Return to Transcripts main page

CNN NEWSROOM

Some States Hit Record Infections as U.S. Nears 4 Million Cases; Growing Number of Major Retailers Requiring Masks at Stores; Several Mayors Issue Mask Mandates as Cases Surge in U.S. Aired 10- 10:30a ET

Aired July 20, 2020 - 10:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[10:00:00]

POPPY HARLOW, CNN NEWSROOM: Top of the hour, good morning, everyone. I'm Poppy Harlow. Welcome to our viewers here in the states and around the world.

While states are shattering records leaving local officials to weigh tough restrictions all over again, nearly 4 million people have been infected with COVID-19 in the United States, more than 140,000 have died, and this morning 31 states are still seeing a rise in new cases.

First, let's begin with on breaking news we have on vaccine development. Jacqueline Howard joins me now with more. Good morning. What can you tell us?

JACQUELINE HOWARD, CNN HEALTH REPORTER: Good morning. So we actually just received results, these just came in from an Oxford trial in the United Kingdom on its vaccine candidate. So this, a study was done in more than 1,000 healthy adults ages 18 to 55 and it looked at how the vaccine really worked in those subjects. And it found that the vaccine did induce an antibody response and a T-cell response. So it means that the vaccine did do what we want it to do. It did elicit and immune response in these subjects.

Now, this is still early data and the subjects were ages 18 to 55. So we need to see how this vaccine would work in older adults, but it's pretty promising.

HARLOW: Can I ask you what probably sounds like a dumb question but you're the health expert, not me, and that is how are they going to know how long a vaccine is going to last and how long it will be effective, right? How long will it take them to know if this vaccine, if it proves out, it would be like an MMR vaccine that our kids get and it's very effective and it lasts for their life or a flu vaccine that we have to get every year?

HOWARD: Right, and that's what's being studied right now. So as these trials continue, they will really look at what dosage is required and will this be something that you would have to get annually. And we are getting more data on how the antibody response in patients who did naturally have COVID, so a natural antibody response can wane over time. So we do have that evidence.

So now, vaccine developers are really taking a close look at, okay, does this mean that you'll need a vaccine every year or does this mean you might need a booster shot. So that's being studied right now, and we'll have to wait and see more trials to see what the end result will be.

HARLOW: Okay. Jacqueline Howard, thanks for the reporting. We appreciate it. Glad to get some good news. We needed it.

Now, let's go to the battle between Georgia's governor and Atlanta's mayor. Our Dianne Gallagher joins us. Good morning, Dianne.

So, for many anyone who missed it, and though most people didn't, last week, the governor of Georgia sued Atlanta's mayor for mandating masks in her city. But now, he is going further and trying to essentially stop her from talking publicly about it.

DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Poppy. So, as part of that lawsuit against the mayor of Atlanta, the governor of Georgia is also asking for an emergency injunction that prevents her from talking to the press or issuing press releases about her COVID-19 restrictions if they go above what the governor has set out in his executive order.

Now, of course, her recommendation to roll back Atlanta to phase one of reopening, as well as the mask mandate, would both fall underneath that. So, essentially, he doesn't want her to have a mask mandate, but it seems like this injunction is trying to mandate that we muzzle the mayor here.

Now, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms has said that, look, I'll see you in court. I'm going to keep up with my mask mandate. I'm going to keep recommending people roll back to phase one in the City of Atlanta because we're following science, trying to keep people safe.

She also has continued to point out that there's about a dozen different cities and counties that have mask mandates and similar restrictions and the governor only sued one, her, personally, along with members of the city council.

So there's not a court date set at this point for that lawsuit, and it's just continuing to play out in the headlines going back and forth on social media, in interviews, as Georgia set a record for new infections over the weekend, Poppy, 4,488 new cases on Saturday.

HARLOW: Wow. Dianne, thank you for the reporting. We appreciate it.

Let's go to Arizona. My colleague, Miguel Marquez, joins us from there. Good morning, Miguel.

The state hitting a pretty grim milestone over the weekend.

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Indeed, 147 deaths reported on Saturday. That is a record. The previous record from about two weeks ago was 117. The other thing that the state -- the record that the state almost beats on Saturday was the one-day rate of positivity on Saturday, they reported almost 40 percent, 39.04 percent positivity rate.

[10:05:06]

That's for one day. The seven-day average positivity rate for the State of Arizona leads the country at 24.4 percent, 24.5 percent. So that means a quarter of everybody being tested here, this is a pop-up test site that we're at right now, is testing positive for the virus. That means that there is a massive amount of virus out there.

CDC and other health organizations recommend below 5 percent to keep that sort of virus spread under control. We've spoken to several doctors and healthcare professionals at different hospitals across the county here in Maricopa County, where most of the cases are. They are overworked. They are overwhelmed. They are begging people to stay home.

We spoke to one doctor who says that nurses and technicians and doctors are getting sick.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DR. FRANK LOVECCHIO, EMERGENCY CARE PHYSICIAN: So if people are sick, then nurses are sick. When this started, I'm a researcher, I wanted to save the world, had all these ideas to solve this, my colleagues, we had all these ideas to solve it. I just want make out of this alive. That's it. That's my goal. I'm in the age that can die and I don't want to get it.

So I'm worried, I'm worried about the winter, I'm worried that a lot of people are being naive about this.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MARQUEZ: Now, that doctor himself knows about half a dozen nurses, techs, other doctors who have gotten sick by the virus here. PPE generally is available, but the masks, those N95 masks, those are in short supply across the healthcare system here. Many people we spoke to at different hospitals say that they have to reuse them, sometimes reusing them until they fall apart.

The other big question right now, the way this thing has spread is through workplace spread and family spread, so community spread, through the workplace, whether it's manufacturing or the offices and schools.

So now, Arizona is faced with the decision to open up schools. They usually open up August 1st, very early. The governor has pushed that back to an aspirational date of August 17th and has not made a final decision now.

When Arizona shut down in March, there were 1,000 cases a week. So they shut down the schools in the entire state and the cases went down. Last week, there were 26,000 cases across the state. It is difficult to understand how you open up the schools with that much virus out there. Poppy?

HARLOW: Very difficult to even get your head around what they are going to do. Thanks, Miguel, for the reporting. Hearing that doctor say that is just stunning.

The president says his relationship with Dr. Fauci is, quote, very good. And he is still though taking digs at the president. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: One of your closest aides, one of your right-hand man, Daniel Scavino, put out this. Have you seen this? Dr. Faucet. It shows him as a leaker and an alarmist.

DONALD TRUMP, U.S. PRESIDENT: I don't know that he's a leaker. He is a little bit of an alarmist. That's okay.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HARLOW: With me now is John Barry, the author of the Great Influenza, the Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History, adjunct faculty at Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine.

And you just wrote this book, by the way, I think, three years ago, right, John?

JOHN BARRY, AUTHOR, THE GREAT INFLUENZA: Well, actually 2004.

HARLOW: Okay. I thought I saw 2017 and I thought, wow, that was prescient, but it's even more prescient that you wrote it in 2004.

Can you respond to -- in it, you write -- here is one key line. The most important lesson from 1918 is to tell the truth.

BARRY: Right.

HARLOW: So you talk about leadership in crises and leadership then versus leadership now. If the most important lesson is to tell the truth, where are we right now for leadership?

BARRY: You know, obviously, we haven't gotten that out of the federal government. And for, well, at least not out of the political operation at the White House, people like Tony Fauci, of course, have been telling the truth. And the result is what you see, that you've just been reporting. The mixed messages, you know, reopening before we got things under control.

Right now, Europe -- I mean, Italy, which was the epicenter, we all saw how devastating it was in Italy, they now have under 200 cases a day. They are triple the population of Florida, which is now three days in a row well over 10,000 cases a day.

If you want to run the economy full bore, get the cases down. In Italy, the economy is functioning. If you had per capita, the same number of deaths here in the United States, there would be no problem running the economy full bore and opening schools and playing football and so forth and so on.

HARLOW: So, talk about reopening schools, because that is on every parents' mind, I think, it's safe to say right now.

[10:10:10]

You write in your New York Times piece, quote, to reopen schools in the safest way, which may be impossible in some instances, and to get the economy fully back on track, we must get cases down to manageable levels.

Okay. What are manageable levels? How should superintendents be determining whether they should or shouldn't open or whether they should open and then close back down if it gets over X percent?

BARRY: Well, I wish I had a precise number. It really can vary locale to locale. But it does depend on community transmission. You need to get the modelers out there and figure out the exact number.

Schools are not that special. In influenza, you automatically close schools because kids are super spreaders, that's well established, and both for the kids' sake, they're very vulnerable to the influenza, both for the kids' sake and community's sake you close schools down.

Now, they are really just part of the larger picture. So you get the community transmission down, then you can open schools. If you're in a situation like Arizona, Florida or Texas, no, you can't open the schools.

HARLOW: Yes. When you look at going back to where we were, I mean, you wrote in January, all the way in January, can this virus be contained? Probably not. On January 22nd, the president in Davos, Switzerland, at the World Economic Forum was asked about COVID on CNBC, and he said, quote, we have it totally under control. It's one person coming from China and we have it under control. It's going to be just fine. That obviously was not the case on so many different levels. It wasn't under control. It's not totally fine.

What did you see in January that told you it couldn't be contained?

BARRY: Well, I guess it -- and I didn't have any special insights. I was just -- my information was strictly coming from the press at that point. Simply understanding how a virus spreads, you know, it was crystal clear that this did spread person-to-person pretty easily.

There were already rumors, in fact, you know, pretty good information but it wasn't absolutely certain that asymptomatic people could spread the virus. You know, you can combine those two things and understanding a little bit of epidemiology, you knew it was inevitable that it was going to get worldwide.

Back in January, we should have been making preparations, not necessarily pulling the trigger on everything. But we should have been preparing for the likelihood that this thing was going to do exactly what it did.

HARLOW: Yes. I wish we had been. John Barry, thank you very much.

BARRY: Thank you.

HARLOW: Well, happening now, police are searching for a gunman who opened fire on a federal judge's family killing her son, injuring her husband. This all happened overnight in New Jersey. We'll have much more on the victims and the suspect during a live update.

Also, some of the nation's biggest grocery stores, biggest retailers are starting today to mandate masks inside. Ahead, what you need to know.

And in just minutes, the two top Republican leaders on Capitol Hill are set to meet with the president as pressure mounts on lawmakers to come up with a stimulus package that can become law soon.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[10:15:00]

HARLOW: In the absence of a federal mask mandate, a number of the biggest retailers in the country are now implementing their own mask enforcement policy. Starting today, you have Walmart, Lowe's, Walgreens, CVS and many other retailers requiring that all customers wear a mask in their stores. Later this week, Starbucks will do the same, along with Publix and Home Depot.

Let's go live to our Correspondent, Pete Muntean. He joins me in Alexandria, Virginia this morning. Good morning.

I think one of the big questions is going to be, I think, good for them, for the private sector for stepping up here where many governments have not. But now, how do they enforce it, right? Is it left up to the cashiers, for example?

PETE MUNTEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Poppy, workers are telling me they will take all the help that they can get. You know, wearing a mask is the rule here in Virginia, but the owner of this coffee shop tells me she was harassed by a customer when he refused to wear one. More and more, it's workers who are having to become the mask police.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MUNTEAN: Lilly Damtew's coffee shop in Alexandria, Virginia, is now lined with messages of support, but it's when she delivered the message to a customer that masks are required that things got ugly.

LILY DAMTEW, COFFEE SHOP OWNER: And I told him, you need to wear a mask to get a service. He said, no, I don't have to. I said, yes, you do. He spat on my feet and he went up the street. It was just sad. It was very upsetting.

MUNTEAN: Her story is just one from across the country of those in the service industry now on frontlines of enforcing new rules. Damtew was harassed one day after she reopened after being closed for months.

DAMTEW: If I knew, you know, things like that would happen, I wouldn't be open.

MUNTEAN: The Trump administration has not instituted a federal mask mandate.

TRUMP: I leave it up to the governors. Many of the governors are changing. They are more mask into. They like the concept of masks, but some of them don't agree.

[10:20:00]

MUNTEAN: 39 states have made some sort of mask requirement.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How about you just leave? Please leave.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you smart enough to shut up?

MUNTEAN: In California, bartender Rebecca Hernandez found herself on the receiving end of a customer's racist tirade. Hernandez says he refused to wear a mask.

REBECCA HERNANDEZ, BARTENDER: It comes down to whether or not you want to risk your safety or not, and that's a really hard place to be. But, definitely, a federal nationwide mandate or a law would be incredible.

MUNTEAN: More than 20 major retail chains, including the Gap, Best Buy and Dollar Tree wrote on CNN.com that states must pass laws requiring masks. Dr. Anthony Fauci is also putting the onus on state and local leaders.

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: Be as forceful as possible in getting your citizenry to wear masks.

MUNTEAN: A message that Lily Damtew hopes comes through loud and clear for her sake and all those facing fights over face coverings.

DAMTEW: I'm not going to give up. I'm still going to ask you to wear a mask. If you come to my store without a mask, I'm still going to ask you to wear a mask. I'm not backing down.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MUNTEAN: State leaders here in Virginia aren't backing down either. The governor is sending in state inspectors to restaurants and bars in hotspots like Hampton Roads looking for masks. Enforcement is also being stepped up in places like Miami. Arkansas' mask order goes into effect today. Poppy?

HARLOW: Pete, thank you. I can't believe they are having to deal with customers like that. Thank you very much for that reporting.

Well, the mayor of Greenville, South Carolina, did not wait for the state's governor to take action. He mandated masks early on, nearly a month ago, the first city in South Carolina to do so. He is aggressively asking the community for help in slowing the spread. Mayor Knox White joins me now of Greenville. Good to have you. Thanks so much.

MAYOR KNOX WHITE (R-GREENVILLE, SC): Yes, good to be here this morning. Thank you.

HARLOW: Mayor White, if we could begin -- I mean, it's tragic, our reporter, Natasha Chen, has been on the ground reporting there on Greenville, Friday marked the highest single-day of COVID deaths in your city since the pandemic began. In order to fight this, you have launched what is really a creative attempt to get people to comply. We can show the ad campaign that you've been running about why I wear a mask and all these individual stories.

Is it effective or are your citizens having to deal with what Pete just reported, which is people who don't want to comply?

WHITE: Well, I think for everybody, it's sort of an uphill effort, but a lot of reports in our City of Greenville, our constituency, the city council has taken every action last March by unanimous vote and very bipartisan. And I think that speaks well over what we're trying to do. And it kind of reflects what the people in the urban corps at least feel about these things.

But I think going back even to March, all along the way, all local governments and everybody engaged in this, you've had a challenge of how to sort of break through all of the other information out there in terms of what's happening across the country and the world, other issues, of course. And so it's constantly a challenge of how to get a message out. And we work very close with our hospital systems here, the major systems here, Bon Secours and Prisma. And we're close with them and we let them be the spokesmen for this, if you will. But our job also is to help get the message out.

HARLOW: Well, when you talk about Prisma Health, I mean, here is Dr. Wendell James, one of the physicians there, quote, we have no desire to decide who gets care and who doesn't. But what you will hear from us today is if we don't get serious about mask-wearing, if we don't get serious about staying out of large groups and social distancing, that's where we're going to be.

Getting to a point of potential crisis care, which you know means some people have to be sent home to potentially die because they can't be cared for, are you guys even nearing a scenario like that?

WHITE: Well, we have some 67 percent occupancy now in our hospitals. And the quote you made from the leading spokesperson for Prisma was bought out last Friday. It's part of our effort, really, frankly, for elected officials sometimes to get out of the way. This is not about the government telling somebody what to do. We really kind of want to get out of the way and let the health professionals be the -- send the message. And the best way to do that from time to time is to get these folks together to give a message directly to people.

To tell you the truth, sometimes we hear things from the hospital system that maybe the public is not hearing. That's because the folks in public health are rather busy and maybe sometimes getting a message out is not something they routinely do. So --

HARLOW: Well, I think they got that message out. Yes.

WHITE: Yes, that was a dramatic message. It would certainly get some folks' attention. We talked about 67 percent occupancy, that's important to know.

HARLOW: It is. You are a Republican mayor. You have a Republican governor who has not issued a statewide mask mandate. Have you asked Governor McMaster to do that? Have you called his office and said, I need this, because people coming in and out of your city?

Looks like did we lose him? Can we get him back? Okay.

[10:25:00]

All right, we'll see if we can get him back on the other side. Mayor White, thank you very much.

Developing overnight, a gunman on the run after a deadly shooting at the home of a federal judge in New Jersey, just tragic. We'll take you there, ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HARLOW: All right, we've got the mayor back. Mayor Know White, can you hear me?

[10:30:00]

Okay, good, sorry about that.

WHITE: I hear you fine. Thank you. That happens.

HARLOW: This happens these days.

I was just going to ask you, would it be helpful and have you called the governor --