Return to Transcripts main page

THE SITUATION ROOM

U.S. Records over 1,000 Deaths for Third Day in a Row; CDC: Kids should Go to School unless Transmission "Uncontrolled"; Trump Cancels RNC Events in Florida; World Health Org Reports Global Record For New Cases In A Day; Chinese-U.S. Relations Deteriorating Amid Pandemic; Brazil Reports Second-Highest Number Of New Cases; Money And Power Behind Disparity In U.S. Testing. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired July 24, 2020 - 17:00   ET

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


[17:00:00]

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Welcome to our viewers here in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM. We're following breaking news.

The U.S. reporting more than 1,000 coronavirus deaths now for the third day in a row. Nearly 145,000 Americans have now died in this pandemic. And the country has surpassed 4 million confirmed cases.

California is just now reporting 159 more coronavirus deaths in a single day. That's today. A terrible new record for that state. The virus is spreading at a truly alarming rate not only in California but in Florida and Texas as well.

Dr. Deborah Birx of the White House Task Force says those states are like three New York right now as the death tolls soar. But amid all of this, the CDC is releasing new guidelines advocating for children to go back to school, and the White House says they should even if studies show they can. Young kids can transmit the virus.

Let's begin now with the breaking news out of California right now. Our national correspondent Athena Jones is working the story for us. Athena, California's crisis clearly appears to be getting a whole lot worse.

ATHENA JONES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Wolf. It's so interesting because there are indications that things are getting better in some places. More states holding those new case numbers steady. But California reporting its highest single-day death toll at 159. That's setting a record for the second day in a row showing that this crisis is a long way from over.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DR. LARRY BRILLIANT, EPIDEMIOLOGIST: The school calendar is not the pandemic calendar.

JONES (voice-over): A new front in the back to school debate. DR. JONATHAN REINER, PROFESSOR OF MEDICINE, GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY MEDICAL CENTER: Every school district has to make these decisions. These are complex decisions.

JONES (voice-over): The CDC is out with long-awaited guidelines making the case schools should reopen in some cases, arguing children suffer in a remote learning environment.

DR. ROBERT REDFIELD, DIRECTOR, CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION: There really are have been substantial public health negative consequences for children not being in school.

JONES (voice-over): And stressing they appear to be at lower risk for serious complications from COVID-19 and they are less likely to spread the virus than adults. But the science on that still isn't settled.

DR. DEBORAH BIRX, WHITE HOUSE CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE COORDINATOR: What I can't tell you for sure, despite the South Korea study is whether children under 10 in the United States don't spread the virus is the same as children over 10. I think that is still an open question that needs to be studied in the United States.

JONES (voice-over): One reason there's so much concern, particularly in hotspots like Florida's Miami-Dade County.

MAYOR FRANCIS SUAREZ (R-FL), MIAMI: You're talking about 350,000 students plus another 40,000 teachers. So, you're putting a tremendous amount of people back into the economy in a way that could end up being a super spreader event.

JONES (voice-over): Exactly what doctors at overwhelmed hospitals there are worried about.

DR. AILEEN MARTY, INFECTIOUS DISEASE EXPERT, FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL UNIVERSITY: It is way too dangerous here right now to have face-to- face schools and we're drowning. We're absolutely drowning here.

JONES (voice-over): The CDC also advising local authorities to take into account the level of virus transmission in the community before resuming in person classes.

REDFIELD: When you look at the hotspots, I think most of us right now are looking where the percent positivity rate within the community is greater than 5 percent.

JONES (voice-over): Many of the nation's school districts pressured to make a decision before the CDC guidance came down. Some deciding to hold online only classes in the fall, others postponing the start of the school year.

Despite a positivity rate above 12 percent, Arizona's Governor Doug Ducy, asking schools to open on time this fall while leaving the decision to local leaders.

And after new daily deaths nationwide past 1,000 for the third straight day, signs new infections may be leveling off in some of the hardest hit places like Florida, Arizona, Texas and California.

Still, seems like this one, a mask less crowd of hundreds that in Northern California worship service are worrying. More than two dozen state localities have paused reopening or reinstituted restrictions.

Washington's governor announcing tighter restrictions on restaurants, bars, gyms, movie theaters, even weddings and funerals.

GOV. JAY INSLEE (D-WA): Our suppression of this virus is not at the level it needs to be.

JONES (voice-over): While a Starr County judge in South Texas issued a shelter-at-home order for all residents.

Meanwhile, more than 150 medical experts and others in an open letter urging political leaders to shut down the entire country again and start over. This time following the kinds of public health guidelines that helped dozens of other countries get the virus under control. Dr. Anthony Fauci only partly agrees.

[17:05:04]

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: I'm not so sure you need to all of a sudden everybody go back to a complete lockdown. It could come to that. You always got to leave that on the table.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

JONES: And now one of those public health measures that experts like Dr. Fauci support is of course wearing masks. Now McDonald's and Chipotle are joining a long list of companies that will require customers to wear a mask or a face covering. The rules are already in effect at Chipotle and will start on August 1st for McDonald's. Wolf?

BLITZER: Well, that's very important and very smart. Athena Jones, thank you.

Let's go to the White House right now. Our chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta is joining us. Jim, the president's response to all of this over these past few weeks and even days has been rather chaotic.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Wolf. White House officials are showcasing their tortured relationship with reality insisting President Trump hasn't changed on the coronavirus one day after he scrapped his convention plans in Florida. The misleading rhetoric isn't doing much to mask the administration's scrambling to get a handle on a pandemic that is raging out of control.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ACOSTA (voice-over): Just as the president is changing course in his response to the coronavirus, White House officials are trying to pull a fast one, falsely claiming Mr. Trump has been consistent all along. QUESTION: What changed this week? Why did his tone change?

KAYLEIGH MCENANY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: There has been no change. He hasn't changed, in fact, and just speaking on COVID generally, the way I have heard him talk privately in the Oval Office is the way he's talking out here.

ACOSTA (voice-over): But that's not true. The president just pulled the plug on his big convention speech in Jacksonville, citing concerns about the virus.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: But I looked at my team and I said, the timing for this event is not right. It's just not right, with what's happened recently, the flare-up in Florida. To have a big convention, it's not the right time.

ACOSTA (voice-over): Contrast that with his rally in June, when the president praised his supporters as warriors for risking their lives to cheer on Mr. Trump.

TRUMP: You are warriors. I have been watching. I have been watching the fake news for weeks now, and everything is negative. Don't go, don't come, don't do anything. Today, it was like, I have never seen anything like it. I have never seen anything like it. You are warriors. Thank you.

ACOSTA (voice-over): A GOP convention official described the party's decision to move some of its events to Jacksonville before scrapping them as "a multimillion-dollar debacle. And think of where that money could have gone."

Still, Dr. Anthony Fauci said it's a good thing the president is now listening to warnings about large crowds.

FAUCI: I believe he and others in the White House have heard us speak about that, so I would hope that that maybe had some influence in the decision, but I think it was a good decision.

ACOSTA (voice-over): New polls also explain the president's recent reversals, as he's down double digits in Florida and in Pennsylvania, while also trailing badly in Michigan and Minnesota.

While the president is moving to protect his party's delegates, he's determined to send most U.S. schoolchildren back to the classroom.

TRUMP: Given these considerations, we believe many school districts can now reopen safely, provided they implement mitigation measures.

ACOSTA (voice-over): The administration is pointing to new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control, advising schools to reopen with strong safety measures.

MCENANY: It is our firm belief that our schools are essential places of business.

ACOSTA (voice-over): That's despite the warning from Coronavirus Task Force Dr. Deborah Birx, who is comparing Texas, Florida, and California to the situation in New York at the beginning of the pandemic.

BIRX: I just want to make it clear to the American public, what we have right now are essentially three New York with these three major states.

ACOSTA (voice-over): Fauci said the president's recent about-face on masks may help.

FAUCI: As you can see, the president has come around now about wearing a mask and has actually been recommending it. So, I think we're moving in a really positive direction in that regard.

ACOSTA (voice-over): And yet there were missed opportunities this week, from a Medal of Freedom ceremony.

TRUMP: Coaches, here they are.

ACOSTA (voice-over): To this photo opportunity celebrating the return of Major League Baseball, where there were few masks in sight.

The president does sound regretful about one thing, his Twitter account.

QUESTION: Do you ever tweet out and be like -- wake up and, oh, man, I wish I didn't send that one out?

TRUMP: Often. Too often. We put it out instantaneously. We feel great. And then you start getting phone calls. Did you really say this? I say, what's wrong with that?

And you find a lot of things.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

ACOSTA: Now, also the president's recent slide in the polls a Trump campaign adviser said it was far too soon to give up on the November election. But the adviser said candidly that the president is running out of time to turn things around. If the polls look this way in August, at the end of August this adviser said, quote, "then we worry." Mr. Trump in the meantime sounds like he is missing his life as a private citizen telling "bar tool sports" in an interview that his best days came right before he announced he was running for president. Wolf?

BLITZER: Jim Acosta, on Sunday it'll be a hundred days until the election. So, there's not a whole lot of time left. All right. Thank you very much for that.

[17:10:04]

Even as he presses for schools to reopen amid the coronavirus pandemic, the president is citing the same health crisis as his reason for canceling the Republican National Convention in Jacksonville, Florida. The mayor of Jacksonville, Lenny Curry, is joining us right now.

Mayor Curry, I know you got lot going on. I assume you're sort of relieved that thousands of people from all over the country are not going to show up in Jacksonville at the end of next month out of concern for their safety, your safety, your city's safety.

When did you learn, Mayor, that the president had decided to cancel the convention?

MAYOR LENNY CURRY (R-FL), JACKSONVILLE: Well, the short answer, Wolf -- thanks for having me. The short answer to that is yesterday. But the long answer is we've been monitoring the situation for weeks. I said that when I began to court the convention, when I started courting it on June 2nd. Our positivity rate was 3 percent. It dropped to below 3 percent the first week thereafter.

As you know, it's been climbing in Florida. It's climbed in Jacksonville. We've been communicating those numbers to the RNC, to the White House to make sure that the president had the information that he needed, and he made the right decision yesterday in the best interest of the health of the people of Jacksonville in the state of Florida. Disappointing after we had stay-at-home orders, businesses are hurting and still trying to recover. But health and safety first.

BLITZER: Did the president personally call you or did you learn about the cancelation when all of us learned when he showed up at the briefing at the White House?

CURRY: Well, we had as recently as yesterday put a message into the White House that while our numbers had been climbing, it looked like they had maybe started to plateau. Our hospitals were in good shape. But we really wanted to keep an eye on this, really wanted to make sure that they knew that we were assessing the risk and we were willing to potentially pull things back, potentially pull the plug. But we were keeping an eye on it. We weren't there. We got that message into the president, and he made the decision, and it was the right decision looking out for the American people.

BLITZER: So, did you advise the RNC, the campaign, the president, this was a bad idea to have this convention? Did he personally call you, give you a little heads up that it was off? Just walk us through how this unfolded.

CURRY: We didn't say it was a bad idea. What we've been saying for weeks - what I've been saying for weeks is we're going to monitor the numbers. We're going to -- look, I have organized weekly calls with all the hospitals and then each day I communicate with them, talk to them to understand where we are and just monitor the caseloads and the positives.

We have massive testing happening in our city in our county. We got way ahead of this early on. And we just communicate that data and information to the RNC and to the president, his team. We've been planning up until yesterday. But we were stating and suggesting, wow, we appear to have plateaued. We just got to think about and consider if we start to decline again, there's uncertainty here, do we want to risk a rise in cases?

BLITZER: I just want to be precise and then I want to move on. Mayor, you were willing to go along and have this convention at Jacksonville next month. If the president had been determined to do it, you would have said OK. Is that right?

CURRY: Look, if we had gotten - look, on a day by day basis, if we had gotten to where - if I had gotten to write (ph) and think this was a healthy - something we could at health protocols and protect people, I would have clearly communicated that to the RNC and to the White House. But all the communication that we've had with them, if I had suggested that they would have gone along with it. The president puts the health of the American people first. This was his decision. Had I gotten to this decision in a week or two weeks or three weeks, we all would've rode in the same direction and did the right thing.

BLITZER: Obviously, you have to err on the side of caution when you're dealing with a crisis like this. People are dying, more than a thousand in the United States died yesterday. More than a thousand the day before. More than a thousand the day before that. This is an awful, awful situation. So, you got to err on the side of caution. And the president made the case, you know what, he's going to cancel the Republican National Convention in August in Jacksonville.

Here's the question, though. If you're willing to err on the side of caution as far as a political convention is concerned, what about schools, what about the kids, the teachers, their families, what about that? Because I understand you want schools to reopen in the next few weeks.

CURRY: Yes. Well, I do think we ought to open schools.

BLITZER: We all want to open schools. The question is can you do it safely during a crisis like this, especially in Florida, which has become the epicenter right now of the pandemic?

CURRY: Well, Wolf, I hope we all want to open schools. I'm not so sure that's the case. I think there are some playing politics with that.

[17:15:00]

But -- kids ought to have the option to learn in person and virtually. I believe they ought to have choices. If teachers have vulnerable immune systems, they ought to have options as well. But we have to get our kids back into a school in a safe way.

We have a mask mandate in my city that I put in either late June or early July. We've been preaching and practicing social distancing for months. I was preaching masks long before masks were even mandated if you go back to the beginning of this pandemic. So, our city understands what we're facing, which I believe is why our numbers were so low early, why we peaked recently. We've started to plateau, and our numbers are dropping again.

So, kids need to be back in school. Parents and kids need to have choices. That's the most important part of this. That's how you do this in a smart and effective way. There is no single answer. Some people have compromised immune systems. Some people have relatives at home with compromised immune systems. The most vulnerable, we do this. We protect the most vulnerable. We make sure our kids get back to some sense of normal life. Those that can learn in person, learn in person.

BLITZER: Well, you got a life and death decisions you got to make, Mayor. Good luck to you. Good luck to everyone in Jacksonville. You've got a great city. I've been there many times. And I think a lot of us are relieved that you're not going to have this big convention, which potentially, potentially could've caused a lot, a lot of problems. Thanks so much for joining us. Good luck.

CURRY: Thanks, Wolf.

BLITZER: All right. Coming up, we're going to have more on the CDC guidelines just released for reopening schools around the country. We'll hear what Dr. Anthony Fauci just said about keeping teachers safe.

Plus, the breaking news. A one-day record number of coronavirus deaths in California just announced. We're going to go there live for the latest on the crisis.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[17:21:05]

BLITZER: New guidelines are just out from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on reopening the country's schools saying that children should return to their classrooms unless coronavirus transmission is uncontrolled.

Let's discuss with Dr. Leana Wen., the former health commissioner of Baltimore. Sal Khan, the founder and CEO of the Khan Academy.

Dr. Wen, the CDC Director Robert Redfield says these new guidelines are meant to facilitate the opening of schools around the country, not keep them closed. Based on your reading of these new guidelines, do you think they accomplished that goal?

DR. LEANA WEN, FORMER BALTIMORE CITY HEALTH COMMISSIONER: Wolf, they sound different from the guidelines that were released before. And I kept on thinking what is it that's so different and what's different is the tone. Because what I'm used to seeing from the CDC is leading with the science and the facts. And these guidelines sound like they're cherry-picking data to make a specific policy point. And that's really concerning because what we need from the CDC is not a justification of why children should be in school. We all know that. We all want that.

But we want the CDC to lay out what are the criteria that we need to meet. For example, we need to test positivity less than 5 percent, a consistent 14-day decline in the number of cases. Something like that. And also, here's a checklist of what schools have to do in order for schools for them to reopen safely in person. That's not what the CDC really has laid out. And I really worry if we can't trust that what comes out from them is based on science and not politics. Then who can we trust?

BLITZER: That's a real serious potential problem out there. Sal, you just had an excellent interview with Dr. Anthony Fauci yourself. And you asked him about bringing teachers and students back to school. Let me play this clip. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FAUCI: When you talk about forcing teachers to come back to school, you better be careful about that and make sure you pay attention to keeping them safe and keeping them healthy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: Sal, I want you to elaborate a little bit on that for us. What are some of the best practices that Dr. Fauci outlined?

SAL KHAN, FOUNDER AND CEO, KHAN ACADEMY: Yes. Well, first of all just to completely agree with what was just said. I think we're talking to school district leaders around the country and what they're craving is just very clear guidelines. What is the per capita incident rate and for each of these levels, what is the appropriate action? There are good groups like the Harvard Global Health Initiative Institute that have been doing very clear guidelines.

And Dr. Fauci did seem to say that those types of guidelines are what folks could index on. And the timing is super important because we're only four to six weeks away from school starting. And school leaders really haven't had a chance to think about how the instruction is going to happen because they don't know how it's going to be structured.

In terms of what we just heard from the statement about teachers, I did ask him very directly should teachers be forced to go back. And he seemed pretty empathetic with the situation, especially for older teachers, teachers who might have some other health circumstances that they shouldn't be forced to go back to school. We talked about social distancing. But once again it would be valuable to get very clear guidelines of what's good and what is not.

And also, you know there's interesting ideas of maybe leveraging outdoor classrooms, you know, there's the South Korean study talking about over 10 years old versus under 10 years old. What can we do with say, kindergartners or first graders outdoors? Some type of clear guidance along those lines would be super valuable.

BLITZER: You're absolutely right. You know, Dr. Wen, even as the White House pushes complete return to schools, a key member of the Coronavirus Task Force, Dr. Deborah Birx, is cautioning that it's unclear how rapidly young children even under the age of 10 can transmit the virus. We know this one study that Sal was referring to in South Korea said that children over 10 transmit the virus as quickly and as thoroughly as adults do. What additional evidence would you like to see on that critically important front?

WEN: Yes. So that particular study from South Korea, it actually only looked at symptomatic people.

[17:25:04]

So, we don't know about asymptomatic transmission. And since 40 percent or even more of cases are transmitted by people without symptoms, we really don't know whether asymptomatic children, young children can transmit just as much as older people too. I think also when you look at the studies done of children. They have all been in countries where the transmission rate is really low.

And so, we really have no idea what it's going to look like in the U.S. if kids are going back in places where there are active surges. And I'm afraid that this looks like an uncontrolled environment where our children and our teachers and their families are guinea pigs.

BLITZER: You know, Sal, in your interview, Dr. Fauci also spoke about the potential downsides of relying on face shields in schools rather than requiring students and teachers to wear masks. I'm going to play this clip. Watch this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FAUCI: My staff just brought this in.

KHAN: Good luck.

FAUCI: So, this is good for droplets because it'll block it. The only trouble is if you have any degree of aerosol, what happens is that all of this -- see, it can go right in like that. That's the problem. So, these are good for droplets. But you have to be careful if there's a degree of aerosolization.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BLITZER: So, if you wear a face shield, Sal, you should also still wear a mask. I guess that's what he's suggesting. But for younger children, especially it would be helpful to see the teachers -- face shields aren't very protective in the classroom setting. And everyone has to wear a mask which they clearly do. What impact is all this going to have on the critical issue of learning?

KHAN: It's going to have a huge impact. Just from the school closures that have already occurred over the spring, a lot of researchers think it's going to be as much of a year as learning loss. Because not only were kids not learning, they were also forgetting their atrophying.

And based on the conversation with Dr. Fauci, even if either Moderna or one of the vaccines become successful and were able to start deploying them in January, you're still not going to get to herd immunity, get them all deployed until several months later. It's a major public health issue to be able to get hundreds of millions of vaccines out.

And so, this is going to be this entire school year in some form of socially distanced or hybrid learning. And so, it's going to be really, really tough. The biggest fear is going to drive more inequity. All of our children, my children I think are going to be fine. But there's a lot of kids who don't have the supports, who don't have the access and they are also going to be going to schools that might not have the resources to be able to provide them adequately. So, it's going to be a tough year.

BLITZER: It's going to be a huge - and this is a huge issue obviously educating the young kids out there. It's going to be a problem. All right. Thanks very much. Sal Khan, Dr. Leana Wen, as usual, thanks for joining us.

There's breaking news coming into THE SITUATION ROOM right now. Get this.

The World Health Organization has just announced the record has been broken for new cases in a single day.

Plus, we'll have more on President Trump's major reversals on the pandemic. Will they help his slipping poll numbers? We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[17:33:06]

BLITZER: Breaking news, the World Health Organization has just announced that more than 284,000 new coronavirus cases have been confirmed in the past 24 hours. That's around the world and it's a global record for new cases in just a single day.

We're joined by epidemiologist Dr. Larry Brilliant. He's a CNN Medical Analyst along with our Chief Political Analyst, Gloria Borger. Dr. Brilliant, the breaking news, how concerning is it to you that the world is still breaking records like this nearly five months after the WHO declared a pandemic and those are confirmed, confirmed cases? Who knows how many more are not confirmed.

DR. LARRY BRILLIANT, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: Thanks for having me, Wolf. It's not a good day to come when there's a record like this. It is a reminder though, that we are operating not on calendar time, we're operating on pandemic time. And the virus leads us as we talk about going back to school and opening up. We have to kind of forget for a second what we think about Labor Day or what we think September usually means. We have to look at what's going on outside.

What is the viral load, what is the incidence? You know, we've had -- as many deaths in the United States in the last two weeks, as we had all of June. This virus is not slowing down, and we must take care that every decision we make takes account of that.

BLITZER: Yes, it's getting worse. You know, and Gloria, the White House is insisting the President hasn't changed his thinking about the coronavirus. I want you to listen to the Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What changed this week? Why did his tone change?

KAYLEIGH MCENANY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: There has been no change. He hasn't changed. In fact, and just speaking on COVID generally, the way I've heard him talk privately in the Oval Office is the way he's talking out here.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[17:35:00]

BLITZER: Clear though, Gloria, there has been a significant shift in his tone, his approach. For example, simply cancelling the Republican National Convention next month, which he announced yesterday, after going through weeks and weeks saying was going to be huge, it was going to be great. What do you make of this shift in strategy we've seen over the past few days from the President?

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, look, this is a President who's desperately trying to reverse his bleeding poll numbers, trying to sort of grab a mantle of leadership, and trying to convince the American public that he is not irrelevant. In this process of dealing with the pandemic, which is the number one issue, of course, in this country. 60 percent of Americans disapprove of the way he's handled the pandemic.

So he finally came out and did what he should have done earlier on, which is to say, you know, it's not really safe to have what I had planned in Jacksonville. He finally came out and said, yes, I think you want to wear a mask. And he finally acknowledged that there are parts of the country where schools are not going to be able to reopen as quickly as all of us would like.

So, this is a President who is adjusting actually to the reality that he should have seen four months ago. So for Kayleigh McEnany to say that he hasn't changed his tone is like for someone to say, well, the sky isn't blue. It's really yellow today. The sky is blue. He's changed his tone.

BLITZER: Yes. You know, Dr. Brilliant, Dr. Fauci says he's glad the President has started promoting public health measures, for example, like wearing a mask, but we're now several months into this a deadly pandemic. If the President had taken these basic simple steps three or four months ago, do you think the U.S. would be suffering through a resurgence of this deadly virus?

BRILLIANT: We would still be having the virus but we've squandered two months of doing what Europe did. In fact, if you look at California and Florida and Texas, it's like three New Yorks or three Italys or three Francis. You look at that, and one you should take some confidence that we can bring this curve down. It's been done in other places.

But the other hand it's too bad we have to be here again, because we didn't wear masks before. We didn't do contact tracing. We didn't have our tests in order. We didn't isolate people who were exposed. It's a shame. And to look now at September, Labor Day, and going into the flu season, I go into this time with trepidation. I want to be optimistic. But this is a frightening moment.

BLITZER: Yes, even the President this week said it's going to get worse before it gets better. Let's hope it gets better sooner rather than later.

All right Gloria, Dr. Brilliant, guys, thanks very much.

Coming up, as the coronavirus pandemic worsens worldwide, relations between the United States and China are deteriorating a big time right now. Up next, China's real latest retaliation to a move by the U.S. And Dr. Deborah Birx of the White House Coronavirus Task Force compares the outbreaks in Texas, Florida and California right now to what occurred only a couple of months or so ago in New York.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[17:42:58]

BLITZER: More breaking news. Take a look at this. You're looking at pictures just a few moments ago in Houston, Texas, where federal agents are securing the now abandoned Chinese Consulate, which the Trump administration ordered close this week. The agents pulled up in a caravan of SUVs. We're told the Locksmith is on the scene changing the locks on the doors right now.

Earlier, Beijing retaliated for the closing of that Chinese Consulate. Let's go to CNN's David Culver who is in Beijing. David, what's the latest there?

DAVID CULVER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, China in many ways feeling domestic pressure to retaliate against the U.S. They chose to shut down the U.S. Consulate in Chengdu in central China near Tibet. Their reason? They claim U.S. personnel they're engaged in activities that harm China's national security interest. Not surprisingly, it is similar to the claim the U.S. made about the Chinese Houston Consulate serving as a friend of illegal spying.

According to U.S. officials, state media suggested the American diplomats have until Monday morning, local time to move out. The announcement from the Foreign Ministry came just hours after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo delivered a speech essentially themed the China threat, saying that the Chinese Communist Party threatens global freedom. China responding, saying Pompeo ignored facts and carries an ideological bias. If the U.S. takes further action, Chinese officials have said China is prepared to retaliate until the end, Wolf?

BLITZER: David Culver in Beijing, thank you.

In Brazil, meanwhile, they just recorded its highest -- second highest total of new coronavirus cases in a single day. Let's go to CNN's Nick Paton Walsh. So Nick, what are you seeing?

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR: Wolf, if I'm in Sao Paulo, Brazil, actually in a laboratory assisting in one of a number of vaccine trials here in the country, as cases continue to rise. Quite horrifyingly, frankly, the second highest total reported in 24 hours. That was put out late on Thursday, nearly 60,000 new cases that may not be the full picture still in Brazil.

[17:45:01]

With the President Jair Bolsonaro, he's himself tested positive saying that he'll get another test probably by the end of Sunday in the hope perhaps that he tested negative again. He's under fire too for being pictured recently not wearing a mask near other people despite that positive diagnosis. But the south of the country, it seems bearing a lot of the brunt of this surge in cases, three times as many cases they're reported now as there were in the last month.

And hydroxychloroquine, the treatment which doctors say is very little use, is still being pushed hard by the government here, though there is now a new Brazilian study emerging confirming their belief share globally, but it's not much use. Wolf?

BLITZER: Alright, Nick Paton Walsh reporting, thank you.

Israel is seeing a very disturbing rise in new coronavirus cases, which is sparking major protests against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Let's go to CNN's Oren Liebermann, he's in Jerusalem. Oren, what's the latest there?

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, it'll be a weekend of protest here with a major demonstration scheduled for Tel Aviv on Saturday night, and that follows the protests we've seen in Jerusalem outside the Prime Minister's residence. Protests against Benjamin Netanyahu and against the government's handling of the coronavirus crisis. On Tuesday night, and Thursday night, hundreds if not thousands gathered outside of Balfour Street, the Prime Minister's residence.

And it's not just an anti-Bibi, anti-corruption rally, which we've seen for months. It's about economic frustration. It's about fear of financial future. And different groups are now taking part. Social workers have been there, as have restaurant owners and others. That, as the coronavirus crisis here worsens, after the record of more than 2,000 cases set on Wednesday, there was barely reprieve on Thursday, with more than 1,900 cases.

As the government tries to get those numbers under control, it feels like a bit of a mixed bag of restrictions for the weekend. For example, stores, markets and malls will be closed. But beaches, museums and cable cars will be open. Wolf?

BLITZER: Very strange indeed. All right, Oren Liebermann in Jerusalem, thank you.

Coming up, how money and power influence who can actually get a coronavirus test. Plus, we'll have more on the breaking news. California's new record one day number of confirmed deaths. We'll be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[17:52:06]

BLITZER: Here in the United States, the ability to get a coronavirus test may depend not so much on where people live, but rather who they are. CNN's Brian Todd is working that part of the story for us.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For some people, coronavirus test results come quickly.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You do a test, boom, and you have it in five minutes.

TODD (voice-over): But experts worry that during this horrific spike in coronavirus cases, the effectiveness of testing is in some areas of the country a matter of the haves and have nots.

DR. JEWEL MULLEN, ASSOCIATE DEAN FOR HEALTH EQUITY, DELL MEDICAL SCHOOL AT UT AUSTIN: When you have resources, when you have power, when you have access, when your insurances is able to pay for it or you're able to pay out of pocket, it's much easier to get the testing that you need.

TODD (voice-over): Early in the pandemic, it was reported that movie stars could dial up their so-called concierge doctors and get tested during a period when much of the country didn't have that access. In April, comedian and MMA Commentator Joe Rogan was criticized when he revealed he'd been tested multiple times a week and got a friend tested to.

JOE ROGAN, COMEDIAN, MMA COMMENTATOR: I've been tested twice already. Tested yesterday and I got tested two days before that.

TODD (voice-over): Months later, that same power dynamic is still at play, like with professional athletes. NFL, NBA players and others are being tested every day. Their results coming back within hours. While CNN has reported this week that some people, especially in communities of color, are waiting as long as three weeks to get test results back

MULLEN: Which means we're even farther behind in being able to minimize the impact with regard to disease and death in those communities.

TODD (voice-over): Experts say Blacks and Latinos are not only more vulnerable to the virus, but also often have less insurance coverage, lower incomes and less testing availability in their neighborhoods.

DR. ROCHELLE WALENSKY, CHIEF OF INFECTIOUS DISEASE, MASSACHUSETTS GENERAL HOSPITAL: It does break my heart to see folks who are able to pay for these tests and pay to get them quickly, have rapid access, rapid turnaround and yet the most vulnerable communities who are the ones who are suffering are the ones waiting 14 days. And, in fact, maybe the ones that are transmitting in the interim. MULLEN: Good afternoon, everyone.

TODD (voice-over): Dr. Jewel Mullen's case illustrates sometimes it's not only a matter of who you know, but where you go. Mullen and her husband Herb Knight, both doctors, had to get tested recently in Connecticut. She went to a prestigious hospital and got her results back in eight hours. But as for her husband --

MULLEN: My husband went to a drive thru at one of our local pharmacies, and it took him nine days to find out that his test was negative.

TODD (voice-over): Experts say given the disparity, it's time for new guidelines from the federal government on down to move only symptomatic people and those most at risk to the front of the testing lot.

MULLEN: Given the inequities that we're talking about, yes, we need to take into consideration who's most vulnerable and make sure that we prioritize the testing that's being done there.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

[17:55:03]

TODD: Now, some cities and states and even some individual doctors on their own are ramping up testing for underserved communities. In Boston, mobile testing labs will soon be moving throughout the city. In Philadelphia, at the start of the pandemic, one doctor on our own, rented a van and moved through predominantly black neighborhoods giving free tests. But medical experts say that even in those areas where testing has been ramped up, that takes way, way too long sometimes to get test results back. Wolf?

BLITZER: Brian Todd reporting, thank you.

There's breaking news next, U.S. coronavirus deaths top 1,000 for a third straight day as the pandemic is spreading in much of this country. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)