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Arizona Reports 3,300-Plus New Virus Cases; Trump Administration Pushing For Schools To Reopen; Medical Labs Worldwide Racing To Find Vaccine, Treatment; Protests In Portland Amid Rise In Tensions; WHO Reports Record Increase In Global Cases; Virus Hits Health Care Hard In Australia's Victoria State; Mexico's Infections Increase Amid Conflicting Messages. Aired 5-6a ET

Aired July 25, 2020 - 05:00   ET




KIM BRUNHUBER, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): A school debate: some parents still want children back in classrooms even though U.S. COVID cases soar past 4 million.

Unrest in Portland: a federal court rules states can't even make these forces identify themselves.

And moving vans at the Chinese consulate in Texas. U.S. officials closed down the office at the center of the latest superpower clash.

Live from CNN World Headquarters in Atlanta, welcome to our viewers here in the United States and around the world. I'm Kim Brunhuber.


BRUNHUBER: The World Health Organization on Friday reported the highest number of new infections of COVID-19 in a single day, more than 284,000 people. About one-quarter of those new cases are in the United States. Nearly 74,000 Americans that tested positive in just 24 hours. CNN's Nick Watt has more.


NICK WATT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The president, backed by new CDC guidelines, pushing hard for schools to reopen, brick and mortar.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Being at the school, being on the campus is very, very important.

WATT: But is it safe?

The CDC says, "Scientific studies suggest that COVID-19 transmission among children in schools may be low," emphasis on "suggest" and "may."

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: I think we still need to learn a lot about children, elementary school children, getting infected and whether they either spread or not efficiently to adults.

In hot spots, schools should figure out a plan with local health officials, says the CDC.

DR. MARIA VAN KERKHOVE, WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION: Right now, the virus is controlling us in many parts of the world. Much of the Americans right now are really in the thick of it. But we do see signs of hope.

WATT: Across the country, in more than half of states, average new case games are right now steady or falling. That's good. Case counts generally falling in Arizona, after a very difficult month and hard- hit Florida?

GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): Although I do think South Florida has definitely stabilized and I think Miami is showing some signs of improvement as well.

WATT: He's right. New case rates in Florida are leveling off, but leveling off very high. And average daily deaths in the state are at an all-time high. And in Miami-Dade County, ICUs are now operating at 132 percent capacity.

DR. AILEEN MARTY, HERBERT WERTHEIM COLLEGE OF MEDICINE: We're drowning. We're absolutely drowning here. It's just an overwhelming number of cases, 527 individuals in the ICUs.

WATT: Starr County, Texas, just ordered everyone to shelter at home. According to the county, "Our doctors are going to have to decide who receives treatment and who is sent home to die by their loved ones."

One major model projects around another 75,000 Americans might die before November. So, now we should hit the reset button, say 150 prominent medical experts and others who signed an open letter to our leaders, "Shut it down now and start over."

DR. PAUL OFFIT, CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL OF PHILADELPHIA: I don't personally think that's necessary. I think that, if we just do the commonsense things, we can get this under control, as other countries have gotten under control.

WATT: So, the absolute opposite of this tight-packed, unmasked religious service in Northern California.

And here, in California, 159 deaths reported by the state in just 24 hours. That's a new record because it's two more than yesterday -- Nick Watt, CNN, Los Angeles.



BRUNHUBER: As local leaders debate whether to reopen schools in person or online, Arizona's governor is changing his approach. He's now basing it on health benchmarks. The state reported more than 3,000 new cases on Friday but, as Miguel Marquez reports, there are also some promising numbers.


MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So there are some encouraging signs in Arizona. The rates, overall rates of cases, every day, it's coming down, has been coming down, in the last 24 hours.

The most recent reporting by the state, up over 3,000 again, fairly high but it had been down below 2,000 cases a day over the last week or so.

That rate of transmission, if I get, it how many do I pass it on to, has been trending in the right direction for the state as well.

But the problem and the big sticking point for the state, that rate of positivity. The number of people getting tested and the rate that come back positive, that is stuck at about 25 percent.

That indicates to epidemiologists and to health officials that there is a lot of virus out there, a lot of community spread. And that is complicated things for, say, opening up schools for in-person instruction.

They wanted to start on their traditional date of August 1st; the governor pushed that back to an aspirational date for the 17th of August. Now they're waiting and the governor has we're going to scrap all that, come up with metrics to figure out what the virus rate in the community needs to be before schools can open up for in-person instruction.

Many schools already pushing back in person to October, possibly into 2021 for some of them.

Arizona is unique, because it is this time of the year, when school starts again, it's a snowbird area, for people who live in very cold climates to come here for the winter. It is also the time of year when the flu strikes.

And the hospitals typically in October, November and December, get very full with people suffering the flu. If you have lots of COVID out there at the same time and you have those patients, on top of flu patients, it is going to be extraordinarily difficult for the state to cope with that many sick people.

That is what the state is looking at right now. They are trying to get this back into the box right now but it is very hard. When the governor opened up the state in May, there were about 500 cases a day being reported. Now you are in the 2,000 to 3000 number a day. Back to you.


BRUNHUBER: In Gwinnett County, Georgia, where coronavirus cases are surging, hundreds gathered on Friday to demand schools reopen for in- person instruction.


BRUNHUBER (voice-over): You can hear those people there. They're angry but the county announced teaching would be online only during the new school year. They protested, some with their instructions, outside the Gwinnett County Instructional Support Center. The group hopes to take the protests statewide.

A mother spoke earlier with CNN's Chris Cuomo. He asked why she wants to she her children in school buildings despite rising coronavirus numbers.


KELLY WILLYARD, GEORGIA STUDENTS' MOTHER: This again has nothing to do with being a Trump supporter. I'm actually an independent myself.

We have parents of, you know, representing the Democratic Party, Republican Party, Independent Party. At the end of the day, we're all just parents, and we all have a common goal of getting our kids back into school, and getting our kids back in safely. And we've had public education in this country for hundreds of years.

And now, all of a sudden, two weeks before school, the rug's getting pulled out from underneath us all and we're scrambling.

All of us parents are scrambling on how to get our kids back in school, how to manage the fact that if we don't have face-to-face learning, what are we going to do?

Are we going to get child care?

Do we get a teenager to come to our house while they're doing their digital schooling during the day?

Do we get pods?

There's a lot of talk right now with parents that are trying to get these micro-pods in place. Some parents that are fortunate enough can have their kids in private school.

But, again, it's a complete scramble. We're two weeks out from school.

And Gwinnett County, really, I have to say, I don't envy them at all. I think they probably have one of the hardest decisions right now to make is to get kids back in school safely, and how they're going to do that, as well as all educators across America.


BRUNHUBER: A fifth grade teacher in Colorado Springs, Colorado, has practical concerns that come from real-world experience. She talked about whether socially distanced learning is even possible for young children.



KATIE O'CONNOR, 5TH GRADE TEACHER: I don't think people know the true reality of what it's going to look like. You expect a bunch of 10- year-olds to sit in their chair all day, eat lunch in their chair? These kids aren't leaving the classroom at all, the whole day. They're sitting at a desk.

I, as an educator, don't -- I know that's not how kids learn. Kids need to move. We've -- most of them learn by moving. And asking these 10-year-olds to sit at their desk all day, on a computer, wearing a mask, three feet apart from their peers -- no group work, no one-on- ones, just -- they can't stick their arms out, you can't touch.

I just don't see how this is -- I don't see how this is better. e- learning was not great either. But at least at home, they could be comfortable.

This is not how I want to go back. And I want to go back so bad.


BRUNHUBER: Reopening schools, like every other aspect of life, will be much easier when we have a solution to the COVID-19 pandemic, meaning a treatment or vaccine and more effective testing. So I want to speak to someone on the front lines. Oliver de Peyer is a molecular biologist in the U.K.

Thank you so much for joining us. We appreciate it. I just want to know, you're in the lab, day after day. Give us a sense of what it's like to be there in that high-pressure and often dangerous environment.

OLIVER DE PEYER, MOLECULAR BIOLOGIST: So it is a very exciting, bustling environment. And the main thing with our hospital in basics that we don't do elsewhere, we can do very rapid testing. We partnered with some local industry nearby.

That gave us a test that gives the result in as quick as 20 minutes. And then it went also into supercharge. We actually got a (INAUDIBLE) militarize, we have a van, we call it Vandemic, and it drives around the local community.

We offered to do some pilot community studies just in the community itself and using this equipment, we have a much higher turnover so we can effectively saturate the entire local environment. All of the patients coming in and out of the hospital, we're testing on our equipment. So it's been a really hectic, exhilarating ride.

BRUNHUBER: Just describe -- we're seeing some machines behind you, equipment and so on. Just describe where exactly you are and what that does.

DE PEYER: So I'm actually in a workshop in a company nearby where we build lab equipment. What you see behind me would be a machine for a really big testing facility. The work I have helped set up at Hampshire, that was on a small scale with these mobile testing units.

This is the big difference. In the United States, you might have turnaround time of 11-14 days. In the big centralized testing laboratories in the U.K. they've got a turnaround of three days.

We've got a time, using our equipment and our localized approach, of really 5-6 hours. So we're catching people with or without symptoms. If they've got coronavirus, we're catching them and we're managing the disease much earlier and not reinfect other people.

BRUNHUBER: We think about fighting the virus, vaccines and treatments but testing is at the core of fighting this and quick testing as well.

Is what you're doing scalable?

Is that something that we could see across the country and in places like the U.S. where it's a real concern?

DE PEYER: So that's a very insightful comment. The reason we're able to do it is that our suppliers are literally a car ride away. When we run out of chemicals or when they have a new prototype, we drive over and get it.

A lot of the main supplies around the world, they were sold out. The supply lines were broken down because of the epidemic. So we were able to source locally.

So my advice to testing labs around the world, what can supply you nearby?

The kit we have is excellent. I don't think Oxygene (ph) can supply equipment for the entire world. Maybe they can license it. We've got the technology. The paper describing our work is in press now.

But where can you find it?

The breakdown in supply chains was really quite feisty early on in the epidemic and we're so grateful to companies like Oxygene (ph) who support us in our local environment. It's a local effort.

BRUNHUBER: Now I want to get at sort of the emotional component of what you do. You're there at the moment of discovery, where you see those test results come through.


BRUNHUBER: What's that like?

Because you know very well, better than the patients themselves, what they may be in for if it's a positive result.

DE PEYER: So the tests are anonymized. We just deal with bar codes. When we've done this rapid test, every 20 minutes we have a big flat screen that updates. I sometimes go and stand there and wait for the clock to turn over. And for the first time, I see the human impact. I see their names,

their ages, the community setting that they're in. We actually see outbreaks occurring in real time. And you know what, I have to turn around and go back in the room and do the next batch. So it's hectic and exhilarating but also deeply chastening to see the human cost.

BRUNHUBER: Chastening and it must be hard to deal with the emotions here in a dangerous environment, working under pressure. And everyone is expecting results from you.

How do you deal with all of this pressure?

DE PEYER: Well, early on, I think I was doing what a lot of people were doing. I was surfing the Internet obsessively for scientific papers and stories about the coronavirus, something I call doom surfing. I decided I was going to stop that. I couldn't handle it.

So I turn off. I go into the lab, do my shift and I go out and try not to think about coronavirus until the next shift. I have scientific hobbies. Myself and some colleagues, we look for interesting bacteria in unusual cases as a hobby. But I try not to think about coronavirus, that's my approach.

BRUNHUBER: That's an interesting hobby. Thank you for joining us and thank you for your work helping to keep everybody safe in these troubling times. We appreciate it.

DE PEYER: Thank you so much.

BRUNHUBER: There's much more, including a report from Portland, Oregon, federal efforts to curtail protests may actually be causing more people to come out. That's ahead.





BRUNHUBER: Demonstrations were heating up again in Portland, Oregon. Federal agents released tear gas and threw flashbangs in the past hours outside of the federal building. That's been at the center of the protests.

Eighteen demonstrators appeared in court earlier on federal charges. And in another court, a judge ruled Homeland Security officers do not have identify themselves when arresting protesters. Lucy Kafanov is in Portland and has more on the scene and the judge's ruling.


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. 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.


BRUNHUBER: And CNN spoke a short time ago with a local Portland journalist, who has been covering the situation there for weeks and he explained how these protests have evolved.


SERGIO OLMOS, JOURNALIST: You are now seeing moms in helmets and we just had an R.N., a nurse, with a leaf blower, blowing back tear gas.

What do people think about fellow officers in military fatigues?

There is outrage, definitely in the city. Just before they got here, I think a lot of the conversation was, do we support these young protesters, who are throwing water bottles at police officers?

There was a real debate on whether that was appropriate. Now that conversation is over. The entire city is really talking about these federal officers.


BRUNHUBER: The United States isn't the only country grappling with the rapid spread of COVID-19. Just ahead, we'll show you how the virus is making a comeback in places once lauded for their handling of the pandemic.





BRUNHUBER: And welcome back. For our viewers in the United States and around the world, I'm Kim Brunhuber and you're watching CNN NEWSROOM.

The World Health Organization on Friday reported the highest number of new infections of COVID-19 in a single day, more than 284,000 people. About one-quarter of those new cases are in the United States. Nearly 74,000 Americans tested positive in just 24 hours. CNN's John King had a closer look at the recent trends in the U.S.


JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR: Number one, when you look at this map, it is more encouraging, way more encouraging than days and weeks ago. Still, 18 states heading in the wrong direction. That's the orange and the red. But 26 states holding steady and six states, the case count is going down.

Importantly, Florida on the way down, a big driver in the summer surge. Let's hope that holds. Texas holding steady, another pig driver in the summer surge. Arizona going down, a big driver of the summer surge. And California, the nation's most populous state. Now the state with the most cases, holding steady at the moment.

So you do see in this map, especially when you compare this to one month ago, look at all that red and orange, --Florida, Texas, Arizona and California among them -- we are in a better place today, at least today, than we were a month ago.

Let's look more closely at the new case trend. The summer surge still daunting. Just shy of 19,000 new cases on Memorial Day. By July 4th, July 3rd, 53,000-plus. Yesterday, nearly 70,000. That's not the direction you want to go in. The question is, does that flattening hold.

Let's take a closer look. This is California in just the past few days, the seven-day moving average. You do not want to be near or above 10,000 cases. However, at least, if you look at the seven-day moving average, that line, what Dr. Birx calls a plateau. Can you keep it flat and start to drive it down?

Especially when your life this summer has been this.


KING: That's California throughout the summer surge. The question is, you see this here, can you hold the plateau, just California. Now let's take a look at Texas. And let's start here. You look at

this, this the summer surge in Texas. Horrible. The question is, is this seven-day moving average, can you flatten it down?

Let's take a look at Texas from this perspective, just the last week, you still see high numbers. Again, 10,000 cases and above some days. But when you average it out, is Texas finally plateauing, maybe even starting to come down? That's a great question.

And Florida -- especially if you are Texas and you're dealing with this. Remember that.

Now let's look at Florida. This has been a key driver in the summer surge. Almost straight up at one point. Now we do see some evidence -- 10,000 cases yesterday. Don't want to be above 10,000. But Florida not long ago recorded a day above 15,000.

The question is, will this plateau hold. Because if you look at the seven-day moving average, Florida is flattening, maybe even dipping a little bit, even though it had 10,000 new cases yesterday. This has been part of our summer surge conversation.


BRUNHUBER: Now even as the U.S. tries to get a grip on the hot spots within its own borders, other areas around the world, ones that were once the model of containment, are now seeing resurgence.

Hong Kong just saw its highest single day increase, 123 new coronavirus cases confirmed there. The city is now considered to be in its third wave.

While New Zealand is still considered a success, police are cracking down, charging four people after they escaped from a COVID isolation facility.

And neighboring Australia seeing an unwelcome increase of new cases in the state of Victoria, more than 300 hospital workers have tested positive there.

For more on this, let's bring in Angus Watson from Sydney, Australia.

Angus, what's the latest?

ANGUS WATSON, JOURNALIST: As you mentioned, Kim, the 300 health care workers diagnosed was extremely worrying for everybody in the state of Victoria because we worry about their health.

Also, what happens when you take out 3,000 brave doctors and nurses from the health care system and that system starts to buckle and people are not getting the help they need and it becomes more difficult?

One other thing the government is worried about is the spread of the virus in aged care settings where people are frail and they need help. And the virus there is ripping through there and causing deaths, Kim.

BRUNHUBER: You mentioned the spread locally.

But how does that fit into the big picture?

Have they managed to contain it to Victoria state?

WATSON: Well, Kim, I think people in Victoria might be thinking that they're fighting a little bit of a lonely fight here in Australia against coronavirus. Hundreds of cases by the day in that state. Everywhere else is recording pretty good numbers.

Here in Sydney, we had 15 cases today, they're all very serious, of course. But that compared with the way Victoria is going, with hundreds, seems a very different story.

BRUNHUBER: All right. We'll keep an eye on that. Thank you so much. We appreciate it.

Well, turning now to Latin America, many countries are there dealing with their own surges of coronavirus. But their leaders have different views of how serious it is. CNN's Matt Rivers has the latest on the conflicting messages in Mexico.

But first, Nick Paton Walsh in Brazil, where the country's president continues to downplay the virus even though he has it.


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.

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.



MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Mexican health officials Friday evening reported more than 7,500 newly confirmed cases of the virus.


RIVERS: That pushes the overall total in this country to nearly 380,000. They also reported more than 700 additional deaths. That pushes the overall death toll to more than 42,000. Those newly confirmed cases and deaths are in fairly high numbers compared to what we've seen recently.

And the new case number comes one day after Mexico set its latest daily confirmed case record on Thursday, with officials reporting 8,400 new cases in a single day.

Despite all of these numbers, what we heard from Mexico's president on Friday morning is that his data showed that the pandemic in this country is lessening.

But here's the thing. He said something very similar about two weeks ago, when he said that the pandemic in Mexico is losing intensity.

But since he said that two weeks ago, we've had multiple days where we've set new records in this country, in terms of newly confirmed cases. The seven-day moving average of newly confirmed cases is higher than it's ever been.

And we're seeing a trend in the seven-day average in newly confirmed deaths, which is going up. Despite what we hear from the government, their own data suggest it might not be losing the intensity. It might not be getting worse but it's certainly not getting substantively better -- Matt Rivers, CNN, Mexico.


BRUNHUBER: After the break, the escalating diplomatic tension between U.S. and China. We'll explain how this started and what's at stake.





BRUNHUBER (voice-over): Well, this was the scene a short time in Russia's far east. Thousands of protesters marching in the city of Khabarovsk. It's a rare show of defiance against President Putin. They're furious with the arrest of a popular regional governor who has been charged with murder.


BRUNHUBER: His supporters say the charges are politically motivated and he's being belatedly published after he defeated a pro-Putin candidate in 2018.

U.S. federal agents officially took control of the Chinese consulate building in Houston, Texas, Friday, less than a week after the Trump administration ordered diplomats to leave. China has responded in kind, ordering the closure of the U.S. consulate in Chengdu. Kylie Atwood explains how the current dispute began. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

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.


BRUNHUBER: So for more on this, I'd like to bring on Kristie Lu Stout in Hong Kong.

Let's delve a little further into this, consulates closing.

How big of a deal is this in a larger context?

What message does this send?

And do you thing this tit-for-tat is over for now?

KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN ANCHOR: Oh, no, it's still simmering. Diplomatic tension between the U.S. and China continues to rise as we follow fluid developments in Houston and San Francisco and the southwestern Chinese city of Chengdu.

The U.S. State Department has confirmed to CNN that the Chinese consulate has shut down. On Friday, U.S. agents, law enforcement, even blacksmiths were seen entering the compound. It was on Wednesday that the United States State Department ordered the closure of the Chinese consulate there, saying it wanted to protect American intellectual property rights.

Beijing called that, quote, "talking nonsense."

And in an open letter that came out earlier today published in Xinhua, we heard directly from the Chinese consul general to Houston.

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

We're also watching the situation in San Francisco because that was where Chinese scientist had been holed in the Chinese consulate. She is now in U.S. custody. U.S. officials accused her of visa fraud, saying she had lied about links to the Chinese military.

The circumstances around her arrest have not been clear. But she has not been charged with espionage.

And finally, in Chengdu, the U.S. insignia on the American consulate there in the city was taken down today, it was on Friday when Beijing announced it would retaliate after U.S. actions by shutting the U.S. actions in Chengdu.

Why Chengdu?

According to the ministry of foreign affairs on Friday, it accuses U.S. personnel there of interfering in Chinese internal affairs and harming Chinese national state secrets.

BRUNHUBER: You say finally, this keeps going, another flashpoint now, a Singaporean admitted being a spy for China in the U.S.

STOUT: You're right. I should not be using the word finally because there are a number of flashpoints here, including the case of a Singaporean living in Washington, D.C. He has pleaded guilty for acting as an agent for China.

U.S. officials say for four to five years he used a political consultancy as a front to collect intelligence on artificial intelligence as well as on the trade war for China. This comes during an ongoing crackdown in the United States on Chinese corporate espionage and cyber espionage.

The case also involves a non-Chinese national -- Kim.

BRUNHUBER: I appreciate you making sense of all this. Thank you, Kristie Lu Stout in Hong Kong.


BRUNHUBER: Well, when the athletes are no longer content to just play their sport. When we return, how they are using their platform to call out racial injustice in the U.S.





DR. HUBERT MINNIS, BAHAMIAN PRIME MINISTER: Starting tonight, at 10 pm, a weekend lockdown will be implemented for all islands of the Bahamas, excluding Grand Bahama, who is currently under a national lockdown.

Grocery stores, pharmacies, gas stations, they will be allowed to operate for the public during this weekend lockdown from 7 am to 6 pm.


BRUNHUBER: That was the prime minister of the Bahamas, himself a doctor, warning that the country of about 400,000 people is in what he called a grave health crisis. COVID-19 cases there have spiked since the Bahamas reopened on July 1st. Johns Hopkins reports the country has had more than 300 cases and at least 11 deaths.


BRUNHUBER: Wide areas of the Texas Gulf Coast are under a hurricane warning as tropical storm Hanna gathers strength. It's expected to intensify into a category 1 hurricane when it makes landfall near Corpus Christi later today.

That would make Hanna the first hurricane of the Atlantic season. There's also a tropical storm in the Atlantic and a hurricane bearing down on Hawaii.

A 15-year fight over development in one of the world's largest and most pristine commercial fishing grounds has taken a major U-turn. A top federal agency has now concluded that the massive Pebble Mine project in Alaska wouldn't cause long-term environmental damage.

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

Mine supporters say it will bring need economic development. But local groups and commercial fishermen say the agency's conclusion ignores science.

President Trump's federal lawyer is back home after he was released from prison.


BRUNHUBER: You see there, a crowd of reporters greeted Michael Cohen outside of his New York residence, where he'll 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 because of coronavirus until the Justice Department had him rearrested. Well, this week, a judge ruled that was retaliation for Cohen's tell-all book about President Trump and ordered him sent home.


BRUNHUBER: As athletes take to the fields of empty stadiums during these strange times, they're thinking of more than the score, from T- shirts to the words Black Lives Matter, to teams renouncing and changing their controversial names. The days of telling athletes to just play their sport are long over. CNN's Randi Kaye has the details.


LEBRON JAMES, LOS ANGELES LAKERS FORWARD: First of all, we want to continue to shed light on the justice for Breonna Taylor and her family.

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): That was LeBron James, moments after returning to the court for the first time in more than four months. The Lakers star is making it clear, basketball and Breonna Taylor are top priorities.

Back in March, Taylor was killed in a barrage of gunfire after police used a no-knock warrant to storm into her home. So far, none of the officers have been charged.

JAMES: One of the leaders of this thing, I want her family to know and I want the state of Kentucky to know, that we feel for her and we want justice.

KAYE (voice-over): Several teams made statements on the field.

At the L.A. Dodgers opener against the San Francisco Giants, Dodgers coaching staff and the whole Giants squad wore Black Lives Matter T- shirts for the pregame warmup. BLM was also emblazoned on the pitcher's mound. And before the game, both teams took a knee and held a black ribbon encircling the field.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All with the same goal, level the playing field.

KAYE (voice-over): In Washington, D.C., the Nationals also used their pitcher's mound to support Black Lives Matter and took a knee, along with the New York Yankees, before the opening pitch. Some players wore league-approved patches that read "Black Lives Matter" and "United for Change," all while a Black Lives Matter video produced by the Players Alliance played on screen.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We'll wait no longer.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We'll make our voices louder.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For all of us who can.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And for all of those who cannot.

KAYE (voice-over): Major League Baseball's official Twitter account also highlighted players in Black Lives Matter T-shirts, writing, "Equality is not just a word. It's our right."

And today, the Tampa Bay Rays baseball team also showed support for Breonna Taylor, tweeting, "Today is opening day, which means it's a great day to arrest the killers of Breonna Taylor."

All of this support for social injustice a far cry from 2016, when players in the WNBA were initially fined $500 for wearing Black Lives Matter T-shirts to protest police brutality. The teams were fined $5,000. All of those fines were later dropped.

Soon after that, NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick famously took a knee, leading to the derailment of his football career.

And now in the wake of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor's deaths, it's not just players supporting the cause but teams as a whole are examining how best to move forward. The Washington Redskins changing their name for now to the Washington Football Team, tweeting simply, it begins here.


KAYE (voice-over): And the Cleveland Indians baseball team, also possibly considering a name change, is promising to engage Native American leaders to better understand their perspectives -- Randi Kaye, CNN, West Palm Beach, Florida.


BRUNHUBER: And just before we leave Major League Baseball, players on opposite sides of the field are united in the fight against the coronavirus.

You'll see Chicago Cubs player Anthony Rivers (sic) offer Milwaukee Brewers' Orlando Arcia a little hand sanitizer during his stay on first base. It happened during the third inning of the season opener. Major League Baseball is facing an abbreviated season as the league is taking extra health and safety precautions.

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.

BRUNHUBER (voice-over): If you can't tell what that is, 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 recreate 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 actually sold peanuts at the A's games while growing up.


BRUNHUBER: The first practicing doctor to play in the National Football League now has become 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 29-year-old Canadian has been treating long-term care patients near Montreal.

He said he must follow his convictions and not risk transmitting the disease simply to play a sport. Good for him.

Good for him.

Well, that wraps up this hour of CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Kim Brunhuber. A CNN special, "AFRICA AVANT-GARDE" is next.