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Florida to Shut Down Indoor Dining, Gyms; White House Officials Wrestle with Changing Messaging on Masks; Dr. Fauci: Immediate Action Needed in Coronavirus Crisis; Pentagon Drafting Ban on Displaying Confederate Flag at Bases. Aired 6-6:30a ET
Aired July 7, 2020 - 06:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: We are still knee-deep in the first wave of this, so it's a serious situation that we have to address immediately.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Clearly, our current approach, if you call it that, is not working.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Miami-Dade County rolling back some of its opening plans.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I mean, there's no need to really be fearful about it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm looking at the statistics and the statistics are very grave. Every single metric is up.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There cannot continue to be mixed messages. On the one hand, this is concerning; on the other hand, it's not. The numbers are the story of that.
ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Alisyn Camerota and John Berman.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to our viewers in the United States and all around the world. This is NEW DAY. It's Tuesday, July 7, 6 a.m. here in New York, and we are in it knee-deep.
A blunt warning from Dr. Fauci that the U.S. is in serious trouble with coronavirus, and the situation, he says, needs to be addressed immediately.
Thirty-one states -- you can see them all there in red -- are seeing a rise in new cases. Public health experts tell CNN some of those states are now past the point of no return when it comes to the ability to control outbreaks and contact trace. At least seven states are reporting record hospitalizations. In Florida, 43 hospitals in 21 counties have now hit capacity. A
Florida government website reports that these hospitals have zero ICU beds available.
Nearly half the country is now pausing or rolling back reopening plans, and more than 130,000 Americans have now died from coronavirus.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Meanwhile, major institutions and important voices are distancing themselves from President Trump's position. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is finally urging Americans to wear masks, despite President Trump's resistance.
NASCAR and the president's friend, Senator Lindsey Graham, are standing behind driver Bubba Wallace after an ugly Twitter attack by the president.
CNN has learned the Pentagon is drafting a policy that would ban the Confederate flag in all Defense Department workplaces.
Disney has a deal with Colin Kaepernick.
Even FOX TV personalities like Sean Hannity have belatedly come around to thinking it's important to wear masks.
What does this mean for the presidential race?
Let's begin our coverage with Rosa Flores, live in Miami-Dade County, Florida, where the mayor will be closing indoor dining and gyms again.
Rosa, what's the situation?
ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Alisyn, good morning.
And local leaders here citing the surge in cases for the rolling back of that reopening plan. But like you mentioned, medical experts across the country have been sounding the alarm, doctors in Arizona and Texas warning about overwhelmed hospital systems.
And look, it's no different here in the state of Florida, where in some areas of the state, health systems are being pushed to the limit.
FLORES (voice-over): A warning from the nation's top infectious disease expert, reminding Americans this is still just the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.
FAUCI: We are still knee-deep in the first wave of 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.
FLORES: Dr. Anthony Fauci says the number of new daily infections nearly doubled over the past week and a half.
FAUCI: A series of circumstances associated with various states and cities trying to open up in the sense of getting back to some form of normality has led to a situation where we now have record-breaking cases.
FLORES: Some of Florida's reopening plan coming to a halt. In Miami- Dade County, by Wednesday, businesses like gyms and dine-in restaurants will be closed once again in an effort to slow the spread.
MAYOR DAN GELBER (D), MIAMI BEACH: We're starting to roll the carpet back up. You know, it's pretty clear we have this real problem. Two weeks ago, there were 60 COVID patients on -- on ventilators. Today it's 160.
FLORES: Ventilator use is up 127 percent across Miami-Dade County, and hospitalizations are up 90 percent. Forty-three intensive care units are already at capacity, and an additional 32 show a bed availability of 10 percent or less.
Doctors reminding young people just how dangerous the coronavirus could be, regardless of age.
DR. DAVID DE LA ZERDA, ICU MEDICAL DIRECTOR & PULMONOLOGIST, JACKSON MEMORIAL HOSPITAL: We've seen everybody, from 34 to 45, dying in the ICU. So the message to young people is they can also get sick, and they should also take care of themselves.
FLORES: In Miami-Dade, 26 percent of tests came back positive on Sunday, with a spike in cases involving 18- to 34-year-olds.
MAYOR CAROLOS GIMENEZ (R), MIAMI-DADE COUNTY: We need to curtail the social activities of young people, because that's where our problem started. My concern is that we're going to reach the capacity, our medical capacity.
FLORES: Thirty-one states, including Florida, are experiencing a rise in new cases in the past week.
DR. WILLIAM SCHAFFNER, CDC EXPERT: It's all over the country now. It's spreading widely. It now relies on us as individuals, if we don't have a national plan. We have to wear our masks, watch the social distancing, avoid large groups.
FLORES: In California, the state capital shutting down after five assembly members tested positive.
Texas crossing 200,000 confirmed cases, and Dallas reporting another high in hospitalizations. The military announcing it is sending 50- some medical and support personnel to the San Antonio area to help with the surge.
DR. PETER HOTEZ, DEAN, NATIONAL SCHOOL 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.
FLORES: Now, officials here in Miami-Dade County are using the word "exponential" to describe the surge in cases. According to the latest data released by Miami-Dade County in the past
13 days, the number of hospitalizations have increased by 90 percent. ICU beds, 86 percent. And the use of ventilators, 127 percent.
And Alisyn, despite all of that, yesterday the Florida education commissioner issued an order requiring that all schools in the state of Florida reopen in brick-and-mortar fashion starting in the fall -- Alisyn.
CAMEROTA: This is such a complicated and alarming picture. Rosa, thank you very much.
So, developing this morning, CNN has learned that White House officials are discussing taking a more active role in encouraging masks, despite President Trump's very visible resistance.
CNN's Joe Johns is live for us at the White House with more.
So, what have you learned, Joe?
JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Alisyn, the White House press secretary really bending reality yesterday, suggesting that the United States is a leader in the world when it comes to coronavirus, or at least that some countries view the United States that way, when we here in the States really only see the idea that the United States is leading in raw numbers: leading in fatalities, leading in the number of cases identified.
Kayleigh apparently talking about something the White House has been pushing for a long time, which is the idea that people should look at the mortality rate in the United States compared to other countries.
In any event, the argument about the United States leading the world really falls apart when it comes to the issue of wearing masks. The president has resisted that idea since the start of the pandemic, almost, even though his experts all say it's one of the few ways we have to stop the spread of the virus.
But now, CNN has learned, there appears to be a shift on the way, or at least possibly, and that shift suggests that the United States will need to accept the fact here in this country that we're going to live long term with the virus.
To that end, we're told people here in the administration are pushing the idea now of masks, and that comes at the same time when the president's allies up on Capitol Hill, including the Senate majority leader, are now pushing the idea hard. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): I think it's important for all of us in public life to continue to emphasis -- emphasize that the single most important thing that each of us can do as individuals to protect not only ourselves but our friends and colleagues, is to wear a mask, the single most important thing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JOHNS: One question will be whether the president himself goes along with the idea. Last week he did say he is, quote, "all for masks," but he has not made a forceful statement to his supporters. We'll just have to see what the president does, Alisyn.
CAMEROTA: OK. Joe Johns, thank you very much for all of that.
So, 43 hospitals in Florida now have no available ICU beds. What happens if someone gets very sick in Florida today? That's next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FAUCI: We are still knee-deep in the first wave of 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.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: That's the nation's top infectious disease doctor, Dr. Anthony Fauci, warning that the country needs immediate action to fight the growing coronavirus crisis.
In Florida, 43 hospitals in 21 counties have now hit ICU capacity. They report zero ICU beds available.
Hospitalizations in Texas are also surging. The military is now sending 50 medical and support personnel to the San Antonio area to help.
Joining us now, CNN national security analyst Juliette Kayyem. She's a former assistant secretary at the Department of Homeland Security. Also with us, CNN political commentator and epidemiologist, Dr. Abdul El-Sayed.
Juliette, to you, I woke up to the news that these hospitals have hit ICU capacity in Florida, 21 hospitals -- or I should say 43 hospitals in 21 counties. The military sending help to Texas. What does this all tell you?
JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: That we are in the sort of surge stage right now, that our normal capacity cannot withstand what is happening out in Texas and Florida and elsewhere.
So, we are, as Dr. Fauci said, still in the first wave, and we are in a bad part of the first wave, because the needs are sort of overwhelming our ability to address them.
So what that will mean is normal life for people going to the hospital because of other needs is not going to happen. It means people will die at home. It means our fatality count is probably going to be off for those states.
And we are back to sort of New York in March, except for now we're July.
And why does that matter? One is because we're depleted of a lot of capacity right now. We don't have enough testing kits. It also means that we cannot test and trace, because there's too many people sick.
And I'm worried, as someone who thinks about the next thing, a second wave. I mean, we are not building any capacity in this country, unlike Europe, unlike other parts -- and unlike New Zealand, which are bracing for the potential that this thing comes back for flu season.
CAMEROTA: Dr. El-Sayed, how do we get out of this? I mean, this is -- this feels like, you know, a really alarming death spiral, frankly. Dr. Anthony Fauci said it is really not good, in his sort of characteristic understatement. But what is the next phase?
DR. ABDUL EL-SAYED, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR AND EPIDEMIOLOGIST: I hate to say it, Alisyn. The sine qua non of public health is prevention. And what we should have done is, after the first round of social distancing, made sure that we had built up our contact tracing and testing capacity so that we weren't here in the first place. And here we are.
Now that we're here, really, the only way through this is to make sure that we are invested in mass social distancing again. That means re- entering lockdowns in communities that are affected.
And I want us to pay attention to the national curve. We plateaued and then started increasing again. And albeit, that's a difference in averages. In the first real wave that we saw in March and April, that was in the northeast, and now we're focused on states like Texas and Florida.
But nationally, our national response really hasn't been there. We should have had a federal-level coordination for contact tracing, for testing, to be able to make sure that we were able to bring down the number of cases and to keep it down.
But now that we're here, unfortunately, in those communities where they're affected hardest, we may need to see mass social distancing and lockdowns again.
BERMAN: Well, mass social distancing and lockdowns, Juliette. Let's talk about Florida, and let's talk about schools --
BERMAN: -- which is something you've written extensively about in just the last day.
KAYYEM: Yes. BERMAN: The education commissioner there ordered in August five-day schooling for the entire state, and he's doing this as cases hit record numbers there.
Look, no one wants kids back in school more than I do. I live with two 13-year-old boys who smell funny and are messy. I want them out of the house! But I want them out safely.
BERMAN: So that announcement coming today, given where Florida is. Your analysis.
KAYYEM: It's -- I mean, my analysis is that that is insane. I mean, it's not very deep analysis.
When we open schools, especially for K through 12, it has to be based on what the community spread is and whether it can be sort of contained, right? We've got to protect not just the kids, but the staff and the teachers and the bus drivers.
There are jurisdictions in this country that can do it right now. I believe that's true. Or some combination of hybrid and in-person, depending on whether, you know, classrooms can be reconfigured.
That Florida is mandating, in every jurisdiction, that kids -- kids -- go back to school is -- is, I mean, it sort of defies any sort of explanation from, you know, from -- from a security and safety perspective. And if I sound animated, it's because it's kids, right? I mean, in other words, our standards should be a little bit better than what you're seeing with DeSantis.
I think DeSantis has no -- I mean, I think politically, DeSantis is looking for a save from the White House. He is a weak man. He is a Trump supporter. He has never taken leadership of Florida. He has let the mayors do what they need to do. We know that -- that -- that various jurisdictions have now closed down.
And so, he's looking for a save from the White House. And I think the question now is, is does the White House see that now? In other words, are they -- are they going to start to have a national standard for masking, some guidance on school opening, to take leadership role? You're hearing murmurings about that.
But until then, I think -- you know, I think parents in Florida are going to, you know, essentially, have to do a form of civil disobedience.
I will tell you now, I would not send my kid to a school or jurisdiction in Florida, given the numbers that I see now in places like Miami.
CAMEROTA: But Dr. El-Sayed, on the flip side of what Juliette is saying, aren't kids at the least amount of risk? I mean, haven't we all seen the research that kids are also at risk staying home? And so I understand teachers and custodians would be -- would be
exposing themselves in schools to risk, but maybe we can manage that. I mean, isn't there an argument for sending kids back in September, or late August?
EL-SAYED: Well, we do know that kids have a lower likelihood of very serious illness. But as Juliette said, they're kids, and I don't know that we want to bear the risk to send them back to school to make a point when the state of Florida, and frankly, the government of the United States of America, have failed to contain this virus.
And yes, there are kids at schools, of course. That's who goes to schools. But then to make those schools run, like you said, there are a lot of adults. There are the people who drive the kids to school. There are the people who serve them lunch. And of course, there are the people who stand in the front of the classroom and teach them. All of those people are at serious risk. And it's not like kids can't carry the virus back home.
And so, if we wanted to go back to school in the fall, then what we should have done is taken this virus seriously in the first place. We should have, after coming out of lockdown, made sure that we invested in contact tracing and testing and masking so that we could, in the fall, go back and take our kids to school and do so safely.
We are not there anymore. And so, we have to be led by the science, and we have to be led by the evidence. And as Juliette said, we are not there. Unfortunately, you can't just be making a point, when all of the facts and all of the evidence disagree with you.
BERMAN: Doctor, very quickly, I want to ask --
KAYYEM: I want to --
BERMAN: -- about the mortality rate, if I can, because the number of daily deaths continues to be at a fairly low level. I'm going to have Peter Navarro from the White House on in the 8 a.m. hour, and I guarantee you, he will lead with that number, which we do talk about every day.
But what should we take into consideration when we look at the number of daily deaths?
EL-SAYED: Yes. There are two points here. No. 1, in epidemiology, once you know about a disease and you start testing earlier, what happens is you test earlier in the natural course of the disease. It's called lead time bias.
And there may be some lead time bias here, insofar as we may be testing earlier in the course of people's disease, so that the natural history of the disease hasn't taken on, leaving the hospitalizations and death on the back end.
The second point is that there is a difference in the risk distribution of disease right now. Young people are being substantially more cavalier, and they're more likely to be going out and getting sick.
But it's only a matter of time until they go home to their elder folk and potentially pass it on that way. And so, I worry that we're going to start seeing another spike in hospitalizations and death on the back end.
KAYYEM: Can I just say something, a shout-out to the 40- and 50-year- olds? Because we always talk about the young people and the elderly.
Fatality rates are relevant, of course. We do not want people to die. What we don't know is if someone like me gets it -- and I'll probably fight it -- I'm a healthy person -- what happens when I'm 60 and 70? I mean, the idea that fatality rate is the only metric is absurd at this stage, because we know, or we don't know, what the long-term impact of this virus is for healthy 40- or 50-year-olds.
So -- so I worry about the young people. I worry about the old people. But there's a lot of people in between who also should avoid getting sick.
CAMEROTA: And there's so much we don't know, as you point out.
CAMEROTA: I mean, there's so much we learn every day.
CAMEROTA: and we do not know the long-term consequences. Juliette, Dr. El-Sayed, thank you both very much.
KAYYEM: Thank you.
EL-SAYED: Thank you.
BERMAN: So from Bubba Wallace to the Confederate flag, President Trump has made clear he plans to use these racist overtures to try to win re-election. We'll discuss, next.
CAMEROTA: Developing overnight, CNN has learned that officials at the Pentagon have begun drafting a ban on displaying Confederate flags at military bases. That move could pit military officials against President Trump, who has criticized NASCAR for its ban on the Confederate flag.
Joining us now, CNN political correspondent Abby Phillip.
So, Abby, the -- Kayleigh McEnany, the press secretary, the White House press secretary, had to try to explain President Trump's continuing support of the Confederate flag. I mean, he sent out that tweet where he criticized Bubba Wallace, he criticized NASCAR because they had banned the Confederate flag.
And Kayleigh McEnany said something to the effect of, Well, the president is not making a judgment call about the flag. Yes, he is! I mean, that's exactly what he was doing. You know, the president, who cares so much about ratings, was criticizing NASCAR because they banned the Confederate flag.
ABBY PHILLIP, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes. I mean, I think any -- any honest reading of the president's tweet would bring you to that conclusion. Why else would the president weigh in, referencing the flag, with the "F," by the way, capitalized, referring to the Confederate battle flag?
He was saying that NASCAR's ratings were falling because they made a decision to do that.
This is not a new subject for President Trump, as we all know. I mean, he has for many years, since he's been president, defended Confederate symbols, going all the way back to the Charlottesville debate. That's the reason that those, you know, white supremacists and far-right protesters were in Charlottesville in the first place. It was to protect a Confederate statue.
And so, President Trump has weighed in repeatedly in defense of Confederate symbols and Confederate statues, and in this case, the Confederate flag. So, it's really unbelievable that Kayleigh McEnany would somehow pretend that when the president was weighing in -- she claimed that it was just one word at the bottom of a tweet.
Well, it was actually a whole sentence that referred to the Confederate flag and referred to the low ratings that the president believed NASCAR got as a result of it, which is also, by the way, not true. NASCAR'S ratings are not down.
CAMEROTA: Their ratings are up, by the way, we should just mention. You're right.
BERMAN: But I think that's important. I think that's exactly the point here, which is increasingly, and day by day, the president appears to be on some metaphorical Confederate island. Maybe it's in Mobile Bay or something here.
But he keeps speaking out in favor of, or at least defending the Confederate flag. NASCAR doesn't want any part of it. The state of Mississippi doesn't want any part of it. Lindsey Graham doesn't want any part of it.
BERMAN: He comes out and speaks against it.
And then meanwhile, you're seeing viewers of NASCAR saying, You know what? We're OK with this. We're going to watch NASCAR, even though the Confederate flag is no longer on the cars or flying anywhere.
The country, and different institutions, are moving in a different direction than the president on this. At least that's the evidence I'm seeing, Abby.
PHILLIP: Yes, and in some ways, it seems the president is actually forcing this to happen. When he stakes out these kinds of positions that are so extreme, that are so polarizing, it forces all of these institutions who do have to appeal to a broader share of the American public to make a choice. Are they going to side with the president on some of these issues, or are they going to go in a different direction?
And we've seen time and time again, the NFL, NASCAR, the U.S. military choosing to go in a different direction, because they have no choice but to appeal to a broader swath of the public.
This whole idea that, you know, some large group of Americans wants to defend Confederate symbols or the Confederate flag is just simply not true. The president is appealing to a smaller and smaller portion of the public.
And we know that, in part, because you see these large institutions that had for so long, including the state of Mississippi, by the way, defended the preservation of some of these symbols, walking away from it in the year 2020, and the person left defending them is President Trump.
CAMEROTA: Now, here's something curious, Abby. In 2015, Donald Trump felt differently about this.