Return to Transcripts main page


U.S. Sets Single-Day Record for New Coronavirus Cases; Trump: We Are in a 'Good Place' with COVID-19; Trump's Niece Claims He Cheated on SAT Test, White House Denies It. Aired 6-6:30a ET

Aired July 8, 2020 - 06:00   ET



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Cases surging in the Sunshine State.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We need to look at our younger population that had a tremendous spike in their positivity rate.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Governors in Southern states listened to Donald Trump. And as a result, they've got massive surges.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think we are in a good place. I disagree with it. Dr. Fauci said, Don't wear masks, and now he says, Wear them.

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: If governors essentially mandate the use of masks when you have an outbreak, I think that would be very important.

DR. PETER HOTEZ, DEAN, NATIONAL SCHOOL OF TROPICAL MEDICINE, BAYLOR COLLEGE OF MEDICINE: There's nothing to stop this train. There's nothing to stop this steep acceleration. This is a public health disaster.


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 Wednesday, July 8, 6 a.m. here in New York.

This morning, the coronavirus crisis is getting worse in the United States. Cases have spiked again. More than 60,000 Americans were diagnosed with coronavirus just yesterday. That's the highest number in a single day since the pandemic began. And nearly double the amount of cases reported three months ago. The total number of cases nationwide is now very close to 3 million.

In Florida, at least 56 intensive care units in that state are now at full capacity. In Arizona, there are less than 200 ICU beds left in the entire state.

Despite these alarming numbers, President Trump thinks the country is, quote, "in a good place." The president is pressuring schools to reopen soon, but he's offered no national plan or strategy for how to do that safely.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: So "a good place." At least seven states have record numbers of hospitalizations for coronavirus. To state the obvious, that means people so sick they have to be hospitalized. More of them in these states in red than ever before.

And this doesn't include Florida, by the way, which essentially hides the numbers of hospitalizations.

Across the country, we've seen long lines at testing sites and major delays in getting results back. Sacramento is closing five testing sites because of supply shortages. Look at those lines in Florida.

"A good place." Healthcare workers tell us they are overwhelmed. One Texas hospital is setting up a tent to handle the overflow of patients. That is the situation.

Let's begin our coverage with CNN's Rosa Flores, live in Miami Beach with all of this -- Rosa.


A new reality. The United States breaking its daily case record of 60,000 cases as the country inches closer to the three million case mark.

And this morning, 35 states are showing upward trends as local leaders sound off the alarm of the dire situations of hospitals across the country.


FLORES (voice-over): A record-breaking day in the United States, seeing over 60,000 new coronavirus cases Tuesday, according to Johns Hopkins University, the highest since the start of the pandemic.

HOTEZ: There's nothing to stop this train. There's nothing to stop this steep acceleration in the number of cases. This is a public health crisis. This is a public health disaster.

FLORES: Florida is one of the top five states reporting the most new infections on Tuesday.

GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): We have no doubt seen a major increase in cases. The median age of our new cases was in the 50s about a month and a half ago. Now that's dropped into the 30s.

People who are healthy and under 40, you know, the death rate on this thing is -- is very close to zero.

FLORES: Earlier, the nation's top infectious disease expert warned this.

FAUCI: It's a false narrative to take comfort in a lower rate of death. There's so many other things that are very dangerous and bad about this virus. Don't get yourself into false complacency.

FLORES: Arizona is another hot spot. Hospitals there becoming increasingly overwhelmed and people also facing long lines for testing, with delays in getting back results.

MAYOR KATE GALLEGO (D), PHOENIX, ARIZONA: We need medical professionals. We need testing kits. We need supplies immediately. Our hospitals are already in dire straits, and they tell us that as -- in the next two weeks, it is going to get to an unbearable level of crisis.

FLORES: It's a similar story in California, with coronavirus hospitalizations at an all-time high and a slow turnaround time from diagnostic labs.

Throughout Florida hospitals, 56 intensive care units have already hit capacity. And an additional 35 show a bed availability of 10 percent or less.

Still, Governor Ron DeSantis will not reveal official state numbers on how many COVID-19 patients are within Florida hospitals.

DESANTIS: So all the data that goes into this is all available.

FLORES (on camera): The spreadsheets on that data, Governor, it is not available.

(voice-over): And in Texas, hospitals in Houston could soon also reach their limits.

MAYOR SYLVESTER TURNER (D), HOUSTON: The next two weeks will be -- will be important, will be critical. So it's not just about providing beds, but the staffing that goes right along with it.

FLORES: Texas has reported over 10,000 new cases Tuesday, its highest single-day count so far. Governor Greg Abbott asking residents to follow the statewide mandatory mask requirement.

GOV. GREG ABBOTT (R-TX): The last thing that we want to do is to shut Texas back down. We will not have to shut it down if everyone will follow this very simple rule. And that is, just get a mask like this. Wear it.


FLORES: And here in the state of Florida, there is no statewide mask mandate. And there's still no answer from governor Ron DeSantis as to why the state does not release the number of COVID-19 patients that are hospitalized on any given day.

[06:05:06] I pressed the governor on the issue yesterday during a press conference, and he dodged that question. He also dodged a question on contact tracing.

Here's the thing. Miami-Dade County is the epicenter of this crisis here in the state of Florida. The positivity rate yesterday was 27 percent. And yet, only the state is allowed to contact trace. It doesn't allow the county of Miami-Dade to contact trace.

So John, yesterday during this press conference, the governor was sitting right next to the mayor of this county, and I asked the governor point-blank why, during a pandemic, does the state not allow the county to help contact trace, to stop the spread? And John, he did not answer the question.

BERMAN: No, indeed. I have the mayor of Miami-Dade County joining us later in the broadcast, Rosa. We're going to talk about that.

Also, we're going to talk much more about why Florida won't just fess up. How many people in the state are hospitalized with coronavirus? People need to know in order to make the right decisions. Thank you for pressing on these subjects.

So in the middle of all this, the president decided it was the perfect time to withdraw from the World Health Organization. He made the move to do that. He's also pushing for schools to open. And frankly, he's also taking issue with one of the most trusted sources for information on coronavirus, Dr. Anthony Fauci.

CNN's Joe Johns live at the White House with all this.

Good morning, Joe.


If you're looking for a way to frame this, it's another example of the Trump administration's tendency to deny science. The president once again at odds with the nation's top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci.

On one side, you have Fauci issuing dire warnings. On the other side, the president playing it down. Listen.


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.

TRUMP: I think we are in a good place. I disagree with him. You know, Dr. Fauci said, Don't wear masks, and now he says, Wear them. And he said numerous things: Don't close off China, don't ban China, and I did it anyway. I sort of didn't listen to my experts, and I banned China. We would have been in much worse shape.

We've done a good job. I think we're actually -- we are going to be, in two, three, four weeks, by the time we next speak, I think we're going to be in very good shape.


JOHNS: Now, the trajectory of these cases does not indicate it's going to end in the next few weeks. It's more like the next few months.

Despite this resurgence, the Trump administration is now promoting a plan to try to get schools open around the country. The administration held several events on Tuesday featuring everybody from administrators, students, teachers, all pushing the plan.

The president has said he is putting pressure on governors around the country to get the schools open. He says the United States is not closing and, quote, "will never close."

John, back to you.

BERMAN: Joe, you said pushing the plan. The problem is, there is no national plan. And really, very little national guidance for how to open schools safely. People want schools open. Who doesn't?

JOHNS: Right.

BERMAN: We just all want it done safely. Great to have you.

JOHNS: More like an aspiration.

BERMAN: Yes, exactly. Exactly. You bet.

Great to have you there this morning, Joe. Thanks so much.

So a record-breaking day in America. More new cases than ever before. Record hospitalizations in seven states. A nation in crisis. One of the country's leading infectious disease doctors joins us next.



CAMEROTA: This morning, a record-breaking rise in coronavirus cases. More than 60,000 Americans diagnosed with coronavirus just yesterday.

California and Texas both smashing single-day records. Both had more than 10,000 new cases each. Six other states also experiencing their highest amount of hospitalizations.

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

Dr. Hotez, just maybe we can put up the map of exactly what the country looks like right now. Thirty-five states are seeing spikes in their cases. And as we said, we're now at the record of 60,000 new cases a day. I know that that is -- we got here faster than even you imagined this week. HOTEZ: Well, Alisyn, if you remember, just a few days ago, we were

aghast that we'd hit 50,000. Now it's 60,000. And there's no end, right? This is going to go up to 70,000 very soon. This is what an exponential curve looks like, if you're not intervening. We just had this steep acceleration.

And the cases don't really tell the true tragedy of this. That the patients are piling now into hospitals, into ICUs, and even though we do have bed capacity in places like Texas, still in many cases, the hospital staff is getting exhausted. And you know, to don and doff PPE multiple times a day is exhausting. And seeing colleagues getting sick, and so staff starting to get demoralized.

And as it becomes harder to take care of patients -- it hasn't happened yet -- then that's when the mortality rate starts to increase. We saw this with -- in New York. We saw this in Italy. So we haven't seen those deaths spiral up yet, but it's just a matter of time. Because it's -- patients are on the ICU for periods of time.

So this is an extraordinary humanitarian tragedy unfolded. And we're doing it more or less without the United -- without the government of the United States, without the federal government, just the states pretty much on their own at this point.


BERMAN: I'm glad you're pointing out the hospitalizations. Because to me, that's the most concerning statistic we're seeing this morning. Eight states now showing record hospitalizations. And while most of these states still report some ICU bed capacity, there are places that are running out.

In Florida, 56 ICU units are now reporting they have zero beds available. We've seen in Texas, there are hospitals where the staffs are being pushed to the outer-most limits.

And I think one of the things you point out that's so important is, we've been here before. New York experienced this back in March and April. But it was New York. Now we're getting three, four New Yorks around the country, all at once, without the measures being put in place to stop it.

And now it's moving into north central United States, the northern part of the Midwest. We're seeing western Pennsylvania. If you look at the hot spot maps and Tennessee. And so, what's -- what's it going to look look over the next few months?

Without a national strategy and a road map, we'll quickly accelerate to 100,000 cases. That was sort of the apocalyptic figure that Dr. Fauci highlighted. And that's -- and that sounded extraordinary when he said it. Now it's just a matter of a few weeks, and it's going to exceed that.

And now we're starting to see an increase in the number of deaths.

We are getting better at ICU care. We now can do things that we didn't do in New York. We have, you know, we're putting patients on anticoagulant therapy. And they started to do that towards the end. And dexamethasone and convalescent serum and Remdesivir. So we are getting patients out of the ICU, but who wants to endure an ICU hospitalization and being on a ventilator?

It means more often than not that many of these patients will have permanent disabilities: damage to their lungs, their heart, their vascular system, permanent neurologic injury, cognitive deficits. So as Dr. Fauci said yesterday, deaths are just the -- are just a tiny piece of the disease burden resulting from this.

And we don't have leadership in Washington that is directing this or saying, this is what each state now needs to do so we can bring this back down to containment mode. And this is going to affect how we deal with schools in the fall and so many other issues.

CAMEROTA: Let's talk about that, Dr. Hotez. Because President Trump thinks the country is, quote, "in a good place." I'm not sure if the people around him are not giving him the real information or what the problem is. But given with where we actually are this morning, do you see a way that schools can open next month or early September?

HOTEZ: You know, I think there are still places in the country, in the country where school can open. And the American Academy of Pediatrics has come out with a document strongly recommending, when possible, to open schools.

Because, you know, as everybody knows, I'm the parent of now four adult kids. But when my kids were little, we -- the benefits are so obvious, not even beyond education, because schools and many especially low-income neighborhoods are important for food security. They provide critical mental health counseling for adolescents. All of these things are critical.

But how do you do that in communities where we have this incredible acceleration in the number of cases? The problem is, many kids have parents who are debilitated at home of co-morbid conditions. We can't let them get sick. We have teachers who might get ill.

This is going to be very tough for principals and school superintendents to kind of figure out, especially in areas where there's a lot of transmission. And then what happens when there are two or three kids that become positive in the classroom?

And so this is going to be a very extraordinary challenge, not only just dealing with the volume of cases, but also the emotional stress on the schools, as well. This will be a very tough fall for many school systems.

BERMAN: Look, if there is one area where there should be a politics- free sober discussion based on the facts, it's with schools. And I worry we're going in the opposite direction there.

Dr. Hotez, I noticed when Alisyn brought up the quote from the president, "We're in a good place," you shook your head. And I've also noticed this morning, you seem worn out. A little bit of Cassandra Syndrome, where you've been shouting from the rooftops for weeks and weeks and weeks that this is happening; and it seems to be wearing you out.

What do you -- How do you respond to the president saying, "We're in a good place"?

HOTEZ: Well, it's -- you know, I mean, this is -- what we're seeing is a misinformation campaign. And -- and I don't know who he -- who the White House thinks they're kidding.

I mean, now you -- He's also sending out people, emphasizing that this is a Chinese Communist Party conspiracy or blaming the WHO. They're starting to finger-point at scientists. They're just grasping at straws.


You know, one thing you can't hide are hospitalizations and ICU admissions. You can't hide those. And -- and there they are, mounting every day.

So the problem is this. We still have lots of weeks left before the election, and those numbers can easily double. As terrible as they are today, they can easily double or triple or quadruple by then. So we need to do something now.

What we need is the following. We need somebody either in Washington or doing this at the CDC to look at how we can bring this country back down to what we call containment mode. That is around one new case per million residents a day, so we can actually do the contact tracing. You can't do contact tracing when you're in free fall.

So how do we bring down every state to that level? And again, you can't just do it in one part of the country, not the other. We've seen that already. Because it just spreads all over the nation again.

So this requires somebody to provide adult supervision over the states and to say, We need to look at each state; explain to the governor, This is what you need to know to bring your state back down to containment mode.

And that helps the governors a lot, too. Because they're buffeted by their own political forces. If at least they could say, Hey, to -- to those either from the far right or the far left, pressing their agendas, if they could say, Hey, look, the CDC is telling me that, if we don't do this, this many people will die. That provides cover for the governors and makes it feasible.

Right now, the governors, one, don't have the epidemiological horsepower to know how to do this. And second, politically, it's impossible -- they're in an impossible situation.

And the fact that the federal government can't realize that, the fact that we don't have the CDC out in front on this in order to really bring to bear the full power of the federal government, is really adding precipitously to this tragedy. CAMEROTA: Dr. Peter Hotez, we appreciate your guidance every day, even

if our leaders are not listening at the moment. Thank you very much for all the expertise.

HOTEZ: Thanks so much.

CAMEROTA: There's some scathing new allegations from President Trump's niece's new tell-all book. She says cheating is a way of life for the president. That's next.



BERMAN: Developing this morning, new details from an eye-popping book written by a member of the Trump family, the president's niece, Mary Trump.

She says her uncle is sociopath and claims he paid someone to take the SAT test so he could get into Wharton.

The book isn't even out yet, but CNN's Sara Murray has read it. She is live in Washington with some of the details here.

And Sara, I guess now we know why the president is so obsessed with people's college transcripts and obsessed with maybe keeping his own private.

SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: You know, it certainly does have an interesting turnaround there, doesn't it?

You know, you can see why the president did not want this book to come out. Mary Trump's portrait of the president and of the Trump family is certainly very unflattering.

She basically says Fred Trump, the patriarch of this family, her grandfather, Donald Trump's father, really created this toxic environment that led Donald Trump to become a liar, and a cheater, and a sociopath. And she does not hold back on, you know, releasing these sort of embarrassing anecdotes.

And one of them is her allegation that Donald Trump actually paid another kid to take the SATs for him. So here's what the book says. It says, "Trump worried that his grade point average, which put him far from the top of his class, would scuttle his efforts to get accepted. Trump enlisted a smart kid with a reputation for being a good test taker, to take his SATs for him. Donald, who never lacked for funds, paid his buddy well."

Which, of course, is interesting in light of the fact that Donald Trump often brags about how he went to such an amazing school at the University of Pennsylvania.

Now, the White House is responding to this book. They said, "President Trump has been in office for over three years working on behalf of the American people. Why speak out now? The president describes the relationship he had with his father as warm and said his father was very good to him. He said his father was loving and not at all hard on him as a child."

Well, in her book, Mary Trump explains that she could not be silent any longer. She says that Donald Trump destroyed her father's life. That would be Donald Trump's sibling, Fred Trump Jr. And she said she cannot stand by while Donald Trump destroys the country.

CAMEROTA: Back to his aptitude as a student, Mary Trump names the kid who took the test for him, right? Does she use a name in this book about who she says did this?

MURRAY: She does. She names a guy named Joe Shapiro, who she says was one of Donald Trump's co -- classmates at the time.

You know, the White House did respond to this SAT thing in particular, and they said it was absurd, which I think gives you an indication of how that little detail may be getting under the president's skin. But it is -- you know, a detailed anecdote for something that obviously happened a very long time ago.

BERMAN: Look, it gets under the president's skin because the president has made such a colossal deal about how smart he thinks he is. He has all the best words. Of course, maybe someone else is actually filling out the ovals and figuring out what those words mean.

But he also went after President Obama. He demanded President Obama's transcripts. So, I'm not a psychologist, but I'm sure that a psychologist could find some deflection in statements like this. I think we have the president talking about this when he was then just businessman Trump.


TRUMP: I heard at Columbia, wasn't a very good student. He then gets to Harvard. How do you get into Harvard if you're not a good student? Now, maybe that's right or maybe it's wrong, but I don't know why he doesn't release his records. Everyone says he was this great student. Well, if he was, that's great, and if he wasn't, that's great. I was a very good student.


BERMAN: Oh, my. Oh, my.