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GOP Pushes Back Against Trump Idea To Delay Election; Isaias Strengthens Into Hurricane Headed For Florida; Russia Claims U.S. Drugmakers Are Interested In Its Vaccine. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired July 31, 2020 - 05:30   ET




LAURA JARRETT, CNN ANCHOR: An unacceptable new normal is setting in -- more than 1,000 Americans dying a day. Another new record set in Florida as a hurricane gains strength and heads for the east coast.

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: And, Republicans lining up in force against the president. All it took was a tweet suggesting he wants to delay the election.

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

SANCHEZ: And I'm Boris Sanchez in for Christine Romans. We are about half past the hour. Great to see you this morning, Laura.

JARRETT: Great to have you, Boris.

SANCHEZ: Thank you.

JARRETT: This morning, a nation in desperate need of a plan will look to medical experts for answers. The House Select Committee on Coronavirus will hear from members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, testing leader Adm. Brett Giroir, and CDC chief Dr. Robert Redfield.

American families are anxious for answers. More than 1,200 American families lost a loved one just yesterday. The U.S. had four times more deaths yesterday than Europe, with less than half the population.

SANCHEZ: Yes, and it was the third-straight day of record deaths in Florida where ironically, the state government starts meetings today on reopening bars.

And, there's a hurricane coming this weekend, making matters worse. We'll have an update on that in just a moment.

A topic that may or may not be addressed when the president visits Florida today, testing delays. It's still taking way too long to get results, leaving people out in public spreading the virus because they don't know they need to isolate.

The administration official in charge of testing set a deadline to achieve quicker test results -- listen.


ADM. BRETT GIROIR, M.D., CHIEF OF CORONAVIRUS TESTING, DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES: By September, we'll have -- about half the tests in the country will be point of care -- between 15 and 20 million -- not assuming any technology, just based on what we're doing.


JARRETT: Meanwhile, Georgia is at peak hospitalizations. But today, the Jefferson City School District, about an hour northeast of Atlanta, will be the first in the state to reopen schools for face-to- face instruction.

And yesterday, the president had this to say on schools reopening.


REPORTER: How can you assure people that schools will be safely reopened?

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: So, can you assure anybody of anything? I do say, again, young people are almost immune to this disease. The younger, the better. I guess they're stronger, they're stronger. They have a stronger immune system and it's an incredible thing.


JARRETT: Children aren't immune to this disease and a new study finds children under five have a higher viral load in their noses than older children or adults. That, of course, is only raising more questions just as schools start to reopen about how easily coronavirus may be spread to their teachers and others.

SANCHEZ: And as we mentioned just a moment ago, a special overnight advisory. A storm churning across the Atlantic, strengthening into a hurricane.

So where are people going to go with short notice? Crowded evacuation centers are not pandemic-friendly. Already, state-sponsored COVID testing centers in Florida have shut down.

The storm battering Puerto Rico Thursday, leaving up to 400,000 people without power at one point. One person is missing on the island.

Here is meteorologist Derek Van Dam with an update.


DEREK VAN DAM, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Good morning, Laura and Boris.

Late last night the hurricane hunters found that Isaias officially strengthened into hurricane status, making it equivalent to a category one hurricane. It's just located south of the Turks and Caicos and it is moving across the Bahamas within the next 24 to 36 hours -- 80- mile-per-hour sustained winds.

We have hurricane warnings for the central and northern Bahamas, including Nassau, with tropical storm watches for the southeast coastline of Florida. We'll monitor this to see if any of these changes are made with the watches and warnings as the storm makes a close approach to the Florida coastline before bending to the north and northeast, potentially making a landfall as a category one hurricane right along the coast of the Carolinas.

There's certainly some model discrepancy between the European and the Global Forecast model, which is the American model. You can see a timing and strength difference. But one thing's for sure, lots of rain associated with this system as it tries to make landfall late Monday and into Tuesday, depending on the model you look at. And, of course, plenty of wind as well.

We'll keep you up to date. Back to you.


JARRETT: All right. Thanks, Derek, for that update.

As for the pandemic, one state is extending some much-needed rental assistance. And nursing home workers in Maryland will have to keep getting COVID tests, but who's going to pay for them?


CNN has reporters coast-to-coast.



There are new orders when it comes to wearing masks in Wisconsin. Gov. Tony Evers issuing a public health emergency and an emergency order requiring the use of face coverings when inside, unless you're inside a private residence. It's part of an effort toward a statewide approach in getting coronavirus back to where they'd like it in Wisconsin.

The average number of new cases over the past month has risen drastically, according to state officials -- a significant portion of which coming from community spread.


And after a marathon meeting that involved testimony from the public breaking to get legal advice, the board of education in Fort Worth, Texas has voted to push back the opening of school to September eighth, and for the first four weeks it is going to be online only. They will monitor the situation as it evolves.

Now, Texas has had a pretty torrid month but the case counts there are now falling.


And the governor of Maine signing an executive order to extend protection for renters. She said that at this point, she's concerned the people of Maine could be facing, in her words, a "housing cliff" as federal unemployment benefits stand to potentially be reduced -- saying the best thing we can do for our economic health is to protect our public health.

ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Alex Marquardt in Washington, D.C.

In neighboring Maryland, the Department of Health there says that they'll no longer pay for the weekly coronavirus testing for the staff of nursing homes while still requiring that the staff get tested.

The Department says that nursing homes across the country have just gotten $5 billion in help from the federal government and that Maryland facilities should use their share of that money. The nursing homes are pushing back, saying that their costs will skyrocket and that the amount of federal dollars that the nursing homes are getting either varies significantly or it remains unclear.

The governor of Maryland has sided with the Department of Health and says that they will still continue to test residents of nursing homes where there are outbreaks.


JARRETT: All right. Thanks to all of our correspondents for those updates.

Russia has been saying it's on the verge of approving a coronavirus vaccine. Despite safety concerns, Moscow claims American pharmaceutical companies are now showing an interest.

Senior international correspondent Matthew Chance is live for us in Moscow. And, Matthew, what more can you tell us about this?

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I mean, it's something that we've been pressing on here in Moscow for some time now because the Russian officials have been telling us over the past few days that interest in their vaccine has really started to pick up around the world.

They say they're going to get it approved by August the 10th -- which would, by far, make it the first vaccine that's approved in this global pandemic. And up to 20 -- at least 20 countries, they say, have expressed an interest.

Now, is the United States one of those countries? Well, Russian officials told me exclusively yesterday that while there's been no official approach from the U.S. administration -- you know, the Trump administration isn't buying up massive quantities of these -- of this Russian vaccine at this stage -- there has been some preliminary interest expressed by private U.S. pharmaceutical companies. They're not prepared to tell us which ones or at what level, sort of, those talks are at, they say, for commercial reasons.

But it's an interesting question, isn't it, because what Russians say is that it's all political. And it's -- yes, there are concerns in the United States about the safety of this vaccine. The human trials have not been conformed to in a conventional way about the effectiveness of the vaccine. The results have not been published so we don't know whether the vaccine actually works or not. It hasn't been -- the results have not been peer-reviewed.

What Russians are saying -- Russian officials are saying -- is that look, because this vaccine is Russian, it would be politically toxic for anyone in the United States to order it -- for the Trump administration to order it, which is a shame, they point out, because obviously, there are millions of Americans at the risk of coronavirus that could benefit from the first vaccine -- if it's effective and safe -- on the market.

JARRETT: Yes, the political angle to this is fascinating, obviously, given Trump's relationship with Russia. So we'll have to wait and see what happens.

All right, Matthew. Thanks so much for your reporting, as always.

SANCHEZ: Extra federal unemployment benefits are set to expire today but do not look for an immediate fix from Congress. The Senate has adjourned until Monday.

Tens of millions of Americans have been receiving the $600 supplement on top of state unemployments, keeping them and the U.S. economy afloat.

Both parties and the White House all remain far apart on certain details. Democrats say the benefits remain essential, but Republicans want to reduce the benefits.


The federal moratorium on evictions also expiring, leaving some 12 million renters in limbo.

JARRETT: Well, there are just 95 days to Election Day and all signs are saying it's going to stay that way. Republicans unusually quick in their near-universal rejection of President Trump's suggestion yesterday that the November election be delayed -- a move he doesn't have the power to make, anyway.


SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): Well, never in the history of the country, through wars, depressions, and the Civil War, have we ever not had a federally-scheduled election on time. And we'll find a way to do that again this November third.

(END VIDEO CLIP) JARRETT: Take a look at this. Even one of the co-founders of the Federalist Society -- that influential group of conservatives -- called the suggested delay grounds for impeachment.

SANCHEZ: Yes. And remember, these are the same Republicans who've stuck with the president through a lot -- through impeachment, the Ukraine scandal, multiple obstruction of justice allegations, Charlottesville. A long list of self-inflicted scandals.

But, of course, Republicans want to keep their jobs and polling shows the public wants the option to vote by mail.

Trump tried to clarify his tweet last night.


TRUMP: I don't want a delay. I want to have the election. But I also don't want to have to wait for three months and then find out that the ballots are all missing and the election doesn't mean anything.


JARRETT: Now, Trump initially floated this idea of a delay on Twitter, on Thursday, after he'd just seen record low GDP numbers denting his essential reelection theme -- that roaring economy -- so perhaps he played out there as a distraction.

But whatever his motivation, for his supporters, it sends a message as it's just the latest in a string of examples from Trump all laying the groundwork for him rejecting the election results as illegitimate if he loses in November.

SANCHEZ: Now, there's no question both Republicans and Democrats worry about the election infrastructure holding up in the middle of a pandemic, and the results may simply not come on election night if most people vote by mail. But does that mean there's actually going to be widespread fraud? No, there's no evidence that mail-in voting leads to fraud.

According to a "Washington Post" analysis, about 77 percent of Americans can vote by mail this fall.

JARRETT: All right, a quick programming note for you. As all eyes are on what happens with schools this fall, all parents, of course, want their kids to have a great education.

But, Kamau Bell uncovers why that's simply not possible for some. Where are the roadblocks? He's going to go inside the public school system on an all-new "UNITED SHADES OF AMERICA" Sunday night at 10:00 p.m., only on CNN.



JARRETT: Welcome back. This just in to CNN. One marine is dead, two are hurt, and eight are missing after an

accident off the California coast. Search and rescue efforts are still underway with support from the Navy and the Coast Guard. All Marines are assigned to the 15th Marine Expeditionary force. We will bring you more details as we get them.

SANCHEZ: Newly-unsealed documents add detail to allegations of abuse by Jeffrey Epstein's accused recruiter. Virginia Giuffre says she was instructed by Ghislaine Maxwell, also known as Epstein's girlfriend, to have sex with numerous men, including Prince Andrew. There's the two of them in that photograph. Prince Andrew denies the allegations.

In a newly-released deposition, Giuffre is pressed by attorneys to provide additional names of men who Maxwell directed her to have sex with.

Giuffre responds, quote, "Look, I've given you what I know right now. I'm sorry. This is very hard for me and very frustrating to have to go over this. I don't recall all of the people. There was a large amount of people that I was sent to."

JARRETT: Well, civil rights icon John Lewis is now in his final resting place.


"Taps" being played at Lewis' gravesite.


JARRETT: The 17-term Georgia congressman was laid to rest in Atlanta yesterday. An Honor Guard carried his casket to the gravesite.

Earlier at a power funeral service, former President Barack Obama delivering a call to action, likening President Trump's tactics to those used by racist southern leaders in the civil rights era.

And on the same day the current president suggested delaying the election, three former presidents embraced Congressman Lewis and his struggle for civil rights.


GEORGE W. BUSH (R), FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We live in a better and nobler country today because of John Lewis and his abiding faith in the power of God, in the power of democracy, and in the power of love to lift us all to a higher ground.

BILL CLINTON (D), FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: John Lewis was a walking rebuke to people who thought well, we ain't there yet -- we've been working a long time. Isn't it time to bag it? He kept moving.

BARACK OBAMA (D), FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There are those in power who are doing their darndest to discourage people from voting by closing polling locations and targeting minorities and students with restrictive I.D. laws, and attacking our voting rights with surgical precision. Even undermining the Postal Service in the run-up to an election that's going to be dependent on mail-in ballots so people don't get sick.


JARRETT: John Lewis died two weeks ago of pancreatic cancer. He was 80 years old.

Two firefighting pilots have been killed in a mid-air collision in Nevada. The pilots, who were helping knock down the Bishop Fire, burning 14,000 acres outside of Las Vegas. The FAA says only the pilots were onboard each plane. The NTSB is investigating what led to that collision.


SANCHEZ: For the first time in 20 years, Oprah Winfrey will not be on the cover of her monthly "O" magazine. Instead, the media mogul is using the September issue's cover to pay tribute to Breonna Taylor. She says it honors Taylor's life and the life of every other black woman whose life has been taken too soon.

Taylor, of course, was shot and killed when three Louisville, Kentucky police officers executed a no-knock narcotics warrant even though a suspect was already in custody.

JARRETT: All right, let's take a look at markets around the world. Asian markets closed mixed. Europe has opened slightly higher.

On Wall Street -- let's look at that -- futures are up slightly. The Dow could not recover yesterday after the U.S. economy contracted at an annual rate of almost 33 percent from April to June. That's the worst quarterly drop on record. It was almost four times worse than the peak of the financial crisis.

The Nasdaq, though managed gains as strong tech earnings were reported. Amazon blew away Wall Street projections. Revenue was $89 billion for the quarter. That's up 40 percent from the same time a year ago.

And, Apple's pandemic bump is far from over. The company posted revenue of $60 billion for the quarter.

And finally, a mixed bag for Google's parent company. Alphabet actually posted its first revenue decline in history. Still, the $38 billion did nearly beat expectations.

SANCHEZ: Arizona has been an interesting COVID case study. The number of people in hospitals are starting to drop and deaths were trending down until a record spike yesterday. Now, nervous parents are getting ready to send their kids to school but inconsistent guidance is making that very difficult.

CNN's Miguel Marquez reports from Phoenix.


MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Four parents, one central Phoenix school district, and lots of questions and confusion about when it's safe for their kids to return to school.

MARQUEZ (on camera): In this information environment, how difficult is it for parents to make a decision?

SEAN GREENE, FATHER OF TWO: It's very difficult.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): Sean Greene quit his job in June to stay home with his two kids. His son is asthmatic and has a suppressed immune system.

TRUMP: They don't catch it easily, they don't bring it home easily. And if they do catch it, they get better fast.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): The reality, some kids get very sick from the coronavirus.

GREENE: I believe that he can definitely get it and I do believe that he can transmit it.

MARQUEZ (on camera): And do you think it could endanger his life?

GREENE: It absolutely could. My son has been hospitalized repeatedly on just normal asthma attacks.

KAI WEBER, SINGLE MOM OF THREE: There is no choice, I have to work.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): Single mom Kai Weber has three kids and needs to work. She'd like in-person school to start as soon as possible, but --

MARQUEZ (on camera): How tough is it to make decisions about how you're supposed to educate your kids and keep them safe?

WEBER: It's terrible. Like, I don't know day-to-day. You can't plan anything.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): After shutting down in March --

GOV. DOUG DUCEY (R), ARIZONA: School in Arizona --

MARQUEZ (voice-over): -- Arizona's governor aggressively reopened the state in May only to see cases, hospitalizations, and deaths spiral upwards.

In-person school was delayed then, last week, canceled until data indicates the virus is, again, under control.

MICHAEL ROBERT, SUPERINTENDENT, OSBORN SCHOOL DISTRICT: It seemed like we were making decisions one day and waking up the next day starting from scratch.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): Phoenix's Osborn School District has six schools, about 3,000 students, and around 450 teachers and staff. The urban and diverse district has already decided to suspend in-person instruction until mid-October.

ROBERT: If we're not able to get back on that October 12th date, it's hard to imagine us coming back in 2020.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): Health care worker Zaira Grijalva has two daughters at Osborn schools.

ZAIRA GRIJALVA, MOTHER OF TWO: I would love to see in-person start if it was considered safe.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): The problem, she says, what scientists and politicians say about the virus is often at odds.

GRIJALVA: There's a lot of contradictory information, and guidelines, and expectations out there from our different government agencies.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): Kelly Kesterson-Walker is an instructional coach at Osborn and her two kids attend school in the district. She's watching the case numbers in Arizona and tries to listen only to scientists when making decisions.

KELLY KESTERSON-WALKER, TEACHER AND MOTHER OF TWO: I don't think this issue should be a political issue at all. Unfortunately, it is. I -- I mean, I wish that there was just like this scientific answer and it was just believed by everybody and this is what we're going to be doing. That's not the case, unfortunately.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): Like parents everywhere looking for answers, flooded with information, sorting through science, politics, and possibly life or death decisions.

Miguel Marquez, CNN, Phoenix.


SANCHEZ: Thanks so much for that, Miguel.


It's an unenviable position for educators and teachers to be in, Laura, especially when you consider that there are federal and local leaders that are talking about cutting funding for these schools if they don't open in person.

JARRETT: Yes, of course. You know, everyone wants their kids back in school but the question is how to do it when the transmission rate is so high. And there's so much we don't know about this virus, but what did that mom say? She said it's the conflicting information from government --


JARRETT: -- that is making this so confusing. And that is something we could avoid. SANCHEZ: Yes.

Thank you so much for joining us today. I'm Boris Sanchez in for Christine Romans. Thank you for having me this week, Laura.

JARRETT: So glad you've been here. Have fun with Christine next week. I'm Laura Jarrett. "NEW DAY" is next.


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