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140 People Possibly Exposed to Coronavirus at Missouri Salon; Trump Retweets Criticism of Joe Biden for Wearing Mask; Keeping Up One's Credit Important Amid COVID-19 Outbreak. Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired May 26, 2020 - 07:30   ET



TUCHMAN: -- CNN, Gulf Shores, Alabama.


ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Our thanks to Gary for that.

All right, I'm sure by now many of you are wishing, along with John Berman, that you could go to a hair salon and get a haircut. But listen to this next story. Two hairstylists in Missouri tested positive for coronavirus, and though they did wear masks at work, they ended up exposing 140 clients to the virus.

With us now is one of those customers, Erik Chase.

Good morning, Erik.


CAMEROTA: So how did you find out -- as I understand it, let me start here, you got your haircut on May 17th, and then when and how did you find out that you were exposed to the virus?

CHASE: I was notified on May 23rd about 2:00 from the Green County Health Department.

CAMEROTA: And what did they tell you in that phone call?

CHASE: Well, due to HIPAA, they didn't release a lot of information. They just said that on May 17th, I had been exposed to coronavirus and I was mandated to a self-quarantine stay-at-home order until May 31st.

CAMEROTA: Why didn't they tell you where you were exposed? Why the -- I mean, why did they leave that out?

CHASE: I'm not sure exactly other than probably to protect -- for privacy reasons, to protect the individuals that tested positive or to reduce the amount of frenzy and panic that may result from public announcement of where someone may have contacted corona.

CAMEROTA: So what was your reaction when you got that phone call? How did you feel?

CHASE: Under a normal week, probably not so good, but I've dealt with some family emergencies this week and it was kind of like the last bit of bad news to get on a week that was already tumultuous and so my first thoughts were anger.

You know, just a normal reaction. And then I had grief and then it was guilt. And then after that, it was, OK, I need to go into proactive mode and go down my list of people that I've come in contact with and notify them that I had been exposed to the coronavirus.

CAMEROTA: Yes, anger, grief, and guilt. I mean, that's -- those are some of the stages of, you know, shocking news. And I'm sorry that you've had a terrible week. Is your -- are members of your family sick?

CHASE: Well, my mom is -- she's in the hospital right now and so I'm her primary point of contact, so the ability to reach out to her and see how she's doing, like through that human connection, I'm not able to do because I'm on quarantine now. I have a fur baby, Macy, my little cat. She -- I had to take her to the vet four times in the past week for some medical emergencies that she had, and keep in mind, it was six days before I even knew that I had been exposed to it.

So even with my limited interactions with people and practicing social distancing measures, that's a lot of time, especially when you're doing your essential, like everyday life circumstances, if you will, to be out and about, not knowing that you had been exposed.

CAMEROTA: It sure is. I mean, and I think that you've just done a great job of explaining to us how this has complicated your life. You know, all you wanted was a haircut and now you're not able to care for your mother in the way that you'd like. You're not able to take care of your pet the way that you'd like. And so what will self-quarantine mean to you?

CHASE: Well, I'm catching up on a lot of like binge-worthy television.


CHASE: So I guess that's a silver lining. Getting some housework done and, you know, so trying to keep my mind busy, because, you know, I still haven't had my test yet for whether or not I'm positive or not. And --

CAMEROTA: When are you getting that test, Erik?

CHASE: I'm supposed to get either later this afternoon or possibly tomorrow. I know they sent -- the Green County Health sent the referral out this morning and so I'm going to, you know, go and get the testing just to make sure I don't have it.


CAMEROTA: Yes. But how do you feel? I mean, do you feel like you could be positive? CHASE: Well, you know, one of the requirements is that I have to take

my temperature twice a day and so far it's been normal. This morning it was 98.3. So I'm not showing -- as of right now, I'm asymptomatic. I'm not showing any of the symptoms. But with me being high risk already as a diabetic and having some other immune deficiencies, it does concern me because now you have that sense of, if I get a cough or I sneeze or, you know, I'm a little cold, do I have it?

CAMEROTA: Yes. I understand. I mean, even people without underlying conditions, anytime you cough, you know, it obviously gets your attention.

Well, Erik, please let us know how the test goes and we really appreciate you sharing your story and we're sorry that you're having a hard week and that this is complicating it, but we will stay in touch with you.

CHASE: Well, I appreciate it. And I just wanted to say real shortly, too, that, you know, I don't want -- I've heard that there's been some like harassing calls and, you know, death threats to the organization. I definitely don't want any of that to happen. And I guess you can just chalk it up, as I literally had a bad hair day.


CAMEROTA: That was worth the extra time, Erik. Thank you for that punch line that you send us out on. We really appreciate your positive attitude through all of this.

Erik, take care of yourself. We will check back with you.

CHASE: Thanks for having me. You guys have a great day.

CAMEROTA: You too.

OK, now to this developing story, the FBI is joining a massive manhunt for a college student accused of two murders. We have the details in a live report, next.



JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: So whole minutes ago, Gary Tuchman filed a report from an Alabama beach where he found at least one sunbather who told him the president isn't wearing a mask, so why should I? So what does that tell us?

Joining me now is David Frum, staff writer for the "Atlantic" and author of "Trumpocalypse: Restoring American Democracy." In stores now.

David, great to have you on. Wish we could see you in person, but this is the way things are right now. Interesting to hear that sunbather at that Alabama beach not wearing a mask, not social distancing, saying, hey, the president is not doing it, why should I? This gets to some of the themes that are in your book. What does that tell you?

DAVID FRUM, STAFF WRITER, THE ATLANTIC: Well, "Trumpocalypse," it portends to answer four questions. And the example of that person you cited is an example of the four. The first question is how much harm did President Trump do during his presidency to date? To the American institution, to the American economy, to the American standing in the world?

Second, how much harm could he do in the time remaining to him, whatever that time is? And especially if there's -- if he loses and there's a transition, how much harm could he do, again, the to America's standing in the world, to American democracy?

If the Trump presidency is coming to an end, how do we safeguard the United States so such a thing cannot be done to us again? And finally, and this goes to the question that you asked about that man who won't wear the mask, given that you've got a third of the country to prove that it was willing to follow Donald Trump, even to its own harm, certainly to the harm of American institutions, how do you build a working democracy around a society where a third of the country doesn't fully believe in the idea?

BERMAN: You talk a lot about norms in your book. The president has shattered norms. That's just a statement of fact. He has clearly shattered norms. If that is important to you, or one, how does that get put together again, even in a post-Trump presidency?

FRUM: Well, "Trumpocracy" -- sorry, "Trumpocalypse." "Trumpocracy" is the first book I wrote two years ago. "Trumpocalypse," that's the second half of the book with a series of feasible, practical, incremental ideas, nothing that requires a constitutional amendment or anything like that, to put the country back on a footing. Some of the things that used to be norms are going to have to become laws.

I mean, we used to count on the president not to try to run a private business while being president. Not to send bills to the Treasury. There wasn't a law against many of those things because who would do it? Somebody did it. So, one of the ways we are going to remember Donald Trump is by passing a bunch of laws to make sure no one can ever pull a stunt like this again.

BERMAN: Some of the things he's been doing just over the last three days, you know, horrific insults against Joe Scarborough, things that aren't too scurrilous, awful things about people. A president has never really done that before. What's to keep future presidents from doing that?

FRUM: Well, one reason the president does these things is because the president of the United States enjoys a unique privilege against defamation lawsuits. You know, the president can say things about you on any -- except in the most extreme case, you cannot sue the president. So that's a special privilege that the president gets, that he's been entrusted with.

The thing I worry about the most for the future is how do we restore America's standing in the world. A lot of the things that have happened at home can be fixed with the reforms I've proposed. But to get America's friends to trust the United States again after this episode, to rebuild a global community, it's going to take more than the next president going on a worldwide tour, swearing at friends, we promise you, we will never mix tequila and Quaaludes ever again.

BERMAN: Listening to you now and also reading through the book, I get a sense that there is some exhaustion or fatigue with you. You're just getting worn down, facing these questions.

FRUM: Right.


BERMAN: And I'm wondering if you thought how that manifests itself with a wider population and what it means going forward.

FRUM: I think we all feel that way. I've been on this beat through the election from 2015 until now. And as you said, I just can't stand to think about it for very much longer. But I keep comparing it, when we care for our country, it's like a parent watching over a sick child. Of course you get weary, but it's your child, so you can't stop.

BERMAN: You talked about the 30 percent who will follow the president's lead and not wear masks. You know, you've been in this game for a long time, in politics for a long time, there's nothing that's a game about coronavirus, this pandemic, but when you have the president retweeting a picture of Joe Biden wearing a mask with Brit Hume suggesting somehow that it's the wrong message to send, yet 67 percent of Americans or 64 percent, I should say, of Americans say they support laws requiring all Americans to wear masks, I'm not sure why the president thinks it's good politics to show a picture of the vice president doing something that's popular? What does that tell us about his mindset and where politics are right now?

FRUM: The United States is not a country in which all people count equal. It is not a country in which all voters count equal. Not only institutions like the U.S. Senate, which are baked into the Constitution, but in all kinds of ways, the kinds of people that support Trump are treated as more valuable citizens, more first class citizens, than the kinds of people who tend to oppose President Trump.

Some of that is a matter of geography. Voters in California are treated as less important than voters in smaller swing states. Some of it is a matter of race. Some of it is a matter of income. And one of the things I try to do is "Trumpocalypse" is to say, you know, a talking point of the Trump defenders is hey, this is a republic, not a democracy. A lot of Americans think, I thought it was a democracy, and if it's not a democracy, it should be a democracy.

So how do we through the civil rights era, through Watergate, we seem to be moving toward a more democratic American society. We've been regressing in the 21st century. How do we rediscover that? I talk in the book about new kinds of voting rights laws. I talk about how do you rebalance state legislatures so they're less grotesquely unfair.

I talk about making the Department of Justice more independent of the president. And I talk about addressing some of the social rifts, some of the economic challenges in American society, so that more of us feel we have a stake together. And so that we will not follow minorities as they try to oppress majorities, which is what's happened with Trump.

BERMAN: David Frum, the book is "Trumpocalypse," it's a really interesting read. We appreciate being with you -- you being with us, I should say, this morning. Thanks very much, David.

All right, CNN will speak to former vice president Joe Biden today. You can watch Dana Bash interview the former vice president at 5:00 p.m. Eastern in "THE SITUATION ROOM."

The coronavirus credit crunch. We get your financial questions answered, next.



CAMEROTA: Developing this morning, a multistate manhunt is expanding for a University of Connecticut student suspected of killing two people and kidnapping another. This suspect was last seen in East Strasburg, Pennsylvania. He was walking along the train tracks. Police say he should be considered armed and dangerous.

The rampage began Friday morning in Wilmington, Connecticut. He is suspected of murdering a 62-year-old man and injuring another person. Police then say he carried out a home invasion on Sunday, stealing guns and escaping in the homeowner's car to Derby, Connecticut, where he's believed to have murdered a 23-year-old man and kidnapped his girlfriend. She was later found in New Jersey. The suspect's family is now pleading for his surrender.


MICHAEL DOLAN, FAMILY ATTORNEY: Peter, if you're listening, you are loved, your parents, your sisters, your entire family loves you. Nobody wants any harm to come to you. It is time to let the healing process begin. It is time to surrender, so, Peter, from your parents, we love you. Please turn yourself in.


CAMEROTA: Connecticut Police, state police are urging people to call 911 if they spot him. But they're warning the suspect may be monitoring law enforcement efforts on social media platforms and he could be dangerous.

BERMAN: All right, we will keep our eye on that story all morning long. In the meantime, the coronavirus pandemic could have a major impact on your credit score.

Joining us now is Jean Chatzky. She's a personal finance journalist and the CEO of Jean, great to have you here. Look, you always have to watch your

credit score now. But it might be particularly important during this pandemic. So let me give you some questions from our viewers here. Number one, why is trying to keep your credit score so important right now?

JEAN CHATZKY, CEO, HERMONEY.COM: Credit is one of those interesting things that you need to go on the offensive about. When you're trying to get additional credit, it doesn't work if you've lost a job or you've gotten yourself into a difficult situation, you're better off just protecting it up front. And right now we've seen a lot of scam artists in the water. So we want to make sure that we are making sure that they are taking care of handling your situation well.

BERMAN: One of the things we're seeing is that some consumers are having their credit limits slashed. Why is that?

CHATZKY: Yes. A survey from the folks at Compare Cards found that about 25 percent of people are seeing their credit limits slashed. And it's because the credit card companies are worried that you're not going to have the money to prioritize their bills. If this should happen to you, pick up the phone, call the card company, ask them to reinstate the credit that they took away from you.

But it's also happening most on cards that we are seeing people are not using. So if you've got a card that has just been sitting in a drawer, but you want to maintain that credit, just put one bill on it a month, put a subscription on it, pay that automatically, and then it's taken care of.


BERMAN: Can you cancel that card if you don't ever use it?

CHATZKY: You can, but you shouldn't from the purpose of your credit score. Having credit that you're not using actually keeps your score up. So it's not something that you want to do, particularly right now when the card companies are shutting down limits on people who haven't asked for that.

BERMAN: All right. That's interesting. I didn't know that. Is credit drying up in other ways?

CHATZKY: Yes, we're seeing companies stopping expecting applications for home equity lines of credit or HELOCs. Wells and JPMorgan have stopped taking those applications. Bank of America is making those loans harder to get. If you need to get money out of your home, your best move is going to be to try a different lender or to refinance your mortgage and pull cash out that way. You may be able to save yourself a little bit of money as well if you've got a mortgage rate over 4 percent because rates have fallen.

BERMAN: Some creditors and cards are allowing some kind of relief now if you can't pay. If you take advantage of this, not making a payment right now, what will show up on your report? CHATZKY: Well, if you've come to an agreement with your creditor, then

nothing should show on your report. But you've got to call the creditor and say, I'm looking for this kind of relief, come to an agreement and then you have to go through the process of checking your credit report on a regular basis.

We saw with the student lender, and student loans that are federally backed have relief in the CARES Act. A big student lender made an error in how it was reporting to the credit bureaus and about five million credit reports were hit.

So go to, start checking your report on a regular basis. You can now check your reports for free every single week if you want to, and personally I think a good preemptive move to make, if you're not going to be out in the market for credit is to just freeze your credit. It's a great move to protect yourself against identity theft.

We've got a step-by-step guide on how to do it at, but it's really easy, you just get in touch with the credit bureaus, you tell them that you want to freeze online or on the phone, and then you don't have to realize -- you don't have to worry about somebody else taking out credit in your name.

BERMAN: That's interesting. And also, when you say you check your credit score regularly, every week, that's different. You didn't used to be able to do that for free, right?

CHATZKY: Well, that's right. And I'm not talking about your credit score. I'm actually talking about your credit report.


CHATZKY: They're different. Your credit score is a numeric based on the information in your credit report. But is a Web site where all consumers can access their credit reports on a regular basis for free. Again, weekly.

You used to only be able to get one free report a year from each of the three major credit bureaus, Experian, Equifax and Transunion. But now actually you can get it every single week if you want to. Personally I think that's a little bit of overkill, but, you know, look at it once a month, that's a good move to make.

BERMAN: All right, Jean Chatzky, we appreciate this advice. It's terrific to have this discussion so people know how to proceed going forward. Times are challenging to say the least.

CHATZKY: No question. Thanks for having me.

BERMAN: All right. NEW DAY continues right now.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We cannot make assumptions. We may get a second peak in this way. UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Crowds apparent as a cooped up country reopens.

Data shows more states are heading in the wrong direction.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Anyone who is involved this weekend in any sort of crowded event should just self-quarantine.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Gives me pause to think about what we may see next week or two when people get back to their communities from vacation down in the Gulf Coast.

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: This is now the 10th team that's in human clinical trials trying out their experimental COVID vaccines.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The world basically is going to have to vaccinate its way out of this pandemic. And I think the standard way of doing it is just too slow.


ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY, with Alisyn Camerota and John Berman.

BERMAN: All right. Welcome to our viewers in the United States and all around the world. This is NEW DAY. It's Tuesday, May 26th, it is 8:00 in the East.

And the city that suffered the first real coronavirus outbreak on the East Coast, the original hotspot here begins to phase reopening this morning after more than two months under stay-at-home orders.

Nationwide, though, there are some new worries. 17 states are seeing an increase in new cases, with five of them up 50 percent or more. 13 states are holding steady. 20 states now experiencing a decline.

It will be weeks until we know whether relaxed restrictions for the Memorial Day weekend will cause cases to spike. Some health officials in parts of Missouri are now calling on everyone who attended this packed pool party in the Ozarks to self-quarantine.