Return to Transcripts main page


Trump Falsely Claims 99% of COVID-19 Cases are 'Totally Harmless'; Cases Soar in U.S. as Concern Grows About New Spikes; Trump Plans Saturday Campaign Rally in New Hampshire; At Least 5 Children Killed in Weekend Wave of Violence. Aired 6-6:30a ET

Aired July 6, 2020 - 06:00   ET



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Health experts are warning the July Fourth holiday weekend could trigger even more spikes in coronavirus cases.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can see why health officials are certainly concerned when they see these kinds of pictures.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hospitals in states like Arizona and Texas are filling up and could soon be overwhelmed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If we don't get our hands around this virus quickly, in about two weeks, our hospital system could be in serious, serious trouble.

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: President Trump claiming that 99 percent of coronavirus cases are totally harmless. That claim not only evidence-free, but defying reality.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So I'm not going to get into who's right and who's wrong.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Multiple epicenters, and there are going to be more in two to three weeks. No doubt about it.


ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Alisyn Camerota and John Berman.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and all around the world. This is NEW DAY. It is Monday, July 6, 6 a.m. here in New York.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Nice to have you back.

CAMEROTA: Thank you, John. Great to see you.

BERMAN: I told people we were on a break. We were on a break.

CAMEROTA: I don't want to know what you did or with whom during that time, John.

All right. We have a lot of news to get to, because coronavirus cases are still spiking across the country. And packed crowds celebrating during the holiday weekend are creating concern that we will see another increase in several hot spots.

Large crowds gathered at beaches and other places across the country this weekend. These videos do not show much social distancing or mask wearing. We will go over the latest guidance for outdoors.

California hit a record for new single cases with nearly 12,000 positive tests on Sunday. Florida continues to hit daily records. They now have 200,000 total cases. Texas could top that today. This morning, 32 states are seeing an increase in cases in the red there on your screen.

BERMAN: Yes. And in places like Texas and Florida, hospitals are stretched to capacity with record numbers of patients in some cases, patients who are really, really sick.

That's on top of the 130,000 Americans who have died. A hundred and thirty thousand dead Americans.

Now, contrast that fact with the ridiculous, absurd, false, dishonest claim from the president this weekend that 99 percent of COVID-19 cases are totally harmless. That's just wrong. And every doctor in America knows it, including the FDA commissioner, who refused to say so out loud this weekend. Which raises serious questions about whether the nation's top scientists are willing to stand up to the president.

This comes as hundreds of the world's top doctors are asking the WHO to change the way it approaches the pandemic and acknowledge it's an airborne virus, which has implications for how we all live our lives.

I want to begin in Miami Beach with Rosa Flores.

Rosa, I was just looking at eye-popping numbers from Miami-Dade County sonnet increase in hospitalizations, ICU beds, ventilator use. It's just bad.

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It really is. And that's why local authorities here are very concerned. Screaming out of the top of their lungs, saying that something must be done.

And they've been complaining, John, about the mixed messaging that has been sent across the country.

Now, as you mentioned, the fears that medical experts had leading into the holiday weekend appear to have materialized. Videos have surfaced across the country showing people at beaches and pool parties not social distancing, not wearing masks.

This as the pandemic continues to surge.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) FLORES (voice-over): As the number of new confirmed coronavirus cases continues to surge throughout the country, images from the Fourth of July weekend are likely to add to health experts' concerns.

Crowds gathering at this Michigan beach party with no social distancing or face coverings. At the Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri, people packing waterfront restaurants and filling pools. And at this water park in Wisconsin, masks were required for employees, but not guests once inside.

And on the West Coast, L.A. beaches were closed for the holiday weekend, but San Diego saw busy beaches and boardwalks as the state reached a high in new cases Sunday with nearly 12,000, according to Johns Hopkins University.

With coronavirus cases now on the rise in 32 states, local and state officials say the federal government needs to do more.

MAYOR KATE GALLEGO (D), PHOENIX, ARIZONA: President Trump was in my community, chose not to wear a mask, and he's having large events while I am trying to push people that you need to stay at home.

GOV. PHIL MURPHY (D-NJ): We need a national strategy. We're only as strong as our weakest link right now. And we went through hell. We cannot afford to go to through hell again.

MAYOR DAN GELBER (D), MIAMI BEACH, FLORIDA: We're not on the same page. There's not unity in the -- you know, in our community or any community right now.

FLORES: President Trump still sending mixed messages about the virus, downplaying the recent spikes with this false claim.

DON TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Now we have tested almost 40 million people. By so doing, we show cases, 99 percent of which are totally harmless.

ROSA: FDA commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn refusing to defend the claim.


DR. STEPHEN HAHN, FDA COMMISSIONER: So I'm not going to get into who's right and who's wrong. We've seen the surge in cases. We must do something to stem the tide. And we have this in our power to do it, by following the guidance from the White House task force and the CDC.

FLORES: In Texas, officials are issuing dire warnings after hospitals in at least two counties hit full capacity, urging Texans to social distance and use masks to stem the surge.

MAYOR SYLVESTER TURNER (D), HOUSTON, TEXAS: If we don't get our hands around this virus quickly, in about two weeks, our hospital system could be in serious, serious trouble.

FLORES: Florida eclipsed 40,000 new coronavirus cases in the first four days of July and set a single-day high of 11,458 new cases on Saturday. Officials in Southern Florida concerned about the growing numbers, fearful for the impact on their own hospital system.

GELBER: These huge spikes we're seeing right now, obviously, mean that in a week or two, we're going to see even, you know, bigger people -- you know, more people showing up to hospitals and in intensive care and on ventilators.


FLORES: An investigation conducted by the CNN health unit found that authorities in Florida often failed to contact trace. CNN contacted 27 Floridians who tested positive for COVID-19. According to these individuals, only five of them were contacted by health authorities for contact-tracing purposes.

Now, Alisyn, we checked. Here where I am, the positivity rate yesterday was 26 percent. Here in Miami-Dade, the goal is not to exceed 10 percent. Well, this county has exceeded that for the past 14 days -- Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: And of course, with more testing, theoretically, the positivity rate would go down, but that's not the logic that the White House is using.

Rosa, thank you very much.

So the pandemic is not stopping President Trump from planning another campaign rally. He appears to be trying to take the focus off of coronavirus and onto other divisive issues.

Let's bring in Joe Johns. He is live for us at the White House.

What's the plan, Joe?


The president doubling down on his divisive rhetoric over the weekend, comparing the U.S. fight against the Nazis in World War II to his battles against the radical left. Talking about fascists, Marxists, and anarchists, accusing protesters for social justice of trying to destroy the country.

Friday night, in South Dakota at Mt. Rushmore, the president could have talked about coronavirus and the way forward for the United States, but he didn't do that.

Again on Saturday, the president ratcheting up his rhetoric, stoking racial and cultural divisions, focusing once again on the opposition to Confederate monuments and statues of slaveholders. Listen.


TRUMP: We will never allow an angry mob to tear down our statues, erase our history, indoctrinate our children, or trample on our freedoms.

(END VIDEO CLIP) JOHNS: The president also said over the weekend that he wants to start a garden of heroes. That would be an honor to the greatest Americans. He named a number of them in the Saturday speech. Among them were no Confederate generals.

John, back to you.

BERMAN: All right. Joe at the White House. Joe Johns, thank you very much.

Developing overnight, at least five children have been killed during shootings across the U.S. over the weekend, part of a rise in violent crime in some cities.

CNN's Omar Jimenez live in Chicago with the latest on this -- Omar.

OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, John, this is now a third week in a row we've seen literal children shot and killed here in Chicago.

Across three weeks alone, we've seen a 10-year-old shot and killed, a 3-year-old, a 1-year-old. And now this past weekend, 7-year-old Natalia Wallace was shot and killed as part of a weekend where we saw dozens of people shot and over a dozen killed, at this intersection the officials have pointed to of gun violence and coronavirus.

Specifically, one of the challenges here that I've heard from officials, is that they are dealing with the typical summer violence, combined with the challenges of people being cooped up for months. The fact that first responders, including police officers, have been infected with coronavirus or even died at some points. Hundreds of detainees at the jail had been affected at one point or either died. And then courts have had to close.

All of that, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot tells me is playing into the current grim reality that we are seeing unfold before our eyes.


JIMENEZ: Compared to last year, shootings up 40 percent?


JIMENEZ: Homicides up more than 30 percent. What is happening right now?

LIGHTFOOT: All of these forces are coming together at the same time and making it very difficult. The ecosystem of public safety that isn't just law enforcement, but as local, community-based, other pieces of the law enforcement system. That has been really shattered over these last three months. And we're just starting to get our footing back.


[06:10:17] JIMENEZ: And it's not just Chicago. In New York City, over the course of this weekend, we saw more than 40 shootings, affecting more than 60 people, including an incident where two police officers were injured after a bullet hit the windshield of a marked NYPD squad car.

And New York is among a number of cities seeing an increase in homicides throughout the country, including places like Philadelphia, Los Angeles, and here in Chicago, where families are waking up this morning, mourning the loss of that 7-year-old, Natalia Wallace.

But when you look across the country, it is not just Wallace's 7-year- old. We saw in San Francisco a 6-year-old killed. In D.C., an 11-year- old. In Hoover, Alabama, an 8-year-old. And in Atlanta, a little girl was shot and killed as she rode in the car with her mom and another person in the car. She was just 8 years old -- John.

BERMAN: It's just horrible. Just horrible. What a tragedy, Omar. Thank you very much. Please keep us posted on developments throughout the morning.

A dire public health crisis spiraling downward. That is how our next guest sees the pandemic hitting cities across the country. That's next.



CAMEROTA: Coronavirus cases are going up in 32 states this morning, including Texas, which is closing in on 200,000 total cases. The mayor of Austin warning that hospitals could be overrun within two weeks.

Joining us now is Dr. Peter Hotez. He's the dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, and co-director of the Texas Children's Hospital Center for Vaccine Development.

Dr. Hotez, you're in Texas, obviously one of the hot spots. What is the priority, as you see it this morning?

DR. PETER HOTEZ, DEAN, NATIONAL SCHOOL OF TROPICAL MEDICINE, BAYLOR COLLEGE: The priority, Alisyn, is to save lives. The number of cases still continues to accelerate. We're breaking records almost every day here in the state of Texas. People are piling into hospitals, into ICUs. We can't really keep going at this rate.

And it's not only happening in Texas, of course, it's happening in Florida, Arizona. We're starting to see now a similar situation unfold on the Gulf Coast. And now we're starting to see this in the upper Midwest and in Tennessee, as well.

So, we're -- I fear that we're spiraling out of control. Forty thousand cases a week or so ago. Fifty thousand, now heading to 60,000. Alisyn, I think this week we'll hit the 3 million mark. This is how rapidly this -- we're accelerating nationally. We -- we've got to figure something out. There is no national plan at this point. BERMAN: I want to put up on the screen so people can see it,

hospitalizations in Texas. So people can see.

The real number is increasing here. These are people in the hospital. Look how steep that rise is. And it's not just in Texas, either. We just got statistics from Miami-Dade County in Florida. We don't have graphics yet, but an 88 percent increase in hospitalizations in two weeks. A 114 percent increase in ICU bed usage. And an 119 percent increase in ventilator use in two weeks, Dr. Hotez.

This is real stuff. These are people right now, and it's happening across the country.

HOTEZ: Yes. This is a dire public health crisis. And we don't have that recognition, unfortunately, coming out of Washington.

And I don't -- I'm not really certain where the White House coronavirus task force thinks this is going to go. What's going to turn this around. It's not going to disappear by itself.

Clearly, our current approach, if you call it that, is not working. We need a national plan.

And I've been advocating at this point, things are so -- things just aren't happening coming out of D.C. Maybe move this to Atlanta, have the CDC run initiatives and operations out of Atlanta and give us a national strategy and road map.

Because what Texas looks like today is what -- and Florida and Arizona, this is what the country is going to look like again within a few weeks. And by the time we're -- for the fall election, I'm sure we'll easily be at 100,000 cases a day, as Dr. Fauci predicts. And we might even more -- might even be at a higher level than that. So we're -- we're in free fall. And we've got to stop it.

CAMEROTA: Dr. Hotez, as you know, the White House has outsourced, basically, the plan to states. They -- they don't -- as you said, they don't have a plan. And so they think that it should be up to local mayors and governors to figure out how to manage their states. Why isn't that working?

HOTEZ: They don't have the horsepower. They don't have the epidemiologic knowledge. They don't have the models. They don't have the -- the depth and breadth of the science required to do this.

This -- this is a time when we need the full force of the federal government. There's a reason why taxpayers are paying $11 billion a year for the CDC. It's for exactly for this moment. And now is their time. And now is the time that they have to take leadership and do this.

And -- and just leaving it to the states with some FEMA support will only continue to see these -- we call them spikes, but I call this massive resurgence. As I say, 3 million this week, with no end in sight at this point. BERMAN: One of the things that has happened during this increase in

cases is the numbers of new daily deaths has continued to drop. I think the average, the five or seven-day average is under 500 for the first time in a long time. And there are people who look at that and say that needs to be celebrated, Dr. Hotez. But you look at it and say, not so fast?


HOTEZ: Well, remember how this works. The deaths will lag this current rise. This rise has happened so rapidly. It takes the deaths a few weeks to catch up. So those deaths will increase.

Now, part of that is because we've gotten better at ICU care. We know now how to put patients on anticoagulant therapy and dexamethasone and plasma convalescent therapy and Remdesivir. So we are getting patients out of the ICU.

But you can imagine the trauma of patients going through that, No. 1, and also, how staffs are getting overwhelmed to take care of all of these patients.

And then we have to remember now, we're starting to see long-term permanent disability from this illness, as far as we can tell. Permanent lung injury. Well, I shouldn't use the word "permanent," because it's too soon in the epidemic, but long-standing lung injury, cardiovascular injury, heart injury, and neurologic injury, as well. So in many ways, we're going to be producing a generation of disabled individuals.

And -- and this epidemic also is disproportionately affecting people -- low-income -- people from low-income neighborhoods, people without health insurance. So this is going to be catastrophe upon catastrophe. And just to say, hey, look at the death rate now is extremely superficial. We can't do that.

BERMAN: Doesn't sound harmless. That sure doesn't sound harmless to me, which is what the president said --

HOTEZ: Yes -- yes, that 99 percent harmless is ridiculous. We know 15 to 20 percent of patients are hospitalized, and of those, about half go in intensive care, with permanent injury, along the lines that we've been talking about. That was just an irresponsible statement.

And this is what we're seeing out of the White House. This absolute refusal to engage. One, to acknowledge the seriousness of the problem, deflecting with some ridiculous, you know, conspiracy theories about the Chinese Communist Party sending in patients into the country, infected patients into the country like drones.

I mean, who do they think they're kidding? This is -- this is unacceptable. We've got to take control of this epidemic. Right now, we're on a path where the numbers will accelerate at this -- at this continued rate with -- with no end in sight.

CAMEROTA: Dr. Peter Hotez, we always appreciate the straight scoop from you, even when it's hard to hear. Thank you very much for all the facts.

HOTEZ: Thanks so much.

CAMEROTA: President Trump's strategy to deal with the pandemic is apparently to not talk about it. What the president spent the weekend doing and discussing, next.



BERMAN: So we learned overnight the president has a campaign rally scheduled for this coming weekend in New Hampshire. And if the last few days are a guide, one thing this rally will not focus much on is the pandemic, which has killed nearly 130,000 Americans.

Joining us now, CNN political analyst Joe Lockhart, and Alexi McCammond, a political reporter for Axios.

Alexi, you know, it strikes me that the president's answer to 130,000 dead Americans is statues. His answer to 10 percent unemployment, statues. His answer to questions about racial injustice, statues. I can see a pattern emerging here.

ALEXI MCCAMMOND, POLITICAL REPORTER, AXIOS: Statues and also joking, let's not forget his testing remarks, ordering the tests to be slowed down is now being billed as a joke by both the president and his campaign, as you know, hundreds of thousands of people are dying around the world. And the country alone.

But the statues point of this is important, to your point, because it's another example of the president's love of inciting and capitalizing on culture wars.

We've seen this from the president, obviously, since he was running in 2016, with the border wall, and the way that he talked about Mexican immigrants. But we've also seen this, you know, with relation to immigration policy in the 2018 midterms. Remember the scary migrant caravan that was charging toward the U.S. from the southern border that we suddenly stopped hearing about as soon as the midterm elections were over?

We've seen him do this with impeachment. We've seen this -- him do this with Democratic congresswomen, who are all women of color, telling them to go back to where they came from. We've seen him do this with NFL players, kneeling during the national anthem in protest of police brutality and racism against America. The same things that these Confederate statues represent in part, of course, larger history with the American country.

But what is interesting is that the president knows that his base is really fired up by these culture wars. And he calls himself a wartime president in relation to the coronavirus. But now we're really seeing how the president views himself as a wartime president, as it relates to these culture wars. CAMEROTA: Joe, politically speaking, do you understand the logic here?

I mean, obviously, no one likes their community being looted or being defaced by graffiti. But at the same time, no one lists removal of Confederate statues in their top five priorities for what they want in a second term.

So where's the politics? Where's the brilliant politics here?

JOE LOCKHART, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, I don't know if it's brilliant, but it's -- it is a strategy of necessity. It's the only one I think he has. He can't run on his record. He can't run on healthcare with COVID going on. He can't run on the economy. So he's got to find these social or cultural issues to drive his base out to the polls.

You know, we've seen this before, George Bush 41 in 1988 ran on burning the flag and Mike Dukakis, and he was an ACLU member and Willie Horton, which played on racial tensions.

The problem with the strategy, though, is when you don't have a great record, you make it about the other guy. And Donald Trump is incapable of making it about the other guy. He has to make it about himself.

So they've got a little bit of a self-defeating strategy going on there. And, you know, it's -- it's -- you never know, but it's -- I don't see this working.

BERMAN: Well, the big difference between 1988 and 2020.