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U.S. Surpasses Grim Milestone of 150,000 Deaths; Trump Boasts About Pushing Low-Income Housing Out of Suburbs; Rep. Louie Gohmert Tests Positive for COVID-19; MLB Updating Safety Protocols after Outbreak; Tropical Storm Forms in Atlantic, Heads for Florida. Aired 6-6:30a ET

Aired July 30, 2020 - 06:00   ET



NICK WATT, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The U.S. just suffered the deadliest day of the summer.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Masks, social distancing, the tools are there, but the virus just keeps spreading.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A Republican congressman who has repeatedly refused to wear a mask now testing positive for coronavirus.

REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): Members will be required to wear masks at all times in the hall of the House.

REP. LOUIE GOHMERT (R-TX): I can't help but think that if I hadn't been wearing a mask, I really wonder if I would have gotten it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think members should wear their masks. I also think we should have testing here.


ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Alisyn Camerota and John Berman.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and all around the world. This is NEW DAY. It is Thursday, July 30, 6 a.m. here in New York.

The death toll in the United States is now more than 150,000 Americans. A hundred and fifty thousand mothers, daughters, husbands, grandfathers. Imagine the death toll of 9/11, then multiply that times 50.

But somehow, maybe because it's happened more slowly than in a single flash, we've grown accustomed to saying it and hearing it every morning.

And the death toll is only growing. Four states, including Florida and California, just set daily death records. Yesterday alone, more than 1,400 American lives were lost.

President Trump did not acknowledge the death toll during his trip to Texas yesterday, nor did he wear a mask or socially distance. His audience largely followed his lead, despite the fact that Texas surpassed New York yesterday in total number of coronavirus cases.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: These pictures are stunning to look at, given where Texas is and given the situation in the country.

Overnight, the Ohio Board of Pharmacy announced that it is prohibiting the sale and distribution of hydroxychloroquine for the treatment of coronavirus, but President Trump is continuing his defense of a doctor who promoted the drug and also warned of demon sperm online.

And now we've learned that Vice President Pence met with the doctors seen with her in this viral video.

Also big news. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced an order making masks mandatory in the House chamber and also in House office buildings. This comes after staunch anti-masker, Texas Republican Louie Gohmert, tested positive hours before he was supposed to get onboard Air Force One with the president. The diagnosis earned him an unintentional nickname from Republican leader, Kevin McCarthy.


REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA): Just as Congressman COVID -- Congressman Louie Gohmert says, that he doesn't have any symptoms.


BERMAN: When the quiet part is said out loud.

And later this morning, more pain is on the way. The U.S. is expected to report the worst economic plunge in U.S. history.

We're going to start with CNN's Rosa Flores, live in Miami in the state of Florida, reporting record daily deaths -- Rosa.


Florida and California shattering their death toll records yesterday. California reporting 197 deaths. The state of Florida reporting 216.

The state of Texas now the third state with the most coronavirus cases, and yet, President Donald Trump visited yesterday without wearing a mask.

And as the pandemic churns through the state of Florida, officials here dealing with an added challenge, as Tropical Storm Isaias approaches.


FLORES (voice-over): Coronavirus deaths in the United States passed 150,000 Wednesday, and one medical group warns that the human toll of the disease could grow to multiple hundreds of thousands without taking action.

DR. DAVID SKORTON, PRESIDENT AND CEO, ASSOCIATION OF AMERICAN MEDICAL COLLEGES: There's continuing growth in the number of cases. There's continuing growth in hospitalizations, continuing growth in deaths. All of us together are failing to face the scientific evidence and do what is -- what needs to be done.

FLORES: Florida reported 216 deaths Wednesday, a new high, and added over 9,400 confirmed cases. People looking to get tested at Florida's state-supported sites will face a temporary delay. They're all closing at 5 p.m. today as Tropical Storm Isaias approaches.

In Miami-Dade County, the school year will start online, going against the wishes of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.

GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): I would absolutely have, you know, my kids in school, because I do think that it's safe to do so. I believe that -- that this is something that's very low-risk for kids.

FLORES: California also recorded its highest number of coronavirus- related deaths, at 197. Los Angeles County accounted for 91 of them, as well as over 4,800 new cases, some due to a backlog.

BARBARA FERRER, DIRECTOR, LOS ANGELES COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH: Young people, as we've noted, people under 50 are, you know, close to 70 percent of all of the new cases.

Every single one of us has to do our part. It doesn't work if some people opt out.

FLORES: This morning, Texas has the third highest number of positive cases, surpassing New York.

President Trump touched down in the Lone Star State Wednesday, without wearing a mask and without Republican Congressman Louie Gohmert, who was scheduled to join him on Air Force One. Gohmert, who frequently refused to wear a mask on Capitol Hill, tested positive for the coronavirus, and even suggested, without proof, that a facial covering may be to blame for him contracting the disease.

GOHMERT: I can't help but wonder if, by keeping a mask on and keeping it in place, that -- if I might have of put some germs, some of the virus onto the mask and breathed it in.


FLORES: Health experts say, that isn't the case.

DR. ASHISH JHA, DIRECTOR, HARVARD GLOBAL HEALTH INSTITUTE: It didn't make him sick. People need to wear masks. Masks don't cause people to get infected.

FLORES: Now House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says masks will be mandatory on the House floor.

PELOSI: And members were very unhappy, because he interacted with other members, but other staff, as well.


FLORES: Now here in the state of Florida, 47 ICUs across the state are at capacity. The positivity rate across the state for the past two weeks has ranged between 13 and 18 percent.

And yes, while the number of daily cases has stabilized, they've stabilized at a very high mark. The range in the past two weeks is between 9,000 and 12,000.

Now, despite all of that, John, we've learned that, starting tomorrow, the state's top business regulator is expected to start setting up meetings to discuss the reopening of bars in this state -- John.

BERMAN: What? Wait, say that again, really?

FLORES: Yes. Starting tomorrow, the top business regulator in the state of Florida will begin setting up meetings to discuss, to figure out how to reopen bars.

Now I should add that here in Miami-Dade, bars never reopened, because the situation never improved enough for that to happen. So that, of course, going to be something that experts and lawmakers and -- and individuals who have been criticizing the state of Florida will be paying a lot of attention to, because thinking, right now -- and as the tropical storm approaches Florida, thinking about reopening of bars here in the state -- John and Alisyn.

BERMAN: Rosa Flores, stunning! That is stunning. We have seen this movie before. Do they not see the numbers on our screen? A hundred and fifty thousand deaths in this country, 1,400 new deaths yesterday alone.

Rosa, thank you for your report. We'll delve into this much more over the next few hours.

We're just a couple hours away from the release of what is expected to be the worst economic plunge recorded in U.S. history. The pandemic has led to historic unemployment, a big slowdown in consumer spending. Estimates for the gross domestic product -- that is the main measurement of what the economy is doing -- it's expected to show that the U.S. economy sank -- actually, shrank, frankly -- roughly 34 percent in the second quarter.

And this morning, it looks likely that the $600-a-week extra unemployment benefit that has kept millions afloat during the pandemic will expire tomorrow.

The White House chief of staff, Mark Meadows warned, that it is possible that no deal will be made. The negotiations seem to be going nowhere, almost falling apart.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says about 20 Republicans are opposed to his own party's $1 trillion bill. That measure would cut the unemployment benefit to $200 a week while offering a second round of PPP loans and new funding, for some reason, for a $1.7 billion FBI building.

CAMEROTA: This morning, there's growing backlash after President Trump rolled back an Obama-era rule meant to combat segregation. The president tweeting that, quote, "people living their Suburban Lifestyle Dream will no longer be bothered by low-income housing," end quote.

CNN's Joe Johns is live at the White House with more. OK.

JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Alisyn, so this is the Trump administration getting rid of an Obama-era administration rule that goes back to 2015, to get rid of housing discrimination, the kind of housing discrimination, by the way, the president and his father were accused of engaging in, all the way back in 1973.

But make no mistake: This is about the president's re-election campaign. It's about the desperate attempt to reach out to white suburban voters who have been abandoning the president because of the administration's failed response to the coronavirus.

And it's also about stoking the racial divisions and the racial culture wars in an attempt to, basically, distract from the administration's failed response.

So the president, as you said, tweeting out, talking about, you'll no longer have to be bothered or financially hurt by low-income housing built in your neighborhood.

President Obama's housing secretary tweeting back, really quite unfiltered, saying, "Just because people are poor doesn't mean they're bad. That's obvious to most, but not to bigots like the the @realDonaldTrump."

And the other important thing to say is the Trump administration has made it clear they want to use rules, executive actions, executive orders, to send a message to the voters in advance of the election.

Alisyn, back to you.

CAMEROTA: Yes. Unfiltered is the right word, Joe. I mean, all of this is unfiltered. It's overt. You just get to see exactly who these folks are. Thank you --

JOHNS: Absolutely.

CAMEROTA: -- very much, Joe.

All right, Major League Baseball toughening safety rules after a massive outbreak in the Miami Marlins. We have an update for you, next.



CAMEROTA: This morning, the coronavirus death toll in the United States now more than 150,000 people. Dr. Anthony Fauci sounding the alarm now about cases heading to the Midwest.


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: When the southern states that have already been hit, the Floridas, Texas, Arizona, southern California, when you look back on, you saw an increase in the percent positives of the tests that were done. That's a surefire indication that you are in a process where you're heading towards a resurgence.

We're starting to see that in some of the states now, Kentucky, Tennessee, Ohio, and other -- Indiana and other of those -- of those states.


CAMEROTA: Joining us now, we have Dr. Ali Khan. He's the dean of the University of Nebraska Medical Center's College of Public Health. Also with us, CNN political correspondent Abby Phillip. Nice to see both of you this morning.

So Dr. Khan, just a horribly deadly day again yesterday. More than 1,400 deaths. As we've said, we're now more than 150,000 Americans. And so when you hear Dr. Fauci say that this is a rolling catastrophe headed in your direction, Nebraska, what's your response?

DR. ALI KHAN, DEAN, UNIVERSITY OF NEBRASKA MEDICAL CENTER'S COLLEGE OF PUBLIC HEALTH: He's spot-on, and we've seen a surge here in many Midwestern states, including the United States, but you know, I think I was last on your show about 7,000 preventable deaths ago. So we have a 1,000-deaths-per-day strategy for this outbreak, and it is going to continue to hopscotch across the United States until we adopt a containment strategy and get this disease under control, like so many other countries have done across the world.

BERMAN: You know, it's so sobering to hear that: 7,000 preventable deaths ago. And I'm so glad, Alisyn, that at the top of the show you brought up the fact that each one of these deaths matters. We get lost in the numbers, but the most important number -- and I've said this before -- is one, one death when it's someone you love.

And that's why the Louie Gohmert situation is so important to shine a light on. And we certainly hope he's well, because he's another example of learning the lesson the hard way.

And Abby, it's one thing, though, because he's basically been a denier of the dangers of COVID until this point. Let's just call it what it is. I mean, he refused to wear a mask much of the time, has really been diminishing the importance of it, and now he has it.

It's one thing to do that when it's your own life that's on the line. It's another thing to do it when it's your staff. There's this remarkable letter that Jake Sherman of "Politico" published that he got from Gohmert aides. And I want to read this.

It said, "Thank you for letting our office know that Louie tested positive for the Coronavirus. When you write your story, can you include the fact that Louie requires full staff to be in the office, including three interns, so that 'we could be an example to America of how to open up safely.' When probing the office, you might want to ask how often were people berated for wearing masks."

That's putting other people at risk, Abby.

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it is completely irresponsible. And this is a culture of sort of anti-science, pseudo- science nonsense that is so pervasive. And it's dangerous.

It really puts people in danger, like those staff members, who are being forced to go into an unsafe workplace with a boss who doesn't believe in doing very basic, simple things to protect them.

I mean, Louie Gohmert had to be repeatedly, over the last several weeks, reminded by his colleagues on Capitol Hill, fellow congressmen and congresswomen, to put on a mask, because these are folks who are in the age group, you know, in their 50s, 60s, 70s, who are at the most risk of this virus.

And the idea that you can simply just go about your life without even bothering to think about taking basic precautions, this is a cautionary tale that that is not the case.

Herman Cain, another Republican close to the president, who attended the Tulsa rally, did not wear a mask; is at this moment still hospitalized due to the coronavirus. It's not a game. And it's not just happening to Democrats. It's happening to Republicans. It's happening to people, because it doesn't matter what your political orientation is. You can still get this virus.

KHAN: Right.

CAMEROTA: Louie Gohmert wonders, Dr. Khan, if now by wearing a mask, he somehow made himself more vulnerable. And you can see why he feels that way when you see the video of his manhandling his mask. We have this video. I don't know if you can see it Dr. Khan, but he is wrestling with it. He's blowing his nose into it. He -- it itches him. He's moving it up and down. He's touching it. He touches his face. He's very itchy. It's not fitting him, because he's wearing a bandanna, first of all, which is, you know, the least effective version of face covering. But he is really struggling with it.

We should mention, he is asymptomatic as far as we know at the moment. But, I mean, he's just doing everything wrong that we have been taught for the past five months.

KHAN: So we should not -- hopefully, no healthcare worker, there's 6 million active healthcare workers in America right now. Hopefully, nobody is listening to your show right now, because we don't really want to tell them that masks don't work as they deal with infectious diseases, so hopefully, none of them are watching today.

CAMEROTA: But I mean, hold on, Dr. Khan, that kind of mask that Louie Gohmert is wearing does not appear to work. It's not a mask. It's a face covering. It's a bandanna.

KHAN: It's a bandana. So let me keep going about this anti-mask concept.

The other thing is, if he hadn't had the mask on at all, so forget the -- he had to touch it, that virus would essentially have gone right to his mouth and nose anyway. It had to get on the mask somehow, right? And it got on the mask, because somebody coughed -- coughed while talking to him or spoke while talking to him.


So unless he believes that Louis Pasteur was completely wrong in 1859 about spontaneous generation, masks don't grow viruses all by themselves on them.

So yes, he should not have been touching the mask, but the only reason -- and if he had not been touching the mask, it would have protected him, which is what it's supposed to do.

BERMAN: Look, I wouldn't be so sure of Louie Gohmert's opinions on Louis Pasteur. I mean, seriously. I would take nothing for granted here in this case. And I'm not being glib. I really wouldn't. Because this is -- this is science, and science is not something that I think impresses him in any way.

Dr. Khan, I've always liked you because of the comic books that you put behind you, but now I love you, because I know you're involved with Major League Baseball and their protocols for opening up again.

And ESPN -- well, they are open, but they're putting stricter protocols in place, so says ESPN. And I want to put them up on the screen so people can see what ESPN is reporting.

Now players will be encouraged not to leave hotels in road cities. Mandates the use of surgical masks instead of cloth masks, and a compliance officer must travel with the team.

This is because of the outbreak on the Miami Marlins. Baseball wants to make sure it doesn't get worse. Is this enough to keep baseball in play, Doctor?

KHAN: Hopefully, it is enough. I think it just proves the point that baseball, or coming together isn't what causes the disease, going back to or mask conversation a second ago. It's people who are sick who cause the disease.

So the NHL decided they were just going to play in Canada, because they didn't want any community -- or low community transmission, which decreases the chance of anybody getting sick.

The NBA decided to do the exact same thing, but instead of going to Canada, they went to Disneyland in a sort of a bubble strategy without contact with anybody else, which works, because if you -- there's no virus in, nobody is going to continue to transmit the disease. So baseball is taking the same set of strategies to minimize that

external risk, the community risk of people getting infected, which then lowers the risk within the ballpark of people getting infected.

But I would -- I would move this on to schools and everything else, right? Nothing protects these players, nothing protects you, nothing protects our children more than getting community risk down, which lots of countries have done successfully, to the point of zero at this point.

CAMEROTA: Abby, I want to quickly ask you about what Congress is doing in terms of the stimulus. That added $600 benefit that unemployed people have been getting per week runs out tomorrow.

And I was really interested to read this stat that 30 million Americans reported they could not get enough to eat in the past week. The -- the food insecurity --


CAMEROTA: -- that's happening in this country right now is -- where is Congress? Are they at a stimulus stalemate, or is there progress?

PHILLIP: Yes. This is a really urgent situation, and Congress is not acting urgently. They're talking about in a couple of weeks, potentially, actually getting a deal together.

The chances of a slimmer deal seem to be very much in doubt this week. They would really need to get that together within the next few days, and Democrats and Republicans are still pretty far apart. Republicans and Republicans are still pretty far apart on what this should look like.

And meanwhile, the American public is in dire straits. I've been talking to a lot of these very people who are facing the potential that they can't make their rent on August 1, on Saturday, that they now have rising food costs, rising energy costs, rising -- you know, rising electrical bills. All kinds of things. And they are running out of money. They are not working. Cases are rising where they are. It's a bad situation.

And Congress is really -- they should have done this several weeks ago. So I think we're looking -- it's very likely, this money is going to run out tomorrow and it's going to be a little bit of time before it gets put back in place, and even more time before it shows up in people's banks -- bank accounts.

BERMAN: Abby, Dr. Khan, thank you both very much for being with us this morning. Appreciate it. Here we go.

KHAN: Thank you very much. Mask on!

BERMAN: Excellent. Knew that was coming.

All right. In just a couple of hours, the body of civil rights icon John Lewis will be brought to Atlanta's Ebenezer Baptist Church for his funeral. Former President Barack Obama will deliver the eulogy. Two other living presidents, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, will be there and participate in the ceremony.

After six days of memorials and tributes, President Trump has -- has not paid his respects to the 17-term congressman.

A dangerous tropical storm is taking aim at the U.S. Chad Myers tracking it, next.



BERMAN: Happening now, a tropical storm churning in the Atlantic. The storm is posing a threat to the southeastern United States this weekend.

CNN meteorologist Chad Myers tracking it all for us -- Chad.

CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: John, it got its act together overnight, and now it is a named storm, Isaias. It is just south and east there of the Dominican Republic, southwest of Puerto Rico, making an awful lot of rainfall for areas around Ponce, also even into El Yunque (ph).

This weather is brought to you by Boost, the nutrition you need, the taste you deserve.

So we do have tropical storm warnings that are posted. Very heavy rainfall coming down in Puerto Rico right now. They have been in a significant drought. They have been water rationing in Puerto Rico. But you don't want all this water all at the same time.