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Calls to Shut Down the U.S. Again as Death Rate Increases; GOP Set to Unveil Less-Ambitious Stimulus Renewal; Tropical Storm Hanna, Hurricane Douglas Threaten Parts of U.S. Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired July 27, 2020 - 05:00   ET



LAURA JARRETT, CO-ANCHOR, EARLY START: Growing calls for shutdown 2.0 because of coronavirus. A new stimulus plan set to be revealed today, but it's lacking something millions of Americans have relied on.

BORIS SANCHEZ, CO-ANCHOR, EARLY START: And Texas facing dual crisis hit hard by COVID-19, and now facing flooding and a big cleanup from Hurricane Hanna.

JARRETT: Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. This is EARLY START, I'm Laura Jarrett.

SANCHEZ: And I'm Boris Sanchez in for Christine Romans. It's Monday, July 27th, 5:00 a.m. in New York, just 99 days to the election, and we start with major disagreements over how to manage the coronavirus pandemic.

JARRETT: Yes, great to have you here this week, Boris --

SANCHEZ: Thanks Laura --

JARRETT: Debates over whether to shut down the economy again coming to ahead this week. Coronavirus killed more than 1,000 people each day for four straight days last week, nearly 147,000 American lives in total. The CDC forecasts almost 30,000 more will die in the next few weeks. The death rate -- take a look at this map, climbing in 29 states. More than 150 prominent medical experts, scientists, teachers are urging another shutdown, saying the best thing for the nation is not to reopen as quickly as possible, but to save as many lives as possible, and reopening before suppressing the virus isn't going to help the economy.

SANCHEZ: Yes, on Sunday, the White House coronavirus coordinator, Dr. Deborah Birx urged states with rising infection rates to close bars and limit the size of social gatherings, that includes places like Kentucky, Tennessee, Ohio, Indiana and Virginia. Local officials in some of those states are refusing to enforce mask mandates. And meantime, the administration official overseeing critical COVID-19 testing has conceded a turnaround times are still too long.

And this is a serious problem. Slower test results mean that you don't know if you have the virus, which means you could be transmitting COVID-19 without knowing it.


ASHISH JHA, DIRECTOR, HARVARD GLOBAL HEALTH INSTITUTE: I am deeply worried about our testing infrastructure. It is hitting the wall and it is starting to crumble, and we're seeing that in delays and returns, we're seeing that in machines starting to break down, we're seeing that in how hard it is for people to start getting tested. So, we need a reboot.


JARRETT: In Texas, the total number of deaths is now past 5,000, 1,000 of those in the last six days alone. Officials say doctors at Starr County Memorial in Rio Grande City may send coronavirus patients home to die by their loved ones because of the hospital's limited resources. And in San Antonio, the children's shelter has suffered a COVID outbreak, infecting 11 children and 4 staff members.


ANAIS BIERA-MIRACLE, THE CHILDREN'S SHELTER, SAN ANTONIO: Prior to the surge in cases, nothing like this had happened. We're not immune. No one is immune to this virus.


SANCHEZ: Many of the nation's hot spots are seeing the same trend. Hospitalization and positive test rates high but starting to stabilize. And staying in Texas, more than 10,000 Texans filling hospitals. That number appears to be plateauing and the positivity rate also holding steady at about 15 percent. Looking at Arizona, hospitalizations there, starting to fall and so are positive test rates.

JARRETT: But Florida now surpassing New York state for the second highest number of cases behind California. Dozens of ICUs are at or near capacity, but the rate of positive tests is holding steady below 20 percent. The state now mourning its youngest victim so far, 9-year- old Kimora Lynum died July 18th when she did not wake up from her nap.


MIKASHA YOUNG-HOLMES, KIMORA LYNUM'S MOTHER: I was shaking her, yelling at her. I yelled at my mom, and you know, I told her, come in here because Kim is not breathing.

MASHELL ATKINS, KIMORA LYNUM'S GRANDMOTHER: Yes, I was just trying to -- trying to bring her back. I tried. I tried everything I could to bring her back.


JARRETT: One state is still tracking the wrong direction case-counts and hospitalizations continue to rise in Florida -- I mean, California, I should say. SANCHEZ: Yes, developing this morning, even as Senate Republicans

prepare to unveil their proposal for a coronavirus stimulus bill later today, CNN has learned the top White House negotiators are pushing to scale back what's in that proposal. The Senate bill will provide $1,200 checks to many Americans, but it would replace the $600 in weekly payments with a plan for only about 70 percent of a worker's lost wages.


That's a change that Democrats are not likely to go along with. The Senate recovery package would also include re-employment and retention bonuses as well as tax credits for small businesses and restaurants.


LARRY KUDLOW, ECONOMIC ADVISER, WHITE HOUSE: It won't stop the assistance. It's going to -- it's going to cap the assistance at a level that is consistent with people going back to work. That's what we've said from day one. First of all, state unemployment benefits stay in place. Second of all, we will try to cap the benefits at about 70 percent of wages.


JARRETT: The $600 in weekly checks were designed to provide a financial cushion for those unemployed during the lockdowns, but some business owners say they've had trouble finding workers to help get their doors back open, only further complicating reopening in some states. Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell already said a new stimulus deal could take a few weeks putting millions in limbo, and now the administration wants a less ambitious plan. CNN's Jeremy Diamond has more from the White House.

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Good morning Laura and Boris. Senate Republicans are finally expected to release their phase 4 stimulus bill proposal, a trillion-dollar package is what we're expecting to see. But before they even release that, White House officials are already talking about perhaps moving a different direction, and that is with a scaled-down legislative proposal that will just address the issue of those supplemental unemployment benefits set to expire at the end of this week as well as a few other provisions like those liability protections for businesses that the White House and Senate Republicans have also been pushing.

But is this going to go anywhere before those unemployment benefits expire? That seems unlikely. The House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, she has already shot down this proposal over scaled down bill, and we haven't heard Senate Republicans really talking about that idea actively. This could be the beginning of setting up a potential blame game over who is responsible as these unemployment benefits, $600 of additional money a week that many millions of Americans have been receiving throughout this pandemic expiring at the end of this week. Laura, Boris?

SANCHEZ: Jeremy Diamond, thank you for that. COVID-ravaged south Texas is facing another crisis this morning, flooding. A flash flood emergency remains in some areas from the effects of what was Hurricane Hanna. This was the earliest H-named storm ever in the Atlantic basin. And in the Pacific, Hawaii's governor is urging residents to shelter in place. Hurricane Douglas could become only the third hurricane in modern history to make landfall in that state. CNN meteorologist Pedram Javaheri is live with more. Pedram, where is Hurricane Douglas now?

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, METEOROLOGIST: Yes, you know, we're going to start off here with what's happening across Texas and Douglas of course, just off the shores there of the Hawaiian Islands, about 50 miles away from land, so we're going to really pinpoint that as well. But here's what's left of the remnants of Hanna, still raining itself out across portions of northern Mexico. As you noted, the flooding is significant across Texas, about a foot has come down. So any additional rainfall across that region is problematic in the storm.

Can't be sure it's 5:00 p.m. there on Saturday afternoon, 90 miles per hour for the sustained winds, and tell you what? That is exactly where we are just north of the Hawaiian Islands with Hurricane Douglas sits at 90 miles per hour, that is a category one. This is the -- her first hurricane within this proximity to the Hawaiian Islands since 1992. So, it really speaks to the rarity of the islands getting impacted by tropical systems.

In fact, since 1959, only two hurricanes have made landfall across the Hawaiian Islands, it was Iniki back in '92, and Dot back in 1959. Now, the immediate concern with this is the storm surge right there on the coast there of Kauai. We know the storm again, 50 miles north of the island, about a 100 miles northwest of Honolulu at this hour. At this point, model suggests this is not going to make landfall across the Hawaiian Islands.

But again, a threat often, the most destructed aspect of tropical systems are the storm surges associated with them. So, we'll watch this, and hopefully see it just skirt north of the islands and remain that way. Beyond this, wind shear, cooler waters and eventual weakening as it pushes westward across the Pacific. And again, as much as 2 to 4 inches could come down across this region. But really, with the system not kind of favoring a northern trajectory away from Kauai within the next couple of hours.

That will keep the bulk of the heaviest rainfall away from the islands as well. We know shelters have been opened across Hawaii, I looked into the numbers there, and it looks like the last three days records have been set every single day as far as cases for coronavirus there on the Hawaiian Islands. So, this is certainly bad timing, but at least, it looks like the storm will be spinning in.

SANCHEZ: Yes, some good news, important to keep an eye on that storm surge. A busy weekend, busy morning, Pedram Javaheri, thank you for the latest.

JAVAHERI: Thank you.

JARRETT: All right, overnight, the U.S. Consulate in Chengdu, China, shut down. CNN is live there with the latest on the escalating diplomatic retaliation.



JARRETT: New overnight. The American flag lowered at the U.S. Consulate in Chengdu, China. The consulate officially closed on orders from the Chinese government. Chinese personnel are now inside the building which was an important diplomatic outpost for the U.S. The closure is only the latest sign of worsening relations between Beijing and Washington. The U.S. Mission in China posting a good-bye message that said in part, "since 1985, the U.S. Consulate General in Chengdu has been proudly fostering mutual understanding. We will miss you forever." Let's bring in CNN's David Culver who is live for us in Chengdu. David, what a symbolic moment.

DAVID CULVER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: No question. It's historic. And for that reason, there have been crowds gathering here in front of what is now the former U.S. Consulate here in Chengdu all weekend. Since the announcement that this location would be China's reciprocal response, retaliation to what the U.S., they say initiated with the closure of the Chinese Consulate in Houston, Texas.


Just look behind me, Laura, you can see all the signage has now been covered up. All of this as the tensions between these two countries continue to rise.


CULVER (voice-over): After some 35 years, the U.S. flag lowered for the last time Monday at the now shuttered U.S. Consulate in Chengdu, China. Only state-controlled media allowed to capture these images of Chinese officials taking control of the property. The U.S. Mission in China tweeting this farewell video adding, "we will miss you forever". Over the weekend, the U.S. insignia taken down, moving trucks seen entering the consulate compound, a bus pulling out.

On board, U.S. diplomatic staff, U.S. foreign service officers were flown in from other consulates in China to help with the rush to move out. They are now headed to Beijing, to the U.S. Embassy. Fire crackers ignited outside the Consulate on Friday when China announced its closure, a celebration of sorts for some locals in Chengdu, though since have packed in to get a shot of history.

(on camera): This is the portion where the crowd really builds. And you can see a lot of uniformed police officers, but you also see some plain clothes police officers making their way through the crowd, too. And it gets to be a rather, well, popular tourist site. But you notice, a lot of people staring at us because obviously we're foreigners and they're taking pictures of us because we too are part of this tourist attraction, and yes, that's true.

(voice-over): In shutting it down, China's Foreign Ministry claimed U.S. personnel were engaging in activities that were harmful to China's national security interest. A near identical claim to what the U.S. alleged of the Chinese Consulate in Houston. U.S. officials saying it was involved in an illegal spying effort, a claim China denied.

The closing of the Chengdu-U.S. Consulate has a major impact for many Chinese students looking to start or continue their studies in the U.S. They come here to apply for visas, graduate student, Burson Yang among them. He supports China's decision to retaliate, but wishes it had not come to this.

BURSON YANG, GRADUATE STUDENT: That's not what I want to see. I want these two great nations to grow relationships.

CULVER: Months of rising tensions have now pinned the world's two largest economies against one another and a variety of friends, leading some to label it a new cold war.

LONG XINGCHUN, CHENGDU INSTITUTE OF WORLD AFFAIRS: The U.S. people very nice. We have so many close friends from the U.S. So, we're saying why do we wish to go to war?

CULVER: Professor Long Xingchun runs the Chengdu Institute of World Affairs in international relations think-tank. He says he does not fault the U.S. for being tough on China.

XINGCHUN: But the way that bothers everybody is that, you rush no decision, crazy sometimes, crazy decision to China.

CULVER: He points in particular to the Trump administration and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo who says, this is about protecting the free world from a totalitarian regime.

MIKE POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE, UNITED STATES: We must induce China to change to more creative and assertive ways because Beijing's actions threaten our people and our prosperity.

CULVER: Channels of communication closing up and moving out as China and the U.S. drift farther apart.

(on camera): Behind me, you're looking at what is Chinese property now. And it was interesting, Boris, earlier today, when it officially was turned over to the Chinese 10 O'clock local time, we were not allowed anywhere near here. In fact, we were kept several blocks away. We had to do some of our live reporting from a moving vehicle because police had security so tight they wanted everything to go smoothly.

A lot of this is representing China's image on the national stage. So, right now though, people are allowed to come back in a place here, and you can hear folks singing around me, that's because the tourist site has been reopened to them if you will.


SANCHEZ: Yes, quite a moment there with a chorus of people singing. The Secretary of State Mike Pompeo as you mentioned, also projecting that relations will likely get worse, saying that the United States' blind engagement with China --

CULVER: That's right --

SANCHEZ: Must come to an end. David Culver reporting from Chengdu. Thank you for that. The time is 5:19, and the season just started, but two major league teams have concerns about COVID outbreaks in the club house. Sports is next.



JARRETT: Welcome back. The Miami Marlins delayed their trip back to south Florida amid reports of an outbreak of COVID-19 within the team. Andy Scholes has more in this morning's "BLEACHER REPORT". Hey, Andy.

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS REPORTER: Hey, good morning, Laura. You know, we're only a weekend into the baseball season, and already a team is struggling with the virus. And remember baseball is the first big league that's trying to go from city-to-city and stay in hotels in order to play their games. And according to "ESPN", four players on the Marlins have tested positive for COVID-19.

The team was in Atlanta for an exhibition before playing in Philadelphia over the weekend. Because of the positive test, the team delaying its trip back to south Florida until today. The team is scheduled to play tonight against Baltimore. And Manager Don Mattingly said despite the positive test results, the team wanted to keep playing.


DON MATTINGLY, MANAGER, MIAMI MARLINS: Never really considered not playing from my standpoint. We're taking risks every day. Every day we're taking risks. So, that's what the players all around the league are doing.


You know, you travel all the time, you know, it started with this road trip, you're traveling, you're in planes, you're in buses, you're in different hotels. It's a risk that we take. We're going to have to be, you know, adjustable. We're going to have to be flexible. We're going to have to be patient.


SCHOLES: And the Reds, Cincinnati Reds, meanwhile, have placed put two players on the injured list because of COVID. One tested positive, another felt sick and then another player was also scratched from the lineup as well yesterday after he started feeling sick.

All right, President Trump meanwhile says he won't be throwing out the first pitch at Yankee Stadium after all. Last week, he announced he was going to toss the ceremonial first pitch on August 15th. The president then tweeted that he's focusing on coronavirus meetings and the economy. He can't be there that day. But he added that he is going to make it later in the season. No word yet on when that might take place.

Every commander-in-chief dating back to President Taft in 1910 has thrown out a first pitch while in office except for President Trump. All right, we all know everything looks a little different this season, even the ejections. Pirates pitcher Derek Holland was thrown out yesterday for heckling from the stands. That led to Manager Derek Shelton coming out of his dugout to have a few words with the umpire, but the age of COVID, both of them having to put on their face masks and maintained 6 feet of social distancing while arguing with each other.

Players and managers are going to have to watch what they say this season, with no one in the stands, the umpires could pretty much hear everything. And even with no fans at the ballpark this year, well, the Philly fanatic, he's still out there doing his job. All right, check him out here, hi-fiving cardboard cut-outs, trying to even distract the pitcher. My favorite though is him trying to start the way there at the empty stadium in Philadelphia. Spoiler for you, Boris, he was not successful in starting that wave.

SANCHEZ: Some points for the enthusiasm though, Andy. From what I understand, a lot of those cut-outs are actually cutouts of first responders, and many of them were wearing masks. So great to see even the cut-outs are wearing masks along with the umpires as you highlighted. Andy Scholes, thank you so much, sir.

SCHOLES: All right.

SANCHEZ: Well, we are just hours away from a new stimulus bill being revealed on Capitol Hill, but something millions of Americans are relying on will not be in there. Plus, some hot spots are starting to stabilize at a tremendous human cost. A look at the numbers when EARLY START returns.