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Trump Warns Pandemic Will Worsen as 1,000 More Americans Die; White House and GOP Grapple with Stimulus Bill; Reports: NFL, Union Agree to Cancel Preseason Games. Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired July 22, 2020 - 05:00   ET



LAURA JARRETT, CNN ANCHOR: No doctors. No plan. No strategy.

The president returns to the podium alone, warning of dark days ahead as the U.S. tops a thousand deaths again, but offers no outline for how to beat the spread of the virus.


SEN. TED CRUZ (R-TX): As it's written right now, I'm not only a no, I'm a hell no.


CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Republicans and the White House still disagree on critical parts of a new stimulus bill. What's in, what's out, as 25 million people are about to lose emergency cash.

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

JARRETT: And I'm Laura Jarrett. It's Wednesday, July 22nd, 5:00 a.m. here in New York.

And the U.S. hit 1,000 deaths on Tuesday, but any White House plan to slow the pandemic was completely missing as the president resumed his coronavirus briefings. No doctors planked him either up there, just Trump still claiming the virus will eventually simply disappear and stating the obvious.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Some areas of our country are doing very well. Others are doing less well. It will probably, unfortunately, get worse before it gets better. Something I don't like saying about things but that's the way it is. It's what we have.


ROMANS: It's now July and the president for the first time embraced wearing a mask for other people. He wasn't wearing one just like Monday when he shared a photo of himself in a mask and then went to a Republican event at his hotel without a mask.

So, what comes next?


TRUMP: We are in the process of developing a strategy that's going to be very, very powerful. We develop as we go along.


JARRETT: So 142,000 Americans are dead from a pandemic that's been raging for months and the plan is in process. No comprehensive national strategy to report on testing. But the president did have well wishes for Ghislaine Maxwell, the former girlfriend of accused sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein.


TRUMP: I just wish her well, frankly. I've met her numerous times over the years, especially since I lived in Palm Beach and I guess they lived in Palm Beach. But I wish her well, whatever it is.


ROMANS: As for the pandemic, the president said no governor needs anything right now. That will be news to many governors in both parties who are clamoring for more testing including California. Remember in April when Trump said we would be at 5 million tests a day, and a group at Harvard called for 20 million tests per day. In fact, the U.S. is now averaging about 780,000 tests a day. In other words, not nearly enough.

A New York City health official put it this way.


JENNIFER RAKEMAN, LAB DIRECTOR, NYC PUBLIC HEALTH LABORATORY: We're working the system that's been weakened by decreased funding and support and we've had to rebuild as we respond. The big number is not a strategy. And the Hunger Games was not meant to be a public health policy document.


JARRETT: The CDC now says the number of people infected could be anywhere between two to 24 times more than the official number of reported cases. That means you would need to stack two dozen TV screens for this graphic to show the real picture.

ROMANS: All right. The nation's top infectious doctors were absent from the president's briefing. A source tells CNN Dr. Anthony Fauci was expecting an invitation but says he did not get one. Instead, he defended himself on CNN against a claim by the president that Fauci is an alarmist.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: I consider myself more a realist than an alarmist but, you know, people do have their opinions other than that. I have always thought of myself as a realist when it comes to this.


ROMANS: Now, the White House recently tried to discredit Dr. Fauci as he became increasingly vocal against re-opening parts of the country during a national surge in coronavirus cases.

JARRETT: Hospitalizations in Florida have risen by more than a third in just 12 days since the state started releasing daily data. ICU bed availability statewide stands at 16 percent, down from 18 on Monday. The southern tip of Texas, an official in Cameron County says the death toll is much worse than officially reported. He says the health department is overwhelmed.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott acknowledging the record breaking situation in the Rio Grande Valley but he stopped short of saying he will allow Hidalgo County to enforce its shelter at home order.

ROMANS: In Iowa, the mayor of Iowa City has announced a mask mandate. That defies the orders of the governor. That masks Iowa the 40th state where there's some kind of mask requirement. Texas now delaying its usual popular high school football season until September 24th for the largest schools.


And Indy race fans will be able to get their fix, some of them anyway. The Indianapolis 500 will open at 25 percent capacity and it will require facemasks.

JARRETT: Despite critical shortages in coronavirus testing, supplies and labs and turnaround, the Trump administration is still sitting on billions of dollars in unused funds all located by testing, supplies and labs and turn around the testing, supplies and labs and turn around the Trump administration is still sitting on billions of dollars in unused funds allocated by Congress months ago for testing and contact transition. There's an estimated $7 billion to $8 billion available right now and it's clear yet if there's a reason for the holdup or there were just delays pushing billions of dollars where its' needed the most.

ROMANS: In the middle of the crisis, that money is needed to be just sitting there unspent. They got to fix that.

All right. More money in the hands of Americans. Senate Republicans plan to include a second round of stimulus checks in the next relief package. Specifics about how much and who qualifies remain an open question. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the next package will come in around a trillion and will include $105 billion towards school re-opening and another round of PPP payments for hard-hit businesses. There's a rift between Senate Republicans and the White House over key

components of this proposal. Tuesday's negotiations evolved into a day of gripe of sessions, for rank and file members, just days before the $600 a week extra for jobless Americans is set to expire.

Senate Republicans are cool on the president's demand for a payroll tax cut. The White House is cool to more money for testing and tracing and White House is pushing to tie education money to the re-opening of schools.

Senator Ted Cruz threw cold water on the looming proposal.


CRUZ: My message to my colleagues is simple. Stop spending money. As it's written right now, I'm not only a no, I'm a hell no.


ROMANS: Cruz's position underscores the difficulty Republican leaders and the White House have in common together around this proposal to serve as a starting point for negotiations with Democrats.

And, of course, Democrats, Laura, already passed their own $3 trillion plan.

JARRETT: Of course. Well, breaking overnight, a fire at a Chinese consulate in Houston. "Reuters" says the Chinese were served an eviction notice just days ago to leave by Friday. The fire caused by burning documents, according to police. This all happened after United States accused Chinese hackers ever trying to steal coronavirus vaccine research.

This is the second time in a week a foreign power is accused of looking for vulnerabilities that could be exploited. It's not clear if it was successful.

CNN's David Shortell has more now.



A significant prosecution announced by the Justice Department on Tuesday, two Chinese hackers accused of waging a decade long campaign with the support of the Chinese government targeting military and trade secrets of hundreds of businesses across the globe, including more recently, four American companies that were doing research into the coronavirus.

The indictments give us some details as to what one of the men, a 34- year-old named Li was doing. It was as far back as January that targeting a Massachusetts and Maryland company that recently announced they were doing research into a coronavirus vaccine.

As recently as May, Li was going after another California company that was developing coronavirus testing kits.

DAVID BOWDICH, FBI DEPUTY DIRECTOR: China is determined to use every means at its disposal, including the theft of intellectual property from U.S. companies, its laboratories and our universities to degrade the United States economic, technological and military advantage.

SHORTELL: The U.S. government has accused the Chinese and even Russians for months now of attempting to hack into our companies that were doing research into coronavirus, but these are the first federal charges against hackers for doing any type of this work and the most serious accusation to date.

Guys, I wouldn't hold your breath for an extradition anytime soon. The U.S. has levied similar charges against Chinese nationals in recent years. None of them have yet to see a U.S. courtroom -- Christine and Laura.


ROMANS: All right, David, thank you so much for that.

All right. These mask mandates have led to some violent encounter at stores nationwide, and actually threats to the workers of these stores. Now, one big retail chain says it won't force its employees to enforce the mask rules.



JARRETT: Still no timeline for public release of CDC's long awaited supplemental guidance for safely re-opening schools. No industrialized country has re-opened schools safely with the virus at the levels we are seeing here in the United States.

Recent studies suggest our youngest little ones may not spread the virus easily but kids over 10 years old can. Countries that were hit hard months ago like France, Belgium and United Kingdom largely contained the spread of the virus through lockdowns before bringing students back to classrooms. The U.S. curve continues to spike right now.

And even if schools do open, it's unclear how students will actually get there since safe distancing is not only possible on school buses and mass transit, Christine.

ROMANS: All right. There are angry shoppers so infuriated of being asked to wear a maverick in public, they threaten and harassed the front line workers in stores and restaurants. Because of those threats, home improvement giant Lowe's will not ask employees to enforce a new mask mandate. "The Charlotte Observer" reports Lowe's is concerned workers will be put at risk by confronting these angry customers.

Lowe's has been requiring employees to wear masks since May. Across the country, retail workers have been attacked for asking customers to wear a facemask and some customers have been, too.

JARRETT: Of course, well, Twitter launching a sweeping crackdown on the far-right conspiracy movement QAnon. The social media company says it's taking action on accounts that can, quote, lead to offline harm. NBC reports 7,000 accounts have been taken down so far.

QAnon is based on the bogus idea that President Trump is leading some secret battle against pedophile politicians and A-list celebrities.


Several GOP candidates, however, on the ballot this fall have expressed sympathy or support for the group.

ROMANS: President Trump pressured the U.S. ambassador to the U.K. to get golf's British Open move to Trump's Scotland resort. According to "The New York Times", the president asked Woody Johnson to see if the British government could help steer the major tournament to his course in 2018. Johnson raised the idea to no avail. The ambassador's deputy advised him not to do it, saying it would be an unethical use of the presidency. "The Times" says the deputy was later forced out by Johnson.

JARRETT: President Trump directed the federal government on Tuesday to stop counting undocumented immigrants when deciding how many House seats each state should have based on the 2020 census. The political impact of this move would be enormous with millions excluded but it's also almost certainly going to be challenged in court immediately. The Constitution requires congressional districts to be apportioned by total population, but the president's directive is just the latest effort to advance Trump's immigration agenda at a time when he's trying shore up his base heading into the November election.

ROMANS: All right. Dozens of NFL players test positive for coronavirus. What the league is going to protect players and fans.



JARRETT: A new lockdown in the Middle East threatening travel for a Muslim holiday and one of the first global hot spots now out of the storm.

CNN reporters are covering the pandemic around the world.


WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm Will Ripley in Hong Kong, where new drastic steps are being taken to try to stop what city officials call a third wave of COVID-19 that is on the verge of becoming a major outbreak in this densely-populated city. People now have to wear masks not only while riding transportation but in all indoor public places, as well as bus terminals. Also, people who are flying into Hong Kong from nine high-risk countries including the U.S. are required to submit negative COVID-19 tests before they can get on a flight.

SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm Sam Kiley in London where authorities are monitoring the evolution of this coronavirus across the world and particular, the evolution of second wave of infections. That has been seen already in Iran and now, Oman today has re-imposed a lockdown across the entire nation.

There had been lockdowns already in parts of the kingdom across different regions. But for first time following a recent increase in infections now totaling about 70,000 with about 400 deaths, Oman is imposing an overnight curfew from 7:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. in the morning, and banning all travel across the entire nation.


More cases of COVID-19 at U.S. military bases is adding to fears that servicemen could be spreading the virus among local residents. U.S. military personnel are exempt from local laws, including the disclosure of COVID-19 cases. But after a week of pressure from local authorities, the U.S. has now said it will disclose all cases among U.S. military bases in Japan, not just in Okinawa.

Last week, it confirmed clusters at two separate bases on the island of Okinawa and since then, other bases across the country have also reported outbreaks. Japan is asking the U.S. to test all incoming military personnel for COVID-19 regardless of whether they are showing symptoms or not.

BARBIE NADEAU, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Barbie Nadeau in Rome, Italy, where the country's health minister, Robert Esperanza, has just declared that Italy is, quote, out of the storm when it comes to the global pandemic. Now, Italy was the original epicenter for the pandemic outside of China, logging more than 244,000 positive cases and more than 35,000 deaths for this country of just 60 million people.

The health minister said it was due to the sacrifices made by the Italian people, which included a very, very strict lockdown and a continued adherence to social distancing, and requirement of face coverings inside all public places.


ROMANS: All right. Thanks to our team for those dispatches from around the world.

Are you ready for some football? If so, it looks like you're going to have to wait until September.

Coy Wire has more in the morning's "Bleacher Report".

Hey, Coy.

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Hey, good morning to you, Christine. After initially saying they would start on time, the NFL starting line keeps getting pushed back. According to multiple reports, the union has agreed to the league's proposal to cancel all pre-season games.

And training camp rosters, they're going to be cut from 90 players down to 80 to help social distancing concerns. That means 320 fewer guys will not get a chance to earn a spot at training camp. The NFLPA mean daily testing in major priority during negotiations, reporting that 59 players have already tested positive for coronavirus as of yesterday.

That includes Rams all-pro lineman Andrew Whitworth who revealed that he and his entire family tested positive for coronavirus last month. They were exposed by the nanny and it spread quickly to Whitworth, his wife Melissa, their four kids who are aged 5 to 9 years old. And Melissa's parents as well, her 66-year-old dad was hospitalized for five days.

Former NFL player-turned-doctor in the frontlines, Myron Rolle, told CNN's Brooke Baldwin that it might be time to call the season off. Listen.


DR. MYRON ROLLE, NEUROSURGEON/FORMER NFL PLAYER: I don't think they should be playing, no. I think that it's rather ambitious to do so. It's hard to social distance and physical distance, in the huddle, when you are in the trenches and battling an offensive line, when you're lifting weights in the weight room and you're sweating on the bench and somebody used it after you, sort of walk through these team meeting rooms, very difficult to do that in that kind of sport.

So, the NFL should pause, take a second to think about the players, place them at the premium and really delay the sport or cancel it for a year.


That's my opinion.


WIRE: Now, the regular season set to kick-off Thursday, September 10th with a Super Bowl champion hosting the Texans.

Let's go to baseball, where members of the Cincinnati Reds, including former National League MVP Joey Votto took a knee during the national anthem before their game last night. This comes one day after members of the Giants, including manager Gabe Kapler and Angels pitcher Keynan Middleton knelt in their respective exhibition games.

Yesterday, Kapler said he doesn't say the silent protest over racial injustice as disrespectful. Here he is.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) GABE KAPLER, SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS MANAGER: I see nothing more American than standing up for what you believe in. I see nothing more patriotic than peaceful protests, when things are frustrating and upsetting. What matters the most is that we're unwavering in trying to do what's right.


WIRE: Finally, here's our latest look inside the NBA's bubble in Orlando. The Black Lives Matter court for teams will be played being assembled. The season is set to resume one week from tomorrow, Laura.

And today is the first time we'll have some competition within that Disney bubble, four scrimmages being played starting with the Magic taking on the Clippers, but keeping an eye on the NFL and baseball where they are not playing in those bubbles like the NBA and some other leagues. It will be interesting to see that Whitworth story, how quickly that virus can spread within the team.

JARRETT: Yes. Obviously, health has got to be the first priority. But I know in my household is very excited about the return of the NBA, Coy. Nice to see you this morning. Thanks so much.

WIRE: You too.

JARRETT: All right. A quick programming note, Anderson Cooper and Dr. Sanjay Gupta with special guest Bill Gates will answer your question about the pandemic. The new global town hall "CORONAVIRUS: FACTS AND FEARS" tomorrow night at 8:00 p.m. Eastern, only on CNN.

We'll be right back.