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U.S. Cases Trend In Wrong Direction As Trump Fails To Lead; Study Shows Official U.S. COVID-19 Death Count Could Be Much Higher; Trump Calls Black Lives Matter Street Paintings Symbol Of Hate. Aired 1-1:30p ET

Aired July 1, 2020 - 13:00   ET




BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN ANCHOR: Hi there. I'm Brooke Baldwin. Thank you so much for being with me. You are watching CNN.

44,000, that is the staggering number of new coronavirus cases in the United States. It is the second highest single-day total since the pandemic began and the latest sign that, as Dr. Anthony Fauci told Congress, that the U.S. is going in the wrong direction.

Let me just try to put this in perspective for all of us. So I'll show you what things look like today on this first day of July and then compare it to a month ago.

So back on June 1st, 24 states were showing double-digit declines in new cases compared to the prior week. Now, almost the entire country is the exact opposite. Look at that. The explosion is forcing 19 states to now pause or roll back reopening plans. One of them is California, where the governor is said to announce new restrictions a little later today.

In California, leading all states with the most number of new cases, just over 7,500, Texas, Florida, Arizona and Georgia rounding out the top five.

And as the nation begins the sixth full month dealing with this crisis, President Trump remains largely silent. Even as a growing number of Republicans are now breaking with him and urging Americans to wear masks. Even as Dr. Fauci warns that we could see 100,000 new cases a day in this country.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo blasting Trump, saying, the president, quote, denied reality of this situation from day one. And now, one health expert says it will be Cuomo along with other state and local officials who will have to be the ones turning this thing around.


DR. WILLIAM HASELTINE, FORMER HARVARD MEDICAL SCHOOL PROFESSOR: We're now reaping what was sown over the past months. That is, we failed to control this epidemic in a number of our southern, western and the south part of California. We just didn't do what we needed to do. And I believe this situation is so grim and is getting worse by the day, that everybody is going to begin to understand it's their responsibility. And we don't have a national leadership. We're going to have local leadership.

And I think you're going to see the mayors and the governors singing a very different tune from now on. They know it's in their backyard and it's their job to take care of it if no one else does.


BALDWIN: Let's just start with Florida. Florida, the department of health there is reporting just over 6,500 new cases, bringing the state total to nearly 159,000. Despite the surge, Governor Ron DeSantis is refusing to issue a statewide mask mandate. And when it comes to hitting the pause button on reopening, DeSantis says Florida, in his words, is not going back.

CNN's Randi Kaye is live in Palm Beach County. And, obviously, the governor there, Randi, is quite defiant, but there will be some closures for this 4th of July holiday weekend. What are some of those changes?

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, absolutely. Because the governor says he's not going to shut the state down again, many of the local leaders have to take it into their own hands. So a lot of them are closing beaches here in Palm Beach County. The beaches will be closed for the holiday weekend, also in Miami-Dade and as well as Broward County and Monroe County, where the Florida Keys are.

It's interesting that some counties, including Volusia County, are keeping their beach open. They say they're going to monitor using drones. They're going to monitor crowds. So we'll see how well that works out.

But the governor has been defiant. He's blaming young people for the increased number of cases that we're seeing. Certainly not saying that Florida did anything wrong. He's basically saying that everything is well here, but that's certainly not the case. We're learning just today that Jackson Memorial Hospital, the largest hospital in Miami, is now once again going to stop elective surgeries. They say that the COVID numbers have doubled in their hospital in the last two weeks, and they just cannot afford the hospital beds for elective surgery.

So I caught up with the governor yesterday. I wanted to ask him what he thinks about how Florida is doing, Did he make any mistakes and why, with the numbers spiking, does he get so angry when the media suggests Florida is like New York? Listen to what he said.


GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): May and early June were our best testing numbers, very low, test results in terms of percent positive. Obviously, you've seen a higher percentage test positive now, but just understand some of those states were testing at 60 percent 70 percent. So we've been 10 to 15. We obviously want to get that down into the single digits.

To compare us what we're doing with that, probably apples and oranges.

KAYE: Well, if I could follow-up? if I could just follow-up just very quickly --



KAYE: His handler shut me down before I could follow-up, Brooke. But just very quickly, the governor says, we're at 10 to 15 percent positively rate. That is just not true. In Miami-Dade County just yesterday, they had a 22.24 percent positivity rate. So those numbers just don't square.

BALDWIN: Randi, good for you for at least trying for the follow-up. So many questions about what's going on. Thank you so much very much at the beach there in Palm Beach County.

Let's talk about California, where many beaches there already been closed and fireworks canceled ahead of this weekend's 4th of July celebrations. Folks are now bracing for even more restrictions that could be coming today from the governor, Gavin Newsom.

CNN's Dan Simon is live in Pacific Palisades, California. And, Dan, what's the plan?

DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Governor Newsom says he has a toggle switch and it can go up or down. We don't know what he is going to announce today but there is a sense it needs to be significant, because California did flatten the curve, but things have clearly gotten out of control. Yesterday, we saw the second highest tally since the pandemic began when it comes to cases.

As you said, Brooke, the beaches are going to be closed over the 4th of July weekend. Normally, the beaches here would be packed. They will be closed to avoid large gatherings, no fireworks either. Might the governor extend that throughout the entire state? We'll have to wait and see. Could it impact restaurants? Who knows? There's a lot of speculation in terms of what the governor is going to do.

I can tell you, Brooke, that one leading doctor in the state, Dr. Robert Walker, who chairs the UCSF Department of Medicine, says the California miracle is clearly over. He says, basically, when things began to open up during Memorial Day weekend, people got complacent. They stopped wearing their masks and now we're seeing large spread community spread throughout the State of California and obviously Los Angeles is right at the epicenter.

BALDWIN: We'll listen for all the word to come down from Governor Newsom. In the meantime, Dan, thank you.

And now to Texas with nearly 7,000 new coronavirus cases confirmed just yesterday. Just yesterday, the highest number of daily infections in the entire state, hospitalizations are also surging to troubling new highs.

CNN's Lucy Kafanov is near one of those testing site in Houston. And you tell me what you're seeing and what the plan is for folks there.

LUCY KAFANOV, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, in terms of the plan, we haven't seen anything new announced from the governor. Yesterday, he expanded restricting basically elective surgeries in four different counties, but there have been no new statewide measures.

We actually saw the lieutenant governor go on Fox News yesterday slamming Dr. Anthony Fauci, saying that the nation's top infectious disease expert doesn't know what he's talking about. So it shows you just how politicized this issue has gone here. It's really been on local communities to try to enforce new measures to try to keep these cases from going up.

And here in Houston, Harris County, one of the hardest hit, so many cases. We are in front of testing facility, where the line of cars stretched for miles. And this was hours before the facility even opened, a lot of people here afraid of the prospect of what will happen to them. We spoke to one family. They worked with someone who got infected with COVID. So they were here this morning to get a test. Take a listen.


OBED MEZA, COVID-19 TEST RECIPIENT: It's scary, to be honest. It's really scary. Because, I mean, we all got family. And, I mean, yes, it's just real scary, you know, because we can't work either, you know? We have been missing days, so we've got to be always looking out for each other. So it's real scary.


KAFANOV: And the other scary thing here, Brooke, is the people who are getting tested, they are not going to get the results for another ten days. That means they're going to go into 4th of July weekend, they might potentially have this disease. It's going to be upon them. The burden is on them to choose to stay home in order not to spread it. All of this, as Texas continues to break records. Brooke?

BALDWIN: Well, if you think you're sick, right, stay home. Stay home. Lucy Kafanov, thank you very much, in Houston.

I want to take you back to Florida and just the skyrocketing cases there. New steps are being taken to slow the spread of infections, including, as we reported earlier, many beaches closing for the 4th of July weekend. And masks being made mandatory in many parts of the states.

So with me now, Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber.

Mayor Gelber, thank you so much for jumping on T.V. with me. And, I mean, what you all are doing in Miami, you're saying, anyone in a public area indoors or outdoors where they cannot social distance will have to wear a mask. How do you enforce that? MAYOR DAN GELBER (D), MIAMI BEACH, FL: Well, we create a $50 fine, because reverting to arrests seemed pretty impractical and not something we wanted to do. We also are going to have ambassadors giving out tens of thousands of masks in public places, especially our promenades with the idea that that will urge compliance.

But, look, there's not a lot of stuff left in the tool kit and we're trying to do everything. Restaurants closed at midnight. We have a curfew we're starting tonight at 12:30. Liquor stores are closed at 8:00 P.M.


So we're doing everything we can, because we don't want to end up having to shelter in place again.

BALDWIN: What do you say to the folks who say, I don't want to wear a mask, you're infringing upon my freedom? What do you say to them?

GELBER: That's ridiculous. it's just -- secondhand smoke, it's the same thing. And it's not your freedom. It's the freedom of a loved one or somebody, a relative getting sick and perhaps getting deathly sick. 1,000 people, or 1,000 deaths in our county, not our state, our county, that's today. So this is a pretty serious thing.

It shouldn't be this hard to get people to wear masks. You know, if the messaging from the state, and from the federal government was, we all are doing this together, it would be a lot easier. But we're trying to convince people to do something that other people are telling them to somehow an insult to their family if they do it. And, of course, that's absurd.

BALDWIN: To the fine of $50, do you think that that is enough of a deterrent? I was reading this morning that the mayor of Savannah, Georgia is going to charge people $500. Would you be -- depending on how this goes, especially over the weekend, Mayor Gelber, would you be willing to up the fine?

GELBER: Well, I think whatever the fine is, the compliance is going to happen if it's actually imposed or people follow. I mean, the truth is, the moment you make it mandatory, like with seat belts, the moment you made them mandatory, a whole slew of people just started to comply because there are people who follow rules, as we know.

And so we're trying to manage risk here by just getting as many as possible. You know, we're not going to get absolute compliance. But right now, we have horrible compliance, especially from people who are going out to socialize. And my city gets a lot of those because we tend to be a destination for those folks.

BALDWIN: You have the governor, who has drawn this pretty big line in the sand on any additional closures. Here he was.


DESANTIS: We're not going back closing things. I don't think that that really is what's driving it. I mean, people go into business is not what's driving it. I think when you see the younger folks, I think a lot of is more just social interactions. And so that's natural.


BALDWIN: So not going back on closures, meaning, despite the spike in cases, not reclosing businesses. Do you think that's the right call? And if not, what can you even do about it?

GELBER: Well, the truth of the matter is that if we end up getting to a point where a healthcare apparatus can't treat everybody, then we're not going to have a choice no matter what anybody says right now. That's obviously a hard line in the sand. But the other point is though, we're trying to do everything we can before that.

I really wish -- when a hurricane is coming, everybody gets on the same page. Everybody tells people exactly what to do and they do it. And now, there's so many other cross-currents of what you should be doing. If everybody said from the top down wear a mask, it's okay. It's not a political statement. It's just a statement of caring and help, we would be fine. We're going to do everything we can.

And, by the way, we sheltered in place in my city before any other city in Florida. We don't want to do that. Nobody wants to do that. But, obviously, if we get to the point where spikes are so systemic and we can't treat our sick, then we won't have an option.

BALDWIN: No. Mayor Gelber, I think you -- I hadn't heard somebody -- it's like -- you know hurricanes in Florida. You know how to jump, you know how to get on the same page, why should this be any different? Mayor Dan Gelber, thank you very much and best of luck to you with all of this.

GELBER: Thank you.

BALDWIN: We do have some breaking news today. A new study reports the death toll in the United States could actually be dramatically higher. We have those new details.

And the president and thousands of spectators getting ready for a 4th of July celebration at Mount Rushmore this weekend, where there will be no requirements for masks or social distancing. We'll discuss.

And the president also taking time this morning to rage tweet on a variety of issues, unrelated to COVID, even calling Black Lives Matter, this, a street mural, a symbol of hate. An original member of Black Lives Matter joins me to respond.

You're watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin.



BALDWIN: Welcome back. You're watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin. And as you see on the right side of your screen here more than, 127,000 people in the United States have died from coronavirus. But a new study in the Journal of the American Medical Association reports that number may actually be 28 percent higher and that is roughly an increase of about 36,000 lives, 36,000 deaths.

So, with me, Dr. James Phillips, he is the Chief of Disaster Medicine and an Assistant Professor at George Washington University Hospital. So, Dr. Phillips, thank you so much for being on.

And why do you think there's such a gap in the numbers?

DR. JAMES PHILLIPS, CHIEF, DISASTER MEDICINE AND ASSISTANT PROFESSOR AT GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL: Well, there's a number of reasons. Initially, it was about testing and also recognition of the different ways that the virus can kill people. Initially, thought to be a primarily respiratory disease, we sought patients who came in with respiratory symptoms, flu-like illness, if you will. And we reserved our very limited number of tests for them. And that's why we had a very high positivity rate during those times.

And when we saw patients that died from respiratory illness during that time, we assumed it was COVID, and in most cases, we were able to test for it. But we've long feared there were a number of patients that were dying in the hospital and outside the hospital particularly early on in this disease process that were dying from COVID but it wasn't attributed to that, because testing wasn't available.

BALDWIN: And as I sit here talking to you and itching my face. I just want everyone to know, hand sanitizer. Because we're all so aware, right, if we're not wearing a mask.


And speaking of masks, health officials implored Americans to wearing masks. There's even a new study that found that the design and the material face masks can impact how effective they are. So what do we need to know when we're picking out a mask?

PHILLIPS: Well, the important thing is that people wear one. Regardless of the material, if you can put some form of a barrier between you and people you may be coughing on, anything is better than nothing, but certainly the material matters.

In the healthcare setting, particularly, say, in a surgical setting, where surgeons have been wearing masks over 100 years to prevent their droplets from getting into the bodies of their patients, which is the purpose of these masks, a standard surgical mask works very well. Not everyone in the general public has access to that material.

So we saw a number of entrepreneurial people start developing cloth masks, and that's become its own industry at this point. And there're variations in that. But if you can find a well-constructed, well- fitting mask that adheres tightly to your face, particularly got special filters that can be replaced, and, certainly it has to be washable. I would pick up one of those and make sure it fits tightly. BALDWIN: No. I mean, to see -- you see so many walking around with a bandana pulled up. And I just was looking at the graphic we made and that stops a cough at three feet away, right, versus just inches with stitched mask. It's just important for all of us to see.

Speaking of masks and the man who doesn't wear one, the president of the United States. So we know that President Trump and the first lady will be traveling to Mount Rushmore for an early 4th of July celebration where thousands of people will be gathering. Social distancing and masks, we're told, will not be mandatory. The South Dakota governor said that people should focus on personal responsibility. But, Dr. Phillips, tell us why this is a bad idea.

PHILLIPS: It's simply passing the buck. We have lacked leadership from the top throughout this entire event. President Trump is the incident commander for this entire outbreak for the United States and he's failed at that leadership. How hard is it for the person in charge to encourage people to do the one simple thing that we know can really help prevent other people from getting sick?

You know, I'm from Tulsa. I went to medical school there and my wife is from there. And so the rally there meant a lot to us, and we worked hard to keep our friends and family safe and encouraged mask wearing. And what I can say is that 6,500 people showed up but tens of thousands did not.

What I ask of the people who are considered going to an event like this, where there's no social distancing and no masking encouraged, do what the people of Tulsa and Oklahoma did and don't show up. Stay home, stay safe and enjoy your holiday in some other way. Do it next year or the year after. Just please keep yourself safe because it doesn't seem like the leaders are necessarily looking out for your best interests.

BALDWIN: What a strong and important message, of course, also just coming from you, a doctor. Dr. James Phillips, thank you for that. Thank you very much.

PHILLIPS: My pleasures. Thanks for having me on.

BALDWIN: You got it.

New York City is planning to paint a Black Lives Matter mural down the street from Trump Tower in Manhattan and the president tweeted, calling it a symbol of hate. We'll talk to one of the founders of that movement, next.

And with more states going back into lockdown mode, how much of a treat will it be to the economy's comeback?



BALDWIN: President Trump is lashing out at New York City's plans to paint Black Lives Matter on Fifth Avenue right outside of his Trump Tower. He called the phrase denigrating and a symbol of hate. And then he suggested New York Police should stop the sign from being painted.

He also blasted New York Mayor Bill de Blasio for slashing $1 billion from the NYPD's budget. The mayor responded by calling the phrase, quote, a symbol of truth and called the president's disparaging remarks the definition of racism.

Melina Abdullah is the organizer -- is an organizer, one of the original members of Black Lives Matter and she is a Professor of Pan- African Studies at Cal State Los Angeles. And so, Melina, it is truly a pleasure to have you on. Welcome.


BALDWIN: So let's just begin with the words the president used about this BLM street painting, a symbol of hate. Your response to that.

ABDULLAH: I think it's the height of hypocrisy for Donald Trump to call anything a symbol of hate. He is the embodiment of hate. And for him to say that affirming the value of black life is somehow hate, again, reminds us of who he is.

BALDWIN: Well, he -- as he's tweeting this, he is tripling down. Because if you just look at this week alone, Melina, right, the fact that he shared two videos on Twitter, one of which showing, you know, this guy shouting, white power, the other showing this couple in St. Louis pointing guns at protesters and then this NYPD tweet.

It is only Wednesday. He is stoking the racial divide in this country.


The election is still four months away. So if and quite frankly when the president does this again, how should the country respond?