tv The Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer CNN June 27, 2020 4:00pm-5:00pm PDT
>> announcer: this is cnn breaking news. >> welcome to our viewers here in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer in washington. this is a special edition of "the situation room." it's clear the coronavirus pandemic is far from over. worldwide, the number of total confirmed coronavirus cases is now nearing a grim milestone of 10 million with almost half a million people dead. and here in the united states, the total number of confirmed cases just surpassed 2.5 million and more than 125,000 americans have died from the virus. reopening plans have been underway for weeks, but now very alarming and dangerous spikes in coronavirus cases are throwing those plans into disarray and painting an extremely grim picture of what could be ahead in the weeks and months. the u.s. reported 45,000 new
infections just yesterday. that's a new daily record here in the united states. over the last week, more than half the country, 32 states, have seen a rise in new cases, and at least five states hit new peaks including florida, the potential new epicenter of the pandemic here in the united states. the state reporting its highest one-day increase in cases today. governor ron desantis forced to pause the state's reopen plans. and florida is by no means alone. at least 12 states are pausing or rolling back reopening measures. in texas, governor greg abbott desperately trying to reverse course, shutting down bars once again after admitted he reopened too soon. in california covid hospitalizationed surged in the past two weeks, icu beds reaching new highs. in arizona the governor warns the state is now on pause due to the resurgence of the virus.
with the warning signs stacking up across the nation, vice president mike pence used the first coronavirus task force briefing in two months to paint a different picture. >> we have made truly remarkable progress in moving our nation forward. we've all seen the encouraging news as we open america again. as we stand here today all 50 states and territories across this country are opening up safely and responsibly. we're in a much stronger place. the truth is we did slow the spread. we flattened the curve, we -- >> all right. let's begin in florida where the state reached an alarming milestone despite what the vice president said yesterday at that briefing. health officials reporting 9,585 new -- new -- coronavirus cases in what is now the highest single-day reporting since the start of the pandemic. cnn's natasha chen is joining us from pensacola beach right now.
despite these skyrocketing numbers in florida and elsewhere where you are in florida, it's still no statewide mandate to wear a face mask. tell us more. what's the latest? >> right, wolf. local jurisdictions, certain counties, where they've decided to create their own mandate lately. that includes the pensacola mayor that has mandated that employees and patrons inside businesses must wear masks. but pensacola's a different jurisdiction than where i'm standing now. this is pensacola beach, so here when we walk into restaurants, they are sometimes not wearing masks at all. certainly the people who are there to frequent the business are not. and we talked to some bar owners as well because one piece of action that the state has done as of yesterday is shut down the stand-alone bars. and those bars now are only able
to sell to-go drinks. i asked one of the bar owners what he thought about the recent rapid spike in cases. are you surprised to see the numbers come back up like this? >> it's not 100% surprising. i mean, obviously there's a lot more testing going on. the place is flocked with tourists here, so seeing the numbers go up is not a shocker. i mean, some days it is a shocker when you see how many it's gone up by. >> reporter: i talked to a local resident who told me it is not at all shocking to her that the numbers have gotten to this level across the state. she feels that this -- that the state re-opened too early and that she constantly sees out-of-state license plates coming into town. there are some businesses in this area that have voluntarily scaled back either closing their dining room inside or cancelling large events, cancelling live music, things that would draw a
large crowd. but as far as we saw on the pensacola beach website as of yesterday, the july 4th fireworks are still going on so a lot of people are concerned a lot of people will come out for that. >> they should be deeply concerned with what's going on. we'll get back to you. thank you very much. south florida one of the most active covid areas in florida. the miami mayor is joining us now. mayor florez, thanks for joining us. as you know the miami-dade county mayor announced that the beaches there will be shutting down for the fourth of july weekend. bottom line, did florida simply reopen too quickly? >> you know, a lot of people believe that florida reopened too quickly. i think the other issue is people didn't behave. once the reopening occurred, there were strict rules that people were supposed to adhere to and they just didn't follow them. i think there was a sentiment that this thing was over and
people began congregating quickly and in large groups. social distancing was something that we didn't see happening. and that's what caused us to implement a mask in public rule. the way i look at it is it's no different from wearing your seat belt when you're driving. it's an important thing to do. it's a responsible thing to do when you're driving. it doesn't mean it's going to keep you from having an accident but it's going to increase chances of survival. >> officials try to mitigate these very sad rising numbers. we're probably seeing results of actions taken two or three weeks ago. takes time for this virus to go through the process and start showing results. how much worse, mayor, do you expect it to get where you are specifically in miami? >> we're hoping it doesn't get any worse. you know, the numbers that we've seen, for example, two days ago we hit the high water mark of
1,500 cases. that's three times higher than what we had in late march or early april at 500 cases. the state of florida hit 9,600 cases which is 7 times greater than their high water mark of 1,300. so, i think florida as a state, opened bars. we never opened bars in the city of miami. and the fact that we're closing our beaches now and requiring masks and now considering stiffer penalties for businesses that don't comply with the rules are things that we're hoping are going to help us reverse this horrible trend that we're seeing over the last couple of weeks. >> the florida governor ron desantis has repeatedly refused to issue a state-wide order to wear a mask. in miami, local governments like yours, for example, as you correctly point out are requiring face masks for people out in public. a lot of folks aren't necessarily all that happy with that. i want to play for you how some west palm beach residents are
reacting to all this this week. listen to this. >> they want to throw god's wonderful breeding system out the door. you're all turning your backs on it. >> i really have many question marks about your degrees and what you really know. i'm sorry, ma'am, but i don't think you are worthy of your credentials, and i would ask suggestively that you go back to school and get educated. >> you disgrace me. do you know why? you did not listen to we the people, you made your decision. >> i hope every one of you gets voted out who votes for a mask today. shame on you for voting a mask. >> we are against not masks but mandatory masks. we believe it is our body, our choice. >> so, what do you think, mayor? why is there such strong reaction to something so simple that potentially could save hundreds and thousands of lives in the coming weeks and months according to the centers for disease control and prevention? >> yeah, you know, it's hard for
me to understand. frankly i understand that people don't want their civil liberties infringed upon. i understand people want to make decisions they think are in their best interest. the best analogy i come up with is we wire people to wear seat belts. it's something we enforce. our police officers can ticket you if you're not wearing a seat belt. in theory, those same people would argue we shouldn't have to wear a seat belt and we should be able to risk our own life but that doesn't make sense. i think it's something that's not difficult to do. all the studies show, like you said, wolf, the epidemiologists that we talked, the experts at the health department that we talked to all recommend that everyone wear a mask to prevent further spread of the virus. so, making it mandatory is no different than making a seat belt mandatory or not being able to use a cell phone while you're driving, things that, you know, are easily things that are targeting safety. i just don't understand what the big deal is. >> you mentioned, mayor, that
you're ready to enforce mask wearing with fines in miami. tell us about the potential penalties. >> so, the first instance, it's a warning. the second one is a $50 fine. third one is $150. fourth one is $500. and if you still continue to violate, you can be arrested and it's a second or third degree misdemeanor. obviously we hope it never gets to that. when we implemented stay-at-home order, the vast majority of people followed the order. that's why we're able to flatten the curve and went from inclining 35 cases per day to declining 14 cases per day. that was the steep ward downward slope and we're hoping to get back there soon. >> good luck to you and everyone in miami. we'll stay in very close touch. thanks so much for joining us. >> thank you, wolf. we're going to get back to the coronavirus coverage here in
our peshl sispecial "situation a moment. russian officers offers russian dollars to the taliban to kill -- to kill -- american troops. we're going to have details on that. we've got new information. stay with us. you're in "the situation room." first to put others' lives before your own. and in an emergency, you need a network that puts you first. that connects you to technology to each other and to other agencies. built with and for first responders. firstnet. the only officially authorized wireless network for first responders. because putting you first is our job.
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military offered cash rewards to taliban fighters in afghanistan to kill american or other coalition soldiers. now, they don't really know what the russian intelligence officers motivation for this alleged scheme necessarily was, but they are clear that it did result in coalition casualties in their assessment. they don't know the date of those. they weren't specifying the numbers or the nature or the nationality of those casualties, but it is a remarkable accusation toer here. it begs the question of why would russia do this. intelligence officials were bewi bewildered why russia would plot a scheme like this. taliban has come forward and said they didn't need foreigners to tell them how to run things. a story first reported by "the new york times." the white house, wolf, has come forward and not really disputed
this claim, what they called the alleged russian intelligence bounty here, but they have disputed "the new york times" claim that president donald trump and vice president mike pence were in fact briefed on this alleged russian plot. they say that was not true, which frankly in itself in a statement raises the question why wouldn't you tell the president of the united states of something quite as remarkable as this if you had confidence on it. specific on one detail with me as well that the particular part of the russian gru, the russian military intelligence arm is unit 29155. they're also accused by european officials of being behind the attack on the father and daughter in salisbury uk in early 2018, another prominent text in europe. a remarkable twist here, russia trying to to meant the talibans to attack americans, something the taliban would do on the best
of days. it comes as the trump administration is desperate to end the war. they're planning to withdraw more troops. maybe russia, motivation bewildering frankly anyone i talk to. maybe russia is trying to boost casualties to get the americans out faster or maybe there's another game at stake here. but startling accusations in this still america's longest war, wolf. >> just to be precise "the new york times" reporting that the president and other top national security officials were briefed about this alleged russian plot back in march. the white house press secretary kayleigh mcenany insisting neither the president or vice president were briefed on this. nick paton walsh doing excellent reporting. thank you very very much. with half the states seeing rises coronavirus cases, i'll speak with dr. patrice harris. she's standing by live. lots of questions on all the breaking news.
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the number of people here in the united states now counted as having covid-19 stands at 2.5 million confirmed cases. and as bad as that sounds and as frightening as this map looks, a brand-new cdc survey released today says the true number of cases here in the united states could be up to 24 times greater than reported, meaning the real number of americans who have had or have coronavirus could be closer to 60 million. i want to bring in dr. patrice harris, former president of the
american medical association, gave up that position two weeks ago. dr. harris, as usual, thank you so much for joining us. do you think this pandemic is so much worse than any of us suspected? could it actually be worse by a factor of 10 or even 24? >> certainly those numbers and that statement are very sobering and these numbers are very alarming. and it's not just the increase in testing. we want to make sure we make that clear because we see the percent positive increasing. we see the number of hospitalizations increasing. and wolf, as you know, in some areas, icu capacity is at or near 100%. so, it is absolutely appropriate for some jurisdictions to put a pause on loosening restrictions. and in some cases we are going to have to go back to more restrictions. we need to do all that we can to stop the spread of this virus. >> we certainly do.
dr. anthony fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert during the white house coronavirus briefing admitted some states simply opened way too soon, and now we're seeing the results with higher numbers of cases. i want you to listen to this. >> everything from maybe opening a little bit too early on some to opening at the right time but not actually following the steps in an orderly fashion to actually trying to follow the steps in an orderly fashion but the citizenry did not feel that they wanted to do that for a number of reasons. >> dr. fauci added it may be time to drop back a few yards to think about the original reopening guidelines. do you agree? and if you do, what's the remedy right now? >> i absolutely agree with dr. fauci. we warned and all public health experts and physicians warned about reopening prematurely because what is happening today is the very thing that we were
worried about. so, again, it is going to require, again, certainly a pause. we may need to increase restrictions. but wolf, the regulations are one thing. individual behavior is another. and it is very frustrating and unfortunate that wearing masks and doing some of these other issues have become so political. it's not political. it's science. and we need everyone to wear masks, watch their distancing, and wash their hands. it really boils down to that. >> it wouldn't be political if the president simply said what you're saying right now, but he's clearly refusing to do so. is it too late, doctor, to reverse course? >> it is never too late, but clearly we lost time early on. at this point, we need to do all that we can right now. there will be time to do an afteraction review. it's never too late to do what we can. we need to make sure we ramp up
testing. dr. fauci and others talked about a new tactic, that pool testing. so, it's not too late, but we have a lot of catching up to do. >> the vice president mike pence in that same coronavirus task force briefing said it's encouraging news that half of the new cases are people under the age of 35. why is the data moving down to younger people? is that really as encouraging as the vice president says since they could easily, even if they're asymptomatic or have limited symptoms, they can easily pass on this virus to their moms and dads, their grandparents and others they may simply encounter at a bar or any place else? >> for me and i can tell you for the physicians across this country, this is not encouraging news. i think it just, again, confirms that there is no particular age group that is immune, and we are seeing hospitalizations and deaths in those younger still.
certainly we're seeing the worst outcomes in those who are over-65 and over 85. but again, those who are younger end up spreading the virus to their parents and to their grandparents. so, i don't see any encouraging news here, but hopefully the news does encourage us to do what we can, do what we know works to limit the spread of the virus. >> dr. patrice harris who until two weeks ago was the president of the american medical association. she's still on the board. thanks for all the really important good work that you do. we're grateful for having you here in "the situation room." up next, while the president continues to down play the severity of the coronavirus pandemic, we're learning of the truly extraordinary measures the white house is taking to try to protect the president. stay with us. we'll be right back. ors in your. (background music) but others smell this... (upbeat music) that's why febreze plug has two alternating scents
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postponing some of vice president mike pence's campaign events in arizona and florida, two states which have now seen record surges in new coronavirus cases in recent days. meantime, president trump is seemingly trying to move on from the pandemic by not attending the coronavirus briefing, refusing to wear a mask in public, and holding massive campaign rallies where social distancing is simply not required, masks are not required. but in reality, measures to protect the president, we're learning, from the virus have actually scaled up and they've scaled up rather dramatically. let's go to our white house correspondent jeremy diamond. jeremy, what are you learning about the exthe record efforts now, and totally understandable, to protect the president who's 74 years old from coronavirus? >> reporter: as you said, wolf, the president has consistently down played the severity of this coronavirus since the beginning of this pandemic. and he has encouraged this economic reopening even amid the surges that we are seeing
nationwide. but as far as the president himself is concerned, wolf, we've been hold that the president has been concerned about his potential to be exposed to this virus. and in step with that, the protective measures surrounding him as far as coronavirus is concerned have actually stepped up over the last several weeks. every venue that the president enters is inspected for potential areas of contagion by security and medical teams, the bathrooms that he is going to be using at certain events are scrubbed and sanitized, every individual who comes into contact with the president is tested. that is in contrast, wolf, with the fact that when you used to walk into the white house here everybody used to get at least temperature check and then an additional test if you're in contact with the president. those temperature checks are no longer being performed. as you mentioned, wolf, the president himself has really encouraged bringing people together, hosting that campaign rally last week, bringing several thousand people together without any social distancing to that campaign rally in tulsa,
oklahoma. there are now, wolf, though, some signs at least of potential change. and that comes with what you mentioned about the vice president. he is still going to texas, florida and arizona next week, but the campaign events that he was scheduled to have in person there in florida and arizona, those have, indeed, been scrubbed. wolf. >> you know, it's interesting, jeremy, the president was supposed to be in new jersey this weekend at his country club playing golf. he didn't go. he said he didn't go because he wants to engage in law and order, protecting statues and monuments, stuf like that. he spent at least a chunk of the day at his golf club out in suburban virginia, right? >> he did, wolf. the president did go golfing today. one of our photojournalists captured video of the president golfing at his golf club in virginia. and what we've also seen from the president today, wolf, is a lot of tweets, particularly these posters that look like wanted posters seeking out
information about individuals who were involved in trying to topple that statue right across from the white house in lafayette scare. so, that is the issue that the president is focused on. we have not, though, wolf, heard from the president very much today at all really about the coronavirus pandemic, and we know, wolf, that in recent days the president has instead focused on trying to explain away the surges that we are seeing of coronavirus case counts across the country, claiming falsely, wolf, that this is about increased testing around the country. but what we do know, wolf, is that while testing has increased, what we've also seen increase is the percentage of positive cases. and tell that thes you this is not just about tessing. it's about resurgence of the virus. >> that's very important. we'll be getting back to you. i know you're working your sources. we have an important programming note. join jake tapper for a new cnn special report "trump and the law after impeachment." it air tomorrow night 10:00 p.m.
eastern right here on cnn right after our special "situation room." just ahead, american travellers could be barred from traveling to parts of europe after deep concerns of spike in coronavirus cases here in the united states. we're going to live to paris. stay with us. you're in "the situation room." (birds singing) (bouncy keyboard music) - [announcer] food delivery just got more rewarding. (package crashing into ground) now that gruhhub gives you rewards when you order. (dog barking) did you order tacos again? (device beeping) boom, rewarded with a perk like $5.00 off. ordering dinner for the family? voila! rewarded with free delivery and a side of quiet. grubhub gives you rewards for rewarding yourself, with food.
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countries. the european union has agreed in a wide ranging travel ban based on coronavirus case numbers in several countries. let's go to paris right now. so, what's the latest on these potential travel restrictions? >> well, wolf, each european member state is spending the weekend drafting its own list of countries that they're going to label cipher unsafe. those are countries they're either going to allow to travel into the european union starting wednesday or ban from traveling into the eu. over the last few days the european ambassadors have been going back and forth but they finally established a list of criteria. as you were saying the most important among them is an epidemiological one. and our sources have told us the conversation starts and ends with only one thing, one criteria, and that is the health of european countries. we want to allow travellers into the european union coming from countries where the virus is as prevalent or less prevalent than
it currently is in the european union. that is why our sources also told us that the united states is unlikely to make that list. that final call has not been made. that's likely to happen on monday. but if you look at the numbers, europe has managed to curve the outbreak. the u.s. right now, cases are surging in many states. so, it is highly unlikely, i don't see a scenario, wolf, where the u.s. would make it on the list of safe countries. >> so, all those americans, the u.s. will be basically in the same category as russia, brazil. americans will be barred from visiting eu countries. i understand that canada and australia and other countries, they'll be allowed to go ahead and visit. so, americans are not going to be able to go better business. students who want to spend the semester in europe, they might not get to go either, is that right? >> that's absolutely right. but i do want to say that this list is going to be continuously revised based on the criteria. so, the criteria is this.
europe is going to look at the number of new coronavirus cases in each individual country on a two-week period relative to population size. they're going to keep looking at this skpand they're going to upe their list. so, countries can be taken off the list or added to the list. if the virus situation changes in the u.s., then the u.s. may make its way on to the list overtime. >> certainly understandable but the european union wants to do given the number of cases here in the united states although by all accounts it's a slap at the u.s. for failing to deliver right now. i'm sure the president is going to be very upset at what the eu is doing. thank you very much for that update. coming up, the cdc has just reported that african-americans are being hospitalized at a much, much higher rate because of the coronavirus. and this is happening in minority communities already disproportionately feeling the enormous economic impact of the
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one coming from president trump who has repeatedly refused to wear a mask publicly during the coronavirus pandemic. now as the numbers rise nationwide, and reopening plans are paused across the country, president trump's poll numbers biden built a solid lead and in the national poll, ahead in several key states that president trump carried back in 2016. senior political commentators, joining us right now. so david, what do you make of these poll numbers? >> if you told me four months ago, if you told me either candidate of either party ahead by double digits at this point in the campaign, i would have tell you you were crazy. i don't believe there was ever a time in the two races that i was involved in, where barack obama had a double digit lead. over his opponents.
so this is really unusual. down on the way he handled those. his ratings are in the low 30s. pennsylvania and wisconsin, michigan, those were the states he narrowly won to win the white house in 2016. he is behind, according to "the new york times" poll, by double digits in each of those states, losing in florida, losing in north carolina, losing in arizona. a state that democrats haven't won since 1996. and he's losing groups that he carried four years ago independence, sburian voters by a vied margin. college educated white voters
and senior citizens which voters over 65 went to trump in 2016. now you have to wonder whether these messages about covid are hurting him with seniors who are disproportionately vulnerable to the virus. keep on digging with the issue of masks. >> but you're a key political advis adviser, does the president have time to regroup and actually go ahead and win? >> absolutely does. four months ago, also didn't foresee the crises that we faced. always intervening events and the next four months, likely other intervening events and perhaps handle him in a way that helps him come back but he seems determined, wolf, to play base
politics on all of these issues. that is not working for them right now. the masks, on the monument and the handling of the police issue. but seems determined to, he thinks that's the prescription. you excite your base. and the base is enough to win. these polling numbers don't look that way. he's going to have to make a real change in direction from where he is right now. i think to come back. i don't think he can keep his win the election this way. not a threatening figure to lot of those figures that hope to excite and scare. if he's going to take biden down at this point. biden looks fairly secure.
>> biden has faced criticism he hasn't been visible enough through the crisis, for example, he targeted the president in a speech on thursday. do you think he needs to be more aggressive right now, my first start. >> it would be a tremendous boom to his candidacy and hard for biden, who was consigned to his house and wasn't able to go out and campaign. as it's turned out, all of this exposure for trump has been really problematic for him. biden, by being a relatively low has actually benefitted because of the spotlight has stayed on trump. now, eventually, biden had to be more active because the convention will happen. more of him. but we really don't know how much is going to be possible given the nature of covid-19 and
up around the country. a good position anymore. >> we do know there will be. thank you very much. a fact that minorities hit much harder by coronavirus than white people. according to to statistics, for the centers for disease control if you're non-hispanic black person, native american or alaska native, you have five times more likely to be hospitalized for covid-19 than a non-hispanic white person. hispanic and latino persons are roughly four times likelier to be hospitalized? ben jealous former president of the naacp and people for the american way, ben, thanks very much for joining us. it's not news as we all know that public health emergencies hit racial and ethnic minority
populations a lot harder. you're in baltimore. first of all, what are you seeing in communities of color where you are? >> people are devastated. devastated because we're dying at a crazy rate. >> ten times more likely to die than white peers. one died in trenton and one died on martha's vineyard. what they all had in common? black men between about 48 and 53. it's tough, and on top of that, massive joblessness and massive pain. i raised one million dollars to help folks in baltimore in this
crisis. food boxes, people are driving up clearly had jobs until a month or two ago. absolute crisis. >> it's a serious issue. and since mid march, more than 45 million americans have lost their jobs and formally officially applied for unemployment. disproportionately hispanics and blacks. what do you make of the trump administration's to invalidate the affordable care act, to put millions at more at risk of not being able to have insurance? >> we're in the middle of a pandemic. people across the country are dying, not just black and brown folks, let's be clear. we're at a higher rate but americans of all colors are dying and what does he do? he goes to the u.s. supreme
court and asks them to kill the affordable care act. flashback to 2016. we will, he had tension to back up. trying to kill the affordable care act. literally has nothing to replace it with. >> we're also seeing a social justice movement in america over the past several weeks. a lot of protesters part of a community at risk. how do you make historical impact right now while still protecting the most vulnerable in our communities? >> when you look at these sort of uprisings throughout u.s. history, what determines whether or not turns into a blaze of anger, typically tensions around joblessness, unemployment and
housing. in this moment, it's about health care as well. and we've got to absolutely deal with transforming public safety. but we must go deeper and deal with the fundamental inequalities in our society and what the president is trying to do in killing the aca will only add to that in ways that will devastate 23 million people in our country. >> yeah, very quickly, before i let you go, ben, on friday, as you know, the president signed an executive order to protect monuments including confederate monuments here in the united states and now the interior secretary threatening to withhold funds from state and local governments. >> we need to do what we did in maryland two years ago and just take them down. these statues stand for hatred.
they are failed campaign part of the early 20th century trying to frankly paint a new picture of what the south was all about. >> the movement failed. we stopped that. the only thing left from that failed movement is these monuments and got to come down. do it the right way. go to the city council or your governor and demand it, but they've got to come down. >> ben jealous, joining us. thank you so much for joining us as usual. >> thank you, sir. appreciate it. >> all right. our viewers here in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer in washington. this is a special edition of "the situation room." despite the focus on reopening economies and trying to return to some semblance of normal life, it's clear the coronavirus pandemic is not abating at all. globally, the number of confirmed