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California Shuts Bars, Theaters, Zoos As Infections Soar; Pandemic Author: U.S. Running Out Of Time, Needs Another Lockdown; Testing Coordinator: "Very High" Demand Behind Testing Delays; New York Mandates Travelers From Certain States Fill Out Locations Forms; Maryland Governor Threatens Re-Closure If Restrictions Not Better Enforced. Aired 12-12:30p ET

Aired July 14, 2020 - 12:00   ET



JOHN KING, CNN HOST: That action in Pennsylvania coming of course as many states pass or debate police reforms following a video tape death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. It is the summer of COVID, the summer of protests and now we're at summer time surge in crimes.

What happens in America when the police and the people both come under fire? Don Lemon tonight hosting a special edition of "CNN Tonight" with an in depth look at crime, policing and your safety that's 10:00 pm eastern right here on CNN.

Top of the hour. Hello to our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm John King in Washington. Thank you so much for sharing this day with us.

Philadelphia today says big public events like parades and festivals off limits for at least another 6 months. California likewise rolling back the Coronavirus clock saying it's spiking case count necessitates a return to stricter guidelines designed to stop the spread.

Florida is another case study in our troubling Coronavirus summer surge. The state reporting more than 12,000 new cases over the past 24 hours that is the second highest daily total ever. Here in Washington the President and most of his advisers say things are getting better they were turning the corner. Local leaders in Florida disagree and those leaders say the facts are on their side.


MAYOR DON GELBER, (D) MIAMI BEACH, FLORIDA: I can't keep telling people that everything is just fine and not to worry because this is not a virus that response to political speaking points. It's a virus that's going to do what it wants to and we have to - we have to do what we need to.


KING: Florida sadly hardly alone looks at this map or state by state Coronavirus tracking makes clear. A lot of places at the moment anyway more than 30 states 37 states trending in the wrong direction. That's why many states starting to debate rolling back their reopening.

So let's look at California a state you remember early on was hailed for its initial response, now the Governor saying it's time to roll back and re-impose some of those restrictions. Let's just look at what's happening in California?

These a new confirmed cases you see the seven day moving average, remember late March, April and May California was viewed as the national model. But look what's happening now, you see the upward.

A little bit down in the last couple of days, let's hope that holds but you see these numbers skyrocketing here. California has a problem the question is will it keep growing or they're beginning to get control?

When you have more cases just wait a week, you start to tend usually have more hospitalizations and that is what we have seen. A flat line in May into June but from June into July the hospitalization rate in California heading in the wrong direction, heading up.

The new cases timeline remember you go back to the re openings were seen this in every state. Go back to the re openings how aggressive were those re openings? What are the phases of those re openings and then tracked through it?

Stay-at-home order was put back in March, May 8th the first stage of the re opening still flat here right? June 12th the bars and gyms can re open. June 18th a statewide mask order as you starts to go back up. July 13th just this week yesterday the Governor deciding he has to roll back some of the re opening because of this, because the case count heading up.

And if you want to look at a hospitalization timeline again, flat here in the first age of re opening. Things seem to be going okay as the bars and gyms started to reopen. This is June 12th but then look what happens?

It's a little bit of a lag as you get back to reopening, the giant State of California, diverse people, diverse economy and diverse terrain. Stephanie Elam from day one tracking it for us. She is live for us now in California. It's almost - it's a back to the beginning moment almost or at least a backwards moment for California because of that rise in case count?

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Completely and a lot of people here especially in Los Angeles County which is the epicenter of the outbreak in the state were really wondering when we're going to start to see these numbers require that we were going to have some of the stay at home orders put back into place?

To that end if you take a look at the positivity rate within the state over the last seven days it stands at about 7.7 percent. To put that into perspective on June 29th it was at 6.1 percent. And also you're seeing for the COVID patients that are in ICU beds throughout the state there's been a 20 percent increase over the last 2 weeks. This is what they are looking at and the Governor here Governor Newsom has been saying though this is something that he was planning to do if we needed to, to toggle back or use his term a dimmer switch to bring back in these rules so that we can actually see this peak in this number starts to come back down.

But obviously this is just part of it here. Another part of it is also wearing masks. And I talk to an epidemiologist from the University of California, San Francisco. He says we need people to wear masks. That's what we need, everything else after that is frothing.

He says we can't sit there and watch the economy go to hell as he put it or we can wear a mask and start getting people back on their feet and working. But he says people are not taking this as seriously as they need to when they need to do really distanced themselves as well.

On top of that you see that there's these 30 states in at a certain - sorry 30 counties in the state and likely a couple more are expected be added today according to the Governor Newsome that they have been watching and those counties they are now required to actually intensify those lockdown orders.

And so that would mean a fitness centers, warship, homes of worship, houses of worship personal care services, hair salons and barber shops all of those closed once again here.


ELAM: And these hot bed counties like Los Angeles County and so this is what we're watching here. But obviously as Eric Garcetti the Mayor of Los Angeles has said John, we are very close to having to go all the way back to stay at home orders if things do not start to change.

KING: Ominous words all the way back. We will continue to track it. Thank you for the live report Stephanie Elam on top of this for us from the very beginning. Thank you so much. Let's continue the conversation now the Author of the critically acclaimed book "The Great Influenza" says it may be time for another and much larger nationwide shut down.

The New York Times op-ed essay today John Barry warns that hand washing social distancing and wearing masks simply may not be enough. Instead Barry insists more aggressive restrictions are needed and needed fast. Mr. Barry joins us now.

You just heard Stephanie Elam there in California which is often you know the tip of the spear if you will because it is so big. It's our most popular state. It's so diverse in every way. Its people, its economy, its terrain when trends happening California they often later come to the rest of the country. Do you think that's going to happen here that in other states are going to have to say you know what we got to go back to the beginning?

JOHN BARRY, AUTHOR, "THE GREAT INFLUENZA: THE STORY OF THE DEADLIEST PANDEMIC IN HISTORY": Well, unfortunately it could be. It depends on - all of. Obviously in the northeast say they've done pretty well and there's no reason to bank that would not stop that progress. Other plans are privileged this mascara for trade.

KING: A bit of a delay. I'm sorry there's a little delay in the technology. I want to read from you wrote what you wrote this morning which is pretty sober. It's pretty sober analysis and whether people agree or disagree they should read it.

Had we done it right the first time would be operating at near 100 percent now? Schools would be preparing for nearly normal school year. Football teams will be preparing to practice and tens of thousands of Americans would not have died.

This is our second chance we won't get a third. Let me start with the last part why will we not get a third if we don't get it right now?

BARRY: Well, hot weather probably does affect the virus and it does make it most likely harder to transmit and yet we're seeing - pretty, pretty good transmission by the virus. When the weather turns colder and more people are inside it's going to get considerably worse that's very likely.

And you know just to put it in context we all remember what Italy was like? Italy now has 200 cases a day because they didn't do it right and as did most of your and much of the rest of the world. We could have been in the situation Italy is now 200 cases a day have 3 times the population of Florida. Florida has 15,000 cases on Sunday. It is out of control in some places.

KING: I assume so you take some solace in that you are not alone. In this sense if your read you're very sober essay today a lot of it tracks especially in terms of how the federal government has responded to this?

With the four Former CDC Directors writing it at in "The Washington Post" today saying we ran the CDC. No President has ever politicize the science the way President Trump has that's the headline on their article.

In that article they go on to say this public health experts face two opponents COVID-19 but also political leaders and others attempting to undermine the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The four of us led the CDC over a period of more than 15 years spanning Republican and Democratic Administrations alike. We cannot recall over our collective tenure a single time when political pressure led to a change in the interpretation of scientific evidence.

The current President of the United States either doesn't want to read or chooses to ignore the science many times how much of that is a factor in where we are today? The dim place they're --the troubling place we are today in your view?

BARRY: I think it's an enormous part of the problem. Obviously, the federal response was in coherent is still in a coherent six months in. It's off the scale in the preparedness planning for a pandemic no one ever anticipated anything like this happening. Everybody expected leadership in coordination from the federal

government. We haven't gotten it. What leadership we have gotten as is the negatives. I sat up and say undermining science it is not - you can't right create a reopen the economy slowly if people aren't healthy.

It's not either or you know in Italy in Germany in Europe the economies are functioning almost fully because they got control of the virus we are going backwards because we failed to get control of liars and yes that's you know political leadership.


KING: John - or lack there off. John Barry very thoughtful essay today in "The New York Times" Again whatever your position watching at home, I urge you to read it. As we go through this conversation John I'm grateful for your time today. Thank you very much.

BARRY: Thank you.

KING: Up next for us cases are surging hospitals are strained and now add in this testing labs are overwhelmed creating long delays now for Coronavirus test results.


KING: As we deal with a record number of Coronavirus cases around the country, there's another problem, too. Listen here this is the White House testing coordinator telling us getting your results back might mean a long wait.


ADMIRAL BRETT GIROIR, WHITE HOUSE CORONAVIRUS TESTING COORDINATOR: There is a lag time in some of the big commercial laboratories because the demand is so very high. For those commercial labs we absolutely want to reduce those times. We would like to get that within 48 hours and we are really exerting a lot of effort to do that.



KING: One of those major lab firms Quest Diagnostics cites the rapid spread across the south, southwest and the west is reason now for long delays getting test results. The company hopes to increase its capacity 125,000 test a day to 150,000 by the end of the month it says.

It says right now for priority patients like those in acute care or hospital workers showing symptoms you can get your results back in just one day. But for non priority cases people have to wait a week sometimes, more. Crystal Watson is a Senior Scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security.

Crystal thanks so much for being with us. I get frustrated and tell me if I'm right or if I just don't understand this we're in five plus months into this. We hear someone like Admiral Giroir I'm not questioning his goodwill or good intentions saying we have to ramp up. Why aren't we ramped up?

CRYSTAL WATSON, SENIOR SCHOLAR, JOHNS HOPKINS CENTER FOR HEALTH SECURITY: We ramped up quite a bit but unfortunately the demand is outpacing the supply now because we're having these large surges that in cases that I think we got complacent and we weren't ready for them. So we still need to continue to ramp up demand. This is really bad news for controlling the spread of this virus.

KING: It is bad news. I just want to show we can show you this is just four places around the country. We have Texas, Arizona, Florida and California you've started to see lines for testing because you have this surge in cases in some places explosions of cases, in some of the states and people want to get tested.

What - this is Scott Becker Chief Executive the Association of the Public Health Labs says it's not shortages of any one thing, it's now spot shortages of all of them. Clinical labs need more swaps, chemical reagents, viral transport media, test kits, machines to process the test, staffing to run the machines.

I get that we're now doing 60,000 plus cases a day on average as opposed to 30,000 back in April should whether it's the state issue or the private labs of the federal government should not they have anticipated this demand or at least prepared for it just in case?

WATSON: We should have anticipated the demand but we should have not let these epidemics get so out of control in the first place. I think in some places we really didn't take the measures that were needed to continue to limits right after we left it the stay at home orders.

And so it's really hard to keep up with this sort of demand when you have this exponential growth in cases.

KING: And is there from your public health perspective potentially damaging domino effect if you will? If people are waiting 5, 6 or 7 days for their test results - if they are end up being positive that means you're waiting 5, 6 or 7 days to start the contact tracing to see who they might have been exposed to?

Now the CDC website says self quarantine, contacts are encouraged to stay at home and maintain social distance from others 14 days after their last exposure to the infected patients, in case they also become ill.

But if you - even if you're going to follow that advice you might not know you're supposed to follow it if you're waiting right? Because somebody you know somebody you came in contact with is waiting for the test results?

WATSON: Right. Yes, if we're doing contact tracing 5, 6 or 7 days later it - many cases it's probably too late in those contacts if they are infected have gone out into the community and possibly spread to others even unknowingly. So it's really, really detrimental to trying to break these chains of transmission and control the spread of the virus. I think public health officials need to ask people who are awaiting tests to isolate at home certainly and even have their household contacts at the very least quarantine at home until they get the test results back.

KING: Crystal Watson again I appreciate your insights as always. As we deal through another I was about to call a hick up but it is much more worse than that given the scope and the scale of the problems at the moment. Crystal Watson thank you so much for your help.

WATSON: Thank you.

KING: Still ahead for us I'll talk to Former Members of the New York City Health Department about what's working in New York as they try to keep the trend line down?



KING: Florida today logging another Coronavirus milestone and a dubious one. The state reporting 132 deaths from Coronavirus in the past 24 hours, the largest 1-day total so far breaking a record the state set just 5 days ago.

From one of the current epicenter of the virus to the previous epicenter now, New York's positivity rate at the moment just 1.5 percent. The state taking what many thinks are drastic measures and in an attempt to keep it that way.

Governor Andrew Cuomo announcing anyone arriving in a New York airport from certain states has to fill out a travel form, giving their contact information. Where they've come from? And where they intend to go or face a $2,000 fine?

New York currently requires travelers from 22 states to quarantine for 14 states. Four states added just this morning but will the tactics work? Doctor Isaac Weisfuse, he is the Former Deputy Commissioner for the New York City Department of Health. Doctor Isaac Weisfuse, thank you so much for being with us.


KING: You can put it on paper and you can say there's a fine. Can you mandate this behavior? Do you have the infrastructure? Does the state have the infrastructure to enforce it? Or is it just really a read you say it I better be good?

SR. WEISFUSE: Well, first of all you know I don't think you can keep a virus from any jurisdiction. Viruses don't respect political jurisdiction or these kinds of rules and regulations.

[12:25:00] DR. WEISFUSE: And there's lots of history especially in New York City where something that happens around the world comes to New York in very short time. I think you know the intention is good here from the Governor.

However there are lots of loopholes. And so you know people can drive into the state. People - I don't think this applies to Newark which is a one of the major airports for the metropolitan area. And so you know I think it's well intended however it's far from an airtight seal.

But I think realistically you know we have to be prepared for you know people coming in and dealing with that.

KING: And we all lived through this. You served more closely than I. You're there but I remember going through this you know it sitting here for a couple hours a day back in February, March and April we can show you the numbers.

First is the seven day moving average of cases in New York that was a long hill to go up and it was a slow hill to come down? And yes, that would be if you look at the far right of the screen you know New York down way down low.

We're averaging in the last seven days nationally more than 60,000 cases. When you go back to the middle of April, New York was a half or close to a half at least a third of the national cases sometimes. Now look at that just a sliver.

The question is you made the point the virus does not respect borders. Can you keep it there or as you see these spikes in Florida, in California, in Texas and elsewhere is it inevitable that the virus circles back?

DR. WEISFUSE: Well, I think the virus will circle back. The question is can we you know damp it down so to speak. So we're going to have to be really good at our testing and really reduce the turnaround times which are lane saying in New York City.

And we're also going to be very you know mindful of the contact tracing parts. So if we got to be really aggressive there in order to keep the infection rate down. And also ask people to quarantine themselves if they come from one of these high risk areas which will help with that.

KING: And so let's - we talked a bit about the top. But I just want to listen to how the Governor puts it when he says look if you want to come into New York you got to follow certain rules. Listen here.


GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): You must give officials at the airport your form as to where you came from and where you're going before you leave the airport? If you leave the airport without filling out the information not only can you have a $2000 fine you can then be brought to a hearing in order to complete mandatory quarantine, okay? None of this is pleasant but we've gone through this before. (END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: You can see. Number one I think to your point, I think the Governor would concede this is hard to enforce and so it's asp rational as much as it is regulation. But you can see his face at the end.

If you're the Governor of New York having lived through March and April and you see where you are now you must be horrified looking around the country and seeing the case coming up in just knowing how Central New York is to global travel international travel?

DR. WEISFUSE: Yes, I agree. And you know we have been going through it in New York City you know how horrible the outcome of a big outbreak is with many, many people being hospitalized and many, many people dying?

So that's the last thing we want to get back into. So I think you know it's a very well intentioned issue, very well intentioned order. I just think that we're going to have our hands full if we think that they're always going - it's always going to happen that way.

People don't always travel by plane and there are many, many states out there that are having bad outbreaks now. So we have to be.

KING: Dr. Isaac Weise, I appreciate your time. A little trouble with the technology at the end sir. We're grateful for your insights. We'll keep an eye on this as we go through it, see how New York does? It is flat at the moment, we can see if we can stay that way.

And this just in for us as well, another state worrying about the very same issue. The Maryland Governor calling out local leaders directing them to do a better job in enforcing mask and compliance laws in bars and restaurants.

Governor Larry Hogan just tweeting moments ago "We cannot allow a small segment of willful violators to squander our collective efforts in jeopardize our state's recovery" In a letter to county leaders Hogan is now threatening to close bars and restaurants again if enforcement of mask regulations does not improve.

Coming up for us the Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, his primary day in Alabama. Sessions is trying to win his old Senate seat back as President Trump tries to keep him from coming back to Washington.