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U.S. Sets One-Day Record for New Cases, 77,000+; Texas Reports a Record 129 Deaths on Thursday; Hospitals in Miami at 95 Percent Capacity; Brazil Now Reporting More Than Two Million COVID-19 Cases: Nations Struggle to Contain Global Outbreaks; India Tops 1 Million Confirmed Coronavirus Cases; South Africa Now Has More Than 300,000 COVID-19 Cases. Aired 4-4:30a ET

Aired July 17, 2020 - 04:00   ET



KIM BRUNHUBER, CNN ANCHOR: Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us here in the United States and all around the world. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM and I'm Kim Brunhuber.

Just ahead, the number of daily coronavirus cases in the United States shoots up again. There were more than 77,000 new infections in the last 24 hours, the highest on record.

And numbers are spiking in other countries, too. Brazil topped 2 million cases and India has just hit 1 million.

Plus, security officials accuse Russian hackers of a cyber-attack on vaccine research centers. We'll hear the Kremlin's response.

The U.S. set another regrettable record on Thursday with more than 77,000 new cases of coronavirus in a single day. The sunbelt, California to Florida, is getting the worst of it. Many hospitals are already filling up. America's top health experts agree it's grim.


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, U.S. NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: We do have a serious situation now. In the southern states particularly exemplified by Florida, California, Arizona, Texas have seen surges that are really quite disturbing. Surges, as you mentioned, that have gone up to over 60,000 cases a day. That obviously is something that we must address.


BRUNHUBER: Numbers growing weeks after most of the country had begun to reopen. To avoid another lockdown, masks in public are now required in more than 3 dozen states. Georgia is an exception. Governor Brian Kemp is suing Atlanta's mayor over the city's mask mandate. The push back is hard to comprehend given that masks are simple, cheap and recommended by some experts but some Americans don't see it that way.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the exact opposite of what we need to be doing. We are supposed to be physically distancing, wearing masks and so all of our medical --


BRUNHUBER: People expressing their displeasure at that County Commission meeting in Provo, Utah. Meanwhile, the Trump White House continues to lean on school districts to resume classes in the autumn. It's a hard sell as parents, teachers and students weigh the risk but the White House is adamant.


KAYLEIGH MCENANY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: When he says open, he means open in full, kids being able to attend each and every day at their school. The science should not stand in the way of this.


BRUNHUBER: Texas was one of three U.S. states to post their highest one-day death tolls on Thursday. For more here's CNN's Erica Hill.


ERICA HILL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A stark reality in Texas. Refrigerated trailers brought in as morgues reach capacity.

EDDIE TREVINO, JR., CAMERON COUNTY, TEXAS JUDGE: I need everybody to help us and do their part because people's lives are at stake. Not just the people who are getting sick now. We've got doctors, we've got nurses that are working to the bone.

HILL: Austin's convention center and this Laredo hotel also being prepped for non-ICU COVID-19 patients. Texas is one of 16 states reporting record hospitalizations. All but two of those are also seeing a rise in deaths.

DR. JONATHAN REINER, PROFESSOR OF MEDICINE, GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY: It doesn't have to be this way. There are straightforward things. It requires leadership but there are straightforward things we can do.

HILL: 39 states are now moving in the wrong direction. Confirmed cases in the state of Florida, more than 315,000 now outpace France and China combined. Miami's hospitals are at 95 percent capacity. ICU beds also pushed to the limit.

FRANCIS SUAREZ, MIAMI, FLORIDA MAYOR: The situation is dire. I don't want to sugar coat it or I don't want to downplay it in any way.

HILL: As cases surge in Georgia, Governor Brian Kemp signing an order extending the public health state of emergency and banning local officials from mandating masks.

KELLY GIRTZ, ATHENS, GEORGIA MAYOR: I'm deeply frustrated today. We believe our local orders can stand and so we're going to fight this. HILL: At least 39 states now require face coverings in public.

Arkansas and Colorado adding mandates today. Target, CVS and Publix the latest businesses to require them for customers nationwide.

DR. LEANA WEN, EMERGENCY ROOM PHYSICIAN: The science at this point is very clear. Wearing a mask can reduce your chance of transmitting COVID-19 and acquiring it by five times.


HILL: New analysis from the CDC finds travel bans came too late especially for New York. The virus was already here. The Northeast hit hard at the start has been holding steady over the past month. New cases in the Midwest declining in mid-June have now more than doubled. The West seeing a similar spike while the South has exploded. More than tripling its daily case count.

WEN: Unlike other countries, we never got COVID-19 under control here. Basically we gave up.

HILL (on camera): Here in New York City which is set to move into phase 4 of reopening on Monday, Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio have warned that likely will not include indoor activities. Governor Cuomo saying he's concerned what he seen in other parts of the country in indoor spaces, bars, restaurants as the virus has spread. The governor also announcing a three strikes and your closed rule. He's cracking down on bars and restaurants that are not abiding by social distancing and reopening measures put in place. And said that egregious violations could result in an immediate loss of their liquor license.

In New York, I'm Erica Hill, CNN.


BRUNHUBER: All right, let's hear from Dr. Darragh O'Carroll an emergency room physician in Honolulu, Hawaii. Thanks so much for joining us. Now you wrote about this epidemic in March and you wrote here --

Listen to your public health officials because in order to avoid a healthcare system collapse, we must all act swiftly and with unity.

So clearly the action hasn't been swift and there's been no unity. How surprised are you by what you're seeing, and how worried?

DR. DARRAGH O'CARROLL, EMERGENCY ROOM PHYSICIAN: Well, thanks for having me, Kim. I am surprised in the lack of unity that's been shown by our leadership across the country. You know, you got the governor of Georgia who's, you know, mandating that you can't have masks.

And all the way back in March here in Hawaii we kind of realized that this is one of the best things we can do to combat this illness. We don't have adequate treatments. You know, somebody gets really sick we have something that may sort of help but there is no cure. And so the cure is to prevent the transmission of this. And so, when we have states not allowing the best and most effective thing that we have to keep this from transmitting from person to person, to our families, it's disheartening. And so, what I wrote back in March is sadly coming true. And other countries have, you know, quite frankly far surpassed their ability to control this virus the way the United States has.

BRUNHUBER: Now you're on the front lines there. Are there any cases that have stayed with you that you still think about at night?

O'CARROLL: Yes, you know, the ones that always kind of remind you of either a family member or ones that are traveling away from their families. And quite simply, when somebody does get sick, their family isn't allowed to be by their side. It's just too high of a risk for their family and also to allow them into the hospital. And so, any of our sick cases, all of these really, really hard discussions about quite frankly life and death has to be had either over the phone or Face Time. And you know, people can't have their hands held by their loved ones and it's absolutely tragic. And it's heartbreaking to see anybody go through that.

And you know, I just urge people, especially my generation, I'm 35, all the young people out there who think that they're not invincible, you are, you're mortal. And you are -- the more that you're out there not wearing masks and partying really and hanging out with all of your friends without properly socially distancing, the more that you're going to transmit this virus to the ones that you love. So I really, really urge them to take this seriously.

BRUNHUBER: That's a really important message because so many young people are getting infected now. And you yourself are young. I mean, how do you actually get that message, that very eloquent message you just said there. How do you actually convince people who are young and feel invulnerable?

O'CARROLL: Repetition. You know, there is an info-demic out there. In the age of social media opinions are flying rather than facts and scientific knowledge. And so, I'm hopeful that the more that people here, the more that see and hear the same thing that masks work, social distancing, or physical distancing works. And we shouldn't be hanging out in large numbers of people. The more that they hear that hopefully some of it will sink in and some of it does and unfortunately, some of it isn't. And so, just got to continue to try.

BRUNHUBER: Now I'm interested here you, you know, long before this pandemic you consulted on the Netflix docu series, "Pandemic, How to Prevent an Outbreak." From what we're seeing in the U.S. right now it's clear many public officials weren't watching that.


We've certainly had plenty of experience dealing with pandemics through history, which is chronicled in the series. But we don't seem to have learned from that. Why has this caught us so flat footed?

O'CARROLL: That is a very, very complex question. But my work on that series made it kind of surreal that the series was filmed all throughout 2019 and was actually released on Netflix, the six-part series, middle of January, and it is timed with the blossoming of this virus out of Wuhan. And it's kind of gave -- warned me a head start in recognizing the signs of, you know, when China was locking down and building their own hospitals that this is a very, very serious illness and it turns out it was.

And I think it's just a lack of belief of expertise in our medical professionals. And that you know, hey, look, you may hear your physician or Dr. Anthony Fauci recommend something, but because you have the freedom or belief to believe something else, it's one of the great things about the country, but when it comes to science and the health and this virus, the more that we ignore the science, the more that we are going to feel it's repercussions. And that is exactly what's happening. People are ignoring the science. And I really, really hope that they just turn around and listen.

BRUNHUBER: Absolutely. Well, thank you so much for coming on we really appreciate it. Dr. Darragh O'Carroll in Honolulu, Hawaii. Appreciate it.

O'CARROLL: Thank you, Kim.

BRUNHUBER: Well, on top of the pandemic, extreme heat is making matters worse in the state of Arizona. The CNN weather center forecasts a high today in the state capitol, Phoenix, of 109 degrees Fahrenheit, that's 43 degrees Celsius. As one ER doctors explained to our Don Lemon, heatstroke and coronavirus can make a dangerous combination.


DR. MUTAZA AKHTER, EMERGENCY PHYSICIAN, VALLEYWISE HEALTH MEDICAL CENTER IN PHOENIX: It's gotten extremely hot in Arizona. That people coming in with heat strokes, that people who are coming in with infections like they did always even before the pandemic. And on top of that you've got the COVID patients. There are people who are waiting in line to get tested and are fainting, literally, while waiting to get a test and are coming to the E.R. because ironically, they're waiting for a test and fainted.

So you're getting these patients still coming to the E.R. We're backing them up in emergency and we're doing the best we can to take care of them. But despite all of that, you know, we still have the highest positivity rate in the country. The percent of tests that come back positive are the highest in the country still which is very widespread in the community. And I don't know when this is going to level off.


BRUNHUBER: Then 134,000 confirmed cases according to Johns Hopkins University. Maricopa County, where Phoenix is located, has the third highest case number of any county in the United States.

When we come back, Brazil's coronavirus numbers are rising quickly and many critics pin the blame squarely on the President. Details next.



BRUNHUBER: Six months after the first reported death from the coronavirus, the global death toll is rapidly approaching 600,000 people. India just marked its 1 millionth case. Brazil has twice that number and counting. CNN's Nic Robertson reports.


NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR (voice-over): Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro announcing he tested positive again for COVID-19, saying he's doing better. But his country isn't.

His anti-lockdown speeches helped thrust his Latin American nation to second worst in the world, after the United States, surpassing two million cases Thursday and 76,000 deaths.

Fellow Brit nation, India, also in the worst throws of the pandemic. Third in the global ranking of cases, and more than 400 million people there, reentered lockdown conditions this week.

And on yet another continent, Africa, South Africa facing rising caseloads overwhelming, under-resourced hospitals. Some staff short of PPE, refusing to show up, fearing for their lives.

Developing nations are being the hardest hit. Latin America and the Caribbean the worst, 3.5 million infections, 150,000 deaths.

Peru, which this week reopened domestic flights, second to Brazil, nearly 4,000 new cases Thursday.

In Chile, some reason for hope. New vaccine trials could begin August.

Half a planet away in Japan, fears of a second wave. Tokyo going onto the highest state of alert as hospitalizations rise.

Elsewhere in Asia, Hong Kong facing a possible third wave, over 60 new cases Thursday with social distancing measures eased.

Australia's Victoria state, also facing a new wave of infections, had its worst daily rise, 317 cases.

Meanwhile, Europe on the downside of its first wave, facing rising unemployment. More than 600,000 lost jobs in the U.K. alone, as experts forecast nearly 120,000 U.K. COVID deaths this winter. Local, not national lockdowns here becoming the norm. And finally, the P.M. agrees to an independent inquiry into his handling of COVID-19.

BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: Of course, Mr. Speaker, we will seek to learn the lessons of this pandemic.

ROBERTSON: This as some leaders facing protests over their handling of COVID-19. For several days, Serbs in Belgrade took to the streets, angry at their government's handling of lockdown.


And in Israel, P.M. Benjamin Netanyahu facing protests as a second COVID-19 wave buffets his tiny nation. He promises massive government handouts as infection rates hit a new daily record.

In Spain Thursday, the nation paused to remember their COVID-19 losses. As much-needed tourists to nations got drunk, ignored social distancing, forcing a resort to shut.

Nic Robertson, CNN, London.


BRUNHUBER: India is the third nation to see more than 1 million cases behind the U.S. and Brazil. That milestone came as India also hit a new daily record. CNN's Vedika Sud has the details from New Delhi.

VEDIKA SUD, CNN PRODUCER (voice-over): On March 24th, India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the country's first lockdown to counter the spread of coronavirus. India had recorded over 500 COVID- 19 cases and 10 deaths until then. Three and a half months later according to Johns Hopkins University, India has the third highest number of cases in the world.

Dr. Rajesh Parikh who has coauthored a book on the pandemic says India's 1.3 billion population is just one of the many reasons for the rising numbers. He says India needs to aggressively ramp up testing.

DR. RAJESH PARIKH, CO-AUTHOR, THE CORONAVIRUS: There are the unique challenges in India the inequity in healthcare, the penetration of testing services. So, there are multiple variables but if there is one that we could clearly identify, I would still say it is testing.

SUD: While India's capital New Delhi has recently reported the highest COVID-19 numbers among cities across the country, its government claims the situation is slowly improving.

Delhi was expected 225,000 cases by the 15th of July but we are in a much better situation than what the mathematical projections were indicating, says Delhi's chief minister Arvind Kejriwal.

But Dr. Deven Juneja who works on the frontline at the top private hospital in Delhi advises caution in the coming weeks.

DR. DEVEN JUNEJA, MAX SUPER SPECIALTY HOSPITAL: We cannot let our guard down. Until we start seeing the community immunity going up till that point of time there is always going to be a risk of resurgence.

SUD: Despite an extended lockdown across the western state of Maharashtra it remains the worst effective state in India. Its capital and India's richest city Mumbai, has recently seen a dip in COVID-19 infections, which according to experts could witness another surge after lockdown rules are relaxed.

DR. SHIVKUMAR UTTURE, PRESIDENT, MAHARASHTRA MEDICAL COUNCIL: We can talk about the peak only when we completely open up the lockdown and especially when the lifeline of Mumbai that is the railways starts.

SUD: With over 26,000 daily infections been reported since the 9th of July, some states and cities in India are reentering lockdown conditions. Currently, the movement of over 400 million people across the country has been restricted.

PARIKH: This is the pattern. You will see cases going down in some areas, cases coming up in other areas, and we will have to be vigilant.

SUD: It took India just four days to add roughly 100,000 cases to its COVID-19 tally this week. The big challenge will now be to control new infections after areas under lockdown open up.

Vedika Sud, CNN, New Delhi.


BRUNHUBER: South Africa has crossed the threshold of 300,000 confirmed coronavirus cases, the largest number of new infections are concentrated around Johannesburg, the country's commercial center. However, the director of Africa Centers for Disease Control says the rates of death across the country remains low especially compared to other parts of the world.

So let's bring in David McKenzie. He is in Johannesburg and joins us now live. David, it sounds as though South Africa's situation continues to be a bad news/good news story, right?

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's right. It's a mixed picture. But you have seen those surge in cases, particularly here in and around Johannesburg, as you say, Kim. And now well over 300,000 confirmed cases in South Africa. The pressure will be building on the health system in the coming week say doctors. But that they do say that the death rate is substantially lower than many other countries across the world and they're hope that that will hold both here and across the continent where that situation is also merited -- Kim.

BRUNHUBER: Now, you speak of the rest of the continent as you cast your eye across it, are there any other hot spots in Africa that you're seeing that worry you?

MCKENZIE: Well, you know, around half of all of the confirmed cases according to the African CDC, Kim, are here in South Africa. But that might also be a virtue in part because of a lack of testing in large parts of the continent. The head of the African CDC says they really need to ramp up testing significantly to get a handle on just how bad the infection rate is across the continent.


I think Nigeria in particular, Africa's most popular nation, is one to carefully watch. They are seeing a rise in cases and their testing isn't quite where it needs to be. But, still, across much of the continent you haven't seen the death rates according to health officials that you've seen in countries like the U.K., Italy, or the U.S. That might be because of a younger population or because, you know, the pandemic hit this part of the world a bit later. But it could also be, and predictions are difficult in this pandemic, that the worst is yet to come. But the key is really getting those tests ramped up significantly in many parts of the continent -- Kim.

BRUNHUBER: A very difficult challenge. Thank you so much, David McKenzie in Johannesburg. Appreciate it.

Hong Kong is fighting its third wave of virus infections and one official warns the city hasn't reached its peak. On Thursday Hong Kong recorded the highest number of new infections since cases began rising a couple of weeks ago. Before that daily cases had been low for some time. Many new infections have been reported among people who work with the public and that includes taxi drivers and restaurant staff along with some customers.

Up next, accusations from the West countered by denials by the Kremlin. Russian-backed hackers stand accused of stealing information again, this time about potential coronavirus vaccines.


BRUNHUBER: More than 77,000 new cases of coronavirus were confirmed in the U.S. on Thursday, the highest one-day total so far. Many hospitals are already filling up. Some places incredibly are bringing in refrigerated trucks to use as temporary morgues.