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Fauci Says, States With Serious Problems Should Consider Shutting Down; Georgia Sets Second-Highest Day Of Virus Cases. Aired 7-7:30a ET

Aired July 9, 2020 - 07:00   ET



ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN NEW DAY: Dr. Anthony Fauci has a new warning for states experiencing alarming outbreaks of coronavirus.


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: I think any state that is having a serious problem, that state should seriously look at shutting down. It's not for me to say, because each state is different.


CAMEROTA: For some reason, Dr. Fauci was sidelined from the White House coronavirus task force briefing yesterday.

This morning, California and Texas are setting records for deaths in a single day. America now has surpassed 3 million confirmed cases.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN NEW DAY: This morning, 33 states are seeing a rise in cases, just three states declining. Some of the hardest-hit states reporting alarming positivity rates. That means that 28 percent of the people being tested in Arizona have coronavirus. Hospitalizations are on the rise around the country. And California, up 44 percent in two weeks, that is a huge increase.

This morning, healthcare workers across the country are again facing shortages in masks, gloves and gowns. And despite all of this, President Trump is threatening to withhold money from schools if they don't reopen and demanding that the CDC rewrite its science-based guidelines for reopening schools, because those guidelines are too tough.

Joining us now, CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta. Sanjay, it's terrific to see you. You've actually had a few days off, which is helpful for the soul, but I think it makes it hard to come back and see what's happened over the last few days.

To come in today and see the number of new cases that are occurring every day, to see a record in daily deaths in California, at or near a record in Texas, and the direction this is going in, it's alarming. DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I thought maybe it had just been a bad dream, John. I would come back and wake up and it would all be the way it should have been. the numbers heading in the right direction, both in terms of case counts, in terms of hospitalizations, all of that, but we're not there, obviously.

So, John, let me show you something here that I think is interesting. If you look at how things have developed over the last few months here in the United States, over 3 million people now infected. January 21st, the first reported case, 99 days it took to get to 1 million cases of coronavirus. 43 days after that to get to 2 million and just 28 days, just under a month to get to another million after that. That's what's been happening in the country.

And you know, sometimes you sort of get inured to it, because you don't realize how fast things are growing, take a couple of days off, come back, and you realize that the numbers just continue to go up. So this is obviously not the direction that we need to be going in, not the direction that we have to go in. It can still turn around. None of this was inevitable.

CAMEROTA: Sanjay, don't ever do that again. Don't ever take any days off again. I see a connection, okay?

But in the meantime, I need you to try to explain to us what Vice President Pence was saying. Vice President Pence was saying something that was completely antithetical to what we're seeing with our own eyes on the screen. So here he is, yesterday.


MIKE PENCE, U.S. VICE PRESIDENT: We're actually seeing early indications of a percent of positive testing flattening in Arizona and Florida and Texas.

And in Arizona and Florida, we were beginning to see declining numbers of emergency room visits, as well.


CAMEROTA: Sanjay, are you seeing things flattening and declining?

GUPTA: No, I mean, unfortunately not. And this is one of those strange things where I remember the first coronavirus task force meeting that the vice president did after some time a couple of weeks ago. And I remember thinking, these numbers -- do they have access to data that we're not seeing?

Took a couple of hours after that coronavirus task force meeting, sat down, looked at the data, compared it to what they were seeing, and it just doesn't match up. I mean, that's the thing, is that we do have access to this data. It's being sort of recruited by different places, but the data that we've been looking at, the John Hopkins University data in particular, just doesn't match up.

Arizona actually has been going up in terms of overall emergency room visits. Positivity rates, you guys have been talking about it all morning, have been going up in places across the country. And to give people context, again, out of every 100 people you test in Arizona, that means 28 come back positive. You'd want that number to below five, possibly, certainly below 10 if you're getting that high a positivity rate. That means you don't even really have eyes on how significant the problem is in your state.

And that's part of the problem. If you don't have eyes on it, the numbers continue to grow undetected. That's what happened in the early stages of this pandemic. We thought maybe we were starting to get it under control, but it was back on June 1st that we had our lowest daily case count in the United States, which was about 17,000. That's as good as we got. And the positivity rates at that point were just under 10 percent in most of the country, now they're way back up, meaning that the numbers that we're showing on the screen are probably higher than we're seeing.


BERMAN: Yes, that's the positivity rate in Arizona right now. And you can see the average, the yellow line there, the average curve is still moving up. And even to the extent that it may not be moving up as quickly, it's still at a rate that is incredibly problematic. So problematic, and I think we have the sound, I think it's worth playing again, that Dr. Fauci, overnight, Sanjay, said outright that states that are seeing an increase, and I know he's talking about Arizona, Texas, probably, California, and Florida, they need to consider shutting down. Listen.

All right, we're waiting for that sound.

But as we're finding it, I will note, again, Sanjay, that this is just different than what the administration is saying. They're saying, not under any circumstances should we shut down, which is why it's so remarkable that Fauci said this.

GUPTA: Yes, and I heard the sound earlier too. So I --


FAUCI: I think any state that is having a serious problem, that state should seriously look at shutting down. It's not for me to say, because each state is different.


BERMAN: Go ahead, Sanjay.

GUPTA: Yes, you know, the thing is, I would say the decision -- the idea that it's still within anyone's control, that it's somebody's decision at this point, is becoming more and more of a moot point, which is what I think Dr. Fauci is saying. And I've spoken to him recently about this.

The thing about it is that the virus is ultimately now going to dictate this. We seem to have this false sense of -- this false idea that we can still make some of these decisions. If the virus really continues to get out of control in some of these places and hospitals, which is already happening in some places, can't handle the capacity, can't handle the surge of patients, the decision is going to get made for the state, by the virus, because they're not going to be able to manage it any more.

I think that's what Dr. Fauci is saying. And he's going back to these original gating criteria, which I know I harp on, on this show all the time, the idea that the state shouldn't have opened unless they met some of the criteria in the first place, that there were specific triggers in place. The trigger was if you got five days in a row, you'd have to talk back a phase of reopening. That's obviously happened in many of these states, I think most of these now.

So it's kind of obvious just from virus standpoint what needs to happen in order to control some of this.

CAMEROTA: That brings us to schools, Sanjay. You are living in Georgia. That is a state that's seeing an uptick in deaths, in hospitalizations, in cases. Are you comfortable sending your kids back to school next month or early September?

GUPTA: I would have a hard time with it right now. I think it would be challenging.

Here is one way to think about it, and I think about this a lot. I've talked to a lot of school administrators, I've talked to a lot of parents. Overall, if the state were doing better and you said, well, look, what is the impact overall of shutting down schools on this pandemic, okay? You know, shutting down businesses, a certain percentage of impact, shutting down bars, a certain percentage of impact, movie theaters.

If you look at some of the data we have, it would suggest that schools are 2 to 4 percent roughly of impact. That's not a lot. I mean, there are other things that are going to have much greater impact, big concerts, stadium events, things like that are going to have much bigger impact. The problem is this. If your numbers are as high as they are, then 2 to 4 percent of a very high number is a high number.

If it was 2 to 4 percent of a much smaller number, which is where we could have been, should have been at this point, then, you know, you would have a better sense that, look, shutting down schools is not going to have that much of an impact on the overall trend of the pandemic, because the numbers are sort of small and trending in the right direction. The fact that they're so high right now makes 2 to 4 percent of a very high number concerning.

And, you know, I'm worried about the kids. I think that the likelihood of kids getting sick is low. I think the likelihood of them being significant spreaders is there, but not that significant. If you look at contact tracing around the world from schools, that's less worrisome. The problem is you're already in a hot viral bed and then you're adding a little bit more transmission on top of it.

CAMEROTA: John, your thoughts as the father of twins? BERMAN: Look, I and everyone I know with kids wants their kids back in school, but I and everyone I know wants it to be done safely. The idea that politics is getting injected in this is mind-numbing. It is maddening. The only discussion should be about how to do it safely.

And if the CDC guidelines, and we're going to put them up on the screen, the ones they put out in May, if these are too tough and onerous, we have issues. Wear masks where you can. Keep the desks apart. Stay home when appropriate, that means if you're sick, stagger arrival and dismissal times, have back-up staffing plans.


It seems to me that this type of guidance is the kind of guidance that will help these schools. And all these schools want to know is how they can do it safely so they can teach, so they can get kids in a situation where they can learn safely.

I don't know how you feel about it, Alisyn or Sanjay?

CAMEROTA: Go ahead, Sanjay.

GUPTA: I think if we get the numbers down overall in communities and a lot of the guidelines you just put up there are going to make more sense. Those guideline that were released in May, I think most people know this by now. We need to keep distance, somehow, we need to protect vulnerable populations. people get this fundamentally.

I think one thing that's still missing in this entire equation, which still baffles my mind a little bit, is just more widespread available testing. I mean, if you could have some sort of easy-to-do rapid response, accurate testing, have confidence that you're sending your kid to a school where, A, they don't have the virus that day or at least or in that week in their body and the people around them don't have it either, you could have a much clearer picture as well.

I still don't understand why we just haven't solved this problem. Not that it's a panacea, not that it's a solve all or cure all to all of this, but it could make a huge difference.

CAMEROTA: Oh, yes.

GUPTA: I think the guidelines that you have there in May, it's a different position now, even in July, because the numbers have clearly trended in the wrong direction.

CAMEROTA: Rapid testing would make, I think, a huge difference. Because then at least you would know that snapshot of time. And, you know, look, I have the luxury of being in a state that has seen the numbers go way down. So my state is steady or declining. So I have the luxury of being willing to take that risk, to send my kids back to school.

Sanjay, you're the father of twins also, aren't you?

GUPTA: I have 3-year-olds, 15, 13, 11, Irish twins. CAMEROTA: Oh, okay, that's very Irish of them. Okay. So only John and I are the parents of twins. John, maybe just send one back and just test it that way. That's what I would recommend for us.

BERMAN: I want them to make up their minds so the schools can concentrate on how to teach because that's what they're really good at, and all this political jerking around is only making that more difficult, I have to say, anyway.

CAMEROTA: All right. Sanjay, thank you. Thank you for all of this. Thanks for sharing your personal thoughts as well as professional.

And be sure to join Sanjay and Anderson Cooper for a new coronavirus town hall. Their guest is former CDC director, Dr. Tom Frieden, that's tonight at 8:00. P.M. Eastern on CNN.

BERMAN: All right. So school is just one example where the president is at odds with his own health officials. Perhaps, no one more than Dr. Anthony Fauci at this point, who was sidelined, literally, pushed off to the side, put in a different place for yesterday's task force briefing.

Joining us now is CNN Political Director David Chalian. David, look, there's a clear difference now. Dr. Fauci says states should consider shutting down, Trump says, we're not shutting anything down. And let me play some more sound so people can see the difference here.


DONALD TRUMP, U.S. PRESIDENT: Well, I think we are in a good place.

FAUCI: We're facing a serious problem now.

TRUMP: We're almost up to 40 million in testing and 40 million people, which is unheard of.

FAUCI: This is the thing that is a little bit concerning. You say, well, we now have 37 million tests have been performed. The question is when you get on the phone and talk to the people in the community, there are still lapses there where the dots are not being connected.

TRUMP: If you look at the chart of deaths, deaths are way down.

FAUCI: It's a false narrative to take comfort in a lower rate of death.


BERMAN: David, it's a really notable political fight the president is choosing against a man and against an entire notion like science.

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Yes. I mean, it's one thing, John, for the president to ignore science. That's dangerous enough in this scenario. I think it's an entirely more dangerous element to this to politicize it the way that the president is doing now. And we -- you know, in our society today, there are very few things that great majorities of Americans agree on. You know, we're long past the days of Walter Cronkite being the most trusted man in America, delivering the news. And we're a much more diffused society, obviously.

But let me just say, Anthony Fauci is the most trusted man in America on this virus issue. It is overwhelming what would Americans say in public opinion polls about him. And the fact that the president is going to try to chip away at that and somehow make Anthony Fauci's ratings lower and politicize this, when he is the one place that Americans are turning for trusted advice, that is a very dangerous game to be playing for the president.


BERMAN: And it's notable, the way he talks about schools is just one example, saying, Democratic governors don't want to open for political reasons. It's not -- there's no politically easy or expedient choice when it comes to schools, at all. They're all bad choices. There's no politically easy choice. So the president is making it even more political, a decision which should be completely devoid of politics.

CHALIAN: Yes, because the virus, John, is devoid of politics. This is an apolitical matter that we're dealing with here.

And what is so perplexing is that the path for the president's political rehabilitation is controlling the virus. So when he wants to open schools or just open the economy and businesses and just -- at any cost, just get America back to normal, because he thinks then the headlines of the virus goes away and he is able to recapture an ability to sell to the American people, that he has led on a good economy, and that he is deserving of four more years in office, but the path for him to get that hearing from the American people right now is through managing the virus. And that just seems to be beyond his compression at the moment.

BERMAN: Yes, it's interesting. It's apolitical. But to the extent that he's weighing in with it, it may be bad politics for him. David Chalian, always great to have you on, thanks so much for being here this morning.

CHALIAN: Thanks, John.

BERMAN: The City of Atlanta now requiring masks as coronavirus cases rise in Georgia. The lieutenant governor of that state joins us next.



CAMEROTA: This morning, 33 states are seeing spikes in cases, including Georgia. The state reported more than 3,400 new cases yesterday, that is its second highest day since the start of the pandemic. Joining us now to talk about this and more, we have Georgia's lieutenant governor, Geoff Duncan. Lieutenant Governor, great to see you. Thanks for being here.

Let me pull up the graph of what Georgia looks like just since you reopened parts of the state. So that was April, the end of April, April 30th. And you can see this steady incline up. This is the seven- day moving average of new confirmed cases and you're also up in deaths and hospitalizations. So what's gone wrong in Georgia?

LT. GOV. GEOFF DUNCAN (R-GA): Well, we're certainly paying very close attention to the infection rate. We obviously, across the country, are seeing an increase in infections. I think other numbers that we're continuing to pay close attention to are hospitalizations and deaths. Unfortunately for now, the data doesn't point to the exact correlation that we saw early on.

When you talk to our hospitals around the state, obviously a huge concern of ours is to make sure that there's available resources at those hospitals. We continue to hear good words from our hospital systems that there are additional resources out there.

But, you know, one of the things I think we need to continue to talk about is there are improved therapies that are continuing to arrive that yesterday on a conversation with some folks in the healthcare system, talked about the average stay on the front end of this virus was 14 days in hospitalization, and now it's down to five to seven days five.

CAMEROTA: But hospitalizations are going up in your state.

DUNCAN: Yes, certainly. And we're paying close attention to that. And, fortunately, for now, the correlation, the direct correlation between infection rates and hospitalizations don't seem to be as tightly matched, but we're going to continue to pay close attention to that.

CAMEROTA: But I guess my point is that Georgia ended it stay-at-home order long before some places. So New York's ended sometime in June. Georgia's ended April 30th. Do you think that was too early now?

DUNCAN: Well, certainly, we're trying to figure out the balance between business and the economy and obviously the healthcare concerns. But I would point to other states, you know, a state like California was probably the, you know, one of the first to close and one of the last to open. And certainly, they're dealing with an increased infection rate.

So I think it's definitely a balance. We're going to continue to pay close attention to the data. We're going to continue to push a message out there, like our governors continue to do about wearing face masks when at all possible, making sure we sterilize, making sure we take social distancing everywhere we go.

CAMEROTA: I mean, on a scale of one to ten, how worried are you about what you're seeing in Georgia? DUNCAN: Well, certainly, I think everybody, 350 million Americans are worried. There's billions of people in this world that are worried about this. We continue to try to make the best decisions we possibly can. We continue to look at the data. We continue to consult with medical professionals, with scientists, with data experts. We're trying to make the best decisions we can to move forward here.

CAMEROTA: So do you think that at this point, because hospitalizations are up, deaths are up, there should be a mask mandate in your state?

DUNCAN: Well, the position that the governor takes, and I fully support this, is that we are encouraging every single person in our state, all 11 million Georgians in every community to wear a mask whenever possible.

Certainly, I've seen great results to that. The room I'm sitting in here today, everybody is wearing a mask. I was at the grocery store yesterday, I didn't see a single person without a mask. I think this whole notion of trying to mandate somewhat becomes a distraction and it's hard to enforce.

I think we need, as leaders, continue to encourage everyone in every community to take this very seriously with social distancing, with wearing masks, with being clean and having the highest levels of hygiene.

CAMEROTA: I want to talk to you about Georgia's new hate crime law. We have followed every step along the way, as you have championed that law. It has come to pass, as you predicted on our air. There were some hiccups, obviously, and some major speed bumps with it. One was that Senate Republicans tried to include protection for the police in the hate crime law. And that was seen as, I think, something of a poisoned pill, so it ended up being turned into two separate bills.

And Ahmaud Arbery's mom basically felt that that was -- somehow, it actually tainted the results of the hate crime law, having this other law be passed in tandem to it. So let me play for you what she says. Oh, I'll read it to you. She says, though we stand in full support of all law enforcement, we believe that this separate bill, 838, is more dangerous to our community than the hate crime law, 426, is good.


To see the legislature prioritize 838 instead of repealing citizens' arrest is heartbreaking and does not do justice for my son.

What's your reaction to that?

DUNCAN: Well, certainly, I've been with you all the way through this process over the last month, trying to get the hate crimes bill from a committee room up to the floor for a vote and into the governor's desk and we've gotten to see all of that play out. I'm certainly, very proud of the Georgia State Senate and the bipartisan cooperation, state Senator Harold Jones and State Senator Bill Cowsert came together to work with us to get this across the finish line. It will never leave my mind the importance of bipartisan teamwork to tackle tough issues.

Certainly, the Georgia State Senate and Georgia as a whole definitely support law enforcement. And having two separate bills, I don't believe, taints the effort. I believe making sure that we protect bias-motivated crimes, which is what we were able to accomplish in house bill 426. And then house bill 838 was an opportunity to make sure that if somebody uses a bias-motivated intimidation against a law enforcement officer that we're able to make sure that there's recourse there too.

So I'm certainly proud of the great work -- I'm certainly glad to sit here today and be able to tell you that Georgia is no longer on that list of states that does not have a hate crimes bill on the books.

CAMEROTA: We know how important that was to you, and thank you for updating us all along the way. Lieutenant Governor Geoff Duncan, great to see you.

DUNCAN: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: Okay. The NBA is just weeks from its first games in what will likely be a season unlike any other. So what are players experiencing? We go inside the bubble in Florida, next.