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Protests, Coronavirus Crisis Affecting U.S.; Experts Raise Concerns as More U.S. States Reopen; Experts Say Opening Too Soon, Low testing Put U.S. at Risk; George Floyd's Brother Urges Police Reform; Trump Adviser Kudlow Says No Systemic Racism in U.S.; U.S. Fed Predicts Sluggish Economic Recovery; Dow Futures Down More than 500 Points. Aired 4-4:30a ET

Aired June 11, 2020 - 04:00   ET





DR. ASHISH JHA, DIRECTOR, HARVARD GLOBAL HEALTH INSTITUTE: Right now we have between 800 and 1,000 people dying every single day in America.


JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: And more than 2 million cases of the coronavirus have now been confirmed in the United States and the pandemic death toll predicted to double by September.

And the other pandemic facing this country, racism. What began as a demand for justice for man has grown into a moment of national reckoning. White America looking at the past like never before. And through all of this an American President isolated in a White House behind barricades and security fences, enflaming anger and outrage via twitter.

Hello and welcome to our viewers here in the United States and around the world. I'm John Vause. CNN NEWSROOM starts right now.

Within the past few hours the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in the U.S. passed 2 million by far the highest number in the world. Almost more than the next five countries combined. Infections are still on the rise in 19 states. Many restarted their economies at the urging of the President before their number of confirmed cases, confirmed cases were consistently coming down. A dozen states are also seeing an increase in hospital admissions as well.

While the U.S. continues to struggle with the coronavirus, it is seeing a seismic shift in race relations.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do you want? CROWD: Justice.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When do you want it?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do you want?

CROWD: Justice.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When do you want it?



VAUSE: Protests which began more than two weeks ago over the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man in police custody have now escalated and spread into a national movement fighting what some have described as a pandemic of racism. We'll have much more on that in a moment including emotional testimony from Floyd's brother's on Capitol Hill.

A senior medical expert warns that if cases continue increase at the current rate by September there may be another 100,000 virus deaths in the U.S. That would be almost double where the country stands right now. Some health care facilities already are close to capacity with no vaccine in site. CNN's Erica Hill has details.


ERICA HILL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Sobering new data about coronavirus related hospitalizations, up in at least a dozen states since Memorial Day weekend.

DR. MANDY COHEN, NORTH CAROLINA HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES SECRETARY: It was our highest day yet of hospitalizations. I continue to be concerned.

HILL: In Arizona, 79 percent of the state's ICU beds are currently in use.


The Director of Health Services asking hospitals to activate their emergency plans and reduce or suspend elective surgeries. The overall trends, alarming health officials.

RICHARD BESSER, PRESIDENT AND CEO, ROBERT WOOD JOHNSON FOUNDATION: What concerns me is do we have the systems in place

to ensure that a case in a community doesn't lead to a cluster, it doesn't lead to an outbreak, it doesn't lead to a healthcare system once again, getting overwhelmed.

HILL: Across the country, 19 states reporting a rise in new cases over the past week, including Florida, Georgia and South Carolina, among the first to reopen. Much of the northeast seeing a decline.

GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): It has to be done right. And we have to stay disciplined. And the evidence is all around us. What happens if we're not?

HILL: New CNN polling shows Americans are split when it comes to returning to their regular routines and whether the worst is behind us. Women are more likely than men to exercise caution. Just 38 percent say they're ready to resume those routines. And yet, the country moves forward.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've missed it. I mean, this is the reason I live here.

HILL: Miami's beaches reopened this morning. Students in Vermont and Rhode Island will be back in the classroom this fall. NASCAR fans can watch the action in person with masks and distance this weekend in Homestead, Florida.

The U.S. government says it will fund and study three experimental vaccines this summer, including one from Johnson & Johnson set to begin human trials next month.

BESSER: Even with a vaccine there may be other steps that we have to continue to take to control coronavirus.

HILL: Face coverings and social distancing here to stay as experts caution this virus is not going away.

DR. ASHISH JHA, DIRECTOR, HARVARD GLOBAL HEALTH INSTITUTE: I understand people are willing to live alongside this virus. It means that between 800 and a thousand Americans are going to die every single day. We're going to get another hundred thousand deaths by September. So that's a catastrophic cost.

HILL: That sobering assessment getting a lot of attention on Wednesday. Meantime, Mississippi's governor saying very simply, I want COVID-19 to be over, too, but the data suggests otherwise. His state is one of those dozen that is seeing a rise in hospitalizations since Memorial Day. Even as we are seeing some of this uptick across the country there are more reopenings to tell you about. Los Angeles County, one of those latest, announcing that as of Friday a number of industries can resume operations including music, film and television production. Back to you.


VAUSE: With us now is Dr. Celine Gounder, a CNN medical analyst and specialist in infectious disease and global health. Dr. Gounder, good to see you.


VAUSE: OK, so this is the situation right now in hospitals in Raleigh, North Carolina. Listen to this.


DR. MANDY COHEN, SECRETARY, NORTH CAROLINA DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES: Not only do I see our percent of positive tests go up, our number of hospitalizations go up. But it's telling me more people are becoming seriously ill in North Carolina.


VAUSE: And in Arizona's Maricopa County a similar problem, increasing number of patients and it seems soon not enough beds. Listen to this.


DR. REBECCA SUNENSHINE, MARICOPA COUNTY PUBLIC HEALTH MEDICAL DIRECTOR: We know that our hospitals are filling up and that the number of remaining ICU beds and hospital beds left for other purposes is declining.


VAUSE: So a dozen states reporting an increase in hospital admissions for COVID-19, overall 19 states increasing -- reporting number of infections has increased as well. It's been almost two weeks since that Memorial Day weekend in the United States when beaches and water parks and all these other areas were crowded. The incubation period for coronavirus, the average 10 days up to two weeks. And for many of these states which is seeing these rising numbers, they're were the ones that opened quickly. Is the headline here, told you so?

GOUNDER: Well, I as a physician and as a public health specialist, I don't like the language I told you so because I'm not a big fan of the shaming and blaming people for the decision they make. I think we all make decisions based on the best information we have and what we're trying to do in the interest of our families and our communities.

But that said, did I anticipate these numbers? Yes. You know, I think about 2 to 3 weeks after lifting of social distancing restrictions it was to be anticipated you would see an increase. And the real question was by how much. And then when you saw the increase, how well prepared are we to cope with it. And I'm profoundly concerned that some of the places, for example, Arizona where I have family, elderly family in nursing homes and assisted living facilities. I'm profoundly concerned that they really are not prepared to deal with the many, especially elderly, retired people in the state who may be getting sick with coronavirus in the coming weeks.


Yes, if you just do the math here, the currant mortality rate holds, the death toll in the U.S. is expected to rise by another 100,000, most likely more by September. And a Harvard study looked at this. And here's what they believe is driving up those numbers.


JHA: We're the only major country in the world that opened back up without really getting our cases as down low as we needed to. And we're also one of the few kind of advanced countries that doesn't have a robust testing and tracing infrastructure. Put all that together and we have made this whole situation far more risky. And so yes, we're starting to see the negative effects of opening up. I've always argued we could open up safely and get our economy back but we're got to do it smartly and we're just now doing it the way we need to.


VAUSE: And again, you know, this comes down to essentially what we've been told all long, that if you're going to open up the economy, you need to have testing and you need to have tracing. And those things just are in place.

GOUNDER: Well and that's right, John. And I think there are very few counties and states that have done the whole package of preparedness. And a big one that is still really lacking in almost every single county across the country is the contact tracing capacity. So you know, even if you test people and then you find out they're positive, are you able to then go back and figure out who they may have exposed and test them and make sure to isolate them so you can stop chains of transmission. That is an area where we are woefully underprepared everywhere, frankly.

VAUSE: In a way if you're looking across the country right now, does it seem that sort of a lot of people almost have given up the fight against the coronavirus? It's almost that it's acceptance that, you know, what will happen will happen?

GOUNDER: I think there's some of that. I think there's some of oh, is this still a problem. I think unfortunately, the news headlines are being driven by what the President and others thinks is a priority and a problem and it doesn't really matter how many cases we still have in hospitals, how much transmission we have on the ground. If it's not politically expedient to pay attention to that, well we don't pay attention to that. And I think that's going to be really problematic in the coming couple of weeks. We're not doing what we need to be doing to respond. And I think there's somewhat of a denial of sorts, you could say, John, about we don't want to face up to what it's really going to take to prevent the deaths.

VAUSE: Yes, it does seem to be a sort reluctance to embrace reality and move forward. It's like a clinging to the past at the moment. Dr. Celine Gounder, thank you. Good to see you.

Later today President Trump will travel to Dallas for a political fundraiser. He's expected to hold a roundtable with faith leaders and law enforcement. That meeting will be closely watched for any talk about race. The President has avoided the topic for more than a week. He said he's attacked protesters in the past two hours. Tweeting about a demonstration in Seattle which he claimed was a gathering of domestic terrorist. That brought a quick reply from the city's mayor.

Tweeting, quote: Make us all safe. Go back to your bunker. #BlackLivesMatter.

A reference to the President's dash to a White House bunker almost 2 weeks ago during the height of the protests in Washington.

Meantime, calls for change and police reform are being heard on Capitol Hill with emotional testimony from George Floyd's brother. CNN's Jeremy Diamond reports now from Washington.


JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Tonight an emotional plea on Capitol Hill.

PHILONISE FLOYD, BROTHER OF GEORGE FLOYD: George wasn't hurting anyone that day. He didn't deserve to die over $20. I'm asking you, is that what is that what a black man is worth? Twenty dollars? This is 2020. Enough is enough. The people marching in the streets are telling you enough is enough.

DIAMOND: George Floyd's brother intensifying the pressure on President Trump and Congress to reform policing in America.

FLOYD: I'm here to ask you to make it stop. Stop the pain. Stop us from being tired.

DIAMOND: House Democrats unveiled an ambitious reform package this week and Senate Republicans are also drafting legislation. With two weeks after George Floyd was killed, President Trump is still silent about what kinds of reforms he will support.

KAYLEIGH MCENANY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: We do believe that we will have proactive policy prescriptions whether that means legislation or an executive order.

DIAMOND: White House officials have sought proposals from criminal justice reform advocates and are now drafting an executive order. The White House also keeping tabs on legislation being drafted by Republican Senator Tim Scott. But the draft GOP legislation doesn't include a provision to ban police chokeholds or change the qualified immunity legal doctrine to make it easier to sue cops. It also requires states maintain a database of uses of police force that result in death or lose federal funds. Democrats want to mandate a federal database.

And on body cameras, the Republican proposal is to mandate police wear them when arresting and detaining people. Democrats would require federal uniformed officers to wear them at all times.


Scott, said he expects to release his legislation on Friday. But will Trump support it?

SEN. TIM SCOTT (R-SC): If history is a teacher, the President has been receptive for the last three years on the priorities that I've brought to him. I try to make sure that they're sensible and directed towards the American people and not towards partisan and or politics at all. Hopefully, he'll have the same approach. DIAMOND: Tonight, the President's top economic adviser became the latest Trump official to deny the existence of systemic racism in the US.

LARRY KUDLOW, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF ECONOMIC ADVISER: I don't believe there's systemic racism in the U.S.

DIAMOND: Meanwhile, Trump's aides are still answering for the controversies that are leaving Senate Republicans squirming like Trump's baseless claim that a 75-year-old man who was severely injured after police pushed him was an Antifa provocateur

MCENANY: The President was asking questions on about an interaction and a video clip he saw and the President has the right to ask those questions.

The President does not regret standing up for law enforcement men and women across this country rather --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Isn't it incumbent on the President to have facts?

MCENANY: The President did have facts before he tweeted out that undergirded his questions --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- a baseless conspiracy theory, do you acknowledge that?

MCENANY: It's not baseless conspiracy. No, not at all, I won't acknowledge that.

DIAMOND: The President also rejecting a proposal by his defense secretary to have a, quote, bipartisan conversation about renaming military bases named after Confederate commanders.

Tweeting, my administration will not even consider the renaming of these magnificent and fabled military installations.

(on camera): President Trump on Wednesday did have a round table meeting with some conservative black supporters. But we did not hear more from the President about what types of policing reforms he actually would support. The President though did certainly weigh in on his plans to boost his reelection campaign. We know that the President has been extremely concerned about his sagging poll numbers. He's down about 10 points against the former Vice President Joe Biden according to an average of several polls. The President eager to restart his rallies. Announcing that he will having his first one in Tulsa, Oklahoma next week.

Jeremy Diamond, CNN, the White House.


VAUSE: 16 minutes past 4:00. We'll take a short break. When we come back, a warning from the Fed about unemployment and an economy which will need extreme measures of support for years to come. [04:20:00]


VAUSE: The United States now the first country to confirm 2 million cases of COVID-19, more than a quarter of all known infections worldwide. And the outbreak continues to get worse in some states. Over the past week more than a dozen states reported an increase in new infections.

So much for that V-shaped recovery. Donald Trump's handpicked Fed Reserve Chairman says it will take some time to recover from the pandemic -- a lot of time it seems. On Wednesday Jay Powell predicted years of high unemployment. He also said, the Fed will keep interest rates near zero until at least 2022. The Fed projects the U.S. economy will shrink by 6.5 percent this year. CNN's John Defterios is with us now live from Abu Dhabi. So is that just basically the plan right now? Record low-interest rates for the foreseeable future.

JOHN DEFTERIOS, CNN BUSINESS EMERGING MARKETS EDITOR: And a lot of stimulus. And Jay Powell suggested, John, that we're not done yet. And I think this is what may be a lot of reading the markets. It's hard to think of an economic reset when you have the death toll still rising in the United States and the number of cases still skyrocketing and the kind of cloud that hangs over the jobs market. And this is what Jerome Powell was talking about. As you said, he's an appointee of the United States President but he's speaking very much like a main street man.

Saying that look, -6.5 percent growth is terrible. The jobless rate at 13.3 percent is coming down but it still remains high. He was suggesting that $3 trillion, yes, it's ample for now but that the leadership has to take responsibility for the future. A message to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and to Capitol Hill. He defined the role of the Federal Reserve. Keep interest rates low right now and keep liquidity within the banking system. We're saying low until 2022. Let's take a listen.


JEROME POWELL, U.S. FEDERAL RESERVE CHAIRMAN: We're not thinking about raising rates. We're not even thinking about thinking about raising rates. So what we're thinking about is providing support for this economy. We do think this is going to take some time. I think most forecasters believe that. It would be great if we got a whole bunch more months of job creation like that, notwithstanding that, as I mentioned, there are just a lot of people that are unemployed.


DEFTERIOS: Powell was making a reference to last month's job creation of 2.5 million. Let's take a look at the tally where we stand today, John. I talked about 13 percent, it's above that. We're hoping to get to 9 percent by the end of the year, according to the Federal Reserve. But we put up 2021 or 2022 because the numbers are still high -- 6.5 percent and 5.5 percent of the United States is historically high. Our run rate for the jobless rate is about 4 percent. We have weekly claims coming out today.

As I've talked to you about before, the trend line is coming down. So we're below 2 million. Expectations are for 1.5 million. But if you look at the tally -- and this has been the major concern of the Federal Reserve -- we're going to be bumping up over 44 million people filing for claims. That's why one in four in America and why Powell talks about the hardship.

VAUSE: Yes, and we're looking to that jobless report in about four hours from now. And is this what we're expecting, you know, the U.S. futures are under some pressure right now because of these bad numbers. Is that maybe an indication that the stock market is showing some cracks, this rally at least?

DEFTERIOS: Well, yes, you know, John, I was thinking about this because I look at the transcript last night from Jerome Powell from the press conference and I was thinking, wow, this language is quite worrisome. And Wall Street didn't digest it all at the end day, the end of the trading day. But the Asian traders and European traders have woken up to this and said, this is very serious stuff. He suggesting that the contraction is going to last longer -- $3 trillion may not be enough.

So what are we seeing?


If you take a look at the U.S. futures right now, we're looking at losses of 1.25 to better than 2 percent. Probably an opening loss of better than 500 points. The Nikkei index is down nearly 3 percent. Hong Kong is closing down better than 2 percent. And ditto in the early hours of trade for the Europeans with the German Dax index and the FTSE 100 in London all down between 2 to 3 percent. We see oils down 3 percent. John, 24 hours ago we were talking about valuations, particularly for the Nasdaq, hovering around 27 to 30. The cracks are showing and Jerome Powell is leading the sober assessment.

VAUSE: Yes, it almost seems as if there's a total disconnect between reality and what's happening with the expectation with the economy and you know the pandemic. Maybe it's all coming together which is kind of terrifying in itself. John, thank you. John Defterios there in Abu Dhabi.


VAUSE: You're watching CNN NEWSROOM. We'll take a short break. When we come back, protests over George Floyd are now turning their focus to symbols of America's racist past.


VAUSE: Welcome back everybody.

As the Black Lives Matter movement gains momentum across the country there's a growing push to remove statues and symbols of America's racist past. NASCAR on Wednesday issued an outright ban on Confederate flags. The racing association said those images are at odds with a welcoming environment for all fans.

And the U.S. military was reportedly considering renaming ten major bases which were named after Confederate commanders. President Trump though slapped that down with a tweet saying he won't even consider it. The U.S. capitol has nearly a dozen statues of Confederate figures on display. U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has renewed her call for their removal.

Well despite a rising number of coronavirus -- cases in the U.S. President Trump is eager to hit the road. Recent polls have him trailing the presumptive Democratic.