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Fires and Rescues as Storm Makes Landfall in the Carolinas; 155,000+ Americans Dead of COVID, Trump: It Is What It Is; Dems and GOP Remain Far Apart on Stimulus Talks; Bodycam Leaks of George Floyd Arrest; 7 Cardinals Players, 6 Staffers Test Positive for COVID-19. Aired 5-5:30a ET

Aired August 4, 2020 - 05:00   ET



CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. This is EARLY START. I'm Christine Romans.

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Boris Sanchez, in for Laura Jarrett.

Great to see you this morning, Christine.

It is Tuesday, August 4th, 5:00 a.m. in New York. And we are just 13 weeks to the election.

ROMANS: All right. Breaking overnight, Isaias making landfall near Ocean Isles Beach, North Carolina. Right now, more than 50,000 customers in North Carolina and Virginia, they are in the dark. The storm downgraded last hour to a tropical storm. But it still packs a dangerous punch.

Calls coming in now for water rescues, fires and building collapses in Oak Island and Oak Isles Beach. Those areas now threatened by heavy rainfall, flash flooding, storm surge, damaging winds and isolated tornadoes.

In Garden City, South Carolina, flood waters submerging parking lots and streets. This morning, more than 112 million people, 112 million people face some kind of threat from this storm. Up the coast, New York City bracing for what could be the strongest winds to hit the city since Super Storm Sandy.

SANCHEZ: Yes, and at this hour, the storm is churning north along the East Coast.

Let's get live to Virginia Beach and bring in CNN's Brian Todd.

Brian, what are you seeing there?

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Boris, this storm is really just starting to grind into Virginia Beach now. We got a tornado warning a short ago, and we're monitoring local weather reports. There's a tornado warning just northwest of the city around Yorktown, Virginia. There's a cluster of cells there that could form a tornado.

They're telling people to take shelter in the Virginia Beach area and around Yorktown right now. That warning should expire shortly, but they're really watching out for that. We just got pounded with a lot of rain a short time ago and then it just sort of cleared up. That's the circular nature of the storm, as it moves in to this area in earnest. You got some trees falling down Atlanta Avenue here, and just to our right we're swinging it around here and showing you some garbage bins that were upended down here.

This is just the beginning of this, though. They are really worried about downed trees and power lines. They've already experienced those here in the Virginia Beach area, about 5,000 customers just in Virginia Beach are without customers. As you know, more than 3,000 customers in North Carolina got the power knocked out. They're still recovering from that.

That part of the storm is just grinding into this area. Of course, flooding is going to be an issue. The good news is, Boris, this is a fast-moving storm. It came on shore here quickly. It's moving up the coast very quickly.

The bad news is that it's going to turn inland pretty much right after it gets through making its way through Virginia Beach here. It will go north and northwest. We're told the areas near D.C., especially in Alexandria, Virginia, kind of low to the Potomac river will be susceptible to flooding. But here they're worried about flooding that will come. They're giving people hundreds of tons of free sand bags to shore up their homes to get ready for this, Boris.

SANCHEZ: Yeah, we'll certainly keep an eye on what's going on in the ground. Brian Todd reporting from Virginia Beach, thanks so much.

ROMANS: You have some of those low lying areas under threat here. So, who faces the biggest risk here from this storm this morning?

Meteorologist Pedram Javaheri tracking the system for us. What do you see?


You know, still maintaining a very strong tropical storm status just a couple of miles per hour shy of being a hurricane, and it's been over land for six hours. The concern, Christine, is this particular storm is moving about at 30 miles per hour. So, as it tracks towards the north here, we do expect it to maintain its intensity as it impacts areas around New Jersey into New York. But 300,000 customers without power across parts of the state of North Carolina.

Notice we've had tropical storm warnings that extend from portions of the outer banks, all the way towards coastal Maine. And, of course, this originated in the southern tip of Florida as the storm made a right turn several days ago. So, it's the first time since 1960, any tropical feature has spanned this particular distance of tropical system, tropical storm warnings and watches from parts of Florida into parts of Maine. But notice, what is left of it, within the next 12 hours, traverses

into this afternoon, possibly just east of Washington, D.C., and possibly directly over Philadelphia and just west of New York City between, say, 3:00 to 6:00 p.m., that's when the strongest winds are possible. Into the overnight hours, maintains tropical storm intensity as it works its way, losing its tropical characteristics into Canada.

But 50 to 60-mile-per hour winds still possible around Hatteras, work your way towards Atlantic City.


This is around 3:00 p.m. New York City as well, 66-mile-per-hour winds possible across this region. This would be the strongest winds since October of 2012 across New York City. Of course, that was super storm Sunday.

And, Christine, you'll notice, even Boston gets into this later on this evening and into the overnight hours and Wednesday morning, we do expect the winds to die down almost entirely across this region. But as you saw what's happening in Virginia and also North Carolina, the concern remains widespread for power outages into parts of the Northeast.

ROMANS: Yeah, and I know that so many of the utilities are already out there trying to tell people how to stay safe and prepare for those. So, power outages likely in New York and New Jersey.

Thank you so much for that, Pedram.

JAVAHERI: Thank you.

SANCHEZ: And we can't ignore that the storm is happening amid a backdrop of a pandemic. The numbers keep rising as of this morning, 155,000 Americans now dead of coronavirus.

The president's own CDC expects 1,000 Americans to die every day for the next three weeks. But he does not appear moved.


REPORTER: So when they hear you say everything is under control, don't worry about wearing masks, I mean, these people, many of them are older people, Mr. President.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: What's your definition of control? Yeah --


REPORTER: Giving them a false sense of security.

TRUMP: I think it's under control. I'll tell you what --

REPORTER: How? A thousand Americans are dying a day. TRUMP: They are dying, that's true. And you had -- it is what it is.

But that doesn't mean we aren't doing everything we can. It's under control as much as you can control it. This is a horrible plague that beset us.

REPORTER: You really think --


SANCHEZ: That is cold comfort to friends and family of a Georgia couple who both died last week. Eugene and Angie Hunter were taking precautions wearing masks but still got sick. They were only in their 50s and they leave behind a teenage son.


JUSTIN HUNTER, 17-YEAR-OLD LOST HIS PATIENTS TO COVID-19: At first, I was very angry, very sad, and very confused. My parents are in a better place, and they aren't suffering at all. They are probably up there partying, having fun, and second of all, God's got my back.


SANCHEZ: Despite urging from medical experts, President Trump opened pushing back against new lockdowns saying, quote, that would inflict more harm than it would prevent. The president clinging to his transition to greatness, the campaign to boost the economy, echoing his efforts from months ago before the worst spikes.

ROMANS: But if suppressing the virus came first, the economy could then reopen, and there would be no need for this. New York City sheriff officers arresting people on a party boat they say violated emergency orders.

Governor Andrew Cuomo calling the cruise reckless, rude, irresponsible and launching this fierce rebuke of the national pandemic response.


GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D), NEW YORK: Every American knows this is the worst government blunder in modern history. Not since the Vietnam War have Americans sat in their living room to see the numbers on the TV screen every night saying what a mistake it was. During the Vietnam War, every night, you saw the death toll, you saw the injury toll on TV.

Every night, they've seen this virus increasing all across the country, and the death toll going up. You don't think they don't know it was a mistake? Then you don't know the American people. They are smarter than you think.


ROMANS: Restrictions tightening in New Jersey where Governor Phil Murphy is rolling back public gatherings, now limiting them to 25- person max from 100 people earlier. Meantime, after dipping in July, traffic at nation's airports climbed to new pandemic era highs this weekend.

And overnight, CNN learned some schools in hard hit Miami-Dade could open in person. District schools are starting remotely, but 139 charter schools could go their own way.

SANCHEZ: Meantime, two new studied show that testing and contact tracing are key to reopening schools. The U.S. has mastered neither of those. And studies from the U.K. and Australia may inform what has to happen to reopen safely in the United States.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government's top coronavirus expert says that students do need the psychological and nutritional benefits of school, and parents need to be free to go back to work, but he cautions that safety should come first.


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: Default position should be to try as best as you possibly can to open up the schools for in-person learning. Having said that, there's a big however there and the however is the primary consideration should always be the safety, the health and the welfare of the children.


SANCHEZ: Now, so far, of the 101 largest school districts, 61 are starting classes 100 percent online. Meantime, in Indiana, a fifth school district now dealing with a COVID positive student, a football player at Warren Central High School in Indianapolis.


Classes of the school, though, still set to begin on Thursday.

ROMANS: All right. Talks between Democrats and Republicans on the next stimulus package are at a standstill. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the sides are far apart. Now, she called yesterday's meeting productive at least. The biggest hurdle still, that $600 a week in benefits, Democrats want to cut to $200 a week.

Another big gap, state and local funding. Republicans want a trillion, the GOP says there was enough money in the first bill months ago.

There was also disagreement in Monday's talks over how much money should go to schools that don't open in person. And with millions facing deep trouble soon, Senate leaders Chuck Schumer and Mitch McConnell, they're not even talking.

Meantime, players associations from the NFL, the NBA, the NHL and Major League Baseball, all signed a letter objecting to liability protections in the stimulus package.

Senate Republicans want a deal to provide legal cover, legal protection for businesses and schools that make efforts to comply with public health guidelines. All right. Eleven minutes past the hour. Leaked body cam footage shows

the painful moments of George Floyd's encounter with police turned deadly.



ROMANS: Welcome back.

Leaked police bodycam video shows new details of George Floyd's fatal arrest. A panicked Floyd is seen struggling with officers revealing the first of many times he said "I can't breathe".

The footage you're about to see is disturbing.

Here's CNN's Omar Jimenez.


OFC. THOMAS LANE: Put your hand up there.


LANE: Put your (EXPLETIVE DELETED) hand up there.

FLOYD: I got shot.

LANE: Put your hands on the wheel.

FLOYD: Yes, sir.

OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This partial body camera video obtained by "The Daily Mail" showing former Officer Thomas Lane pointing a gun at George Floyd within 25 seconds of he and J. Alexander Keung knocking on the window of the car Floyd was in.

They were responding to a call over a fraudulent $20 bill being used at the store across the street. Officers next seen here trying to get Floyd out of the vehicle.

FLOYD: I'm so sorry.

LANE: Step out and face away.

FLOYD: Please don't shoot me, Mr. Officer, please. Please don't shoot me, man.

LANE: Step out and face away.

FLOYD: You're not shooting me, man.

LANE: I'm not shooting you.

JIMENEZ: He's eventually pulled from the car and cuffed.

FLOYD: OK, Mr. Officer.

LANE: Stop resisting.

FLOYD: I'm not.

JIMENEZ: Based on CNN's viewing the complete body cam footage, this is the first of two struggles. The second, much more forceful as officers tried to get Floyd into the police squad car.

Floyd says he's claustrophobic. Soon he's being pushed in on one side by Keung and pulled in on the other by Lane seen in the video obtained by the daily mail.

FLOYD: I can't choke -- I can't breathe, Mr. Officer. Please. Please.

My wrist. My wrist, man.

I want to lay on the ground. I want to lay on the ground. I want to lay on the ground.

JIMENEZ: This is the first time George Floyd says I can't breathe based on CNN's previous viewing of the video. They fall out on lane's side and go to the ground into what's now become an infamously familiar position, Floyd's neck under the knee of Derek Chauvin.

FLOYD: I can't breathe, officer. Ahhhh.

OFC. DEREK CHAUVIN: Then stop talking. Stop yelling.

FLOYD: They'll kill me. They will kill me, man. Ahhhhhhhhhh.

CHAUVIN: It takes a heck of a lot of oxygen to talk.

JIMENEZ: This is from the perspective of King's camera where not long after, Lane asks if Floyd should be moved.

FLOYD: Please. Please. Please.

LANE: Should we roll him on his side?

CHAUVIN: No, he's staying put where we got him.

LANE: I worry about the excited delirium or whatever.

CHAUVIN: That is why we have the ambulance coming.

JIMENEZ: Floyd loses consciousness and is pronounced dead at the hospital.

Chauvin now charged with second degree and manslaughter. Lane, Keung and Tou Thao are charged with aiding and abetting second degree murder and manslaughter. None of the former officers have entered a plea, though Thao and Lane have asked for their cases to be dismissed and Keung's attorney says he plans to plead not guilty.

Attorneys for the four officers either declined comment or did not respond.

(on camera): Now, this video came about as a result of a leak to "The Daily Mail", but it's important to note the judge in this case has yet to rule on a motion filed by CNN and other media outlets to fully and publicly release this body camera footage -- Christine, Boris.


SANCHEZ: Omar Jimenez, thank you for that.

A baseball classic in the making canceled because of the pandemic. Your "Bleacher Report" is next.



SANCHEZ: Major League Baseball postponing four more games due to COVID-19 after the St. Louis Cardinals announced 13 players and staff tested positive.

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

Good morning, Andy.

Yet another set back for the MLB.

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Certainly is, Boris. And, you know, Major League Baseball continues to just have big problems with its travel. 21 games now have been postponed. Just think, what if this happens to teams when the postseason rolls around. Then what do you do? That would be a huge problem.

So seven Cardinals players, 16 staffers have tested positive for COVID-19 in the past week. As a result, at least four games have been postponed, one today against Detroit. The Cardinals have been guaranteed in Milwaukee since Thursday. They're going to stay there and their personally will continue to be tested daily.

Right now, the plans for the team to resume its regular season schedule on Friday against the Cubs in St. Louis. Now, Major League Baseball also postponing the Cardinals/White Sox Field of Dreams game that was slated to take place a week from Thursday in an Iowa cornfield. That game now going to be next year.

Now, the game was supposed to take place where the iconic Kevin Costner movie was film, but a source tells CNN it was thought to be best not to ask teams taking additional steps, like extra travel under these extraordinary circumstances. Now, the Miami Marlins, meanwhile, are set to resume their season today in Baltimore after an outbreak of the coronavirus sidelined more than half the team.


Team CEO Derek Jeter defended his players saying they were not running around Atlanta going to bars and clubs, but he did say a lack of social distancing and not wearing masks helped the virus spread.


DEREK JETER, MIAMI MARLINS CEO: What probably happened is there's a false sense of security, right? I mean, guys have been going through three weeks of spring training, four weeks and everyone had tested negative. They're all together and they have a false sense of security. So, they let their guard down.

And, look, as an organization we have to (INAUDIBLE), bottom line.


SCHOLES: Yeah, so 21 members of the organization were infected, including at least 18 players. Jeter said none seriously ill and he expects all of them to return this season.

All right. In college football, the Northwestern Wildcats pausing workouts due to a player testing positive for coronavirus. University spokesperson tells CNN the school is now undergoing rigorous contact tracing and quarantine protocols to protect the health and safety of student athletes, coaches and staff.

The Big 12 Conference, meanwhile, announcing its plans for this season. The league is going to be playing nine conference games, one nonconference game with play starting at mid until late September.

All right. In the NFL, the league and players association have agreed to a Thursday 4:00 p.m. Eastern deadline for players to opt out of the upcoming season. That's according to multiple reports.

The Raiders, meanwhile, say their first season in Las Vegas, well, it's going to be played in front of no fans. In an email, the team said the decision was made after extensive consultation with state and local government and health officials.

And that's certainly is disappointing, Christine. You know, I don't think we've ever seen a team moved to a new city, built a $1.9 billion stadium and then they have to plan for no fans.


SCHOLES: It's certainly, you know, let the air out of all of the excitement.

ROMANS: 2020, what a year. And that Iowa story, is this heaven? No, it's canceled.


ROMANS: Field for Dreams. All right.

SCHOLES: Hopefully next year.

ROMANS: Yes, hopefully. All right. Thank you so much. Quick programming note for you, again, answers to your questions and concerns about coronavirus. Join Anderson Cooper and Dr. Sanjay Gupta for a CNN global town hall Thursday night, 8:00 Eastern.