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Trump Administration Pushing For Schools To Reopen; More U.S. Companies Requiring Masks; COVID-19 Causes Long Illness In Some Healthy People; Protests In Portland Amid Rise In Tensions; U.S. Agents Secure Chinese Consulate In Houston; Virus Hits Health Care Hard In Australia's Victoria State; Brazilian President Bolsonaro Not Wearing Mask In Public. Aired 4-5a ET

Aired July 25, 2020 - 04:00   ET




NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Huge protests as Donald Trump calls for law and order. We take you to the streets of Portland, Oregon.

The push to reopen schools, as health officials issue a new warning about how the virus affects young adults.

And this --


CHUCK MORGAN, RANGERS ANNOUNCER: It is baseball time in Texas.

ALLEN (voice-over): Familiar sounds, unfamiliar sights. A very different opening day for the Texas Rangers. Coming up here this hour, live from CNN World Headquarters --


ALLEN: Welcome to our viewers here in the United States and all around the world. I'm Natalie Allen. This is CNN NEWSROOM.

The coronavirus is proving to be a greater threat to the world's population than ever before. The World Health Organization on Friday reported the highest number of new infections in a single day, more than 284,000. About one-quarter of the cases are here in the United States.

Nearly 74,000 Americans tested positive for COVID-19 in just 24 hours. California, Texas and Florida are hardhit.


DR. DEBORAH BIRX, WHITE HOUSE CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE COORDINATOR: What we have right now, are essentially three New Yorks with these three, major states. We're really having to respond as an American people. That's why you hear us calling for masks and increased social distancing.




ALLEN (voice-over): The U.S. state of Georgia logged a record 4,800 new cases on Friday. When one of its largest school districts said students would not be returning to the classroom after all, hundreds of parents protested. But the nation's top infectious disease expert warns there's more at stake than education.



DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: When you talk about forcing teachers to come back to school, you better be careful about that. And make sure you pay attention to, A, keeping them safe and, B, keeping them healthy.


ALLEN: Dr. Fauci's words of caution are especially relevant, as schools across the U.S. try to decide what to do in coming weeks. CNN's Athena Jones has the latest on the tortuous debate.



DR. LARRY BRILLIANT, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: The school calendar is not the pandemic calendar.


ATHENA JONES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A new front in the back to school debate. The CDC is out with long-awaited guidelines making the case schools should reopen in some cases, arguing children suffer in a remote learning environment.


DR. ROBERT REDFIELD, DIRECTOR, CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION: There really are have been substantial public health negative consequences for children not being in school.


JONES (voice-over): And stressing they appear to be at lower risk for serious complications from COVID-19 and are less likely to spread the virus than adults. But the science on that still isn't settled.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DR. DEBORAH BIRX, WHITE HOUSE CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE COORDINATOR: What I can't tell you for sure, despite the South Korea study is whether children under 10 in the United States don't spread the virus is the same as children over 10.


JONES (voice-over): One reason there's so much concern, particularly in hotspots like Florida's Miami-Dade County.


MAYOR FRANCIS SUAREZ (R), MIAMI, FL: You're talking about 350,000 students plus another 40,000 teachers. So you're putting a tremendous amount of people back into the economy in a way that could end up being a super spreader event.


JONES (voice-over): Exactly what doctors at overwhelmed hospitals there are worried about.


DR. AILEEN MARTY, INFECTIOUS DISEASE EXPERT, FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL UNIVERSITY: It is way too dangerous here right now to have face-to- face schools and we're drowning. We're absolutely drowning here.


JONES (voice-over): The CDC also advising local authorities to take into account the level of virus transmission in the community before resuming in person classes.


REDFIELD: When you look at the hotspots, I think most of us right now are looking where the percent positivity rate within the community is greater than 5 percent.


JONES (voice-over): Many of the nation's school districts pressured to make a decision before the CDC guidance came down. Some deciding to hold online only classes in the fall, others postponing the start of the school year. And after new daily deaths nationwide past 1,000 for the third straight day, signs new infections may be leveling off in some of the hardest hit places like Florida, Arizona, Texas and California.


JONES (voice-over): Still, scenes like this one, a maskless crowd of hundreds that in Northern California worship service are worrying. Meanwhile, more than 150 medical experts and others in an open letter urging political leaders to shut down the entire country again and start over this. Time following the kinds of public health guidelines that helped dozens of other countries get the virus under control.

Dr. Anthony Fauci only partly agrees.


FAUCI: I'm not so sure you need to all of a sudden everybody go back to a complete lockdown. It could come to that. You always got leave it on the table.


JONES: One of those public health measures that experts like Dr. Fauci and others support is of course wearing masks. Now McDonald's and Chipotle restaurants are joining a long list of companies that are requiring customers to wear masks. The rules are already in effect at Chipotle and will begin on August 1st for McDonald's -- Athena Jones, CNN, New York.


ALLEN: When the pandemic began, it was believed the new coronavirus mostly affected older people and those with chronic medical problems. But we've learned that's not the case. COVID-19 can result in prolonged illness, even in young people without underlying conditions. Here's Jacqueline Howard.


JACQUELINE HOWARD, CNN HEALTH CORRESPONDENT: This new CDC study shows that COVID symptoms can persist for weeks, even in people who aren't sick enough to be hospitalized, even in younger people with no underlying chronic conditions.

For this study, researchers interviewed nearly 300 COVID patients over the phone. Almost all of the patients showed one symptom. But few were serious enough to need hospitalization.

And the interviews were done two or three weeks after the patients tested positive. The patients were asked about their symptoms and their health.

Here's what the study found: 35 percent of those patients still were not back to their normal health, two to three weeks after testing positive for COVID. In other words, they had not fully recovered.

Just to put this in perspective, the study says more than 90 percent of outpatients with the flu fully recover within two weeks after testing positive.

And here are the ages now of the COVID patients in the study who are still feeling sick: 26 percent were 18 to 34 at the time; 32 percent, ages 35-49. And 47 percent were 50 and over. Some of the patients had underlying medical conditions but some did not. The symptoms likely to resolve, were cough, fatigue and shortness of breath.

Overall, the study shows COVID can be persistent, even in otherwise young, unhealthy people, we'll continue to follow this as more research emerges about this disease.



ALLEN: Let's talk about these developments with Dr. Sian Griffiths. She led the Hong Kong's government's inquiry into the SARS epidemic of 2003.

Thanks for coming on.


Younger adults with a milder form of the disease can have symptoms for weeks after they recover.

What else do we know about this?

GRIFFITHS: This is one of the studies that is showing how little we know about this disease.

We know about one-third of patients who have the disease have no symptoms. So if we do population-based work, there's a lot more infection in our communities than we expect.

A U.K. study showed that 45 percent of people being hospitalized needed to continue to have care, at all ages. It highlights for us how our initial thinking that this was a disease that affected older people. That's true for those that unfortunately died.

But there's a big impact from this disease. And we know from a report that's been published in England today, that obesity is a predisposing factor. I'm not sure from that CDC study you used, how many of those young people were obese.

But we know people who are obese tend to get the infection more seriously. We're finding our way through the science here. It's really important that the studies continue. And it's important that we take this disease seriously.

ALLEN: Right. It seems slowly but surely, maybe more Americans are at this point.


ALLEN: Let's talk about the new global numbers, 284,196 new cases reported in the last 24 hours.

How alarming is that number to you?

GRIFFITHS: Very alarming because those are people that have been tested. We know in many countries, the testing, the health systems aren't organized in a way that allows to test large numbers of the population. And add in the factor of asymptomatic cases. The number may be bigger. This is a worrying situation. ALLEN: As the USA passes the 4 million mark, more than 150 medical

experts signed a letter, urging political leaders to shut down the country and start over to contain it.

Do you think that's necessary?

GRIFFITHS: The approach in other countries is to focus on the areas where you have a large number of cases and to shut down those areas, going for a more localized approach to reduce the harm of a lockdown.

That's the approach in the U.K. As we release the lockdown measures, we're also testing more to look at the populations where the numbers are bigger. In those populations, where, for example, the gyms won't be opening. The gyms are opening across England today but not in areas where there's a high rate of the disease.

A localized approach, led by public health people, is probably a better approach overall, except that you're facing huge numbers in the States. That decision needs to be made state-by-state with full engagement and lots of testing in the community to see how the disease is panning out.

ALLEN: Meantime, the U.S. is in an anguished debate over opening schools. Teachers want to go back to work. The children want to go back to school. Imagine that.


ALLEN: But we still don't know how elementary schoolchildren might spread this disease.

How do school districts make that agonizing decision?

GRIFFITHS: It's a really difficult decision. As Anthony Fauci has said many times, school isn't just about education. You don't get the socialization or the children at risk lose out even more (INAUDIBLE).

These -- they need to be made locally, involving the community and underpinned by the ability to do large numbers of tests, to see the level of disease, to see if it's going down or going up, to work out who needs to be isolated and whether you do need to deprive children of school.

As you say, my grandchildren love going to school. They go two days a week and they loved it. OK.

You know?


GRIFFITHS: So we need to think of the kids themselves. There's a psychological impact of children not being at school, a social impact for the future, as well as the fear they might spread the disease. So these are the decisions that need to be made at the local level.

ALLEN: We always appreciate your expertise. Thank you so much, Dr. Sian Griffiths.

GRIFFITHS: Good morning.

ALLEN: Have a great day.

CNN's own Dr. Sanjay Gupta is also having to adjust to the new normal and to the fact that the equipment he uses to protect himself during surgery and to protect others in the hospital is now more like a precious resource. Check out this quick report he sent from the hospital locker room.


DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: OK, giving you a special video diary from the hospital today. Doing brain operations and spine operations today. Got to tell you, one of the hardest things has been wearing one of these N-95 masks because you see it really digs into your face quite a bit.

And they are really hard to get. We're basically told to reuse the same mask as long as we can until it becomes too soiled. You have to take good care of it.

So what I do, in addition to the mask, they put another mask on top of it. And I basically have this above, and that is basically what I'll do to operate. That is the COVID world inside of the hospital.


ALLEN: Next here, we turn to Portland, Oregon, where protesters are energized. The presence of federal troops may be bringing more people onto the streets.


ALLEN: We have a report from the scene.




ALLEN: As you can see right there from the video, demonstrations are going strong in Portland, Oregon. A federal judge on Friday ruled the state cannot force Homeland Security officers to identify themselves when arresting protesters.

And 18 demonstrators appeared in court on federal charges related to the protest. It adds up to a tense situation on the streets. And Lucy Kafanov is there for us.


LUCY KAFANOV, CNN CORRESPONDENT: He explained the reasoning in a 14- page decision, saying while this case does involve allegations of harm by law enforcement, the claimant in this case is not a protester.

He also said that the state was not seeking redress for past harm done but rather trying to prevent future action of these federal agencies, which he called, basically, something that the state does not have any grounds to require.


KAFANOV: So he denied that request.

Reaction to that, I will say that, the focus here, on the ground, at the moment is not on this legal move. There's been a very large crowd. This is probably one of the largest crowds that we've seen, to date, if not, double the size of what we saw yesterday.

People have been gathered here, very peacefully. There were speakers. People were doing call-and-response chants. Different people were coming up and trying to highlight the Black Lives Matter message.

And then, in the midst of this peaceful gathering, a very small group of protesters over by the federal building behind me began shaking the fence that federal agents had erected to protect the building, back and forth.

That sort of got more and more dramatic. Some federal agents came out to protect the fence. We then saw some protesters lob firecrackers -- fireworks, pardon me -- over to the fence. And in response, we saw tear gas lobbed back at the protesters.

They have now pushed their way back over there. You can't quite see it in the camera behind me. But more federal agents have come out of the building, sort of getting ready to make a move.


ALLEN: We will keep tabs on what continues to develop there in Portland over the weekend.

It has been less than a week since the Trump administration ordered Chinese diplomats to clear out their consulate in Houston, Texas. On Friday, U.S. federal agents officially took the building back.

China has responded in kind by ordering the U.S. consulate in Chengdu to shut down. Beijing says it is a legitimate and necessary response. Kylie Atwood explains how this conflict started.


KYLIE ATWOOD, CNN U.S. SECURITY ANALYST: The U.S. has forced China to close down its consulate in Houston. We watched on Friday night as federal agents seized that consulate.

Now China did retaliate. They told the U.S. they had to close one of their consulates in Chengdu.

We are learning more about the Trump administration's rationale for closing down that consulate, essentially claiming there wasn't one straw that broke the camel's back here but rather that that consulate was involved in the widespread espionage that China has carried out here in the United States.

I want to read a quote from an official from the Department of Justice on that Houston consulate, saying, last week, quote, "It's a microcosm, we believe, of a broader network of individuals in more than 25 cities. Consulates have been giving individuals in that network guidance on how to evade and obstruct our investigation.

"You can infer from that, the ability to task that network of associates nationwide."

So this follows an increasing focus on China and their efforts towards economic espionage and intellectual property theft, here in the United States, both from Department of Justice and also from the State Department.

And just last week, secretary of state Mike Pompeo said taking on China was the mission of our time -- Kylie Atwood, CNN, the State Department.


ALLEN: Let's talk to Kristie Lu Stout in Hong Kong.

First up, give us a sense of the impact of what we're seeing. The tit- for-tat over the closings.

KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, it's spiraling relations, diplomatic tension continues to rise at the diplomatic missions in Houston and in San Francisco as well as Chengdu.

In regard to Houston, the State Department has confirmed that the Chinese consulate in Houston has been closed. On Friday, U.S. law enforcement, U.S. agents, blacksmiths, were seen entering the compound. It was on Wednesday that the U.S. State Department ordered the closure of the consulate there, saying they wanted to protect American intellectual property and Americans' private information.

Beijing responded calling that, quote, "talking nonsense."

And earlier today, an open letter was published in Xinhua from the Chinese consul general to Houston.

He writes, "The friendship between the Chinese and the American people will not be interrupted. No one can undermine the bright prospect of Sino-U.S. friendly cooperation."

Meanwhile, in San Francisco, where the Chinese scientist was hiding out in the Chinese consulate there. She's now in U.S. custody. U.S. officials have accused her of visa fraud, saying she lied about her links to the Chinese military.

It's unclear the circumstances around her arrest but she's not been charged with espionage. [04:25:00]

STOUT: Meanwhile, today in Chengdu, the insignia of the U.S. consulate there has already been taken down. It was on Friday, when Beijing announced its decision to retaliate to the U.S. actions by ordering the closure of the U.S. consulate in Chengdu.

But why Chengdu?

Listen to what the spokesperson said on Friday.


WANG WENBIN, CHINESE FOREIGN MINISTRY SPOKESPERSON (through translator): Some people of the U.S. consulate general in Chengdu have engaged in activities that are incompatible with their status, interfering in China's internal affairs and damaging China's security interests.


STOUT: The insignia has been taken down in Chengdu. And a security presence is noted there, as well.

When will it be shuttered?

According to the editor in chief of the national "Global Times" newspaper, he says it will be shut down by Monday morning. All eyes on that anticipated closure and where this diplomatic tit-for-tat will head next.

ALLEN: Absolutely. May be just the beginning. Kristie Lu Stout for us in Hong Kong.

U.S. president Trump's former lawyer is back home after being released from prison.


ALLEN (voice-over): A crowd of reporters greeted Michael Cohen outside of his New York residence, where he will serve the rest of his three- year sentence. Cohen pleaded guilty to tax fraud, lying to Congress and other charges in 2018.

He was furloughed from prison earlier this month, because of coronavirus, until the Justice Department had him rearrested. This week, a judge ruled that was retaliation for Cohen's upcoming tell-all book about President Trump and ordered him sent home.


ALLEN: Health care in one Australian region is getting hit hard by the coronavirus. We will go there live as hundreds of hospital workers have now tested positive for infection.




ALLEN: Welcome back to our viewers here to the United States and around the world. I'm Natalie Allen. You are watching CNN NEWSROOM.

The World Health Organization has reported its highest one-day number of COVID-19 infections, 284,000 people worldwide. That's in 24 hours. Many have been in the U.S. where the disease has been surging. For the third day in a row, more than 1,000 Americans have died.

The Food and Drug Administration has reauthorized emergency use of the tests that can detect the virus in effected people that have no symptoms. And phase three of a promising vaccine is set to get underway next week. But Dr. Anthony Fauci warns it could be next year before anything is widely available.


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: I think as we get into 2021, several months in, that you would have a vaccine that would be widely available to people in the United States.


ALLEN: The coronavirus is hitting health care facilities very hard in Australia's Victoria state. More than 300 hospital workers have tested positive and over 500 staff and residents in elderly care settings are also infected.

Let's bring in Angus Watson. He joins me live from Sydney, Australia.

This is troubling, when we realize that authorities really cracked down recently to try to contain this virus.

ANGUS WATSON, JOURNALIST: It is troubling, Natalie. When health care workers get sick, the people at the most risk, the brave doctors, when they get sick and they can't go to work, that means that people can't get the care they need when in hospital.

The government is worried about that. It's equally worried about the spread of the virus into those elderly care settings. Residents who are frail a lot of the time, residents who are there for a reason, already, because they need extra protection, the virus gets in there. And it's very, very difficult to put out that flame, Natalie. And some of the deaths we're seeing in Victoria, have been linked to the aged care settings.

ALLEN: How successful have authorities been at keeping the outbreak in Victoria and not allowing it to spread into the rest of the country?

WATSON: Well, Natalie, the border between Victoria and New South Wales, the two most populous states, has been closed for a couple of weeks. And people in Victoria might be forgiven for thinking, that because of that, they're fighting a lonely fight against this virus.

Hundreds of new cases in Victoria every day. Today, in New South Wales, where I am, just 15 new cases today. There's a crack contract tracing team that's doing the work of putting out these spot fires, as the virus pops up. They are able to get ahead of that because of the time difference here between Victoria and New South Wales.

But a very different situation in Victoria than the rest of the country.

ALLEN: Angus, thank you very much.

In Brazil, officials have reported nearly 300,000 new coronavirus infections just in the last seven days. This country continues to have the second highest number of cases in the world after the United States.

Brazil's president has even tested positive three times. And despite criticism, he is maintaining his defiant behavior by downplaying the danger. Nick Paton Walsh is in Sao Paulo for us.


NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR: A lot of the focus on the Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro. He called this a little flu, focused so much on the economy and keeping the country going. But himself, got a positive diagnosis from the disease in recent weeks. He's continued to test positive and is now the focus of controversy because Reuters caught him on the ground.


WALSH: The president was in Brasilia on a motorbike and not wearing a mask while talking to some of the staff that work there. He himself has been a strong advocate of the drug hydroxychloroquine. No evidence globally that it's of any use against the virus.

But he's been taking it, recently saying while he can't recommend it for anybody, despite having done so over the past weeks, it's a matter between doctors and patients but it's something he's brandishing himself while he convalesces with the disease.

Concern here in Brazil when the peak may come, the numbers are consistently terrible and real fears, of course, of what it is doing to the economy as well -- Nick Paton Walsh, Sao Paulo, Brazil.


ALLEN: Shoppers in England are now donning masks in supermarkets and public places. A mandatory mask law went into effect on Friday. Some stores say they will not force shoppers to comply, but many say they are all for it. Anna Stewart is for us in London.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) ANNA STEWART, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's now mandatory in England to wear a face covering in shops and other public enclosed spaces like airports and train stations. Failure to do so, could result in a sign of 100 pounds. That's $125. Enforcement is expected to be lax. Some said they would not enforce this themselves.

They will not police it themselves. And then, there is the police, you can issue fines. However some of the forces said they will not be on face mask patrol. They will only intervene as a matter of last resort.

Authorities are hoping the public will be able to encourage those more reluctant to wear face masks.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was nice to get out of the shop.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think face masks is something that's needed. I think the quicker everyone adopt it, the safer it is for everyone as a whole.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I must say it's annoying but (INAUDIBLE).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) it's certainly right that you do it. So (INAUDIBLE).

STEWART: A new poll shows nine out of 10 Brits do agree you should wear a face mask in a public setting. But currently only three out of 10 do so England has some catching up to do there -- Anna Stewart, CNN, London.


ALLEN: Thousands of protesters are marching in the eastern Russian city of Khabarovsk in a rare show of defiance against president Vladimir Putin. This is the third consecutive weekend demonstrators are protesting the Kremlin's handling of a local political crisis.

They are furious with the arrest of a popular regional governor, Sergei Furgal, who has been charged with murder. His supporters say the charges are politically motivated and he is being belatedly punished after he defeated a pro-Putin candidate in 2018. For more on this, let's turn to Matthew Chance. He is in Moscow for us.

What more do we know about this story?

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: These are extraordinary scenes we're seeing played out in the Russian far east. Thousands of people -- and it's hard to estimate the crowds, not being there -- but what the authorities are saying locally, is it's about 650,000 people; the local media, are saying 20,000 people. Opposition parties are saying that the real number is between 50,000 and 100,000.

The people are filling the streets. The city of Khabarovsk, you know, a good eight hours flight, say, 350,000 miles from the Russian capital, Moscow. These protests are unusual for a couple of reasons. The first reason is that they're taking place in the Russian far east.

It's a provincial part of Russian. It's normally quite placid. You don't see these protests. For years I've never seen anything like this out of Russia.

The other thing that is exceptional, is that the authorities are just letting them go ahead. These are not sanctioned protests. They're illegal protests. In Moscow you would see riot police move in and disperse them as quickly as possible.


CHANCE: The police are allowing the protesters to march peacefully through the streets of Khabarovsk. That's highly unusual. If either of those things were to change, if the police were to intervene and crack down or if the protests were to spread to other towns and cities in a significant way across the country, then I think we would be looking at a more dangerous situation for Russia.

ALLEN: Normally don't see these crowds tolerated when they're out in defiance, whatever they think of Vladimir Putin. Thank you, Matthew.

Storm clouds are gathering across the United States. You see, a developing hurricane is heading straight for Texas. And that's not the only powerful storm we're watching. Derek Van Dam will break it down for us.




ALLEN: Southeastern Texas is under a hurricane warning this hour, as tropical storm Hanna gathers strength. And people fearing flooding are lining up for sandbags as the storm gets closer to making landfall. And Hanna isn't the only storm looming.



ALLEN: A 15-year fight over development in one of the world's largest and most pristine commercial fishing grounds has taken a dramatic turn. A top federal agency has concluded that the Pebble Mine project in Alaska would not cause long-term environmental damage.

This comes one year after Alaska's governor collaborated with the mine developer to lobby President Trump to approve it. It is a complete reversal of the conclusion of the Obama administration that said that the mine would result in a complete loss of fish habitat, due to elimination, dewatering and fragmentation of streams, wetlands and other aquatic resources and all of these losses would be irreversible.

Mine supporters say it would bring needed economic development to the area. Local indigenous groups and commercial fishermen say the agency's conclusion ignores science.

Next here, opening day has been a lonely experience for professional baseball. How empty stadiums are affecting more than just the players during the coronavirus pandemic.





ALLEN: The first practicing doctor to play in the National Football League also is the first NFL player to take a pass on the 2020 season, due to COVID fears. Laurent Duvernay-Tardif won the Super Bowl in February, as an offensive lineman with the Kansas City Chiefs.

But lately, the Canadian has been treating long-term care patients near Montreal. He says he must follow his convictions and not transmitting the disease simply to play a sport.

Pro athletes are facing another sad coronavirus reality, games played in lonely stadiums with not a fan in sight. CNN's Ed Lavandera explains that the surreal scenes and sounds don't stop there.


MORGAN: Welcome to Globe Life Field. It is baseball time in Texas.

ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Chuck Morgan's iconic voice has welcomed millions of Texas Rangers baseball fans to the ballpark for almost 40 years.

MORGAN: The starting lineup for your Texas Rangers.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): But with no fans allowed in Major League Baseball games, Morgan's words echo flatly over the field.

MORGAN: Playing first base, number 21, Todd Frazier.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): A public address announcer, with no crowd to talk to.

MORGAN: I'm such a fan of the fans. And I hate it that they can't be here for the first game in a new ballpark. I'm a little sad about it.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): No matter where you sit, alone in a sea of empty seats, it's a surreal experience, watching Major League ballplayers like this. All of the sounds are eerily amplified, the pop of a ball hitting leather gloves, the crack of the bats.

What's even stranger for the Texas Rangers is that the team was supposed to unveil a brand-new $1.2 billion stadium this year. It's a shiny new car with no one to ride in it.

FRED ORTIZ, HKS PRINCIPAL ARCHITECT: It's going to be incredible.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): Fred Ortiz was one of the architects who designed the new ballpark. Their team spent four years waiting to unveil the new stadium. It all fizzled because of the coronavirus pandemic.

LAVANDERA: As we've gotten closer to this day, I keep thinking about the old line from "Field of Dreams."


JAMES EARL JONES, ACTOR, "TERENCE MANN": If you build it, he will come.


"MANN": People will come.

People will come, Ray.


LAVANDERA: You built it.


ORTIZ: And they can't come.

LAVANDERA: I feel bad for you, man.

ORTIZ: Yes, well, I guess I feel bad for those fans that truly want to be out here. We have to take safety first and be careful with that in hopes that that day will come. It will be yet another opening day.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): The chances of fans filling baseball stadiums this season seems slim. One Washington Nationals player already missed opening day after testing positive for COVID-19. New York Yankees legend Derek Jeter says, it's irresponsible to fill the stands with people.

DEREK JETER, NEW YORK YANKEES LEGEND: We have to make sure that our fans are safe and the players are safe. We have to make sure that our staff is safe. It's a little premature to have those discussions now.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): The only fans allowed are these cardboard cutouts placed in the seats behind home plate, so they can be seen on the TV broadcast. They don't cheer when a player smacks a home run. And they can't boo the umpire, either.

MORGAN: Trying to make it sound like there's 40,000 people here.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): Chuck Morgan, the Rangers' PA man, is bracing for a lonely season, looking out over an empty ballpark -- Ed Lavandera, CNN, Arlington, Texas.

(END VIDEOTAPE) ALLEN: It is a beautiful stadium. One day.

Actor Tom Hanks has a new role.


TOM HANKS, ACTOR AND ACTIVIST: Hot dogs. Oh, lots of hot dogs. Hot dogs here. A lots of hot dogs.

ALLEN (voice-over): He is a virtual hot dog seller for his home team, the Oakland A's. It's all part of Major League Baseball's effort to re-create the fan experience for people watching at home.

And Hanks can relate. He was a manager, of course, in the baseball movie, "A League of Their Own" and sold peanuts at the A's games while growing up.


ALLEN: What can't Tom Hanks do?

Thanks for watching this hour. I'm Natalie Allen. You're welcome to follow me on Instagram and Twitter. See you tomorrow.