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Fauci: States with Serious Problems Should Consider Shutting Down; Trump Threatens to 'Cut Off Funding' if Schools Don't Reopen; Tulsa Seeing Record Surge in Cases Two Weeks After Trump Rally. Aired 6-6:30a ET

Aired July 09, 2020 - 06:00   ET



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: From seas to shining sea, record numbers of COVID- 19 patients in hospitals.


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: I would call it a surging of cases within the context of a wave that never went away.

MIKE PENCE (R), VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It's time. It's time for us to get our kids back to school.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The president also slamming the CDC's reopening guidelines.

DR. ROBERT REDFIELD, CDC DIRECTOR: It is not the intent of CDC's guidelines to be used as a rationale to keep schools closed.

GOV. GRETCHEN WHITMER (D-MI): I'm not sending kids into our schools unless it's safe. We're listening to scientists, not politicians.


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

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to our viewers in the United States and all around the world. This is NEW DAY. It's Thursday, July 9, 6 a.m. here in New York.

Coronavirus cases hovering around record highs in the United States. We saw record numbers of deaths or near records in California and Texas. And overnight, Dr. Anthony Fauci said that states seeing the biggest spikes should seriously consider shutting down.

This is not what the president wants to hear, and it seems he might even be trying to prevent it from being said at all. Dr. Fauci was sidelined for a coronavirus task force briefing.

The president is openly clashing with the country's top medical minds, with the health of millions of children, teachers, and families on the line. He's now threatening to withhold money from schools if they don't reopen and demanding the CDC rewrite its science-based guidelines for reopening schools, because those guidelines are too tough.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: There are more than 3 million confirmed cases of coronavirus nationwide. This morning, 33 states are seeing spikes in cases. Only three states this morning are declining. In order to reopen, that number is supposed to be 50.

Some of the hardest-hit states are reporting alarming positivity rates. And hospitalizations in California are up 44 percent in two weeks.

Healthcare workers across the country are again facing those shortages in protective gear like masks, gloves, and gowns.

So let's begin our coverage with CNN's Rosa Flores. She is live at a testing site in Miami.

What are you seeing, Rosa?


Well, 33 states are showing upward trends this morning. In Texas Wednesday, 98 people died. That is a record for the Lone Star State.

In California, one of the first states to impose restrictions, is now seeing the situation worsen there, with both infection and hospitalization rates increasing.

Hospitalizations also an issue in Arizona. E.R. visits are hitting about 2,000.

Now, the recommendation from Dr. Fauci is very simple. For those states having issues, shut down.


FAUCI: I think any state that is having a serious problem, that state should seriously look at shutting down. It's not for me to say, because each state is different. New York did what, you know, I was in multiple conversations with Governor Cuomo and with Mayor de Blasio. And those are the things that we discussed. They did it, and it worked. It worked for them.


FLORES: Now, the positivity rates in three states are alarming. Take a look. In the state of Arizona, 28 percent. In Texas, 26 percent. In Florida, 19 percent.

Here's the reality here in the state of Florida. Just yesterday, 10,000 new cases were reported here in Miami-Dade County where I am. The positivity rate is 28 percent. That's an increase from yesterday from 27 percent.

When it comes to hospitalizations in the past 13 days, they're up 70 percent. ICU units, 84 percent. And ventilators, 116 percent.

Despite all of that information, the state of Florida is requiring schools to reopen with in-person instruction in the fall.

Now, we checked with two superintendents yesterday, both here in Miami-Dade and in Broward counties, and they say that, so long as these two counties are in phase one, they are not going to reopen for in-person instruction.

Now, Alisyn, yesterday, in Palm Beach, the school board members there had a meeting. They're talking about virtual schools. According to the superintendent's Twitter, they're going to make a decision on July 15 -- Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: And Rosa, we'll be talking to one of those school superintendents later in the program, so people should stick around for that. Thank you very much.

President Trump is demanding that public schools reopen next month, despite the surge in cases in most of these states, across the country. If they refuse, he is threatening to cut their funding.

CNN's Joe Johns is live at the White House with more. What do we know, Joe?


As the president continues to push for the United States to reopen, we have more staggering numbers to report this morning: 58,601 new cases.

And as the pandemic situation worsens in some states, the White House coronavirus task force announcing that it will fall in line with the president's demands for it to relax its recommendations on the safe reopening of schools.


JOHNS (voice-over): President Trump's push to reopen schools is going against the advice of some of his own top health officials and as coronavirus cases surge in at least 33 states.

DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're finding out that learning by computer is not as good as learning in the classroom.

We want to learn in the classroom, so our schools -- we want them open in the fall.

JOHNS: The president complained about the CDC's guidance on a safe return to in-person learning this fall in a tweet, writing, "They're very tough and expensive, and they're asking schools to do very impractical things."


Hours later, the vice president made this announcement. PENCE: The president said today, We just don't want the guidance to be

too tough. And that's the reason why next week, the CDC is going to be issuing a new set of tools.

JOHNS: Some of the CDC's current suggestions include wearing face coverings, keeping desks six feet apart in classes, and closing communal spaces like playgrounds and lunchrooms.

Trump comparing the U.S. to European countries that are allowing schools to open, like Germany, Denmark, Norway, and Sweden, ignoring the recent record highs in new cases here while those countries continue to see lows.

CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield both defending and downplaying his own guidelines.

REDFIELD: We want to make it very clear that what is not the intent of CDC's guidelines is to be used as a rationale to keep schools closed. Remember, it's guidance; it's not requirements.

JOHNS: Pence also making this claim.

PENCE: We're actually seeing early indications of a percent of positive testing flattening in Arizona and Florida and Texas.

JOHNS: But the positivity rates of all three states have been steadily increasing since June and are currently well above 10 percent.

Even with pressure from the White House, some state leaders say they'll only open schools when it's safe to do so.

WHITMER: I'm not sending kids and our education workforce into our schools unless it's safe. It's that simple. We're listening to scientists. Not threats, not politicians.

JOHNS: Meantime, Dr. Anthony Fauci telling "The Wall Street Journal" that public health and economic freedom don't have to be at odds.

FAUCI: We shouldn't think of it as one against the other. Because once you start thinking there's public health, and then there's the economy opening, it looks like they're opposing forces.

So what we're trying to do is to get the public health message, if heard and implemented, be actually a gateway to facilitate opening in an easier way.


JOHNS: Dr. Anthony Fauci attended the task force meeting on Wednesday remotely. He did not attend the briefing that followed. He and the president have been at odds over the messaging in the pandemic. The president himself has not attended one of those meetings since April.

Alisyn, back to you.

CAMEROTA: Right. And optically, seeing Dr. Fauci sidelined in that way begged some questions.

So Joe, thank you very much for all of that.

You just heard Dr. Fauci clashing with the Trump administration by urging some states to consider shutting down again. Will they heed that warning?




FAUCI: I think any state that is having a serious problem, that state should seriously look at shutting down. It's not for me to say, because each state is different.


CAMEROTA: That's Dr. Anthony Fauci, saying that some states should consider shutting down again. That message stands in stark contrast to President Trump's push to reopen public schools next month.

Joining us now is Dr. Ali Khan. He's the dean of the College of Public Health at the University of Nebraska Medical Center and the former director of the Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response at the CDC.

Dr. Khan, great to see you.

So let me just pull up the positivity rates as of this morning in some major states and hot spots. Arizona is having a positivity rate of 28 percent, meaning that of everybody who gets tested, 28 percent come back positive. Texas, 26 percent. Florida, 19 percent.

If you were in charge, do you think those states should shut down today?


And spot-on, so five states had their highest peaks yesterday. And I think about half states had their seven-day peaks. So this is an outbreak that's uncontained in pre-fall. And if you're not doing the four things we've talked about in the past to get this outbreak under control, starting with test and trace, that's been successful in Europe, Canada. Many countries have eliminated disease. So if you can't get those right, your only option is to shut down.

BERMAN: Only option is to shut down. Because we know, by the way, that testing is hitting a ceiling in some places right now. They're having a hard time keeping the testing up in California. They're shutting down testing locations, because they're running out of supplies. We're seeing long lines in Florida and in Texas.

So you believe shutting down. Just so people can see it. I think this curve, so people can see the daily new cases in the United States is astounding. Just how steep it is. Look at how much that has climbed since mid-June. We're talking about weeks. Look how steep that curve is. And you think the only way now to change that is to shut down?

KHAN: Well, we had four options. Right? The four options to get this outbreak under control that we know work. Leadership; test and trace, get cases down in our community; wear masks, wash your hands, the community engagement part; and drop deaths with dexamethasone.

So if we're not dropping cases in our community with test and trace and masking, then, yes. And states are already doing that. They're shutting down bars. They're shutting down restaurants, because if people don't come in contact with each other, they are -- they can't cause disease.

But how can we talk about going back to music events, stadiums, see the movies when we can't even go back to -- or go to school, when we can't even go back to restaurants and bars at this point?

CAMEROTA: Let's talk about schools. Because, obviously, we heard the president yesterday demand, basically, that public schools across the country be open for in-person learning. And then after that, the CDC said that they would kind of revisit and revise their guidelines.

Let me just pull up the guidelines as they stand right now for how to, they believe, safely reopen schools. Wear masks, they say. I assume that means for students and teachers.

KHAN: Right.


CAMEROTA: Keep desks six feet apart. Stay home when appropriate. Meaning if you're showing symptoms, I think. Stagger arrival times and dismissal times, and have backup staffing plans. Also, close communal spaces. Cancel field trips, large gatherings.

What, Doctor, is so onerous about those guidelines?

KHAN: So, Alisyn, there's nothing onerous. Actually, they're pretty standard guidelines. These are the type of guidelines I'm writing with individuals all over the U.S. these days.

And if anything, they're mild. Because what you notice is not in those guidelines is triggers. So, which we put in our guidelines. So at what point do you open schools?

So right now in Arizona, they're seeing 450 cases per million, per day. Is it OK when you can't open a bar or a restaurant for kids to go to school? So those guidelines actually need to be strengthened, as are all other guidelines coming out from CDC to say, This is our range. And unless you're in this range, we don't think it's appropriate to open.

So, yes, open, but open safely. BERMAN: Those are guidelines, by the way. Those aren't rules. That's

not saying that states have to do this, but it just helps instruct these school districts for how to do it.

Doctor, what questions do you have and what answers do we now have about transmission in schools?

KHAN: So the good news is that it looks like there's little transmission within schools, and children really don't play a large role in causing transmission, not just in schools, but causing transmission in communities, which they do in influenza, which is one of the reasons we first shut down schools.

But that said, you know, kids still get infected. They still get complications. They still get this disease called multi-inflammatory syndrome of children, so it's not like there's zero risk to our children.

So like many, I want our kids to go back to school, but they have to go back to school safely. And that's what the CDC guidelines say. Is if you're going to send them back to school, here are the measures to put in place for them to go back safely.

But I want to see the CDC guideline go one more step and say, unless you have 50 cases per million, per day, below that threshold, do not reopen schools for in-person activities.

CAMEROTA: But Doctor --

KHAN: And that should force people to get community transmission down. That's what we need to do.

CAMEROTA: Well, sure. But I mean, I find that the guidance on schools is very mixed.

If children have -- are showing that they are not transmitters -- so, yes, of course, there are the tragic cases of kids getting the inflammatory syndrome. Of course, there are the tragic cases of kids actually transmitting it to someone who can be vulnerable and get sick. But if in general, for the vast swath of children are not transmitters, then shouldn't we be pushing to get them back in school?

KHAN: No, absolutely not. Unless you drive down community transmission. Because you're still going to get outbreaks in schools. So, yes, the kids aren't going to get very sick, but you'll still get outbreaks in schools. There are still teachers there, vulnerable teachers within that group.

So what will happen is you'll have -- sort of you'll have this whiplash, which is you'll send your kids to school, and then all of a sudden, you'll have three, four, five cases in the school. The school will be forced to shut down for five to 14 days. And then you sort of repeat that again and again. And before you know it, the school districts are all shut down again.

So, no. You have to get community transmission down. That's the best way to protect our kids and get them back in school safely.

BERMAN: Dr. Khan, very quickly, rapid-fire, yes or no. Given where things are, should Texas be reopening schools right now?

KHAN: Absolutely not.

BERMAN: Should Arizona be opening schools right now?

KHAN: Any place below 50 cases per million -- above 50 cases per million per day should not be talking about opening schools today.

BERMAN: Florida?


BERMAN: California?


BERMAN: All right. I think I get the point.

KHAN: Now you're trying to make me remember which ones are below 50, aren't you, John?

BERMAN: Dr. Khan, I appreciate your use of memory there. Thank you for being with us. And really, as always, the discussion is an education.

KHAN: Always a pleasure. Thank you, both.

CAMEROTA: And math, John. You did spring math on us very early in the morning.

BERMAN: You like that?

CAMEROTA: Yes. So, John, listen. There's this stunning surge in coronavirus cases in Tulsa. That city may ring a bell. Because this is two and a half weeks after the president held his rally there. That's not stopping the Trump campaign from holding another rally this weekend. We discuss the connection of dots there, next.



BERMAN: So this morning, we're seeing rising number of coronavirus cases in Florida. But that's not stopping President Trump from traveling there tomorrow. The president will also hold a rally in New Hampshire on Saturday.

Here's some news this morning. Remember Tulsa? That's the last place that President Trump held a rally a couple of weeks ago? Well, now, a couple of weeks later, Tulsa is seeing a record number of cases.

Joining us now, CNN political correspondent Abby Phillip.

Now, health officials in Tulsa won't tell us whether or not the cases are coming from people who are at the rally. Privacy concerns, and I get that, prevent them from telling us what the contact tracing has told them. But, they all say, the rally was two weeks ago; now we're seeing record cases.

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, they're basically saying, connect the dots. That it's clear that the rally -- and we should be fair, there were a lot of people in Tulsa for the rally. There were a lot of people in Tulsa for the counterrally that actually only came into existence because the rally was being held there. And so all these different groups of people coming into that city at that particular time, yes, it's going to end up leading to some kind of transmission.

And the only group that seems to be completely uninterested in talking about it or dealing with the consequences of it are the president and his campaign. They continue to schedule events. They continue to talk about their -- their convention that's supposed to be held in just a few weeks, where now you know, we're learning they're planning on testing everyone, because they know that they cannot just bring people together in large groups without the virus transmitting and causing problems locally for these officials, who frankly, were having to have a downward swing, not an upward swing, that they could -- that they could control, where they could handle the cases and the hospitalizations.

CAMEROTA: It's a good thing they had so many people sign waivers. All of those people signed legal waivers to not sue President Trump after they got sick. Phew. I mean, I'm sure they're relieved that they decided to do that. Will they be doing that for the future rallies and convention, as well?

PHILLIP: You have to assume that they will. But, you know, I mean, it's not even about, as much, the people who attended the rallies as it is about all of the people that they come into contact with at restaurants, at bars, at -- when they go home, when they travel on airplanes.

I mean, you know, you can sign a waiver for yourself, but what transmission is about, is about other people. There's no accountability for that.

We actually saw it really vividly when the president had his Fourth of July event in South Dakota with one of his family -- or not family members, but his son's girlfriend, Kimberly Guilfoyle, sick and doing events in close quarters with people, with abandon, not really even taking basic precautions.

And now, just last night, actually, Kimberly Guilfoyle was on a Trump event, really kind of joking about the incident, which is frankly not very funny. The number of people who could have been -- who could have interacted with her and contracted the virus because of that kind of behavior is, you know, we can't even really calculate what that ends up being.

BERMAN: Look, it's good news that she's feeling well, but it's lucky. It's lucky, given the circumstances. Overnight, Abby, we heard Dr. Anthony Fauci saying that states that

are seeing a spike in cases should consider shutting down. He said it clearly and vividly.

It's in stark contrast to what the president says, which is that we are not shutting down again, period, full stop. And it's not the only time that the words of the president seem to be in direct contrast to the words of scientists, including Dr. Fauci. Listen to this.


TRUMP: Well, I think we are in a good place.

FAUCI: We're facing a serious problem now.

TRUMP: We're almost up to 40 million in testing. And 40 million people, which is unheard of.

FAUCI: This is the thing that is a little bit concerning. You say, well, we now have 37 million tests have been performed. The question is, when you get on the phone and talk to the people in the community, there are still lapses there where the dots are not being connected.

TRUMP: If you look at the chart of deaths, deaths are way down.

FAUCI: It's a false narrative to take comfort in a lower rate of death.


BERMAN: I have to say, Abby, there are times when I actually think Dr. Fauci is saying things carefully, but to directly refute some of the ideas that the president is getting out there. And whether or not he is doing it intentionally, there's just no question that they're in direct opposition.

PHILLIP: Yes, it's really extraordinary. And I do think that Dr. Fauci, who has been around this town for a very, very long time, is cognizant of the importance that he not really sully his reputation and good name.

The polls show people trust Dr. Fauci to give them the truth. And so it actually is really important for him to continue to do that. Because the narrative from the president, in particular, is so detached from reality, from the facts, from the data, that there's no way that a serious-minded, scientific mind would simply say, Yes, let's go along with the most positive version of this picture.

You know, Dr. Fauci was not at the task force briefing yesterday. There was an explanation for that. He was told that they should only go in person to the briefing if they were invited.

But, you know, it's really telling that the one official that sort of people trust to give it to them straight was not present there.

But Fauci isn't taking that lying down. As you can see, he's doing public availabilities. He's doing media availabilities, and he's being frank with the public. This is a problem that we're in. And he's urging states to take extraordinary steps that the White House refuses to urge them to do, because the White House is far more interested in reopening than they are in containing the virus, truly.

BERMAN: Abby, great to have you on this morning. Thanks so much.

So a star from the hit show "Glee" is missing this morning after a boating trip with her young son. We have breaking details, next.