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Florida Shatters U.S. Record for COVID Cases in a Single Day; New York City Marks First Day With No COVID-19 Deaths Since March; White House Tries to Discredit Dr. Fauci Amid COVID-19 Surge. Aired 5- 5:30a ET

Aired July 13, 2020 - 05:00   ET



CHRISTINE ROMANS, CO-ANCHOR, EARLY START: The road to recovery is getting longer in Florida. A new record high case count. Hospitals reaching capacity, but a city that did take early action reaches a much better milestone.

BORIS SANCHEZ, CO-ANCHOR, EARLY START: Plus, the White House taking aim at the nation's top infectious disease doctor. Why the president is going after Dr. Anthony Fauci despite his own major missteps.

ROMANS: And a very big change in the NFL. Washington's football team will officially retire its controversial nickname today. Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. This is EARLY START, I'm Christine Romans. And welcome to you, Boris Sanchez, nice to see you.

SANCHEZ: Thanks so much for having me, Christine, and always a pleasure to see you, even though socially distant. I am Boris Sanchez in for Laura Jarrett. It is Monday, July 13th, 5:00 a.m. on the East Coast.

ROMANS: All right, we begin this morning with a more record highs and a landmark low. Florida shattering the U.S. record for coronavirus cases in a single day. At least, 15,299 reported Sunday, that is the highest single-day number in any state, and reporting is typically lower on the weekends. That 15,000 number in one day is more than Greece and Australia have totaled combined for the entire pandemic.

SANCHEZ: The tests in Florida which can indicate how fast the virus is spreading still hovers nears 20 percent. ICU beds in Miami-Dade County are actually nearing capacity right now.


MAYOR CARLOS GIMENEZ, MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA: We definitely had a, you know, a sharp increase in the number of people going to the hospital. Number of people are in ICU and the number of people that are on ventilators --


GIMENEZ: We still have capacity but it does cause me a lot of concern.

MAYOR DAN GELBER, MIAMI BEACH, FLORIDA: We're going to have to start moving regular beds into ICU beds. So we're clearly being strained at this point. And there's obviously an impact on non-COVID cases which also need to be taken care of. So, this is really straining our health care system dramatically.


ROMANS: But it's a very different story in New York. No confirmed or probable COVID-19 deaths reported in New York City Saturday. That's the first time that's happened since March 11th. Twenty two thousand of 135,000 deaths in the U.S. are in New York City. Saturday's data is preliminary and could change. Still, New York's numbers keep coming down after its slow reopening while Florida is spiking after months of lax restrictions.

SANCHEZ: Yes, and other states are also facing big trouble. Texas reporting its most cases in a single day this weekend, well over 10,000. Texas setting another new record for hospitalizations, too. The governor now warning of another lockdown if Texans do not follow his mask mandate. The mayor of Houston says the time has come.


MAYOR SYLVESTER TURNER, HOUSTON, TEXAS: I strongly recommend that for the next two weeks, that -- if I were the governor, I would just brings things down, shut things down for the next couple of weeks to take the energy away from this virus.


ROMANS: Now Arizona had the highest number of cases per capita in the entire country last week. The state began reopening May 8th, since then, daily new cases are up almost 900 percent, Phoenix is setting records in usage of breathing machines.


MURTAZA AKHTER, EMERGENCY ROOM PHYSICIAN: It almost feels like the new normal, which is not a good new normal to have. Remember, the sickest people don't get sick until a week or two after they get diagnosed with coronavirus. And that's why we're concerned. If it's already bad, what's it going to look like in a week or two? That's really concerning to us.


SANCHEZ: Now several mayors have been asking for a mask mandate. The surgeon general while wearing a mask himself says things can improve and quickly if only people would comply.


JEROME ADAMS, SURGEON GENERAL: We can turn this thing around in two to three weeks if we can get a critical mass of people wearing face coverings, practicing at least 6 feet of social distancing, doing the things that we know are effective. And it's important for the American people to understand when we're talking about the Fall, we have the ability to turn this --


ADAMS: Around very quickly if people will do the right thing.


SANCHEZ: Adams says a mask mandate would work best at the state and local level. Now, this is important to point out. President Trump finally wearing a mask this weekend while visiting Walter Reed hospital after months of refusing to wear one in public.

ROMANS: All right, with the country in the grip of a pandemic, the president of the nation's top infectious disease doctor are not speaking. And now the White House is trying to discredit Dr. Fauci, pointing out mistakes early in the outbreak while conveniently forgetting moments like this.



DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It's one person coming in from China and we have it under control.

We have it very much under control in this country -- very interestingly, we've had no deaths.

TRUMP: You know, in April supposedly, it dies with the hotter weather and that's a beautiful date to look forward to.

People are getting better. They're all getting better.

We're going down, not up. We're going very substantially down, not up. And again, when you have 15 people and the 15 within a couple of days is going to be down close to zero, that's a pretty good job we've done.

It's going to disappear one day, it's like a miracle, it will disappear.


SANCHEZ: Dr. Fauci is frequently clashed and contradicted the president on a lot. Testing, masks, the speed of the development of a vaccine and the overall U.S. response. He was kept off television once again on Sunday, even though, look at this, polls show Americans trust him much more than the president. CNN's Kristen Holmes has more from the White House.

KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it would be extraordinary to see this sort of broad siding of one of the top health officials by the White House in any situation, but it's particularly striking given that it's happening during a pandemic. We had seen this tension between Dr. Fauci and President Trump really start to boil up in public. Now in an official statement from a White House official, when asked about this relationship between the two, between the White House and this leading health expert, they said -- a White House official saying several White House officials are concerned about the number of times Dr. Fauci has been wrong on things.

And then they presented a list here that looks almost like opposition research that we would get if they were talking about someone like Joe Biden or a political opponent, listing out early comments that Dr. Fauci made when talking about the pandemic, that you didn't need to wear a mask or that the epidemic is not driven by asymptomatic carriers.

Things that we heard not just from Dr. Fauci, but from many medical experts early on when we were still figuring out what was going on with the pandemic. But the striking thing again is the fact that in the middle of this pandemic, you are seeing this attempt to actively discredit Dr. Fauci, a leading voice, a top health expert here in the country. Another broad-sided attempt to discredit one of the nation's leading health experts at a time when this country is in a health crisis. Christine and Boris?

SANCHEZ: And Kristen Holmes, thank you for that. Meantime, the Education Secretary Betsy DeVos refusing to say whether schools should follow CDC guidelines on reopening safely. Those guidelines include keeping desks 6 feet apart, face coverings and closing communal areas. DeVos though non-committal at best.


BASH: Should schools in the United States follow the CDC recommendations or not?

BETSY DEVOS, SECRETARY OF EDUCATION, UNITED STATES: Dr. Redfield has clearly said these are recommendations, and every situation is going to look slightly different. And the key for education leaders -- and these are smart people who can figure things out. The CDC guidelines are just that, meant to be flexible and meant to be applied as appropriate for the situation.

BASH: You're asking students to go back, so why do you not have guidance on what a school should do just weeks before you want those schools to reopen, and what happens if it faces an outbreak?

DEVOS: You know, there's really good examples that have been utilized in the private sector and elsewhere. Also with frontline workers and hospitals and all of that data and all of that information and all of those examples can be referenced --

BASH: I'm not --

DEVOS: By school leaders who have an opportunity at education --

BASH: OK, but I'm not hearing a plan put out by the Department of Education. Do you have a plan -- DEVOS: But --

BASH: For what students and what schools should do?

DEVOS: So schools should do what's right on the ground at that time for their students and for their situation.


ROMANS: On "Fox", DeVos repeated President Trump's threat to cut funding for schools that do not reopen. Now, it's unclear if the administration can even do that. Several cities and states are now pushing back start dates over safety concerns. The superintendent of one of the country's largest public school systems has this message for DeVos, you can't put every kid back in school.


SCOTT BRABRAND, SUPERINTENDENT, FAIRFAX COUNTY SCHOOLS: Our default on a normal school day in Fairfax County is 18 inches. Not 6 feet, not 3 feet, 18 inches. We're the size of five Pentagons. You would need another five Pentagons of space to be able to safely accommodate all of the students in Fairfax County public schools.


SANCHEZ: The White House is in a full-court press to reopen schools this Fall despite warnings that coronavirus will make it difficult for them to do so safely. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called DeVos' comments malfeasance and a dereliction of duty.


ROMANS: All right, COVID cases in Florida are soaring, but Disney's doors are back open. How to reopen in the midst of a spiking pandemic, next.


ROMANS: All right, Disney welcomed guests back to the most magical place on earth Saturday. The biggest test yet of a major corporation opening its doors in the middle of a pandemic as cases surge in Florida. Two of Disney's four major parks, Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom reopened with a limited number of visitors, about 25 percent capacity. You may never see such small lines at Disney.

Now, the top Disney Parks executive told CNN, we are in a new normal. Disney trying to prove it can operate safely during a pandemic. Some attractions are closed, no more fireworks, no hugs, enclosed photos with princesses or goofy Buzz Lightyear, Stormtroopers, lines were marked for distancing, but still people bunched up.


One reporter who saw it became uncomfortable actually in a crowded walkway and left. Companies like Disney are under pressure to reopen its revenue and earnings crash. But its reopening coincided with the spiking cases, that's a huge risk -- Epcot in Disney's Hollywood studios are set to reopen later this week, Boris.

SANCHEZ: More states are limiting businesses at bars and amid conversations about reopening schools. Some teachers are shown to have contracted coronavirus in their classrooms. Here's a look at new developments from CNN reporters coast-to-coast.


POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Polo Sandoval in New York where health officials are closely observing three people who recently tested positive for the coronavirus. What's concerning is that these three individuals, according to authorities had traveled aboard a Delta flight from Atlanta to Albany back on July 6th. Those passengers were not symptomatic at the time, and health officials working with the airline right now are trying to do that contact-tracing and to make sure that nobody was actually exposed.

Separately, Governor Cuomo over the weekend also saying that there's been a recent uptick in COVID cases in Upstate New York. Though it's still unclear whether or not that has been directly tied to that Delta flight. What we do know is this comes after health officials have expressed concerns about people leaving the New York state area that is really doing fairly well in terms of COVID numbers, getting sick, and that returning back to the region.

PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN REPORTER: I'm Paul Vercammen in Los Angeles where officials are reporting that the COVID-19 numbers were headed in the wrong direction. In Los Angeles County, more than 3,300 new cases and hospitalizations are way up, 2,093 at last count and about 25 percent of those people are in intensive care units. Throughout the state, similar numbers that are not encouraging.

We're seeing both a rise in hospitalizations and positivity, and now more than 7,000 people have died in California since the outbreak of coronavirus.

EVAN MCMORRIS-SANTORO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Evan McMorris-Santoro at Holbrook High School. The question for Arizona is the same question everywhere else. How do you open school gates like these safely? Three teachers at a district halfway between Phoenix and Tucson thought they knew. They decided to co-teach their online classes together in one room. They wore PPE and they sat at a distance, but it wasn't enough.

All three of them contracted COVID-19. And one of them, Kimberley Chavez Lopez Byrd, 61-year-old teacher died on June 26th.

NATASHA CHEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Natasha Chen in Atlanta. Louisiana has become the latest state to limit business at bars. Governor John Bel Edwards announced Saturday bars would be closed for on-site consumption and that goes into effect on Monday. In South Carolina, Governor Henry McMaster has said that restaurants and bars would be banned from selling alcohol after 11:00 p.m. every night.

He said that is to stem the spread of the virus among young people. Florida had reopened its bars in early June, only to shut them down again a few weeks later after health officials traced a few clusters of cases of coronavirus to people visiting bars.


ROMANS: All right, thanks to our reporters for all of those. Actress Kelly Preston has died after a two-year battle with breast cancer.


KELLY PRESTON, LATE ACTRESS: I don't cry at movies. I don't gush over babies. I don't stretch all during Christmas, five on fully! But I don't tell a man who just screwed up both our lives -- oh, poor baby, that's me for better or worse.


ROMANS: The model turned actress co-starred with Tom Cruise in a 1996 film "Jerry Maguire". Preston's husband, actor John Travolta shared the news of her death in an emotional Instagram post. She appeared in dozens of TV shows and movies, most recently opposite her husband in a film "Gotti". Kelly Preston was 57 years old. We'll be right back.



SANCHEZ: Washington's NFL team reportedly plans to announce it is scrapping its controversial nickname later today. Andy Scholes has more in this morning's "BLEACHER REPORT". Good morning, Andy.

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS REPORTER: Yes, good morning, Boris. You know, Washington's head coach Ron Rivera had said, you know, it'd be awesome to have a new name in place before the start of the season. And it looks like that may very well happen. But according to multiple reports, the team set to announce a name change later on today.

Now, a new name though not expected to be announced. That's because of trademark issues. That's according to sports business "Daily". Now, Rivera has said he's been working with owner Daniel Snyder on a new name and that it would be respectful to native Americans and honor the military. Snyder had once said you can't --

SANCHEZ: Oh, I have lost audio.

ROMANS: All right, we lost his audio. But after growing pressure from sponsors, Snyder has decided it's time to make the move. NFL teams are scheduled to begin training camp two weeks from tomorrow. NBA teams meanwhile are in the bubble at Disney. Lakers teammate LeBron James and Anthony Davis say they will not be among the nearly 300 NBA players wearing messages of social justice on their jerseys when games resume in a couple of weeks.

LeBron says he commends the players who will be putting something on their jerseys, but it's just not something that didn't -- something that it didn't really seriously resonate with his mission and goals. Davis meanwhile says he is also keeping his name on his jersey because it's a reminder of who he is and where he came from.


According to the Players Association of the 29 messages approved, the most popular jersey choice was equality followed by Black Lives Matter. Meantime, Toronto FC's MLS game against DC United scheduled for yesterday morning in Orlando is postponed due to an initial unconfirmed positive coronavirus test for one player and an inconclusive test for another. So still trying to work through this. Fits and starts of reopening sports.

Twenty five minutes past the hour, it sounded like a broken record, but it is a broken record. Florida's cases are spiraling and hospitals are filling fast.