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Florida Average Of Daily New Cases Surges By 1237 Percent Since Reopening In May; Dr. Anthony Fauci: Trying To Figure Out Trump Claim That 99 Percent Of Cases "Harmless"; President Donald Trump Lands In Florida As State's New Cases Top 11K In One Day; President Donald Trump Postpones New Hampshire Rally Scheduled For Tomorrow; Hospitals Warn Of PPE And Ventilators Shortages. Aired 12-12:30p ET
Aired July 10, 2020 - 12:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
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DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: -- around including Biden and Obama because we caught them spying on my campaign who would have believed that one?
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KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: So, Kate, he is strongly indicating something is going to happen but we're waiting to find out when?
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN HOST: Kaitlan, thank you. It is the top of the hour, everyone. I'm Kate Bolduan, thanks for sticking with us. Any moment now President Trump will be landing in South Florida, the epicenter of the Coronavirus outbreak in this country right now and actually the spot where the crisis is most serious in the world at the moment.
On the agenda as the White House is explained it so far not addressing the pandemic but rather to focus on drug trafficking. He's also slated to attend a couple of fund-raisers later today. Right now there's nothing on the schedule that's directly addressing the staggering spread of COVID-19 in Florida, why?
That state along with South Carolina, Texas and Arizona have seen huge increases in new cases since reopening. These four were among the first states to reopen more than two months ago. Florida alone is seeing an average of daily new cases an increase there by more than 1,200 percent since its May 4th reopening, 1,200 percent.
On the day Florida reopened it was averaging 680 new cases daily. Right now the state is looking at an average of more than 9,000 cases per day. Nationwide, this is where we are right now. The country just hit another record high for new cases yesterday, more than 63,000 the sixth day of record highs in the last 10.
29 states are going in the wrong direction only four states in this country right now are seeing a decline. That is a fire alarm ringing. Everyone should be paying attention. It is data like this that has the nation's top expert Dr. Anthony Fauci so discouraged about where we stand right now in the fight against the pandemic. I want to play for you what he said just last hour.
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DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: The United States as I'm sure we'll be able to discuss a little bit more is in the middle right now even as we speak in a very serious problem.
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BOLDUAN: CNN's Rosa Flores and Kristen Holmes both in South Florida. Let me start with Rosa, what is the very latest that you are seeing and you're hearing Rosa?
ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well Kate, process this with me for just a second because Florida reopened in very early May allowing restaurants and retail to reopen with limited capacity.
Now, take a look at this graph because these are staggering numbers if you look at that, since then the average daily new case number has increased by 1,237 percent this as today the Florida Department of Health is reporting the second highest daily number of all time, more than 11,400 new Coronavirus cases.
I'm here in Miami-Dade County, the epicenter of this crisis. This was one of the last places to reopen here in Florida and yet here are the conditions. Right now, the daily positivity rate is at 33.5 percent. This county is - their goal is to stay under 10 percent and yet for the past 14 days they have exceeded 18 percent.
When it comes to hospitalizations, COVID-19 crisis is really testing the hospital system here. According to data released by the county, hospitalizations of COVID-19 patients have increased by 76 percent in the past 14 days by 86 percent when it comes to ICU units and ventilators, 124 percent.
Governor Ron DeSantis yesterday acknowledging that they have yet another problem, this time they say that there are delays in testing results. That, of course, is a huge concern because if you are tested and you still don't know that you have COVID-19 then you can be out and about in the community spreading the virus.
So what are they doing? Starting next week according to the Governor testing sites will have a specific lane for symptomatic people so that they can hopefully get their results a lot faster. Kate?
BOLDUAN: Rosa, thank you so much. So let me get over to Kristen now. Is the White House explaining Kristen why there isn't anything COVID related on the President's agenda during his visit?
KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Kate, they're not but it is really not that surprising. I have spoken to many advisers to the President who say this is how they want him to handle it moving forward? They want to really move on from the virus and it is really how we have seen the President handle it since the very beginning.
He has said that the government is doing a good job. When there were problems with testing, he said there weren't problems with testing. And even as recently as last night he blamed these surges on the amount of testing that they're doing.
Now this rhetoric is starting to put him at odds with some of the nation's top health experts, particularly as you mentioned Dr. Fauci who just moments ago said that we were in a serious situation here. Going completely against what we have heard from the President?
HOLMES: That's not the first time we heard this from Dr. Fauci. Remember this is somebody who is supposed to be to be one of the President's top medical advisers, a member of the Coronavirus Task Force here and he is going on these interviews and saying that the government really didn't do that great of a job, is not doing that great of a job that these states opened too quickly.
And he responded directly to President Trump at one point when the President said that 99 percent of these cases were not that serious, that they were totally harmless. And I want to read you what he said here. He said this in an interview with "Financial Times"
He said I'm trying to figure out where that 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.
So here we are starting to see a direct back and forth which is playing out in the media. We know that President Trump was asked about Fauci last night when he was on Fox News and said he Fauci was a nice man but made some mistakes.
But regardless of whether or not they're going to address COVID while here, the White House is going to have a problem on their hands or at least the campaign as moving forward because Americans are less and less happy with the way President Trump has responded.
I want to pull up a poll for you here. This is asking Americans about how they feel about President Trump's handling of Coronavirus, whether or not they approve and we have got June and now. So you have all Americans in June saying 41 percent approve now 33 Republicans 90 percent, now 78 percent and that critical number independents it was 40 percent in June and now it is all the way down to 26 percent.
So whether or not the President himself wants to talk about Coronavirus clearly they have an issue on their hands as we head into the election.
BOLDUAN: Right. Because right now as we see Florida he is not handling the crisis because he is moving on from the crisis as Kristen lays out. As you were saying as Kristen was reporting, it appears that the President, Air Force One has landed in Florida. We're going to keep an eye and keep track of the President's movements, who he is going to be meeting with?
It is hard to tell of course who's actually greeting him because they're wearing face masks there on the ground. Let's see what the President has to say and as we always do we will track his movements and bring you all of the key moments.
So the President is landing there. Guys, thank you so much. So the President has landed in South Florida. Let's get a view from two leaders in South Florida as we continue to watch this. Joining me right now is the Mayor of Fort Lauderdale Dean Trantalis and the Mayor of Miami Gardens Oliver Gilbert.
Mayors, thank you for being here. Mayor Gilbert, if I can start with you Rosa Flores is reporting I think a key metric as I know you would think is a key metric as well, the positivity rate in Miami-Dade County right now 33.5 percent which is staggering. What is going on there from your perspective?
MAYOR OLIVER GILBERT (D-FL), MIAMI GARDENS: From my perspective, a couple things have gone wrong. First, the testing in the beginning but right now since we have been open, quite frankly people haven't taken the guidelines serious enough, the wearing of masks, the social distancing and also trace contact or contact tracing.
Listen, when you get tested and you test positive, we need an ability to actually go in and talk to and contact the people who you've been in contact with? You can't have days and week's lapse between someone testing positive and you being able to contact people that they have been in contact or to let them know that they need to be tested.
We know that a lot of people who will pass this on this they're asymptomatic. But you can pass on something even though you're asymptomatic and it ultimately kills someone or sends them to the hospital. We need to cut down and do better in that gap and we need information.
We need trace contactors and we need this to actually happen right now because listen, we are just getting through the 4th of July so we know that the surges that we will see from the 4th of July are not built into the system yet.
BOLDUAN: That's right.
GILBERT: We're going to see higher numbers.
BOLDUAN: And that lag seems to be a fundamental problem for people to understand, the lag of your behavior and when you start to see the consequences of your behavior. Mayor Tarntalis, you have a mask mandate in place. You closed beaches for the 4th of July. You have not reopened bars but you are also still seeing an explosion of new cases. What is then the solution?
MAYOR DEAN TRANTALIS (D-FL), FORT LAUDERDALE: Well, thank you for inviting me on the show today. And you know I'm not someone who comes up with solutions. I look to the medical community to give us the protocols that we need to follow. But what I'm noticing is that when this pandemic first knocked on our door locally the first reaction we had was, okay, let's shut everything down because we didn't know the answer. We didn't have a solution. So this solution at that time - we'll just shut everything down and we'll figure the rest out.
And now that we started to open up slowly, in fact Broward County and Miami-Dade did not really open as quickly as the rest of the state.
TRANTALIS: We never went into phase two and we were still in phase one and yet we're still seeing this disease spread like rapid wildfire. So it's - I think it's starting to seem a little simpler in terms of the reaction.
The reaction should be just to stick with the protocols, maintain distances, wear face masks and do the right thing. So you know America is a can-do society that's what it means to be an American. And those that won't do are just being un-American. They don't seem to understand the message that needs to be followed in this community and this country and that is, we can lick this. We can suppress the spread of this disease.
BOLDUAN: Mayor, I love that outlook. I love getting back to we are a can-do society because we're not hearing that very much from a lot of people. We are saying I won't do is what we're hearing from a lot of different places for sure.
And that gets me to as you will see in the other part of the screen, everyone at home we're waiting for the President to de-plane in Miami to head to his first event. And Mayor Gilbert then I wonder the President is headed to Miami-Dade County is it Miami-Dade County now? Are you happy he is coming right now on the agenda nothing about the pandemic?
GILBERT: Well, I really honestly until you mentioned it didn't actually know that he was coming because I was actually concentrating on the health and safety of the residents of Miami Garden and Miami- Dade County. I think that the more attention we can pay to this the better.
Listen, we saw the President and Governor in some respect essentially pull a leg they spike the ball before they got in the end zone when we were half way through this. They said, see, Florida has done it? We hadn't done it. And so we need to give it all of our attention.
I agree with the Mayor of Ft. Lauderdale. Listen, we can't do this but what's being measured right now is our ability to discipline ourselves. Our ability to wear a mask, our ability to maintain proper distancing, our ability to follow some guidelines that while we know they aren't back seeing what we do know is it will help us slow the spread down. It will helps keep people alive.
We can do this. We just have to focus on it. And from my perspective whether it is the Mayor, the County, the Governor, the President of the United States bringing attention to that, calling on every brave Americans, everyone in this country to do their part to actually slow this thing down because this could kill someone in your family.
BOLDUAN: 100 percent. So jumping off of that Mayor Gilbert. Mayor Trantalis the fact that the President and we're hearing from reporting he wants to move on from this in the midst of Dr. Anthony Fauci saying that we are squarely in the middle of a very serious problem. You can't ignore your way out of this problem. What impact does it have on your local efforts to get people to be can-do if the President is ignoring it?
TRANTALIS: Well, it is obvious that President is in complete denial of what is going on around him? And that's to the detriment of everyone in our country. But fortunately we have local leaders who understand the importance and the urgency of maintaining the protocols and maintaining the discipline that we need to follow going forward.
I don't think anyone's really looking to the national media other than to hear the medical experts. Nationally we are listening to the medical experts we're not listening to the politicians. Locally we are able to try to focus our attention on the protocols that need to be followed in order to squelch the spread of this virus and look at the statistics.
You had pointed them out earlier in your show that the statistics are going in the wrong direction dramatically and not just in Florida but in many states in the Sun Belt. So there goes that theory that the heat and the humidity kill the virus.
That's obviously a falsehood. So the reality is that Americans need to buckle down and take the responsibility and be personally responsible for their own conduct to protect themselves as well as to protect others. If they're not doing this they're violating their oath as Americans to try to overcome this national disaster and that's exactly what we have here.
BOLDUAN: Mayor Gilbert, I'm struck and it is a testament to how focused in you are that you weren't aware that President Trump was going to be coming to Miami-Dade until just now? Are you - what is always involved with a presidential visit in keeping the President safe and preparing the areas for where the President visits?
Do you at all have any concern that his visit can - if he is not going to be drawing attention to the pandemic could be diverting resources that are needed to be dealing with the pandemic with his visit?
GILBERT: It is going to clearly divert resources but when the President is in town we're going to have make sure the President safe but even more than diverting resources it is diverting our attention. Look, yesterday we had a press conference with some local Mayors and we talked about contact tracing, we talked about social distancing and we talked about wearing masks.
GILBERT: We need as much attention on this, and so if the President is going to be in South Florida, the President actually bringing attention to the fact that people should be wearing masks and businesses following the rules and residents and citizens need to be following the rules because ultimately that's the only way that we're going to stay safe.
So independent of the actual resources necessary to have a President here, because no matter who the President is, they come to South Florida we're going to make sure that the President is safe that's stuff is going to be taken care off.
We need to be focused as a country and definitely as a community on how we actually get through this together? The question is not - is never whether America is going to get through it? We are resilient we're going to get through virtually everything. The question is how many of us will lose on the way?
And we can minimize that number by just disciplining ourselves right now. We can minimize that by focusing in and giving this the attention it deserves from all of us.
BOLDUAN: Now gentlemen, I'm not sure if you're capable of seeing the images that we're showing to our viewers right now. The President just came off Air Force One and he is being met by local officials.
I will admit it is hard to make sure I'm completely confident of whom all of them are with face masks on but that's the point. I think I saw the Mayor of Miami-Dade County is who the President talked to first.
All of the local leaders when he came down had face masks on. The President did not. That is a testament Mayor Trantalis for - the example that local officials no matter their political stripes are setting right now.
TRANTALIS: Exactly. You know, let's talk about why the President is here? You know? There's a fund-raiser for him up the street here. Half a million dollars a couple to be able to attend it he is also going to go to Mar-a-Lago. It's just a political event for him and you know he is not caring about what's going on in the rest of the country?
It's unfortunate because there are many people who have supported the President over these last several years who really want to do the right thing. And there are so many people who feel that, you know that trying to ignore the disease away is not going to make that happen.
So if he doesn't want to set the right example that is his choice but as far as Americans are concerned I think most Americans are looking to us locally to set the right example and enforce the protocols. We have been very aggressive enforcing protocols in restaurants and other places, the gyms.
We have been pretty aggressive with making sure that people abide by the rules that have been put in place. I think we are going to do better. I think we are going to turn the corner soon. I know our hospitals are about at their peak so we really need to buckle down and get this to happen. But the President, you know, this is his marquee. He will not wear a mask. Well, unfortunately that's not the impression that he needs to be giving the rest of the country. But everyone knows that's his thing. We are not following that. We need to follow the medical experts and the medical experts tell us maintain distancing.
If you can't maintain the distance do wear a mask, do wash your hands and do stay out of touch. You know you mentioned earlier how we close the beaches down for 4th of July. We did that because those are crowd gathering opportunities and we wanted to avoid that.
But let me tell you something, there were a lot of parties going on that weekend house parties and so forth. No one was distancing themselves. No one was wearing masks because people felt, you know, it wasn't necessary because the President wasn't doing it.
Well, we got to change that attitude. We need to focus on that can-do spirit, not the won't-do spirit of America and I think that will be the only way to succeed in combating the spread of this virus.
BOLDUAN: Mayors, thank you very, very much. I really do like that mantra of getting back to can-do. It is empowering which is also what a mask does, it is empowering, and it empowers the society to get back to opening up eventually. Thank you both very much.
We have some breaking news coming in that I do want to get to. CNN has just learned that President Trump's rally in New Hampshire tomorrow that we were just talking about with an official on the ground there it's now been delayed. CNN's Kaitlan Collins back with me now Kaitlan, what is going on here?
COLLINS: I mean Kate the President's return to the campaign trail after those Coronavirus restrictions has really been doomed from the start. He first tried with a rally in Tulsa and you saw, of course, the fallout from that when not as near as many people as the campaign thought showed up.
And so then they decided to hold one outdoors in New Hampshire in an airport hangar tomorrow and now that has been canceled. We are told postponed the White House says because that tropical storm is of course heading up to the East Coast. Expected to bring a lot of rain with it so, of course, that causes problems when you're trying to hold a big event outdoors with a lot of people.
And they had actually moved that outdoors, we should note in between those two rallies, the campaign had initially made these plans to hold a rally in Alabama tomorrow ahead of that run off with Jeff Sessions and Tommy Tuberville.
COLLINS: They heard some opposition from state officials as they were planning that and so then they switched to New Hampshire and now of course a tropical storm is headed to New Hampshire and so they're not going to be holding that rally there tomorrow which is really significant. Because one thing that was going to be different about this is you saw the campaign language saying they wanted to strongly encourage people to wear a mask. That is not a similar message that they had for the rally in Tulsa and they saw such a fall out from that that they've changed their messaging for New Hampshire but now we're told New Hampshire is off as well. So no campaign rallies right now for President Trump.
BOLDUAN: Kaitlan, thank you for bringing us the breaking news. I appreciate that. Wow! Up next for us, a warning from the country's front line health care workers, why the hardest hit states are battling COVID-19 with dwindling supplies of protective gear still this many months into the fight?
Plus, the President says he "Aced a cognitive exam that he says he took recently". Why that is raising so many new questions today?
BOLDUAN: Hospitals warning of running out of beds for patients and running out of protective gear for doctors, nurses and medical staff. That was a major problem three months ago now the country is facing yet another dangerous shortage of PPE and medical equipment supplies. Listen to what one ICU nurse in Phoenix told CNN.
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LAUREN LEANDER, ICU NURSE IN PHOENIX: We are stretched so thin we are at the point of compromising patient safety. You know we are working with ventilators left with single digits of ventilators left. We have triple patient assignments now. We have three COVID ICUs that are completely full.
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BOLDUAN: Joining me right now is Deborah Burger, a Registered Nurse and Co-President of The National Nurses United. Thank you so much for being here. Shortages of masks, gowns, gloves and more, that was a problem back in March. How big of a problem is it now? What are you hearing from your members?
DEBORAH BURGER, CO-PRESIDENT, NATIONAL NURSES UNITED: The issue is that it is continuing to happen. We are four, five months, six months depending on how you count into this pandemic? We have had plenty of time to plan and take action. And it has yet to happen.
President Trump is the only person that can authorize the Defense Production Act to mandate that masks and other protective gear be mass produced and he has yet to do that. He's only done a small component of that by improving the supply of ventilators but for nurse's health, for patient's health, for the community health he needs to take action and authorize the Defense Production Act to make manufacturers increase their production of N-95 masks and other safety gear. It is unfortunate that he hasn't done that. There has been truly a lack of leadership at the national level and our patients and our nurses and our communities are suffering. It is also unfortunate because all of these deaths and illness have been entirely preventable. And nurses have done everything in their power to get the attention of the politicians, the President and we have yet seen significant action on these issues.
BOLDUAN: We just heard there from one ICU nurse in Phoenix what she is up against but I'm curious what are the stories that are sticking with you that you're hearing from members? What they're facing? What they're - how they're being forced to improvise to protect themselves and their patients?
BURGER: Well, two examples are the fact that nurses are being asked to use a single use N-95 mask over and over again multiple shifts for days on end. They're also asked to use reprocessed masks which we know is not a safe situation because of the chemicals that they use to decontaminate the masks.
We know that nurses are having to make do with less protective pieces of gear like surgical masks and just cover your cough masks or bandannas. They're having to put together gowns with garbage bags and using gloves to cover their shoes and they're being stretched then and they're trying to do the best they can with the lack of resources and the lack of leadership at the federal level.
It's really heart breaking because we know that our country is the richest country in the world. And we can mass produce any number of things when we put our minds to it and it's just not helping.
BOLDUAN: I hear the stories that you're telling me. I hear the stories from other nurses about the shortages they're facing that are real. And then I'm curious as to what you think then of what Vice President Mike Pence just this week said about PPE. He pointed to it as a success story. I see your frustration. Let me play how he put it just this week?
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MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: PPE, we hear remains very strong. The good news is because of the historic mobilization that President Trump initiated we literally have hundreds of millions of supplies of personal protective equipment, 59,000 ventilators in the strategic national stockpile.
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