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Coronavirus Outbreak In This Country Bigger Now Than It's Ever Been; White House Attacking Dr. Fauci's Credibility; WH Adviser: Trump Willing To Give Extra Funding To Schools That Reopen; Health Care Workers Still Report Shortages Of Masks, Other Protective Equipment. Aired 8-9p ET

Aired July 13, 2020 - 20:00   ET


ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: All right, Jeff, thank you very much. And thanks very much to all of you for joining us, as always, "AC360" with Anderson starts now.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: And good evening, the coronavirus outbreak in this country is bigger now than it's ever been. I just want to repeat that, the outbreak in this country is bigger now than ever before, nearly twice as big as ever before.

The President likes to be number one. He can certainly take responsibility for this number one ranking. Instead of doing something about it, the most powerful man on Earth has been doing everything he can to divide people, make them doubt his own scientists and their recommendations and now, he is marginalizing and trying to kneecap the nation's most trusted public health official on the subject.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the very same scientists who warned how bad things could get, the White House is now smearing him, putting out talking points against him, as though he were some kind of political opponent.

Just think about that. The White House is working hard to smear the nation's top scientist who has been working nonstop to inform people and save people's lives.

Meantime, the President is embracing and promoting conspiracy theories and doubling down on falsehoods that might make him feel better for some sick reason, but are getting hundreds of people killed every single day. Here he is today outright deceiving.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: When you test, you create cases. So we've created cases and at the same time, we have the lowest mortality or just about the lowest mortality in the world. We're doing a great job.


COOPER: So, keeping them honest, for the thousandth time, that's just a bald faced lie. Testing does not create cases. It uncovers them, and the rate at which the tests are coming back positive has been rising; so is the number of people being hospitalized.

As per new deaths per day, the green line -- take a look -- that's the U.S., the pink one is the European Union with a hundred million more people. So no, we don't have the lowest mortality in the world, and our number is rising.

It's not as high as it was in April, thank goodness, because of better treatments, and more young people being infected, but deaths lag behind hospitalization and hospitalization lags behind positive test results, and both have been skyrocketing.

New confirmed cases in this country are now averaging -- averaging more than 60,000 a day. That's about double the previous peak back in April.

As you can see by the curve, we as a country never got a handle on this. We were not able to do what Europe did after their peak and drive cases down to the point, they truly could reopen their economies.

We never did what South Korea did from the very beginning of their outbreak. That scale on the right, by the way, is new daily cases, not in tens of thousands or thousands, but in hundreds.

It shows that South Korea, a country of 51 million people has had about 13,500 cases total -- total -- since the virus first got there.

By contrast, the State of Florida, less than half the population reported 12,624 cases since yesterday.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So right now, we're at an ICU capacity of 103 percent and then if you just carve out the COVID ICU, it's at 180 percent. That's a 26 percent increase from last Monday.


COOPER: That Florida hospital executive is not alone in saying what she's saying. As we speak, more than 8,000 Floridians are now hospitalized. Miami-Dade County hospitalization rates have risen 116 percent, again, since yesterday.

In neighboring Broward County, they're up 279 percent. California today reported more than 8,000 new cases. The Governor ordered all counties to stop indoor activities in the state's biggest school system, and Los Angeles announced that all classes will be only online in the fall semester.

In Texas, with hospitalization climbing, the Governor who once boasted of reopening the state early, is now warning quote, "things will get worse in the week ahead." He is a die-hard Trump Republican, by the way, but he has ears and eyes and enough sense to use them, as just California's Governor who is a staunch opponent of the President.

And while Governor Abbott isn't running around apologizing profusely for reopening the state too soon, he is adapting to a badly worsening situation for the people of his state. He is facing facts. The President is not having not attended his own Taskforce meetings for months.

I mean, can you imagine this? The Commander-in-Chief has not attended his own Taskforce meetings since April, according to our Kaitlan Collins -- and have not spoken to Dr. Fauci for weeks.

He now seems to be silencing the one person Americans trust more than anyone else in the outbreak. And perhaps that alone says it all. The way the President apparently sees it, people trust Dr. Fauci. People don't trust the President. Therefore, Dr. Fauci must be silenced or discredited and that's what they're doing right now.

The President as you know, has been trash talking him on and off for weeks, even retweeting a number of "Fire Fauci" memes.

However, this weekend, the smearing in earnest really began in the middle of a growing pandemic naturally.

One of Dr. Fauci's fellow Taskforce members, the Assistant Health Secretary spoke up.



ADMIRAL BRETT GIROIR, H.H.S. ASSISTANT SECRETARY: I respect Dr. Fauci a lot, but Dr. Fauci is not 100 percent right, and he also doesn't necessarily -- and he admits that -- have the whole national interest in mind. He looks at it from a very narrow public health point of view.


COOPER: He looks at it from a very narrow public health point of view. That uniform by the way, and the title, that guy has Admiral Giroir, he's not a Navy Admiral. He looks like -- it's a Navy uniform, but he's not a Navy. He's not served in the Navy. He's not an Admiral. He is an Admiral in the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps. They get to wear uniforms, too.

And it's fascinating, a "Washington Post" report on that Admiral's vaccine research when he worked at Texas A&M University cites, the local paper, which obtained his annual job evaluation after his firing and among other things, reportedly says he got low marks for being, quote, "a team player."

He wasn't a team player. He was told he could either resign or be fired, and he resigned. It sure seems like he's on the team now -- on the Trump team. The man who appointed him to this job, he was in the private sector before this.

His remarks followed a statement on Saturday, a White House official who had neither the courage nor the decency to be named, told CNN that quote, "Several White House officials are concerned about the number of times Dr. Fauci has been wrong on things." The official went on to write a long list of examples, including this from late February.


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: At this moment, there was no need to change anything that you're doing on a day by day basis.


COOPER: That was February 29th. Now, when he said that, five people have died in this country. Still you might think because the nameless official wants you to think that Dr. Fauci wasn't taking it seriously.

By the way, that was February 29th, the end of February. That's the lost month for the White House. By their own admission and their own surveys of how great a job they've done, February is the last month.

You might until -- you didn't hear anything from the President during February about this except from him talking to Diamond and Silk about how it's just going to magically vanish.

But what they won't tell you about what Fauci said on that very same program, you might not understand what he was saying, because they didn't give the whole soundbite. Here are his words which came next which the White House didn't mention.


FAUCI: Right now, the risk is still low, but this could change. I've said that many times even on this program. You've got to watch out because although the risk is low now, you don't need to change anything you're doing.

When you start to see community spread, this could change and force you to become much more attentive to doing things that would protect you from spread.


COOPER: Well, community spread was identified shortly thereafter and public health officials soon stopped telling people that it was business as usual.

The White House and the President lately also pointed Dr. Fauci's initial opposition to mask wearing, which is I mean, ironic, I guess is a word. Completely hypocritical, that's another phrase -- coming from a President who has only worn a mask once in public.

What they don't mention is that the initial fear was that hospitals would not have enough masks, which was correct, nor did they mention that the science back then was more focused on whether mask wearing protects the person wearing it not even everyone else around them.

As the science evolved, so did the scientific advice from Dr. Fauci and others. Now, the same can't be said about the President who has been consistently wrong on the facts -- consistently from the beginning and to this day, and you don't hear White House officials saying, well, we're worried about how many wrong things the President has said.

No, they're just smearing Fauci by saying that. That's where we are. It's where we've always been. It's where we were when we talked about putting -- when the President talked about putting disinfectants inside people's bodies. Testing disinfectants on human beings.

And the experts around him, they either fidgeted and cringed as Dr. Deborah Birx did pretending she wasn't even there, or nodded their heads and slavishly promised to get right on it, which the guy did to her right -- not on camera.

It's where we were when the President said he told officials to slow down testing and his spokespeople said oh, he was just joking, and the President said, actually, no, I don't joke.

It's where we were when he said the virus is 99 percent harmless, and has continued to say that and people like the Vice President said, oh, you know what? Gosh, he's just so -- he's just a positive optimist. He's just looking on the bright side.


MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, look, the American people know President Trump is an optimist. He believes in this country, but he also believes the American people deserve to have the whole story.


COOPER: He just lies with a straighter face than the President. You get the point whether the quietly cringing, yessing him off or licking his boots, the President has no shortage of enablers, but Dr. Anthony Fauci, he hasn't been one of them.

Yes, he is diplomatic, some might say political. People quibble with him about that. He's tried to be diplomatic, perhaps to stay in the arena and continue being useful.


COOPER: He's never shied away, though, from putting the facts first. Even if they clash with the President, take a look.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We have done a great job, whether its ventilators or anything you want to look at.

FAUCI: As a country, when you compare us to other countries, I don't think you can say we're doing great. I mean, we're just not.

TRUMP: We have some areas where we're putting out the flames or the fires and that's working out well. FAUCI: Right now, if you look at the number of cases, it's quite

disturbing. And we're setting records practically every day of new cases.

TRUMP: We test so many people that we have more cases. Everybody says, we have so many cases. That's because we test so many people.

FAUCI: Even though the numbers look good and this is the thing that is a little bit concerning. They say, well, we now have 37 million tests that have been performed. 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: I said to my people, slow the testing down, please.

FAUCI: To my knowledge, none of us have ever been told to slow down on testing. That just is a fact. In fact, we will be doing more testing.

TRUMP: What we do have is we have perhaps the lowest, but among the lowest, but perhaps the lowest mortality rate -- death rate, anywhere in the world.

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

TRUMP: We are going to be in two, three, four weeks by the time we next week, I think we're going to be in very good shape.

FAUCI: I would not be surprised if we go up to 100,000 a day, if this does not turn around.

TRUMP: i think we are in a good place.

FAUCI: I think it's important to tell you and the American public that I'm very concerned because it could get very bad.


COOPER: And it certainly has. So who exactly is the President listening to? Well, Admiral Giroir, he's still being allowed to appear on television and he threw Dr. Fauci under the bus very quickly.

Remember this Admiral Giroir, not a Navy Admiral, public health Admiral who gets to wear a uniform. He was the one actually who was supposedly the testing czar, charged with the diagnostic testing.

Well, we all know how well that's been going.

So who has Donald Trump's ear? Well, we got a hint this morning when he retweeted this conspiracy theory, quoting now, "Everyone is lying. The C.D.C., media, Democrats, our doctors, not all, but most that we are told to trust. I think it's all about the election and keeping the economy from coming back, which is about the election. I'm sick of it."

And who said that? Where might you ask is that load of crap coming from that the President of the United States of America decided to endorse by re-tweeting this morning? What authority -- what world authority, what medical authority or public health authority? None other than Chuck Woolery.

Yes. Chuck Woolery, the former game show host. That says it all.

Even as he undermines the most experienced and most trusted man in public health today, he is passing on conspiracy theories from a game show host, Chuck Woolery, former game show host, I should point out.

Actually, though it doesn't say it all. These two soundbites. First, former President George W. Bush's tribute to Dr. Fauci.


GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: As the Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases for more than 23 years, Tony Fauci has led the fight against HIV and AIDS.

For is determined in aggressive efforts to help others live longer and healthier lives, I'm proud to award the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Dr. Anthony S. Fauci.


COOPER: Presidential Medal of Freedom Dr. Fauci got. That is who the President is now undermining and all the folks around him are dropping lines about him, saying things about him, sending out hit pieces about him.

And this is who the President is listening to on the outbreak that's now claimed nearly 136,000 American lives -- Chuck Woolery.


CHUCK WOOLERY, FORMER GAME SHOW HOST: Hey, Chuck Woolery here with a bit of a confession. I have a new favorite Emu oil. Forget the imitators. There's only one Blue-Emu. Get American made Blue-Emu. It works fast and you won't stink.


COOPER: The ointment might not stink, something sure does.

More now on all this from CNN's Jim Acosta at the White House. Jim, what exactly do we know about the relationship between Fauci and the President right now? Because I mean, the fact that the President hasn't been to a Taskforce briefing apparently since April, and Fauci hasn't directly briefed him, I think Fauci said in more than two months.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, the President seems to have a better relationship with Chuck Woolery, formerly of "The Love Connection" game show. But as you know, Anderson, the President doesn't exactly have a love connection with the truth and we've been seeing that play out ever since this pandemic began. You know, Anderson, I talked to a senior administration official

earlier this evening who said, listen, the frustrations that have been expressed by the White House, they don't reflect a crisis and confidence -- according to this senior administration official -- in Dr. Anthony Fauci, and it's not a warning shot, but they are certainly freezing him out. No question about it.


ACOSTA: They've sidelined him in terms of these White House Coronavirus Taskforce briefings. He hasn't been showing up. Dr. Fauci hasn't had some of these briefings and public appearances by members of that Taskforce.

They've been saying no to Dr. Fauci's television interviews. That's why you don't see him on U.S. television by and large. He has been blocked by the White House from appearing on a variety of programs.

But even more sinister, Anderson is what we saw happen over the weekend where anonymous White House officials were sending out talking points, trashing the nation's top infectious diseases expert, like he is a political opponent.

And when I asked Kayleigh McEnany, the White House Press Secretary earlier today, why they were doing that? Why they don't put their name on these talking points and these statements that they're giving to reporters around town, especially since the President doesn't like anonymous sources and has said he doesn't believe in anonymous sources.

The White House Press Secretary tried to claim that they weren't sending around opposition research which of course, Anderson is false. They were sending out opposition research on Dr. Anthony Fauci.

And the sad irony of it all is if they had been listening to people like Dr. Anthony Fauci all along, they would be further along in recovering from this pandemic than they are right now.

COOPER: And would the President be able to fire Fauci? I guess, he doesn't even have to, he just sidelines him, tries to destroy his reputation, keeps him off the airwaves, but he keeps doing what he does the N.I.H.

ACOSTA: Right, I mean, they're trying to force him out. I mean, obviously, they would like to see Dr. Fauci leave. But my understanding from talking to people who are familiar with Dr. Fauci's thinking, he has no intention of doing that.

He intends at this point to keep telling the American people the truth, to give a dose of reality in terms of what's happening with the coronavirus pandemic, but technically because Dr. Fauci is a civil servant, he can't be directly fired by the President.

The senior administration official I spoke with earlier this evening, conceded that, but they can make life difficult for him and that's what they're doing right now -- Anderson. COOPER: Yes. Jim Acosta, thanks very much. Coming up next, an

extraordinary veteran HIV-AIDS activist who has worked with Dr. Fauci for decades.

He's stood across from him at negotiating tables and opposed him, but also worked with him and the professional public servant that he knows whether Fauci can survive this.

Later with Los Angeles saying no today to in-person school, we are going to look at what is and is not known about reopening schools safely and whether that's possible right now.



COOPER: The perfect man for this moment. That is what our next guest calls Dr. Anthony Fauci, who as you know, is now being smeared in the middle of the worst pandemic since 1980, in which the President again today said was in 1917. That is what he is up against.

Peter Staley is a longtime HIV-AIDS activist. He's a personal hero of mine. He's worked with Dr. Fauci for decades. He's opposed him at times. He's worked with him.

First on HIV-AIDS and now on this pandemic as a member of the COVID-19 working group of New York. He's also a founding member of PrEP4All, an organization dedicated to increasing access to life saving and life enhancing HIV medication. Joining us as well is CNN chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

Peter, thanks so much for being with us. Sanjay, as well. I know you and Dr. Fauci, you have known him for more than three decades. And I know you have spoken to him regularly. I know, I think you spoke to him today.

Just first of all, how would you describe his -- how is he doing? I mean, does he talk about the reaction to the White House attacking his credibility? How is he holding up?

PETER STALEY, LONGTIME HIV-AIDS ACTIVIST: Yes, but first, we haven't spoken since your stork arrived, so I just wanted to congratulate you.

COOPER: Oh, okay. Yes. Oh, thank you.

STALEY: Yes, he is deeply, deeply frustrated, and I think that feeling is shared by many Americans today and baffled with deaths rising by over 50 percent in a week.

He sees this as a ridiculous sideshow that makes no sense. To have anonymous opposition research generated by the White House against our country's top infectious disease expert, during the worst pandemic of our lifetimes makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.

And he gets up every morning wanting to fight this fires, wanting to save lives, and this is just a major, major distraction. We all need to get back to work.

COOPER: Peter, and the audience -- for people who don't know Peter Staley, I first learned about him by watching "How to Survive a Plague," an extraordinary documentary by David French that I recommend you watch. I think it's on Netflix now, and Peter just did extraordinary things during the epidemic, the AIDS epidemic, and that's how you came to know Fauci.

You've been across the table from him, I assume, you know, back in those days, there was a lot of, you know, fury and justifiable anger and just -- at what was going on. You also clearly respect him. Can you just talk about why you think he is the perfect man for the job now?

STALEY: Well, he is our top infectious disease expert. He also has a wealth of experience explaining new bugs to the American people when new epidemics arise, translating that for us, helping us come together and fight it together.

And through six presidencies, over 40 years, he has been able to help multiple Presidents regardless of party fight epidemics as they come up.


STALEY: And I've watched him for all those decades and to my frustration, and most AIDS activists, he has never once criticized a President and we've wanted him to. He has never once thrown under the bus, another public health official who is fighting an epidemic alongside him, like Bret Giroir did yesterday, who is first time at the rodeo by the way.

And he does that so that when a new bug arrives, he has the credibility and non-partisanship to get the President's ear. He is brought in. He is in the room where it happens when it matters and he is able to help steer things in and help direct things so that the bug is fought against and lives are saved. That's what he gets up every morning doing.

COOPER: But let me -- Sanjay, you know you and I have talked so often, but I was thinking about this a lot this weekend, and I just cannot believe we, as a country are in this situation, Sanjay and back when this pandemic began the idea that anyone would -- I mean, that the Trump administration, not only all the failures that they have done, but would be seeking now to discredit the U.S. top infectious disease expert.

I mean, we knew this was going to happen when Trump started to say out loud, wow, Dr. Fauci, your ratings are huge. You know, people really admire you and respect you. That is the -- that is for this President, the kiss of death.

But can you believe Sanjay that we are in the middle of a pandemic and this is what is happening from our government?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: It's astonishing. There's no question whether I can believe it or not, I mean, I guess, part of me, you know, can, Anderson, you know, I mean, first of all, there's been a crescendo right?

The Task force briefings went away. You saw Dr. Fauci becoming sort of more marginalized. There was this idea that, look, I don't dislike Dr. Fauci, you're hearing, but I'd rather not see him -- out of sight out of mind.

And now it's sort of crescendo to this point now where there's, you know, active disinformation campaign that's going on against him.

But you know, the thing that strikes me is that there's always been the sort of faction of anti-science sort of, I'm not going to believe the science of vaccines, autism, climate change, you name these various issues.

I think what's different now is that it's just so urgent. I mean, it really -- it always matters, but it really matters right now.

STALEY: Sanjay, I think this really caught Tony off guard and as I told him when the shit hit the fan on Saturday night, I had my suspicions as to who is trying to undercut him.

He's been tangling since March with Trump's trade adviser, Peter Navarro who is the godfather of two main conspiracy theories around COVID.

First he went -- he's been relentlessly going on cable television, including last week, saying, quote, "The Chinese spawned and weaponized the virus." And that quote, they sent hundreds of thousands of Chinese nationals over here to seed and spread the virus. This is crazy racist talk.

And he's also the guy who since March, birthed the hydroxychloroquine movement. He is the reason Trump thinks hydroxychloroquine can save his ratings. Now, we have 63 million doses stockpiled in the F.E.M.A. warehouse gathering dust after placebo control trial showed it didn't work and it probably hurt, which proved Fauci right.

So, you know --

COOPER: Right, we have stockpiles of that, and yet -- we have stockpiles of that and yet PPE, is now back in the headlines as something that we've let slip. We're going to have more on that tonight.

We're out of time. Peter, I've got to move on. But I appreciate you being with us, Peter Staley, and thanks for all that you continue to do. Sanjay as well.

Up next more on the President's desire to reopen schools and the administration's plan to dangle money at cash starved schools to hopefully get its way.



COOPER: A source close to the White House Task Force tell CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta, though while there are no hard and fast rules about when schools should reopen, quote, if a particular community has had a five-day sustained increase in community spread, they probably should not be opening schools. That directly contradicts the advice of President Trump and allies like his Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.

In another development, is clear tonight, just how wrong President Trump and others words to demand schools fully reopened last week. According to The New York Times, those comments were made the same week that the government was circulating guidance that said a full reopening would pose the, quote, highest risk unquote, for spread of the virus.

In fact, also according to The Times that line was lifted from CDC guidance that that's been on their website available to read by anyone since May, meaning they should have known how wrong they were. The report is also critical the gaps it sees and states plans to reopen. And rather than help schools with these issues, the administration appears to have another plan, throw money at schools desperate for cash to get them to do what you want.


LARRY KUDLOW, WHITE HOUSE ECONOMIC ADVISER: President has argued that he is looking at the potential to defund if the schools do not open. Mrs. DeVos said the same thing. Now having said that, I think the President would be willing to consider additional funding for state local governments if the schools do reopen. So that's perhaps an incentive.



COOPER: Joining me now, Dr. Leana Wen, emergency room physician and former Baltimore Health Commissioner. Also, Arne Duncan, former Education Secretary under President Obama.

Secretary Duncan, thanks for being with us. You just heard with Larry Kudlow had to say today, does that make any sense to you?

ARNE DUNCAN, FORMER EDUCATION SECRETARY: Well, nothing. Unfortunately, what they've said makes sense. This is not the time to threaten to take money, they don't even have the power to do that. He actually doesn't have the power to just to give money that would have to happen through Congress.

If they want us to have any chance of opening schools, they need to put 150, $200 billion out there for schools to get the PPE they need, the additional custodians. We need a massive tutoring program to help kids catch up unless they make those kinds of investments that schools will make the heartbreaking decision. Unfortunately, too many places where we're seeing cases skyrocket to have to stay close physically. COOPER: Dr. Wen, I mean, it stands to reason that if any kind of financial incentive was offered the schools most strapped for cash would be the first to open. But I mean, aren't those schools also the very same, you know, underserved communities that have been devastated by the virus already?

LEANA WEN, FORMER BALTIMORE HEALTH COMMISSIONER: Yes, that's right. These financial incentives are completely backwards. You don't incentivize someone to reopen too soon and take a shortcut. Because, frankly, we've seen what happens when we try to take shortcuts and bypass the science.

It's what we're seeing right now, with all these surgeries that are happening all over the country, when we reopen too soon, there is a way for us to reopen safely. And that involves keeping the level of infection low in communities, because you're just not going to be able to reopen and keep COVID out of schools, if in fact, you have raging infections out of control in the community.

And there are these interventions that Secretary Duncan mentioned and that, frankly, that we have seen, the CDC put out guidance on exactly how to do this. We need to put in the hard work and not just have rhetoric and empty threats.

COOPER: Secretary Duncan, the CDC document that was obtained by The New York Times, you know, it was intended as a tool for their federal response to the virus. It calls for the full reopening of schools and universities. It calls that the highest risk for the spread of the coronavirus, the full reopening. And squaring that with the messages that we've been hearing from the White House. I mean, you can't square those two things. What do you think is actually going to happen here?

DUNCAN: Well, what's happening is people aren't paying any attention to President Trump's bluff and bluster and threats and bullying. Well, you have is really thoughtful superintendents or university presidents across the country, figuring out what is safest what is right for their faculty, for their staff, for their teachers, for our children, in their communities, and where they can open slowly and gradually with some physical presence.

Again, the goal is not to reopen schools, the goal is to keep them open. They will do that. Where it's impossible to do that where we see cases surging as Dr. Wen said, whether it's in California, Florida, whatever people want to make the decisions they hate to make, but they have no choice, because we have not done what we need to do in March and April and May and June and July to give our children a chance to go back to school in August and September.

COOPER: But Secretary Duncan do -- I mean, do school superintendents have the power to keep a school closed or open? Or is it or I mean, if the governor of the state says, I want the schools open by this date, do they have to open?

DUNCAN: No, that's the route (ph). So I'll be clear, President Trump has zero power here. Governors basically have zero power. What you have is local superintendents figuring out what is right. What is safe for children, for teachers, for parents, for grandparents, for custodians, for bus drivers, for all these staff.

They are figuring out what is right and safe and they are being so thoughtful for all the devastating lack of leadership at the federal level. As I talked to superintendents across the country, they're being so thoughtful and careful about trying to do the right thing for people's health and safety educationally and for students, social, emotional needs as well.

That would reach traumatize kids if we open up everything, they have to close everything that down, because we open too early after two or three weeks, that'd be devastating.

Let's do this slowly. Let's try and do it gradually. And if in communities, we can reduce the number of cases, then gradually we can increase the number of students who have a chance to go to a physical school building.

COOPER: You know, Dr. Wen, Redfield from the CDC said last week sometime, that not opening schools, having kids stay at home would cause -- I'm not sure if he said as much damage or more damage than kids going to school. But the implication was basically that there's a high cost to having kids stay at home and that harms them as well.

WEN: He's right about that. Kids should be going to school. I mean, I have young children, you now do too. We know that kids do need the not only the educational support at school, but there's so many other reasons for them to be in school too (INAUDIBLE). Many of the students in Baltimore that I served as an example, if they depended on the school for lunch, 80% of students qualify for free or reduced lunch.


School was also in many cases, the place where they received healthcare, it was also their safe place to go. One in four to one in five cases of domestic violence and sexual assault is diagnosed at school by teachers. So there are many reasons for schools to be open to. But we will also have to remember that even though children are not the ones who might get severely ill from coronavirus, although some do get ill, they tend to get less ill.

We're also talking about the family members that they're coming back to. We're also talking about student -- or about the staff and teachers who make up the infection and about the community being affected if we have too many students going to school in an unsafe environment.

And so that's why it's so important that we put in the hard work right now reduce the level of coronavirus in the community. And that window for intervention is actually closing because it takes two to three weeks for us to see the impact of interventions. So we need to put in that work right now and urgently get the resources that Secretary Duncan mentioned from the federal government to really make a difference.

COOPER: Yes, and of course the White House is not calling for the one thing that we know works which is everyone wear a masks, social distance. That -- I cannot reconcile that reopening -- pushing for reopening without pushing for mask wearing, social distancing.

Secretary Duncan, appreciate your time Dr. Wen as well.

Just ahead as healthcare workers across the country do what they can do to help coronavirus patients. What a CNN investigation uncovered when it comes to the availability of mass and other personal protective equipment, PPE still an issue. We'll have to report on that ahead.



COOPER: Well early on the pandemic, you may remember there was widespread concern about the lack of personal protective equipment for those healthcare workers in the front lines treating the victims of coronavirus. Things like mask and other gear. Well now months later for some of those workers the problems persist. CNN senior investigative correspondent Drew Griffin has more.


DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is a facemask nurse Judith Laguerre will use it a Massachusetts hospital this week, dirty, reused. One of three she has to recycle, disinfect on her dashboard.

JUDITH LAGUERRE, NURSE: And under son, will hit the mask and we will leave them there for a few days and then use them again.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): Hardly sanitary but health workers say there just aren't enough masks. Out on Cape Cod, Michelle Brum says, it's one reclaimed mask a shift.

MICHELLE BRUM, NURSE: They want you to reuse that mask multiple times, and they send it for cleaning.

GRIFFIN (on-camera): Then how often are you reusing the same mask?

BRUM: They do this process five times.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): Across the country, nurses, doctors, some state health officials contacted by CNN say the lack of personal protective equipment or PPE is their most dangerous challenge with N95 mask, the toughest to find.

PATRICE HARRIS, FMR PRESIDENT, AMERICAN MEDICAL ASSOC: This is something that we were talking about four months ago.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): The American Medical Association has been begging the federal government to direct the manufacturer acquisition and distribution of PPE.

WEN: It's a national shame that we ran out of mask and other PPE to protect our health care workers. There was no excuse in March and even less of an excuse now. GRIFFIN (voice-over): This month a Democratic Congressional House Oversight Committee concluded lack of leadership from the Trump administration. Is forcing state and local governments, hospitals and others to compete for scarce supplies. The National Nurses United Union just endorsed Joe Biden because of what it calls Trump's abandonment of public health and safety.

JEAN ROSS, PRESIDENT, NATIONAL NURSES UNITED: It's not just N95, it's everything. We really need the President to fully invoke the Defense Production Act, so he can mass produce the things that will keep us safe. And to this point, he has refused to do so.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): The Department of Health and Human Services disputes that account telling CNN, it is moved with deliberate and determined speed to ensure we secured supplies and equipment needed by frontline U.S. healthcare workers, HHS listed 19 companies that have received orders under the Defense Production Act or DPA to acquire emergency supplies, including 600 million N95 masks. But experts say it's not enough and it started far too late. Only half of the masks ordered will be delivered by the end of this year.

KELLY MAGSAMEN, FMR DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: This is going to be a really serious, serious and persistent challenge for the United States, you know, for several months if not longer.

Kelly Magsamen, a former Pentagon official under the Obama administration says the Trump administration hasn't used the full power of the Defense Production Act.

MAGSAMEN: The administration listened a little bit too much to corporate interests early on in the crisis. The DPA was not used early enough nor aggressively enough to put us in a position to get the kind of equipment and PPE we need in time.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): Some major hospitals tell CNN they are making their own deals to buy ever scarcer supplies, some even stockpiling PPE. But smaller hospitals, nursing homes and doctor's office are left out of the supply chain, jeopardizing even routine medical care according to the AMA.

SHIKHA GUPTA, GETUSPPE.ORG: A few months ago, we're in this really dire emergency situation. And our hope was that that situation would change and improve. And it's really unfortunate that here we are in the middle of July and things look more or less the same as they did in mid-March.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): Early on in the pandemic, Dr. Shikha Gupta helped start an organization to do what the federal government has not, trying to fill shortages of PPE where healthcare workers were going without. Today, she says her group has 13,000 requests, they can fill just 10 percent.

GUPTA: It shouldn't be seen in the United States, we had the opportunity to do a better job of preparing ourselves and preparing the people that were trusting to care for COVID patients. And we didn't do that. We really fell short as a country. (END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Drew, I mean, it's incredible that we're still talking about PPE and shortages. Based in your reporting, how much worse could the situation get?

GRIFFIN: Well, you know, we talked to a medical supply chain experts who forecasting that it could actually get worse and that's because the search for this equipment, it's expected to get fiercely competitive in the next weeks or months, especially as you've been talking about like with Arne Duncan, the school systems are going to enter this market. They need supplies too. And like you said Anderson, we never solved the problem of PPE. The virus went away for a little bit. It came back and guess what the PPE problem is still with us.


COOPER: Drew Griffin. Drew, thanks very much.

Coming up, the big change for the NFL team in our nation's capital. The NFL Redskins now say what they do about their name, we have details on that ahead.


COOPER: Let's check in with Chris what he's working out for "CUOMO PRIME TIME". Chris.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: How you doing my friend. We have to point out the absurdity of the President, the White House by proxy, going after the only known truth teller in their ranks in the form of Dr. Anthony Fauci. We have big problems. He is not the reason for the problems. This is what the President does the numbers are bad. The reality is hitting home in battleground states that he is not handled this pandemic and that he now needs to blame somebody else.


We will deconstruct what they're trying to do to Fauci, put blame where it belongs, but more importantly, bring in the best minds to point the way forward. This is all literally making us sick. And we will talk about what the cure is tonight.

COOPER: Yes. Look forward to that, Chris, just couple minutes from now. I'll see you then. We got a lot more ahead. We'll be right back.


COOPER: We end tonight with the story about a historic day in the nation's capitol. Today the NFL team in Washington D.C. announced that at the end of a review process, it would be changing its team name and logo on the Navajo Nation today called quote racist and disparaging.

The team name was chosen in the 1930s by owner George Preston Marshall shortly before he moved the team to D.C. Marshall was a known bigot, the last NFL owner to integrate his team. Pressure has been building for decades, change the name, thanks to indigenous activists as well as the environment created by the Black Lives Matter movement. That change finally came when investors placing pressure on the team's corporate sponsors.

According to The Washington Post, those sponsors including FedEx, which owns the naming rights, the team stadium then demanded the team change its name. According to sports Business Daily, the new name will not be announced until a later date due to trademark issues.

Some possibilities floated include the Red Tails and allusion to the Tuskegee Airmen and the Warriors. President Trump last week called the change political correctness say the Navajo Nation said that July 13th is now quote a historic day for all indigenous peoples around the world, unquote.


The news continues. Want to hand over to Chris for "CUOMO PRIME TIME". Chris?