doing the right thing so we can hopefully turn the ship around.
BOLDUAN: Great to see Elizabeth thank you. Abby thanks. Dr. Yasmin, I appreciate the time. Hearing continues we continue to watch for news will bring it to you. Coming up for us more states are pressing pause right now on re openings because of what is happening in their states? But will this be enough to slow down the virus we're live in these Coronavirus hotspots Arizona and California coming up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. ROBERT REDFIELD, DIRECTOR, CENTER FOR DISEASE CONTROL & PREVENTION: Hospitalizations now are going up in 12 states and as of this weekend daily death now has increased in the State of Arizona.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BOLDUAN: As the CDC Director Robert Redfield said just moments ago Arizona one of the emerging hot spots just mentioned. He said that on Capitol Hill the daily Coronavirus death toll there is now going up and new alarming infection numbers just in.
Arizona health officials are reporting nearly 5000 new infections in the last 2 days. Let's get straight to CNN's Stephanie Elam she's in Phoenix with the very latest. So Stephanie what are you hearing there?
STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right. Well Kate, let me just put into perspective here these numbers. There was a glitch with one lab reporting some of the cases yesterday. So they're saying that more than half of these cases these new cases reported today should have been reported on Monday.
So we can't completely compare it to the day before but it's still a very large number. I also can tell you that there are 44 deaths that they reported and we've been watching these ICU beds that are dedicated for COVID patients. It has been up as high as 88 percent it's now at 86 percent so still very high.
The other issue here, the average number of deaths per day has been doubling, has doubled in the month of June which is noteworthy because that is when the state came out of the stay-at-home order in the middle of May a 2 week lag period and then they start to see the sharp increases in numbers.
So much so that we caught up with a doctor here Dr. Brandon Bikowski who is so shocked by what he's seen inside of hospitals with the way they have to deal with this number of patients that he posted a post on Facebook that went viral? Listen to what he said to us. [12:25:00]
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. BRANDON BIKOWSKI, INTERNAL MEDICINE HOSPITALIST: It's something that we don't know how to deal with as medical professionals? And if I don't know that after all of the years of school and training and at every colleague that I've talked to feels the same way that I do. I think people should probably be as scared as I am.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ELAM: Now the Governor has said multiple times during his press conference yesterday that Arizonans need to wear a mask. But this is a bit of an evolution and he's still not calling for everyone in the state to have to wear a mask. He's leaving it up to counties and to cities and towns to do that.
Here in Maricopa County it is now required but still not requirement across the board but making this decision yesterday to go ahead and close down gyms and bars water parks tubing until further notice looking at it in a month to see if it's worth opening them back up and also pushing back the first day of school to August 17th.
All of these dates he says they can be amended but one last point on this Kate too is that he said no large gatherings above 50 people will be allowed. But he then said that these local communities to make that decision for themselves as long as there are social distancing measures. So it's out there but it's not as strong as it could be.
BOLDUAN: Stephanie thanks so much. I really, really appreciate it. So there's also a surge happening in Southern California as well many hospitals they're dangerously close to hitting capacity after record single day increase of cases in Los Angeles County Monday that spike has pushed the total confirmed cases there over devastating milestone of 100,000.
Los Angeles' Mayor Eric Garcetti says the next two weeks are critical in getting the spike under control. So what are they doing about it? CNN's Dan Simon is joining me now from Santa Monica. Dan, what are they trying to do there to try to slow this down?
DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well hi Kate, very little in the way of current mitigation. I should tell you that the beaches here in Santa Monica going to be closed this weekend to prevent large crowds from gathering.
No July 4th fireworks either. We saw Governor Newsom basically order all bars to close in 7 counties including here in Los Angeles County. Things really look increasingly grim. You saw record amount of cases both in the State of California and Los Angeles County.
You saw the 100,000 cases and it's not just the cases were also seeing an increase in hospitalizations are up 44 percent in Los Angeles County over the past couple of weeks also seeing a rise in Riverside County just east of here at 96 percent capacity right now for ICU beds.
So authorities saying that right now is really the time to hunker down try to get back in that earlier mindset when the pandemic first began. They're saying if you can stay at home you should really do so Kate.
BOLDUAN: Dan, thank you. This also just in to CNN New York, New Jersey and Connecticut the tri state area now expanding its coordinated travel advisory telling anyone that's coming in from 8 additional states now to quarantine because of the status of the Coronavirus outbreak.
CNN's Brynn Gingras joining me now, she is here in New York. Brynn what are learning about this?
BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Kate well, the New Jersey Governor may have put it very bluntly but he said we've been through hell and we don't want to go back through hell again. And that's why New Jersey, Connecticut and New York as you mentioned banding together and making this announcement about those extra eight states now a total of 16 in addition to the eight that they mentioned last week.
Making it mandatory people traveling from those states back into the tri state area will have to quarantine for 14 days. Now the metric that they're using if we show that map with the states are talking about is in those states if the infection rate is higher or 10 percent or higher over rolling average of 7 days.
So that's the number that they're keeping an eye on and if more states need to be added to that list it sounds like that they will. Again because they say the spread is so bad in the states they don't want to bring it back here to the tri state which went through so much.
And even still Kate, this is on the heels of more precautions being taken. We know that New Jersey this week already canceled its rollout of indoor dining and we know that New York has said that it's considering the same.
They're not going to have indoor dining possibly but that was supposed to start up next week. The Governor says he'll make an announcement about that soon as well in pertains to New York City. So again these states making this measure saying if you come back from those 16 states it doesn't matter if it's on a plane, if you're driving or through the train you need to quarantine for 14 days, Kate.
BOLDUAN: Thank you, Brynn. Coming up for us the Trump campaign making a big change to its 2020 campaign plans the event that's now off the schedule and why?