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Coronavirus Winter Resurgence Could Be Worse; Georgia Governor Defends Easing Restrictions; Vaccine for COVID-19 Could Take Years; Johns Hopkins: 7K+ Cases, 600+ Deaths in Indonesia; U.S. Oil Prices Rise after Unprecedented Dive; Trump Wishes Luck to Kim Jong-un; Trump Defends Protestors Demanding States Reopen; Supreme Court Deciding Fate of DACA Doctors; CNN Returns to Wuhan 3 Months after Lockdown; Singapore Extends Restrictions Until June 1. Aired 12-1a ET
Aired April 22, 2020 - 00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Hello and welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm John Vause.
Coming up on CNN NEWSROOM, the grim warning of a health crisis this winter in the Northern Hemisphere from the CDC. But nothing it seems will keep some governors in the U.S. from opening their economies in the coming days.
And from the U.K., human trials begin for a coronavirus vaccine from the same people who developed one for Ebola. Back to where it all began, CNN returns to Wuhan, China, the epicenter and birthplace of the coronavirus.
VAUSE: We begin this hour with reason for optimism and also a warning of a dire winter in the Northern Hemisphere. The positive news comes from Oxford University and the same team which developed a vaccine for Ebola. They are now starting human trials for a coronavirus vaccine and moving forward at an incredible pace. More on that in a moment.
Now the grim news. The head of the U.S. CDC warns of a dire health crisis this winter in the Northern Hemisphere, 8 months away. The big concern is the resurgence of the coronavirus coinciding with flu season; 3 southern states in the U.S., Georgia, Tennessee, South Carolina, are planning to reopen nonessential businesses and beaches and parks.
Even though they have not met the guidelines issued by the White House. And the head of the White House Coronavirus Task Force was far from enthusiastic about the news.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. DEBORAH BIRX, WHITE HOUSE CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE COORDINATOR: We have been very clear in the guidelines and I think it is up to the governors and mayors to ensure that they are following the best they can each of those phases to make sure that both the public is completely protected.
But the governors and mayors also need to communicate very clearly on the data that was used for decision-making and make that transparent and available to their communities.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: We have more now on the latest developments from CNN's Nick Watt.
NICK WATT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The virus has killed more than 44,000 Americans and it will return this winter and it might be even worse. So, the CDC director tells the Washington Post, because it could coincide with regular flu season and two respiratory outbreaks at once would hammer our health systems.
Meanwhile, our leaders are trying to agree on how to reopen from round one. Take, Dallas County. They extended stay at home through mid-May, setting off a possible showdown with the governor.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. GREG ABBOTT (R-TX): To the extent of my statewide order has statewide application, it would overrule any local jurisdiction.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WATT: in Iowan, Democrats lawmakers want a pork processing plant closed after an outbreak. The governor won't do it. The governor in Georgia says barbershops, nail salons, gyms can all reopen on Friday, but sell cycle says it won't. Congregations can gather, but one bishop is telling his flock not to and other governors are wary.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. NED LAMONT (D-CT): I'm glad I'm not an immediate neighbor of Georgia, because I think all you are doing is potentially throwing some gas on the flames there.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WATT: Testing, of course, is required to keep track of the virus as we reopen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If we don't have the data, we don't know what we are up against.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WATT: The continued lack of testing, partly what's making some in Georgia so anxious about reopening.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAYOR KELLY GIRTZ, ATHENS-CLARKE COUNTY, GEORGIA: We need testing, we certainly need work on treatment and we need contact tracing of the sort that we just don't have in the state yet.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WATT: The White House guidelines say that you should start reopening only after, among other things, a downward trajectory of documented cases within a 14-day period.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. BRIAN KEMP (R-GA): We are on track to meet the gating criteria for phase one.
(END VIDEO CLIP) WATT: Not really. Monday, April 6th, 1,099 new cases. Fourteen days
later, yesterday, just one less. Not so in Tennessee, but they plan to reopen some businesses on Monday. Not so in South Carolina, but they opened beaches and retail stores today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAYOR STEPHEN BENJAMIN, COLUMBIA, SOUTH CAROLINA: And the reality is that South Carolina has not peaked yet according to our own professionals.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WATT: Myrtle Beach, defying the governor, will keep beach parking closed.
So, hair salons open in Georgia on Friday, while maintaining social distancing. How does that work? We don't know. Dr. Birx was asked at the White House press conference and she said, I don't know how, but people are very creative -- Nick Watt, CNN, Los Angeles.
VAUSE: Georgia's Republican governor has tried to explain his decision to reopen businesses even though the number of confirmed cases has not leveled off. Brian Kemp believes gyms and hair salons are just as safe as a trip to the grocery store and other essential businesses.
As for reopening bowling alleys and tattoo parlors, don't forget the massage therapists, he says that's a major step. And those businesses can screen customers for signs of the virus.
What about the ones that are asymptomatic?
[00:05:00] VAUSE: Kemp says he's been relying on Georgia CEOs and health experts to tell him the state's hospitals had record vacancies and are bleeding money.
Remember that drug, hydroxychloroquine, that President Trump has been pushing to treat COVID patients?
Well, a new Veterans Administration study shows benefits and higher death rates compared to people who did not take the drug. The National Institutes of Health says doctors should not use it in combination with a common antibiotic, except in clinical trials.
There's still no specific treatment for the coronavirus. The Holy Grail, so to speak, is a vaccine. If people can get vaccinated, countries can open up and return to some kind of normalcy. Dozens of active trials are underway with hundreds more in planning.
Human trials of a possible vaccine, developed in Oxford, England, will begin on Thursday.
Joining us now for more on the search for the Holy Grail, a vaccine for the coronavirus, Dr. Paul Offit, director of the Vaccine Education Center at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.
Doctor, thank you for being with us.
DR. PAUL OFFIT, CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL OF PHILADELPHIA: Thank you.
VAUSE: OK, this is a global race on now to develop a vaccine. Researchers from Oxford University seem to be among the front-runners and they begin human trials on Thursday. I'd like to tell you how the U.K. health secretary, Matt Hancock, describes their progress. Here they are.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MATT HANCOCK, U.K. HEALTH SECRETARY: In normal times, reaching this stage would take years. I'm very proud of the work taken so far. At the same time, we will invest in manufacturing capability so that if either of these vaccines safely works, we can make it available for the British people as soon as humanly possible.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: OK. So there are a couple of issues that were raised in that very short sound bite. Let's start with the vaccine itself. The reason it stands out is because it's the same group behind the Ebola vaccine, so they have some runs on the boards.
So what's your assessment?
OFFIT: Well, we will see. We know that typically a program to develop vaccines take 20 to 25 years. I was part of a team at Children's Hospital that developed the Ebola virus vaccine, that was a 26 year effort. That's about average. It's great that this group has experience developing so-called vector
vaccines, meaning you take a virus that's harmless, you insert the gene that coats the protein that sits on the surface of coronavirus that attached coronavirus to cells.
So if you can make antibodies for that protein, you can keep the virus from binding to cells, which means you can be protected.
But it's a long way from creating those strains to having a vaccine, which is mass produced and distributed to millions and tens of millions of people. You need to make sure that vaccine is safe and effective before you vaccinate that many people.
VAUSE: If it does work and the health secretary talked about ramping up production to meet the needs of the British people, who decides how the vaccine will be distributed worldwide and is there the capacity for mass production on a global scale?
OFFIT: Again, it's what the strategy is used to make the vaccine. Again, it's a vector virus. I think the way it would roll out is the people who are most likely to get infected would likely get it first. People, for example, who are on the front lines of health care. People who work in nursing homes. People who work in grocery stores or pharmacies. Those people who have been working throughout this pandemic.
And then, gradually, bring it up to other people. If this is as miraculous as the researchers hope it is, there will be a number of companies that would jump in and do everything they could to scale up production so that this vaccine could get to all who need it.
But I suspect the way this will roll out, remembering there are more than 50 companies who are making this vaccine, who are trying to make a vaccine, and I suspect it will be more than one product that will end up coming to market.
VAUSE: Is there a concern that some of these research efforts are more about people making these announcements that we're close, we're getting closer, for stock price reasons?
OFFIT: That I can't answer. I think as an academic I'm able to say this. I think academics are much more excited about vaccines early in the research stage. The hardest part is research and development.
You have to show you have the right buffering agent, the right stabilizing agent, the right vial, that you've done real-time stability studies, that you can mass produce the product.
And you have to really end up with a big phase 3 trial, where you show that the vaccine tested thousands and maybe tens of thousands of people and is safe and effective. And then and only then can you comfortably release that vaccine to tens of millions of people.
And that takes time. We will see -- obviously, there's pressure to do this quickly. When you are trying to produce something quickly, sometimes you skip steps. So we'll see how this plays out. VAUSE: The other approach taken by some researchers has been to try
to repurpose existing vaccines. The BCG vaccine, the TB vaccine, first used almost 100 years ago has shown some promise. And now Dr. Konstantin Chumakov and Dr. Robert Gallo, doctors with the Global Virus Network, are suggesting a vaccine used for polio.
VAUSE: Here's part of their thinking from an op-ed in "USA Today."
"OPV, oral polio vaccine, activates other protective mechanisms, including an innate immune system, thus making people resistant to infections caused by other viruses and bacteria.
"For example in large scale multicenter clinical trials conducted in the 1970s during outbreaks of seasonal influenza, OPV protected more people from influenza than most flu vaccines do."
How much stock do you put into these efforts to find a solution from an already trialed and safe vaccine?
Because, in some ways, that would be the ideal solution, right?
OFFIT: I guess I don't see it that way, exactly. I think the thinking there is paraimmunity. You get a BCG or a polio vaccine, you induce something called interferon, a protein made by the immune system that interferes not only with the virus you're interested in but could interfere with other viruses.
For example, you have an oral polio vaccine, that will give you specific immunity against polio but it'll give you non specific immunity through interferon to a variety of other viruses.
I still think the best approach is a specific vaccine approach that is directed where antibodies are directed against that surface protein or spike protein that will prevent the virus from binding to cells. And there are many different strategies that are currently being used to do that.
VAUSE: The reality is that there is still no one vaccine for the seasonal flu. Some years, it can be effective, some years not so much. We are looking at a vaccine more like the one that we have for the flu currently, where you may have to get it every year, or one that can be one and done from birth or something?
OFFIT: I think this virus is stable. I mean, it's almost a single strand virus like influenza. Unlike influenza, it really does not appear to mutate. So I think it's more like other single strand RNA viruses like measles, mumps, German measles, where does not mutate.
I think if we can get an effective vaccine against this virus, I think that the vaccine will protect you for years, probably not decades but for years.
VAUSE: Dr. Paul Offit, thank you for being with us. Your insights are valued and appreciated. OFFIT: Thank you.
VAUSE: And join us this Thursday for a special coronavirus global town hall. Alicia Keys joins CNN for the world premiere of her new song, dedicated to the everyday heroes of the front lines of the pandemic, Thursday 8:00 pm Eastern time, Friday 8:00 am in Hong Kong.
Now to Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim nation is about to begin a Ramadan like any other. The government has issued a ban on travel, in particular traveling home for the end of Ramadan. CNN Indonesia anchor Annisa Pagih is live for us in Jakarta.
So this decision is actually coming a month before it begins. It indicates the concern the government has about the spread of the virus and their ability to control it weeks from now.
ANNISA PAGIH, CNN INDONESIA ANCHOR: John, of course, it is concerning, because Mudik is the biggest holiday tradition here in Indonesia, where millions of people will go back to their hometowns to celebrate after the holy month of Ramadan.
For example, in 2019, there was more than 18 million people doing this and, of course, this year it will be a lot different because of the pandemic and the president of Indonesia, Joko Widodo, finally announced his decision to ban the Mudik altogether to curb the spread of COVID-19 in Indonesia.
Even so, the question remains how effective will it be, because currently, for example, here in Jakarta, the local lockdown is still facing challenges on a daily basis. We still see a lot of activities out there. And it seems like a lot of people still don't understand the importance of staying at home.
For example, traditional markets we can still see a lot of activities there and even some cases, where dozens of students were arrested because of the street racing and the government's own evaluations.
The rule will be stricter for the Mudik and Widodo before this only banned Mudik for civil servants, soldiers and other Indonesians were mostly only warned. But now one of the plans is to close off toll roads in and out of Jakarta, which is the epicenter of COVID-19 here in Indonesia.
We are still waiting for other steps that the government will take because the government has yet to announce what are the consequences for anyone breaking the guidelines.
VAUSE: Just some context here, how important is this part of the religious celebrations when it comes to Ramadan?
How important is it for Muslim in Indonesia to make the trip home, because this is what it's all about, going home at the end of Ramadan.
PAGIH: Can you repeat the question?
VAUSE: Just how important is it for Muslims to make this trip home every year?
PAGIH: Yes, Mudik is one of the biggest traditions here in Indonesia. It is really important for Indonesian Muslims to meet their families in their hometowns and, to be honest, in my personal opinion, I am really concerned or anxious about seeing how this ban will actually be that effective for all Indonesians because, usually, even though they have to go through a lot of difficulties or challenges to go to their hometowns, even before this pandemic happens, they will still go to their hometown to celebrate together with their families.
VAUSE: Annisa Pagih, thank you so much for the update there from Jakarta and the insight is appreciated. Take care.
Soon to come, South Africa already has sky-high unemployment and it is quickly rising. Will the huge relief economic plan just announced by the president be enough to cushion the corona blow?
Also, President Trump's message to Kim Jong-un, after reports the North Korean leader is in poor health.
VAUSE: U.S. oil prices moved higher Wednesday but are still trading at historic lows after an unprecedented dive to start the week. It plunged into negative pricing on Monday because of a glut in supply and storage capacity filling up.
Kaori Enjoji is in Tokyo this hour.
We now have the U.S. president talking about assistance for oil producers but it seems the options here are fairly limited.
KAORI ENJOJI, JOURNALIST: That's right. I think we are seeing extreme volatility again today, John. In the morning, the oil price jumped about 20 percent. But in the last hour, it is starting to resume its decline, which is worrying, particularly for WTI, the most traded in the U.S. That has started to tumble again. It is now trading at $10 per barrel. Not in negative territory where people are paying people to take oil off their hands. It is still $10 for a June contract. That is still historically low.
You also see that filter out into Brent, which is the global benchmark. That is trading just at $17 per barrel. And Tokyo crude is nosediving by more than 20 percent now in the afternoon trading session. These are levels we have not seen in more than 4 years.
People are talking about demand drying up, demand destruction, to the tune of some 30 billion barrels a day. And this is going to be a problem for central banks as well, not only because it hurts the oil companies but the leverage companies and particular the impact on emerging economies in Asia as well.
It's a big cloud over the equity market, as you can imagine, but the losses in the equity market have been a lot lighter in Asia than they were in the U.S. overnight.
ENJOJI: Many of these indices starting to trade at 2 week lows in the afternoon session. People are also worried about corporate earnings, because the guidance is just not there. Companies are saying that they have to postpone and basically they have no visibility moving forward.
So investors are really driving in the dark right now and some of the delays from key corporates is what is unnerving investors right now.
Here in Tokyo, the governor said they may have to adopt new stricter measures for social distancing, 2 weeks on into the state of emergency. A lot of people are staying at home but there are some people still gathering, particularly going about their day-to-day business.
So we may hear of stricter restrictions here as the government tries to put a cap on the increase in coronavirus patients. And we are waiting for that as well. But as you pointed out as well, all eyes still on this precipitous drop we have seen in oil, which is resuming again here in Asian trading.
VAUSE: Very quickly, we look at the record low prices here for oil. Is this like the canary in the coal mine?
Is the pricing in how bad the economy is expected to get?
ENJOJI: You would think with negative prices there is the physical problem as well. People are taking these deliveries and basically running out of space to put it. And I think it is a good indicator of how bad people are expecting the economy to get.
Look, you are seeing from Goldman Sachs, they are expecting a decline of 35 percent on an annualized basis in a contracted U.S. economy.
And for major economies in Asia, they are saying minus 25 percent on an annualized basis.
With people staying home, transportation basically at a standstill, physical demand for oil just is not there. And right now, people are having a hard time forecasting about how deep this recession is going to be.
And that seems to be playing out most acutely in the oil market, particularly because of the last 2 to 3 weeks. There has been a bit of discrepancy in the equity market with the rally that we have seen in equities after those historical lows a month ago.
VAUSE: It is a roller coaster everywhere you look in the markets. Thank you, Kaori Enjoji for us in Tokyo. More help is coming for small businesses in the U.S. The Senate passed a 4th relief package Tuesday. It includes another $310 billion to small business loans. The initial program run out of money in less than 2 weeks, which means there is a large backlog of applications.
The new funds could run dry in less than 10 days. The leader of the Senate, Republican Mitch McConnell, said relief packages alone will not revive the economy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY), SENATE MAJORITY LEADER: I think it is also time to begin to think about the amount of debt that we are adding to our country and the future impact of that.
I think we also have seen, with this catastrophic damage to the economy, that until we begin to open up the economy, we can't spend enough money to solve the problem.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Worried about debt again. The House is expected to vote on the bill this coming Thursday.
South Africa's economy was already troubled long before the coronavirus made it a lot worse. The president has proposed a massive coronavirus relief package, more than $26 billion. David McKenzie has details.
DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Even before COVID-19 hit South Africa, this country was already in a recession. So this massive relief plan is impressive in its size. Some 10 percent of the GDP, $26 or so billion U.S., will be used.
That is largely up to help the expansion of the health budget to fight the disease directly. But the president also announced helping small and medium enterprises as well as an expansion of social grants given to the most vulnerable and food distribution for those who are already going hungry.
How they will pay for it?
There will be a redistribution of funds. President Cyril Ramaphosa also said South Africa will go to multilateral lenders like the World Bank and IMF to try and get the money to stave off an economic collapse.
South Africa is still in the middle of a 5-week lockdown. The president hinted there will be a phased reopening of the economy but gave no details. He says those details should come later this week -- David McKenzie, CNN, Johannesburg.
(END VIDEOTAPE) VAUSE: U.S. president Donald Trump says he is unaware of the condition of North Korea's leader but which is hemlock (ph). Jim Sciutto has the latest on Kim Jong-un's health and what could happen if Kim is incapacitated and can no longer around the country.
JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: The U.S. is monitoring intelligence suggesting that the North Korean dictator, Kim Jong-un, is in grave danger after undergoing a surgery, according to U.S. officials.
SCIUTTO: The secretive North Korean leader recently missed the national celebration of his grandfather's birthday on April 15th, which raised questions about his well-being.
South Korean online newspapers reported that Kim, who appears overweight, underwent a cardiovascular procedure on April 12th. Another U.S. official tells CNN that Kim is definitely unwell. But he is still likely involved in day to day decisions, despite his deteriorating condition.
This morning the White House national security adviser confirming that the U.S. is keeping a close watch on Kim's health.
ROBERT O'BRIEN, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: We are watching the reports closely. We will have to see, as everyone here knows, the North Koreans are parsimonious with the information they put out about many things, especially when it comes to their leaders.
SCIUTTO (voice-over): These images show the last time Kim was seen in public on April 11th. According to North Korean state media, he was chairing a politburo meeting, 4 days before missing his grandfather's birthday party.
While the absence is notable, North Korea is traditionally difficult for U.S. intelligence to penetrate, raising concerns about assessing his health.
GORDON CHANG, "THE DAILY BEAST": North Korea is a hard target for intelligence services that really don't have much in the way of assets.
SCIUTTO (voice-over): South Korea says they are unable to confirm reports about Kim's health. Nevertheless, U.S. officials have begun to reach out to experts on North Korea to assess what the aftermath of Kim's rule could look like in a potentially unstable nation with nuclear weapons.
JOSEPH YUN, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Kim Jong-un is very young. As a result, there are no succession plans.
SCIUTTO (voice-over): One possible successor would be Kim Jong-un's sister, Kim Yo-jong, one of the most visible members of the family. She appeared at the Winter Olympics in South Korea and attended the Singapore summit with President Trump.
O'BRIEN: It is hard to know but it seems to be a family succession. We have had 3 leaders in a row of North Korea in the same family.
VAUSE: Thanks to Jim Sciutto for that report.
We will take a short break. When we come back, from the protest to miracle drugs to testing to ventilators, the very long list of Donald Trump's missteps during this pandemic and the latest blow to his credibility in just a moment.
VAUSE: Since the very start of the pandemic, Donald Trump has tried to take a hands off approach, casting blame on China, the Democrats, state governors and his predecessor, Barack Obama, the World Health Organization.
If we missed anyone, let me know. CNN's Jim Acosta reports on Trump's latest distraction.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): President Trump's own estimates for the number of Americans killed by the coronavirus are running into a new reality.
DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: But we're going towards 50 or 60,000 people. That's at the lower -- as you know, the low number was supposed to be 100,000 people. We -- we could end up at 50 to 60. OK. It's horrible.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Those expectations of 50 to 60,000 dead based on modeling estimates embraced by the White House could be jeopardized by states that are racing ahead, like Georgia, where Republican Governor Brian Kemp is ready to reopen.
GOV. BRIAN KEMP (R-GA): This measure will apply statewide and will be the operational standard in all jurisdictions. This means local action cannot be taken that is more or less restrictive.
ACOSTA: A source close to the coronavirus task force warns those kinds of announcements could backfire, telling CNN, "If some states jump prematurely into opening, we certainly could surpass 60,000 deaths."
But Attorney General William Barr is accusing some states of going overboard in their social distancing measures, arguing some governors may be violating the constitutional rights of their constituents.
WILLIAM BARR, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL (via phone): When a governor acts, especially when a governor does something that intrudes upon or infringes on a fundamental right or a constitutional right, they're bounded by that.
ACOSTA: The president has yet to come down hard on states favoring speedy reopenings, despite his warning last week that he would go after governors who don't follow his administration's guidelines that recommend steady declines in coronavirus cases.
TRUMP: And we're recommending, as you see in the charts, we're recommending certain things. They'll be in place, dependent on what the governor wants to do. If we see something wrong, we will be expressing ourselves very strongly.
ACOSTA: With new polling finding most Americans are unhappy with the president's handling of the pandemic, while pleased with their own state governors, Mr. Trump is turning to his pet issue, immigration, tweeting, "In light of the attack from the Invisible Enemy, as well as the need to protect the jobs of our GREAT American Citizens, I will be signing an executive order to temporarily suspend immigration into the United States!"
But the president has already boasted that he's taken tough action on the borders in response to the virus at a rally last month.
TRUMP: We have strong borders and really are tough. And early actions have really been proven to be 100 percent right. We went out. We're doing everything in our power to keep the sick and infected people from coming into our country. We're working on that very hard. We closed our borders very early.
ACOSTA: The president could be facing another setback in the battle against the virus as a new study found that hundreds of patients at veterans' care facilities saw no health benefits after taking the drug hydroxychloroquine. The study even revealed patients who took the drug had a higher death rate. The president had touted the drug as a game- changer.
TRUMP: I feel good about it. That's all it is, it's just a feeling. You know, I'm a smart guy. I feel good about it, and we're going to see. You're going to see soon enough.
JOHN VAUSE, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Michael Genovese is president of the Global Policy Institute at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. He is with us this hour, and it is good to see you. It's been a while.
Michael, I want to start off with those protests, because the states which are not opening up early, there have been these protests in front of state houses, demanding that an end to these lockdowns or these stay-at-home orders. So I want you to listen to sort of a snapshot of some of the views of those protesters who are on the streets. Here it is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There's a struggle with the virus, but there's a struggle to survive on both ends of it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's not a pandemic. It's a panic-demic.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Freedom and liberty! We're losing it!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do I think every business should be open? No. But there are some small businesses that they are going to fail if we don't -- we don't open things back up. It's not right.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: People need to be infected. I know that sounds terrible, but people get the flu every year, and we don't have this kind of massive shutdown.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: You know, it's important -- There's a real mix of views here. There are those who are sort of understandably concerned, maybe misguided, about their jobs in the economy and earning a living. And then there's the sort of the don't-tread-on-me crowd, the ones who chafe at regulation. You know, the ones who are basically ill informed because of what the president has been saying and what right-wing media has been reporting.
MICHAEL GENOVESE: PRESIDENT, GLOBAL POLICY INSTITUTE: It's a conglomeration of the Donald Trump base. I mean, there are several elements of that base, and you see and you hear them coming out very vocally right now.
Now, the president's words have meaning, even when he's ill-informed and ignorant of -- of issues. People take it seriously. They rely on him. They trust him.
And there are some times when the president's words really do matter, and this is, I think, one of the cases, because Donald Trump initially repeatedly downplayed the danger of the virus. And I think a lot of his base really took that seriously. They believed him. They trusted him. And now they've internalized that.
You see that in this -- in the protests today and in the last few days. Open up the process. Let's get America moving again, against the advice of almost all the doctors.
And so, there's -- there's kind of a delicious irony here, however, and that is that Donald Trump's message was, everything is going to be fine. People believed that, and then they started acting on it. Now, they're protesting against Donald Trump's own guidelines. And so the irony here is that they're believing Trump and protesting against him, all at the same time.
VAUSE: And with that in mind, this is the president's reaction to these protests. Essentially, I should say, protesting against the guidelines issued in his name. Here he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Look, people, they want to get back to work. They've got to make a living. They have to take care of their family. They don't want to do this. It's, you know, unfortunate. Maybe one way or the other. Both are unfortunate. Both are unfortunate. But you have a lot of people out there that are anxious to get back.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: You know, there's a very big difference between understanding and justifying. And it sounds like he's justifying. Well, the president is consumed with, and even obsessed with thinking about himself. And so it's always a question of how does this make me look? If it makes me look bad, I'm going to find a way to get out of it. If it makes me look good, I'm going to advertise it up. I'll run up a flagpole and advertise it.
And so the president's real concern, and in a crisis that should be about the nation, it's about his image. It's about how people see him. It's about how people treat him.
And so Donald Trump is ill-suited, temperamentally, to deal with the crisis. He should be bringing the country together and unifying us, but he's still dividing us. It's still -- he's still making it into a partisan issue.
VAUSE: And while some of these demonstrations, they may be homegrown, "Newsweek" had this reporting on a group in Michigan. With regard to the protest, Governor Gretchen Whitmer said Monday that the organizers are "funded in large part by the DeVos family."
She added, "And I think it's really inappropriate for a sitting member of the United States president's cabinet to be waging political attacks on any governor," in reference to Betsy DeVos, the secretary of the U.S. Department of Education.
A spokesman for the DeVos family denied involvement, but it does raise this question of just how involved these conservative groups have been in pushing these protests in these various state capitals.
GENOVESE: Well, a lot of these Republican and conservative groups see Donald Trump as a useful tool to get their message across, get their influence up. And so Trump himself, who's always looking in the mirror to see how he looks, how he's playing politically, you've got in the background a lot of people who are very serious, hardened conservatives who have an agenda. And it's an agenda that they take very seriously, and they believe that Donald Trump is the vehicle for achieving that. They did it with the courts, and they're doing it in a lot of other areas.
And so there's almost a divorce between what Donald Trump is doing on the one hand and what the people in his administration and his cabinet are doing on the other hand. VAUSE: Let's finish up with the president's miracle drug. You may
remember. This is chloroquine. This was the anti-malaria drug that Trump has been doing the hard sell on for weeks. Here he is on April 5.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: If it works, it would be great. If it doesn't work -- we know for many years malaria, it's incredible what it's done for malaria. It's incredible what it's done for lupus, but it doesn't kill people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Well, yes, it does. That's been proven in multiple studies, one with the V.A.; others in Brazil. Now here's the president on Monday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President --
TRUMP: Do you have a question?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think you wanted to follow up on the hydroxychloroquine.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The hydroxychloroquine, I'm wondering if you're concerned, this V.A. study showed that, actually, more people died that used the drug than didn't, and I'm wondering if -- if Governor Cuomo brought you back any results?
TRUMP: No, we didn't discuss it. And I don't know of the report. Obviously, there have been some very good reports, and perhaps this one is not a good report, but we'll be looking at it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: He just pulled the equivalent of, Chloroquine, I've never met the guy. Who is he again? He's sort of wiping his hands of any responsibility.
GENOVESE: You know, John, ignorance is not bliss. It can be dangerous. And this is a case in point. My wife has, for 12 years, been taking Plaquenil because of an autoimmune disease.
She cannot get her drugs, because Donald Trump has, you know, made it a miracle drug. He said take it. It's not going to kill you, which it did for some people. What have you got to lose? Well, your life, perhaps.
My wife had to go through Mexico to get the drug that she needs because Donald Trump, his words made a run on the drug. People who really desperately need it, who have been taking for years and years, can't get it. He is oblivious to this.
He should be looking out for people. Instead, he's looking out for himself, and that's the tragedy. In a crisis, you're supposed to be looking to the nation. He's looking inwardly to himself.
VAUSE: Michael, I had no idea about your wife, so I hope everything is well and you stay safe.
GENOVESE: We got the drug from Mexico!
VAUSE: Good. That's good news to hear. But it should never have happened that way in the first place. But Michael, thanks for being with us.
GENOVESE: Thank you, John.
VAUSE: Well, the U.S. Supreme Court has decided the fate of DACA, the Obama-era program that protects hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children.
And that includes one young woman. She's in her first year of residency in emergency medicine. This is what she wrote in "The Washington Post."
"Each day, after she takes off her protective gear and attempts to wash off both 'the virus and the fear,' she goes home and worries about whether she will be allowed to complete her residency. Losing DACA would mean losing her ability to replay her loan, treat desperate patients, even stay in the only country she has ever known. She's been here since the age of two."
And she spoke to Catherine Rampell, who spoke to this woman. She's an E.R. doctor. And Catherine shared her experience with me.
CATHERINE RAMPELL, REPORTER, CNN ECONOMICS COMMENTATOR: There has been tremendous courage, great personal risk taken on by healthcare workers of all sorts of nationalities and immigrant backgrounds or, you know, native-born backgrounds, for that matter.
But I think that the flight facing those who do not have security in their immigration status is particularly moving right now. They're taking on great personal risk to save the lives of Americans and, you know, they're being cheered. They're being applauded in the streets here in New York City, where this doctor worked.
And, yet at the very same time, they're being told that, pending a Supreme Court decision, they might be banned from continuing to work, period, permanently, going forward. That's the case for this doctor. That's the case for many other healthcare professionals who have DACA protections currently, because the Trump administration has been trying to end those protections.
And it's not just those with DACA status, of course, who are at risk. There are other categories of immigrants who have had special kinds of protections, something called temporary protected status. They're from other countries that, you know, they got there through different means, basically. And the Trump administration has been trying to end their ability to stay here and work legally, as well.
So there are a number of ways that this administration, even before the pandemic began, was trying to make it difficult for immigrants to continue working in this country, even if they're doing vital, literally life-saving work. And I think that the consequences of those kinds of measures are just all the more salient, of course, during a pandemic when, literally, American lives are dependent on these people continuing to be able to show up and -- and put their own, again, personal safety at risk to save American lives.
VAUSE: And you can see the -- and you can see the full interview, about two hours from now, right here on CNN.
Well, three months ago, Wuhan went on lockdown as the coronavirus gripped the Chinese city. CNN correspondent David Culver left Wuhan just before the shutdown, and now he's gone back and he's telling us what he's seeing their.
Also ahead, once praised as a model for its coronavirus response, cases in Singapore are now spiking and one particular group is being hit hard.
VAUSE: Welcome back, everybody. Around the world, there is growing suspicion that Beijing has been less than honest about the origins of the coronavirus. The U.S. president and others have suggested the suggested may have come from a lab in Wuhan, China.
On Tuesday, a World Health Organization spokeswoman discounted that, saying all available evidence suggests the virus originated in bats, not a lab.
CNN's David Culver responded from Wuhan in January when the pandemic began and left just before the lockdown took effect. Three months on, he's returned, and has more now on a report you will see only here on CNN.
DAVID CULVER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Being back here in Wuhan, the original epicenter of the novel coronavirus outbreak, you get the feeling that this is a city trying to reawaken after what was a 76-day halting of life. A brutal and harsh lockdown. The conditions that kept many people, in some cases, sealed inside their homes for those two plus months, unable to leave, even for some fresh air.
Now, as you can hear behind me, traffic picking up again. People are starting to resume life, though with this cautious optimism as they go forward, knowing that things could change quickly. The lockdown happened 76 days prior to April 8, and when it came into effect, it came with little notice, just a few hours' notice. And so people know that things can change rather suddenly. And they're prepared for that.
And yet, the screening mechanisms that are in place now are rather intense. To get into Wuhan, for most locals, it's rather straightforward. But for foreigners in particular -- and this shows the concern for imported cases. They're questioned as to what country you're coming from, how long you've been in the country here in China, and where you plan to be going while here.
It's all about tracing from here on out. And they, of course, have technology that does that, but they also rely on self-reporting and a lot of questioning, as you make your way from the train station, for example, into a hotel.
Now, here, overall, you get the sense that people are trying to look past what was a very difficult period, and they 'e doing so by taking advantage of what they have right now in this moment. And for our driver, for example, that was going outside the city and taking in a hike with his family or camping. Enjoying the outdoors, enjoying nature, for this moment, at least.
David Culver, CNN, Wuhan, China.
VAUSE: Once praised as a model for its coronavirus response, Singapore is now grappling with a spike in new cases. In particular, clusters have been found among migrant workers, and so restrictions will now be extended until June.
To break all this down for us, we head to Singapore. Manisha Tank standing by live.
So Many, what exactly will people be allowed to do, and what will they not be allowed to do?
MANISHA TANK, JOURNALIST: Well, all the non-essential services here are in lockdown, basically, John. So that means that, unless you are an essential worker, a frontline worker, you don't go out to work, you work from home. All the schools here are shut.
And as for the migrant worker dormitories, no one is allowed to go in, and no one is allowed to go out. So the issue with this is that many of them just can't go to work.
To put that into perspective, there are about three-quarters of a million migrant workers that have come to Singapore to make a better life for themselves and to get paid good salaries.
And a lot of them come from India, other parts of Asia. Bangladesh is also a big source. And they send the money home. And they will continue to be paid, but like I said, these measures now extend for them until April 28 when they well -- excuse me, May 4. And they will have to stay in those dormitories. They can't go out to work.
But only those who perform essential services who are well can still go to work. For the rest of us, it means, you know, like me, broadcasting from home. And these measures have been extended until June 1.
But why? It isn't just because we're seeing the spikes of cases in the migrant worker dormitories, which is where we have extensive testing going on. It's because there's a number of unlinked cases in the wider population, and that's something that the government has been quite concerned about.
In fact, overnight here in Singapore, there was an address, a surprise address by the prime minister, Lee Hsien Loong, and this is what he had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LEE HSIEN LOONG, SINGAPORE PRIME MINISTER: We will therefore extend the circuit breaker for four more weeks, beyond the 4th of May. In other words, until the first of June. Then, provided we have brought the community numbers down, we can make further adjustments and consider easing some measures.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TANK: So what's interesting about that comment, actually, John, is that it leaves the door open for change again, and it feels in Singapore over the last few weeks that we get a change in the policy, and there are some who are looking back with 2020 hindsight and saying maybe we should have done all of this earlier.
VAUSE: You know, especially, if nothing else, apart from just, you know, the health crisis side of it, you know, a huge blow to morale if there was this feeling that maybe they had this under control and now it's back with a vengeance.
TANK: Yes, definitely. We do feel that way. And I think there was a big sense of confidence here, as well. We certainly felt that way, that Singapore was handling everything so well.
It was all the way back on March 24 that Singapore stopped visitors from coming in or even transitting through here. That's been a massive blow to the tourism sector.
You can imagine that in a lockdown like this, like in other countries, the food and beverage sector has been hurt, as well. Plus, you have all of those migrant workers that can't provide their jobs in the construction arena, as well.
So the economy here is taking a big hit. There have actually been three budgets in the space of two months to cope with all this, and it seems that we sort of have a progressive and strategic response to this coronavirus pandemic. But I think that's a big lesson that's coming out of Singapore, and
it's coming at a time when a number of countries around the world are talking of easing lockdown restrictions, whereas, here, we're ramping them up. And we're talking about that second wave.
And I've spoken to one infectious expert today alone at the National University of Singapore, who warns that that wave will definitely come, and there will definitely need to be more measures in the future.
VAUSE: Yes, it seems that anybody who is looking at, you know, going back to business as usual or life before the pandemic, that ain't going to happen for a while. Manisha, thank you. Manisha Tank in Singapore for us. Appreciate it.
Well, the death toll in England and Wales could be much higher than what the government has been reporting up until now. New data collected by the U.K.'s Office of National Statistics through April 10 says the final toll could be about 40 percent more than first suspected.
The jump is because the British government only counts those who have died in hospital, not other locations, like nursing homes. Meantime, hospital workers say their personal protective equipment is critically low. The government says they will not run out, but supplies will be tight.
The Netherlands extending a ban on large events until September as it fights the coronavirus outbreak. Most businesses will remain closed for the next four weeks, but primary schools will slowly begin to reopen, starting May 11.
The Dutch prime minister has cautioned restrictions need to be lifted gradually and slowly to prevent a second wave of infections.
Believe it or not, Wednesday is Earth Day. Oh, boy. But this one is like no other Earth Day has been, coming in the midst of a pandemic. Details ahead.
VAUSE: Fifty years ago this Wednesday, this was the birth of the modern environmental movement in 1970. Earth Day, standing out for very obvious reasons this year because of the pandemic upending life on every corner of the globe.
Environmental activists say it's made the fight against that other major living disaster, which so many have tried to ignore -- That's climate change -- even more critical.
Here's CNN's chief climate correspondent, Bill Weir.
BILL WEIR, CNN CHIEF CLIMATE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): On the golden anniversary of Earth Day, it's as if Mother Nature has sent us all to our rooms to think about what we've done and to give us a glimpse of life without us.
There have been penguins wandering the streets of Cape Town, and wild pigs on the sidewalks in Corsica. Kashmiri goats are helping themselves to the shrubbery in Wales. And the sea turtle hatch in Thailand is reportedly setting modern records.
A normally shy puma ran a stoplight in Santiago. A pride of lions was caught snoozing on an empty South African highway. And with no wall of cars to navigate, Yosemite park rangers are seeing more bears than ever.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: For the most part, I think they're having a party.
WEIR: And while they aren't unheard of in New York City, these days, it's hard not to be shaken by vultures circling over the Navy's floating hospital, the Comfort.
(on camera): Man, it will be a great day when the only big naval ship docked in New York City is a museum. When the Comfort finally sets sail, surely, those vultures will fly away, and we can finally come out of our homes. Surely, all those wild critters will go back to what's left of theirs.
But what about the effects that are harder to see? What is this pause in the industrial revolution doing to the chemistry of our sky?
(voice-over): Locals in northern India say they can see the Himalayas for the first time in decades. And before and after satellite imagery shows how nitrogen dioxide pollution over North America's big cities is down by as much as 30 percent.
But the blanket of heat trapping gases around our planet is still thicker than ever.
(on camera): And there seems to be this perception that maybe the virus has helped humanity buy some time when it comes to global warming. What's -- what's wrong with that assumption?
JONATHAN FOLEY, CLIMATE SCIENTIST, PROJECTION DRAWDOWN: We'd have to keep doing this even more and do it for the next 30 years to really begin to bend the curve on the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. It's kind of like having a really huge bathtub in the sky filled with pollution. And we have the faucet pouring, pouring, pouring more in, and all we've done is kind of turned down the faucet a little bit, but it's still filling up.
WEIR (voice-over): Thanks to the current oil crash, when the lockdown is lifted, we'll see the lowest gas prices in generations. And with Donald Trump's Environmental Protection Agency gutting dozens of regulations, experts say a spike in pollution seems inevitable.
Both the EPA and Earth Day were born when the air and water got too foul for everyday Americans to ignore. Fifty years later, science is warning that the storms, floods, and fires of the climate crisis are growing too frequent and too severe to ignore.
Saving what's left will take every-day folk everywhere deciding that their planet deserves more than one minor holiday, like a dead president. Deciding that, to save life as we know it, every day should be Earth Day.
VAUSE: Yes, Good point there. CNN's chief climate correspondent, Bill Weir with that report.
And thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm John Vause. Stay with us. "AMANPOUR" is next, and I'll be back in about an hour with the very latest news from around the world.