Return to Transcripts main page


Dr. Fauci: COVID-19 Cases are "Surging Back Up"; Trump Doubles- Down on Stoking Fear and Division; MLB Releases Schedule Amid Coronavirus Concerns. Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired July 7, 2020 - 05:00   ET




DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, MEMBER, WHITE HOUSE CORONAVIRUS TASK FORCE: We are still knee deep in the first wave of this.


DR. LAURA JARRETT, CNN ANCHOR: Anthony Fauci not holding back on the state of coronavirus in America and why it's surging right now.

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

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, everyone. I'm Christine Romans. It's Tuesday, July 7th, 17 weeks. That's 119 days until the election. It is 5:00 a.m. this morning in New York.

And let's begin with this dire new assessment from the country's top infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci laying bear about the rapid rise in coronavirus cases.


FAUCI: 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. Now, a series of circumstances associated with various states and cities trying to open up in the sense of getting back to some form of normality has led to a situation where we have record-breaking cases.


ROMANS: Right now, 31 states are headed in the wrong direction with case numbers up from last week, 31 states. Nearly half the states are now rolling back or pausing their plans to reopen and ICU beds in hard-hit Florida and Texas are quickly filling up.

CNN's Nick Watt has the latest.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) NICK WATT, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): On Independence Day Florida suffered more new cases than any state has ever. Still, the governor seems sanguine.

GOV. RON DESANTIS (R), FLORIDA: I mean, there's no need to really be fearful about it.

WATT: But some mayors are.

MAYOR FRANCIS SUAREZ (R), MIAMI: What's happening is what's happened across the country. You know, when we opened, you know, people began to socialize as if the coronavirus didn't exist.

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

MAYOR DAN GELBER (D), MIAMI BEACH: We're starting to roll the carpet up. You know, 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.

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

MAYOR RON NIRENBERG (I), SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS: If the case continues, we're -- we're a week away from rubbing 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 Jacks 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 and a house party in L.A. and a beach party on Fire Island. So many celebrating shaking off the Brits 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 looked like in April -- crowded hospitals, morgue trucks outside. Today, though, a different story.

GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D), NEW YORK: 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 (on camera): 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.


JARRETT: Nick, thank you for that.

Health officials believe Arizona is days away from using crisis standards of care to treat coronavirus patients. That means hospitals will have to decide who gets care and who doesn't because there aren't just enough resources.

CNN has reporters across the country bringing you the very latest.



Arizona passed a grim milestone Monday as authorities reported that for the first time since this pandemic began, the total number of cases here crossed 100,000. Over half of the infected are between 20 and 44, a number the Phoenix mayor worries could be due to early reopening.


That's our bars and gathering places, crowded with young people before being closed down again last week.

On Monday, another 3,300 cases were reported, as the pandemic continues to grow here.

WATT: I'm Nick Watt in Santa Monica, California. Now since the beginning of this COVID-19 pandemic, there has apparently been a huge spike in anti-Asian racial incidents here in California. A group called the Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council has logged 800 such cases, among them 81 physical assaults.

Now, they say they want the governor to create a racial bias strike team. They say they've given them the tactics. Now, they want concrete action.

JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm Jason Carroll in New York. West Virginia is now the latest state with a statewide policy on wearing some sort of a face covering. The executive order went into effect at midnight. Going forward, all people age 9 and older are required to wear a face covering at places indoors where social distancing is not possible.

The order does not apply to anyone who has trouble breathing or wearing a facemask covering without assistance. That according to Governor Jim Justice who announced the executive order on Monday. Penalties were not specified for those who do not follow the order. Governor Justice saying, quote: I know it's not the popular thing to do. He went on to say, it's the only thing we can do and it's the smart thing we can do.

BIANNA GOLODRYGA, CNN SENIOR GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: I'm Bianna Golodryga in New York. Harvard and Princeton will welcome students back to campus this fall, the universities announced Monday. Harvard plans to bring up to 40 percent of undergraduates back to campus for the fall semester, including all first-year students.

Seniors would return for the spring semester, while first years would return home and learn remotely in the spring. However, classes will still be conducted entirely online, including for the students living on campus. Those living on campus will also be subjected to COVID-19 testing once they arrive followed by subsequent testing every three days. Princeton also announced a 10 percent reduction in undergraduate tuition for the school year. Harvard said they would not be adjusting their tuition rates.


ROMANS: All right. Thanks to all our reporters for that.

International students pursuing degrees in the U.S. will have to leave the country or risk deportation if their universities switch to online classes this fall. This announcement by immigration and customs enforcement could affect thousands of foreign students. The agency suggests international students currently enrolled in the U.S. to consider transferring to schools with in-person instruction. There is an exception, however, for universities using a mix of online and in- person classes.

JARRETT: Yes, huge implications from that new rule.

Meanwhile, Florida State Department of Education is ordering local districts to open brick and mortar classrooms for the new school year starting in August. The department's emergency order cites the well- being of students and families and a return to Florida hitting its full economic stride. The order says school openings will have to be consistent with safety guidelines from state and local health officials. All of this as the CDC readies its new guidance for schools nationwide.

CNN's Nick Valencia has the latest on that.


NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Laura and Christine, there's still no exact timeline as to when the CDC plans to release this new guidance, but a senior official tells me that over the weekend, Director Robert Redfield was briefed on the recommendation and given the science to back that up. This official went on to tell me that schools need to be the first to open and the last to close, adding kids need to physically be in school.

The official's comments echo that of the American Pediatric Association which said last week that they strongly advocate that all policy considerations for the coming school year should start with the goal of having students physically present in school. This official at the CDC telling me that the task force there has made it a priority for the CDC this week. CNN has reached out to the CDC for official comment, as well as the White House Task Force.

We have yet to hear back -- Laura, Christine.


ROMANS: All right. Nick, thank you for that.

Billions of dollars was spent in the paycheck protection program to help small businesses survive the coronavirus pandemic. A deep dive into the 4.8 million loans shows taxpayer money went to hair salons, restaurants, lobbyists, elite law firms, wealth managers, and even some members of Congress, of course, who own businesses.

Congressman Mike Kelly's car dealerships received three loans ranging up to $1 million. Tax money went to Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler's family farm supply business. Political groups like the Congressional Black Caucus and the politically connected media companies including Newsmax and "The Washington Times" also benefitted from the taxpayer loans. About 8 percent of the money went to the food and hotels sector which, of course, was slammed by the pandemic.


Taxpayer money also went to elite private schools, some private colleges and several arts organizations.

The program was the central pillar of the central stimulus package passed back in March. More than 130 billion was left unused when the program was closed last week. Lawmakers agreed to extend applications until August 8th. But more money is going to be needed. Senate Majority Mitch McConnell said Monday, Congress will need another relief bill as cases around the country rise. The clock is ticking because the House and Senate have alternating schedules. Congress will have to reach a deal between July 20th and July 31st.

JARRETT: Pretty amazing it went to the businesses of congressmen.

ROMANS: Yeah, exactly.

JARRETT: All right. Well, President Trump -- he is pushing racist appeals to his base, but this time not all of the typical allies are falling in line. That's next.


JARRETT: Well, President Trump is turning up the volume on racist appeals to his base, defending Confederate symbols and monuments, going after NASCAR's only black driver with false accusations, and casting racial justice protestors as criminals.


But this time as Trump leans in on his racist rhetoric, something new is happening.

Corporations, institutions, even top Republicans are distancing themselves from the president.

White House correspondent Jeremy Diamond has more now.


JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Today, President Trump ramping up his divisive and racially charged rhetoric. The president suggesting he disagrees with NASCAR's decision to ban the Confederate flag at its races and falsely accusing NASCAR's only black driver of orchestrating a hoax after a member of his team found a noose in his garage.

REPORTER: Why is the president even suggesting that Mr. Wallace should apologize?

KAYLEIGH MCENANY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Well, look, the FBI, as I noted, concluded that this was not a hate crime. And he believes it will go a long way if Bubba came out and acknowledged that as well.

DIAMOND: But Wallace did back on June 24th, saying he was relieved after the FBI determined the noose had been in the garage since last year. This afternoon, Wallace tweeted: Always deal with the hate being thrown at you with love, adding, even when it's hate from the president.

The White House press secretary also trying to claim that Trump was not expressing support for the Confederate flag.

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

DIAMOND: South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, a loyal Trump supporter, backing NASCAR's decision.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): They're trying to grow the sport. The Confederate flag is not a good way to grow your business.

DIAMOND: And defending Wallace.

GRAHAM: Well, I don't think Bubba Wallace has anything to apologize for.

DIAMOND: Trump's tweet builds on the inflammatory rhetoric he delivered in a pair of Independence Day speeches, in which he painted racial injustice protesters as fascists, trying to end America as we know it. DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Angry mobs are trying

to tear down statues of our Founders, deface our most sacred memorials, and unleash a wave of violent crime in our cities.

We will never allow an angry mob to tear down our statues, erase our history, indoctrinate our children, or trample on our freedoms.

DIAMOND: After trying to recast his fight to protect Confederate monuments as an attempt to --

TRUMP: Protect and preserve our history, our heritage, and our great heroes.

DIAMOND: -- the president's race-based appeals unmasked by his own tweets, signaling a campaign strategy to stoke fear among white Americans, just like in 2016.

(on camera): So it's clear that the president is, indeed, diving back into that 2016 playbook dividing Americans along racial and cultural lines, but it's also clear that the president is swimming against the currents more than ever before, appealing to a smaller and smaller slice of the American electorate.

Beyond NASCAR, we also saw just last week Mississippi removing the Confederate battle flag from its state flag and political attitudes in terms of racial injustice in America are also quickly changing. Recent polls have shown that about 2/3 of Americans support the protests in the wake of George Floyd's death and only about 1/3 of Americans believe that President Trump is handling race relations adequately.

Jeremy Diamond, CNN, the White House.


ROMANS: All right. Thanks for that.

In a move that could put the pentagon on a collision course with President Trump, defense officials are thinking of banning the Confederate flag from U.S. military bases. A defense official tells CNN, military lawyers are reviewing the plan and a decision could come soon. The president has been clear in his support for Confederate moments and symbols. It is unknown if the Defense Secretary Mark Esper will seek the president's approval for the ban.

JARRETT: It seems unlikely they would go against the commander-in- chief but we'll see what happens on that.

All right. Still ahead, setbacks for sports teams trying to get back on the field during this pandemic. "Bleacher Report" is up next.



ROMANS: All right. Major League Baseball releases its schedule for the upcoming season despite several teams shutting down their workouts over coronavirus testing concerns.

Andy Scholes has more on this morning's "Bleacher Report".

Hey, Andy.


You know, we're seeing how difficult this new world is for sports, as teams try to get back on the field. The Astros, Nationals, and Cardinals all had to cancel workouts yesterday because they said Major League Baseball's testing wasn't fast enough. So, the players were all tested for COVID-19 on Friday. They still didn't have the results Monday mornings, so they canceled yesterday's workouts.

Major League Baseball responded, condemning the teams for cancelling workouts and said they have addressed the delays caused by the holiday weekend. Opening day for baseball is going to be July 23rd.

Major League Soccer will be down a team as they try to return to action this week. For the MLS's back tournament in Disney, FC Dallas had ten players and one staff member test positive for coronavirus. So they have been removed from the tournament which begins tomorrow.

The NHL and its players, meanwhile, reaching a tentative agreement to resume play August 1st. Teams are going to open camp next week. They're going to be playing in two hub cities yet to be announced.

The PGA tour, meanwhile, changing course, announcing fans will not be allowed at the Memorial Tournament next week in Ohio.


This was to be the first event with fans, but the PGA saying due to the rapidly changing dynamics of the COVID-19 pandemic, the tournament would have to cancel those original plans.

All right. Basketball star Dwight Howard says he will join the Lakers when the NBA season restarts in Orlando later this month. The veteran center telling CNN's Don Lemon that he'll donate the remainder of his salary, reportedly $700,000, to social injustice initiatives through his Breathe Again Foundation.


DWIGHT HOWARD, LOS ANGELES LAKERS CENTER: I'm going to use my salary, all the money that, you know, the paychecks that I would be getting from going down in the bubble to help push this Breathe Again -- push our movement and just make sure that people don't forget about what's going on in our society.


SCHOLES: Yes. LeBron James and the Lakers are scheduled to fly as a team from L.A. to Orlando on Thursday. The NBA season scheduled to start July 30th. All right. And, finally, well, there is at least one person having a

great 2020. Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes signing the richest deal in sports history yesterday. According to multiple reports, the record-breaking contract extension could be worth up to a staggering $503 million over 10 years. The 24-year-old led the Chiefs to their first Super Bowl title in 50 years last season.

Here's a list of the richest deals in U.S. sports. Mahomes' half billion dollar deal just dwarfs the $426 million deal that Mike Trout signed with the Angels last year.

And, you know, Laura, there's a couple other guys smiling this morning as well. The Ravens' Jackson and Texans' Watson looking at that Mahomes deal because they're up next in terms of signing a big contract extension as quarterbacks in the NFL. So as you can imagine, they got pretty big smiles on their face seeing that deal yesterday.

JARRETT: Yes, at 24 years old, that's not bad.

All right. Andy, nice to see you this morning. Thanks so much.

SCHOLES: All right.

JARRETT: All right. Could TikTok end up banned in America? What the Trump administration is saying about the widely popular app and China, up next.