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THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER
COVID-19 and Young People; Supreme Court Rules on Birth Control; Can Someone Get Reinfected With Coronavirus?. Aired 4:30-5p ET
Aired July 8, 2020 - 16:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DR. NICHOLAS NAMIAS, JACKSON MEMORIAL HOSPITAL: And remember, not everyone who has COVID is coming in for that. They're coming in because they had a stroke or a heart attack or a car crash or they were shot, so any one of a number of things.
And then, remember, all those patients normally have a pathway they follow through the hospital to their own specialty areas. But now you layer on COVID, and you have to have isolation protocols in place, even through the operating room and recovery areas.
So, it's a real logistical challenge.
PAMELA BROWN, CNN HOST: It sounds like it, my goodness.
And then you're trying to prepare for what could come, right? You look at the crowds over the Fourth of July holiday, people gathering. Are you preparing for a possible surge of new patients in the next few weeks? Are you anticipating that?
NAMIAS: I'm definitely anticipating it.
I see no reason why it would go down. When we're looking at around 10,000 every day, every one of those people is going to infect somebody else. We know the reproductive number is still not less than one. So it's still on the upswing, and it's growing, and we expect it.
BROWN: And what would you say to people who are watching this program right now and see the high survival rate, hear what you say about the number of discharges and think, look, this virus isn't really that big of a deal, it's being overblown?
NAMIAS: They're sorely mistaken.
Yes, most people will get better, but that's true in most terrible things in life. And you don't have to be the one who doesn't do well. So there are young people on ventilators. There are young people who die from this. There are young people who have a long-lasting aftereffects of this.
So I would take this very, very seriously. This is not like a little flu. That is just not true in any way. BROWN: And we heard the governor say that the state is providing all
the support and so forth.
What has your experience been in terms of working with officials, local officials? I mean, do you feel like you're getting the support that you need and the resources?
NAMIAS: Our president and CEO of the health care system has very good relationships with the local government, the state government. And we have been getting good support for the things we ask for.
It was in "The Miami Herald" that our CEO asked the state for assistance with additional nursing staff. And that's forthcoming. So we're good in that regard.
BROWN: Just very quickly, how were you and your staff holding up amid all of this? We're going on, what, fifth month of dealing with this. How are you guys doing?
NAMIAS: Yes, so the hardest-hit are the medical critical care guys, because the patients who come in just for COVID, they're taking care of all of those.
My surgical critical care faculty are taking care of patients who've had trauma with COVID, transplant with COVID, an elective operation with COVID. And so we're doing OK. In the trauma world, we are faced with a patient who comes in without a label as to whether or not they're COVID.
NAMIAS: So, we have to deal with them all as if they are, and then discover 12 hours later.
I have one doctor out right now on quarantine who's recovering. But we're holding up well.
BROWN: Hopefully, that doctor will have a swift recovery.
Thank you so much, Dr. Namias. We appreciate you coming on and sharing your experience with us.
NAMIAS: Thank you.
BROWN: And up next, I will talk to a student in her 20s who is still recovering from coronavirus weeks after being infected.
Her message for young people who think they won't get hit hard by the virus.
BROWN: In our health lead: a dire message from Dr. Birx to young Americans. You are not immune to this pandemic, saying that, at first, that age group was good about staying in, but not anymore.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. DEBORAH BIRX, WHITE HOUSE CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE COORDINATOR: But when they saw people out and about on social media, they all went out and about.
And so we right now have really significant cases in people under 45.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: And we have seen young people going out, throwing COVID parties, many saying they're not concerned about catching the virus because they think they will be OK.
I want to bring in Gabriela Falla, a 24-year-old law school student who is still on the road to recovery from COVID after 20 days.
So you have been holed up in your room, Gabriela, in isolation for three weeks now, right? Tell us about your experience so far.
GABRIELA FALLA, CORONAVIRUS SUFFERER: So I have been in my room for three weeks. It's definitely been challenging.
I have experienced debilitating fatigue, headaches, shortness of breath, loss of taste and smell. And being an isolation here has been very difficult for me and for my family.
BROWN: And are you still dealing with symptoms right now? How are you feeling now?
FALLA: Right now, I'm feeling OK. I still have some shortness of breath, and I have just been waiting for my negative test results.
BROWN: So, OK, so let's talk about that, because you live at home with your mom, who is high-risk. Tell us how you're handling that and what it has been like for you to get tested to make sure you're COVID- free.
FALLA: So the situation has been stressful for my family. But we have been extremely careful. I have had no contact with my mother or my brothers, to be on the safer side.
But, as for testing in Florida, there's been a significant delay to get test results and the wait time has been very long. Just this week, I have spent three to four hours in my car just to get tested.
So, I don't know when I will get my test results back, but it could be another two weeks while I'm in isolation just to find out that I'm negative.
BROWN: So, when did you go to get those test results?
FALLA: So, I -- they call you on the phone after they process your lab results, but it was -- my last test, it took about a week for me to receive results.
BROWN: OK, and so you're still waiting, just to be clear, on the latest round of results, right?
FALLA: Yes, yes. I haven't had any contact with anyone in this household.
BROWN: So, before you came down with this, how closely were you following CDC guidelines?
FALLA: So, I made sure to maintain social distancing. I wore a mask and I washed my hands constantly. So I was pretty safe. So it was surprising that I actually contracted the virus.
So, anyone could really be at risk.
BROWN: Do you have any idea how you could have contracted it?
FALLA: I'm not sure. It really -- I was very safe throughout this whole process since March. So it's a mystery.
BROWN: Well, I think that says a lot. You were taking all these precautions, and yet you still got it. And how did you know? Like, what were the symptoms initially when you thought, uh-oh, do I have it?
FALLA: So, I initially got headaches and I had some fatigue, but I thought it was a little bit normal.
And, finally, I -- some red flags came up, and I decided to get tested. And as soon as -- the day that I took my test, I lost my taste and smell, which was a really weird experience for me, because anything you have tastes like cardboard or like nothing.
So that's when I knew for sure, even before I got my test results, that I likely had COVID.
BROWN: So, I imagine this is not the first time you have ever been sick in your life. Like, how does this experience compare to being sick before this?
I don't know if you have had the flu or anything like that.
FALLA: Well, it's tough, because, right now, I feel OK, and I have recovered after three long weeks.
So, normally, if I had the flu at this time, I would probably go out and resume my normal life. But now, with the protocols, I have to wait until I actually am negative in order to go downstairs and even see my family. So it's been really difficult in that regard.
And it does take a mental toll on you and a physical tool to be in isolation and not have any contact with anyone.
BROWN: I imagine so. And just quickly, on that note, for young people who think they're immune to this or it won't be too bad if they get this, what is your message to them?
FALLA: Take this seriously. It is not a joke.
This is a debilitating virus physically and mentally. But, most of all, be responsible and considerate, out of the respect for individuals in our community who are compromised or at risk. It's a heavy burden to carry if you infect others by being careless. So please be responsible and follow all CDC guidelines.
BROWN: That is a very important message.
Gabriela Falla, thank you so much. Hopefully, you can get out of isolation soon.
FALLA: Thank you for having.
BROWN: Well, a question that many are asking now, can you be reinfected with coronavirus? New details on that up next.
BROWN: Breaking news.
Moments ago, the White House press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, refused to say whether President Trump has confidence in the nation's top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, when asked by a reporter.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
QUESTION: Does the president still have confidence in Dr. Fauci?
KAYLEIGH MCENANY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The president has confidence in the conclusions of our medical experts, but it's up to him to determine what to do with that information and to take what we hear from Dr. Fauci, Dr. Birx, and others, and take what he values in their opinion and come to the ultimate consensus that's best for this country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: Certainly not a ringing endorsement there.
This comes after Fauci was notably absent at today's task force briefing, and the president has openly contradicted the doctor.
Well, CNN senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen joins me live.
Let's just talk about what we heard. What do you make of this, Elizabeth?
ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: You know, when President Trump contradicts Dr. Fauci, which he has done over the past few months, I think to myself, we all have a choice.
We can believe what an actual doctor, an infectious disease expert, someone who has served his country for decades, many, many presidents, helped get us through HIV, helped get us through H1N1, swine flu, or we can believe President Trump. We have a choice.
President Trump has been what one expert referred to me as the most anti-science president perhaps ever. We get a choice about who we're going to believe.
BROWN: I think that's a fair way to put it.
And, clearly, the president is not happy with Dr. Fauci saying, look, guys, we're still knee-deep in this pandemic, and you can't get complacent. That is not the message the president wants to be out there from his health officials. But if it's the reality, it's the reality. So we will continue to watch that unfold.
Meantime, we are following these new questions about whether someone can catch coronavirus a second time after recovering.
Let's talk about the science here, Elizabeth. What does it show?
COHEN: You know what, Pamela? We're not exactly sure whether you can get reinfected with COVID.
But I want to bring up sort of two scenarios that people are bringing up and talk about why they're problematic. Some people are saying, oh, I tested positive for COVID. Then I tested negative. Then I tested positive. That must be a reinfection.
It's completely understandable why it seems that way. But what it could be and what they found that it often is in many cases is that negative test in the middle was just wrong. COVID tests are not perfect. You can get false negatives.
Other times, people say, wow, well, I had COVID, I felt terrible, but then I recovered. I felt fine, and then sometime later I had another nasal swab and that test came back positive. So that must be a reinfection, a second infection.
Not necessarily. What it could be is that you would have tested positive all the way along. The reason why is that, even after people have recovered, even after they feel just fine, they can still have sort of remnants of the virus in their nose.
Those remnants don't really mean anything, but they're going to make that test go positive. So, sometimes, things that look like a reinfection actually aren't.
BROWN: All right, thank you so much, Elizabeth Cohen.
What's clear is, there still more to learn about this virus. We appreciate it.
BROWN: And we have some more breaking news for you just in.
The city of Houston now canceled a Texas state Republican convention. Mayor Sylvester Turner, a Democrat, just announcing that he asked Houston First Corporation, which operates the Convention Center, to cancel its contract with the Texas state party there.
And a short time ago, the corporation did just that. The convention was set to begin next week, with thousands of people attending in person. The state party chairman was aware this was a possibility and is exploring legal options.
All right, well, that does it for us. Be sure to tune into -- oh, OK. Oh.
Be sure to tune into CNN tomorrow night for a new global town hall, "Coronavirus: Facts and Fears." Anderson Cooper and Dr. Sanjay Gupta will be joined by former CDC Director Tom Frieden. That is at 8:00 p.m. tomorrow night.
And tomorrow is set to be a huge day for the Supreme Court -- President Trump and his money.
Stick around. We still have more left of the show.
BROWN: The Supreme Court ruled today that religious companies don't have to pay for birth control for their employees, a mandate of Obamacare.
The 7-2 ruling sided with the Trump administration today. So this means between 75,000 to 125,000 women will lose birth control coverage. That's according to a government estimate.
Former federal prosecutor and CNN senior legal analyst Laura Coates joins me now.
So, Laura, how do you see this ruling?
LAURA COATES, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, this is actually a very big deal, because it allows for a greater number of exemptions than under the Obama administration.
They have always had sort of a religiously held belief system or certain exemptions for people who could show that it was linked to a sincerely religiously held belief. Now it's far more expansive. Now it's essentially almost all non-governmental employees and some Fortune 500 companies.
And even more than that, Pam, it's about saying it can also be a conscientious or one based on one's own moral compass, not based on some sort of religious belief. And so it far expands it, and could lead to a very slippery slope.
BROWN: And let's talk about what that slippery slope could look like.
COATES: Well, first of all, you talking about this case is about birth control typically. It's about that technically.
However, it could be expanded to talk about everything that could be covered at the discretion of what are under the umbrella of cost- sharing, things like immunizations, things like adolescent and child care, other aspects of preventive care that now gives essentially the employer to say, well, do we think we should be able or have to supplement or provide that particular cost?
It gives a great deal of discretion for that reason. And, also, now you will have people who have lost that sort of health care have to go to the state now to find that option. So you have states who may have to now finance either unintended pregnancies or they may have to finance the cost-sharing portion that's now been done away with.
BROWN: All right, let's talk about tomorrow, big day.
The Supreme Court will announce its decision on whether President Trump has to hand over his personal financial records to congressional committees and a New York prosecutor.
What do you expect?
COATES: Well, if the oral arguments are any indication, we are in for quite a surprise either way.
Remember, this case is all about whether or not the Supreme Court believes that there should be some congressional oversight, in furtherance of the separation of powers, when it comes to the financial dealings of the president of the United States.
At the oral argument, which a lot of people missed because it was during the COVID pandemic, it was a virtual oral argument session, the main crux of it for the conservatives was, look, are you saying that we -- you could have any reason whatsoever to try to get the president's information? Will it amount to harassment, as his lawyers are saying, or do you have to have more than a pretextual reason for a legitimate investigatory purpose?
Now, the more liberal justices were saying, look, we're more sympathetic. There must be some oversight. There has to be some mechanism to be able to have a check on the power of the presidency through the investigatory process.
And so it's going to be a very, very telling case either way. It'll have a very longstanding precedent, which is one of the concerns the justices have. It's not just about Trump and a long-ago at this point impeachment proceeding. Now it's about every future president to which will be held this presidential standard.
BROWN: Right. I mean, that's the key here, is the potential precedent it could set for the office of the presidency, right, and what you can ask of the president.
And, of course, you want to be able to have Congress have oversight authority, and what does that mean, if you cannot get documents or evidence to support what you're trying to find out more information about?
An investigation requires evidence. If they don't allow that to happen, it doesn't bode well.
BROWN: And, as we know, DOJ, the guidance there is that you can't indict a sitting president.
So, this is a fascinating case. And we're going to be watching it closely.
Thanks so much, Laura Coates.
Our coverage continues next.