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Trump Claims He Is Negative For COVID As He Returns To Campaigning; Day One Of Amy Coney Barrett's Supreme Court Confirmation Hearing; Prime Minister Boris Johnson Announcing New System Of Covid Alert Levels For England. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired October 12, 2020 - 05:30   ET




BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: President Trump holding his first campaign rally tonight since being diagnosed with coronavirus.

LAURA JARRETT, CNN ANCHOR: And the president's pick to replace Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court in the hot seat in just a few hours. We'll have a preview of her Senate confirmation hearing.

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

SANCHEZ: Good morning, Laura. I'm Boris Sanchez in for Christine Romans. We are 32 minutes past the hour.

And, President Trump is headed back out on the campaign trail today with serious questions still remaining about his health.

With the timeline of infection still murky and the White House refusing to answer questions, Trump told his supporters Sunday that he has tested, quote, "totally negative" for the virus, though neither he nor his doctor have provided any evidence that backs that up. Instead, he's misrepresenting his chances of reinfection and underplaying the risk of spreading COVID to anyone else.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It was like I'm immune. So I can go way out of a basement, which I would have done anyway and which I did because you have to run a country. You have to get out of the basement.

And it looks like I'm immune for, I don't know, maybe a long time or maybe a short time. It could be a lifetime -- nobody really knows, but I'm immune. So the president is in very good shape.


SANCHEZ: Trump taking shots at Joe Biden there with quips about staying in the basement and we'll probably hear more of that later today when the president stages his first rally since being diagnosed. He's headed to a key swing state and coronavirus hotspot, the Sunshine State of Florida.

We get more now from CNN White House correspondent Jeremy Diamond.



President Trump is heading back to the campaign trail, hitting a trio of battleground states beginning today in Florida. Tomorrow, the president is going to go to the battleground state of Pennsylvania before heading to Iowa on Wednesday.

Now, President Trump heading back onto the campaign trail after the president's physician says that he has recovered from the coronavirus and also saying that the president is no longer infectious.

Now, the president, himself, claimed that he had gotten a negative test for coronavirus but the president's physician, Dr. Sean Conley, didn't exactly say that. Instead, he said simply that the president's latest molecular test for coronavirus showed that he is no longer infectious -- that he can't infect other people. But he did not say that the president had tested negative for the virus.

But nonetheless, the president and his campaign are seizing on that letter from Dr. Sean Conley to say that that second debate that had been canceled by the Commission on Presidential Debates after President Trump withdrew from that second debate -- the president's campaign are calling for that debate to be reinstated, saying the president should be able to participate after he's been cleared by his doctor to resume public activity -- Laura, Boris.


SANCHEZ: Jeremy, thanks for that.

Meantime, Democratic nominee Joe Biden also on the campaign trail this week and not, as the president likes to say, in the basement. The former vice president heads to the battleground state of Ohio where he's going to stop in Toledo and Cincinnati.

JARRETT: All right. With 22 days to the election, it's time for three questions in three minutes. Let's bring in CNN senior political analyst John Avlon. John, thanks so much for getting up with us --

SANCHEZ: Good morning, John.


JARRETT: -- as usual.

All right. The president -- he's trailing in the polls -- badly, by the way -- so he's eager, of course, to get back to holding those famous packed rallies. But can he really make up for lost ground here with undecideds with so little time and when he still may be sick, himself?

AVLON: Yes -- the short answer, no. But first of all, let's clarify the only poll that counts is Election Day -- all the usual caveats. The president's supporters are very intense. And he's back out after being sidelined by COVID.

Is this going to -- you know, can he make up for lost ground? It's really a question of the last 3 1/2 years. He's never done a good job of reaching out beyond the base, which definitionally is undecided.

And while this may not be good for his supporters' enthusiasm, there are also questions about whether it will be good for his health. Don't buy all the superman nonsense. The man just had COVID, he's 74, and not in the world's greatest shape.

But he knows that it's now or never. We're in that part of the campaign. So watch out and try not to get COVID in the process, people.

SANCHEZ: Yes, it's kind of been rough watching the president sort of stumble and cough often and had to clear this throat over and over. You can hear the symptoms of COVID --


SANCHEZ: -- often when he speaks publicly.

We have to talk about Amy Coney Barrett. Confirmation hearings start this morning for the president's pick to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court.


SANCHEZ: Joe Biden has refused to say whether he would pack the Supreme Court should he win on Election Day. Of course, back in 1983, he made a reference to court-packing, saying that it was boneheaded.

AVLON: Right.

SANCHEZ: This time around he's not saying anything until after Election Day. Is that the right strategy, John? Does that hurt him?

AVLON: Well, let's separate these two things out.

First of all, the nomination to the Supreme Court justice and the battle we're going to see in the days ahead is infinitely more consequential in the near term than the question of whether a Biden- Harris administration will pack the court.

But obviously, the answer he's giving is politically and emotionally unsatisfying. I don't think it's been the best answer of his campaign -- we'll tell you after the campaign.

But here's what's really going on. Joe Biden actually is an institutionalist -- what Mitch McConnell says he is but doesn't give much evidence of. He would not like to pack the court. But, Democrats need to keep that in play as an option, given the pushing through -- the withholding of Merrick Garland and Trump getting three Supreme Court justices.

It's very popular with the base as an idea to fight fire with fire. The problem of fighting fire with fire, of course, is the whole house burns down. Joe Biden is trying to keep his powder dry and we're focusing a lot on that -- on this question anyway.

JARRETT: Yes. You say he's an institutionalist but the question is have the rules now changed. Has the game changed and can that type of worldview even make sense in this environment.

The other angle --


JARRETT: -- we want to ask you about before we let you go, Sen. Kamala Harris is going to be involved in this hearing as a member of the Judiciary Committee. Of course, she famously --


JARRETT: -- grilled Kavanaugh hard.

How is this going to go over with voters today?

AVLON: Watch this space. This is going to be real high drama under the dome.

Look, here's the deal. Kamala Harris has a different responsibility right now. She's not going to, you know, shirk her duty. She's a prosecutorial person by instinct. But vice presidents have an obligation to do no harm. You saw in the debate and the folks around her saying that look, she's going to be trying to set an example that she is presidential.

So I think you're going to get a little bit less raw meat and heat from Kamala Harris -- but still, a lot of tough appropriate questions because that's what she's good at and that's what Supreme Court hearings are for because this is for life, people.

JARRETT: That's interesting you think that. I think she's going to bring it. I think she's going to be just as tough if not harder.

AVLON: Interesting.


AVLON: We will see.

JARRETT: We will see.

AVLON: We will see, Laura Jarrett.

JARRETT: All right, John. Thank you, appreciate it.

SANCHEZ: John, thank you.

JARRETT: See you soon.

AVLON: Take care, guys.

JARRETT: All right.

Well, the governor of Kentucky and his family now under quarantine after possible exposure to coronavirus. CNN has the pandemic developments covered coast-to-coast.



The Georgia Department of Public Health reported 1,162 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday and 23 additional deaths due to COVID-19. And that marks the fifth consecutive day that the state has reported more than 1,000 cases in a single day, according to CNN's tally.

Overall, Georgia's seven-day moving average of new cases is much lower than it was in late-July, but it has plateaued in the month of October. More than 7,000 people in the state have died of COVID-19 since the pandemic began.



Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear and his family are quarantining after contact tracers informed the governor that a member of his security detail tested positive for coronavirus on Saturday night.

In a video posted to Twitter, Beshear said that the member of his security detail had driven his family home on Saturday afternoon. But he said that no one in his family has tested positive for the virus and they hadn't been in close contact with anybody since the contract tracer informed them of the exposure.


Yesterday, some religious services in parts of Brooklyn and Queens were limited in size due to newly-imposed restrictions that are aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19 in New York. A recent order from the governor limited the size of religious gatherings in any house of worship, depending on the severity of COVID-19 cases in their neighborhood.

Some Orthodox Jewish groups as well as the Brooklyn Catholic Diocese sued the governor trying to suspend or maybe even modify those restrictions. However, those motions were denied this weekend and allowed to stay in place.


SANCHEZ: Thanks to all of our reporters for that.

Developing this morning, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is announcing a new system of coronavirus alert levels for England. It's part of an effort to slow what officials are calling the high and rising number of COVID infections there. The hope is to relieve pressure on hospitals and Britain's National Health Service.

CNN's Nic Robertson joins us now live from London with the latest. And, Nic, as this is getting announced it could already be facing legal challenges, right?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Yes. I mean, what the prime minister is trying to do here as well is to simplify the -- what's become sort of a scattershot series of regional and local lockdowns across the country.

Just two weeks ago, the prime minister was asked how does the lockdown affect -- what are the -- what are the rules of the lockdown in one area of the country, and he couldn't get the right answer. So this three-tier system, which will be medium, high, and very high applied regionally, is supposed to address that. We don't know yet what it takes to qualify for each of those different regions or what that means.

But we do know that the city of Liverpool is going to be in the highest level and we know that they are expected to close their pubs, their casinos, and their gyms. It's an open question at the moment whether or not they'll have to close their restaurants. Even at this late minute, the details of it aren't clear.

But there is heavy pushback, principally because note the highest rates of infection at the moment are in the north of the country. The local authorities there don't feel that the government has been giving them enough information -- that the government hasn't been listening to them enough. That the track and trace that the government has put in place isn't working.

So all these local authorities are pushing back because they want to have a greater say. They want the government to listen to them. So right now, the prime minister has a big job ahead of him here, Boris.

SANCHEZ: Yes, Nic. Officials are trying to avoid a resurgence of the numbers that we saw in the U.K. back in March. A difficult situation.

Nic Robertson reporting from London. Thank you.

JARRETT: All right, turning back to the U.S. now.

Black Americans are paying more to own a home and falling further behind in building wealth. That's according to a new study from MIT showing that black homeowners pay more in mortgage rates, mortgage insurance, and property taxes than other homeowners.

It turns out those differences add up in a big way with just over $67,000 in lost retirement savings. It also means it's virtually impossible for black homeowners to build wealth through homeownership at the same rates as their white household counterparts.

Research shows that past discriminatory policies and practices have caused black homeowners, on average, to have lower credit scores and less savings for down payments. Researchers say mortgage policy needs to change to help eliminate this wealth gap.

All right. Still ahead, thousands of people are volunteering to pay -- play a very risky role in a vaccine trial.


ESTEFANIA HIDALGO, VOLUNTEER, 1DAY SOONER: Scary, right? Like, you're going to be potentially exposed to the virus.


JARRETT: More on why they're risking their lives, next.



SANCHEZ: The British government is exploring the idea of clinical trials in which volunteers are deliberately exposed to coronavirus. These so-called challenge trials are not without risk but they could accelerate the development of a vaccine.

CNN's Phil Black met some of the volunteers putting themselves directly in the path of a deadly virus.


PHIL BLACK, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Like so many, Estefania Hidalgo has quietly endured the challenge -- the inconvenience of living through a pandemic -- but she wanted to do more.

HIDALGO: This was a way for me to take over control of the situation to feel like I was in a more -- or in a less hopeless place -- in a less hopeless world, and be like OK, I can do this to make it better. I chose not to be in fear.

BLACK (voice-over): So she volunteered to be deliberately infected with the coronavirus.

HIDALGO: I was shaking but then I just -- without knowing, I just typed my name in and was like let's go for it. I want to be part of --

BLACK (on camera): Shaking?

HIDALGO: Yes because it can be scary, right? Like, you're going to be potentially exposed to the virus.

BLACK (voice-over): Alastair Fraser-Urquhart is also very keen to be infected.


BLACK (voice-over): He helps with running the recruitment campaign Estefania has signed up to. 1Day Sooner finds volunteers -- so far, tens of thousands around the world -- and has been lobbying the U.K. government to make use of them through potentially risky research.

ALASTAIR FRASER-URQUHART: I wake up thinking about challenge trials and I got back to bed thinking about challenge trials.

BLACK (voice-over): Challenge trials involve giving young, healthy people a potential vaccine like this one developed by London's Imperial College. Then later, testing it by deliberating dosing them with the virus. Proponents say it's faster than waiting for test subjects to be exposed to a specific virus in the real world.


With numerous COVID-19 vaccines being developed, some scientists think challenge trials could help identify the best of them sooner.

ALASTAIR FRASER-URQUHART: By taking that small risk on myself, I can potentially protect thousands of other people from having to be infected without consenting to it.

BLACK (voice-over): Critics say challenge trials have limited use because the young, healthy people who take part don't represent the broader population. They have been used against other viruses.

This is corporate video from a London facility that recruits, exposes, and strictly quarantines people to test influenza vaccines.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We've got a wonderful safety record that we're all proud of.

BLACK (voice-over): But there are always risks, especially with a new virus that's already killed more than a million people. And epidemiologists say it's likely some volunteers would be needed for a control group to make sure the virus does -- can cause disease. It means they'd be exposed to the coronavirus without receiving a vaccine. The real potential for doing harm to volunteers would be closely scrutinized by regulators.

PROFESSOR SIR TERENCE STEPHENSON, CHAIR, ENGLAND'S HEALTH RESEARCH AUTHORITY: The challenge trial would have to make the cogent argument that the benefits to society greatly outweigh the risks and that that evidence or those data could not be achieved in a simpler and safer way.

BLACK (voice-over): Test subjects in challenge trials are compensated financially, but Alastair's father knows that's not motivating his son.

ANDREW FRASER-URQUHART QC, ALASTAIR'S FATHER: It's at the forefront of science and technology. It's something to benefit others. It's something rather brave, it's something slightly different, and that's him in a nutshell. ALASTAIR FRASER-URQUHART: To be totally honest, I really don't care what he says. I do what I like.

BLACK (voice-over): A crucial ingredient for any COVID-19 challenge trial will be the determined idealism of its young volunteers.

Phil Black, CNN, London.


JARRETT: All right, Phil. Thanks for that report.

Let's get a check on CNN Business this morning. Looking at markets around the world, Asian markets closed mixed. European markets have opened mostly higher there.

On Wall Street, futures are also mixed as investors watch for any movement on stimulus. As we mentioned over the weekend, White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow suggested that there is still hope for a new package to help struggling Americans.

Well, while the U.S. recovery stalls, China's economy is hitting its stride again. The world's second-largest economy was the only major world power to avoid a recession this year as the coronavirus crippled businesses. Estimates show China's GDP is expected to grow 1.6 percent this year while the global economy is expected to contract 5.2 percent.

Strict lockdowns used early on to contain the virus and hundreds of billions of dollars from the government to boost spending there helped China recover relatively quickly.

Well, the pandemic has divided retailers into two groups with one thriving online and the ones who are not. Retailers like Amazon and Walmart have soared through the crisis as millions shop online. Companies that relied too heavily on sales in malls suffered badly during the lockdowns. Retail bankruptcies we saw piling up over the summer.

Analysts say the longer the pandemic drags on, the more likely shoppers will keep buying online. E-commerce sales are expected to hit $710 billion this year.

SANCHEZ: They say it's all about the journey and not the destination. That's especially true for frequent flyers in Australia boarding a flight to nowhere. This Qantas Airlines flight takes off and lands at the same airport, carrying passengers who have been grounded for months because of coronavirus.

The flight left Sydney Saturday and flew over iconic sites like the Great Barrier Reef, the Gold Coast, and Byron Bay before landing right back in Sydney.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was spectacular. I thought that some of the sights that we saw today, one would never get the chance to see it quite like that. I felt that I was so close to a lot of them.


SANCHEZ: Qantas says demand was so great the flight sold out in only 10 minutes. This would be --

JARRETT: They better have really good cocktails.

SANCHEZ: Yes. This would be a waste for me. I fall asleep on planes.


SANCHEZ: Oh, we're not taking this flight to nowhere.

JARRETT: I mean, the Barrier Reef is beautiful but most people would want to travel somewhere as opposed to --


JARRETT: -- just getting on the plane.

SANCHEZ: I'm there with you 100 percent, Laura.

Thank you so much for having me today.

JARRETT: Always great to have you, Boris. I'm Laura Jarrett. "NEW DAY" is next.




DIAMOND: President Trump is heading back to the campaign trail hitting a trio of battleground states.

LARRY KUDLOW, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL ECONOMIC COUNCIL: A lot of people who have been with him said he's fine, he's peppy. He will go on ahead.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it's foolish for him to do it. It's going to be hard for him to do it and it might give him a big setback.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We don't really know whether he's still infectious.

ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: For the first time since August, the U.S. has reported four consecutive days of more than 50,000 new daily coronavirus cases.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're already seeing a sharp increase in the northern Midwest. It'll probably start going up in the northeast as well. It'll be a sad time in the fall and winter.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want to be very clear. I am afraid of COVID. I'm afraid of what's going to happen in the winter. I'm afraid of our surges. We anticipate they are going to happen.


ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY with Alisyn Camerota and John Berman.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and all around the world. This is NEW DAY. It is Monday, October 12th, 6:00 here in New York.

President Trump is returning to the campaign trail today. He plans to hold rallies.