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Country's Most Populous States See COVID-19 Cases Spike; White House Chief Of Staff Defends Trump's Claim That 99 Percent Of Coronavirus Cases Are Harmless; Thirty-Two States Record Rise In Cases, 14 Steady, While Four See Decline; GOP's Graham Sides With NASCAR After Trump Attack; Trump Stirs Culture Wars In Speeches And Tweets, While Also Pushing Misleading Info On COVID-19 Threat. Aired 12-12:30p ET

Aired July 6, 2020 - 12:00   ET



GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): And he is making statements like that 99.9 percent don't have to worry about it. Okay, then there is no issue but you see with these American people that there's no problem and then don't wear a mask and they don't socially distance and they don't take any precautionary behavior and then the virus goes like this.

He is - he is facilitating the virus. He is enabling the virus by statements like that. And you're seeing the infection rate go up and you're seeing the economy suffer. And he is part of that current debacle that we are in.

Look at New York. We know what to do. Because we did it! We did it! We know there's a model that says you can contain the virus. We did it and by the way, we did it in the worst-case scenario that's when it is really breathtaking we didn't have seven cases.

We had the highest infection rate in the country. We had the highest infection rate per capita on the globe through no fault of our own. Frankly because the Federal Government didn't know what it was talking about saying the virus was in China and then needed a map because the virus was in Europe and it came here from Europe.

But we know what to do? But the first step is you have to admit the problem. You will never solve a problem in life that you refuse to admit. Why he refuses to admit it I have no idea. You have a White House Coronavirus Task Force. Why do you have a Task Force if there's no problem, right? 99.9 percent is just made up.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN HOST: So, we are listening to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo going hard and directly at President Trump in his Coronavirus update briefing that the President is facilitating the virus, enabling the virus, coconspirator of the virus if he continues to deny the reality.

Pleading with the President of the United States to acknowledge the reality of the virus and put a mask on even labeling it in the slides the United States of denial. This as Governor Cuomo is also touting the - especially when you see what's going on in the rest of the country, the relative success of New York state reporting nine deaths from Coronavirus yesterday.

Every death is too many but compared to in April at the height of things when New York was reporting around 1,000 deaths a day that is something to be discussing and that is a sign of progress. But Andrew Cuomo had a message for Donald Trump today. Of course, we'll see how the President responds?

Hi, everybody. I'm Kate Bolduan. Thanks for sticking with us. We're at the top of the hour and we have a lot to get to. As Andrew Cuomo was pointing at and we'll talk about a country that we're looking at right now in free fall that is how a leading health expert is now describing the current trajectory of the country in regards to the Coronavirus pandemic.

The three most populous states in the country are reporting dramatic spikes in new cases. Take a look at the map of the United States this is what we are talking about and we will continue to look at it so you have a point of reference from day-to-day, week to week. 32 states now are heading in the wrong direction.

14 states are holding steady in terms of new cases and just four states are reporting a decline in new cases. The numbers are especially dire in three of the country's largest states. California, Texas and Florida the increase in cases putting a strain on hospitals as local leaders in the three states trying to get a handle on the crisis but what tools are left in their tool belt?

What is the responsibility of the state government? And well, of course, we'll get to the Federal Government here. In Florida what you are looking at, the total number of cases have now surpassed 200,000 after the state hit multiple daily records over the holiday weekend.

Despite what is clear, real and an urgent crisis still under way and only getting worse, President Trump continues like Andrew Cuomo was reading my script ahead of time, continues to appear he is in denial saying this weekend that 99 percent of all COVID cases are, his words, "Totally harmless".

This morning the White House not trying to claim that the President was tongue in cheek like they have before and explaining away his false claims. This is actually how the Chief of Staff put it echoing President Trump.


MARK MEADOWS, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: When you start to look at the stats and look at all the numbers we have, the amount of testing that we have, the vast majority of people are safe from this.

When you look at the deaths we have, if you are over 80 years of age or if you have three what they call co-morbidities, diabetes, hypertension, heart issues then you need to be very, very careful. Outside of that the risks are extremely low and the President's right with that in the facts and the statistics back us up there.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BOLDUAN: Not when you talk to doctors that I'm talking to. We have reporters on the ground in all three states. We'll start in Miami Beach Florida Rosa Flores standing by. Rosa, there's new information coming in about how Miami-Dade County is responding to the spikes. What do you have?


ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, Kate, local leaders warned about this, that if the numbers continued to spike, if they continue to grow, they were going to be forced to roll back the reopening plan and here we are, the breaking news out of Miami-Dade County is the Mayor just announced that he's going to roll back the reopening plan.

He is going to shut down restaurants for dine in. He is only going to allow delivery and takeout. He is also going to shut down fitness centers and also short-term rentals. So that's important to note because local leaders had been complained about large parties, large gatherings happening inside private homes short-term rentals and that's of course is how this virus spread?

So why is this happening? You can look at any metric you want and it is going up. Let's look at positivity rate first of all. Here in Miami-Dade, according to county data released yesterday, 26 percent positivity rate. The goal for the county is not to exceed 10 percent. They have exceeded that for the past 14 days.

When you look at hospitalizations the numbers are staggering yesterday according to Miami-Dade County, they had more than 1,500 individuals that tested positive for COVID-19 inside hospitals. On January 23rd that number was just over 800, that's an 88 percent increase.

If you look at ICU beds same thing over the same time period, over 114 percent increase. You look at ventilators, 119 percent increase. That's why these local leaders have been so frustrated with the mixed messaging coming from the White House or from state government because they have been pushing for masks, social distancing, for large gatherings without masks or without social distancing not to happen.

Now Kate, we checked in with the City of Miami and also Miami Beach here where I am to see if these Mayors were also going to follow this new rule set by Miami-Dade County and they say that they plan to do that so the businesses that you see behind me effective Wednesday will be closed for dine in.

BOLDUAN: I mean, that's rolling back, that's reversing, that's shutting back down is what's now happening in Florida and what you are bringing to us right now Rosa. This is important news for everyone to hear because they warned that they were going to take action. We're going to talk to the Mayor of Miami Beach coming up to get his reaction. First let's go to Ed Lavandera he is in Dallas. Ed what's the latest there?

ED LAVANDERA, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you hear local officials are sounding the alarm about the situation in hospitals across the state from Austin, Texas, where the Mayor says that hospital capacity could be reached within the next couple of weeks to county judges down in the Rio Grande Valley the southernmost tip of Texas where those county judges are saying that hospitals are at capacity.

And this comes just days after the Governor here in Texas issued a statewide mask wearing mandate and that is - has been a source of contention for weeks and weeks here in this state as many people have pushed back on these types of orders from state and local officials.

Many local officials really urging people to ignore all of the debate around it and to just simply follow this and it's a hospitalizations that you're concerned about. Look at the trend lines and the number of hospitalizations, number of people hospitalized here in Texas and in that graphic you can see some of the main dates where you have seen Memorial Day weekend where many people were already coming back out as the economy opened up here in Texas.

You had the peak of the George Floyd protests around late May, early June as well. And then restaurants opening, more bars been open and all of that being scaled back here in the last few days as the Governor here in Texas Kate has ordered stand alone bars to be closed again and reduce the capacity of residents all of this because the CDC has warning that hospitalizations here in Texas could reach 2,000 per day by mid-July, Kate?

BOLDUAN: Ed, Thank you. Let's get to Los Angeles Sara Sidner is standing by there. Sara, what are you seeing where you are?

SARA SIDNER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Look. These are the beaches of Santa Monica right now most folks are adhering to all of the rules with the masks and the self distancing here. I am also wearing a mask because you are supposed to wear a mask while you're out in public in California now.

But we have just got this disturbing new numbers that say about 11,000 new cases happened over the past 4 days. On Friday it was the number one highest spike in positive cases that the state has seen with more than 3,000.

Concerning again because similar to Houston what you just heard there from Ed Lavandera, they're seeing hospitalizations rise. They have now said that over the past three week hospitalizations of people who are positive for Coronavirus have gone up 41 percent.


SIDNER: And the warning from officials here, health officials and government officials here, the warning is that by the end of July they could have completely filled ICU beds, no more beds available for people in the ICU if the rate keeps continuing like this.

And so, here in California you can expect that there may be some new rules that are put in place to try to get people to stay at home and put their masks on, Kate?

BOLDUAN: They warned that it would be coming if things didn't change and things have not. Sara, thank you so much. All right, I want to get back to Florida now as we were discussing, Coronavirus positivity rate in Miami-Dade County hit 26 percent on Sunday.

For some perspective here the goal for the county was to keep the virus in check, to keep the virus in check was to keep that rate to not exceed 10 percent. Very clearly more than double that. And that is what leads to this breaking news that Rosa brought us about Miami-Dade County rolling back on the reopening right now.

Let's get to the Mayor of Miami Beach Dan Gelber. He is joining us now. Mayor, thank you for coming back in. So this announcement that we're hearing from the Miami-Dade Mayor, what does it mean for you?

MAYOR DAN GELBER (D), MIAMI BEACH, FLORIDA: Well, I have spoken to him a few times this morning already because I think he is trying to get everybody's input. It means we are rolling the carpet back up. It is pretty clear we have this real problem two weeks ago there were 60 COVID patients on ventilators today it is 160, two weeks ago there were 120 COVID patients in ICUs in the County today over 330.

So we now - this is not some kind of result of too much testing as the President might say. It is the result of people being so sick that they need that kind of extreme life support. So we have to do something because people have not really been following these guidelines the way they need to.

BOLDUAN: What is the reaction going to be to this kind of a rolling back at this point? The Governor of New York made a good point. It is easier I think probably psychologically with a lot of folks to have a slower phased reopening than open it back up and have to roll it back but that is what you all are facing right now. How's this going to be received? Are you worried about that?

GELBER: Well, first of all I worry about all the wonderful service workers and restaurateurs who - going to really be impacted terribly. Obviously that's you know for many of them on their best days they have thin margins and profit margins. So this is really going to devastating but I think the problem is I don't know that we have any other choice.

Our residents many of them in our city for instance are following rules of wearing masks. We had a mask order for months in our city but just too many other things are going on, there is too much socializing, too much parties, too many young people really frankly not seeming to care at all or people who decided they're going to coming to our city which is a hospitality city and not follow all these rules.

It has become a huge problem and we even have a curfew now at 10:00 pm. And have had it for a week but it still doesn't seem to be stopping the surge that we are feeling.

BOLDUAN: Is - do you think this is in part coming from what you saw over the weekend or the holiday weekend or this just simply you know the numbers, seeing the numbers and reflect infections that happened a couple weeks ago, right? That's how this works which is it? GELBER: The problem is I think it is from a few weeks ago. I think unfortunately almost unalterably and violently we are going to get what we saw this weekend show up in hospitals and ICUs and vent usages in a few weeks.

And that's why it is so hard, you can't wait till this thing shows up and manifests itself. You have got to act two weeks early which is why it's so important for everybody to be on the same page and message this. Because right now the public--

BOLDUAN: That's something that you have been talking about that I think is extremely important to hit on. You have been talking about the real life impact that confusing messaging is having on people.

People getting one urgent message from you I mean, you have been on, you've made yourself available in order to speak to the public so many times about the urgent need to take care and socially distant and wear face coverings.

But then you see the President of the United States honestly saying the exact opposite. Just this weekend downplaying how serious the virus actually is, essentially speaking to those young people that you are so concerned about saying 99 percent of the cases unless 99 percent of the cases are totally harmless. If he is the problem, what is your message to him?

GELBER: Listen, people when we ask them to make a sacrifice we expect them and hope that they will and that's what they typically do. I always describe it with hurricane we ask people to sacrifice in and they fall into line beautifully and harmoniously.


GELBER: Because they're hearing from everybody the same thing. I would just ask the President, please use that pulpit of yours to tell the people out there who listen to you and will follow you that this is important, that it is not a show of weakness but a show of strength.

It is American in nature to help your neighbor and a stranger. So tell people that. Tell them that you want them to wear the mask because it is a show of strength and it is a sacrifice like anyone else makes a sacrifice.

That would help so much because right now people are looking for a message that is the path of least resistance and when the President of the United States gives them a path of least resistance they're taking it and its killing people right now.

BOLDUAN: I think that's a very important way of putting it of what you just said. Given the option they'll choose the path of least resistance that means something very different though when literally lives are at stake and it is a life and death decision. Mayor, thank you. Good luck, we'll talk to you very soon.

GELBER: Thanks, Kate. BOLDUAN: Coming up for us, the President attacking NASCAR's Bubba

Wallace and doubling down on what appears to be an only re-election strategy of stirring racial tension in the country. Plus, an antibody treatment in the next phase of trials and how it is being tested and what it means for people exposed to the virus? We'll be back.



BOLDUAN: If there is any doubt left that the President believes enflaming racial tension in the country is the path to re-election he confirmed that all this morning the President attacking NASCAR's only black full-time driver Bubba Wallace over a "Hoax" and criticizing NASCAR for banning the confederate flag at races.

This caps off though a weekend full of the President's pushing division, anger and racial tension in two high profile speeches all the while essentially ignoring the pandemic or down playing how serious it is.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We will never allow an angry mob to tear down our statues, erase our history, indoctrinate our children or trample on our freedoms. We are now in the process of defeating the radical left, the Marxists, the anarchists, the agitators. In our schools, our newsrooms, even our corporate boardrooms there is a new far left fascism that demands absolute allegiance.


BOLDUAN: Joining me now is CNN White House Correspondent Kaitlan Collins and CNN Political Analyst Toluse Olorunnipa he is also a White House Reporter for "The Washington Post" I feel like we need like 150 minutes guys to actually go over everything that I want to talk with you about. Kaitlan, just on what we have just heard from the President, what is the White House thinking here?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: When it comes to this message that you're seeing from the President at these speeches, ones that he made on Friday night and then again on Saturday night, you are really seeing how the President thinks this is the message that's going to work for him?

And it is notable because he has been given this advice from some figures outside of the White House and inside of the White House that he needs to be aggressive in confronting the protesters that turned in to riots after the death of George Floyd.

But you've seen the President take it to another level and it's a level that you haven't seen Republicans back up but the President has continued to dig into that language. But then you see when he is defending certain monuments not being torn down, Republicans agree with that but then the President comes out today and goes after someone like Bubba Wallace.

And people like Lindsey Graham just moments ago said he has nothing to apologize for and that he actually thinks that the way that NASCAR responded is something that should be praised.

BOLDUAN: Yes. Toluse, Lindsey Graham also said when in response to the President knocking NASCAR for banning confederate flags said the confederate flag is not a good way to grow your business but I wonder if people walking around the White House know that.

TOLUSE OLORUNNIPA, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: People around the President clearly don't know that. It's clear that the President has been saying that confederate generals and confederate statues are where he wants to plan his flag that's where he wants to focus his campaign message going into 2020.

He wants to really focus on these things that are a relic of the past, are not being supported by other Republicans. There aren't even Republicans in the Senate or in Congress that are pushing this message but the President is pushing it in part thinking that's the way to grow his base, it's a way to appeal to his most fervent supporters ahead of November and he is very clear that he is becoming more and more isolated on this even if people within the White House are not backing him up.

BOLDUAN: Also on the other aspect of his messaging, Kaitlan, on his really just denial - lack of focus and denial of the reality of the Coronavirus, two of Toluse's colleagues at "The Post" had this line in some of their reporting that I have got to read because it stopped me in my tracks when I read it that White House officials are also hope Americans will grow numb to the escalating death toll and learn to accept tens of thousands of new cases a day according to three people familiar with the White House thinking requested anonymity to reveal internal deliberations.

Americans will live with the virus being a threat in the words of one of those people, a senior administration official. Is that what you are hearing as a political strategy to hope that Americans just give up?

COLLINS: I think their hope is that Americans start to want to move forward, want to go back to work, to open schools and whatnot? And to the fact that that is the argument that the White House is trying to make you've got to look at polls that show.


COLLINS: Americans obviously do want that but they also have prioritized containing the pandemic over that. So that's the question but you know what is so important here when the President makes comments that are exaggerated, misleading or just flat-out wrong is that people aren't really do listen to the President.

So if he is dismissing it and he is downplaying it, people listen to that and that's why I think it's so notable as you know you're seeing people back up that 99.9 percent or the 99 percent claim that the President made about cases being harmless is if that was the true the FDA Commissioner would have backed him up on it yesterday.

He would have said actually, we have got this data and here is what it is shows. And he did not do that when he was pressed not once but twice and given that opportunity. However, the question is how enough people see how Dr. Hahn responded to how the President made that comment on Saturday night.

BOLDUAN: Kaitlan, thank you both. Toluse, thank you. Still ahead for us, a possible treatment for Coronavirus gets clearance to enter phase three testing now researchers are hoping it could also help protect against infections, that's next.