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Trump Campaign Moves Forward with Tulsa Rally Despite Health Concerns; Mayor Initiates Firing of Officer Tied to Breonna Taylor's Death. Aired 12-12:30a ET

Aired June 20, 2020 - 00:00   ET




MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Hello and welcome everyone, I'm Michael Holmes, you're watching CNN NEWSROOM.

The Bok Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma, seats some 19,000 people, it is home to a minor league hockey team that canceled its season in March because of the coronavirus pandemic. Among other events canceled or postponed, concerts by KISS, Alan Jackson, Justin Bieber and Bon Jovi.

But one event is still scheduled. A campaign rally, Saturday night, by the president of the United States. It is likely the largest event to be held in the U.S. since the pandemic began.

People have been lining up for days, packed shoulder to shoulder, for hours on end, yelling, screaming, the one thing the nation's top infectious disease doctor said they should not be doing.


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: The best way to protect yourself and to prevent acquisition of and spread of infection, is to avoid crowds.


HOLMES: All of this, coming as the state of Oklahoma sees a massive spike in new cases. CNN's Ryan Nobles reports to us from Tulsa.


RYAN NOBLES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: President Donald Trump's rally here in Tulsa, set to take place on Saturday. This, despite a lot of concerns from public health officials here and of course, the overtones of the racial strife going on across the country.

We are here in Greenwood, which is the neighborhood where the 1921 Black Wall Street massacre took place. A lot of the folks, here on Saturday, celebrating the Juneteenth holiday.

The tone could be a little different on Saturday. There are protests expected, people coming to protest the president's appearance here and of course, we expect thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands, of supporters of the president to show up at the BOK Center where this will take place.

The campaign says more than 1 million people have RSVP'd for the event, perhaps 100,000 could show up. Only 20,000 can fit inside of the event itself, so, there is expected to be a big overflow crowd outside, the president expects to speak to that group.

But the concern is inside that arena. That is where 19,000 people will be packed in. Yes, they will get hand sanitizer, they will get a mask, all temperatures will be checked but there will be very little, to no, social distancing, at all.

That is what has many public health officials, even here in Tulsa concerned. But the president is committed to moving ahead with the rally, seeing this as the restart of his campaign, in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

They want to demonstrate that if they can pull this off safely, it is a sign that the country is ready to reopen and that will go a long way to helping his reelection chances --Ryan Nobles, CNN, Tulsa, Oklahoma.


HOLMES: Of course, the fear is that President Trump's rally could be what is called a super spreader event.

So how much risk are those going to the rally putting themselves in?

CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta breaks it down for us.


DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: If you look at the incidents of the virus in that area right now, you would expect about 100 people would roughly show up at that event, already infected. Maybe they don't know they have, it but they have it.

If you look at certain principles of public health, about 20 of those people will be significantly shedding the virus.


GUPTA: So 20 people out of 20,000.

Here's the problem, because of the sort of environment, there those 20 people could infect 40 to 50 people each. Which means, 800 to 1,000 people could become infected as a result of this.


HOLMES: Oklahoma is not the only state with a new influx of coronavirus cases in this record breaking week; 7 other states are seeing their highest 7 day average of new cases, per day, since the crisis began; 23 states, nearly half of the country, seeing upward trends from one, week to the next. Florida, smashing its own record for new cases, for the second day in

a row. Nearly 4,000 new cases reported on Friday alone. Governor Ron DeSantis says that more younger people are getting sick now.


GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): When we started this, the median age I think was in the 60s in the state of Florida for the tests. There were not a lot of tests being done then and it slowly went down to get into the 50s.

But then, what we have seen over the last couple of weeks, is a dramatic decline of that median age, so that, as of yesterday or last week, the median age of all of the positive tests in the state of Florida was 37.


HOLMES: Brazil now reporting more than 1 million cases of COVID-19, experts, warn it could become the most affected country worldwide. It is also confirming that almost 49,000 people have lost their lives because of the virus.

So far, the curve in infections in Brazil, shows no sign of flattening. Cases are surging, not just in Latin America but South Asia as well and the Middle East. The head of the World Health Organization says that a record number of new cases reported globally on Thursday.

Thousands of new coronavirus cases are reported across the African continent, with, Egypt and South Africa, the hardest hit so far. The World Health Organization has been urging African leaders not to be taken by surprise and, warning that COVID-19 patients could quickly overwhelm their hospitals.

CNN's Farai Sevenzo joins me live now from Nairobi.

We are talking about a continent, hundreds of millions of people, you cannot generalize. But when you have South Africa, I, think 90,000 cases, although like Burundi a few dozen. But broadly speaking, what are we seeing there?

FARAI SEVENZO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Michael, it's a massive concern. We've been sitting here on the African continent, wondering, where is this curve everyone speaks about?

It's beginning to happen. But you mentioned South Africa at 19,000, Nigeria, Algeria, Cameroon, the WHO person said the other day, it came through travelers in the beginning.

But now, we know it is in the community. It is amongst people who have never been on a plane. Kenya recorded its highest spike, just the other day in coronavirus cases, well over 4,000.

The biggest thing of course, as you know Michael, this is a country of many, people squashed together, living very closely together. Just yesterday, the CNN team came down from the Ugandan border, stepped into Uganda, stepped in Kenya, and thousands of trucks were backed up, where truck drivers were having to be tested for COVID-19 before they could proceed to their respective countries.

Of course, Busia is now one of the third largest counties in Kenya, where I'm speaking to, first Nairobi, then Busia. So a great deal of people always on the move, then you talk about social distancing and testing and that's another issue, Michael.

The tests have simply not come back on time. The truck drivers we spoke to, at the Uganda-Kenya border, say they were there for weeks. And when they get tested, those take a long time to, come and have the trade among South African countries. He, too, acknowledged that the testing kits are what is causing the backlog.

In terms of Africa in general, if the spike is going to happen, it is going to affect places like South Africa, where it does not seem to be slowing down.

HOLMES: A lot of concern about the capabilities and medical infrastructure, so on and so forth. Farai Sevenzo, thank you so much, in Nairobi.


HOLMES: The mayor of Louisville, Kentucky, preparing to fire a police officer involved in the fatal shooting of a 26-year-old African American woman back in March. Detective Brett Hankison is accused of blindly firing 10 rounds into the apartment of Breonna Taylor as part of a drug sting. Taylor was killed when police broke down her apartment door and shot her 8 times.


HOLMES: Taylor's family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit. Their attorney says news of the possible termination is good but it does not go far enough.


LORITA BAKER, BREONNA TAYLOR FAMILY ATTORNEY: I did speak to Tameka once we had the news that it was going to be announced that Brett Hankison was being terminated and she said, this is the best news she's gotten today.

So she is definitely pleased with that information. And in talking to her, we've still got a ways to go and there still a lot to be done until we have justice for Breonna.


HOLMES: Meanwhile the former Atlanta police officer Garrett Rolfe waived his right in his first appearance in court on Friday. Earlier in the week the county district attorney, Paul Howard, charged Rolfe and another officer in the shooting death of Rayshard Brooks. Rolfe has been charged with 11 crimes, including felony murder. In a

statement released to CNN, Rolfe's lawyer said, quote, "Twice in the past few weeks Paul Howard has put his own ambitions ahead of the good of his constituents as he seeks to capitalize on a series of national tragedies, unquote."

CNN's Ryan Young with details on the fallout within the Atlanta Police Department.


RYAN YOUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's been interesting few days here in the city of Atlanta, this Atlanta police force has about 2,000 officers but what we know so far is many of them have decided to call out sick to show their protest to two officers being charged.

Over the last month there has been a lot of action against police officers in the city. First four officers were fired, two others were suspended, now you have two other officers involved in the case of the shooting death of Rayshard Brooks.

We know about a week ago and they believed he was intoxicated. And then when they tried to arrest him, it all went wrong. And in fact there was a small struggle and then there was a chase and then there was a shooting.

After that, this city exploded. We know after the DA put charges on these two officers what we have seen is the police force basically say they are not happy. They are not showing up for work. We are even told more action could happen this weekend. It is something we will be watching and waiting for -- Ryan Young. CNN, Atlanta, Georgia.


HOLMES: Massive crowds showed up Friday, from New York to California, to honor Juneteenth. The day commemorates the emancipation of slaves in the United States. Reverend Al Sharpton addressing reporters in Tulsa, Oklahoma, ahead of the Trump campaign rally on Saturday.

Sharpton speaking about the hardships faced by many black Americans today.


AL SHARPTON, CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIVIST: We must understand the litany of pain that black Americans have suffered and Juneteenth is both a celebration and a reminder, a commemoration. Now we're in the era where we are treated differently even in a pandemic. The health disparities, the disparities of criminal justice and policing and all of this.

So the proper place for me to be is to remind us how far we have come and how far we have yet to go.


HOLMES: Thanks for watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Michael Holmes. "MARKETPLACE AFRICA" is next.