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Coronavirus Deaths Rise in 29 States, Hospitalizations Near Record High; Florida Surpasses New York in Total Coronavirus Cases. Aired 7-7:30a ET

Aired July 27, 2020 - 07:00   ET


ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Coming out of the dugout to have a few words with the umpire.


But, look, see, the umpire has to put on a mask, Shelton has got a mask. They have to stay socially distanced.

Alisyn, this is much different from the arguments we normally see where when they get heated, the manager basically gets an inch away from the umpire's face. I'm guessing this is one of the welcome changes from the umpires that they actually enjoy.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN NEW DAY: Really interesting to see that. Andy, thank you very much.

And New Day continues right now.

We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and all around the world. This is New Day.

And this morning, daily coronavirus deaths are rising in 29 states. Now, some local leaders and medical experts are looking for new stay- at-home orders across the country.

And the Trump administration official in charge of testing admits what everyone already knows, that test results are taking too long. But there are also some hopeful trends in a few hard-hit states. Hospitalizations in Arizona and Texas appear to be plateauing and the positivity rate in those states is flat or dropping.

Also, the first phase three coronavirus vaccine trial in the U.S. beginning this morning. We will take you to the scene of where the volunteers are getting those first shots.

But in Texas, the pandemic is exacerbated by flooding in the aftermath of Hurricane Hanna.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN NEW DAY: And there are some downward trends in other places in the country, as well. In California, cases in hospitalizations still rising. Over the weekend, Florida surpassed New York in total cases. And the pandemic is still a serious drag on the president's approval ratings. We are now 99 days away from the election. We have new CNN polling showing the president trailing in three critical states, states that he won in 2016.

Also today, millions of struggling Americans are hoping to learn what's in the Senate relief bill. As of right now, it is not expected to include an extension of the full $600 a week benefit that unemployed Americans have been getting. We'll give you details on that in just a moment.

CAMEROTA: Okay. Joining us now is CNN Medical Analyst, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, she's the Chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases at Massachusetts General Hospital, and Dr. Andrew Pastewski, he is the ICU Medical Director at Jackson South Medical Center in Miami.

So, Dr. Pastewski, let's start with you with what's happening in Florida. We're seeing classes plateau in other very hard-hit states like Texas and Arizona, but not Florida. So give us a status report.

DR. ANDREW PASTEWSKI, ICU MEDICAL DIRECTOR, JACKSON SOUTH MEDICAL CENTER: Yes. And we've been averaging a hundred-plus patients every day with COVID and we're about over a month now from when the surge started. And so we're now starting to see the deaths every day.

BERMAN: Deaths are clearly a lagging indicator and we have seen deaths near or at record highs in Florida, in Texas, in Arizona, in California.

Dr. Walensky, when we do see though in Texas and Arizona the flattening of the curve in terms of new cases or hospitalizations, or the positivity rate, which appears to be flatter or in some cases dropping a little bit, what does that tell you?

DR. ROCHELLE WALENSKY, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: Well, good morning, John. I think it's reason to be cautiously optimistic. I think if you look at the headlines of what's going on in Texas, if you look at what's happening in the ICUs, I certainly don't think anybody is celebrating those early statistics right now. I think they're still overwhelmed and can anticipate that they're going to continue to be overwhelmed for at least two to four weeks if this flattening of these numbers actually continues.

But I do think it is some indication that the measures that they have taken in Texas have been starting to work and that perhaps if they continue to take those measures, if they continue to be vigilant, if they have the stamina to keep it up, that perhaps we will see some of these numbers turn around in the weeks and months ahead.

CAMEROTA: Dr. Pastewski, what do you need in Florida most right now?

PASTEWSKI: So we just got a bunch of nurses from the government, which is very helpful. The bed situation is dicey. Every day, we have patients waiting in the E.R. I know across the Jackson System, we're doing fairly well, but I know other hospitals in the Miami area are extremely stressed and it seems like we need somebody to pull the trigger on the convention center. Not necessarily just for me and my health system, but all the hospitals in Miami. That convention center opens and it takes 10 to 20 percent of the patients from all of us, we're going to be in a lot better situation.

CAMEROTA: And, I mean, it's already been converted into a hospital. What are they waiting for in terms of pulling the trigger?


PASTEWSKI: I don't know how these decisions get made. We spend millions of dollars to build a convention center and it's just been sitting there. And it would make a big difference to our operation, and even if we could take 30 percent of our patients, we could start operating normally again.

BERMAN: Dr. Pastewski, Dr. Walensky, will you hang on for just one second, because we do have some breaking news that has to do with this. We understand that the very first phase three trial of a coronavirus vaccine in the United States has just begun with people actually getting the very first shots of this vaccine as part of phase three.

Let's go straight to Elizabeth Cohen to give us the details on this. She's in Savannah, Georgia, where this Moderna trial is going on. Elizabeth?

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: John, this is truly a historic moment. We watched as the first patient in the United States got a shot as part of a phase three clinical trial for a COVID vaccine. This is really amazing. I mean, we didn't start working on this vaccine until January. So just seven months later, to have someone getting a shot in a phase three trial is truly remarkable.

Of course, everyone's fingers are crossed. We hope that this leads to a vaccine. But that's why we're doing the clinical trial. There is a possibility that this might not work. Of course, everyone hopes that it does. They will eventually be giving shots to 30,000 people for this Moderna vaccine. Half of them will get the actual vaccine, half of them will get a placebo that really does nothing. And in the end, they'll see what happens to those two groups. Is there any difference? They hope there is a difference, and that the vaccine protects people from getting sick or dying from COVID-19. John?

BERMAN: All right. Elizabeth Cohen for us in Savannah.

I have to say, I don't think that has ever happened before in history, where we saw the very first shot of a phase three of a vaccine trial, but this shows you where we are in America and the desire to find a vaccine that will help in the fight against this pandemic.

Back with us, Dr. Pastewski from Florida and Dr. Walensky in Massachusetts.

Dr. Walensky, again, remarkable to see it again. We've never seen anything like this before. Set our expectations here for what we just saw. WALENSKY: Yes. It's really -- it's truly exciting. And I want to just reiterate what you said. The fastest vaccine prior to this took about four years. So, I mean, to have this, we have the sequence of this virus on January 10th to have a vaccine up and running in a phase three trial in just six months is truly extraordinary.

The vaccine trial is about a month later than we thought it might be. We were expecting to enroll in the early part of July, although, again, incredibly fast. This vaccine is a two-dose vaccine, so subjects the vaccine on day one and then again on day 28. And then we will watch and wait and keep our fingers crossed that through this surge, we will see differences in infection rates, where those who had received the true vaccine will have lower infection rates than those who receive the placebo.

CAMEROTA: It's really promising. I mean, we hope that, obviously, from the first shot that we just watched there moments ago, that they can make progress.

But, Dr. Pastewski, it's also just a paradox, because as the vaccine trial, phase three, is beginning, we still have not conquered all of our testing issues, which have plagued us for all of these months. And, I mean, just this weekend, Admiral Giroir, the man in charge of testing in the Trump administration, went on television and again said, testing isn't where we want it to be, the test results are taking way too long. And I know that you have said, that is what you feel is most hamstrung by. So what's the problem?

PASTEWSKI: Well, we have a very limited number of one-hour tests. Where to put these patients, where to cohort these patients makes a big difference. And we have to limit our one-hour tests to the ICU patients, because we've got to make sure they're in the right place so they don't infect other people.

And that means we have to put a lot of patients, either keep them in the E.R. or while they await testing results, which just clogs up the E.R., or we have to put them in an area where they're right next to people who would be negative waiting for their test results, which could take over a day for those patients. And it has led to patients testing positive, sharing rooms with patients who are negative.

And it would seem -- I thought we had learned from New York, and then I thought we had learned from ourselves back in March, but, clearly, we have not learned how important giving us the reagent and getting us that one-hour test really is to our ability to do things in a timely manner.


BERMAN: It's awful. It really is just not where it should be. And I can see Dr. Walensky shaking her head as well.

Dr. Pastewski, I do want to get your take on one other bit of breaking news that we just got this morning, and this was unexpected, at least to me. Our Rosa Flores reports on new data from Florida showing infection rates among children up 34 percent and hospitalizations up 23 percent. Those are big jumps among kids. And I'm wondering what you're seeing.

PASTEWSKI: What my thoughts on regarding the kids? I -- you know, I got lucky with my kids. They all got it, but they were all a very mild case. And that tends to be the norm. And I do understand the need for opening up the schools. I do think there are different risks. I think, with different rewards, the reward from opening up a bar is a lot different than the reward from opening up a school. Kids need to develop, they need to grow, they need to learn, they developing social skills. However, we're surging right now. And I would not think opening up during a surge was the right time.

BERMAN: We have to let you go, but, Dr. Walensky, that number of increased hospitalizations among children was surprising to me. I'm wondering if you have a quick thought on that.

WALENSKY: Well, I think we do know that in Florida, the average age of infection right now is around 40. It's actually pretty young. So I am not convinced that we're seeing worse outcomes among kids. I think what we may be seeing is a big number of infections in young kids. And a proportion of those infections end up in the hospitals.

BERMAN: All right. Dr. Walensky, Dr. Pastewski, thank you both for the work you're doing. I appreciate you being with us.

WALENSKY: Thanks so much, John.

BERMAN: All right. Senate Republicans expected to unveil details of their next relief bill today. We have heard this before and they didn't come up with a plan yet. The White House in a different place this morning. We'll discuss, next.



BERMAN: So, later today, Senate Republicans are expected to roll out their proposal for a new relief bill. This bill is expected to include a new round of one-time stimulus checks, though we don't know who qualifies. But it will not have the full $600 a week unemployment benefit that so many Americans have relied on over the last several months.

Joining us now is CNN Political Director David Chalian and CNN National Political Reporter Maeve Reston.

David, first, to you here. It's been interesting. The White House has had a very hard time getting in line with Senate Republicans on what they're pushing for here. They may want to try to do a much slimmed down version, because they don't think they'll be able to pass much here. And it doesn't seem as if the White House or Senate Republicans are going to go for the full $600 a week unemployment benefit, which has been one of the hallmarks of the relief so far. So what do you see as going on here?

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Right. I'm sure folks at home normally expect to see Republicans and Democrats controlling different chambers on the Hill, sort of going at it for negotiations on a big stimulus package like this. But you're right, John, the story of where we are right now is actually between Republicans and Republicans, between the White House and Senate Republicans.

And it is so interesting to see, after weeks of those two entities sort of not getting on the same page, the day that Mitch McConnell is expected to roll out a $1 trillion stimulus plan, the White House is immediately sort of undermining the larger package proposal by saying they want to go smaller and just get something done right now due to the coming deadline for unemployment benefits running out for a lot of Americans.

CAMEROTA: And so, David, follow-up, what happens for people who are desperate to be able to pay their rent and desperate for that supplemental uninsurance money this week?

CHALIAN: Yes, well, the idea that something is going to get done this week, I think, is a tall order. What the administration is trying to proposal here, it seems, is getting people 70 percent of their wages, what they're trying to describe as sort of an incentive to work, not an incentive not to work because of, in some cases, where people were actually earning more in the last several months in unemployment benefits than they were in their regular salary.

BERMAN: Maeve Reston, you have a terrific piece on CNN Digital, which looks into the Trump campaign's problems, and that's an understatement, if I could use a bigger word, I would, with women voters now. We have this new CNN poll and one aspect of this is the president is underwater or at least not doing as well as he should be with white women in three states that he won in 2016. In Arizona, he's losing to Joe Biden. In Michigan, he's down big among white women, and in Florida, he is up a little bit there.

Maeve, if you can hear me at all, talk to me about what you see as the key struggling points are for the Trump campaign with women.

MAEVE RESTON, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL REPORTER: Well, so, basically, Trump's numbers with women have been terrible. Really, since he got elected, he began sort of spiraling down. And we remember in 2018 how women really powered those victories for Democrats, flipping the House of Representatives.

But there's so much -- women are having so much difficulty, when you talk to them, with not only trump's tone, which was a big issue at the beginning, and his tweets, they hate all of that, a lot of them do, but also just this sense that he is not looking out for their families, that he is not, you know, really prioritizing -- he did not prioritize the coronavirus in the way that he should.

And, of course, you have this other issue creeping in now with Trump pushing school reopenings really hard, when he is completely on the wrong side of that issue from where parents are, many of whom are very worried about sending their kids back to school.

And what you saw in our polls in particular in those three states is that he's doing terribly, not just with women generally, but with white women in particular.


And that is a really key point, because you've never seen numbers like this for Democrats in terms of the head-to-head matchups.

And it just really will spell trouble for Trump in November, especially if he can't get this tone on the coronavirus right and also rebuild that trust with many of the women in America who think that a lot of what's coming out of the White House are lies and a rosy view of where we are with the virus at this point.

CAMEROTA: I mean, he is still winning in Florida with white women.

RESTON: That's right.

CAMEROTA: I think pretty substantially there in that latest poll. But Maeve, as you point out in your piece, sexism, again, has sort of come to the floor between president's tweet, shout-out to June Cleaver about these suburban housewives and then between everything that we saw between AOC and Congressman Ted Yoho, where she so strongly rebuked him on the floor, it just feels like sexism is again going to be one of these sort of percolating issues.

RESTON: Absolutely. And it really was in 2018. You remember that when we would go out and talk to voters. You would see all of these mothers and daughters who had never been involved before out going door-to- door because the mothers really didn't like the example that Trump and the Republicans were setting in terms of how they talked about women, that demeaning language.

And Trump's tweet last week, you know, marshaling the suburban housewives of America, was straight out of the 1960s. He's so off in his tone. And in terms of showing, you know, that he will treat women as equals, and then you have the confrontation, obviously, between the Florida Republican, Ted Yoho, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, so all of these issues are kind of bubbling back up to the fore and will be a real problem for Republicans in November, I think.

CHALIAN: Can I just add there? What I find so fascinating is to underscore what Maeve was saying about 2018 being powered by females for the Democrats. Remember, this entire administration started the day after with the march, the women's march in opposition of President Trump. It's been an undercurrent throughout.

But this week, Joe Biden is going to come to a final decision in his mind and probably make an offer. Perhaps we'll learn next week who his vice presidential nominee is going to be. And back in March at the CNN debate is when he made clear he was only considering women for his number two slot.

This is not by accident, right? This goes exactly to what Maeve is talking about, about the problems that the Trump campaign has with women and the president has with women. The Biden folks immediately wanted to seize on that, expand that advantage and stating that his number two would be a woman from the outset, no men need apply, was part of this strategy.

BERMAN: David Chalian and Maeve Reston, it is a very interesting discussion right now looking at these trends. Thanks so much for shining a light on it for us.

RESTON: Thank you.

BERMAN: So, Florida adding thousands of new coronavirus cases every day, yet some schools there are getting ready to reopen in weeks. Can they do it safely? We'll discuss.



CAMEROTA: Florida has now surpassed New York in total number of coronavirus cases, second only to California. The positivity rate in Florida is still very high. Will they have to shut down again? And what does this mean for schools reopening?

Joining us now is the mayor of Orange County, Florida, Jerry Demings. Mayor Demings, thanks so much for being here.

Florida is one of these states this morning where we're seeing a little bit of good news in other states like Texas or Arizona, at least in it looks like new cases are flattening, but not Florida. Florida has not been able to get its arms around this. So give us a status report of what's happening there and why it's still so bad.

MAYOR JERRY DEMINGS (D-ORANGE COUNTY, FL): Well, first, I would say, good morning to you. And Florida is a relatively large state, you know, with the third most populous state now within the union, only behind California and Texas.

But we have different experiences throughout the State of Florida, and what I can tell you here in Central Florida, in the metropolitan Orlando area, where I am located. We have seen a deceleration of the spread of the virus here within our community.

Within the last 24 hours, the last number I have seen indicated that we had about a 6.9 percent day-over-day positivity rate. To put that in perspective, here within the metro Orlando area and Orange County, we now have about 27,000 cases of positive COVID-19 situations, but within Miami, for example, that is nearly 105,000. They've had about 1,400 deaths, whereas here within Orange County, we've had 173 deaths.

So, what we're seeing here is a flattening of the new cases here within our community to below the double digits.

CAMEROTA: Flattening is good. That is definitely better than spiking. And so what does all of that mean for the schools in your area, Mayor? As you sit there this morning, can you tell parents that it is safe to reopen schools in a few weeks?

DEMINGS: You know, that's a good question because I'm not sure that it is necessarily safe. Remember here in Florida, our governor has put forth an order that has mandated that all school districts within the State of Florida must open during the month of August. So, to some extent, he took away the ability of local elected officials to make the decision on their own.

So our district has done something, they have tried to provide options to parents. So, essentially, the schools, if they reopen in August, they would do so with a five-day, brick and mortar-type of an experience for the students.