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U.S. Sees Record Day of New COVID Cases; White House Asks Supreme Court to Strike Down Obamacare; Visitors from U.S. Could Be Barred From Entering European Union; NFL Insists Season Will Start On Time And With Fans. Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired June 26, 2020 - 05:00   ET




DR. ASHISH JHA, DIRECTOR OF THE HARVARD GLOBAL HEALTH INSTITUTE: If we don't act aggressively now and let this go for a little longer, then we can get into that apocalyptic situation.

DR. LARRY BRILLIANT, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: This is a consequence of our actions and a consequence of not having guidance from the federal government.


LAURA JARRETT, CNN ANCHOR: An invisible enemy with invisible leadership makes a very real resurgence. New coronavirus cases at the highest level the U.S. has seen so far.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: And in the middle of a public health crisis, the Trump administration once again asking the Supreme Court to strike down Obamacare.

Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. This is EARLY START. I'm Christine Romans.

JARRETT: And I'm Laura Jarrett. It's Friday, June 26th, 5:00 a.m. here in New York.

And this morning, a bleak new record-setting but the fight against coronavirus back months. Almost 40,000 new cases reported in the U.S. yesterday, more than doubling where we were earlier this month and eclipsing, eclipsing the previous record from April 24th, 124,000 Americans are now dead.

The whole objective was to flatten the curve yet the U.S. did the opposite. Several states hitting new all-time highs, many of them reopening early when patience was running out, but the virus remained a persistent big threat.


BRILLIANT: Every epidemiologist was yelling as loud as we could three weeks after Memorial Day, we have a peak in the cases in five weeks after Memorial Day, we begin to see a peak in tests. This is a consequence of our actions and a consequence of not having guidance from the federal government and the states to follow.


ROMANS: Eleven states, most notably Texas, are hitting pause on reopening now. The Texas governor suspending elective surgeries to free up much needed hospital beds for COVID patients. ICU beds in critically short supply.


DR. RICHARD BESSER, FORMER CDC ACTING DIRECTOR UNDER OBAMA: The situation in Texas is a warning shot for the situation that could occur in any state where this isn't being taken seriously enough.

DR. JONATHAN REINER, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: Calling Texas, for instance, a hot spot is like calling the sun a hot spot. There's a real risk in places like Houston of hospitals being overrun, a capacity being totally exceeded.


JARRETT: A whopping 31 states now heading in the wrong direction. And these are just the infections that we know about. The CDC says U.S. cases may be ten times higher than reported. Many of those are people who are younger and asymptomatic spreading the virus to more vulnerable people.


JHA: If we don't act aggressively now and let this go for a little longer, we can get into that apocalyptic situation. We all want to avoid it. We can, but we've got to move fast and we've got to move aggressively.

BILL GATES, CO-CHAIR OF BILL AND MELINDA GATES FOUNDATION: The range of behavior in the U.S. right now, some people who are being very conservative in what they do and some people who are basically ignoring the epidemic -- it's huge. And we have worn out people's patience.


ROMANS: In California which started to get coronavirus under control, hospitals have seen a 32 percent increase over the last two weeks. Renewed concern about the pandemic is enough for the White House coronavirus task force -- remember the coronavirus task force? It will hold a first public briefing about today, the first in nearly two months.

JARRETT: All right. Breaking overnight, even in the face of this raging pandemic and massive unemployment, the White House wants to strip health care from millions of Americans with no alternative. The Trump administration once again asking Supreme court to invalidate Obamacare. At issue is the individual mandate, which requires most Americans to have insurance or pay a penalty. Well, back in 2017, the GOP led Congress eliminated that tax penalty if you don't buy insurance.

So, in a late night court filing, the solicitor general is arguing that without the fines, the mandate to have insurance became unconstitutional and the rest of the ACA should go as well. Just yesterday, we learned nearly half of a million people signed up for Obamacare after losing their coverage this year.

ROMANS: Now, the president has been trying to move past coronavirus. But the worsening pandemic is making that impossible. With just over four months until the election, the president is rejecting polling that shows him trailing Joe Biden by double digits. He believes they are flawed attempts to suppress the vote. The president has not articulated a new plan to contain the virus or a national strategy.

And on FOX last night, he didn't seem to be planning much of anything.



SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS HOST: What are the top priority items for a second term?

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, one of the things that will be really great -- you know, the word experience is still good. I always say talent is more important than experience. I've always said that, but the word experience is a very important word. It's a very important meaning.


JARRETT: OK. The president could not list a single reason he wants or deserves a second term. He also made this wildly bogus claim that he's been doing often about mail-in voting. But remember, Donald Trump did not reject foreign help from the Russians and he actively tried to leverage foreign assistance from Ukraine. Now he claims he is going to lose in November because of foreign influence.


TRUMP: I keep talking Russia and China, especially China. Not Russia, especially China. Are they going to print millions of ballots using the exact same paper and same machines? Will they print ballots and hand them in? And all of a sudden -- it's the biggest risk we have, the mail-in ballot.


JARRETT: It's not the biggest risk. The president's claims about mail-in voting scams simply aren't grounded in reality. Mail-in voting is used in many states already. He has voted by mail. And there is simply no evidence of widespread fraud. ROMANS: All right. The fallout from President Trump's rally in Tulsa

bigger than first reported. CNN has learned all of the president's campaign staffers who attended, all of them are now in quarantine after several members of the team tested positive for coronavirus.

The White House staff who attended the rally, they are back at work. They are routinely tested. Multiple Secret Service officers were also instructed to self-quarantine after two who are on-site for that rally, two Secret Service agents tested positive.

JARRETT: Moving to the U.K. now, officials in Southern England had declared a major incident after thousands of people flocked to local beaches in the sweltering heat. Bournemouth and Sandbanks in Dorset were particularly hard hit on the hottest day of the year. The area was overrun with cars and sunbathers despite warnings to stay away.

The U.K. is slowly easing coronavirus restrictions and only groups up to six people are allowed to gather.

ROMANS: Right this morning, top European officials meeting to set to criteria for reopening the E.U.'s external borders next week.

Nic Robertson joins us live from London with the latest developments. You know, here in the United States, we are at peak cases right now. We've seen the Northeast is trying to clamp down here, but this whole -- this crisis is just spreading across the country. Is there any chance the E.U. would restrict access within its borders to U.S. travelers?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: That looks like the direction is going at the moment. You know, the 27 E.U. ambassadors sat down less than an hour ago, all in one room, and that just gives an idea how important this is for the European Union. They actually have a face-to-face meeting with 27 ambassadors from member states.

So, there were a couple of criteria there that the U.S. fails. On the criteria that the E.U. sets is so far is there has to be reciprocity, i.e., you know, if E.U. citizens are banned for good in the United States, which they are, then that's one strike against the United States. You've got to have this two-way traffic.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo indicated that was a concern for him, that what could be done for that. But the other issue, you say, specifically there, cases spiking in the U.S. Currently the infection rate in Europe is about 15 people per 100,000. In the U.S., it is over 100. The E.U. is likely to set a tolerance level.

So, it just doesn't look good for the U.S. You know, we are looking at this in a binary way. Yes or no. What we may see is in some exceptional family circumstances that the E.U. may make it available for some U.S. citizens to visit to Europe, but that's not clear.

These are the type of discussions that are going on. But I have to say, at the end of the day, it is down to the each E.U. member countries on what they're going to do. And they could decide individually they will let U.S. citizens in.

But everyone here is scared. The E.U.'s big thing is, they've got half a billion people living here and it's their health is the most important thing and that's what they're going to want to protect.

ROMANS: All right. Nic Robertson for us this morning in London -- thanks so much, Nic.

JARRETT: Well, coronavirus is now spreading rapidly across Africa. The continent is already reeling from the economic damage cost by the disease.

CNN's David McKenzie is live in Johannesburg.

And, David, what is at issue here, how it spun out of control so quickly? Is it really about testing?

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Laura, I think part of it is testing. And I say you wouldn't -- you wouldn't classify it as out of control at this point. South Africa, though, is one major hot spot, the epicenter of the region. They just -- we crossed 100,000 cases, with the single highest rise in cases just yesterday

Now, the way that the WHO is classifying it is there will be several countries like South Africa that are driving that accelerating rate, while there will be a slower burn in some other countries.


But the key factor is here because of many countries in the region have weakened health infrastructure, even a steady rise in cases could overwhelm those hospitals.

Here in South Africa, though, it's fascinating. I've been talking to doctors and health professionals. They say they haven't seen the rise in deaths that they expected at this point.

Now, they say that's partially because of the underlining factors of the population like relative youth. But also that they are learning from the experience of early hot spots in Europe and the U.S., focusing on oxygen and ventilators, using steroids for the most severe cases in hospitals. They say those lessons learned have helped them to target this virus in a better way than maybe in those early countries.

But the real test will be coming in the next few weeks. Laura. I think South Africa is reaching that surge. These theories will be tested in the coming weeks -- Laura.

JARRETT: Yes. But clearly, they are trying to use lessons that have learned in other places.

All right. David McKenzie, thank you so much. Good to see you this morning.

All right. Coming up, late last night, the House passed a police reform bill, but actual change remains a long way away. A report from Capitol Hill, up next.



ROMANS: All right. The Federal Reserve keeping reaching into its tool box to help support the American economy. The Central Bank will require large banks to suspend stock buybacks in the third quarter, puts a cap on shareholder dividends. This is to make sure banks stay strong to lend to struggling businesses.

The Fed says a long downturn could leave the biggest banks with several hundred billion dollars in losses. This is a result of the stress test. The Fed's vice chair says the country's banking system is strong, but acknowledging a high degree of uncertainty.

And with Joe Biden surging in the polls, Wall Street is speculating who could be the nation's top money cop if he wins. Elizabeth Warren as treasury secretary? For many, that would be a nightmare, they tell us.

Warren is a critic of big banks and advocate for more regulation and a wealth tax. Yet, analysts say a Warren appointment would have some positives, because she would be aggressive using stimulus money to support the Fed's emergency lending programs.

JARRETT: Well, exactly one month after the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, the House passed the Democrats police reform bill. That proposal and the one from Senate Republicans have some overlap on training and body cameras. But after weeks of protests, some localities have taken action on their own on issues like tear gas, chokeholds, and surveillance technology. But big hurdles remain to a true national overhaul in policing.

CNN's Manu Raju is on Capitol Hill for us.



And the House Democrats responding to the aftermath of George Floyd's death in Minneapolis police custody, passed their plan to deal with police reform throughout the country. Their measure deals with issues on the national level.

They would ban chokeholds. They would also ban so called no-knock warrants in drug cases on the federal level, they push for more use of body cameras for federal officers. They also overhaul the so-called -- the standard of so-called qualified immunity. In other words, making it easier now to sue police officers in civil court if the individual's constitutional rights has been infringed.

But there's a problem, Senate Republicans don't like the plan. They believe it is overreach. And they have their own proposal, which the Democrats don't like. The Senate Republican plan takes a lot of the similar steps, but does

it on the state level and condition state federal funding to ensure that states enact policies to change things such as chokeholds. Now, the Republicans also believe that the issue of qualified immunity in their view is a poison pill. So, of course, we saw Democrats in the Senate blocking the debate on the Senate Republican plan. They said they want to have negotiations before moving forward on the Senate side.

But, Tim Scott, the Republican lead sponsor of that plan said, the Democrats themselves, they don't want a deal in his view. He said, if they wanted a deal, they would have allowed -- at least allow his bill to come forward for a debate before they passed that measure.

So, we are in a place despite the action among the House and despite the proposal by the senators on the Republican side, we are not going to see a bill become law anytime soon. Unlikely it's going to happen before November elections as both sides will take this issue to the voters and the voters will ultimately have to decide in November -- Christine and Laura.


ROMANS: All right. Manu Raju, thanks for that.

NASCAR has released a photo of the noose found hanging in Bubba Wallace's garage of Talladega last week. A sweep of 29 tracks and nearly 1,700 garage stalls uncovered 11 pull down ropes tied in a knot, but only one noose.

Wallace is the only black driver in racing's top circuit. NASCAR president Steve Phelps says the noose was real as was our concern for Bubba. An investigation could not determine who tied the noose which authorities believe was put there some time in 2019. Moving forward, NASCAR plans to install additional cameras in garage areas.

JARRETT: One of Disney's most popular theme park rides is getting a makeover. Splash Mountain has been connected to the controversial 1946 film "Song of the South" which many understand now as racist. Officials say the ride will be re-themed to star characters from the 2009 film "The Princess and the Frog" which featured Disney's first African-American princess. The changes to Splash Mountain will be implemented at Disneyland in California and Disneyworld's Magic Kingdom in Florida.


ROMANS: All right. That's a sound of the country trio Dixie Chicks who will now call themselves "The Chicks", dropping the name associated with the Civil War era South. The bans says, quote, we want to meet the moment.

The change coincides with the new music video for the song "March, March".

That song is a tribute to the protests for equality and social issues over decades.

Just a few weeks, the country band Lady Antebellum changed its name to Lady A., acknowledging the word "antebellum" is associated with slavery.

JARRETT: Facebook says it won't make policy decisions tied to revenue. But another big company is boycott boycotting the platform over misinformation, still ahead.



JARRETT: Welcome back.

Coronavirus infections are spiking in parts of the Middle East now. Iran, Pakistan and Turkey top the list. But other countries where the virus hasn't been as bad are struggling as well.

CNN's Arwa Damon is live in Istanbul for us.

Arwa, what are health officials saying are the sort of the main drivers behind the spikes that we're seeing?

ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, a lot of it really boils down to the fact that some of the countries did not shutdown fully, not wanting to take the economic hit, and because huge significant chunks of their populations are day wage earners. So, the governments weren't capable or willing to put in measures that would be needed to try to ease the burden on the individuals.

Take a country like Egypt, you know, the Middle East's most populous nation, they are seeing significant rises right now.

Even a country like Saudi Arabia is seeing an increase in cases, and they have actually decided this year for the annual Muslim pilgrimage of the Hajj, only people who are located inside Saudi Arabia already will be allowed to travel to Mecca.

Iran was the Middle East hot spot for quite a long period of time, then seemed to get it under control, is now also experiencing what some people are saying is possibly the beginning of the second wave. The government there really urging people to not be complacent.

And complacency has been a problem across the globe. If we turn towards Iraq, the numbers there are also beginning to increase significantly. And this is especially concerning, because as we know only all too well, that country's medical infrastructure is absolutely decimated, starting from the years of sanctions under Saddam Hussein to consecutive wars, and never really built up.

And we've been talking to witnesses, to people inside the country, to doctors who are saying that especially among the medical staff they are experiencing a disturbing number of cases. They say they don't have proper protective equipment. Burials are taking place at night because of the heat and so, you have a lot of concern spreading across the region as various governments are trying to make that very difficult calculation of lives versus livelihood.

JARRETT: Complacency is the main issue here.

All right. Arwa, thanks so much.

ROMANS: All right. Twenty-seven minutes past the hour.

NFL trying to get back to business as usual after moving back the start of the preseason.

Coy Wire has more in this morning's "Bleacher Report". Hey, Coy.

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Good morning to you, Christine.

The Hall of Fame weekend is the first major event that the league postponed due to the pandemic. Many now are questioning if the rest of the NFL pre-season could be in jeopardy as well.

There is a full slated game schedule just seven days after what would have been that Hall of Fame on August 6th.

But just hours after that news broke yesterday, Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a conference call he expects teams to begin their training camps as scheduled on July 28th and the regular season to start on time with fans.


ROGER GOODELL, NFL COMMISSIONER: We're focus on ensuring the players as well as coaches and other essentials of the game will have the safest possible environment this season. Obviously, that includes our fans also.


WIRE: All right. Other standout points from the call, NFL owners approving a plan to tarp all seats near the field to create more space between fans and players. They are also planning what they are calling an ambitious testing program for players and staff. Also, teams are going to go through an anti-racism seminar in mid-July.

The Kentucky Derby is claiming to allow limited number of fans for its race at Churchill Downs this Saturday before Labor Day, September 5th. They say they will announce just how many in the coming days. That will now be the second league of the Triple Crown this year after the Belmont Stakes was run without fans on Saturday.

And for the first time ever, the women's World Cup is headed down under.





WIRE: Australia and New Zealand winning a joint bid for the tournament in 2023. Look at the joy on the players' faces and officials as they heard that news around 4:00 a.m. Australian Time. They expect 1.5 million fans to attend that 32-team tournament.

And for the -- you know, it is incredible stuff, Christine. It's just a reminder. It seems ambitious right now. But someday, we'll all be rejoicing --


WIRE: -- high-fiving together yet again.

ROMAS: Yes, cheering and screaming in 2023 when it will be safe.

All right. Thanks so much. Nice to see you, Coy.

WIRE: Yes. You, too.

ROMANS: EARLY START continues right now.