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White House Aggressively Pushing to Reopen Schools; Schools Around the World Reopen Amid COVID-19 Threat; Walt Disney World Partially Reopens as Florida Cases Surge; Protests in Russia's Far East Over Governor's Arrest; Incumbent President Andrzej Duda Wins Elections in Poland; Manchester City Wins Appeal of Two-Year Ban. Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired July 13, 2020 - 04:30   ET




ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back, everyone.

Well, U.S. coronavirus infections are increasing from coast to coast. You can see it on this map if you bring it up. The orange states have seen increases of 10 to 50 percent. The red states have seen increases of 50 percent or more. The surge in cases is hitting Florida hard. On Sunday, the state shattered the single day case record reached by any state with over 15,000 new infections.

All this as the White House publicly criticizes the country's top infectious diseases expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci. The administration released a statement Sunday that claimed to describe mistakes the doctor has made.

Well despite cases surging across the U.S., the Trump administration is pushing an aggressive agenda to fully reopen schools in the coming weeks. On Sunday Education Secretary Betsy DeVos told CNN that children need to return to the classroom. But she refused to say whether schools should follow the safety guidelines from the CDC like wearing masks, keeping social distance. She says this list compiled by the nation's top health officials on how to safely reopen schools is meant to be flexible.


BETSY DEVOS, U.S. SECRETARY OF EDUCATION: The reality is that there are ways for those teachers to be able to continue to do what they do and every district, every state has the real opportunity to work with and figure out the best scenario for those teachers.

DANA BASH, CNN ANCHOR: Should teachers be in the classroom if they don't feel comfortable?

DEVOS: That's something for them to work out with their local district. Again, that's the exception, not the rule. The rule needs to be schools need to get open. Kids need to go back to school. They need to be learning. Teachers want to be there.


CHURCH: Well, U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi responded to DeVos with a strong rebuke accusing the Trump administration of messing with the health of children.


REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA) U.S. HOUSE SPEAKER: I think what we heard from the secretary was malfeasance and dereliction of duty. This is appalling, the messing, the messing, the President and his administration are messing with the health of our children. It is -- we all want our children to go back to school. Teachers do, parents do and children do, but they must go back safely.


CHURCH: Well, as the U.S. debates the safety of returning students to class, some countries have already reopened their schools with mixed results.

CNN's Will Ripley shows us what the U.S. might be able to learn from their successes and failures.


WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Students gather for assembly in Thailand. Their first day back to school since mid-March. There are new rules to go along with the new normal. Educating in the time of coronavirus. First, the lineup. A pump of hand sanitizer. A full-face visor, a temperature check and class is back in session.

One of this group's first lessons, how to keep their distance. Makeshift cubicles made out of old ballot boxes help to keep students separated. One girl says she feels good studying behind the box. It makes her feel safer returning to school.

Before its reopening Thailand effectively contained the virus. Its infection rate remains low, just over 3,200 confirmed cases even though it was the first country outside of China to detect a case of COVID-19.

Around the world other starts and stops. Hong Kong schools are closing again. It, too, restarted classes a month and a half ago because of a new spike in cases, officials decided to start summer break early.

One student says he just finished his exams and there was just one more week of classes to go so not too much of a difference.

There have been similar roll backs in Beijing and parts of Australia where officials opened up schools after a seemingly successful lockdown only to shut them again after a flare-up of coronavirus.

[04:35:00] In global hot spots like South America, thousands of new cases every day. Schools are closed with a few exceptions. Most of Uruguay's students have returned to class. It closed its borders early and has about a thousand total cases.

Unlike it's much larger and denser neighbor, Brazil which is topping 1.8 million. The remoteness of Chili's Easter Island may have spared it the fate of the mainland. School recently resumed there. One student says it's an opportunity that's been given to them because on the continent it's not been possible to return to class because of the pandemic.

An opportunity countries around the world are struggling to manage. As schools learn, even after reopening, there are no guarantees the virus won't return.

Will Ripley, CNN, Hong Kong.


CHURCH: Well, the Walt Disney World resort in Orlando, Florida, reopened two of its parks over the weekend even as the state is seeing a surge in coronavirus cases. Guests were welcomed back to the Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom parks for the first time in almost four months. And CNN's Eleni Giokos joins us now live from Johannesburg. Good to see you, Eleni. So despite the surge in cases across Florida, Walt Disney World is back in business. So how did it go? And what can visitors expect?

ELENI GIOKOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I mean, this is what's interesting. You know, Disney opening and sticking to its opening day despite the fact that you've seen a surge in coronavirus cases in Florida and just this weekend we saw record numbers of new cases. Disney is justifying it saying that it's a new normal and they need to operate within the parameters of this new normal. Talking about safety protocols, retraining staff.

Remember that Disney has the largest single staff in the whole of the U.S. on one site. We're talking about 75,000 employees. Bringing those people back to work was no easy fete. Disney says it was the first to shut down its parks and the last to reopen. Now the likes of SeaWorld and Universal Parks have been in operation since mid-June. Disney says that it definitely did think about this very carefully.

So what can you expect? Social distancing rules, mandatory mask wearing, no running up to Mickey Mouse for hugs anymore. So that tactile experience is gone. The food element is important because that's what people also go to Disney for and, of course, that means that restauranteurs have had to ensure there's social distancing between tables. Enforcing these rules, of course, is very hard. Some of the images that we saw coming through on social media and even some of the criticism saying that it's of course, not a black and white issue.

Now what's going to be interesting is as you start to see a rise in coronavirus cases, is Disney's reopening going to contribute negatively to the figures? And are people going to start tracing back cases to these parks? Two more parks are going to open up this week in Florida by Wednesday. And of course California is the other important element here. California has not given Disney World the permission to reopen. However, Disney says that it has successfully reopened theme parks in the likes of Shanghai and Hong Kong as well as Tokyo and even considering the likes of Paris.

Now these theme parks, Rosemary, are really important for Disney. They contribute around 40 percent of revenue to the overall business. So it's of course in season now. It's summertime. And this is when they usually have millions of visitors going through these parks.

CHURCH: Absolutely. Eleni Giokos, joining us live from Johannesburg, many thanks.

And some sad news just into CNN. Actress Kelly Preston has died after a two-year battle with breast cancer. The model turned actress costarred with Tom Cruise in the 1996 film "Jerry Maguire." Preston's husband, actor John Travolta shared news of her death in an emotional Instagram post. She appeared in dozens of TV shows and movies. Most recently opposite her husband in the film "Gotti." Kelly Preston was 57. We'll be right back.



CHURCH: We saw protests in the remote part of Russia this weekend as thousands of people took to the streets in the far east. It comes after the local governor was arrested and flown to Moscow on charges for years' old murders. Many are demanding that he be released and allowed back into the territory. The governor beat a Kremlin-backed candidate in 2018 and has often been portrayed as disloyal to President Vladimir Putin. CNN's Matthew Chance is in Moscow with more details on this. So, Matthew, what more are you learning about it?

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's, Rosemary, a very unusual protest to take place because it's taking place so far away from the capital. Khabarovsk is a place in the far east of Russia. It's about 4,000 miles or so from the capitol. And so it's very unusual to see such large-scale demonstrations like we've seen over the course of the past couple of days and in a city, in a provincial city like that. Estimates between sort of 10 to 30,000 or even higher than that depending on who you ask. The local police say 10 to 12,000 people marched on Saturday. Local media saying it's much higher than that, possibly 30 or 40,000 people.

All of them, and we're seeing this from video images that have come out on social media and on various news agencies on the television chanting anti-Kremlin slogans, anti-Putin slogans as well. Calling Putin a thief, calling for him to step down. It's all been provoked, as you mentioned, by the arrest last week of Sergey Furgal. Who is the governor of that region. He was elected in 2018 in a popular vote to become the governor and he beat a Kremlin-backed candidate to get there. And ever since then he's sort of been characterized. He's characterized himself as a sort of opponent of the federal authorities and that's been immensely popular for him inside that region of the far east of Russia.

He was arrested on extremely serious charges, the murder of two businessmen, the attempted murder of another businessman back in the early 2000s at a time when there was a lot of criminality in that part of Russia as people vied in a dog eat dog kind of competition that control the natural resources. And he was a metals and timber trader before he got into politics. So it takes from that period.


It's not so much about the guilt or not of this individual that will, of course, be decided in courts. It's the question that many protesters have is why have the arrests been made now, 15 years or more after the crimes he was alleged to have committed had taken place. The answer in the minds of many Russians is this is a selected application of justice to take out somebody you see as a critic of the Kremlin -- Rosemary.

CHURCH: All right, Matthew Chance, many thanks. Joining us live from Moscow.

To Europe now, where a close ally of U.S. President Donald Trump has held on to power after a hotly contested presidential election. The incumbent President Andrzej Duda was just declared the winner after taking 51 percent of the vote. And CNN's Fred Pleitgen is in Poland's capital, Warsaw. He joins us now live. Good to see you, Fred. A narrow win for the Polish President. What will this mean for the country?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, you're absolutely right, Rosemary. It was an extremely narrow win. And I think one of the things that it shows is Poland is still very much an extremely divided country. Now by the current results that were seeing Andrzej Duda won by a little over 2 percent of the votes. That just shows how close things were.

And then if you break it down -- I've been looking sort of at the breakdown of who voted for which candidate in this country. It really seems as though there's a big divide between younger voters and older voters. With the younger voters mostly going for Andrzej Duda's opponent Mr. Trzaskowski, Rafal Trzaskowski. Whereas the older voters seem to be going more for the conservative Andrzej Duda. The same is true with the divide between more rural areas and city areas, with the city areas going more for the liberal candidate.

And then also big divide, quite frankly, between Eastern and Western Poland. With Eastern Poland traditionally having been a more conservative place. So one of the things we do see by these election results is at this point in time it seems as though the sort of liberal forces in this country, the supporters of Mr. Trzaskowski simply haven't been able to mobilize their base the same way that the conservatives have or maybe that that base isn't as big as the conservative base here is in this country.

At the same time it's certainly is also the case that Andrzej Duda at least at this point in time has not been able to win over some of the more liberal voters here in this country. One of the things he's done in the past couple of years and said that he will continue to do is basically a Poland first agenda. A sort of Poland's version of America first where he's quite critical of the European Union. The European Union also quite critical of him. He said the division of power is under a threat here. There's also a lot of anti-LGBT rhetoric in his election campaign as well. And so, in order to reunite this country it is certainly going to take a lot of work by Andrzej Duda and right now, waking up here this morning after that election night, you do see that this is still very much a very, very divided country in the heart of Europe -- Rosemary.

CHURCH: Yes, an interesting outcome there for sure. Fred Pleitgen, joining us live from Warsaw, many thanks.

Well, one of the biggest clubs in European football had appealed a two-year ban from the Champions League. The court's ruling and the fate of Manchester City. That's next.


CHURCH: Well, Bollywood fans spent Sunday in prayers for one of the industry's most famous families. Legendary actor Amitabh Bachchan is in stable condition with mild symptoms after testing positive for the coronavirus. He's been isolated in hospital until he recovers. Bachchan was admitted on Saturday night with his son Abhishek. Also reportedly in stable condition with the virus Abhishek's wife, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan is the couple's -- and the couple's daughter have tested positive as well. They are self-quarantining at home.

In Canada, negotiations are still underway to allow the Blue Jays major league baseball team to play its home games in Toronto. The team has been training in a quarantine bubble in Toronto, but they have not been given the green light to play regular season games at home due to travel restrictions between the U.S. and Canada. Toronto is the only team in the league not located in the U.S.

Meantime, major league soccer announced that the postponed match between D.C. United and Toronto F.C. is now slated to start in the coming hours. The league postponed Sunday's match after one player had an unconfirmed positive test for COVID-19 and another player had an inconclusive result. Both of those players will sit out of Monday's match.

Well, Manchester City has won its appeal against a two-year ban from the Champions League. Just moments ago the court of arbitration for sport announced it will lift the ban. The club was facing punishment over a possible violation of financial fair play rules.

And CNN's World Sport's Alex Thomas is in London. He joins us now live. So, Alex, the club and the fans no doubt celebrating the outcome right now. How did this all play out?

ALEX THOMAS, CNN WORLD SPORT: Massively positive result for Manchester City, the reigning English Premier League champions. Even though we now know that title is going to Liverpool at the end of this delayed season because of the coronavirus pandemic. Yes, Manchester City banned from all UEFA competition, which for them mainly means the Champions League. That's the competition they been in. The hugely popular global competition that is for all of Europe's top clubs. That verdict came down on February 14th, on Valentine's Day, no love lost between Manchester City and UEFA though.

City very bitter when it was announced they would be banned for two years and also fined just over $30 million as well. And they vehemently denied the allegations. They took the case to the court of arbitration for sports which is now come back with that ruling within the last half an hour, Rosemary. Mostly because it's only just come down, we're still digesting the implications. But it sounds like for Manchester City's statements since that appeal was successful, they said they welcome the decision.


And considering how vitriolic their comments have been before then. You can see how delighted they are just from the change of tone immediately.

Whereas UEFA, European football's governing body that brought the case in the first through their independent chambers, the adjudicatory chambers, on the investigatory chambers. They said they merely took notes of the decision and would make no further comment.

So it's a bitter blow to their whole strategy around financial fair play which they say is to help clubs control their spending and not go bankrupt. Critics of financial fair play say it protects those that are already rich and prevents new clubs getting fresh ownership and fresh financial impetus that competes with those traditional footballing powers. But it's clear to see now that for Manchester City, it means a loss. They've got a star manager in Pep Guardiola who's only got one more year of his contract to run. It'll be far easier to persuade him to stay now. And other star players like Kevin De Bruyne me no longer be considering their futures with the club. CHURCH: All right, Alex Thomas bringing us up to date on that just in. Appreciate it.

Well, the NFL's Washington Redskins plan to announce later today that the team is changing its nickname. The new name will reportedly not be revealed until a later date because of trademark issues. The team announced earlier this month they would review the nickname which has long been criticized as offensive to Native Americans. The team has faced mounting pressure from several corporate sponsors who have called for a name change and brands like Nike and Amazon have removed the team's merchandise from their online stores.

We will leave you with that. Thank you so much for your company. I'm Rosemary Church. "EARLY START" is coming up next. You're watching CNN. Have yourselves a fabulous day.