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Early Start with John Berman and Zoraida Sambolin

NYC, California And VA Mandating Worker Vaccination Or Testing; Biden Visiting To Express Confidence In National Security; Women's Team Taking A Stand Against Sexism In Uniforms. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired July 27, 2021 - 05:30   ET



CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Good Tuesday morning, everybody. This is Early Start. I'm Christine Romans. It is Tuesday, right?

LAURA JARRETT, CNN ANCHOR: It is Tuesday. And I am still Laura Jarrett. It's 30 minutes past the hour here in New York. It's time for our top 10 stories to keep an eye on today.

All right, a big step towards vaccine mandates as the Delta variant surges across the country. Both California and New York City announcing all public employees must soon either be vaccinated against COVID or be tested for the virus weekly.


BILL DE BLASIO, NEW YORK CITY MAYOR: September is when the rubber hits the road, and this is when we have to make the difference.


JARRETT: The Veterans Administration is also giving 115,000 frontline health workers eight weeks to be fully vaccinated.

ROMANS: Today, President Biden makes his first visit to the US Intelligence Community since taking office. He plans to express confidence in the country's national security leaders after four years of bitter criticism from President Trump.

JARRETT: The Biden administration is planning to speed up deportations for some migrant families to cross the US-Mexico border without a visa. The controversial process known as "Expedited Removal" allows for deportations without a hearing after an initial screening. Critics say families should be allowed to live in the US while their asylum cases work through the immigration system.

ROMANS: Dozens of business leaders are urging lawmakers to pass the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill now stalled in Congress. More than 140 executives and CEOs signed a public letter to congressional leaders calling the measure desperately needed. JARRETT: The hotlines between North and South Korea are back in service this morning. North Korea pulled the plug on the phones last June. Officials in Seoul say the two Koreas will return to making twice daily status calls as they work to restore trust.

ROMANS: Global warming and drought driving America's second largest reservoir to its lowest level ever. Lake Powell in Utah is now at just 33% capacity. Powell and Lake Mead in Nevada help supply water to tens of millions of people across the west.


DANIELLA LEVINE CAVA, MIAMI-DADE, FLORIDA MAYOR: I am especially proud that through these tireless efforts, we were able at last to bring closure to all those who reported missing loved ones.


JARRETT: The final victim of the Surfside Condo collapse, Estelle Hedaya has been identified. That brings the month long recovery effort to a close with a death toll at 98.

ROMANS: The NFL's Kansas City Chiefs have no plans to change their name but will retire the mascot, an Indian themed horse named Warpaint. It's been part of pregame activities. They've also discouraged fans from painting their face in any way that would be offensive.

JARRETT: The University of Oklahoma and the University of Texas have informed the Big 12 they plan to leave the league in the coming years. Two schools could move to the South Eastern Conference where they could earn millions more each year from the SEC's television package.

ROMANS: And Japan's Naomi Osaka knocked out of the Women's Singles Tennis Competition at the Olympics, Osaka losing in straight sets in the third round of the tournament. More results from the Olympics ahead in the Bleacher Report live from Tokyo.

JARRETT: All right. Let's dig into coronavirus as an alarming trend is growing worse by the day. 46% of the US population now lives in a county considered to have high COVID transmission. Again, it was less than 3% in early June, but now the entire map you see there, all you just saw there, was red. In the Southeast Region, Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida, all of those states, almost every county has a high transmission rate.

The mayor of Orange County, Florida, home to Disney World, says we are now in crisis mode. Doctors and nurses are on the front lines once again.


TAMMY DANIEL, CHIEF NURSING OFFICER, BAPTIST HEALTH: The increase started happening so quickly, and it's multiplying so fast every single day. We can't open a bed fast enough to meet the demands. DR. MICHELLE AQUINO, BAPTIST MEDICAL CENTER, JACKSONVILLE: I've admitted perfectly healthy 19 year old woman, OK, perfectly healthy, 25 year old. So you're seeing these healthy people that are walking around saying I don't need a vaccine. I'm fine. If I get COVID I'll be fine. And that's not true.


JARRETT: That's not true. Medical experts point out the surge in the UK, which has generally been a couple of weeks ahead of the US, that appears to be past its peak. The former Director of the CDC, Tom Frieden, says the US could see 200,000 cases a day within the next six weeks.


But he says it's likely the country will not see horrific death tolls again, thanks to the number of people who are vaccinated.


DR. PAUL OFFIT, DIRECTOR, VACCINE EDUCATION CENTER, CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL OF PHILADELPHIA: This virus is devastating, and when people choose not to get vaccinated, ultimately I think they're going to have to be compelled to do it. And we're heading into winter, I think that is a confluence of events that is going to be tough. The Delta variant, winter and a relatively unvaccinated population, I think it's going to be a rough winter.


JARRETT: Masking in school classrooms remains top of mind for parents, of course. The governor of Kentucky says he recommends students wear masks, but he's not imposing a mandate. At least 13 of the 30 largest school districts in the US are making masks optional for students.

And take a look at this map, places where you see red dots coming up here for optional masks, particularly in Florida, is where the Delta variant is raging. Early Start is covering this pandemic coast to coast.

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Polo Sandoval. The state of Ohio says it will not be requiring unvaccinated kids to wear masks when they head back to school later this fall. Top state health officials made that announcement yesterday that they will only "strongly recommend that parents have their unvaccinated kids wear a mask while going to school and engaging in school related activities."

Remember, currently, people under the age of 12 are currently not eligible to actually receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Ohio's approach here is somewhat lacks when you compare it to the recommendations that are being issued by the American Academy of Pediatrics that recommends that anyone above the age of two, regardless of their vaccination status, wear a mask while at school.

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Nick Valencia in Atlanta, the city of Savannah is reinstating a mask mandate effective immediately due to the rise of COVID-19 cases. In a press conference on Monday, Savannah's Mayor Ben Johnson said, everyone, regardless of vaccination status, is required to wear facial coverings inside all city government facilities, as well as city schools and early childhood centers. The mandate does not apply to private businesses or institutions. The mayor is strongly encouraging owners there to implement the mandate as well.

KYLIE ATWOOD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm currently at would at the State Department, the Biden administration is going to maintain existing travel restrictions pointing to the fact that the Delta variant is spreading globally and here in the United States. And these existing travel restrictions mean that those who are in the EU, in the UK, in China, and other countries on the prohibited CDC list cannot visit the United States unless they go to one of the countries not on that list for 14 days, or unless, of course, they are a US citizen.

Now, this comes as there have been growing concerns, frustrations in Europe, because a lot of those countries had opened up to American travelers.

JARRETT: All right. Thanks to all of our correspondents for those updates. In just a few hours, a House Select Committee holds its first hearing in the investigation of the Capitol riot. It comes nearly seven months after Trump's supporters stormed the Capitol hoping to stop the certification of the presidential election. Since then, there has been so much political gamesmanship with American democracy at stake, the hearing today will focus on four officers who were on the front lines that day. Here they are, in their own words.


DANIEL HODGES, OFFICER, DC POLICE DEPARTMENT: The absolute zealotry of these people, how they would -- they 100% believed that what they were doing was right. And that they were the patriots and that no one would get in their way. There's a guy ripping my mask off. And he was able to rip away my baton, beat me with it. And he was practically foaming at the mouth, so just these people were true believers in the worst way.

MICHAEL FANONE, OFFICER, DC POLICE DEPARTMENT: They were screaming out, kill him with his own gun. At that point, you know, is just like self-preservation, how do I survive the situation. The other option I thought of was to try to appeal to somebody's humanity. And I just remember yelling out that I have kids and it seemed to work.

HARRY DUNN, OFFICER, DC POLICE DEPARTMENT: But at that moment, I was unable to process what had happened because we physically spent. Once I had time to sit down and put it all together, it was just so overwhelming that here we are giving so much and putting our lives on the line to protect democracy and keep it. And we're being called racial slurs, traitors.

AQUILINO GONEL, OFFICER, DC POLICE DEPARTMENT: Undoing my job, as patriotic as I could be as my duty there is to hold my line to protect people inside. But yet, I'm the one being blamed for being a traitor, even though they the one who doing the treasonous traditional stuff.



JARRETT: All right. It's time for three questions in three minutes with CNN Capitol Hill Reporter Melanie Zanona who has covered the events of January 6th extensively.

ROMANS: Hi, Melanie. We know the testimony is going to be powerful. We know there are questions about how white nationalist groups organized. We know how law enforcement wasn't prepared, how the former president responded or didn't respond for so long. What can we learn from these hearings we don't know already?

MELANIE ZANONA, CNN CAPITOL HILL REPORTER: Well, there are actually quite a few Trump world officials who we haven't heard from yet. Keep in mind, Mark Meadows, Kevin McCarthy, Jim Jordan even, a number of other people in the White House who could shed critical light on Trump's mindset and his conduct, not only in January 6th but in the lead up to the attack.

Obviously, we've seen some reporting and evidence of how far Trump would go to overturn the election, but we don't know truly how extensive it is. And so that is something committee members are going to be wrestling with in the weeks and days, and months ahead, is whether or not to subpoena these officials and whether they try to get those people to testify. But as of right now, they're definitely keeping that option on the table.

ROMANS: No matter how many times I hear those law enforcement, brave law enforcement, people talk about what happened to them that day. I'm shocked. It doesn't get any easier to hear about the assault on American law enforcement. It's just so important to get that story out again as much as possible.

JARRETT: Well, and that's why it shouldn't be a partisan issue, right? It's been seven months now. American democracy was on the line that day for a presidential certification. It's still on the line. But in this meantime, there's been so much gamesmanship. There's been so much political bickering. We focus on the back and forth so much.

I wonder, Melanie, do you think the public has any sense of the meaning of what actually happened that day?

ZANONA: Well, I think that is why today's hearing is so critical. It is really going to set the tone for this entire investigation. That is why investigators decided to put those brave police officers who defended the Capitol, saying -- defended my life. I was in the Capitol that day as well.

I want the public to know exactly what violence occurred. They want to know the horrors of what these officers went through. And that is especially important because of the efforts to whitewash or downplay January 6th happening in the Republican Party. So that is why investigators say, today is all about putting facts on the table and letting the American people hear firsthand what these police officers experienced, the brutality that day.

ROMANS: So, Melanie, looking forward here. What's going to constitute a success for this committee in your view?

ZANONA: Well, I think the challenge and the big question for Democrats and Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger, to Republicans on the panel, is whether they can break through to the other side, to the Republicans, and even maybe to this middle section of America. We've seen some polling, unfortunately, in the six months since January 6th. Opinions have really softened about what has happened that day.

Obviously, as I mentioned before, there's these efforts to whitewash January 6th. Donald Trump is continuing that as well. And so, I do think the big question is whether they can break through in any way. And one way Speaker Nancy Pelosi is trying to do that is by the addition of those two Republicans to the panel, hoping to bring up even more bipartisan legitimacy to this investigation.

JARRETT: I don't know how you break through when one side is just complete denial, and has called it a normal tourist visa. I think that's a real challenge, all right. Melanie, we appreciate you getting up with us. See you soon.

ZANONA: Thank you.

JARRETT: We'll be right back.



JARRETT: Welcome back. Britney Spears may be one step closer to freedom this morning. The singer's new lawyer has petitioned to remove her father as conservator of her estate, with some notable support. CNN's Chloe Melas oins us live.

Chloe, good morning. This new lawyer not wasting any time making a new filing on her behalf to remove the dad, calling this whole situation Kafkaesque.

CHLOE MELAS, CNN ENTERTAINMENT REPORTER: Good morning, Laura. Yes. Mathew Rosengardt, Britney Spears' newly hired attorney, your right, has wasted zero time. A bombshell filing yesterday at the Los Angeles County Superior Court filing a petition to have Judge Brenda Penny removed Jamie Spears as the conservator of his daughter's estate. Like you said, Mathew Rosengardt in his filing that's over 20 pages long calling this a Kafkaesque nightmare.

He says that the relationship between Britney Spears and Jamie Spears has deteriorated, it's toxic. He also says that this is not in the best interest and that there could be other legal action actually taken against Jamie Spears. Now remember, Britney Spears has set in both of her hearings on June 23rd and July 14th that she wants to press charges against her father for conservatorship abuse.

Now, I have reached out to Jamie Spears' legal team multiple times since this filing yesterday and I have not heard back for any comment as of right now.

JARRETT: Chloe, I also mentioned at the top there, some notable support for Britney Spears. Her mom taking sides, what are you learning about that part?

MELAS: So, Britney Spears' mother, Lynne Spears also filed her own court petition, saying that she supports the removal of Jamie Spears as the conservatorship. She also goes on to allege that Jamie Spears hired a psychiatrist that was prescribing drugs to Britney that were allegedly not the right types of drugs. She also says her daughter, Britney Spears, was forced into a health treatment facility in 2019. That was widely publicized at the time that Britney wanted to go seek treatment after her father was hospitalized for a colon condition.

Now also, I do want to point out, though, in this petition, that Mathew Rosengardt is not just asking to remove Jamie Spears. He's asking to replace Jamie Spears with a certified public accountant named Jason Rubin.


So that's a little questionable because we thought that Britney just wants the conservatorship terminated completely. Why replace Jamie Spears? Maybe it's just one step closer to this being terminated completely, but a lot of questions, but she is getting support from her mother.

JARRETT: Yes. I thought that was interesting as well, to have someone else still in the position of the conservator. Maybe the idea, as you said, just being -- let's just get the data out of it and then figure out that part later. We'll see what the judge does with it, though. Chloe, thank you.

ROMANS: All right. Just about 10 minutes to the top of the hour. So let's take a look at markets around the world another day of sharp losses. In Asia, the sell off in Chinese tech stocks there, a big story. Top tech stocks and China all closing lower as Beijing expands its crackdown on private businesses. One of China's biggest food delivery platforms dropped 16% after Chinese regulators called for better standards for delivery workers.

Back on Wall Street, Stock Index Futures this morning also leading lower. But that's after all three major averages hit record highs just start the week, despite the underlying fears of the Delta variant. Investors will get earnings reports this morning from Apple, Google and Microsoft. Those will actually be all after the closing bell today.

A record quarter for Tesla, profit the second quarter double what it made the first, and ten times bigger than last year of the company navigating supply chain problems and chip shortages. How the company handles that going forward will determine how fast it grows. CEO Elon Musk said the global chip shortage has slowed growth there. Musk also said Tesla is dealing with a shortage of cells used to make the batteries each of its car needs. Tesla expects to start limited production of its model y SUV later this year. JARRETT: Women's sports teams are calling out the double standards when it comes to what they must wear to compete. The Norway Women's Beach Handball Team is facing a fine for refusing to play, and get this, bikini bottoms, during a European championship game. The team instead wore filing shorts to protest the Euro Tournament's uniform rules. The fine is just about $1,700 and pop star Pink says she's going to take care of it.


JARRETT: At the Olympics also, the German Women's Gymnastic Team chose to forego the usual bikini cut leotards in favor of full body suits. They say the outfits which do not break the rules, by the way, are about what feels comfortable and a statement against sexualization

ROMANS: Those volleyball short pants --

JARRETT: Yes, they are still short, what's wrong?

ROMANS: But the bikini bottoms, how you play volleyball? I just -- I don't understand. I don't understand. All right.

American teenager stuns the world with a gold medal performance in swimming. Coy Wire in Tokyo this morning with the Bleacher Report. Nice to see you, Coy.

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: You too, Christine and Laura. My goodness, a 17-year-old girl live in the Olympic dream. Born on Leap Day 2004, Lydia Jacoby is technically only four, the first Olympic swimmer ever from Alaska has now won gold in the 100 meter breaststroke. The daughter of two Alaskan tour boat captains, she learned to swim so that she could be safe. There's only 150 meter Olympic sized pool in the entire state of Alaska, so Lydia trained in 25 meter pools at a time.

During the year long pandemic delay, her family moved about two hours away to Anchorage so they could find a pool that she could swim in. She said she doesn't think she would have been ready had the games gone on time. She really grew in that extra year. And the people back home, who have watched her grow, give us one of the best videos of the Olympics so far. This watch party took party to a whole new level when Lydia touched that while making our home state and entire nation proud.

Now, just days after lighting the cauldron at the opening ceremony, Naomi Osaka's Olympics are over. The four time major champ was eliminated in straight sets by Marketa Vondrousova of the Czech Republic. This was the third round of Osaka's first tournament since withdrawing, you might remember, from the French Open citing her mental health. Osaka saying afterwards, "I don't really know how to cope with that pressure. So that's the best that I could have done in this situation. How disappointing am I? I mean, I'm disappointed in every loss but I feel like this one sucks more than the others."

And in just under an hour from now, all eyes will be on the Women's Gymnastics Team Final where Simone Biles and the US are looking for a three peat, but it may not be as much of a slam dunk as many thought before the games. The Americans were more than a point behind the Russian Olympic athletes in qualifying. But all those scores are now erased, so bows in her squad are looking to bounce back and take gold.

So are the US Women's Basketball Team opening it's right for a seventh straight goat with a 81-70 win over Nigeria. They were down three after the first quarter but the US dropped the hammer extending the Olympic winning streak they have to 50 games. A'ja Wilson led the way with 19 points. Next up, host nation Japan on Friday.

Finally, America's Carissa Moore bringing home the first ever gold medal in Women's Surfing. The four time world champ from Hawaii started surfing in Waikiki Beach with her dad when she was just five years old.


And fun fact, Lauren and Christine, she has something in common with former President Barack Obama. She went to the same school that he attended growing up on Oahu. My goodness, look at those emotions and what a day.

And as the sun sets here, it's going to rise there with those US Women's Gymnastics Team taking that floor just about an hour from now. It's going to be something to see.

ROMANS: And I think they can pull through.

JARRETT: All right. Nice to see you, Coy.

ROMANS: Take it easy and have fun there.

WIRE: You too.

ROMANS: All right. Thanks for joining us this morning. I'm Christine Romans for Early Start.

JARRETT: I'm Laura Jarrett. New Day is next.