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Coronavirus Cases Continue to Rise in States Across U.S.; Research into Vaccine for Coronavirus Continues; White House Trade Adviser Peter Navarro Live on NEW DAY. Aired 8-8:30a ET

Aired July 07, 2020 - 08:00   ET



JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: From Dr. Anthony Fauci that the U.S. is now in a full-blown crisis, and the time for actions to beat back the coronavirus pandemic is now.


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: We are still knee deep in the first wave of this. We went up, never came down to baseline. And now we're surging back up. So it's a serious situation that we have to address immediately.


BERMAN: More than 130,000 Americans have now died from coronavirus, 31 states are seeing a rise in new cases, with the largest gains in Texas, California, Arizona, and Florida. At least seven states are reporting record hospitalizations. In Florida, 43 hospitals in 21 counties now report that they have zero ICU beds available. Hospitalizations in Miami-Dade County are up 90 percent in two weeks. ICU patients over that county up 86 percent, and ventilator use is 127 opinion higher. Public health experts tell CNN some of those states are now past the point of no return when it comes to controlling outbreaks and also contact tracing.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Meanwhile, John, major institutions and important voices are distancing themselves from President Trump's position. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is finally urging Americans to wear masks despite President Trump's resistance. NASCAR and the president's friend, Senator Lindsey Graham, are standing behind driver Bubba Wallace after an ugly Twitter attack from the president. CNN has learned the Pentagon is drafting a policy that would ban the Confederate flag in all Defense Department workplaces. Disney has a deal with Colin Kaepernick. Even FOX TV personalities like Sean Hannity have belatedly come around to thinking it's important to wear masks. So what does this mean for the presidential race?

BERMAN: Joining us now is Andy Slavitt. He's the former acting administrator at the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services for President Obama. Andy, thank you very much for being with us. We woke up to the news that the military was sending 50 doctors and medical personnel to Texas, to Bexar County, to help with the situation there. We woke up to the news that there and these hospitals in Florida that have zero ICU beds available. Dr. Fauci says we're knee deep in this and the time to act is now. We need immediate help. What do you see going on this morning?

ANDY SLAVITT, FORMER ACTING ADMINISTRATOR, CENTER FOR MEDICARE AND MEDICAID SERVICES FOR PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, we're really trying to wrestle with three failures that make it very difficult to care for people and this this virus. First is failure of moral leadership to prepare, to care, to focus on the public. The second is we're failing to adapt. This is going from state to state to state, and the states where it hasn't hit yet still don't get it. You're talking about Arizona, Texas, California, but there are other states where the virus hasn't quite been to yet because there are smaller cities, and they are not yet requiring masks. Here in Minnesota would be one.

And the third, we have a bit of a failure of empathy or a failure to really imagine what it's like until it happens to us. And I think because this is happening a lot -- to a lot of older people and a lot of people in nursing homes and to a lot of black and brown people, it seems to create some indifference in the population. We need to take all three of the failures and address them head on, or the fall is going to get worse.

CAMEROTA: Andy, I don't see how we get out of this. I don't understand the exit ramp here. When people say we need immediate help, what can we do at this point?

SLAVITT: A couple things. First of all, we should be confident that if you look around the world, whether it's Germany or Vietnam or New Zealand, pick a country, they have figured out how to manage the virus and open the economy. But they understand something we haven't yet, which is taking a little bit of short term pain for a long term gain. So if we want to open schools in the fall, if we want to get life back to normal, we have to not go to bars as much.

And so we have to -- we have to actually meet this challenge head on. If we do that, in a couple weeks from now, case counts will begin to fall. In the meantime, we do what we do. We send our best people around the country to Texas, to Arizona, to Florida. We help our fellow Americans.

BERMAN: Let's talk about schools a little bit more, because the education commissioner in Florida just issued this edict that in August, all schools in Florida need to be open for students K to 12. I know this is going to be a big subject for the White House, opening schools. They want it to happen. There are parents around the country who want it to happen, but what is the right way to do it safely, Andy?

SLAVITT: Well, look, the right way to do it safely is to look at the data first and make a judgment. I don't think there's anybody in the country that doesn't want the schools to open, least of all parents who are working from home and realizing that taking care of their seven or eight-year-old all day isn't easy, and they value their teachers for doing it. [08:05:05]

But we have to do it safely. And like everything else, we pick a date and we just decide to do it, and we rush instead of doing the actual work. Instead of saying let's make sure we have enough testing, which we now don't. Let's make sure we have contact tracing. Let's make sure that we have classroom sizes that are safe, that we have well- conditioned rooms that we're not recirculating air to the kids. I don't doubt that it can be done. And I don't want this to turn into an issue where president and Republicans say open schools and try to push the other side into saying not to. There's no reason to politicize this issue, but we do have to do the work to figure it out.

CAMEROTA: The White House, yesterday, the White House press secretary, was trying to make the claim that the U.S. is being a leader around the world. Maybe she meant the dubious distinction of leading in cases and deaths, because that is what we're winning right now. And just to prove the point, the most affected countries, of the countries that have had the hardest time fighting coronavirus, here's the U.S. mortality rate. It's at the top -- 4.4 percent of people who get this are dying in the U.S. That compares to Brazil's four percent, Russia's 1.5, India's 2.8, Peru's 3.5. What is the U.S. leading on, Andy, and what should -- what role can the U.S. at this point still take?

SLAVITT: Well, look, people around the world are a little bit stunned at our reaction. Our first reaction was bad in March. But they would have expected by May or June we would have figured it out. And I think the press secretary is doing what press secretary believes her job is to do. So we are leading in a lot of the wrong places.

I will say we have great scientists here, and I will say that we should have great confidence in our scientists, along with scientists around the world, to work on and figure this out. And if the public we give our scientists a little bit of time by wearing masks, by social distancing, there will be a light at the end of the tunnel. We will have stuff to be proud of to get through this. I just think we need to be able to buckle down through this very challenging period.

BERMAN: Andy, I know you have been on the phone with scientists and researchers around the country, and one of the discussions you're been having is about vaccines. And there is some optimism about vaccines. And I know you hold that optimism, but you all have a solid dose of realism. And I was surprised to see you write that your expectation for how effective vaccines will be once they come into play isn't that high. You think 40 to 50 percent, as opposed to, say, measles, which is in the 90s.

SLAVITT: Well, I really don't know. What I do know is that the way scientists talk about a vaccine on the one hand is very positive that the trials seem to be going quite well. On the other hand, they talk about them as part of an arsenal, John, of things that will all help us together reduce the spread and reduce the lethality of the condition. So monoclonal antibodies, vaccines, continuously improving. So in our minds, if we have this notion that we have a world before a vaccine and after a vaccine, it doesn't sound quite so clean. It actually sounds more -- that's not necessarily bad news. It sounds more like continually improving our situation, making it less lethal, making things better and better over time, and then having somewhat of a new normal to make sure that we don't get to new spread again.

CAMEROTA: In terms of -- back to school for a second, in terms of universities, the Trump administration is announcing a ban to bar international students from being here in this country if there are just online classes. So international students will have to leave or go home or not come in first place. Is that a good idea?

SLAVITT: That is a really -- that's just -- let's call it what it is. It's a mean idea. You have students who have not been able to afford to go home, have been fearful that they wouldn't be able to get back into the country. They've been living here alone all summer, and now they're told that, through no fault of their own, they're going to have to leave the country.

This is a -- this is mean. This is part of our brain drain. This is our anti-immigration side. There's nothing to do with public health in this decision. And I think I would call on every university to hold a one-day outdoor class for international students once per semester. Meet whatever requirement ICE has, because ICE is driving this in an aim to please the president, from what I understand. And if you're a parent, there are numbers to call, there are lawyers available that are trying to fix this. But there is no reason for this whatsoever. It's a terrible idea.


BERMAN: Andy, I want to talk also about antibodies and the idea of how long the body has immunity to coronavirus. And this is one of the areas that's a big unknown. we were speaking to a doctor earlier in the show, and he was saying that based on what he is seeing, there are maybe 10 percent of patients who had it already coming back again. Now, whether or not they had a lingering case that flared up again or a literal second case, that remains to be seen. But there's a new study out of Spain which suggests that among a certain number of people, maybe 10 percent, the antibodies wear off pretty quickly. What are the public health implications of this?

SLAVITT: Well, look, it is a little bit frustrating to be in the middle of the scientific process for the public, and I know that that makes them doubt experts when they hear new facts and things like this. I think the latest thinking, and again, it's only the latest thinking, is that there are two things that can help you ward off the condition. One is antibodies, and the other is something called t- cells which are more permanent. We understand the antibody pieces a little bit better. We haven't yet fully focused on how the t-cells work, which is an incredibly important part of warding this off. And there has been some good news around the t-cells.

We're just going to have to continue to study these things and study them in combination. As every piece of data comes in, sometimes it's going to feel like we're taking a step backwards. But for scientists, every bit of knowledge is more progress. And my sense is that the scientists I have talked to aren't particularly worried. They do feel like what happens is that the tests test for fragments of the antibodies that remain inside of people. And so when they test people again, sometimes they test positive when they're really better, and that these antibodies, even though they wear off, they leave some fragments of protection so when the test comes back it's so much lighter. So there's so much to learn here. We're a few months in, and we're just going to have to try to be patient. I know it's hard.

BERMAN: Well, we appreciate you for trying. Andy Slavitt, thanks so much for being with us this morning and helping us understand the different varieties of things happening in front of us right now.

SLAVITT: Thank you.

BERMAN: All right, what does the White House think this morning about the rise in cases in state after state across the south and out west? We'll speak with a White House official, next.



JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right. This is the situation around the country this morning. As of now, 31 states are seeing a rise in coronavirus cases, those are the states in red, and at least seven states are seeing record-breaking hospitalizations.

Joining me now is Peter Navarro. He's the director for the White House trade and manufacturing policy and he is a big player in the White House response to the pandemic around the country.

Peter, thank you so much for being with us this morning.


BERMAN: Overnight, Dr. Fauci said we are knee-deep in this pandemic. He says we need to take immediate action.

When you look at the rise in cases in states like Texas and California and Florida and Arizona, how do you explain it?

NAVARRO: Well, first of all, this morning, John, I have some good news and some breaking news for you that I'd like to share.

BERMAN: Can you --

NAVARRO: That speaks directly -- no, it speaks directly --

BERMAN: Can you answer the question first?

NAVARRO: It speaks directly to your questions as we see this rapid growth in cases.

The four doctors at the Detroit hospital system which found a 50 percent reduction in mortality rate from hydroxychloroquine yesterday applied to the Food and Drug Administration for what's called an emergency use authorization for hydroxychloroquine for the early treatment in the hospital setting, for the use of it in a physician setting on an outpatient basis and as a prophylaxis.

And why that's important, John, is that as these cases increase as you have noted, this can be an important tool in the tool box. So I just wanted to share that with you.

Now, to your question --

BERMAN: OK. I want to come back to -- I want to come back to hydroxychloroquine. I will in a moment.

NAVARRO: Sure, sure.

BERMAN: But I want to talk about the rising cases in these states.


BERMAN: How do you explain it?

NAVARRO: Here's what -- well, look, I think we should always remember how this virus got here, where it started. It started with the Chinese Communist Party in China --


BERMAN: Peter, Peter, Peter, this --

NAVARRO: Hang on. But let me make a point.

BERMAN: Because I just -- I let you talk hydroxychloroquine and you didn't answer my question.


NAVARRO: I'm going to answer your question.

BERMAN: This rise in these states, this rise in these states started in June, OK? Let's talk about what's happened since June. Let's limit the discussion.


BERMAN: What has happened since June? What are you seeing in these states?

NAVARRO: We have a virus from China that exhibits highly asymptomatic spread and the assumption I think among most people in the medical community was going to be that heat and humidity were going to make this subside during the summer. We have not seen that because this China virus is very dangerous.

What we're trying to do is manage that. What I can do, John, is tell you kind of what my role is. Like yesterday, for example, this is again some good news for you. I was at the weekly Strategic National Stockpile meeting over at Health and Human Services, and the good news is that the stockpiles are rapidly being replenished, and that at least at this point as these cases rise, we have not seen any demands from hospitals that we have not been able to meet.

So that's good news for the American people. As to why this virus is spreading, it's -- it's a highly contagious virus from China. And we're trying to manage it. What more can I say about that?

BERMAN: I want to put up P-118 here. I guess the question is, why is it that in the United States -- the same virus, the cases are rising and rising and rising, and in other countries around the world, France, Italy, Germany, South Korea, the case numbers are dropping?

So what is unique about the United States where we're seeing the increase, and also record hospitalizations and we're not seeing that around the world?

NAVARRO: Well, John, you know that I'm not -- that's not my lane to answer that kind of question. All I can tell you is we've got a virus from China that's highly asymptomatic spread.

BERMAN: So did they, so did they, so did South Korea, so did Germany. China doesn't send different virus. Even if you buy your argument that China sent virus, they didn't send a different virus.

NAVARRO: Let me speculate -- let me speculate on what I think is going on.


I think that in the first wave of the pandemic, this president immediately locked down the economy. And most of what we saw was happening in New York, New Jersey, Detroit, New Orleans and some of our major cities in hot zones.

The rest of the country was not experiencing the same kind of flatten the curve, go through the first wave. And I think what's going on now is that as we have opened up the economy, these other areas are experiencing more of a first wave than a second wave. And I think that's consistent with what Dr. Fauci, Dr. Birx and others are saying.

But again, this is not my -- my -- my role, John, is to try to save lives by getting them things like hydroxychloroquine and ventilators and things like that. So you can ask me all of these science questions, but I mean, it's not my -- it's not my role.

BERMAN: Well, opening up is more than science question, right? Opening has to do with the economy as well.


BERMAN: And if you were saying that the curve was flattened in these places like New York and New Jersey when there were the stay at home orders and we're seeing a rise in states that have lifted some of those orders and restrictions, what's the consideration or what should be the consideration to re-impose that? NAVARRO: Well, I think -- I think what we've learned from the first

few months of this pandemic is that there's a tremendous cost not just in terms of the economic cost, John, but in the cost of human lives when we lock down the economy like we did. I mean, let's be honest about that.

Right now, we have got -- from this China virus, we got anger about the lockdown, we've got anxiety about the economic future. We've got fear amongst the American people of contracting the virus and regrettably, we've taken that fear and we direct it against each other, often in a partisan fashion.

And what the reality of this is that if we -- if we lock down too hard, we're going to kill people through depression, alcoholism and things like that, as well as do tremendous damage to the economy. So, this is a difficult time for us, John.

This is -- we forget, I think but we should remember this. This is a war. And this is a wartime president and a war against the China virus. I think what's important is for us to work together in a nonpartisan way.

And I hope we can talk a little bit about hydroxychloroquine because that's for me the poster child of a politicized science. I mean, this is -- this is a medicine that for over 60 years was deemed safe. It appears to work --


NAVARRO: -- very -- in a very significant way --


BERMAN: Peter, I promise to get to hydroxychloroquine. I just want to note -- I just want to note --

NAVARRO: It will save lives.

BERMAN: I just want note, you say you don't want to talk about science in some areas, but you're excited to talk about the science on hydroxy. So, you're picking and choosing where you want to weigh in on science.

Before we get -- we get to that, I want to ask you about masks because you are a leader at the White House --

NAVARRO: Sure, sure.

BERMAN: -- in terms of the coronavirus response.


BERMAN: When do you personally wear a mask?

NAVARRO: Whenever I'm in the situation where I cannot maintain appropriate social distancing. BERMAN: What difference would it make if the president aggressively,

visually, supported mask wearing in front of the nation?

NAVARRO: I -- I can't speculate on that. I think that it's clear now that the president and the vice president strongly support the use of masks and social distancing. I mean, what -- there's no more -- nothing more to squeeze from that orange.


BERMAN: You need to wear one. Look, you were -- Peter, I'm only asking because you've been -- you've been instrumental in getting N95 masks and masks around the country. You -- obviously, masks are important.

NAVARRO: Yes, yes.

BERMAN: So, would it help if the president did more?

NAVARRO: Would -- look, you guys beat that one to death and I'm not going to get involved in that.

BERMAN: I'm not -- look --


NAVARRO: Come on. It's --

BERMAN: Mitch McConnell --

NAVARRO: It's a meme -- it's a meme for CNN now --


BERMAN: Did Mitch McConnell beat to death -- did Mitch McConnell beat it to death?

NAVARRO: -- like, oh, the president doesn't wear a mask.


NAVARRO: What's the point? Everyone who gets near him has been tested and nobody gets within six feet of him.

BERMAN: If I'm just asking if a White House effort to emphasize the importance of mask wearing --

NAVARRO: And you can keep asking it and I'm not going to go there. It's like --

BERMAN: All right.

NAVARRO: We get some -- we've got some important time here together, John. And again, I think if you want us -- my job here at the White House is to do two things. Help the president save lives and create jobs. BERMAN: Yes.

NAVARRO: And today, I can help save some lives here today by raising the awareness about this medicine. It's $11 for the treatment course you can take at home. Remdesivir is $3,000 --


NAVARRO: -- and they've got to stick a needle in your arm for ten days and you got to do it in the hospital setting.

BERMAN: So, Peter --

NAVARRO: Both of those drugs are useful, but I think it's really important now, particularly as these cases rise, as you pointed out, that we at least talk a little bit about that.

BERMAN: OK. Look, I was talking about mask wearing but there is concern on the science there.


BERMAN: On hydroxychloroquine, and we did cover last week this study out of Detroit --

NAVARRO: I did know that.

BERMAN: -- out of Detroit, which did show positive results from hydroxychloroquine.



Let's stipulate that. This study just say that there are other studies, and the FDA keeps on pointing us frankly to the other studies which have shown different things. They have.

And even the doctors in the study that you're talking about now say that their study doesn't refute the findings of the other study, it just maybe different. It wasn't double blind. They picked the patients pretty carefully who did receive hydroxy. They were twice as likely to receive steroids like dexamethasone, which had been shown to be effective as well.

So, I think there's a sense even among the doctors in the study that you're touting that there needs to be more research.

NAVARRO: I would have -- oh, there surely needs to be more research, but let's -- let's cut to the chase here. The previous studies that have shown no efficacy for this drug have been skewed towards late treatment, the eight to 14 days when you're already on your way to dying and this drug won't work.

But if you get it in the first seven days when you simply have a fever, dry cough and a profound sense of fatigue, your lungs have not yet turned to glass. The virus has not yet penetrated all your other organs, and it works through what's called an alkalinity effect.

BERMAN: I understand.

NAVARRO: So, here's the thing. It's like, if indeed it's true that it works in early treatment, then we should allow doctors working -- and I caution you here, do it only under the advice of your physician. We should allow doctors and their patients in an outpatient basis to say, hey, you can -- this is an option.

And what the Detroit system did for that study, as soon as someone came in the emergency room, they administered the drug. It was within 24 hours, over 80 percent of the people in the study.

BERMAN: Understood --


BERMAN: The NIH study also included people who received the drug on day one. All I'm saying is we'll let the FDA -- we'll let the FDA decide on this. They're seeing the same studies also.

NAVARRO: Yes, let's do that.

BERMAN: We're reporting on their precise --

NAVARRO: I have not -- well, let me leave you one last thing. I have not seen a single thing -- I have not seen a single study that's shown bad things about this drug that has been well-executed study of early treatment.

BERMAN: Look, this study you're touting also wasn't double blind and randomized, Peter. So, again --

NAVARRO: Just give peace a chance, John, and give hydroxy a chance.

BERMAN: We'll report on the study, we'll report on the study --


BERMAN: I want to ask you this. Kayleigh McEnany --

NAVARRO: OK? It can save lives.

BERMAN: I do want to ask you this. This is important -- another important subject to a lot of Americans.

NAVARRO: I would let Kayleigh speak for herself, whatever is coming next.

BERMAN: I understand. Kayleigh would not articulate what the White House's position is on Confederate flags flying at NASCAR.

NAVARRO: I'm not -- I'm not going there.


BERMAN: Do you understand -- do you understand what the White House's position is?

NAVARRO: This is not -- this is not my lane, John. You know, look --

BERMAN: Well --

NAVARRO: -- I'm here to save lives, create jobs.

BERMAN: But part of your lane -- part of your lane is --

NAVARRO: Well, no, I'm not the press secretary. I'm really not. I'm not a surrogate.


BERMAN: How do you feel personally? How do you feel personally? How do you feel personally?

NAVARRO: I'm not going there. Not going to there.

BERMAN: You don't want to condemn -- you don't have feelings about the Confederate flag?

NAVARRO: This is -- so, look, here's, John, let me tell you a personal story if I may, OK?


NAVARRO: My awakening on the race issue was when I was 8 years old in a Woolworth's store in West Palm Beach, Florida, when I walked over and I took a drink from the colored water fountain because I wanted to see colored water.

And this woman came up to me and just gently said, you can't -- can't drink from that. I go, why? She says that's for colored people. It was like -- I mean, I'm 8 years old and that didn't make any sense to me. And so, none of this race --


NAVARRO: -- racial divisions made any sense to me.

NAVARRO: And, you know, I'm a Californian, we don't -- we don't race out there. So, you know, it's like I live my life --


BERMAN: The president -- it's the president who brought it up. It's the president who brought up the flag -- it's the president who brought up the flag yesterday.

NAVARRO: It troubles me that we have so much of this discussion when in fact we've got real problems in this country.

BERMAN: That's a real problem.

NAVARRO: It is a real problem, it is a problem. But what I'm telling you, John, I go back to what I said.

Right now, look, here's another issue. Why is it that more black people died in Chicago from gunshots than the China virus?

BERMAN: Is it because of the Confederate flag?

NAVARRO: In Chicago? Come on. That's the most Democratic -- that's Barack Obama's and Michelle Obama's and Rahm --


BERMAN: Why aren't you answering -- why aren't you answering -- I'm asking you question about the flag.

NAVARRO: You're drawing me in. I gave you --

BERMAN: I'm asking you a question about the flag. You're telling me Chicago. I'm just -- it's just a question.

NAVARRO: This is the cancel culture kind of idea that everyone has got to go through one of your litmus tests.

BERMAN: No, I'm asking about -- I'm asking the president -- I'm asking about the president --


NAVARRO: I'm talking about hydroxychloroquine --

BERMAN: We talked about it.

NAVARRO: -- and saving jobs and lives.

BERMAN: All right, Peter.


BERMAN: I do appreciate all the time we spend together.

NAVARRO: I do appreciate it.