Return to Transcripts main page


Brazil Sets Two Daily Records for COVID Cases This Week; COVID- 19 Takes a Toll on Mexican Border Communities; Face Masks Now Mandatory in Shops Across England; Watchdog Group to Investigate Federal Force in U.S. Cities; Israelis Angry Over Prime Minister Netanyahu's COVID-19 Handling. Aired 4:30-5a ET

Aired July 24, 2020 - 04:30   ET



KIM BRUNHUBER, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back to our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm Kim Brunhuber, and you're watching CNN NEWSROOM. I appreciate your time.

Well, it's proving to be another bad week for Brazil as it sets daily records in coronavirus cases. Health officials Thursday reported almost 60,000 new infections. That's second only to Wednesday where they recorded almost 68,000.

CNN's Shasta Darlington has more 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 seemed 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 a 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, San Paulo.


BRUNHUBER: And further north in Latin America the coronavirus is hitting Mexico's border communities hard. In some places the mortality rate is in the double-digits and the country has the fourth highest death toll in the world.

CNN's Matt Rivers is in Tijuana with more on the strain the virus is putting on the resources there.


MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, yet another record day here in Mexico with health officials on Thursday evening reporting more than 8400 newly confirmed cases of this virus. That is the largest day-to- day increase in Mexico since this outbreak began. And we know that the effects of this outbreak have been felt severely in border communities like this one.

Right now we're in the Mexican state of Baja, California. It sits just south of the U.S. state of California. And this was one of the first areas to really feel the effects of this epidemic in Mexico, going all the way back to the early days of April. And the effects of those early cases are still being felt right now. Consider the mortality rate here in this state. It's roughly 20 percent of all people that have contracted the virus have died as a result.


That's one of the highest mortality rates in all of Mexico and Mexico has one of the highest mortality rates as a country -- of any country worldwide. We've spoken to doctors who have routinely told us over the past few months that hospitals here in Baja, California, have been overwhelmed by COVID patients. That's part of the reason why we know that people here in the city of Tijuana had actually traveled across that border behind me to the U.S. state of California to try and seek treatment which of course had put a strain on the health care system in California.

And on the other side of this coin, you've got governors in Mexican border states who are concerned over rises in cases, severe rises in U.S. states like California and Arizona. They don't want Americans who are infected coming across here. And this is the challenge in border communities and the situation on both sides of the border is the stated reason why both the U.S. and Mexican governments have announced that border closures to all nonessential travel that had been in place since late March will be continued until at least August 21st.

Matt Rivers, CNN, Tijuana.


BRUNHUBER: U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is marking one year in office with a promise. He says he will not let coronavirus hold the country back. This comes as facemasks become mandatory Friday in shops and supermarkets across England.

So for more on the new rule, we're joined by Anna Stewart, and she comes to us from Oxford Street in London. I imagine plenty of shops behind you will be affected by this. We saw, you know, Spain, Italy, Germany, now England. Do you get the sense that people there will comply? Or as, you know, we've seen here in many states, are we going to expect, you know, a degree of violent resistance?

ANNA STEWART, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm not sure we'll see a violent resistance. We've already had this rule mandatory on public transport in England. So it's really an extension of that. Not violent resistance, but I'm not sure everyone will obey the rules. Certainly in public transport there have been notable cases. And lots of people simply not, despite the fact that it is now a requirement by law.

Now in terms of face coverings and how many people wear them in England compared to other countries, it is a lot low but this rule is coming in a lot later of course than many other countries. Nonessential retail stores like this one in Oxford Street were allowed to reopen on the Fourth of July. It's now the 24th so there's been a bit of a lag time.

There was a poll out yesterday from Ipsos-MORI and that showed that nine out of 10 Brits do agree with this rule. They think that you should wear a facemask in public and close spaces like shops, train stations and airports. However, currently only three out of 10 Brits do wear a facemask. So this is being introduced in England.

There is a fine for people that don't comply. It is 100 pounds. That is a little over $125. But in terms of how strictly that's enforced, it certainly hasn't seemingly be that much enforced in public transport so we don't expect it to be heavily enforced here either. The police do have the power to issue this fine. But police forces across the country including London's Met Police have essentially said they are not going to be on facemask patrol. They are not going to be patrolling some shops. And it's not up to shop employees to enforce it either.

So really the police could step in a matter of last resort if there is a violent incident. If people refused to leave a shop when they're being asked to because they're not wearing a facemask. But really in terms of how it's taken up and whether we really see everyone embracing this new change. And in fact no one really understands it because there has been a lot of mixed messaging from the government. But we'll have to wait and see. But shops are due to reopen in the next sort of hour or so.

So I'll be shopping, Kim, in the name of journalism. For you.

BRUNHUBER: Sounds good. It will be interested to see how that's perceived. Do get back to us on that.

Anna Stewart in London. Thank you very much.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are suing over paparazzi photos of their son Archie. Harry and Megan are filing the lawsuit in California where the family now lives. In a statement their lawyer said every individual and family member in California is guaranteed by law the right to privacy in their home. No drones, helicopters or telephoto lenses can take that right away.

So have U.S. agents overstepped their bounds? Coming up, details on a planned investigation into the use of force by federal agents in Washington, D.C., and Oregon. Plus, plans to honor the life and legacy of U.S. lawmaker and civil rights legend John Lewis. That's ahead.



BRUNHUBER: Demonstrators rallied outside the home of Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot Thursday evening. They're calling for the city to defund its police department. Lightfoot said Thursday she plans to remove a Christopher Columbus statue in Grant Park. It was the scene of scuffles last week. Several police officers and an 18-year-old demonstrator were injured.

Chicago is one of several American cities that soon could see an increased federal law enforcement presence. President Donald Trump says he wants to deploy tens of thousands of federal agents across the country because of violent crime but that requires invitations from local officials, something Mr. Trump says isn't there.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If they invited us in, we would go in with 50,000, 75,000 people. We would be able to solve it like you wouldn't believe it and quick. But they just don't want to ask. Maybe for political reasons. But they don't want to ask. It's a disgrace.


BRUNHUBER: U.S. Justice Department's independent watchdog said it's going to investigate how federal troops have been using force against protesters in Portland, Oregon, and Washington, D.C. The fact that those federal troops are even policing American citizens has sparked outrage across the country.

David Shortell explains what's coming next.


DAVID SHORTELL, CNN CRIME AND 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 sight of some shocking violence as Americans have taken to the street in recent weeks to demonstrate against police brutality.

You'll 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 re reviewing the use of force by federal officers in Portland, a city on America's West Coast where rioters have clashed nightly for the past several weeks with federal law enforcement that had 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.


BRUNHUBER: And Portland's mayor told crowds of protesters that federal troops sent there by the president are taking part in an unconstitutional occupation, and then he was tear gassed.

You may have seen this video. It's incredible. You see Mayor Ted Wheeler there wearing a mask and goggles coughing in a cloud of tear gas. This was early Thursday morning. Mayor Wheeler later told CNN's Chris Cuomo why he's urging President Trump to withdraw his troops from the city.


MAYOR TED WHEELER (D), PORTLAND, OREGON: The fact of the matter is, before the feds arrived the situation was contained. The nightly violence had dissipated. We were seeing smaller crowds. The energy had gone out of those crowds, and then when they showed up the entire thing blew up. They kicked a hornet's nest and I saw firsthand last night the indiscriminate use of tear gas and other munitions. And it had no effect except really angering people and frustrating people. And now they're outraged.

And so this chaos, this unrest that we are now seeing on the streets of Portland, the thousands of people that are now coming out to demonstrate, this was created directly by the Trump administration's heavy handed, unwarranted and unconstitutional tactics in our city.


BRUNHUBER: That was the mayor of Portland, Oregon, speaking earlier.

The body of civil rights legend and U.S. representative John Lewis will lie in state at the U.S. capitol next week. The ceremonial tribute is given to American statesmen and military leaders. Lewis will lie in state on the east front steps of the capitol. And this will allow the public viewing Monday and Tuesday to take place outdoors. Lewis died last Friday at the age of 80 after a six-month battle with cancer. His family is asking people to display a blue or purple ribbon to commemorate his life.

Democratic Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio Cortez is not satisfied with an apology from Republican Congressman Ted Yoho who reportedly called a vulgar name. Now the ugly exchange took place outside the capitol on Monday. On Wednesday, Yoho apologized on the U.S. House floor for the, quote, "abrupt manner of conversation," but he denied using the words attributed to him. Ocasio Cortez called his apology an excuse and fired off this response from the House floor the next day.


REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO CORTEZ (D-NY): I am here because I have to show my parents that I am their daughter and that they did not raise me to accept abuse from men. In using that language in front of the press, he gave permission to use that language against his wife, his daughters, women in his community, and I am here to stand up to say, that is not acceptable.


BRUNHUBER: Just ahead, opening day for Major League Baseball. We'll show you how players called for racial justice.



BRUNHUBER: Protesters in Israel are focusing their anger on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu not just over his handling of the pandemic but also alleged corruption. Scuffles broke out as they demonstrators gathered near his residence in Jerusalem. Several were arrested and police used water cannons to disperse the crowd. Mr. Netanyahu went on trial in May for bribery, fraud and breach of trust, and he denies any wrongdoing.

So for more on this, let's turn to CNN's Oren Liebermann in Jerusalem.

Oren, it wasn't that long ago, maybe two months ago Benjamin Netanyahu was being hailed as a pandemic hero, now forced to defend his house with water cannons. Take us through the reasons behind this fairly rapid reversal of fortune.

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, a lot of this is driven by the collapse in Israel's fight against the coronavirus. It was in mid- May that there were about 20 new cases a day. On Wednesday here, so just a couple of days ago, there was a new record here of 2,000 new cases in one day. And that is the level where the health minister has said this country must seriously consider returning to a second general lockdown. As those cases have surged, we've seen the exact opposite effect on

the public trust in the government's handling of the coronavirus crisis, and specifically of course of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's handling of the coronavirus crisis. That has plummeted. And you see that in the anger on the streets.

No doubt some of those protesters are anticorruption, anti-Bibi protesters that have been out there for months. Perhaps even long before the coronavirus crisis arrived in Israel. But there's new dimension here, new aspects and new sources of anger. Economic frustration, fear over financial future. We've seen different groups protesting including restaurant owners and social workers. And that is why the protests have grown and why the protests have become more frequent.

So that explains this sudden lack of trust and we've also seen it in hypothetical polls before the election where his numbers have also collapsed. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has tried to bring this under control. He has finally appointed a coronavirus czar. Some four to five months after coronavirus first appears in the country. That after a number of candidates refused the job because they feared they'd be given none of the responsibility and all of the blame -- Kim.


BRUNHUBER: All right. Thanks so much. Oren Liebermann in Jerusalem. Appreciate it.

Well, it's play ball again for the boys of summer. Major League Baseball opened its COVID shortened 60-game season on Thursday with two games.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And now one of the more well-known Washington National fans.


BRUNHUBER: I laugh every time I see that. That was top U.S. disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci. He's never going to make it to the show with a throw like that. The ceremonial first pitch. His favorite team, the Washington Nationals, went on to lose to the Yankees 4-1 in the rain shortened game. Fauci luckily does better in the lab than on the mound.

But far more seriously, sport wasn't the only focus on opening day. Demands for racial justice also took the field. And at that game between the New York Yankees and the Washington Nationals, there was a moment of solidarity as both teams took a knee. And they weren't the only ones. All the way across the country players from the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants kneeled during the playing of the national anthem.

Well, that wraps this hour of CNN NEWSROOM. Thank you so much for joining us. I'm Kim Brunhuber. "EARLY START" is next.