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U.S. Averaging 64,000+ New Cases Per Day over Past 7 Days; Florida Reports Highest Single-Day Death Toll for 2nd Straight Day; Dr. Mizuho Morrison Discusses California's Dramatic Spike in Single- Day New Cases, Deaths & Trump Saying He Likes "Therapeutics" for COVID-19; Trump Revives Push for Hydroxychloroquine, Contradicts Experts; Trump: Pandemic Response Approval Based on "Personality"; Trump Blames Democrats for Coronavirus Relief Hurdle. Aired 11-11:30a ET

Aired July 29, 2020 - 11:00   ET




JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everybody. I'm John King, in Washington. Thank you for sharing this very busy news day with us.

A serious warning today from America's medical leaders. Multiple hundreds of thousands will die in this country, they say, if the United States continues its coronavirus fight without a national plan.

That warning as the president returns to peddling his alternative facts. The president says most of the country is virus-free. That is false.

And he says Hydroxychloroquine saves life, also not true. But the president says again today he is convinced, in part, because of the words of a doctor who believes in quack science and some pretty bizarre conspiracies.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I happen to be a believer in Hydroxy. I used it. I had no problems. I happen to be a believer. Many, many people agree with me. A great test that came out.


KING: The president heads to west Texas today for a big fundraiser in a county where the positivity rate approaches nearly 20 percent. He does so as Texas will likely pass New York in terms of total coronavirus infections. The state, like much of the country, though is faring somewhat better, To those numbers in a minute.

A decline in the number of average new cases when measured from last week, there's improvement but we are still very much in the depths of this pandemic's new month. The United States still recording 64,000-plus new infections per day

over the last week. In July alone, 1,660,000 cases added to the case count.

The United States a near lock to pass 150,000 coronavirus deaths today. The virus killed 1,244 people on Tuesday. That's the most since the end of May. In July 21,000 Americans lost their lives to coronavirus.

Those numbers should give everyone pause, yet perfect is how the president most often describes his pandemic response.

His CDC director, listen today, more candid.


DR. ROBERT REDFIELD, CDC DIRECTOR: Yes. Yes, we fail. We're in it doing the best we can and we're trying to do the best judgments we can.


KING: Let's take a look at some of the numbers as we go state by state. If you look at the national state trend map, it is improving, especially if you take a look a week, 10 days ago.

And 22 states heading up right now, meaning more cases this week than last week. There were 38 states last week at some point. To say 22 states are heading up is an improvement. Those are the states in red and orange.

And if you notice, notably, 18 states holding steady. That's the beige color. Ten states going down. That's the green.

Florida holding steady, and Arizona going down and California holding steady. And those four states have been driving the numbers during the summer surge. They are in a better position without a doubt as we move into the middle of the week than they were last week.

If you look at the states reporting the most cases, New York was the leader for all time. New York was the leader for a long time. California and Florida have now passed it. Texas closing in, most likely to pass New York in terms of the overall count and the confirmed infection count. Today, New Jersey, a distant fifth down there.

You see these four states driving the national totals. And in the case of California, Florida and Texas driving the big summer surge.

If you look at the death trends, this is the sad part. We know this to be true in the past six months. Cases go up, there's a leg of a few weeks, hospitalizations go up, and deaths go up.

If you look at the state count case state trend, this map is improving. We know that this one is sadly a lagging indicator. And so many states, 29 states orange or red, meaning reporting more deaths this week than last week.

In the case of Texas and Missouri, and some of these others states in the deep red, 50 percent more dead this week than last week. So this map still sad to look at, even though the case count map is improving somewhat.

One of the things -- you look at here -- you see Florida, Texas, you see California and Tennessee, all in red and orange, meaning the death count going up.

And of things states say, they say every death is a sad death. One of the things they say they are proving they believe with their reopenings is that, yes, you have more cases and, yes, you have more hospitalizations.

But if you look at the death per 100,000 residents, New York is still way up here. You have Tennessee, Georgia, Florida and Texas down here. So part of their argument is that their care is better and they're able to take care of these patients better. And, yes, every death is a sad death but their numbers are nowhere near as we saw in New York. That part of the debate as it plays out continuing.

Let's go straight to Florida. For the second day in a row, it reported its deadliest day since this pandemic began.

Joining us from Miami, live, CNN's Rosa Flores -- Rosa?

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, John, here we are again. The Florida Department of Health just releasing their numbers and, yet again, Florida shattering its death toll record reporting 216 deaths within a 24-hour period. They're also recording more than 9,000 new cases in the state of Florida.


This, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to test the hospital system. We are learning this morning that 54 ICUs across the state are at capacity, meaning they have zero ICU beds available.

And 10 of them right here in Miami-Dade County where I am. I am here at Jackson Health. They report that 25 percent of the COVID-19 patients require ICU care. They say they are converting beds into ICU beds to provide that care.

But they also need more medical professionals. Jackson Health telling CNN that they have received about 350 medical professionals that were deployed by the state so that they can meet demand here in Miami-Dade County.

And all new this morning, we are learning that the COVID-19 patients from Miami-Dade are spilling over into Broward County, our neighbors to the north.

This is according to the CEO of Memorial Health Care System, who reports to us that 37 percent of their COVID-19 patients at their facilities on the southern part of their county are deriving from Miami-Dade -- John?

KING: CNN's Rosa Flores once again with an important perspective live from Miami.

Rosa, thank you so much.

Let's get some medical perspective from a doctor on the front lines in California. The state has the most confirmed infections that reported a single-day high, 185 deaths just yesterday.

And Dr. Morrison is an emergency room physician in southern California.

Doctor, thank you for being back with us today.

California has a record in terms of death. You just heard Rosa talk about Florida, a record in terms of death. Those are horrific and sad numbers to talk about.

Do they tell us anything about the path of the virus?

DR. MIZUHO MORRISON, EMERGENCY ROOM PHYSICIAN, USC MEDICAL CENTER, UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA: You know, that is the million- dollar question, isn't it, that we all want to know. We are hoping and holding our breath every week that this is hopefully the peak and we'll start to see a downtrend.

What I am reassured by is that our sort of medical team feels much more comfortable these days certainly treating it because of the volume. Whether that's just due to recurring exposure for us, we are far more comfortable with it now than we were, say back in March.

KING: In terms of treatment -- and I want you to listen to the president this morning. Yesterday, back in the briefing room, and again outside the White House today, he was talking to Hydroxychloroquine again, saying he's a believer.

And he posted a viral video the other day of a doctor who says things I'm not going to repeat on television. But she's not a medical expert there.

Listen to the president talking more about therapeutic stuff.


TRUMP: I'm a therapeutic person, too, to be honest. I love the idea of therapeutics, where you go in, you give someone a transfusion or a shot and they get better. I am a big therapeutic person. But we're doing very well on vaccines and therapeutics.


KING: In terms of therapeutics, you yourself talk about steroids, Vitamin C and Zinc, Remdesivir, limiting I.V. fluids. Talk through what we have learned over the past six months. So, yes, the case count is high and we are numbed by it. But a patient

today has a much better chance, right, than a patient five or six months ago?

MORRISON: I think so. We are learning so much more about this virus. And as we've learned more, our practices in therapeutics have evolved in transition.

To be clear, a therapeutic. For definition purposes, is a treatment, a therapy or a drug to treat a disease process.

And one really important distinction for most people is that bacterial infections, like pneumonia or a urinary tract infection, is a pill, a single treatment or sometimes a dual treatment of antibiotics.

Viruses are trickier and so we don't have yet a great single cure antiviral. Antiviral medications -- and Remdesivir is one we are clinically trialing -- but it is not quite primetime yet and certainly not available everywhere.

What do we do in terms of therapeutics? It's really supportive care. So steroids is one thing. Dexamethasone is one of our favorite long- acting steroids. One dose lasts 72 hours.

And because we are learning this is an inflammatory process, giving an anti-inflammatory make sense.

KING: Right.

MORRISON: Oftentimes, in the ICU, Vitamin C and Zinc are given. Those are antioxidants. The data on that is pretty decent, though not admittedly robust. But given the minimal side effects, we always have to weigh the risk versus benefit when looking at any therapeutic treatment.

Remdesivir is very expensive and still limited to clinical trials mostly. We're learning it is better to be used on patients earlier on in their course and not past the point of no return.

And ultimately, because the virus can cause what's called ARDS, which is an inflammatory process within the lung, we are learning that we need to keep patients more on the dry side. Whereas, if you came for pneumonia or any other bacteria process, we are often having to rehydrate patients with I.V. fluids.


So keeping them dry and offering them antivirals, if you have them in your institutions -- not all places do yet -- and supporting with and Vitamin C.

And the reason why ICU beds are so needed, it's because patients need to be monitored with supplemental oxygen. And one advancement that we've made since March is the threshold to intubate patients aggressively is lot higher now. We are realizing that there's less invasive options we can use to help supplement patient's oxygenation. KING: I can't find the adjectives in the middle of this pandemic, but

it is encouraging to hear that there are treatments that help.


KING: And are at least in a better position.

But one way to not have these conversations, to drive these numbers down. In L.A. County, the positivity rate on a seven-day average is 8.4 percent. Statewide, in California, it is 7.5 percent.

What needs to be done to drive those numbers down into the ones, twos and threes so that you have a better handle on this?

MORRISON: Well, the same thing we've been saying, wearing a mask, washing your hands, good personal hygiene, social distancing, and not gathering in large crowds with other people.

KING: Dr. Morrison, as always, appreciate your insight.

MORRISON: Thank you.

KING: When we come back, the president of the United States -- last week, people were talking about a more disciplined president. Today, the conversation, well, it's different.



KING: The president's new normal is, well, back to his old normal, saying things that are just not true. One example, peddling Hydroxychloroquine again today, saying he say believer, even though clinical trials and the president's own FDA say there's no evidence the drug helps fight coronavirus.

Here's another example from yesterday.


TRUMP: We're seeing improvements across major metro areas and most hot spots. You can look at large portions of our country, it's corona- free. But we are watching very carefully, California, Arizona, Texas, and most of Florida. It's starting to head down in the right direction. And I think you will see it rapidly head down very soon.


KING: Joining me now, the "Washington Post" White House correspondent, Toluse Olorunnipa, and "Time's" national correspondent, Molly Ball.

Toluse, last week, everyone was saying that the president was trying. He was saying it will get worse before it gets better. Now he says most of the country or much of the country is corona-free, which is just simply not true. TOLUSE OLORUNNIPA, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. We've had months of the

president sort of touting things that just aren't true and having a cheerleader role where he is saying things that are much more optimistic than what is actually on the ground.

And the president had once said there were only 15 people and then he said there were only going to be 50,000 deaths and he upped that to 100,000. And we are already at 150,000 deaths. And he seems to be in denial about this idea that this virus is continuing to spread.

And something needs to happen at the federal level in order to stop the spread. It's not something that's going to disappear magically as he once said.

So he does still seem to be in denial about the reality of what the country is facing with this virus and this pandemic. And the happy talk and the positive spin, despite the fact that it's not true. Even if it was true, it's not going help solve what is a very real problem in a large portion of the country.

KING: And, Molly, many of us had this conversation last week about "fool me once, fool me twice." You know the old adage. Even if the president was in this, quote, unquote, "newly disciplined environment" that it won't last very long.

The thing that will get interesting to me is his own self-interest. He understands the polls. He's going to Texas today. The polls show Texas is a toss-up state right now. You would think that simply for his own survival he would try to be more careful, and yet he is not.

MOLLY BALL, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes. It is befuddling that a president who seems to make so many decisions on a political basis is not benefiting politically from the decisions he's making in this regard.

But it was clear long before COVID that Trump was a person who believed in what he wanted to believe, who believed in the version of reality that he most preferred to live in, whether or not it actually matched what was actually happening.

And that, of course, has had consequences, especially to his own credibility, right? What we're seeing is a lot of voters are tuning him out at this point.

You see in polls that 30 percent or less of Americans actually believe the things he says or see him as a reliable source of information versus very high ratings for figures like Dr. Fauci and for governors across the country.

No matter what he says, obviously, there's a danger that it confuses people. And that's real and potentially deadly.

But at this point, the bigger danger, at least where Trump is concerned, seems to be that people just aren't listening to him at all. KING: There's a good slice of the electorate, I believe 64 percent in

recent polls, said they believe little or nothing when he talks about the coronavirus.

But one of the issues, Toluse, is the flip side of that. That means a third of Americans do listen to the president, including when he and his friend, his allies, say things like this about Hydroxychloroquine.


TRUMP: Many doctors think it is extremely successful. The Hydroxychloroquine. It's safe. It doesn't cause problems. I had no problem. Based on a lot of reading and a lot of knowledge about it, I think it could have a very positive impact in the early stages. And I don't think you lose anything by doing it.


KING: There have been several detailed studies that say there are some risks to patients, heart risks, liver risks.

More importantly, the president could be spending his time talking about masks and talking about other things as opposed to talking about this.


Including, the other night, he re-tweeted, and it was taken down by social media platforms, a doctor whose other theories include that there are other doctors using alien DNA right now as part of their treatments.

OLORUNNIPA: Yes, and this doctor that the president said was a spectacular person essentially told Americans not to wear masks.

Last week, the president was saying the most important thing that we could all be doing is wearing masks and I urge all Americans to wear a mask. He was seen pictured wearing a mask. And his adviser said this was a major shift.

And he's re-tweeting this doctor saying, you don't need to wear a mask. Just take Hydroxychloroquine and all of this will go away.

And it's his own Food and Drug Administration and not the former administration, that his own head of the FDA that he chose, who has removed the emergency use authorization for Hydroxychloroquine. And this is not a holdover from previous administrations trying to stop him.

It's his own administration saying this is a drug who has not proven to be effective. And it could be dangerous. And for that reason, they have removed this emergency authorization.

So the president needs to walk over to the FDA and talk to his own hand-picked official if he has issues with this drug is not being widely used. KING: Molly, you mentioned the polls. One thing we know about the

president is he reads them and reads ratings.

One of the interesting things in the briefing yesterday was he was essentially saying America loves Dr. Fauci, why not me?


TRUMP: He's got this high approval rating. So why don't I have a high approval rating with respect and the administration with to the virus?

So it sort of is curious. A man works closely with us, Dr. Fauci, and Dr. Birx, also highly thought of. And yet, they're highly thought of but nobody likes me. It can only be my personality.


KING: Well, it may be what he says compared to what Dr. Fauci says, but he finds it curious.

BALL: Yes. We see again his fixation on his public image and those of others. And this came up the other day when it was revealed that the reason he said he was going to throw out the first pitch at a Yankee game was because he felt competitive with Dr. Fauci.

This isn't a healthy situation for public health leadership. And it isn't a healthy situation for a crisis that are killing thousands of people on a regular basis.

And people want trustworthy information and I think that's why they have turned to Dr. Fauci, who is very good at maintaining a profile as a non-partisan official who is only focused on public health.

And so, you know, given the way that we've had this back and forth with the Trump briefings, and so much reporting of my own and others about the Trump advisers' angst and trying to get him to stop stomping on the message and should they have him out, should they not have him out, should he say nothing, or should he come out.

It's increasingly clear that there's no middle ground. And there's not a situation where he comes out and is disciplined. It's either he doesn't say anything or he comes out and does his usual thing where repeats conspiracy theories and falsehoods and is not able to drive a consistent message.

KING: He is who he is, is one way to put it.

Molly Ball, Toluse Olorunnipa, appreciate it very much reporting and insights on this..

Up next for us, an important debate in Congress about stimulus because of the coronavirus economy but different universes is how the two sides describe the talks right now.



KING: We all know the president fashions himself as a great dealmaker. But clear proof today of why the president is almost always left out of big negotiations with Congress. Like the current big fight over a new coronavirus stimulus package.

Here's the president outside the White House today describing the reason for the impasse.


TRUMP: We want to take care of the people. The Democrats aren't taking care of the people. The payments aren't enough. The payments aren't enough. You understand that. They're not making the payments. They're not making them high enough.

The Democrats are not taking care of the people. Nancy Pelosi takes care of herself, but she doesn't take care of anyone else.


KING: You see standing nearby the treasury secretary and the White House chief of staff. They are involved in negotiations. What the president described isn't even close to the reality of the talks.

With us to share the reporting and their insights, CNN's Phil Mattingly and Seung Min Kim at the "Washington Post."

Phil, tell me if I'm wrong. The president says the Democrats won't make the payments high enough. Is the issue that the Republicans, including the president's team, keep saying the Democrats want to spend too much and not too little?

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, at least in the Senate Republican Congress that's been the problem Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is facing.

It's a little dangerous to try to interpret what the president is pointing to and meaning here.

But I'm familiar with both the House Democratic proposal and the Senate Republican draft that is now out. In no way, shape or form is there any payment structure in which Republicans want or have asked for money than where Democrats are.

Whether it's direct payments, they're equal on the top line. But Democrats give more money for dependents. Whether it's on enhanced unemployment insurance. Democrats want to maintain the $600 enhancement. Republicans want to take that down a little bit.


So I don't know what the president is talking about. I think this is actually an important point as these negotiations sputter along right now.

The White House, the president and Senate Republicans all seem to be in conflicting places to some degree.