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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
U.S. COVID-19 Cases Top 3.8 Million With Nearly 141,000 Deaths; Florida Teachers File Lawsuit After State Forces Schools To Reopen; Trump Says Mask Wearing "Patriotic" After Downplaying Them For Months; Suspect Named In Deadly Attack On Federal Judge's Family; CNN Gets Rare Access Inside Hospital's Fight Against COVID-19; Nursing Home's "Romeo & Juliet" Share Poignant Farewell. Aired 8-9p ET
Aired July 20, 2020 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN HOST: Evan, thank you so much. Much more to come on that. Thank you so much for joining us this evening. I'm Kate Bolduan. "AC360" starts right now.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN HOST: So the President says, I'll be right eventually about the pandemic that has now taken nearly 141,000 American lives.
John Berman here, in for Anderson -- and that's a strange way of looking at things at a time like this because in the meantime, with nearly 141,000 mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, friends and neighbors gone from this Earth in less than five months, and tens of thousands more projected to die, he is making decisions to put their lives in this country at risk, apparently, to prove that he is right.
In other words, Americans may now be sacrificed in the name of vanity, and the President is not even bothering to hide it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'll be right eventually.
CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS CHANNEL ANCHOR: I understand.
TRUMP: I will be right eventually. You know, I said it's going to disappear. I'll say it again, it is going to disappear and I'll be right.
WALLACE: Does that discredit you?
TRUMP: I don't think so.
TRUMP: I don't think so. You know why it doesn't discredit me? Because I've been right, probably more than anybody else.
(END VIDEO CLIP) BERMAN: And her new book, Mary Trump, who is a clinical psychologist
says her uncle's behavior goes, quote, "far beyond garden variety narcissism." Regardless of her assessment, just purely on a factual basis, there's plenty to work with in that interview alone.
A few moments before he talked about being proven right, he said something demonstrably wrong after Fox's Chris Wallace pointed out this country's abysmal mortality rate.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: When you talk about mortality rates, I think it's the opposite. I think we have one of the lowest mortality rates.
WALLACE: That's not true, sir.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: Keeping them honest, he's wrong. Take a look. This is from Johns Hopkins University's COVID database. Mortality rates adjusted for population in the 20 hardest hit countries.
The United States is third with just under 43 deaths per hundred thousand and by third that means third highest, third worst. So wrong on that, and wrong on this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Many of those cases are young people that would heal in a day. They have the sniffles, and we put it down as a test. Many of them, don't forget, I guess it's like 99.7 percent. People are going to get better, and in many cases, they're going to get better very quickly.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: Just a few days ago, the President was claiming the virus is 99 percent harmless, now, he is up to 99.7. Again, according to Johns Hopkins data, COVID is not 99.7 percent harmless. It's about 4.6 percent deadly.
But even if it is as low as the President falsely claims, that still means that in a country of 330 million, nearly a million people will die if nothing is done to stop the spread.
The President who in that interview boasted of passing a dementia screening test in which he had to identify a camel cannot seem to see the elephant in the room. This is the deadline pandemic since 1918, which he continues to call 1970, and continues to say this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: No country has ever done what we've done in terms of testing. We are the envy of the world.
(END VIDEO CLIP) BERMAN: Again untrue, with us being the world's envy means having the
longest lines of testing sites and the longest way to get results, so the President is wrong as well on that. Also on this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: If we tested half as much, those numbers would be down.
WALLACE: But this isn't burning ember, sir. This is a forest fire.
TRUMP: No, no. But I don't say it. I say flames. We will put out the flames and we'll put out in some cases just burning embers. We also have burning embers. We have embers and we do have flames. Florida became more flame like, but it's going to be under control.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: More flame-like he says, allow me to translate. That means more than 9,500 people are hospitalized in Florida. ICUs in Miami-Dade County today say they're at 130 percent capacity, 92 new fatalities reported today.
In Los Angeles County, daily hospitalizations hit a new high for the fourth time in the past week. Kentucky reporting the highest single day case total ever, refrigerated trailers in Texas to hold the bodies and Americans who on this day in 1969 walked on the moon cannot even fly to the Bahamas, which announced over the weekend, it is barring U.S. travelers.
Meantime, the President is resisting language and relief legislation supported by Senate Republicans. Yes, Republicans -- funding more testing and tracing. He is openly undercutting his own infectious disease experts, and with the exception of a tweet today and a visit to Walter Reed the other day, he is still not wearing a mask in public, and he has mocked Joe Biden for wearing one.
His campaign staff removed signs at a Tulsa rally telling people to social distance. Is this all because he's so sure he'll be proven right in the end, or something else?
This weekend, "The New York Times" ran a piece with perhaps the most chilling assessment imaginable. "'The President got bored with it,' David Carney, an adviser to the Texas Governor Greg Abbott said of the pandemic."
BERMAN: Americans dying and he is bored. Well, maybe in an effort to, you know, spice things up a bit, he announced to return to daily coronavirus briefings and made it sound like he's doing it for the ratings.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: We had very successful briefings. I was doing them and we had a lot of people watching, record numbers watching. In the history of cable television and television, there's never been anything like it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: He's right. No President has ever suggested injecting people with disinfectant, as he did at his last coronavirus briefing.
No President has ever used a briefing to hawk so-called miracle drugs that turned out not to be. None has ever boasted about ratings in the middle of a disaster with people dying.
But if he is right about anything, he is right about this, people will be watching tomorrow and hundreds also will be making funeral arrangements.
More on all this now from CNN Chief White House Correspondent, Jim Acosta. Jim, so what is behind this big shift from President Trump when it comes to mask wearing?
JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, John, the President is certainly eating some coronavirus crow. He has been all but scoffing at this idea of wearing masks for weeks now, and as you mentioned a few moments ago, he was even ridiculing Joe Biden for doing it back in May.
But we understand talking to our sources that the President has been urged for several weeks now that he needs to embrace this idea of wearing masks.
We saw on a conference call that Mike Pence had with the nation's governors earlier today, Mike Pence was extolling the virtues of wearing masks. Dr. Anthony Fauci was also saying that masks should be used universally.
But if you look at the record on the President's side of things, he has been talking down this idea of wearing masks for weeks now. Here's just a sample of that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Will you consider a national mandate that people need to wear masks?
TRUMP: No, I want people to have a certain freedom and I don't believe in that, no. And I don't agree with the statement that if everybody wear a mask, everything disappears.
Everybody was saying don't wear a mask, all of a sudden everybody has got to wear a mask. And as you know, masks cause problems, too.
I wore one in this back area, but I didn't want to give the press the pleasure of seeing it.
Somehow sitting in the Oval Office behind that beautiful Resolute Desk, the great Resolute Desk, I think wearing a facemask, as I greet Presidents, Prime Ministers, dictators, Kings, Queens, I don't know, somehow. I don't see it for myself. They've learned about facemasks, the good and the bad. By the way,
it's not a one sided thing, believe it or not.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ACOSTA: And, of course, what was driving these advisers to urge the president to change his mind on wearing masks? That would be the poll numbers, John.
They've been tanking for some time now. The President has been saying that that was not the case. But of course, we know what the reality is even if the President won't acknowledge it.
BERMAN: Jim Acosta at the White House for us. Jim, thank you very much.
Perspective now from CNN chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta and Florida International University Infectious Disease Specialist, Dr. Aileen Marty and, Sanjay, I want to start with you.
This pivot from the Trump administration, or more specifically, from the President himself on wearing masks comes after months of really undermining that very message. We just played a montage there. How easy do you think it will be to un-ring the bell on that for the President's supporters? And how important is it to un-ring that bell?
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT Yes, well, you played that montage. So, obviously, they've been hearing these other messages for a long time.
I still think it's important, John, and I'm glad he is doing it because this is critical. I mean, this is, you know, one of the important sort of ways to potentially navigate our way out of this mess. And I've got to say, John, and I'm a medical reporter, not a political reporter, but you can't help but disentangle aspects of this story from politics, as I've seen over the last several months.
So I live here in Georgia, for example, and I think it's become pretty clear to me that certain governors, like our governor, very much take their cues from the President of the United States. That's just the way it goes.
Our Governor right now suing the Mayor of Atlanta about a mask ordinance. Now that the President has said this, maybe he'll back off that, maybe where Dr. Marty is in Florida, maybe Governor DeSantis will be more amenable to masks as well.
So, you know, for all these sort of convoluted reasons, I think it will make a difference.
BERMAN: Dr. Marty, they -- the President and the administration are calling for cuts to funding for testing and tracing, at least cuts to what Republicans in Congress are asking for as part of the next stimulus plan.
Is there any legitimate medical reason why there shouldn't be more funding at this point for testing?
DR. AILEEN MARTY, FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL UNIVERSITY INFECTIOUS DISEASE SPECIALIST: Why there should be more funding?
BERMAN: Should not.
MARTY: Oh, yes, of course, I disagree with that. That has no basis in the reality that we're facing. No basis in the fire that's completely a wildfire and out of control. We have 513 people in ICU in Miami-Dade County alone. We are completely swamped and we need to do all the comprehensive things we need to do in this country to get this pandemic under control, which means you have to do each and everything in a coordinated, rational, planned fashion and that costs money.
BERMAN: To your point, in Florida, Miami-Dade County reporting that their hospitals, their ICUs at 130 percent capacity at this moment.
During a press conference, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis was heckled today. Let's listen to that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Shame on you Ron DeSantis. You're lying to the public. You're lying to the public.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Shame on you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: Dr. Marty, what needs to happen in Florida today to make things better?
MARTY: This is a really challenging question because we have a perfect storm of problems. We have a rip roaring out of control outbreak, specifically in South Florida more than anywhere else in Florida that has to be tamed.
But at the same time, especially the bills aren't passed that need to be passed, we are facing an enormous economic problem that could lead to food insecurity issues and rioting that could in turn lead to more problems with the pandemic.
So we're weighing our options as carefully as we can, but ultimately, we all in the State of Florida, in the country, in our individual communities need to come together and have a national strategy for dampening out this horrific pandemic.
BERMAN: Sanjay, there was a ray of good news today once again, in terms of the vaccine research. Initial results released today, around a vaccine being developed by Oxford indicates their vaccine is both safe and that it induced an immune response. How significant is that and what do you think the next step is?
GUPTA: Yes, no, I think these are optimistic findings. There were actually two journal articles in "The Lancet." One was from Oxford, another one from a Chinese company, CanSino, similar types of vaccines, John.
You know, we talked a lot about Moderna, that's a messenger RNA vaccine. This is a different type of vaccine that uses an adenovirus. It's a much more, you know, well-established sort of platform for vaccine and the results were encouraging.
I would say two things, John, the question, how long would the immunity last and how strong would the immunity be? These are always the basic questions after you correctly mentioned that the side effect profile was low.
With this adenovirus, I think the length of how long it should last is pretty well established. It should last a while this vaccine. What we don't know, what we absolutely need to know is how strong is the immunity that these vaccines are going to provide? We still don't know the answer to that.
So what's going to happen now like with this Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, they're going to be going to places like Brazil, going to places like South Africa where you have significant amount of viral spread right now and getting into these Phase 3 results.
They can prove that a certain segment of the population isn't getting it, that's getting the vaccine, a segment of population that isn't getting the vaccine is still not protected, you're going to start having some results maybe by the end of the year.
BERMAN: Hopeful. We can hope, Sanjay. It is promising at least today. Thanks so much, Dr. Sanjay Gupta. Dr. Marty, we appreciate you being with us.
We're going to look closer at the political dimensions of this a bit later in the hour, including more devastating new polling on the President's handling of this.
Next, two experts on new research on the risk for your children of bringing the virus home from school if and when they open up again.
And later, all we're learning about the shooting that left a Federal judge's son dead, and her husband badly wounded.
BERMAN: You heard Governor Ron DeSantis being heckled before the break. He's also being challenged in court in Florida. Today, unionized teachers in the state filed suit to overturn his emergency order for forcing schools in the state to reopen.
And over the weekend, researchers from South Korea's Centers for Disease Control released a study suggesting that children ages 10 to 19 can transmit the virus as readily as adults. Younger kids pass it about three times less according to the data. Here to talk about it, Dr. Leana Wen, as Baltimore's Health
Commissioner, she oversaw medical facilities in the city's public schools. Also with us, Dr. David Rubin, Director of the PolicyLab at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.
And Dr. Wen, I want to start with you just in Florida in general, given the state of the pandemic there and the surge in cases, how dangerous would it be to reopen schools there next month, as the Governor continues to want to do?
DR. LEANA WEN, FORMER HEALTH COMMISSIONER FOR THE CITY OF BALTIMORE: John, I can't imagine schools being reopened in Florida next month at the rate that we're going when there is escalating explosive spread throughout the state.
We keep on asking the question of, can we keep schools free from COVID? Well, there's no way to keep schools free from COVID if the community is a hotbed of infection, and so what we really need to do now, if the goal is to reopen schools next month, we need to be implementing very strict guidelines, restrictions now to the point of even having short term place lock downs, once again.
If Florida were to do that, right now, this moment, it would still take at least three to four weeks for us to even see the change in the inflection point for us to see a decline in the number of infections and that really must be done now and the window for that kind of intervention is closing.
BERMAN: Dr. Rubin, I want to play a clip of something that Missouri Governor Mike Parson said about children returning to school. Listen to this.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
GOV. MIKE PARSON (R-MO): These kids have got to get back to school, they're at the lowest risk possible. And if they do get COVID-19, which they will, and they will when they go to school, they're not going to the hospitals, they're not going to have to sit in a doctor's office today. We're going to go home and they're going to get over it.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
BERMAN: They'll get it. They'll get over it. As a pediatrician, what do you make of that statement?
DR. DAVID RUBIN, DIRECTOR OF THE POLICYLAB, CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL OF PHILADELPHIA: Well, you know children don't live in bubbles. You know, they rely on their parents often their grandparents. We've got 95,000 of them caring for kids here in Pennsylvania alone.
The teachers, you know, kids are foundational to a working community. And the idea that kids live in a bubble just doesn't work. If we don't get community transmission rates down to acceptable levels to make it safe to reopen schools, I just don't see a path forward. BERMAN: But he is willing to accept kids just getting it is that a
public health policy?
RUBIN: No, because the reality is, while kids may be less likely to get severe disease, their parents and their grandparents and their teachers are not. This is about public confidence.
This is about being able to say to a teacher can enter a classroom and know that his or her health won't be in jeopardy. That parents don't need to, you know to live with anxiety that their children may be bringing home illness that could actually confer pretty serious consequences within their families or throughout their extended family.
BERMAN: So Dr. Wen, and there are certain articles or studies that I read as a journalist and others I read as a parent, and when I read the South Korea Centers for Disease Control study on kids and transmission, I read that as a parent of 13-year-old boys and when you read that 10 to 19 year olds pass the virus just as frequently or more so, as adults, what's the takeaway there? What do you make of this study?
WEN: Yes, I mean, it's a well done study with a lot of people. It actually included up to 60,000 people in this study, but there are some limitations to it, including that it only looked at symptomatic individuals. And we know that children even more than adults may be asymptomatic carriers.
I think it's also a problem if we look at children and how often they interact with one another, even if they're just as likely as adults are to transmit the disease, they may be in contact with far more people.
And so I really worry about the impact not only on children and to your point, it is not harmless. There are children who have died. There are children who have gotten this toxic shock like syndrome with multi-organ damage.
And we're talking about vulnerable teachers and staff and so many others who may be infected if we do not get this right, if we try to take a shortcut and don't follow public health guidance.
BERMAN: Dr. Rubin, what do you think a reasonable expectation is for children wearing masks at school? What ages do you think they can do it? How realistic is it to ask them to do it much, if not all of the day?
RUBIN: Well, first, you know, when I talk about public confidence, we talk a lot about masking but I often begin with other elements for a public health response, which is about distancing. It's about ensuring that we are not cutting corners, like Dr. Wen said, you know, with regards to overpopulation in classrooms with too many students and putting children and teachers in unsafe situations.
There's also an important emphasis if you look at European reopenings of their schools, the investment in hygiene and disinfection that is required throughout the school day, and then we get to masks.
And I think you know, we have to -- we have to look at masks and realize that they are an additional barrier that if we can lower the occupancy in our room and have youth wearing masks, but if we can separate them considerably, then we can begin to think about at times of low circulating infections, times when kids can take breaks, but recognizing that parents have worked really hard, in many circumstances to teach our children, our adolescents how to wear masks effectively and how to protect others in their community.
And just disregarding that when the youth returned to school, I don't think is a proper solution given the circumstances we're in.
BERMAN: Dr. Wen, given how much contact kids have with each other, take that in conjunction with the testing issues and tracing issues we're having in this country now. What challenges would that provide if there was an outbreak in a school?
WEN: Yes, and I think that's something that we just have not talked about because it's not a question of if there will be an outbreak, there will be outbreaks. It's a question of when and there will be outbreaks, basically, especially if we are opening against this backdrop of surging infections. There will be a lot of outbreaks. And I worry that we don't have a plan.
Imagine if one student becomes infected. Well, how many people are we then going to be asking to be tested? What happens if the tests don't come back for 10 days? Are we going to expect for every family member of all of these children to also be out of work for 10 days until this test comes back? And how many more people are they going to be infecting?
So these are all the questions that we have to think through. We have to invest significant resources, as Dr. Rubin also mentioned, in order to bolster our infrastructure to keep everyone safe.
RUBIN: You've got to do it now. We're running out of time as the beginning of the school year approaches Dr. Leana Wen, Dr. David Rubin, thanks so much for being with us.
Up next, we delve back into the politics of coronavirus with President Trump trying to downplay the risks in that Fox News interview. One of his comments made one frontline medical worker so upset when 360 returns.
BERMAN: We want to return now to the White House handling of the pandemic and President Trump's interview on Fox News as we mentioned at the top of the program in which he repeatedly downplayed the threat of the virus.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Many of those cases are young people that would heal in a day. They have the sniffles and we put it down as a test.
WALLACE: Of your closest aides, one of your right hand men, Daniel Scavino put out this. Have you seen this?
Dr. Faucet, it shows him as a leaker and an alarmist.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF UNITED STATES: I don't --
WALLACE: Why --
TRUMP: -- he's a little bit of an alarmist. That's OK.
I heard we have one of the lowest maybe the lowest mortality rate anywhere in the world you have the numbers was, because I heard we had the best mortality rate.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The case (INAUDIBLE)
TRUMP: Number one low mortality. I hope you show this scenario because it shows what fake news is all about.
WALLACE: OK. I don't think I'm fake news. OK. We'll put --
TRUMP: But here you are.
WALLACE: We'll put our stats.
TRUMP: You said we had the worst mortality rate in the world.
WALLACE: I said --
JOHN BERMAN, CNN HOST: All right, we don't have the best and that last bite was too much.
For one of our next guests. Dr. Craig Spencer, a frontline medical worker and Director of Global Medicine at Columbia University Medical Center, during a long thread on Twitter about how the President has handled a pandemic. Dr. Spencer wrote, quote, if he just accepted responsibility for managing this crisis, instead of always blaming others for his abject failure, more Americans would be alive today. If we're going to get out of this alive, we're going to have to do this on our own without him despite him. Be safe, please.
Dr. Spencer joins us now, also CNN Chief Political Analyst, Gloria Borger.
Dr. Spencer, you said the President's interview was the last straw for you particularly that bite about mortality. You've been on the frontlines treating people, treating people dying from this virus. So why did that moment hit you so hard? CRAIG SPENCER, DIRECTOR OF GLOBAL MEDICINE, COLUMBIA UNIV. MEDICAL CENTER: I've been really upset and frustrated with this response. Since I've been responding to COVID on the front line in March and April when we were seeing people die routinely every day in our emergency department.
I never thought that three to four months later, my colleagues around this country would be having to do the exact same thing, calling families on FaceTime as they pass holding their hands. This is because our administration and particularly President Trump's response to this, to this outbreak has been an abject failure. I don't understand what he means by a best mortality rate.
There's no such thing as a best mortality rate. 140,000 Americans have already died, more are going to die in the coming weeks and months because we weren't prepared. They failed to prepare and we needed to. And every moment he's delayed he's dithered, and he hasn't given us the response and the materials that we need on the front line, to save ourselves as well as to save patience.
BERMAN: Gloria, in addition to having an absence of facts, in some case, in that interview, there was the absence of something else, which is empathy, feeling for the families of those who've died for the people who are suffering. It wasn't part of that 60 minute interview and it does raise questions about whether or not it'll be part of this round two of coronavirus briefings that we're hearing about.
GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: You know, the only time we've heard anything empathetic at all from the President of the United States is when somebody writes it for him, as they did at the early coronavirus briefings and back in March and April. Since then, we haven't heard a lot of empathy.
The interview that you're talking about with Chris Wallace, the President seemed to treat mortality and the numbers which he said, I heard about. You know, the President of United States, did you watch it on TV? Or what do you mean you heard about it? Have it -- hasn't been reported to you, but the numbers he treated as some kind of a contest?
Oh, OK. We're winning, because we have the lowest mortality rate, a it's not true. And b, as the doctor is saying, what kind of a win is that when you have 140,000 people dead in the country? That's why 60% of the American people disapprove of the way he's handling the coronavirus because they believe he just doesn't get their suffering.
BERMAN: So why then has the White House decided to have these coronavirus briefings again and remember the last one we had is when the President suggested injecting disinfectant?
BORGER: Well, you know, I've talked to couple of Republican sources close to the White House and, a they know that the polls are completely tanking. And they want him to get out in front of it, and to be the one who's active, to promised action. I don't know what it's on. Hopefully it would be something like testing. He's fighting with Republicans in Congress about that. But they
believe he has to be front and center now because the public believes he's not doing anything. And if you saw the Chris Wallace interview that the doctor reacted to, you can understand why. So they're kind of throwing up their hands and saying, OK, we got to try this again.
BERMAN: Dr. Spencer, 99.7% of people with coronavirus, the President says it's insignificant, it's sniffles they heal in a day, he says, again, as someone who has been putting your own life on the line treating very sick people, what's the reality?
SPENCER: It just was so insignificant, why didn't emergency rooms all throughout New York City and now in places like Houston and California and Arizona, why are they filling up? Why are people so concerned about losing loved ones? How -- why are so many people still falling Illinois, why there are 140,000 Americans that have already died?
Even if 99 percent of people survive, that's great. If there's over 300 million people in this country, so you could have over 3 million deaths, that's more than have died in all world wars combined. Most importantly, is it's not just about living and dying. So many people with COVID have long term chronic symptoms.
Many people have strokes, they have blood clots. It's not this false dichotomy between you get the disease and you get better or you get this disease and you die. That is a very, it's -- that's a misleading, it's a disinformation and it really undermines what public health professionals are trying to do right now.
BERMAN: Gloria, you mentioned briefly a political battle in internal Republican political battle right now over funding for testing and tracing with Republican members of Congress asking for funding, more funding for testing and tracing and getting serious pushback from the President. So what's going on here?
BORGER: Yes, there's -- well, it's a funny thing going on here. We are watching Republican push back. What have we seen that? Hardly ever? Why are we seeing it? Because they're seeing the poll numbers drop in their states and districts and they're hearing from their governors in their Republican states.
And this is a President, the White House had talked about zeroing out funding for testing, which members of the Republican leadership said today that that cannot happen. He's also talking about a payroll tax cut, which Republicans are saying, you know, what, it wouldn't do any good. It wouldn't help anyone.
So, you see this argument going on. And now, instead of hiding behind the President, you see Republicans starting to come out of his shadow and say, we have to fight for our lives here, our political lives, and we have to fight for the lives of our constituents. And we got to do it now.
BERMAN: Gloria Borgia, thank you. Dr. Craig Spencer, thank you and thank you for all the work you're doing. We really appreciate it.
A programming note, next hour CNN's Fareed Zakaria presents a special report, Donald Trump's Conspiracy Theories. This is an in depth look at how the President uses the series to damage perceived enemies explain away poor polling and cover up his own misdoings. That's tonight, right after AC360.
And ahead on 360, a federal judge's family comes under attack her son and husband gunned down in their home. And now we know a lot more about who this deceased suspect was. But what was the motive? What the FBI is saying tonight and why they're asking for your help. That's next.
BERMAN: Esther Salas, is the first ever Latina to serve as a federal judge in New Jersey. Her home was attacked by a gunman last night. Her 20-year-old son Daniel, killed. Her husband we just learned is now recovering from surgery and is in stable condition. She was thankfully unharmed. There's a huge investigation underway as to why this happened. But authorities think they know who did this as they slowly pieced together the mystery.
CNN's Alexandra Field has a latest.
ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): On Sunday afternoon Judge Esther Salas and her husband Mark Anderl were at home in North Brunswick, New Jersey. Esther was working in the basement according to The New York Times. Well, Mark and their son Daniel were upstairs. A gunman wearing what appeared to be a FedEx uniform approach the house. Danny opened the door with his father right behind him. That's when the gunman opened fire shooting both them before fleeing.
Judge Salas was unharmed in the attack. But Daniel died from his wounds. He was their only child. Mark Anderl is now in the hospital in stable condition.
FRANCIS WOMACK, MAYOR NORTH BRUNSWICK NJ: It's a stomach punch, not just for me, but for everybody who lives in this town. It's a horrible and terrible thing. And it could not have happened to a nicer family.
FIELD (voice-over): Esther Salas is a US District Court judge and Mark Anderl is a prominent criminal defense attorney. So who was the target in this attack? According to law enforcement, there were no prior threats to the family, and they don't yet have a motive, but they do have a suspect. The body of Roy Den Hollander was found today about two hours north of the attack. The FBI says he is the primary subject in the shooting. He appears to have died from a self inflicted gunshot wound. He was an attorney who argued one case before Judge Salas.
A FedEx package addressed to the judge was also found.
ESTHER SALAS, JUDGE: Here is my husband, Mark Anderl, my son Daniel Mark, who's really excited.
FIELD (voice-over): Judge Salas is the first Latina U.S. District Court judge in New Jersey. She has presided over a number of high profile cases. Her son Daniel wanted to study law just like both his parents, friends and family say he was a good kid who was often seen playing basketball in the driveway with his dad. He was a rising junior at Catholic University. He was only 20 years old.
BERMAN: Alexandra Field joins us now live from North Brunswick, New Jersey. First of all, seeing the pictures of Daniel in the confirmation hearing and then as a young 20-year-old, it's so heartbreaking. What more do we know about the suspect tonight Alexandra?
FIELD: John, Roy Den Hollander identified by police as an attorney described himself as a men's rights attorney and as an anti feminist activist. He had filed a chain of fail lawsuits at first against bars for their ladies nights against the federal government for its Violence against Women Act, even against Columbia University for its Women's Studies Program, but most chillingly, he had crossed paths with Judge Salas back in 2015. That's when he argued in front of her against the all male military draft. In that case, the Judge sided with him on some of his arguments rejected others and allowed the lawsuit to continue.
However, the attorney turned this case over in 2019. To another firm, he still went on to write on his website in racist, sexist and derogatory terms about Judge Salas. John?
BERMAN: Alexandra Field, thank you very much.
For more on this case and how the feds will be going about their investigation, from here. Let's bring in former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, a CNN contributor.
So Andrew, as we said, look, this case incredibly sad, and now we have the questions about the suspect his motivations, men's rights, which I not even sure I knew was a thing, anti-feminists in these hate full writings as well. What does that mean in terms of how the FBI will investigate this?
ANDREW MCCABE, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, John, it's a great place for the FBI to start. Typically, what happens in the aftermath of a, you know, a mass killing or murder like this, especially one perpetrated by somebody maybe previously unknown to the FBI, they will go back now and deconstruct every element of Hollander's life.
They will identify everyone who knew him from family, co-workers to telephone contacts, e-mail contacts, social media contacts. And they'll be looking very closely at his communications with those folks, but also his writings. And in this case, it seems we have a lot of those to work with. BERMAN: Look, right now he's a suspect. There's a lot we don't know about this case. How rare is it though for a judge, any judge let alone a federal judge to have a security threat stemming from an attorney?
MCCABE: It is exceedingly rare. Federal judges are very, very closely protected. They are rightfully seen as the core of our legal justice system. So, anytime there's a threat to a federal judge or an attack on a federal judge much less a killing.
The FBI and the U.S. Marshal Service take that incredibly seriously because as you would expect, the government sees this as an attack on the system itself. It absolutely cannot be tolerated. So, you'll see no resource spared in shedding as much light as they possibly can on exactly who this guy was, and why he engaged in this premeditated assassination.
BERMAN: Andrew McCabe, I know this case troubles you. We appreciate you being with us and helping us understand it. Thank you.
MCCABE: Sure John. Yes.
BERMAN: I had a rare look inside the frontline battle against COVID- 19. Gary Tuchman shows us the extreme measures, one hospital is taking to deal with a resurgence of the virus. Plus, the impact this new fight is having on healthcare heroes. That's next.
BERMAN: Coronavirus is on the rise, tonight in more than 30 states. Georgia just broke its single day record more than 4,600 new cases there on Saturday. That secret White House task force report which leaked last week puts Georgia in a so-called Red Zone for cases and test positivity assigned that it should roll back reopening. Beyond the numbers and the unexplicable political fight and now sees Georgia's governor suing Atlanta's mayor for requiring masks. There are actual lives at stake.
Gary Tuchman got extraordinary access to the battle at one Georgia hospital where the virus is showing its fury once more.
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): She is not doing well. A female COVID patient being transferred from her room to the intensive care unit at the Northeast Georgia Medical Center in Gainesville, Georgia, a state where COVID deaths have nearly doubled since earlier this month.
KRISTINA HABEN, REGISTERED NURSE: It's exhausting. It's it has pushed me to my limits. It has shown me that I'm a lot stronger than I thought I was.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): Kristina Haben is an RN at this hospital, which is in a part of Georgia that was a hot soul (ph) and early on in the COVID crisis. But numbers started dropping, the state started reopening. Leading experts say to what's happening now.
HABEN: Just when you think that we might be getting ahead of this thing, it's going to come back in and we're starting all over again.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): This used to be a quarter for regular hospital inpatients. It has now been transformed into an additional Intensive Care Unit just for COVID patients. Dr. Stephen Morgan is treating many of them.
STEPHEN MORGAN, NORTHEAST GEORGIA MEDICAL CENTER: Yes, I have to admit I thought we were probably in the clear, you know, I think a lot of us did.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): Dr. Morgan says the rising COVID numbers make the job more difficult, more fatiguing. He checks on a middle aged COVID patient is gratified by his progress.
MORGAN: A real strong guy. Got started out (INAUDIBLE) Remdesivir as soon as he came to the hospital.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): But it's a very different feeling as registered nurse Haben walks into this room, this man is being treated in a specially designated COVID unit. This is not the ICU, but there is worried that he might end up going there.
(on-camera): This patient has been here for two days. There's a lot of concern, obviously for anybody in the COVID unit, that particularly for this man, because he's very old. He has been given sugar water to keep his blood sugar up, as well as insulin.
HABEN: One of the hardest things is knowing that the last time that that patient's family saw them could possibly be the last time that they get to see them.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): This Medical Center is prepared for more and more patients being admitted. This unusual looking structure sits in a hospital parking lot. Patients will soon start getting moved inside.
(on-camera): This rapidly constructed hospital edition consists of 44 shipping containers pieced together. There are 20 rooms for COVID patients.
BETSY ROSS, NURSE MANAGER: Everything that you would get in a traditional hospital room inside the hospital we are capable of doing here in this unit.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): Everyone we talked with here expresses pride what they are doing. But as the numbers go up, so does that concern, and in some cases fear?
TAMIKA JOHNSON, CHARGE NURSE: Well, I guess you know what, post traumatic stress, that's how I feel. I mean, it's like I feel like something that we should be able to prevent from happening. It's like we have no control over it in reality and then the patients pass away. It's almost like we get so close to them. It's like losing a family member.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): These doctors and nurses also consider each other family members, people they work with, fight this virus with for as long as it takes.
Gary Tuchman, CNN, Gainesville, Georgia.
BERMAN: You know, our thanks to Gary and our thanks to all of those medical workers on the front line, those medical world who didn't think they'd see it like it is again.
And as hospitals in Georgia and across the country continue to show their commitment to this fight, we continue to honor those loss to this disease. Up next, the husband's poignant goodbye after COVID claimed his wife of nearly 30 years. How an act of love and her final weeks earned them the nickname Romeo and Juliet.
BERMAN: Throughout this pandemic, we've heard so many stories about victims who died alone, separated from their loved ones in order to keep them safe from exposure to the virus.
Sam Reck couldn't let this happen to his wife JoAnn. Sam, who is 90 years old decided to take the risk and be by her bedside before she passed away. JoAnn was in a nursing home when she developed coronavirus symptoms. She was rushed to the hospital. But her condition quickly got worse. And that's when Sam put on his protective gear and went to see her. His family took this video of their final moments together.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SAM RECK: You don't (ph) recognize me with all this junk on my face. It is Sam. I love you sweetheart. I love you so much. Finally getting to hold your hand after all these months.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: Just hours after that meeting, JoAnn died, but they were able to look at each other one last time. Hold hands one last time, and say I love you one last time. JoAnn Reck was 86 years old. And we remember her tonight.
Our thoughts go out to every family grieving the loss of a loved one during this pandemic.
Now to the CNN Special Report, Donald Trump's Conspiracy Theories, hosted by Fareed Zakaria.