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U.S. on Verge of Surpassing 4 Million Cases as Hospitals Suffer; Trump and Putin Speak, White House Says No Mention of Bounties on U.S. Troops. Aired 1-1:30p ET

Aired July 23, 2020 - 13:00   ET


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: The executives have been blunt that job cuts are coming once federal funding October 1st.



JOHN KING, CNN HOST: Christine Romans, thank you for that. I hope to you see back here this time tomorrow.

A bus news day. Brianna Keilar picks up our coverage right now. Have a good day.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: Hello. I'm Brianna Keilar live from CNN's Washington headquarters. Welcome to our viewers here in the United States and around the world.

Take a look there at the right side of your screen. In the coming hours, America will watch the U.S. number cross another devastating threshold, that is 4 million U.S. cases, the most of any nation in the world. And this crisis is far from over. Hospitalizations hitting record numbers, deaths trending up and testing delays so vast, the results are rendered worthless as the U.S. surpasses 50,000 new cases a day for more than 14 consecutive days.

So how did our country get here? January 21, the CDC reported the first U.S. COVID infection. 99 days after that, we hit 1 million. 43 days after that, 2 million. 28 days after that, 3 million. And today we will hit the 4 million mark after just 15 days. It did not have to be this way.

In the last 24 hours alone, more than 71,000 infections were reported. Nearly 1,200 Americans died. It's gotten so bad in Miami, the mayor there is calling for people to wear masks at times at home.


MAYOR FRANCIS SUAREZ (R-FL), MIAMI: I would tell our residents, and this is voluntary, this is not something that we can mandate, that they should consider, particularly if they have a multigenerational household, wearing masks indoors at time with their multigenerational residents, and also respecting social distance when they're at home. Because, again, we are seeing the largest center of spread being our house.


KEILAR: There is still no national plan to get a handle on this. The president downplaying the need for testing and sharing misleading details at newly revived coronavirus briefings where he is the star and no health experts are present. Listen to this audio obtained by the Center of Public Integrity. You will hear the voice of responsible response coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx instead of seeing her on your television screen, where she should be. You'll hear her warning local and state health officials in private.


DR. DEBORAH BIRX, WHITE HOUSE CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE COORDINATOR: There are cities that are lagging behind and we have new increases in Miami, New Orleans, Las Vegas, San Jose, St. Louis, Indianapolis, Minneapolis, Cleveland, Nashville, Pittsburgh, Columbus and Baltimore.

So we're tracking this very closely. We're working with the state officials to make sure we're responding together. But when you first see that increased test positivity, that is where to start the mitigation efforts.


KEILAR: Now, a short time ago, the CDC just released more details about patients who become more seriously ill from the coronavirus. CNN Health Reporter Jacquelyn Howard is tracking this for us.

And, Jacquelyn, the CDC looked at five specific underlying medical conditions. What are they?

JACQUELYN HOWARD, CNN HEALTH REPORTER: That's right. This CDC study really zeroed in on these conditions, COPD, heart conditions, diabetes, chronic kidney disease, obesity. And we know that those conditions are among the underlying health conditions that could really put you at an increased risk of severe illness if you do get COVID.

And for this study, CDC researchers use survey data to really analyze which counties in the nation appear to have the highest prevalence of any of those five conditions.

And here is what the researchers found. They found that the nationwide prevalence of any of those conditions is 40.7 percent. So that's the prevalence among U.S., the nationwide prevalence among U.S. adults.

And another finding in the study stood out to me, the researchers finding that the counties that appear to have the highest prevalence of these conditions were concentrated in the southeast. And the counties were mostly in the States of Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, West Virginia. There were some counties also in Oklahoma and South Dakota and Northern Michigan as well. Those were mentioned in the study. But overall, Brianna, these data are very important. The reason why, we know that underlying health conditions can put you at an increased risk of severe illness if you get COVID specifically if you have an underlying health condition. It can put you at three -- sorry, six times a higher risk of hospitalization, five times higher risk of ICU admission and 12 times higher risk of dying of COVID.


That's why, you know, this is really important specifically for hospitals to see where there's a higher concentration, and lawmakers, as well.

KEILAR: Certainly, it's like, you know, when coronavirus is hitting those areas on the map, it's like fire hitting kindling. So that's just very important. Thank you so much for spelling that out for us, Jacquelyn.

And we have been hearing it for months, right? Social distance, stay at least six feet apart, wear a mask when you're not able to maintain a safe distance. Well, a new study continuing to back that up. Researchers looking at social distancing, temperature and population density across 211 U.S. counties in 46 states as factors for virus spread. And they found that social distancing appear to have the greatest impact on transmissibility.

Former CDC Detective Dr. Seema Yasmin is joining me now. And, Doctor, this study really seems to confirm that we already knew, which is that social distancing works. I still think it's still so important for what we know to be confirmed because everything is evolving with the coronavirus. What else can we take away from this?

DR. SEEMA YASMIN, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: This study is really a gut- punch, Brianna. Because what the researchers are saying is based on their findings they believe that here in America, we could be in a very different, much better situation right now, we could be having a much more normal summer if we had stayed in lockdown a bit longer, if we had reopened later and if we had reopened more slowly. And what the researchers are saying is that even after gradually reopening if we had still mask mandates, if we had been really telling people to physically distance and if we had said have small gatherings that keep them really small, we wouldn't be seeing this surge in cases, these record high numbers of hospitalizations and deaths right now.

And this is based, as you said, on data from 211 counties across America, which are home to about 55 percent of the country's population. They're showing that weather, temperature, those things, don't factor into viral spread as much as physical distancing. That's really key in stopping the spread of this virus.

KEILAR: And let's talk about something that we just heard the mayor of Miami say, which is that there is evidence of coronavirus spread in the home and that this is actually the place where they're seeing the most spread and he suggested particularly in the case of multigenerational households that people in Miami wear masks even when they're in their home. He said, obviously, we can't mandate this but this is just a suggestion because we're seeing the spread.

What should Americans other places take away from that warning out of Miami?

YASMIN: So this is absolutely true, that we are definitely seeing transmission of this virus within homes. And, Brianna, it really highlights a key deficit that we've seen here in the U.S. in management of this pandemic. Because think back to other countries, Hong Kong, China and other places, they have quarantine facilities, so that if you start feeling sick, if you test positive for COVID, you are not being told, OK, go home, where you might infect your kids, your partner, maybe your parents who are elderly and live with you, no. In those places, you are told you have symptoms, you've tested positive, go to a dedicated quarantine facility that's designed in a way where you can't infect anybody else.

Of course, we just don't have that here in the states and what we're saying to people is stay at home or at least reduce your exposure to others outside of the household but, of course, then your kids, your partner, your elderly parents are at risk of becoming infected from you.

Could masks in the home help? Yes, they could. But how feasible is that and how feasible is physical distancing in the home? Not so much. And like the Miami mayor said, you can't mandate that, so that's the key issue there.

KEILAR: Dr. Yasmin, thank you so much, joining us from Stanford, California.

We are standing by now for Senate Republicans' trillion-dollar coronavirus relief proposal which they have been fighting over internally as well as with the White House on. GOP senators now say the White House has conceded on some key demands as Democrats warn the GOP proposal fall short of what's needed.

CNN Congressional Reporter Lauren Fox is following this on Capitol Hill for us. Lauren, tell us if Republicans are close to introducing this proposal.

LAUREN FOX, CNN CONGRESSSIONAL REPORTER: Well, we are still waiting, Brianna. And I will tell you, all week long, Republicans in the White House and in the Senate have been trying to negotiate legislation between themselves. There were vast differences over how much to spend on testing, what to do about getting people back to school and how to deal with an unemployment insurance benefit that expires at the end of the month, that $600 additional in addition to the unemployment benefits that people normally received.

So what we know right now is that they are still working on legislative text, and, of course, that can take quite a bit of time to take the ideas that you think you have agreed to and put them on paper. But we know there's $105 billion to get people back to school. We also know that there's $16 billion in additional money for testing. That is a little bit of a concession of Senate Republicans who wanted $25 billion in new money. [13:10:01]

We also know that there's going to be stimulus checks for individuals and Steve Mnuchin, the treasury secretary, said that they are expected to look a lot like what we saw last time around. But we are still waiting on some key specifics.

We know that the president is not going to get his payroll tax cut that he said was required in order for him to seen this bill. Instead, Mnuchin said the president just wants to get this money out the door. But, Brianna, a lot of unknowns right now, and, just a reminder, these are Republicans negotiating with themselves. We haven't even gotten to the part where Republicans to sit down with Democrats to hammer out an actual deal.

KEILAR: Yes. Just one point, you say there's $105 billion in education funds there to get schools back up and running but House Republicans want, what, like $400 billion or something like that, right, Lauren?

FOX: Exactly. I mean, that just shows you --

KEILAR: The House Democrats.

FOX: -- the kind of difference that we are talking about, Brianna. House Democrats have this idea that they want four times that amount of money. And remember, Republicans are tying some of this money about, $35 billion, to schools that actually physically open up classrooms. That's not something Democrats have supported.

KEILAR: No, it certainly isn't. All right, Lauren, thank you so much for that from Capitol Hill.

And just in, we're learning the president and Vladimir Putin spoke today but it does not appear they discussed the bounties on U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

Plus, once again, the president brags about a test he took designed to detect dementia, but this time he goes into bizarre detail.

And the president calls the Fox News doctor his guide. We'll take a look at the doctor's questionable advice from the past few months.



KEILAR: We have some breaking news. We're getting word that President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke today. But in the readout of the conversation there is one key topic that is missing, conspicuously missing.

I want to go to Kaitlan Collins at the White House. Kaitlan, he apparently made zero mention of the reported Russian bounties on American troops in Afghanistan.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, if he did mention it, the White House readout does not mention that. It does say that they talked today, that they discussed efforts to defeat the coronavirus but also how to reopen global economies, Brianna. It says they discussed critical bilateral and global issues. And then it says President Trump reiterated his hope of an avoiding of expensive three- way arms race of China, Russia and the United States and said the president looked forward to the updates on those arm control negotiations in Vienna.

Of course, it does not mention something that has made a ton of headlines in recent weeks, which is that report of intelligence that was first reported by The New York Times about these purported Russian bounties to the Taliban for the lives of U.S. soldiers.

Now, the White House pushed back strongly on this notion because, basically, they said that the president had not been briefed on it because they said the intelligence community could not come to an agreement on what the intelligence actually was and whether or not this was actually happening, and therefore, that's why the president wasn't briefed. Though that was a strange excuse, Brianna, given we know that a lot of intelligence is not unanimous, it's not airtight and that's why it's intelligence. And the president is often briefed on things where they do not have a full picture but they tell the president what they do know.

So the question is going to be, did it come up on this call. Because if it did, the question is why didn't the White House mention it in the readout. And if it didn't, why didn't the president feel that it was necessary to bring that up, because, of course, he wasn't briefed on it. He then said he was later briefed on it with lawmakers who were asking all these questions about the intelligence. And this is their first phone call since those stories about those purported Russian bounties had actually come out.

KEILAR: Kaitlan, thank you so much for bringing us that live for us from the White House.

President Trump is once again bragging about the results of a cognitive test he took last year, a test that is designed to detect cognitive impairment, like Alzheimer's and other types of dementia. On Fox News, he went into detail about the questions he answered and how he says doctors were amazed by his ability to recall a simple set of words.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: So the last time I was at the hospital, probably a year ago, I said to the doctor, Dr. Ronny Jackson, I said, is there some kind of a test, an acuity test? And he said there actually is and he named it, whatever it might be. And it was and 30 or 35 questions. The first questions are very easy. The last questions are much more difficult, like a memory question. It's like you'll go person, woman, man, camera, T.V.

So they say, could you repeat that? So I said, yes. So it's person, woman, man, camera, T.V. OK, that's very good. If you get it in order, you get extra points. OK. They were asking you other questions, other questions. And then, ten minutes, 15, 20 minutes later, remember the first question -- not the first question but the 10th question. Give us that again. Can you do that again? And you go person, woman, man, camera, T.V. If you get it in order, you get extra points. They said, nobody gets it in order. It's actually not that easy. But for me, it was easy.

And that's not an easy question. In other words, they ask to you -- they give you five names and you have to repeat them, and that's OK. If you repeat them out of order, it's OK but, you know, it's not as good. But then when you go back about 20, 25 minutes later, and they say, go back to that -- they don't tell you this, go back to that question and repeat them.


Can you do it? And you go, person, woman, man, camera, T.V. They say, that's amazing, how did you do that? I do it because I have like a good memory, because I'm cognitively there.


KEILAR: He sounds as if he's describing how he just discovered electricity and all he did was identify an elephant. It's like he is trying to create material for Sarah Cooper's satirical videos instead of addressing a health crisis in his country. And those tough questions at the end of the test that the constantly talks about, they include things like which city are you in, what day is it and what month is it.

The Montreal doctor who designed this test 25 years ago says it's supposed to be easy. Quote, this is not an I.Q. test or the level of how a person is extremely skilled or not. This test is supposed to help physicians detect early signs of Alzheimer's and it became popular because it's short and very sensitive for early impairment.

On top of all of this, the president said that former White House Physician Ronny Jackson administered the test. And just a reminder that this is what Ronny Jackson said about the president's health at the beginning of his presidency.


DR. RONNY JACKSON, FORMER WHITE HOUSE PHYSICIAN: Overall he has very, very good health, excellent health.

He has a lot of energy, a lot of energy and a lot of stamina.

REPORTER: Can you explain to me how a guy who eats McDonald's, fried chickens and all those diet cokes and never exercises is as good of a shape as you say he is in?

JACKSON: it's called genetics. I don't know. It's -- some people have just great genes. I told the president that if he had a healthier diet over the last 20 years, he might live to be 200 years old. I don't know. I think he will remain fit for duty for the remainder of this term and even for the remainder of another term if he is elected. (END VIDEO CLIP)

KEILAR: Not only is he a doctor but apparently also a psychic. And just to reinforce that you should consider the source there, this is what the Dr. Ronny Jackson said last week about wearing masks.


JACKSON: And I'm a firm believer that that's, at this point, a personal choice. And I encourage people that want to wear masks to wear a mask but I don't wear a mask all that often, to be honest with you.


KEILAR: A personal choice? Well, it is some kind of choice but it is by definition not just a personal one. From the dictionary, personal, of affecting or belonging to a particular person rather than to anyone else. So not wearing a mask is a choice that may belong to one person but it also affects other people too. And the proof is in the model that the White House uses, which shows that if masks were universal, almost 34,000 Americans who will be dead by November 1st will instead by alive. Personal? Please.

And let's talk about another element of the president's interview. He gave quite the compliment to the Fox News doctor who was questioning him.


TRUMP: I watch you all the time and I watch you almost like my guide to this because, frankly, you really have a good take on it. You know how important it is.


KEILAR: OK. So, since Dr. Marc Siegel is the president's guide in this historic pandemic, it's worth looking at what the good doctor has advised millions over the past few months on. Here he is in March.


DR. MARC SIEGEL, FOX NEWS MEDICAL CONTRIBUTOR: This virus should be compared to the flu because, at worst, at worst, worst-case scenario, it could be the flu.


KEILAR: All right. Obviously, that was not true, and you can see that by the heartbreaking numbers that are there on the right side of your screen, but it was also not true at the time.

One week after Siegel's remark, this is what Dr. Fauci said.



KEILAR: Dr. Siegel also went after the World Health Organization, much like the president has.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is a quote from the head of the World Health Organization today. He said, this is not a drill, this is a time for pulling out all the stops.

SIEGEL: They are a bunch of alarmists. They are saber rattlers.


KEILAR: OK, fast forward to May, when Dr. Siegel downplayed the potential of a second wave in the U.S.


SIEGEL: Regarding this fall, the 1918 second wave, I've been monitoring Australia, and so has Dr. Fauci. You know how many cases are in Australia today, Tucker? 11, only 11 new cases. That's the southern hemisphere. That's essentially our November right now. It predicts that we're not going to have a big second wave.

When our children go back to school, there is going to be plenty of testing. We're going to test teachers and we're going to test students. We have very mild, mild cases among the young and asymptomatic. But we're going to keeping an eye on them.


KEILAR: All right. Two things, the U.S. isn't even out of its first wave. And in the weeks after Siegel made that comment, cases in the U.S. increased by 2.6 million, 63,000 more Americans died. And Siegel mentioned that we would have plenty of testing for kids and teachers. We're getting closer to the restart of the school year and testing is a disaster. It's taking two weeks for many Americans to get results.

And on Dr. Fauci, who White House officials are publicly trying to undermine, Siegel has said he should just shut up.



LOU DOBBS, FOX BUSINESS NETWORK HOST: What is going on with Dr. Fauci talking in one direction, Dr. Birx talking the opposite? And why is he talking in direct opposition to the president he is ostensibly serving?

SIEGEL: He should not be. He is there to serve the president and he's not -- he's more of a virologist than a public health official.


KEILAR: Well, Dr. Siegel is more of a sycophant than a doctor and he's not President Trump's coronavirus guide. President Trump appears to be his.

A back and forth between the president and his rival, Joe Biden, after Biden calls him the first racist American president. The campaign will join us live.

Plus, a new case of coronavirus at the White House puts staffers on edge.

And news on the future of movies and movie theaters as the pandemic is predicted to drag on for much longer than previously thought.