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Fauci Says U.S. Could Rise to 100,000 a Day; 19 U.S. States Pause or Roll Back Reopening Plans; Study Shows Mask Materials and Design Can Determine Effectiveness; Mixed Messages on Masks Creating Confusion in U.S.; White House Says Trump Now Briefed on Russian Bounty Plot; Hong Kong Police Make First Arrests Under National Security Law; Controversial Reforms Could Keep Putin in Power Until 2036. Aired 4-4:30a ET

Aired July 1, 2020 - 04:00   ET



ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us here in the United States and all around the world. You are watching CNN NEWSROOM and I'm Rosemary Church.

Just ahead, a top infectious disease doctor in the U.S. warns daily coronavirus case could more than double as more states pull back from reopening.

U.S. lawmakers are set to learn more in the coming hours about alleged Russian bounties on U.S. troops as the White House ramps up its defense of President Trump.

And protests break out in Hong Kong as police make dozens of arrests as a controversial new security law takes effect.

Good to have you with us. Well as more U.S. states pause their reopening plans and we see a sharp rise in coronavirus cases, the country's top infectious disease expert made a startling prediction about the infection rate.


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: We're now having 40,000+ new cases a day I would not be surprised if we go up to 100,000 a day if this doesn't turn around. And so I am very concerned.

I'm not satisfied with what's going on because we're going in the wrong direction. If you look at the curves of the new cases, so we really got to do something about that and we need to do it quickly. Short answer to tough question is that clearly, we're not in total control right now.


CHURCH: And cases are going up in at least 36 states and now 19 states have rolled back or pushed the pause button on reopening, more than a month after the country started easing restrictions. And while California Governor Gavin Newsom hinted, he will tighten restrictions this coming holiday weekend, it is a different story for Florida. CNN's Nic Watt has our report.


NICK WATT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Arizona's average daily death toll about doubled during the month of June.

DOUG DUCEY, ARIZONA GOVERNOR: Our expectation is that next week our numbers will be worse.

WATT: In Texas, the number of COVID-19 patients in hospitals more than tripled during the month of June.

DR. MARC BOOM, PRESIDENT AND CEO, HOUSTON METHODIST: On Memorial Day we had 104 patients in house. We now have 480. We're looking at the Fourth of July coming up in a couple of days and frankly, it scares me.

WATT: Average daily cases in Florida, up more than six-fold during the month of June. Beaches in the South of the state also closing again before the Fourth of July weekend.

RON DESANTIS, FLORIDA GOVERNOR: So we're not going back closing things. I don't think that that really is what's driving it.

WATT: Today is 162 days since the first confirmed case here in the U.S., but one senior CDC official says, this is really the beginning.

DR. ROBERT REDFIELD, CDC DIRECTOR: In the United States, daily cases are increasing after an extended decline.

WATT: And the death rate --

FAUCI: It is going to be very disturbing. I will guarantee you that.

WATT: But it might not be too late.

REDFIELD: It is critical that we all take the personal responsibility to slow the transmission of COVID-19 and embrace the universal use of face coverings.

WATT: But in at least 10 of the 15 states right now suffering record numbers of new cases, there is no statewide mask mandate, but you should still wear one.

REDFIELD: Specifically I'm addressing the younger members of our society, the millennials and the Generation Z.

WATT: The economic pain of all this is obvious and crippling. People now camping overnight outside an unemployment office in Oklahoma. But Dr. Fauci says, states must not open too fast and we all must stop doing this.

FAUCI: Congregation at a bar inside is bad news. We really got to stop that.


CHURCH: And Nick watt reporting there.

And as the virus worsens in dozens of states the President's political rival Joe Biden blasted Mr. Trump's handling of the pandemic saying he has failed the American people.


JOE BIDEN, PRESUMPTIVE DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL NOMINEE: Seems like our war time President surrendered. Waved the white flag and left the battlefield.



CHURCH: So let's bring in Erin Bromage, a professor of biology specializing in immunology at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. Thank you so much for being with us.

ERIN BROMAGE, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Thank you for having me on the show.

CHURCH: So more than 127,000 Americans have died so far from COVID- 19, 15 states are now seeing record numbers of cases and those cases are trending up in 36 states. And now Dr. Anthony Fauci warns the U.S. could see 100,000 new cases per day if this doesn't turn around. So how do we turn this around and stop the spread of this?

BROMAGE: I mean, people need to take this seriously and take it like the threat that it actually is. So we need to get back to the fundamentals of what we were taught, what we were told to do back in March. Which was appropriate physical distancing, limit the number of contacts that you have, wash your hands, stop touching your face and add on to that, wear a mask.

CHURCH: And Dr. Fauci and CDC director Robert Redfield are calling on everyone to wear a mask. And let's just listen to the plea from the surgeon general.


DR. JEROME ADAMS, U.S. SURGEON GENERAL: Please, please, wear a face covering when you go out in public. It is not an inconvenience. It is not a suppression of your freedom. It actually is a vehicle to achieve our goals.


CHURCH: And professor now many Republicans are also calling on Americans to wear a mask including the Vice President and even Fox anchor and Trump supporter Sean Hannity but still the President refuses. If the President wore a mask and inspired others to do the same could that change the trajectory of this and help slow contagion and death?

BROMAGE: Well, there was just a study that came out today that said that if Americans would wear masks, if we could get it to above 80 percent preferably at 90 percent usage it would avoid another lockdown. That could be enough to get us back to a normal way of life by just adding those simple things that I mentioned before with a mask adding it in there.

If people don't buy into this and participate as part of the larger community, we're going to find ourselves in a progressively worse situation. Masks are a part of the solution. They block transmission. They block the virus from getting into the air and give us a longer period of time in the company of other people. And that's a little bit safer.

CHURCH: We can show some detail on that. Let's just the take a look at this chart and we see that when a person coughs, the droplets have the potential to travel eight feet or nearly 2 1/2 meters, but if we wear a mask it contains the spread of those droplets and particularly if it's a two layered stitched face mask. You see the various masks there what advantages they offer. And then if you look at this animation from Florida Atlantic University the difference between an uncovered cough and one with a mask.

So, professor, is this the very information that could help explain to people why they need to wear a mask and should the President be laboring this point out and putting out public information messages explaining this just as other countries do. Because clearly the message is not getting through, is it?

BROMAGE: It's not. Unfortunately, masks have become a political statement when they are not a political statement. They are a part of an effective control solution, and if we could have unified messaging from the top all the way through our public health officials, epidemiologists, saying how important these were, we would get more buy in and we would have a better effect on lowering the amount of transmission in our community. It needs to start by the top with an example and just permeate through the rest of society. We need everyone to buy into this to know how important that it is.

CHURCH: And you know, you mention from the top because Florida's governor says he won't be closing any shops or businesses despite the surge in cases in his state. The governor of South Dakota is organizing a fireworks event this weekend where she said masks are optional and social distancing is not required and the President and first lady will be in attendance. What would you say to those governors and why despite all the medical information, are we seeing governors ignore the medical advice here?

BROMAGE: I mean, really, I at a loss for words with a lot of this. The countries that have done well in the control of this virus had unified response from both the federal and state level.


They put all their effort into messaging and doing their jobs of testing, tracing, isolating and the message got across, it was clear messaging and it worked and it got contained in Australia, in New Zealand, in South Korea. Right throughout those countries that really had good messaging and good plans. When we have 50 states and we have a President that is saying one thing and we have a Surgeon General saying another thing it becomes political, it becomes partisan. We just don't know what to believe and it makes it very difficult.

And then you have attending a function where they are not wearing masks, and they're not doing the physical distancing, just amplifies the fact that they don't believe in what their own public health officials are saying and it just confuses the public. That forces other people that are concerned about their health to take even more extreme response, and we just keep getting pushed further and further apart. It's just insane.

CHURCH: It's a problem this country needs to confront and it needs to do it soon. Erin Bromage, thank you so much for talking with us.

BROMAGE: You're more than welcome.

CHURCH: Well the White House now says the President has been fully briefed on the intelligence about a possible Russian plot to offer money to the Taliban to kill U.S. troops. Remember Mr. Trump denied knowing anything about it just two days ago. CNN previously reported the intelligence warning was put into the President's daily briefing earlier this year. His administration argues the evidence is not conclusive and that's why the President was not informed about it before. The White House press secretary defended the President's briefing habits on Tuesday and attacked the intelligence community. Take a listen.


KAYLEIGH MCENANY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The President does read and he also consumes intelligence verbally. This President, I'll tell you, is the most informed person on planet earth when it comes to the threats that we face.

These are rogue intelligence officers who are imperiling our troops lives.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Members of the IC are going after Trump? Is that what you're saying?

MCENANY: It very possibly could be. And if that's the case it is absolutely despicable.


CHURCH: Well, Democrats and some Republicans are demanding more answers. In the coming hours, a bipartisan group of lawmakers known as the "gang of eight" is expected to get briefed on the intelligence. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says it's a matter of national security.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), U.S. HOUSE SPEAKER: What we do know is if he were not briefed, he should have been and if he were not why wasn't he? Because all roads lead to Putin with him. And what does he have on the President that they would withhold that information from him.


CHURCH: And for more on this let's bring in Amy Pope. She is an associate fellow at Chatham House joining us now from London. Thank you so much for being with us.


CHURCH: So now we learn the White House is telling us that President Trump has been fully briefed on the intelligence associated with the Russian plot with the Taliban but they didn't explain why Mr. Trump failed to read the daily briefing that he received earlier this year. So what is going on here and does this amount to a dereliction of duty?

POPE: Yes, this is very, very strange. So I know from my own experience working with National Security Council that the daily brief is really it's just a collection of the most important intelligence that the intelligence community has decided that the President really needs to see. It's not, you know, dozens and dozens of pages. It tends to be fairly straightforward, very succinct. And for example, in the time of President Obama he would have a briefer come in and walk him through certain articles that were particularly important. So that's just to make sure that the President gets the information that he needs to protect the country.

So all of this just doesn't add up. Something has gone wrong in the process. Whether it's the President not understanding what's in the brief or his briefer is not providing the information. Who knows? But something very unusual is happening right now.

CHURCH: And while that's happening what would U.S. allies be making of all this and how might this country's adversaries take advantage of this information and understanding that the President of this country doesn't read his brief?

POPE: Well it's deeply troubling. I mean, on every single level it suggests that the President is not getting fundamentally, basic information that he need to keep the country safe. And even if, for example, his national security adviser is the one who reads the daily brief in full and then comes in to speak to the President, this is the kind of information that you expect him to get right away. This is an attack on American soldiers or Marines by a foreign adversary.


And look even if the information wasn't 100 percent verified, it's serious enough that you would want to get it into the President's hand as soon as possible so that he can start to weigh his options.

CHURCH: And that's the thing, intelligence isn't 100 percent verified. Is it? But I also did want to talk to you about Carl Bernstein's reporting. He is the journalist, of course, who broke Watergate and a CNN contributor. And he wrote this about what President Trump said to U.S. allies and I just want to read this out. Notably about women and I'm quoting here directly.

His most vicious attacks said the sources were aimed at women heads of state. In conversations with both May and Merkel the President demeaned and denigrated them in diatribes described as near-sadistic by one of the sources and confirmed by others. Some of the things he said to Angela Merkel are just unbelievable. He called her stupid and accused her of being in the pocket of the Russians. He's toughest -- in the phone calls -- with those he looks at as weaklings and weakest with the ones he ought to be tough with.

So, Amy Pope, listening to that, what is your response to the report?

POPE: You know, it's so troubling on so many levels. I mean, just setting aside the gender question for one second, look at the countries we're talking about. It's the U.K. and Germany, some of our closest allies when it comes to sharing intelligence, protecting each other's country, working together with regard to our troops on a huge range of issues both from the military point of view, to financial point of view, to even when we look at COVID. These are the kind of relationships that we really need to foster and protect and the fact that he would denigrate any leader of these countries in particular is so deeply troubling.

Then you add in the gender question and you know, one doesn't really know what to do with it. It's hard to believe that this is actually the President of the United States who is really squandering some of United States best relationships because of -- it's not really clear what. But really the issue here is that he's damaging relationships that are key to protecting your democracy, key to protect our citizens, and frankly key to protecting the way that Americans expect to live and that's so troubling.

CHURCH: Yes, it is quite shocking. Amy Pope, thank you so much for joining us. We do appreciate it.

POPE: Thank you.

CHURCH: And just ahead Vladimir Putin could get life in the Russian presidency. Why critics point to another power grab. Back with that in just a moment.



CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone. Well, Hong Kong police have made at least 30 arrests. Some of them for national security offenses under the controversial new law imposed by China. A man holding a flag reading Hong Kong independence was the first person arrested earlier. And these picture shows a nearly empty Victoria Park, what was supposed to be a gathering place for protesters earlier today. And this is the same park last year full of protesters. The new law has had a chilling effect on the people of Hong Kong who remain unsure of how it will be enforced.

And CNN's Will Ripley joins us now live from Hong Kong with more on all of this. So, Will, what is the latest on these arrests under the new national security law?

WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, we know that at least two of the arrests, Rosemary, are tied to the national security law and pardon me as I'm turning my back away from you. But I just want to show the full extent of the resources the Hong Kong police have out here. Even though there has not been any large or organized protests that we've seen just kind of little pop ups here and there, police have closed off this entire road adjacent to Victoria Park.

And down at the end there, that white vehicle that we're now safely behind, it's the water canon that we know police have deployed in certain areas around Hong Kong relatively near where we are, including Wan Chai, but we are here in Causeway Bay, Victoria Park which was the I guess heart of the July 1st hand over demonstration last year that was so packed with people you could not move. You couldn't get a cell phone call out.

And then they marched through the city, some protesters, hundreds of them, a handful by comparison of the huge crowd we saw last year. They broke into the legislative council building. They vandalized the inside of the buildings, spraying anti-China slogans. The kind of slogans that can now get you thrown in prison, potentially for life under this new national security law. But the reason why we're kind of following, you know safely away from the police, but showing you this, is that this is a very different strategy from what I remember seeing for months on end last year. Where the protests would kind of pop up. They would organize and the protesters seemed like they were outsmarting the police.

This time it feels like the police are actually in place before the protests can even organize. And so, you have a huge amount of officers there and of course they have their full arsenal, pepper spray, tear gas, they have flags to warn people they are about to deploy those assets and they're doing a loudspeaker announcement right now warning everybody to kind of keep their distance and to disperse. Because not only can you be arrested and prosecuted under the national security law but there have been arrests for a whole host of other offenses. Whether it be a possession of a harmful weapon or interfering with police as well.

So this is, obviously, the big guns they rolled out here. The water canon we know that they've used it. But of course, what's really keeping the crowds smaller this year, Rosemary, is this national security law and the potential for life imprisonment if you're arrested even possession of a banner that says Hong Kong or Taiwan independence. Of course Hong Kong government making the argument that they are protecting the safety of the vast majority of citizens and that people who are out here demonstrating might be terrorists and whatnot. But of course, you have to ask the position if you're in possession of a sign does that make you danger to national security under this new law. Rosemary, the answer is yes.


CHURCH: Yes, the aim is to intimidate. And that is exactly what they are doing. Will Ripley joining us from streets of Hong Kong. Many thanks.

CHURCH: Well controversial reforms, a national vote and power of Vladimir Putin. Voters across Russia are deciding on constitutional changes that could keep the Russian President in power for another 16 years. Mr. Putin could also gain more control over local and municipal authorities. Critics are calling the ballot a constitutional coup.

CNN's Matthew Chance has spent years reporting from Moscow. Today he joins us live from London. Good to see you, Matthew. So talk to us about what all is at stake here.

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I mean if you listen to the authorities, and the advertising campaigns and election campaigns that they have been launching online and on television, you think it were all about the small rafts of amendments that are included in this constitutional reform. Things like providing better protection for workers in Russia. Like providing better compensation for people with families, financial compensation for them, family support and things like that.

There's even a clause which enshrines in the Russian constitution that wedlock should only be between a man and a woman. It's been called that as homophobic roundly. But it's something that, you know, speaks to the conservative values, some might say prejudice values of much of the electorate inside Russia. And so, these are all sort of like part and parcel of the raft of constitutional amendments that are being put forward today.

What no one in Russia is really talking about outside of opposition circles is that the main issue with this constitutional amendment is they basically qualify Vladimir Putin to have two additional six-year presidential terms. That's 12 extra years potentially in the presidency he would otherwise have. His current presidential term comes to an end in 2024. That potentially means he could be President of Russia until 2036. He would be 83 years old. And so, you know for much of us, many of us observing this from around the world that's what the Russians are voting on today. Do they want Putin basically forever or do they want something different?

CHURCH: All right. We'll see what happens. Matthew Chance bringing us the very latest there from streets of London. Appreciate it.

Well as coronavirus cases spike and more states push the pause button on their reopening, the chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve has a new warning. That's next.