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Trump Falsely Compares U.S. To E.U. On Reopening Schools; Former White House Chief Of Staff Calls Coronavirus A Hoax In February; Update On Coronavirus Responses From Around The World; Mark Parkinson, President & CEO, American Health Care Association, Discusses Their Letter To Governors Asking Them To Rethink Allowing Visitors To Nursing Homes; New Cases Force Lockdown Of U.S. Marine Corps Bases In Okinawa. Aired 11:30a-12p ET

Aired July 14, 2020 - 11:30   ET



SEUNG MIN KIM, WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT, "THE WASHINGTON POST": We saw the conflicting guidelines from the -- from the president conflicting with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last week.

And also the question of funding. These schools are going to need a lot of extra help to get all those materials, to get the extra staff, the extra resources to be able to reopen up again, if they do want to try to do that.

And there's very little guidance from Washington, whether it's from the administration or dollars from Congress at this point on how they will be able to do that.

JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR: Olivier, not the first time that we've had the conversation, but given where we are, 60,000-plus new cases a day on average for the first time -- I think we just lost Olivier. We'll try to get him back.

Seung Min is still with us.

Seung Min, at this time, 60,000-plus new cases can on average. We're above that average for seven days in a row, a seven-day average.

You heard Admiral Giroir, in the intro, say we have to get the virus under control. Translation, it's not under control at the moment. That's one of the president's scientists.

Just yesterday, the president's -- one of the president's top aides, Dan Scavino, social media director, putting on Facebook this cartoon mocking another one of the president's experts, Dr. Anthony Fauci.

At a critical moment, you have the administration again in the circular firing squad or backstabbing, as opposed to say, OK, we've got a problem. What do we need to do about it?

KIM: That's a chief problem right now. What the public needs right now at this moment is to be able to have that confidence, that information coming from public health experts in the administration. But that's really hard to do when you have top White House officials actively undermining the same public health officials.

I mean, you're looking at that cartoon that was being spread by Dan Scavino, one of the top White House advisers. You had President Trump in his public comments saying last week, pointing out where Dr. Fauci had been wrong in his previous assertions about the virus.

And to be clear, I mean, Dr. Fauci and his defenders have acknowledged that he was wrong in some points earlier on in the pandemic, for example, maybe saying that, you know, downplaying how helpful masks could be, for example, or downplaying the possibility of person-to- person contact earlier on.

But the president has also been wrong at many points in the pandemic. He had declared that this would be eradicated by Easter. It's obviously several months beyond Easter by now.

And there's very little control being taken by the administration to try to contain this pandemic. The numbers are growing. And there's still -- there's really kind of no -- kind of no talk about how this will be contained.

At a time when the president and the administration seem to be -- seems to want to be moving on to reopening of the economy, resuming campaign events and reopening schools.

KING: Olivier is back with us.

Olivier, I'm not going to ask you to repeat it. But you know the old saying about karma.

I want you to listen to Mick Mulvaney. This is the president's former chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, back in February: "When people in the news business were talking about the threat of this thing called the coronavirus" -- Mick Mulvaney says --


MICK MULVANEY, FORMER CHIEF OF STAFF: Look, the press was covering their hoax of the day because they thought it would bring down the president. The reason you're seeing so much attention to it today is that they think this is going to be what brings down this president. That's what this is all about.".


KING: Hoax of the day. It was back in February.

Mick Mulvaney writing an essay for CNBC yesterday, complaining, saying, we have a testing problem in the United States, that one of his children -- and we certainly hope his children and family are doing well -- had to wait five to seven days for the result of a coronavirus test.

If you need a test and it's important for your family, I guess it wasn't the hoax of the day.

OLIVIER KNOX, CHIEF WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT, SIRIUSXM RADIO: No, that's right. The United States obviously has ramped up testing enormously. And it's a must-have, a must-do in order to get through this. But I think Mr. Mulvaney also knew back then that it -- that it wasn't a hoax.

Remember, the White House has been testing people around the president for weeks and months. And so now that he's in a slightly different position, he can come forward and said we've got a testing problem, which, by the way, is something that we've heard from governors, again, for weeks and months.

And one of the dynamics in the political sphere in 2020 has been how the president has been separated from quite a number of Republican governors.

I mean, just go look at -- go look at Tate Reeves, the Mississippi governor, look at his Twitter account. You'll see a long thread about how to need a mask, about how herd immunity is not a workable option, about how not wearing a mask could or would do to Mississippi economy and its health care system.

You'll see a dramatically different message from folks like that, Republican Governor Mike DeWine, of Ohio, and Governor Hogan, in Maryland. It's been very, very striking.

That goes hand in hand with the president and the administration downplaying the CDC guidelines on reopening the schools. Which, by the way, I read them. They aren't that binding and they aren't that strict.


KING: Right. They are fairly common sense, actually, if you go through and read the documents. It's an excellent point. But the president doesn't want to acknowledge the reality and the facts and the science.

Olivier Knox, Seung Min Kim, appreciate your insights.

Up next for us, some global perspective that matters right here at home. The United States military now restricting movement of troops in Okinawa because of dozens of new COVID cases.



KING: New spikes in COVID-19 cases are prompting some governments around the world to reimpose restrictions.

Our look at the international headlines now begins with David Culver, in Beijing.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) DAVID CULVER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Here in China, we have learned two experts from the World Health Organization are currently in Beijing right here in China's capital taking part in a source tracing study of sorts.

Now they have flown into and are in quarantine as is procedure here. But we do expect them to meet with Chinese counterparts during their time here, scientists, to better understand the origins of the novel coronavirus, which has become increasingly politicized over the past several months.

This is an animal expert, one that focuses specifically on animal- human interface and an epidemiologist.

One would expect them to ultimately go to Wuhan. However, as of now, we're told they may not be doing much case study in the field. This is just going to be focused on listening and learning, as one WHO expert put it.

Going forward, however, this group is considered a preliminary advanced team. So a larger group of experts would likely come in and take part in a more in-depth study to better understand how this pandemic started.

David Culver, CNN, Beijing.

KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Here in Hong Kong, the city has reported 48 new COVID-19 cases, of which 40 are locally transmitted cases.

Last night, Hong Kong's top leader, Carrie Lam, announced a slew of new measures, including order of control that new travelers coming into Hong Kong must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test before boarding.

Also social distancing. No more social gatherings of more than four people. And no dining-in services at restaurants between 6:00 p.m. at night and 5:00 a.m. the next morning.

It will be compulsory to wear masks on public transport. And starting tomorrow, Wednesday, Hong Kong Disneyland will be closed for a week.

Hong Kong has been a pandemic success story. But despite near universal use of masks, the virus has resurfaced here in a serious way, and the city is yet again forced to take action.

Kristie Lu Stout, CNN, Hong Kong.

IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Here in Okinawa, I'm watching how the U.S. military in Asia is dealing with the threats of coronavirus.

All masks all the time. Those are the rules for more than 35,000 U.S. Marines and their family members on a network of bases on the Japanese island of Okinawa. They are under virtual lockdown there after an outbreak within their ranks of dozens of new cases of coronavirus. All the more dramatic because Okinawa had not seen any confirmed cases

of COVID-19 for the entire months of May and June and the first week of July.

Now there are at least 99 cases across Japan, across different branches of the U.S. military, prompting the governor of Okinawa to express shock and doubt about current infection protection measures employed by the U.S. against the pandemic.

Ivan Watson, CNN, Hong Kong.


KING: Coming up, many nursing homes now beginning to allow visitors again. That raises concerns about possible coronavirus trouble.



KING: The American Health Care Association is now asking governors to think twice about how they plan to reopen nursing homes, of course, a well-known hot spot for COVID-19 cases.

In a letter to the National Governors Association, the group is calling for additional resources saying, quote, "Nursing homes and assisted living communities cannot stop the virus by ourselves, not without testing, personal protective equipment, staff-supported funding, and not without support from the public health sector."

Joining me is the co-author of that letter, Mark Parkinson, the CEO and president of the American Health Care Association, head of the National Center for Assisted Living.

Mark, it's good to see you again.

As you're asking the governors for help, I want to put the map up on the screen. So 28 states and the district of Columbia are now, at least on a limited basis, allowing visitors back to nursing homes and long-term facilities.

We've been talking for the past several months about the coronavirus crisis in those facilities. Is it safe? You obviously want to see your loved ones and family members, but is it safe?

MARK PARKINSON, PRESIDENT & CEO, AMERICAN HEALTH CARE ASSOCIATION, & DIRECTOR, NATIONAL CENTER FOR ASSISTED LIVING: It's safe if it's done right. So, first of all, you have to have a community that's not having a massive increase in COVID, which, unfortunately, does not describe most of the United States right now.

But if you are in a state where the number of COVID cases is declining and the virus is getting under control, then, under limited circumstances, it is safe, as long is at equipment is available. Everybody has masks, everybody has gowns and they can keep six feet apart, it's fine. But it's not fine when there's a shortage of equipment or a shortage

of testing. And, unfortunately, that's what we're seeing in a large part of the country.

KING: Well, that's -- it's sad that you say those words because those are the conversations we were having four or five months ago, shortages of equipment, shortages of urgency and attention to the supply chain, if you will.

If you look at the numbers, they are depressing. But almost 12,000 of these facilities with known cases across 44 states. We don't have data from 50 states, but almost 12,000 facilities with known cases in 44 states, nearly 290,000, 283,000 cases, and 56,000-plus deaths. That's a sad number.


And 12 percent of cases across 43 percent of states are in these facilities and 44 percent of the deaths. That last number is numbing, 44 percent of the deaths in these states, in these facilities.

Do you have -- you're writing a letter to the governors, which tells me you think you need more, more public discourse, more public resources on this.

Do you have the attention to the issue that you need? Are you worried that you're maybe losing focus to a big conversation like reopening schools?

PARKINSON: Let me start out with a little bit of good news. You're right. All of those numbers are sobering. But the good news is we have demonstrated that when the long-term care facilities have the right equipment and testing, the outcomes are much better.

If you look at the numbers in June, the number of new COVID cases in nursing homes dropped by more than 50 percent. In fact, 83 percent of buildings reporting zero, no new cases, at the end of June.

Unfortunately, we are at real risk of that progress being undone because we've seen this massive increase in COVID in the south and the southeast and California. It's very hard for there to see a massive increase in the community without it showing up in nursing homes.

And then you compound on top of that this enormous demand for equipment not just in the health care sector but every part of the economy. Now nursing homes have a shortage of equipment. We still have a lack of testing availability.

So we have made a lot of progress. Tens of thousands of people recovered in nursing homes. But we are at risk of losing that progress.

KING: At risk of losing that progress so you write the governors for help. What do you need and when do you need it? PARKINSON: We need point-of-site testing. There are the machines out

there where you can get tested immediately and get a result. You know? We now see them employed by sports leagues and other parts of the economy.

The priority needs to be long-term homes, in nursing homes and long- time assisted-living facilities. We shouldn't make these machines available to anybody until they're available in those facilities.

We have had good talks with the administration. They're trying to source those machines right now.

But until we get them, we have a real problem because it's still taking over five days in many facilities to get test results. And we can't beat the virus if we don't know who has it.

KING: Excellent point there.

Mark Parkinson, appreciate your insights and expertise. We'll continue this conversation in the days ahead.

Now shifting to another big focus, the military now dealing with spiking numbers of coronavirus cases.

Let's bring in Pentagon correspondent, Barbara Starr.

Barbara, we hear earlier about Okinawa but it's not just there. This is a problem.

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: It is not. It is growing, John. The military thought for some months that it would be somewhat protected from any spike with a relatively young, relatively healthy population inside the ranks. But right now, they are seeing a spike.

So far, just halfway into July, there's about a 60 percent increase in the ranks in positive COVID cases, 1,700 additional positive cases just since July 8th. Right now, 10,554 positive cases inside the U.S. military.

The good news, if there is, is that hospitalization still remains very low.

Why is this happening? They are seeing some spiking in the same places as civilian society, across these southern hotspots, Florida, Texas, California, Louisiana, Arizona. These are the places where it's spiking in communities. And, of course, the U.S. military lives and works in communities across the country.

The Air Force now has had to reinstitute in five bases largely across the south stricter health precaution regulations. They had eased up somewhat. Now they see the spike. They are clamping down again.

This is not the only thing the military is having to deal with on coronavirus. Now, in the last couple of weeks, there are about 760 military medical personnel that have been called in to help with hospitals, civilian hospitals largely, across the country who need help.

They did it in the New York spike. They're now back in the field, doing it again, trying to help civilian medical care -- John?

KING: Important perspective both on the numbers and that health at the end.

Barbara Starr, appreciate your reporting from the Pentagon. Thank you so much.


Up next for us, communities call for more nationwide police reform. Pennsylvania proving you can get things done.


KING: In Pennsylvania, just moments ago, the governor, Tom Wolf, signing two new police reform bills into law. One requires officers to undergo mental health screening after a use-of-force incident. The other sets new standards for job applicants.


TOM WOLF, (D), PENNSYLVANIA GOVERNOR: That will require a thorough pre-empt background check for law enforcement officials. This is going to help law enforcement officials or agencies that -- to identify potential problems in candidates, especially those that might be seeking a job in one agency when they were terminated from another.


KING: That action in Pennsylvania coming, of course, as many states pass or debate police reforms following the video-taped death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.


It is the summer of COVID, a summertime of protests, and now a summertime surge in crime. What happens in America when the police and the people both come under fire?