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Governor Pushes Schools Reopening as Cases Surge in Florida; U.S. COVID-19 New Cases Break Single-Day Record; Trump Commutes Pal Roger Stone's Prison Sentence; White House Won't Provide Details of Trump's Cognitive Test; Florida's Disney World Reopens amid Surge; Serbian Protesters Blame President for Ongoing Crisis; Polish Candidates Running Neck-and-Neck; Japanese Fans Finally Watch Baseball; Growing Backlash for Goya after CEO Praised Trump. Aired 2- 2:30a ET

Aired July 11, 2020 - 02:00   ET




MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Hello, everyone, and welcome to Studio 7 here at CNN Center in Atlanta. I am Michael Holmes.

Coming up here on CNN NEWSROOM, another day, another new record of coronavirus cases in the United States. The nation's top infectious disease expert says it is because the country open back up to early.

In Serbia, anger over the government's handling of the coronavirus pandemic leads to a fourth night of protests.

Days before he was scheduled to report to prison, in part for protecting the U.S. president, that president, commutes the sentence of one of his biggest supporters, Roger Stone.


HOLMES: Welcome, everyone. For the third time, over the past 4 days, the U.S. has broken its own coronavirus record, more than 66,000 new COVID-19 cases reported on Friday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

It is the highest single day increase in new cases, for the, U.S. ever. Across the country, only four, states are experiencing a downward trend, the ones in green, they're hard to find.

Here in Atlanta, the city's mayor, rolling back its reopening to phase one. That is how alarming the situation is in the state of Georgia. Remember, that state was the first to reopen aggressively.

U.S. president Donald Trump, meanwhile, visiting neighboring state of Florida but not to address the pandemic in any meaningful way. Instead, he was there for a private campaign fundraiser and a few other meetings.

That's even as case numbers in Florida are growing fast, up almost 1,240 percent since may 4th. It doesn't look like the virus is going away anytime soon, either. As many as 10 U.S. states are seeing an increase in COVID deaths. CNN's Martin Savidge, with more.


MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Long lines for testing in Florida, it's a clear indication of the painful price the state is paying.

In addition to a record single-day death toll of 120 on Thursday, including the death of an 11-year-old child, Miami-Dade County reports hospitalizations are up 74 percent in less than two weeks and 88 percent of ICU beds are currently in use, though the governor today pushed back.

GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): You have got a lot of beds available.

SAVIDGE: The county is also seeing a staggering 28 percent positivity rate of tests being taken now, according to the mayor's office.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The situation is really concerning here in South Florida.

SAVIDGE: The nation's infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, says the coronavirus surge can be traced back to states opening too soon.

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: Certainly, Florida, I know, I think, jumped over a couple of checkpoints.

SAVIDGE: Governor DeSantis' response?

DESANTIS: There was really no justification to not move forward.

SAVIDGE: Even as Florida grapples with a deadly surge, Disney World reopens this weekend, bringing thousands of families to the state.

President Trump is also in Florida today, not planning to focus on the pandemic, but discussing drug trafficking and attending a fund-raiser.

TRUMP: It's an honor to be with you.

SAVIDGE: But, as he campaigns, the virus continues to spread, with the U.S. seeing its highest single day of new COVID-19 cases Thursday, with hot spots spreading from coast to coast, today, West Virginia becoming the latest state dealing with a surge, the virus there spreading faster than anywhere else.

GOV. JIM JUSTICE (R-WV): This is the only bullet that I have right now to do something other than to shut our state back down.

SAVIDGE: The Texas governor with a warning.

GOV. GREG ABBOTT (R-TX): I think the numbers are going to look worse as we go into next week. And we need to make sure that there's going to be plenty of hospital beds available in the Houston area.

SAVIDGE: And the contagion goes far beyond just those who are infected. With so many still unemployed, the lines at free food distribution sites like this one in San Antonio, Texas, demonstrate a different misery.

Meanwhile, an ominous warning today from the World Health Organization.

DR. MICHAEL J. RYAN, WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION: In our current situation, it is very unlikely that we can eradicate or eliminate this virus.

SAVIDGE (voice-over): Martin Savidge, CNN, Atlanta.



HOLMES: And joining me now is Dr. Raj Kalsi. He's a board-certified emergency medicine physician in Illinois.

Good to see you, Doctor. I keep hearing the White House continues to refer to, quote, "embers" of the virus and says those embers are being handled.

When you look at the virus spread in the U.S., especially compared to other Western nations, when you look at the big picture, do you see embers being handled?

DR. RAJ KALSI, EMERGENCY MEDICINE PHYSICIAN: What is going on right now, Michael -- and, by the way, thanks for having me back -- this is terrible. COVID is rapidly progressing.


KALSI: And we see upticks in my community as well and that is what I am very nervous about because that is what I can control, my local area. These are not embers. These are surges. These are ICU capacity- ridden states and people are now begging for the protection they need and the ventilators they need in a second, possibly a third wave of COVID.

HOLMES: At a time when, really, the country is crying out for national leadership here, the president saying the other day, the virus is harmless for 99 percent of people who get it.

I wonder your thoughts but there seems to be only two explanations for that obviously incorrect statement. Either he doesn't understand the numbers and how it works, or he is deliberately playing down the risk.

How do you see it?

And how dangerous is that kind of talk?

KALSI: Think of it this way, Michael, if the most harmless form of COVID-19, where you have symptoms is a cold or an illness where you are out of work for 3 to 7 days, that is still significant on the family, on the household.

And that virus that individual has can spread to other members of the family and also cause a significant detriment to the family.

Now if you then advance to a moderate or more severe case of COVID, these are hospitalized patients that could be in the hospital for weeks.

And when we talk about the fatality rate, the people who die from COVID, we struggle as doctors for weeks, sometimes months, to keep them alive before we actually pronounced these poor people dead, with great respect to their families and their wishes. So this is not a simple harmless exposure to a virus, like a cold.

HOLMES: How is it in your emergency room?

KALSI: Busy, extremely busy. And here's why. People have developed a complacency and, fortuitously for us, in health care, because we need the dollars and cents to pay for nurses and doctors to work in our industry, we were hemorrhaging money, when we stopped all surgeries and stopped all elective procedures so that we could prepare for the surge.

But now, people are becoming very complacent, very comfortable being around COVID and they are coming back with all of their similar ailments that they did pre-COVID in addition to the COVID patients.

HOLMES: Oh, goodness me. The president was in Florida Friday and the case numbers, as we have been reporting, are frankly alarming there and specifically in the county he visited. Experts say we are in the first wave; the president is talking the virus down.

What are the optics of him being in Florida amid this surge and really not even talking about the virus?

He hardly touched on it.

KALSI: Michael, you know me, we've talked many times. I'm not a politician. But as a doctor, when I see somebody in leadership doing something that is contrary to science, particularly in an international pandemic, it seems to me that it would ignite the base of people that support him in all of the things that he is doing wrong.

So if he is not masking, he is not social distancing, he is not worried that all of the people that follow this gentleman will not do all the things that we're supposed to do, because that is how he is leading.

And this is unfortunate for those of us who are trying to do the best that we can for America.

HOLMES: Yes, it is disturbing, the complacency. I see it myself. The push to open schools and reopen those, the president is even threatening to withhold education funding to states that do not do as he says.

Most parents would love their kids to be back in school but when it restarts.

But what do you make of the president simply forcing that issue no matter the state's infection rate, what is the risk of schools becoming super spreader sites?

KALSI: Well, Michael, I promise you as parents of 6-, 8- and 9-year old that had to home school our children for six weeks, we were miserable. We're terrible teachers. That being said, my wife as a nurse and me as a doc, we know the risk.

We know the risk of these kids being what we call vectors, meaning, I'm not as worried about the kids getting infected. I'm worried about them coming back home and exposing the people that are at risk in the household, the elderly people, the people with comorbidities, heart problems, diabetes, organ transplants, chemotherapy.

That's what's going to happen. And we need to have a good plan on how we are going to mitigate children going back to school before we let this happen.

HOLMES: Yes. I wanted to ask you, too, about, I was reading COVID autopsies finding clotting. I think the quote was in almost every organ, according to the pathologists. And this growing evidence of lasting effects, organs, neurological as well.

Our own Richard Quest wrote about that these past few days. Really it does all show how much we do not know about the virus. Even for those who get it and survive, are you worried about those ongoing issues that seem to be a thing?


KALSI: Absolutely. This -- the COVID-19 syndrome that the novel coronavirus, the illness that it causes in human beings, it causes inflammation. This fundamental concept, this fundamental disease called influential information. It starts in the mouth, the throat, into the lungs, sometimes the stomach and the GI tract.

Inflammation promotes clotting, no matter what causes it. Inflammation promotes clotting and clotting ultimately it leads to death and destruction of organs. And then these downstream consequences that we are seeing -- and I am seeing now people with weird numbness and tingling.

They can't feel their face, right, they're feeling like they're in a fog, they're dizzy and, they were diagnosed with COVID three months ago. This is very disturbing. We know so very little because science doesn't move this fast. This thing only started for America in late January.

HOLMES: Yes, it is, it's extremely worrying. I will leave it there. Dr. Raj Kalsi, good to see you, appreciate your time.

KALSI: Thank you, Michael, appreciate it. Stay safe.


HOLMES: Bolivia's interim president has become the third leader in that region to test positive for coronavirus. And Brazil's president, who had, of, course been dismissive of the virus for months now, is now among that country's more than 1.8 million cases. CNN's Patrick Oppmann with more now on the alarming spike across Latin America.



PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was the coronavirus test result heard around the world. Brazil's Jair Bolsonaro is not the first head of state to test positive for the coronavirus but he perhaps more than any other leader has dismissed the impact of the pandemic.

On Tuesday, Bolsonaro revealed that he had caught what he had once termed "a little flu" and continued to downplay the danger coronavirus presents, even though the death toll in Brazil is now around 70,000.

"Younger people, take care. But if you are affected by the virus, rest assured that, for you, the possibility of something more serious is close to zero," Bolsonaro claimed falsely.

The coronavirus is raging through Latin America and the Caribbean with a particular vengeance. This week, the number of reported cases reached 3 million. In a region plagued by economic disparity, many live in crowded slums and can't afford to not work or socially distance.

In Peru, many people don't own a refrigerator and have to regularly leave their homes to stock up on food. Despite a strict lockdown, over 11,000 people have died from the pandemic. But increasingly the coronavirus is hitting those at the top of the food chain as well as those at the bottom.

On Thursday, the interim president of Bolivia, Jeanine Anez, also announced she tested positive for the virus. At least four other top officials in Bolivia have also tested positive, including the country's health minister and armed forces chief. Anez is now the third Latin American head of state to fall ill.

"I urge the population to collaborate and contribute," she said, "so that they know security measures not only save their lives and avoid contagion but also save the lives and avoid contagion for their families."

In Mexico, the number of reported deaths topped 33,000 and the number of infected is more than 280,000, although some health experts say the true toll could be far greater.

Before heading to the White House to meet President Trump, Mexican president Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador was required to take a test for the coronavirus, something he had so far resisted doing. The results came back negative.

The second most powerful official in Venezuela, Diosdado Cabello, was not as lucky. Cabello, who the U.S. government has indicted, along with President Nicolas Maduro for drug trafficking and accuses of siphoning off tens of millions of dollars in state funds, announced Thursday he had also tested positive.

Cabello said he would go into isolation quarantine with, quote, "his head held high."

Latin American populist leaders who continue to hold rallies during a pandemic threaten to spread the disease to their supporters and themselves. Before falling ill, Jair Bolsonaro assured crowds in Brazil they had nothing to fear.

But the grim side of mass graves being dug in the Brazilian city of Sao Paulo tells a much different story -- Patrick Oppmann, CNN.


HOLMES: We are going to take a short break on the program but when we come back, he was facing more than three years in federal prison, now, President Trump's longtime friend, Roger Stone, will not see the inside of a jail cell. It's all thanks to the president. We'll have more on that, when we come back.





HOLMES: Welcome back.

President Trump's longtime friend and former adviser, Roger Stone, caught a very big break on Friday, that is because Donald Trump commuted Stone's 40 months prison sentence, just days before he was set to start serving time.

Stone was convicted last year of lying to Congress, witness tampering and other charges related to the Russia probe. CNN Sara Murray, with more, from Washington.


SARA MURRAY, CNN NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: President Trump on Friday night commuted the sentence of his longtime friend and political adviser, Roger Stone.

Stone had been convicted of crimes, including lying to Congress, in part to protect the president. He was set to report to prison next week to kick off his three-year sentence.

Stone was pleading publicly for the president to intervene, he said, reporting to prison during the pandemic was akin to a death sentence because he is 67 years old. Ultimately, the president did intervene on Friday and here's Stone, describing his conversation with Trump.


ROGER STONE, LONG-TIME TRUMP ALLY: He said, you understand, I have the option, I have the authority to either grant a pardon or commute your sentence. He said, you should understand that a pardon would be final and that in accepting a pardon, you are exceptionally (sic) accepting guilt.

And I would rather see you fight this out, which is why I'm commuting your sentence.


MURRAY: President Trump and Roger stone are insistent that Stone did not get a fair shake at trial. But even attorney general Bill Barr has said the prosecution was righteous. As for Democrats, they're pointing to the president intervening in this case as an indication that he has no respect for the justice system -- Sara Murray, CNN, Washington.



HOLMES: Let's talk more about all of this. Senior CNN political analyst, Ron Brownstein, joining me now from Los Angeles.

Always a pleasure, sir. I guess we have to start with the president commuting the sentence of his friend, Roger Stone. The case was pretty much seen by all in the legal world as a slam dunk.

But here's the thing, bear with me, you have Roger Stone convicted, won't go to jail; former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, admitted guilt twice; the Department of Justice wants to drop it now; former advisor, Paul Manafort, convicted, jailed but now out of prison; he will probably get a pardon.

All while ordering criminal prosecutions of his political opponents. This is the sort of thing that the U.S. used to slam other countries for, right?

RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, look, in any other presidency, you would say that what we saw today would be inconceivable, that the president commutes the sentence of someone who was convicted of lying to Congress, specifically, in an inquiry relating to the president's own behavior.

Before this administration, before the other examples you cite and the firings of inspectors general and the pushing out of U.S. attorneys, that would've been inconceivable.

But in another sense, it is almost inevitable. After -- when the Republican Senate and one Mitt Romney, when Mitt Romney was the only Republican senator who voted to oppose any consequences on the president for his behavior in Ukraine.


BROWNSTEIN: Susan Collins famously said he learned a big lesson from this process. And in fact, he did, only not the lesson that she claimed.

The lesson was that there is essentially no constraint on him, because there is no behavior that the Republican Congress will not enable and defend. And I think you are seeing, again, as we've talked about before, a preview of what a second Trump term would be, in terms of its willingness to barrel past not only convention and norms but even potentially the law.

It's easy to imagine if this happened a year ago, that there would be an impeachment inquiry about it.

HOLMES: Well, yes, yes, for obstruction, as you say. He is commuting the sentence of a man who was charged in part with protecting him --

BROWNSTEIN: Exactly right.

HOLMES: -- which is extraordinary.

OK, so the president, in Florida Friday, mentioned COVID in passing and in self-congratulation, while he was there. This is in one of the worst-hit counties in one of the worst-hit states.

Is it a strategy to just put on blinkers and ignore what is happening around the country and in some ways put out disinformation about what's going on?

What is the political cost?

BROWNSTEIN: That's the strategy he's chosen, without question, and it kind of fits into his broader vision of how he has approached the entire presidency, speaking only to his hardcore supporters and worrying very little about what the middle of the country thinks.

The problem with that is that this is beyond the elephant in the room. This is the tsunami at the door. When you are talking about 70,000 cases today, almost 30,000 cases alone, in Florida, Georgia, Texas, Arizona, the four Sun Belt states, where Republican governors opened early, responding to Trump cues and blocked local Democratic officials from restricting their reopening in any way, there is a price to be paid, when you seem to be out of touch.

There was polling today from the ABC Ipsos poll, which is not the best poll in the world but it's certainly considered credible, had two- thirds of America now disapproving of the president's handling of the coronavirus outbreak, as well as two-thirds disapproving of his handling of race relations.

You cannot survive numbers like that. No matter how excited your base is, you are playing to too small a part of the American electorate at that point. HOLMES: Yes, we have it on the screen now, 33 percent approval for

handling of the coronavirus. That is stellar stuff when you consider his immovable base. You mentioned these states, Florida, Texas, Georgia, Arizona, key states for his reelection.

And as you point out all followed his lead to reopen early, stunning COVID case numbers, resisting moves to combat it, what are the political risks, what I know you call Sun Belt states?

BROWNSTEIN: Yes, well, look, I believe one of the central battlefields in American politics in the coming decade is whether the big metro areas in the Sun Belt -- Atlanta, Houston, Dallas, Phoenix in particular -- follow what we have seen in big suburban and metro areas elsewhere in the country, like Denver, Northern Virginia, Charlotte, in the past decade, the coasts in the '90s, in moving toward the Democratic Party.

That has begun to happen, particularly in 2018 -- so Beto O'Rourke and Stacey Abrams do much better in these big suburban counties, around the largest cities in Texas and in Georgia, as well as in Arizona, where the Democrats win Maricopa County.

If that continues in 2020, those are the places that are being hardest-hit right now and not only are the hardest hit by the coronavirus, those are the places where the political combat is most visible and intense because that's where you have Democratic local officials who are trying to roll back the reopening and are explicitly being blocked, as Brian Kemp was today, blocked the mayor of Atlanta today; Greg Abbott in Texas, blocking the county executive in Harris.

And if you continue to see the movement in these big metro areas of the Sun Belt, it is possible -- likely, that you will see Arizona tip to the Democrats in this election; maybe Georgia; conceivably, even, Texas. Obviously, there is no path to a Republican presidency if they cannot rely on Texas.

So stakes are big and this is reinforcing something that's already been going on.

HOLMES: Absolutely, extraordinary, when you think of those four states in particular in play. I wanted to ask you before we go, you had Donald Trump bragging that he aced this cognitive test, the doctors were amazed he did so well.

A lot of people are wondering, why doctors be amazed that he did so well on what is a pretty straightforward test. But the thing I wanted to ask you about, what we have is two candidates, where the opponents question the mental acuity of the other.

It is extraordinary in itself.

What does it say about the tone of this campaign going forward?

BROWNSTEIN: Well before you get to the tone, it's not a great statement about the state of American politics, that we have, in a country as young and scrappy and hungry, like my country is, as they say in "Hamilton."


BROWNSTEIN: that we have two septuagenarians running against each other. It's really not a great outcome.

And there's almost no circumstance under which Joe Biden would've been the Democratic nominee 50 years after he was first elected to office, which, by the way, is the longest span in American political history, if it wasn't for Donald Trump.

He was seen specifically as the solution, the antidote, to a very particular problem, Trump's strength with blue-collar white voters in the Midwest. So it does show there is a need for revitalization in both of these parties.

But looking forward, Trump is facing the kind of approval rating among an incumbent that almost always ensures your defeat. There is only one way out of that, is to make some of the voters who disapprove of him even more reluctant to accept Joe Biden as an alternative.

I don't think you can do that from 40 percent. You have to get yourself back closer to somewhere like 45 percent or 46 percent.

But what does that point you toward?

That points you toward a complete scorched Earth campaign to discredit and disqualify Biden with voters who are now disillusioned with Trump.

HOLMES: Yes, going to be ugly. Ron Brownstein, as always, a pleasure, thanks for your time.

BROWNSTEIN: Thanks for having me.

HOLMES: All right.


HOLMES: Thousands of feminist demonstrators gathered in Paris on Friday to protest the appointment of two senior government ministers; one of them, facing rape allegations, which he denies. The other has a history of making comments that some protesters say are sexist. CNN's Cyril Vanier reports.


CYRIL VANIER, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Demonstrators have gathered here in central Paris and several other cities in France following a recent cabinet reshuffle, which saw the promotion of a minister accused of rape.

Women's rights groups say the appointment sends a terrible message to victims of sexual violence. Gerald Darmanin just became France's top cop; this, in spite of an accusation he had used his position, as a member of France's Conservative Party back in 2009, to force a woman to have sex with him. And Mr. Darmanin claims that the relationship was consensual and,

also, that, he like anyone, else is entitled to the presumption of innocence. However, this case isn't going anywhere.

After a recent court decision, the minister actually faces the possibility of a new investigation into this incident. Today's story doesn't stop there with the case of him. Also, a target of these protests is French star lawyer Eric Dupond-Moretti, recently appointed justice minister, who has a history of public comments that protesters say, are sexist, even, anti-feminist. He used to heckle women in the streets, by his own acknowledgment.

He says this was because of his Italian heritage. Protesters are all the more angry because the president, Emmanuel Macron, had run as a social liberal, officially making equality, between men and women, a pillar of his presidency. Protesters tell us, it's another unkept promise -- Cyril Vanier, CNN, Paris.


HOLMES: We'll take a quick break but when we come back on CNN NEWSROOM, the state of Florida recorded more than 11,000 new coronavirus cases on Friday. We will look at how the state has descended into this dire situation.






MAYOR DAN GELBER (D-FL), MIAMI BEACH: If we don't get our act together as a country, as a state and as a community, that is obviously where we are going to end, because our hospitals are already at 97 percent capacity with their ICUs.

And at some point, there is no other beds you can convert to intensive care. So this is really -- we are in a dire position right now.


HOLMES: Frightening, isn't it?

That disturbing message from the mayor of Miami Beach, in Florida. The county there seeing hospitalizations rise 74 percent, in the past 13 days, with more than one in 4 residents taking a COVID test, testing positive. One in four.

On Friday alone, health officials recorded more than 11,000 new COVID- 19 cases, 93 people died. CNN's Randi Kaye walks us through how the Sunshine State descended into such a crisis.


RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): On April 1st, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis issued a stay at home order hoping to contain the coronavirus. Weeks later, while visiting the White House, the governor took a victory lap for how he managed things back home.

GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): Everyone in the media was saying Florida was going to be like New York or Italy. And that has not happened.

We had a tailored and measured approach that not only helped our numbers be way below what anyone predicted, but also did less damage to our state going forward.

KAYE (voice-over): That turned out not to be the case at all. Trouble started in early May when DeSantis rush to reopen, before many other states, restaurants, gyms, barber shops and beaches were first to reopen in most parts of the state.

After Memorial Day, the virus was starting to rage. By July 1st, there were more than 9,000 new cases reported in one day statewide. And recently, new daily cases topped 11,000. But if you listen to DeSantis, there's a disconnect.

DESANTIS: I think we've stabilized at where we're at.

KAYE (voice-over): That's just not true and the data proves it. Since reopening, Florida's average number of daily new cases has jumped more than 1,200 percent. And dozens of hospitals throughout the state have run out of ICU beds.

In the last two weeks in hard hit Miami-Dade County. The need for ICU beds has increased 88 percent and ventilator use jumped 123 percent. The state's positivity rate is hovering close to 30 percent.

DAN GELBER, MAYOR MIAMI BEACH: We are in the midst of a very, very vicious spike in our community in Miami-Dade County. And, you know, one thing you can't have is for a governor or a President trying to downplay it as if it's not an urgent thing we need to pay attention to.

KAYE (on-camera): Urgent indeed. But despite the governor's promise to release data of how many patients are hospitalized here in the state of Florida with COVID, he has yet to do so. Instead suggesting this week that all of the information can be found on Florida's Department of Health website.

DESANTIS: They have so much raw data on there. I mean, people can pull out, you know, all this information. I mean, it's really incredible the amount of -- I mean people do the charts and the graphs and everything. KAYE (voice-over): That's not true either. The information is just not

there, specifically the critical number of hospital patients with COVID-19. So while the governor continues to defend his move to reopen the state, the fact is more than 4,100 Floridians are dead and the message from the governor still coming up short.

DESANTIS: There's no need really to be fearful about it.

KAYE (voice-over): Randi Kaye, CNN, Palm Beach County, Florida.


HOLMES: Amazing messaging, isn't it?

And as coronavirus cases explode in Florida, Disney World, a few hours away from reopening its theme parks to the general public.

Extraordinary, isn't it?

Annual passholders have already had a sneak peek, showing how things have changed since it was last open in March.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: One of the really nice things about riding the safari, yes, the safari was our very first round today. They have dividers between every seat, so they are actually able to fill every row on the trucks.

And, if you can't tell, I have my mask off, so because of the dividers, you don't need to wear your mask on the ride. Your driver will tell you, you can take your mask off and then for the end of the, ride you have to put your mask back on.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So quite nice to be able to enjoy the safari and take it off for the first time.


HOLMES: Despite added safety measures, CNN's Brian Todd shares with us why some health experts are calling the reopening a recipe for disaster.


BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: (voice-over): The magic is back for better or worse.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We look forward to seeing you soon at Walt Disney World Resort.

TODD (voice-over): Disney World in Orlando is reopening its theme parks to the public this weekend after opening them just to annual pass holders earlier this week. One guest said he loves it that the crowds are smaller, so far.

KURT SCHMIDT, GUEST AT DISNEY WORLD: So it's a different feel. But you definitely are seeing characters around, just not in the traditional way.

TODD (voice-over): On its website, Disney says it's, "Reimagined the Disney experience, so we can all enjoy the magic responsibly." But already, medical experts are warning that Disney World reopening in the middle of a state that's now one of the worst epicenters of coronavirus is inviting catastrophe.

DR. ANNE RIMOIN, EPIDEMIOLOGIST, UCLA SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH: Who doesn't want to be at the happiest place on earth at a time where we're all stressed out and could use some fun. The problem is Disney World is going to be the happiest place on earth for the coronavirus.

TODD (voice-over): On its website and promotional videos, Disney is hammering home all the steps it's taking to ensure the safety of guests and employees who it calls cast member.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Prior to entering, guest will undergo a temperature screening with no touch thermometers.

TODD (voice-over): And Disney says it won't admit anyone with a temperature of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or above. Disney is reducing capacity, letting fewer people into the parks. It's enforcing physical distancing on rides, in lines and at dining areas.

Hand Sanitizer and washing stations are everywhere. Surfaces in the parks and hotels will be constantly disinfected and everyone above the age of two has to wear a face mask. The head of the Union representing 43,000 Disney employees says Disney has to get this right in ensuring the safety of workers.

MATT HOLLIS, PRESIDENT, SERVICE TRADES COUNCIL UNION: We expected Disney will continue to take the recommendations of the CDC, the recommendations and local ordinances.

TODD (voice-over): And Matt Hollis believes Disney has done that so far. But another union representing Disney performers says Disney's not properly testing their performers, calls it shameful. Disney says that union rejected its safety protocols and broke off negotiations.

Experts say Disney's counting on guest to be disciplined with mask wearing and distancing, never a certainty. And there are other worries.

DR. ROCHELLE WALENSKY, CHIEF OF INFECTIOUS DISEASES, MASSACHUSETTS GENERAL HOSPITAL: It's not clear to me that in all of these inside rides that they've taken the measures for ventilation and air filtration that are needed to keep these indoor spaces safe. When you have these indoor spaces, you have a lot of people in a given -- on a given ride. You have people screaming on that ride. It's just a recipe for disaster.

TODD (voice-over): And medical experts don't believe a tactic that park owners in Japan are using would work at Disney World. The "Wall Street Journal" reports park executives in Japan are asking customers not to scream out loud on rides for fear of transmitting droplets, but to, quote, "scream inside your heart."

TODD: One epidemiologist we spoke to has another serious concern, Dr. Anne Rimoin from UCLA points out that after all of these visitors gather at Disney World, if some contract the virus while they're, they will then go home, some of them, to other states, maybe even other countries.

She are worried that Disney World could be a seed for outbreaks in other places -- Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.


HOLMES: Thousands of protesters filled the streets of Belgium in Serbia for a fourth day on Friday, angry with their government's handling of the coronavirus crisis and, as their anger rose, so did some of the pandemic numbers, showing how the virus is raging across the country. Milena Veselinovic has more.


MILENA VESELINOVIC, CNN PRODUCER (voice-over): Violence erupted on Belgrade streets during the fourth night of protests. Demonstrators, clashing with the police, angry at the Serbian government's handling of the coronavirus crisis on the day, the country suffered its highest daily death toll, since the pandemic began.

Protests started on Tuesday, night after president Aleksandar Vucic announced plans to reimpose a curfew, to curb a surge in infections, plans he has had to drop, after two nights of rioting.

But rallies continued with protesters blaming footage for the latest health crisis, saying he lifted lockdown too soon, so there could be a general election in June, the first in Europe, during this pandemic. Allegations that Vucic and his government, have dismissed.

Serbia had one of Europe's strictest lockdowns, with nightly curfews.


VESELINOVIC: But in early May, restrictions were lifted to allow for political rallies, like this one. Night clubs reopened and thousands of soccer fans packed stadiums. Vucic denies he did anything wrong, blaming his political opponents for staging the protests.


ALEKSANDAR VUCIC, SERBIAN PRESIDENT: The problem is that, when people lose elections with a very big margin and we had a very good turnout, 50 percent, then you see, those frustrated politicians that are not able to admit and to accept, their own defeat. Then, they want to do something in the streets, which is irresponsible.


VESELINOVIC (voice-over): Amnesty International condemned what it called disproportionate force by the police, Serbia's ministry of the interior said more than 100 of their officers were injured but some protesters accused right wing groups and football hooligans of infiltrating the rallies, to cause violence, in an attempt to discredit them. Government officials are urging calm, saying the ongoing unrest will

make the already critical coronavirus outbreak even worse. There's been a dramatic rise in cases and the country's health system is about to burst, officials say.

In Belgrade, there is no more space in hospitals and patients are being diverted to health centers up to 50 miles away. But frustration with the government shows no signs of abating, with many protesters saying they will continue until President Vucic resigns -- Milena Veselinovic, CNN.


HOLMES: Voters in Poland will go to the polls on Sunday for a very tight, very critical runoff election. The conservative incumbent, who is a close ally of U.S. president Donald Trump, is facing a strong challenge from the liberal mayor of Warsaw.

So the vote is being seen as a referendum on Trump-style populism in Europe. Our senior international correspondent, Fred Pleitgen, joining us now from Warsaw.

OK, outline the key issues for all of this.

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: There is a lot of key issues and I think many Poles see this as a landmark election for the future of this country, also, the future of this country's role in the European Union and international politics as well.

Some of the key issues here are the constitution of the country, many feel that is has been undermined over the past year, Duda has been in office and that is what the opponents say. His proponents say he is simply adhering to traditional Polish values.

One of the other big issues is LGBT rights. There certainly has been a bit of a campaign against those rights by the president but there is also a counter movement as well. Here is what we are seeing.


PLEITGEN (voice-over): A common sight in Warsaw these days, LGBT activists protesting at the presidential palace, as conservative president Andrzej Duda has made anti-gay rhetoric, a centerpiece of his reelection campaign, rhetoric that his critics call dehumanizing.

"They are trying to convince us that they are people but it is simply ideology," Duda said at a recent event.

Trying to rally his very conservative base, he has already signed onto a proposal to make it illegal for anyone who is gay to adopt children. And LGBT activists say that they fear the president's words could incite violence.

JEJ PERFEKCYJNOSC (PH), LGBT ACTIVIST: We're very afraid to go on the streets. We don't feel safe, well, we never did, actually, in Poland. It's a very homophobia country for centuries. But right now, it is getting worse.

PLEITGEN (voice-over): One of Duda's biggest international backers, is President Trump. who recently made Poland's leader the first head of state to visit the Oval Office since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

TRUMP: I think it's a great honor and, frankly, Poland is a country we have a tremendous relationship with and I have a very good personal relationship with the president. So this is the first after COVID, after the start of the plague, as I call it, and it is an honor to have you here.

PLEITGEN (voice-over): President Trump says he may permanently base some U.S. troops, set to move out of Germany, in Poland in the future.

Duda's track record is controversial at home and he polled and even the European Union accused him of undermining democracy by weakening institutions, like the country's courts. His opponent, the liberal mayor of Warsaw, telling CNN, if elected, he will work to reverse those policies.

RAFAL TRZASKOWSKI (ph), CIVIC PLATFORM PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: The current government is monopolizing all the power. It is attacking all the independent institutions and we need to break. We need a balance of power, where the president of the republic can cooperate with the government, when it's needed.

For example, when it comes to restoring good relations with the European Union but who is ready to veto all the legislation, which is, for example, trying to meddle with the rule of law.


PLEITGEN (voice-over): On the eve of one of the most decisive elections in its recent history, Poland is a nation divided. Pollsters say that the outcome is too close to call.


PLEITGEN: This nation is divided, mostly along the lines of some that are more conservative, mostly in rural areas of Poland, who want this country to be more inward looking, want Polish values first, as they put, it and for those who want to be more outward looking, mostly in the cities and bigger, towns, who obviously want this country to have a bigger role in the European Union as well.

That is what we've been looking at in the polls over the past couple of days. This race is really one of the closest that I've seen in Europe, over the past couple of years. The margin between these two candidates so far has been less than 1 percentage point. Anybody's guess who's going to make the race tomorrow.

One of the things that polls have been saying, about 7 percent of the population of those who will be voting, who plan to vote, are still undecided. Of course, the candidates, until the very last moment trying to win those moves and this key election. HOLMES: And I'm wondering, when it comes to the president, did Trump

support make a difference?

PLEITGEN: One of the things we have to keep in mind is that American support is important for Poland. America is one of the most important allies in Europe and they also bought a lot of American military equipment as well.

It doesn't seem as though it has made a lasting difference, though, that visit to President Trump. One of the things about Poland, is that support for the United States, being close to the United States and being an ally of the United States, is not something that is controversial here.

It's something both candidates say they need to, something they want to continue and also want a stronger American presence in Poland, permanent troops of the United States here in Poland as well.

So it seems they may have given Andrzej Duda a small boost over a few days but has since gone away, as other issues have come to the foreground, which is mostly the economic situation and also, the country's institutions as well.

HOLMES: Good to have you covering it for us there, Fred, good to see, you thank you.

For the first time this season, baseball fans in Japan can see a game in person, with some serious restrictions, of course.

Could this be a litmus test for the Olympics?

We'll have a look at the details, when we come back.




HOLMES: Welcome back. In Japan, the boys of summer are back on the field, to the delight of some of baseball's more ardent fans. But as the stadium is open, up and home runs return, strict coronavirus rules are governing how many fans can watch and, how enthusiastic they can get. Kaori Enjoji takes us out to the ball game.


KAORI ENJOJI, JOURNALIST (voice-over): It's a whole new ball game in Japan, as baseball fans stream into the stadium for the first time in four months.


ENJOJI (voice-over): This man has been making the trip for 20 years but he says this year is special.

COVID-19 canceled those plans to watch the opener in March and when the season finally opened in June, fans like him, were not allowed in.

"My heart is racing," he says, "because tonight will be a night of firsts."

Masks, required and definitely, no alcohol allowed. No one gets in here without a temperature check, so, for me, I am 36.7 degrees Celsius, I come over here, I put that down, I put all of my details, including my, name and my address and I even have to write down my temperature from the morning and it is all for contact tracing, in case there is an outbreak.

The possibility is real, Tokyo logged the largest number of cases for a single day on Friday but the government is determined to reopen the economy further and is betting, that the public will follow the new rules.

The rules are posted everywhere, even in the city. No jumping up and down, no cheering in a loud voice. This is going to be tough, because in Japanese baseball, fans are part of the entertainment.

The carefully choreographed cheering squads, Japanese fans are traditionally as riveting as the game itself. But now social distancing, is the name of the game, as fans come up with new ways to pour their hearts out.

The test comes early, in the first inning, when the Lions hit a home run, straight into right field. No one moves in the stands to race for the ball, just as they are told. Polite clapping sounds almost like a classical concert.

Video fans, watching at home, are streamed into compensate. Baseball is returning as an Olympic sport next year, the league's commissioner, tells me getting it right tonight, will be a test case, to see if Japan can really host the games in a year's time -- Kaori Enjoji for CNN, Chiba, Japan.


HOLMES: We are taking a quick break, when we come back, the largest Hispanic owned food company in the U.S., facing a boycott after its chief executive praised President Trump. Why the CEO is not backing down.




HOLMES: There are growing calls in the U.S. to boycott popular Goya Food products, all because the Hispanic owned company's CEO praised President Trump while visiting the White House. CNN's Jeanne Moos, with more.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) JEANNE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Goya seasoning were spicing up the Internet, reaction ranged from "Goya o boya" to "I'm using making enchiladas tonight using all Goya ingredients."

A few true Trump-friendly words from the Goya Foods CEO have shaken things up and left him in the frying pan.

Robert Unanue spoke warmly of the president while standing next to him.

ROBERT UNANUE, GOYA CEO: We're all truly blessed at the same time to have a leader like President Trump, who is a builder.

MOOS (voice-over): To which the president replied...

TRUMP: That's very nice.

MOOS (voice-over): Not so nice was the reaction.


MOOS (voice-over): "Goodbye Goya," tweeted John Leguizamo.

Chrissy Teigen chimed in, "Don't care how good the beans taste though. Bye, bye."

And Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted, "Oh, look, it's the sound of me Googling how to make your own adobo."

As the seasoning gets tossed by some into the waste basket, as the calls for a boycott spilled on Twitter, the #goyaway.

MOOS (on camera): That Goya CEO really opened a can of worms.

MOOS (voice-over): But he wasn't saying sorry on FOX News.

UNANUE: I'm not apologizing.

MOOS (voice-over): He pointed out he'd appeared with the Obamas.

UNANUE: This is quite the honor.

MOOS: He labeled the boycott calls a suppression of speech.

UNANUE: Especially if you're called by the president of the United States, you're going to say no, I'm sorry, I'm busy, no thank you. I didn't say that to the Obamas and I didn't say that to President Trump.

MOOS: The Anti-Boycott by Goya campaign picked up steam.

Going out tomorrow to buy 20 cases of their beans and 100 packets of Spanish rice. I'd buy more but my emergency pantry is full of ammo.

The boycott was mocked.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, I can't eat this, I can't eat this. You're going to tell your mom you can't eat Goya rice.

MOOS: That old tweet from President Trump celebrating Cinco de Mayo eating a taco bowl was resurrected. This is one boycott that does amount to a hill of beans -- Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.


HOLMES: Thanks for watching, I'm Michael Holmes, will have another hour of CNN NEWSROOM, after the break.