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States Eye Possible Return To Stay-At-Home Orders; Florida Reports 8935 New Cases In Past 24 Hours; President Donald Trump Defends Raising Cases By Falsely Blaming Testing; Supreme Court Rules New York Prosecutors Can Seek Trump Tax Returns, Blocks Congress From Getting Financial Records For Now; CDC Refuses White House, Won't Change Guidelines For School Reopening. Aired 12-12:30p ET

Aired July 9, 2020 - 12:00   ET



CRISTINA ALESCI, CNN POLITICS AND BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: And there is so much on the line in terms of the company itself. An analyst earlier this year projected that because the theme parks were closed around the world not just in Florida, the Disney has theme parks in China and in Europe that would cost the company a billion dollars.

So both from a profit standpoint and from a public health standpoint there is so much on the line here. Now, the union has filed an official grievance with the company. I did reach out to the company for a response and I have not heard back yet Kate, but we are staying on the story and closely monitoring what happens there?

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN HOST: No kidding. Christina, thank you. All right, it is the top of the hour. I'm Kate Bolduan. We are now months into the Coronavirus pandemic. Yet if you look at the numbers and the trends and the direction that the country is headed it really looks like more like the country is back to square one.

Show you the current snapshot across the country, 33 states trending in the wrong direction. Hospitals across the country are sounding the alarm now as they are running out of space. Doctors, nurses, hospital workers saying they're once again running out of the personal protection equipment and some states reversing course and beginning to close down again.

Yes, these were many of the same problems, the same issues that the country facing months ago but then fixes were promised by the federal government, by the President and by many state leaders but if you look around does it look like the problems have been fixed?

Back in the beginning of April the United States looked a lot like Italy. We were facing a horrific trend that Italy was facing, both rising hotspots but now Italy has managed to flatten the curve. Today the hospital that was at the center of their crisis reported no COVID positive patients for the very first time since February while the United States leads the world in cases and is seeing hospitalization rates spiking.

So what went wrong? Today instead of answers more questions and confusion. A day after the President slammed the CDC's back to school safety guidelines as too tough and impractical, new guidelines were promised but now we hear this.


DR. ROBERT REDFIELD, CDC DIRECTOR: Our guidelines are our guidelines but we're going to provide additional reference documents to aid basically communities that are trying to reopen K-12. Not a revision. It's just to be providing additional information to help schools be able to use the guidance that we put forward.


BOLDUAN: Let's get to two of the states seeing the worst of it now, Florida and California. CNN's Rosa Flores is in Miami. Sara Sidner is in Los Angles. Rosa, what are you hearing and seeing there today?

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know Kate a lot of frustration. There was a press conference that just wrapped up with multiple Mayors here from Miami-Dade County and slammed the Florida Department of Health for not contact tracing enough and they are demanding that the state hire at least 500 contact tracers.

Now here is the reality. In Miami-Dade County, the positivity rate right now is 28 percent. That's about a third. And if you look at the goal for the county, it is not to exceed 10 percent. They have exceeded that for the past 14 days.

Now these Mayors were so frustrated because they say that they've been doing everything that they can require masks, asking people to social distance but they say that the mixed messages are not helping. We of course know that Governor Ron DeSantis has not issue a mask mandate across the state.

Now these Mayors offered numbers. You have got to take a look and process these numbers with me. According to Mayor Francis Suarez here from the City of Miami, the Florida Department of Health was contact tracing on June 5th about 92 percent of the patients with COVID-19.

On June 22nd, that number dropped to 86 percent. On June 29th, that number dropped to 78 percent. On June 8th, that number was 17 percent. Again, these are according to the City of Miami. Now Miami-Dade County announced today that they will be hiring about 250 contact tracers after contract agreement with the state but the Mayors here are saying that is not enough.

The Mayor of Miami Beach Dan Gelber said that both the state and the federal government need to get it together, Kate. They say that more needs to be done they don't have the information that they need to make the decisions that they need to save lives here in Miami-Dade and they're demanding these Mayors that at least 500 contact tracers be hired immediately.

Kate, we have reached out to the Florida Department of Health and to Governor Ron DeSantis' office and we have not heard back. BOLDUAN: This is unbelievable that this is still a question. This is what - this should have been ramped up and fixed beginning months ago. This conversation has been happening for months about the need for contact tracing. Rosa, thank you very much for staying on top of it. Let's get to over California as I mentioned Sara Sidner is standing by.


BOLDUAN: Sara, California is now reporting the highest death total since April. What are you hearing about this?

SARA SIDNER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I mean on Wednesday there was a report of another 8,000 plus people who have tested positive for Coronavirus. Those numbers have a little bit in them the backlog from testing but still the trend is that everything is going in the wrong direction.

We're now seeing more people getting coronavirus. So those numbers are up. Also, the rate of infection is up also hospitalizations are up and we're now seeing that the death toll is beginning to rise, as well. It is everyone's dreaded reaction to all of these numbers that keep going up.

Of course, they were expecting that potentially the deaths to go up and indeed we have found that they have. I do want to talk about where some of this is happening. One of the major hotspots is right here in Los Angeles, in Los Angeles County.

They're about 40 percent of the cases and the Mayor of Los Angeles Eric Garcetti has said if we have to we may have to start shutting things back down again, going back to where we were months ago which is terrifying to the people here, the businesses here.

Folks that are just trying to get their lives back in order but these rates are dangerous and they are worried that they will not have enough ICU beds if the rate goes the way it is and the hospitalizations keep going the way they are and he implored young people to please do your part.


MAYOR ERIC GARCETTI (D-CA), LOS ANGELES: To parents, I need your help. I need you to keep your children away from parties and gatherings with friends. I know it's the summertime and muscle memory goes back to be together, to want to hang out with one another, to thinking, well, I don't know anybody who's sick or in the hospital so I'm probably okay. This isn't complicated. Do not get together with someone who's not in your household.


SIDNER: So the reason why he was speaking directly to parents and young people is because what they're seeing in numbers here in Los Angeles County is that more than 50 percent of those cases coming back positive are younger people. And that is a real warning because of course they may themselves get sick but they can also get their parents and grandparents sick. Kate?

BOLDUAN: Absolutely. Sara, thank you great reporting, thank, you very much. All right, so the President returned to a familiar albeit misguided refrain today on the Coronavirus declaring that the rise in cases is really only due to more testing. Tweeting that other countries haven't done the kind of testing that the United States has and that the U.S. would report half the cases if we cut testing in half but the reality is not that.

And Dr. Anthony Fauci says that we still don't even have an accurate measure of how many Americans are infected? In a radio interview Dr. Fauci said this that the CDC has come out with saying that it's very likely that we are not aware of even a fraction of cases, so it is likely more.

Again, I think what we do need is better screening broader screening in the country to get a feel for really what the penetrance of the infection says Dr. Fauci? Jennifer Nuzzo is an Epidemiologist and Senior Scholar at Johns Hopkins Center for Health & Securities she is joining me right now. Thank you for being here.

You have real concerns about the status of testing in this country right now. And I wanted to narrow in on that because I thought your take is extremely interesting. The Vice President was touting the level of testing just yesterday. Listen to this.


MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: At this point we have tested more than 39 million Americans. We are doing very well right now between 600,000 and 700,000 tests per day. We did top the 700,000- mark last week and we are averaging about 620,000 and 630,000 tests per day.


BOLDUAN: So more tests are happening so what is wrong with that assessment? Why are you so concerned with this now?

JENNIFER NUZZO, EPIDEMIOLOGIST: Right. Well, more tests are happening. That's for sure. We have done some work to expand testing in the U.S. But it is frankly not enough and the reason why it's not enough is that we have the largest epidemic in the world. So we have to test more because we have more infection than anybody else.

Numbers of test don't give you an indication whether we're doing enough tests and better measures of that the percentage of tests that come back positive show us that we have a long way to go and in fact the situation is getting worse. We are casting far too narrow of a net in order to find the infections that are likely out there.

BOLDUAN: And that's too with the President returned to yet again today. And if you could just put a fine point on it, when he says the only reason we have - we're showing more cases is because we are testing more people. Why again is that off the mark?

NUZZO: Right. So it's sort of like saying if we didn't test for cancer we wouldn't find any cancer patients. How many tests you do, it is not necessarily an indication of what the prevalence of cancer is?


NUZZO: What we look at to get a sense of enough testing is that what percentages of test that we're performing comes back positive? If case numbers were growing just because we are doing more tests, we would see the percentage, what we call positivity stay about the same or in more likely scenarios decline.

But what we see is that the percentage of tests that are coming back positive is increasing which means that despite all of the hard work that's gone into try to expand testing in the United States the virus has basically outpaced those efforts and now we have more people infected now than we ever have and therefore we need to further expand testing.

BOLDUAN: There's also on testing still another issue that's popping up again, a delay in getting people able to get tests, a delay in the people able to get their test results back. Why is that a problem in this whole equation?

NUZZO: I'm really worried about these delays. I mean, the whole point of doing a test is that you can have an early indication that you're infected and that you need to stay home so that you don't infect others.

If it takes a week or in some cases we're hearing about two weeks delay to get a test result back, what's the likelihood that's you're going to be sitting around in your house for that entire time not knowing if you have the infection or not?

So delays really undermine the value of tests bring which is to find people who are infected and make sure that they stay home. It also is should be the start of contact tracing which you covered earlier and really important process to find people who may be about to develop an infection and the whole goal of contact tracing is to find those people and to intervene before they spread their infection to others.

BOLDUAN: So and just - we just heard that report from Miami that contact tracing is at best lacking. I spoke to the Mayor of Hialeah, Florida, yesterday. He is in the hardest hit county kind of in the epicenter in South Florida of the outbreak and he said that he is not aware of any contact tracing that's happening in his city. As an epidemiologist, what is your reaction to that?

NUZZO: Well, it's a very common story that we're hearing. I mean, contact tracing is really hard particularly at the scale that's required and as places are seeing more and more cases contact tracing is going to have a really hard time keeping up, even if they rapidly and dramatically expand the workforce to do it.

And so I really worry that we are so far behind on this that many places are going to see no other choice but to shut down which in my view would really represent our failure.

BOLDUAN: I mean there's no other way to look at it when that happens. But I think at any movement to seeing real progress in getting their arms around it is acknowledging how deep the problem actually is and I really appreciate your perspective on this. Thank you so much.

A programming note for all of you, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Anderson Cooper hosting a new Coronavirus Town Hall this evening guests include Former CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden that's tonight at 8:00 eastern on CNN.

Coming up still for us, a dire warning for the State of Arizona why one researcher says that the state could run out of hospital beds in just a few weeks plus, the Supreme Court coming down with a very big ruling on access to - about gaining access to the President's financial records. Why President Trump is calling those decisions "Political Prosecution"?



BOLDUAN: President Trump's financial records as well as the limits of presidential power are the focus of two big rulings today coming from the Supreme Court in a pair of 7-2 decisions, the court has for now blocked Congress and New York prosecutors from accessing the President's financial documents.

The Justices sending both cases back to lower courts for further review though the Justices did make one thing very clear, that the President is not completely immune from a subpoena. In the New York case, Chief Justice John Roberts writing this in part given these safeguards and court's precedence, we cannot conclude that absolute immunity is necessary or appropriate our dissenting colleagues agree. They were all unanimous in that regard.

And in regards to Congress, the Chief Justice writing this burdens imposed by a congressional subpoenas should be scrutinized carefully scrutinized from the stem from a rival political branch that has an ongoing relationship with the President and incentives to use subpoenas for institutional advantage.

Joining me right now CNN's Kaitlan Collins, she is live at the White House and CNN Legal Analyst Ross Garber. Kaitlan, you've been tracking the President's reaction here. What more are you hearing from the President and his legal team regarding all of this today?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, well let me tell you how the attorney is reacting and then I'll tell you how the President is reacting which are probably as most viewers can guess?

Now Jay Sekulow is the attorney who of course is represented the President for so long. He argued these cases in front of the Supreme Court and he said we're pleased with the decisions issued today. He said in the Supreme Court that's temporarily blocked both Congress and New York prosecutors from obtaining the President's financial records. We will now proceed to raise additional constitution and legal issues in the lower courts. Now Jay Sekulow is the one who argued that the President does have immunity from prosecution while he is in office and as you saw from that statement you just read from the Chief Justice he very clearly does not agree with that.

So this is obviously not this massive win for them but what their goal ultimately was to not get the President's financial information out there at least not in the short term and that didn't happen. The President however does not feel this way.

You can see from this one of many tweets he sent out this morning he says it's a political prosecution and it is not fair to this presidency or this administration. He just tweeted again a few moments ago.

But Kate what the President hasn't weighed in on and what's going to be so telling is the fact that the two justices he appointed to the Supreme Court Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh ruled against him in the tax returns case when it comes to New York.


BOLDUAN: Ross, what is your being take away from these two rulings? Ross, can you hear me, it's Kate? Well, I think we might have a technical issue Kaitlan one quick additional question for you.

You mentioned obviously the timing here is significant because obviously if these documents would ever be released ahead of the election seems to have been answered just kind of practically speaking. Are you getting a sense of if folks around the President think this has changed anything politically for the President heading towards Election Day?

COLLINS: Well, I mean, he clearly does not view it as a win and he was already annoyed with the Supreme Court for other decisions they had made on DACA and other matters in recent weeks. And he had been tweeting about going after it and he has started musing privately about trying to put someone else on the Supreme Court.

He thinks that could help get voters riled up before the election, like it did obviously in 2016. So it's certainly something that he views as a potential political aspect that he could use this. But you know protecting the President's financial information is near and dear to him.

He's fought so hard to keep that information out of the public view, even though he did once in 2016 promise to release his tax returns in about three months and of course that never happened. So this is incredibly personal for the President, because it is his own information.

And so the question is does he keep bringing this up? Because these decisions today we're not going to see his financial information before the election it's unlikely. But if the President keeps tweeting about it and feeding this news cycle we're going to continue to talking about the fact that he has not released his tax returns, something that voters overwhelmingly say they want to see. So it's not a winning issue for the President on that front.

BOLDUAN: 2016, all over again. Ross, what are your big takeaways from the two rulings?

ROSS GARBER, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Yes. So from his tweets it doesn't seem as if the President is very happy with the decisions. But honestly, I think they're at least as good as and probably better than he could hope for. The House although the President doesn't have complete immunity, the House isn't getting any record any time soon and maybe not ever.

But what I think the President's tweets reflect is a real concern about what is going on in the Manhattan D.A.'s office? I think he had no right to expect to get complete immunity from having to have this information provided forever to the Manhattan D.A.

But he was concerned hopeful, he was concerned about it. That information isn't coming any time soon. There's going to be a litigation path but there are investigations and that information it looks like is going to at some point be turned over to the Manhattan D.A.

BOLDUAN: Yes. Ross, thank you. Kaitlan thank you. Still ahead for us, mixed messages on how to safely reopen schools have gotten even more mixed? So what are school administrators to do? The superintendent of one of the largest school district in the country joins us next.



BOLDUAN: Today the CDC said it will not be revising the guidelines for reopening schools safely in the fall really starting next month. One day after President Trump trashed those guidelines as being too tough and too expensive and too impractical. And the VP announced revised guidelines for coming, confused, you're not alone. When asked about this confusion the Republican Governor of Maryland, Larry Hogan had this to say.


GOV. LARRY HOGAN, (R-MD): Well, actually, I'm not confused. I think is the president who is confused. We knew exactly what the CDC was talking about? We know what's going on in our states? We were just confused as to what the President was talking about yesterday?


BOLDUAN: In terms of him calling it impractical. So where does this leave the people who actually have to make these tough calls about if and how to bring kids back in to school? With me right now is Robert Runcie he is a Superintendent for Broward County Schools, Public Schools in Florida, and the sixth largest School District in the country. Thank you for being here. The President hitting at the CDC, the CDC saying guidelines were going to be revised and now saying that they're not going to be revised. As one of the people who has to figure out where the rubber meets the road here? What did you take away from this back and forth yesterday?

ROBERT RUNCIE, SUPERINTENDENT, BROWARD COUNTY PUBLIC SCHOOLS: Well, you know, I was very concerned about what I saw which is, you know, looks like we're now getting to the point where we're going to be politicizing the process by which we reopen schools?

We have seen that happen with masks and how that's worked out and testing in this country and it's, quite frankly, from what I have seen from all the data is been disastrous. When it comes to the safety of our kids, our teachers and staffs we cannot compromise on their health and safety.

And so whatever we do we will ensure that we're not going to compromise that. We are going to take these guidelines into account. We are going to listen to the advice of our local public health officials and medical experts which we have been consulting with and under that guidance we're going to open schools.

But the larger issue is that opening our schools in America has to be connected to overall what's going on in the community? It is not just a School District's responsibility. It is not just a community responsibility. It is everyone's responsibility.