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Trump Holds Event in Arizona Despite Record COVID-19 Cases; U.S. Cases Surge; Coronavirus Infecting Younger Population; Judge Orders President Jair Bolsonaro to Wear a Face Mask; Rayshard Brooks Laid to Rest; Djokovic Tests Positive for COVID-19; Trump Visits Arizona Amid Surging Virus Cases, Deaths; Debunking Trump's False Claims on Mail-in Voting; Beijing Reports 7 New Coronavirus Cases Tuesday; University Hopes Testing Will Allow Safe Fall Return. Aired 12-1a ET

Aired June 24, 2020 - 00:00   ET




JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Hello and welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm John Vause.

Coming up on CNN NEWSROOM, the many delusions of Donald Trump.


TRUMP: If you look, the numbers are very minuscule compared to what it was. It's dying out.


VAUSE: No, the pandemic is not dying out, it continues to get worse and, for the record, Mr. president, only 3 miles of new wall has been built on the border, not 200 and it did nothing to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

As the E.U. looks to reopen its borders, chances are that there will be no welcome for Americans or Russians or Brazilians or any country which has yet to bring the pandemic under control.

And Novak Djokovic tests positive for the coronavirus and he only has himself to blame.


VAUSE: Scientists are sounding the alarm about the expanding spread of the coronavirus, while the leaders of the two hardest hit countries seem to be living in some kind of alternative reality.

In the U.S., senior government officials have told lawmakers that the next two weeks will be critical in containing the latest surge. And the virus has brought this nation to its knees; 25 states have reported rising numbers of new cases, compared to the previous week. Not one state has effectively transitioned from a stay-at-home order

to testing, tracking and quarantining.


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: The first thing that we would need to do is to try, as best as possible, to get the complete outbreak under control, so that everything is at such a low level that, when there are cases that come up, you can contain them as opposed to mitigating, where you're essentially chasing after a forest fire.


VAUSE: Meantime, Donald Trump traveled to Arizona to campaign on Tuesday, a state that set a new record this week for the number of people hospitalized in just one day. He again used a racial slur to refer to the virus and told reporters he was not kidding about slowing the number of testing, which is being done in this country, so the numbers could be kept down.


DR. JONATHAN REINER, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: How is it that our chief pandemic officer, the president of the United States, doesn't believe in the two most effective tools to put in the pandemic down?

It's either that he doesn't understand, which raises unfathomable cognitive questions, or he's trying to promote a false narrative that everything is fine and we all have our heads in the sand.


VAUSE: America's leading expert on infectious diseases said the president did not ask for a slowdown in testing and said the country should be testing more to fight what he calls a disturbing surge of infections. According to Johns Hopkins University, the numbers of new cases have risen by 10 percent in half the country. More details from CNN's Erica Hill.


ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): As more Americans leave strict shutdown measures behind, a stark warning that this freedom may be short-lived.

FAUCI: The next couple of weeks are going to be critical in our ability to address those surgings that we are seeing in Florida, in Texas, in Arizona and in other states.

HILL: Surges that are setting records. More than a third of all cases in California have come in just the past two weeks.

Arizona announcing another daily high, nearly 3,600 new cases added on Tuesday. Florida not far behind.


HILL (voice-over): Twenty-five states trending in the wrong direction over the past week, nearly the entire western half of the country.

In Texas, one of the first states to reopen, a warning: restrictions may be coming back.

GOV. GREG ABBOTT (R-TX): Because the spread is so rampant right now, there is never a reason for you to have to leave your home unless you do need to go out.

HILL (voice-over): In Harris County, Texas, home to Houston, the number of COVID-19 patients in hospitals has jumped 177 percent in the last three weeks. Those in ICU beds up 64 percent.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This virus thrives on human behavior.

HILL (voice-over): Moves to change that behavior growing. More cities now mandating face coverings but enforcing those rules and keeping people apart is proving difficult in some areas, especially among young people.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Don't be the knucklehead that ruins it for everyone else.

HILL: Twenty-two percent of the cases in New Jersey are in 18- to 29- year olds; that's up 10 percent since April.


MICHAEL OSTERHOLM, DIRECTOR, CENTER FOR INFECTIOUS DISEASE RESEARCH AND POLICIES: The testing is increasing but the percentage of those people who are positive is actually going much higher. So it clearly is being transmitted at a high level in a number of places.

HILL (voice-over): Novak Djokovic under fire after hosting a charity event with little evidence of social distancing. The tennis champ apologizing after he and other players tested positive, saying it was too soon.

The University of Michigan scrapping plans to host a presidential debate this fall. Middlebury College will require students to quarantine at home for two weeks before arriving on campus as the country tries to plan for what's next.

DR. ROBERT REDFIELD, CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION: We've all done the best that we can do to tackle this virus. And the reality has brought this nation to its knees.

HILL: In terms of getting a handle on this virus, Dr. Fauci also warning on Tuesday that we are essentially chasing a forest fire if the country does not get a handle on it by the fall. Back to you.


VAUSE: Erica, thank you. Now welcome to Europe but not so fast, you travelers from the United

States. With the E.U. set to reopen its borders and restart tourism, a number of diplomatic sources have told CNN the still rising number of coronavirus infections in the U.S. could mean Americans will join countries like Brazil and Russia, banned from entry.

Details now from our Fred Pleitgen in Berlin.


FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: As the European Union debates on how to reopen up and allow travelers from around the world back in after beating back the coronavirus pandemic, travelers from the United States might actually be left out and be barred from entering the European Union, lumping the U.S. in with countries like Brazil and Russia.

This is according to two E.U. diplomats and one E.U. diplomat also told CNN, quote, "The criteria will be focused on circulation of the virus," and, quote, "where the virus is circulating most actively."

So far, no final decision has been made. One of the things we always have to point out is that, in the end, this is not really the European Union's decision to make. Each E.U. country decides by itself which travelers it lets in and which ones it doesn't.

But by and large, the European Union does try to coordinate these things and it does try to have a common approach. Many European countries would like to see travelers come back, because tourism is a major factor in many economies of many European member states.

However, a lot of these member states are also very afraid that letting in travelers from abroad could lead to more infections with the novel coronavirus. The last thing the E.U. states want would be a second wave of infections here on the continent -- Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Berlin.


VAUSE: Dr. Celine Gounder is the former assistant health commissioner for New York City, she's host of a podcast and is a CNN medical analyst, she is with us again for this hour.

Thank you for taking the time.


VAUSE: There was one remark that came from Dr. Anthony Fauci during that testimony before Congress, which seemed to explain why there was such a mix of public response to how to deal with the pandemic, not just in the U.S. but also around the world. Here it is.


FAUCI: You know I have been dealing with viral outbreaks for the last 40 years and I have never seen a single virus that is one pathogen, have a range from 20 percent to 40 percent of the people have no symptoms to some get mild symptoms, to some get symptoms enough to put them at home for a few days.

Some are in bed for weeks and have symptoms even after they recover. Others go to the hospital. Some require oxygen. Some require intensive care. Some get intubated and some die.

So you have a situation that is very confusing to people because some people think, it's trivial, it doesn't bother me, who cares?


VAUSE: In other words, if COVID-19 was equally deadly for all, we might be in this together. But we are not. And need to start thinking about others, which is why, when it comes to wearing a mask, it's important. It's a minor inconvenience but it brings essential benefits.

GOUNDER: Well, John, for me, as an infectious disease specialist and epidemiologist, not unlike Dr. Fauci, what has been so perplexing about the coronavirus is how unpredictable it is.

And older people are at higher risk of complications. But I can tell you on my service, I have a patient who came into the hospital sometime in April. And he is still in the hospital. He's only 25. He still has severe complications of COVID and he lost 40 pounds.

He still so weak he can barely eat. So this is not something that is a predictable, oh, the elderly are the ones who get sick and die. The young people are the ones who barely have a cold.


GOUNDER: What is so scary and what Dr. Fauci is alluding to is that this is such an unpredictable virus that behaves in unpredictable ways and in different parts of the body. And we are still very confused about many of these manifestations.

VAUSE: Yes, and that is one of the areas which makes it so difficult to treat and to prevent.

We also saw the U.S. president, who spent most of Tuesday in Arizona, this is a state which on Tuesday reported 3,600 new cases of the coronavirus, that's a daily record. As it happens, almost as many as supporters were on a campaign stop for the president a few hours ago.

They were indoors, cramped together. Could not really see a lot of face masks there, perhaps they were taking comfort in this presidential tweet from earlier.

"Cases are going up in the U.S. because we are testing far more than any other country and ever expanding. With smaller testing, we would show fewer cases."

Yes, he's right. Fewer tests would show fewer cases. That doesn't mean that there would actually be fewer cases. So the leader of the country, the 45th president, seems to be deliberately misleading about testing, while also refusing to wear a mask.

GOUNDER: This is how the dictator of a banana republic speaks. You want to suppress information because it is in your interest to suppress information.

Those of us who work in public health, transparency and information are the most important things for us because we need to know where the problem is.

It would be like saying to a detective well, we don't want to give you any clues. You can't work with any clues. You just need to come to a conclusion. And that is essentially the scenario that we are dealing with now, is that we are being asked to provide evidence with no evidence to suit the case the judge is trying to make.

VAUSE: With that in mind, I'd like you to clarify another statement from Donald Trump. He boasted about how his wall has stopped COVID-19.


TRUMP: And I built the wall and it worked 100 percent. You know I'm talking about.

Because now it's stopped COVID. It's stopped everything. It stopped the whole deal.


VAUSE: For the record, how many documented cases are there of concrete, steel and rebar effectively stopping a pandemic?

GOUNDER: None that I'm aware of. This is not prevented by building walls but by identifying people infected, getting them the care they need, isolating them and separating them from people who are not infected.

And, if anything, some of our policies at the border fuel transmission, where people got infected in some of the holding cells and so on at the border. And we threw them back over the border to reinfect a bunch of other people. So I don't see our border policies as preventing transmission; if anything, they are promoting that.

VAUSE: And border policies, the E.U. is looking to reopen their borders. Diplomatic sources say Americans may not be allowed entry, because the outbreak here in this country.

"The New York Times" reports the criteria like this, "The benchmark for entry is the E.U. average number of new infections over the past 14 days per 100,000 people, which is currently 16 for the entire bloc. The comparable number for the United States is 107, Brazil, 190 and Russia is 80."

An empirical look at the facts and the criteria, does that ban by the E.U. make sense in terms of preventing the spread of the virus within the E.U. border area? GOUNDER: Well, the E.U. is making policies on the basis of what is the risk and the likelihood that you may be carrying the infection, whether you know it or not and that you may infect their citizens. This is not about what is the color of your skin, this is not about whether you are rich or poor.

This is about you live in the United States, where the country has clearly deprioritized preventing transmission, so you are higher risk for introducing transmission in their countries.

It's actually quite a rational decision. It's not about if you are good or bad person, it is simply that you present a risk to our citizens.

VAUSE: So it's based on science, fact, nothing personal?

GOUNDER: It's nothing personal. It's not anti-American, it is simply on the basis of, you know what, Americans are at higher risk for carrying this infection because of the policies that you guys have instituted or not.

And so we are doing what we can to protect ourselves. And it is a frankly very rational policy, given what we have chosen or not chosen to do in this country.

VAUSE: And Dr. Celine Gounder, thank you. We'll leave it there. But I appreciate you being with us. Thank you.

The biggest country in South America is reporting a staggering jump in confirmed cases, nearly 40,000 in 24 hours means Brazil is second only to the U.S. in terms of total cases.


VAUSE: And president Jair Bolsonaro, who has likened the virus to a little flu, is now being held accountable by a senior judge for his refusal to wear a face mask in public. We head to Sao Paulo now and more details from CNN's Shasta Darlington.


SHASTA DARLINGTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A Brazilian judge has ordered President Jair Bolsonaro to wear a mask in public after the coronavirus skeptic appeared at many rallies without one. The judge said Bolsonaro would face a fine of up to $380 a day if he refused to use one while in public in the country's capital, Brasilia.

Bolsonaro has repeatedly downplayed the virus, insisting the economic fallout from social isolation measures would be worse than COVID-19. His supporters have staged multiple rallies calling for an end to quarantine, and he has frequently joined them, without a mask, shaking hands and embracing the crowds.

Meanwhile, the number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise. Brazil reported nearly 40,000 new infections on Tuesday, and more than 1,300 additional deaths -- Shasta Darlington, CNN, Sao Paulo. (END VIDEOTAPE)

VAUSE: Amid a surging number of viral infections, Mexico are now dealing with the aftermath of an earthquake. Five people were killed when the quake struck the southern state of Oaxaca. It was measured at 7.4 bringing down buildings and caused power outages and evacuations in some areas. It also damaged hospitals treating COVID-19 patients.

Damage was considered light to moderate but the quake was felt in parts of Mexico City in the north and countries like El Salvador to the south.

A Kentucky police officer has now been fired over the death of an African American woman. The killing is one of several by police which sparked protests across the U.S. in recent weeks; 26-year-old Breonna Taylor was killed in March when police broke down the door to her apartment as she was sleeping and shot her 8 times.

The Louisville police department chief said the officer had expressed extreme indifference to the value of human life when he fired 10 rounds. Two other officers have been placed on administrative leave. Protesters want all three to face charges.

Family members and friends gathered in an Atlanta church for the funeral of Rayshard Brooks. He was shot twice by an Atlanta police officer outside a restaurant adding to tensions of racism and police brutality which have erupted since George Floyd's death last month. CNN's Ryan Young has this report.


RYAN YOUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A somber scene as Rayshard Brooks is laid to rest. Hundreds filled Ebenezer Baptist Church to pay respects to the man shot and killed by an Atlanta police officer earlier this month.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He radiated such a bright light, that regardless of the cowardly act that took his life, his light will never be dim.

YOUNG (voice-over): It was an emotional afternoon, commemorating the life of a 27-year-old father.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the family that we come from. We didn't have a lot of anything but we had a home.

YOUNG (voice-over): And providing a backdrop for a larger conversation on racism.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This time, the answer is not more diversity and inclusion. It is now time for Black Lives Matter.

YOUNG (voice-over): Brooks' death comes during nationwide protest against systematic racism and police brutality less than a month after George Floyd died in the custody of the Minneapolis police.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: George Floyd complied. Rayshard Brooks ran, yes. That's true but they are both dead. And therein is the problem.

YOUNG (voice-over): Brooks was shot in the back by officer Garrett Rolfe, one of the officers who responded to a call of a man asleep in his car at a Wendy's. Video of the incident shows him running away after resisting arrest and grabbing one of the officers' Tasers.

Rolfe is facing a felony murder charge. He says he heard a gunshot and saw a flash and fired his weapon, fearing for his safety. Officer Devin Brosnan is charged with aggravated assault, telling "The Atlanta Journal-Constitution," he would not have done anything differently that night.

"I have 100 percent faith the truth will come out. People will see this for what it is. They will understand I didn't do anything wrong."

But for many, the circumstances surrounding Brooks' death are a symptom of a larger problem.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No matter the race, let's treat each other how we want to be treated as people. Let's love one another and fight for everyone's rights.

YOUNG: Some powerful moments inside that church. I can tell you, the young people seemed to lead the way today, asking for changes.


YOUNG: It's not only in the community but how the city moves forward. They say they are looking for lasting changes. They don't want Rayshard Brooks to die in vain -- reporting in Atlanta, Ryan Young, CNN.


VAUSE: It turns out that noose found in the garage of NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace over the weekend was not the result of a hate crime. The FBI says the rope was used to pull a garage door closed and had been there since October last year.

But Wallace, the only Black driver in NASCAR, tells CNN he is still angry over the shape of the noose, which was fashioned in a way used for hanging.

When we come back, the top ranked tennis player in the world tests positive for coronavirus. Now he is under fire from his fellow players, who say he put others, many others, in harm's way.

Plus, light at the end of the lockdown. Why the U.K. prime minister says the national hibernation is ending.



(MUSIC PLAYING) VAUSE: Professional sports around the world are trying to reboot

after being sidelined for months by the pandemic. Now after weeks of negotiations, Major League Baseball has an agreement to start the season. MLB is planning a 60 game season starting next month. Players report to training camps July 1st.

Meanwhile golfer Cameron Champ has withdrawn from the PGA tour event after testing positive for COVID-19. He is the second golfer to get the virus in the PGA. Nick Watney tested positive next week. The PGA is testing 450 golfers, caddies and officials every week.

The number one tennis player in the world, Novak Djokovic, and his wife have both tested positive for the coronavirus. This comes after he organized and played in a series of tennis matches where social distancing guidelines were ignored and after he opposed taking a potential vaccine. Christina Macfarlane has details.


CHRISTINA MACFARLANE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: When you are the world tennis champion, you don't want to be in the news for limbo dancing in a crowded nightclub during a pandemic. That's when Novak Djokovic finds himself today, testing positive for coronavirus after organizing a tournament that was meant to ease tennis out of lockdown.

He said, profits were supposed to be for people in need, instead it has led to Djokovic, his wife and three other players testing positive for COVID-19.

In a statement, Djokovic said he organized the tournament because he thought he had met all health guidelines, and the virus was weakening.

He said, "I can't express enough how sorry I am for this and every case of infection. Everything the organizers and I did the past month, we did with a pure heart and sincere intentions. We were wrong and it was too soon."

Around the tournament, the players high five and hugged, played basketball and football away from the court, and then the nightclub visit.

Thousands of fans packed the event to see live tennis, with limited social distancing in place.


MACFARLANE (voice-over): But this isn't the first time tennis' men's number one has faced criticism for his views on the virus.

In April, he said he was against the idea of being made to take a vaccine for COVID-19 in order to travel and compete in the future.

He said in a statement, "I'm no expert, but I do want to have an opinion to choose what's best for my body. I'm keeping an open mind."

Now, a scandal that started in the (inaudible) could hugely impact plans for this year's U.S. Open which only announced it was going ahead last week. Players are already weighing up competing in New York under new limits of where they can stay and who they can see.

Now Djokovic is in self isolation for 14 days, not the roaring return for tennis that he once sought -- Christina MacFarlane, CNN, London.


VAUSE: The process of ending England's lockdown is underway. Come July 4th, much of the country's hospitality and tourism industries will open their doors. Even pubs can reopen. Anna Stewart has been checking the reaction across London.


ANNA STEWART, CNN CORRESPONDENT: "The national hibernation is coming to an end."

That was the announcement from U.K. prime minister Boris Johnson as he laid out his plan for the next stage of lifting lockdown. Businesses in England, including pubs, hotels, hair salons and cinemas will be able to reopen on July 4th. The first time in over three months.

The social distancing rule has been relax from two meters to one. Businesses will have to implement new measures to keep their customers and staff safe according to new government guidelines. This pub has been open for the last few weeks, take away pints only.

And as you could see with a very socially distance queue, speaking to people here though, they may be happy to have a pint outside in the sunshine.

Will they feel happy going inside a pub or a restaurant?

Will they want to go to the cinema?

Will they feel safe?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Being young, I don't feel like as much of a risk. And my company are actually making us go back to the office from next week. So, if I can go back to work, I feel like I could do other things that will be more fun.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't want to sit next to people, I'm just not sure about. And I really miss the cinema. I really miss that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think I'd be happy to go. Probably not the cinema but certainly to the pub and where we live, there's a pub nearby.

STEWART: And that is the big concern for the sector. Businesses may be able to reopen.

Will they have enough customers?

Over 9 million people salaries are now being supported by the U.K. government furlough scheme, as that tapers, there is a risk that some of those businesses will simply have to cut jobs, further depressing consumer spending and prolonging the U.K.'s deepest ever economic slump on record -- Anna Stewart, CNN, London.


VAUSE: Coming up, after the dismal turnout in Tulsa, President Trump was looking for some fizzle (sic) in Phoenix. Details when we come back.


JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: The U.S. president has once again used a racist term to describe the coronavirus, the second time in less than a week. Just a few hours ago, he was at a political gathering for conservative students in Arizona.



DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Like, there's never been anything where they have so many names. I could give you 19 or 20 names for that, right? It's got all different names. Wuhan, the Wuhan was catching on. Coronavirus, right? Kung Flu. Yes.


VAUSE: The U.S. president was in Arizona on Tuesday amid an alarming surge in coronavirus cases there, as well as in two dozen other states. But as CNN's Jim Acosta reports, the message coming from Donald Trump seems to be, Hey, everything is fine.


JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Even after 120,000 deaths from the coronavirus in the U.S., the president and his top aides are having a tough time explaining whether Mr. Trump is just kidding or being serious when it comes to testing for COVID- 19.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Were you just kidding or do you have a plan to slow down testing?

TRUMP: I don't kid. Let me just tell you. Let me make it clear. By having more cases, it sounds bad. But actually, what it is, is we're finding people.

ACOSTA: The president is trying to talk his way out of the mess he started at his rally in Tulsa over the weekend, when he said he's ordered officials to slow down testing.

TRUMP: So I said to my people, Slow the testing down, please.

ACOSTA: White House officials first claimed the president was kidding.

KAYLEIGH MCENANY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: It was a comment that he made in jest.

ACOSTA: Asked about Mr. Trump's comment that he does not kid, press secretary Kayleigh McEnany told reporters on Air Force One, "He was noting he was making a serious point, but he was using sarcasm to do that at the rally."

At a hearing in the House, Dr. Anthony Fauci testified the administration is not dialing back testing.

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASE: I know for sure that, to my knowledge, none of us have ever been told to slow down on testing. That just is a fact. In fact, we will be doing more testing.

ACOSTA: But the president's no kidding claim runs counter to excuses he's used in the past, like when he suggested to Americans that they inject themselves with disinfectant to kill the virus.

TRUMP: And I see the disinfectant would knock it out in a minute.

ACOSTA: Mr. Trump later said he was kidding.

TRUMP: I was asking a question sarcastically to reporters like you just to see what would happen.

ACOSTA: Or when he claimed to be chosen by God.

TRUMP: I am the chosen one.

ACOSTA: Mr. Trump tweeted, "The media knew I was kidding, being sarcastic."

Contrast all of that with a somber warning from Fauci that the coronavirus is surging in some parts of the U.S.

FAUCI: We are now seeing a disturbing surge of infections. Right now, the next couple of weeks are going to be critical in our ability to address those surgings that we're seeing in Florida, in Texas, in Arizona, and in other states.

ACOSTA: That contradicts Mr. Trump's repeated claims the virus is disappearing.

TRUMP: If you look, the numbers, they're very miniscule compared to what it was. It's dying out.

ACOSTA: The president is visiting Arizona to tour parts of his border wall, the pet project he turns to when he needs to play to his base. Mr. Trump has only managed to build a fraction of the border barrier he sold to voters. Instead of Mexico paying for the wall, as he promised, American taxpayers are picking up the tab.

TRUMP: I will build a great, great wall on our southern border, and I will have Mexico pay for that wall.

ACOSTA: To rev up his supporters, the president is also seizing on the latest destruction left by demonstrators protesting police brutality, with threats of jail time, tweeting, "Numerous people arrested in D.C. for the disgraceful vandalism in Lafayette Park of the magnificent statue of Andrew Jackson. Ten years in prison, beware."

TRUMP: We actually had a nice crowd, despite the fact that we had some pretty bad people waiting there, waiting -- they shouldn't have been.

ACOSTA (on camera): It's no secret why the president is in Arizona. Polls show Vice President Joe Biden could win the state. If the president loses Arizona, it is difficult to see how he wins reelection, which explains why the president is expected to return to Arizona and the border wall several times before November.

Jim Acosta, CNN, Yuma, Arizona.


VAUSE: Ron Brownstein is CNN's senior political analyst and the senior editor for "The Atlantic," and he is with us this hour from Los Angeles. Ron, thanks for being with us.


VAUSE: Now, the rule of politics, if you expect 1,000 people, book a room which holds 500. With that in mind, the Dream City Church in Phoenix was filled to capacity. That's 3,000 supporters Tuesday. Apparently, all of them safe from the coronavirus, according to church elders, if they're to be believed. Here they are. Listen to this.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And it kills 99.9 percent of COVID within 10 minutes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So when you come into our auditorium, 99 percent of COVID is gone, killed.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If it was there in the first place. So you can know when you come here, you'll be safe and protected. Thank God for great technology.


VAUSE: Yes, but assuming whatever it is that the church leaders are talking about doesn't actually do what they say, is there a political price, though, for Donald Trump if there are, in fact, confirmed COVID-19 cases after this event in Phoenix, after the one in Tulsa. There's another one next week, you know, in Wisconsin. And surely, there will be some cases after that. The experts say there will be.

BROWNSTEIN: Absolutely. When you look at the problem that he has in particular, politically, I think this is a very strange strategy to -- to try to explain.

First of all, Maricopa County where he was today was the largest county in America that he won in 2016. He won it by about 45,000 votes.

In 2018, it moved toward the Democrats. Kyrsten Sinema, the Democratic Senate candidate won it by 60,000 votes. I will go out on a limb, John, and tell you that, if Donald Trump loses Maricopa County, he will not be president. I mean, there -- there's only been one Republican in at least a decade who's won statewide in Arizona without winning Maricopa, and that person lost it by only a few thousand votes.

Maricopa is burning right now. It is adding 2,000 cases a day. More than most states have added in any single day during this process.

And if you consider that Trump's problem in Maricopa is the same as it is in many other places, and with a Republican problem in 2018, a significant erosion among white collar suburbanites who have voted Republican in the past.

For him to go and directly flout kind of the advice of public health officials, not only at the national level but at the state level, and the mayor of Phoenix, who put out a statement saying -- yesterday saying this could not be done safely, I don't see how that helps him with his core problem. It just underscores, I think, how committed he is to winning this election by turning out more of his base and, in part, to do that by basically saying, you know, no rules could contain me.

VAUSE: For those who actually took the risk to show up, they were rewarded by a sort of remix of Donald Trump's greatest hits.


VAUSE: Here's a sample.


TRUMP: The left-wing mob is trying to demolish our heritage so they can replace it with a new repressive regime that they alone control. They're tearing down statues, desecrating monuments and purging dissenters. It's not the behavior of a peaceful political movement. It's the behavior of totalitarians and tyrants and people that don't love our country. They don't love our country.


VAUSE: If you look at Donald Trump on the weekend and Donald Trump in the last couple of hours, it's a bit like Fat Elvis in Vegas. You know, the period where he was sort of reworking his old material. There was nothing new. He was trying to make it relevant, but it was only really pleasing the diehard fans.

It just seems that there's nothing out there which the president is throwing out, which is -- which is working or sticking. BROWNSTEIN: Well, look, there's not a lot of mystery to his strategy,

right? I mean, whenever Donald Trump is in trouble politically, he turns back toward the same playbook of emphasizing cultural and racial division.

You look at the speech in Tulsa, and it was astonishing how much racial signaling he packed into an hour: attacking the Democratic women of color; portraying cities as hellholes; "tough hombres," MS-13 animals, Kung Flu. I mean, it was almost as if you are listening to an updated version of George Wallace.

Here's the problem. It is not 1968 anymore. You know, in 1968, when Nixon ran on law and order and George Wallace ran on a lot of the kind of racial themes that we hear echoed from Trump, 80 percent of the voters were whites without a college education, who are the principal target for this kind of messaging.

Today, they're about half that share of the votes. And college- educated whites are more than double their share, then, and non- whites, minorities, are more than triple their share of the vote then they were then.

And when Trump goes out and tries to mobilize his base with these kinds of argument, he is trying to squeeze bigger margins from shrinking groups. The risk he's got is that, in the process, he may be creating larger antagonism among the groups that are actually growing. And that is a very tough equation to make work.

VAUSE: Yes, it's not 1968. It's only 2016. I mean, it's a whole new world.

We also seem to hear from the president, what appeared to be anyway, at least, setting the table for a post-November election loss. Listen to this.


TRUMP: The Democrats are also trying to rig the election by sending out tens of millions of mail-in ballots, using the China virus as the excuse for allowing people not to go to the polls.


VAUSE: It's a wonder (ph) how it all comes together, but is this sort of the president's plan to dispute an election come November? Blame voting by mail and the virus?

BROWNSTEIN: Look, John Bolton said today that he can't -- you know, he's not sure President Trump would accept defeat. And I think there are a lot of people are concerned about.

The key point on voting by mail, first of all, is that historically, Republicans have been at least as focused on organizing voting by mail as Democrats have. Back in 2016 the share of Republicans who voted by mail was exactly the same as Democrats. The second key point is that, in the states that are most likely to

pick the winner, President Trump has already lost this fight. All six of the states that are -- both sides consider the key swing states, which is North Carolina, Florida and Arizona across the Sun Belt; Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania across the Rust Belt, all of them allow anybody to vote for mail for any reason. So he can't stop that. A lot more people are going to vote by mail.

And one thing we've seen in the spring, particularly in Pennsylvania, is that the principal effect of what Trump is doing is being -- may be to discredit the idea of voting by mail among his own voters. In the Pennsylvania primary, I think it was two and a half times as many Democrats sought and actually returned mail ballots as Republicans.

And you're getting a very mixed message from Republican officials who, in the past, had been relying on vote by mail, because older whites like it. Now saying, well, if the president doesn't think it's a good way to go, maybe we're not going to go that way.

So in a strange way, he may be complicating the task of his own side when it's already too late to prevent a big increase in voting by mail in the states that will likely pick the winner.

VAUSE: I just want to finish up with the E.U. opening their borders to restart tourism. Diplomatic sources telling CNN that travelers from the U.S. may not be allowed entry, because the pandemic is just simply out of control in this country. The decision will be based on science and based on fact, but that doesn't matter. because I mean, it seems like that move will be taken as a personal insult by this president.

BROWNSTEIN: Well, look, I mean, you know, it is kind of an incredible irony after the president, of course, did the opposite earlier.

But we are in a situation right now, John, that I don't think anybody anticipated. I mean, there was a lot of discussion about whether there would be a second wave of the virus in the fall.

I don't think there was a lot of discussion in the spring that there would be a significant second surge before the first surge, first wave had ever really ended. I mean, we are back to 30,000 cases a day some days. And you have the state of Texas today not only broke its record for the most cases. It broke it by 1,000 -- 1,000 people in a single day.

Arizona, Florida, California, North Carolina, there are a number of states that are seeing unprecedented levels. Now, the death rates have not followed the caseloads up, in part because it is younger people that is being -- that are being infected.

But it is an open question, how long states can go simply, you know, asking people to wear masks and not in any way moving to enforce more social distancing when you are looking at this kind of -- I think more than half the counties in Texas have doubled the number of cases over the last month, and that's what we are seeing in a lot of the southern tier of the U.S. By the way, primarily in these big metro areas that have been moving

away from the Republicans under Trump, 2018, Atlanta, Dallas, Houston, places like that. That could be a critical factor in the 2020 election.

VAUSE: Yes. There's a lot happening there, and it's all interlinked, and we won't know how it all plays out, I guess, until, you know, you get those voting results in -- come November.


VAUSE: But interesting days, Ron. They have been for so long.


VAUSE: But good to see you.

BROWNSTEIN: Thanks, John.

VAUSE: Cheers.

Well, a reckoning on racism and police brutality has electrified the Senate primary race in the U.S. state of Kentucky. Voting in Louisville was briefly extended to allow a crowd of people waiting outside a polling station to cast their ballot. The half-hour extension came at the conclusion of mostly smooth primaries in Kentucky, as well as New York.

Elections were largely conducted by mail because of the pandemic.

And as we've just discussed, President Trump once again attacking mail-in voting with a host of new false claims. CNN's Brian Todd looks at the facts.


BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It seems to be President Trump's conspiracy du jour: his recurring claims about voter fraud in this year's election, specifically fraud with ballots that are mailed in.

TRUMP: When you do all mail-in voting ballots, you're asking for fraud. People steal them out of mailboxes. People print them, and then they sign them and they give them in, and the people don't even know that they're double counted.

TODD: In one barrage of tweets this week, Trump pounded on the idea: "Mail-in Ballots will lead to a RIGGED ELECTION! MILLIONS OF MAIL-IN BALLOTS WILL BE PRINTED BY FOREIGN COUNTRIES AND OTHERS. IT WILL BE THE SCANDAL OF OUR TIMES!"

Trump's attorney general had the same talking points on FOX Business.

WILLIAM BARR, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: Right now, a foreign country could print up tens of thousands of -- of counterfeit ballots and be very hard for us to detect. TODD: But William Barr himself said he hasn't looked into it, and he's

offered no evidence to back up the claim.

CNN has done multiple fact checks on the theories of widespread mail voter fraud, and we found no evidence that any of it is true. The Federal Election Commission and independent experts back us up.


MICHAEL MCDONALD, POLITICAL SCIENCE PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA: It's miniscule, versus the number of ballots that have been cast.

TODD: Experts tell us committing mail voter fraud on a mass scale in the U.S. is exceedingly difficult. Each county in America, almost every precinct has different styles of ballots, they say. So fraudsters would have to duplicate them perfectly. And if a foreign country tried to inject counterfeit mail-in ballots, safeguards in place would nail them.

MCDONALD: The election officials themselves are pointing bar codes on the ballots and the envelopes and making sure that the -- the ballots are going out to the proper voters. Voters are signing those return envelopes, so there's some signature verification that's going on on the election official's end.

TODD: About a quarter of American voters cast ballots absentee by mail in 2016. President Trump has voted by mail, as has Vice President Pence, Attorney General Barr, Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner, and White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany.

With coronavirus still a major health threat, experts say the percentage of those mailing in votes could go way up this year and should, to be safer. So why does the president keep harping on the conspiracy?

LAURA COATES, FORMER U.S. JUSTICE DEPARTMENT VOTING RIGHTS ATTORNEY/CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: I think that President Trump and A.G. Barr are fixated on voter fraud as a distraction. In the past, we've heard the president make comments that, if you expand the franchise and have more people voting, that he believes it will minimize the chances for a Republican being elected.

TODD (on camera): But the president does not seem to have the backing of some top members of his own party for his conspiracy theory. CNN spoke with several Republican senators, including those in top leadership positions. None of them said they agreed with the president's comments about mail-in voting.

Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.


VAUSE: Well, for the past few weeks, Beijing has seen a resurgence of the coronavirus, but now China's capital has just recorded its lowest daily total of new infections. A live report with the very latest when we come back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VAUSE: Welcome back. Delta Airlines will be the first U.S. carrier to resume flights to China, which have been suspended since February. Delta plans, initially, a limited service from Seattle to Shanghai. That starts on Thursday.

Meantime, Beijing reporting its lowest number of new coronavirus infections since it shut down a food market linked to resurgence in the number of new cases. Officials say there were just seven confirmed new cases of COVID-19 in the capital on Tuesday.

And that is where we find CNN's Steven Jiang, standing by live in Beijing. So Steven, what's the secret sauce? How do they do it?

STEVEN JIANG, CNN SENIOR PRODUCER: Well, they're saying this latest outbreak appears to be over because of their quick and forceful measures.

Now, remember, John, we are still talking about, so far, 250 cases or so in a city of 20 plus million. And despite this, they have been doing a number of things. One, of course, is massive testing. They have been steadily increasing their testing capacity. And now they have already tested some three million residents in the past 10 days or so, especially focusing on people from so-called key industries in the service sector, food and beverage, but also food and the package delivery people.


That has become more relevant on Tuesday when, among the latest confirmed cases was a food delivery driver, working for one of the country's biggest platforms. And also remember that PepsiCo potato chip factory that was forced to shut down over the weekend, because eight of its workers tested positive. Three additional workers in the same plant were also confirmed to be the latest cases on Tuesday

Now, the other thing they've been doing, of course, is this city-wide soft lockdown, but especially sealing off dozens of neighborhoods where they have seen recent cases.

But increasingly, officials and experts are stressing that their measures are more targeted this time. So that's why we haven't seen the kind of over-the-top province-wide lockdown or city-wide lockdowns in Hubei and Wuhan earlier this year.

So that is why they're really now trying to strike this delicate balance between rigorous containment measures and economic recovery efforts. But still, the reality, of course, many officials, especially at the local level, would rather err on the side of over caution and overreaction because they're under such pressure, political pressure to have zero cases in their jurisdiction. That's something the Beijing leadership is now trying to change -- John.

VAUSE: Steve, thank you. Steven Jiang live for us in Beijing.

Well, Wednesday, we'll see Russia observing the 75th anniversary of Victory Day commemorating the surrender of Nazi Germany in 1945.

In the coming hours, there will be a military parade rolling through Moscow's Red Square, despite the pandemic there, which has yet to peak. The last lockdown restrictions were lifted on Monday, earlier than originally planned.

Russia's president, Vladimir Putin, will be overseeing all of this, just a week before the country votes on whether to amend the constitution and allow Mr. Putin two more opportunities to seek reelection, possibly extending his presidency to 2036.

Well, still to come, exams are part of life for any college student, but in the age of the coronavirus, there's a new test just to get back on campus. That's next.


VAUSE: Well, as universities around the world look to reopen for the coming semester amid a pandemic, one American college has a unique plan aimed at getting students back on campus and keeping them safe.

Here's CNN's Stephanie Elam.


ELEANOR GRUDEN, UC SAN DIEGO STUDENT: It's just really exciting to be a part of this.

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): UC San Diego student Eleanor Gruden didn't prepare for this test, but it might have the greatest impact on her education next term.

She's taking part in the pilot phase of the University of California at San Diego's Return to Learn program. The eventual goal? To test the university's population for COVID-19 on a consistent basis for eight months, beginning in September, potentially paving a path to return to some in-person education in the fall.

DR. ROBERT SCHOOLEY, PROFESSOR OF MEDICINE, UC SAN DIEGO: We want to be able to come back in the safest way possible. And one of the key features of that is to be able to monitor for the presence of the virus.

ELAM: By following clearly-posted directions, Gruden is collecting her own sample.

SCHOOLEY: We're planning on having all around campus a bunch of collection boxes, each of which would contain a stack of individually- wrapped swabs with medium. Each swab would have associated with it a QR code.

We'll have loaded on the CSD app a bar code reader that will attach the identity of the person using the swab. They will pop the bar code, pull the swab out of the sleeve, swab their mouth, stick the swab back into a plastic sleeve, and then drop it into a box.


GRUDEN: It was way better than I thought it was going to be.

ELAM: Every two to three hours, researchers say these boxes are taken to the Center for Advanced Laboratory Medicine.

DR. DAVID PRIDE, UC SAN DIEGO CLINICAL MOLECULAR MICROBIOLOGY LAB: Our goals are to try to provide results within a 24-hour time period.

ELAM (on camera): What is the most difficult aspect of adding on this layer of COVID-19 testing?

PRIDE: It's hard to get materials to do the COVID testing, and it's hard to get enough people to do every single step of the process.

DR. SHARON REED, UC SAN DIEGO CLINICAL MICROBIOLOGY AND VIROLOGY LABS: We have a couple of months to scale up to the degree we need to.

ELAM: Does the testing replace masks?

REED: No. No. It's just one part of it. Until this either burns out, which chances are, is not going to happen, or until we're pretty much immune from a vaccine, we'll have to be extra careful.

ELAM (voice-over): While the pilot program was focused on about 5,000 people who remained on campus after it shut down, at full speed, UC San Diego will need to regularly test its community of 65,000 students, faculty and staff.

NATASHA MARTIN, INFECTIOUS DISEASE MODELER, UC SAN DIEGO SCHOOL OF MEDICINE: The simulations indicate that, if even 75 percent of the population were tested per month, we would still be able to detect an outbreak before there were, say, about 15 detectable infections on campus.

The secondary component, which is really critical, is what we do once we identify the outbreak. That's where we're going to rely heavily on measures such as contact tracing and isolation in quarantine, and social distancing interventions.

ELAM: Test results pop up in the app. And so far, students seem game to participate.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It provides us all a sense of comfort to know that, like, none of us were carriers.

ELAM: Especially if it helps get their peers back on campus.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That would be amazing. Because a lot of college is what you learn in the classroom, but so much of it is also your experience.

ELAM: Stephanie Elam, CNN, La Jolla, California.


VAUSE: Thank you for being with us. I'm John Vause. Please stay around for another hour of CNN NEWSROOM, right after a short break.


VAUSE: Hello. Welcome to our viewers, joining us from around the world. I'm John Vause.

Coming up this hour on CNN NEWSROOM, reality check from the people who should know, warning the coronavirus has brought the U.S. to its knees. The next two weeks will be critical in trying to contain the spread of this pandemic.

Also ahead, after flouting the rules of social distancing, tennis player Novak Djokovic tests positive for the coronavirus.

And laid to rest. The pastor at Rayshard Brooks's funeral asks a simple question: If your complexion is the crime, what do you do to stay alive?