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Trump Falsely Claims U.S. Has Lowest COVID Mortality Rate; Fauci Says People Should Not Take Comfort in Lower Death Rate; Labs Warn CPOVD Results Taking Twice as Long as Demand Surges; Expert Says Contact Tracing Not Possible Across South as Cases Spike; Activist Call for Black Americans to Stop Spending for The Day; Black Americans Seek To Show Economic Might In Today's Boycott; Trump Says He Will Put Pressure on Governors to Reopen Schools. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired July 7, 2020 - 15:30   ET




BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: President Trump is making more false claims about the data on COVID-19 pandemic. In just one tweet this morning the President cited a "Washington Times" article claiming a tenfold drop in the mortality rate in the United States and he claimed the country has the lowest mortality rate in the world.

So, let's start there with a look at facts. CCN's Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen. And Elizabeth, what is the President getting so wrong here?

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: You know, Brooke, like many things that the President says there is this kernel of truth but then the whole thing overall is wrong.


Yes, the number of deaths has come way down from April until now. But there are several reasons for that. One of the reasons is that this surge that we're seeing now in Florida and Texas and other hot spots, it's pretty new.

It's only a few weeks old. It takes a while to go from infection to being sick to dying to having that death recorded. That takes about a month. And so, we're not seeing those deaths now. But unfortunately, in the coming weeks we will see those deaths. And that's one of the reasons why Tony Fauci says don't get too confident about these lower death numbers.


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFETIOUS DISEASES: It is a false narrative to take comfort in a lower rate of death. There are so many other things that are very dangerous and bad about this virus. Don't get yourself into false complacency. (END VIDEO CLIP)

COHEN: Now the President also said in that tweet that the U.S. has the lowest death rate in the world. He even capitalized it. That is simply not true. There are at least 14 other countries that have lower death rates than the U.S. -- Brooke.

BALDWIN: Elizabeth, thank you.

Around the country we are seeing these startling images, long lines of people waiting to get a coronavirus test. In some cases, waiting hours just to be seen and as demand skyrockets, the turnaround time for getting test results is becoming a problem. Two of the country's leading diagnostic companies say the wait for results has nearly doubled just since last month due to unprecedented demand.

CNN's senior investigative correspondent Drew Griffin is joining me now. And so, Drew, what are these companies doing to handle the increase in demand?

DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Brooke, they're trying to do what they've been doing for months now which is increase capacity. But you just can't seem to do it fast enough.

And as Elizabeth was indicating, these are all precursors of what's to come. So, take a look at what's happening in Florida where you have long lines for testing. Now these are people in some cases we've learned who have been waiting to just get an appointment for testing for up to a week.

Now that the big labs are telling us there's delays of, you know, four to six days or two to three days or two to four days on top of that, you're talking about not getting test results back to some people up to ten days now. That is a problem when you're trying to contain this virus. The American Clinical Laboratory Association says just expect more of these kind of delays as this surge in demand exceeds the capacity for the labs to turn around these tests -- Brooke.

BALDWIN: Last thing anybody out there really wants to hear as the cases are surging. Drew Griffin, thank you for reporting that out.

And, how about this, the coronavirus sweeping across the south at such an alarming rate that some experts believe contact tracing is not even possible anymore.


DR. PETER HOTEZ, DEAN OF TROPICAL MEDICINE, BAYLOR COLLEGE OF MEDICINE: The cases are rising so rapidly that we cannot even do contact tracing anymore. I don't think -- I don't see how it's possible to even do that.


BALDWIN: A major concern as experts consider contact tracing a critical tool for containing the pandemic. But despite that reality, efforts to find people who may be exposed have been lagging nationally.

Joining me now Dr. Stephen Haering. He's a Director of the Alexandria, Virginia, Health Department. So, Dr. Hearing, thank you for being with me. And you just heard Dr. Hotez, do you agree, is it too late for this?

DR. STEPHEN HAERING, DIRECTOR, ALEXANDRIA HEALTH DEPARTMENT: Well, I think it depends on where you are. Here in Virginia we've actually ramped up a lot of different avenues toward contact tracing.

Here in the city of Alexandria, for instance, the city has given us librarians, it's given us people from parks and rec that we can readily train, and they work as contact tracers. And then the Virginia Department of Health has contracted a slew of people throughout the state and we brought in more than a couple dozen just in the past couple of weeks.

So, I think it depends on where you are and what system you're in. We certainly were there back in March and April where we could not keep up but we're looking to be able to keep up as we move forward.

BALDWIN: Doctor Haering, just explain to people how exactly does contact tracing work?

HAERING: So, there's actually two items. One is case investigation and then the contact tracing. And this is a standard bread and butter in any local public health department. And the case investigation is where you have a case, a positive case of any sort of disease that is infectious.

And you interview that case, it could take some time to identify, first is that case need any resources to be able to isolate successfully and then related to the contact tracing, who are all the close contacts that they've had during the infectious period.

And for this, the infectious period is 48 hours before they became symptomatic. And until which time that they were isolated. And then we take that information, all of the people that they identified that were close contacts, that means within six feet for more than 15 minutes, and we call all of those contacts and advise them to quarantine.


So that they don't spread the infection before they become symptomatic if they become infectious.

BALDWIN: That is at least hoping that the people are, you know, transparent and give up their contacts. I was talking to a county official up here in New York last week saying he actually had to subpoena people because they just kept hanging up on the health officials. He got what he wanted in the end.

I know that Florida is seeing massive spikes in cases right now but take a listen to what a state representative from Florida said just this morning when it comes to contact tracing.


SHEVRIN JONES (D) FLORIDA STATE REPRESENTATIVE: The contact tracing that we have here in state of Florida is a joke. Last Thursday when I got the call from the health department, the individual who was on the call seemed as if she was reading off of a questionnaire. And as she was reading the question, there was no question that she was asking that would have led her to the point of who I have probably come in contact with. Let alone she got to question number three her phone disconnected. I've not heard from them since last Thursday.


BALDWIN: Listening to that, Dr. Haering, do you worry that experiences like that would deter people from taking the time to work with contact tracers and then give them that critical information?

HAERING: You know, I certainly can't address that experience. But I can say from our perspective, at Alexandria Health Department, what we do is we have quality assurance measures in place including having our contact tracers work on-site so that way they always have the support and they always have the oversight that's necessary to provide a really good quality product.

As I heard that description, it sounds like there was some confusion between the case investigation and contact tracing. Because as we do a contact tracing, we don't ask the individual who's being contacted who their contacts are? We only ask that from the cases.

So, you know, I believe like anything there is a wide spectrum of quality, but there is a lot of quality assurance measures that can be put in place in any local public health department.

BALDWIN: Absolutely. Love that you've got librarians on the case. Trust a librarian. Dr. Haering, thank you so much. Good luck to you with all of the case load there in Virginia.

Meantime, it's a big day in the fight for equal rights. Activists calling on black Americans to either stop spending entirely today or spend their money with black-owned businesses. It is called Black-Out Day and two remarkable black business leaders will joining me next to discuss.



BALDWIN: $1 trillion. That's the staggering amount of the buying power African-Americans wield in this country every year. That's according to data from Nielsen.

And today a nationwide effort hopes to use that power to spark racial and economic justice. It's called Blackout Day 2020. And organizers want African-Americans to avoid spending any money at all or, if they do, only with black-owned businesses. So, with me now Chaka Dakers. She's the Director of Operations for

Bankhead Seafood there in Atlanta. And the Kevin Cohee is Chairman and CEO of OneUnited, one of roughly two dozen black-owned banks and credit unions in the U.S.

So welcome to both of you. And Chaka, I want to start with you. What are your customers telling you about Blackout Day? Are they telling you that they're participating? And have you connected with other business owners in Atlanta to help spread the awareness?

CHAKA DAKERS, BANKHEAD SEAFOOD: Yes, hi Brooke, thank you for having me on. We are connected with other businesses while our brick and mortar is being remodeled. We have an opportunity to have our food service out in different locations and it gives us a chance to experience different communities and talk to other business owners. And everyone is advocating for this, for this change and wants to see this happen.

We're pulling together. We're identifying resources, and I think one of our owners said it best -- when you plot, plan, strategize, organize, and mobilize, change happens. And we see it everywhere we go.

BALDWIN: Change happens, and just staying with you, it's, you know, black women in the case of Bankhead Seafood leading the change, right?

DAKERS: Yes, absolutely. Bankhead Seafood was founded and operated by a black woman, Helen Harden for 50 years. And I am humbled and honored to continue that legacy of creating that menu and that food for the community.

BALDWIN: And, Kevin, you say your bank has received 40,000 new accounts in the past month, and you credit two things, a shift to mobile banking during this whole COVID pandemic, and more consumers thinking about how their spending can influence changes on race in this country.

And we've certainly seen a lot of social media buzz for campaigns like Blackout Day or other one-day, one-week initiatives. But my question to you is how do you sustain the momentum?

KEVIN COHEE, CHAIRMAN AND CEO, ONEUNITED: Well, we sustain it by having great products and services, not just good products and services. We have worked very hard to make sure that we have the best technology available in the banking business.

So, when a customer does business with us, they aren't sacrificing anything. Our products are designed for today's lifestyle. So that's number one. The number two, when you combine that with our social activism and the important role that we play in helping move Black- America and our allies forward, it makes it a win-win situation for everyone.

BALDWIN: And, Chaka, I'm just curious, similar question to you just in this current climate.


Are you finding more and more people coming to Bankhead Seafood, you know, people who want to intentionally support black-owned businesses?

DAKERS: Absolutely. While change is happening around us, the community still wants to see things that they always had and having this black- owned business is something that they take pride in. It's given us an opportunity to reenergize that in the community, in the area. And it's gaining attention to the new generation of who we are and what we want to do for the community and the development of the community.

BALDWIN: Kevin, Netflix recently made this huge announcement that it would invest $100 million in black-owned banks to help close the wealth gap. And one survey cited by the Federal Reserve, showed that in 2016, median wealth for white families was roughly ten times higher than that of black families.

So, when you look at a company like Netflix, do you think that investment from outside of the black community in black-owned banks and black-owned businesses is a critical factor in closing that gap? And has anyone from Netflix contacted OneUnited?

COHEE: Well, I certainly think it's important for companies outside our communities to participate in the movement. And we truly appreciate Netflix's leadership in leading the way for other corporations to start to think about doing business with black people.

But we're not relying on people outside of our community. We ourselves are trying to make this happen. Today we signed up over 2 million people who are committed to using our spending power to create change in America. There's a movement afoot in America today that's led by people like us, not just people outside our community, that is creating significant and important change in America.

We understand our spending power. We know how to use it. We know how to effect change. We know how to use it to affect corporations' behavior. We know how to use it to affect government entities' behavior. And we're going to insist on being treated in a way that's best not only for Black-America but for all America. Nobody wants to sit here in a country that's not diverse, that doesn't treat people justly. We all want a fair and equal opportunity to be successful in life.

BALDWIN: Yes, sir. And just so I heard you, you said 2 million today, up to today, you signed up 2 million?

COHEE: We signed up over 2 million people who have committed themselves to using their consumer spending power to enact political, social, and economic change in America.

BALDWIN: That's incredible.

COHEE: We're not waiting on anybody to help us do this. Black-America is prepared -- Black-America and our allies, and that's very important to say. We aren't out here by ourselves. The one thing I hope everybody took away from these protests, there were white people, there were brown people, and there were black people who were all committed to making America a better place. We are playing our role of perfecting America's democracy.

BALDWIN: Chaka, final thought from you?

DAKERS: I'm just excited about the change. And I hope that we continue the dialogue. I hope that we continue to make progress and have that change in our communities. Because when black businesses are supported, our communities thrive. Young people get jobs. People that have made mistakes in the past are able to have a second chance, and our communities develop from it.

BALDWIN: Chaka, I'm coming to find you when I come back home to Atlanta. You can feed me, and I would love to help support your business.

DAKERS: Awesome.

BALDWIN: And Kevin Cohee, bravo with everything you're doing and just thank you all both for coming on. I appreciate it.

DAKERS: Thank you.

COHEE: Thank you for having us.

BALDWIN: Thank you. You got it.

Some major sports leagues are getting ready to restart. But they're also figuring out how to do so as players test positive for COVID-19. We have those details ahead.



BALDWIN: Right now, President Trump is discussing how to reopen the nation's schools as states in the south shatter records for coronavirus infections, saying that he will, quote, unquote, put pressure on governors to reopen schools in the fall.

CNN's Jeremy Diamond joins me from Washington. And, Jeremy, what else is Trump saying?

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well, Brooke, what we're seeing from the Trump administration right now is a full court press on encouraging state and local authorities to begin re-opening schools.

We saw the President say that schools need to reopen in the fall. And the President and members of his administration pointing both to the mental health concerns, economic concerns in the country, ultimately saying that those outweigh the physical health concerns of having these students back in school.

Not only for these students again, Brooke, it's also about how they could possibly spread the virus to, particularly if they themselves do not experience any symptoms. But what we heard the President say is that he plans on pressuring governors to begin that school re-opening. And, again, that was the emphasis that the President has even as we are seeing cases surge across the country -- Brooke.

BALDWIN: And how must teachers be feeling? Obviously as parents, it's the kids, but it's the teachers. I want to talk to the teachers.