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Officials Add Restrictions, More Mandates on Masks; Trump Demotes Campaign Manager As Poll Numbers Fall; New Body Camera Video in George Floyd's Death Viewed By CNN; NASCAR Hosts Biggest Sports Crowd Since Pandemic; Northeast Braces for Intense Heat. Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired July 16, 2020 - 05:00   ET



LAURA JARRETT, CNN ANCHOR: Officials are racing to add restrictions as coronavirus cases expand. Mask mandates are growing. More schools are going online as hospitals start to fill up.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: And a big change at the top of the Trump campaign, but will it make a difference if the president won't change course?

Welcome to our viewers in the United States and all around the world. This is EARLY START. I'm Christine Romans.

JARRETT: And I'm Laura Jarrett. It's Thursday, July 16th. It's 5:00 a.m. here in New York.

And this morning, across America, local politicians and business leaders are doing what the federal government simply will not, making hard decisions to end this pandemic, decisions made even harder partly because America's top infectious disease doctor, the one the nation turns to for guidance in a crisis is constantly being undermined by his own government.

In a new interview overnight, Dr. Anthony Fauci says, quote: It's pretty tough walking a tight rope while trying to get your message out and people are trying to pit you against the president.

ROMANS: More on Fauci coming to his own defense, but right now, here's the state of play: 39 states are struggling with rising caseloads, only two are heading in the right direction. Another 66,000 cases reported Wednesday, just short of the record a day earlier. The case average has been going up now for five straight weeks.

In Florida, Miami-Dade County has run out of ICU beds. Some patients have been moved to improvised ICUs.


CARLOS MIGOYA, PRESIDENT & CEO, JACKSON HEALTH SYSTEM: Governor DeSantis has given us an extra 150 nurses to help us with extra staffing that we need so we have room. This room isn't going to last forever. In another three to five weeks, we could run out if we keep this kind of pace.


JARRETT: A consensus, however, does appear to be emerging on masks. Thirty-seven states now require them, most of them statewide. The White House still resisting a federal mandate but the tide is beginning to turn. Alabama's Republican governor is mandating them as hospitals near capacity there. And 90 percent of ICU beds are filled. And the state just reported the most deaths in a single day.

ROMANS: But not everyone on board. Georgia Governor Brian Kemp is banning local governments from mandating masks despite a sharp spike in cases in his state. President Trump visited Georgia yesterday without a mask despite growing concerns in the South.


DR. ASHISH JHA, PHYSICIAN: We're in the 60s now and if we don't do a substantial reset, we're going to be in the 70s and 80s and we're going to keep going because that's how the virus works. So, we absolutely need mandates on mask wearing. I believe that in the Southern states where the outbreak are bad, you cannot have any indoor gatherings of any meaningful size, no restaurants, no bars, no nightclubs, none of that stuff.


JARRETT: Some businesses are done waiting for the federal government. Walmart is the largest retailer to mandate mask. Kohl's, and Kroger, also joining the list that includes Costco and Starbucks now.

School districts are also rejecting the White House push to reopen schools this fall. Houston and San Francisco will hold all classes online this fall. That's 276,000 children. None of the nation's 20 largest school districts have committed to full in-person learning for the start of the school year.

ROMANS: Some big, big decisions for families and school districts across the country, how to get back safely.

All right. Dr. Anthony Fauci pushes back in White House attempts to discredit him. His remarks coming in media interviews a day after White House trade advisor, Peter Navarro, someone with zero medical experience, slammed Fauci in an op-ed.


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NIAID: You know, it is a bit bizarre. I don't really fully understand it. I cannot figure out in my wildest dreams why they would want to do that, but, I mean, I think they realize now that was not a prudent thing to do because it's only reflecting negatively on them.

I can't explain Peter Navarro. He's in a world by himself so I don't even want to go there.


ROMANS: The president didn't have much to say about Navarro's actions except to deflect any blame.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: He made a statement representing himself. He shouldn't be doing that. No, I have a very good relationship with Anthony.


ROMANS: Still, the president stopped short of refuting or condemning the content of Navarro's op-ed.

JARRETT: Breaking overnight, the first big shakeup in the Trump campaign. The president demoting campaign manager Brad Parscale. It comes the same day two national polls show the president trailing Joe Biden by bubble digits. Battleground state polls show the same trends right now. The president was furious with Parscale after a much hype return to the campaign trail in Tulsa fell flat last month.


ROMANS: This is not the campaign the Trump team had in mind. The relaunch is supposed to expand to include big populated battleground states. His actual travel this month does not include much of that at all.

The president can try to pin his sagging numbers on Parscale, but a senior White House official offers this reality check. Brad is not the one going off message. Brad is not the one refusing to wear a mask. He is, Trump, not focused. Everyone has told him that, nothing has changed.

JARRETT: Make no mistake: the president's handling of coronavirus could seriously hurt him come November. There's now a lot of disapproval from states where he needs support and damage from the virus is only getting worse.

Taking over the campaign is Bill Stepien. He added more than a decade of campaign experience to the Trump campaign's roster when it first look for a course correction back in 2016 after a slew of gloomy poll reports.

ROMANS: All right. Twitter is blaming the takeover of multiple high profile accounts Wednesday on a coordinated social engineering attack. We're talking about accounts belonging to Barack Obama, Kim and Kanye West, Warren Buffett, Jeff Bezos, Mike Bloomberg -- they were involved in a hack, promoting a cryptocurrency scam.

But an hour after the attack began Twitter, locked out users with verified accounts. Non-verified accounts could still tweet. The accounts posted tweets asking for donations via bitcoin. Those tweets have since been deleted.

After accounts were restored, Twitter Jeff Dorsey said: Tough day for us at Twitter. We feel terrible about what's happened.

This could be dangerous. Multiple reports the lockdown stopped the Illinois National Weather Service from sending vital updates as a tornado approached.

Well, Ruth Bader Ginsburg is home from the hospital this morning and said to be doing well. The 87-year-old Supreme Court justice was taken to Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore on Tuesday after experiencing fever and chills. She underwent a procedure to clean out a bile duct stent she had placed. Ginsburg is the oldest member of the Supreme Court and the anchor of its liberal wing.

ROMANS: All right. Seven minutes past the hour this Thursday morning. New video shedding new light on the final moments of George Floyd's life. CNN saw the video behind closed doors.



ROMANS: The family of George Floyd filing a civil suit against the city of Minneapolis and the four officers charged in his death. It comes as new body camera footage viewed by CNN provides new insight into just what happened to the night Floyd died in police custody.

CNN's Omar Jimenez has more.


OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): New body camera video shown to CNN but not shared with the general public is providing critical new context into the moments leading up to George Floyd's death. The call for officers began over a fake bill being used at a store in Minneapolis. Less than 40 seconds after finishing conversation with the store employee, the officers are at the door of this car Floyd was in.

Officer Thomas Lane with his gun drawn yelling to put your F-ing hands up following an initial knock on a window with a flashlight.

BENJAMIN CRUMP, FLOYD FAMILY ATTORNEY: This is a crisis in black America, a public health crisis.

JIMENEZ: After repeated asks to get out of the car, Floyd is seen on Lane's body camera sobbing with his head on the steering wheel at one point, saying he's sorry, according to video reviewed by CNN.

Please don't shoot me, Mr. Officer. Please don't shoot me, man. Please? Can you not shoot me, man?

Lane: Step out and face away. I'm not shooting. Step out and face away.

It's at that point Floyd is forcefully pulled from the car as both Officer Lane and Officer J. Alexander Kueng struggle to handcuff him. Shortly after, a big struggle to get Floyd into the squad car as Floyd says he's claustrophobic and refuses to get in.

At this point, according to video reviewed by CNN, Floyd is being pushed into the police vehicle from one side by Kueng and pulled in from the other by Lane.

I can't breathe, I can't breathe, Floyd says, all the while flailing in cuffs as both officers are on top of him. Get him on the ground, Lane says.

Let go of me, man. I can't breathe. I can't breathe.

At one point, Floyd just letting out a desperate scream for at least three seconds straight, according to video reviewed by CNN.

About 30 seconds later, the other officers, Tou Thao and Derek Chauvin are inside of Lane's body camera and everybody falls to the infamously familiar position seen this cell phone video with Derek Chauvin's knee on Floyd's neck, an already restrained Floyd calls out for his mom.

GEORGE FLOYD: Mama, mama.

JIMENEZ: As Chauvin appears to increase pressure on Floyd's neck, curling down from his initial upright position, according to body camera video reviewed by CNN.

About four minutes later, still coughed and under the knee of Chauvin, Floyd says, please, please, please -- each plea is seemingly weaker than the one before, according to video reviewed.

Lane says, should we roll him on his side? Chauvin, no, he's staying put where we got him.

Those were the last words listed in the transcript but audio heard by CNN shows that seconds later, Floyd says.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're stopping his breathing right there, bro.

FLOYD: I can't breathe.

JIMENEZ: Those would be his final words.

(on camera): Whether we can all see the body camera footage, not just people myself, that is an effort that's currently underway. There's a hearing for that to potentially get answers coming this Tuesday -- Laura, Christine.


JARRETT: All right. Omar, thank you so much for that.

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer will soon be coming under further scrutiny as the city's metro council has announced it will officially examine the mayor's handling of the Breonna Taylor case, the death of David McAtee and the protests that followed.

Now, the officers involved in Taylor's death have now been charged, but the committee on the council will now look to interview Louisville's former and current police chief.


Louisville's state law gives the metro council the power to remove the mayor only for misconduct or criminal activity.

ROMANS: A formal apology from the city of Asheville, North Carolina, for its role in slavery and enforcing racist policies, in a move that was both historic and unanimous, city officials approved reparations for black residents. The resolution doesn't mandate direct payments but it does call for Asheville to invest in areas where black residents faced disparities. The city is 83 percent white and 12 percent black.

JARRETT: Still ahead, the most highly attended sporting event since the start of the pandemic. More from the NASCAR race in Tennessee, up next.



JARRETT: Welcome back.

Deaths from drug overdoses are on the rise in the U.S. according to the CDC, there were nearly 71,000 in 2019. That's an all-time high. It's also 4.8 percent increase from 2018 when there was a slight decline.

South Dakota reported the largest spike, 54 percent, followed by North Dakota and Alaska. Health experts say conditions created by the pandemic could compound this problem. But they point out the over dose rate was on its way up well before the virus arrived.

ROMANS: All right. To sports now, NASCAR races in front of the biggest U.S. sports crowd since the pandemic began four months ago.

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

Hey, Andy.


So, up to 30,000 fans were allowed to attend last night's big race at Bristol, Tennessee, making it the biggest sporting event we've had since mid-March. Now, attendance figures were not released but it appears that at least 20,000 fans were socially distanced throughout the stand. The track there in Bristol can hold 160,000.

Now, masks were only required for entry so fans could take them off once they got to the seat. According to the speedway, by buying a ticket, fans assume all risk of exposure to COVID-19 and agreed to release the track from claims that might result.

Chase Elliot ended up winning the race and the million dollar bonus prize. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHASE ELLIOT, NASCAR DRIVER: What a better night to have fans back in tonight. I mean, y'all are awesome. All those number 9 hats and t- shirts up in the stands. I love to see it. There's no feeling like it.


SCHOLES: Before the race, a plane flew over the track pulling a Confederate flag banner. NASCAR banned the flag at its races last month.

All right. The Lambeau Leap will be missing something in Green Bay this season, preseason at least I should say. The fans, the Packers announced yesterday, that no fans are going to be allowed inside the stadium for preseason games and practices because of the pandemic. The team is optimistic the crowd can return for the regular season, but warns that seating capacity would be cut significantly.

The New England Patriots meanwhile announcing that if the team is allowed to have fans at games in 2020, they will be only be allowing to let stadiums at 20 percent capacity. In the meantime, if there is a college football season, the big house will not be full. University of Michigan holds nearly 108,000 fans. But the school says attendance will be reduced if fans are allowed at all.

Now, this comes a week after the Big Ten announced its members will play a conference-only schedule this fall.

Elsewhere in the sports, word the Washington Mystics of the WNBA say they will be -- they will pay reigning MVP Elena Delle Donne regardless if she plays this season. This comes after a WNBA medical panel Delle Donne's medical exemption. Delle Donne has to take 64 pills a day as she continues to battle Lyme disease.

And she told Coy Wire she couldn't believe it when her request was denied.


ELENA DELLE DONE, REIGNING WNBA MVP: I was shocked and the process makes it hard because there's no ability to even appeal. I wasn't able to speak with the panel to have a disease and then to feel like you're not heard or you're not believed, that's the part that gets really frustrating and tiring.


SCHOLES: Yes. Delle Donne has not made a decision whether or not she is going to end up playing this season, Laura. Can you imagine your personal doctor telling you one thing, that she shouldn't play, and then the medical panel for a league telling you, well, you should play? That's got certainly to be frustrating.

JARRETT: Yes, very frustrating. And 64 pills a day, I mean, that's a lot for her to go through. SCHOLES: Yes.

JARRETT: Really showing resilience there.

All right. Nice to see you, Andy.

All right. More mask mandates, more school online, more hospitals filling up, states and businesses with new restrictions with 80 percent of states adding new COVID-19 cases.



ROMANS: Parts of the Northeast are bracing for the intense heat that's been smothering a lot of the country.

Here's meteorologist Derek Van Dam.


DEREK VAN DAM, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Good Thursday morning, Christine and Laura.

We have major summertime heat building across the central and eastern sections of the country. That is our big weather topic. Aside from that, we do have the potential for strong thunderstorms today, helps trigger off stronger storms. More on that in just one moment, but would you believe, with over 45 percent of the country expecting temperatures above 90 degrees.

And you factor in the humidity levels and we are talking about triple digit heat index values anywhere from the Plains, all the way to the Gulf Coast. Look at Houston, Dallas to Oklahoma City, 102 to 105 degrees. That's what it will feel like in your skin as you step outside.

Heat wave 2020 stretching eastward across the country. New York City will not be spared. Look at these temperatures into Sunday and Monday. We will be flirting with 100 degree heat index values as we start off the work week next week.

Here's our change to storms today. Stronger storms possible across portions of Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York. Temperatures across the country, 91 for Atlanta, 76, though, for New York.

Back to you.


ROMANS: All right. Thanks so much for that.

EARLY START continues right now.