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U.S. to Surpass 4 Million COVID-19 Cases Today; Trump Deploys More Federal Agents to Cities in Law & Order Push; Trump Again Boasts About Cognitive Results; Senate GOP, White House Agree on Virus Testing in New Aid Bill. Aired 6-6:30a ET

Aired July 23, 2020 - 06:00   ET



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: COVID-19 is on track to claim more lives in L.A. County than any disease except coronary heart disease.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: California setting a new record, adding more than 12,800 new cases in one day.

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

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Parents are terrified about sending their kids to school with really no clear guidance.

SEN. MITT ROMNEY (R-UT): Look at Germany, the E.U. 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.

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTES FOR ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: I think we ultimately will get control of it. I don't really see us eradicating it.


ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Alisyn Camerota and John Berman.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and all around the world. This is NEW DAY. It is Thursday, July 23, 6 a.m. here in New York.

We begin with the United States on track to surpass 4 million coronavirus cases today. It was only two weeks ago that the U.S. Hit 3 million cases. In other words, the rate of spread is increasing.

Yesterday, the U.S. reported its second highest number of new cases. More than a thousand coronavirus deaths for the second day in a row.

President Trump once again insisting that testing is overrated, but other Republicans apparently disagree. Overnight, they reached a fundamental agreement with the White House on a coronavirus relief Bill that does include money for more testing. JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: One hundred and forty-three thousand dead

Americans and climbing, and the president made the bizarre claim that a cure, his word, is somehow close. It's not. No one thinks that. It's wrong.

The president pushed for schools to open 100 percent, presenting misinformation about the risk of kids spreading the virus. A new poll finds that just 8 percent of Americans think schools should reopen with no changes. Most people, you can see there, want some kind of adjustment, which calls for the type of guidance or plan that still hasn't been provided.

So the president wrong on an imminent cure, wrong on the risk of kids spreading the virus, but 100 percent right on person, woman, man, camera, TV.

What am I talking about? It's a seminal moment of presidential history, where the president brags about his cognitive testing, at length, in excruciating detail. This is something you need to see in just a moment.

Let's begin, though, with Stephanie Elam live in Los Angeles. Once again, California now has the most states in the country, and they're trying to figure out what to do there -- Stephanie.

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, they've been working on that here, John. This as the United States is about to surpass 4 million cases. And health officials are saying we might not even be through the middle of this pandemic.


ELAM (voice-over): This morning, new coronavirus cases in California continuing to surge. The state reporting more than 12,800 new infections Wednesday.

In Los Angeles, public health officials fear the virus could become the second leading cause of death in the county.

BARBARA FERRER, DIRECTOR, LOS ANGELES COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH: Our data for the past two weeks has really been moving us in the wrong direction. We've taken actions over the past few weeks that we're hoping we'll start seeing something different in the weeks ahead.

ELAM: And they say young people are driving the spike in new cases here.

MAYOR ERIC GARCETTI (D), LOS ANGELES: Be smart. Don't gather and please wear a mask. We need to assume that COVID-19 is everywhere right now. We need to be vigilant.

ELAM: California and in hot spots like Florida, now plateauing, or in the case of Arizona, decreasing in new weekly cases. But that flattening of the curve is staying at a high rate of infection. FAUCI: We are certainly not at the end of the game. I'm not even sure

we're halfway through. We've got to do much better at controlling the outbreak in general, but also particularly as we try to reopen.

ELAM: In Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis making this concession, despite still planning to open schools in the coming weeks, going against warnings from teachers and health experts.

GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): The evidence that schools can be opened in a safe way is overwhelming, yet I still understand the apprehension that some parents might feel and I believe empowering them with a choice. No parent should be required to send their child to in-person instruction if they don't want to.

ELAM: President Trump attributing the rise in new cases to an increase in testing.

TRUMP: To me, every time you test, you find a case, and you know, it gets reported in the news, we found more cases. If instead of 50, we did 25, we'd have half the number of cases. So I personally think it's overrated, but I am totally willing to keep doing it.

ELAM: But according to health experts --

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: When we say that we've done more testing now, in terms of absolute numbers, perhaps that's true, but that's because we needed to, because we have a lot more viral spread.

ELAM: Even with some promising news about vaccine developments, a sobering reminder from Dr. Anthony Fauci.

FAUCI: I think ultimately, with a combination of good public health measures and a vaccine, that we may not eradicate it, but I think we will bring it down to such a low level that we will not be in the position that we're in right now for an extended period of time.


ELAM: And now while the president doesn't seem to be so thrilled about testing, the White House and Senate Republicans did reach a tentative deal for the next coronavirus relief plan. Now, this package would include $1 trillion. That would have money set aside for testing. It would also have another round of PPP loans, have money for schools, as well, and an incentives for companies to hire and retain workers, Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: Really good to know, Stephanie. Thank you very much for all of that reporting.

Also developing overnight, Portland's mayor tear gassed by federal agents, trying to disperse hundreds of protestors outside of a courthouse. There's no evidence that he was personally targeted.

Earlier, Portland's city council voted unanimously to end cooperation with federal forces. This comes after President Trump announced that he will send federal

agents to Chicago and Albuquerque. He's also threatening to do the same in New York.

CNN's Jeremy Diamond is live at the White House with more.

Good morning, Jeremy.


Well, as you can see from those images overnight in Portland, the backlash to President Trump's decision to deploy federal forces to Portland and other American cities is only growing.

But yesterday, that backlash was already there. And President Trump, in the same breath, was announcing the deployment of additional federal law enforcement officers to American cities. He's calling it a surge of federal law enforcement in cities like Chicago and Albuquerque, New Mexico.

The president saying that he's going to be sending about 200 troops to Chicago, another 35 to Albuquerque.

But Bill Barr, the attorney general, was very clear in trying to distinguish between what is happening in Portland and what is going to be happening from a federal law enforcement perspective in Chicago and these other cities.

This effort that the president was announcing yesterday is going to be focused on fighting that rise in violent crime that we have seen in some of these cities.

But there's no question that the president was using this as a political moment, as well. His campaign has increasingly focused on, you know, this law-and-order message that President Trump used, as well, in 2016, and drawing a direct connection between these Democratic mayors and the violence that is happening in some of these cities.

Listen, though, to the reaction from two of those mayors just yesterday.


MAYOR LORI LIGHTFOOT (D), CHICAGO: The president's remarks are politics. You know, obviously, he's in the fight for his survival, so I'm not surprised that he is targeting a Democratic mayor.

It doesn't change the fact that we do not want unconstitutional, secret federal agents coming into our cities, grabbing our residents and detaining them, and violating their rights.

MAYOR TIM KELLER (D), ALBUQUERQUE, NEW MEXICO: 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 city, we're very concerned. It's about inciting violence.


DIAMOND: Now, while the president and Attorney General Bill Barr were insisting this is about rising violent crime in these cities, there was a direct through line to politics here, as well. And the attorney general, Bill Barr, also going after the protests that have happened in the wake of George Floyd's death, calling them an extreme reaction, saying that they have demonized police and drawing a direct connection to the crime in those cities -- John.

BERMAN: All right. Jeremy Diamond at the White House. Jeremy, please keep us posted.

This as this morning the president is basking in the unbridled glory of stringing five words together in order. Seriously, he is. He's bragging about a cognitive test that he took in ways that will astound even those with mild cognitive ability. Watch this.


TRUMP: So the last time I was at hospital, probably a year ago, I said to the doctor -- it was 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 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, TV. So they'll say, Can you repeat that?

So I said, Yes. So it's person, woman, man camera, TV.

OK, that's very good. If you get it in order, you get extra points.

If you -- OK, now he's asking you other questions, other questions. And then ten minutes, 15, 20 minutes later, they say, remember that first question? Not the first, but the tenth question? Give us that again? Can you do that again?

And you go, Person, woman, man, camera, TV. 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 it 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?

[06:10:06] And you go, Person, woman, man, camera, TV.

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.


BERMAN: Fore score and seven years ago, ask not what your country can do for you, person, woman, man, camera, TV.

There are at least 18 different levels to this. Whatever it says about his cognitive ability, what does it say about his emotional well-being that he thinks this is impressive, like "Person, woman, man, camera, TV" should win him admission into MENSA, the Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the Order of the Phoenix?

Moreover, it doesn't mean what he thinks it means. This is a gating test to determine dementia, not an I.Q. test or SAT Test that he might have taken himself, or otherwise, to get into college.

Not to mention, he keeps on saying how recent this was. He seems to be talking about a test he took more than two years ago. So what does that say about his understanding of time, Alisyn Camerota? Riddle me this.

CAMEROTA: Well, I mean, there's a million questions. He also did recently go to Walter Reed Hospital, but it was unscheduled, and we still don't know why and if it was having anything to do with cognition.

But I saw somebody on Twitter say that it was mesmerizing watching President Trump repeat those five words over and over. And maybe he was trying to hypnotize Dr. Siegel. I don't know what was happening there.

But that -- look, it's not what he thinks it means, or he shouldn't be bragging about it. And why did they feel the need to give him that cognitive test?

Anyway, there's a million questions that it raises, but it is really interesting to watch him say it over and over.

BERMAN: It was obsessive. I mean, he's obsessed with it now. I'm sure we'll hear more.

All right, President Trump may be coming around on masks, but he still does not seem to understand why testing is crucial to stopping the pandemic. We'll discuss, next.


BERMAN: All right. This morning, the United States on track to surpass 4 million coronavirus cases, an increase of a million cases in just the last 15 days. You can steep [SIC] -- see on that graph how steep the case curve is, rising very fast.

Now, every expert will tell you, testing, one of the keys to stopping the growth, but last night once again, despite whatever tone some people may think was different in his briefings, he again makes this ridiculous claim about testing.


TRUMP: To me, it -- every time you test, you find a case. And you know, it gets reported in the news we found more cases. If instead of 50, we did 25, we'd have half the number of cases. So I personally think it's overrated, but I am totally willing to keep doing it.

Again, it makes us look bad, but they say it's good. I don't mind looking bad if it's a good thing.


BERMAN: All right. Joining us now, Dr. Peter Hotez. He's the dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston and the co-director of the Texas Children's Hospital Center for Vaccine Development.

Let's leave that ridiculousness about testing aside, and let's look at some cold, hard facts about where we are this morning. Hospitalizations in the United States near a record. The graph of it is remarkable. There's a "V." You know, the president always talking about a "V," but this is the wrong kind of "V" right here. Our hospitalization rate is right back where it was at the worst moments of the pandemic.

And in terms of the daily death count, Dr. Hotez, the second straight day of a thousand-plus deaths. So this morning, are we seeing the results? And that's the first time that's happened since May. This morning, are we seeing the results of the rising cases in the country?

DR. PETER HOTEZ, DEAN, NATIONAL SCHOOL OF TROPICAL MEDICINE, BAYLOR COLLEGE OF MEDICINE IN HOUSTON: Yes, absolutely, John. So you know, we -- we've been saying now for a while that the cases are rising, and it's just a matter of time before the deaths start to appear. Because people are on ventilators for periods of time.

So you have the White House saying, Look at the low death rate, look at the low death rate.

And we always said, Yes, but it's just a matter of time. We know if they're in the ICU and in the hospital, even though we're getting better at ICU care and we're lowering the death rate in the ICUs, the deaths will surely come, and tragically, they have. We've had well over a thousand deaths in the nation in the last two days.

And practically speaking, what that means is, in states like California and Texas and Florida, and now in Louisiana and Georgia, COVID-19 is one of the leading causes of death on a daily basis in those states. Maybe in some of those states, the leading cause of death. and this is what we saw in New York and New Jersey, back in the spring.

So again, this very steep acceleration, around 60,000 to 70,000 new cases per day. Maybe it's not raising as rapidly in cases as it was a few weeks ago, but we are in this terrible, dire public health crisis, and still, we lack a national plan.

CAMEROTA: Doctor, I want your take on what Dr. Fauci said he thinks we now in fighting this. So listen to him yesterday.


FAUCI: 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 an historic pandemic outbreak. And we are right now in a situation where we do not see any particular end in sight.


CAMEROTA: So Dr. Hotez, what does that mean in practical terms? If we're not even -- if we're maybe at the halfway point, that means we'll see 8 million cases? We'll see 300,000 deaths in this country?

HOTEZ: Well, Dr. Fauci's absolutely right. There's -- there's no -- we -- there's no end in sight in the sense that, if there's no plan to control the virus at a national level, it's not going to go away by itself.


In fact, there's even -- this is not even the, quote, "the second wave." This is just a resurgence of the initial infection level that hit us in the United States.

So we could -- there's some predictions of yet another wave later in the fall or in the winter. So, yes, we're still early on in this epidemic, and until we have that federal guidance and leadership, we are not going to bring those cases down.

The president last night, you know, he addressed the nursing home issue, and that is significant. Nursing home deaths account for around 40 percent of the deaths. And he talked about measures to shore up our nursing homes, and that's fine, but -- and that's important.

But there's still no federal plan. It's still business as usual. States in the lead. States don't really know what to do, backed by some FEMA and supply chain management support. It's a failed strategy. It was failed -- it was a failed strategy from day one. And there's still not that good faith effort to take this on.

BERMAN: And Dr. Fauci, by the way, saying there's no end in sight, directly contradicts one of the things the president said at his briefing, which is that somehow we may be close to a cure, which is something that I just know isn't true and no one thinks.

Dr. Hotez --

HOTEZ: Yes, and --

BERMAN: Go ahead.

HOTEZ: And -- and again, there are things we can do. I've put out a plan this week on what needs to be done and how we can bring every state in the country back down to containment level. And for some states, we're almost already there, in Maine and New Hampshire. And by that, I mean one new case per million residents per day or something close to it.

We have a lot of work to do in the southern states, but we can get there. And then you can open up the schools, and then you can open up the colleges. We might even be able to do sporting events.

But if you just continue to plod along at this rate, the cases will continue to mount, and the deaths will continue to mount. And I don't understand why they can't see that.

BERMAN: On the issue of possible plateaus, we are seeing increases in new cases starting to level off. In Texas a little bit, albeit at a very high level. The positivity rate in California, in L.A. County, not in a great place, but leveling off.

And to an extent, you're seeing the same levelings in Florida. I know that's better than having exponential growth, but how long can you sustain at this plateau, doctor?

HOTEZ: Right, but John, you know why that's happening? People are getting scared. And they're seeing the numbers, and they're figuring out for themselves that, Hey, maybe I better stay home, because yesterday in Texas, we had a record number of deaths, 200 deaths in the state of Texas.

And the same in California, same in Florida. So people are turning on -- turning on the news and seeing the information and finally getting it.

But that's not leadership. That's not protecting our citizens. That's not homeland security. There is no homeland security for COVID-19 in the United States.

CAMEROTA: About schools, President Trump talked about that a lot yesterday. He wants to see 100 percent open back in the classroom very soon, and he used one of his favorite experts, "they." And he said, "They do say that they don't transmit very easily," meaning kids.

That's not what the latest research shows. I mean, that South Korean study shows that above 10 years old, they transmit at the same rate as adults. And so he's saying that the White House is now studying that. What -- what does that mean, Doctor?

HOTEZ: Look, he wants business as -- the White House wants business as usual. We all do. But we have to be realistic on what's actually achievable.

If you start opening up schools now in areas of high transmission, teachers, bus drivers, cafeteria workers, parents will all get very sick, and we'll have to close up again. It will be a catastrophic failure.

Yes, we know kids can transmit illness, especially over the age of 10, but also, remember how schools operate. People are coming in and out of the building. We have vendors coming in. We have parents coming in. There's no way that we can keep our schools safe in areas of high transmission.

I think we can do it in some states. You know, up in New England where they've made that -- those good faith efforts to bring down the level of transmission. But we have to do that for the whole country.

And the problem is the federal government does not want to do the hard work of controlling this virus. And what they're essentially doing is dumping it -- dumping it on the teachers and the principals and saying, Hey, you guys figure it out. And it's so unfair. And teachers will get sick. They're scared of coming in to work. And they should be. This is not how we should be treating one of our greatest national treasures, our schoolteachers.

BERMAN: It's notable, Dr. Birx would not back up the president's claim that kids don't transmit the virus when she went on FOX TV not long after the president's news conference. Maybe that's why Dr. Birx was not on the podium with the president during that briefing.

Dr. Hotez, as always, thank you for being with us this morning.

HOTEZ: Thank you so much.

BERMAN: The White House and Republican senators, we are told, seem to have reached a tentative agreement on a new stimulus bill. What's in it for you? That's next.



CAMEROTA: Breaking overnight, the White House and Senate Republicans reaching a tentative agreement on the next coronavirus relief package. So what's in it?

Joining us now is CNN congressional reporter Lauren Fox. Lauren, tell us what your reporting shows is in this thing.

LAUREN FOX, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, essentially, it has been a roller coaster of a week up here on Capitol Hill. So many different negotiations between Republicans and the White House, as they have tried to iron out some key differences.

What we do know now is there has been a tentative deal reached on the spending portion of this bill. And that is just, again, a piece of this legislation.

But we do know that it includes $105 billion to get kids back to school. That includes K-12 education, early education, as well as colleges and universities.