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Soon: Trump Lands in Florida as Cases, Hospitalizations Surge; Fauci on U.S. Virus Response: "We're Just Not" Doing Great; Experts Push Back on Trump Blaming Tests for Rise in Cases; Back-to-School Plans in Flux as U.S. Shatters Record for New Cases; Hospitals Deal with Reality of Spiking Cases. Aired 11-11:30a ET

Aired July 10, 2020 - 11:00   ET




KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Hello everyone. I'm Kate Bolduan. Thank you so much for joining me.

Right now, President Trump is on his way to Florida. The global epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic. Not just that, he's heading to the state's hardest hit county, Miami-Dade. Where one in three people are now testing positive for the virus. But the stated agenda for the trip, holding an event on drug trafficking. And also attending fundraisers.

This, as the nation's top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, says the country is not doing great in fighting the virus. A far cry from the president's statement just this week that we're in a good place. Fauci also specifically calling out Florida now for reopening too early.


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: Some of the states, the governors or the mayors essentially jumped over the guidelines and the checkpoints and opened up a little bit too soon. Certainly, Florida, I know, you know, I think jumped over a couple of checkpoints.


BOLDUAN: Take a look at the numbers and you'll see why Dr. Fauci is so concerned with where the country is right now.

United States setting yet another record for the number of new cases. More than 63,000 new cases just yesterday. It was like a day ago it feels like that we were at 40,000 cases, right? That is the sixth day of record-breaking case numbers in the last 10 days.

At least three states, Texas, California and Florida also reporting a record number of deaths. Hospitalizations are surging in a number of states with ICUs now stretched to capacity and doctors warning once again about a shortage of PPE. Let's start in Florida. CNN's Kristin Holmes is following the president. CNN's Rosa Flores is in Miami.

Rosa, what is the very latest there right now?

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kate, the Florida Department of Health just released the latest numbers. And here they are.

More than 11,400 new cases. That means that the cases continue to grow. Yesterday, the number was nearly 9,000. The reality here in Miami-Dade County is grim. The positivity rate is about a third, 33.5 percent.

Now, the goal for the county is not to exceed 10 percent. Well, they've exceeded 18 percent for the past 14 days. When it comes to hospitalizations, those are up 76 percent in the past 14 days. And ICUs, 86 percent. Ventilators, 124 percent.

Miami-Dade County is the epicenter of this crisis. It has been from the get-go. But it's not the only hotspot. The positivity rate statewide yesterday was 18 percent.

This as Governor Ron DeSantis yesterday acknowledging that there's an issue. They're having delays in testing results. That, of course is a huge concern because if you don't know that you have COVID-19 and you've toasted tested for it, you could be spreading the virus.

So, here's is what the governor says they're going to do to correct that. Starting next week, testing sites will have specific lanes for symptomatic people. And when it comes to schools, yesterday, Governor Ron DeSantis saying that if Home Depot and Walmart and fast food restaurants, Kate, are essential, so are schools. Kate, you and I have been reporting on this. This state digging in its heels, requiring schools to reopen this fall for in-person instruction. Kate?

BOLDUAN: All right, Rosa, stick with me. Kristin, what are you hearing about the president's visit?

KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kate, look, he has a packed schedule. He is coming down here to the southern command. He's going to have a briefing on drug trafficking. He's going to have a roundtable with Cuban and Venezuelan dissidents' as he tries to shore up Hispanic voters. And he has a fundraiser. That's all the stuff that's on the schedule.

What's not on the schedule. Anything at all involving coronavirus. There is no sort of briefing, no sort of discussion here. This as he enters a state and you heard the numbers from Rosa. These are enormous spikes. A huge death rate here in the state. And there is no mention of it at all.

That's not that surprising. I mean this is the narrative that President Trump has put forward now for weeks. That the government is doing a great job. That there's really nothing to see here. That things are going to be fine. They're trying to reopen and get things done and blaming testing for the high number of cases. Take a listen to what he said last night.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We do testing like nobody has ever done testing. And when we test, the more you test the more cases you find. Other countries, you know when they test? And I ask them all, they test when somebody is not feeling well or when somebody walks into a hospital. So they don't have tests. They have tests that are very limited.


We have massive, 40, 45 million people have been tested. It's a record and our tests are the best. So we have cases all over the place. Most of those cases immediately get better. They get - you know, people, they're young people, they have sniffles and two days later, they're fine and they're not sick sort of they're asymptomatic.


FLORES: And you know, when we listen to that, that is again the narrative that we haven't really just heard for the last several weeks but these last several months. That people get better quickly. That it's not going to be that big of a deal.

Now this has put him at odds with some of his top medical advisers. You mentioned Dr. Fauci. I mean the tension between the two men. The back and forth that we've seen really play out in the media is clear.

Fauci is supposed to be one of the nation's top health experts. He is. But he's supposed to be one of President Trump's advisers and a member of the Coronavirus Task Force. In an interview recently, he said he hadn't actually briefed the president in person in more than two months.

Now he was spotted at the White House today ahead of the Coronavirus Task Force meeting. So, of course, we're going to wait and try to get some details out of that.

But we've been really watching this narrative go back and forth here. You have Fauci on one hand in these interviews, saying that the states shouldn't have reopened so quickly. He has singled out Florida and he has said that if you look at the federal government's response and where we are now, you can't really say that you're doing a good job.

Now, on the other side, you have President Trump really trying to wash all these numbers away and last night, he was asked about Dr. Fauci and he said, he's a nice man but he's made a lot of mistakes. This back and forth, this quibbling between one of the nation's top health experts and the president of the United States at a time, well we cannot stress enough, these numbers are surging across the country. Kate?

BOLDUAN: Absolutely. All right. Kristen, thank you. Rosa, thank you both very much. Joining me right now is Dr. Anne Rimoin. She's a professor of epidemiology at UCLA and director of UCLA Center for Global and Immigrant Health. Doctor, thank you for being here. Let's start with where the president is headed in South Florida. Rosa pointed it out. But I think it is worth saying one more time. Miami-Dade County is reporting a positivity rate of 33.5 percent right now. What does that tell you about what is happening there?

DR. ANNE RIMOIN, PROFESSOR, DEPARTMENT OF EPIDEMIOLOGY, UCLA: What it's telling you is that cases are accelerating in this area. I mean, Miami-Dade, this area is an epicenter of infection in the country. And what we're seeing is cases rising sharply. They will continue to rise exponentially. And there's no sign of stopping.

You know, furthermore, what we're seeing in not just Miami-Dade County but everywhere throughout the south, in California, in Arizona, in Texas and in Florida, is we are not pulling back the way that we should be. Everybody is talking about how we need to get back to school for our children. How are we going to get back to school when we have cases accelerating throughout this country?

We are not putting the brakes on. And If there's any moment to be putting the brakes on, it is right now. If there is any hope of being able to open up schools, to be able to do anything that we need to do for our children, we need to all be coming together and agreeing that there's a national strategy, wearing masks, stay at home orders again and to be able to really clamp down. It is our only hope with being able to stop the spread of this virus right now.

I mean, none of us are happy about this. But the fact of the matter is, we have no other tools in our toolbox to be able to stop spread of this disease except these blunt public health measures.

BOLDUAN: What do you think of from a public health standpoint, as you said, national messaging, national policy needed, the fact that the president is heading to South Florida today and on the agenda, the stated agenda has nothing to do with the pandemic?

RIMOIN: Well, I would say that it's a shame that we're not talking about the number one issue in this country right now that drives everything else. You know we want to get the economy back together. We need to focus on the virus. If we want to talk about the health of the nation, we have to focus on the virus. If we want to talk about anything that is going to be helping our country move forward, we have to deal with the virus. And to be sticking our heads in the sand and thinking we can focus on something else is just totally ludicrous.

BOLDUAN: The outlook is really so grim in some places in the United States. And the White House's response is so lacking that it is now leaving one top infectious disease expert kind of left with only one conclusion, if you will. I want to play for you what Dr. Peter Hotez said this morning on "New Day."


(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DR. PETER HOTEZ, PROFESSOR OF TROPICAL MEDICINE, BAYLOR COLLEGE OF MEDICINE: What we're starting to see now, John, is what I think is more than the occasional gap or misstatements. I think when you look at this in totality, what we're really seeing is a coordinated misinformation campaign coming out of the White House.


BOLDUAN: Doctor, he's talking about the commentary that we just heard - one of my colleagues play, the president on testing. That it's just the sniffles, it's 99 percent harmless, it's just embers that are going to be put out around the country. Do you agree with Dr. Hotez on this? Are you at that place of reaching that conclusion as well?

RIMOIN: I think the fact of the matter is, the White House does not have the expertise to be able to be making these kinds of statements. You know, it's - it's -- and when they do have experts available to them, they ignore their advice as we're learning. You know Dr. Fauci has not been meeting with Donald Trump or his staff.

I have no idea where Trump is getting his medical expertise. It's certainly not from his medical degree or his PhD in biology or epidemiology that would normally give him the expertise to be able to make these kinds of decisions.

So, I really don't know where he's getting his data, where he's getting his information. He's no longer surrounding himself with people who generally know about this. So, it seems to me that it must just politically motivated at this point.

BOLDUAN: But Doctor, to that point, I mean Dr. Fauci had another interview that was published today where he also says that he's confused essentially by the quote-unquote data that the president is putting out. Let me read for you. This is what he said about where Trump got the number behind the claim of 99 percent of COVID cases are totally harmless.

Dr. Fauci says this. "I'm trying to figure out where the president got that number. What I think happened is that someone told him that the general mortality is about 1 percent. And he interpreted, therefore, that 99 percent is not a problem, when that's obviously not the case."

If that is how the president is processing the data and how he's then messaging it to the public, this isn't just about words that the president tweets out. This is about is there actually an understanding or any kind of coherent strategy to help the country move through this, when you see that from Dr. Fauci, what do you say?

RIMOIN: I agree with Dr. Fauci. I agree with Dr. Hotez. And I agree with the vast majority of epidemiologist virologists, infectious disease physicians and people who spent their lives studying infectious disease transmission.

You know these data, the actual data that we have out there suggests that there are plenty of long-term (INAUDIBLE) maybe associated with having this virus. And that the people that do get sick could be very sick. And we know that disease transmission among young people leads to disease transmission in older people.

I mean we don't live in a vacuum here. And data don't live in a vacuum either which is what this kind of cherry picking of data - you know he's just picking little pieces and trying to make it - make sense. It's like when you see these movie reviews and all of a sudden, it's the greatest movie ever. And they've cut out different pieces of that review.

So, I really think that the problem is we're not being led by science. We need to be led by science. I think it is science that would us out of this - this deep hole that we have fallen into.

You know it is - this science is clear and it is very simple what we need to do to be able to move forward. We need to be able to get our arms around this virus and ignoring it is not going to help us. We have to deal with what is at hand here. And anything less is reckless and putting peoples' live at stake.

BOLDUAN: And what you are saying is not driven by politics. What you are saying is driven by a very sound science. Doctor, thank you for being here.

RIMOIN: My pleasure.

BOLDUAN: Coming up for us, the American Academy of Pediatrics got a lot of people listening in very closely when it recommended that children should return to schools in person, in class. Now they're saying there's at least one state where that is likely not possible.

Plus, an up-close look at the frontlines of the pandemic. We're going to take you to one California hospital already at capacity and that is even after temporary beds were set up in tents outside.



BOLDUAN: The American Academy of Pediatrics, the gold standard of children's health, made very clear last week that when possible, the best policy is to get kids back to school physically in classrooms. But yesterday, the academy is also saying that in Florida that's likely not possible. This coming as confusion, there is confusion abound as to what the federal government recommends.

The CDC putting out guidance for reopening schools. The president criticizing those guidelines. The vice president then saying new guidelines were coming from the CDC and then the CDC saying it is standing by its guidance.


DR. ROBERT REDFIELD, DIRECTOR, CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION: The guidance are there with a series of different strategies which then each local jurisdiction can decide how they want to use those strategies. So, we stand by our guidance. We think it's an important strategy for helping the schools reopen. (END VIDEO CLIP)

BOLDUAN: With me right now is Dr. Sally Goza. She's the president of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Dr. Goza, it's very good to see you once again. Last week, in putting out your guidance, I paid attention, a lot of people paid attention.


The White House did as well. It's leaning on your guidelines and calling for all schools to reopen next month. Talk to me then why the statewide mandate to reopen schools in Florida is against your recommendations.

DR. SALLY GOZA, PRESIDENT, AMERICAN ACADEMY OF PEDIATRICS: You know returning to school is important for the healthy development and well- being of our children. But we have to pursue that reopening in a way that is safe for all students, teachers, and staff. Science should be making the leading decision-making on this. Because we have to safely reopen our schools. And that is where our public health agencies using - making recommendations based on data and not politics. And we really need to leave it to the health experts to tell us when it's time to reopen our schools. And don't seem the educators and administrators on how to do it.

BOLDUAN: Was there one thing you saw that you all -- that you see in Florida that leads you to say that right now Florida is not meeting the mark of not being able to reopen safely?

GOZA: With the rising levels of disease in Florida, it concerns us because our guidelines say that you really have to look at the incidence of COVID-19 is in your community to decide if it's safe to reopen those schools.

BOLDUAN: I'd like to play something that the governor of Florida said yesterday in making the case that he would like to see Florida schools reopen. Let me play this for everyone.


GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): If you can do Home Depot, if you can do Walmart, if you can do these things, we absolutely can do the schools.


BOLDUAN: Do you see those things as the same? The ability to open a retail store safely and the ability to send children back into schools?

GOZA: I think to be able to reopen schools, we're going to need to look to our educators to really decide what it's going to take to make those schools safe. Our guidelines go through many things that we think schools should have (AUDIO GAP) before it will be safe to reopen the schools. Having children wear cloth, face coverings, having be able to physically distance in the schools, to be able to clean, to be able to have teachers be able to have masks and other PPE that they might need to make them (INAUDIBLE).

And that's going to require an investment by our country on financial investment. Because we really are going to need to give our schools and campuses that extra money to help do those things.

And so, it's a very different situation to open a school and have all those safety measures in placed than to open a retail store.

BOLDUAN: Yes. I mean it really stuck out to me when I saw that. That is for sure.

The president criticized the CDC's guidelines for opening schools safely as being too tough and too expensive and too impractical. From looking at both, the CDC guidelines and what AP put out, it looks quite similar. Do you think they are any of those things, too tough, too impractical or too expensive?

GOZA: The safety of our children and our teachers and the staff at these schools is critical. And so, no, those guidelines are what we need to do. And that investment is in our future. Our children are our future.

BOLDUAN: I heard a reporter ask a question that I think fits the bill here. When it comes to the safety of children, shouldn't the guidelines be tough and shouldn't there be no expense spared when you want to get them back into an environment that we know is so critical, which is in school, in classrooms with their teachers and faculty.

Dr. Goza, thank you for your leadership on this. Thank you.

GOZA: Thank you, Kate.

BOLDUAN: Coming up, a makeshift tent set up in triple digit heat. That is where some COVID patients are - how some COVID patients are getting treatment right now. Next, we're going to take you inside a California hospital on the frontlines.



BOLDUAN: Hospitals across the country continue to face a crush because of the coronavirus pandemic. Doctors and nurses again facing shortages of PPE. Again, more shortages of ICU beds and hospitals running out of room in general. And it's not just big hospitals in big cities like New York and Houston and L.A.

CNN's Kyung Lah is in El Centro, California near the U.S./Mexico border. And Kyung, you got an inside look at what one hospital there is having to deal with. What did you see?

KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, essentially what we're seeing is the small community hospital being overwhelmed by COVID to where the cases, the patients are spilling beyond the walls into tents. And it's not just this tent that's here. There are multiple tents around this hospital. And they invited us in because they wanted us to see and feel what it's like on the frontline.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When folks say hey, it's a war zone, a war zone of what? A war zone of us trying to combat the COVID-19.

LAH (voice-over): The frontline in this battlefield.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Anybody else sick at home?

LAH (voice-over): Southern California's El Centro Regional Medical Center.