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Florida Shatters U.S. Record for Most New Cases in Single Day; White House Tries to Discredit Dr. Fauci as Pandemic Worsens. Aired 6- 6:30a ET

Aired July 13, 2020 - 06:00   ET



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Florida continues to grapple with skyrocketing daily COVID numbers and hospitalizations.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ventilator usage has gone up also. We still have capacity, but it does cause me a lot of concern.

ADMIRAL BRETT GIROIR, ASSISTANT SECRETARY FOR HEALTH, HHS: We are all very concerned about the rise in cases, but we are in a much better place. This is not out of control.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We continue to have a real challenge with testing. We are setting records of the type you don't want to set.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Educators across the country are trying to find a way to get students back in classrooms safely.

BETSY DEVOS, U.S. EDUCATION SECRETARY: There is nothing in the data that would suggest that kids being back in school is dangerous to them.

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): We all want our children to go back to school, but they must go back safely.


ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Alisyn Camerota and John Berman.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to our viewers in the United States and all around the world. This is NEW DAY. It's Monday, July 13, 6 a.m. here in New York. Hope you all had a wonderful weekend.

This morning, we are seeing alarming new records in the coronavirus pandemic. Seriously startling figures. But instead of attacking the crisis, the president is attacking the most trusted expert on the science of the virus. He also went golfing, twice.

Florida just shattered the single-day record for positive cases. More than 15,000. No state had -- has had that many cases on a single day since this all began. And this is a uniquely American failure. It did not have to be this

way. The 15,000 cases reported in Florida in a single day, it's more than South Korea has reported since the start of the pandemic, in total, the whole country, over six months, combined.

This morning, 35 states are seeing increases in new cases, all the states there you are seeing in red. Many hospitals in Texas nearing capacity. Some counties there are asking for refrigeration trucks, as morgues begin to fill up. Top officials in Houston are now calling for a new lockdown.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: And John, as the pandemic worsens, the Trump administration is attempting to damage the reputation of the top infectious disease expert in the United States. They're putting out a list of negative research on Dr. Anthony Fauci. In other words, they're using oppo research against their top expert as if he were a political opponent.

A White House official says some of the president's allies do not think that Mr. Fauci has Mr. Trump's best interests in mind.

Of course, President Trump has been wrong on virtually every issue since the pandemic began. He has pushed misinformation for months. You'll remember, he suggested ingesting bleach to cure the virus.

And the president's education secretary cannot answer a basic question about whether schools should follow the CDC's guidelines to reopen.

We have a lot to get so, so let's begin with CNN's Rosa Flores. She's live in Miami with our top story -- Rosa.


Florida shattering its daily record, recording more than 15,000 cases, accounting for a quarter of the total new daily cases in the United States.

Now, here where I am in Miami-Dade County, this is the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic in this state, accounting for 24 percent of the state's nearly 270,000 cases.

Now, as the numbers continue to surge, officials here warn that some hospitals are hitting capacity.


FLORES (voice-over): Florida coronavirus cases surging. More than 15,000 cases announced on Sunday alone, marking the highest daily number of confirmed cases in the state, ever. The test positivity rate in Florida has not dipped below 15 percent since June 25.

Governor Ron DeSantis suggested over the weekend that Florida will not proceed to the next phase of reopening.

GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): So right now, we're not making any changes. Status quo. We want to get this positivity rate down. And as we get in a -- in a more stable situation, you know, then we'll take a look at it.

FLORES: Hospitals in Miami Beach are nearing full capacity.

MAYOR DAN GELBER (D), MIAMI BEACH: 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 healthcare system dramatically.

FLORES: Walt Disney World reopening some parks despite the surge, making masks mandatory and barring anyone displaying COVID symptoms.

Georgia seeing an increase in new cases over the past two weeks, after being one of the first states to start reopening. Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said she was moving the city's reopening back to phase one, telling residents to stay home, except for essential needs.

Governor Brian Kemp calling this merely guidance and said the mayor could not issue her own restrictions.

And in northwest Michigan, this Fourth of July event with hundreds packing the beach causing the health department to issue a possible public exposure advisory, after some partygoers tested positive.

And in Texas, many hospitals are nearing capacity, and Governor Greg Abbott warns that things will get worse in the coming week.

Thirty-five states across the country are experiencing an increase in weekly coronavirus cases, but administration officials continue to downplay the surge.

GIROIR: We are all very concerned about the rise in cases. No doubt about that. And that's why we're meeting regularly. We're surging in assistance, but we are in a much better place. This -- this is not out of control.

FLORES: And despite warnings from health experts and school officials, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos brushing off the risks of reopening schools.


DEVOS: There is no -- nothing in the data that would suggest that kids being back in school is -- is dangerous to them. And in fact, it's -- it's more a matter of their health and well-being that they be back in school.

FLORES: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi firing back, saying DeVos is putting children and teachers at risk and ignoring the science.

PELOSI: I think what we heard from the secretary was malfeasance and -- and dereliction of duty. We all want our children to go back to school. Teachers do, parents do, and children do. But they must go back safely.

(END VIDEOTAPE) FLORES: Now, here's the reality on the ground here in Miami-Dade County. The 14-day average positivity rate is 26 percent. The goal for the county is not to exceed 10 percent. Well, the county has exceeded 22 percent for the past 14 days.

As for hospitalizations of COVID-19 patients in the past 14 days, those are up 67 percent. ICU beds, 65 percent, and ventilators, 129 percent.

And Alisyn, I just checked this morning. Thirty-five ICU hospitals in the state of Florida are at capacity. Seven of them are right here in Miami-Dade County -- Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: Oh, no. I mean, those numbers are just jaw-dropping and so concerning. Rosa, thank you. We'll check back with you.

This morning, tensions appear to be growing between the White House and Dr. Anthony Fauci. The Trump administration now openly trying to discredit him. CNN's Joe Johns is live at the White House with more.

What have you learned, Joe?


As coronavirus cases continue to surge around the country, the White House is taking aim at Dr. Fauci. He has been critical of the government's response to the pandemic. He's also contradicted the president's statements from time to time in his TV interviews.

Now, one of the things we do know is that these two men, according to a source, have not spoken in months. And some here at the White House are suggesting Dr. Fauci does not have the president's best interests at heart.

Some of the issues they raise is the number of times they say Dr. Fauci has been wrong on things, things like not needing to wear a mask or the virus does not spread asymptomatically. These are both incorrect. However, they're things we didn't know at the time and now many doctors and scientists had said earlier.

It's important, also, to say the president himself has been wrong multiple times, including suggesting this virus was just going to go away magically and downplaying it, generally, in his statements across the country.

Now, if you look at the poll from just last month, there are indications more Americans trust Dr. Fauci than the president. Sixty- seven percent of Americans said they trust Dr. Fauci. Only 26 percent say they trust the president.

And as an aside, as you know, the president was seen just this weekend, for the first time, at Walter Reed Hospital wearing a mask.

Alisyn, back to you.

CAMEROTA: OK, Joe, thank you very much for all the news from the White House.

So Florida breaking the record for new coronavirus cases. Hospitalizations in Texas and Arizona are surging. Can schools reopen under these conditions? We look at that, next.



BERMAN: Developing this morning, Florida has shattered the U.S. record for the most cases of coronavirus in a single day. More than 15,000 cases in one day alone.

And Texas hospitalizations are at an all-time high. Top officials in Houston are now calling for a new lockdown.


MAYOR SYLVESTER TURNER (D), HOUSTON: I strongly recommend that for the next two weeks that, if I were the governor, we'd just bring things down, shut things down for the next couple of weeks, to -- to take the energy away from this virus.


BERMAN: Joining us now, Dr. Joseph Varon, chief of staff at United Memorial Medical Center in Houston, and Dr. Aileen Marty, infectious disease professor at Florida International University.

Dr. Varon, first to you. We're at the stage of this pandemic where county officials in Texas are asking for refrigeration trucks, because the morgues are getting so full. You heard the Houston mayor calling for a new shutdown, a new stay-at-home order in your city.

What are you seeing? What do you think needs to happen?

DR. JOSEPH VARON, CHIEF OF STAFF, UNITED MEMORIAL MEDICAL CENTER, HOUSTON: Right, I mean, to be honest with you, it's a good idea.

However, if you shut down something, you have to have an educational program that goes with that. What I mean by that is that you cannot just shut down and expect that we're all going to go through the same thing again. You have to have education. You've got to plan ahead of time, so that when we reopen, we do it with a little bit more of more of a social conscience. So people go out, and then they go ahead and, you know, keep their safe distance, wear their masks.

If we shut down, and we do exactly the same thing that we did last time we shut down, we're going to have the same problem that we're having now, where people go out like, you know, there is no tomorrow, and they forget about their social distancing. They forget about the fact that we're in the middle of a pandemic.

CAMEROTA: Dr. Marty, it's not like there's not a model for this. There are successful models for this. New York, this weekend, yesterday, I believe, saw no deaths for the first time. New York state. Connecticut reported not a single death on Friday and Tuesday of last

week. Their cases have come down. In Connecticut, the positivity rate is 0.6, as opposed to, as we've heard in Florida and elsewhere, in the 20s.


And so when -- when the Harris County Judge Hidalgo in Texas says, not only do we need a stay-at-home order now, but we need to stick with it this time until the hospitalization curve comes down, not just flattens, many communities that persevered in that way are reopening for the long haul.

Let's learn from that and not make the same mistake twice. There are models, successful models that could be followed right now.

DR. AILEEN MARTY, INFECTIOUS DISEASE PROFESSOR, FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL UNIVERSITY: Absolutely. There's no question that the -- that what needed to happen during the first lockdown was a buildup of all of those components, including appropriate contact tracing and testing, and having everything up -- up to par; and getting the community to understand how serious the virus is and act accordingly once we -- once we entered, you know, the reopening phase.

We had plans in place that counted on those things being done. However, what we do in our county to get things ready can be messed up by people at other levels. And that's exactly what happened.

There was a lot of false information in some media, making people think the virus was either not important or not serious. And people protesting the use of masks, which is absurd and dangerous.

And when -- we don't -- you know, you need to have the community behind you. And that community needs to understand what's going on. And they need to understand all the ways in which this virus is transmitted. Otherwise, you waste the entire agony of having had the lockdown.

And so, of course, that's -- we're having the emergency meeting today, with the mayor, and we are going to discuss these details, because the mayor knows that this is true. He wants the power to have more appropriate contact tracing and testing. He wants the community to understand what's going on. We've got to get that message.

And we had a major meeting with the League of Cities just last -- on Friday, to get -- make sure that all the cities in Miami-Dade are with us, as a unified front. Because we haven't been a unified front, and that's a problem.

BERMAN: It sounds like what you are both saying is what we need here is science. And what we need to do is listen to what the scientists and the experts are saying and have been saying for months now.

And Dr. Varon, it is notable that we wake up this morning to the president of the United States. How is he responding to 135,000 deaths? How is he responding to the single highest case number in a state that this country has seen?

He's attacking Dr. Anthony Fauci, one of the most trusted experts in the country on coronavirus. What does that do to your efforts to get the facts out?

VARON: Well, I mean, again, my primary issue with all of this is that people are getting conflictive messages. I mean, the media says something, the president says something, citizens say something, world health care organization says something, Dr. Fauci says something, and your viewers are, you know, perplexed. They don't say, who do I believe?

I believe we need to follow the science. I believe we need to follow also the history of what we have done wrong, so we don't do it again.

CAMEROTA: Dr. Varon, Dr. Marty, we thank you very much for giving us the status report of where where are states are this morning. We will speak to you again soon.

BERMAN: So here's a quote from -- from a "Washington Post" article about the White House attacks on Dr. Anthony Fauci. Trump is also galled by Fauci's approval ratings. He's galled by Fauci's approval ratings. A hundred and thirty-five thousand Americans dead. How is that helping the pandemic? We'll discuss, next.



CAMEROTA: As coronaviruses in the United States soar, the Trump administration is attempting to undermine the country's top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci.

A White House official sending a list of Dr. Fauci's so-called mistakes to the media. Of course, President Trump has been wrong about virtually every aspect of the pandemic.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: By April, you know, in theory, when it gets a little warmer, it miraculously goes away.

The coronavirus, which is, you know, very well under control in our country, we have very few people with it.

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 to close to zero, that's a pretty good job we've done.


CAMEROTA: Joining us now is CNN political commentator Mitch Landrieu. He's the former mayor of New Orleans.

Mayor, great to have you here.


CAMEROTA: Let's not forget that President Trump also suggested, well after that, that one way to get rid of the virus in humans is -- was to possibly ingest bleach. And then hotlines across the country -- medical hotlines, doctors' hotlines, hospitals -- lit up with people wondering if they should be drinking bleach.

So the idea that the Trump administration is now sending out what is called oppo research -- I mean, when it's against a political opponent -- about Dr. Anthony Fauci is just -- I mean, what are -- what are your reactions of what they're doing?

LANDRIEU: Well, first of all, it's stunning, but yet predictable. So think about this weekend, writ large. The president has Roger Stone on his shoulder, lifted him up, and he's trying to indict Anthony Fauci, amazingly.


The poll that you guys put up a minute ago tells the tale, though. Seventy-six percent of Americans have really quit listening to the president about coronavirus.

Anthony Fauci has been the gold standard from the beginning. Of course he hasn't gotten everything right. Nobody has. How could you with this pandemic? But for the most part, I think most Americans know that Dr. Fauci has had their best interests at heart, what makes them safe, what's the right thing to do, based on the science.

And it's clear that what the president is thinking about is his re- election. But the numbers -- I mean, the answer is in the numbers. The president's approach has really made us less safe, has hurt us, has put people's lives at risk. You can see this now in the explosion of cases across the country, because we have not done the right thing, based on what the president's words have been. And that's just a shame. It's too bad.

BERMAN: It's more than a shame. Isn't it? I mean, the quote from "The Washington Post," Trump is galled by Fauci's approval rating. The president --


BERMAN: -- is galled by Fauci's approval rating. We just had it up on the screen there. You know, 67 percent. The president is at 26 percent. That's the number the president cares about? That's the number? Not the 135,000 deaths now suffered in this country? It's amazing.

LANDRIEU: Well, you can -- you can pick whatever adjective you want. I don't think you can find one that's bad enough for what the president is doing right now.

I mean, in the nation right now, we're facing not only this pandemic, we have an economic crisis. For those of us that are in the South, we're in the middle of hurricane season. These numbers are spiking and going in the wrong direction. What the president's doing is consistent with every day abusing his power for his own personal interests. And that's what this is about.

And it is really just stunning in its audacity, and it's just wrong. And he's hurting the American people, and he really just needs to stop.

CAMEROTA: Of course, all parents are wondering what's going to happen next month and in September with schools. And so the education secretary, Betsy DeVos, was on --


CAMEROTA: -- some Sunday shows, including with Dana Bash on -- on CNN. And I'll just -- I'll just read to you what she said. She said, "There's nothing in the data that would suggest that kids being back in school is dangerous to them." OK.

The concern is dangerous to other people: to adults, to the teachers, to the parents, to the grandparents, to the lunch lady, to anybody else that they come in contact with. But she omitted that part.

LANDRIEU: Well, I saw that interview. And it -- I was bowled over by it. It was amazing to watch someone who's supposed to be leading our educational systems not know what they're doing, not have a plan, and want to punt every difficult issue down to the local area.

And she -- she is stunningly ignorant about how this particular virus is transmitted. Most of the doctors -- everybody wants our kids to go back to school, but you have to do it safely, and you have to do it in a thoughtful way.

And in that interview, she was asked a number of times, what is her plan? And she doesn't have a plan.

It's the same thing that the president said when we were talking about getting PPE to the ground, and because he didn't have a plan, the governors were made to compete against each other, rising the cost of PPE and not getting this off to our first responders.

This could not be worse in terms of the response. There has to be clear command and control, clear coordination, clear communication, and you have to make decisions based on what the experts tell you here, the scientists. And they're doing the exact opposite. And people are getting hurt because of it.

BERMAN: I think just reading it out loud is a disservice to the verbal gymnastics that were committed on our air. I think we have a little bit of a clip here to play of the education secretary. Listen.


DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Should schools in the United States follow the CDC recommendations or not? DEVOS: 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.


BERMAN: Yes. No "yes," no "no," no advice on how -- all Dana was asking is, if you want to open the schools, how? How do we do it?

LANDRIEU: I saw -- I saw the interview, and it was unbelievable.

Now think about this. The same thing is happening with President Trump and Fauci, and Betsy DeVos and the CDC. That is to say the Trump administration is ignoring their own self-appointed experts. That is exactly what they're doing. That's stunning when you're trying to respond.

I mean, at the least, you would hope to have coordination between the federal, state, and local officials. They can't coordinate between and amongst themselves. And -- and it is a prescription for failure. It's a prescription for getting people killed. It's a prescription for getting people sick, and it's unfortunate.

And -- because this nation has got to listen to common sense and to science in order for us to get out of this very difficult situation we're in.

But it's very clear that the American people has stopped listening to the president on this issue. Generally, they have concluded that, when his lips are moving, that he's lying. And that he is not doing what's in the best interests of the country, but what's in the best interests of what he weirdly perceives to be in his best political interests. But I don't think he's doing the right thing, and I think most American people understand that.

CAMEROTA: Mitch Landrieu, we really appreciate your perspective.