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Covid Case Count Spiking In Locations Across the U.S.; Disinfection Tunnel Built To Protect Vladimir Putin From Coronavirus; South Korea Designates 'Danger Zones' Along Border With North. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired June 17, 2020 - 05:30   ET



CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: New signs that the coronavirus pandemic is far from over. Florida, Texas, and Arizona just set daily records for new cases.

LAURA JARRETT, CNN ANCHOR: North Korea now says it was retaliating when it blew up a building on the border used to communicate with the South. A live report on that just ahead.

Good morning, this is EARLY START. I'm Laura Jarrett.

ROMANS: Good morning, everyone, I'm Christine Romans. It's exactly 30 minutes past the hour this Wednesday morning.

And hope that the pandemic will soon be over and the reality that that day is not near are clashing this morning. More than 24,000 new coronavirus cases and 848 Covid-related deaths reported in the U.S. on Tuesday.

The director of the Harvard Global Health Institute put it best.


DR. ASHISH JHA, DIRECTOR, HARVARD GLOBAL HEALTH INSTITUTE: I think many Americans want to believe that we are done with the pandemic. The problem is the pandemic is not done with us.


ROMANS: On Monday, Florida saw nearly 2,800 new cases. That's the highest single-day increase in confirmed infections the state has seen since the pandemic began.

Florida's governor was defiant in the face of that spiking case count.


GOV. RON DESANTIS (R), FLORIDA: We're not shutting down. You know, we're going to go forward. We're going to continue to protect the most vulnerable.


ROMANS: CNN's Erica Hill has more on other Covid surges across the country.


ERICA HILL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Christine and Laura, good morning.

Record-setting numbers out of Texas and not the kind that you want to see. A record-high day for new coronavirus cases on Tuesday -- more than 2,600. Gov. Abbott says that that's due to some positive cases at an assisted living facility near Dallas. Hospitalizations also setting another record high on Tuesday in that state.

The health commissioner warning that people need to take into account that the virus is still out there and saying that a possibility that there could be a resurgence is still a very real risk.

The governor reminding Texans to wash their hands, practice social distancing, and wear masks. Interestingly, the Houston mayor is one of nine mayors who sent a letter to the governor on Tuesday requesting that he give them permission to require masks in their cities.

Meantime, Dr. Anthony Fauci reiterating his guidance this week that masks are essential, noting there is not herd immunity. Everyone needs to protect themselves and those around them.

In Maryland, the University of Maryland saying it's going to limit the number of roommates this fall as a new study finds that those under 20 years old are half as susceptible to the virus as those 20 and over, raising new questions about what that could mean for school in the fall not just for college but for K-12 students as well.

Here in New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio saying the city could be ready to move into its next phase as soon as Monday.

And for tennis fans, Gov. Cuomo announcing that the U.S. Open will, in fact, be played in Queens at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. No fans -- you'll have to watch it on T.V. But good news because remember, just a couple of months ago that facility had actually been turned into a field hospital for Covid patients.

Back to you.


JARRETT: Erica Hill, thanks so much for that.

And now to Beijing, which has canceled more than 1,200 inbound and outbound flights from the city's two airports because of a spike in coronavirus cases. That's nearly 70 percent of all flights. And authorities in Beijing imposing a soft lockdown after reporting more than 130 new locally-transmitted cases in just the past five days.

Let's go live to Hong Kong and bring in CNN's Anna Coren. Anna, it seems like this is just another example of how things can flare up. What more is the government doing to try to get their arms around the situation?

ANNA COREN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Laura. After more than 50 days of no infections, China is now scrambling after this latest outbreak in the capital. One hundred thirty-seven cases to date; 31 new cases just today.

They're all stemming from a food market in the south of the city. It provides 80 percent of the city's fresh produce and tens of thousands of people visit -- or were visiting that market on a daily basis. There is now mass testing underway as well as contact tracing to the 200,000 people they think visited the market since the 30th of May.

But you talk about that soft lockdown now underway in Beijing. The only way that people can leave the capital city of 21 million people is by testing negative to coronavirus within that seven days. As you say, almost 70 percent of flights have been canceled. Rail travel has also been canceled.

Authorities doing everything they can to make sure they don't see a repeat of what happened in Wuhan and across China and the world earlier this year.

JARRETT: Yes, certainly want to avoid that.

All right, Anna. Thank you so much.

ROMANS: All right.

Vladimir Putin is taking extreme measures to protect himself from the coronavirus. Anyone visiting his residence outside of Moscow must first pass through a special disinfection tunnel.


Let's get the details from CNN's Matthew Chance. It certainly looks high-tech. I guess -- do we know it works?

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We don't know, but they are extraordinary pictures, aren't they, of this bit of machinery that has been put at Vladimir Putin's official resident just outside of Moscow.

It shows -- the footage that we've got shows people going in and having kind of a fluid sprayed on them from the ceiling and from all sides. Basically, getting drenched in something that looks like a human car wash, essentially, before the go through to the other side and are able to go into the residence and perhaps meet Vladimir Putin face-to-face.

Again, underlying just how extraordinary the lengths are that the Russians are going to, to protect their leader, Vladimir Putin.

At the same time, I think it will be noticed by a lot of people in Russia that the government is telling people the restrictions across towns and cities in Russia are being eased. It's safer to go out, they say. They're trying to get people -- the economy back up and running and trying to get people out ahead of an important constitutional vote that's going to be held very early next month.

And so it sort of underlines the sort of discrepancy between those two positions. They're saying people -- to people, it's safe. At the same time, toughening measures to protect Vladimir Putin.

ROMANS: Yes, the pictures -- a human car wash. That's a really interesting way to put it.

Matthew Chance, nice to see you this morning. Thank you.

All right.

America just had its biggest monthly surge in retail sales in history, but it's not really the entire picture -- really important to put this in context. Retail sales surged almost 18 percent in May. That's after collapsing in April. And sales are still below pre-pandemic levels -- still down more than six percent compared with last year.

Now, there was a big rebound in clothing and accessory stores. Furniture stores also saw a big jump. Stores like Walmart, Target, and Costco are benefitting from people buying more groceries. Macy's also said it is seeing its sales rebound.

But retail analysts warn the recovery could be brief if consumers become less willing to spend money on discretionary items, especially if there's a second wave of the coronavirus.

A task force established by the Aspen Institute's Economic Strategy Group released a plan for economic recovery, saying more needs to be done to protect families from more pain.

Their plan has four parts. Income support of unemployed and underemployed individuals, pandemic employment benefits for low-wage workers, support for small business, and federal funding for state and local governments.

JARRETT: Well, a black police officer says she was fired after she stepped in to stop her white colleague who had a suspect in a chokehold.


CARIOL HORNE, FORMER BUFFALO POLICE OFFICER: No, I should not have lost my pension for doing what was right.


JARRETT: More from her, next.


[05:42:10] JARRETT: South Korea declaring five areas along the border with North Korea as danger zones. This comes after North Korea ratcheted up tensions on the Korean Peninsula by destroying a joint liaison office.

CNN's Kristie Lu Stout joins us live. Now, Kristie, you've obviously been covering this for a long time and covering the tensions boiling over now. What are we likely to see next and what is North Korea saying?

KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: Well, at the moment, we're getting more harsh rhetoric from North Korea and tension is certainly spiking between North and South a day after this inter- Korean liaison office was completely destroyed by North Korea inside its borders in Kaesong, North Korea.

Today, we've been following a flurry of announcements coming from KCNA. That's the North Korea state news agency. We learned that the North Korean military plans to reenter Kaesong, (INAUDIBLE), and other areas on the North Korean side of the border.

We also learned that North Korea has flat-out refused South Korea's offer to send envoys into the country to defuse the situation.

And we also got this lengthy statement from the sister of Kim Jong Un, Kim Yo-Jong. And in it, she slams the South Korean President Moon Jae- in, saying that he is a two-faced liar, and says that she is disgusted by him.

It's interesting to note that Kim Jong Un is noticeably absent from all these announcements.

Now, all this tension is a slap in the face for the South Korean President Moon Jae-in, whose administration has been pushing so hard for engagement. Remember, it was only two years ago when the world witnessed those historic scenes -- the inter-Korean summit when you had Kim Jong Un and the South Korean President Moon Jae-in holding hands as they crossed the border together -- Laura.

JARRETT: That sure seems like a lifetime ago.

All right, Kristie, good to see you this morning.

ROMANS: Yes, it really does.

All right.

City officials in Buffalo, New York calling for an investigation into the firing of a black police officer who stepped in when a white cop had a suspect in a chokehold. Now, when Cariol Horne was fired back in 2006 she had served 19 of the 20 years needed to qualify for her police pension. Despite paying a heavy price, she tells CNN she felt it was her duty to intervene.


HORNE: The message was sent back you don't cross that blue line. And so, some officers -- many officers don't. I want to be the change. I don't want any officer to go through what I have gone through in order to save someone's life.

Like, I lost everything. I have five children and I lost everything. But, Neal Mack did not lose his life so if I have nothing else to live for in life, at least I can know that I did the right thing.


ROMANS: Buffalo's City Council is now asking the state attorney general's office to take a second look at Horne's case. She hopes the investigation will lead to her finally getting her pension.

JARRETT: All right.


Love scenes may never be the same on at least one long-running T.V. show. More on pandemic production tricks coming up.


JARRETT: Well, we may not have a Major League Baseball season this year but across the country, youth sports are back on the playing field after months of virtual action.

CNN's Bianna Golodryga has more now.


BIANNA GOLODRYGA, CNN SENIOR GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST (voice-over): As states begin to reopen, youth sports are coming off the sidelines with baseball and softball resuming in Iowa. Youth football leagues in Indiana returning for on-field practices. In Texas and Florida, all youth sports have been given the green light.

But it won't look like it used to.

KEVIN MCCARTHY, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, DOWNTOWN UNITED SOCCER CLUB, NEW YORK: This is the first time anybody from DUSC is standing on this new resurfaced field.

GOLODRYGA (voice-over): Kevin McCarthy oversees nearly 5,000 players and 50 coaches as the executive director of New York's co-ed Downtown United Soccer Club.


The U.S. Soccer Federation is recommending a phased restart with individual and small group training.

MCCARTHY: We have virtual training centers, which we're in the midst of.

GOLODRYGA (voice-over): For months, kids have attempted to do everything from lacrosse, gymnastics, football -- even soccer, virtually. But those online Zoom sessions are taking a toll on some players.

GOLODRYGA (on camera): What have been some of the most struggling parts?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They went to be with their teammates. They want to score goals. They want to run around.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Get low, get low.

GOLODRYGA (voice-over): Bob Westbrook says he has been forced to cancel international and domestic tournaments for the 1,000 players registered at the A5 Volleyball Club in Atlanta. He says technology can't replace team building and bonding.

BOB WESTBROOK, DIRECTOR, A5 VOLLEYBALL CLUB, ATLANTA: For athletes and people that play the game or this game or any game, it's like a black hole. It's a void in your life that you can't find an outlet from.

GOLODRYGA (voice-over): Youth sports in the U.S. generates more than $19.2 billion each year, billions more than the NFL and more than double the revenue of the NBA. Just three months into Covid-19 shutdowns, sports clubs nationwide have seen $8.5 billion wiped out.

MCCARTHY: I'm concerned that we will not have enough players to continue to employ all our coaches if this lasts longer and longer.


WESTBROOK: We're getting ready to pass out several hundred thousand dollars in refunds. We think we're going to make it, right, but there will be a lot of clubs that will not.

GOLODRYGA (voice-over): As games resume, gone are the days of high fives, replaced now by regular temperature checks.

WESTBROOK: And then we only have four athletes and a coach at a time on the floor together.

GOLODRYGA (voice-over): Little League baseball will likely have x's painted six feet apart in the gravel, each player issued their own bat and helmet, and dugouts likely closed for the season.

MCCARTHY: There's no hugs or high fives. Not having players touch the cones. You know, washing balls, bibs, training at different distances.

GOLODRYGA (voice-over): But it's still a highly anticipated goal that can't come soon enough.

MCCARTHY: When I walk here and see hundreds of players training together again, I think I might get down on knees and be thankful.

GOLODRYGA (voice-over): Bianna Golodryga, CNN, New York.


ROMANS: All right, 52 minutes past the hour.

Let's get a check on CNN Business this Wednesday morning. Taking a look at markets around the world here, Asian shares closed mixed and Europe has opened mixed as well -- narrowly mixed, really.

On Wall Street, futures are up just a tiny bit here. Stocks ended higher Tuesday after that strong retail sales report and hopes for more stimulus. The Dow finished up 527 points, ending back above 26,000 for the first time since last week. The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq also higher on the day.

Hilton Hotels is laying off 2,100 employees as the pandemic continues to hit demand for leisure and corporate travel. The chain is also extending furloughs for another 90 days.

Amtrak is warning of another round of job cuts and says it does not plan to ask Congress for more money. It also plans to cut back some of its long-distance routes, saving $150 million. Amtrak furloughed 20 percent of its staff back in May. A spokeswoman said that the company has not determined if those job cuts will be on top of the 20 percent reductions.

But a reminder, even as the stock market is going up, companies are still cutting jobs.

And pandemic pricing is here. Rents across the country are falling. With many people either losing a job or working from home, many tenants have left their apartments in major cities and that has pushed prices lower.

Data shows that in May, rents for a one-bedroom apartment in the four most expensive cities -- San Francisco, New York, Boston, and San Jose -- all fell from last year. In San Francisco, the median rent for a one-bedroom is down nine percent; a two-bedroom rent down six percent.

Real estate agents say landlords are doing whatever they can to fill empty apartments, including flexible lease starts, paying the brokers' fees, and other incentives.

JARRETT: Wow, a good time to rent.


JARRETT: Well, soap operas are famous for their plot twists and "THE BOLD AND THE BEAUTIFUL" has come up with something unique for the pandemic age.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) right here, right now.


JARRETT: Action resumes today. The casts' real-life partners, who they've been quarantining with at home, will serve as love scene doubles and do the actual touching. And through the magic of television, when the show airs, fans will swear it's their favorite on-screen couple.

I think this is a great idea. You know, the pandemic has been stressful for a lot of marriages. I think this is a good way to get the romance back.

ROMANS: That is really something because you cannot have a soap opera without all the kissing, you know? So you've got to do what you've got to do.

Thanks for joining us this morning. I'm Christine Romans.

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




UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And, Vice President Mike Pence is playing down any concerns over a second wave of the virus.

MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Make sure and continue to explain the magnitude of increase in testing.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: We're seeing increased testing but the increased case counts are outpacing that increased testing.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Today, I'm signing an executive order encouraging police departments nationwide to adopt the highest professional standards to serve their communities.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I appreciate the discussion happening but that's not enough. That's not true reform.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it's progress. It's the caboose, it's not the engine. But it's on the right track.


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.