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31 States Reporting Rise In New Coronavirus Cases; 13 States Reporting Rise In New Coronavirus Cases; Trump Downplays Virus As Fauci Says, We're Knee-Deep; Arizona Tops 100,000 cases as hospital reach near capacity. Aired 10-10:30a ET

Aired July 7, 2020 - 10:00   ET




POPPY HARLOW, CNN NEWSROOM: It's the top of the hour, 10:00 A.M. Eastern and 7:00 A.M. Pacific. I'm Poppy Harlow in New York. I'm glad you're with us.

What we had hoped would happen would not happen is unfortunately happening. New cases of coronavirus surging in now 31 states. 24 have paused or rolled back their reopening plans. Dr. Anthony Fauci warns we're knee-deep in the first wave of this pandemic and that it is getting worse.

Cases and hospitalizations are soaring so quickly in Texas. The military is deploying medical personnel to help in some parts of the state. Dozens of hospitals in Florida are completely full and out of ICU beds, this as we're learning that two of the nation's largest testing labs are warning of some major delays.

We're covering all the angles this hour. Let's begin again with Rosa Flores, who joins us in Miami. Good morning, Rosa, what is the situation there?

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, Poppy, there's a lot of concern here, both local officials and medical experts, about the number of hospitalizations and the increase that they are seeing specifically here in Miami-Dade County.

Let's start with the facts statewide though. 43 ICU hospitals across 21 counties in this state have hit capacity. That means that these hospitals have zero ICU beds available. On top of that, there are 32 other ICU hospitals who have a bed availability of 10 percent or less.

Now, I wish that I could tell you how many COVID-19 patients are hospitalized in the State of Florida right now and how has that moved, has it grown, has it or not. But the state of Florida does not release that information.

Miami-Dade County though compiles the information, requires hospitals to report that number every single day, and when you look at those numbers, they are staggering. This is why local experts are so concerned.

In the past 13 days, hospitalizations of COVID-19 patients have increased 90 percent. The use of ICU beds have increased 86 percent over that same time period. When you look at ventilators, 127 percent.

And Poppy, I'm here at Jackson Health. Jackson Health alone has seen a 120 percent increase in the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations in the past two weeks. Poppy?

HARLOW: Wow, wow. And even given these numbers, what is the school system in Florida saying about reopening in about a month in-person for school?

FLORES: You know, this is one thing that is really mind-boggling. But, yesterday, the Florida education commissioner announced that he issued an emergency order requiring all schools in Florida to reopen in brick-and-mortar style for at least five days a week.

Here is the explanation from the commissioner. He said, quote, there is a need to open schools fully to ensure the quality and continuity of the educational process, the comprehensive well-being of students and families and a return to Florida hitting its full economic stride.

Now, as you might imagine, some teachers are not for this, Poppy. We're already hearing from Orange County. Teachers there say that they don't agree with this plan. Poppy?

HARLOW: Rosa, thank you for that reporting.

Let's go to Houston now. Our Ryan Young is outside a drive-through testing facility as cases continue to rise across the State of Texas. Good morning, Ryan.

RYAN YOUNG, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Poppy. You know, that number here is reaching towards 200,000 people with the coronavirus. And just to give you an idea here, this is NRG Stadium just across the street for all my football fans and, obviously, people in the Houston area know what this is.

This outdoor testing it area was packed with people just a little earlier. You can still see the lines of cars that are here.

One of the reasons this has been so popular so far is because of the way they are doing the testing. This is basically a saliva sample. They put the saliva in here instead of having that swab reach back into your nose. And that's been -- a lot of people just don't like that so far.

But, look, one of the people who has helped organize this, Cole, if you wouldn't mind telling me, what has the reception been so far with this testing center?

COLE LYSAUGHT, CO-FOUNDER, BLOOM LABS: The reception has been great. As I think you mentioned, the lines have been very long in the morning.


I think one of the best responses we've received from people is how convenient this is compared to the nasal swabs. And you spit into a cup, the results come back in 48 to 72 hours.

YOUNG: But the pressure point has been for a lot of people here. They have been emotional and upset just about how long it takes to get tested.

LYSAUGHT: Sure, sure. We've heard a lot of stories of people waiting 10 to 14 days to get their test results back. And a lot of people can't get to work until they get the results tests back.

So we've had people in line almost with tears in their eyes talking about how appreciative they are that we've got this quick response time.

YOUNG: So, thank you so much for that, by the way.

And so here is thing, Poppy. If you think about this, you have a lot of people who can't almost afford to do this, right, but at the same time they need to, to get back to work to provide food for their families so the stress is real.

And we talked about this last hour, talking to people who work some of the minimum wage jobs, they are having to police people about wearing masks, and that has been causing some friction, especially at the door of some of these retail establishments. Folks getting upset, feeling the pressure, especially with this economy.

HARLOW: Yes. They shouldn't be the ones, you know, having to enforce this. Ryan, thanks a lot.

Just as the U.S. is seeing a surge in demand for testing, as Ryan just showed you, two of the country's biggest labs that process these tests and bring you the results say it's taking them longer than usual to bring the results. Our Drew Griffin is with me.

Two of the big -- I mean, these are the two names I know the most, right, Quest Diagnostic and LabCorp.

DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: Right. You probably got a bill from them at some point in your life. They've processed one of your blood works. These are the two biggies. And while it's not as bad in the height of the pandemic back in April, they are telling us that their turnaround times, is what they're calling them, are doubling in some cases.

Quest reporting that it has a turnaround time of four to six days now. It was just two to three days last month. And LabCorp has also doubled its turnaround time. On average, this is not for emergency cases, but they're saying two to four days.

And, remember, this is just, Poppy, the time it takes when you get the sample to the lab, the lab gets the results back to you. In some states, like Florida, where Rosa is, we're hearing from people who are sick, who are having to wait a week just to get a test. So you wait a week to get a test. Now, you're waiting three to five to six days to get results of that test. You're talking about 10 to 12 days before you even know the results.

This is the opposite direction of where we want to be going. The American Clinical Laboratories Association, which represents Quest, LabCorp and all the other commercial labs, says this demand for testing is once again exceeding capacity expected for the next couple of months.

I think, Poppy, this just shows you that the virus went away but our supply chain problems never did. They never got solved. So now the virus is back. The virus is in control, and we're seeing these testing delays creeping higher and higher.

HARLOW: We certainly are, Drew. Thank you for that reporting.

I'm joined now by former FDA Commissioner Dr. Mark McClellan, he is also notably advising Texas Governor Greg Abbott on the state's COVID- 19 response. It's really nice to have you. Thank you for taking the time.


HARLOW: You've talked about, and you're right to do so, what a lagging indicator hospitalizations are. So when you see the hospitalization numbers going up in the State of Texas, when you look at Miami, for example, and so many ICU beds gone the right now and what's happening in the State of Florida, if that's a lagging indicator, what does that tell us, Doctor, about where this country may be with COVID in two weeks?

MCCLELLAN: Poppy, it tells us it's going to get worse before it gets better.

So, some of the states have taken additional steps in response to these recent surges. In Texas, Governor Abbott enacted a mask requirement for the vast majority of the state last week, took some further steps to enable local governments to restrict openings, closed bars, et cetera. I think those steps will have some effect on these trends. But, like he said, it happens with a lag.

And so that's why it's so important right now that we are staffing up at the hospitals in these states, that we're taking steps to contain the cases and the consequences of the cases that are there, but also that we do need to take further steps to get the pandemic spread under control in these outbreak areas.

HARLOW: You have a unique insight into this because you've been advising Governor Abbott all the way through this. So, can you walk us into his decision-making on mandating masks now finally? When you look, I mean, that they had one of the shortest stay-at-home orders in the country, you know, 28 days, they ended it on May 1st. on May 8th, you had all sorts of things, like salons, et cetera, opening. [10:10:00]

And the question is did those actions contribute to the deaths in Texas?

MCCLELLAN: Well, Poppy, I do think Texas reopened too fast. Our work at Duke-Margolis suggested that we should be looking for a downward trend in cases and the ability to do sufficient testing to contain outbreaks before proceeding with aggressive reopening. I know in many parts of the country, governors are under a lot of pressure for economic reasons for reopening.

But I think what we're seeing is that it's hard to do the reopening economically successfully if we can't keep cases in check. And so I think the further steps that states are beginning to take now will hopefully get this equilibrium better. We do need to contain more effectively in order to reopen economically.

HARLOW: I want to talk to you about the economics of it in a moment, because you're also an economist. But what about the president then? I mean, you think, clearly, your advice here, it sounds like, you know, to the governor of Texas was you're doing this too fast, you shouldn't be reopening so quickly. So what about the president? What's your message to the president who continues to hold rallies?

MCCLELLAN: Well, I do think the steps that Texas has taken recently are important and very helpful, like requiring masks, like taking further steps.

HARLOW: Right. But are they too late?

MCCLELLAN: And I think what better now than waiting even longer with the trends that we're seeing. And so I would like to see more steps like this across the country, more steps building on ones that Texas has taken last week would have been -- I agree, in an ideal world, that would happen sooner. But they are able to make a difference now.

And, Poppy, I think the most important thing for people to remember is that we can impose these limits on businesses and require masks. But we really do need the vast majority of people to do it, to work together on this, not just to avoid crowded bars but also to avoid crowded gatherings, the beach or at home, and to wear the mask, to take the social distancing steps.

HARLOW: Can you listen -- I want you to listen to this, because the lieutenant governor of Texas, Dan Patrick, said this just about a week ago. Listen.


LT. GOV. DAN PATRICK (R-TX): Fauci said today that he is concerned about states like Texas that skipped over certain things. He doesn't know what he's talking about. We haven't skipped over anything. The only thing I'm skipping over is listening to him.

(END VIDEO CLIP) HARLOW: What are you -- I mean, you're advising the governor. That's the lieutenant governor of Texas. What's your reaction to that?

MCCLELLAN: Poppy, I think that's a good representation of the political divisions that are out there. The evidence is pretty overwhelming now that if we had the vast majority of people, I'm talking about 80 percent-plus wearing masks, following distancing as businesses reopened, this would be sustainable.

This is working for older Americans who are following these rules, by and large, where we're seeing fewer cases and fewer hospitalizations in that group. But this is a reminder that we all need to be in this together, and to that extent, it really shouldn't be a political issue. This is about in Texas, the big tradition of neighbors helping neighbors and working together as a community, this should be part of that whole tradition in Texas.

HARLOW: No question.

I mentioned you're an economist. So before you go, because you have this unique set of expert skills that matter a lot right now, both on the medical side and in terms of economics, the June jobs report, headline was strong, right? It showed 4.8 million jobs added. But when you dig into the numbers, it also showed 759,000 jobs that are not coming back. That was the assessment.

And you couple that with the economists out of Stanford and the University of Chicago that say, because of this pandemic, 40 percent of jobs that are lost may never come back. That is what, Doctor, states like Texas are wrestling with right now. Do you agree with that assessment on permanent job loss from this?

MCCLELLAN: Yes. I do think at least the foreseeable future, we're operating are at below -- well below 100 percent of the traditional economy. Maybe it's 80 percent. Maybe it's 85 percent. It's going to be a higher number to the extent we can do reopening successfully, with masks, with adequate testing and the like.

But I think what we're seeing, Poppy, just in the last two weeks since that big June job report is that with these surges in cases, people's behavior is changing a bit. They are going out less often. They're spend somewhat less money.

So it's very important to work on all of this together. The fall can be better if we have better containment systems in place, if people are wearing mask, if we got better testing. That's going to help for more economic reopening and ultimately a fast recovery.

It's going to be a different economy, one with somewhat different jobs and more people working from home, but we need to work together to get there to have both public health and economic recovery.

HARLOW: Yes, it's a scary situation on so many levels.

Dr. Mark McClellan, former FDA head, I appreciate your time.



MCCLELLAN: Good to be with you.

HARLOW: Dr. Anthony Fauci says the situation in the United States, his words, quote, really not good right now. The president painting a sharply different picture. How does this disconnect help us or, should I ask, hurt the country?

And as controversial statues and monuments come down this week, we'll speak to two direct descendants of Thomas Jefferson, one white, one black, and both say iconic memorial of the founding father, their ancestor needs to come down. That's later this hour.



HARLOW: Welcome back.

The nation's top infectious disease doctor, Dr. Anthony Fauci, says the United States is in trouble as the country grapples with a huge surge in cases. Listen to this.



We went up, never came down to baseline, and now we're surging back up. So it's a serious situation that we have to address immediately.


HARLOW: Yes, we do. What is alarming on top of the actual numbers is the fact that this is not the message coming out of the White House and the president.

Let's bring in our Chief Political Correspondent, Dana Bash, with more. Good morning, Dana.

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, good to see you, Poppy.

HARLOW: Great job on the 4th of July, by the way.

BASH: Thanks.

HARLOW: Everyone around the president is wearing a mask and taking pictures with masks, his daughter, Ivanka Trump over weekend, et cetera. But the president is not and he is tweeting things that aren't backed by facts, like this morning, saying that we have the lowest mortality rate in the world from this. My question to you is why. Because no matter your political persuasion you don't want to get COVID.

BASH: That's exactly right. I mean, that's first and foremost, right, just the basic human aspect of it. But then when you look at the raw politics, you can also ask why, right, Poppy. Because it doesn't make sense to say that the thing that is happening to your neighbor, maybe even to you, isn't a big deal, when it feels very, very real in a very big deal if you're quarantined for 14 days or, God forbid, you and your family get sick.

So, the answer to that question is a hard one to answer. And just ask people around the president, as I have, because they are -- many of them have been desperate to try to find a way to thread the needle politically on this. And it makes it very hard when you have a president saying things like, on the 4th of July, 99 percent of cases are no big deal or people aren't going to get very sick. I'm not sure that's generally how he described it, or other things of that nature.

What they are trying to do strategically in the White House and in the campaign is to find a way to say, we as Americans can co-exist with this virus. That's why you're not going to see the president talking about reopening schools, and he already is doing that, and other things. The problem is, to co-exist with the virus, you just heard from your own guest, somebody who worked in a Republican administration, who is helping a Republican governor in Texas, you've got to take precautions.

And the number one thing, every scientist says, is wear a mask and the president, people around him, is just too stubborn right now to go there.

HARLOW: The polling shows that he has a lack of trust from the American public on this. So many more -- three times as many people trust the CDC, for example, on this. At the same time, a lot of his energy and focus is going into the conversation about racial division in this country, not racial unity and healing, but racial division.

From a raw politics perspective, what is it that telling him or who is telling him or is anyone telling him that that will help his re- election chances more than really reversing course here and putting mask on and focusing on COVID?

BASH: Look, there could be some people who have telling him to do this. But from my reporting, this is all him. I mean, this is him reverting to his 2016 success in the us versus them, and, you know, trying to warn people that the country is changing and they don't trust you. They think that you're racially insensitive, they are trying to take away your heritage, all of those buzzwords, those -- it's not even a dog whistle, it's a bullhorn that the president used in 2016. He's doing it again and he is doing it again, in terms of reporting, again the advice of people who are saying, don't do it, you've got to broaden your base. You can't just speak to it.

HARLOW: And now is such a different moment in this country, even in the last six months than it was in 2016.

Dana, thank you, great reporting. BASH: Thank, you too.

HARLOW: A spike in cases especially among younger people is causing big concerns in the State of Arizona. We'll take you there, next.



HARLOW: This morning, Arizona is reporting more than 100,000 coronavirus cases. Hospitalizations there are surging to record numbers with ICU beds running out in some cities across the state. We're learning more about those who are getting infected, namely more than 60 percent of the cases are young people under the age of 44.

I should also note that Arizona is experiencing the highest per capita daily increase of COVID cases. This has been happening now for a few weeks.

Will Humble is with me, Executive Director of the Arizona Public Health Association. I'm so glad to have you. You have 30-plus years of experience in public health.

And looking at all of these different stats that I just rattled off about the State of Arizona and the fact that hospitalizations are a pretty lagging indicator, how bad is it going to get two weeks from now in Arizona?

WILL HUMBLE, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, ARIZONA PUBLIC HEALTH ASSOCIATION: Well, it's already pretty bad and it's going to continue to get worse. And what tells us that is really the percent positive rate for our testing here in Arizona.


So the -- when you look at the percentage of tests that come back positive, it's about 25 percent now.