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Trump Pushes Hard To Reopen Schools Across The Country; Hong Kong Bracing For Third Wave Of Coronavirus; Volunteers Sought For Large Coronavirus Vaccine Trials. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired July 9, 2020 - 05:30   ET





BETSY DEVOS, SECRETARY OF EDUCATION: It's not a matter of if schools should reopen, it's simply a matter of how.

MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The president said today we just don't want the guidance to be too tough.


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: The CDC now changing its guidance on reopening schools after President Trump said the recommendations are too tough and expensive.

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

LAURA JARRETT, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Laura Jarrett. Thirty-two minutes past the hour here in New York.

President Trump is now dismissing the guidelines from his own top experts at the Centers for Disease Control on how to reopen schools safely, calling those guidelines impractical, very tough, and expensive.

The president wants schools to reopen next month so, of course, parents can go back to their jobs -- a necessary step to fully reopen the U.S. economy in an election year -- but he's offered no concrete national strategy or new sources of funding to help schools.

Administration officials, including Vice President Mike Pence, reinforcing the message, just with a different tone.


PENCE: The president said today we just don't want the guidance to be too tough. And that's the reason why next week, the CDC is going to be issuing a new set of tools.

(END VIDEO CLIP) JARRETT: More now from White House correspondent Jeremy Diamond.


JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Pushing for schools to reopen, President Trump is already turning to heavy- handed tactics, threatening to cut funding to reluctant schools and dismissing some of his administration's own public health experts.

Falsely accusing Democrats of opposing school reopenings across the board, the president tweeting "May cut off funding if not open."

PENCE: What you heard from the president is just a determination to provide the kind of leadership from the federal level that says we're going to get our kids back to school because that's where they belong.

DIAMOND (voice-over): Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill telling CNN the president doesn't have that unilateral authority.

And Vice President Pence downplayed Trump's threat --

PENCE: We are going to respect those unique communities that may have challenges -- that have rising cases or rising positivity.

DIAMOND (voice-over): -- suggesting the administration will, instead, push financial incentives for schools that open their doors.

The president also slamming the CDC's reopening guidelines, calling them very tough and expensive -- tweeting, "They are asking schools to do very impractical things."

CDC director Robert Redfield defending but also downplaying those guidelines.

ROBERT REDFIELD, DIRECTOR, CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION: I want to make it very clear that what is not the intent of CDC's guidelines is to be used as a rationale to keep schools closed. Remember, it's guidance; it's not requirements.

DIAMOND (voice-over): And with the CDC preparing to release new guidelines next week, Redfield declining to say if pressure from the president is overriding the science.

REDFIELD: We will continue to develop and devolve our guidance to meet the needs of the schools and the states.

DIAMOND (voice-over): Also in the president's crosshairs --

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES, NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH: The current state is really not good. We are still knee-deep in the first wave of this.


DIAMOND (voice-over): -- Dr. Anthony Fauci.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, I think we are in a good place. I disagree with him.

DIAMOND (voice-over): It was the latest sign of tensions between the president and the doctor Americans trust most amid this pandemic. The fallout at the Coronavirus Task Force briefing, Dr. Fauci notably absent.

DIAMOND (on camera): And while Dr. Fauci didn't attend that task force briefing, we are told that he did attend a task force meeting beforehand. But he didn't join from the Department of Education like other officials.

Instead, a source familiar with the matter is telling CNN that Dr. Fauci was told to attend the meeting from the Situation Room. So listening in remotely from the White House, thereby not being able to attend that task force briefing.

That's notable, of course, because we have seen the president and Dr. Fauci publicly contradicting each other recently, mainly because Dr. Fauci is sticking to the facts and raising these serious concerns about the rise in cases we're seeing across the country while the president, instead, trying to downplay and undermine the science, as well as public health officials.

Jeremy Diamond, CNN, the White House.


ROMANS: So here are the CDC guidelines for reopening schools that the president calls too tough and expensive. Wear masks, keep desks six feet apart, stay home when appropriate, stagger arrival and dismissal times, have back-up staffing plans, cancel field trips and large gatherings, and close down communal spaces. Again, those guidelines are being scrapped and new ones will be released next week.

JARRETT: Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner has canceled the Texas Republican Party convention one week before it was scheduled to start. Turner made the decision after someone asked him if he would allow his mother to work at the convention. He says the answer was no, so he pulled out of the contract.

Sponsors like the Texas Medical Association had already dropped out of the event, and Gov. Greg Abbott was only planning to appear by video because of the coronavirus outbreak in that city.

ROMANS: Several attorneys in Jacksonville, Florida have filed a lawsuit demanding the city block the Republican National Convention from happening there at the end of August. The suit calls it a nuisance injurious to the health and welfare of the community.

President Trump is set to accept the GOP nomination at a 15,000-seat venue in Jacksonville. So far, at least five senators ranging in age from 63 to 86 have said they will skip the convention because of the pandemic. Several others have declined to say if they will attend.

JARRETT: Well, President Jair Bolsonaro is among the 1.7 million Brazilians who have contracted Covid-19. Now, Brazilian journalists are threatening to sue him for removing his mask during the press conference where he announced that he had the virus.

CNN's Bill Weir has more now from Sao Paulo.


BILL WEIR, CNN ANCHOR, CHIEF CLIMATE CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Well, it is another day of more open shops, restaurants, and bars in big cities like Sao Paulo and another day of rising numbers of Covid-19 infections and mortality. They're up averaging over 1,000 deaths a day now.

And among the infirmed and the confirmed infected now, of course, the president of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, who is using the opportunity to sort of double down on his policy of using Malaria -- anti-Malaria drugs and hard work to get Brazil back up and running.

Meanwhile, an association of Brazilian journalists is threatening to sue the president for endangering their lives by removing his mask during his press conference to announce that he had the coronavirus. This fight goes back to a battle that went to the Supreme Court over properly releasing Covid-19 daily numbers, infections, and deaths.

Also, there are corruption allegations swirling around this president, whispers of impeachment. And so, the pandemic is just one challenge for the man running Brazil these days.

In the meantime, vaccine trials are ongoing now and there is fresh concern about indigenous communities becoming infected in towards the Amazon and other rural areas. There are even plans to send out a military operation to bring them the same medicines that President Bolsonaro is using.

But at the end of the day, this pandemic has just dominated the news.

Bill Weir, Sao Paulo, CNN.


ROMANS: All right, to Hong Kong now where they are bracing for a third wave of coronavirus. Since Sunday, 65 new patients have been diagnosed and health officials are warning there could be an exponential spike on the way.

Will Ripley live for us in Hong Kong with the latest developments. Hi, Will.


We know how this works, right? The numbers start out small but if they don't contain the outbreak quickly, the numbers get much bigger very quickly. And that is a big concern here in Hong Kong, a densely populated city of seven million people that as of now, has done really well and has been receiving global praise for its handling of the Covid-19 pandemic.

I mean, they shut down the border with Mainland China very early on, then they blocked all travel.


They set up an extensive testing center at the airport. Aircrew now have to be tested. In fact, some U.S. airlines are actually suspending flights to Hong Kong. They're not comfortable with the idea of their aircrew actually being required to take a coronavirus test just to enter Hong Kong.

But those are the kind of restrictions that are happening to try to prevent the virus from coming from the outside.

What is disturbing to health officials is that a lot of these cases seem to be coming from the inside and they're trying to find the loopholes in Hong Kong's system. This is the city that has a 14-day mandatory home quarantine with an electronic wristband for anyone coming in. They thought that they had the place hermetically sealed and yet, now, we're seeing a growing number of cases that are tied to community spread in places like senior centers.

And they're wondering if flight crew -- because they don't have to go through quarantine -- they are just basically the Covid test and they could go out in the city -- does that pose a threat to the population. Could that bring about community spread?

So we have to watch carefully to see what Hong Kong leaders decide to do. Are they going to lock down the city like it was earlier this year? Are they going to impose even stricter measures?

This is life during the pandemic, Christine.


RIPLEY: Hongkongers have been enjoying a relatively normal quality of life -- bigger gatherings and dinners, and whatnot. That could all change very quickly if these numbers continue to tick up.

ROMANS: Absolutely. All right, Will Ripley. Thanks, Will.

JARRETT: Well, police in the Serbian capital of Belgrade firing tear gas at protesters who are angry at President Aleksandar Vucic for imposing a weekend curfew to halt a surge in coronavirus cases there. Several hundred demonstrators gathered around Serbia's Parliament and when the fights broke out, riot police moved in.

On Tuesday, Serbia recorded its highest daily death toll from Covid-19 since the start of the pandemic.

ROMANS: All right, a dire warning from United Airlines. Nearly half of its frontline workforce could be furloughed this fall. The world's third-largest airline says 36,000 workers, including flight attendants, customer service and gate agents, maintenance employees, and pilots will receive layoff notices.

The warning comes just days after United said it would ramp up its schedule in August, right? But then just as travel showed slight signs of recovery, Covid cases began to rise again across the country and bookings started declining.

United has warned for months it would cut jobs if travel doesn't pick up before October. That's when federal money for airline payroll costs expires.

The Treasury Department said Tuesday United and all other major U.S. carriers applied for a new round of loans under the Cares Act. The airlines already received $25 billion in aid from the first part of the act. The next round of loans could total another $25 billion. The airlines have until September 30th to decide to accept that money.

United says it is hemorrhaging, Laura -- $40 million a day.

JARRETT: Yes, it's just such a tough time for the airline industry, obviously.

Well, if you want to be one of the first to get the coronavirus vaccine you're about to get your chance. Some details, up next.



JARRETT: Welcome back.

The government is looking for tens of thousands of volunteers to participate in coronavirus vaccine trials. Four large studies are expected to start this summer and fall.

CNN's Elizabeth Cohen has more now.


ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Laura, Christine, if you want to sign up to be a study subject in a clinical trial for a Covid vaccine, now is your chance.

On Wednesday, this Web site went live. You could go in, give them your name, your contact information, some information about yourself. They will send it to the study site nearest you -- there are more than 100 in the U.S. and around the world -- and you may be able to get into a trial.

A few things to consider.

At least four vaccines will be studied in these clinical trials. The first one to be studied is one by a company called Moderna, and their study is expected to start at the end of this month.

You don't know whether you'll get the vaccine or if you'll get a placebo, but they'll give you two doses of either one, then they'll study you for two years to see if you get infected and to see if you get sick. Seven times over those -- over those two years you'll have your blood drawn and you'll have a swab done of your nose to see if you've contracted Covid. Now, of course, one of the first questions on anyone's mind would be are there any side effects to this vaccine, and the answer is we don't know. Moderna has studied it. They did a study of more than 100 study subjects to see if it was safe but they have yet to publish that data -- Laura, Christine.


ROMANS: Oh, thank you so much for that, Elizabeth.

Let's get a check on CNN Business this morning. Taking a look at markets all around the world, Asian shares, first, closing higher. Europe has opened nearly mixed here. Frankfurt, though, up more than one percent.

On Wall Street, futures at this hour on this Thursday morning also mixed. Stocks closed higher Wednesday as investors decided to focus on hopes of more stimulus instead of the rising coronavirus cases, at least for the day.

The Dow finished 1.4 percent higher. The Nasdaq, a record high again there. Look at the Nasdaq.

Stocks are rising and so are missed housing payments. That's right. Data from Apartment List shows 32 percent of Americans did not make a full on-time payment in July. That's up from about 30 percent in June.

Missed payments continue to affect renters, young, and low-income households, and residents of dense urban areas the most.

Another retail casualty of this pandemic. Brooks Brothers has filed for bankruptcy. The 200-year-old menswear retailer has dressed dozens of U.S. presidents but had been struggling for years as business attire grew more casual. Then the pandemic sent demand for suits plummeting. Brooks Brothers is in the process of closing 20 percent of its U.S. stores.

Bed Bath & Beyond also announced plans to shut roughly 200 stores in the next two years. You know, these closures are part of its plan to help rebuild and grow its business in response to the pandemic. Not clear which locations would close. Bed Bath & Beyond did not respond to a request for comment.

And, Amazon is the latest retailer to remove merchandise for the Washington football team from its online stores, adding pressure on the NFL to change the team's name. Amazon said it told sellers it's removing products with the name and logo after the team said Friday it would review the name.


Target, Walmart, and Nike have all said they would stop selling the team's merchandise online, Laura.

JARRETT: Well, as face masks become more and more of a partisan issue somehow in the U.S., many people in Asia have willingly adopted wearing them as part of their daily life.

CNN's David Culver takes a closer look at this stark culture gap between many people in Asia and some American citizens who reject wearing a face covering as an act of political resistance.


DAVID CULVER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A weekday morning rush hour. Walk with us through the streets of Beijing. Look to my right, my left, behind me, and even headed right toward me. You notice just about every commuter wearing a face mask.

CULVER (on camera): To see a smile around here these days, it's a bit rare. And it's even a little unnerving because it obviously reveals that somebody's not covering up their face.

CULVER (voice-over): In China -- from passengers boarding trains and planes to those with shorter commutes, riding scooters or hopping on the Metro rail -- masks are on.

Concerns of the virus still very fresh here in China's capital, especially with the recent cluster outbreak. That's partly why folks of all ages wear them. And unlike in parts of the U.S., it is not political here.

LILLY JUNG, BEIJING RESIDENT: I think people really take it as a social responsibility to wear a mask.

CULVER (on camera): Does it seem like a controversial issue when you think about putting your mask on every day?

JUNG: You know, for me, it's really just common sense. We want to protect each other, so everyone is wearing a mask.

CULVER (voice-over): Lilly Jung's got a go-to stash of surgical face masks at home --

JUNG: You can see we do have plenty. I just wet one and put it on.

CULVER (voice-over): -- and she always packs extra.

JUNG: Just in case I forgot to wear a mask before I leave.

CULVER (voice-over): Some folks treat masks like a pair of cheap sunglasses, keeping spare ones in places you're likely to come back to. It is just one of many layers of protection from Covid-19 that is in place here.

Mass testing is routine and, in some cases, mandatory. And contact tracing is strict. Call a rideshare and both you and the driver must show one another your digital health code certifying you have not been in high-risk areas of the virus.

Step into a local shopping mall with us and it's a temperature check, first, and another check of the health code. At the food court, you order by phone to avoid contact, and you pick up with your mask on. CULVER (on camera): The one time you can actually take off your mask is when you're eating.

CULVER (voice-over): That is, if you're dining in.

Even the chefs working behind a protective glass cover up. And as soon as the diners are done -- look, they're immediately putting their masks back on as they walk out.

CULVER (on camera): And you may be in a place like China and you say well, naturally, people are going to follow the rules. It's an authoritarian government. Otherwise, they'll face more serious consequences.

But you don't have to look far to see a democratic society doing the same thing. They've done it in South Korea and in Japan.

CULVER (voice-over): And the leaders of all these Asian countries and territories often seen wearing a mask in public.

CULVER (on camera): Stepping out of your home now, it's really just part of the routine. I mean, you grab your cell phone, you grab your keys, your wallet, and you make sure you have your face mask.

Naturally, there are times you forget, right? You walk out of your house bare-faced, you're in a rush. If the strange looks don't remind you, then a police officer or a security guard will sometimes gesture to you and shout, and you realize they are telling you put on a mask.

CULVER (on camera): No question, culturally, mask-wearing is not that foreign here. Many wore them for the SARS outbreak in 2003 and 2004. And, of course, here in Beijing, masks have been worn on heavily- polluted days.

But you will even find folks here who have forgotten to wear a mask and if you encounter them, say, in the elevator, they will quickly realize it and they become embarrassed. They try to cover up their mouth with their clothes or they'll turn to the wall of the elevator to not breathe near you. Or, in some cases, they will even step off the elevator just as a courtesy.

David Culver, CNN, Beijing.


ROMANS: Gosh, isn't it just fascinating, Laura, that this little thing has become some sort of a signal of a culture war in this country?

I wonder if -- and I think I agree with Dr. Anthony Fauci that if the guidance had been consistent from the beginning --


ROMANS: -- that we should be wearing masks, all the way back in February, maybe more Americans would accept it. JARRETT: Yes. Partly, it got muddled because PPE was in shortage --

ROMANS: Right.

JARRETT: -- and so health care workers needed it. But then once it became clear we had the inventory and everyone should be wearing them to protect each other, it's really about shared responsibility.

ROMANS: Right.

JARRETT: So, wear it.

ROMANS: See you in the hallway later.

Thanks for joining us. I'm Christine Romans.

JARRETT: I'm Laura Jarrett. "NEW DAY" is next.




NICK WATT, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: From sea to shining sea, record numbers of Covid-19 patients in hospitals.

FAUCI: I would call it a surging of cases within the context of a wave that never went away.

PENCE: It's time. It's time for us to get our kids back to school.

DIAMOND: The president also slamming the CDC's reopening guidelines.

REDFIELD: It is not the intent of CDC's guidelines to be used as a rationale to keep schools closed.

GOV. GRETCHEN WHITMER (D), MICHIGAN: I'm not sending kids into our schools unless it's safe. We're listening to scientists, not politicians.


ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Alisyn Camerota and John Berman.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to our viewers in the United States and all around the world. This is NEW DAY. It's Thursday, July ninth, 6:00 here in New York.

Coronavirus cases hovering around record highs in the United States. We saw record numbers of deaths.