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COVID Cases Hit New Records in 12 States in the U.S.; CDC to Issue New Guidance on Masks Soon; New York City Enters Phase 3 Reopening Today. Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired June 22, 2020 - 05:00   ET



CHRISTINE ROMANS, CO-ANCHOR, EARLY START: The curve is bending the wrong way. Record coronavirus cases in a dozen states, the White House preparing now for a second wave as the U.S. struggles to escape the first.

LAURA JARRETT, CO-ANCHOR, EARLY START: Imagine you fired the prosecutor who was investigating you, your former lawyer, and your current lawyer. Well, the president did just that and no one can say why?

ROMANS: And this is not the record crowd the president had in mind. A half empty house, it is first rally in months, we'll tell you who aides are blaming for a dud of a rally in Tulsa. Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world this Monday morning. This is EARLY START, I'm Christine Romans.

JARRETT: And I'm Laura Jarrett, it is Monday, June 22nd, it's 5:00 a.m. here in New York. And this morning, Americans desperately want to move on from coronavirus, but wishing it will not make the pandemic go away. New daily cases have hit record highs in a dozen states, 33,000 cases reported Saturday alone, the most since May 1st. The vast majority of the western U.S. is red.

As you can see on that map as are big portions of the south and southeast and the Midwest. All that social distancing and shutting down the economy, remember the point was to flatten the curve. Now, that curve is unmistakably rising once again. Numbers dipped slightly yesterday, but Sunday reporting is typically lower. Anyway, cases have jumped 15 percent in just the last two weeks.

ROMANS: And now a new area of concern, young people, officials in states across the south are warning more people in their 20s and 30s are testing positive. The shifts recorded in parts of Florida, South Carolina, Georgia, Texas and other states, many of which were among the first to open. Officials in some of those states keep pointing to more testing as the reason for the spikes in the numbers.

But the reality is, more people are getting sick. In Florida, the percentage of tests coming back positive has surged since the start of June, that number stays more or less the same no matter how many tests you do. Part of Miami and Miami Beach are struggling to enforce mass regulations.


MAYOR FRANCIS SUAREZ, MIAMI, FLORIDA: A great majority of the new positives are in the 18 or 35-year demographic. But of course, those people, people in that demographic go home, they interact with their parents, with their grandparents. And so that's a tremendous concern because of the vulnerable populations.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN: Will you bring back stricter measures if the numbers continue to rise in Miami?

SUAREZ: What I said, Wolf, from the beginning is we cannot take that off the table.


JARRETT: Meanwhile, in Arizona, the number of people hospitalized is dramatically up. The president is set to deliver an address tomorrow to young Americans at a campaign event in Phoenix. The mayor though has concerns.


MAYOR KATE GALLEGO, PHOENIX, ARIZONA: I would ask the president to talk to his advisory council, the coronavirus advisory team about whether it makes sense to come to a community that has seen a third of our COVID-19 cases in the last week, and particularly young people are the ones where we're seeing the fastest increase.


JARRETT: At the rally this weekend in Tulsa where cases are hitting records, the president bragged about increasing testing and then made this claim.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: When you do testing to that extent, you're going to find more people. You're going to find more cases. So I said to my people, slow the testing down please.


They test and they --


JARRETT: Slow the testing down, the president said. Now, presumably to reduce the number of cases, the White House later said he was joking. Remember, the president famously said the virus would miraculously disappear. But now with nearly 120,000 Americans dead and less than a week after the Vice President said a second wave is over blown, the White House now says it is preparing for the long haul.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) PETER NAVARRO, WHITE HOUSE ECONOMIC ADVISER: We are filling the stockpile in anticipation of a possible problem in the Fall. We're doing everything we can beneath the surface, working as hard as we possibly can. Now --

JAKE TAPPER, HOST, THE LEAD: Are you preparing for a second wave in the Fall?

NAVARRO: Of course --

TAPPER: You're preparing for a second wave in the Fall?

NAVARRO: You prepare -- you prepare for what can possibly happen. I'm not saying it's going to happen, but of course you prepare.


JARRETT: CNN has learned updated recommendations for wearing masks are coming soon from the CDC. Debate over a mandating mask has really intensified as regions have been opening up. Some cities and states including parts of Texas and all of California have now mandated wearing a mask. The CDC is reviewing science to determine whether masks protect the wearer in addition to protecting others.

Current CDC guidance is for people to wear masks whenever they leave home or if they can't properly social distance.


So while many CDC case loads growing, the former epicenter of the pandemic in the United States takes another big step towards normalcy today. CNN's Evan McMorris-Santoro has the latest from New York City.

EVAN MCMORRIS-SANTORO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: New York City is set to enter phase 2 of the New York State reopening plan starting on Monday. That means restaurants can serve outdoor diners. Hair salons reopen to customers and more parks and beaches are open for recreation. It won't be normal like before the pandemic. Masks and social distancing rules still apply.

But for New York, it's a big change. Governor Andrew Cuomo said Friday that the story has shifted in New York state, 180 degrees, he says, from worst to first. Christine and Laura.

JARRETT: Evan, thanks so much for that. While you are hopefully enjoying the first weekend of Summer, President Trump fired the man whose office put his former lawyer in prison and is investigating his current one. Geoffrey Berman; the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York dismissed just months before the November election. And the biggest question of all is still unanswered, why?

After meeting with Berman on Friday, Attorney General Bill Barr said in a late-night statement that Berman had resigned and someone who has never been a prosecutor would be nominated to lead that office. Well, that was a surprise to Berman who said in his own statement that he had not resigned, and that he was in fact staying. Then on Saturday afternoon, Barr scolded Berman for his quote, public spectacle, saying Trump had fired him at Barr's request. But Trump immediately distanced himself from the situation.


TRUMP: I called up to the attorney general, Attorney General Barr is working on that. That's his department, not my department. But we have a very capable attorney general. So that's really up to him. I'm not involved.


JARRETT: Not involved. Well, the federal prosecutor in Manhattan has a very long history of political independence. And Berman leaves behind a long list of active cases including that of Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani and two of his associates and the Trump inaugural committee. And the president you'll recall was tagged as individual one, essentially an unindicted co-conspirator in that case that sent his former fixer, Michael Cohen, to prison.

The bottom line here in most cases, if you and your associates were under investigation and then you fire the prosecutor, it's going to raise some serious questions. Getting a permanent placement for Berman confirmed however is not likely before the election.

ROMANS: All right, seven minutes past the hour, maybe a little early in the morning, but we've got a quick math lesson for you this Monday morning. If you claim a million people ask for tickets to your event and only about 6,000 showed up, that's underwhelming. A Trump adviser tells CNN the president is, quote, "very upset" about the turnout at his rally in Tulsa, Saturday night, almost the whole upper bowl of the BOK arena was empty despite this prediction a week ago.


TRUMP: And we expect to have, you know, it's like a record setting crowd. We've never had an empty seat, and we certainly won't in Oklahoma.


JARRETT: The campaign blamed fear of violent protests and lack of families and children for the relatively sparse attendance -- or maybe it shows that people actually heeded the advice of the public health officials who uniformly said, don't go. But Saturday's rally also shows the Trump campaign might have an enthusiasm problem even among Trump's base right now. Joe Biden and the Democratic Party out-raised the Trump campaign operation in May, $81 million to $74 million.

ROMANS: And one possible reason the arena wasn't packed, TikTok, after President Trump bragged about 1 million RSVPs to the event, hundreds of TikTok users and K-Pop fans, they say they organized a stunt encouraging followers to register for the rally and then not show up, basically trolling the president. The no-show protest was sparked after 51-year-old grandmother and TikTok user named Mary Jo Laupp posted a video on the idea. The Trump campaign denies the effort played any role at all in the turn out.

JARRETT: Former National Security adviser John Bolton calling President Trump, quote, "naive and dangerous". Ahead of tomorrow's official release of his White House "Tell-All", a judge this weekend said the horse was out of the barn. He couldn't stop Bolton's book publication. Bolton meanwhile told "ABC News" the president rarely read much and only sat for Intel briefings once or twice a week.

And despite working in the White House for 17 months, Bolton now is especially harsh on foreign policy calling the threat from North Korea greater now than when Trump took office. He was also asked how he believes history will remember Donald Trump.


JOHN BOLTON, FORMER NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: I hope it will remember him as a one-term president who didn't plunge the country irretrievably into a downward spiral we can recall from. We can get over one term. Two terms I'm more troubled about.


Decisions are made in a very scatter-shot fashion, especially in the potentially mortal field of national security policy. This is a danger for the republic.


JARRETT: Bolton went on to say he will not vote for Trump. He said he won't vote for Joe Biden either though. But the debacle with the Bolton book speaks to a broader point that the president is losing conservatives he'll need along with some independents to win a second term.

ROMANS: All right, 10 minutes past the hour, the coronavirus recession is hurting women the most, and that's not good for the economic recovery to come. In May, the unemployment rate for women fell to 13.9 percent, compared to 15.5 percent in April. The recession after the 2008 financial crisis was nicknamed a man's session because so many men were laid off in construction and manufacturing jobs.

This time it's different. Women work in the majority of service sector jobs including restaurants, hair salons, healthcare, these are the industries hit hard by the pandemic. Even as businesses begin to open, economists at city -- say many female-dominated sectors may not rehire or replace all of the jobs lost from the pandemic. The economists there also estimates female job cuts could trigger a trillion dollar decline in global GDP this year.

Meanwhile, thousands of jobs were lost last week, 24-Hour Fitness filed for bankruptcy and closed more than a 100 gyms, AT&T which owns CNN is cutting 3,400 technicians and clerical staff according to one of its unions, and Hilton said it's laying off roughly 22 percent of its corporate staff as the lingering effects of the pandemic then demand for leisure and corporate travel. JARRETT: Well, still ahead, a disturbing and sadly telling discovery

overnight. A noose was found in the garage of NASCAR's only black driver who's been outspoken about black lives matter.



JARRETT: A New York City police officer is suspended without pay this morning, following an apparent choke-hold incident. The struggle during a disorderly conduct arrest was captured by NYPD body cameras.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stop choking him, bro. Stop choking him! He's choking him! Let him go, bro!




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Back up, back up.



JARRETT: On video as you can see there, taunting the officers initially. The man arrested is being treated for minor injuries and has not been charged with anything. Last week, the New York City Council passed a package of police reform bills including a choke-hold ban, but it hasn't passed yet. The New York Police Commissioner will testify this morning in the state's attorney general's probe examining public interactions with the NYPD.

ROMANS: All right, the bronze statue of Teddy Roosevelt outside of the museum of National History in New York City is coming down. Now, it shows Roosevelt on a horse flanked by a native American man and an African man. The museum says it has come to symbolize the painful legacy of colonial expansion and racial discrimination.

Now, the museum previously defended the very statue and similar works as relics of their era, and used those statues to educate the public. But now the museum, the city, even a representative of the Roosevelt family all agree it is time to take it down. Now Roosevelt's legacy though remains the museum has strong historical connections to Roosevelt and his family. Other parts of the museum will still bear his name and likeness.

JARRETT: NASCAR says it's investigating a noose found in driver Bubba Wallace's garage stall. Andy Scholes has more in this morning's "BLEACHER REPORT", hey Andy.

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS REPORTER: Yes, good morning, Laura. So Bubba Wallace, you know, he's the only black driver in NASCAR's top level. He's been very vocal in the Black Lives Matter movement, successfully leading a campaign to ban the confederate flag from NASCAR races. But NASCAR confirming last night that a noose had been found in Wallace's garage stall at the Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama.

They released a statement saying "we are angry and outraged and cannot state strongly enough how seriously we take this heinous act." NASCAR told CNN, the garage area where the noose was found is restricted to essential personnel which includes race teams, NASCAR officials, security and health and safety personnel. Now, Wallace responding to what happened on Twitter saying, "this will not break me. I will not give in nor will I back down. I will continue to proudly stand for what I believe in."

Now I was at the race yesterday which ended up being postponed due to weather. Five thousand fans were allowed into the Superspeedway. The Confederate flag was banned on the racetrack grounds, but it was definitely still around. A plane flew over the track with a huge Confederate flag and the words, "defund NASCAR". Then across the street, there were gift shops selling Confederate flag items. Now, I talked to those shop owners and some fans and asked them their thoughts on the flag ban.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a heritage thing with the southern people. I think until you bring it up, it's not a racist thing for them, most of those people. And it's taking something else away from them, you know.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I didn't let it affect me, you know, I came here for the race and this and that, but I'm happy that they did do that. I mean, it's just -- it's just progress and moving on.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I really didn't have a problem with them, the flag, it's just I feel like they're taking people's rights away.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm living the American dream. I'm a Mexican and I'm selling Trump and Confederate paraphernalia. The American dream is, you know, you can come -- anybody can come here and make a dollar and that's what I'm doing.


SCHOLES: Yes, and they tried to hold that race later on this afternoon. In the meantime, at least 30 members of LSU's football team are now in quarantine after either testing positive for COVID-19 or being in contact with someone who did.


It's part of a growing list of teams reporting cases during voluntary workouts. Kansas state, the latest to shut down their workouts after 14 positive tests. The NFL network reports that a 49ers player has tested positive for the virus. The NFL Players Association meanwhile warning players not to hold private practices in large groups. And after closing Spring training facilities in Florida and Arizona, "USA Today" now reporting every Major League Baseball team with the exception of the Toronto Blue Jays are now going to practice at its home ballpark in preparation for an upcoming season whenever they decide to do that.

In the NBA meanwhile moving forward with its plan to play at Disney despite a surge in cases in Florida. "ESPN" reporting that on a recent league, called Commissioner Adam Silver, he expressed a resolve to go on, and Christine, he remains confident in the NBA's bubble concept.

ROMANS: All right, nice to see you this morning, thank you so much.

SCHOLES: All right --

ROMANS: The normal Fall semester far from certain, college towns face a long road to overcome coronavirus.



JARRETT: Welcome back. Coronavirus on both sides of the Pacific is costing two major American companies a big business. China is stopping U.S. exports of Tyson Foods products after Tyson Factory workers in the U.S. contracted COVID-19, and Pepsi says it's shutting down one of its factories in Beijing after a new cluster of cases emerged there. Beijing now expanding steps to slow its latest outbreak. CNN's Steven Jiang is live in Beijing. Steven, what more do you expect to see this week as officials try to slow the spread?

STEVEN JIANG, CNN SENIOR PRODUCER: Well, Laura, their priority has been to expand the city's testing capacity, and now it's reached 1 million per day. The last time we saw this kind of numbers was actually in Wuhan, the original epicenter where the authorities there tested their cities 11 million residents within 10 days, following its reopening.

Here in the Chinese capital, they have already tested 2.3 million people in the past week, and now they're focusing on people from so- called key industries in the service sector of food and beverage. But also all of the city's package and food delivery people, and we are talking about hundreds of thousands of people in this line of work. But when you look at the bigger picture, Beijing has reported 236 new cases in the past 11 days.

And this is a city of 20-plus million people. So it's still a very tiny fraction of the population. But they were taking no chances here, that's why they have imposed a soft lockdown city-wide and ceding off dozens of neighborhoods where they have seen recent cases. And now as you mentioned, multinational companies being affected as well. Pepsi was forced to shut down that factory in Beijing making potato chips after eight workers tested positive.

But the company emphasized none of its bottling plants has been affected. So it's safe to drink the sodas. And Chinese experts also saying chances of you getting the virus from eating chips even made in that factory very slim, but it's going to be interesting to see if consumers are ready to give up junk food. Laura?

JARRETT: We'll see about that. I don't know, in the middle of a pandemic, sometimes you need a little bit of junk food. All right, Steven, thanks so much.

ROMANS: College towns are hit especially hard by COVID. The students left, but the virus has not. CNN's Athena Jones reports.


ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Nestled in the mountains of central New York, Ithaca is a place known for its natural beauty, gorgeous waterfalls, sprawling vistas, and if you're a local or a student in one of the town colleges, you also know Purity Ice Cream where owner Heather Lane has been serving scoops for 23 years.

HEATHER LANE, OWNER, PURITY ICE CREAM: I have the sweetest job in town.

JONES: But it hasn't been so sweet lately as coronavirus fears set in and nearby college campuses all but shut down, Lane closed up shop in March. She reopens 6 weeks later for curbside pickup only and with precautions.

LANE: Make sure you check your temp and log in, OK?

JONES: She's doing about 15 percent of her normal sales, and is running the shop with only a handful of employees.

LANE: We call it the corona coaster. It's terrible because one day you're in public, this is fun. And the next day, you wake up and you're like, oh, dear, what am I going to do today? And who did I have to tell? You don't have a job right now.

JONES: When school is in session, Cornell University, Ithaca College and nearby Tompkins Cortland Community College are the beating heart of the economy.

LANE: The 50 percent of the town, if not 60 percent of the town. So lose that, do the math.

JONES: That's Mayor Svante Myrick's big fear for the town he's led since 2012.

MAYOR SVANTE MYRICK, ITHACA, NEW YORK: Our entire region has been supported by these three colleges. Final students alone contribute $4 million a week to the local economy.

JONES: Already facing a projected budget deficit of nearly $15 million even if students return this Fall, Myrick warns of cataclysmic trouble if they don't, and is calling for federal aid to cities like his no matter what happens next semester.

MYRICK: These college towns are economic engines for regions throughout the country. And the engine has just stalled out, right? The federal government can jumpstart this engine. So the federal government has to ask them, are you going to be penny-wise but pound foolish?

JONES: Ithaca College is the first major institution here to announce reopening plans, giving the business community some reason to hope. It aims to bring students back on October 5th.

SHIRLEY COLLAGO, PRESIDENT, ITHACA COLLEGE: Given where we are in this state as the epicenter of the coronavirus, and all we have to do to get ready, October for us seemed like the right decision to make for our students and their families. This will all be pending state guidelines and the governor's approval for us to actually open.

JONES: But such announcements are not enough to allay the concerns of Deirdre Kurzweil.

DEIRDRE KURZWEIL, OWNER, SUNNY DAYS OF ITHACA: It's not something that I feel like I can totally depend on. I mean, this is a moving target.

JONES: Kurzweil saw a jump in sales earlier in the year.