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Cases Rise In 27 States As Virus Surges Across Nation; Fauci Warns New COVID Cases Could Rise To 100,000 A Day. Aired 10-10:30a ET

Aired July 1, 2020 - 10:00   ET


JIM SCIUTTO, CNN NEWSROOM: This outbreak heavily, as a country, learned our lesson.


The data is disturbing. 37 states are now seeing a rise in coronavirus cases. 19 states, as a result, are pausing or rolling back their reopening plans.

We saw an alarming spike after the Memorial Day weekend. Many Americans shook off social distancing measures, large gatherings, few wearing masks, showed up in

the numbers.

Now, top health officials are pleading with Americans to learn from that experience. If not, they warn things could get much worse. Dr. Anthony Fauci is now predicting that if the country stays on the course it is currently on, we as a country, could be facing up to 100,000 new infections every day.

But, first, this just in to CNN. Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer is reporting early data on its candidate for a vaccine for coronavirus. Let's bring in CNN Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen. And, Elizabeth, you always do this caution. This is early data, but what are we learning from it?

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Right, Jim, absolutely. I'm going to issue that caveat right now. This is early data. This is a very small group of people. It's about 36-study subjects and you don't know what's going to happen when this is done in real world circumstances. But they did get an immune response that seems to be impressive according to outside experts that I'm talking to. It was especially strong when they gave two doses of the vaccine.

There is a however here. Actually, there are several howevers. I'll give you the first one first, which is that there was a pretty high -- there were -- many people had fevers when they were given this. Even at a low dose, 1 out of 12 study subjects got a high fever after one dose. At a high dose, half of the people got a fever after one dose. And after two doses, those fever numbers went up.

Now, these fevers are transient. They go away in about a day, generally, according to this study, and that's a good thing. And you could make the argument, well, you know, a day of fever is a small price to pay for a vaccine that could help us get rid of this horrible virus.

However, the public may feel a little differently. They may not like the fact that they might get a fever after getting a dose or two of this.

Some of the other caveats here is that this was not peer reviewed, it was not put in in a medical journal. It posted on what's called on what's called the pre-print server. So it hasn't been reviewed yet by peers. That's an important thing to remember.

Also, you have been impressive data with 36 people, but then when you actually give it to larger numbers, say, 30,000 people in a clinical trial and put those people out in the world, will it prevent them from getting infected? We don't know. Jim?

SCIUTTO: Elizabeth Cohen, thanks so much for staying on top of it. We're going to bring you all the data as it comes throughout.

As new cases surge in Florida, Governor Ron DeSantis there is pushing back against calls for another statewide lockdown. Let's bring CNN's Randi Kaye. She is in Riviera Beach, Florida.

So, Randi, you had an interaction with the governor. You challenged him and he's holding firm. Tell us what he told you.

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, first of all, he's saying that he will want shut the state again, even though we saw another 6,000 new positive cases yesterday. But the governor has said that Florida is not as bad as New York. In fact, Jim, he's criticized the media for suggesting that Florida could be as bad as New York. He said it was some sort of a partisan narrative and he even asked for an apology from the media.

So we went to him yesterday at his press conference nearby and I asked him if, given the spike in numbers, if he wanted to apologize to the media or did he regret making those comments, and here is what he said.


GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): We're not even close to that. So we went through March, April, people were predicting we'd have 400,000 people hospitalized, never came. We had very stable numbers all through May and early June.

So we're very well positioned to be able to handle what comes down the pike. But to compare us, what we're doing with that, totally apples and oranges.


KAYE: I tried to follow up and make some points to the governor, but his handler quickly shut me down and moved on and actually called on another reporter all by himself, the handler, not the governor.

Just one quick point, the governor says we're at a 10 to 15 percent positivity rate here in the State of Florida. We're not. That is just wrong.

In Miami-Dade, even just yesterday, they had a positivity rate, Jim, of more than 22 percent. So those numbers just don't square. Back to you.

SCIUTTO: Yes. Folks, tune out the attacks. They're easy. Follow the numbers. Thank you, Randi Kaye, for asking the hard questions.

Let's go to Lucy Kafanov, she's in Houston. Worrisome Texans have been lining up since midnight in hopes to getting a coronavirus test this morning as officials report a record new number of cases yet again.

Lucy, we see these lines, it's a fairly consistent thing. It is not a particularly efficient or effective way to get a bunch of people tested. Why is this happening?


LUCY KAFANOV, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the issue is that, here in Texas, they simply don't know what the peak is in terms of the virus. They don't know how much of the virus is out there. And these long lines, Jim, it's not just this facility, they officially opened from 9:00 A.M. local time to 4:00 P.M. local time. People lining up overnight. That's something that we saw at other facilities. That's something that we saw in Dallas. It just shows you how much more capacity is needed even though Texas has 900 testing sites.

But, again, the state shattering new records, 6,975 new cases announced yesterday. That's increasing the single rate by a thousand cases. That's very worrying.

We saw the governor admitting on some T.V. news interviews earlier this week that perhaps the state went a little bit too aggressively in terms of reopening. He's rolled back, for example, bars, they're now shut, restaurant capacity is slashed, but there's disagreement at the very top of leadership here in Texas about whether reopening or shutting down the economy makes sense even though medical officials say it's better to shut down while we get this under control.

Take a listen to the lieutenant governor who was on Fox News yesterday. Take a listen.


LT. GOV. DAN PATRICK (R-TX): Locking down doesn't work. If it did, those two states would be doing better than Texas. Fauci said today that he's concerned like states like Texas that skipped over certain things. He doesn't know what he's talking about. We haven't skipped over anything. The only thing I'm skipping over is listening to him.


KAFANOV: Well, locking down does work. That's what you hear from medical officials. That's what you see in states that didn't rush to reopen. Again, the state grieving the consequences of pushing to aggressively reopen its economy with these record breaking numbers almost every day, Jim.

SCIUTTO: Yes. It's in the numbers. Lucy Kafanov, thanks very much.

To California now, where hours from now, the governor, Gavin Newsom, is expecting to announce that he's going to tighten restrictions again as the state continues to see cases soar to record numbers there, as well.

Joining me from Pacific Palisades, California, CNN's Dan Simon. And, Dan, they were talking about this lock. California seemed to have a handle on this. They were early to do shutdowns, stay-at-home. They reopened. They attribute this to reopening, I imagine,

DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's exactly right, Jim. And Governor Newsom likened his options to a dimmer switch, where things could be toggled back and forth. He is expected to make some announcements today where he may dial back the reopening of some aspects of the economy. We don't know exactly what he is planning to do.

I can't tell you that the beaches in Los Angeles County will be closed over the 4th of July weekend, might we see that in other parts of the state. He did express concern about family gatherings that are going to be taking place over the holiday, and the potential for community spread.

But we did speak to one leading doctor, at least we have, over the past few weeks. In a series of tweets, he wrote that the state's miracle is now over, that when you did have Memorial Day weekend take place, that there was some complacency and there was a lot of community spread particularly among young people. And now, the question is what might the state do to get things back on track. Jim?

SCIUTTO: Dan Simon there in California, we know you're going to stay on top of it. Thanks very much.

Let's speak now to the mayor of Palm Beach County, Florida. He is Dave Kerner. Mayor, we appreciate you taking the time this morning.

MAYOR DAVE KERNER (D-PALM BEACH, FLORIDA): Good morning. Thank you for having me on the show.

SCIUTTO: So I don't want to underestimate the difficulty that state and local leaders have here, right? You want to get your economies going again. You want to control the outbreak, you try to figure out how to get that balance right. Do you feel that Florida did it too quickly, too broadly, reopening?

KERNER: Well, I'll tell you that there's no playbook and there's no precedent for large states and governments like this going through a pandemic and that's not to shed any responsibility that I should take as a county mayor. But remember, it is a balance and there is a tension of balance between the economy and the public health. Both of them are intertwined.

And so I've worked closely with Governor DeSantis here in Palm Beach County to try to find that right balance. I heard that you mentioned Governor Newsom in using the analogy like the dimmer switch. There are levers that need to be pulled to find that balance. So it's not a yes or no question.

And, quite frankly, in Palm Beach Country, we feel like we're in a comfortable place and there are levers that we need to pull, like shutting down the beach this weekend that we think affects the public health and puts us in a better position.

SCIUTTO: You've heard the public comments from the governor. He said that the media has given Florida a kind of a bad rap in terms of how they responded to this. More substantively, he's resisted statewide orders, for instance, on mask-wearing. Is that a mistake? I mean, given it's a simple step and the science shows it works. Should the measures be statewide and would that save lives?

KERNER: Well, you know, again, not a yes or no question.


In Palm Beach County, we did go to a mandatory mask policy. My county has 1.5 million people, the tri-county area, including Broward and Miami-Dade has over 6 million people. This county alone is larger than many states in this the Union. The rest of Florida, and I love Florida, I'm a native of Florida, much of Florida is very rural and a different place than Palm Beach County. And so I don't think it's a one-size-fits-all. And it may regard, like commend Governor DeSantis, for trying to find that balance and not imposing a large government restriction throughout the state.

Be that as it may, my laser focus in working with the state government and with county government here is to protect Palm Beach County. And our format (ph) going to be a little bit different and unique than the rest of the state.

SCIUTTO: Listen, I get the idea of tailoring it, right? Every community is different to some degree. But the fact is, what the data has shown in recent weeks is that less populated areas are vulnerable, and that's where we're often seeing some of the jumps now.

Given that wearing a mask doesn't cost a lot in terms of effort, time, inconvenience and given that the science shows it works, why not make that simple request of people, just wear a mask?

KERNER: I think that request should be well taken by the public. And I'll tell you that, in Palm Beach County, I think we're the first to launch in the nation, perhaps, a COVID dedication and compliance theme because we were not seeing compliance with the law passed down by our governor and the law passed down by our county commission. And in that regard, having to educate the public and enforce these provisions has become a very effective tool.

Again, Palm Beach County is a unique place throughout the rest of the state. That's the governor's prerogative. And I hope that he continues to use a scalpel rather than a hammer as we go through this pandemic.

SCIUTTO: I want to ask you about schools now because students in Palm Beach County, they're going back pretty soon, August 10th. School boards are going to hold a virtual meeting today to discuss reopening plans. Is it possible, in your view, for students to go back to school, safety under certain restrictions, for instance, alternate days, things like that that are being considered?

KERNER: Well, I will tell you that I'm not a parent and I did go to public school here in Palm Beach County, born and raised here, but I don't handle those issues. I can tell you that from a -- maybe from a layman's perspective, it's sort of a frightening concept to have 100,000 children back in school here in Palm Beach County. But I would have to defer to the Department of Education and out local school board to handle those issues.

In my position as the county government, we tend to general government issues and not the school board.

SCIUTTO: What restriction do you think most urgently needs to be re- imposed to help get control of the rise in cases in Florida, including in Palm Beach County?

KERNER: You know, it's funny because we have phase one, phase two and I was on executive task force under the governor and there's rules and laws. If the public is not going to embrace the civic duty and, really, the patriotic duty of getting through this as a country or a state or a county together, then the rules, buttons and levers don't matter.

And so as we go into the 4th of July weekend, we have governor's orders in phase one here in Palm Beach County, they need to be abided by. If we have a mask order, they need to be abided by.

I think that instead of going to the beach, which is closed here in Palm Beach County, our families here and throughout the state can be at home with their family in the backyard and talk about the sacrifices that men and women in this country have made protect our freedom both abroad and here in our homeland. It's a time to change our perspective and say, we have to work together as a team to get through this.

So, rules, laws, be that as it may, we have to change our perspective about getting through this together through a civic duty.

SCIUTTO: Yes, and it is a duty. Mayor Dave Kerner, we wish you and your community good luck.

KERNER: Thank you.

SCIUTTO: Still to come this hour, could a potential vaccine that only works 50 percent better than a placebo, could truly help contain the virus? We're going to discuss next.

Plus, is the president putting the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, over a risk to American lives? Former Ambassador Susan Rice pens a blistering new op-ed, ripping the Trump administration for turning a blind eye to intelligence regarding Russian bounties on American soldiers. And there may be little money to be made in hate speech and misinformation. Facebook's ad boycott sees no end in sight, as civil rights groups continue to push companies to pull their spending. A lot of companies are.



SCIUTTO: 100,000 new infections from coronavirus per day, that is where Dr. Anthony Fauci says the U.S. is heading if more Americans don't start to be doing more and often simple things to prevent the spread.

With me now is Dr. Robert Wachter, he's Department of Medicine Char at the University of California, San Francisco, and Erin Bromage, Professor of Biology specializing in Immunology at the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth. Thanks to both of you.

Dr. Wachter, if I can begin with you, Dr. Fauci says, clearly, we are not in total control now and the numbers tell that story. And he's talking about a surge in cases. Do you agree with that assessment if measures aren't taken to hem this in?

DR. ROBERT WACHTER, DEPARTMENT OF MEDICINE CHAIRMAN, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA SAN FRANCISCO: There's no question about it. We are seeing surges in all sorts of parts of the country that dodged the first bullet and here I am in California, which has done remarkably well until about two or three weeks ago. And we're now seeing fairly significant surges, so it's a very concerning situation.


SCIUTTO: Dr. Bromage, you started this too. A lot of folks talk about a dimmer switch. I just spoke to a couple of mayors in the last hour about toggling up and toggling down restrictions. I wonder, as this spreads to a bigger portion of the population here, does it become harder to control the wider it spreads, if you know what I mean? Does that dimmer switch become less effective over time because, again you have more people in the nature of the way outbreaks work?

DR. ERIN BROMAGE, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Yes. The dimmer switch approach works when you have case numbers under control. We saw New Jersey. We saw New York governors both say, we might slow down on reopening restaurants. That's a dimmer switch. When you get into Arizona numbers, Texas numbers, Florida numbers that tiny adjustment that you make is not going to have the effect on turning those new infections around fast enough. You've got to come in with more of hammer rather than a switch to control this now.

SCIUTTO: Understood.

Dr. Wachter, you mentioned you're in California. And California was something of a success story. They acted early, very broadly, with stay-at-home orders, which has an enormous economic impact but seemed to be reflected in the numbers in terms of holding this down. Did California toggle back, dim the dimmer switch too quickly, too early?

WACHTER: I don't think so. I think California has been pretty good on this. The political leaders, the corporate leaders and the people of California acted extraordinarily well, as you say, early. And one of the things we've seen, it's not just what the politicians do and what the rules are, but what a million different acts on the part of 40 million people every day, are they wearing their masks, even if there is a rule about it, are they keeping their distance even if there's a rule about it.

And I think what we've seen in the last couple of weeks is that it was not unreasonable for California to begin opening up but people have let their guard down. Too many people have taken this as a license to go out and go back to their prior life and the virus is just -- it's waiting for us to let down our guard. And what we've seen in California, I think it's been surprising how quickly things have gotten out of hand.

SCIUTTO: It does. I mean, I see it here in Washington, D.C., understandably, right? They want to go back as close to normal as possible, as quickly as possible.

Dr. Bromage, you heard Dr. Wachter there mention masks. I mean, you can't repeat it often enough because masks do have an effect. I want to show our viewers on the screen the difference between no mask and that mask and the different kinds of masks, no mask, a cough travels eight feet. With just those simple bandanas, people wear around their necks, 3.6 feet. With a folded handkerchief, a foot a quarter, but a cone mask, eight inches, and a stitched mask, 2.5 inches.

So, I mean, I know you can't see that, so you're a little bit of a disadvantaged. But, Dr. Bromage, you know how important these are. What can you tell to people at home who are about to walk out of their house today, and they're, like, maybe I'll wear a mask, maybe I won't?

BROMAGE: If you can't appropriately physical distance, you need to be wearing a mask. They work. It's clear that they work. They work better for this pathogen than they do for others due to how quickly and how easily this virus spreads. Masks work.

SCIUTTO: All right, said quickly. And, clearly, and as I always say, listen to the doctors.

Dr. Wachter, before we go, there's a lot of talk about the virus. Information is coming out earlier than you normally would have with the virus. I mean, just when you have results, for instance, with dozens of patients when you need thousands of people. But when you look at a workable vaccine and you hear hopeful, aspirational statements like from Dr. Fauci saying perhaps by the end of this year, early next year, is that realistic for people at home?

WACHTER: Well, if you think about all of the check boxes that we would have had to have hit so far to get to an effective vaccine within six to nine months, we really hit all of this them. There are a lot of vaccines and testing. I think the federal government, on this one, has made some quick choices. That's not true for a lot of other things. But in terms of gearing up our ability to manufacture and distribute it, but a lot of other things (INAUDIBLE) to get an effective vaccine out there.

And if we have an effective vaccine that's prove own January 1st, this thing does not end on January 2nd. It's going to be another six months, nine months, it could be year before we get it distributed and pat shoulders to make a meaningful difference.

SCIUTTO: Listen to doctors, folks. Dr. Wachter, Professor Bromage, thanks very much to both of you.

BROMAGE: Welcome.

WACHTER: Thank you.

SCIUTTO: We're going to go now, live comments from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, he's discussing if Afghanistan regarding threats to U.S. soldiers. Let's have a listen Briefly.


REPORTER: Wouldn't the bounties be an escalation?


REPORTER: Thank you, Morgan. Thank you, Mr. Secretary.

My question is you just mentioned about the report written by Dr. Adrian Zenz regarding the force's of sterilization and abortion of the Uyghur population there by China assimilating the Uyghur people.

In the report, actually, Dr. Zenz, he presented a compelling evidence that the Chinese government saw severe human rights violation of the Uyghur people meet the criteria of genocide, as defined by the U.N. convention, a genocide.

SCIUTTO: Answering questions at the State Department, we will bring you briefly his answer on intelligence that Russia targeted U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

Stay with us. We'll be back after a short break.