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California Sees Rise in Covid Cases; Trump Pushes for Schools to Reopen; Unemployment Numbers for Last Week; Brazil's Cases Surpass 1.7 Million; Hong Kong Battling Covid-19. Aired 9:30-10a ET

Aired July 9, 2020 - 09:30   ET




POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: California one of the first states to implement restrictions and one of the last to lift them is seeing a huge rise in coronavirus cases. Now, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti says his city may have to return to a stay at home order to reverse course.

Let's go to Sara Sidner in Los Angeles.

How likely is that, Sara?

SARA SIDNER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Look, at this point it's dire. We are seeing numbers increase. California recorded more than 8,000 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday. Los Angeles County, by the way, recorded its worst day of a death toll in more than a month. So we're now seeing those numbers rise in the death rates as well, just slightly. And that means that California hospitals are also preparing for a surge. You've got cases rising. You've got the rate of infection rising. You've got hospitalizations rising and now we're seeing a small uptick in the death toll.

The mayor is explaining who seems to be getting infected and imploring them to do their part.


MAYOR ERIC GARCETTI (D), LOS ANGELES: Today more than 50 percent of the people who are testing positive in Los Angeles County are between 18 and 40 years of age. Remember just a few weeks back it was 30 percent. Then when I talked to you last week it was 40 percent. Today, 50 percent of those cases are with our younger Angelenos.

So to young Angelenos and Angelenos under 40, please, do your part for all of us. To parents, I need your help.


SIDNER: And, remember, you know, this major uptick is likely cases that began during the Memorial Day. That's probably what we're seeing in hospitals, hospitalizations up 44 percent%. Again, the mayor imploring people to please do their part, self-distance and wear those masks.


HARLOW: Yes. Absolutely.

Sara, thank you for that reporting from Los Angeles this morning.

As cases rise and the president pushes to reopen schools, there are a lot of teachers and college professors who are very worried.

Paul Kellermann is one of them. He's an English professor at Penn State. And his essay in "Esquire" caught our attention. Let me read you part of it.

Quote, I shudder at the prospect of teaching in a room filled with asymptomatic super spreaders. Students being students will do what students have always done, congregate in packs, drink heavily and comingle. This is the nature of college culture with campus serving as a petri dish for the spread of the virus.

Professor Kellermann joins me now.

Good morning. Thanks for being here.


HARLOW: I know you're very worried. I also know that Penn State has put together a task force of 16 different groups, 250 different people, as part of their back to state reopening plans.

What is it about the plan that they've presented that you think is not adequate, that does not make you comfortable to go teach?

KELLERMANN: For me, I had the option of teaching at home and I'm going to teach remotely because the College of Liberal Arts is allowing us to do that. It's not that way for all faculty members at all the colleges and all the campuses of the university.

I worry the report just -- you had on just before now was talking about the spread among young people.


I love the students at Penn State. They have such enthusiasm. But as I said in the essay I could relate. I was a student once. I still am a student in some respects. And I see how strep throat and the flu just zooms through campus every year. This is far more contagious and far more deadly.

HARLOW: So basically your request, it sounds like to me, Professor, is let everyone choose. Let every professor have the choice that you have.

KELLERMANN: Absolutely. I have colleagues who want to teach in person and I hope they should be able to do -- they'll be able to do that if conditions allow. The way I teach, I teach mostly discussion-based classes and workshop-based classes. And the idea of trying to teach live where students are six to 12 feet away from one another, I'm up front behind a Plexiglas window, is not conducive to the way I like to teach. If I teach in a large classroom, the sort that we'll need to use for proper social distancing, sometimes I teach classes that are too large for the class I'm teaching. I will stroll around the room, engage students. I won't be able to do that. So for me --

HARLOW: Can --


HARLOW: I was just going to -- I want you to respond. We got a statement actually just this morning to what you wrote. And here is part of what Penn State is telling us.

The curriculum we developed to meet health guidelines will be a flexible mix of in class, remote and online with masking requirements, physical distancing, hygiene stations and more in place as guided by faculty and other health experts. And then they say the university does not expect faculty who are immunocompromised or live with someone who may be or have other special circumstances to teach in class.

So, from this statement, it sounds like they are going to give everyone an option. Have they told you that or do you not see it that way?

KELLERMANN: Oh, no, I -- some of the messages that we've received from central administration have been contradictory. But we all recognize -- and I speak we all because I include my colleagues as well -- we recognize the plan is developing. And it's evolving over time. The essay I wrote is a snapshot in time where I was two or three weeks ago.

Ideally, things will change. And everyone -- and I mean everyone who teaches, as well as the staff, will have the option of doing what's best, doing -- because we're all professionals and as the dean of the college of liberal arts has said, he has a lot of confidence that we know best how to do our jobs. Some of my colleagues, as I said, in other colleges, other campuses, are getting a message that they infer is pressuring them.


KELLERMANN: Whether they are or not, I haven't seen the messages. I just know their reaction.

HARLOW: I hear you. And now we do have this most recent statement from the university, so hopefully this will help clarify it for all of them. I know, you know, those of us with students, kids in school, yes, you know, are concerned for other reasons, and you guys are concerned. I completely understand it and people need direction.

Professor Kellermann, good luck to you and thank you for coming on.

KELLERMANN: Well, thank you for having me. HARLOW: Of course.

Well, as coronavirus cases spike, tonight join Dr. Sanjay Gupta and Anderson Cooper with special guest, former CDC Director Tom Frieden, for another CNN global town hall, "Coronavirus: Facts and Fears." It airs live, 8:00 Eastern tonight.

We'll be right back.



HARLOW: Well, another 1.3 million people filed for first-time unemployment benefits last week alone. If you look at the last four months, nearly 50 million Americans have filed for unemployment benefits. That is remarkable. They have fallen steadily but still, they are way too high.

Christine Romans, our chief business correspondent, joins me now.

I mean it's remarkable to see these numbers, even -- even over a million on a holiday week.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Really something here. And it just is unrelenting, the pace of these layoffs and furloughs. It's just still happening. Almost 50 million in the past 16 weeks.

Another way to look at that, Poppy, is think of everyone who was working in the beginning of March. Now, 30.6 percent of those people are -- have lost their job sometime over the summer. That's just really something. And in some states even worse. I mean you look at Georgia has a really high rate of people who have filed for unemployment benefits. Kentucky, Oklahoma, Hawaii, Alaska, I mean those are just catastrophic levels there.

HARLOW: On top of that, there's a real concern about evictions coming, mass evictions and this new survey that a third of Americans missed their July housing payments.

ROMANS: Yes. Yes, this is from and that number is up four months in a row of really high, high rates of people not paying all of their rent. Maybe some cases they're paying some of their rent but not paying all of it. I think it really highlighting what they're calling a benefits cliff that's going to happen here. You know, evictions have been paused during the Covid pandemic because of law to protect people.


People who are unemployed are getting $600 extra a week to try to like make their bills. That's going to expires at the end of September. So it just kind of highlights this big concern about this cliff, this financial cliff that we'll going to go off of here once the stimulus runs out. HARLOW: Also, other government stimulus, like the PPP program, or the

CARES Act, have actually kept a lot of people employed.


HARLOW: And when you look at the headline this morning out of United Airlines, that just exemplifies how many people could lose their job still in the fall.

ROMANS: And we know these airlines have said that their business is going to look different on the other side of this, right? But when the CARES Act and the funding runs out later this fall, there will be fewer people working at these airlines.

And United has sent a letter, by law it has to do it 60 days in advance, to 36,000 front line workers telling them that they will be out a job once the funding runs out. Thirty-six thousand. And these are the people, the gate agents and flight attendants and pilots. These are the people who, you know, keep these planes running and keep people safe in this business and the airlines are just saying, look, it's not going to be the same.

HARLOW: That's almost half of their front line workforce. I mean, wow.

ROMANS: Yes. Yes, 45 percent -- 45 percent. It's a big number.

And, you know, we heard from American that there's about 20,000 of its workers that they've identified that could be at risk for layoff as well. So these industries are going to look different, you know, once we get to the other side of this pandemic.


ROMANS: We're still in it, though. We are still in it right now.


ROMANS: And, again, it underscores the need for action from Congress to make sure that there's enough support to get to the other said.

HARLOW: Yes. We'll be speaking with the CEO of Delta Airlines. You'll see that on the show tomorrow morning.


HARLOW: So we'll talk about the situation that they're in and what they do need from the government.

Christine, thank you very much.

We have more trouble to report for Brazil's president after he tested positive earlier there week for coronavirus. Ahead, why a Brazilian press group is planning to sue him.



HARLOW: Just a quick note for clarification. There was a banner, the thing you see at the bottom of your screen, in the last segment that said that United Airlines will furlough or lay off 36,000 of its workers. We want to be really clear here, and Christine's reporting was clear, that it may. It has sent warning notices to about 45 percent of its frontline workers or 36,000 of them saying they may lose their job come October 1st. We'll update you, of course, as we have more.

Meantime, Brazil has now passed 1.7 million coronavirus cases. Their health ministry recorded more than 44,000 new infections in just the last 24 hours.

Our correspondent Bill Weir has more on what they are doing to try now to mitigate the spread.

BILL WEIR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it is another day of more open shops, restaurants, bars in big cities like Sao Paulo and another day of rising number of Covid-19 infections and mortality. They're up to averaging over 1,000 deaths a day now. And among the infirmed and the confirmed infected now, of course, the president of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, whose using the opportunity to sort of double down on his policy of using Malaria -- anti-Malaria drugs and hard work to get Brazil back up and running.

Meanwhile, an association of Brazilian journalists is threatening to sue the president for endangering their lives by removing his mask during his press conference to announce that he had the coronavirus. This fight goes back to a battle that went to the supreme court over properly releasing Covid-19 daily numbers, infections and deaths.

Also, there are corruption allegations swirling around this president, whispers of impeachment and so the pandemic is just one challenge for the man running Brazil these days.

In the meantime, vaccine trials are ongoing now and there's fresh concern about indigenous communities becoming infected towards the amazon and other rural areas. There are even plans to send out a military operation to bring them the same medicines that President Bolsonaro is using.

But at the end of the day, this -- in which this pandemic is just dominating the news.

Bill Weir, Sao Paulo, CNN.

HARLOW: Thank you, Bill.

Well, just weeks after loosening their restrictions, Hong Kong says they're battling a third wave of coronavirus infections.

Let's go to our international correspondent, Will Ripley, he joins me in Hong Kong.

They had so much success there, Will, right? I mean before Sunday Hong Kong had gone three weeks with no one contracting the virus locally except for some imported cases. So what changed?

WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And when you have a city, Poppy, of 7 million people, densely populated in just, you know, over 1,300 cases of coronavirus in total, seven deaths and most of the patients more than 1,200 recovered, it's still a success story.

But what is troubling is that in recent days there has been dozens of cases and a lot of them are not people coming in from other countries. They have a very good system in place to kind of seal off Hong Kong. You have a 14-day mandatory quarantine for most travelers and everybody, including flight crew, now has to get tested for Covid-19 at the airport and yet, still, there are cases popping up in the community, community spread, and they can't always, through contact tracing, figure out how people got it. That's dangerous, Poppy, because we know how this can play out. The small numbers can get big very quickly.

Now, Hong Kong is starting to tighten some of the social distancing measures that had been, you know, eased up in recent days, like restaurant capacity being reduced, bar capacity being reduced and yet, still, people are at the gym.


They're, you know, in activities that could potentially spread this. So we'll have to see if these numbers continue to spike, could we go back to the, you know, almost lockdown type situation that the city experienced. This is reality in Covid, you know, Poppy. You know, you get your freedoms and then they can take them away if the numbers start to go back up.


They absolutely can. We're seeing it here.

Will Ripley, appreciate the reporting, live in Hong Kong. Thank you.

All right, we are just minutes away from major news out of the Supreme Court. They will issue two opinions in cases concerning the president's tax returns and financial records. He has guarded them so closely. Will the high court rule that they can be made public. Special live coverage is next.


ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

HARLOW: Good morning, everyone. I'm Poppy Harlow.

I want to welcome our viewers here in the United States and around the world.

The breaking news this morning, at any moment the Supreme Court will deliver its ruling on the president's tax returns and his financial records.