Return to Transcripts main page


Cases Rise in 35 States as Infections Surge in Florida, California, Texas, Arizona; Florida Shatters U.S. Record for Most New Cases in Single Day; Nurse Leah Carpenter, CEO, Memorial Hospital West, Discusses Florida Hospital "Bursting at the Seams" as ICU Beds Run Low; White House Launches Attack on Dr. Anthony Fauci as He Disagrees with Trump on Virus; White House Officials Send Mixed Messages on Sending Kids Back to School; Washington's NFL Team Dropping "Redskins" Name and Logo. Aired 11-11:30a ET

Aired July 13, 2020 - 11:00   ET




JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everybody. I'm John King, in Washington. Thanks for sharing your day with us.

We begin this workweek headed in the wrong direction and with the president of the United States trying to blame those who work for him and yet escape any accountability for himself.

The coronavirus cases are numbing, 59,000 new cases can on Sunday and 428 new deaths. There's one positive milestone. New York City reporting zero coronavirus deaths over a 24-hour period. It is the first time since mid-March, four months ago, that we can say that.

Most of the country is reporting troubling or at least concerning numbers. And you might think that a president would care to lead us at a moment like this.

President Trump, instead, undermining his own experts again. Team Trump launching a coordinated attack on Dr. Anthony Fauci. That's because the president doesn't like Dr. Fauci's candor about the trend lines. And the fact that Dr. Fauci gets much more favorable press.

Instead of Dr. Fauci, the president today turning to game show host and conspiracy theorist, Chuck Woolery, for his coronavirus message. Re-tweeting a Woolery rant that accuses Trump's CDC, among others, of lying about the coronavirus to hurt the president's re-election odds.

Meanwhile, the FDA now giving fast-track status to two more vaccine candidates. Those candidates at the moment in phase one and phase two trials in the United States and in Germany.

The numbers do not lie. And the numbers suggest you are a lot safer if you embrace Dr. Fauci's concerns over the conspiracy theories of the president and Chuck Woolery. Let's take a look at the numbers, and they are not good. Remember, in

April and May into early June, the curve flattening. This is late June into July and where we are today. Record number of cases, up, up, up. This is the seven-day moving averages. You can see the red line. That's not direction you want to be headed.

If you look at the death count here, one of the mitigating factors, if you will, one of the more encouraging numbers was the death count was going down. But you can see the seven-day moving average of late starting to tick back up. That's something that we will watch as we begin another workweek. Does that blue line keep heading up?

Hospitalizations, remember all the governors who reopened early saying don't look at the case count, our hospital systems can manage this. Well, it was coming down. But that curve, now hospitalizations trending back up, much like the cases. Cases going way up, hospitalizations now starting to track with it. That is a trouble sign as states try to manage this crisis.

If you look at the trend map, 50 states and 50 plans on the reopening. Right. Look at this. I've been gone for two weeks. And 35 states now heading in the wrong direction.

Twelve states -- that's the beige -- holding steady. Only three, only three reporting lower case counts this week compared to last week. They are Maine, New Jersey and Delaware.

But look, a lot of orange. More troubling is the red. Minnesota having a hard week there. This is just a bad map if you look at it right now.

Another thing, the president says more cases because of more testing. Well, that's in part true. But the key is you do more testing, are you stopping community spread? Are you driving the rate of positive testing down?

These states a problem, South Carolina, Florida, Mississippi, Texas. Look at Arizona, nearly 27 percent of the tests coming back positive. What do those high numbers tell you? That you have a community spread problem.

Florida is on the leading edge of this coronavirus surge as you go through all this into the states,

CNN's Rosa Flores live for us in Miami with the latest numbers -- Rosa?

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, John, the Florida Department of Health just released the latest numbers. They are down a bit, but there's no good news here. According to the Florida Department of Health, yesterday, in the past 24 hours, 12,600 cases.

Now here in Miami-Dade County, where I am, the epicenter of this crisis, 24 percent of the state's now more than 280,000 cases are right here in Miami-Dade County. And every metric that you look at is going in the wrong direction. If you look at the 14 percent -- the 14-day average positivity rate,

it's at 26 percent here in Miami-Dade County. The goal is not to exceed 10 percent. They have exceeded 22 percent for the past 14 days.

During the same time period, hospitalizations are up 65 percent, ICU beds 67 percent and ventilators 129 percent.

The city of Miami Mayor Francis Suarez says he's very concerned about these numbers. Take a listen.



MAYOR FRANCIS SUAREZ, (R), MIAMI, FLORIDA: It's inevitable that we're going to see deaths rising in the state. And, you know, we're going to -- we're hoping to see, you know, things improve over the next couple of weeks because we are reaching a critical level.

We have to flatten the curve. We've got to get people to wear masks in public. And, you know, we've got to get control of this.


FLORES: John, as we look statewide, at last checks, 35 ICU hospitals were at capacity in the state of Florida. One of those is in Broward County. So even though Miami-Dade is the epicenter of this crisis, our neighbor to the north is second, accounting for 11 percent of all cases with more than 30,000 in that county -- John?

KING: The numbers numb you when you see them.

Rose, one of the issues in Florida, you've been tracking this from the beginning, has been transparency and the state not releasing certain numbers. You have to go county by county, hospital system by hospital system.

We did finally see some statistics about hospitalizations in Florida. What did that tell you?

FLORES: The state of Florida very quietly released the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations late on Friday. And it's very difficult to tell exactly what the number says because the state did not release historical data.

What I can tell you is, on Friday, that number was 7,000. Today, that number is 8,000, 8,000 hospitalizations in the state of Florida.

But, again, John, the problem here is that Florida is not releasing the historical data, so it's very difficult for us to look at these numbers and analyze them and know exactly which way they are going.

But from Friday until now, Friday they were 7,000 and now it's 8,000 just a few days later -- John?

KING: Rosa Flores, grateful for the latest. And it would be helpful if the state of Florida would be transparent from beginning to where we are now. But we'll keep pushing for that.

Rosa, appreciate the live reporting as the numbers in Florida are troubling.

Florida was on the leading edge of the coronavirus reopening, you'll recall. And the governor was dismissive of those who questioned whether he was doing too much too soon.


GOV. RON DESANTIS, (R-FL): We've succeeded, and I think that people just don't want to recognize it because it challenges their narrative, it challenges their assumption, so they have got to try to find a boogieman.


KING: Governor DeSantis was among those arguing the case counts were not so important because the state's hospitals had plenty of capacity to handle the challenge.

Our next guest says her hospital is stressed, describing their emergency room and the intensive care unit as busting at the seams.

Leah Carpenter is a long-time nurse, the CEO of Memorial Hospital West in Pembroke Pines, Florida.

Thank you so much for being with us.

Describe what you mean by busting at the seams. What's the stress you're seeing whether it's the emergency room or the ICU?

LEAH CARPENTER, NURSE & CEO, MEMORIAL HOSPITAL WEST: What I'll tell you is right now I have in house 260 COVID patients. That's out of my 502 beds. So right now, we're at an ICU capacity of 103 percent. And then if you just carve out the COVID ICU, it's at 180 percent. That's a 26 percent increase from last Monday.

KING: So 26 percent increase from last Monday.

CARPENTER: That is correct.

KING: And so when you say you're at 100 percent-plus in these cases can, what do you do? Are you now rolling back so other patients are going to have to stop other services at the hospital? Sending people elsewhere, getting the help you need from whether it's at county or the state?

CARPENTER: So what we've done are a few things. We've cancelled all elective procedures. That allows us to redeploy staff into our high- priority areas. We've reallocated some of those spaces, for example, preoperative areas, post-operative areas, and created expanded ICUs there.

We've set up tents outside of our emergency rooms to help with the capacity in the emergency room. We've converted many non-traditional areas in the building to patient care areas. For example, auditoriums, conference rooms, classrooms.

We've done -- we've contracted with travel health personnel to help us with the staffing concerns that we have.

So we're doing everything that we can. And basically, we're creating space at every inch of the building. As needed.

KING: The effort is remarkable, and we applaud you for it.

I want to show you the case numbers by state. If you look at yesterday, new cases on Sunday, 15,300 in Florida. Texas and California and Arizona and Georgia. That shatters New York at the peak of -- of what have we thought was the peak at pandemic, it shattered that.

What are you seeing in your hospital when new patients come in? Are you seeing a group of people who are part of one reckless careless event, or are you seeing evidence that it's widespread and getting worse community spread?

CARPENTER: Honestly, I think that's a combination of both. I think you have -- we may have had some lackadaisical behavior throughout the state where people were not wearing masks or social distancing.

I also think you probably had people who are just tired of being isolated and have gone and met with family and spent time there. And, unfortunately, that is not helping the spread of this really awful disease.


KING: Lastly, I want to come back to the resource question. A lot of us had hoped that we were past asking these questions. But when it comes to ICU beds, when it comes to ventilators and PPE, do you have what you need, or are you back at a crisis point?

CARPENTER: I have what I need right now. But I will tell you that if the surge continues as it has been over the next few weeks, we have significant concerns about just beds alone, ventilators, oxygen supply, dialysis equipment, personnel protective equipment.

Again, I say to you we have enough right now. But if the surge continues, I have significant concerns about whether or not we'll have what we need.

KING: Leah Carpenter, appreciate your time. And more importantly, we appreciate all the work you're doing for people in your community. And we'll keep in touch as we go through this, see if that situation gets better or worse in the days ahead.

Grateful for your time. Thank you.

CARPENTER: Thank you. KING: Thank you.

Up next, the president says don't blame him but blame the people who work for him.



KING: The president is in charge of the government but says you shouldn't listen to its top infectious disease expert or the agency charged with fighting pandemics and other major health emergencies. It's bizarre management behavior at any time and confusing, maybe even dangerous, in the middle of the coronavirus surge.

The new attack on the CDC is part of the president's morning Twitter rage. Chuck Woolery was the first host the "Wheel of Fortune." And don't forget "The Love Connection." He now peddles conspiracies.

And the president retweeting this Woolery rant saying, "The CDC is in cahoots with the media and with doctors to hurt the economy and the president's re-election chances."

The president is enlisting other help in his attack on one of his other experts. Notice Dr. Anthony Fauci missing from this statement made by the Trump political adviser that the White House demanded be the top spokesman at the Department of Health and Human Services.

Michael Caputo says, "We have great faith in the capacity of all our scientists and doctors on the Coronavirus Task Force to impart necessary public health information. People like Admiral Giroir, Surgeon General Adams and others are carrying these messages very effectively."

With me now to discuss is the White House correspondent at NPR, Tamara Keith, and White House reporter at the "Washington Post," Toluse Olorunnipa.

Tamara, I'll start with you.

It's just a very interesting management -- it would be interesting if the president of NPR, for example, said, we're a great organization, just don't listen to any of the reporters. What's the president trying to do here?

TAMARA KEITH, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, NPR: Thankfully, the head of NPR isn't saying that.


KEITH: The president has his own ideas about the best way to handle this. And the president himself has repeatedly downplayed the severity of the virus. He's -- before he was pushing for businesses to reopen and states to reopen, pushing governors to reopen. Now he's pushing for schools to reopen.

And -- and he tends not to like anything that conflicts with the message that he is pushing, that everything is OK or going to be OK.

And, you know, I was talking to a White House official today who said that they do have lots of scientists, not just Fauci -- and that seems to be the message, albeit, at times unclear, that has been coming out of the White House this weekend, is they are sort of tired of Fauci being the be-all and end-all and would like to amplify other voices, too.

In part, because Fauci is not anybody's scientist except his own. He goes out there and tells it like it is.

KING: Look, everybody, including people in the media, everybody, every governor, every mayor, every president -- we only have one -- and everybody who works for him has made at least one mistake during this. That's just a fact. We're human beings and it's a novel virus.

However, Toluse, what's interesting here is, to Tamara's point, if you were the president, you would think you would want a diversity of opinion and advice. But when you communicate publicly in the middle of a pandemic, you would think you would like to all be on the same page.

Listen to Admiral Giroir, who, remember, early on, when testing was horrible, he said testing was great. Maybe his credibility should be questioned as well. But turning on his colleague, Dr. Fauci. Listen.


ADMIRAL BRETT GIROIR, ASSISTANT SECRETARY FOR HEALTH, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES: I respect Dr. Fauci a lot but Dr. Fauci is not 100 percent right and he also doesn't necessarily -- and he admits that -- have the whole national interest in mind. He looks at it from a very narrow public health point of view.


KING: I guess infighting has been a trademark since day one of this administration, but that is remarkable.

TOLUSE OLORUNNIPA, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT, "WASHINGTON POST": Yes, it's absolutely remarkable to see someone on the Sunday shows essentially trashing one of their colleagues, not only one of their colleagues but one of the highly respected scientists that we have in government, the top infectious disease expert in the entire government, someone who has worked in the government for more than 50 years.

And if you look at polling, is seen as credible by a much larger portion of the American people than some of the politicians who he's been talking about including the president.

The fact that we have White House officials who are going on background and putting out official statements trashing Dr. Fauci and saying he's had a long list of mistakes in the past, it shows sort of the chaos that this administration response has devolved into.

And it shows that even as the number of cases continue to surge, they don't have a plan. The plan is only to attack the top infectious disease expert in the government. And there's no actual plan for getting control of this disease and even getting control of the messaging.

And that's where we are this far into the virus and we're still seeing a record number of cases on a daily basis.

KING: And again, the idea that he's president of the United States, if he truly believed Dr. Fauci was a problem, he could ask him to leave the government.

If he believed the CDC, as he re-tweeted Chuck Woolery today -- and again, at home, I would stick with the doctors and not Chuck Woolery -- but the CDC is in cahoots with doctors and are all lying about the coronavirus to hurt the president.


The history of the Fauci relationship is well known, Tamara. Let's listen to a bit of it.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, I think we're in a good place.


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. So, well, we now have 37 million tests that 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.


KING: It's inexplicable sometimes, even if you think the president doesn't want to read the brief and study the virus, he is on the ballot. You would think, for his own political chances, he would understand this better at this point.

I went through the numbers earlier. The president said, oh, it's just testing. If you look at the positivity rates in places like Arizona, like Texas, like Florida right now, it's scary.

KEITH: Yes. There's been a disconnect between the president and the top scientists, and not just Fauci, scientists all over the country who are not part of the government. It's an ongoing disconnect where the president wants things to be

better than they are and seems to be trying to will them that way just by saying it, which doesn't actually work.

And the challenge that you see is that, as long as the virus is raging, as long as parents are afraid to send their children to school, the economy can't fully recover. You know, you can't fix one without fixing the other. That's a major problem.

KING: And to that point, I want to sneak this in. We say speak with one voice. Listen to the secretary of education and Admiral Giroir here on the question every parent is asking: Are my kids going back to school in a couple of months?


BETSY DEVOS, EDUCATION SECRETARY: I am urging all schools to open and to be providing their students a full-time education. We all acknowledge that that could and may well look different in a certain area that has a flare-up of the virus.

GIROIR: When we get the virus more under control, then we can really think about how we put children back in the classroom.


KING: I get that this is almost an impossible question to answer, Toluse, because things change every day. But, again, there's just differences in the tone and the nuance between people who work for the same president.

OLORUNNIPA: Yes, that's exactly right. Obviously, all Americans want children to be in schools safely. But not having a plan -- to go back to the fact that the administration doesn't have a plan.

We heard from administration officials on the Sunday shows for several minutes, and there was no plan that was revealed about how the federal government is going to help students get back into school safely at a time when virus cases are surging and in many parts of the country.

So there does seem to be lack of a broader plan because the talking points that, yes, students need to be back in school and the president saying that the CDC guidelines are too tough and not having new guidelines and not really knowing where the administration stands on its own guidelines.

I think that that lack of clarity is only going to make it harder for students to feel safe going back to school.

KING: It's a question we'll try to answer as we go through the summer.

Toluse, Tamara, good to see you both. Appreciate your reporting and your insights.


Up next for us, it's official, the Washington Redskins are looking for a new name and a new logo.



KING: Proof today that activism matters and "never" doesn't always mean never. The NFL's Washington Redskins are changing the team name and the team's Native American logo, a name and logo many found offensive, racist.

Here's the statement from the team. "Dan Snyder and Coach Rivera are working closely to develop a new name and design approach that will enhance the standing of our proud tradition-rich franchise and inspire our sponsors, fans and community for the next 100 years."

The team took the name Redskins 87 years ago. The new name will be revealed at a later date.

Let's bring in Donte Stallworth, a veteran wide receiver who played a season for the Redskins.

Donte, thanks so much for being here.

Let's be honest up front. This is not altruism. This is capitalism. Dan Snyder finally, after saying seven years ago, never, never would he change the name of the team. That's what he said seven years ago.

FedEx, Pepsi, Nike, Bank of America among those saying, you want our sponsorship, you've got to change the name. Still, progress?

DONTE STALLWORTH, FORMER NFL WIDE RECEIVER PLAYED 2011 SEASON WITH WASHINGTON: You know what, growing up, I was a huge fan of the NFL. I had pictures all over my wall, posters all over the house. And I was blessed to play in the NFL for 10 years.

I played for Washington in 2011. And the thing I noticed initially about their team was they are extremely passionate fan base.

And it wasn't until later that I -- that I learned that the team's original owner, George Preston Marshall, had -- was the last to integrate in the NFL and was essentially forced to do so by the Kennedy administration. They threatened to evict him from RFK Stadium, which was federal grounds.


And, you know, when we start to learn about these things, it changes your mind about the team's direction and where they have been since the 87 years that Marshall changed the name.