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Birx Rebukes Trump's Hydrochloroquine Claim; About 850 People Dying Daily in U.S. from Coronavirus since February; Florida Sets Daily Death Record for 3rd Day; U.S. Economy Suffers Worst Quarter Plunge Ever as Cases Surge; Study Says Noninfected People May Already Have Some Immunity to COVID; JetBlue Tests UV Light Cleaning Robot on Planes. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired July 30, 2020 - 15:30   ET



DR. KENT SEPKOWITZ, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: I don't think she meant it to be, therefore we can ignore the signs.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: All right, Dr. Sepkowitz, thank you so much for breaking that down for us.

As we mentioned the death toll from the pandemic is now well beyond 150,000, an average of more than 850 people a day since the first death in February. And the equivalent of three airliners crashing every 24 hours for weeks and weeks.

A 9/11 kind of national tragedy 50 times over with few signs right now that the loss of life will slow down. The hot spot state of Florida just broke its daily death record for the third consecutive time, plus the number keeps going up for the Miami Marlins. Now 17 baseball players and 2 coaches have tested positive.

Let's go now to Randi Kaye in Palm Beach. Tell us what officials there are saying, Randi?

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Brianna, it's certainly not good news here. As you mentioned that death record, another 253 deaths to report. This is the third day in a row, as you said. Yesterday we saw 216 deaths. More than 6,500 Floridians have died so far, and we are quickly approaching just about 10,000 cases here in the state of Florida. Our state-wide positivity rate is 19.3 percent today. That's actually up from 19 percent yesterday. So, going in the wrong direction.

And about 8,400 people hospitalized. Certainly, the ICU bed situation is not great in the state. We're down to about 17 percent of all ICU beds left. So that capacity is not good and about 50 hospitals already have run out completely of ICU beds.

And, Brianna, it's amazing because people here still don't get it. They are still not following the safety guidelines. For example, in Broward County they have issued more than 260 citations for large gatherings. We're talking a 100 people, 150 people. They got more than 1,100 complaints about those gatherings. And of course, as you mentioned the Marlins still having trouble. At

least 17 players and coaches having tested positive. As you know, they were in Philadelphia and now a couple of Phillie's coaches have tested positive as well.

Meanwhile, up the road from where we are here in Palm Beach County, in Orlando, at the Disney World Resort that's the bubble that the NBA players are playing in, their games kickoff tonight. You'll see two games tonight. The good news with them is that all 344 players have been tested and none of them have tested positive -- Brianna.

KEILAR: That is good news. Randi, thank you so much from Palm Beach for us.

Just in a new study about children and coronavirus is raising more concerns about reopening schools. Also, the stunning economic toll of the virus second quarter GDP -- on the second quarter GDP just dropped by the largest amount in recorded history.



KEILAR: Today we are witnessing a devastating signal of how painful the coronavirus has been to the economy. U.S. economic growth shrank nearly 10 percent in the second quarter or more than 32 percent at an annual rate.

This is the worst drop in recorded history and is plunging the U.S. into recession for the first time in 11 years. This is coming as millions of unemployed Americans will lose their $600 a week in added unemployment and tomorrow because Congress, aid -- I should say, tomorrow because Congress is failing to get its act together and reach a deal on a response.

I want to discuss this with economist Diane Swonk who's here with us. And Diane, just tell us how bad the numbers really are. Put this into perspective for us.

DIANE SWONK, CHIEF ECONOMIST, GRANT THORNTON LLP: They really are horrible. What we saw was contraction in every category. The only exception was federal spending ramped up a bit, but it wasn't enough to offset the losses at the state and local level, which is one area we're really concerned about in addition to those expiring unemployment benefits and expiring moratorium on evictions as of tomorrow.

We're also worried about the compounding problems at the state and local level because that decline in state and local government spending accompanied over a million job losses and will continue to be a drag through the summer as it looks like we've hit yet another speed bump and not only plateaued on economic growth but may have reversed course in the month of July.

KEILAR: And what about where Congress is right now? How is that affecting things? SWONK: It really is a dismal state of affairs. It's so hard and

heartbreaking to know that that major contraction in growth had with it so many stories of despair and pain but thinking we would run it off a cliff and not extend in benefits and the evictions. We're talking about food insecurity and homelessness we've not seen since the Great Depression. This is simply unacceptable. This time is different.

The idea that Congress continues to look at this as some kind of a regular recession is absurd. This is like a meteor hitting the planet knocking its off its orbit and the old rules of gravity just don't apply.

KEILAR: If Congress had gotten its act together, might these numbers have been different?

SWONK: These numbers wouldn't have likely been different, what we saw in the second quarter. What matters now is what's going forward.


After we had these extraordinary declines, how do we get ourselves out of this hole? And instead of, you know, climbing ourselves out and providing I think a COVID as an iceberg and to not be the Titanic you need lifeboats in the water with supplies to traverse these COVID- tinted waters.

We have -- did get some of that in the second quarter with the C.A.R.E.S. Act, but not enough. Many businesses have failed entirely and will not reopen to be able to re-employ people on the other side of this. We need to blunt the blow as much as possible to get to the other side. And it's an eternity as great as optimism about a vaccine is, that's an eternity for someone waiting to feed their family week to week or trying to provide food and shelter or a business that has no cash coming in the door.

KEILAR: No, certainly. Diane, thank you so much. Diane Swonk.

Just in, a new study shows that people who are not infected with the coronavirus may already have some immunities. Stand by for that.



KEILAR: Just as schools are about to reopen in many states a new study is raising questions about how young children transmit coronavirus.

In his push for in-person teaching, the President recently seized on South Korean research that found children 9 and younger may spread the virus at a lower rate than older kids and adults.

CNN health reporter Jacqueline Howard is joining me. And Jacqueline, this new study says that children who are younger than 5 carry much more of the virus actually in their noses, though. JACQUELINE HOWARD, CNN HEALTH REPORTER: That's right. That's what this

study found. Specifically, the study looked at viral RNA, that's genetic material and they did find that children younger than 5 appeared to have higher amounts in their noses compared with older children and adults.

So really what the study did here, the study looked at nasal swab samples from COVID-19 patients, 145 patients, and 46 of those patients were young children under the age of 5. And some of the patients were ages 5 to 17, and others were adults 18 and older. And in those nasal swab samples, that's where the researchers found this high amount of viral RNA and it really stood out among the young children, because the older children and the adults appeared to have similar amounts in their nasal swab samples.

So that's what the study found. Now, what does this mean for transmission? That requires more research, and that's why this study really raises more questions than answers, but one thing that the study does say, is that when you look at other respiratory viruses like RSV, which is common, and it causes cold-like symptoms, that's the Respiratory Syncytial Virus. When you look at RSV, the study says -- and I'll quote the study. It says, children with high viral loads are more likely to transmit.

So, if we see this with RSV, will we see this with the coronavirus? That's what, you know, is the question that's being left to answer, but the study is definitely raising some eyebrows.

KEILAR: And there's another study that was released just a short time ago in the journal "Nature." It finds people who have never contracted COVID that they could actually have some immunity to the virus, which I know is going to perk up the ears of many people out there. Tell us about it.

HOWARD: Yes, and this is another study, Brianna, that's raising more questions than answers, really. But for this study, it was conducted in Germany. And researchers looked at blood samples from 68 healthy adults with no known history of COVID-19 and 18 COVID-19 patients. And in those blood samples the researchers took a close look at the T- cells, and T-cells are an important part of our immune system. And the researchers found that among the COVID patients, there were 83 percent had T-cell reactivity to the coronavirus. Which is what you would expect, but 35 percent of those healthy adults who had no history of COVID-19 also showed T-cell reactivity.

So, the question is, how can they have T-cell reactivity if they have no history of COVID? And what really could be happening here is what's called T-cell cross-reactivity. So what that means is, maybe among these adults, they might not have had COVID, but they could have had another type of coronavirus infection.

You know, there's seven human coronaviruses out there and the novel coronavirus that causes COVID is just one of them. Four of the coronaviruses are called community acquired and they're common, and they cause about 25 percent of our common colds. So it's likely that we've all have come into act with "a" coronavirus at some point. And so the idea here is that if you might not have had COVID, but if

you've had another coronavirus infection in your past, maybe that's causing this T-cell cross-reactivity that possibly could lead to a less severe illness, if you do happen to get COVID. So that means your immune system has this memory of a similar infection. So, if you get COVID, it could, you know, rev up its response to COVID and you could have a less severe illness. That's just an idea, though, Brianna.


Again, this is another study that's raising more questions, and you know, we're seeing more and more of this type of research as we kind of get to understand the coronavirus that we're dealing with.

KEILAR: Yes, that is incredibly interesting, Jacqueline we know they'll continue to study that, I say that as a grown-up with small children. So, I've had every cold in the world it feels like for the past four years. But thank you so much, Jacqueline, we appreciate the information.

The entire Rutgers University football team has now been put in quarantine plus JetBlue is testing a cleaning robot to help combat the pandemic on its airplanes. Headlines from around the country next.


KEILAR: Moments ago, the Phillies and Blue Jays announced that they will postpone their weekend series after two Phillies staff members tested positive. The team played the Marlins last week and now at least 19 people on that team have coronavirus. Let's check in with my colleagues across the country now for more on the day's headlines.


DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm Dianne Gallagher in Atlanta, in Georgia's fight against coronavirus a new battle is on hand and that's hospital beds. According to new data from the Georgia Emergency Management Agency, 87 percent of ICU beds across the state are currently in use. Now nearly half of those are in the metro Atlanta area. On Wednesday Georgia reported 3,373 new COVID-19 cases and 79 new COVID-19 related deaths.

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS ANCHOR: I'm Coy Wire in Atlanta. The entire Rutgers football team is in quarantine potentially because some of the players went to a party. This according to New Jersey's Health Commissioner who says at least 15 players have tested positive. New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy issued an executive order which allowed outdoor sports activities to start up again. And he says he doesn't believe the football team's outbreak should affect that order.


The school declined to comment on the report. Rutgers is scheduled to open its season on the road against Ohio State September 26th.

CRISTINA ALESCI, CNN MONEY CORRESPONDENT: I'm Cristina Alesci in New York. JetBlue is trying to get Americans more comfortable with flying again. It's experimenting with a UV light robot to help clean its planes.

Now clinical studies show UV light can reduce various viruses including the coronavirus. The robot which is normally used to sterilize hospital rooms rolls down the aisles and spreads its wings to shine a light over the seats. Now JetBlue is testing the technology right now but if successful, the airlines says it will expand the robot to its entire fleet.


KEILAR: And I want to go now to the burial ceremony that is about to begin for Congressman John Lewis. Let's listen in.