Return to Transcripts main page


U.S. Sets New Case Record, Concerns Mount for Holiday Weekend; Economy Added 4.8M Jobs in June; FedEx Asks Washington Redskins to Change Name. Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired July 3, 2020 - 05:00   ET



LAURA JARRETT, CNN ANCHOR: A broken record of broken records. New concerns are growing. Coronavirus could spiral this holiday weekend. The president weighing in overnight with a red siren of denial.

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

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Christine Romans. It is Friday, July 3rd. Happy Friday, everybody. Holiday weekend. It's 5:00 a.m. in New York. Good to see you all.

And going into this Fourth of July weekend, there is serious concern that holiday travel and celebrations could make this growing health emergency in the U.S. even worse. The U.S. hitting a new daily record of almost 53,000 COVID-19 cases, the second day in a row topping 50,000.

Now, new cases are being added at almost triple the rate from three weeks ago.


DR. TOM FRIEDEN, FORMER DIRECTOR, CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL: If you turn your back on the virus, if you turn your back on science, it's going to bite you. We're not following what we know will work. We're not scaling up a comprehensive approach.


JARRETT: Overnight, President Trump tweeting out falsehoods and superlatives about the virus, saying: There's a rise in the coronavirus cases because our testing is so massive and so good.

Well, that's not true. The percentage of positive cases a true indicator of spread almost doubled over the last month nationwide.

ROMANS: Yes, that's the importance stat there. And that is why this map is red. Three quarters of the states are headed in the wrong direction.

That rampant growth comes after many regions reopened without meeting CDC criteria, including big cities like Houston, with a positive test rate. It's at incredible 25 percent and hospitals are now transferring patients elsewhere.

Here's the state of play. First, according to the president, then according to the country's top expert on pandemics.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The crisis is being handled. We have some areas where we're putting out the flames or the fires. It's quite obvious.

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NIAID: I think it's pretty obvious, that we are not going in the right direction. Only about 50 percent of the country locked down. That allowed the perpetuation of the outbreak.


JARRETT: The president also points out the coronavirus death rate is down. That's true for now, but hospitalizations and deaths, remember, they're lagging indicators. The CDC is now projecting another 20,000 deaths in the next three weeks. The obvious concern is that the raging spread seen in New York City this spring will be repeated now in numerous other states this summer.


DR. MURTAZA AKHTAR, ER PHYSICIAN, VALLEYWISE HEALTH MEDICAL CENTER, PHOENIX: It almost feels like the new normal, where we're getting a crush of patients. A couple of weeks ago I was mentioning that I don't think the state's data had caught up yet. And in that time, we've begun catching up.

Basically, everybody I was seeing looked even sicker than the data suggested. And now, we're seeing it. We're seeing it in the E.R., a lot of sick people coming in of all ages. And a positivity rate of COVID we have is ridiculous.

And it's stressing the hospital systems and our colleagues are getting stressed, too, because there's only so much of this that you can handle before you begin wondering what do we do next?


ROMANS: Only so much of this you can handle.

Now, officials in the nation's second and third-most populous states, they have been moved to action. The governor of Texas is now requiring masks in public in counties with more than 20 COVID cases. That covers 95 percent of the Texas population.


GOV. GREG ABBOTT (R), TEXAS: The goal behind the mask requirement is to ensure we will be able to continue to open up Texas for business while also protecting the health and safety of our fellow Texans. (END VIDEO CLIP)

JARRETT: It's a different story in Florida which yesterday spiked 10,000 cases in a day. Miami-Dade County responding with a 10:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. curfew. But statewide action remains elusive. Experts blame the lack of a national strategy.


TOMAS PUEYO, VP OF GROWHT, COURSE HERO: We consider the United States as one country, compared to each one of the countries of the European Union. That's not the right way to think of it, because the United States decided not to make decisions on the federal level.

The U.S. is adding one Wuhan a day. There were in total 50,000 cases in Wuhan. That's what we're having every day now in the United States.


ROMANS: That's a stark way to look at it.

Now, more states and cities are taking steps to keep coronavirus out. Pennsylvania is asking residents to self-quarantine after traveling to states with high infection rates. Chicago is directing travelers from states with surging infections to quarantine for 14 days.


JARRETT: And you won't --

ROMANS: You won't see this in California anytime soon.


The state has temporarily banned singing in places of worship. The vice president was in Texas Sunday, a choir of 100 sang, Laura, without masks.

JARRETT: Yes, you can't get away from that scene.

We've also now learned that Pence's scaled back trip was delayed because eight Secret Service agents on his detail tested positive for COVID-19. Health officials have spent the week urging people to act responsibly over this weekend as always. But today, the president heads to South Dakota for fireworks and other Fourth of July festivities. The state's governor has said social distancing will not be required.

ROMANS: All right. A growing problem, nationally, people are not following the rules at places where the virus spreads easily. One bar in Tempe, Arizona, the Bar City Tavern could lose its liquor license after bar managers were accused of forcing employees to work after they tested positive for COVID-19.

Officials say the bar also failed to enforce mask wearing and let big groups congregate. JARRETT: In Oregon, a state trooper has been placed on leave after

cursing when he and other officers were asked to wear a mask at a coffee shop. State police have apologized, calling the officer's conduct embarrassing and indefensible.

And in Alabama, a pastor has again closed his church in Mobile, returning to online services after several staffers and congregants tested positive for the virus.


PASTOR DEREK ALLEN, FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH OF TILLMAN'S CORNER: I want you to know, what is happening right now in our church family is real. I know that we're going to see God not only get us through this but because of this, we are going to be a stronger church.


JARRETT: This is the same state where young people were throwing COVID parties with hopes for a payout if they caught the virus. Just incredible.

Alabama's governor has extended a public health emergency until September 9th.

ROMANS: The gradual reopening of the economy meant rehiring for millions of workers. The economy added a record 4.8 million jobs in June. And the unemployment rate fell to 11 percent.

The Labor Department says the unemployment rate should be more like 12.1 percent if all the people misclassified the pandemic were actually counted as unemployed.

Important to know the jobs crisis is far from over. About 34 percent of the jobs lost during the pandemic are now back. Twenty-two-point- two millions jobs were lost in March and April. Seven and a half million have come back now in May and June.

So, the president took a victory lap.


TRUMP: Spectacular news for American workers, families and our country as a whole. There has not been anything like this a record setting.


ROMANS: Americans are facing more uncertainty even as the economy is reopening. And recovery from the coronavirus recession could take a decade.

That's right. The Congressional Budget Office now estimates the 10- year average unemployment rate would be up 6.1 percent, from the 4.2 percent it projected in January. The CBO notes its forecast is riddled with uncertainty because of the virus itself. And, Laura, yesterday, that press conference from the president, the

press availability was not really a press availability. He didn't -- he didn't take questions and he spent a lot of time talking about how good the stock market saying that's not luck, that's because skill, his skill.

A lot of people who cover the markets thought that was a bit tone deaf given that people are dying from the virus and the president is crediting himself for a stock market recovery.

JARRETT: But now (ph) failing to actually face the facts when it comes to the number of cases and the death toll.

All right. Still ahead, hospitals are facing a double whammy right now, overwhelmed with a pandemic and running dangerously low on money to fight it.



ROMANS: Hospitals across the country are once again packed with coronavirus patients and some are facing a massive shortage of funds only deepening this crisis right now.

CNN's Sara Sidner has a closer look.


SARA SIDNER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The dreaded sound of an emergency seem to be the only sound filling the air in New York City for far too long.

JAKE VITULLI, EMT: The beginning of this whole pandemic was very, very hectic. It was crazy. It was the craziest in my career.

SIDNER: While hospitals were packed with coronavirus patients here, they were also losing staggering amounts of money.

MICHAEL DOWLING, CEO, NORTHWELL HEALTH: We have hit our hospitals to the tune of about $1.6 billion. So it has been roughly between $300 million and $400 million a month that we have been losing.

SIDNER: From the largest health care system in New York that has treated more than 40,000 COVID patients, to the Seattle suburbs, where the first known major coronavirus outbreak hit in late February.

DR. JEFF TOMLIN, CEO, EVERGEEN HEALTH: Even in this first month of March, we projected a $15 million loss. And that's one small hospital health care system.

SIDNER: To hospitals across Michigan, both rural and metropolitan.

ROBERT CASALOU, REGIONAL PRESIDENT & CEO, TRINITY MICHIGAN, SOUTHEAST REGION: Our revenue went down immediately 60 percent, I mean overnight. SIDNER: The American Hospital Association estimates that hospitals

and health systems will have losses this year of $323 billion.

The hospitals that saw surge of patients and the ones that did not, resulting in real life impact for some healthcare workers.

ELISE HOLLENBECK, FURLOUGHED NURSE: Being a nurse, I never thought that I would be on unemployment ever.

SIDNER: But that is what happened to Elise Hollenbeck, a nurse and mother of two in Empire, Michigan.

HOLLENBECK: I get really emotional about thinking about for my kids. What is their reality now going to look like?

SIDNER: Her reality change when the hospitals didn't see a coronavirus surge. They had to abide by the state order suspending medical procedures and surgeries that kept the hospital in good financial health. Less work meant furloughs even as coronavirus spiked across her state.

HOLLENBECK: I have no idea what our life will look like?

SIDNER (on camera): Harder life?

HOLLENBECK: Yes. Yes, different. Harder.

SIDNER (voice-over): It seems that during a pandemic, hospitals would lose money, but here's what happened.

DOWLING: And the reasons for that are twofold. One is that we cancelled most of the other services, including most surgery, to be able to accommodate COVID patients.


SIDNER: The other reason, hospitals say they generally lose money treating COVID-19 patients because it requires mounds of personal protective equipment, it's staff intensive and creates the need to retrofit areas to protect everyone.

DR. JEFF TOMLIN, CEO, EVERGREEN HEALTH: So, we live on very thin margins in the world of health care and for something like this, it's really apocalyptic in terms of what it means.

SIDNER: And if that's not bad enough, as hospitals reopen for all manner of emergencies and surgeries --

(on camera): This place looks pretty empty.


SIDNER: Is this normal?


SIDNER (voice-over): The public isn't showing up, even when they need to.

HANSON: That's one of our concerns, is that we know people have chest pains, having, you know, pneumonias, appendicitis, and they're not really coming in.

SIDNER: Sara Sidner, CNN, Seattle, Washington.


SIDNER: Thanks so much to Sara Sidner for that eye-opening report.

Well, new this morning, the U.S. Supreme Court last night clearing the way for Alabama to make it more complicated to vote by mail, in the name of guarding against ballot fraud. In a 5-4 vote, the justices temporarily blocked a lower court order easing voter ID photo requirements and witness requirements for absentee during the pandemic.

President Trump has repeatedly cast suspicion around voting by mail, claiming there's massive fraud. So, he uses it himself. And numerous studies have shown voter fraud is all but nonexistent in the U.S.

Still ahead for us, will new pressure from advertisers finally force the Washington football team to change its name?



JARRETT: Getting back in the game is going to feel and look different for young athletes now. New CDC guidance for youth sports recommending no handshakes, no high fives or fist bumps, no sharing equipments, towels or clothing and definitely no spitting. The responsibility of wearing a mask will fall to parents and coaches to enforce.

ROMANS: All right. Pressure mounting for the Washington football team to change its name.

Carolyn Manno has more on this morning's "Bleacher Report".

Hey, Carolyn.


The franchise has been nicknamed the Redskins since 1933, but that could change in 2020. As the saying goes, money talks and now FedEx is getting on board calling for Dan Schneider and the NFL to change the team's name. The shipping company, a major sponsor of the franchise cutting the check for hundreds of millions of dollars to own the naming rights to the team's home stadium.

Other investors, also taking note, Nike, the NFL's official game day uniform supplier no longer has the team's merchandise available on the online store. The organization changed the mascot, is leading the fight to change the team's name and mascot saying it is racist. Neither the team nor companies have responded to CNN's request for comment so far.


MANNO: The NFL plans to have the song "Lift Every Song and Sing" known as the Black National Anthem, excuse me, before every game in week one of the NFL season. A source familiar with the league's discussion telling CNN, it will be played before the "Star Spangled Banner". The song was written as a poem originally and first performed at the start of the 20th century in celebration of Abraham Lincoln's birthday. This will begin with the nationally televised first game of the season on Thursday, September 10th. When the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs host the Houston Texans.

And the coronavirus pandemic has cancelled sporting events across the country. But it is not stopping a Fourth of July tradition in New York City. The Nathan's Hotdog eating contest plans to go forward but with very different rules this time around. The competition will be held indoors at a secret location, and the eaters will maintain proper social distancing. Everybody is going to wear gloves and masks, Laura, as much as they can.

Joey Chestnut going for another world record. He said these conditions are going to help him, that the air conditioning is an advantage.

So, hey, we have that on this Fourth of July weekend.

JARRETT: You know what, it's nice. Some traditions can continue even in this pandemic.

Carolyn, it's nice to see you this morning.

All right. Another new record no one wants to see. Now growing concerns the coronavirus could escalate rapidly if people aren't careful this holiday weekend.



JARRETT: The holiday weekend starts today. So will the weather hold up?

Here's meteorologist Tyler Mauldin.

TYLER MAULDIN, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Christine, Laura, dangerous heat will be the big story for us this holiday weekend, especially across the Central Plains. Oklahoma City, you could top out at 97 degrees. Dallas, 99 degrees. You add in the humidity and it will feel well north of the century mark. Not only today, but also as we go into Fourth of July and the rest of this holiday weekend too.

Now, it's not just across the Central Plains. It's up to Minneapolis, where you'll top at 92 degrees today, Atlanta, 90 degrees, and Miami, 95.

The heat and humidity will continue to stick around for us through the weekend and on into next week as long as the jet stream stays north and allows that tropical moisture to come flowing in. Washington, D.C., the nation's capitol, 97 degrees for a high today. Unbelievable.

I mean, that is nearly 10 degrees above average for you. It does drop down a little bit to 89 degrees on the Fourth of July, but look at next week. It stays dry and it stays hot with temperatures coming right back to about 95 degrees for an afternoon high.

Back to you.

ROMANS: All right. Tyler, thanks for that.

EARLY START continues right now.


ROMANS: A broken record of broken records. Now concerns mount that coronavirus could wash over this holiday weekend. The president's Twitter feed overnight, a sea of denial.

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

JARRETT: And I'm Laura Jarrett. Twenty-nine minutes past the hour here in New York.

Heading into this Fourth of July weekend.