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Trump Ramps Up Campaign Stops Despite Coronavirus Pandemic; U.K. Prepares To Ease Covid Lockdown Restrictions; MLB Owners Vote To Impose 2020 Season After Players Reject Plan. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired June 23, 2020 - 05:30   ET




MATT RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Reported more than 21,000 newly-confirmed cases of the coronavirus. That brings the overall total there to more than 1.1 million cases. Of course, Brazil has joined the United States as the only two countries in the world who have reported more than one million overall cases.

Meanwhile, here in Mexico, there have been more reported deaths from Covid-19 over the past two days than have been reported in Brazil. Now, granted, Brazil's figures are usually lower on Sundays and Mondays due to lower testing in the preceding days, but it is just further proof that the outbreak here in Mexico is very serious.


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks to our reporters around the world for that.

EARLY START continues right now.

LAURA JARRETT, CNN ANCHOR: A dangerous spike in coronavirus won't keep the president out of Arizona. He'll speak to thousands of people today. Masks, however, not expected to be enforced.

ROMANS: And it looks like there will be a baseball season after all. How, when, and where teams will finally hit the field.

Good morning, everyone, this is EARLY START. I'm Christine Romans.

JARRETT: I'm Laura Jarrett, 30 minutes past the hour here in New York.

And presidential politics on a collision course with coronavirus today. President Trump heads to Arizona for several stops, including remarks at a Students for Trump event in Phoenix. Masks will be handed out but enforcement very much in doubt there.

The state is one of the country's hotspots reporting more than 2,000 cases per day for six of the last seven days. Eighty-four percent of Arizona's intensive care hospital beds now in use. The state's Republican governor says this was expected.


GOV. DOUG DUCEY (R), ARIZONA: We knew that when we lifted the stay- at-home order we would have an increase in cases. The objective has always been so that we could slow the virus.


ROMANS: President Trump adding more confusion on the issue of testing for the virus. At his rally Saturday, Trump told supporters he ordered the administration to slow down Covid testing because it results in finding more cases. The White House tried to say he was only kidding -- kidding about something that's killed 120,000 people in this country.

Then yesterday, he confirmed he did tell his people -- presumably, his staff or cabinet members -- high case counts look bad.


DAVID BRODY, CBN NEWS POLITICAL ANALYST: Just to clear up, there wasn't a direct if you will to staff to stop the testing?

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: No, but I think it's -- I think we put ourselves at a disadvantage. So you hear about all these cases -- so instead of doing 25 million tests, let's say we did 10 million tests.


TRUMP: We'd look like we're doing much better because we'd have far fewer cases. You understand that?


JARRETT: The president's return to the campaign trail was intended to project strength and enthusiasm but the Tulsa rally over the weekend showed a limited strategy leaning on old grievances about race, the virus, monuments, and more.

The president had said he's planning visits to Florida and Texas, two other states hit really hard by the virus. But now, aides are debating what his signature rallies will look like going forward.

ROMANS: Half the country -- 25 states -- heading in the wrong direction today. Former Health and Human Services Sec. Kathleen Sebelius says the U.S. is stuck playing catch-up.


KATHLEEN SEBELIUS, FORMER SECRETARY, HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES: We are still reacting, we're not ahead of it. The only way to get ahead of the virus is to way tamp down the cases in any area, any -- and then test like crazy when a case appears, contact trace, and make sure you quarantine. We can't do that yet because we're still finding all kinds of people who have the virus.


ROMANS: With more people now out in public, new types of outbreaks are emerging at bars, churches, and other venues.

Florida and Texas and their 50 million residents, a big concern this morning. In Texas, cases and hospitalizations have nearly doubled over the past month.


GOV. GREG ABBOTT (R), TEXAS: Covid-19 is now spreading at an unacceptable rate in Texas. If we were to experience another doubling of those numbers over the next month that would mean that we are in an urgent situation where tougher actions will be required to make sure that we do contain the spread of Covid-19.


JARRETT: In Florida, the Department of Health has now issued an advisory that masks should be worn by everyone across the state, but the governor has not made it mandatory.

Some workers at Disney World have launched a petition pleading with executives to reconsider plans for a July opening.

Days of record case numbers have now pushed the statewide total past 100,000.

And in Louisiana, where cases have been falling, the governor says the state will not enter phase three of reopening for at least a month after a spike in just the last week.

ROMANS: All right.

Comments from White House trade adviser Peter Navarro on China sent markets on a rollercoaster Tuesday. During an interview with Fox News Monday night, Navarro said China's complacency in reporting the coronavirus early on led to a breakdown of political and economic channels with the U.S.


Then, this happened.


MARTHA MACCALLUM, FOX NEWS ANCHOR, "THE STORY WITH MARTHA MACCALLUM": But given everything that's happened and all the things you just listed, is that over?



ROMANS: Is that over, meaning the trade deal with China.

Dow futures briefly fell 400 points after Navarro's comments.

Now, President Trump tried to ease concerns, tweeting "The China deal is fully intact. Hopefully, they will live up to the terms of the agreement."

Navarro later told CNN in a statement, "My comments have been taken wildly out of context. They had nothing at all to do with the Phase I trade deal, which continues in place."

Taking a look at futures right now in the U.S., you can see futures markets are up a little bit here -- a 200-point rally for the Dow if this holds. The short breakdown shows investors still care about trade tension between the U.S. and China and the U.S. -- as the U.S. deals with the economic impact of the coronavirus.

JARRETT: Well, everybody you know ran out and bought hand sanitizer when coronavirus first hit, but a new warning says some of them contain a potentially fatal ingredient.



ROMANS: All right, 40 minutes past the hour.

Nine different types of hand sanitizer may contain a potentially fatal ingredient. The FDA is advising consumers not to use products made by the company Eskbiochem SA that may contain the toxic chemical methanol.

The hand sanitizer brands they say you should avoid include All-Clean, Eskbiochem, CleanCare NoGerm., Lavar, The Good Gel, Saniderm. For the complete list, go to

JARRETT: Only one drug has shown to be effective so far in treating coronavirus. Now the company behind it says it's hoping to provide the medicine in a new, easier-to-take form. The hope is to treat the virus at an earlier stage.

Here is our senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen.


ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Laura, Christine, there's only one treatment that's been shown to be effective against Covid-19 and that's Remdesivir. That's a drug made by Gilead. It only comes in an intravenous form so it's only given to hospitalized patients.

But now, the company that makes Remdesivir, Gilead -- Gilead says that they're going to try to study it in an inhaled form and see if that works. That would certainly broaden the number of places it could be used, so not just the hospital. And also, you could then give it to people earlier on in their illness before they're hospitalized. Gilead says they're also going to try using Remdesivir in combination

with other therapies to see how it works.

Now, we do know that Remdesivir has been shown to work against Covid- 19 but it is not, by anyone's definition, a wonder drug. What it showed in studies in the intravenous form is that it cuts down on a hospital stay by about four days. A good thing, but again, not a wonder drug -- Christine, Laura.


ROMANS: Thank you.

The U.K. recording its lowest daily death toll since the pandemic began. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is preparing to announce further easing of lockdown restrictions, including for pubs.

CNN's Anna Stewart live from Hammersmith in London. And when can the British public enjoy a pint?

ANNA STEWART, CNN INTERNATIONAL REPORTER: Well, some are actually enjoying pints already, but only if they're takeaway.

And, Christine, I've actually brought you to my local pub, The Black Lion, here in Hammersmith. I can tell you the Lion owner is very excited about potentially a further loosening of rules.

Pubs and restaurants could be allowed to reopen as soon as the Fourth of July. That is what we expect the prime minister will announce later today, just in a couple of hours.

And not just, but the guidance on how. How can these businesses reopen, what procedures that need to be in place. It, of course, will not be pre-pandemic normal.

The biggest announcement we do expect today in relation to this will be a reduction in a social distancing rule. Currently in the U.K., that stands at two meters. We think that will get reduced down today or for the Fourth of July onwards to just one meter, which doesn't sound like very much, does it?

But that will make a world of difference for so many businesses, particularly in the hospitality sector. Imagine a cinema. Two meters versus one meter makes a huge difference.

And the big concern here is, of course, as you ease lockdown, you see cases rise. But at the same time, there is a big concern about the economy. In the U.K., 10 million people's jobs are being supported by the government and there's a huge concern that if lockdown isn't lifted and if the economy doesn't really restart soon, many of those jobs could be lost forever.

So hopefully, some good news for businesses today, but we'll be looking into the sort of small print to see exactly how it's going to work -- Christine. ROMANS: Exactly, Anna, and will people feel comfortable to be just one meter apart? Will they go back to their normal behavior or will that take some time? We'll have to watch.

Anna Stewart in Hammersmith, thank you.

We'll be right back.



JARRETT: Welcome back.

Democratic senators are sending their strongest signal yet they may try to block the Republican police reform bill. It's a move that could prevent any measure on a forum from taking shape this year. But, Democrats say the reforms outlined in the GOP -- well, they're not tough enough, and they want Republican leader Mitch McConnell to allow votes on amendments.

The Republican plan aims to create incentives for states to take action on reforms. Democrats, meanwhile, want to set national standards.

ROMANS: It is primary day in New York State. The familiar establishment versus insurgent divide playing out in one congressional district. Coronavirus and racial tensions are central to this race.

CNN's MJ Lee has more.


MJ LEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Democratic Congressman Elliot Engel under fire for this hot mic moment --

REP. ELIOT ENGEL (D-NY): If I didn't have a primary, I wouldn't care.

LEE (voice-over): -- at a New York press conference addressing protests following the death of George Floyd.

The 16-term congressman in danger of losing his seat --

ENGEL: When I go back to Washington, I'm going to fight for justice.

LEE (voice-over): -- to Jamaal Bowman, an insurgent challenger from the left.


LEE (voice-over): The New York primary race exposing a larger rift dividing the Democratic Party with establishment heavyweights like Hillary Clinton, Jim Clyburn, and Nancy Pelosi publicly taking sides against big-name progressives like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.

The match-up reminding some New Yorkers of a 2018 primary race next door when Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez delivered a stunning defeat to longtime congressman Joe Crowley.

Bowman, a first-time political candidate, trying to sway voters in New York's 16th Congressional District, which spans parts of the Bronx and Westchester County.

BOWMAN: Thank you so much.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You've got my vote.

BOWMAN: I've got your vote?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Definitely. Time for a change.

BOWMAN: Time for a change, absolutely.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: After 31 years, you gotta go.

BOWMAN: Thirty-one, you gotta go.

LEE (voice-over): The middle school principal accusing Congressman Engel of being out of touch with his home district.


BOWMAN: While Congressman Engel has been absent, I've been here fighting for our communities for the last 20 years.

LEE (voice-over): Engel, first elected to the House in 1988 and currently the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, saying his decade's long record speaks for itself.

ENGEL: The voters aren't stupid. They vote for me every two years because they know I care about them, I work hard for them, I produce for them, and I vote the way they would like me to vote.

LEE (voice-over): The congressman also facing questions about why he was hunkered down in his D.C. area Maryland home instead of being in his New York district during the worst of the coronavirus pandemic. Engel saying he was simply following doctor's orders.

ENGEL: And they're trying to make a phony issue out of -- out of nothing. I was quarantining myself because the place near Washington is bigger. And my wife and I, in our apartment in New York, could not both quarantine at the same time.

LEE (voice-over): Bowman saying Engel's hot mic moment speaks volumes.

BOWMAN: When the people see you and they feel your presence and they know you've been here for decades doing the work, you don't have to scramble for the microphone.

LEE (voice-over): MJ Lee, CNN, New York.


ROMANS: It is also primary day in Kentucky. Neither state is expected to finish ballot-counting today. Absentee ballots are not due for several days.

JARRETT: Well, it appears Major League Baseball is finally coming back. Team owners voted unanimously to implement a 2020 season after their latest restart offer was rejected by the players. A source says the plan calls for a 60-game season to begin around July 24th and no expanded playoffs.

The players will have to sign off on health and safety protocols and agree to report for spring training 2.0 at their home stadiums by July first.

Well, Google is putting search results for its images under a new microscope. The company says it's adding fact-checks under thumbnail images on the search engine in an effort to weed out misleading, manipulated, and outright fake videos and photos.

Companies like Twitter and Facebook are also wrestling with how best to address misinformation on their platforms.

ROMANS: And there's plenty of misinformation, especially as we head into election season.

Let's get a check on CNN Business this morning. Taking a look at markets around the world, you see Asian shares closed higher and European shares have opened higher. Big gains there in Frankfurt.

On Wall Street, also the same kind of mood here this morning. Maybe a one-percentage-point gain, if this holds, for the Dow into the opening bell this morning.

Stocks rose Monday as investors shifted their focus back to the reopening of the economy instead of the rising numbers of coronavirus cases. The Dow up 153 points. The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq higher as well.

To the housing market now. Existing home sales dropped again in May, the third-straight month of declines since the pandemic began. Sales fell 10 percent from April.

When you look at that year-over-year, that's down 27 percent from last year. That year-over-year decline, the biggest drop since 1982 when mortgage rates were like 18 percent. Now, May was the slowest sales activity since 2010 -- 3.9 million properties sold.

Now, after three months of lockdowns and Covid caution, real estate experts think the worst is behind us. Low mortgage rates are luring buyers back in and behaviors are changing.

Economists at the National Association of Realtors note a shift in buyers' preference. People are moving out of the cities and looking in the suburbs, and they want houses with more space because people think they may be working from home for longer.

Fortnite has apparently removed police cars in its latest season as protests against police brutality continue across the country. "The Wall Street Journal" first reported the news. Multiple users on Reddit have also noticed the change.

The "Journal" notes police cars were in earlier versions of the game but they were decorative and couldn't be driven by players.

Fortnite's developer, Epic Games, did not respond to a CNN request for comment, Laura.

JARRETT: All right. At the Barcelona Opera House -- well, a performer's worst nightmare. An audience just sitting there like potted plants, but this was for real and on purpose. The opera house had a full house, so to speak, for its first concert in three months. A string quartet serenading its leafy audience of 2,300 plants.

The performance also made available to actual humans via livestream.

Organizers say it was a metaphor to have people reflect on their relationship with nature during the pandemic. The plants were later donated to health care professionals on the front lines.

You know, coronavirus, if nothing, brings out the creative juices for people. I guess having any audience is better than nothing.

ROMANS: Are you supposed to talk to your plants or sing to your plants? Doesn't that make them grow more? Is that -- that's an old wives' tale maybe, but --

JARRETT: I don't know. I'm not good with plants. I tend to kill them.

ROMANS: Yes, exactly. I think those are probably very healthy plants. Way to go, Barcelona.

Thanks for joining us. I'm Christine Romans.

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




SEBELIUS: We are still reacting. The only way to get ahead of the virus is to way tamp down the cases in any area.

SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Seventy-five percent of the ICU beds are already occupied in Florida. We are right back to square one.

ABBOTT: Covid-19 is now spreading at an unacceptable rate in Texas and it must be corralled. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Young people are going out because they do think they're invincible. They're getting the virus and they're spreading into the community.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Donald Trump is expected to attend several public events in Arizona where the number of daily coronavirus cases has been steadily surging.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When you put a bunch of people together in an indoor space, those are the perfect conditions to have a superspreader event.


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.