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U.S. Smashes Record With More Than 63,000 New Cases; Texas Breaks Records In New Cases, Deaths; Trump Says, Doctors Very Surprised I Aced Cognitive Test. Aired 7-7:30a ET

Aired July 10, 2020 - 07:00   ET



JOHN BERMAN, CNN NEW DAY: Welcome to our viewers in the United States and all around the world. This is New Day.

And breaking overnight, records smashed. Day after day, record-setting numbers of new coronavirus cases, no sign that it's under control, no sign that the president understands what's happening.

The United States had a single-day high of more than 63,000 cases. Researchers in Harvard say the outbreaks are so severe in five states, Arizona, Florida, Louisiana, South Carolina and Georgia, that shutdown should be mandatory. Texas is also close to that threshold.

At least now, at least three states now are reporting a record number of deaths. Think about that for those who say, oh no, the mortality rate is low, we're only looking at new cases. No. Three states setting records for the numbers of deaths, nearly 1,000 people died in the U.S. from the coronavirus just yesterday.

Arizona, Florida, and Texas, they're all seeing alarmingly high positivity rates. Dr. Fauci specifically called out Florida for bypassing the reopening guidelines and allow the virus to come back. Dr. Fauci stresses that the U.S. is not doing well. And he says political divisions are partly to blame.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN NEW DAY: Meanwhile, President Trump continues to think that the surge in cases is only because of more testing. Either he does not understand what's happening or he is trying to mislead the public. There are the only two options, because testing has nothing to do with a spike in hospitalizations and deaths that many states are experiencing this morning.

Also, today, the president heads to one of those hotspots, Southern Florida. The positivity rate there is more than 33 percent. But he will not be meeting with victims, he won't be talking about coronavirus. Instead he is attending an anti-drug trafficking event, also a big ticket fundraising.

Joining us now to talk about all this, we have Dr. Aileen Marty, she's an Infectious Disease Professor at Florida International University. She's been studying the disproportionate impact of coronavirus on minority communities. We also have Dr. David Hayes-Bautista. He is a distinguished professor and the Director of the Center for the Study Latino Health and Culture at the School of Medicine in UCLA. We're grateful to have both of you.

Dr. Marty, the trackers at Harvard, I mean, John just mentioned this in intro, there are five states this morning that they say are blinking red. That's what they used, flashing red, in terms of alert this morning. And that's Arizona, Florida, Louisiana, South Carolina and Georgia. And experts, or at least the researchers there, feel that there should be mandatory stay-at-home orders now. That's how bad it is. What are you seeing this morning? Dr. Marty?

DR. AILEEN MARTY, INFECTIOUS DISEASE PROFESSOR, FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL UNIVERSITY: Well, absolutely, there is no question that our situation is really dangerous. As you mentioned, yesterday's numbers, test numbers were 33.5 percent. And that's just unacceptably high. And over the last two weeks, it's been at 24.28 percent. So that's, again, way unacceptably high.

Cut off values that are recommended internationally for having reopenings is 5 percent or less. And we are, as I said yesterday, at 33.5 percent. So that's unacceptable.

BERMAN: Professor Hayes-Bautista, three states setting records for the number of deaths in one day, California is one of them. There have been people who've said, oh, the mortality rate is low, we shouldn't be focused on the cases, we should be focused on the deaths. But now three states are breaking records for the deaths. What do you see?

DAVID HAYES-BAUTISTA, DISTINGUISHED PROFESSOR, DAVID GEFFEN SCHOOL OF MEDICINE, UCLA: Well, what we see is that there are blind spots in our policy. For example, in the early days of the pandemic, we thought essential workers, all physicians and nurses, let's make sure they have their personal protective equipment that they know what to do, and, of course, they're very important.

But we forgot the other essential workers keep the society going, such as, for example, the farmer workers, who, by the way, happened to be in California, almost all Latino, almost all immigrant, about 70 percent undocumented, who actually grow the food that we eat every single day. They're essential workers, the truckers that bring it in, the meat packers, the fruit packers, the grocery store workers, construction, you name it.

here's a whole tier of essential workers that we just didn't see, so we didn't bother to provide the personal protective equipment. And coronavirus is ripping through the food industry and that threatens to really upset one of our vital assets here in the United States, which is food to eat every single day.

CAMEROTA: Dr. Marty, every morning that we have come on this week, it has gotten worse. The situation is getting better this week in the United States.


It's getting worse. And the trajectory is heading upward. And yet, of course, we're having conversations about what school will look like in the fall because we're not far away from it. I mean, in August, some public schools open. And you heard the president insisting, demanding, in fact, that schools open, and you heard that the CDC director say that is their goal. They really want to figure out how to do that safely. I know you've studied this. Can this be done?

MARTY: So, the situation right now is showing us that the percent of viral load in children is equivalent to that in adults when they are infected. An amazing very carefully done work by Christian Drosten, who is the premier virologist, the first person who came out with a valid RT-PCR test, studied children and adults and compared their viral loads. And the viral loads in children are equivalent to that in adults.

What does that mean? That means that they can transmit the virus equally well to other people whether or not they show symptoms. And, in fact, in his studies, he showed very clearly that the asymptomatic children tested had higher viral loads than the symptomatic ones, primarily because by the time that children come to hospital, they're further along in their disease process and the viral load has gone down. But nonetheless, that coupled with studies from China and other places throughout the world are really demonstrating that this is an incredibly high risk.

And we here in Miami-Dade, I work with Superintendent Carvalho, who is phenomenal, and he is going to -- he is taking this very seriously. We're taking this very seriously, and it's very unlikely that we'll be able to have brick and mortar type of education here in Miami-Dade come August.

BERMAN: Professor Hayes-Bautista, the trend lines are going in the wrong direction, drastically in the wrong direction in some cases. So what turns it around now? And is what you're hearing from the White House and the president, who is still fixated on the idea that more testing is somehow causing people to die in California and around the country, is what he is saying going to help?

HAYES-BAUTISTA: Well, the issue we actually know what to do. In fact, California flattened the curve very early on. We were the first state to shut down. We were the first to institute social distancing. And the curve flattened our very, very quickly.

What happened was that we took the foot all of the gas pedal, so to speak, for a number of reasons. And having confusing messages coming from Atlanta or from Washington, D.C. did not help the matters. And just as we thought, once we took the foot off, the rates went back up and we know what to do.

We also have larger policy issues of those who -- essential workers who are showing up now with full-blown COVID rarely have health insurance, rarely have access to medical care. The fact that we turned our back on providing better access to healthcare is really showing its weak side right now, and that those occupational levels where we're seeing the real pandemic that they have almost nowhere to turn.

CAMEROTA: Just -- it's -- your study and deep dive into this is really fascinating. It really helps us understand what happened in California and beyond.

But Dr. Marty, I can't get past everything that you just said about kids, because I hadn't heard that before. We thought that somehow they were immune from the viral load, that they weren't transmitters. And so the idea they have the same viral load as they adults who are really getting sick, why aren't they showing more symptoms in that case? Their lungs are just that much better than people over 40?

MARTY: There are many fascinating differences between children and adults in how the immune system works. And different isn't better or worse, it's just different. And so some of the differences are to the advantage of children and some are to their disadvantage. And that's why we have pediatricians who specializes because they are significantly different in how they manifest disease. But that has nothing to do whether or not they get the infection into their bodies. The virus still gets into them and the virus still grows.

What happens next varies depending on how the host defenses work.

BERMAN: Professor Hayes-Bautista, you say we know what to do and we have done it before, but do you see the political will to do it again? What will put us in a situation where we make the decisions you think we need to make?

HAYES-BAUTISTA: Well, we have done it in other countries, in Spain and Italy. They had huge spikes. Now compared to us now, they are not quite so great. It's having a unified message when we know what to do, when medicine knows what to do to prevent something, and yet we have polarized that very act, the very protective measure. It makes it very difficult to control something like an epidemic.

Perhaps when it's, for example, vaccination, we don't see polio that much anymore, so we assume that maybe it's no longer an issue, but polio is still out there.


We have outbreaks around the world.

So we know what to do. But when issues have become politicized, it confuses people and they don't know really what to do.

BERMAN: Professor, Doctor, thank you both so much for being with us this morning. We really appreciate your insight.

HAYES-BAUTISTA: My pleasure.

MARTY: Thanks for having us.

BERMAN: Just heard hospitals in California, Florida, Texas, they're all at a breaking point. CNN takes you to the frontlines in the fight against coronavirus ahead.

CAMEROTA: And Texas reporting nearly 12,000 new cases in a single day. That's a new record. So where will it end? We're going to speak to the mayor of San Antonio, next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BERMAN: This morning, alarming new numbers out of Texas. The state reporting a record number of new coronavirus cases and the highest single-day death toll there since the pandemic began.

Joining me now is the mayor of San Antonio, Texas, Ron Nirenberg. Mr. Mayo, thanks so much for being with us.

Look, our reporter, Miguel Marquez, went inside a hospital in Bear County where you are last week.


Since then, the number of new cases has only gone up. Give us a sense of the situation in your hospitals this morning.

MAYOR RON NIRENBERG (I-SAN ANTONIO, TX): I would say it's strained, to say the least. I mean, we have seen nearly a tenfold increase month over month in hospitalizations. And the unfortunate part is now the hospitalization demographic is also getting younger and getting more severe. We have a number of new cases, obviously, in ICU and on ventilators. And so this is a very strained situation where all hospital systems and leadership now are going for their surge management because they're reaching the very limits of their capacity.

BERMAN: You say the cases are getting more severe. Can you describe what's being seen in your county? Because the president, even overnight, was saying most of the cases were just sniffles.

NIRENBERG: Well, the case load is growing so high that it hikes the mortality rate. But we have seen our deaths number obviously increase pretty dramatically. Just the other day, we reported three deaths under the age of 40. We had been told over and over again by hospital leaders that the age of the -- the average age of the hospitalization is getting younger. And now, a full 35 percent of all hospital admissions. And, again, this is the seventh largest region in the United States, a full 35 percent of all hospital admissions now is attributed to COVID-19.

BERMAN: What's going to stop this?

NIRENBERG: It's going to take a focused effort. I think the doctors, previous, had it right. We've had a number of challenges, not the least of which as we've gotten a lot of mixed messages from politicians at the national and state level about the importance of things, like wearing masks and physical distancing.

And we've had just an overall politicization of this to make people feel like, well, back in April and even May, things were going very well so let's put our guard down. But we know very well that this isn't over until we have therapeutics and we have a vaccine.

And so these minor inconveniences about altering our behaviors a little bit with face coverings and distancing and not going certain places that we know large gatherings will occur, are things that we're going to have to live with. And that's got to be the message going forward. If we're going to enjoy any aspect of life again, we've got to do it with controlling this virus.

BERMAN: What are you considering in terms of stay-at-home orders?

NIRENBERG: Well, we have been amplifying the message of the emergency orders that we have in place. And, recently, the governor has rolled back a phased opening, which was happening very, very quickly, quicker than the data suggested should. The governor has rolled that back.

We've also begun to implement at state level a mandate on masks. And we are vigorously enforcing those orders. We are continuing to look at potential other alterations. The truth of the matter is, this has gotten -- this wildfire is now outside of the fence. It's a lot easier to prevent one than it is to start to contain one that's already outside. But that's where we are. And so we're going to have to deal with that.

And one of the things that we're doing now is, again, amplifying the message and ensuring that we're also making -- ensuring that people take that message into their homes. The challenge is this is going from household to household, outside of the regulatory arm of any government. If people continue to have dinner parties with people who aren't part of their households, this is going to continue to grow and grow and grow.

So the most focused effort that we can do together is to take politics out of it, everybody get on the same page and realize our best tool to fight the pandemic is the same one we had at the beginning, which is public trust, particularly in our medical experts who are giving us the right messages.

BERMAN: Look, I live in New York, and went through what you're going through two months ago, but we were locked down. When it was at its worst, we were locked down. You were too, but things weren't bad there. You're not locked down now and it's this bad. So are you seeing any sign that you're turning a corner or that things are getting better?

NIRENBERG: We have seen a few glimmers of that. And when the rollback happened again -- we opened up. The state opened us up much too fast and much too soon. And so over the last two weeks, we've now instituted at the local and now at the state level mask orders. We've also rolled back the phased openings. So bars, for instance, are closed, restaurants are at lower occupancy. We've made some further restrictions to tighten things down.

And over the last couple of weeks, the one glimmer of hope, I would say, that we have seen is that the acceleration of cases and acceleration of hospital cases has begun to slow. It's too early to say where we are now and if this is a flattening, a bona fide flattening of the curve and going in the right direction, ultimately, but that's the first step.

[07:20:09] And so we need to continue that because the problem with this data is that we're looking into the past. We know that when we look at the data on a day-to-day basis, it is looking two weeks into the past. So it's very hard to judge what the effects of our decisions today are until later.

So we are working to stay ahead of it and overcorrect as necessary so that we can contain this virus.

BERMAN: Well, please let us know how we can help, Mr. Mayor. We appreciate you being with us. We wish you the best of luck going forward. I know this is hard.

NIRENBERG: Thank you very much.

BERMAN: Now, the president continues to say this is all about testing. He is wrong. He doesn't understand that. And overnight, the president said that doctors were, quote, very surprised by how well he did on a cognitive test. Why were they so surprised? What were they expecting? We'll discuss, next.


CAMEROTA: Developing overnight, President Trump revealing that he took a cognitive test recently. He says the results surprised his doctors.



DONALD TRUMP, U.S. PRESIDENT: I actually took one very recently, when I was -- the radical left were saying, is he all there, is he all there. And I proved that was all there because I aced it. I aced the test. And he should take the same exact test, a very standard test. I took it at Walter Reid Medical Center in front of doctors, and they were very surprised. They said that's an unbelievable thing. Rarely does anybody do what you just did.


CAMEROTA: joining us now to talk about this and more is Barbara Res. She's a former Executive Vice President with Trump Organization, and CNN Contributor and Donald Trump biographer, Michael D'Antonio. Great to see both of you.

So, Barbara, last night, we were surprised when the president revealed that he had this very recent cognitive test. We've never been given a good explanation for his unscheduled visit to Walter Reid. Maybe it had something to do with his cognition.

Barbara, you worked with him for 18 years. Have you seen any evidence of a change in his cognitive abilities?

BARBARA RES, FORMER TRUMP ORGANIZATION EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, it's hard to really pinpoint it because I'm not there watching what he is doing, just like everyone else watching on T.V. I noticed some changes in him. One thing, his vocabulary is much less than it used. He seems to be relying on the same words all the time and he repeats himself a lot more than he ever did. So I see those two elements in it.

His ability to concentrate has always been a problem. And I hear people talking about that now, but I knew about that 20 years ago when I would try to present information to him, and to be very (INAUDIBLE) done quickly and certain points had to be made. So that is not very different unless it has gotten worse.

CAMEROTA: That's really interesting, Barbara, and insightful.

Michael, she brings up something interesting. The president has a very limited vocabulary. I mean, it's notable. People have remarked on that he does repeat the same words over and over. It's hard to know if that's a decline, a sign of decline of some kind. What do you see having covered him for so long?

MICHAEL, D'ANTONIO, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I think we're talking about the wrong issue here. The important thing is that the president lies almost with every breath, so you can't trust him when he says doctors told him no one ever performs as well has he did. Well, that sounds kind of crazy to me and I think we should use that common sense test when we consider his claims. He is clearly trying to set up a contest between him and Biden to say, well, I'm the old guy who is in better cognitive condition than other old guy.

I hear from psychiatrists on a weekly basis about a different measure of the president and that's whether he suffers from mental incapacity. That's a very different category and it goes to whether he can perform his job. And in that --

CAMEROTA: But what does that mean? I mean, how is that different than cognitive decline? What do they see in mental incapacity?

D'ANTONIO: Well, that he is not able to think in a way that would let somebody perform as president. That's very different from cognition. Cognition measures whether you understand what's going on around you. He may understand what's going on around him, but most psychiatrists I consult say he doesn't have the capacity to perform any executive job in any organization.

So this claim is just a distraction. We can look forward to the whole campaign being about, well, Joe Biden has lost it. And we shouldn't pay any attention to that.

CAMEROTA: You make a great point, because where are the results of his recent medical records or any medical records? Where are the results of the cognitive test that he recently took?

So, you know, it's funny, I mean, sometimes he calls on Joe Biden to release that -- we would like to see that from Joe Biden as well as President Trump.

So, Barbara, president's niece, Mary Trump, is coming out next week with a tell-all book. One of the revelations in that book is she says that he cheated to get into the college of his choice, that he didn't actually take the SAT. Here is what she writes.

Trump worried that his grade point average, which put him far from the top of the class, would scuttle his efforts to get accepted. Trump enlisted a smart kid with a reputation for being a good test-taker to take his SATs for him. Donald, who never lacked for funds, paid his buddy well.

Your thoughts on that, Barbara?

RES: It sounds like that could happen, viable, but, you know, going from what I heard, the book isn't out yet so I couldn't read it, but it was the SATs in connection with his going to the University of Pennsylvania. And that was two years after he had been school.


So you take your SATs when you're still in high school. So that sort of made me think, I don't know about this. But it's certainly possible.