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Trump Support Dropping In States Where COVID-19 Is Surging; Administration Launches Coordinated Attack On Dr. Anthony Fauci; Florida Logs Second-Highest Daily Total For New Cases; Atlanta Mayor: My Asymptomatic Child Gave Me Coronavirus; Trump Pushes For Schools To Reopen Despite Surge In Cases. Aired 12-12:30p ET

Aired July 13, 2020 - 12:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[12:00:00]

JOHN KING, CNN HOST: And they have not been able to bend the numbers yet. The facts on the ground, coronavirus just drowning out, any message they're trying to spread?

JEFF ZELENY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: No question and especially among women voters among senior voters and these are the issues that they're particularly worried about. When you talk to Trump campaign advisers they're alarmed by senior voters.

About a week or so we were down in Florida talking to some of these voters who voted for Trump four years ago who say they will not again and that is because of the handling of coronavirus and other matters. So it is certainly a worrisome sign in these states and there are other states that fall into these categories as well, John.

KING: It is a very different dynamic when you are the incumbent particularly in the time of crisis. Jeff Zeleny, thank you so much.

ZELENY: Sure.

KING: And welcome to our viewers here in the United States and around the world. I'm John King in Washington. Thank you so much for sharing this day with us. This country on a dangerous upward curve more than 59,000 new coronavirus cases in the last daily count. You can see right there how many records were set just over the past week.

And here you see why, 35 states trending in the wrong direction? Twelve there in beige there holding steady. The Governor of Texas predicting a very tough week ahead for his state, his state happens to be among the four hottest of the hotspots along with California, Arizona and Florida.

Today Florida reporting more than 12,500 new cases, a slight drop from the record 15,000 cases reported on Sunday. On this date, a month ago, Florida recorded just 2,500 new cases. The President's reaction to this is not to chart a new course, to flatten the curve, instead it is to blame others and re-tweet conspiracy theories in the process.

Let's bring in our White House Correspondent Kaitlan Collins. Kaitlan, the numbers up across the country the numbers up in Trump states across the country. The President not saying this is what we have to do to make it better the President instead picking fights with experts and his agencies?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes. The experts who have offered these pretty sobering warnings about where the country is right now and where it is headed? A very different message than what you've seen from the President and we saw this play out where the President went after Fauci directly this weekend in several instances.

Of course you saw the White House circulating that opposition-style bullet point list of thing that is Fauci said at the beginning of the pandemic compared to what he saying now. Without noting statements like that that happened from the Surgeon General who wants urged people not to wear masks or even the misstatements and false claims that the President himself has made John.

And then look at what the President was re-tweeting this morning? Chuck Woolery, the Former Game Show Host, of course the President re- tweeted him and where he said everyone the most outrageous lies are ones about COVID-19. He said everyone is lying.

The CDC, media, Democrats, our doctors not all but most that we're told to trust. Chuck Woolery said I think it's all about the election and keeping the economy from coming back, which is about the election. I'm sick of it.

That is some that the President promoted to his 80 million followers I believe is how many he has. And of course we should note that those around the President are also criticizing Dr. Fauci privately as well as they're circulating these posts.

But then what's really notable is to see what someone who left the White House is now saying about COVID-19. That's Mick Mulvaney, John, the President's Former Chief of Staff who not that long ago remember just back in February at the end of February was saying that the media was hyping stories about coronavirus in order to bring Trump down.

Well, now he is writing an op-ed for CNBC where he is voicing concern about COVID testing. And in part he said that any of the next bills that we're seeing from Congress should be directed at the root cause of our recession, dealing with COVID.

He said I know it's not popular to talk about in some Republican circles but we still have a testing problem in this country. And he goes on to cite firsthand experience with this by saying his son was tested and they had to wait five to seven days to get results and his daughter wanted to get tested but was told that she didn't qualify.

And Mulvaney goes that is simply inexcusable at this point in the pandemic. Of course someone who worked in the White House and was part of the circle that was downplaying this early on is now voicing his own concerns about the level of testing.

Saying if we don't ramp it up people aren't going to feel comfortable getting back to where they were before on this John. And that giving them a check is not going to make that difference. They need the peace of mind with testing is the argument that Mick Mulvaney is making.

KING: And there was so much happening Kaitlan, and sometimes the numbers are so overwhelming. We don't stop sometimes for the important context because there is so much that is to hear that from Mick Mulvaney saying we still have a testing problem is stunning anyway given he is a Former White House Chief of Staff, he is Budget Director at the White House.

But even more so because the President keeps saying the reason we're seeing these record case counts in all of these states is because we're doing too much testing we're too good the President says. Mick Mulvaney says, no, sir.

COLLINS: Yes. He is saying that is not the case that our testing is just not there. And then the other concern that we have heard from some of the health experts is how long it taking to get these results back because they're basically saying it's useless to take a test and then go about your life and wait seven days to find out your results.

Unless you're quarantining and acting like you've got COVID-19 during that period and taking those precautions then you're going about and you don't know if you're symptomatic? And if you're spreading it or what is happening there if you're asymptomatic?

And so that's really the question you know this is someone who worked incredibly closely with the President. Who is now saying testing is not where it needs to be despite the President saying that the testing is the best in the world in the United States.

[12:05:00]

COLLINS: And that those problems have been solved when clearly we know from around the country they haven't.

KING: We should start the countdown clock on when there is a tweet from the President responding to that and I'm guessing it won't be pleasant. Kaitlan Collins live us with the latest in the White House. Thank you so much.

And if you look at the map it's not just Florida, it's not just Texas, it's not just Arizona, it's not just South Carolina. Let's take a look at the map is depressing right now when you look through the cases. These are just four of the hot spots Texas, Arizona, Florida and California.

If you're Arizona you're happy you're down here you're still not great. Your cases are going up and look at this Florida is yellow, California is blue, Texas is green. California coming down a little bit in recent days a seven day moving average but something to watch in this week ahead as state by state by state we see troubling numbers.

Do these keep going up or can they somehow flatten the curve? One of the things early on we were told was it well at least the death rate is coming down. We'll sadly that is not the case in a number of the states too. California again trickling down as we enter this week. Let's hope the seven day moving average of new death continues there. But you just look at the lines they tell you what you need to know? Green is Texas, yellow is Florida, the pink is Arizona all heading up in terms of the number of deaths as well.

And I want to bring in hospitalizations too, remember these Governors said when they re open don't look at the case count we got this. We can manage this in our hospitals. This is just Texas you go back here May 1 was the first phase of the re opening.

May 22nd the bars reopen with 25 percent capacity. Here you see as the line starts to go back up the Governor here in late June closes bars down. Again on July 3rd there was a mass mandate went into effect.

What we have seen is you do things. There's a lag, things change. The question is now they have mask mandate will it come down? If you look at these Texas numbers it's stunning to look at. I'm going to stop here for a minute there are more to talk about.

But I want to bring in our Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta. So Sanjay when you see things here you see a reopening and you say let's wait a few weeks and there you see. The case count starts going up.

In this case it's hospitalizations going up. So now you see the mask mandate is it reasonable to expect or is it just a hope that because you do have new mitigation efforts that perhaps this will start to come down? The Governor of Texas says not this week he's predicting even a worse week than last week?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Right. I think it will come down hopefully and I think that there's good reason for optimism there but it's not going to happen right away. Just as you say John, there's a lag here with all of these things that you just mentioned which makes it very different than I think how people are used to visualizing that?

People think of a hurricane, they can see it coming. They can see when it hits? It's very clear they can see when it departs with this type of storm if people want to use that sort of metaphor. It's very different there's these lag times.

And frankly I think people still haven't gotten used to it. It's hard to get used to this idea that what looks fine now the weather looks clear outside everything is fine. You don't you don't see it coming. You mentioned John I think it's very interesting these death rates have gone up.

And this is predictable because you saw the case county, you saw the hospitalizations. You saw the death rates and nobody obviously wants to see those death rates go up. I do think we've learned a little bit John.

We've learn how to better care for these patients? You know we realize the ventilator may not be as critical a tool as we originally thought. Even simple things like pruning the patient understanding in the use of high flow oxygen is going to make a difference.

The fact that the demographics are younger is going to make a difference. But still I mean that if you do the math here you're still looking at a fatality ratio in this country of somewhere between 3 and 5 percent. That's much higher than many other places around the world. So we've still obviously got to bring that death rate down.

KING: Right and one other thing we have to do Sanjay. Unfortunately I would say is hold accountable the people who said one thing weeks ago and are now saying different things. Now are we seeing different experiences anyway right now.

One of them is the State of Florida where the Governor said you're looking for a boogie man. I got this. This is hospitalizations we're finally seeing some numbers hospitalizations now going up in Florida. He said we can reopen the case count will go up but we got this.

We'll see how this trend line goes? And another thing we heard a lot of it is that what we're seeing more cases because we're doing more testing? But that's not always necessarily true. Look at these two lines here.

This is Florida is your pink line, New York is a green line. New York is doing more testing. Florida is doing more testing. But New York had a peak of cases way back on April 15th. It's still doing more testing but it's not peaking again in cases because they have flattened the curve.

If you look at the State of Florida yes, they're doing more testing but their positivity rate is skyrocketing. So it's not just the testing it's getting us more cases it is community spread correct?

DR. GUPTA: Absolutely, without a doubt unequivocal yes. And the count - it may take it even a step further as you do more testing as you see with the green line the case count should actually come down not up.

More testing should equal fewer cases not more cases. It's just very simple John and just building on what Kaitlan Collins was saying as well. I think when we go back and look at this and I remember being on your program back in the early March even late February.

[12:10:00]

DR. GUPTA: The original same here I think it's all going to have revolved around testing. It's the testing issue we weren't testing enough in the very beginning. We are still not testing enough and we still don't have eyes on this problem overall.

And I think everything else has derived from that original sin John. We just still don't know exactly what we're dealing with here?

KING: We'll see how the numbers - hopefully they turning in the other direction in this work. But we'll keep watching them. Dr. Gupta, I appreciate your insights as always. Up next for us, a closer look at Florida, the cases continue to soar. Some hospitals report sadly they're running out of ICU beds. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: To say Florida's coronavirus case numbers are going in the wrong direction is quite an understatement. Today the state reporting more than 12,500 new coronavirus cases that's the second highest daily total this comes on the heels of a record shattering 15,000 plus cases reported on Sunday.

[12:15:00]

KING: Hospitals are warning now that their ICU capacity is dangerously running low. Here with me to discuss Florida situation is Dr. Charles Lockwood a Senior Vice President of University of South Florida Health also Dean of the Morsani College of Medicine. Doctor Lockwood, thank you so much for being with us.

I just - when you look at these numbers, 15,000 yesterday, 12,000 plus today, I know we have been told repeatedly by the experts it is not just the case count but you're starting to see the hospital stress as well. Where is Florida? How big of a problem, crisis? What's the right word?

DR. CHARLES LOCKWOOD, SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT OF USF HEALTH, TAMPA: Yes well, it is complicated. We have had a 5 now 5.4 fold increase in cases since June 10th. We have had about three fold increases in hospitalizations and about 2.5 fold increases in deaths. Each death is terrible but it is a different epidemic than hit New York.

We have a much younger population being diagnosed and we're much better prepared. Obviously we have had three months to prepare so we do have a lot of surge capacity. When you get those numbers of the ICU they don't really reflect all the emergency ICU capacity that hospitals have created.

For example, Tampa General has 87 additional ventilators available which we haven't begun to use yet. But the most striking thing is our case fatality rate which has dropped and dropped. It is now to 1.5 percent so that's cases, deaths over cases.

It's one of the lowest in the country and in fact in Tampa, in Hillsborough County, today as of a few minutes ago it dropped to actually less than 1 percent. We have a case fatality rate less than 1 percent so a lot of that's reflecting the younger population, most of the folks that we're diagnosing are between 15 and 44.

Most of the folks in the hospital, in the ICUs, are between 55 and 85. So the other thing is we're much better able to take care of them in the hospital. We have Remdesivir. We have Dexamethasone; we have Convalescent Plasma Therapy and we do much better job of ventilating.

There are couple of other reasons why I'm not as pessimistic as maybe some folks that you have heard. One is that we seem to have peaked about a week ago in the emergency department visits for COVID-like illnesses and also, for influenza-like illnesses.

The other is that our horrible test positive rate which was 20 percent 10 days ago actually was 20 percent even on 7/8, July 8th, has now dropped to about - around 11 percent. So that's trending in the right direction.

The other thing that is driving the cases is clearly its spread because of the test positive rate. But we did 143,000 tests on Saturday. When the Governor eight weeks ago said that we were going to triple the number of tests done per day in the state from 10,000 to 30,000 a day people thought he was crazy.

We did 143,000 tests on Saturday. So that will drive up cases because we are picking up the pre-symptomatic and asymptomatic cases but we are spreading. There's no doubt about it. The test positive rate had been at 3 percent at one point and now it's at, you know, 11 percent.

KING: Well, I certainly hope you're correct in finding those data point that suggest maybe the worst there is over. At least it is manageable. We'll keep in touch as it plays out. Dr. Lockwood, very much appreciate your insights today. And more importantly best of luck as you battle this in the days and week ahead sir, thank you.

Up next for us, a source close to the White House coronavirus Task Force told CNN some schools should delay their reopening the President doesn't appear to agree with that.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[12:20:00]

KING: President Trump's a strong believer that schools should reopen this coming term meaning in the fall. Atlanta's Mayor just moments ago offering a personal story to explain why many families are anxious about their children getting back into a school environment? Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and her husband both have coronavirus. She spoke at New York Governor Cuomo's daily news conference just a short time ago.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MAYOR KEISHA LANCE BOTTOMS, (D) ATLANTA: My family is an example of what's happening across this country? We had an asymptomatic child in our home for eight days before we knew that that child was asymptomatic and by that time my husband and I had contracted COVID. Unnecessarily I would imagine because we would have taken precautions to protect ourselves.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: Dr. Tina Hartert of Vanderbilt University School of Medicine is running a study right now to determine what role children play in transmitting COVID-19? The study sponsored by the National Institutes of Health.

Doctor, thank you so much for being with us. When you hear the Mayor's story there, she had a child in the house asymptomatic and now she has coronavirus, her husband has coronavirus. As you study this issue, what is your take on kids going back into school? Is that a risk in your view, more of a risk to send them back to school or more of a risk to leave them at home?

[12:25:00]

DR. TINA HARTERT, LEADING NIH HEROS STUDY ON CHILDREN & COVID-19: I think everyone wants children to go back to school. I think there's just no question about that. Even children now who didn't want to go to school actually want to be in school now.

The question is when we can do this and when we can do it safely? And I think this is going to differ in communities. Communities where you have still have widespread circulation of the virus you know places like Florida it is hard to imagine going back to school.

In places that have done a good job of patrolling the virus, a plan of going back to school seems much more realistic.

KING: You have about 2,000 families enrolled if I'm right please correct me if I'm wrong. And you're going back to them every couple of weeks here. What are you learning? What do you know today about the role children are playing and then what questions do you need to answer, not just for the schools debate but as we now watch these states try to deal with an uptick in the cases just to get a better handle on how this is spreading?

DR. HARTERT: Right. So one of the big questions we want to know is how important our children in transmitting this virus? Is it usually adults to children or virus versa? I mean, in general, early on in this pandemic, in fact I mean, if you had asked me I would have said I think children are going to be really important.

As data emerges it appears that especially young children actually may be less likely to transmit this virus, especially asymptomatic children, than older individuals but that's a key question that we need to answer.

So the study addresses this issue because what we're doing is we're looking at transmission within families by sampling families every two weeks so we may know if the child is infected first or parents infected later or is it the parents that were infected first and then children subsequently infected?

KING: It's a critical question, especially as we debate the school reopening issue. We actually should look at cases in the United States by age group right now, a very low among very young children 0 to 4. 5 to 17 right you see there it is up a little bit there it is about 5 percent of the cases. 18 to 29, so more of a college age group is a much higher issue there.

What are your biggest questions as you try now? And when do you think you'll have more answers on your data if somebody picks up the phone and says, okay, what do you know? I'm going to reopen my schools or I'm going to my schools at half capacity or I'm going to rotate kids through, when do you think you will be able to help give us answers and say do this, don't do that?

DR. HARTERT: This study won't answer that question. What it will help us answer is the question about transmission within families. So you know we are talking about units that live really tightly together and if we can answer questions about units that live really tightly together where people aren't wearing masks in their own home and they're not physically distancing in their own home and they're eating at the same table?

I think that will tell us about a lot about how safe it is to have children and teachers together in schools so that's going to help. There is going to be data from other countries it is already emerging in places where schools are opening and I think that's going to help to inform things.

And then there are things that we know work, we know masks work, physical distancing. So when we open these schools, our brick and mortar schools, it is going to be in a different way than we are used to having schools and I think most people are accepting that now.

KING: Doctor Tina Hartert, very much appreciate your time today. And come back when you know a little bit more as you get new data come back let's continue the conversation. Thank you and best of luck.

DR. HARTERT: I'd welcome that. Thank you for having me.

KING: Thank you very much. The National Hockey League taking its first steps to restart play today. The League Commissioner joins us next.

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