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COVID: Rapidly Rising in the U.S.; Australia Doubles Down On COVID Spread; Trump Unleashes Racial Rhetoric Around NASCAR Incident; Mexican President Takes COVID-19 Test Ahead of U.S. Trip; Trump Touts Political Victories, Ignores U.S. Racial Issues; Black Americans Urged to Not Spend Money on July 7; Dubai Easing COVID-19 Travel Restrictions; Rising Cases in US. Could Jeopardize Return of Sports. Aired 1-2a ET

Aired July 7, 2020 - 01:00   ET


PAULA NEWTON, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, and welcome to our viewers joining us from all around the world. I'm Paula Newton.

Coming up on CNN NEWSROOM, COVID in the USA. All good, according to President Trump, nothing to see here.

But meantime, ICU beds filling up fast in Florida and Texas. And the nation's top doctor says we're still "knee deep in the first wave."

Also, six million Australians about to be walled off from the rest of their country, a drastic measures to combat outbreaks there that could last weeks.

And, you see him there. Brazil's president getting buddy buddy with the U.S. ambassador and other maskless people over the weekend. Now Jair Bolsonaro isn't feeling so good and getting tested for COVID.

There is a new sense of urgency as coronavirus cases soar in parts of the united states, overwhelming hospitals and raising fears about what's yet to come.

Dozens of military nurses, respiratory therapists and other medical workers are being deployed to Texas, where one county alone is seeing more than 1,000 cases a day. And hospitals are near their breaking point.

Texas is among more than 30 states -- you see them there -- seeing a spike in new cases. Very few states there are seeing declines.

The virus has killed more than 130,000 Americans, and infected close to three million.

Florida is a tale of two states, really. People celebrated the holiday weekend without masks or social distancing, while dozens of hospital intensive care units were completely filled up.


MAYOR FRANCIS SUAREZ, MIAMI FLORIDA: I'm looking at the statistics, and the statistics are very grave, right? Every single metric is up.


NEWTON: The nation's top infectious disease specialist, meantime, Dr. Anthony Fauci says states reopened too quickly, and he warned the situation could get even worse.

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: We are still knee deep in the first wave of this. We went up, never came down to baseline, and now we're surging back up.

So it's a serious situation that we have to address immediately.


NEWTON: Meantime, the White House is defending President Trump's stunning remarks over the weekend that 99% of coronavirus cases are, quote, "totally harmless."


KAYLEIGH MCENANEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The president was noting the fact that the vast majority of Americans who contract coronavirus will come out on the other side of this.



MARK MEADOWS, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: When you look at the facts, when you look at really what we're dealing with, a lot of these cases are asymptomatic.


NEWTON: Now, in reality, the World Health Organization says up to one fifth of all patients either end up in hospital or need oxygen.

And even some top Republican lawmakers are now breaking with the president.


SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: There is no good argument for any of us to not be wearing a mask.


NEWTON: Meantime, a former top doctor says the nation needs a concerted response.


DR. VIVEK MURTHY, FMR. U.S. SURGEON GENERAL: There cannot continue to be mixed messages from our government telling us, on the one hand, this is concerning, on the other hand it's not.

It is the failure to speak with one unified voice that is guided by science, that has led to much of the confusion, unfortunately, that we see today. And the numbers tell the story of that.


NEWTON: That "story," that Dr. Murthy talked about is playing out state by state with often tragic results.


In fact, some health experts say the entire country is in, quote, "freefall."

CNN's Nick Watt has more from Los Angeles.


NICK WATT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: On Independence Day, Florida suffered more new cases than any state has. Ever.

Still, the governor seems sanguine.


GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FLA): There's no need to really be fearful about it.


WATT: But some mayors are.


MAYOR FRANCIS SUAREZ, MIAMI, FLORIDA: What's happening is what's happening across the country. Which is when we opened, people began to socialize as if the coronavirus didn't exist.


WATT: Miami Dade just closed done-in restaurants again.


MAYOR DAN GELBER, MIAMI BEACH, FLORIDA: We're starting to roll the carpet back up. It's pretty clear we have this real problem.


WATT: Because a staggering 26 percent of all COVID-19 tests in the county came back positive on Sunday.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I fear that we're spiraling out of control. (END VIDEO CLIP)

WATT: In Texas, the number of patients in the hospital is hitting a new record high every day.


MAYOR RON NIRENBERG, SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS: If the pace continues, we're a week away from running out of hospital beds and ICU capacity.


WATT: Now remember those Memorial Day crowds back in May? Well, three weeks later, new case counts climbed nationally. And 32 states are now going in the wrong direction.

Did we learn a lesson?

Well, this was Backwater, Jackson in the Ozarks Memorial Day weekend and July 4th. Almost indistinguishable.

There were crowds across the country this past weekend, too many drawn to water. At a house party in L.A., a beach party on Fire Island.

So many celebrating shaking off the brits (ph), but not this virus, not even close.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're right back where we were at the peak of the epidemic during the New York outbreak.


WATT: And remember what New York look like in April. Crowded hospitals, morgue trucks outside. Today, though, a different story.


GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-N.Y.): The numbers have actually declined since we started reopening.


WATT: They took it slow, mandated masks very early.

And harsh words for the president for not acknowledging the danger.


CUOMO: He is facilitating the virus, he is enabling the virus. How did this become a political statement? This is common sense.


WATT: Here in California, case numbers have been rising at a record level. The number of people in the hospital is at a record level.

We are just waiting and hoping that the death toll does not catch up with that.

The governor says that he is optimistic it won't because a lot of those people who are getting infected right now are younger and so less susceptible.

Nick Watt, CNN, Los Angeles.


NEWTON: Thanks to Nick there. Meantime, Atlanta mayor, Keisha Lance Bottoms, considered a potential running mate for Democratic Presidential Candidate Joe Biden has tested positive for coronavirus.

She says her husband and one of her children are also infected.

Bottoms says they decided to get tested because her husband were sleeping more than usual. She says it's scary because they said they did everything they were supposed to do to stay safe.


MAYOR KEISHA LANCE BOTTOMS, ATLANTA, GEORGIA: I'm still in a state of shock because I don't have any idea how we were exposed. And we've all been -- we've been very careful. My kids have been careful. So I'm stunned.


NEWTON: OK. Anna Rimoin is a professor at the UCLA department of epidemiology and the director of the school's Center for Global & Immigrant Health.

And she joins me now from Los Angeles.

And look, you just heard the mayor there, right, completely stunned.

And I'm sure that at this point in time that mirrors the experience of so many people around the world and now especially in the United States.

There's been a lot of info that I want to ask you about, so let's try and get through it.

First off, "The New York Times" analyzed government data that shows Latino and African American residents are three times more likely to get infected than whites. Three times.

Do you think that there is a reckoning here in public health? And I must say, in a lot of the stats that we've seen, this isn't just a U.S. phenomenon.

DR. ANNE RIMOIN, PROFESSOR, UCLA DEPARTMENT OF EPIDEMIOLOG, DIRECTOR OF CENTER FOR GLOBAL & IMMIGRANT HEALTH: Racial disparities are a major issue in terms of public health. And we all have to address them.

And they are playing out right here before our very eyes when we look at the stats related to coronavirus.

We have all sorts of reasons that this could be happening. We have socio-economic status, of course. We have crowding, we have access to care, we have so many issues.

But it is very clear, the data is telling us the truth here.

And the truth is that the populations here in the U.S. -- we have very different capacity to be able to get care and to be able to be treated.

So I think that this is a real issue. It is a stark reminder of where we stand in terms of racial inequality.


NEWTON: Yes. Stark was definitely the way to describe that data.

OK. Now a new study on antibodies is out from Spain. We've had other studies like this.

And this one points to the fact that immunity is likely incomplete, transitory and, guess what, it might just go away after a few weeks.

Does this surprise you and what are the implications for trying to get that all-important herd immunity? If this is true.

RIMOIN: This was an excellent study that just came out. And Spain was a country that was hit fairly hard with coronavirus, so these results are very interesting.

They do point to this issue of waning antibody response.

Now antibodies are not the only story when it comes to immunity, we also think about T-cell responses. And immunity is very complicated.

But this does underscore the point that, a.), even in a country where you had a very large epidemic, that really most people do not have any evidence of previous infection and/or what we might consider to be potential for immunity.

The second thing is this study also highlighted that health care workers in nursing homes were hit very hard and that we had a higher prevalence in these populations -- which is not surprising -- but also validates what we think is going on here.

And also just reminds us that we are all still at risk. And that very few of us, even under the best of circumstances, are likely to have any immunity.

And so we all have to wear masks, we all have to social distance, and we all need to be taking precautions to make sure that we do our best to reduce spread of this virus. NEWTON: Yes. It really was a sobering study. And, as you said,

apparently, quite good in terms of how thorough it was.

And another study now that we keep talking about but needs so much nuance, right.

It was this letter written by more than 200 scientists pointing out to the WHO that it's not just the droplets from when you cough or sneeze or maybe speak loudly, but that the virus is actually airborne, perhaps for longer than we could have imagined, in enclosed spaces.

So what are the implications of that?

RIMOIN: There's been a lot of discussion about large droplets, small droplet, airborne, aerosolized. And the bottom line is that this virus is easily spread. And we all need to do our best.

And when we say stay six feet apart, that's just a guideline because -- what we think is an average of how far a droplet can generally spread.

But we know that there are many viruses -- measles is a perfect example -- that can stay in the air for a lengthy period of time. And we are finding out that this is likely to be true in many scenarios with this particular virus.

And so what this means -- the precautions that need to be taken are making sure -- are thinking about air ventilation. Making sure -- again, I'm going to go back to this -- people wearing masks and doing the very best that they can to social distance.

So the reality is a lot of this is just debate over whether -- how far a droplet can go. But we know wearing a mask will make a major difference in terms of being able to reduce spread.

It's all about keeping your droplets to yourself.

NEWTON: Anne Rimoin, we got through a lot of stuff there. Thanks so much, joining us there from Los Angeles. Appreciate it.

RIMOIN: My pleasure.

NEWTON: Australia, meantime, is closing the border between its two most populous states for the first time in 100 years. All in an effort to contain an outbreak of a virus in Melbourne.

Now New South Wales will close their border with Victoria just before midnight on Tuesday, effectively cutting Victoria off from the rest of Australia. Now it comes as the state registered almost 200 new cases, a daily high for Victoria.

Anna Coren has been following this story from Hong Kong and joins us now.

Anna, we just it there, right. Fewer than 200 cases. If you compare it to any size of population in the United States right now, it doesn't look very high in terms of the new cases.

So what is the fear right now there in that state?

ANNA COREN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: For sure. It doesn't seem high when we compare it to the rest of the world but you have to remember that Australia thought that it had the coronavirus pandemic under control.

It has tackled this very aggressively. It's shut down its borders to the rest of the world and had relatively few cases. But this surge in cases in Victoria over the last few days has not just rattled that state, but really rattled the entire country.

As you say, 191 new cases today. That is a record for Victoria.

States beforehand were only registering one or two or a handful. This 191 has really got people worried.


We know that the border between New South Wales and Victoria will be closed as of midnight tonight.

There will be 650 police put in place. There are 55 crossings, you're talking about a 2,000-kilometer border.

So it's going to be a logistical challenge. The military has also been called in. There will be a total of 350 military officers participating in this by the weekend. So 1,000 personnel in all.

But they do not want this virus spreading from Victoria into New South Wales creating a further spike in the rest of the country that's registered 106 deaths to date.

This border closure, Paula, could be in place for the next few weeks.

Take a listen.


COREN: These cars passing between Australia's most populous states were among the last able to cross the border before it was sealed, isolating more than six-and-a-half million people in Victoria from the rest of the country.

It's a measure not taken in over a century as authorities take drastic measures to stop the spread of a surging coronavirus outbreak.


PREMIER GLADYS BEREJIKLIAN, NEW SOUTH WALES, AUSTRALIA: What is happening now in Victoria is the overwhelming majority, I think in fact all of the cases, are from community transmission. This is unprecedented in Australia. That's why the decision of the

New South Wales government is unprecedented. We've not seen anything like this.


COREN: While Victoria's other internal border to the state of South Australia has been shut since March, closure of its border to New South Wales is a measure not taken since the Spanish flu pandemic.

CNN affiliate "7NEWS" reports military personnel and police will be lining the border to enforce the restriction, which officials say will be no easy task.


MICK FULLER, POLICE COMMISSIONER, NEW SOUTH WALES, AUSTRALIA: We know that there are four primary road crossings, 33 bridges, two waterway crossings and multiple smaller roads.

So the task is not lost on me in terms of the enormity of the logistics in this operation alone.


COREN: The border closure comes as Victoria struggles to contain a second wave of coronavirus cases. Authorities have put areas of its capital, Melbourne, back on lockdown issuing stay-at-home orders in dozens of suburbs and restricting hundreds of thousands from leaving their home for more than necessities.


PREMIER DANIEL ANDREWS, VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA: Staying inside your flat, inside your unit, is the safest and best thing to do. It's not pleasant, I know it's challenging, it's very, very challenging.

But is it far preferable seeing vast numbers of people with underlying health conditions infected with this virus, spreading it between each other.


COREN: With under 9,000 confirmed cases, Australia has fared better than some countries in controlling the pandemic.

But the spike in Victoria in the past two weeks has spread fears of more infections around the nation.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's been a lot going on that we didn't know was there. And all of a sudden, it's come to the surface and everyone's a bit freaked out about it.


COREN: Australia officials launched a judicial inquiry last week into allegations that the Melbourne outbreak could've been sparked by contracted security guards not following protocols at a hotel used to quarantine international arrivals. As the inquiry unfolds, Victoria doubles down on efforts to stem the

spread now threatening the nation's progress in fighting the pandemic.


Now, Paula, we are expecting the Victorian Premier, Daniel Andrews, to address the media any minute now with his health minister. And it is expected that they could announce a lockdown for Greater Melbourne, Metro Melbourne.

That would take it back to the height of the pandemic. And that would mean that everyone would have to stay at home except for those essential workers and people getting necessities.

But we're waiting for Daniel Andrews to address the media now. We know that he has just come out of a crisis cabinet meeting, obviously to deal with this coronavirus surge, Paula.

NEWTON: Yes. And the lockdown in Melbourne there would be a stunning setback, again, for Australia if that's indeed what they put in place.

Anna Coren will continue to follow the story. Appreciate it.

Still to come on CNN NEWSROOM.

The U.S. president takes aim at an African American race car driver.

We'll look at whether stirring up the culture war is really a viable campaign strategy.

And the Hong Kong government is hitting the books. Not to study them but to make sure they don't challenge a strict new law.

Stay with us.

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NEWTON: The Hong Kong government is clamping down even harder ordering schools to remove books that might breach the city's sweeping new national security law.

Now the Education Bureau says administrators and teachers should review all materials, including books, in a timely manner.

The law Beijing imposed last week mandates strict penalties for secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign powers.

It effectively outlaws certain political views such as support for independence from China.

But Hong Kong's chief executive says the national security law is, in her words, "relatively mild."

Carrie Lam talked about the law at her weekly news conference Tuesday. She dismissed concerns that it undermines freedom while warning people not to violate it.


CARRIE LAM, CHIEF EXECUTIVE, HONG KONG (Through Translator): The central government has placed full trust and faith in the Hong Kong SAR so the Hong Kong SAR government will vigorously implement this law.

And I forewarn those radicals not to attempt to violate this law for crossing the red line. Because the consequences of breaching this law are very serious.


NEWTON: Meantime, pro-Democracy advocate, Joshua Wong, disagrees with Hong Kong's leader and says the city's freedoms are being eroded under the new law.

His remarks came shortly after pleading not guilty to three charges related to a protest last year.

Fellow activist Ivan Lam also pleaded not guilty to two charges and Agnes Chow pleaded guilty to one. All three are due back in court next month.

NEWTON: U.S. President Donald Trump is fanning the flames of division again with racially charged rhetoric, trying to appeal to parts of his base.

Now he took aim at African American race car driver, Bubba Wallace, Monday.

You might remember Wallace's team found a noose in his garage last month. The FBI said it has been there since last year so Wallace was not a hate crime victim.

President Trump falsely tweeted though that it was a hoax. He also said the NASCAR organization's ban on the Confederate flag had lowered ratings.

But the White House said he was just voicing his support for racing fans.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What is the president's position? Does he think NASCAR made a mistake by banning the Confederate flag?

MCENANEY: So he said he -- I spoke to him this morning about this and he was not making a judgment one way or the other.

The intent of the tweet was to stand up for the men and women of NASCAR and the fans, and those who have gone in this rush to judgment of the media to call something a hate crime. When, in fact, the FBI report concluded this was not an intentional racist act.


NEWTON: Here's where it gets interesting. Mr. Trump is getting pushback from other Republicans in very red states.

A Mississippi senator defended his state's decision to remove the confederate battle emblem from its flag. And a strong Trump ally also broke ranks.


SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-S.C.): "The Confederate flag is not a good way to grow your business. The idea that Bubba Wallace, who is the only, I think, African American driver, was upset by somebody finding a noose in the garage made perfect sense to me."

NEWTON: LZ Granderson is an "ESPN" host and a sports and culture columnist for the "L.A. Times."

He is in Los Angeles and joins us now. And your voice is really important to us on this, so I appreciate you joining us.


I want to deal first with the president's taunting -- there's really no other word for it -- of Bubba Wallace.

"You know there are many, many NASCAR fans that are also Trump fans." And how do you think this is all planning out right now?

LZ GRANDERSON, ESPN HOST: Well, I would say that this is a very dark day in United States history.

Where you have a sitting president, someone who is supposed to be leader of the free world, and he can't come out and definitively say he's against treason, he's against representation of racism within his own country.

It is embarrassing, it is disappointing, it's disheartening. And as I said, it's a very dark day.

But with that being said, these are very, very strange and dark times.

And anytime that a politician, regardless of nation, can play upon someone's fears, it can lead to a winning strategy. Because we know when things are uncertain, people like to find things that make them feel comfortable, and sometimes the comfort lies in pointing your finger at other people or saying that other people are the reasons for their troubles.

And so today was just a very dark, disappointing day. To sit there and listen to this man regurgitate racist tropes that I thought was in our rear view. But he's clearly trying to use them for the present day.

NEWTON: Again, many people found it hurtful, including, obviously, Bubba Wallace himself.

And yet he responded with such grace saying, "love over hate every day." That's what he say he chooses. And he made the point, "even when that hate is coming from the president of the United States."

But is there a part of him that must believe that it is already tough enough to be one of the only African American drivers that even has been out there in the NASCAR venue and so many other African Americans, really, leading the way in so many other spheres of society, thinking, "Why me, why do I have to deal with this now?"

GRANDERSON: Well, history is filled with people who weren't necessarily perfect but were present and available at the perfect time.

And this is now Bubba Wallace's calling.

But we've had numerous leaders in a variety of different movements be in that "why me" sort of situation that you just alluded to.

But I would also point out that when it come specifically to African Americans in this country, it's always incumbent upon us to turn the other cheek. It's always incumbent on us to quote the right bible verse, sing the right hymnal, always make sure that we don't appear too angry.

So it's very apropos that you acknowledged just how gracious he was in talking about love over hate because that's always been incumbent upon blacks in this country to be.

We're not allowed to be pissed off and angry and upset because, if we are, then all of a sudden now the narrative changes. We have to sit there and find it deep within ourselves to find forgiveness.

And while I am a Christian and I certainly identify and respect teachers of the bible there comes a certain point in which you feel as if you're being played for fools.

And I think at times, this particular president likes to play us for fools.

He's berated the first African American president insinuating he wasn't born in this country. He started his presidency -- or his candidacy, rather, coming down an escalator proclaiming all these awful things about Latino Americans.

He's said so many racist things in the short period of time in which he begun running for president -- and yet it's up to minorities, it's up to the black people, to find forgiveness.

NEWTON: And through all of this, he's actually expanded the argument in terms of also tweeting about team names.

About teams, perhaps needing to change their names because they wanted to be politically correct .

In one of the tweets:


"They name teams out of strength not weakness, but now the Washington Redskins and the Cleveland Indians, two fabled sports franchises, looks like they're going to be changing their names in order to be political correct."

I have to ask you. You know there is that segment of the population in the United States who's going to say, look, I love my team and I love my team's name. I'm not a racist but I do want to keep the name.

Do you think there is room for that voice right now? Or do you believe people really need to look at what it means historically, and just get rid of the names?

GRANDERSON: Well, listen. If you want to defend your team's name because your dad took you to these games and you've always thought of the team, the sweatshirt, of fond memories of like your parents, your favorite uncle or something, I'm not going to come to you and suggest you need to throw that away.

But what I am going to say is, if you're talking about defending the name because of the history then talk about all of the history.

Talk about how the person who bought the team and renamed the team that slur was a racist. That was forced by the federal government to even integrate his team. [01:29:52]

His team was the last team in the NFL to integrate. If you want to talk about the history, then talk about all of it. Talk about the fact that while you may want to characterize in the name of the honor the Native Americans, that the person who chose the name, that was not that person's intent at all.

And so, if you want to go and get me this whole, you know, merits of about how this team and the team name represents, you know, so much goodness in history then don't you whitewash the negative in order to make yourself feel better because if you need to do that, then chances are you realize it is racist. It is offensive. And you need to be uncomfortable, if you will.

PAULA NEWTON, CNN ANCHOR: LZ Granderson, really appreciate your insights on this debate. Appreciate it.

GRANDERSON: Thank you for having me.

Now new questions surround Brazilian Jair Bolsonaro. Details on why he was in the hospital and why he is telling people not to get near him.

Plus Mexico's president is on his way to the White House if he passes his coronavirus test.

That's next on CNN NEWSROOM.


NEWTON: And welcome back to our viewers all around the world. I'm Paula Newton. And you're watching CNN NEWSROOM.

Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro has announced he's been tested for coronavirus and has undergone a lung screening. His office says he's in good health and expects to receive his results in the coming hours.

Now, over the weekend Mr. Bolsonaro attended a party with several American officials including the U.S. ambassador to Brazil. Images of the even were posted on social media and as you can see for yourself, no one was wearing a mask and there was no social distancing. In fact far from it.

The U.S. says its ambassador will be tested for the virus. And will follow safety protocols.

The number of coronavirus cases in Brazil has been soaring in recent weeks and on Monday, officials recorded another 620 fatalities, pushing the death toll there past 65,000. That's the second highest total in the world.

Mexico recorded almost over 500 coronavirus fatalities on Monday bringing its death toll to more than 31,000. It's also reported another nearly 5,000 cases within just 24 hours.

The Mexican president says he has no virus symptoms but he is getting tested as a precaution before his planned flight to the United States in the day ahead.

Matt Rivers explains why he is going and why his travel itinerary is unusual.



MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, later on today President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador of Mexico, will begin his journey to meet with President Trump in Washington D.C. They've got meetings scheduled on Wednesday and Thursday, mainly to celebrate, in their words, the implementation of a new free trade deal between the United States, Mexico and Canada, the USMCA, that free trade deal went into effect on July 1st. It is replacing NAFTA.

And that is really the main reason why the Mexican president is journeying to D.C. even as the Canadian president says he is not at the moment in part due to concerns over the coronavirus.

And you can certainly question the timing of this meeting given that the pandemic continues to rage both in the United States and in Mexico.

But there's also questions about exactly how the Mexican president is getting to Washington D.C. So later on today, we know that he is taking a commercial flight to D.C. We don't know the exact itinerary but we know he's going to be making a stop somewhere in the United States because, in his words, there are no direct flights right now between Mexico City and Washington D.C.

And it's interesting because the president does have use of a presidential plane here in Mexico if he wants to but he has never used it because he says it's an example of presidential and government excess.

So he's actually trying to sell the plane which is currently sitting in an airfield in Los Angeles. He is trying to sell it for around $130 million. And that is why he is flying coach.

Now critics would say that that is just a cheap political trick, that he is putting not only his own personal security at risk, but also the security of those travelers that happen to be on the same flight as him especially when, he could take another plane, say one that is owned by the Mexican Air Force.

But that is not changing the president's mind. He is going to take a commercial flight later today to Washington D.C. so that means that the president of the 10th most populous country in the world could be your seat mate, if you for example, find yourself traveling on a plane this week between Washington D.C. and Mexico City.

Matt Rivers, CNN -- Mexico City.

(END VIDEOTAPE) NEWTON: Ok. Now, as if 2020 wasn't enough of a disaster so far, I know you don't want me to tell you this, but it's true the bubonic plague may be back.

Chinese authorities have placed the inner Mongolia region on high alert after a suspected case. The plague is caused by bacteria and transmitted through flea bites and infected animals. It killed an estimated 50 million people in Europe during the Middle Ages. Modern antibiotics can prevent complications and death if it's administered quickly enough.

You're watching CNN NEWSROOM.

Just ahead Blackout Day 2020 is here. How African American shoppers plan to showcase their economic might.


NEWTON: On Tuesday, black Americans plan to show political leaders and business owners, how much their voices and their wallets matter. Blackout Day 2020 is an initiative started by activist Calvin Martyr calling on African-Americans to not spend any money at all on Tuesday. And if they have to, do it at a black-owned business.


NEWTON: The goal is to send a message to the country to end racist policies and practices. According to Nielsen, black Americans spent more than $1 trillion on consumer goods in 2018 alone.

And I'm joined now by Bakari Sellers. He's a CNN political commentator, attorney and former South Carolina state representative. He's also the author of "My Vanishing Country: A Memoir".

Bakari, thanks so much. It's really good to see you.

A lot to get through here as a lot transpires in just 48 or 72 hours. I want to hear first -- we're going to talk about Blackout Day which is July 7th. But first, we need to kind of rewind for the weekend and talk about President Trump and his speeches.

I want you to listen, just recap for everyone what he said on the weekend. Take a listen.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We are now in the process of defeating the radical left, the Marxists, the anarchists, the agitators, the looters. Our children are taught in school to hate their own country and to believe, that the men and women who built it were not heroes but that were villains.


NEWTON: So Bakari look, the speech was called many things. I think principally it was called dark and divisive. And yet -- and yet he thinks he has a strategy, the President. What is it?

BAKARI SELLERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, what he is doing is the same thing he did in 2016, which actually proved to be effective. He is actually taking this country down the path of cultural war, us versus them, which is where the speeches landed this past weekend.

The President, he only has one speed, and that speed is racism, and using racism as political currency. People are always like "Bakari, well why are you playing the race card. Why are we going down this path of black issues? Et cetera, et cetera."

Well, it's not me. It's the President of the United States who is enveloping himself in the confederacy, who is throwing himself at the feet of confederate statues, who continues to take us down this path whether or not he's tweeting about bubba Wallace or whether or not he's tweeting about the Washington Redskins, or "black on black crime" as I use air quotes.

This President continues to go down this path of cultural wars because that is all he has to run on going into a second term.

NEWTON: You make such a good point though, Bakari, right? It worked in 2016. He clearly thinks it will work again.

And another organization that thinks it might work apparently is the editorial board of "The Wall Street Journal", They call this President Trump, in their words, "delivered one of the best speeches of his presidency Friday evening at Mount Rushmore. Mr. Trump is trying to rally the country in defense traditional American principles that are now under radical and unprecedented assault."

And Bakari, what's interesting here is not just the fact that they have a superlative there, right, "one of the best". But they go on to make the point that, in terms of that Mount Rushmore speech, that the theme isn't going away. And that progressive elite as "The Wall Street Journal" calls them, you know, ignore this as at their peril. What are they getting at?

SELLERS: Well, they actually have a point when they talk about traditional American values. And I don't mean to illuminate to viewers too much here, but let's just talk about it.

Mount Rushmore where he gave the speech under the auspices of those four presidents, two of which were slave owners. The land that Mount Rushmore was built on was taken from Native Americans. That was a traditional American speech. It was traditional in that it was rooted in racism.

And so we are having a reckoning going on right now in these United States of America. We are having a reckoning when it comes to our past.

And where "The Wall Street Journal" got it wrong was one, they highlighted traditional American values not underscoring the fact that that has to do with racism and the fact that black folk built this country for free. That's first. But second and even more glaringly, "The Wall Street Journal" did something that the president of the United States and many people do is they confuse prejudice for patriotism.

Let me be clear. I mean my father was shot in the civil rights movement, February 28 in 1968. Jimmie Lee Jackson, Medgar Evers -- the list goes on and on and on of black folk who have fought, died in wars, or who were shot and killed in the civil rights movement. Their blood runs through the soil of this great country as well.

And because I love this country so much means that I can critique it and make it a more perfect union. And that's what people are doing and that is what "The Wall Street Journal" missed. But it goes to a larger point or a more nuanced point which is why we need more diversity in our journalistic institutions because you wouldn't write nonsense like that if you did.


NEWTON: And to that point about changing the complexion, to use the word, of the country we have this day #BlackoutDay. And it is meant to be a day when really people refuse to buy anything unless it really empowers black businesses, black-owned businesses.

I mean I've heard you talk about this before, Bakari, and I'd love to hear your opinion on it. I mean, on one hand is this effective? Does this help? Or do you feel as if it's tokenism at this point?

SELLERS: Well, that's an interesting conversation and that is one that I struggle with because I really don't want you to name anymore streets. I really don't want your company just to simply say Black Lives Matter. I really just don't want a day.

I want us to address things like police reform. I want us to address things like having clean water where black folk live and the quality of schools. I really want us just to address the systemic and institutionalized racism in this country that is killing black folk through this pandemic that we are having.

And people will want to say how can you draw that conclusion? It's very clear because the majority of black and brown communities don't have access to clean water, don't have access to clean air. They live in food deserts where you can't get fresh fruits and vegetables. And it is no secret that when you have a pandemic, you are more likely to die at higher rates.

So let's address those issues and let's not necessarily delve into giving me one day where you buy a good from a black store, and you feel better about yourself. Or your company says Black Lives Matter but has no black people in it (INAUDIBLE).

Let's actually have real change. And I think we're on the verge of doing that in this country but it's an age-old political slogan. You have to trust but verify.

NEWTON: Yes and so obviously it will be pivotal what happens in four months to that election to that end.

Bakari Sellers, thanks so much. Really appreciate you joining us.

SELLERS: Thank you so much.

NEWTON: A top official says the U.S. is looking into banning Chinese social media apps including the popular video sharing service Tiktok. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says people should only download the app quote, "if you want your private information in the hands of the Chinese Communist Party".


MIKE POMPEO, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: We are taking this very seriously. We're certainly looking at it. We've worked on this very issue for a long time whether it was the problems of having Huawei technology in your infrastructure. We've gone all over the world and we're making real progress getting that out.

We've declared ZTE a danger to American national security. We've done all of these things. With respect to Chinese apps on people's cellphones, I can assure you the United States will get this one right, too.


NEWTON: Despite the growing pandemic, Monday marked a really good day, believe it or not, on Wall Street. The Nasdaq closed more than 2 percent higher, hitting a new, drumroll please, all-time high. The Dow soared 460 points. And the S&P 500 was up 1.6 percent, recording its longest winning streak since December.

I know, it doesn't really make sense, does it. We're going to get to that.

The Middle East tourism business center meantime, Dubai is reopening to foreign visitors as long as they test negative for coronavirus. And we're hearing bookings in Dubai are up. Other parts of the U.A.E. are not ready yet for tourists though.

According to Johns Hopkins University, the country has reported 52,000 COVID cases and more than 300 deaths.

So we now go to John Defterios, who is in Abu Dhabi.

So first to the issue of reopening. Why is Dubai so keen to be the first mover in this effort to reembrace tourism and what's at stake?

JOHN DEFTERIOS, CNN EMERGING MARKETS EDITOR: Well, I think it wants to maintain its status here in the region and then building up its reputation also as a global hub, kind of a bridge between east and west, if you will, Paula.

They were the first major gulf carrier to launch back in 1985 and it's worth remembering that they don't sit on their oil wealth. That sits here in Abu Dhabi where I am right now. So they've used that airline Emirates, which is now flying to 52 destinations to build up a tourism trade and finance. And tourism makes up 11 percent of GDP. So of course, it's very important for them.

And I think have to also take note of the fact that COVID-19 has kind of frozen the global economy, but its' been even worse here in the region because it's undermined oil prices which serve as an elixir to growth and development and the rest. So they're very cognizant of it.

And also the U.A.E. has ranked third 3rd globally on testing per million. So they've done a lot of testing. They had a spike in cases -- in the case of Dubai, they flattened the curve by doing this 24- your lockdown.

So the chairman of Emirates Group for example told me this is a calculated risk. After governments, Paula, have put in 10 trillion dollars to pump up the economy, it is time for the private sector to reengage.

They've done everything in terms of hygiene on board, testing at the airport, the PCR upon arrival which is the new standard. They can't do anything else prior to a vaccine, so they said it is a calculated risk to reengage at this sort of level.


NEWTON: And we'll watch to see how that tracks over the next few weeks and months.

And you know, we're looking at this huge spike really in cases in the United States. It's sure to have economic consequences. And you know, John, Goldman Sachs, Blackrock -- they've been blunt. They've spelled it out that it will affect the U.S. economy. And yet U.S. stock markets -- I mean, are they on a different planet, John, at this point?

You know, so much has been written about this. But I have yet to really see any insightful analysis as to why.

DEFTERIOS: I haven't either and the price to earnings ratios continue to go up. We just talked about living with risk of COVID-19. Investors particularly in the United States and other market which we will talk about here, don't see the downside risk right now but that is because of all that liquidity. It needs to find a home.

So we've had the best quarter since 1999 for the Nasdaq composite and we have come up with a new rise of better than 2 percent. We had Amazon cross $3,000 a share, right? So that's put you in kind of stratospheric level.

And you know what, when we had that quarter 1999, then we had a bust. So there is the risk in the market.

Let's take a look at Asia, the other markets are down but not Shanghai. It had its best day in five years, and it spiked better than 5 percent on the trading day before.

We have U.S. futures trading slightly lower, but that doesn't mean anything knowing when Wall Street opens back up, Paula. And I think they're counting on the fact there's going to be another package coming out of Congress by September at the very latest. So it will keep interest rates low and that enthusiasm in the market despite the high valuations, right?

NEWTON: You still wonder if they're getting ahead of themselves though. We'll find out over the next few weeks.

John Defterios in Abu Dhabi -- thanks so much.

And we will take a quick break. I'll be right back.


NEWTON: So over the past few weeks, dozens of players from Major League Baseball and the National Hockey League have tested positive for the coronavirus. Now some are expressing concern that the rising number of cases could jeopardize the return of sports altogether.

CNN's Brian Todd has more.


BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: On Monday, both teams that were in last year's World Series, the Washington Nationals and the Houston Astros temporarily canceled summer workouts, nervously awaiting delayed coronavirus test results.

A top pitcher on the world champion Nationals expressing frustration that rising cases across the country are jeopardizing the return of sports.

SEAM DOOLITTLE, WASHINGTON NATIONALS PITCHER: Sports are like the reward of a functional society, and we are just LIKE trying to JUST bring it back, even though we've taken none of the steps to have to flatten the curve.

TODD: The major sports league that are planning to return to action this moth are now seemingly being stopped by the resurgent virus. More than three dozen Major League Baseball players and team staffers have tested positive. The National Hockey League reporting similar numbers. And in the NBA, no fewer than five teams have now shut down practice facilities after positive tests.

All of it throwing into question the wisdom of these leagues returning to action now.

BARRY SVRLUGA, SPORTS COLUMNIST, "THE WASHINGTON POST": It seems like it's somewhere between unrealistic and irresponsible. We are three weeks away from those openers. We've got positive tests among players. We've got workouts that are shutting down.

It seems right (ph) for some combination of realism and skepticism about whether these sports can return.


TODD: Some players in the NBA and Major League Baseball have opted not to return for these shortened seasons. One of baseball's top stars, the Angels Mike Trout whose wife is expecting their first child could be ready to shelve it.

MIKE TROUT, LOS ANGELES ANGELS OUTFIELDER: I still don't feel comfortable. You know, obviously with the baby coming, there's a lot of stuff going through my mind right now, my wife's mind.

TODD: All the leagues have elaborate plans for player to live and play these seasons in isolation. The NBA going to a so-called bubble in Orlando. Players isolating in hotels, playing all their games in one place.

But one medical experts says it's problematic that some states where these leagues are practicing and playing like Florida, Texas and Arizona are among the worst coronavirus hotspots in the country.

DR. AMESH ADALA, JOHNS HOPKINS UNIVERSITY CENTER FOR HEALTH SECURITY: You probably want to have this ideally in a place where if they do break their bubble, if they are in contact with people from the community, that the risk of them running into a coronavirus is very low. So maybe they should be having these things in Alaska or Vermont where the percent positivity is very low.

TODD: With all the precautions, observers say the bottom line is that the leagues are putting their expensive workforce and maybe even more vulnerable coaches and staff members at risk for one obvious reason.

SVRLUGA: This isn't about, yes, we can play baseball. This is about if we have a baseball season, we will get some measure of television revenue back even if there are no fans on the stands.

TODD: But sports journalists and medical experts say there's also a very good chance that these leagues will be able to start their seasons again but not be able to finish them.

If players break their bubbles, if a given team experiences its own outbreak, if we return to another nationwide spike in cases this fall, all of it, they say, is a recipe to have to shut down sports again.

Brian Todd, CNN -- Washington.


NEWTON: Now, we want to end this hour remembering Charlie Daniels, the country music star known for his hit "The Devil Went Down to Georgia". Charlie Daniels has died.


NEWTON: Wow, what a talent. That song from 1979 is still to this day, a staple as bars, parties and classic rock radio. Daniels, as you can there, was a master with the fiddle and led the way for a new genre of southern rock. He's a Country Music Hall of Famer, and Grand Ole Opry alumnus. Charlie Daniels dead at 83.

Now, that wraps this hour of CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Paula Newton.

I'll be back in a moment with more news.