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New Day Saturday

Trump Continues To Ignore Pandemic During Trip To Florida Hotspot; U.S. Sees Record Day Of New COVID-19 Cases; Trump Commutes Sentence Of Roger Stone; Texas Seeing Record Number Of Hospitalizations; New Review From Doctors About COVID-19 Reveal Devastating Way Virus Attacks Body; COVID Hits Black And Latino Communities At Staggering Rates; Tucker Carlson's Top Writer Resigns After Secretly Posting Racist And Sexist Remarks In Online Forum. Aired 7-8a ET

Aired July 11, 2020 - 07:00   ET




UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Here is a matter of course, but they're recommending this as an additional layer of protection to prevent people from spraying droplets that may contain coronavirus through the air. Even in law abiding Japan, this has been a big ask.


VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: That doesn't look like fun at all. What is the point?

ABBY PHILLIP, CNN HOST: This is the reason I'm not a huge fan of rollercoasters.

BLACKWELL: I love rollercoasters.

PHILLIP: But you're, you're, you're right, the buttoned-up look and the buttoned-up experiences is I think what they're trying to convey there with this --

BLACKWELL: Please scream inside your hearts. I've been screaming inside my heart on this show for years. All right, speaking of rollercoasters, people will be lining up to ride Space Mountain at the Magic Kingdom today.

PHILLIP: Walt Disney World is reopening in just two hours from now. Next, hour of NEW DAY starts right now.

BLACKWELL: All right, top of the hour now, 7:00 here on the East Coast. I'm Victor Blackwell, you're watching NEW DAY. It is Saturday, July 11th.

PHILLIP: And I'm Abby Phillip, in for Christi Paul this morning. Another record setting day of coronavirus infections across the U.S. The country added more than 66,000 cases in just one day, and it is the seventh time in 11 days that the U.S. has broken that record. BLACKWELL: Let's start this morning in the epicenter which is Florida. President Trump was there yesterday for events not related to the coronavirus response. The state reported more than 11,000 new cases, 93 deaths on Friday alone. And after facing weeks of pressure, Florida has now released details of coronavirus hospitalizations.

PHILLIP: More than 10,000 coronavirus patients are filling hospitals in Texas, and Governor Greg Abbott says the next step would be to have a lockdown.

BLACKWELL: And to Georgia now, the Governor, he's reactivating a field hospital at a convention center in Atlanta. The Mayor in Atlanta is rolling back reopening to a central travel only, restaurants being asked to close dine in services. But Governor Kemp says, that is not legally enforceable.

PHILLIP: Let's bring in CNN's Polo Sandoval. He's following all the latest developments. Polo, good morning. It seems that these south and western states are just repeating history. We just went through three months of this in the north, why does it seem as if some of these lessons maybe haven't been learned?

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's a big question here, Abby. And going back to what you guys just mentioned there, what's happening in Atlanta, one of multiple regions that are not just pausing reopening, but basically going right back to where they started. In Atlanta's case, back to phase one.

Mayor Keisha Lance-Bottoms saying that she's doing that after, her own words, Georgia opened in a reckless manner that move by the Democratic mayor, sparking some outrage coming from the Republican governor of this state who is saying that that is certainly not a binding action and also not enforceable. When you look at other states, though, it certainly is a very similar situation playing out not just in California, Texas, but also the new epicenter, Florida.



SANDOVAL: The nation's top Infectious Disease Expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci telling the world that the U.S. is at a historic point, the COVID pandemic.

FAUCI: As you can see, from this slide here, my own country, the United States, as I'm sure, we'll be able to discuss a little bit more is in the middle right now, even as we speak, in a very serious problem.

SANDOVAL: Fauci issued the blunt new warning during this year's International AIDS Conference, the coronavirus crisis rages on. Amid ongoing reopening, Florida continues to grapple with skyrocketing daily COVID numbers and hospitalizations. In hot zone, Miami Dade County, the test positivity rates surpassed 33 percent this week. DAN GELBER (D), MAYOR OF MIAMI BEACH: We have 1,800 people as COVID

patients now, that's the highest by many multiples. We have for almost 400 people in intensive care, and we're about to hit an all-time high in ventilators.

SANDOVAL: Despite the apparent height and Florida's pandemic --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We look forward to seeing you soon.

SANDOVAL: Two Disneyland parks are open again this weekend amid criticism from one employee union. Aggressive testing happening in parts of Texas, some regions working with the military to keep up with demand. And another sign of the pandemic is tightening its grip on the Lone Star State, some hospitals are turning to tents and other spaces to treat the overflow of COVID patients.

WESLEY ROBINSON, SOUTH TEXAS HEALTH: Conference rooms, cell spaces and currently we have ICU patients that are on medical surgical floors that honestly really need closer monitoring, need equipment, but those are things that we just simply do not have at this time.

PAOLO LORECIO, SOUTH TEXAS HEALTH: Everyone is exhausted and the patients here are very sick.


SANDOVAL: California also taking steps to relieve the pressure from record COVID numbers. The state's Department of Corrections plans to release at least 8,000 pre-selected prisoners from correctional facilities across the state, the movement to allow for more social distancing behind bars. As death tolls climb, a troubling new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about how COVID is disproportionately killing black and brown Americans.

The fresh CDC data showing on average, those minority groups are dying from the virus at a younger age when compared to white patients. One likely factor, many of them filling essential and service jobs allowing little room for social distancing or for staying at home.

DR. UCHE BLACKSTOCK, CEO, ADVANCING HEALTH EQUITY: And what we need right now in the short term are an equitable allocation of resources to black and brown communities. So, targeting testing, contact tracing, PPE, ensuring that the healthcare institutions in those communities are adequately resourced.

SANDOVAL: Staying fully stocked, that's a big challenge for some hospitals across the country with a virus showing no signs of slowing down.


SANDOVAL: And as it deals with its COVID crisis Florida will be getting some help from the state of New York today in the form of several hundred doses of Remdesivir. That is the only drug currently approved to actually treat COVID, Abby and Victor. So, when you step back and you look at this, this is essentially now the former epicenter of the virus sending help to the state that currently holds that title. Certainly, it's a perspective on where things are right now.

BLACKWELL: Polo Sandoval for us there in New York. Thank you so much, Polo.

PHILLIP: According to CNN's count, yesterday was the second time that Florida has reported more than 11,000 coronavirus cases in just one day.

BLACKWELL: Yes, it came pretty close to setting a new record for the first time though. The state released details on coronavirus hospitalizations. We've been asking for these four months, nearly 7,000 people are invited Florida hospitals with COVID and a doctor in South Florida in an ICU there tells CNN that all the healthcare workers have a huge burden. Here's CNN Randi Kaye.



RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: On April 1st, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis issued a stay at home order, hoping to contain the coronavirus. Weeks later, while visiting the White House, the governor took a victory lap for how he managed things back home.

GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): Everyone in the media was saying Florida was going to be like New York or Italy, and that has not happened. We had a tailored and measured approach that not only helped our numbers, be way below what anyone predicted, but I also did less damage to our state going forward.

KAYE: That turned out not to be the case at all. Trouble started in early May, when DeSantis rushed to reopen before many other states. Restaurants, gyms, barber shops and beaches were first to reopen in most parts of the state. After Memorial Day, the virus was starting to rage. By July 1st, there were more than 9,000 new cases reported in one day statewide. And recently, new daily cases topped 11,000. But if you listen to DeSantis, there's a disconnect.

DESANTIS: I think we've stabilized at where we're at.

KAYE: That's just not true, and the data proves it. Since reopening, Florida's average number of daily new cases has jumped to more than 1200 percent. And dozens of hospitals throughout the state have run out of ICU beds. In the last two weeks in hard hit Miami Dade County, the need for ICU beds has increased 88 percent, and ventilator use jumped 123 percent. The state's positivity rate is hovering close to 30 percent.

GELBER: We are in the midst of a very, very vicious spike in our community in Miami Dade County. And, you know, one thing you can't have is for a governor or a president trying to downplay it as if it's not an urgent thing. We need to pay attention to it.

KAYE: So, while the Governor continues to defend his move to reopen the state, the fact is more than 4,100 Floridians are dead. And the message from the Governor, still coming up short.

DESANTIS: There's no need to really be, be fearful about it.

KAYE: Randi Kaye, CNN, Palm Beach County, Florida.


PHILLIP: Our thanks to Randy for that. Meanwhile, President Trump is scheduled to visit troops at Walter Reed Medical Center today. It'll be another opportunity for him to address the coronavirus pandemic, after downplaying its severity yesterday in Florida.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: In the United States, at least before the, the COVID came to us, the flu the virus, the China virus, whatever you'd like to call, it's got many different names. But before it hit, we were doing really well. We're still doing very well, but now we're getting back on track.


BLACKWELL: Let's go to the White House now. CNN's Sarah Westwood is live there. Sarah, good morning to you, and the President went to the epicenter of the current coronavirus outbreak here in the U.S. and said that, but that's about it.


SARAH WESTWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right. Good morning Victor and Abby. And yes, President Trump yesterday visiting one of the nation's coronavirus hotspots, not really spending a lot of time there talking about the spike in COVID-19 cases that we're seeing in states across the country. Although, he did address the virus a little bit further in an interview that he did give yesterday to Telemundo.

But today could be another opportunity for the President to talk more about the surges and infection rates that we're seeing when he visits Walter Reed Army Hospital, and he visits with those wounded service members. And it could be a turning point of sorts for the President, an opportunity for him to finally allow himself to be photographed wearing a mask in that Telemundo interview yesterday. The President said that in a hospital setting, it would be appropriate in his view for him to personally put on a face covering.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is it difficult for you to, to put on a mask?

TRUMP: No, it's not difficult at all. In fact, I'll be going to Walter Reed, I believe, tomorrow and I think when you're in a hospital, you should definitely wear a mask. That wouldn't be difficult at all for me. I think hopefully I look good in a mask but I've had masks on and I think you have pictures of me with mask. No, I think in certain settings like a hospital, I'm going into see some of our troops, I'm going into see some of our COVID workers, people that have done an incredible job. I'm going tomorrow night sometime, and I'll be wearing a mask.


WESTWOOD: The aides tell CNN that we can't expect the President to be photographed wearing that mask. It's a shift because the President has for weeks resisted wearing a face covering or even forcefully endorsing the wearing of face coverings in public.

This as other Republicans from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to Vice President Mike Pence himself have been pushing masks and have allowed themselves to be seen wearing masks as they're coming to the realization that these reopening just can't be sustained if people aren't wearing those masks.

It'll be a major shift for the President also because in May when President visited a Ford plant in Michigan, he refused to put on a mask in front of the cameras while he did briefly were one away from the cameras. He said he just did not want to give the media the satisfaction of seeing him in a face covering.

PHILLIP: Yes, five months into the pandemic, we'll see what he does today. Sarah, on a different topic yesterday, President Trump confirmed that the U.S. conducted a cyber-attack against Russia in 2018. What are we learning about that and why are we hearing about it now?

WESTWOOD: Yes, I mean, this appeared to be the first time that the President confirmed that in 2018, the administration did carry out a cyber-attack against a Russian troll farm, the Internet Research Agency that's bankrolled by an oligarch close to Russian President Vladimir Putin. This operation, the President said was at the time, meant to stop interference, Russian interference, in the midterm elections.

And so apparently, that cyber-attack was successful. It did take the Internet Research Agency offline. It's part of the President's argument. According to that interview in the Washington Post, that his administration has been tough on Russia, despite the fact that he has faced a lot of criticism for being insufficiently hard on Russia in response to election meddling, Abby.

BLACKWELL: Sarah Westwood for us there at the White House. Thank you so much, Sarah. Next, the President and his longtime friend, his political ally, Roger Stone. Stone will not be going to prison next week. The President committed his sentence. What are the implications of that? We'll talk about that.

PHILLIP: Plus, a startling new study reveals COVID-19's potential to cause brain damage. We're discussing the possibility of long-term effects coming up next.


[07:17:50] BLACKWELL: President Trump has commuted the prison sentence of his

longtime friend and Former Advisor Roger Stone. Now, you do remember that Stone was scheduled to begin serving his 40-month sentence next week.

PHILLIP: He was convicted last year of lying to Congress, witness tampering, and other charges related to the Russia investigation. CNN Sara Murray has more from Washington.


SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: President Trump on Friday night commuted the sentence of his longtime friend and Political Adviser Roger Stone. Stone had been convicted of crimes including lying to Congress, in part to protect the President. He was set to report to prison next week to kick off his three-year sentence.

Now, Stone was pleading publicly for the President to intervene. He said reporting to prison during the pandemic was a candidate to a death sentence because he is 67 years old. Ultimately, the President did intervene on Friday and here's Stone describing his conversation with Trump.

ROGER STONE, LONG TIME TRUMP FRIEND AND FORMER ADVISOR: He said, you understand, I have the option, I have the authority to either grant a pardon or commit your sentence. He says, you should understand that a pardon would be final, and that in accepting a pardon, you are exceptionally accepting guilt and I would rather see you fight this out, which is why I'm commuting your sentence.

MURRAY: Now, President Trump and Roger Stone are insistent that Stone did not get a fair shake at trial, but even Attorney General bill Barr has said the prosecution was righteous. As for Democrats, they are pointing to the president intervening in this case as an indication that he has no respect for the justice system. Sara Murray, CNN, Washington.


PHILLIP: And even though Roger Stone is no longer required to serve any of that time in prison, he has said he will continue to try to overturn his conviction.

BLACKWELL: So, we spoke with CNN Legal Analyst and Criminal Defense Attorney Joey Jackson earlier about what this commutation means for the Justice Department.


JOEY JACKSON, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Think about this as troubling, Victor, right? So, let's start there with the sentencing recommendation. We have federal guidelines, right? Now, certainly there are criteria, there are laws and when you get convicted of them, they say you'll go away for 20 years or this many years as we look there, you know the different counts, seven of them. I might add a jury, I might add unanimously saying you're guilty. And of course, the letter you refer to, Victor, right? You could say

that process crimes but it's a crime. You don't obstruct the proceeding, you don't lie to Congress, when you're called to testify before, and you don't tamper with witnesses.

And so, at the end of the day, it's just troubling when you have again, this fraught with politics. There's a procedure, there's a system the system is put in place. The system has to be one system, Victor and Abby that works for all of us that works for everyone. And it can't be predicated upon contacts.

It can't be predicated upon who you know, it can't be predicated upon you saying it's a Russian post. It's outrageous. It has to be based on the law. And when the rule of law is turned on its head, I make a bit that we're just in a place we should not be.

Don't make it about politics, make it about justice. And when you see in justices like this, it's just troubling as a person who has to go to court every day, defend people and do what you need to do, but they're subject to a different procedure. But you know, you know the president make a phone call. Here's your out of jail free card. That's a problem.


BLACKWELL: Well, for more on this, you can go to and read a breakdown of 12 baseless claims from the White House. Here's the title of it: "Debunking 12 lies and falsehoods from the White House statement on Roger Stone's commutation," certainly worth a read.


So, this was seen as a lifeline for the sickest COVID patients, but is this the best treatment? We're going to talk about the benefits and some of the consequences of intubation, of ventilators, and other alternatives being used in the fight against coronavirus.



BLACKWELL: All right, 25 minutes after the hour now. Right, right now there are fewer than a thousand ICU beds across the state of Texas available. The state is seeing a record number of hospitalizations more than 10,000 this morning in hospitals -- COVID patients I should specify, and that number has climbed steadily over the past three weeks.

Harris County, where Houston is, has more than 40,000 cases. It's the largest number in Texas. With us now is Dr. Faisal Masud, Medical Director of Critical Care at Houston Methodist Hospital. Doctor, good morning to you. So, we talked about the state-wide landscape. Tell us about what's happening there at Houston Methodist. Is the hospital close to capacity and what are you seeing?

DR. FAISAL MASUD, MEDICAL DIRECTOR OF CRITICAL CARE, HOUSTON METHODIST HOSPITAL: Good morning. So, clearly, we are in the phase two of our ICU capacity. We have increased the number of ICU beds from a regular capacity to much more than that. We have stretched a lot for those patients.

Have we maxed out on our capacity? Absolutely not. But clearly, we have a lot of non-COVID patients along with COVID patients. So, our manpower is stretched, our capacity is stretched but we can have, we are handling it right now, but the trajectory is very, very disturbing and concerning to us even as we speak right now today.

BLACKWELL: So, we heard from Florida officials earlier in the week that north of 30 percent of the patients who come in for other purposes into certain hospitals in South Florida are then tested and are positive for coronavirus, are you seeing something similar at your hospital?

MASUD: So, we saw even as high as 25 to 30 percent positivity rate. It has slightly gone down the last two days, it's around, hovering around in the teams around 15 percent. But it is really a day to day occurrence which changes it, and that's a concerning factor for us is the positivity rate, because long those positive patients, especially if they are obese, or higher, have comorbidities like diabetic and everything, they get admitted to the hospital.

Right now, my biggest challenges is, is not necessarily the percentage of patients going to the ICU, it is the sheer volume on patients showing up. So, we have a lot of huge denominator and a lot of patients being admitted, and that just means numerically our number of patients going to ICU has increased and that has to stop.

BLACKWELL: Let's talk about specifically patients in the ICU and, and the use of ventilators. I want to talk about some of the alternatives that some doctors are using, but first, the consequences the health challenges caused by intubation and use of ventilators.

MASUD: So, you know, in the beginning in March and April, we were there putting a lot of patients on ventilators, a lot high percentage, very earlier on. We have learned a lot. We've gotten better a lot. We have improved a lot. So, the percentage of patient putting on the ventilator has decreased.

However, the number of patients on the ventilator has increased, because the sheer number of patients has increased. Because when you go on the ventilator, you know, your -- their chance of dying increases, your chance of getting worse increases, but if you don't put them on ventilator, you will die immediately. So, that just means we are looking at different things to how we can prevent them from going ventilator.

We have a lot of therapies like (INAUDIBLE) and plasma, Remdesivir, other steroids and the heavy we're using. Not only that, we have devices, which are allowing us to give very high level of oxygen and how to manage them before they go on the ventilator. And that is making a difference right now. Otherwise, if we were putting the same number of patients, we were putting on ventilator March and April, I would have run out of them. BLACKWELL: You know, I saw in a colleague's story earlier this week, a

bed. I know they're using it at United Memorial, but there's a bed that kind of rotates the patient, here it is, to try to increase oxygenation, tell us about this.


MASUD: So, we actually -- you know, that is a very expensive bed. We don't -- we have actually been proning, it is putting the patient upside down, which is known as proning. We have been doing this for one year, plus.

And we have -- every single patient, whether you are on the ventilator, before the ventilator, we ask them with either tandem ourselves, or before they get sick, we ask them to sleep like tummy tuck.

What that does it? It provides more oxygenation. We have been -- we have what we call this, proning teams. We have teams of people who put them on because with that expensive -- but, first of all, you can't have 100 of those beds.

We find that this is a better solution, we can turn more patients, we can encourage more patients, and it is making difference. So, that is part of a protocol. And we are a huge hospital system, and we are look at all resources how we can manage them. And that is we had -- we've been doing it.

I mean, we've been doing it before COVID, and we have actually multiplied that after COVID.

BLACKWELL: Are you seeing higher survival rates with these ventilator alternatives?

MASUD: Absolutely. The survival rates have tremendously improved from March and April to right now. And we are considered with good confidence that we have actually able to double the survival rate now compared to mark in April.

And I think this is a really a team effort, learned up -- we have learned a lot about the disease, we know -- have known how to better manage, and we have basically a lot of therapies now compared to March and April.

I think all of those makes are making a difference that's why the death rates that you saw in New York, and Wuhan, and Italy are not there.

BLACKWELL: Yes, and we hope that they don't return with this flood of new cases. Dr. Faisal Masud, there, the director of critical care at Houston Methodist Hospital. To you and your entire team, thank you for what you do, and our best to you, sir.

MASUD: Thank you so much. You know, my message really is, this is an advocation, you know, help us help you.


MASUD: We -- this is case, is relentless number of patient, I just need this to stop. Where we'll get you through this thing, and our communities hold the power to change this trajectory. And my humble request would be, please help us help you.

BLACKWELL: Dr. Masud, thank you so much.

MASUD: Thank you so much.


PHILLIP: Still to come. Heavy rains, flooded streets, and power outages. The aftermath of Tropical Storm Fay along the East Coast. We are tracking its path and the forecast is ahead.



BLACKWELL: This morning, crews are searching for Glee actress Naya Rivera. They're continuing here at a California lake. She's 33 years old, presumed to have drowned after renting a boat on Lake Piru, Wednesday with her 4-year-old son.

Now, her son was found adrift in the boat when she failed to return it. One life jacket was found on the boat, her son was wearing another. Sonar equipment is being used to scour pretty murky waters, and we're told the recovery effort could take several days.

PHILLIP: And New York doctors are sounding the alarm. COVID-19 is far more than just a respiratory disease. A new review from doctors at Columbia University Irving Medical Center found that the disease attacks nearly every major organ: the lungs, kidney, liver, and even your skin.

And now, a new study from the University College of London has found the disease could lead to brain damage and other neurological complications. To discuss, let's bring in Michael Zandi. Doctor Zandi co-led that study at the University College of London.

Doctor Zandi, what can you tell us about the kinds of neurological complications you're seeing in patients and are you seeing them in people who are not showing other kinds of coronavirus, you know, symptoms? The respiratory distress that we see so often here in the United States.

DR. MICHAEL ZANDI, CONSULTANT NEUROLOGIST, UNIVERSITY COLLEGE OF LONDON, INSTITUTE OF NEUROLOGY: Well, thanks very much. Well, first, I should say that we've reported on small number of patients. So, these are very selected and they've been mainly in hospital, and so, they reflect the severe end of what we've been seeing as neurologists in England.

We've been seeing a range of problems. First of all, hospitalized patients, quite a few of them can have an altered mental state and confusion or delirium, and that's relatively common. And we think, in part, that is due to low blood oxygen or for those on the intensive care unit, sepsis, and infection, maybe some inflammation as well. Generally, they have normal brain scans and this is a short-lived problem though we do need to follow them up with time and see what happens.

We have seen another group of where we see more severe brain inflammation and encephalitis. Again, this is quite rare. I don't want people to be concerned that this is a problem on a large scale. But this has been concerning to us because we've seen more than we would have expected at other times and this may reflect the large volumes of individuals that we're seeing who've had COVID.


ZANDI: But also, it's telling us how this virus is doing some different things in the brain that we have seen before that appears to be a combination of inflammation, low blood oxygen, and in some, there's -- there may be an effect on blood vessels.

We haven't seen the virus in the brain, and that may be because our tests aren't good enough. So, it appears to be we're seeing the aftereffects of the virus in the body and the lungs mainly, where the immune system is attacking the virus and trying to clear it.

But then, through friendly fire, inappropriately attracts -- attacks the brain. And this can often happen a week or two after the main respiratory illness. And it's -- for that reason that we have seen this in individuals with very minor respiratory illness too.

And it's a clue when we see neurological disease that it could have been triggered by the virus, it's not necessarily the virus infecting the brain.

PHILLIP: Yes, it really does highlight how little we know about these long-term effects. One of the things that I think a lot of people wonder about is how long are we talking about some of these effects actually being there for some of these people?

We've heard stories of people talking about weeks and months that they're still seeing the aftereffects of this virus. When you talk about, you know, short-lived versus long-term, what are you talking about there?

ZANDI: Sure. Well, for those who have the encephalopathy or delirium, this can be transient over days, and just requires conservative treatment. So, it doesn't require any particular new treatment.

But for those where there's inflammation in the brain, and also those where we've seen people have strokes, and we have also seen nerve damage, these can occur. These can be devastating illnesses that can be, well, in some cases fatal but they can be life-changing and leave permanent problems.

Now, with appropriate early recognition and treatment, many of these conditions are treatable and, you know, many patients can make a full recovery. So, you know, what we hope is to raise awareness of these manifestations, but not too much alarm that this is going to be very, very common in people who have had, you know, mild COVID and have recovered in the community.

I think we need to have long-term follow-up now and more research to try to predict who will develop these complications. Can we predict that from blood tests and monitoring?

We have been very lucky to be able to use MRI scanning early on in London and that helped us pick up patterns to see in the brain that tells us that an individual is having one of these problems. In fact --


PHILLIP: It really does highlight the risks that are out there, Dr Zandi, for people who might contract this virus. And really highlights that even if you don't die of the virus, there could be some serious complications that come later. Thank you, Dr. Zandi, for sharing that with us.

ZANDI: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: Now, let's talk about here in the U.S. where this virus is spreading at a terrifying pace. We're talking about communities of color along the Sun Belt. We're going to hear from some people who live in that part of the country and they're going to explain the threat of dealing with this infection and how they're hoping to prevent it when we come back.



BLACKWELL: 13 minutes to the top of the hour now. Let's take a closer look at how this pandemic, how quickly it is spreading in parts of the country. 26 states have now paused, some have rolled back the reopening as the number of cases are climbing in those areas. The hardest-hit state is Florida.

PHILLIP: Yesterday, the state reported more than 11,000 new cases. That is one of every six new cases reported yesterday in the entire United States. Florida is now just 600 cases short of eclipsing Texas for the third most coronavirus cases in the U.S.

The rise in cases in Texas is also fueling a surge in hospitalizations. Texas Governor Greg Abbott, says medical teams from the federal government will be in Texas on Monday to help in, at least, seven major cities.

BLACKWELL: More specifically, when we talk about the communities that are hardest hit by this pandemic, POLITICO summed it up I think best. "The story of COVID-19's trajectory is not blue or red. It's black and brown.

PHILLIP: Yes, that's right. The New York Times is reporting that Black and Latino Americans are three times more likely to get this virus than White Americans. That's a trend we have seen all over the country.

And with hospitalization rate nearly five times that of White Americans, according to the CDC data, there is no sign of relief in sight.


PHILLIP: The epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S. has shifted from the north to the south and west, but one thing has remained the same. In Arizona, Mississippi, and in Florida, Black, Hispanic, and Native Americans, are still being disproportionately infected, hospitalized, and killed by the virus.

And the problem is likely to get worse. The 23 states in the south and west with growing coronavirus outbreaks are home to 71 percent of all Hispanics and nearly two-thirds of all people of color in the United States, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Yes, most of these are red states. In some cases, the states that resisted stay-at-home orders and mask-wearing, moving quickly to reopen with the support of the Trump administration.

TRUMP: It's time to stay open and we will put out the fires as they come up.

PHILLIP: But Black and brown communities are paying the price.

KRISTIN URQUIZA, LOST HER FATHER TO COVID-19: My father, I believe, was robbed of life. My father was Mexican-American. For the majority of the stay-at-home ordinance, he was working until he was furloughed.

PHILLIP: Kristin Urquiza lost her father to COVID-19 in June. Her family including this criticism in his obituary.


URQUIZA: His death is due to the carelessness of the politicians who continue to jeopardize the health of brown bodies through clear lack of leadership.

PHILLIP: According to CDC data where race is known, non-White groups represent a majority of coronavirus cases and about half of deaths. Add to that, how to pay for treatment? According to the CDC, Hispanics and Native Americans are three times more likely to be uninsured than non-Hispanic Whites. And non-Hispanic Black Americans are nearly two times more likely to be uninsured than non-Hispanic White Americans.

As cases rise in Republican-led states that have not expanded Medicaid, that problem could get worse.

DR. OLUWADAMILOLA FAYANJU, SURGEON AND BREAST CANCER SPECIALIST, DUKE UNIVERSITY: That means there are number of individuals for whom the -- healthcare exchange through the Affordable Care Act is unattainable.

PHILLIP: Then, there's testing. Racial disparities also continue to be a problem there, experts say.

DR. KEVIN THOMAS, CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE SPECIALIST, DUKE UNIVERSITY: The populations who are most at risk, that's our Latino and African American communities. There's not many testing opportunities for those folks.

PHILLIP: And when and if a vaccine arrives, the nation's leading infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci, warning that a lack of trust in healthcare institutions among communities of color could hamper efforts to protect those groups.

Fauci, telling the Financial Times today, "We've got to do some serious reaching out."


PHILLIP: And Victor, as you know, where you are in Atlanta, in the south and in the west, this is where minority groups live. But what is really concerning to a lot of them is that there may not be the political will needed to really combat these trends that we've seen all over the country.

BLACKWELL: Yes, and how much of the percentages -- how much of the statistics about who is really being impacted by COVID is impacting the response, and what closes and what happens next?


BLACKWELL: All right, Abby Phillip, that was a fantastic report. We're going to talk more about that, of course, in the next hour. But we got to talk about this. Fox News host Tucker Carlson now looking for a new top writer after CNN discovers secret racist and sexist boats -- posts, I should say, from the man who is been writing for him for years. That's coming up next.



BLACKWELL: CNN -- sorry, switch that up. Fox News hosts Tucker Carlson is now looking for a new top writer on his show that's because CNN Business discovered his top writer, Blake Neff was secretly using a pseudonym to post bigoted, racist, sexist remarks for several years in an online forum.

A lot of the posts written just last month are so racist. We're just, you know, not going to air them.

PHILLIP: Yes, CNN commented Neff for comment on Thursday night. And the next morning, Fox News spokesperson told us that Neff had resigned. We were also told that Tucker Carlson could not be reached for comment. Neff worked for nearly four years as Carlson's top writer.

And this morning, we are tracking the aftermath of Tropical Storm Fay. Parts of New Jersey got slammed with heavy rain and gusty winds. There were power outages reported as well.

BLACKWELL: Firefighters in Jersey City had to rescue drivers -- never drive through standing water, they got trapped in the flooded streets there. CNN meteorologist Allison Chinchar has the latest for us.

Allison, if we were back in a normal footing, I would expect one of those fantastic graphics explaining why driving through standing water is a bad deal. But, I know we got to get to the point of this which is some rough weather coming.

ALLISON CHINCHAR, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Is this not good enough? Is this not -- is this not good enough for you?


BLACKWELL: No, it does not make the cut. No, it doesn't.

CHINCHAR: Yes, no. It doesn't, no. Yes, so, we're still keeping an eye on this because even though this is now down to just post-Tropical Fay, it's still going to cause some problems for the Northeast to the rest of the day today.

You still have about 20,000 people without power across portions of the Northeast. And again, downed trees, downed power lines, still going to be a possibility as the storm continues to track to the north.

Sustained winds only about 35 miles per hour but they're gusting higher than that, and that's going to be enough to again, as we mentioned, trigger bringing some of those down trees and even some power lines.

By later on today, this system will end with already be into Canada, so, it's going to move out rather quickly. But before it does, it still got a pretty decent amount of rain to dump across states like New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Vermont, even areas of Massachusetts and Connecticut.

Overall, most areas likely to pick up about one to two inches more of rain, but some areas could pick up three, four, even as much as five inches of rain before this does finally push back out.

Severe weather, this is also going to be another big concern. We talked about damaging winds. The main focus for the severe storms today will be for cities like Syracuse, Burlington, Hartford, and even around New York City. So, again, don't necessarily let your guard down.

We also have more severe weather out to the west we don't want to ignore either. Cities like St. Louis, Chicago, Des Moines, Memphis, and even Oklahoma City, Abby and Victor, also have the potential for some severe storms as well.

BLACKWELL: All right, Allison Chinchar, thanks so much. I'll look for those graphics the next time. PHILLIP: And coming up, we'll talk to the superintendent of Florida's Broward County public schools about his plan for schools there in the fall.


BLACKWELL: The next hour of your NEW DAY starts right now.


FAUCI: The United States is in the middle, right now, even as we speak, in a very serious problem.