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COVID-19 Cases Rise in 37 States with 19 Pausing or Reversing Reopening; Trump's Morning Tweetstorm Fails to Mention Pandemic; Interview with Texas Bar Owner Suing Governor Over Closures. Aired 2- 2:30p ET

Aired July 1, 2020 - 14:00   ET



BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: If you have had coronavirus, you would like to do what I just did and you can donate your plasma, just go to And if you haven't had coronavirus but you still want to give a blood donation, you can totally do it. Just go to their website as well.

We continue on, you are watching CNN. I'm Brooke Baldwin.

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

Almost every state, now posting a double-digit surge in cases. Just a month ago, nearly half were showing declines and now, reopening plans in 19 states are either on hold or being rolled back. And one of those states is California, and that is where we find Nick Watt, live for us this afternoon.

And so what's the word from the governor today, Nick?

NICK WATT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Brooke, we are going to hear from him within the hour. We are expecting big news, we are expecting bad news -- if you call rolling back reopening bad news.

California is, right now, hurtling towards a quarter million cases. More bad news today from Arizona, the highest death toll, the highest case count. In Miami, a hospital system in southern Florida just said that they are going to stop elective surgeries to free up space just in case.

This is not the Fourth of July that we've been looking forward to.


WATT (voice-over): Bars and beaches, closing for the Fourth of July; fireworks, cancelled, some places. Sounds wrong, but here's why: Los Angeles County now has more COVID-19 cases than 43 entire states. ROBERT WACHTER, DEPARTMENT OF MEDICINE CHAIRMAN, UNIVERSITY OF

CALIFORNIA SAN FRANCISCO: The virus is just -- it's waiting for us to -- 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.

WATT (voice-over): Record numbers now hospitalized in Texas and Arizona, and 10,000 new cases logged in Miami-Dade in just the past week. So what now?

ERIN BROMAGE, PROFESSOR OF BIOLOGY, UMASS DARTMOUTH: The dimmer switch approach works when you have case numbers under control. You've got to come in with more of a hammer rather than a switch to control this now.

WATT (voice-over): Thirty-seven states are seeing their case counts climb, 19 of them now pausing or rolling back reopening.

MAYOR STEVE ADLER (D), AUSTIN, TEXAS: We moved out too fast before we had testing and tracing fully in place. The second thing is that while we opened in phases, we went from one phase to the next phase to the next phase too quickly, so we weren't able to see the data.

WATT (voice-over): And not enough people wore masks.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We could go back to our economy being open if people wear masks.

WATT (voice-over): In June, as every state was reopening, we knew cases would rise at least a little. But in 28 states, all that deep red, they've jumped more than 50 percent.

PETER HOTEZ, PROFESSOR AND DEAN OF TROPICAL MEDICINE, BAYLOR COLLEGE OF MEDICINE: There's not a dark enough color on that map to accommodate what's to come. We are in this very steep acceleration with no end in sight.

WATT (voice-over): With officials gradually figuring out what does and does not work -- for example, more than 100 cases now tied to one Michigan bar.


WATT (voice-over): New York City was due to open indoor dining Monday; not any more.

MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO (D), NEW YORK: We start out outdoor dining on a vast scale a few weeks ago, it is going great. It is much safer, so we're going to double down in that direction.

WATT (voice-over): A vaccine would, of course, be the game-changer. Some promising data from Pfizer today, and the FDA says it'll approve one that's just 50 percent effective. But:

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If we have an effective vaccine that's proven on January 1st, this thing does not end on January 2nd. It's going to be another six months, nine months, could be a year before we get it distributed and (INAUDIBLE) to make a meaningful difference.

WATT (voice-over): And in the meantime:

HOTEZ: Last week, when we listened to the White House Coronavirus Task Force, there was no plan articulated, and that led me to believe maybe there really isn't a plan.


WATT: And, listening to Governor Cuomo in New York this morning, he was scathing of the White House response. He said the buck stops on the president's desk, fact. He says the president has denied the reality of this situation from day one, and that denying reality does not defeat reality -- Brooke.

BALDWIN: Nick Watt, thank you for all of that.

Let me get some analysis. Dr. Seema Yasmin is a former CDC disease detective. She is also a CNN medical analyst and the author or "Viral BS: Medical Myths and Why We Fall For Them."

So, Doctor Yasmin, you are in California. You know, Nick was just talking about those new restrictions, expected to be unveiled there today. Nineteen states, including California, either pausing or rolling back their reopening. Will that be enough to reverse this skyrocketing trend?


SEEMA YASMIN, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: It certainly can't help, Brooke, because what we're trying to do is lower that R number by starting to close down, telling people to stay at home, continue to physically distance. We just make it all that much harder for the virus to spread from one person to another.

The big question here, though, is why are individual states being left to win a global health crisis alone? Where's the cohesive federal response to this? It feels very much like states like Oklahoma, California, Texas, Florida, Arizona, they're dealing with these massive surges. They keep breaking daily case records in their states.

And a lot of this just comes back to this lack of leadership and it's why, from the outside, America is very much viewed as an infectious threat right now, with talks of banning Americans from entering certain parts of the world -- the E.U. for example -- because there's been such a failure of getting this epidemic in hand.

And I know we talk a lot about Dr. Tony Fauci, but I want to mention somebody at the CDC, Dr. Anne Schuchat, the number-two official at the CDC, she's a real truth-teller, a very credible scientist. She said the American situation right now, this is just the beginning.

BALDWIN: Just the beginning, I'm just letting that still sit with me, as we feel like we've been in this now for several months; months and months to go. The assistant secretary for health over at HHS said today that the U.S., quote, "Cannot test our way out of the current outbreaks," that Americans need to be more disciplined about their behavior.

We -- you know, we talk so much about wearing masks, avoiding crowds. But President Trump still refuses to wear a masks, and he continues to hold these rallies. How can the U.S. turn the corner with all this mixed messaging?

YASMIN: We need clear guidance, and I come back to this point of the officials sidelining the science. So Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick in Texas said, just yesterday -- I think -- "I don't need his advice anymore," referring to Dr. Fauci, right? The top public health expert in the U.S.

And just yesterday in the Senate, Senator Rand Paul said to Dr. Fauci, Why should we presume that experts know to protect the rest of us? Or something along those lines of why do we need to listen to you.

The messaging has been so delusional and in denial, Brooke. You know, Vice President Pence in Texas at the weekend, said that anyone who needs a test can get a test. Not true.

Two weeks ago, Vice President Pence published an op-ed that said the American approach is a cause for celebration. What are we celebrating? It's gaslighting at the highest level. Tell the American public what they need to do to save lives, because that's what's at stake here: thousands, tens of thousands of lives.

BALDWIN: I know, I know. It's dangerous.

Finally, there's a new study from the Journal of the American Medical Association. It says that the official U.S. count for deaths linked to COVID-19, now at 127,000 people. They're saying that could be an underestimate, that it could actually be 28 percent higher. First, does that seem possible to you? And second, why the discrepancy?

YASMIN: It absolutely seems believable to me, Brooke, and here's why. Just a few days ago, CDC Director Dr. Redfield said to us, Here in America, for every one American who tests positive for COVID-19, there are 10 more Americans who are infected and just don't know it, 10 more Americans who are infected but we're not testing them, we are not registering them in our daily case counts.

So that means when we talk about 44,000 new Americans infected in the last day, we're really looking at 440,000. And I will say, epidemics in general -- I'll be fair -- there's usually a degree of underreporting, but this is undeniably a failure of federal leadership and of testing.

I can't believe, Brooke, that six, almost seven months into this global health crisis, we are still having a conversation about the lack of testing capacity here in America. Officials keep telling us America's a world leader in infectious disease? Show us, just ramp up the testing. It's such a basic first step in pandemic control, and it's been a complete failure.

BALDWIN: I appreciate you saying that, Dr. Seema Yasmin. Good to have you back on. YASMIN: Thank you.

BALDWIN: As cases surge across the country, President Trump spent a considerable amount of time this morning tweeting, just not about the pandemic, not about the more than 127,000 Americans dead from this virus, not about a plan to protect American lives.

No, the president of the United States has instead been busy firing off more than 20 angry tweets that include calling reports about the Russian bounty plot hoax -- his word -- repeating an offensive nickname for Senator Elizabeth Warren, calling a Black Lives Matter painting that's going up on Fifth Avenue a symbol of hate. And even claiming -- with zero evidence -- that Joe Biden was given the questions in advance of his news conference yesterday.


So let me bring in CNN White House correspondent Kaitlan Collins. And, Kaitlan, again, on that last point about the former vice president, it is demonstrably false, but what does this tell us about what's happening at the White House right now?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, it tells you a lot about how he responded to that press conference by trying to attack Joe Biden in the ways that we've seen him do before, but not going after him for the substance of what Joe Biden said, which was a scathing indictment of the president's response to coronavirus, Brooke.

I mean, Joe Biden was basically mocking Trump for saying that he's a wartime president because of the coronavirus pandemic, by saying that he has surrendered, that he's in retreat -- as Joe Biden put it -- and the president didn't respond to any of that on Twitter today, instead talking about a teleprompter and his answers and whatnot.

And it comes as we are seeing a larger picture of the president, really dismissive of the pandemic and not responding to or matching the same public message that is coming from his own health officials, people like Dr. Fauci, who said that the United States is headed in the wrong direction, and a troubling direction that they're still trying to figure out where it's going to go from here.

The vice president, of course, is the one in charge of Coronavirus Task Force, and that's what the White House has said, as we've asked questions like, Why hasn't the president attended a task force meeting since the month of April?

But you notice that he's going to Arizona today, he's now urging people to wear a mask, as the president is digging in on race and focusing on cultural battles that he feels more comfortable with on Twitter, and of course has refused, ultimately, to wear a mask in public because he doesn't believe it's presidential.

Now, the question is, you know, does the president change his tactic here, will he? It doesn't seem likely, though some political aides say they wish the president would because they're worried that how he's responding to this is going to hurt him come November.

BALDWIN: We know that, you know, four years ago, he loved bringing in the crowds for those rallies. And you have, Kaitlan, some new reporting on a Trump campaign staff shakeup in the wake of that poorly attended Tulsa rally, just a couple weeks ago. What have you learned?

COLLINS: Yes, Michael Glassner is the chief -- the campaign operating officer at the campaign, he's always at the rallies, you see him beforehand. And we've now learned that he's being reassigned. Instead of being in that COO position that he was before, he's now going to be designated to be in charge of legal affairs with another aide. And we're told that's a direct result of what happened in Tulsa.

The president has continued to fume (ph) about the fact that he spoke to a crowd that was only partially filled, and so they made changes, there were some concerns it could be the campaign manager, Brad Parscale, who obviously was the one talking about how many tickets had been reserved for that rally when, you know, only about the -- there's a dispute over how many thousands of people showed up, certainly not at capacity.

But so far, we do know that Michael Glassner's been moved from a different position in the Trump campaign, and will no longer be overseeing the rallies in the way that he had been before.

BALDWIN: Kaitlan, thank you very much, at the White House with all of that.

You know, when it comes to COVID, dozens of bar owners and employees marched on the state capital in Texas, protesting the governor's order to shut them back down as all these coronavirus cases surge. And, now, some are going as far as suing him. So we'll talk to one of those bar owners, coming up next.

And Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is defending the president as the Gang of Eight lawmakers are set to be briefed tomorrow on intelligence that Russia paid bounties for killing U.S. troops.


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


BALDWIN: Some Texans are pushing back against some of the governor's rollbacks to reopening as coronavirus cases soar in the state. Dozens of bar owners, for example, are suing the governor for shutting down their bars, claiming the closures are unconstitutional. And many say that they are on the verge of bankruptcy. Health experts say bars are perfect breeding grounds for the virus.

So Gabrielle Ellison is one of those bar owners suing the governor, and she owns Big Daddy Zane's in Odessa, Texas. And then Jared Woodfill is the attorney representing the group of bar owners.

And so welcome to both of you. And Gabrielle, I just wanted to hear from you first. Just briefly, tell me why you want to defy the governor, you know, and defy the warnings from health officials and keep your bar open?

GABRIELLE ELLISON, OWNER, BIG DADDY ZANE'S: Well, if I don't, I'm going to lose my bar. If I don't, my employees are not going to be able to eat and I believe we have rights that are being trampled on right now. This is my life savings, this is my daddy's life savings. I can't afford to lose it, I can't do it.

BALDWIN: OK, I want to come back to that with some counterpoints in a second. But, Jared, then I want to hear from you because I know Gabrielle is one of many bar owners you represent in this lawsuit. What is it that you're arguing? Like, why should these bars remain open?

JARED WOODFILL, ATTORNEY REPRESENTING BAR OWNERS SUING GOVERNOR: Sure. Well, there's a whole host of problems with Governor Abbott's order. First and foremost, it's unconstitutional in that only the legislator -- under our Texas constitution -- can suspend laws.

And what he's done here, through what we know as GA-28, is he's picking and choosing winners and losers. So bar owners, they're being sentenced to bankruptcy. But if you are a hair salon, if you are a cosmetologist, if you're a tattoo studio if you are a barber, you're not just going to survive right now, you're going to thrive.

Liquor stores are allowed to be open -- sure.


BALDWIN: But wait, let me back up, I've got to stop you right there. Hang on, hang on. Because it's not the same. You go to a nail salon, hair salon, you get your nails or your hair done, you're wearing a mask, you're social distancing.

If you're in a bar -- I mean we all know this, right? You've got to move the mask around to drink, some people get a little impaired doing so. It's not the same thing.

WOODFILL: Well, I would argue that in fact it's more dangerous to be in a hair salon. Let me tell you why. So if you're getting your hair cut, you have that barber who is on top of you, right next to you for 30 minutes --


BALDWIN: Wearing a mask, wearing a mask.

WOODFILL: -- wear -- yes, absolutely. Well, and the question is with respect to bars, that if you look at each one of our plaintiffs, they were acting in a very responsible manner, applying social distancing, they were using hand sanitizers, the bartender would rarely come in contact with the person that he or she was serving the drink to.

But if you go to that hair salon, if you go to that tattoo parlor, that person is in right next to you for an extended period of time, and it just -- I think the chances of exposure to COVID-19 virus in a bar versus barbershop or a tattoo studio, it's much, much worse in the former. -- latter

BALDWIN: You don't think -- and I'm sure the bartenders are doing, you know, the right thing, and certainly the owners of the bars. But, you know, if you're having a couple shots of tequila, are you going to keep that mask on? I'm just saying, there's another way to look at this.

Let me just offer a different perspective -- let me -- hang on, hang on. Let me offer a different perspective. The nation's leading expert on infectious diseases and a member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, Dr. Fauci, says don't do it. Here he is.


ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: Congregation in a bar inside is bad news. We've really got to stop that right now, when you have areas that are surging like we see right now. But in answer to your question, a little bit more granular, outdoor's always better than indoor. If you're outdoor distanced -- as Bob (ph) said -- wear a mask if you can, but you can have some social interaction.


BALDWIN: But he says, Jared, specifically bars, really not good. I mean, again, this is the leading expert on infectious diseases in the country. Why is he wrong?

WOODFILL: Sure, well, let's look at his statements. In fact, some of our bars were actually having or serving alcohol outside, they were doing it outdoors.

I mean, you compare a bar to a restaurant, why is it OK for a restaurant who serves 50 percent or less alcohol, to be able to be open at least 50 percent capacity in the state of Texas, where if you cross that 51 percent mark, suddenly you're automatically shut down? What does that mean for families?

It means that that bar owner, their employees and their families, they're relegated to bankruptcy. It means that the individuals that perform there -- whether it be a band -- they too are relegated to bankruptcy, so --

BALDWIN: No, and to that point -- to that point --

WOODFILL: -- Governor Abbott is picking --

BALDWIN: -- and let me put this to Gabrielle, because I understand this is about protecting your employees. You know, you have been paying them -- I was reading the notes -- you've been paying them out of your own savings account. But you were also arrested a month ago for defying the order.

So maybe you're not worried yourself about getting coronavirus, but if you care as much -- as it sounds like you do -- about your own employees, why would you want to put them in harm's way?

ELLISON: Sure, I care about them a lot. And I would -- I'd like to invite Abbott and I'd like to invite Fauci and I'd like to invite them all to my bar. I care about them. We're not going to -- this is not going to go away. We have got to learn how to live with this.

And what I do care about is that their children eat. I care about that they're able to pay their house payments and they're not out on the streets, I care about losing (ph) --


BALDWIN: But, Gabrielle, people are dying -- people are dying from this. I mean, we have all these numbers on the side of the screen, of all these cases and all these deaths. Or are putting them at harm's risk.


ELLISON: -- economy. They are going to die because of the economy. What (ph) is (ph) it (ph) your right or anybody else's right to take our rights away? It is nobody's right, you don't have that right. We are going to starve.

You might be able to eat steak, and everybody else -- and I'm not meaning you particularly, but you cannot tell me that it's not essential that I feed my family. You cannot tell me that it's not essential that a D.J. feeds their family. You cannot --


BALDWIN: I understand that, Gabrielle and I understand that and I respect that, but I'm just offering the other perspective, that what about -- you talk about infringing your rights, what about the rights of everyone else? It's like secondhand smoke, what about the lives and the health of everyone else in that bar?

ELLISON: If you want to stay home, stay home. If you're sick, stay home. Don't come out. Do not put this on the bars, this is not right. We can sanitize, we can do our jobs just as well as anybody else can. You are not going to put me out of business, and we are going to have to learn how to live with this.

And from day to day, we get told, Well this is what it is, this is what it -- they don't know what it is. They have no idea. So we have got to eat.

What about the -- what about the suicides that are going to come out of it? What about the veterans that come into my bar, that are so messed up for fighting for our rights? What about the --


BALDWIN: They're vulnerable -- I mean, of course the veterans. But you bring up the veterans -- hang on, hang on -- they're a vulnerable population, they are older. ELLISON: They know that.

BALDWIN: They are the last people --

ELLISON: It is their --

BALDWIN: -- who should be exposed, don't you want to protect them even if they want to come out and have a beer and a good time? Don't you want to protect them?

ELLISON: It is their -- yes, I want to protect everybody that comes into my bar, I have that obligation. But they also have their rights. I am not going to take their rights away from them like mine are being taken away from me now. I am not going to do that to these people.


Because the government has no business telling us how to deal with our health. Let us take control, we might be able to get rid of some of this stuff. Let us do it, because that's what we're here for, that's what people fought for. They fought to give us this right.

You're taking my rights away, you're taking the -- you're -- we can't even go to a funeral unless you're (INAUDIBLE), you can't go to a funeral to tell your loved ones goodbye?


BALDWIN: Gabrielle, I appreciate you coming on because I think this conversation is so important, and I think people watching --


ELLISON: Yes, ma'am, it's very important.

BALDWIN: -- you know, you either fall on one side of it or the other. But I think it's just indicative of how so many people in this country feel.

But at the end of the day, you know, even if it were just one person -- like, I was reading that your bar is holding a Fourth of July event over this weekend, it's going to be --

ELLISON: Yes, ma'am, we are.

BALDWIN: -- kid-friendly. And I imagine -- and you tell me -- you'll take all the precautions, I mean, are you making -- is -- are you making people wear masks and you're making people social distance?

ELLISON: I am not going to make people do anything. I am not going to take their rights away, we have rights here.


BALDWIN: But children --

ELLISON: Now, I'm not going to --

BALDWIN: -- children be there?

ELLISON: Absolutely. I'm inviting children, they're more than welcome to come. They've been shut up, and everybody's shutting everything down. These children have nothing to do. What about their (ph) poor children, what about their education --

BALDWIN: We all have been shut in -- Gabrielle, we all have been shut in.

ELLISON: Yes, ma'am.

BALDWIN: I have had this virus, it is not fun. I would never wish this on my worst enemy. You do not want to expose people, especially young children this weekend. Why wouldn't you make people wear masks? Explain that to me.


ELLISON: And you're here -- you are here today because you (INAUDIBLE) because it is a choice, it is a choice for people to come out. It is not the government's right to take that choice away from us.

I mean, why are we sitting down and letting this happen? What is wrong? I've talked to doctors that are saying these people don't know what they're talking about. Listen to We the People. Go out of these hospitals, go out -- this is nuts, why are we letting these people do this to us?

Why are you giving your rights up? Sure, there's a virus, we have to work on (ph) that (ph).

BALDWIN: I -- listen, I don't speak ill of doctors, and I believe Dr. Fauci who is, again, the leading infectious disease expert in the entire country. And when he says wear a mask, I wear a mask. When he says, you know, social distance, we social distance. We respect the rules so we can all gather down the road.

I'm going to leave it there, Gabrielle and Jared --


BALDWIN: -- I appreciate -- I appreciate both of you coming on. I think this conversation is important to be heard by everyone nationwide and I wish you good health. Thank you both.

We'll be right back.