ICYMI: Top takeaways from this week's "Face the Nation": COVID spikes cause reopening concerns

6/28: Face the Nation
6/28: Face the Nation 47:05

This week on "Face the Nation", a record number of new coronavirus cases explodes in the U.S., while governors in multiple states hit pause on reopening and the White House downplays the dangerous spread.

Here's the big takeaways from Sunday's episode of "Face the Nation"

1. Pence suggests young people possible cause to COVID spikes

Pence: Young people contributing to COVID spi... 12:15
  • Vice President Mike Pence attributed the spike in coronavirus cases in more than a dozen states in part to young people who are failing to follow social distancing guidelines.  
  • What Pence said: "What is happening here is a combination of increased testing — we're able to test a great deal more Americans than we were able to several months ago — but it also may be indication that as we're opening our economy up, that younger Americans have been congregating in ways that may have disregarded the guidance that we gave on the federal level for all the phases of reopening," Pence said on "Face the Nation" on Sunday.
  • "One of the things that we've heard in Texas and Florida in particular is that nearly half of those who are testing positive are Americans under the age of 35," Pence said. "That's contributing to the fact that those that are requiring to be hospitalized, who are testing positive for coronavirus, is significantly lower than it was two months ago."
  • It's "inarguable," he added, that the increase in testing "has played a role in the new cases, particularly among younger Americans."
  • On Black Lives Matter: Pence also defended his refusal to say "black lives matter" amid the surge of momentum for police reforms following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis last month, saying he disagrees with the political agenda being pushed by leaders of the Black Lives Matter movement.  
  • "I really believe that all lives matter," Pence said on "Face the Nation" when pressed on why he won't say "black lives matter." "And that's where the heart of the American people lies."  
  • Why this matters: All 50 states have begun phased reopenings of their economies after governors ordered nonessential businesses to close and residents to remain at home through March and April. But some states across the South and West, like Texas and Florida, are now experiencing record surges in coronavirus infections. 
  • Pence was scheduled to attend campaign events in Arizona and Florida this week, but the events were postponed "out of an abundance of caution," the Trump campaign said. The vice president said the latest rise in coronavirus cases differs from what the country experienced early in the pandemic, when hospitals in New York City were overwhelmed with patients and governors rushed to secure ventilators for those admitted with COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

2. Inslee faults Trump for failing to push masks amid COVID resurgence

Inslee faults Trump for failing to push masks... 06:20
  • Washington Governor Jay Inslee faulted President Trump for failing to urge Americans to wear masks amid a surge in coronavirus infections in more than two dozen states, likening Mr. Trump's resistance to masks to Alabama governor and segregationist George Wallace's opposition to integration.  
  • What Inslee said: "Right now, we are in an urgent national mission, or should be, to mask up," Inslee, a Democrat, said on "Face the Nation." "And the fact is that Donald Trump is for masking up like George Wallace was for integration."
  • #MaskUp: Inslee also noted that universal masking is crucial to reopening states' economies, and added that "all of us should be on that bandwagon right now."  
  • Why this matters: More than 20 states are experiencing surges in coronavirus infections after loosening guidelines on businesses and residents put in place across March and April to mitigate the spread of the virus. As a result, some governors have begun halting their phased reopenings. 
  • In Washington state, which was one of the first epicenters of the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S., infections have begun to rise again. In response to the spike, a statewide order took effect Friday requiring individuals to wear masks in indoor public spaces.

3. Gottlieb: COVID deaths to rise amid "major epidemics" across the South

Gottlieb expects COVID deaths to rise again a... 06:00
  • Dr. Scott Gottlieb, the former head of the Food and Drug Administration, warned Sunday there will likely be an increase in the number of daily deaths from the coronavirus as states report spikes in the number of new infections.  
  • What Gottlieb said: "We're going to have many weeks ahead of us of continued growth in these cases, at least two or three weeks, even if we take aggressive actions right now, which across the board we're not doing," Gottlieb said on "Face the Nation."
  • "I know a lot of the discussion right now is that these cases are clustered in younger people, so deaths are actually coming down, but that's not likely to stay that way. This spread is likely to seep into more vulnerable communities and we're likely to see total daily deaths start to go back up again."  
  • Gottlieb noted there are "major epidemics" underway in the South and Southeast, with Florida, which reported a record-breaking 9,585 new cases Saturday, in the "worst shape" and tipping toward exponential growth in new coronavirus infections.   
  • On mandated masking: To mitigate the continued spread of the coronavirus, Gottlieb called for universal masking, as wearing a mask will protect individuals and fellow citizens they may come into contact with.
  • "I don't understand why we can't mandate it in states that have major epidemics underway, and there's a number that do right now," he said. "We mandate that people have to wear seat belts in cars, but we're not saying that they have to wear a mask in the setting of an epidemic."  
  • Why this matters: There have been more than 2.5 million confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the U.S., and the death toll is more than 125,000. While some states are reporting a decrease or leveling of infections, more than two dozen states are experiencing an increase in new cases. 

4. Scott condemns "terrible" video shared by Trump of supporter yelling "white power" 

Scott condemns "terrible" video showing Trump... 06:56
  • South Carolina Senator Tim Scott denounced a since-removed video shared by President Trump on Twitter on Sunday morning in which a man can be heard yelling "white power," with Scott calling the clip "terrible" and "inappropriate."
  • What Scott said: "The truth of the matter is when you hear things like that racist chant towards white power, we should have the same response with the same type of energy that we have for those folks we know have been disadvantaged for so long," Scott, a Republican, said on "Face the Nation" when asked about Mr. Trump's tweet. "We should stand up and say that's not right. And I'm saying the exact same thing now.
  • Scott said he watched the full video shared by the president, and called it "terrible."
  • NAACP'S Sherrilyn Ifill echoed the sentiment: "This is really not about the president taking it down. This is about the judgment of the president and putting it up. It's about what the president believes. And it's time for this country to really face that. I spent the first few years of this presidency with reporters asking me questions over and over again about whether, in fact, the president was racist and whether he support supported white supremacist ideologies. I'm through answering that question because the president answers it himself and he did this morning."
  • Why it matters: The video in question showed competing protesters yelling at one another in The Villages, a large retirement community in Florida. In the opening seconds of the video, a man driving a golf cart with a Trump 2020 sign and Trump flag is heard yelling "white power." 
  • The president retweeted the video and wrote, "thank you to the great people of The Villages. The Radical Left Do Nothing Democrats will Fall in the Fall. Corrupt Joe is shot. See you soon!!" The president's tweet comes against the backdrop of the nationwide conversation on policing and racial injustice that has exploded following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis last month. 
  • The tweet ultimately was deleted, and White House spokesman Judd Deere said in a statement Mr. Trump "did not hear the one statement made on the video." 


Missed Sunday's episode? Click here to watch the show. "Face the Nation" airs Sunday mornings on CBS. Click here for local listings.

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    Emily Tillett is the digital producer at "Face the Nation"