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U.S. Cities Starting To Shut Down, Defying Trump's Pressure; Health Expert Says, Don't Expect Normalcy Until Summer Of 2022; Protester To Florida Governor, You Have No Plan, Shame On You. Aired 1-1:30p ET

Aired July 14, 2020 - 13:00   ET




JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR: We'll keep an eye on this. Shimon Prokupecz on the ground for us Cambridge, thanks so much.

And thank you for joining us today. We'll see you back here tomorrow. Brianna Keilar picks up our coverage right now.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN NEWSROOM: I'm Brianna Keilar, and I want to welcome viewers here in the U.S. and the around the world.

More states and cities are shutting down once again as they respond to the reality of coronavirus infections, even as President Trump pressures the U.S. to stay open and reopen, including places where it would undermine public health.

A damning statement made in a The Washington Post op-ed by four men who used to run the Centers for Disease Control blasting the administration's attacks on doctors and its fight with the CDC over reopening the nation's schools.

Officials at some of the largest school districts in the country are already deciding to hold classes online this fall, listening to science instead of President Trump. The nation's governors and mayors increasingly doing the same, every county in California ordered to stop indoor activities across multiple sectors. The governor is saying a surge in hospitalizations makes this action necessary.


GOV. GAVIN NEWSOM (D-CA): This virus is not going away any time soon. I hope all of us recognize that if we were still connected to some notion that somehow when it gets warm, it's going to go away or somehow take summer months or weekends off this, virus has done neither.


KEILAR: Now, in Texas, where cases have exploded despite last month's pause on reopening, the governor there is resisting urgent calls for a second shutdown, claiming that residents would not comply. The Houston mayor telling CNN that's what's needed.


MAYOR SYLVESTER TURNER (D-HOUSTON, TX): We're moving in the wrong direction. And so this is an opportunity where we have to kind of reassess and recognize that we just need to hit the reset button.


KEILAR: In Florida, a grim milestone, as the state breaks its own record for coronavirus deaths in a single day. Governor Ron DeSantis refusing to implement a mask mandate, a tool in the surgeon general would help to stop the spread. The mayor of Miami Beach saying that he and other local officials may reinstate stay-at-home orders on their own if things don't improve.


MAYOR DAN GELBER (D-MIAMI BEACH, FL): I suspect if in a week or two, this has not changed in any way, then we are all going to do it. And whether or not the governor wants us to or not, we'll do it, the county will do it, lots of the cities will do it. It will just be a shelter in place again.


KEILAR: One infectious disease expert said Miami is the new epicenter of the U.S. crisis. In Miami-Dade County, hospitalizations are up 68 percent, demand for ICU beds roughly the same and the need for ventilators is surging, up 109 percent. And all of that is just here in the last two weeks.

And now you can add staffing shortages to the list of challenges for an already strained system there. 200 employees of Jackson Health System are currently out sick with the coronavirus.

Dr. Mark Supino is an Emergency Medicine Physician at Jackson Memorial Hospital. He is the thick of this. And he returned last week after contracted COVID-19. Thank you so much for coming on to talk to us. You are looking well. How are you feeling?

DR. MARK SUPINO, EMERGENCY MEDICINE PHYSICIAN, JACKSON MEMORIAL HOSPITAL: Thanks for asking. I feel fine. I was very lucky, actually. My symptoms were on the more mild side and so I recovered fully and I'm back at work.

KEILAR: Okay, that's great news. And, obviously, that's what we hope for so many of your colleagues but that may not be the case for a lot of them. You are back now, you're in the E.R. Tell us what is it like? What are you seeing there on the ground?

SUPINO: It's packed. We are filled with patients, day in, day out. We have a lot of COVID-19 positive patients. We have a lot of patients who are sick with other illnesses. We have patients that come in with other illnesses and end up testing positive for COVID-19. So it's a real mixed bag and we are full. KEILAR: How long ago was it that you left when you suspected you had COVID?

SUPINO: I went out of work on the 29th of June. My symptoms started almost immediately. I self isolated and got tested immediately.

KEILAR: How does it compare to then, so about a couple weeks ago now, how does it compare what you're seeing now to a couple of weeks ago when you left?

SUPINO: It's even busier right now. This is sort of the culmination. It's more full, sicker patients and we are just trying to hold our heads above water.


KEILAR: And in the middle of all this, there's 200 workers in the Jackson Health System who are out sick now with COVID. How is the staffing shortage affecting your hospital?

SUPINO: Yes, the staffing shortage is a problem because it's not just about having beds for patients. We also need all the support staff, physicians, nurses and techs to take care of the patients so we really had an even greater shortage previously. We had been hiring many more nurses to help out. We're just trying to get through it. Really, we are just trying to take it day by day and get through it.

KEILAR: Do you think that the state needs to take measures to dial back reopening based on what you're seeing there in the hospital?

SUPINO: Yes, I mean, that's a great question. This is so challenging, right? Because the economy is devastated by shutting everything down, but yet by opening things up, people are getting sick and we can't have a healthy economy with sick people.

I wish I had a better answer. I wish there were a solution that fixes everything and keeps the economy strong. I just don't see it. I just don't see how we get this under control without taking measures to slow things down.

KEILAR: And you are an E.R. doctor and it's worth noting that you still had to wait seven days to get the results of your test for coronavirus. How can the country contain the virus if people are potentially and unknowingly spreading it as they're waiting results for a week or longer?

SUPINO: It's challenging. It's extremely challenging. I think that we've had shortages in reagents and testing and that limits the capability to perform the test. But I think also with the sheer volume of tests being performed, they need to be processed and then those results given back to people.

I was, in a sense, fortunate. I had some of the typical symptoms and so I knew to self-isolate and stay away from everyone else. And that led me to stay home. So by the time I got the result, I pretty much knew that I had been infected. But you bring up a good point. There are a lot of people who may not know or have subtle symptoms that may or may not be COVID and it is important for them to know that they are infected.

KEILAR: Dr. Supino; thanks for joining us. You are really there in the thick of it in Miami, which is the epicenter right now and we're really glad to have your eyes telling us what's happening there. Thank you.

SUPINO: My pleasure.

KEILAR: Now to California, where the situation is increasingly dire. The state has emerged as one of the nation's pandemic epicenters. Cases, deaths, hospitalizations, they have all skyrocketed and it's forcing a second shutdown in the state that will greatly impact businesses in the Southern California region where the state's highest number of cases are being reported.

Beth Bishop owns the Phoenix Effect Gym, which is in Los Angeles. She had to close down her gym after reopening just three weeks ago. Beth, thanks for joining us.

Tell us how you've been dealing with -- you're open, then closed, you're open? How do you deal with this back and forth of the restrictions that are imposed by the county and the state?

BETH BISHOP, LOS ANGELES GYM OWNER: Thank you so much for having me. Well, I think at this point, it's all about mindset, right? So, at this point, we have a choice. We can complain and wish that things were back to normal, how they used to be or we can transform and adapt.

So our gym has done a really great job of pivoting right away, offering online programs, on-demand programs and also in-person options. And so when we heard we had to reclose, we weren't really that surprised, to be honest. So we're just always transforming and coming up with new solutions for our clients.

KEILAR: Okay. So you have a very positive outlook, I will say. There are a lot of businesses that must be all the working out. I can see why everyone says they need to be working out, right?

But a lot of businesses are saying, we can't survive if we're closing and reopening and closing and reopening. How worried are you about that happening to your business?

BISHOP: Well, we are called the Phoenix Effect and phoenix is a very powerful symbol of rebirth and phoenixes don't die very easily. So I'm not super concerned because whether or not there's a pandemic going on, people need to work out and they have bodies. And we are finding ways to transform and adapt to our business.

We have already -- we've always told our athletes from the beginning.


They need to be more flexible. They need to be more resilient. They need to be stronger. So that's how we have to operate our business.

KEILAR: What do you need? What do you need from state and local officials?

BISHOP: Well, I need them to follow science, honestly. The most important thing is that we keep everybody safe and we all work together to beat this pandemic. So we're really willing to adapt and do whatever it takes to make sure that we do our part and help, and keep our athletes safe, of course, and keep our mental health up with great workouts and fun.

KEILAR: Yes. It is so important as everyone is cooped up inside after getting that nice taste of being out a little bit. So, Beth, thank you so much. Beth Bishop, we appreciate you being with us.

BISHOP: Thank you.

KEILAR: One global health expert says, do not expect a return to normalcy until the summer of 2022. He's going to join us live to explain that.

Plus, an official in the Florida governor's cabinet says Ron DeSantis has lost control of the virus. She will join me.

And what the CDC director says will happen if all Americans wear masks for the next four weeks.

This is CNN's special live coverage.



KEILAR: There is no question that everyone wants to get back to some semblance of normalcy. The question is when. And one global health expert is warning that it could take two years until the summer of 2022 for Americans to truly experience normal again. That is what Lawrence Gostin is tweeting and he warns that we still don't fully understand this virus six months into it.

Lawrence Gostin is a Professor of Global Health Law at Georgetown and he's joining us now. Thank you so much for being with us.

This is unwelcomed news. You know this is not popular for people to hear you saying this. Normalcy won't return until summer 2022. Explain this timeline to us.

LAWRENCE GOSTIN, UNIVERSITY PROFESSOR, GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY: Well, I'm often asked this question and I've never been able to figure it out and I don't think anyone did and then it became more clear to me that the probabilities are that the total course of the pandemic would take about two years. We are already nearly six months into it.

The reason is that if you look back at pandemic influenza in 1918, it was about a two-year trajectory. The other flu and other similar kinds of pandemics tended to have that and we do have an epidemic curve that I would expect to happen.

Most people are just thinking either one of two things. They think, well, it will either go away the way SARS did, but it won't go away. I think we are going to be with it, with COVID, just living with it, forever but coping and managing with it forever after a couple of years.

But the reason that SARS left or MERS or other kinds of diseases or Ebola is that they were so terribly lethal. They killed their hosts. But with COVID, it's a kind of perfect virus. It's really significantly harmful to us but doesn't have a high enough fatality rate.

KEILAR: Yes. So the spreading continues on with people who obviously are surviving with COVID.

And, you know, one of the things I've read about you that I found most alarming was that you were part of an international panel last year that evaluated the pandemic readiness of every country in the world and you found that no one was as prepared as the U.S. So what happened here?

GOSTIN: Yes. I mean, that's a real -- we have learned a lot. We found that our very high functioning countries, the ones that have really good health systems and preparedness, the U.S. was first, Europe was close behind, and yet they were all devastated.

And, really, what it boils down to is whether or not we have the kind of government that can actually execute the plan, whether they can actually unleash all of the capacities in the health system and we haven't done that.

We also haven't realized that it also takes a trusting population. It takes a population that will socially distance, that will wash their hands and most importantly that will wear a mask. And if you can get universal coverage on all of those, you do much better. So it turns out that the countries that really were highly functioning didn't do well at all.

And so the lesson learned is that we actually need leadership. It matters and it matters a lot.

KEILAR: Yes. And, look, we have seen for years and years an eroding of faith in institutions by Americans and we are seeing that play out here and also just it is a difficulty that people have in trying to figure out where to turn for answers.

You mentioned masks, Professor. I want to listen to what the director of the CDC is saying.



DR. ROBERT REDFIELD, CDC DIRECTOR: Actually, face coverings work. It's our major defense to prevent ourselves from getting this infection. If all of us would put on a face covering now for the next four weeks to six weeks, I think we could drive this epidemic to the ground in the country.


KEILAR: Do you agree with that? Four to six weeks if everyone in the country wore a mask that this epidemic could be driven into the ground?


GOSTIN: Well, I agree, absolutely, that if everyone wore a mask, we would see a very significant reduction in cases and hospitalizations and deaths. That was one of the core components in the countries that have done well, like South Korea or Taiwan. But it's not the only one. And I don't think we're going to drive this epidemic to the ground for the reasons that I have said.

Also, a lot of people think that, well, once we get a vaccine, it will all go away. And I don't think that's true either. We have to remember that we're not going to have enough doses of vaccines to go around and it's probably a global public good that is the world owns the vaccine, as Tony Fauci said. And in addition, it's not going to be fully effective. We have a vaccine for influenza but we still get influenza every year. And so I expect that to happen.

But mask use, absolutely, we must do it. It's critical and I'm actually talking with states and CDC and WHO and others to see whether or not we can recommend a national mandate for a vaccine. I think just like we did --

KEILAR: For a mask? A national mandate for a mask, you mean?

GOSTIN: Yes, of course. I appreciate that.

KEILAR: That's okay.

GOSTIN: National mandate for a mask.

If you think about seat belts, they weren't popular at the beginning and people were saying, well, I have got my freedom and you can't take away my freedom and I can just do what I want. But if you pass a law, the public understands that we're a nation that abides by the rule of law. So not only do people have an ethical obligation to do it, you know, you help me by wearing a mask and I help you and our families and our communities.

But also, I think, the law would be a useful way of actually driving home the message that, yes, folks, we do have to wear masks and we have to wear them all the time when we're in public.

KEILAR: Professor, thank you for joining us. Professor Lawrence Gostin, we really appreciate your insight.

GOSTIN: Thanks for having me. I appreciate it. KEILAR: One county's board of education is defying the rest of the state that it is in voting to reopen schools without social distancing, full attendance, no masks.

Plus, the president's former chief of staff sounds the alarm on testing even though he called it a hoax when it counted.

And anger at Florida's governor, who is calling the state's surge in coronavirus cases that has made it the epicenter of coronavirus a blip.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Over 4,000 people have died and you are blaming at protesters. You guys have no plans and you're doing nothing. Shame on you.





GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): So I think the -

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're pathetic (ph). There are record breaking cases every day and you are doing nothing.

DESANTIS: So I think --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're falsifying the information and you are deceiving the public. Over 4,000 people have died and you are blaming the protesters. You guys have no plans and you are doing nothing. Shame on you.


KEILAR: That is the sound of discontent, discontent with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis' response to the growing coronavirus crisis in his state.

There are now more than 282,000 confirmed cases and health officials just announced another grim record breaking milestone, 132 deaths reported in one day.

The anger and frustration over the state's handling of the pandemic isn't just coming from the public. One member of the governor's own cabinet is slamming him because of it.

Nikki Fried is Florida's Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services. She is joining us now. Nikki, thanks for being with us.

And you've heard the governor called this surge that you are seeing in Florida a blip. What's your reaction to that? NIKKI FRIED, FLORIDA COMMISSIONER OF AGRICULTURE AND CONSUMER SERVICES: Not at all. The State of Florida is continuing to enter into a very dangerous territory. And s you just saw the anger of one individual, but that's a frustration that we are seeing all across our state. People are scared. And, quite frankly, we have seen very little to no leadership from Governor DeSantis.

At the end of the press conference, he mentioned that he was going to be calling the White House again for guidance of what to do here in the state.

And our numbers are skyrocketing. Not only on the number of individuals who are testing positive but also our positivity rating. We've had no enforcement. The governor opened up too fast against the actual advice of all of our experts across the entire state, then had no enforcement, just arbitrarily went from phase one to phase two, opening up our bars, our establishments all across the state, and so we're seeing this spike.

But the problem is that the governor continues to downplay the seriousness of what is happening here in the State of Florida.