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ERIN BURNETT OUTFRONT

Trump on Coronavirus Crisis: "We've Been Doing it Properly"; U.S. Hospitalizations Near April Peak; Deaths Top 142,000; Trump on Coronavirus Crisis: "The Light is Starting to Shine"; Fauci: "We do not See any Particular End in Sight"; CA Hits Record for Daily Cases as L.A. Health Chief Warns Virus is Now a Leading Cause of Death in County; U.S. Government, Pfizer Reach $1.95B Deal to Produce Millions of Potential Coronavirus Vaccine Doses. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired July 22, 2020 - 19:00   ET

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


WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: May they rest in peace and may their memories be a blessing. Thanks for watching.

Erin Burnett OUTFRONT starts right now.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN HOST: OUTFRONT next breaking news, President Trump now insisting the light is at the end of the tunnel in the fight against the coronavirus. Yet it was 24 hours ago he said it was going to get worse, what changed?

Plus, the President still pushing to fully reopen schools saying it can be done safely because kids don't catch the virus easily, but not everyone agrees. I'll talk to South Carolina's top school official.

And Republicans turning on one of their own for supporting Dr. Fauci. Now that Congresswoman is fighting back. Let's go OUTFRONT.

Good evening, everyone. I'm Kate Bolduan in for Erin Burnett.

OUTFRONT tonight breaking news, one day after the President appeared to accept reality saying things are going to get worse before they get better, remember that with the virus? The President today painting a much rosier picture at a press conference with, again, no medical experts.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We will get to the other end of that tunnel very quickly, we hope. The light is starting to shine. We've been doing it properly. Cases remain low and very stable. As far as the coronavirus, as you say, I think we've done some amazing things and I think you'll probably see that if you compare our statistics to other countries and if you look at death rates, et cetera, you're going to see and especially into the future with what's happening, you're going to see some very, very impressive numbers.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BOLDUAN: First, he calls America's numbers impressive. Here are the facts. The U.S. right now is on track to hit 4 million cases within the next day. Cases have been rising at an astonishing speed now. Now more than 3.9 million.

Remember, the U.S. has just 4 percent of the world's population. But a quarter of the world's cases, California also overtaking New York as the state with the most cases, 12,000 new cases a day and hospitalizations across the country are closing in on the all time high, which was set back in April on April 15th.

You also heard the President mentioned the death rate. Look at the U.S. compared to other countries. According to Johns Hopkins, the U.S. has the 10th worst death rate when compared to other countries. Mitt Romney certainly does not think the U.S. is the envy of the world.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. MITT ROMNEY (R-UT): With regards to the coronavirus crisis, I don't think it's been a great example for the world to see America under the current administrative plans.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BOLDUAN: So then to testing, this was the President just moments ago.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Today, we surpassed, for the first time we surpassed 50 million tests that's far more than any country in the world.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BOLDUAN: Fifty million tests in about five months. It was back in April that a group of Harvard researchers said that the United States needed to be doing, need to be testing 20 million people a day in order to safely reopen and contain the virus. Republican Senator Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, who is also a physician was asked by Manu Raju if he is satisfied with the level of testing in this country.

His responses, "I don't think anybody's satisfied with it." And Dr. Anthony Fauci, who was again also not at the briefing is also not impressed.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: Certainly, we are not winning the game right now. We are not leading it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BOLDUAN: Kaitlan Collins is OUTFRONT for us live outside the White House. Kaitlan, you asked the President an important question, why no doctors and medical experts were there again tonight. What did he say?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes. It wasn't something he really fully explained yesterday. He'd only just said that Dr. Birx was 'right outside'. And so the question is what's the thinking now and why is that changed, because at these briefings before he scrapped them in April he had been appearing with the experts.

And the President defended the decision to appear solo. He said that he is briefed by them. He talks about he cited unprompted Dr. Fauci and said he had just had a conversation with him recently and then also was talking about Dr. Birx in a conversation that he had with her. And he said, basically, they're briefing him and then he is briefing us and he thinks that's more concise way of doing things and while certainly these briefings are much shorter than they used to be, the question is, is it a way for the American public to not get this information from the health experts like they were before when Dr. Birx was coming out with these briefings, with these charts with all of this data that she was showing before.

And I mean, all you have to do is look at tonight the Center for Public Integrity is reporting on a conversation that she had where they were basically communicating to 11 cities in the United States that they needed to take more aggressive measures to contain their spreading virus in their communities.

[19:05:03]

And so those are questions that could be useful if the health experts were there.

The President was asked, Kate, about his push to reopen schools. Something he has advocated strongly for and even said he wanted to tie federal funding to whether or not schools reopened. He said he would feel comfortable sending his son and his grandchildren to school right now if the situation calls for it, if these schools were open.

But as we've seen, the President has so many times accused these schools of playing politics by not reopening. But Kate, if you look at what's happening across the country, there are several schools in red states, in red counties that the President won in 2016 that have said they are going to delay or do remote learning for the beginning of the school year, because they're just too concerned that they can't take the right precautions to protect their students and their staff.

BOLDUAN: Yes, individual schools, individual school districts and even state superintendent that we're going to speak to later in the program. Kaitlan, thank you so much.

OUTFRONT with me now Dr. Sanjay Gupta and Dr. Jonathan Reiner, Director of the Cardiac Cath Lab at George Washington University Hospital. He also advised the White House medical team under President George W. Bush.

Round two, I guess, gentlemen. I wanted to ask you about tonight's briefing. Sanjay, tonight the President, he put a lot of blame for the surge in cases, which I found curious. I wanted to hear where he thought the problem was coming from. He did mention young people going to bars, that's one thing we know people have talked about. But he also blamed protesters and he spent quite a bit of time blaming Mexico. Is there any data to back that up?

SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: No, I don't think there's any data specifically on Mexico. I heard him mention that as well. We actually looked up to see if there was any data on that and I didn't find any. I mean, this is a simple sort of thing to understand in terms of viral dynamics, when people are more closely clustered together, unmasked and their duration have time together is over 10 to 15 minutes, that's when you're most likely to spread the virus.

A couple of things can help reduce the likelihood of that transmission. Wearing a mask, obviously, significant benefits. You look at some of the studies, there was a study that came out of Lancet said you wearing a mask, it's six to seven times less likely to transmit the virus. It's not perfect, but it does a really good job and the other thing being outside 18 to 20 times less likely to spread the virus.

So the worst possible scenario, indoor, crowded, no masks, people next to each other for a long period of time. And the best case scenario would be that if you are going to be around people at all outside physically distanced wearing a mask.

BOLDUAN: It's not a grand conspiracy. It's really, as you said, it's simple yet important and needs to be repeated because medical experts aren't there with him to actually say that.

Dr. Reiner, again, tonight there were no doctors with him or any of the experts that are advising the task force at the thing. Kaitlan was talking about how she asked the President why not and he said that he thought it was a more concise way of doing it. They brief him and that he briefs everyone else. We have three years of evidence, don't we, of why that is somewhat problematic.

I mean, number one, he does not stick to the facts and he has repeatedly downplayed the virus. When it comes to public health messaging, is it ever better to hear from a politician instead of a scientist?

JONATHAN REINER, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: No. Next question.

Look, the President doesn't want doctors Fauci or Birx there because they are real time fact checkers. Without them, he can say things which are either misleading or out wrong. So today, the President touted the improvement in the positivity rate.

He said that in April, the positivity rate was over 16 percent and now it's down to 8.5 percent. Well, that's sort of true but what he didn't say is that it had gone down to as low as 4.3 percent in June. But then because of the immature opening of states, it then doubled. So that's the kind of fact checking that White House reporters can do easily if Birx or Fauci come to the podium and the President just can't have that.

But the public needs that, the public needs to hear the unvarnished truth. And the truth is the truth, and the more the public understands, the better the public will adhere to prudent policy. So we need to see Fauci and Birx and Redfield back on the podium. Otherwise, it's just a political rally. It's just it's just another presidential political rally.

BOLDUAN: And I'm also just wondering, just Sanjay, real quick, what is actually gained and learned at the briefing. He said at one point, it's all going to work out. It is working out. I love the optimism that it is going to work out.

[19:10:02]

I love being a can do society, but you got to put the processes in place and put a national strategy in place to actually get it to work out.

GUPTA: Right. This is something that, I think, docs deal with all the time. Jonathan and I have talked about this. Look, everybody wants to be hopeful. Sure. But honesty has to lead the way, full transparency and frankly, a plan. That's what patients want. That's what the country wants is a plan.

Here's the problem. Here's the solution. Here's how we're going to get to these and here's how we're going to implement that solution. That's what we're still not hearing. So sometimes you walk away from these briefings and I try and put myself in the shoes of the viewers. And people would sort of say, yes, I think it sound like they're going OK. There's not much to worry about here.

On one hand I'm glad he's doing it, because there's a need for people to be reminded that we're still in the middle of the worst public health crisis of our lifetime. But I do wish it would be substantive and I very much wish like Jonathan that the scientists would be there. I would love that to be a united front. Here are the scientists and by the way, as president, I support them and we're going to make sure that the plans that they're recommending get actually implemented.

BOLDUAN: Because you can look elsewhere and see that there are national plans that have worked. Dr. Reiner. I mean, you heard Mitt Romney say that he doesn't think the United States has set a great example for the world here. I want to play a little bit more of what he actually - addition to what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROMNEY: I mean, look at other nations, look at Germany, the EU, they had some tough times as we did, but they came out of them and we're still struggling. In part because of lack of effective oversight of this process.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BOLDUAN: If it has been so different here then, just take Germany, what example would you say the United States has set? What's working there that's not working here?

REINER: Leadership. Warren Buffett says that when the tide goes out, that's the time you get to see who's been swimming naked and the tide went out this past spring in the United States. And then, when the tide went out, we saw that we didn't have adequate supplies of PPE or the ability to manufacture it. We didn't have testing capacity, we couldn't ramp it up quickly. We didn't have the leadership to tell the country to social isolate and wear masks.

And then once we put those policies in place, we didn't have the patience and the persistence to stick with it until the virus was really subdued, so that's what the world has seen. The world is seeing that sadly, my country, our country has been swimming naked.

BOLDUAN: I'm still trying to find optimism, Dr. Reiner. We still can change it. We can still - I don't know how to go with the metaphor. We can still put swim trunks on.

Sanjay, on vaccines really quickly, a few of the candidates are entering or about to enter phase three. Dr. Fauci spoke today about something that they look for during this phase of the trial. I want to play this for everybody.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FAUCI: One of the ones that we want to keep a special eye on is the possibility of vaccine-induced enhancement of infection. In other words, the paradoxical situation where you get vaccinated, you get infected.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BOLDUAN: So some people are already concerned, Sanjay, about the safety of the vaccine because of the talk of warp speed and the record speed that they're moving at. This sounds additionally concerning from a safety standpoint. Are you concerned about the safety of these viruses - of these vaccines, I'm sorry.

GUPTA: I think these are the types of things that you look for. Vaccine induced enhancement basically means you give someone a vaccine and instead of being protective against the further infection, it can actually make a future infection worse. It has happened with other vaccine candidates.

I mean, we're starting to really look underneath the hood at this right, Kate, so people are seeing all of these things that they're typically not used to hearing. That's what they got to look for. We do have to continue to be really diligent about looking at the data and making sure the FDA does its job.

There is a regulatory process here as well. So it's got to be safe and effective, absolutely, and we're not there yet. It's still very early days, still phase one data is all we've really seen so far.

BOLDUAN: Yes. That's exactly right. And there's a long way to that finish line for sure. Even with the optimistic things that we are seeing and promising things we're seeing. It's great to see you guys. Thank you.

OUTFRONT next, California hitting a new record with cases as the Health Director in Los Angeles warns the virus is set to become one of the leading causes of death there.

Plus, President Trump is pushing schools to fully reopen within weeks insisting it is safe, but is it? I'm going to talk to the top education official in South Carolina.

And Georgia struggling to contain the virus with near record hospitalizations and yet the state is paralyzed over how to stop the outbreak.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:18:26]

BOLDUAN: New tonight, California hitting a new peak with positive coronavirus cases, nearly 13,000 people testing positive in a single day. This as the Health Director for Los Angeles County is warning the virus is set to become one of the leading causes of death there. And there are other troubling signs across the country as well. Nick Watt is OUTFRONT.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

NICK WATT, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT(voice over): Around 20 percent of tests across Florida are coming back positive, a sign the virus is out of control in the sunshine state seven weeks after the Governor announced bars were back.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. RON DESANTIS (R) FLORIDA: People go, enjoy, have a drink, it's fine. We want to kind of not have huge crowds piling in.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WATT(voice over): In Texas, the Navy now sending medical personnel to the hard hit Rio Grande Valley. Doctors report a tsunami of patients.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DR. IVAN MELENDEZ, HIDALGO COUNTY HEALTH AUTHORITY: I went to put someone on life support to intubate someone who's my sixth grade school teacher.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WATT(voice over): Nationally, the number of COVID patients in the hospital is inching ever closer to that grim April peak. The national COVID daily death toll just topped 1,000 for the first time in two weeks. But there is some optimism. Take those vaccine trials.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FAUCI: We have well over a hundred thousand people that have already signed up as volunteers.

(END VIDEO CLIP) WATT(voice over): The U.S. government just pre ordered 100 million

doses of Pfizer's potential vaccine, might be ready for regulatory review as early as October, might be available by the end of the year.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHN BURKHARDT, PFIZER, HARD OF DRUG SAFETY R&D: We are optimistic, we are hopeful, things can go wrong that can slow a project, so those are optimistic days.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[19:20:07]

WATT(voice over): Meanwhile, this is California's current normal. You can get a haircut, but only outside.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I lost a lot of customers. They're scared to come out, for one. Two, 1920 [00:00:17] the loss of jobs.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WATT(voice over): This state now leads the nation with the most confirmed cases, over 400,000 just surpassed New York. But look how each state got there. New York, a brutal early spike. California, a steady climb.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DR. MIZUHO MORRISON, EMERGENCY PHYSICIAN IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA: We saw a slow tidal wave coming and in emergency medicine, we actually call this time to prepare the golden hour.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WATT(voice over): That time and the lessons learned from New York helped a lot. Similar case counts but California's death toll less than a quarter of New York's.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MORRISON: We're hoping this is the peak. But, of course, we're all dreading the upcoming flu season.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WATT(voice over): In some other hotspots; Florida, Arizona average new case counts are right now plateauing high, but flattening.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FAUCI: We are certainly not at the end of the game. I'm not even sure we're halfway through.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(END VIDEOTAPE)

WATT: Now, Kate, those that University of Washington modelers have just dropped their projected death toll by 5,000, because so many people are wearing masks and so many places are mandating them. But they say if we adopted them universally across this entire country, we would save another 35,000 American lives between now and November 1st, Kate.

BOLDUAN: It seems pretty simple at this point. Thank you, Nick.

OUTFRONT now, Dr. William Schaffner. He's a Professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and a former official with the CDC. Dr. Schaffner, it's great to see you again. I want to ask you about this big announcement first that the government and drug maker Pfizer have reached a deal to produce a hundred million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine once it's approved, of course. How big of a deal is this and how unusual is this?

DR. WILLIAM SCHAFFNER, PROFESSOR, INFECTIOUS DISEASE DIVISION, VANDERBILT UNIVERSITY MEDICAL CENTER: Well, it is very unusual, Kate. But you and I and every other taxpayer in this country are laying some bets. We're helping manufacturers in advance, start to manufacture vaccines such that when the clinical trial is finished and we see that the vaccine works, we hope, then we'll already have a stockpile of vaccine in the warehouse ready to go.

So we're betting on a number of different horses simultaneously. We hope they all come in, because we need as much vaccine as possible. If the vaccine doesn't work. We'll just have to trash the vaccine and we've lost only money. But this is unusual. We're doing things simultaneously that we used to do in sequence that's helping us get there as quickly as possible.

BOLDUAN: Yes. That's how we're cutting down the time. Following that announcement, the HHS Secretary said that he is very confident that there won't be any supply chain issues and getting the millions and millions of doses ready to deliver quickly. Let me play what he said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ALEX AZAR, HHS SECRETARY: We're right at the beginning of Operation Warp Speed worked to lock down fill-finish capacity, as well as syringes, and needles and glassware. So we've secured that to be able to ensure that we'll be able to vaccinate the American people once we get vaccines that are demonstrated safe and effective to the FDA's gold standard of approval or authorization.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BOLDUAN: That sounds great, Dr. Schaffner. But do you trust that to be true, because the federal response has very clearly had trouble scaling up anything since the beginning of this pandemic?

SCHAFFNER: Well, Kate, I always say under promise and over deliver rather than over promise and under deliver. But I'm cautiously optimistic. I hope that's true. We need a ray of good hope here and sunshine, so let's hope that that will work.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BOLDUAN: Yes. The President tonight, he was talking about testing and he was touting the fact that the United States has surpassed, conducting 50 million tests. But testing is a glaring example of where the federal government has fallen short.

I mean, you have Quest Diagnostics, one of the big companies who's already warning people could see delays of two weeks to get results back because of demand. Now, they're also saying or admitting that they won't be able to cope when it comes to flu season in the fall. I want to play for you with the Governor of California has said about these testing delays.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. GAVIN NEWSOM (D) CALIFORNIA: It's rather preposterous, isn't it, that you can get a test and 13, 14 days later you get a result. It's utterly meaningless.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BOLDUAN: And it's also, at this point, I think inexplicable. Can you explain how this is possible now months into this fight, because it is only going to get worse?

SCHAFFNER: You're looking at me to explain this? No. I'm sorry, I don't want to be facetious.

[19:25:01]

I don't care about comparisons between countries. The question is do we have the testing materials, the personnel, the laboratories, do we have the throughput so that we can test effectively here in the United States to fulfill our own needs.

And the answer to that is no, we're not there yet. We expect to get even more testing needs in the future, as was said, given influenza season coming up. We'll want to test even more. Our supply chains are tenuous as it is. We've had difficulties in our own laboratory here at Vanderbilt with that, so everything is very edgy and obviously, we would like it to improve, because testing is one of the fundamental aspects of being able to keep track of this virus and help individual patients, as well as give us a public health view of what's going on.

BOLDUAN: Yes. And this was knowable. This was knowable from the very beginning of the supply chain issues. Dr. Schaffner, thank you.

OUTFRONT for us next, South Carolina's Governor is pushing for kids to be back in classrooms five days a week. But the state's top education official does not agree, why? She's my guest.

Plus, it was the first state to reopen and now the state is dealing with a surge of cases and hospitalizations with no end in sight. A special report ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:30:23]

BOLDUAN: Tonight, breaking news, President Trump pushing for schools to fully reopen in just a few weeks, saying it will be safe.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think most governors, many governors, want the schools to open. I would like to see the schools open.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BOLDUAN: And in South Carolina, the governor there is echoing that. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. HENRY MCMASTER (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: Parents need to have a choice. They need to say to their districts whether they want their children to go in class five days a week or whether they want a virtual education.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BOLDUAN: In class five days a week. That is what the governor of South Carolina wants. But not all South Carolina school officials agree, including the state's top education official, State Superintendent Molly Spearman. She joins me right now.

Superintendent, thank you for being here.

When the governor is saying in person five days a week needs to be offered in all districts, what did you think when you heard that?

MOLLY SPEARMAN (R), SOUTH CAROLINA SUPERINTENDENT OF EDUCATION: Well, my goal is to have everyone back. I think all educators want to have our schools open five days a week as soon as possible.

But we've been working all summer on plans, and each district is unique. The spread of the virus is unique. The facilities are unique. The needs of the students are unique. And I believe it's best left at the local level.

Now, I am requiring two things that every district offer a virtual option. And we can do that in South Carolina. But I'm also requesting that they have some type of face-to-face option as well. And generally it's going to be a hybrid option. A few districts will be opening five days a week, but I'm watching to make sure they can do that safely.

BOLDUAN: I'm just curious why the governor isn't listening to that.

SPEARMAN: Well, I think, you know, it's easy to say everyone back five days a week. But the truth is we are offering virtual options in South Carolina. We have our own virtual schools, virtual charter schools. Districts are doing their own virtual programming. So, every parent in South Carolina will have that option.

We think it will be -- there will be enough students who choose that. It looks like it's running somewhere from 20 percent to 30 percent of parents are choosing the virtual option, that that will decrease the in-person population and some classrooms, some schools will be able to open and maintain a smaller class size where social distancing can happening.

But if they can't do that and they can't do it safely, they've got to go to other options. So, that's what I'm working with them and that's what I will approve. But again, we're pushing, and I do know and I've required -- I'm requiring our districts to have some type of face-to- face contact with students because we really do need to put our eyes on the students, make sure they're okay, talk with them.

And so, that will be a requirement even if they go virtual, that they have some type of initial face-to-face conversation with every student in our state.

BOLDUAN: What I hear you saying over and over is that safety leads, safety first, and then -- then we can talk about our plans.

With that in mind, I want to play for you something that the president actually just said today about schools.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: They don't catch it easily, they don't bring it home easily. If they do catch it, they get better fast. We're looking at that fact. That is a factor.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BOLDUAN: That's the president's understanding, and that, I believe, is why he's trying to describe his reasoning for saying all kids should be back in classrooms in schools. But is that your understanding of this virus?

SPEARMAN: Well, it is my understanding from health experts that younger children ages 10 and actually about 15 and under are less likely to transmit the disease, less likely to get really sick.

But, you know, I'm a mother, a parent, and I know that some children might get really sick. And I'm thinking whose child is that going to be? Is it my grand child? Is it your child? So, I have to take this very seriously.

BOLDUAN: Superintendent, thank you very much for coming in.

SPEARMAN: My pleasure. Thank you.

BOLDUAN: OUTFRONT next, Georgia shattering single day records, hospitalizations have now tripled. Where did the state go wrong? (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's a perfect storm of factors.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BOLDUAN: Plus, President Trump announcing he's sending federal officers to Albuquerque, New Mexico.

[19:35:03]

The mayor calls it a stunt, but what can he do to stop it? Albuquerque's mayor is my guest.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BOLDUAN: An escalating problem in Georgia. The state reporting more than 3,300 new cases today. Hospitalizations are nearing record highs.

Despite that, officials are still publicly feuding over the best measures to get the virus under control.

Nick Valencia is OUTFRONT.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

NICK VALENCIA, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): If Georgians still had any doubt about the worsening pandemic in the state, recent COVID-19 numbers are reason to worry. New daily cases have doubled and hospitalizations tripled in the last month alone.

DR. KATHLEEN TOOMEY, GEORGIA PUBLIC HEALTH COMMISSIONER: We are seeing increase in COVID in the communities throughout the state.

VALENCIA: Georgia is shattering single day records with around 3,000 new cases reported almost every day in the last week. But the state's leaders have turned to bickering and finger pointing amid the growing crisis.

GOV. BRIAN KEMP (R), GEORGIA: If you look at when it started, I think there's several reasons for that. Number one was the demonstrations. Number two, because of the demonstrations, that sent a message to people that, hey, it's all right to get out again.

[19:40:05]

MAYOR VAN JOHNSON, SAVANNAH, GEORGIA: So, I think the problem is here is that Georgia has been acting something what psychotic.

VALENCIA: In April, when state health officials believed numbers had plateaued and Georgia became one of the first states to reopen, public health experts warned the consequences could be dire.

On May 21st, nearly one month after reopening the state, Governor Brian Kemp was cautiously optimistic.

KEMP: I'm proud of what we accomplished over the last several weeks, but we cannot rest on our laurels.

VALENCIA: In the two months since that press conference, things have only gotten worse.

DR. THOMAS TSAI, HARVARD T.H. CHAN SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH: Since this perfect storm, the factors of under testing, early reopening and lack of enforcement of masking and physical distancing policies has really compounded the pandemic, and that's playing out in Georgia.

VALENCIA: Harvard professor, Dr. Thomas Tsai, says the way in which Georgia officials interpreted data may have given a false sense of confidence, poorly informing policy decisions like reopening earlier than recommended. Georgia's health department backdated its numbers of new COVID cases to the onset of symptoms. The Georgia Department of Health defended the practice to CNN, calling it the traditional way to look at data during an outbreak, adding that Georgia has been reporting the data the same way since the beginning of the pandemic.

While it says less about when infections are occurring, presenting data by date of report is important to have the most current understanding of the case burden we are facing each day. But Harvard researchers say backdating cases created unforced errors and painted a rosier picture than reality.

TSAI: So, essentially, results potentially in the decline in cases every single week because the positive cases keep getting backdated to when the symptoms first began.

VALENCIA (on camera): CNN asked Governor Kemp to respond to any questions about potential mistakes made in the early decision-making. Kemp declined an interview but as for how things stand now, Kemp's office admits that current graphs don't look complementary. They asked for any other questions we had to be directed towards the state health department.

Tuesday night, Governor Kemp launched a new campaign encouraging Georgians to wear masks. But public health experts warned it may take more than that.

TSAI: You basically go back to flattening the curve and getting your arms around a pandemic, which includes wearing masks, following the best guidelines around physical distancing and in cases where the pandemic is getting out of control, a local shutdown.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VALENCIA: State and local leaders are sending mixed messages to Georgians. We know that wearing a mask helps stop spread the virus but wearing a mask continues to be a topic of political debate here in Georgia. Georgia's Governor Brian Kemp suing Atlanta's mayor over a mask mandate. He says he doesn't think a mandate needs to be in place for Georgians to, quote, do the right thing. Some would argue, though, Kate, that remains to be seen.

BOLDUAN: Nick, thank you.

OUTFRONT next, Trump send -- President Trump sending federal forces to Albuquerque.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Today, I'm announcing a surge of federal law enforcement into American communities plagued by violent crime.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BOLDUAN: Albuquerque's major responds next.

Plus, it's getting ugly. More Republicans attacking Republican Congresswoman Liz Cheney for supporting Dr. Anthony Fauci and slamming the president, and now, Cheney is responding.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:47:26]

BOLDUAN: New tonight, President Trump announcing he is sending federal law enforcement agents to Chicago and Albuquerque. They say that -- Trump and his team say it is part of Operation Legend, the program to surge federal agents to help local communities tackle violent crime.

But here's the catch, those city's mayors didn't ask for help.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: The effort to shut down policing in their own communities has led to a shocking explosion of shootings, killings, murders. This rampage of violence shocks the conscience of our nation and we will not stand by and watch it happen.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BOLDUAN: OUTFRONT now, the Democratic mayor of Albuquerque, New Mexico, Tim Keller.

Mayor, thank you for coming in.

When the reporting first came that the president was going to be making this announcement and would be sending agents your way, you called them Trump secret police and you called it a stunt. Now that you've heard the announcement, do you feel any differently?

MAYOR TIM KELLER (D), ALBUQUERQUE, NEW MEXICO: Well, I don't, and, you know, it's just because we're very concerned about this concept where it's a real bait and switch. And so, you know, we hear one thing and then two weeks later like in Portland, all of a sudden, it is secret police trying to round up protesters.

And I think every mayor in the country wants to never see what's happening in Portland in their city.

And for us right now because of the president's own words, when he says he's going after Democrat cities as part of his re-election strategy, we're very concerned it's about inciting violence.

BOLDUAN: I mean, on the basic level, do you know or have you been told what these officers are going to be doing in Albuquerque?

KELLER: You know, this is what's so interesting about this. You almost know that something is up because one the president is talking about Albuquerque which doesn't usually happen.

But two, we've been told nothing. And usually we get formal MOUs, we get details, there's task forces put in place. We have received no formal documentation about this at all.

BOLDUAN: The attorney general, he described the program and what they were doing, the announcement, as standard anticrime fighting activities. Let me play a little bit more of what the Attorney General Bill Barr said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WILLIAM BARR, ATTORNEY GENERAL: Kind of operation obviously, then the tactical teams we use to defend against riots and mob violence. And we're going to continue to confront mob violence. But the operations we're discussing today are very different. They are classic crime fighting.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[19:50:01]

BOLDUAN: He says it's not going to be a Portland-style deployment. And last year, your city had a -- saw a record number of homicides. If this program is just what Bill Barr says, could you use the help?

KELLER: You know, for us, we always want to try and find partnership when we're fighting crime. And we do know that we have a crime challenge. We have it for a long time here, but actually, homicides are slightly down in the last six months, so we're feeling better.

The challenge is the disconnect between the president and the attorney general and, you know, I think you got to look at the voice at the top and, you know, yesterday that voice was explicitly articulating sort of gaslighting strategy against immigrants and people of color and protesters in progressive Democrat cities. And so, look, we're concerned about it.

I think that one thing is look, if we can get a situation where we're assured that our values in our city are maintained in the operation that it actually is what the A.G. says, then, of course, we can work together on it. We do it on a daily basis. It's just usually not involving the president of the United States.

BOLDUAN: And that's one thing -- I mean, you well know and many of our viewers do. There is often coordination between local law enforcement and federal law enforcement. We see that all the time.

What I'm hearing is you just don't trust them? You don't take them at their word? You don't trust them?

KELLER: You know, we don't, and I think for good reason. It started with -- well, there is a long history but at least in our town and since I've been mayor, the separation of children at the border was a big issue in our community where we were told one thing and then it came down that all of that separation was actually happening. And then with a lot of these grants, there are strings attach that basically say, oh, by the way, we're going to deport people and we don't support that in any way in Albuquerque.

And so, for us, there is just a history of them being very two-faced and so as a result, we don't really trust them, and I think until the president will put in writing and in an MOU agreement that this is not Portland, I will never repeat Portland and that's not what this is, and then agree to city ordinances, which we have to protect people of color and immigrants, then we can work together.

BOLDUAN: What's an -- remind me what an MOU is. Just -- I forget what that stands for.

KELLER: Oh, a memorandum of understanding.

BOLDUAN: There we go. OK.

KELLER: It's a formal agreement between two agencies.

BOLDUAN: Just want to make sure we're on the same page, that's MOU.

KELLER: Yes.

BOLDUAN: Now I understand you.

Mayor, thank you very much. I really appreciate it. Let's see what happens. I'm interested to see if you get anything in writing like that. Thank you for your time.

KELLER: Yes, you got it. Take care. Thanks.

BOLDUAN: OUTFRONT for us next, Republicans stepping up their attacks tonight against one of their own, the daughter of a former vice president, and tonight, Liz Cheney responds.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[19:56:54]

BOLDUAN: Tonight, Congresswoman Liz Cheney is responding to attacks coming at her from fellow Republicans over her support for Dr. Anthony Fauci and calling out President Trump.

Sunlen Serfaty is OUTFRONT.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SUNLEN SERFATY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Congresswoman Liz Cheney -- REP. LIZ CHENEY (R-WY): My voting record with President Trump is

something like 97 percent of the time.

SERFATY: -- defending herself from an all out ambush from members of her own party after a string of high profile splits she's had with President Trump.

CHENEY: The president appreciates people who are direct, people who explain what they think, but I think most of the time, far more of the time, we agree than we disagree.

SERFATY: On Monday, simmering tensions over those disagreements with Trump boiled over into a heated closed door meeting with House Republicans on Capitol Hill.

CHENEY: It's a slow news day in the Republican conference.

SERFATY: A small group of the president's most loyal allies spoke up in a coordinated way, chastising Cheney in a way that sources in the room described as painful.

REP. MATT GAETZ (R-FL): And I think she's out of step with a majority of Trump supporters and Republicans in the country.

SERFATY: Congressman Matt Gaetz, one of her chief critics, recounted the details in his podcast, as the president's defenders, members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus stood up and listed issue after issue where they believe Cheney hasn't shown loyalty to the party or the president. Over her public defense of Dr. Anthony Fauci, her support of a primary challenger to Republican Congressman Tom Massie and her splits with president Trump that have grown more frequent over the last few months like this tweet featuring the former vice president saying "real men wear masks" and along with other Republicans calling Trump's plans to remove U.S. troops from Germany dangerously misguided.

Gaetz calling on Cheney to step down from her leadership position or be removed. And on Capitol Hill today, Senator Rand Paul, a long time critic of Cheney over foreign policy, accused Cheney of trying to sabotage Trump's foreign policy, telling CNN: I don't think she's good for the country.

And the president's son Don Jr. tweeting that Republicans already have one Mitt Romney, we don't need another.

Cheney shooting right back.

CHENEY: Well, Donald Trump Jr. is not a member of the House Republican Conference.

SERFATY: Sources tell CNN this intraparty agitation with Cheney is part of a larger fight that is brewing about the future of the GOP after the election.

Cheney might been seen as someone who may run for next minority leader or speaker of the House, and Congressman Jim Jordan, one of those who called out Cheney this week has ambitions to run for the same spot, too, multiple sources tell CNN. Those close to Cheney say this is about her principles, not the politics of the moment.

DR. JONATHAN REINER, CARDIOLOGIST, ADVISED WH MEDICAL TEAM FOR EIGHT YEARS: There are members of the Republican caucus who have become the truth tellers, people like Liz Cheney and Governor Hogan of my state. The pandemic has become politicized and it has to stop.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SERFATY: And unlike other Republicans who have spoken out against President Trump, Liz Cheney so far has been immune to a counterpunch from President Trump -- Kate.

BOLDUAN: Yes. Stand by. Stand by.

Thank you, Sunlen. I appreciate that very much. Thank you-all so much for joining us this evening. I'm Kate Bolduan.

"AC360" with John Berman starts right now.