Return to Transcripts main page
U.S. COVID Cases Up One Million in Two Weeks; Trump Cancels Florida Convention; China Shuts US Consulate In Chengdu; U.S. Unemployment Claims Up Again; Mediation Ordered Between Georgia Governor and Atlanta Mayor; Brazil's President to Retest for COVID-19 in Coming Days; Egypt Jailing Some Doctors Critical of COVID-19 Response; Police Miscalculation Led to Breonna Taylor's Tragic Death; Storm Expected to Approach Hawaiian Islands on Sunday. Aired 1-2a ET
Aired July 24, 2020 - 01:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: The U.S. president cancels his convention in Florida because it's not safe. But, at the same time, hey, it's all good for the kids to go back to school.
The great mask debate rages on in Georgia. An update on the governor's lawsuit with the mayor of Atlanta.
Hawaii under a state of emergency as Hurricane Douglas makes its way to the island. While two other storms head towards the U.S. We're live at the CNN Weather Center.
Hi, everyone. I'm John Vause. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM live from studio 7 at CNN's world headquarters in Atlanta.
Well, the first million cases took about three months. The next million came 43 days later. Another million cases after that were recorded in 28 days.
And now, the jump from three to four million confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the U.S. has taken just over two weeks.
A milestone coming as Florida and California each report their highest daily death tolls.
But despite that grim reality, President Trump still alone at the lectern in the White House briefing room to tell the nation this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You'll also see a lot of the country has no problem whatsoever, most of the country actually.
The country is in very good shape, other than if you look south and west. Some problems. That'll all work out.
And it goes away, and it goes away quickly.
(END VIDEO CLIP) VAUSE: CNN's Athena Jones reports now on the rapidly rising number of cases across the United States.
ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Four million infections nationwide. A grim milestone and perhaps the strongest signal yet the coronavirus is still raging out of control across much of the country.
Deaths nationwide topping 1,000 for the second straight day with total hospitalizations back up to April levels.
Fifteen states setting new records, half of them in the south.
The Center for Public Integrity reporting White House coronavirus task force coordinator, Dr. Deborah Birx, warning state and local leaders in a private phone call that a dozen major cities where positivity rates for COVID tests are rising must take aggressive steps to halt the virus spread.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. DEBORAH BIRX, WHITE HOUSE CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE COORDINATOR (voice- over): When you first see that increased test positivity, that is when to start the mitigation efforts.
I know it may look small, and you might say oh, that only went from five to five and-a-half and we're going to wait and see what happens.
If you wait another three or four, even five days, you'll start to see a dramatic increase in cases.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JONES: California and Florida both setting new records for deaths in a single day.
The mayor of Miami stressing the challenges of halting community spread when much of it is happening at home.
And offering this advice to residents.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAYOR FRANCIS SUAREZ (R-FL), MIAMI: If you have a multi-generational household, wear a mask indoors, at times, with your multi-generational residents. And also respecting social distance when they're at home.
Because, again, we're seeing the largest center of spread being our house.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JONES: In Alaska, one of 12 states that saw its highest seven-day average for new daily cases on Wednesday, the mayor of Anchorage rolling back reopening, placing new limits on indoor and outdoor gatherings.
And the governor announcing that, starting today, people in state buildings will be required to wear face masks when they cannot stay six feet away from others.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. MIKE DUNLEAVY (R-AK): We want to do everything we can, especially over the next two weeks, to see if we can kind of arrest this surge.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JONES: Meanwhile, school districts from Seattle to Maryland and universities like South Carolina's Clemson announcing plans to hold classes online in the fall.
In Arizona, Governor Doug Ducey still mulling whether to open schools, while facing pressure from parents and teachers.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We want to go back to work, we want to support our kids. We want to keep doing what we love doing. But we also want to feel safe. And we also have family to worry about.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JONES: And one more sign of the toll the coronavirus is taking on this country. Statisticians at the CDC now expect covid-19 to be among the top 10 causes of death in the nation this year.
Athena Jones. CNN, New York.
VAUSE: Joining me now from Austin, Texas, Dr. Emily Porter who specializes in emergency medicine.
And if I recall correctly, basic mathematics -- good to see you, Dr. Porter.
DR. EMILY PORTER, EMERGENCY PHYSICIAN, AUSTIN, TEXAS: I try. Thank you for having me, John.
VAUSE: It was up four months ago, right? You had this very simple, clear, laid out plan of what we needed to do and why we needed to flatten the curve.
Thanks to you, that actually happened.
But when we spoke at the end of March, the U.S. had, what, 42,000 confirmed cases, more than 500 dead. The curve was flattened.
I thought it would have been pretty obvious, though, that the next stage of that was to then lower the number of cases, not have it plateau and then explode sort of exponentially.
You have this letter now from 150 prominent medical experts, scientists, teachers, saying let's have a do-over, shut it all down again and let's try one more time.
So I want to ask you. Because you were 100 percent spot-on right four months ago.
Now we're in this hole, how do we dig our way out?
PORTER: First of all, you have to have everybody feel a little bit scared. I'm not a fearmonger, but if everybody says it's just a flu, if you have that whole "it doesn't kill anybody, masks are optional," and you allow too much choice, nobody's -- you've got to have everyone working together. Right?
So even when they shut everything down, shut everything down, I don't know about you but our sporting goods store was open. That doesn't sound like an essential business to me. But they sold guns so they could be open.
So there has to be, I think, across the board, at least across the state or across the country, a unified response. And people have to take it seriously.
And I will commend President Trump, he wore a mask a couple of times. He sounds like he might be changing his tune a little bit. Whether it's too late -- too little too late, I'm not sure.
But a whole re-do would just be devastating, but it might have to happen.
VAUSE: The soaring number of cases, it did not have to happen this way.
There was research from the University of Philadelphia which found that data revealed that --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
-- "if the United States had collectively waited longer, opened more slowly, then kept our gathering sizes small, we might have reduced case counts like Europe or Canada and experience a relatively normal summer."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
In many places, health care workers have been running at a sprint since this outbreak began. The strain isn't letting up. Eventually, something's got to give, right?
PORTER: Absolutely. And we didn't follow -- I don't believe there's one state that actually followed the CDC recommendations, not one.
They had very -- I know they were -- you had to have a decrease in number of cases, every single day for 14 straight days. If you had one day where your number of cases went up then you were supposed to start all over again.
To my knowledge, not one state actually had that before they opened, certainly not where I am.
I applaud the states that they've managed to keep it down.
But if you look at New York, they all got scared. Because I think it was a lot more real for people in New York. I think living in Texas or living in Wyoming, you just watch things on TV kind of like you watch a scary movie and you know it's not real.
Unless you've been affected by this personally, I think it's very hard for people to take it seriously. At least in this country where we're are all about our freedom.
VAUSE: Yes. There was that golden period where everything was happening in New York and managed to -- the rest of the country got prepared for what was to come. And that's why the fatality rates have fallen compared to New York.
But I'd like you to listen to the assessment of the state of the country right now from the president, Donald Trump.
Here he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: A lot of the country has no problem whatsoever. Most of the country, actually.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: So the president is either lying or ignorant. But how does that sit with health care workers who have been dealing with this pandemic every day?
PORTER: I think that by "most of the country," the only hope I can see is that maybe he means geographically.
Wyoming is a ginormous state, there's a lot of wide-open space in the Midwest. But you go to any city -- and find me a city where things are doing amazing. With the exception, maybe the ones that got hit hard early, they have a little more immunity.
95 percent off Democrats are wearing masks, something like 70 percent of Republicans are wearing masks and think they're a good idea. And he just canceled his own Republican National Convention in Florida.
So if he really thought that the whole country was doing great, or most of the country, why wouldn't he just move it to another place?
I think he knows, I think we all know. We're not doing great.
VAUSE: Yes. Last time I heard, you have an eight-year-old at home and she has a pretty high fever. So firstly, how's she doing?
PORTER: She's --
VAUSE: And where's your head at when it comes to reopening schools?
PORTER: So we were ready, we had three weeks, we were good to go. My school put out a plan, I thought it was a very conservative plan. We all felt very comfortable with it.
And then my daughter got a fever, almost 104. I came home from work yesterday, she had a fever. And I kind of panicked.
Normally, I try not to doctor to my kids, but we say, "Oh, let's wait it out a couple of days and see how it goes."
She didn't complain of anything she just had this high fever. Nobody else is sick. She literally has not left the house other than go to the dentist and the orthodontist.
And all of a sudden, I'm panicking. "What if she has it, what if we gave it to her? Oh, my God. Do we need to not go to work, what do we do, what we do?"
And I went and got her tested, and it was the most harrowing 24 hours, I think, of my life as a mother.
She tested negative. I got the results back in an hour. But I recognize the privilege that I had. That I could go into Austin Emergency Center where I know -- where I used to work, and get a test.
I paid cash for because I didn't want a medical record, I didn't want it to be tied to her insurance potentially, as a pre-existing condition if she tested positive.
VAUSE: And right now, how is she feeling?
PORTER: She feels like a million bucks. And now I feel stupid, I wish I would have waited. I came home from tonight and she's bouncing off the walls.
VAUSE: I can just see it, Dr. Porter. Thank you so much. And I'm glad your little girl's feeling better.
PORTER: Thank you for having me, John.
VAUSE: Well, a sudden about-face from President Trump canceling the Republican National Convention in Florida.
A month ago, Trump yanked the event from North Carolina because the governor refused to guarantee a mask-free event.
Donald Trump wanted a spectacle of an indoor stadium filled with cheering and excited supporters. Now, though, the president says it's not the right time.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) TRUMP: I just felt it was wrong, Steve, to have people going to what turned out to be a hot spot.
When we chose it, it was not at all hot, it was free. And all of a sudden it happened quickly, it happens quickly.
And it goes away, and it goes away quickly.
The key is we want to go away without a lot of death.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Again, a major reversal from a president who just -- remember this a few weeks ago -- held a campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma while cases were surging.
Social distancing and masks, not required.
Well, the presumptive democratic presidential nominee, Joe Biden, is holding a wide lead over Donald Trump among Florida voters.
According to a new Quinnipiac poll, Biden has a 20-point lead over the president when it comes to who is most trusted to handle the coronavirus outbreak.
Earlier, I spoke with CNN's senior political analyst, Ron Brownstein, about the president's strategy ahead of the November election.
RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: In 2012, when Barack Obama ran for reelection, one percent of the people who strongly disapproved of his performance voted for him against Mitt Romney.
In '04, Bush got two percent of the strong disapprovers.
And in the ABC "Washington Post" poll a couple of days ago, Trump was losing 94 to 1 among people who strongly disapprove.
There's only so far he can go in shifting the focus to Biden, no matter what argument he makes.
Really, the only he gets back in the race is if people conclude -- change their view of the way he's handling the presidency, particularly on the virus.
VAUSE: I just want to this really head-scratching boast that we keep hearing from the president about acing a test, which was actually meant to be easy, and it's designed to screen for mental impairment.
Here he is on "Fox News."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: The first questions are very easy, the last questions are much more difficult. Like a memory question.
it's like you'll go "person, woman, man, camera, TV." But then when you go back about 20, 25 minutes later, and they say, "Go back to that" -- they don't tell you this -- "go back to that question, and repeat them. Can you do it?"
And you go "Person, woman, man, camera, TV." They say, "That's amazing. How did you do that?"
I do it because I have like a good memory, because I'm cognitively there.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: I'm kind of lost for words. What do you say about that?
BROWNSTEIN: Well, we're kind of in Mary Trump territory at this point.
BROWNSTEIN: When the president's insecure -- the insecurities, the need to constantly have people at the cabinet table in a kind of North Korean style, a forced meeting where they're all telling him how great he is or saying how much he understands, doctors are shocked by how much he understands.
We're talking about a man who has sort of a bottomless level of insecurity in some way.
Now politically, obviously what he's trying to do is create the -- they want to argue that Joe Biden is no longer up to the job.
But the president's own ramblings and kind of digressions and nonsensical statements and talking about bleach and ultraviolet light shining inside of people -- there was a poll this week that had -- said more people thought, more Americans thought that Biden was capable of doing the job cognitively than Trump.
VAUSE: Ron Brownstein there.
Well, on to tensions now between Beijing and Washington which have just reached a new peak.
China ordering a consulate -- the closure, rather, of the U.S. consulate in Chengdu.
This is a reciprocal measure just days after the Trump Administration ordered the Chinese consulate in Houston, Texas to shut down.
U.S. Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo says China has taken advantage of U.S. for far too long. It's time for the relationship to change.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MIKE POMPEO, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: We have to admit a hard truth, we must admit a truth that should guide us in the years and decades to come.
That if we want to have a free 21st century, and not the Chinese century of which Xi Jinping dreams, the old paradigm of blind engagement with China simply won't get it done.
We must not continue it. We must not return to it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: CNN's Kristie Lu Stout following this for us live from Hong Kong.
I may have this wrong, but I think there's, what, seven consulates on Mainland China that they could have chosen from, Shanghai being the biggest. And the Wuhan one which is already empty, being the smallest and the one of least consequence.
They've kind of gone for a middle one here. So why Chengdu and what's the message that this sends?
KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It was interesting because it was a couple days ago when the "Global Times" newspaper had a poll up on its Twitter feed -- this is the nationalist newspaper of China -- asking the question, "Which U.S. consulate should be shut down in retaliation?"
And Hong Kong was at the top of that list. But ultimately, it's Chengdu.
Now China, for days now, has vowed to retaliate over the announced closure of the Chinese consulate in Houston and other U.S. actions. It has done just that, with China telling the United States to shut down its consulate in Chengdu.
Now we learned this via the website of the ministry of foreign affairs.
We'll bring up the statement for you, it's translated from Chinese.
In it, it says quite clearly:
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
"On the morning of July 21st -- 24th, the ministry of foreign affairs in China informed the U.S. embassy in China of its decision to withdraw its consent for the establishment and operation of the U.S. consulate general in Chengdu.
The ministry also made specific requirements on the ceasing of all operations and events by the consulate general."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STOUT: Again, John, this was expected. On Wednesday, Beijing vowed to retaliate. State media, for days now, has been making the suggestion that an American consulate in China should be shut down.
We had Hu Xijin, the editor-in-chief of the "Global Times" overnight saying that he had intelligence that the announcement would be made today. It was made today.
And there was that report out from the "South China Morning Post" earlier in the week that suggested that the U.S. consulate in Chengdu would be shut down because of its strategic value, because of its proximity to Tibet.
Now all this is happening on the back of that fiery speech given by the U.S. Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, in which he slammed China and also slammed the U.S. policy of engagement in China.
He called for the United States and its allies to come up with more creative and more assertive ways to bring the Chinese Communist Party in line, to make the CCP change its ways.
And now, all eyes are going to be how the U.S. is going to respond. Now that China has ordered the U.S. consulate in Chengdu to shut down.
And, also, what's going to happen to the Chinese consulate in Houston?
Because overnight, we learned through an interview on "Politico," the Chinese consul general speaking to "Politico" saying that the outpost there may very well defy the order to shut down and remain open, quote "until further notice."
So a lot to still watch in this ever-unfolding story. John.
VAUSE: We are deep into "what if" territory right now. What if they don't close, what if they don't leave? What if the Americans don't close?
The interesting thing about the Houston consulate for the Chinese, it was the first consulate that they opened in the U.S. outside of the embassy in Washington.
So it has a lot of significance there.
VAUSE: Something which will not go unnoticed by China.
But, at the end of the day, if we keep going tit-for-tat, tit-for-tat, tit-for-tat, where does this end up?
And is anyone here talking about an off ramp, about trying to tone down the relations at the moment?
STOUT: Yes. That's the fear right now. We are in a pattern of escalation and escalation.
It's something that's been described as a New Cold War between the U.S. and China. Not an ideological cold war but just an ongoing battle being fought on multiple fronts.
You have human rights abuses of Xinjiang, autonomy in Hong Kong, assertions of sovereignty in South China Sea. The trade war, the tech war. The origins of the coronavirus. What's going to happen to Chinese Communist Party members and their ability to be able to travel in the United States if there's going to be a visa ban on them? Cyberspace, cyber espionage.
The list goes on and on.
As for a diplomatic off-ramp, last week U.S. President Donald Trump was asked is he is talking to Xi Jinping, a leader who he has called and referred to on the record as a "friend," he said no, they're not talking nor do they have any plans to. John.
VAUSE: Yes. It has to be noted that this is an election year in the United States. And China is often a straw man, especially for Republican candidates running for president.
George W. Bush did it back in 2000. We've heard this sort of stuff before.
But, I guess at this point, the trick here is sort of separating what is the election politics here, and what are the real areas of dispute?
And I guess that's where, if we could work out where that is heading, that's when we get an idea of what the real issues are.
STOUT: Yes. Absolutely. Because there are real issues, points of contention. But there is politics at play here.
For weeks now, the U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has been issuing, on an almost daily basis, strong statements against China.
It all culminated in that fiery speech that he gave at the Nixon presidential library overnight when he slammed China, slammed American policy on China up to now.
And we should expect to hear more such talk, especially as the U.S. presidential election nears. The tough on China theme has been and will likely loom very large.
How China responds here will be very significant.
Because inside China, there is pressure from nationalists to hit back hard. But then, there's also the calculation that needs to be made that China does not need to hit back too hard, otherwise it just plays into the hands of Donald Trump and his bid for reelection. John.
VAUSE: Yes. This is certainly entering new territory. Stuff that we have never really seen before between these two countries. Things have been tense, but not like this.
Kristie, thank you.
VAUSE: Kristie Lu Stout, live for us in Hong Kong. We'll take a short break with that.
We'll come back with a formal investigation underway into the federal law enforcement troops in Portland, Oregon who have been clashing with protesters. That's ahead.
VAUSE: Well, the U.S. economy is showing some troubling signs, once again, as Republican senators argue with the White House over details of a new stimulus plan.
Unemployment claims are up for the first time in nearly four months, 1.4 million Americans applied for first-time unemployment benefits last week.
For more, let's go to CNN's Eleni Giokis joining us live with some details on not just these unemployment claims -- because that's sort of the bellwether, I guess, that we've been keeping an eye on as far as the health of the U.S. consumer and the U.S. economy -- but you can't escape talking about the scope and the spread of the pandemic which is surging.
Now we have these bad unemployment numbers heading in the wrong direction.
And these two factors seem to be feeding into each other in a big way.
ELENI GIOKIS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely. There's a direct correlation, and it really came through in the latest initial claims that we saw.
If I look at the numbers very closely, California had almost 300,000 initial claims, followed by the likes of Florida, as well as Georgia, both hitting over 100,000.
The overall number, you said 1.4 million Americans filing for initial claims.
Now this is really interesting. Because, firstly, it wasn't anticipated by the market, they thought that it was going to be far better.
And secondly, it breaks a kind of drop in the initial claims for the past four months, as you mentioned.
This is really important.
It's sobering. It's a reality check, about the health of the U.S. consumer. And the fact that the pandemic is still very much impacting the economy.
Now when you start to see a rise in coronavirus cases, it means that the U.S. economy can't return to normal economic activity. It also means that businesses are now reticent to reopen, some even thinking of shutting down again. Now another number that is really pivotal is the continuing claims. And that has been important to watch.
It is about whether it has dropped over the past week, but it still means that 16 million (ph) Americans are filing for initial -- for continuing claims over the past two weeks.
That is an interesting number. I want you to take a quick look, John, at this graph.
It shows just the spike in initial claims that came through in the month of April, hitting almost 6 million. And then you start to see a steady decline over the past few months, and that is the difficult thing.
I want you to also take a look at how the stimulus plan is going to impact this scenario over the next few weeks.
VAUSE: Yes. There's a lot of concern among Democrats and others that when that unemployment number came down so quickly, that the Republicans would move to cut back the benefits.
And maybe now, everything's back on the table.
Eleni, thanks so much. We appreciate it.
VAUSE: Be well. And please stay with us for a CNN Global Town Hall, "CORONAVIRUS FACTS AND FEARS." Hosted by Anderson Cooper and Dr. Sanjay Gupta. With special guest, Microsoft's Bill Gates.
It replays less than an hour from now. That's 7:00 a.m. in London, 2:00 p.m. in Hong Kong. Only here on CNN.
The U.S. justice department's independent watchdog says it will investigate how federal troops have been using force against protesters in both Oregon, and the capital Washington D.C.
The fact that those federal troops are even policing American citizens has sparked outrage across the country.
Here's CNN's David Shortell explaining what's coming next.
DAVID SHORTELL, CNN CRIME & JUSTICE PRODUCER: Two violent crackdowns against protesters now under scrutiny by federal government inspectors.
The justice department inspector general announcing on Thursday that he will be opening an investigation into the use of excessive force by federal officers in Washington D.C., and Portland, Oregon. Those two American cities, really the site of some shocking violence as Americans have taken to the street in recent weeks to demonstrate against police brutality.
You will remember in June it was Attorney General William Barr who ordered a group of federal law enforcement officers to disperse a crowd of peaceful protesters who had gathered outside the White House.
That, of course, preceding President Donald Trump's infamous walk across Lafayette Park and to a church nearby that had been vandalized by protesters for a photo opportunity.
Now the justice department inspector general saying he will be specifically reviewing the training and the instructions that those federal officers got before that incident.
At the same time, the justice department and homeland security inspectors general announcing on Thursday that they'll be reviewing the use of force by federal officers in Portland. A city on America's west coast were rioters have clashed nightly for the past several weeks with federal law enforcement that have been dispatched there, to defend a group of federal buildings that have come under siege by some of these protesters.
There have been some harrowing scenes captured on video that have gone viral from Portland, and really galvanized outcry from the public.
But also from key law enforcement leaders and congressional Democrats who urged these inspectors general to step in.
In one of those instances, a group of U.S. marshals beating and pepper-spraying a protester who they say refused to move back from them.
Another incident shows federal officers dragging a protester into an unmarked police van for questioning.
Now those questionable tactics under review by these two federal inspectors general.
David Shortell. CNN, West Hartford, Connecticut.
VAUSE: We'll take a short break.
When we come back, already overwhelmed by the coronavirus, doctors in Egypt are facing jail time from a government highly sensitive to any criticism.
VAUSE: Welcome back, everybody.
You're watching CNN NEWSROOM.
I'm John Vause.
The U.S. now has more than four million confirmed coronavirus cases, a million new cases in just the past 15 days. With the pandemic seemingly out of control, the CDC has issued guidelines recommending schools to reopen. President Trump has requested Congress to provide $105 billion to reopen the schools.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The data shows the children are lower risk from the China virus very substantially. When children do contact the virus, they often have only very mild symptoms or none at all. And medical complications are exceedingly rare. Those that do face complications, often have underlying medical conditions.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Turning now to the legal dispute between the Georgia governor and the mayor of Atlanta over coronavirus restrictions. Governor Brian Kemp is suing Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms to stop her from issuing a mandate to wear masks. A judge has now ordered the two attend mediation next week before a scheduled hearing.
Bottoms says they're working to iron out their disagreements. Amid this dispute, Georgia's cases are soaring.
Here's CNN's Nick Valencia.
NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: If Georgians still had any doubt about the worsening pandemic in the state, recent COVID-19 numbers are reason to worry. New daily cases have doubled and hospitalizations tripled in the last month alone.
DR. KATHLEEN TOOMEY, GEORGIA DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH: We are seeing an increase in COVID in communities throughout the state.
VALENCIA: Georgia is shattering single-day records with around 3,000 new cases reported almost every day in the last week. But the state's leaders have turned to bickering and finger-pointing amid the growing crisis.
GOVERNOR BRIAN KEMP (R), GEORGIA: If you look at when I started, I think there are several reasons for that.
Number one was the demonstrations. Number two, because of the demonstrations that sent a message to people that hey, it's all right to get out again.
MAYOR VAN JOHNSON (D), SAVANNAH, GEORGIA: I think the problem is here is that Georgia has been acting somewhat psychotic.
VALENCIA: In April, when state health officials believed numbers had plateaued and Georgia became one of the first states to reopen, public health experts warned the consequences could be dire. On May 21st, nearly one month after reopening the state, Governor Brian Kemp was cautiously optimistic.
KEMP: I am proud of what we accomplished over the last several weeks. But we cannot rest on our laurels.
VALENCIA: In the two months since that press conference, things have only gotten worse.
DR. THOMAS TSAI, HARVARD T.H. CHAN SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH: It's this perfect storm of factors of under testing, early reopening, and a lack of enforcement of masking and physical distancing policies has really compounded the pandemic that's playing out in Georgia.
VALENCIA: Harvard professor Dr. Thomas Tsai says the way in which Georgia's state health officials interpreted data may have given a false sense of confidence, poorly informing policy decisions like reopening earlier than recommended.
Georgia's health department backdated its numbers of new COVID cases to the onset of symptoms. The Georgia Department of Health defended the practice to CNN, calling it "the traditional way to look at data during an outbreak", adding that "Georgia has been reporting this data the same way since the beginning of the pandemic."
"While it says less about when infections are occurring, presenting data by date of report is important to have the most current understanding of the case burden we are facing each day.
But Harvard researchers say backdating the cases created unforced errors and painted a rosier picture than reality.
DR. TSAI: So essentially, results potentially in a decline of cases in every single week because the positive cases keep getting backdated to when the symptoms first began.
VALENCIA: CNN asked Governor Kemp to respond to questions of mistakes made in the early decision making. Kemp declined an interview.
As for how things stand now, Kemp's office admitted that current graphs do not look complimentary. They asked for any further questions to be directed to the Department of Public Health.
Tuesday night, Governor Kemp launched a new campaign encouraging Georgians to wear masks. But public health experts warn, it may take more than that.
DR. TSAI: You basically need to go back to flattening the curve and getting our arms around the pandemic which includes wearing masks, following the best guidelines around physical distancing, and in cases where the pandemic is getting out of control, a local shutdown.
Nick Valencia, CNN -- Atlanta.
(END VIDEOTAPE) [01:34:58]
VAUSE: It might be third time lucky for Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who plans on taking yet another coronavirus test in the coming days. He has been working in semi-isolation since testing positive a few weeks ago. This comes as health officials report nearly 60,000 new infections on Thursday.
CNN's Shasta Darlington reports now from Sao Paulo.
SHASTA DARLINGTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Brazil reported another big spike in daily COVID-19 cases on Thursday. Almost 60,000 new infections and more than 1,300 additional deaths. This, a day after the interim health minister declared the virus seem to be under control with what he called an effective response preventing a collapse in the health system.
But while the rate of infection appears to have plateaued in big urban centers like Sao Paulo, the virus continues to spread in smaller cities and towns in Brazil's south and inland with the total number of cases nearing 2.3 million. In the three southernmost states, the number of infections has tripled in the last month.
Meanwhile, a new study led by researchers in Brazil found that the use of a controversial malaria drug touted by President Jair Bolsonaro does not help COVID-19 patients. According to the study published in the "New England Journal of Medicine", hydroxychloroquine did not improve the conditions of hospitalized patients with mild to moderate COVID-19.
Shasta Darlington, CNN -- Sao Paulo.
VAUSE: Protesters in Israel are focusing their angry on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, not just over his handling of the pandemic but also alleged corruption.
Scuffles broke out as demonstrators gathered near his residence in Jerusalem. Several were arrested. Police used water cannons to disperse the crowds.
Mr. Netanyahu went on trial back in May for bribery, fraud and breach of trust and denies any wrongdoing.
To South Africa now which now has the fifth highest number of coronavirus cases in the world. They passed the 400,000 mark on Thursday. The death toll stands at more than 6,000.
And this is what a funeral looks like. Mourners staying in their cars. South Africa accounts for half of all cases on the continent.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CYRIL RAMAPHOSA, SOUTH AFRICAN PRESIDENT: South Africa now has the fifth highest number of confirmed corona cases in the whole world. And currently accounts for half of all cases on our beloved continent of Africa. The coronavirus storm has indeed arrived as we said it would.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Doctors in Egypt have been jailed for publicly criticizing their government's pandemic response. This comes as Egypt marks more than 90,000 cases of the coronavirus.
Senior international correspondent Ben Wedeman joins us now live for more on this.
And you know, I guess this is not really a surprise when you think about Egypt's track record when it comes to criticism of the government in any form.
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: No. Certainly with the regime of Abdel Fattah al Sisi, the President of Egypt since several years ago, the track record is that all voices of dissent will be crushed. And it is particularly difficult for doctors who are struggling to deal with this virus, then to turn around whenever they voice any sort of criticism of the government to deal with the heavy hand of that country's pervasive security services.
WEDEMAN: The message from the Egyptian army is clear. The military has mobilized its considerable resources to fight the scourge of coronavirus providing citizens with state-of-the-art facilities and treatment.
Pull back the curtain however and it is a different picture.
A doctor appeals online for donations of masks. More than 120 Egyptian physicians have died from coronavirus, according to the general syndicate of Egyptian doctors.
But those who speak out pay a price. According to the doctors' syndicate at least six doctors and one pharmacist have been arrested for criticizing the government's efforts. Accused by state security of being members of a terrorist organization, spreading false news, and misusing social media.
A representative of the syndicate, who asked not be named for fear of retaliation, told CNN detention for those arrested is being renewed every 15 days, then another 15 days, then another 15 days.
WEDEMAN: In a statement, the syndicate said the arrests are spreading frustration and fear amongst its members. For doctors, it is a stark choice, says Amnesty International's Egypt researcher.
HUSSER MAGDI, AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL: And for them, it's either going there risking death, risking contracting the disease and deaths, or to risk jail if they speak about what the situation that they're faced with.
WEDEMAN: Officials in Cairo didn't respond to CNN's request for comment.
Egypt has reported around 90,000 cases of coronavirus, and almost 4,500 deaths. Yet the pandemic has inspired private initiatives to help those in need.
Basma Mustafa (ph) prepares meals for people with mild cases of COVID- 19, self-isolating at home. She started a Facebook group to organize a network to make and distribute meals throughout the twin cities of Cairo and Giza, with a combined population of around 20 million.
The response to her call for volunteers, she recalls, was an explosion.
"The explosion happened", she says, "because at the time, everyone felt they were alone. That if they got coronavirus, they'd have to confront it alone."
Before the meals are picked up for delivery, she writes a message on each. "Made with love. We're with you. We love you."
WEDEMAN: And of course, in that report, we cited a certain number of medical personnel who have been arrested. The actual number is indeed more. Those were the only ones we could confirm.
And in addition to that, other doctors who have spoken out have been reprimanded, have been questioned by the security services, and in many cases, have been transferred far away from their homes and their families, John.
VAUSE: What a way to treat the heroes on the front line. Ben, thank you. Ben Wedeman there with our report from Egypt, reporting, of course, live from Beirut. Appreciate it, Ben. Thank you.
Well, charges are yet to be filed in the officer-involved shooting of Breonna Taylor but coming up CNN investigation reveals where the police operation went wrong and ended with her death.
VAUSE: U.S. civil rights leader, Reverend C.T. Vivian was buried in Atlanta on Thursday. Reverend Vivian died last week after spending almost all of his 95 years fighting racism.
He was there for the Freedom Rides. He worked alongside Martin Luther King Jr. In 2013, President Barack Obama awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom, America's highest civilian honor.
And the body of the beloved civil rights icon, John Lewis will lie in state beginning next week. He will be in the Capitol Rotunda from Monday afternoon.
VAUSE: A celebration of life service will be held at the famed Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta on Thursday. The longtime Georgia congressman passed away last Friday after battling cancer. He was 80 years old.
Kentucky's attorney general is expected to announce any day now whether he will seek charges against police officers involved in the shooting death of Breonna Taylor.
Louisville police officers bashed down Breonna Taylor's door. She died in a hail of gunfire.
As CNN's senior investigative correspondent Drew Griffin explains, the operation was seriously flawed.
DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: For Breonna Taylor's family, the entire tragic story boils down to one question. Why were police breaking down her door in the middle of the night?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They should have never been there in the first place. It should have never happened.
GRIFFIN: A CNN analysis finds key miscalculations including using months' old information led Louisville police to include Breonna Taylor in a high-risk operation targeting drug houses. Some facts are in dispute, these are not.
Police raided Taylor's apartment under the suspicion she was involved with handling money and drugs for an alleged Louisville drug dealer, her ex-boyfriend Jamarcus Glover (ph).
When it was all over, police found no drugs, no money in her apartment. Taylor, a 26-year-old emergency room technician, who worked two jobs, who had never been convicted of a crime, was dead shot five times by police.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: 9-1-1 operator here, what is your emergency?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know what happened, somebody kicked in the door and shot my girlfriend.
GRIFFIN: To understand how this tragedy unfolded that night, you have to come her to the door where it began just before 1:00 a.m. March 13th. Officers for the Louisville police department arrive with a no- knock warrant but say they did knock anyway. Sergeant John Mattingly recorded in this police interview admits he had limited information.
SERGEANT JOHN MATTINGLY, LOUISVILLE POLICE DEPARTMENT: They said she was probably there alone. So se had determined, pre-determined to give her plenty of time to come to the door. We banged on the door, no response. Banged on it again, no response. At that point, we started to announce ourselves, police, please come to the door. Police, we have a search warrant.
GRIFFIN: Inside Breonna Taylor was not alone, she had just dozed off next to her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker. Walker telling police the knocking, banging at the door scared them thinking it could be Taylor's ex-boyfriend breaking in.
KENNETH WALKER, BREONNA TAYLOR'S BOYFRIEND: She was like, who is it, loud at the top of her lungs. No response. I'm like, what the heck? So I grabbed my gun which is legal, I'm licensed to carry, everything, I've never even fired my gun it outside of a range. I'm scared to death.
GRIFFIN: Walker says he never heard anyone say police, neither did multiple neighbors who spoke with CNN including a neighbor whose door is just inches away. What they heard was shouting, banging, gunshots.
WALKER: The door like comes like off the hinges. So I just let out one shot. Then, all of a sudden, there's a whole lot of shots. They were just shooting, like we're both on the ground, and then when all the shots stopped, I'm panicking, she's right there, on the ground like bleeding.
GRIFFIN: Walker said he purposely aimed his gun towards the ground. Sergeant John Mattingly was struck in the leg and was one of three officers who returned fire.
MATTINGLY: As soon as the shot hit, I could feel the heat in my leg, and so I just returned fire. I got four rounds off. It was like simultaneous -- boom, boom, boom, boom.
Mattingly is on administrative reassignment, along with a second officer who fired shots that night, Miles Cosgrove. The third police officer to fire his weapon, Detective Brett Hankison (ph), was standing outside, and fired 10 rounds through a closed and curtained patio door. He has been fired, is appealing.
But according to Louisville's police chief, his blind shooting the displayed an extreme indifference to the value of human life, which his lawyers deny.
RENEE PRUITT, NEIGHBOR: I mean I was asleep and I woke up to gunshots. And it scared me as soon as I woke up and they were just going off.
GRIFFIN: The gunshots, whizzed through walls, windows. Bullet holes were found everywhere. In the kitchen, bedrooms, in a neighbor's apartment with small children nearby.
Multiple neighbors called 9-1-1 asking for police only finding out later, it was the police. One of the neighbors recorded this video of Taylor's boyfriend being arrested while pleading with police to help his girlfriend bleeding inside.
All charges against the boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, would be dropped.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You can tell it was brutal. GRIFFIN: Breonna Taylor's sister, Juniyah (ph) who police apparently
did not know was also lived in the apartment, was out of town that night returning to find her bedroom covered in bullets and a pool of her sister's blood.
JUNIYAH PALMER, BREONNA TAYLOR'S SISTER: When we had to clean up, if I could show you what it looked like in their, you would be like, wow, that is very horrific.
GRIFFIN: Attorneys for Breonna Taylor's family say the police mistakes began well before they knocked down her door.
LONITA BAKER, ATTORNEY FOR TAYLOR'S FAMILY: Sloppy intelligence, getting a no-knock warrant when it was not necessary to have a no- knock warrant.
GRIFFIN: Police got five warrants approved, four were for suspected drug dealers and suspected drug houses, lumped into that with similar language was the warrant for Breonna Taylor's apartment.
According to a source, police told the judge Taylor was Jamarcus Glover's current girlfriend and the warrant suggests Glover was having drugs delivered to Taylor's apartment by mail to be shuttled to the crack houses.
Her family says the information police had on Taylor was outdated or incorrect. She hadn't dated Glover in months. A package police say they saw Glover picking up at Taylor's apartment was likely a pair of shoes, according to the family attorney. And despite what officers were told before the raid, Breonna Taylor certainly did not live alone.
The family lawsuit against police summed it up as "the incredibly stale nature of this intelligence".
BIANCA AUSTIN, BREONNA TAYLOR'S AUNT: We just want the truth to come out. We don't want to rush anything, and we know it's complicated.
GRIFFIN: Circuit court Judge Mary Shaw who signed the warrants tells CNN in a statement she spent more than 30 minutes considering the warrant application and "subsequently made the probable cause determination required of me by law. Breonna Taylor's death was a tragedy," the judge told CNN. "Her death will stay with me forever."
Taylor's family wants more than sympathy and understanding, they want police officers charged with murder.
I'm sure your attorneys have told you that is hard to do in the United States.
AUSTIN: We don't expect it to be easy. We don't expect the truth to be easy to know (ph) because it's not easy to us. But we know the truth, and we're willing, we are, we are going to fight this to the end. You know what I mean. So I mean she's just Breonna Taylor to you all, but this is our family, to us. This is our baby. And she's going to get the justice she deserves.
GRIFFIN: Of the three officers involved in the shooting that night, only one has responded to CNN's request for comment. Sergeant John Mattingly, through his attorney, says that he was not involved in the planning, was just following orders, and at all times, followed established police procedures.
Louisville remains on edge, waiting to see if any of those officers will be charged in Breonna Taylor's death.
Drew Griffin, CNN -- Atlanta.
VAUSE: With that we'll take a short break. You are watching CNN.
Back in a moment.
VAUSE: Hawaii has declared an emergency ahead of Hurricane Douglas on its current path. The Category 4 storm, expected to pass over or close to the islands on Sunday, maybe Monday.
Let's bring in meteorologist Derek Van Dam. The question now Derek, how fast will weaken. Does it arrive as a tropical storm or will as a hurricane? One is bad, the other is worse.
DEREK VAN DAM, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes. Exactly, John.
Well, we anticipate this to be of hurricane strength by the time that it reaches the Hawaiian Islands. By the end of the weekend, not something you want to hear if you're on the big island or Maui.
And this is definitely not a graphic you want to see. This is a well- defined major hurricane that is racing across the Central Pacific. And it's got its eye set on Hawaii right now.
VAN DAM: This is the latest from the National Hurricane Center, 215 kilometer per hour sustained winds, equivalent to a category 4 Atlantic hurricane. So this is a powerful, what we call a buzz saw, hurricane with some of that outer edges of that satellite imagery replicating a buzz saw.
But this forecast path brings it over the entire state of Hawaii -- again that's for the end of the weekend, local time. And this storm is going to encounter some challenges. So we do anticipate it to weaken, but it will still be a formidable storm by the time it reaches Maui and the Big Island.
And to make matters worse, we've got an active Atlantic hurricane season taking place on the other side of the U.S. This is the central Gulf of Mexico, and this is, by the way, the earliest 8th named storm in recorded history for the Atlantic basin.
And this is just incredible how busy we have been. The previous record was hurricane Harvey which, you recall, brought so much rainfall and devastation to south Texas and guess where this storm is headed? Southern Texas, just south of the Houston region, including Corpus Christie the National Weather Service has hoisted tropical storm warnings.
Now aside from the strong and gusty winds that this will bring to the region, it's the heavy rainfall that will be the major concern, localized flash flooding with rainfall accumulations here potentially exceeding 150 millimeters through the better part of the weekend.
We also have tropical storm Gonzalo, this is barreling towards the Winward Islands, that will start to impact the region by Saturday and potentially bring hurricane-force winds by Saturday.
And then to make matters worse, we just show you how active it's actually being across the east coast of Africa. We have several tropical waves that are moving offshore. These are storms that we're going to monitor as they progress across the Atlantic Ocean and bring up to a 30 percent chance of development throughout that main development region that we look for for tropical storms and cyclones (INAUDIBLE).
Here's a look at this Atlantic hurricane season chart. And any green, you see on these naming charts that we have are actual records that have been set for the earliest named storm for that particular letter. So can see G, and now Hannah, being the eight named earliest storm.
John, very active.
VAUSE: Very active and heading straight into pandemic territory. That's just what they need.
VAN DAM: Yes. There's a hurricane on top of that.
VAUSE: Yes, absolutely.
VAN DAM: All right.
VAUSE: Thanks, Derek. Appreciate it.
And thank you. Appreciate you watching CNN NEWSROOM.
I'm John Vause.
Stay with us. CNN's "GLOBAL TOWN HALL: CORONAVIRUS FACTS AND FEARS" is up next.