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No End In Sight: Coronavirus Spikes To New Records; Trump Turns Rose Garden News Conference Into Campaign Event; U.K. Agrees To Ban Huawei Products From Its 5G Networks. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired July 15, 2020 - 05:30   ET




CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: New coronavirus case records, more people sick than ever. Hospitalizations rise and so do deaths. Why one of America's top doctors warns of an ugly winter ahead.

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

LAURA JARRETT, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Laura Jarrett. It's 31 minutes past the hour here in New York.

So, just how much longer can America keep hitting new coronavirus records without changing course? Breaking overnight, another new single-day record for cases in the U.S. -- more than 67,000 new cases.

Lagging indicators are starting to catch up now. At least 11 states across the south and west reporting record hospitalizations. Florida, after weeks of records, reporting the highest number of deaths to date -- 132 in a single day.

The death rate nationally is ticking up since the start of July.

The head for the Centers of -- Centers of Disease Control is worried about what's ahead.


DR. ROBERT REDFIELD, DIRECTOR, CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION: I do think the fall and the winter of 2020 and 2021 are going to be probably one of the most difficult times that we've experienced in American public health.


ROMANS: CNN confirms hospital data will now be rerouted to the Trump administration first instead of the CDC. Critics fear this new system could compromise the integrity of the data.

The model used by the White House, by the way, now projects 224,000 coronavirus deaths by November. That's up 16,000 from just last week.


DR. CHRIS MURRAY, DIRECTOR, INSTITUTE FOR HEALTH METRICS AND EVALUATION, UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON: Two weeks ago, deaths didn't seem to be tracking the big surge of cases. But now, we know for sure that both hospitalizations -- which are not affected by the number of tests, so that really tells us it's not testing -- and then, now, we know that deaths are surging. In a place like Florida, we've seen this big increase in deaths. So it's very worrisome.


JARRETT: Thirty-seven states are headed in the wrong direction. Just 27 have rolled back their reopening plans. So to put it simply, this virus is simply not contained.

California is grappling with a sharp spike in key indicators and now a change in testing guidelines will prioritize the patients showing symptoms of the virus. Of course, that may risk further spread from people who are asymptomatic even as California sees record ICU admissions.

ROMANS: And, President Trump is still downplaying the pandemic and it could cost him his job. In four states the president won in 2016 and that he needs to win again, rates of positive tests hover around 20 percent. Recent polls show him trailing or tied with Joe Biden in all four of those states.

Multiple reports now say Republicans are planning to move several nights of their convention from an indoor arena in Jacksonville, Florida to an outdoor venue.

JARRETT: Yes. With his reelection prospects at greater risk by the day, President Trump used Tuesday's Rose Garden event billed as a news conference to switch to campaign mode. He only mentioned the coronavirus pandemic in passing, with comments on testing that didn't match reality.

And in a CBS interview earlier in the day, the president provided yet another example of his failure to acknowledge racial discrimination.


CATHERINE HERRIDGE, SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT, CBS NEWS: Would you be comfortable with your supporters displaying the Confederate battle flag at political events?


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, you know, it depends on what your definition is. But I am comfortable with freedom of speech -- it's very simple. Whether it's Confederate flags or Black Lives Matter or anything else you want to talk about, it's freedom of speech.

HERRIDGE: Why are African-Americans still dying at the hands of law enforcement in this country? D. TRUMP: And so are white people -- so are white people. What a terrible question to ask. So are white people. More white people, by the way -- more white people.


JARRETT: So, yes, at least one recent study found more white people are killed by police overall. That's not surprising since white people make up a larger portion of the U.S. population.

What the president failed to mention, however, is that those killed by lethal force are disproportionately black. Black men are more than twice as likely to be killed over their lifetime by police than white men.

ROMANS: All right.

Dr. Anthony Fauci is expected to be at today's White House Coronavirus Task Force briefing. Dr. Fauci had a long meeting Monday with the president's chief of staff Mark Meadows after the White House anonymously distributed opposition-style research to discredit him or try to, at least.

Then, after officials tried to claim that no one is trying to undermine Dr. Fauci, White House trade adviser Peter Navarro attacked him openly in a "USA Today" op-ed, writing this. "Dr. Anthony Fauci has a good bedside manner with the public, but he has been wrong about everything I have interacted with him on. When you ask me whether I listen to Dr. Fauci's advice my answer is only with skepticism and caution."

JARRETT: That op-ed and all other opinion pieces from White House officials had to be edited and approved by the press office at the White House.

For his part, Dr. Fauci appears to be acknowledging how all the tension has led to some mixed messaging.


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES, NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH: I would stick with respected medical authorities who have a track record of telling the truth. I would say that's the safest bet.


JARRETT: Four former CDC directors are also urging Americans to trust science over politics. In a "Washington Post" op-ed they write, "Sound science is being challenged with partisan potshots, sowing confusion and mistrust at a time when the American people need leadership, expertise, and clarity. Trying to fight this pandemic while subverting scientific expertise is like fighting blindfolded."

And now to some promising results in the effort to develop a coronavirus vaccine. More research is needed, but the Moderna vaccine developed in partnership with the National Institutes of Health boosted the immune system in all of the volunteers who received it in a phase-one study. More than half had mild or moderate side effects, such as fatigue, chills, headache, and muscle pain, but there were no safety concerns significant enough to stop the trial, importantly there.

A large-scale clinical trial is expected to begin later this month.

ROMANS: A big primary night for two candidates backed by President Trump.

In Alabama, CNN projects former Auburn football coach Tommy Tuberville has defeated former attorney general Jeff Sessions, who faced fierce opposition from the president. It was not close. Tuberville will face incumbent Doug Jones, widely viewed as the most vulnerable Senate Democrat, this fall.

Another Trump-backed candidate, the president's former physician, Ronny Jackson. He won a GOP runoff for a Texas congressional seat.

And in Maine, Democrats picked their candidate to take on Sen. Susan Collins in November. The speaker of Maine's House of Representatives, Sara Gideon, winning last night's primary.

JARRETT: Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is waking up in the hospital this morning as she recovers from a possible infection. Justice Ginsburg had an endoscopic procedure yesterday to clean out a bile duct stent after experiencing chills and a fever.

The court's spokeswoman released a statement saying Ginsburg will stay in the hospital for a few days for further treatment and is now resting comfortably.

ROMANS: Mary Trump is free from a gag order and she is going public with grave concerns about her uncle, President Trump.

In an ABC News interview, she said the president's long-term behaviors are impacting his performance in the White House. Mary Trump says she knew there was a big problem when she visited the White House in April of 2017 when he was just months into the job.


MARY TRUMP, NIECE OF PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP, AUTHOR, "TOO MUCH AND NEVER ENOUGH: HOW MY FAMILY CREATED THE WORLD'S MOST DANGEROUS MAN": He already seemed very strained by the pressure. You know, he'd never been in a situation before where he wasn't entirely protected from criticism or accountability or things like that.

I thought his responses actually more enlightening than my statement when he said they won't get me. And so far, it looks like he's right.


GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC NEWS CHIEF ANCHOR: And if you're in the Oval Office today, what would you say to him? M. TRUMP: Resign.


ROMANS: Mary Trump's new book, "Too Much and Never Enough," tops Amazon's bestseller list.

JARRETT: Ivanka Trump is raising ethics concerns this morning after promoting Goya Foods on Twitter. The president's daughter and senior adviser posted a picture of herself holding a can of Goya beans along with the company's slogan. But using a government post to boost a business is clearly an ethics violation.

So why did she do it? Well, Goya's CEO recently praised President Trump, triggering calls for a boycott.

Congresswoman Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez tweeted the photo of Ivanka with a Spanish spin on Goya's slogan. "If it's Trump, it has to be corrupt."

ROMANS: All right.

Consumer prices rebounded in June after three straight months of declines as the cost of gas and food increased. Price increases are an encouraging sign of consumer spending but one economist warned Tuesday inflation is unlikely to reappear on the radar screens of Federal Reserve officials for years.

The gasoline index has soared 12.3 percent in June. Prices for food at home increased as well. Americans are still paying more at the grocery store.

Here's what got more expensive and cheaper. Overall, beef and veal prices rose. Bacon, eight percent more expensive. And prices for sweets like fresh cakes and cupcakes also up 3.5 percent.

Temporary closures of meat-processing plants have been driving meat prices up, and demand also rising there. The cost of eggs and milk fell in June. Egg prices alone declined nearly three percent but that's because they soared in April and May.

We'll be right back.



JARRETT: Welcome back.

Hong Kong is dramatically tightening restrictions in social distancing. The country beat back coronavirus the first time but new spikes show a troubling pattern facing other countries.

Let's bring in CNN's Will Ripley who is live for us in Hong Kong. Will, what is the strategy here to try to get a grip on the situation?

WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the strategy is to try to contain this before it becomes a really serious outbreak.

And what public health experts are telling me -- I spoke with three infectious disease specialists just today and they say, Laura, that if this is not contained quickly this could be the biggest, and most dangerous, and most deadly situation for Hong Kong so far this pandemic. And this is to say that just two weeks ago, it thought it had everything under control.

Take a look at this chart that is so worrying for those who specialize in this. And this is why the city is shutting down. I mean, they've closed Hong Kong Disney, schools, restaurants at dinnertime, and whatnot.

You see -- you know, at the beginning of the pandemic, the numbers were low. Then they really spiked in March and April. You're still talking about only -- you know, there are more than 1,500 cases here in Hong Kong so, still, relatively low numbers compared to other cities. There are seven million people here, densely populated.

But you can see in recent days the chart is now darting back up. And just today, within the last hour, they've announced dozens more cases.

And the difference between the cases we saw before and the cases we're seeing now is that these are local transmission -- community spread. And a lot of them, contact tracing isn't working. They don't know where these people are catching the virus.

And when I spoke with these infectious disease experts, they said there is one reason why this is happening and it is the lifting of social distancing and people getting comfortable. People going to bars, taking off their masks, sipping a drink, and then talking, standing close together. Same thing at dinner when they're sitting across the table.

This is why bars are now closed, along with movie theaters. I mentioned Hong Kong Disney closing, schools closing. You know, the list goes on of the social distancing restrictive measures now, actually, the toughest that they've ever been here in Hong Kong, effective today. This is day one.

But also, they're trying to up the amount of testing that they have here as well. They're trying to basically detect and identify as many of these cases.

But they know because some of these are untraceable that there are people walking around Hong Kong right now who have this virus, might be asymptomatic, and don't know that they're spreading it to others. That can be a very dangerous scenario because the small numbers can jump up very quickly, Laura.

JARRETT: Contact tracing, obviously, so important but so difficult here in the U.S. as well, Will. Thanks so much. Nice to see you.

ROMANS: So, the British government is banning telecom companies from buying 5G equipment from China's Huawei. This goes beyond security concerns. It's another sign of crumbling relations between Beijing and the West.

Nic Robertson joins us live from London. And why the about-face here from British officials here? Does this show a new willingness to confront China?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: By implication, it absolutely confronts China and that's the reaction that we've had from Chinese officials. The ambassador here calling it a wrong decision, essentially saying that it will undermine relations between the United Kingdom and China. So, absolutely, it's -- that is going to be a direct consequence of this.

But the British government is saying the reason that it's reversed this decision on Huawei -- because back in January of this year, it said that Huawei could have up to 35 percent of the equipment within Britain's 5G network.

The National Cybersecurity Center here in the U.K. reviewed its position, however, following U.S sanctions in May on China, affecting U.S. chip sales to Huawei. And the National Cybersecurity Center here said in light of this it was no longer OK for the U.K. to use the Huawei equipment. So it will all have to be stripped out by the end of 2027, quite a few years away.

But the diplomatic impact given the global rising tensions with China -- the sort of -- now, the polarization between the United States and its allies and partners -- now, the United Kingdom, very clearly.


President Trump, yesterday, taking credit for getting the U.K. to take this decision. The health secretary of the U.K., this morning, saying not so much. He said we all know President Trump, don't we? He was seeming to rebut President Trump's statement.

But the reality is a more polarized world, rising tensions with China in the South China Seas, China doing tit-for-tat sanctions with the United States and threatening to take necessary actions against the United Kingdom. So we do see which direction this is traveling in, Christine.

ROMANS: Certainly, tensions rising -- no question.

All right, Nic Robertson. Thanks for that.

JARRETT: Ghislaine Maxwell, the alleged accomplice of accused sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein, will remain in jail until her trial. A federal judge has denied her bail, finding Maxwell an extreme flight risk. Prosecutors say when she was arrested, Maxwell had a cell phone wrapped in tinfoil to avoid detection.

Maxwell has pleaded not guilty to charges she helped recruit and groom girls as young as 14 for Epstein.

ROMANS: Growing calls for New York City to address a spike in gun violence. As of July 12th, there were more than 600 shootings in 2020 compared to nearly 400 in 2019. Sunday, a 1-year-old was shot and killed in Brooklyn.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The vast majority of the victims of this violence are in New York's communities of color. That's devastating. And we are not having the same pitch and tone of outrage from our politicians or, frankly, our media about those -- about those woundings and that's -- that we are about all the other issues that are at the forefront here.

I'm not saying that we need to have one conversation and not the other, but it's very hard to separate these conversations when you see the effect it's having on lives.


ROMANS: Mayor Bill de Blasio says he realizes shootings are a real problem. He stressed an initiative to occupy street corners as part of the solution.



POLICE OFFICER 1: Hold on. Let me see the baby.


POLICE OFFICER 1: He's still blinking. He's blinking. OK, hold on, hold on.


JARRETT: A baby who was struggling to breathe. After checking the infant for signs of life, the officer realized something was lodged in her airway.


POLICE OFFICER 1: He's crying. He's OK, he's crying.

POLICE OFFICER 2: The baby's crying. The baby's crying.


JARRETT: The infant was taken to a local hospital for further evaluation as a precaution.

ROMANS: Look how calm he was. Oh my gosh.

All right, let's get a check on CNN Business this morning. Taking a look at markets around the world right now, Asian shares have closed for the Wednesday trading session. They have closed mixed here. European shares have opened higher.

U.S. futures at this hour, after a pretty good day yesterday, up again. Stocks surged Tuesday despite a rough start to earnings season. The Dow finished up 556 points. The Nasdaq and the S&P also higher.

And a reminder, today is tax day. Not April 15th, it is today. So if you put it off, you'd have to file for another extension or get those done.

All right. Several big retailers boosted pay for their frontline workers at the start of the pandemic but many of those pay raises have quietly disappeared.

"The New York Times" reports Stop & Shop is the latest retailer to end the so-called hero pay. Amazon and Kroger have also ended hourly pay raises. Shop Rite says it plans to end its raise early next month.

Retailers say they're ending the pay raises because consumers just aren't panic shopping like they were at the start of the pandemic. But the risk for many frontline workers is still real and is still there.

And, Verizon hasn't laid off any of its employees during the pandemic. It's alternative, retraining.

Verizon has retrained around 20,000 workers for new careers as part of its Citizen Verizon Plan. The plan includes a pledge to prepare 500,000 mostly-lower wage employees for jobs of the future by the year 2030 through skills training and job advancement tool.

Verizon also said there will be an emphasis on young black and Hispanic workers who have not gone to college.




JARRETT: You might remember that scene. Virginia's Mountain Lake made famous by the film "Dirty Dancing," had completely dried up and stayed that way for over a decade. But this summer, somehow, it's starting to fill back up.

Scientists say the phenomenon makes Mountain Lake one of a kind. They say by draining and filling back up, it's actually cleaning itself of sediment.


Get the Kleenex. A Florida woman has taken a job as a dishwasher at a long-term care facility not because she needed the money, but so she could see her husband during the pandemic.

Mary Daniel would visit her husband Steve, who is fighting Alzheimer's, every day until they stopped allowing visitors. They were kept apart for 114 days.


Management told her when she was done with her shift, she could be with her husband.

That's ingenuity for you.

JARRETT: And you know what, it'll just show what couples will do to try to stay together --

ROMANS: That's right.

JARRETT: -- in this pandemic.

ROMANS: All right, thanks for joining us this Wednesday morning. I'm Christine Romans.

JARRETT: I'm Laura Jarrett. Have a great day. "NEW DAY" is next.



REDFIELD: I do think the fall and the winter are going to be probably one of the most difficult times that we've experienced in American public health.

NICK WATT, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: More people were reported dead from COVID in the past 24 hours in Florida than ever before.

GOV. RON DESANTIS (R), FLORIDA: You swab and then you get the results back in seven days. That's not ideal.