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World Health Organization Reports Largest COVID-19 Single-Day Increase; Majority of Atlanta Police Officers Called Out From Work Today; Captain Brett Crozier to Be Permanently Fired. Aired 2-2:30p ET

Aired June 19, 2020 - 14:00   ET



DAVID RALSTON (R), SPEAKER, GEORGIA STATE HOUSE: -- influenced in any way by racial considerations.

And I will point out to you that there were instances in Republican areas in the June 9 primary of people not receiving their absentee ballots. In fact, a staff member of mine here at the state capitol waited eight or nine weeks and never got his, he still don't have his so he had to go vote.

And I know many other instances, people who had never missed voting in an election, were reaching out to us, saying, you know, We've waited seven, eight weeks or more to get a ballot and you know, here we are now, down to the primary day, we still don't have one.

And that's unacceptable. I will be the first to say that is completely unacceptable.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: All right. Speaker, thanks for joining us. We really appreciate it. Speaker David Ralston, talking to us from Atlanta. Thank you, sir.

RALSTON: Thank you, Brianna.

KEILAR: I'm Brianna Keilar, and I want to welcome viewers here in the U.S. and around the world. It is a monumental day -- June 19th or Juneteenth -- a day that commemorates the end of slavery in the United States, now at a critical time in the nation's history as the country wrestles with systemic racism and police brutality.

The demand for change, echoing across cities and towns for weeks, it's now central to the Juneteenth marches and the rallies that are under way right now.

And you're looking here at some live pictures from Chicago on your left; Washington, D.C. there on your right. And we have correspondents at protests fanned out all across the country, and we're going to take you there live.

First, though, the latest on coronavirus. As the World Health Organization says it has recorded more than 150,000 new cases globally -- this is the most ever reported in a single day. And here in the U.S., we have record numbers as well.

Florida announced nearly 4,000 new cases in the past 24 hours. In Arizona, more than 3,200. The Department of Health there is urging people to wear masks in public, something the governor of California has just made mandatory in his state.

CNN's Nick Watt is in Santa Monica for us, he's covering all of the fast-moving developments. I wonder how that order is being received -- Nick.

NICK WATT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, first up, Brianna, I'm not breaking the law by doing this, I'm outside and I'm away from others.

We're going to have to wait and see how some of those anti-masker counties react to this order here in California. And, listen, you just mentioned Florida and Arizona. Oklahoma also just set a new record for the most cases in a single day. And right now in those three states, there is no statewide mandate requiring masks.


WATT (voice-over): Tulsa, the COVID-19 case count just climbed more than 40 percent in a week. And tomorrow night in Tulsa, the president, who incorrectly says this virus is dying out, will hold a masks- optional MAGA rally.

ALI KHAN, FORMER DIRECTOR, CDC OFFICE OF PUBLIC HEALTH PREPAREDNESS: We're in the midst of the greatest public health failure in American history. And if we're going to continue to open up and not open up safely, we're going to continue to see increased cases.

WATT (voice-over): These eight states, home to roughly one-third of all Americans, right now seeing their highest ever average new case counts.

This is not over, masks work: Those are facts, but they're now politicized. Take the governor of Nebraska, reportedly now withholding coronavirus emergency money from any county mandating masks in government buildings.

KHAN: It's simple, no vaccine, no treatment, right? All you need is test and trace, so good public health. Combine it with good personal responsibility: masks, social distancing, hand-washing. Put the two together and you can become New Zealand, go to zero cases in this country.

WATT (voice-over): You heard that right. New Zealand routinely reports zero cases in a day. Small country, sure. So let's take Europe, a steep drop and now fewer than 5,000 new cases a day. Here in the U.S., nearing five times that and climbing.

ASHISH JHA, DIRECTOR, HARVARD GLOBAL HEALTH INSTITUTE: What Europe did differently is they stayed locked down a bit longer, a bit more uniformly.

WATT (voice-over): The line today from the White House -- KEVIN HASSETT, SENIOR ADVISOR TO THE PRESIDENT: The spikes aren't necessarily correlated, where we're seeing less social distancing and more economic activity --

WATT (voice-over): -- that's debatable. May 18th, the day Florida started phase one reopening, there were fewer than 1,000 new cases reported in the state. Today, nearly 4,000, a new record high.

MELISSA MCKINLAY, COMMISSIONER, PALM BEACH COUNTY, FLORIDA: I don't think we can scale back how we've opened, but we can simply slow down how we move forward, and put these precautions in place, like wearing a mask.

WATT (voice-over): And interestingly, the president's own advisor doesn't agree with him that the spikes are all just down to more testing.

HASSETT: There are about 18 states right now where the positivity rates are going up, which means that if the cases are going up, it's not just because you're doing more testing.


WATT (voice-over): The average age of those testing positive is dropping, but they are less likely to die, less than 1,000 under-35s killed by COVID so far. Forty percent of American deaths have been in nursing homes, 80 percent in the over-65s. But the young can still spread it.

By the way, New York has done so well lately that today was Governor Cuomo's last daily COVID briefing. His message?

GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): Today, we are seeing the virus spreading in many places. More people will die, and it doesn't have to be that way. Forget the politics, be smart.


WATT: Down in Florida, Governor DeSantis just talked a lot about that dramatic drop in the age of people testing positive. In Florida, it used to be just over 65. It's now 37, and the governor thinks it's going to drop even further. In Orange County, it's 29; in Seminole County, it's 26.

He says they are going to be working on some COVID-19 PSAs that are aimed at younger Floridians -- Brianna.

KEILAR: Great idea, Nick Watt, thank you from California.

In an extraordinary move, Apple is closing some stores temporarily in several states as cases spike. And this is coming just weeks after Apple reopened dozens of its stores across the country. CNN's Cristina Alesci is joining me now.

And, I mean, this was something, Cristina, to be expected, right? If you took Apple at their word. But at the same time, it just -- it's a big deal when you have Apple closing their stores.

CRISTINA ALESCI, CNN BUSINESS AND POLITICS CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, Brianna. These major retail (INAUDIBLE) brick-and-mortar (INAUDIBLE) that are paying rent certainly don't want to close down a store and miss on revenue (ph). This is a tremendous deal for one of the biggest companies in the United States.

(INAUDIBLE) shutting (ph) 11 stores in four states. And these are -- some of these states are the ones that we're talking about all day long that are seeing increases in coronavirus cases. You're talking about Florida, Arizona, South Carolina and North Carolina. So it is not a mystery as to why they're shutting down.

When Apple said they were reopening a couple of weeks ago, I think I was on your show, talking about the fact that they left the caveat open that they're going to monitor the situation in each of these areas to determine whether it's -- whether it is safe for them to continue to remain open. If they had to, they would shut down again.

Two points on this. Businesses are very worried about getting sued, especially the big ones, and that's why you -- we're going to see this sort of uneven opening. And the second point that I want to make on this is that this is unlike what President Trump wants to see. He wants to see a pre-COVID economy. And it's very clear from this case and others that I've covered, that we're not going to get that for quite some time -- Brianna.

KEILAR: Cristina, thank you for the report. Cristina Alesci in New York

AMC Theaters is reversing course on its mask policy, it is now going to require all guests at its theaters across the nation to wear masks. This is coming after the company's CEO said he would not require masks in an effort to stay apolitical.

My next guest wrote a column for "Medium," declaring that masks should be the law throughout the nation. David Sacks has been a tech leader for decades, a former PayPal executive and now general partner and cofounder of Craft Ventures. David, thanks for joining us.


KEILAR: So we'll get to your reasons for why this should be a law in a moment. First, though, I wonder your reaction to AMC's rather swift change of heart here.

SACKS: Well, I think it's a better business decision, because I think people will be more likely to go to the movies if they know that the other patrons are wearing masks.

You know, it's -- when you go to a crowded theater, obviously, you're making a risk decision that goes beyond just whether you want to wear a mask. You know, your lung emissions have an impact on all the other patrons.

And so I think it's a better business decision for them. It's a better health decision, clearly, but also I think more people will go to movies now.

KEILAR: Yes. So you actually think that wearing a mask should be law. Explain this to us.

SACKS: Yes. I mean, I wrote this column, you know, over two months ago. And I think unlike a lot of pronouncements about COVID, this one has aged pretty well.

If you look around the world, the countries that have had the most success fighting COVID are all the ones that have had sort of ubiquitous mask-wearing. And so, you know, you look at a country like Japan, 135 million people, an older population -- older than us -- and they've had less than a thousand deaths. South Korea, 51 million people, under 300 deaths.

TEXT: Why Masks Should Be the Law by David Sacks: They protect everyone, not just the wearer; Harm to commerce without them; Could help create new social norms; They help us avoid more severe requirements

SACKS: And the common denominator -- and, you know, if you look at Europe too, you had a country like the Czech Republic, that had a huge COVID spike at the beginning like the rest of Europe, they went all-in on mask-wearing and it basically knocked out the virus, it completely controlled it.


And so if you just want to look at experience and practice, you don't have to look at models, or you don't have to talk to experts because we know those things have been wrong. But if you just look at experience and practice around the world, the one thing that has worked very successfully is a mask policy.

KEILAR: No, it's right. And even then, we've interviewed people in commerce who are not going -- they, you know they're just not going to do it. So it's interesting to see how they're going to reopen without doing it.

I do want you to listen to an exchange between our Jim Acosta, our White House correspondent, with White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany. This happened just moments ago.


JIM ACOSTA, WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Will you be there, for example?


ACOSTA: Will you and other White House officials be wearing masks at the rally?

MCENANY: It's a personal choice, I won't be wearing a mask. I can't speak for my colleagues. ACOSTA: And why won't you wear a mask? Is that sort of a personal

political statement? Is it because the president would be disappointed in you if you don't wear a mask?

MCENANY: It's a personal decision, I'm tested regularly, I feel that it's safe for me not to be wearing a mask and I'm in compliance with CDC guidelines, which are recommended but not required.


KEILAR: What do you think of that, David?

SACKS: Well, I think we're missing an opportunity here. I think that you know, a public mask policy is sort of the biggest no-brainer.

I think, you know, a lot of people -- I think they find it hard to believe, that you know, a problem as big as COVID-19, a pandemic that's killed over 100,000 people just in the U.S., that this could be solved by something as simple and obvious as wearing a mask.

But it really does work. If you look around the world, the countries that have successfully managed the virus are the ones that have had sort of a fastidious policy of public mask-wearing.

And, you know, it's not just kind of a personal choice about assumption of risk. I'm very sympathetic to kind of libertarian arguments generally, about personal freedom. But there's an old saying about the boundaries of freedom. Which is, Your freedom to wave your arms ends when your fist hits my nose.

And you know, something similar is true when your infectious particles hit my nose. You know, you're not just making a decision for yourself, you're making a decision for everybody around you. And that's why we all sort of have to come together as a nation, let's not make this a political issue. This is a really simple thing for us to get right, let's just do it.

KEILAR: Yes. That's why I think the seatbelt argument doesn't fit, right? Some people say, Well, it's a choice, right? Well, it's almost like choosing to have someone else not wear a seatbelt, which is not your choice, so.

David Sacks, thanks so much, really appreciate the discussion.

And just in, officers in some Atlanta police precincts calling out sick en masse on the same day as the first hearing for the officer charged in Rayshard Brooks' death.

And then in Louisville, Kentucky, a major development in the death of Breonna Taylor, who was shot by police while sleeping. One of the officers, on the verge of losing his job now.


And we are live across the country as well as nationwide rallies commemorate Juneteenth, the end of slavery. Stay with us for live special coverage.


KEILAR: Breaking news now on the deadly police shooting of Breonna Taylor. The city of Louisville, Kentucky and its police department are seeking to fire one of three officers involved, Brett Hankison. Police shot Taylor at least eight times during an exchange of gunfire with her boyfriend while police were executing a no-knock warrant in search of another person.

Taylor, a 26-year-old EMT, was sleeping when the officers barged into her home three months ago. The other two officers at this point are on administrative leave.

And then in Atlanta, the majority of police officers in two zones did not show up to work today, a ripple effect of low morale after two officers were charged in the shooting death of Rayshard Brooks. One of those officers, Garrett Rolfe, waived his right to a court appearance today; he was denied bond. Rolfe faces felony murder and 10 other charges, and he was transferred to another Georgia jail because of safety reasons.

CNN's Ryan Young is covering this for us in Atlanta, and Joe Ested is a former police officer in Richmond, Virginia.

Ryan, tell us more about these officers who are calling out.

RYAN YOUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, this is a critical need right now, Brianna, if you think about it. Officers are basically trying to use their bodies to show they disagree with what's happening inside the city. Let's not forget, there were six other officers, four of them who were fired, two who were put on desk duty. Now, you have these two officers.

Basically, what they're saying is they believe the due process program has basically been ripped apart here in the city. What they want to see is the investigations return so that if the officers do face any sort of disciplinary action, that they have their fair chance. They don't believe that's happening right now.

So the officers are calling out. I'm being told by more and more officers, we're going to see this throughout the weekend. That is something they've been telling me, pretty much nonstop.

When you also think about this is, the Atlanta police department is a multicultural police department. There are a lot of African-Americans on this police force. They are upset about what's going on as well. This is not something that is just a white police officer situation or a black police officer situation. They say their training protocols are set in stone, and they believe they didn't see anything wrong with what happened a few nights ago.

While all this is going on, there are protests here in the streets. In fact, we've seen people, more than a thousand, marching through the streets. I'm told, tomorrow, another protest will happen here in the city. So when you combine that with the general actions inside the city in

terms of 70 open calls sometimes, calls for service, 911 calls taking much longer than ever to answer because of this, there are people who are in the chain of command who are absolutely worried about what's going on. Even other officers say they will not respond to calls unless they think another officer is in need.

There's also defections from the police department. There are other metro areas, and they are seeking employment in those places to get away from the city of Atlanta. You put that together with the fact that they're supposed to get a raise (ph) July 1st; really, this has turned into a big mess.

There used to sort of a conversation between the city government and the police officers. Right now, they want to hear from somebody how this police department will move forward and how they should police on the streets.

KEILAR: And, Joe, I mean, on one side, these officers at this point, they're overworked, they are shaken by what has happened in the Rayshard Brooks case. Many of them don't agree, presumably, with what has happened.

On the other hand, you hear Ryan saying that some of these officers are saying they're not going to respond to calls unless a fellow officer is in danger, which means they're abdicating their duty as police officers in trying to protect the citizens of Atlanta. What is your reaction to police officers calling out like this?

JOE ESTED, FORMER POLICE OFFICER, RICHMOND, VIRGINIA: Brianna, police officers are forgetting that they serve the community. And like I described in my book, "Police Brutality Matters," it's always been -- the (INAUDIBLE) policing has always been, "Protect us, police them."

I implore (ph), right? That the police officers will take the same advice they give. They always say that if you feel like there's an injustice, let -- you will have your day in court. Let's get to the court and you'll have your day in court.

Now, these officers who have been arrested, let them have their day in court. You as a police officer, you signed up for the job to serve a community. And if you are calling out sick, not only that you're neglecting the community, you're neglecting the other officers who are coming to serve the community.

They should be removed, they should definitely be removed because, they're neglecting two parts, the community and your fellow officers. And the government (INAUDIBLE).

KEILAR: So at what point does this become a safety risk, with so few officers on the ground, Joe?

ESTED: Oh, it's a safety risk now. It's a safety risk now. Responding to calls by yourself, you don't have the back (ph), (INAUDIBLE) assistance. I think the locals need to actually reach out to state police and get assistance. I mean, this -- the union, this has been a union tactic for a long

time. We don't get our way, it's called the blue flu. We call out sick, and then we just hope that crime goes up and then you guys will bend to the needs of law enforcement. We need to break the culture of policing. Protect us and police them.

And the members of the community need to be police officers. You need to know why you signed up for that job. You signed up to serve a community. Regardless of what side of the aisle you believe in right now, whether the officers was guilty or not, you have a job to do. You took an oath to come serve a community.

Because you don't like the process, let the officers have their day in court and you continue to serve the community. If you feel like, no, that's not enough for you and I'm going to call out sick, you shouldn't be a police officer. You're leaving citizens and your fellow officers hanging, and they need to go.

KEILAR: Joe Ested, thank you. Ryan Young, thank you for your report.

And a reminder that my colleague Don Lemon is talking about being black in America with his new CNN podcast. He's talking about all of the conversations that are going on in the country right now. It's called "SILENCE IS NOT AN OPTION," and you can find it on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts.


Next, we'll take you live to the marches and rallies happening right now to call for racial justice on Juneteenth.


KEILAR: We have some breaking news. You may remember the captain of the USS Theodore Roosevelt, who sent out that warning to a wide audience about the spread of the coronavirus on his aircraft carrier, he was fired over it and a preliminary investigation recommended he be reinstated. And now, the Navy has made a decision about his fate.

I want to go to Barbara Starr at the Pentagon. Barbara, I think -- I don't know, you tell us what it is, this might surprise some folks.

BARBARA STARR, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: It just might. You know, you might remember that video, the night Brett Crozier walked off the deck of the Theodore Roosevelt, when he was initially relieved of duty, to the cheers of hundreds of persons on his crew who applauded him wildly.

Well, now, today, we are learning from congressional members who have just been briefed on the final report from the Navy, that the Navy will announce that it is firing Captain Crozier -- permanently, this time -- from command of the Teddy Roosevelt, of that carrier that was docked in Guam for so many weeks while hundreds of crew members tried to recover from exposure to the coronavirus.

Initially, the Navy said that Crozier should be reinstated. But now, congressional sources -- congressional officials are getting briefings that he will be permanently relieved of duty, he will be reassigned. He will not be fired from the Navy outright.

This may essentially end his career, he will not get a promotion effectively to admiral at any point now. He is going to be held responsible for poor judgment by all accounts, that he did not respond to this crisis appropriately in the eyes of the Navy.

But that's not all. A two-star admiral, also on the ship, who was senior to him, obviously -- a one-star -- pardon me -- his --