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New Records & Warnings As Crisis Expands; Masks Required in House Chamber After Gohmert Diagnosis; Russia Claims to be on the Verge of Coronavirus Vaccine; NBA Season Restarts Tonight in Orlando Bubble. Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired July 30, 2020 - 05:00   ET



LAURA JARRETT, CNN ANCHOR: Renewed urgency for millions of Americans, seeing unemployment help expire and the death toll climbing by the thousands.

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: And quick fallout on Capitol Hill after a congressman who was supposed to travel with the president is diagnosed with coronavirus.

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

SANCHEZ: Good morning, Laura.

I'm Boris Sanchez, in for Christine Romans. It is Thursday, July 30th, 5:00 a.m. in New York. It's 96 days left until the election.

And we start with something that will likely be at the top of voter's minds on November 3rd, the coronavirus pandemic and this administration's response.

JARRETT: Well, that's for sure.

The human toll from coronavirus is mounting but answers for the sick and unemployed remain elusive. Fourteen hundred deaths reported in the U.S. yesterday, the most in more than two months in a troubling upward trend. The country has now topped 150,000 dead. That's almost 1/4 of deaths from the virus in the entire world.

Yesterday, Florida set a new COVID death record for the second straight day and so did California, both among the 30 states where the death rate is climbing. There's a notable increase in the Midwest.


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: When the southern states that have already been hit, Florida, Texas, Arizona, Southern California, when you look back on you saw an increase in the percent positives of the tests that were done. That's a sure-fire indication that you are in a process where you're heading towards a resurgence. We're starting to see that in some of the states now, Kentucky,

Tennessee, Ohio and other -- Indiana and other of those states.


SANCHEZ: Meantime, a leading medical group now says deaths in the United States could skyrocket well into the hundreds of thousands. The Association of American Medical Colleges released what it called a roadmap to contain the disease. You see some of the bullet points here.

It calls for fixing critical supply shortages, increasing testing, re- opening schools safely and expanding health insurance.


DR. ROSS MCKINNEY, CHIEF SCIENTIFIC OFFICER, ASSOCIATION OF AMERICAN MEDICAL COLLEGES: We have a lot of states where the epidemic is out of control. It's really important for us to organize as a country, to try and control this infection before the number of cases goes up higher, before the number of deaths goes higher because we're not on a good path at present.


JARRETT: That same group is calling for a plan to distribute a vaccine as soon as it's ready. Overnight, the FDA say it could issue an emergency authorization in the matter of weeks once a vaccine is proven effective.

Meantime, a new study ties statewide school closures to significantly fewer cases and deaths early in the pandemic. Researchers from the Cincinnati children's hospital say closures may have led to about 1.4 million fewer cases and 40,000 fewer deaths in those early weeks.

SANCHEZ: Yeah. And more school districts are taking precautions. Denver schools announcing they will be the latest to start classes via remote learning through at least October. But that leaves parents with some difficult choices. One single mom says that remote learning will mean choosing between her child and her job.


TINA CARROLL, PARENT SUPPORTED PARTIAL REOPENING OF SCHOOLS: I am an essential employee. I must go to work every single day for my livelihood. I enjoy getting up going to work every day. I enjoy seeing my child go to school and really develop and grow, and I think by now, I'm being asked to pick between the two. I'm being torn.


SANCHEZ: A lot of people in that position. Miami-Dade County also announcing students will begin the fall with remote learning despite pressure from Governor Ron DeSantis to hold in person classes. Right now, 47 hospital ICUs are at a capacity in Florida actually down from 54 yesterday. JARRETT: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi mandating masks be worn in the

House chamber, making that change after Texas Republican Louie Gohmert tested positive for the coronavirus. Gohmert often seen walking the halls of Congress not wearing a mask.

And shaken up by the case, a handful of lawmakers are now calling for more robust testing on Capitol Hill, evidently feeling the same frustration as the people they serve.

Congressman Gohmert would not have known he was positive if he had not planned to travel with the president on Wednesday. And now, he's actually blaming his mask for giving him the virus.


REP. LOUIE GOHMERT (R-TX): I know moving the mask around, just right we're bound to put some virus on the mask that I sucked in.


That's most likely what happened.


SANCHEZ: Look, given what we know about COVID-19, it is incredibly unlikely that he became infected by wearing a mask. This virus is transmitted predominantly by a wide margin via person-to-person transmission. And that's the whole point of wearing a mask, to protect others, not yourself.

It's also incredibly unlikely that the congressman can figure out exactly how he got infected, not without rigorous contract tracing and the kind of testing that's simply that taken place on Capitol Hill. A senior Republican aide tells CNN that Gohmert's positive test result caused issues on the Hill, with a lot of staffers ordered to get tests before being able to do anything else. And that process took the entire day.

Remember, Gohmert was part of a committee hearing Tuesday, alongside many other lawmakers and Attorney General Bill Barr. Many of them attending that hearing, also not wearing masks, as you see in the video. Barr has tested negative for the virus. It is not clear, though, whether the A.G. will self-isolate.

JARRETT: Well, after three meetings in three days, no sign of progress between House Democrats and Senate Republicans on a stimulus bill. The $600 extra employment benefit expires tomorrow. And economists fear without it, the recovery will just stall.

Democrats are rejecting the White House option of a short-term extension. White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows admits he doesn't know if the two sides can break this logjam. They are far apart right now on stimulus checks, and state and local funding. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says they think they've already done enough to add to the national debt. SANCHEZ: New research shows that travelers from China, Italy, and

Iran were the earliest spreaders of coronavirus. A new analysis by the CDC finds that nearly 2/3 of the first reported cases came from those three countries. Studies have confirmed the virus Genetic analysis actually shows that a new strain developed in Europe, most likely in Italy, early on during that pandemic, and that strain is the one that's predominant in the United States.

This week, the CDC Director Robert Redfield admitted the Trump administration was slow to recognize the coronavirus threat from Europe. That puts him at odds with the president who is focused squarely on blaming China.

JARRETT: Russia claims to be on the verge of a coronavirus vaccine. And despite skepticism, there are signs this morning that many countries are desperate to get their hands on it.

Matthew Chance joins us live from Moscow now.

And, Matthew, how many other countries have expressed interest in this vaccine?

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's a surprisingly high number. Russian officials are telling me that at least 20 countries have made contact with them over the course of the past couple of days, as news started to emerge that Russia's vaccine was close to approval. Remember, they told us a couple of weeks ago that they would be approving this vaccine on August 10th or even earlier than that.

You know, despite the fact, as you mentioned, there's a whole load of concern, very deep and serious ones, about how safe this Russian vaccine will be, because human trials on it have not been completed. They won't be completed even before it's approved, which is astonishing.

And how effective will it be? Because the results that Russia has got from its testing so far has not been made public, it's not open to peer review. That has not deterred, as I say, 20 countries including Brazil and India, countries with some of the highest rates of coronavirus infectious in the world from contacting Russia and saying, look, you know, we are interested in getting this vaccine.

I think, Laura, that underlines in this global pandemic, nations are desperate for a solution, any solution even with questions like this Russian potential vaccine.

JARRETT: Yes, everyone is desperate to do this as soon as possible.

Matthew, thanks so much.

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is in a New York City hospital this morning after a procedure to replace a bile duct stent that was placed last year. This is her second hospital visit just this month. According to the court's spokesperson, the procedure was done to

minimize the risk of a future infection. We're told the 87-year-old justice is resting comfortably and expects to be home by the end of the week.

JARRETT: And, of course, we wish her well.

Huge spike in coronavirus in Mexico. Now, thousands are crossing into the U.S. for care in Southern California. CNN is at border, next.



SANCHEZ: Welcome back.

Parts of northern Mexico are getting overwhelmed by coronavirus. Hospitals are overrun. The death rate is nearly 20 percent and now emergency rooms in the United States side of the border are experiencing a surge of Mexican patients.

Matt Rivers takes a closer look.


MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Among those waiting outside public hospitals in Tijuana, Mexico, death is a constant companion. Diana Lopez didn't get a chance to say good-bye before her father-in-law died. She says: Imagine a family member suddenly gets hospitalized and you just never see them again.

Tijuana and the state of Baja, California, are among Mexico's hardest hit regions. For months, health care workers have told us about overwhelmed hospitals plagued by a lack of supplies. Roughly 20 percent of those diagnosed here with COVID died.

This nurse says we were not prepared for the magnitude of what was and is the pandemic.

(on camera): Tijuana says just across that border there from the U.S. state of California and those close to all non-essential travel.


If you're legally allowed to be in the U.S., be it as a citizen, permanent resident or otherwise, you can still cross and if you want to, seek treatment at a U.S. hospital. (voice-over): Which is what exactly what Dr. Patricia Gonzalez-Zuniga did when her husband got the virus. The couple are dual U.S.-Mexico citizens but live in Tijuana, where Dr. Gonzalez-Zuniga has worked for decades treating the city's poor. She says the public health system is broken so when her husband got really sick, going to the U.S. for care was an easy choice.

DR. PATRICIA GONZALEZ -ZUNIGA, HUSBAND SOUGHT CARE IN THE U.S.: It's like a decision to stay and maybe, you know, 50 percent chance that you will die or just go and get services.

RIVERS: A nearby Scripps nursing hospital in Chula Vista, California, we learn her story isn't unique. The hospital has been at or near capacity for months in part because of patients from across the border. From July alone, it has admitted more than 50 COVID patients who recently came from Mexico. The vast majority of patients who travel from Mexico test positive.

DR. JUAN MANUEL TOVAR, SCRIPPS MERCY HOSPITAL: It does create stress in the system and we have to deal with it.

RIVERS: Dr. Juan Manuel Tovar says at its peak, 50 percent of all COVID patients at the hospital had been south of the border. The number has gone down as the new cases in Baja, California, have slowed, but cases in California have spiked recently, so his fears that the same happens in Mexico, but he says this is the border. Everything is shared -- culture, commerce, and COVID care.

TOVAR: This is one region. I have no qualms about seeing patients from Mexico.

RIVERS: Dr. Gonzalez-Zuniga for one is extremely grateful for that fact. Her husband spent 14 days in California ICU, nearly intubated several times, but he lived.

(on camera): What do you think would have happened if he was in a public hospital in Mexico?

GONZALEZ-ZUNIGA: He wouldn't be with me now. He would be dead.

RIVERS (voice-over): She calls herself lucky and compared to the Lopez family, she is. They couldn't get care in the U.S.

Maybe we could have gotten better care over there, more opportunity. But now, after her father-in-law's death, that is nothing more than a hypothetical question.

Matt Rivers, CNN, Tijuana, Mexico.


JARRETT: Matt, thanks so much for that piece.

Some big changes in store for Major League Baseball. What the Coronavirus outbreak with the Miami Marlin means for player protocol for the rest of the season.



SANCHEZ: Major League Baseball reportedly adding some new rules after an outbreak of COVID has infected nearly half the Miami Marlins roster.

Andy Scholes has more in this morning's "Bleacher Report". Andy, good morning.

These new regulations from the MLB are pretty serious.

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yes. And, you know, Boris, Major League Baseball came out and said, you know, they were going to bolster their protocols in order to try to keep another one of these Marlins situations from happening. And ESPN is reporting that the league sent out a memo to teams yesterday outlining new health and safety protocols and here are a few of them. They're encouraging players now to not leave hotels when they're on the road except to go to games.

They're mandating the use of surgical masks instead of cloth masks during travel and requiring every team to travel with a compliance officer to make sure the staff follows the league's protocol.

Now, according to multiple reports, another player for the Marlins tested positive. That makes it 16 players and two coaches now. The Marlins games through Sunday have been postponed and the prospects of their season restarting Tuesday at home against Philadelphia, that certainly remains in question.

All right. Nearly four months after a season was suspended, the NBA will tip off again tonight inside the Orlando bubble and, you know, so far, the bubble plan, it's really working. The NBA players union announced of the 344 players tested since July 20th, there have been zero positive tests.

Commissioner Adam Silver, he spoke with CNN's Wolf Blitzer and about how this year's NBA championship should be remembered.


ADAM SILVER, NBA COMMISSIONER: I think other than an asterisk it should be a double gold star. It will have been, if we make it to mid October, it will have been a 54-week season, certainly the longest season in our history, and I think that that team should receive special trophy. We'll double the size for the commitment and the sacrifice and just the endurance to have made it to the end of what would have been our longest season.


SCHOLES: All right. Zion Williamson and the Pelicans start things off against the Jazz tonight before LeBron James and the Lakers take on the Clippers. You can watch both of those games on our sister channel TNT.

And Commissioner Silver also unveiling a community testing program. It's going to provide thousands of no-cost COVID-19 tests in Orlando and team markets nationwide.

All right. College football pushing ahead with its plan for the season. The University of Texas says they're considering limiting their stadium capacity to 25 percent. That's going to be around 24,000 fans per game and the ACC voting to proceeding with an 11-game schedule, starting the week of September 7th.

The league fully adding Notre Dame, as a member for this season only. Fighting Irish is going to play 10 league games and one non-conference game, just like everyone else. They're going to be able to compete for the ACC championship.


The conference says they're going to release a full schedule at a later date, Laura.

And in terms of fans going to all of those games, right now it's still being left up to each individual school.

JARRETT: I know so many fans are eager to get back there. We've got to do it safely.

All right, Andy. Nice to see you this morning as always.

All right. a quick programming note for you. Something you want to watch this weekend. All parents, of course, want a great education for their kids, but Kamau Bell takes a look at why that's just not possible for some. Go inside the public school system on an all-new "UNITED SHADES OF AMERICA", Sunday, at 10:00 p.m. on CNN.