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Trump Pulls Plug On RNC Activities In Jacksonville, Florida; U.S. Passes Four Million Coronavirus Cases As Trump's Popularity Plummets; Growing Ranks Of Unemployed Now Face Losing Health Insurance. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired July 24, 2020 - 05:30   ET




LAURA JARRETT, CNN ANCHOR: The president's biggest rivals right now, the virus and the clock. One thousand Americans have died for a third day in a row. Now the president is sacrificing what matters most, crowd size.

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

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Nice to see you this morning on a Friday. I'm Christine Romans. It's exactly 30 minutes past the hour.

We begin this morning with the president in a rare retreat. In a surprise move, he scrapped the Republican National Convention celebrations set to take place in Jacksonville, Florida next month.

Now, the whole point of having his acceptance speech in Florida, instead of North Carolina as originally planned, was in the hopes of guaranteeing the packed convention he craves. But the reality of coronavirus has apparently made that impossible.

Florida has been devastated by COVID. This week, the sheriff in Jacksonville went public with concern the event couldn't be held safely.

The announcement came as more than 150 prominent medical experts urge political leaders to shut down the country and start over to contain the pandemic.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There's nothing more important in our country than keeping our people safe.

I just felt it was wrong, Steve, to have people going to what turned out to be a hotspot.


JARRETT: OK. Now, remember, the president is the one who pushed for a return to normal when the country was still in the thick of this virus. He wanted people back in church for Easter Sunday. He mocked wearing a mask as politically correct. He gave a speech and then held a rally where his own staff and Secret Service agents got the virus.

But he's now in full retreat. In just the last few days, the president acknowledged COVID will get worse before it gets better, admitted some schools will have to delay reopening, and promoted wearing a mask despite still not wearing one himself.

ROMANS: Canceling Jacksonville was a move born of necessity as the president fights for his political life. A new poll shows Joe Biden leading President Trump by 13 points in Florida, tripling his lead since April.

Florida has been badly hit by the virus -- another single-day record for deaths yesterday.

Numbers from battleground states Michigan and Pennsylvania show Biden pulling away there, too.

JARRETT: The national map does show signs of progress for the time being -- more than half of the country now holding steady. But even as new infections begin to slow, the deaths are coming faster. For three straight days, the count has been over 1,000.

ROMANS: The United States just passed four million cases. It took 99 days to get to the one-million mark. The last million took barely two weeks.

Hospitalizations in Texas remain over 10,000 although there are signs those numbers may finally be leveling off.

JARRETT: And in Arizona, hospitalizations are slowing but the governor wants to keep it that way, extending closures for gyms, bars, nightclubs, and water parks. The decision on reopening schools there will be left to education leaders.

And in Wisconsin, people in their 20s make up one-third of the new cases we're seeing and they could be spreading it without symptoms. Wisconsin is one of nine states without a mask mandate and the only one with a Democratic governor.

ROMANS: New CDC guidelines on schools announced by the president Thursday strongly favor reopening in-person classes, claiming children do not suffer much from coronavirus. But the guidelines do recommend local officials delay or close schools if there is substantial uncontrolled spread in the community.

The best way to monitor that spread, of course, is testing -- something the U.S. has never had a national strategy for and something that President Trump has called overrated. But less testing means fewer people will isolate because they don't know they have the virus, and even if they have no symptoms they could be spreading the disease. And more people spreading it means more people becoming seriously ill.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DR. AMESH ADALJA, INFECTIOUS DISEASES SOCIETY OF AMERICA: We can't have a test result taking seven days to come back and expect to be able to do contact tracing.

I think it's sad that we're now seven months or so into this pandemic and we're still talking about the same things we were talking about in January and February.

And if we don't know who's infected and don't know who's not infected -- that's the most basic question we need to answer and we're still not able to answer it to adequate satisfaction to be able to get handles on it -- get a handle on this.


ROMANS: Even as the president announced he was canceling the Florida convention he still pushed for kids to go back to school

JARRETT: Well, voting by mail is the only way to protect people from coronavirus on Election Day. That's the warning in a new letter from a group of health experts to congressional leaders. Noting that polling places are often crowded and the pandemic may only worsen by this fall, they argue every American must have the option of voting by mail or by absentee ballot in November.


Right now, about one-third of states only allow voting by mail under certain circumstances.

President Trump has been spreading bogus claims about fraud in voting even though he's voted by mail, himself.

And the Trump-appointed postmaster general has been recommending cost- cutting moves that could result in ballot delivery delays, just in time for the election.

ROMANS: All right.

The surge in the virus has stalled the beginnings of a jobs recovery. Another 1.4 million Americans filed for first-time unemployment benefits last week. That brings the total to 52.6 million since mid- March. That number just incomprehensible.

Now, this is the first weekly increase in the past 16 weeks -- unwelcomed, but hardly unexpected in the weeks after states reopened without the virus fully under control and mask-wearing widespread.

At the same time, initial loans from the Paycheck Protection Program meant to keep employees on the payroll are starting to run out. Businesses were supposed to rehire by June 30th for loans to be forgiven.

And continued jobless claims -- that's the number we watch to see if there's been a little bit of rehiring -- that did come down to about 16.2 million, down by more than one million from the previous week. The rise in overall claims comes as millions of Americans are going to lose an extra $600 a week in unemployment benefits. Jobless Americans say the bigger checks help them to pay rent, to buy medication, to put food on the table.

And with the month winding down, more evictions are looming. City and state efforts that halted eviction proceedings or provided emergency relief have either expired or funding has now dried up. One report shows as many as 23 million renters are now at risk of eviction by September 30th.

JARRETT: Yes, Christine, you can really understand why people feel like Washington is out of touch. With those critical lifelines about to run out, unemployed Americans are facing another big problem. Many are about to lose their health insurance.

Phil Mattingly has more.


ASHLEY PAMPLIN, FURLOUGHED RESTAURANT MANAGER: I've always been someone very optimistic and smiling like it will all be OK.

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Despite a furlough, Ashley Pamplin managed to stay positive in the first few months of the pandemic --

PAMPLIN: Unemployment and everything, that's what made it a little bit easier to be like OK, I can stay home and be OK.

MATTINGLY (voice-over): -- but the Pittsburgh restaurant group where she worked just days ago decided it had to make cuts.

PAMPLIN: There's just so much uncertainty and I think nobody really knows what's going on. And it's kind of almost like a downward spiral.

MATTINGLY (voice-over): Now, Ashley Pamplin has joined nearly 18 million Americans as unemployed and those job losses have laid bare a significant hole for those individuals.

RACHEL GARFIELD, VICE PRESIDENT, KAISER FAMILY FOUNDATION: Particularly at a time like this when people are losing their jobs at unprecedented levels, they're losing their health insurance coverage at a time when we're facing a health crisis in the country and many people have a need, more than ever, for health insurance coverage.

MATTINGLY (voice-over): Nearly 160 million Americans or about half the U.S. population received health insurance through their employer in 2018. Now, as many as 26.8 million people could become uninsured due to those job losses, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. And while the group estimates that more than 20 million would likely qualify for Obamacare subsidies or Medicaid, that leaves more than five million people faced with paying their own way, all as a crucial $600 federal unemployment benefit is about to expire on July 31st.

PAMPLIN: That was actually, like, my saving grace. It really was. MATTINGLY (voice-over): As Pamplin confronts the need to purchase insurance on her own, she's faced with a stark reality.

PAMPLIN: If it was between food, and utilities, and the mortgage, and my car insurance -- like, yes, it would just -- I feel like sadly, health insurance would probably be the last priority.

MATTINGLY (voice-over): And as lawmakers urgently debate an extension of that federal unemployment program, it's a decision millions may be forced to make with jarring repercussions.

PAMPLIN: I just don't know if I could afford that now. And that's really saying something, too, because I felt like I was finally blessed to be in a position where I felt a little bit comfortable.

MATTINGLY (voice-over): Pamplin had a job, health insurance. She closed on a new home just days after her restaurant shut down. And she still never stopped smiling but the uncertainty has taken its toll.

PAMPLIN: And I don't want to lose everything I've really worked really hard to get and then realize how hard it would be to get it back again.

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


ROMANS: You know, I really just feel for so many of those restaurant workers, in particular. You know, Yelp did a study of closed restaurants and some 60 percent of closed restaurants will never reopen again.

I also think it's interesting that $600 a week -- it took government assistance for a lot of different workers in different fields to actually have a livable wage, right?


ROMANS: That money is going to disappear.

JARRETT: Yes, but it's going to disappear. The checks are going to stop today and yet, there's no plan in place right now about what's supposed to be done. They appear ready to punt it into next week. But what's going to be done to close that gap for people who need that money --


JARRETT: -- right now? I think that's the big question, Christine.


All right. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) ROMANS: New measures in the U.K. to contain the spread of coronavirus and claims by health officials in Brazil appear to be out of touch with reality.

CNN reporters are covering the pandemic around the world.


ANNA STEWART, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Anna Stewart in London. From today, it has become mandatory in England to wear a face-covering in shops, in airports, in train stations, and post offices. Failure to do so will result in a fine of 100 pounds. That's around $125.

Enforcement is expected to be lax. Some retailers have already said they will not be policing this themselves. And police forces in the country, including London's Met Police, have said that they will not be on face mask patrol. They will only intervene as a matter of last resort.

The recent poll from Ipsos MORI shows nine out of 10 Brits do support this new rule, but only three out of 10 currently wear a face mask.



Brazil reported another big spike in 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 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 cities 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 nearly 2.3 million.

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Oren Liebermann in Jerusalem where Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu faced another night of protests outside of his residence. Police say 55 people were arrested throughout the course of the demonstration.

And we've seen these demonstrations, which have grown both in frequency and in size, follow a pattern. Hundreds, if not thousands of people will gather outside the prime minister's residence and for the first few hours, for the most part, they'll be peaceful, they'll be calm. It's at the end of the protest where we see it fall apart.

On Tuesday night, there became clashes and scuffles between protesters and police. More protests are scheduled for the weekend. And, of course, the background to all of this, Israel's continued skyward surge of coronavirus cases.

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm David McKenzie in Johannesburg. South Africa has now surged beyond 400,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases.

That's the highest globally and, in fact, around half of all confirmed cases on the African continent.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced they've taken the difficult decision to close schools -- public schools -- for the next month, at least, for most students. He says, "I don't want classrooms to become a site of transmission."

He also announced that they're going to crack down on corruption. There's been several allegations of corruption in the private and public sector.


JARRETT: Thanks to all of our reporters for those updates.

New overnight, government lawyers admit that the Department of Homeland Security used, quote, "inaccurate statements" when initially trying to ban New Yorkers from global entry and other programs allowing travelers to speed through airport security.

The Trump administration had said New Yorkers should be banned from using those Trusted Traveler programs because the state had passed a law blocking Homeland Security from accessing the DMV records of undocumented immigrants. Well, it turns out New York was not an outlier with that law. Several other states had also limited access to that DMV information.

So the rare admission from federal officials came in a court filing just hours after the agency had unexpectedly announced it would reinstate the Trusted Traveler programs for New Yorkers.

ROMANS: Michael Cohen will be released from jail today. A federal judge ruling the president's former personal lawyer was sent back to prison in retaliation for a tell-all book he is writing.

Cohen sued the Justice Department on Monday, alleging he was taken back into custody on July ninth to block the release of his book, which is slated for release two months before the election.

JARRETT: A historic rescue of two children from a raging apartment fire in France. This video captures the moment two brothers, ages three and 10, are caught by a crowd of people below.

Look at this. The little brother is dropped from the building first, then the older brother jumps and is also caught by the crowd. Remarkably, neither boy suffered injuries, thankfully.

ROMANS: Oh, wow.

All right, we're at that stage of the pandemic. First, it was toilet paper -- now, it's pennies. If you can spare some change, the U.S. Mint wants your help. Because of an ongoing coin shortage, the U.S Mint is asking everyone to pay for products with exact change. The pandemic has slowed in-person sales and deposits from third-party

coin processors. The Mint is also stepping up production. It's on track to produce 1.6 billion coins per month for the remainder of the year.

JARRETT: Well, some welcome news for new moms. The American Academy of Pediatrics now says COVID-positive mothers can remain with their newborns if they take precautions. For months, new moms have been separated from their babies based on early pandemic guidance.

The WHO also says the benefits of breastfeeding substantially outweigh the risk of transmitting the virus from mother to newborn.

ROMANS: All right.

Taking a look at markets around the world, global stocks tumbled as U.S.-China tensions escalate on the -- and the U.S. economy struggles here.

On Wall Street right now, futures also moving lower, but not even one percent here. Momentum on Wall Street fizzled Thursday after jobless claims rose for the first time in four months.

The Dow closed 353 points lower. That's the worst day in a couple of weeks. The S&P 500 fell 1.2 percent. The Nasdaq dropped 2.3 percent. That's their worst performance since June 26th.




ROMANS: The pandemic is now disrupting Disney's release schedule for the next decade.

"Mulan," which was set to open August 21st, has been taken off its calendar with no new release date. Disney also said all scheduled "Star Wars" and "Avatar" movies between 2021 and 2027 are being pushed back one year.


Paramount announced it is delaying the sequel to "Top Gun" -- "Top Gun Maverick." It's pushed back to July 2021.

And, AMC Theaters is pushing back reopening its U.S. locations mid to late-August now as states reimpose lockdowns.

Hershey is preparing for a less sweet Halloween. Expecting fewer trick-or-treaters, the candymaker says it's planning to make less Halloween-themed candy to avoid leftovers that will either have to be pulled back or sold at a discount.

Halloween usually generates 10 percent of Hershey's annual sales. Hershey's CEO told investors it's considering home candy bowls if it looks like people -- fewer people plan on heading out because of the pandemic.

JARRETT: Last week we told you about a Michigan officer who went beyond the call of duty, calmly saving a choking baby. Now, the officer and the family have reunited.

Here is CNN's Ryan Young.



RYAN YOUNG, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Officer Cameron Maciejewski, of the Sterling Heights Police Department in Michigan, got a heart-stopping call of a baby in distress.

MACIEJEWSKI: He's still blinking -- he's blinking.

I was about a mile away from the house. I was right around the corner when the call came out and the only information I got from my dispatch was there is a 3-week-old infant not breathing and everyone is screaming in the background.

MACIEJEWSKI: OK, calm down, calm down, calm down. Let me see the baby.

YOUNG (voice-over): Dashcam video picks up the next very tense seconds filled with fear.

MACIEJEWSKI: I was checking the baby's mouth to see if I could see anything and I didn't see anything. And then the next thing after that is trying to do some back blows to dislodge whatever it might be deeper down in the baby's airway. And I gave her, I think, three back blows and on that third one, I heard a faint cry.

YOUNG (voice-over): Even before the ambulance could arrive, the baby was breathing on her own.

MACIEJEWSKI: Yes, there you go, OK. He's crying, he's crying.

There was a sigh of relief. I think I actually -- before I spoke into my radio, I took one -- a deep breath and put out over the air that the baby was crying, which it brings joy to everyone, but it was definitely a giant sigh of relief.

CHIEF DALE DWOJAKOWSKI, STERLING HEIGHTS POLICE DEPARTMENT, STERLING HEIGHTS, MICHIGAN: You know, what was going on and the emotion in that moment -- and anyone that has a child -- any mother on the planet that watches that video -- any family -- you can just feel the pain, the confusion, the worry. It's all there in the moment -- you know, those two or three minutes -- very powerful.

YOUNG (voice-over): Maciejewski's chief couldn't be more proud of his young officer.

DWOJAKOWSKI: I've been a police officer for 25 years. The last couple of months have been brutal not just for me but for every cop in the United States. What a lot of people don't see is what we do every single day. Our guys do way more than police work, including saving lives.

YOUNG (VOICE-OVER): Maciejewski got to meet the infant and the family as they thanked the officer for his calm under pressure.

Police officers from around the world have reached out to say good job, but Maciejewski got the seal of approval from his hero and the man who made him want to be a police officer, his dad, who also served as a police officer for 20 years.

MACIEJEWSKI: And he said usually, it's the dad that's the hero to the son, but he's like you're my hero today. And it hits home -- it really does. It pulls on the heartstrings because I'm a human just like everyone else in this world.

YOUNG (voice-over): Ryan Young, CNN, Chicago.


JARRETT: Just amazing work there. And we're told the baby's family has given the officer an early invite to their daughter's first birthday party.

ROMANS: That is such an amazing story. As a parent, it just --

JARRETT: Oh my gosh.

ROMANS: -- you can't imagine how terrified you are and that police officer was so calm.

JARRETT: And quick.

ROMANS: Just by the book -- calm and by the book. Love it.

All right, a coronavirus survivor has earned the name "Miracle Larry." Larry Kelly walked out of a New York hospital yesterday after spending 128 days as one of their sickest patients. For 51 of those days he was on a ventilator.


LARRY KELLY, CORONAVIRUS SURVIVOR: I was one of the early cases and, in many ways, I was a guinea pig because they knew nothing about it. And so, they threw everything at me.

The last text message I sent to my wife, right before I was vented, I said I promise I'll never stop fighting, and I kept that promise.


ROMANS: Wow. Larry was so sick at one point, his wife and daughter had to stop doctors from taking him off life support.

JARRETT: Wow. Can you imagine 128 days? You know, there's just so much we didn't know about this virus in those early days, too.

ROMANS: Yes. We know a lot more now but it's still frightening how quickly it spreads --


ROMANS: -- and what we don't know.

JARRETT: Absolutely.

ROMANS: All right, thanks for joining us. Have a great weekend, everyone. I'm Christine Romans.

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




DR. PETER HOTEZ, DEAN, NATIONAL SCHOOL OF TROPICAL MEDICINE: This epidemic is dramatically accelerating and now the deaths are coming.

NICK WATT, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We passed four million confirmed COVID-19 cases across this country.

TRUMP: Districts may need to delay reopening for a few weeks, but that will be up to governors.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We don't have a national strategy. Now we're just saying to all the schools, figure it out on your own.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: The president went from moving the convention in North Carolina, then he's canceling the one in Florida. It wasn't that long ago that the president was holding rallies.

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: He has been told that his opponent in this election is the virus and it is very clear that he sees that the virus is winning.


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

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to our viewers in the United States and all around the world. This is NEW DAY. It's Friday, July 24th. It is 6:00 here in New York.

And this morning, the --