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Hong Kong's Controversial Anthem Bill Sparks New Protests; Health Officials Say Latin America Is Now The Epicenter Of Coronavirus Pandemic; SpaceX To Launch Two Astronauts Into Orbit Today. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired May 27, 2020 - 05:30   ET




ED LAVANDERA, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on camera): -- they're seeing is that so far, the positive infection rate and the hospitalization rates after all these coronavirus tests remain relatively low -- Christine and Laura.


LAURA JARRETT, CNN ANCHOR: All right, Ed Lavandera. Thanks so much.

Some new guidance this morning from the CDC for staying safe while using public transit. The agency recommends you limit touching surfaces like turnstiles and ticket machines, and travel during non- peak hours. Also avoid crowded spaces, skip a row of seats between yourself and other passengers if you can, and enter and exit buses through rear-entry doors.


Mexico's government moving forward with plans for a phased reopening of its economy. It comes as health officials report a record daily spike in coronavirus cases and deaths in that country.

CNN's Matt Rivers is in Mexico City with the latest.


MATT RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Christine and Laura, we are, without question, in the worst days of this outbreak here in Mexico and the new data that's coming from the Mexican government only proves that point.

It was Tuesday evening that Mexican health officials announced the largest single-day increases in both newly-confirmed cases and newly- confirmed deaths. Health officials announcing nearly 3,500 new cases as well as an additional 501 deaths. And to put that into context for you that means that Mexico has recorded about half of the total deaths that it is attributing to this outbreak in just the last 13 days. Meanwhile, I had a conversation with a World Health Organization

official who says that Latin America is swiftly becoming, if it isn't already, the next global epicenter for this outbreak. And given what we have been seeing as of late in Mexico; given what we've been seeing in Peru; given what we've been seeing in Brazil, the worst-hit country in Latin America; and given all those countries and all those spikes in cases and the spikes in deaths, it's not hard to see exactly what that World Health Organization official was talking about -- Christine, Laura.


ROMANS: All right, Matt Rivers. Thanks for that.

Hertz paid out millions of dollars in bonuses to its executives just days before it filed for bankruptcy and a month after it started laying off thousands of workers. The rental car company paid $16.2 million to top executives on May 19th. It filed for bankruptcy three days later.

JCPenney also paid million-dollar bonuses to its top four executives before filing for bankruptcy, including a $4.5 million bonus to its CEO.

Both companies said the big paydays are designed to keep top talent on board. Retention bonuses are typical when you go through bankruptcy but the optics just not good right now, especially during the coronavirus recession.

Hertz has laid off nearly half of its staff since April 14th and more losses are probably coming. Hertz said last week it plans to close an undisclosed number of locations away from airports.

JARRETT: Well, the National Hockey League is unveiling its plans for a return to the ice. Andy Scholes has more in this morning's Bleacher Report. Hi, Andy.


You know, there's still a lot of details to be worked out but one thing is for sure, we are going to have hockey this summer.

So, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, he outlined the return to play plan yesterday. He says the regular season is over and 24 of the 31 teams will return to the ice and go straight to the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Bettman did not say when the games will begin but he did announce that the earliest training camps would open would be July first.

The plan is to host games in two yet to be named hub cities without fans in the stands.


GARY BETTMAN, COMMISSIONER, NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE: As we seek some return to normalcy this is an important day, particularly for NHL fans. I know I join sports fans everywhere when we say we cannot wait for our players to hit the ice again.


SCHOLES: All right, so the NHL now has a plan.

As for the NFL, the plan has never changed. Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross believes the season will start on time.


STEPHEN ROSS, OWNER, MIAMI DOLPHINS: I think there's definitely going to be a football season this year. The real question is will there be fans in the stadiums? I think right now, today, we're planning on having fans in the stadiums. But I think the NFL is looking and is very flexible so that we will be able to start on time and really bring that entertainment that's really so needed for all of us in this country.


SCHOLES: As for the NBA, there are still a number of ideas on the table, including a World Cup-style playoff. So according to multiple reports, the idea was sent to general managers around the league for feedback.

Here's how it would look. Based on records, the top 20 teams will be put into five tiers and then divided up evenly into groups. The teams would then play each other twice. Then the top two teams in each group would advance to an eight-team second round in the playoffs where they would then start playing the typical best of seven rounds -- best of seven-game series.

I'll tell you what, Laura, I'm in for it, you know? You know, these are different times so why not have a completely different format and try it out for a year because it might get great success. It's something they might want to do going forward.


JARRETT: I think fans would be into it. Anything to have some sports back this summer, I think folks will take it.

SCHOLES: Yes, that's for sure.

JARRETT: All right. Thanks so much, Andy. Good to see you.

SCHOLES: All right.

JARRETT: All right.

New protests just moments ago breaking out in Hong Kong where insulting China's national anthem could soon become a criminal offense. We'll go to our CNN crew right there in the thick of it, next.


JARRETT: Welcome back.

A national anthem bill is sparking new protests in Hong Kong. The controversial legislation would make insulting China's national anthem a criminal offense.

Let's go live to CNN's Anna Coren in Hong Kong. What are you see there on the ground, Anna?

ANNA COREN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Laura, we've been covering the protests all day. It started outside the Legislative Council building and then moved across the city, but protesters really never had a chance to gain the traction and momentum that we saw last year.

Police have shown zero tolerance, shutting down any idea of a protest. People chanting slogans, somebody playing the Glory to Hong Kong anthem. Police are racing in and detaining them and to date, they've arrested over 300 people.

We're in Causeway Bay, one of the busiest shopping districts here in Hong Kong, and we were filming as one of the people were being arrested. And we got hit with pepper spray -- our crew did. It was an awful sensation. I've been caught up in tear gas but this was quite painful.

But this is something that protesters have been hit with all day. As I said, police showing zero tolerance to any sort of demonstration.

You talk about that national anthem bill that is being debated, and it will be a crime to mock or insult the national anthem.

But the bigger issue here -- why people are taking to the streets -- is because of that national security law that would ban subversion, sedition, foreign interference. That is what people are concerned about -- that this means the end of one country, two systems here in Hong Kong.

People have always been able to express themselves, to demonstrate freely. Now that is not being tolerated at all. People are being arrested for unlawful assembly.

And speaking to Joshua Wong, a high-profile activist here in Hong Kong, he said that Hong Kong is now turning into a police state, Laura.

JARRETT: All right, Anna, stay safe. Thank you for being there for us. We'll talk to you soon.

ROMANS: All right.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is facing a backlash this morning after extending social distancing measures through the end of June. Bus drivers are particularly upset about E.U. travel restrictions. They say it's killing the tour bus industry and hundreds of thousands of jobs are on the line.

Let's go live to Berlin and bring in Frederik Pleitgen, where those bus drivers are clearly signaling their unhappiness.

(Horns Honking)

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, definitely, Christine -- generally, signaling their unhappiness. And I'm also noticing just how loud bus horns actually are. There's about 600 buses that are protesting here in Berlin, part of a nationwide protest here in Germany -- as we can really see, Christine, that Angela Merkel, right now, is almost a victim of her own success.

One of the things that we've been talking about in the past is that Germany has been very successful at fighting the coronavirus. Obviously, the death toll here in this country is still very low. And now, there's been industries that are saying it's time to bring business back because business is on the brink of collapsing completely.

The tour bus industry and, really, the entire European travel industry, is obviously in a lot of problems. They're saying that for tour bus operators alone, about 220,000 jobs are on the line -- of course, many, many more in all of Europe. And they say that the borders here in Europe need to open very quickly and they need to be able to do their tours again.

One of the interesting things, Christine, is that Angela Merkel's cabinet was supposed to decide today whether or not borders for Germany could be opened about June 15th. It's not clear whether or not that decision is actually going to be made as some of that unity that you've seen within the German government seems to be crumbling a little bit.

There are some German states that say they want to open more quickly to allow more businesses to come back to life. There's other German states that do still have a lot of coronavirus cases that are saying we need to do this a lot more slowly.

So certainly, some political backlash for Angela Merkel. A difficult situation for her. And as you can see, pretty angry tour bus operators as well.

ROMANS: Fascinating. All right, Fred -- Fred, you get the award for poise under honking. That was very well done. Thank you.


ROMANS: All right.

Renowned tenor Andrea Bocelli revealing he was diagnosed with coronavirus but has made a swift and full recovery.


ANDREA BOCELLI, TENOR: (Singing at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland).


ROMANS: Bocelli says in a Facebook post he and members of his family contracted Covid-19 earlier this year and recovered fully by the end of March. He says he has donated blood to help researchers find a cure for Covid.

Bocelli's Easter Sunday "Music for Hope" concert has had more than 40 million views to date on YouTube. Wow, what a voice.

JARRETT: Wow. So glad that he and his family are doing well now.


Still ahead, just hours from now, the final countdown for the first manned space flight from the U.S. in almost a decade.


JARRETT: Latin America now surpassing the U.S. and Europe in the daily number of reported Covid-19 infections. Global health officials say the Americas have become the epicenter of the Covid pandemic and they're especially worried about Brazil where the number of new cases keeps climbing.

CNN's Nick Paton Walsh has the latest from Rio de Janeiro.


NICK PATON WALSH, INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR (on camera): Laura, Christine, at Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro you would normally expect to see the sands over here significantly more packed than they are, but people are still running up and down the concourses here.

There is a mandatory face mask order. I think about two-thirds of people are strictly obeying that. There is more activity in the shops here.


And this is one of the worst impacted cities in Brazil as the numbers begin to climb. Four thousand dead here, 40,000 cases here, and Brazil's cases now 374,000. That isn't the whole picture because they're certainly not testing as much as the only country with more than the United States.

Here, Rio, though, is involved, too, in the political turmoil. The governor here, Wilson Witzel -- well, one of his premises was, in fact, searched by federal police saying that he was potentially involved in corruption to do with the allocation of field hospital contracts to fight the coronavirus. He's not named in the probe.

But his advocates say this is all part of the political sparring between those like the governors of Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, and the mayor of Manaus, where we were, who were advocating lockdown measures, face masks, digging graves if they have to, like we saw in Manaus.

And the federal government led by President Jair Bolsonaro -- who, himself, called this a little flu -- has focused, really, on boosting the economy and is deeply dismissive of the measures taken by some of his opponents on a local level.

But the peak here is potentially a week to two weeks away. And in Rio, I have to say, there are signs of change in life but it's still fairly busy here on the seafront -- Laura, Christine.


ROMANS: All right, Nick. Thank you for that.

Let's get a check on CNN Business this Wednesday morning. Taking a look at markets around the world, mixed -- although you can see gains again this morning in European shares.

And on Wall Street there's some optimism here -- some comments from JPMorgan chief Jamie Dimon. He says there's pretty good odds for a quick recovery this year.

Futures are up sharply again this morning after a big day yesterday. Look, against the backdrop of trillions of dollars in stimulus, stocks rallied, boosted by optimism about the reopening of the economy and coronavirus vaccine developments.

The Dow closed up 530 points. The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq also finished higher. Look at this. The Nasdaq is now up for the year -- up four percent.

And take a look at the so-called FAANG stocks -- Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix, and Google. Great performances there. Deep-pocketed tech companies are thriving in what is otherwise a coronavirus recession.

Uber and Lyft drivers are suing New York State for unemployment benefits they say they're owed. Drivers claim the state has refused to pay or delayed the payment of unemployment benefits for two months.

Drivers for rideshare apps are considered employees as opposed to independent contractors, and the contractors have to prove their earnings and employment status. Some drivers claim they were told they would receive no benefits even though they submitted their earnings to the Department of Labor.

A spokesman for Gov. Andrew Cuomo says the administration is working to make sure it has the necessary information to get those benefits as quickly as possible.

Apple is reopening 100 more of its stores in the U.S. week but customers won't be able to go inside of them just yet. Most of the stores will only offer curbside or storefront services. Around 40 stores will allow walk-in customers. Apple will require temperature checks and masks for employees and customers. And even as some tech companies are telling employees they'll be able

to work from home for the long-run, Google does plan to reopen some of its offices in July. Google did not specify which offices will reopen but said each will be limited to about 10 percent capacity at first with plans to grow by 30 percent by September.

But, Laura, so many companies are saying hey, if you want to work from home and it's working, we can reorder the workplace to allow that.

JARRETT: Yes, some permanently, right?


JARRETT: All right, Christine, it's all systems go for the SpaceX Crew Dragon. The historic flight launches later this afternoon from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida and it will mark the first time -- the first time a commercial company has carried humans into orbit.

SpaceX is sending two NASA astronauts on a mission to the International Space Station. It will also be the first manned space flight in the U.S. in nearly a decade since the space shuttle program ended in 2011.

We wish them the best. It's very cool.

ROMANS: It is cool and it's exciting to see the space race happening here, you know? Very cool.

JARRETT: Definitely.

ROMANS: All right, thank you for joining us, everybody. I'm Christine Romans.

JARRETT: I'm Laura Jarrett. "NEW DAY" is next.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The trajectory of what's going to happen with, as I mentioned each state, is really very much in the hands of the people in those states.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Please wear the masks. The masks are absolutely critical.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The CDC is saying that those antibody tests are wrong maybe half of the time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We still have a long way of going to get where we need to be.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The man in the video pleading for his life.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This was not a sudden mistake or a procedure gone bad. This was over a period of time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We can no longer just stand idly by and think it's going to go away because it's not.


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

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and all around the world. This is NEW DAY. It is Wednesday, May 27th, 6:00 here in New York.

I'm told it's a very foggy sunrise and the skyline is shrouded in fog. Look at that, John.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Wow, wow. I think there's something mystical that's about to happen today as I gaze into your eyes, and at the fog over -- look at that -- the fog over New York City.

CAMEROTA: OK, but our message is crystal clear this morning on NEW DAY. We won't let that fog impact our show because we start with our lead story and that is that President Trump continues.