Return to Transcripts main page


U.S. Hits New Record With More Than 50,000 Cases In A Single Day; At Least Five States Hitting Record Coronavirus Cases. Aired 7- 7:30a ET

Aired July 2, 2020 - 07:00   ET



JOHN BERMAN, CNN NEW DAY: Welcome to our viewers in the United States and all around the world. This is NEW DAY. Erica Hill here again for Alisyn. Quite a morning, huh?

ERICA HILL, CNN NEW DAY: Yes, it was. Not the kind of records we want to see in the morning.

BERMAN: Right. breaking overnight, records shattered. For the first time, the country reported more than 50,000 new cases of coronavirus in a single day, 50,000. That's more than double the rate from just two weeks ago when the vice president was bragging about the case load.

Somehow, the president is still bragging, saying, we're doing very good, his words. One top doctor warns we're approaching apocalyptic levels in places like Texas, Florida, and Arizona, all states that just recorded record cases overnight. Arizona and South Carolina reported record deaths.

Several states reporting record hospitalizations, 37 states. All the states you are seeing there in red are seeing a rise in new cases. Nearly half the country this morning is rolling back plans to reopen businesses.

HILL: Doctors are warning about a perfect storm coming this holiday weekend, the people gathering to celebrate the 4th. Meantime, many cities have already canceled fireworks in an effort to keep people from gathering.

The White House though has plans for a celebration on the National Mall, one that could attract hundreds of thousands of people. The mayor of D.C. is worried that she's got no jurisdiction there.

President Trump kicks off his holiday weekend tomorrow in South Dakota with a fireworks show at Mt. Rushmore. Masks and social distancing won't be enforced while he's there.

And while Mr. Trump is now once again claiming the virus will disappear on its own, it is certainly not disappearing in Texas. That state just broke a record for a single-day high for new cases and the result, hospitalizations are surging as well. Miguel Marquez has seen the fallout firsthand. He just went inside the San Antonio hospital that is overwhelmed with cases. And Miguel joins us live this morning.

Miguel, sobering, to say the least, what you found.

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Completely. The only way to get a really good sense of what is going on out there with this pandemic is to go into hospitals and I am fortunate to have been in several now. What they are looking at is a rapidly rising tide of patients, dwindling number of beds. This is across the entire State of Texas and a healthcare staff ,from doctors to nurses to those who clean up the rooms that are pushed to the max.


MARQUEZ: San Antonio Methodist Hospital. The lungs of a 29-year-old badly damaged by the coronavirus need a CAT scan. A patient so critically ill, what should be easy, takes enormous coordination and a small army just to get them from A to B.

ADAM SAHYOUNI, COVID ICU NURSE MANAGER, SAN ANTONIO METHODIST HOSPITAL: We are having an explosion of COVID. We aren't overrun yet, but it's overwhelming.

MARQUEZ: Overwhelming now and expected to get worse in the days ahead.

San Antonio's Bear County has seen a sharp rise in the percent of those testing positive for the virus. In just the last 30 days, the weekly average of those testing positive has gone from 3.6 percent to more than 20 percent.

So many infections, increasingly moms to be infected with the coronavirus. Methodist hospital now has a dedicated unit in its NICU for babies born to mothers who have it.

That picture that every mom wants of the baby being born and holding the baby, does that happened with babies in COVID?

MEAGAN VANDEWARK, NICU CHARGE NURSE, SAN ANTONIO METHODIST HOSPITAL: Unfortunately, no. We have to -- as soon as the baby is born, they do bring them right to us outside of the door. So it's just a very brief moment that the mom might get a glimpse.

MARQUEZA: In the womb, the virus isn't typically transmitted from mother to child, but during the birthing process, the risk of infection goes up and treating newborns with the coronavirus, much more complicated.

Though these babies have tested negative, they are treated as suspect positive. Healthcare workers wear full PPE, and these babies born to moms with the coronavirus are kept separated from others, just in case.

So you have five babies in here right now. VANDEWARK: Yes.

MARQUEZ: You have room for 16.


MARQUEZ: Do you think you're going to be full up?

VANDEWARK: I do. The way things are going, we're admitting pretty frequently, yes.

MARQUEZ: Christy Labastida, only 36 years old, is expecting her fourth child. Both she and her fiance have the coronavirus.

CHRISTY LABASTIDA, COVID PATIENT AND EIGHT MONTHS PREGNANT: Mainly, the thing that really hurt was my bones were just -- I couldn't lay down and it was just hurting.

MARQUEZ: Your bones?

LABASTIDA: My bones.

MARQUEZ: Like your entire skeleton, your body?

LABASTIDA: Like -- my whole entire-- you get it. Even to my pinkie of my toes.

MARQUEZ: Pregnancy hard enough without that. She took precautions and isn't sure how she got it. Now, only hoping she recovers and she, her three kids, and her fiance are coronavirus free by the time she gives birth in about a month.


LABASTIDA: I'm extremely stressed. I am a very strong woman. I tend to do a lot. And now that I can't and I need that help, it's taking a toll.

MARQUEZ: Methodist Hospital may be seeing the beginning of a sharp increase nationwide of moms with coronavirus giving birth.

DR. KELLY MORALES, OBSTETRICIAN/GYNECOLOGIST, SAN ANTONIO METHODIST HOSPITAL: There's actually some literature out there to support up to a 30 percent asymptomatic rate. So that means --

MARQUEZ: 30 percent?

MORALES: 30 percent asymptomatic rate.

MARQUEZ: Of moms coming in?

MORALES: Of moms coming in.

MARQUEZ: Pregnancy and coronavirus, only one piece of the pandemic. Methodist Hospital treating a rising tide of critically sick patients. DR. JEFFREY DELLAVOLPE, PULMONARY DISEASE, SAN ANTONIO METHODIST HOSPITAL: The last few weeks has just been overwhelmingly, is how I would describe it. There's been more and more patients than we really know what to do with. The patients are getting younger and they're more sick. And --

MARQUEZ: How much younger?

DELLAVOLPE: It's gone from, you know, probably 50s and 60s for the first wave to -- I've lost track of how many people in their 20s.

MARQUEZ: This is Methodist's COVID Unit 2. It's one of three specialized COVID units at the hospital. Patient rooms sealed off, each one turned into negative pressure chambers so staff only need to don PPE if they go into one of the bays.

So you have 14 rooms. How many are filled?



SAHYOUNI: With a waiting list.

MARQUEZ: How long is that list?

SAHYOUNI: It's long.

MARQUEZ: The hospital is creating more beds, but for now, this is where the sickest of the sick are treated.

DELLAVOLPE: Yesterday was probably one of my worst days that I've ever had.


DELLAVOLPE: I got ten calls, all of whom, young people who otherwise would be excellent candidates to be able to put on ECMO. They're so sick that if they don't get put on, they don't get that support, they're probably going to die. I had three beds.

And just -- and making that decision, being able to figure out who really is going to benefit, it is a level of decision-making that I don't think a lot of us are prepared for.

MARQUEZ: Those calls coming from other hospitals across South Texas with patients so sick that Methodist may be their last hope.

Methodist Hospital uses a procedure to oxygenate the blood and keep patients off ventilators. It's called ECMO or Extra Corporal Membrane Oxygenation. Today, Doctor Dellavolpe, is inserting large tubes in the veins of a 33-year-old. They run from the groin all the way to the heart, the blood comes out of the body, is mechanically oxygenated and returned back to the heart almost immediately. The Methodist team have had a lot of practice, the procedure taking only a few minutes. DELLAVOLPE: It involves being able to take a large cannulus there, almost like small garden hoses, is how I would describe them. They have to be able to pump about 2 to 3 gallons of blood per minute through them. So one is draining blood out and the other one is returning.

MARQUEZ: The blood coming out of the patient is dark. It just looks unhealthy. The blood returning is bright red, loaded with oxygen. Almost immediately, oxygen level in the patient's blood goes back to near normal. Their chance of survival now better than if they were on a ventilator.

DELLAVOLPE: I think the ventilator really causes a lot of harm. And we're finding that it causes harm in general, but it certainly causes harm when we're talking about patients with COVID.

MARQUEZ: Because their lungs are so weak to begin with?

DELLAVOLPE: Because their lungs are so weak and because probably there's other reasons why the patient is having trouble.

MARQUEZ: The ventilator is pushing oxygen into the lungs.

DELLAVOLPE: That's right.

MARQUEZ: Into damaged lungs?

DELLAVOLPE: That's right. So not only are you having all of the problems with the blood vessels and the clotting and in your blood vessels, now you're having all of the problems of oxygen not being able to get to your organs and your organs shutting down from that, but now you're artificially pushing air into your lungs and causing more damage that way.

MARQUEZ: Another hard lesson of the pandemic and virus healthcare providers everywhere are still struggling to understand.

SAHYOUNI: We don't quite understand why one person with lab values of X does well, while a person with lab values that appear to be better doesn't make it. And a mask is not a big ask to help save your life.

MARQUEZ: The work and stress for healthcare workers everywhere crushing and with rates of infection rising, they expect more work and stress ahead. Stressful for patients, as well, who are sick, isolated from everyone.

How tough is it to be in your room all day just sitting there?

MICHAEL VASQUEZ, COVID PATIENT: Oh, man, if you could just hear that unit in the room, it would drive you nuts at first, but you get past it.

MARQUEZ: 28-year-old Michael Vasquez works in a warehouse. He isn't sure how he got sick. He's part of a new program here to get patients up and walking as soon as possible, even a little bit, helping both physically and mentally. [07:10:06]

What has it done to your lungs?

VASQUEZ: It really made them fatigued, really bad. But the -- sorry.

MARQUEZ: Vasquez isn't sure if there will be any long-term effects to his lungs. Right now, he's focused on getting home to his wife and seven-year-old son.

VASQUEZ: I just miss their presence here. And, you know, I miss holding my wife, kissing your son good night, going to his room, making sure he's okay. I miss that a lot.

DR. MISHA PETER, PULMONARY CRITICAL CARE, SAN ANTONIO METHODIST HOSPITAL: We know that when people walk, when people sleep better, when people see bright light, they get better sooner. We know all of this. I think, on some level, we happen to relearn it with COVID because of our response to it. You know, obviously, our need to keep ourselves safe, to keep staff safe. So it's not unexpected that we kind of ended up isolating people, whether we meant to or not.

MARQUEZ: Another lesson of the pandemic, trying to reduce recovery times and free up beds badly needed for an expected growing surge of people seriously sick with the coronavirus.

DR. JENNIFER GEMMILL, EMERGENCY DEPARTMENT PHYSICIAN MEDICAL DIRECTOR: Right now, we are so full upstairs that we are having some delays in getting the patients upstairs, because there just aren't beds that are prepared and ready for COVID patients. So we are holding a lot of them in the emergent department right now, some for hours, some for days.

MARQUEZ: What's driving the surge here? Doctors aren't entirely sure, but based on what they hear from patients, there was a sense that the worst was behind us.

GEMMILL: I don't think that there was one specific incidence that really led to this spike. I think people after March and April were extremely frustrated with being inside. And as soon as those restrictions lifted, they wanted to get out. Some protected themselves, some didn't. And now we're just seeing the result of that.

MARQUEZ: With the holiday weekend coming up, the fear now, the surge of patients will become a tidal wave.

SAHYOUNI: I don't think I have seen anything like this ever. And I would say that if you want to see August 1st, then maybe you should stay indoors and isolate on July 4th.


BERMAN: My God. My God, Miguel. What an incredible look inside to that hospital. Overwhelmed, they kept on saying, we are overwhelmed. People need to see the stress that's being put on. And I know, and I'm sorry, I know it's not easy to be around so much stress. And you keep on doing it. You were at the hospital in Houston earlier this week. You were there in San Antonio. Thank you, first of all. I know the toll it takes. Why do you think these hospitals want us to see this?

MARQUEZ: Yes. I mean, as simple as I can say it, they see it as a public service on their part. They are seeing how their staff is being pushed to the limits. They don't get -- many of them don't get any time off, they are on their phones dealing with patients 24 hours a day, from the administration all the way to the people who clean the rooms, literally, the people who clean the rooms.

Sometimes they cannot turn a room around fast enough because they don't have the environmental folks to come in and clean the room. Because a COVID room is different from different rooms, you have to clean them in a different way. It just takes a much bigger, more coordinated effort.

And as they run out of space, hospitals are finding new spaces in the hospital. That's what San Antonio Methodist Hospital is doing now, they're looking for more space so they can open up new COVID units, but it is not easy and they are basically -- you know, it is rare to get into a hospital. And they are letting us in, because they are begging people to see what it looks like inside when you are really sick and stay home.

HILL: And because they want us all to understand how serious this is, you know. And we see, honestly, how it's affecting you, Miguel, and all the places that you've been in. We've talked a little bit about this too though. It's also the impact on all of those people working in the hospital.

You know, I know what it was like here in New York, when people -- there are people who haven't seen their families, they haven't seen their families for weeks or even months, because not only were they working so much, but they're so afraid of infecting people. That toll too can't be discounted.

MARQUEZ: Yes. I mean, that was certainly the case in New York early on. Now that we're months into this and these doctors and nurses and staff did that early on, as well. Now, that we're months into this, they realize, as healthcare professionals and others do, we're in it for the marathon here.

So they now have sort of gone back to their families. They do make arrangements. They undress in the driveway or in the garage, they jump in the shower, they take precautions to keep from giving their families the virus as well. But it is taking a toll on all of them.

And they're just -- they're hoping against hope that they are not going to see more and more people coming in. But with that 20 percent -- that percentage of people who are testing positive and with the holiday weekend coming up and with the record number of cases you're seeing across the State of Texas right now and in Bear County, they just know more is coming.

[07:15:08] And just -- the question is, how big will it be, and will they be able to take it on?

BERMAN: Miguel, thank you. Thank you for telling these stories. Thank you for putting you on the line so people can see.

MARQUEZ: I'm honored to do it.

BERMAN: Well, look, thank you. Thank you to your crew. Please take care of yourself. Please take care of yourself, okay?

MARQUEZ: Carol Lin (ph), Producer, Jose Armijo, photographer, all of us went in there and it was an eye-opener, of all of the eye openers I've seen.

BERMAN: All right, well we need to see that. America needs to see is that. People need to see what's going on. So thank you very much, Miguel, for your work on this. Stay well.

MARQUEZ: You got it.

BERMAN: Something has to happen here. Something needs to be done. This has got to shock people into action. This could get worse in San Antonio. How is it going to stop? Dr. Sanjay Gupta joins us next.



BERMAN: All right. You just went inside a hospital in San Antonio, Texas, a hospital near a breaking point, thanks to our reporter, Miguel Marquez.

Texas is one of five states reporting record highs in coronavirus cases. We're going to see hospitals like that around the country, I fear.

Joining us now, CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta and Beth Cameron, she was the Senior Director for Global Health Security and Biodefense at the White House National Security Council under President Obama.

And, I'm sorry, I'm still blown away by what Miguel showed us there, the level of stress inside this hospital in San Antonio at a point where it could still get worse. And I just want to play one piece of sound again from Dr. Dellavolpe inside that hospital. Listen.


DELLAVOLPE: Yesterday was probably one of my worst days that I've ever had.


DELLAVOLPE: I got ten calls, all of whom, young people who otherwise would be excellent candidates to be able to put on ECMO. They're so sick that if they don't get put on, they don't get that support, they're probably going to die. I had three beds. And just -- and making that decision, being able to figure out who really is going to benefit, it is a level of decision-making that I don't think a lot of us are prepared for.


BERMAN: It's happening, Sanjay. It's happening. It happened in New York months ago. It's happening now in Texas.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: I mean, these are real decisions these doctors are having to make. And these -- you know, these hospitals are becoming overwhelmed. And you're absolutely right. It can happen. It did happen in other places.

When you have that many patients, and the thing that you also heard from that doctor was that these were ten, I believe he said, young patients. They have three beds. It shows that, you know, young people are getting sick, critically sick, needing this ECMO, which is something that you do if even standard ventilation is not working, standard breathing machines aren't working and they just don't have the resources or the space. And that is a tragedy, that's a tragedy obviously.

You know, you can't imagine that happening. But it is, obviously, there from Miguel's reporting. And that is the opposite of flattening the curve, the whole flattening the curve thing, which was not meant to be the ultimate metric of success. It was supposed to stave off the most immediate sort of concerns, was to prevent hospitals from getting overwhelmed. And, obviously, that's not happening there.

I worry about the same thing happening in Florida. I worry about the same thing happening here in Georgia. You know, I don't know that there's a state in the country you can point to and say, they're absolutely free and clear of this not happening.

HILL: It's also -- I mean, there were so many moments in that piece, which was just incredible reporting. But to your point about hospitals becoming overwhelmed, Sanjay, we saw in the E.R., that they're saving beds just to be safe. We saw those babies in the NICU, where now there's a portion of the NICU it's for babies born to infected mothers, all of this and in the number of patients in their 20s that they're seeing at that hospital in San Antonio. All of this too is really a reminder that there's so much we don't know about this virus. And I think that is a real wakeup call, as well, Sanjay.

GUPTA: Yes. I think that that's very true. I mean, I think that there's been these sort of very convenient, you know, easy-to- understand narratives, which don't get at the nuance of this disease. You know, young people, totally fine, don't worry. Older people, you know, you're the ones who have to stay home.

And you know, I will concede this point. Nobody knew everything about this virus from the very start. We have all learned a lot together. And, clearly, you know, what you're seeing happening in Texas, I think, is reflective now of something that is, you know, very frightening, obviously, for even younger people.

It's still, I think, rare, for younger people to get particularly ill, but it can happen. And when it does, you know, given that the number of people who are now infected in Texas, I think it really makes this point.

One of the things, you know, I was struck by in that piece is they said, we don't know why this is happening, exactly. We don't know why this surge is happening right now. I want to show you this one graph, which I think is instructive. Because I've been hearing a lot out of Texas talking to reporters and other people on the ground over there, and they said, hey, we followed criteria perfectly. We did everything just the way it should have been done.

Well, the first criteria before you reopened was that you had to have a 14-day downward trend in terms of the number of new cases. Well, we found the two weeks leading up right before Texas reopened on May 1st, look, you can look at it for yourself. That is not a 14-day downward trend. The reason that criteria existed was so that you could get to a manageable level, a manageable number of infections, to be able to isolate, be able to trace, do all the things that we've been talking about for five months now. And they didn't do it. Just be clear on that. They did not do -- they did not meet the top, number one gating criteria.

So there really, I don't think, should be a huge surprise as to why now we're seeing this surge of patients.

BERMAN: It's largely happening in states that opened early and it's largely happening in states that did not meet the criteria laid out by the CDC.


Those are just the facts.

And, Beth, we're facing this as we head into the 4th of July weekend, which is a time, what do people do? They get together.

BETH CAMERON, VP FOR GLOBAL BIOLOGICAL POLICY AND PROGRAMS, NUCLEAR THREAT INITIATIVE: Absolutely true. And thanks for having me on the program. This is a really grave moment right now that we're seeing a rise in hospitalizations, not only in Texas, Georgia, but in 12 states across the country.

And we're also seeing -- and I'm glad that Sanjay brought up metrics. We're seeing not only that increase in cases and hospitalizations, but we're seeing an increase in this test positivity metric, which is the number of positive tests compared with the total number of tests. And what that tells us, that's in 36 states, that tells us that the disease is transmitting, that it's spreading.

So we are definitely not in a position that I frankly thought that I would be when Sanjay and I were on this program together back in March and the president was talking about testing being rolled out for all Americans. We're in a situation right now where those testing criteria, those gating criteria were not followed in a number of states.

And so instead of spending a chunk of the summer thinking about how to safely reopen schools and how to decrease the disastrous racial disparities we have in COVID and other healthcare-related data, we're spending time really worrying about hospitals becoming overwhelmed again.

And I was completely struck by the segment and it was extraordinarily emotional to really watch and hear how this is happening again. So flattening the curve was job number one, but testing, tracing, isolating, being able to really find patients that have been exposed to the disease and really to explain to the American people, using a common set of metrics.

The Harvard Global Health Institute released a common set of metrics. My organization, NTI, and our collaborative, we endorsed those. We would like to see the CDC standing up every day, talking about these gating criteria, talking about common metrics so that the American public and hospitals around the country can really hear how we're doing and prepare.

BERMAN: Can I jump in here? On the subject of metrics, it's striking to me that the administration isn't meeting its own metrics from two weeks ago. Forget the CDC metrics from April. Two weeks ago, Mike Pence wrote this grand letter bragging about where we were, saying there wasn't going to be a second wave.

Let me just read some of these here. This is two weeks ago, June 16th. He said, more than half the states are actually seeing cases decline or remain stable. Now, only 13 states are down or stable. He says, cases have stabilized over the last two weeks with the daily average case rate across the U.S. dropping at 20,000. Now, the case rate is 50,000.

He says, every state territory, major metropolitan area with the exception of three has positive test rates under 10 percent. At least nine states at this point are over 10 percent, some way over 10 percent.

And finally, he says, President Trump rallied the American people to embrace social distancing guidelines. Sanjay, tell that to the people in Tulsa.

GUPTA: You know, this is not a complicated story. That's the thing. Sometimes, you have these geopolitical, sometimes financial stories that are really complicated. There's differing opinions on this. I mean, you know, the public health community, people like Beth Cameron, others, they've spoken largely with one voice.

Again, I'll concede that not everybody knew everything about this virus from the very start. That part is true, but they have spoken with one voice. This is not complicated. What you just saw in Miguel Marquez's piece was not inevitable.

And I think the thing that strikes me, John, most about what you just read is that it's taking us backwards. I mean, it's not even saying, hey, look, okay, acknowledging there's a problem. Maybe we're not in total agreement on how best to proceed to solve this problem, but not even acknowledging the problem at this point.

I mean, I talked to people all over the world about how they're handling this COVID crisis in their own countries, and it is stunning to me how basic the measures are that went into place, testing, tracing, mask wearing. That's it.

Maybe in the United States, if it doesn't come in the form of an expensive pill or an elaborate operation, we don't pay it any attention, give it no merit. The idea that a mask and simple testing could go such a long way to preventing hospitals from getting overrun, I think, is just baffling to people for some reason. But it works. It works. And we've seen it. We've seen real-time evidence of this around the world.

BERMAN: Beth, Sanjay, thank you both for being with us this morning and helping us understand where we are and where we need to be, where we should be. I appreciate it.

CAMERON: Thanks so much.

HILL: We are also following other stories across the country this morning, including another confederate statue coming down overnight.


Joining us next, the mayor of Richmond, Virginia.