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AAMC Says, U.S. May See Deaths In Multiple Hundreds Of Thousands; Study Shows Statewide School Closures Linked To One Million Fewer Cases; As Americans Die, Trump Touts Unproven Drug. Aired 1- 1:30p ET

Aired July 29, 2020 - 13:00   ET



BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: I'm Brianna Keilar and I want to welcome viewers here in the United States and around the world.

Just a short time from now, the United States will cross another devastating milestone, 150,000 Americans dead from the coronavirus. A leading U.S. medical group now saying the deaths will be in the, quote, multiple hundreds of thousands unless the country gets its act together.

But still, there is no national testing strategy and the president is spending his time promoting an unproven drug and a doctor who believes that your health is impacted by alien DNA and dream sex with demons. That is real. More on that in a moment, but that is what's happening.

Dr. Deborah Birx of the White House task force is saying that there are signs that a surge could soon hit the, quote, yellow zone states, including Colorado, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio and Utah.

Plus, the hotspot State of Texas is on the verge of surpassing New York in total cases, landing in the number three spot for total cases in the country.

And as the nation tries to control the spread, the CDC director acknowledging that more could have been done by the Trump administration sooner.


DR. ROBERT REDFIELD, CDC DIRECTOR: The introduction from Europe happened before we realized what was happening. And by the time we realized, Europe threatened to shut down travel to Europe, there is already probably two or three weeks of 60,000 people coming back every day from Europe and that's where the large seeding came in the United States.


KEILAR: But we begin now with breaking news. Republican Congressman Louie Gohmert, who frequently refused to wear a mask while on Capitol Hill subjecting others to his germs, has now tested positive for coronavirus. Here he is just 24 hours ago during a committee hearing with the attorney general, William Barr, wearing a bandanna around his neck and frequently not at all. This picture earlier that day at another committee meeting, again, no mask.

In May, Gohmert and other House Republicans met with Trump at the White House. They were all not wearing masks. Take a listen to what he said then.


REP. LOUIE GOHMERT (R-TX): And I do want to advice our media friends before they write stories about how we didn't wearing masks and we didn't possibly socially distance adequately, that you saw to it that we had tests and that nobody in here has the coronavirus, unless it's somebody in the media. So the only reason we would wearing a masks is if we were trying to protect ourselves from you, in the media, and we're not scared of you. So that's why we can be here like this.


KEILAR: They are afraid of the media. In fact, the media is tested at the White House. We should make that that very clear. And they are tested often if they are going anywhere near the president.

I want to go to CNN Senior Congressional Correspondent Manu Raju, who is joining us now from Capitol Hill.

So, Manu, Gohmert was, this morning, scheduled to travel with the president. Tell us what else you're learning here.

MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. He did and then he had a pre-flight screening in which he tested positive for the virus and so he's not traveling along with the president in Air Force One down to Texas. But Louis Gohmert is one of those members of the House who has not been wearing a mask even when he's not social distancing with members of Congress.

I've spent a lot of time in the House gallery watching members interact during extended vote series. And he often would sit on the floor, interact with members face-to-face, sit down next to them and engage in these prolonged conversations, not wearing a mask, not social distancing.

And just a few weeks ago, late last month, I caught up with Louie Gohmert and I asked directly, why are you not wearing a mask? And he told me he's been tested. He said if I get the coronavirus, you'll never see me without a mask. That was an exact quote.

And I asked him, well, you know, the health experts say that you don't have to show symptoms to carry the virus, which is why they want you to wear a mask. He said, but I keep getting tested and I don't have it. So I'm not afraid of you, but if I get it, I'll wear a mask.

And I asked when was the last time you got tested, and he did not respond to that question. But his refusal to wear a mask on the House floor prompted a lot of alarms from Republican members in particular, aides, people who have interacted with him and also some Democrats, including the chairman of the Judiciary Committee Jerry Nadler, who is frequently admonished members of his committee which Gohmert sits for not wearing a mask.

And he, Nadler, said in a tweet after the news broke, he said, when individuals refuse to take the necessary precautions, it puts everyone at risk. I regularly instructed all members to wear their masks and hope this is a lesson to by all of my colleagues.

Now, in House Committee proceedings, Brianna, it is required for members to wear a mask. If they don't, the chairman can take things in their own hands, not recognize those members.


But on the floor of the House, there are no rules to enforce not wearing a mask. That is strongly recommended by the Capitol physician. But members like Louie Gohmert have not listened to those recommendations, and as a result, some members are now concerned they may have put them at risk. Brianna?

KEILAR: It's so interesting. He said, Manu, that he wasn't afraid of you, although he didn't seem to understand that you and certainly now have reason to be afraid of him. Thank you so much, Manu Raju. I appreciate the report.

Let's turn now to the grave warning by the Association of American Medical Colleges. Dr. Ross McKinney Jr. is the AAMC's Chief Scientific Officer. And, Doctor, your organization says if there is not a course correction that deaths could be, quote, in the multiple hundreds of thousands. Tell us how you came to that figure.

DR. ROSS MCKINNEY JR., CHIEF SCIENTIFIC OFFICER, ASSOCIATION OF AMERICAN MEDICAL COLLEGES: Well, it's a fairly easy figure to come to. We're at 150,000 now. We have a lot of states where the epidemic is currently out of control. And we're starting to see some of the states that were in between, the so-called yellow states, where there is a drastic, rapid upswing in infections, places like Nebraska and Iowa.

So it's really important for us to organize as a country, to try and control this infection before the number of cases goes up higher, before the number of deaths goes higher, because we're not on a good path at present.

KEILAR: No, we are not. And your association represents 400-plus teaching hospitals and health systems in more than 170 medical schools. So what are you hearing from your members about the number of deaths that they're seeing, and tell us how the crisis is impacting hospitals right now.

MCKINNEY: Well, the crisis is terrible for hospitals. What we're hearing, some of our hospitals in areas like Southern Florida, that, in fact, they're full, but their staff is getting sick. And as their staff gets sick, there's nobody there to be able to fill in. So people are having to work extraordinarily long hours. And as you get more tired, you end up taking more risk just because you make mistakes. So we are really pushing at the limits of what our health system can deliver, and some of the parts of the country where there has been a lot of disease, Arizona, Florida, Texas, Houston area. We are really hitting the limit. And as disease hits the staff, it's becoming even more of a crisis than it already was.

KEILAR: The AAMC is now calling for a reset, which includes increasing the supply of PPE and increasing testing to more than 2 million tests a day. What are you hearing from your members about why that is not happening now?

MCKINNEY: Well, our members don't know necessarily why it's not happening. They just know they don't have what they need. The academic medical laboratories need the supplies to run their PCR machines. The intensive care units need PPE. Even outpatient clinics need protective equipment so that staff can be safe. Nursing homes don't have the supplies they need.

So, essentially, everywhere is short of the critical supplies and we as a country have not attempted systematically to upgrade our production of either PPE or of the supplies that are needed by the laboratories in order to meet the demands we have for testing, the demands that we have for PPE.

KEILAR: White House task force member Dr. Anthony Fauci said that a nationwide lockdown is not necessary at this point. You all are calling for, quote, establishing and enforcing national criteria for local stay-at-home orders and reordering protocols. Tell us what that mean and how that might differ from town to town or city to city.

MCKINNEY: Well, having common standards sort of sets expectations, provides some consistency. So, you know, in New York, where they've actually done very well, they could begin to ease off, but the standard should be the same for easing off there, or easing off in Alabama if they get it under control. Because at the moment, in Alabama, it's not, in New York, it is.

So they don't necessarily have to have the same degree of lockdown, but they should use the same criteria to try and move from one phase to the next so that we can learn what are the best standards to use, so that we don't get these continuous waves of infection that have followed our premature reopening so far.

KEILAR: All right. Dr. McKinney, thank you for takes us through that.

MCKINNEY: Thank you.

KEILAR: The president doubling down on an unproven drug and his support of a doctor who believes that your health is connected to alien DNA and dream sex with demons, and, no, I am not making it up. That is what she says.

Plus, just in, the president announces he's ending an Obama-era housing rule and does so by congratulating suburbs for no longer having low-income housing in their communities. The backlash is coming in fast. And moments from now, a historic hearing, lawmakers grill the big tech CEOs on their unprecedented power.


This is CNN's special live coverage.


KEILAR: New today, a study suggesting that statewide school closures in the U.S. during the months of March, April and May could be linked to fewer coronavirus cases in those cities. In the study, Ohio pediatric researchers noted, quote, school closure may have been associated with approximately 1.37 million fewer cases of COVID-19 over a 26-day period and more than 40,000 fewer deaths over a 16-day period.

Let's check in with my colleagues across the country for more on the day's coronavirus headlines.




The State of Florida shattering its death toll record for the second day in a row, reporting 216 deaths today. The state is also reporting more than 9,000 new coronavirus cases, this as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to test the hospital system in this state.

Today statewide, there are 54 ICUs that are at capacity. Ten of them are right here in Miami-Dade County.

JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: I'm Joe Johns at the White House. President Trump left here today headed for the hard-hit state of Texas. From what we know about the schedule, he's not attend any events related to the coronavirus. He is expected to attend a fundraiser and also visit an oil rig highlighting his administration's energy policies and attempts to roll back federal regulations.

LAUREN FOX, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm Lauren Fox on Capitol Hill. And this morning, the Small Business Administration's inspector general is sounding the alarm over what they say may be $250 million in loans and direct payments that may have been paid to ineligible applicants as part of their economic injury disaster loan program.

This was a program that was expanded in the spring with the stimulus bill and it is a program that they argue has been taken advantage of. They say that some of these schemes were perpetuated in social media.

They have some evidence that money was transferred into foreign bank accounts, but this just goes to show how difficult it can be to get this money out the door and to protect against fraud, that the SBA's I.G. say may have occurred in the EIDL loan program.


KEILAR: The Trump administration just rescinded an Obama-era fair housing rule and the president is marking it with a tweet that once again stokes the culture wars.

Moments ago, he tweeted, quote, I am happy to inform all the people living their suburban lifestyle dream that you will no longer be bothered or financially hurt by having low-income housing built in your neighborhood. Your housing prices will go up based on the market and crime will go down.

I have rescinded the Obama-Biden AFFH rule. Enjoy.

CNN Political Analyst April Ryan is joining me now. She is also the White House Correspondent for American Urban Radio Networks.

So, April, first of all, just explain what the fair housing rule was intended to do and why this tweet is seen as incendiary?

APRIL RYAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: It's racist. It's not just incendiary, it's racist. In the 1960s, the fair housing act was put into place. And before we came on the air, I talked to former HUD Secretary Julian Castro of the Obama administration, and he informed me that they enforced this rule, they even put more into it, to bolster the Fair Housing Act for equality's sake, for neighborhoods all across the land, not just for inner cities, for the least of these that live in the inner cities, that they have a chance at life in suburban America as well.

So what the president is doing is definitely racist. When he says things like this, it's targeting certain communities who go into suburbia. He's basically saying, we don't want you there. That is what he's saying by rescinding this act. And it goes back to history, the Fair Housing Act.

When we talk about history and civil rights, that is one of those pieces that we talk about when we talk about people like John Lewis, C.T. Vivian, the Fair Housing Act, the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Acts Right, all three of those were kind of synonymous around the same time.

So this president is trying to deconstruct civil rights history as well as trying to be racist in 2020 with keeping minorities out of suburban America.

KEILAR: And I wonder, April, if you think this is -- if part of this is a, I guess, a political overture to people, or if this is something that is just very much in line with the president's own past real estate practices. When you see, for instance, going back looking at how the Trump family contacted rentals, they would put a C next to a person of color's application. And there was clearly an effort to not have people of color in their buildings.

RYAN: Well, Brianna, it was not just a C next to the people of color's application. It was a C on the application. And for what they did, the Justice Department dealt with the Trump family on this matter. So the Justice Department found what they were doing at the time wrong and illegal. Fair housing is fair housing for all, not just for white America.

And, Brianna, this president is definitely trying to rally his base. When I say, his base, white America that feels like they have been left out and they want to stay on top if they're even on top.

So this is what the president is consistent about. He's done it when he was civilian Donald Trump, working with his father, in his father's real estate business, and now as president of the United States, when he's supposed to cover all of America, not just that racist portion of white America.


KEILAR: April, thank you so much. April Ryan joining us from Baltimore, we appreciate it.

President Trump admitting that he never pressured Vladimir Putin about reports of bounties placed on U.S. troops despite speaking to the Russian president several times, multiple times since the story broke.

Plus, big tech CEOs set to be grilled by lawmakers who think that they're too powerful. That high-profile hearing getting underway in just moments.

This is CNN's special coverage.



KEILAR: Six months since the reported U.S. case of coronavirus, the president is still touting the off-label use of an anti-malarial drug as a cure for COVID. It is not. But this is what the president said last night about hydroxychloroquine.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It's recommendations of many other people, including doctors. Many doctors think it is extremely successful, the hydroxychloroquine., coupled with the zinc and perhaps the azithromycin. But many doctors think it's extremely good and some people don't. Some people, I think, has become very political.

I happen to believe in it. I would take it. As you know, I took it for a 14-day period, and I'm here, right? I'm here.


KEILAR: He is wrong. Doctors don't believe in it, not the doctors that you would be smart in trusting your life to, anyway. We will fact- check that again for the umpteenth time and we're going to show you how the president is ignoring his own public health officials. But, first, let's take a look at these doctors that he's listening to. One in particular who he gave a personal shout-out to falsely says hydroxychloroquine is a cure for the virus, which it is not, and that same doctor also believes alien DNA is used in medical treatment.

That is what she believes, that gynecological issues are caused by sex with witches and demons in dreams, scientists are creating vaccines to prevent people from being religious, that part of the government is run by reptilians and the illuminati is planning the world through abortion and same sex marriage. And that is who the president says is an important medical voice.


TRUMP: They're very respected doctors. There was a woman who was spectacular in her statements about it that she's had tremendous success with it, and it took her -- I don't know why they took her off.

She said that she's had tremendous success with hundreds of different patients and I thought her voice was an important voice.


KEILAR: Facebook, YouTube and Twitter pulled a video featuring that doctor and others, because their claim was so demonstrably false, they violated policies of the social media outlets. But before they could take those down, the president re-tweeted the video, so did his son, Donald Jr. And it has been viewed around a billion times.

The bogus video was so problematic that Twitter suspended Donald Jr.'s account, his access to his account for 12 hours after he shared it. Trump says his political opponents and the media are speaking out against him because they don't want him to be right.

The media, his opponents, they're not the ones standing in the way of the president's claims about hydroxychloroquine. Scientists, his scientists are. The president is contradicting his own health officials as he pushes an anti-malaria drug as the cure for coronavirus. He can't admit he's wrong about it as public health watchdogs testify that the was a black eye on the Trump administration's FDA.


DR. PETER LURE, PRESIDENT, CENTER FOR SCIENCE IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST: This has been a disappointment. And I don't think it's because of the career officials, the FDA, who I believe are committed to scientific integrity and proper regulatory procedures in this pandemic, but I do think that people have turned out to be susceptible to political pressure.

The hydroxychloroquine is frankly an embarrassment. In the end, that turned out to be a black eye for the agency.

(END VIDEO CLIP) KEILAR: And here is Dr. Fauci recently.

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: I go along with the FDA. The overwhelming, prevailing clinical trials that have looked at the efficacy of hydroxychloroquine have indicated that it is not effective in coronavirus disease.


KEILAR: Fauci says that because study after study and trial after trial show hydroxychloroquine does not benefit patients treated for coronavirus and it can be harmful. The FDA revoked its emergency use authorization of hydroxychloroquine.

The World Health Organization, Novartis, the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases, part of the NIH, the Veterans Health Administration Office of Research and Development, the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, they all dropped their studies of the drug because it did not work on COVID patients.

The latest prominent study out of Brazil says the same but adds the patients taking the drug experienced unusual heart rhythms more frequently than those not taking the drug.