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Calls To Shut Down Country Again As Coronavirus Death Rate Increases; CNN: White House Negotiators Pushing To Scale Back Relief Bill; Flooding Threat In South Texas, Already Reeling From COVID. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired July 27, 2020 - 05:30   ET




LAURA JARRETT, CNN ANCHOR: Growing calls for shutdown 2.0 because of coronavirus. And a new stimulus plan is set to be revealed today, but it's lacking something millions of Americans have relied on.

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: Plus, Texas facing dual crises -- hit hard by COVID-19 and now facing flooding and a big cleanup from Hurricane Hanna.

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

SANCHEZ: And I'm Boris Sanchez in for Christine Romans. We are 32 minutes past the hour. Great to be here with you this morning, Laura.

JARRETT: Great to have you, Boris.

Debates over shutting down the economy once again coming to a head this week. Coronavirus killed more than 1,000 people each day for four straight days last week. Nearly 147,000 Americans are dead. And just look at the death rate. It's climbing in 29 states.

More than 150 prominent medical experts, scientists, and teachers are urging another shutdown, saying quote, "The best thing for the nation is not to reopen as quickly as possible, it's to save as many lives as possible. And reopening before suppressing the virus isn't going to help the economy."

SANCHEZ: 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.

In the meantime, the administration official overseeing critical COVID-19 testing conceded that 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 that you're likely not self- isolating, which means you could be transmitting the virus without knowing it.


DR. 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 has now passed 5,000 -- 1,000 in just the last six days alone.

Officials say doctors at Starr County Memorial in the 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, a children's shelter reports a COVID outbreak infecting 11 children and four staff members.

SANCHEZ: Yes, and many of the nation's hotspots are seeing the same trend. Hospitalization and positive test rates are high but they are starting to stabilize.


Staying in Texas, more than 10,000 Texans are filling hospitals but that number does appear to be plateauing, and the positivity rate also holding steady at about 15 percent.

JARRETT: Florida, though, now surpassing New York State for the second-highest number of cases behind California. The rate of positive tests is holding steady below 20 percent, but positive cases for children increased 34 percent in the last week as the state reconsiders reopening schools this fall.


Looking more broadly, a new coronavirus cluster at a Florida nursing facility. And, New Jersey announcing that it will give all families the option of remote learning this fall as new COVID pockets emerge in the northeast.

CNN is covering the pandemic from coast-to-coast. Take a look.


RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Randi Kaye in Palm Beach County, Florida.

We are following a troubling situation in Ocoee, Florida at a long- term health care facility. That is the Ocoee Health Care Center.

The Orange County Department of Health telling us that nearly half of all the residents there have tested positive for coronavirus. Sixty- six residents now positive, 22 of them are hospitalized. And on top of that, another 30 staff members are also positive for the virus. So in all, 96 people at that one facility testing positive for COVID-19.


Officials in Rhode Island are urging out-of-towners to stay off the state's beaches. They singled out visitors from Connecticut and Massachusetts who they say are contributing to a massive year-over- year increase in traffic in Rhode Island. The beaches there are getting crowded, officials say, and that makes it harder to socially distance.

The spike comes despite new parking limits. Authorities are stepping up enforcement of parking violations and beach crowding guidelines. They can't actually stop an out-of-state visitor from visiting a Rhode Island beach, but they are charging them double for parking passes.


The Louisiana Department of Health reported more than 3,800 new COVID- 19 cases over the weekend. Of those, 94 percent of them happened through community spread rather than from any particular group gathering.

The State Department of Health also reported another 48 COVID-related deaths over the weekend. And looking at an overall pattern, Louisiana has seen a steady increase in its seven-day average of new cases since the beginning of the month.

PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Paul Vercammen in Los Angeles where the economic ripple effect of the pandemic is rocking through the restaurant scene.

A celebrated star of that scene, Trois Mec, the Intimate Tasting room. It's run by chef Ludo Lefebvre. It is closing down.

So it's not only upscale restaurants, though, that are closing down. So are places like Four 'N 20, a decades' long icon in L.A. that served pies.

And, Dustin Lancaster owned 13 restaurants and bars in L.A. He has closed three already. He says by the end of the year, he thinks this pandemic is going to cause him to close five more.


JARRETT: All right. Thanks so much to all of our correspondents for those reports.

Also developing this morning, CNN has learned that even as Senate Republicans prepare to unveil their proposal for a new stimulus bill later today, top White House negotiators are pushing to scale back what's in that proposal.

Right now, the Senate bill would 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. And that's a change Democrats are unlikely to go along with.

The Senate recovery package would also include reemployment and retention bonuses, as well as tax credits for small businesses and restaurants.


LARRY KUDLOW, WHITE HOUSE ECONOMIC ADVISER: 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.


SANCHEZ: Look, the $600 in weekly checks were designed to provide a financial cushion for those unemployed during the lockdowns. But some business owners say they have had trouble finding workers to help get their doors back open even as the virus resurges, and that's complicating reopening in some states.

Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell already said a new stimulus deal could take a few weeks, putting millions of people in limbo.

JARRETT: All right.

Phase three testing of the Moderna coronavirus vaccine is set to begin in the U.S. this morning. This critical phase is expected to involve about 30,000 volunteers. Early results from the phase one study showed the vaccine did trigger an immune response.

The Trump administration has put its money behind the Moderna vaccine, in addition to several others. There are 25 potential coronavirus vaccines in clinical trials around the globe.


SANCHEZ: 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.

Meantime 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.

JARRETT: Yes, Boris, the weather could have a major impact on the nation's ability to recover from coronavirus. Over the next two months, storm evacuation centers in the south typically become very crowded. Government forecasters have predicted an above-average hurricane season.

And with hospitalizations already spiking in states near the Gulf and in the southeast, there could be more people sleeping outdoors as eviction protections lapse, as well. White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow says the Republican stimulus package will extend the federal eviction moratorium.

Another major issue is restaurants. Outdoor dining is sustaining a lot of them right now but that will not last long beyond the fall in northern states when temperatures, of course, begin to drop.

SANCHEZ: And protests have been flaring across the country again this weekend two months after the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis sparked a nationwide reckoning over race and law enforcement.

The demonstrations remain mostly peaceful with pockets of violence escalating in some spots, specifically in Portland. Police detaining two people Sunday night after reports of gunshots at a protest encampment area near a federal courthouse. The site has seen violent confrontations between activists and officers for more than a week after President Trump sent federal agents there.

Police say they also discovered a bag in a protest area containing loaded rifle magazines and these to Molotov cocktails.

JARRETT: But the violence has actually swollen into street areas and first, it was the Wall of Moms and now, the Wall of Vets. Military veterans joining the frontlines of Portland's protests on Friday. The vets say they felt compelled to band together to protect the demonstrator's free speech.

To the north, in Seattle, dozens of people were arrested in demonstrations Saturday, which officials declared a riot. Nearly 50 people were detained. Almost 60 officers were injured there.

In Austin, Texas, one man is dead and another person has been held for questioning after a shooting during a protest Saturday evening.

And finally, in Oakland, protesters knocked over barricades in front of police headquarters. The Oakland mayor condemned the unrest, saying those vandalizing downtown give President Trump the images he wants.

Some tributes to John Lewis, moved to Washington today after he crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge one final time.



SANCHEZ: China is reporting its most locally transmitted COVID cases since early March. And the U.K. is targeting another part of Europe to keep the virus out.

CNN has reporters around the world covering the pandemic. Here's a look at their reports.



And, China is reporting a fresh spike in coronavirus cases. Today, the nation reported 61 new cases of COVID-19 of which 57 were locally transmitted. This is the highest number of domestic cases that the nation has seen since March the sixth. Of the 57 locally transmitted cases, 41 were from the far-western region of Xinjiang.

On top of this, China also reported an additional 44 asymptomatic cases of the virus. This, on top of the daily tally.


This is the closest North Korea has come, so far, to admitting that coronavirus is inside the country.

Their leader, Kim Jong Un, convened an emergency meeting over the weekend claiming that a defector had come into North Korea from South Korea and had showed (sic) symptoms of the virus. That particular individual was quarantined, as was the area he had gone into. Now, the site does confirm that the man had gone into North Korea and also confirms that he was fleeing arrest as he had been accused of a sex crime.

Up until this point, North Korea had claimed zero cases.


A grim milestone has been recorded in the Australian state of Victoria, which is struggling to get a handle of the latest coronavirus outbreak. A record 532 new cases were reported on Monday in Victoria, taking the national number of deadly infections to their highest since the pandemic began.

The Victorian premier, Daniel Andrews, says there are at least half a dozen large outbreaks in aged-care facilities where workers have unknowingly infected elderly residents.

The state's capital, Melbourne, is halfway through a six-week lockdown but the government says that it can be extended and tightened if the numbers don't fall.

The national death toll stands at 161.


The Spanish government insists that the country is still safe to visit, even as there are more than 200 outbreaks across the country and a surge in COVID infections.

The British government has imposed a mandatory quarantine on anybody entering the country from Spain. Now, that's going to affect thousands of British tourists currently on holiday here. Norway has done the same. And France has warned its citizens not to go to high-risk areas in Spain, and that includes Barcelona, the country's second-largest city and a major tourist destination.



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

Back in the states, the coronavirus is forcing a change at the annual September 11th memorial tribute. The ceremony will not include the often heartbreaking personal messages traditionally spoken by the victims' families. The National September 11th Memorial and Museum has told families that recordings of the name readings will be used instead.

Relatives are invited to the memorial plaza for an event that will adhere to safety guidelines.

JARRETT: Well, former vice president Joe Biden will be among those paying tribute to the late civil rights leader John Lewis at the Capitol today. After arriving in Washington, D.C., Lewis' motorcade will make stops at the Martin Luther King Memorial as well as Black Lives Matter Plaza, the site of Lewis' last public appearance.

He will lie in state tonight and tomorrow before returning to Georgia for his burial.

Lewis was honored at multiple stops in his home state of Alabama over the weekend, including a poignant last trip over the Edmund Pettus Bridge.

CNN's Martin Savidge has more now.


MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Boris and Laura, the body of Congressman John Lewis will be transported from Alabama to Washington, D.C. this morning where eventually, he'll be received at the U.S. Capitol.

There are still many more memorials and reflections to come in the congressman's life, but it's hard to imagine that any would compare, at least when it comes to poignancy and imagery, to what was on Sunday.

For 55 years, the histories of John Lewis and the Edmund Pettus Bridge have been intertwined. Now it was time for goodbye. Ever since 1965, when John Lewis first crossed that bridge, that was -- has become known as Bloody Sunday. He was joined by several hundred protesters. They were demonstrating for voter rights.

And as they crossed that bridge they were met by Alabama state troopers who then set upon them, beat them, and nearly killed John Lewis and severely injured several other people. Several years later, that became known as a turning point in the civil rights movement.

So, as they reflected back on his life, much of the ceremony sort of repeated what you saw in '65, but then brought you into modern times. For instance, his casket left the same church they left that day in '65 and followed the same route that they went on that day in 1965. But as they approached the bridge, instead of an angry mob it was a cheering crowd -- a crowd that was supportive, waving, saying thank you and singing the praises of John Lewis.

And then, John Lewis actually crossed that bridge on his own in a horse-drawn carriage to be met on the other side by his family and Alabama state troopers -- this time, who were there to honor him.

And from there, his casket was transported to Montgomery, Alabama, which was the final destination in 1965, at least intended (ph).

And now, his body was lying in state and people lined up even in the pouring rain for the opportunity to say goodbye to the congressman, to the civil rights icon, to the son of Alabama -- Laura and Boris.


SANCHEZ: Another iconic moment in a life full of them. Martin Savidge, thank you for that.

Olivia de Havilland, the last surviving star of the "Gone with the Wind" movie, has died.




SANCHEZ: The two-time Oscar-winning actress was one of Hollywood's biggest stars in the 1930s and 40s. She also famously took on the studio system and won, paving the way for actors' rights and creative freedom in Hollywood.

She died of natural causes at her home in Paris. Oliva de Havilland was 104 years old.

JARRETT: All right, let's take a look at markets around the world. Global markets are mixed.

On Wall Street, U.S. futures are rising ahead of a big week of earnings reports for the S&P. About 180 companies report their quarterly results, including Google's parent company, Alphabet, Amazon, Apple, and Facebook.

And, Federal Reserve officials meet tomorrow and Wednesday facing growing doubts about the prospect for a sustained economic rebound.

SANCHEZ: Southwest Airlines will not furlough any employees because of the pandemic, at least for now. CEO Gary Kelly also says there will be no cuts to paychecks or benefits until at least the end of the year, but he warns he cannot guarantee it will never happen.

Earlier this month, both United Airlines and American Airlines sent warnings of possible furloughs to some 60,000 employees.

JARRETT: Well, the shoe was on the other foot -- or, rather, paw for one Saint Bernard that had to be rescued after collapsing coming down England's tallest mountain. It took a 16-member rescue team five hours to carry Daisy down that mountain. The rescue team joked that Daisy feels slightly embarrassed about letting down the image of Saint Bernards.


And, Boris, it just goes to show you even the bravest among us sometimes need a little rescuing.

SANCHEZ: That's right. And I'm sure no one will blame Daisy for cracking that barrel of brandy that Saint Bernards usually carry.

Thank you so much --

JARRETT: I think she deserves it.

SANCHEZ: She does.

Thank you so much for joining us today. I'm Boris Sanchez.

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



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Six months into the pandemic and some of the nation's coronavirus stats are going from bad to worse.

MAYOR SYLVESTER TURNER (D), HOUSTON: We have had more people to die in July than March, April, May, June combined.

BRETT GIROIR, ASSISTANT SECRETARY, DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES: We are never going to be happy with testing until we get turnaround times.