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Protest Spreads Against George Floyd's Death at Police Hands; New Cases Still Trending Upward in More Than a Dozen States; Brazil Hits Record High for New Coronavirus Cases; Study: Cancer Patients Given Hydroxychloroquine Combination for COVID-19 More Likely to Die; NYT: U.S. to Cancel Thousands of Chinese Grad Student Visas. Aired 5- 5:30a ET

Aired May 29, 2020 - 05:00   ET



ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. This is EARLY START. I'm Christine Romans.

LAURA JARRETT, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Laura Jarrett. It's Friday, May 29th. It's 5:00 a.m. here in New York.

And we begin with the breaking news. Violence and palpable outrage across the United States over the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police. Angry crowds have gathered in several cities. They are demanding justice and accountability.

In Minneapolis, protesters took to the streets for the third straight day. Some broke into the precinct near the scene of Floyd's death and set it on fire. Over 500 National Guard troops have been called in now.

Let's go straight to CNN's Omar Jimenez live for us in Minneapolis.

Omar, for those who might be waking up at this hour, walk us through accident happened overnight and what is happening right now?

OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, for starters, Laura, what is happening right now is this portion of Minneapolis is on fire. I mean, you look at this building. This building is less than a block away from the Minneapolis police third precinct, the one that was broken into and set on fire yesterday by protesters.

And now, this one here. Hours later, that fire is well-extinguished, but this one is burning out of control. There is a midsection of this building that just a few moments ago collapsed down, and you can see all the spectators that are here. There's one other person walked by saying it's unbelievable as they stand here and watch. No one seems to be demonstrating at this hour. They just seem to be standing back in awe. Now, I'll catch you up on what we have seen throughout the night. This

is not an unfamiliar sight over the course or throughout this city. And it's something that Mayor Jacob Frey has actually pushed against, saying that he is in support of the protesting but not in support of the damage and some of the violence that we are seeing.

We know the National Guard has been called in, 500 troops called into the area here. And as we -- just take a look at something here. But 500 National Guards members called into the area.

We saw looting start to spread to the St. Paul side of the Twin Cities, as opposed to just here in Minneapolis as well. Again, of course the images of the police precinct, they have put up fences to try and keep protesters out over the course of the afternoon. Well, protesters got past the fences and the fires began shortly after. Fireworks were fired into the precinct.

And there's one thing you may notice. The entire time we have been standing here with a fire of this magnitude, you don't see any firefighters. No fire trucks, no police officers, nothing. This neighborhood is completely gone to the protesters.

It's nothing short of anarchy right now. It's almost like something out of a movie. Everyone is in hoods and masks standing out here watching parts of their city burn. And, of course, all of this stems from the death of George Floyd.

Now, days ago at this point. But the pain is still very real for a lot of these people who are waiting to see if charges will be filed against these officers. We have heard from the U.S. Attorneys' office and we have heard from the county attorneys office, both of whom say they are making this investigation a priority but that they need time to get all the evidence together.

Well, we see how precious that time actually is. Every moment charges aren't filed the potential for situations like this seem to just happen every hour. And last night I think was probably the prime example. Given the time it is already this morning is likely a good indicator of where we are going to head today -- Laura, Christine.

JARRETT: Omar, I know you can only cover so much ground, but from what you've seen there, are you seeing any of the Minneapolis National Guard troops? You see all these fires just engulfing the city. Are you seeing any troops on the ground doing anything?

JIMENEZ: I am looking around right now. And I can tell you from this vantage point, and I can see -- and it just collapsed. There you go. The building just collapsed in the midsection as well. You hear cheers of people who are watching in awe.

But as we watch that, there are no National Guard members here. There is no form of first responders here on the ground in this part of Minneapolis. No police officers -- fireworks right next to us. No police officers, no firefighters, no national guardsmen.

So, whenever they've been called, they have not been called into this area, it appears. And when you look at this building, they have completely given up on this. This building will likely collapse.

And when you take a look -- as we just panned over just a little bit, you see how much on fire that building is.


You look over to the right, a liquor store was completely blown out and set on fire yesterday completely. And then you look over this way under the trees, that is the police precinct completely charred and burned out.

I won't be able to you take you all the way down the corner, but all those building on the corner charred. And the AutoZone completely burned. But the time this week is over, this entire neighborhood of Minneapolis near where George Floyd had some of his last moments is going to look like an absolute war zone.

JARRETT: All right. Omar, stay safe out there. We're going to come back to you soon, later this morning.

ROMANS: Unbelievable reporting. All right. Omar, thanks.

The anguish over George Floyd's death is sparking protests across the country.


ROMANS: Demonstrators in Phoenix chanting George Floyd's name and I can't breathe as they marched on the capitol. Later in the evening, rocks and water bottles were thrown at police, and the window of at least one Phoenix police cruiser was smashed.

JARRETT: Meanwhile, in Louisville, demonstrators used picnic tables for cover and confrontation with police there. Seven people reportedly shot during the protest.

The crowd was demanding justice for Breonna Taylor, the 26-year-old black emergency room technician was fatally shot inside her own apartment by Louisville police during a raid in March. Her mother says the no-knock raid should never have happened as the suspect was already in custody.

ROMANS: Tensions also running high in Denver. Hundreds of people marched in solidarity, protesting George Floyd's death, blocking streets near the capitol. At one point, a camera captured a demonstrator being hit by a car. Despite that, there were no immediate reports of severe injuries.

JARRETT: And over 40 people arrested in New York after clashing with police. Officers could be seen using batons on some protester. One broke his baton after striking someone so hard in Manhattan. One of the officers was injured by a thrown garbage can. Several were spat on.

ROMANS: President Trump weighing in on the crisis overnight and he was flagged again by Twitter. The president tweeted these thugs, all caps, are dishonoring the memory of George Floyd, and I won't let that happen. Just spoke to Governor Tim Walz and told him that the military is with him all the way. Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts. Thank you.

You can see Twitter then flagged the tweet for glorifying violence but leaving the option to view it because of what it calls the public's interesting.

JARRETT: The now former Minneapolis police officer seen on this video with his knee on George Floyd's neck still so hard to watch this evening. He had 18 complaints filed against him. The department has not provided the detail on the complaints against arresting officer Derek Chauvin. We know two of them ended in discipline in both cases, just a letter of reprimand.

Another officer, Tou Thao had six complaints, five closed without discipline, one still open when he was filed. No complaints were filed against the other two officers involved in this case. The county prosecutor says all four have invoked their Fifth Amendment right against self incrimination.

ROMANS: A note on CNN's special programming covering the George Floyd killing, why do black men keep dying in the hands of police? When will this end?

Join CNN's Don Lemon for an important conversation. "I Can't Breathe: Black Men Living and Dying in America", Sunday at 8:00 p.m. Eastern.

JARRETT: All right. We now turn to coronavirus. As the pace of reopening accelerates across the country, there is concern about new outbreaks particularly in the southern U.S. More than a dozen states are showing an increase in new COVID-19 cases over the last few weeks. Many of those trending upward are in the South.

We get more now from CNN's Jason Carroll.


JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Christine, Laura, the numbers in New York continue trending in the right direction. But the same cannot be said for the southeastern portion of the United States where some of the states there are seeing an uptick in numbers, especially if you're looking at places like Alabama and Mississippi and to Arkansas.

Heading out to the West Coast, take out California, some more troubling news there. California now rights it's largest single day increase of coronavirus cases since the beginning of the pandemic. California Department of Health now reports 2,617 new cases within the past 24 hours.

Again, back in New York, the numbers trending in the right direction. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo actually issuing an executive order saying going forward, any businesses can choose to deny entry to anyone not wearing a face mask -- Christine, Laura.



ROMANS: All right. Jason, thanks for that.

A coronavirus outbreak shuts down production at a Tyson Foods plant in Iowa.

CNN has reporters covering the latest developments coast to coast.



Tyson Foods says it's going to temporarily halt operations at its Storm Lake, Iowa, pork processing plant after state officials announced on Thursday that 555 employees there had tested positive for COVID-19. That's out of just over 2,500 who were tested.

Now, Tyson says that they do think they will reopen the plant next week after a deep cleaning. The county where that Storm Lake pork plant is located, Buena Vista, now has the highest per capita infection rate in Iowa.

RYAN NOBLES, CNN CORRESONDENT: I'm Ryan Nobles in Burke, Virginia, where the back and forth continues with the North Carolina governor's office and the Republican National Committee. The governor asking the RNC to send them a plan but said that the state is ready to host a safe convention. The RNC responded with a list of protocols that they put in place but put the onus back on the governor saying they need clarity and they need it soon so they can inform the folks that plan to attend the convention that it is happening. They said if they don't get it soon, they're going to have to look elsewhere.

DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Dan Simon in San Francisco.

Mayor London Breed issuing new guidance on when things can reopen here. But, first, the mayor saying that anyone outside needs to wear a mask if they're within 30 feet of others, and that includes runners. Meantime, as large swaths to the country continue to reopen, things like barber shops and in-store retail shopping, the mayor says it's going to be a few weeks before that happens in the city, June 15th for the stores and July 13th for hair salons and barber shops. She says it will be mid-August before we start seeing things like swimming pools and playgrounds begin to reopen in San Francisco.


The more than 400,000 students at the second largest state university system are going to have to wait just a little longer to find out how and if they will return to campus this fall. The leaders of the state university system of Florida released a blueprint Thursday that was short on guidelines for individual campuses and left most of the decisions up to individual schools. The guidelines laid out broad expectations for testing and mask wearing and contact tracing and social distancing, but left all the decisions about how to actually make that happen to the individual schools. Individual school plans are expected by the end of the month.


ROMANS: All right. Evan, thanks for that.

As businesses begin to reopen, White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow previewed part of what the Trump administration is looking for in a phase four or a half or phase five stimulus package.


LARRY KUDLOW, WHITE HOUSE ECONOMIC ADVISER: We're looking at a lot of options, again, perhaps rewarding people to go back to work. The president is very keen on a payroll tax holiday for the workforce, which would give them the net increase in their take home pay of about 7.6 percent. That's a big deal. We may provide something of a bonus to forego unemployment and go back into the labor force.


ROMANS: Earlier this week, Kudlow said the White House is open to Senator Ron Portman's get back to work bonus for workers. It would give unemployed workers an extra $450 a week in addition to their wages if they go back to work. That's temporary aid and would be in place of an extension of enhanced jobless benefits. Right now, people getting jobless benefits have an extra $600 a week.

Kudlow added the White House is also considering deductions for industries hit the hardest, including restaurants, air travel but didn't get into specifics what those deductions would be, Laura.

JARRETT: All right. Still ahead, Brazil's largest city, well, it's starting to reopen despite a record surge of new coronavirus cases. We're on the ground there.

Stay with us.



ROMANS: Coronavirus is spreading quickly across Latin America. Brazil is hitting a record high for new cases in the past 24 hours. The third straight day Brazil has had more than 1,000 COVID-19 deaths.

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


NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR: Laura, Christine, Brazil's numbers going from very bad to even worse, a record 26,417 cases reported in the last 24 hours, bringing the total to 438,000. I should remind you, that isn't probably the full picture, because of the requirements needed here in Brazil to get a coronavirus test that we've heard from so many doctors. The death toll now at 26,000.

This adding to the sense really of concern the head of a likely peak in the next week or two. Here in Rio de Janeiro, they said in the last 24 hours, they got to 4,800 dead. That surpasses even China's toll, official toll, reported toll in a country of 1.6 billion and perhaps reflects certainly the crisis may be what Rio is fearing in the weeks ahead.

But I'll say, Brazil's number not the entire picture, but certainly, the death toll sadly a reflection of what people are seeing simply happen in health care facilities around here.

Other troubling news as well, the IMF reporting a likely contraction of 5.3 percent in the Brazilian economy. At the same time, too, President Jair Bolsonaro, who's quite contrary relaxed, dismissive take on the violence calling it a little flu, many accused of being behind the spread of it here. His approval ratings slipped to some degree. A 5 percent rise in those who disapprove of the job that he is doing, and also too just as we head into the peak of Brazil's major cities, the biggest, wealthiest Sao Paulo, well, that appears now to be easing the lockdown potentially, recognizing perhaps the damage done to their economy for Monday.


If you present a plan to the government that can be approved, you may be allowed to reopen, some nonessential shop.

So, such a conflicting series of messages here in Brazil, as the numbers continue to horrify -- Christine, Laura.


JARRETT: All right. Thanks to Nick for that report on Brazil.

Cancer patients treated with a combination of hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin for COVID-19 are more likely to die than those who are not. That's according to "The Lancet" medical journal. The treatment has been frequently touted by President Trump.

CNN's Elizabeth Cohen has more.


ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: It's the drug combination that President Trump loves to tout -- hydroxychloroquine plus azithromycin, an antibiotic. Now, another study coming out showing not only does it help, it actually can hurt COVID patients.

This was a study of 928 cancer patients who also happened to be COVID. What they found those taking the drug combination were almost three times more likely to die and those taking the drug combination were six times more likely to either die, need a ventilator, get admitted to the ICU or require hospitalization. It's this kind of data that spurred the Food and Drug Administration and the National Institutes of Health to tell doctors don't prescribe this drug combination to people with COVID unless they're in a clinical trial and you're studying the combination.

We should note in the most recent study with the cancer patients, it was published in the medical journal "The Lancet", and very few -- only a few of the patients were in a clinical trial. So, yet more data showing this drug combination appears to be bad news for COVID patients -- Laura, Christine.


ROMANS: All right. Elizabeth, thank you for that.

The Sesame Street crew will return to CNN for a second town hall on coronavirus. And staying safe this summer, the ABCs of COVID-19 airs Saturday morning at 10:00 a.m. right here on CNN.

JARRETT: We can all use a little levity from that.

Just hours from now, President Trump is expected to speak with China. More on what his administration has in the works, coming up next.


ROMANS: So, President Trump has scheduled a news conference on China for later today. Sure to be high on the agenda, the crisis over Hong Kong. And "The New York Times" report that the White House plans to cancel visas for thousands of Chinese grad students and researchers.

For the latest, let's bring in CNN's Kristie Lu Stout live in Hong Kong.

And, Kristie, it wasn't long ago, these two countries were celebrating a big trade deal and the start of a sort of the new phase of the relationship. But it feels like the U.S.-China relationship right now is the worst we felt in months.

KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. It is definitely at a new low as this almost Cold War drags on.

You know, after the passage of this legislation, international pressure is building on Beijing. But the pressure point is Hong Kong. And from Hong Kong, all eyes are on the United States. In particular, the actions of the U.S. President Donald Trump and what he is going to do today after his Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made that declaration to Congress, saying that Hong Kong was no longer autonomous, a declaration that was more than just words. It opens up the door for significant U.S. action to take place. For example, the possibility of the U.S. revoking the special status of Hong Kong which would jeopardize billions of dollars of the trade between Hong Kong and the United States, and undermine the status of the city as an international financial center.

But also on the radar, all eyes on the U.K. The British government is considering a citizenship path for 300,000 Hong Kong residents unless Beijing scraps this controversial legislation. Here in Hong Kong earlier today, people across the territory saw this in the newspapers.

Every single newspaper across the territory in English and Chinese, with the exception of the pro-democracy "Apple Daily" ran this letter from the chief executive Carrie Lam. She's top leader here in Hong Kong, where she urged people in Hong Kong to support the legislation and she also condemned foreign interference.

Back to you.

ROMANS: Fascinating. All right, Kristie, thank you so much for that.

Twenty-eight minutes past the hour this Friday morning.

EARLY START continues right now with breaking news.

ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

JARRETT: Good morning. This is EARLY START. I'm Laura Jarrett.

ROMANS: And I'm Christine Romans. It is 5:28 in the East here in the United States.

We begin with breaking news. Violence and outrage spreading across the U.S. over the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police. Angry crowds have gathered in several cities. They demand justice and accountability.

In Minneapolis, protesters took to the streets for the third straight day. Overnight, some broke into the police precinct near the scene of Floyd's death and set it on fire. Over 500 National Guard troops have been called in.

Let's go right to CNN's Omar Jimenez live in Minneapolis.

And, you know, these national guard troops have been called in in part to back up fire departments so they can respond to fires like this. Are you seeing any attempt to sort of put those flames out?

JIMENEZ: At this point, Drew and I have been here for a little over an hour. We have seen no attempt to try to put this fire out. Yet we did see two fire department vehicles come by and check things out. You can see the flashing lights on the distance. But it was a quick drive- by. They were definitely not fire engines with the capacity to put this fire out.

This is the second night in a row where parts of Minneapolis are on fire. Of course this comes days after the death of George Floyd. And protests we have seen throughout this city that also as we are seeing devolved into rioting and looting, as pieces of this building continue to come down.