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Coronavirus Case Record Broken Again As White House Hints At Trouble Ahead; Small Businesses Struggle To Survive Amid Pandemic; Bitcoin Scam Hacks Biden, Gates, And Other High-Profile Accounts. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired July 17, 2020 - 05:30   ET



LAURA JARRETT, CNN ANCHOR: The U.S. sets a new coronavirus case record. And an unpublished report from the White House Task Force shows they know stricter measures are needed, so why aren't they saying so publicly?

Good morning, this is EARLY START. I'm Laura Jarrett.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, nice to see you. I'm Christine Romans. It's Friday morning at 30 minutes, exactly, past the hour.

And, you know, Dr. Anthony Fauci told us two weeks ago that we could soon reach 100,000 coronavirus cases a day. Back then it seemed kind of hard to believe, right? Not so much now.

Overnight, the U.S. set another record -- over 77,000 cases in a single day. It's the ninth time in the last month the record has been broken. Seventy-seven thousand cases is five times more than all of Europe -- Europe, which has more than double the population.

Just four months ago the United States had 5,000 cases and 100 deaths and the president told the country a course correction was needed.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If everyone makes this change or these critical changes and sacrifices now, we will rally together as one nation and we will defeat the virus. And we're going to have a big celebration altogether.


JARRETT: He failed to make those critical changes and sacrifices -- even the simple ones like wearing a mask. And then he pressured governors to reopen, which they did, and now hospitalizations have climbed back near the high-water mark we saw in April.

The Trump administration knows this situation is not sustainable. An unpublished report by the Coronavirus Task Force, obtained by the Center for Public Integrity, recommends at least 18 hard-hit states enact stricter measures such as masks, limitings on gatherings, and increased testing.

ROMANS: States is Georgia where Gov. Brian Kemp is suing the mayor of Atlanta to block her mask mandate. He claims the local rule violates his emergency orders. But other leaders in Georgia standing by Atlanta's mayor.


MAYOR VAN JOHNSON (D), SAVANNAH, GEORGIA: I was furious. I was absolutely at a loss for words because here we are fighting to get in front of coronavirus. We're doing the best that we can day in and day out against increasing odds. And then not only are we fighting coronavirus on one hand, it appears as if we're fighting our state on the other hand.


JARRETT: The death toll in this country is also spiking, nearing 1,000 a day -- 156 of those deaths in Florida on Thursday. Coronavirus cases forced the state's Emergency Operations Center to shut down. Miami hospitals are at 95 percent capacity.

The mayor there says a stay-at-home order could come soon.


MAYOR FRANCIS SUAREZ (R), MIAMI: We are very, very close to that point. And we're consulting with, of course, our hospital administrators to determine what kind of hospital capacity we have. We're faced with making these tough decisions in the next few days if things don't improve radically.


JARRETT: Thirty-nine states now have mask requirements of some kind and that now includes Arkansas where another prominent Republican governor is now on board.


GOV. ASA HUTCHINSON (R), ARKANSAS: This whole fight against COVID-19 is likely to get harder and not easier, and we have to meet the challenge together and everyone must do their part.


ROMANS: Asymptomatic spread from young people appears to be driving the surge. In a Facebook interview, Dr. Anthony Fauci tried to educate them about their role in spreading the disease.


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES, NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH: You can get the mindset -- well, listen, if I'm infected, I don't know I'm infected. I'm not feeling sick. Who cares? I'm not bothering anybody else. That is incorrect because by allowing yourself to get infected, you are propagating the pandemic.


ROMANS: Mark Zuckerberg also criticized the White House, saying the response -- the national response needs a reset.

JARRETT: President Trump, once again, turning a White House event into a campaign-style speech. On Thursday, faced with record coronavirus cases and 138,000 Americans dead, the president was focused elsewhere -- focused on reform -- dishwasher reform.


TRUMP: Dishwashers -- you didn't have any water so you -- the people that do the dishes -- you press it and it goes again. And you do it again and again. So you might as well give them the water because you'll end up using less water. So we made it so dishwashers now have a lot more water.


JARRETT: That was hard to understand. The president, though, was ostensibly attacking water preservation rules.

It was yet another example in a long list of seemingly self-defeating moments for this president and it's reflected in the polls. Just look at the numbers from March compared to today. In three states being ravaged by coronavirus, Joe Biden leapfrogged the president or maintained his lead. In three critical swing states where the president was already losing, the deficit essentially doubled.


ROMANS: All right.

The best way to slow the pandemic, quick testing with fast results. New research finds test results that take five days or longer are simply not helpful to contact tracers. The U.S. has been plagued by delays at labs because of surging cases.


DR. ASHISH JHA, DIRECTOR, HARVARD GLOBAL HEALTH INSTITUTE: And then we really do need the federal government to help states because they are now hitting testing capacity numbers where tests are coming back seven or 10 days later, essentially useless. And we need those states to really get the help they need to get testing back up and running in a more efficient way.


ROMANS: Contact tracing requires testing for everyone who might be infected, tracking down other people they may have infected, and then testing and either isolating or quarantining them. JARRETT: The CDC is extending its ban on passenger cruises from the U.S. ports through the end of September, citing, quote, "ongoing coronavirus outbreaks on ships." The previous no-sail order was supposed to expire next week.

The pandemic has devastated the cruise industry, bringing global travel to a crawl. Norwegian, Royal Caribbean, and Carnival have been operating with low or no revenue since mid-March.

ROMANS: The airline industry is in crisis, so American Airlines and JetBlue are teaming up to sell seats on each other's flights and share frequent flyer benefits. This kind of alliance is common with international carriers that have limits on where they can fly. It's less common with domestic airline rivals. The airlines hope cooperating will help the travel industry recover faster.

Major airlines report their second-quarter earnings next week. Expect it to be a historically bad quarter for airlines.

And executives have been blunt about job cuts that are coming once federal funding ends. American and United Airlines outlined plans that could result in 61,000 workers being furloughed.

A union-led effort is calling on Congress to extend funding for airlines through March 2021. Lawmakers return to Washington next week to start negotiations on another stimulus package. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she's confident Congress can pass another relief bill.

JARRETT: Yes, Christine, businesses big and small are really facing a long road to recovery. Almost one in three U.S. workers have filed for unemployment since this pandemic began. And soon, millions will face more tightening as parts of the country reenter lockdowns and the extra $600 per week in jobless benefits expire.

JPMorgan Chase says the $600 boosted consumer spending, adding a bit of stimulus. But for many small businesses, time and money are in short supply.

Here is CNN's Phil Mattingly.



PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): When Ayeshah Abuelhiga left her corporate job to launch Mason Dixie Biscuit Co. she couldn't have dreamed of how big of a hit it was going to be.

ABUELHIGA: We had lines all the way down to the Costco (ph), so probably two miles long. And then it was like as if that opening day lasted a month and a half.

MATTINGLY (voice-over): A first-generation American who grew up in public housing and worked a half-dozen jobs just to get through college, the comfort food pop-up was the ultimate success story. And the accolades, the permanent brick and mortar location, and most importantly, customer loyalty followed in spades.

ABUELHIGA: It was really important for us at the time to be a part of a neighborhood and a community and not just be in downtown.

MATTINGLY (voice-over): Then came the pandemic.

ABUELHIGA: The first week or two there was basically no traffic. I think we were making $100 a day. So, like, it went to nothing.

MATTINGLY (voice-over): The business never returned above 50 percent of its past sales, leading to this gut-wrenching decision.

ABUELHIGA: We couldn't sustain the business anymore. We shut it down.

MATTINGLY (voice-over): Abuelhiga writing the letter now taped in the window of her restaurant -- a letter an owner of a thriving business could ever imagine putting together.

ABUELHIGA: It was the last thing I wanted to do and I avoided it at all costs. What do you say to your team members? What do you say to their families? What do say to customers that feel like they've been there for you the whole time?

MATTINGLY (voice-over): Small businesses are a central driver of U.S. economic activity, with more than 30 million in the country representing nearly 50 percent of all U.S. jobs.

But as the crisis has continued unabated, thousands of brick and mortar small businesses have taken the route of Mason Dixie Biscuit Co. and closed their doors with nearly 66,000 businesses closing their doors for good since March first, according to data from Yelp, and some researchers pegging the total number at north of 100,000.

Even more are on the precipice with 23 percent in a recent survey saying they could only survive for no more than six months in current conditions. Even some that received crucial federal Paycheck Protection Program loans are simply closing their doors altogether, like Mason Dixie Biscuits.

Yet, in a sign of the very resiliency that defines what small business owners represent, a second business run by Abuelhiga -- a frozen biscuit business once driven by customer loyalty to the restaurant, itself -- has taken off.

ABUELHIGA: Never in a million years could we have planned that it was going to be as crazy as it was. The demand surge for us was upwards of 200 percent month-over-month.


MATTINGLY (voice-over): And, Abuelhiga isn't closing the door to giving another restaurant a shot post-pandemic.

ABUELHIGA: There isn't a bone in my body that doesn't want to try this again. MATTINGLY (voice-over): But as small businesses around the country fight for survival, she strikes a chord many facing this once-in-a- century pandemic are clinging to each day.

ABUELHIGA: I can't say that you should feel like it's a failure. It's really just closure on a chapter but it forces you to think what's the next step. What's the next move?

MATTINGLY (voice-over): Phil Mattingly, CNN, Washington.


ROMANS: All right.

The CDC is delaying the release of additional guidance on reopening schools. The agency tells CNN the information just isn't ready yet. The White House has tried to bury CDC guidance on reopening the country before.

President Trump wants schools open even though many districts are resisting. Dallas is the latest city to delay opening buildings.

Yesterday, the White House press secretary tried to make the case that science is on the side of physically opening schools.


KAYLEIGH MCENANCY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: When he says open, he means open in full. Kids being able to attend each and every day at their school. The science should not stand in the way of this.


ROMANS: Now, McEnany cited a reputable study that shows coronavirus poses less of a risk to children than the seasonal flu.

JARRETT: All right.

And a quick programming note for you. Please join CNN's Jake Tapper as he investigates what really happened in the beginning of the U.S. fight against COVID-19 and what could happen next. A CNN special report, "THE PANDEMIC & THE PRESIDENT," tomorrow at 10:00 p.m. eastern.

We'll be right back.



JARRETT: Welcome back.

Just days after Chuck Woolery accused everyone of lying about coronavirus, the former game show host announced his son has tested positive.

You'll recall President Trump retweeted Woolery's comments about the whole pandemic being a hoax.

On Thursday, Woolery's tweet was very different. "To further clarify and add perspective," he says, "COVID-19 is real and it is here. My son tested positive for the virus, and I feel for those suffering, especially for those who have lost loved ones."

Woolery has since deleted his Twitter account.

ROMANS: The fallout from Twitter's massive hack could be devastating. Experts say this is not just about hackers trying to steal bitcoin, it's about what they could have done if their intentions were even more sinister. We are, of course, in the home stretch of a pivotal election year with a president who governs by tweet.

Twitter says there is no evidence passwords were stolen and there's no need to change them. But peace of mind could be a long way off for verified users who thought they had an extra layer of protection.

CNN's Donie O'Sullivan has more.


DONIE O'SULLIVAN, CNN REPORTER (on camera): The FBI is leading an investigation into a Twitter breach that led to the compromise of accounts belonging to former vice president Joe Biden, former president Barack Obama, and other high-profile users on the platform.

There are some big questions for Twitter to answer, namely being who are the hackers? Were they a group of criminals? Were they attached to a nation-state?

What kind of information did they access? We could see that the attackers were able to take over accounts and tweet from them, but were they also able to see direct messages and other private information belonging to these high-profile figures?

Now, the investigation, of course, is still ongoing. There is the FBI investigation looking into who might have been behind this. And also, Twitter, internally looking to figure out how this all happened. Twitter says it was a result of social engineering and that one of their own employees had been targeted.

There is interest in this from across the political spectrum and around the world. And the Senate Intelligence Committee has requested information from Twitter about the hack -- Christine and Laura.


JARRETT: Donie, thank you so much for that report.

In a move that could impact the November election, the Supreme Court has now allowed Florida to bar those with felony convictions from voting unless they've paid court fines. The decision could affect hundreds of thousands of potential voters -- enough to swing an election. Florida voters approved a measure back in 2018 to restore voting rights for people who have completed their sentences. But, Gov. Ron DeSantis then signed a law that allows only released felons to vote after they've paid off outstanding fines and penalties.

In dissent of Thursday's ruling, Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote that the court's order continues a trend of condoning disenfranchisement.

ROMANS: A Georgia teenager on her very first skydive tragically killed, along with her instructor, when their parachutes failed to open.

Jeanna Triplicata turned 18 in May. Her siblings and parents watched this incident unfold from the ground below. Jeanna and her -- and her -- and her instructor, Nick Esposito, died at the scene.

Skydiving deaths are rare. Last year, there were 15 fatal accidents in the United States out of more than three million jumps.

JARRETT: Investigators say falling powerlines owned by Pacific Gas & Electric caused the devastating Kincade Fire last year. The fire, north of San Francisco, forced more than 100,000 people to evacuate and caused millions in damages.

The nation's largest utility recently pleaded guilty to 84 counts of involuntary manslaughter stemming from other fires caused by its equipment.

ROMANS: And nearly 90 percent of the country expected to see 90- degree heat over the next week. Here is meteorologist Derek Van Dam.


DEREK VAN DAM, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Record-setting heat is racing across the country this morning, Christine and Laura. In fact, over 90 percent of our population will feel temperatures above 90 degrees. But it's when you factor in the humidity, that's when we feel the real heat.

Triple-digit heat index values expected today across the central U.S. all the way to the Gulf Coast. Check out Dallas, 106 this afternoon.


And you won't be spared from the heat along the east coast or the mid- Atlantic. The National Weather Service has hoisted heat watches in and around Philadelphia -- anywhere you see that shading of red. Get this -- we could reach 110 degrees -- that's what it will feel like as you step outside this weekend. I wouldn't be surprised if that heat watch extended into New York, as well as the nation's capital.

More of the same throughout the central U.S. In Minneapolis, you could see your heat index value travel to 108.

Now, as we focus in on New York City, your actual temperatures in the lower to middle-90s this weekend. But you factor in the humidity, that's when you feel the real impacts of the heat.

It doesn't take much to trigger off storms with heat like this. We're focusing in across the Northern Plains. An enhanced to moderate risk of severe storms today.

Back to you.


ROMANS: All right, Derek. Thank you so much for that.

Let's get a check on CNN Business this morning. Taking a look at markets around the world, Asian shares are now closed for the trading week -- closed mixed here. And, European shares have opened mixed.

On Wall Street, futures had been leaning higher a little bit earlier and you can see Nasdaq futures having a better morning overall, above almost one percent. Stocks finished lower Thursday as coronavirus case counts rise and earnings season unfolds. The Dow closed down 135 points.

Another 1.3 million workers filed for unemployment benefits for the first time last week. More than 51 million Americans over the past 17 weeks either laid off or furloughed. One in three U.S. workers has filed for benefits. First-time claims have been declining since the peak in the final week of March, but they're still stuck at millions of claims each week.

An all-time low for mortgage rates. Freddie Mac shows the average 30- year fixed rate -- look at that -- broke below three percent for the first time in history. The 15-year fixed rate dropped to 2.48 percent.

Freddie Mac notes low rates have led to an increase in demand but warns the rise of coronavirus cases could stall the economic recovery. The pause risks turning temporary layoffs into permanent job losses and that could hurt home-buying.

Millions are at home streaming movies and shows, so it was a surprise to investors when Netflix missed analysts' expectations on earnings per share. Netflix did beat revenue estimates and added 10 million subscribers in the second quarter. Profit jumped 24 percent, $6.1 billion, $1.59 a share.

Netflix's projected subscriber growth next year is also only half of what analysts were expecting. It expects growth to slow as lockdown restrictions ease. Netflix stock is down seven percent after hours.


BEA ARTHUR, ACTRESS, "THE GOLDEN GIRLS": Remember the time Stan and I went on that weight loss-through-sex diet? The idea being every time you felt hungry you would substitute food with some sexual activity?


ARTHUR: I gained 18 pounds. (END VIDEO CLIP)

JARRETT: Well, the home fit for the Golden Girls could now be yours. The iconic Southern California property is on the market with an asking price of nearly $3 million.

While the exterior is well-known to fans, the inside of the four- bedroom home has never been seen. It's been owned by the same family since it was built in 1955.

Drew and Jonathan Scott, AKA "THE PROPERTY BROTHERS" from HGTV, have already announced their next dream project is to redo the home of the Golden Girls. Stay tuned for that.

ROMANS: All right.

A bearded but still beloved "JEOPARDY!" host, Alex Trebek, giving fans an update on his health and his battle with pancreatic cancer.


ALEX TREBEK, HOST, "JEOPARDY!": I'm doing well. I've been continuing my treatment and it is paying off, though it does fatigue me a great deal. My numbers are good. I'm feeling great.

I can't wait to return to the studio and start recording shows for the new season in September. Meanwhile, my wish for all of you, stay safe.


ROMANS: Trebek revealed his diagnosis back in March of 2019. He says during the taping break he penned a memoir that is set to be released next week coinciding with his 80th birthday. He also previewed a four- week "JEOPARDY!" retrospective, including the first episodes, mustache and all.


BILLY JOEL, SINGER-SONGWRITER: (Playing piano on the street).


JARRETT: That's not just anyone playing a piano that was thrown out with the trash. That's the Piano Man, himself, Billy Joel. He was apparently riding his motorcycle when he spotted the discarded piano on the sidewalk on Long Island. Joel said the piano was still in good shape and could be in working condition with some minor service.

Nothing like a little impromptu concert on the street.

ROMANS: A little ragtime -- just taking -- that's amazing. Billy Joel is so talented -- oh my goodness.

Thanks for joining us. I'm Christine Romans. Have a great weekend, everybody.

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




FAUCI: We do have a serious situation now. These southern states have seen surges that are really quite disturbing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The U.S. shattering another record. More than 75,000 new infections in just the past day.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The government needs to do a better job of testing. It's just impossible to have a useful program if it takes a week for a test to come back.

NICK WATT, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Mask mandates now in at least 39 states, but not Georgia where the governor just banned local municipalities from making them mandatory.

JOHNSON: I was furious. I was absolutely at a loss for words.

SUAREZ: The situation is dire and the death rate will continue to go up if we don't take any more dramatic measures.


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

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and all around the world. This is NEW DAY. It is Friday, July 17th, 6:00 here in New York.