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U.S. Records 1,000+ Coronavirus Deaths on Tuesday; Fauci: COVID-19 Is "Historic Pandemic" with No "End in Sight"; Trump, 6 Months Ago: "We Have It Totally Under Control"; Florida Reports 8,752 New Cases; California Surpasses NY for Most COVID Cases in U.S.; Dr. Mizuho Morrison Discusses Rising Cases in Southern California. Aired 11-11:30a ET

Aired July 22, 2020 - 11:00   ET




GABE KAPLER, MANAGER, SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS: I see nothing more patriotic than peaceful protests when things are -- are frustrating and upsetting. What matters the most is that we are unwavering in trying to do what's right.


POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: All right. There it is.


HARLOW: Thanks so much for being with us. We'll see you back here tomorrow. I'm Poppy Harlow.

SCIUTTO: And I'm Jim Sciutto.

"NEWSROOM" with John King starts right now.

JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everybody. I'm John King in Washington. Thank you so much for sharing your day with us.

A big investment from the Trump administration, a nearly $2 billion agreement to obtain up to 600 million doses of the coronavirus vaccine candidate. And the administration promises, if that vaccine works, it will be available to everyone.


ALEX AZAR, HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES SECRETARY: We will ensure that any vaccine that we're involved in sponsoring is either free to the American people or is affordable.


KING: The goal is to have 100 million doses available by the end of this year. That depends, of course, on the success of clinical trials. And the timeline is the goal more than a plan.

In the meantime, the fight is to control the spread. And in that effort, we now have a rare, honest assessment of the United States. Remember, not long ago, he said the virus was dying out. Now he acknowledges that things will get worse before they get better. The president belatedly joining the call for Americans to wear masks.

The president's new tone is a reflection of two sets of data, his horrible re-election polling and the brutal coronavirus reality.

The United States has added 903,000 infection in two weeks. That's a stunning number anyway. But all of the more sobering when we remember the important lesson of the past five months. When case numbers rise, other sad statistics follow.

And already, coronavirus deaths are rising. You see 1,082 recorded yesterday. Also up, hospitalizations, which now stands 222 shy of the pandemic peak.

Some states say they have no beds and that supplies are dwindling. With cases rising and hospitals crowded, many states and school districts now debating whether it's best to keep children at home from school at least for a while.

The CDC director this morning invoking his grandchildren and making the case he believes back to the classroom is safe for most of America.


UNIDENTIFIED ANCHOR: Would you be comfortable with your school-age grandchildren going back to school in the fall?

ROBERT REDFIELD, CDC DIRECTOR: Absolutely. Absolutely. The only one that there may be some reservation is my grandson with cystic fibrosis, depending on how he can be accommodated in the school that he's in. But my other 10 grandchildren, of those, eight of them are school age. I'm 100 percent that they can get back to school.


KING: You're having that debate in your community.

Let's catch up on where things stand today. State by state, we'll start with the trend map. And you see a lot of orange. But 26 state -- it was higher and we were at 26 states. But 26 states heading in the wrong direction. Meaning, their cases this week were higher than they were a week ago. And 26 states in orange on the map, heading up.

And 20 states holding steady, including, importantly, the state of Florida and the state of California. They have been two states on the leading edge of this summer surge.

We have four states going down, and that includes Arizona. Good news in Arizona. Still a suborn case count but heading down after several troubling weeks there. Let's hope that continues. And 26 going up. If you look at new cases, this is the troublesome part of the summer

surge. A flat line for march, April, may into early June. Now we go up.

And here's the question on Wednesday, right? This is the seven-day moving average cases. It has been troubling in recent days. Seven-day average. See that? Will it plateau? Will it plateau? Can it at least flatten and plateau around 60,000 and shove it down? That is the challenge of the last few days as we watch the case count.

The top five states, California, Florida, Texas, Arizona and Arizona. California way ahead of these other states. Florida not too far behind.

You see Arizona still in the top five, even though its cases are going down compared to last week. That tells you how tough the summer has been for the state of Arizona.

California has the dubious distinction of being the state with the most confirmed cases in the U.S., just passing the state of New York. See how it played out. Back in June, shy of 115,000 confirmed infections in California. Now approaching 410,000 as of yesterday. That number likely to pass 410,000 today. You see the steady climb in the state of California.

Two different paths, these two states took. New York went up fast. Remember back in March and April. Now it has plateaued. California was down for a long time. But now seeing, in Los Angeles, the case count driving it up. California one of the summer surge examples, but there are many.

Leading the nation's top infectious disease expert, Anthony Fauci, to say, a short time ago, this fight, don't think of it as anywhere near over. It is very much in the beginning.


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY & INFECTIOUS DISEASES: We are certainly not at the end of the game. I'm not even sure we're halfway through. We are living right now through a historic pandemic outbreak. And we are right now in a situation where we do not see any particular end in sight.



KING: Joining us now is Dr. Amy Compton-Phillips, the chief clinical officer at St. Joseph's Public Health.

Doctor, thank you so much for being with us.

When you listen to Dr. Fauci, and you see the case count, and I have been proven wrong before and you try to be an optimist when you see maybe that summer surge is starting to plateau a little bit.

Where do you see the country right now?

DR. AMY COMPTON-PHILLIPS, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: Where I see the country right now is exactly what Dr. Fauci was talking about, is maybe we're at the end of the beginning, I hope, of this surge.

The fact that now the president is saying we need universal masking is hugely helpful because that is the best tool we have to actually get things under control, stop the asymptomatic spread that we know is driving so much of this.

KING: And we'll look through some of the stats and get your input. First, the positivity trend in the United States. If you watch this, we are doing more testing. And you see for may it starts to dip down. The percent of the test coming back positive. That's a good thing. It means there's less spread in the community.

Now the national average up around 8 percent. But I want to take you inside just the state of Florida. If you have a national average of 8 percent and it was 3.5 percent in May and 10.5 percent coming back positive in June and now approaching 20 percent in July.

Explain why that is so important and, in the case of the 18.7, percent so troubling?

COMPTON-PHILLIPS: So the way I think about it is it's a lot like if you had cancer. If you had a tumor and we cut the tumor out, we always look at the margins and we always look at the cells left behind.

So if you had a tumor taken out and zero percent of the margins had cancer cells, you know you got the whole thing, you have it under control.

If, on the other hand, 18.7 percent of the edges of that tumor had cancer cells in it, you know that cancer had escaped and it was at risk for metastasizing around the body.

And that's exactly what happens with the coronavirus. If we're not containing it and capturing all of the cases, we know it's out there and spreading further.

KING: And so you mentioned masking. Well, we'll have the conversation about what it's about on the other side.

First, let's go back and, first, this is the president back in April. Listen.



DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: They're not mandatory guidelines. They're guidelines. They suggest you can wear them. You don't have to wear them. But basically it's a voluntary thing.


KING: It's a voluntary thing, was then. This is now just yesterday, a very different message from the president of the United States.


FAUCI: When you get to six or seven days that kind of really mitigates against getting a good --

TRUMP: To wear a mask, get a mask. Whether you like the mask or not, they have an impact. They'll have an effect. And we need everything we can get.


KING: Apologies for the Fauci in the middle there.

But president is reading from notes. Some people say, does he really mean it. He finally stood at the podium and said it.

Why is that so important?

COMPTON-PHILLIPS: It is so important because of the fact that many people are able to spread the virus without realizing they have it, that they have zero symptoms or they haven't developed symptoms yet.

And because of that, because people simply don't know that they can be spreaders, they're not taking the normal precautions, right? So that if you wear the mask, we can dramatically interrupt, particularly the super spreading events that we know drive the huge percentage of the increased case counts.

And by the way, I never object to hearing Dr. Fauci, so that didn't bother me one bit.


KING: I appreciate that. That was a technical issue on our part. I appreciate your patience with this.

I want to show -- I use this -- again, I showed you the numbers and the case and the national numbers right now and there's the potential for a plateau. Up around 60,000 cases a week, that's not so great. And there's a potential for the plateau.

I want to show this comparison to our viewers, the United States versus the European Union. Because the European Union went up the hill before the United States and then it came down, you see, and it has stayed down. It has not only flattened the curve but stayed at a low case level. The United States had a plateau through May and early June there and then, bam, back up.

Why? Why is it so different? Roughly, the same population. I know we have a different political system but why is it so different?

COMPTON-PHILLIPS: There are a few things that affect the European Union differently and one is they had very consistent, coherent messaging that led with the science, and they didn't politicize the implications of what we need to do to control. They also paced out their reopening on the data rather than on saying

that we have to reopen in a full-speed-ahead kind of concept.

And so I think the fact that they had a little more cohesion around, let's let the data drive what we're doing rather than work off hope that they had a better outcome.

KING: Hope. Good word.

Dr. Amy Compton-Phillips, as always, I appreciate your expertise and your insights and your time today. Thank you very much.



KING: When we come back, we'll talk about the president and his shift. This was six months ago today.


UNIDENTIFIED CORRESPONDENT: Are there worries about a pandemic at this point?

TRUMP: No, we're not at all. We have it totally under control. It's one person coming in from China, and we have it under control. It's going to be just fine.

UNIDENTIFIED CORRESPONDENT: Do you trust that we'll know everything we need to know from China?

TRUMP: I do. I do. I have a great relationship with President Xi.


KING: Let's get to the White House now and CNN's John Harwood.

John, that was then. This is now. We had a very different tone from our president yesterday.


TRUMP: Some areas of our country are doing very well. Others are doing less well. It will probably, unfortunately, get worse before it gets better. Something I don't like saying about things, but that's the way it is. It's what we have.


KING: Take us inside your reporting, John, and that of our team at the White House, including you, about why the president decided it was important to take this much more seriously?

JOHN HARWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: John, the president's poll numbers were cratering. This is somebody who, with the clip you played with that interview with CNBC earlier in the year, has been trying to downplay this from the beginning because he was trying to run for re-election on the strength of a solid economy.

He did everything he could to avoid ruffling those calm waters. But when the pandemic bad that it was unavoidable to deal with, he did.

But as soon as he got a glimmer of hope of the flattening out of the curve in many places in May, he started to push reopening and was very dogged in sticking with not shifting course on that.

But his political position simply became untenable vis-a-vis Joe Biden, vis-a-vis his approval ratings and how Americans judged his handling of the coronavirus, which has become the top issue in the election. He had no choice.

And from that clip that you just played a moment ago, you heard in his voice how difficult that is. What he said, "It's going to get worse before it gets better, that's not something that I like to say." He definitely does not like to acknowledge setbacks that might reflect badly on him. He was forced to do it. We'll see how long that tone lasts.

We do not have a briefing scheduled for today. And of course, he did not have Anthony Fauci, Deborah Birx and Robert Redfield beside him when he delivered that message yesterday.

Nevertheless, it is a step forward from the public health perspective from the day before. By urging people to wear a mask. And the significant portion of the country listens to the president. By urging them to take this seriously, that is a sign, at least.

But whether or not he comes up with a specific powerful plan, as he alluded to, that even a push from the White House toward a more concerted, nationwide response is something that will likely have an effect on the pandemic.

KING: Dead right on both counts. Number one being will the president be consistent and will he stick with it. Excellent question given the history. But also, on the second point you make, a very important public health message yesterday from the president. Again, we'll check on the consistency.

John Harwood, grateful for the reporting from the White House.

The Florida Governor Ron DeSantis says his state is on the right course in fight this virus. That, despite a punishing surge in cases and a giant strain of hospitals, particularly in the southern part of the states.

CNN's Rosa Flores live for us in Miami.

Rosa, what's the latest for us there?

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the state of Florida now reporting 10,000 new cases as the total cases across the state nears 380,000. And 24 percent of those are right here in Miami-Dade County where the ICUs have been getting worse. This past Thursday, they were operating at 107 percent capacity. Well,

now they're at 132 percent capacity. That means that there are more patients than there are ICU beds. What the county is doing is they are converting regular beds into ICU beds.

Let's take a look at the hospitalizations overall. Those are up in the past two weeks by 36 percent, ICUs by 46 percent and ventilators by 74 percent. In the neighboring county to the north, in Broward, the neighbor announcing today during a press conference that their ICUs are at 90 percent capacity.

And as we look across the state, 53 ICU hospitals have zero ICU beds. And others have 10 percent or less. Some of those hospitals only have one bed available.

As for COVID-19 hospitalizations across the state, the state of Florida finally releasing those numbers on July 10th. And if you do the math, John, that's a 37 percent increase since July 10th.

But if you listen to Ron DeSantis' press conferences lately, you'd walk away thinking that Florida has it all under control and that Florida is on the right track -- John?


KING: Rosa Flores, live for us in Miami. The sobering part of that is when you're coming in close to 10,000 cases a day, we know that, in two weeks and three weeks from now, that's when we'll be seeing the hospitalizations from those cases as those indicators tend to lag, the hospitalizations and deaths.

Rosa Flores, appreciate the live reporting, as always, in Florida, still trying to get the situation under control.

Coming up for us, a grim milestone in California. The state now passing New York for the dubious distinction, most confirmed infections in the country.


KING: California is now the state with the most coronavirus cases. You can take a look at the numbers here. More than 409,000 people have tested positive, putting California now ahead of New York and Florida in the state-by-state infection count.


Officials in Los Angeles County, where the cases are rising fastest, say it is young people driving the spread.

And that's where CNN's Stephanie Elam is today joining us now.

Stephanie, they blame young people. What will be done about it?

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's a good point. And maybe pointing this out will make people change their behavior. John, we can tell you of this latest data that came out of this L.A.

County of 2700 new cases, 57 percent are people under the age of 41. They say these younger people are driving infections.

To that point, they say people over the age of 65 make up about 11 percent of those new cases, but also equals 75 percent of the deaths, just to put that into perspective as to what is happening here in Los Angeles County.

As we see hospitalizations for the third day in a row above 2200. And as this filters into the entire picture for California, as a whole, which saw a record number of hospitalizations, around 8600, this is obviously not what we want to see.

The positivity rate of 7.5 percent over 14 days and ticking higher, as well. Same thing with those ICU beds. And the hospitalization rate is going up 28 out of the last 30 days, as well.

The California health secretary is saying that the rate of transmission is moving so fast that, because of that, they're not able to contact trace as quickly as they would like to with these numbers. And that's causing part of the problem.

But again, if you look at these numbers overall, you can see them going the wrong way.

But I should note to you, John, that New York does have a population that's about half the size of what we have here in California. And our death rate is much smaller than it is compared to New York State at this time.

KING: Let's hope that stays that way on that statistic.

Stephanie Elam, grateful for the reporting in Los Angeles.

Let's continue the conversation. I want to bring in Dr. Mizuho Morris, from California. She's an emergency room physician in southern California.

Doctor, thank you so much for your time today.

You heard Stephanie going through the numbers. It's a distinction now California being number one in infections. We shouldn't be surprise because California is our most populous state.

But when you see the numbers and the trend lines, what worries you most?


It's so interesting that, because of the way our geography is set up, it's much more of a sprawl here in southern California, say, to New York. So instead of evenly spread across our counties, we're seeing multiple hot spots. Hospitals hit hardest are those really near nursing homes, assisted- living facilities and those under-served populations. And I happen to work in two those.

So really, our patient population is split into two main groups. One that we call the walking well. Thankfully, that's the majority of cases. And 75 percent to 85 percent of the patients who we see have mild symptoms. They're evaluated and then we send them home with quarantine plans.

It's really that smaller, higher-risk population that we keep talking about.

So with young people, there's a sense of invincibility. They go to COVID parties and they go see grandma a week later. Obviously, we need to do a better in terms of education for them and also protecting those high-risk patients.

KING: And so I just want to go through some of the numbers again. We can put the state-by-state up. California, New York, Florida, Texas, New Jersey, as you look across the states right now.

The interesting part to me is the different path California took


KING: if you compare it to New York. New York went up the hill fast. Straight up the hill. And California has this slow build and now it's up in these troubling numbers.

Is it the size of the state? Is it the geography? What is because you had the early lockdowns and now people are getting lazy -- not a medical term -- letting down their guard?

MORRISON: You know --

KING: Explain that.

MORRISON: It's very multi-factorial. We knew that the surge was coming, unlike our New York City counterparts. They didn't have much time to prepare.

We saw a slow tidal wave coming, right? And in emergency medicine, we actually call this time to prepare the golden hour. So we had that luxury based on what our colleagues were learning and essentially in live time from New York.

We had time to develop and presenting surge plans. Our new triage systems were actually stopping patients before they even entered the hospital, separating those that may have COVID symptoms. We separated out our ICU and in-patient wards. And have ramped up out-patient telemedicine.

So I think it's multi-factorial as to how our numbers are potentially looking better. We're hoping this is the peak. But of course, we're all dreading the upcoming flu season because,

once influenza hits, you know, what most patients don't understand is that we have rapid influenza testing. The rapid COVID testing is not so robust. We don't have enough. We really reserve it for those patients who are coming to in-patient in the hospital.

So as flu season begins to hit, because the symptoms and presentations are so similar, it's going to be difficult for us to decipher, is this COVID or is it influenza.

For those trying to return to work or return home, hopefully, returning to school, this is going to create a bit of a conundrum for us.

KING: Challenging enough to begin with and then you had in that --


KING: -- the coming flu season, which is why it's so important in the --


KING: -- next few weeks to push down --

MORRISON: So get your flu shots. Wash your hands and wear a mask.


And, John, the one thing I do want to say is, for those who are wearing masks, the one pet peeve I have is, you know, we touch it a lot. Stop touching the mask. You have to realize that it's contaminated both on the inside and on the outside.

If you put it on, leave it on. I know it's difficult but we do it for 12-hour shifts in the emergency department. You can certainly do it if you're running to the store for a few minutes. And when you take it off, trying and remove it from the ear loops instead of touching the actual mask itself and then wash your hands.

KING: Excellent advice. I appreciate that.

And I appreciate your time and your insights. We'll continue the conversation as California deals with this challenge.

Dr. Mizuho Morrison, thank you so much for your time today.

Up next for us, Joe Biden gets some help from a very, very important friend.