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Some U.S. States Reopen amid Criticism; Trump Faces Backlash over Injecting Disinfectant; Osaka Mayor Faces Backlash over Shopping Remarks. Aired 12-12:30a ET

Aired April 25, 2020 - 00:00   ET




MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Hello, everyone, and welcome to Studio 7 here at CNN Center in Atlanta. I am Michael Holmes.

As we continue this hour.


HOLMES: There have been almost 2.8 million cases of coronavirus reported worldwide, killing almost 200,000 people, a quarter of those killed in the United States.

This comes as the World Health Organization launches a new program to speed up the development and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, tests and treatments. The WHO director-general saying, quote, "We are facing a common threat which we can only defeat with a common approach."

The United Kingdom says it will host a global vaccine summit in early June as a way for countries around the world to support vaccine development, pointing out that diseases have no borders.

The U.K. will also host a global response summit in early May. In the U.S., the Food and Drug Administration has approved the first at-home test kit for COVID-19. It will require a doctor's referral and a person can perform a self-swab and then mail the swab in.

As many U.S. states work to reopen their economies, sometimes against the advice of the health experts, let's have a look at the U.S. state of Georgia. That is where beauty shops, bowling alleys, even tattoo and massage parlors were suddenly deemed essential and allowed to reopen. Some did but many did not, choosing not to.

The state's governor has come under mounting criticism for making that decision, even though many of the state's mayors disagreed.


MAYOR KEISHA LANCE BOTTOMS (D-GA), ATLANTA: I have done as best as I can using my voice as mayor to say to people to just say to people, use your common sense. I can tell you in our state that there is so much confusion and people

are asking is it safe. I don't know what to do, I'm hearing one thing from the governor, I'm hearing one thing from the health experts.

And people are also concerned, obviously, financially about the hit they are taking. But they are also concerned that, if they refuse to go back to work after the governor has opened up certain businesses, that they will not qualify for unemployment benefits because they will then be deemed to have refused to go to work.


HOLMES: Stunning statements yet again at the White House. Meantime, you remember Thursday, the president of the United States actually floated the idea of injecting disinfectant to rid the body of the virus.

That led to doctors, scientists, government agencies and private companies throughout the country spending their precious time during a pandemic to say what should be obvious and that is, no, do not do that.

Friday, President Trump refused to answer questions at all during the Coronavirus Task Force news conference, leaving the room in record time. Not a single question. But earlier in the Oval Office, he in effect tried to rewrite history by saying he was just being sarcastic.


QUESTION: Can you verify your comments about injections of disinfectant?

TRUMP: I was asking a question sarcastically to reporters like you, to see what would happen. I was asking the question of the gentleman who was there yesterday, because when they say that something will last 3 or 4 hours, 6 hours but if the sun is out, if the use disinfectant, it goes in less than a minute away. Did you hear this yesterday?

I was asking a sarcastic question to the reporters in the room about disinfectant on the inside.


HOLMES: Anne Rimoin is a professor of epidemiology at UCLA and the director of UCLA's Center for Global and Immigrant Health. She joins us from Los Angeles.

Thank you for doing so. Good to see you again. We have been talking about the president's stunning suggestion about somehow using internal light or injecting disinfectant.

It is striking that you have the CDC, Lysol, the company that makes the stuff, and a state emergency agency all feeling they have to warn people not to do it. Of course, this comes after his touting of hydroxychloroquine, now not recommended. Where does that leave the health experts, Dr. Fauci, Dr. Birx, having

to not contradict a touchy president while doing their job responsibly?

How does that hurt messaging?

ANNE RIMOIN, UCLA: It is a very complicated when you have mixed messaging or misinformation being espoused by a president and having mixed messages to the public.

All of this disparate messaging between different authorities and different groups is leading to a lot of confusion. And what that does is it creates a lot of distrust in the health system. And this is very damaging.


RIMOIN: It is going to make it even harder for all of us to do what we need to do to be able to attack the virus. So instead of --


RIMOIN: -- we need to fight or fighting misinformation. And that is a really big problem.

HOLMES: Yes, well put, excellent point. Here in the state of Georgia, where I am right now, you have barber shops reopening, massage facilities, bowling alleys, tattoo parlors. Next Monday, restaurants will be able to reopen.

How worried are you about too much too soon?

RIMOIN: I am very worried. I think we are going to be losing all of the gains or many of the gains, that we have made of the sacrifices made by so many. And it is a real problem for all of these organizations. Nobody has worked out what that means to reopen.

What about the liability?

Who is going to get into trouble?

Who is going to be sued for exposing people to coronavirus?

Who is going to be able to deal with the safety concerns to the staff that are forced to go back to work when they may not feel safe to go back to work?

Nobody has guidelines about how to be able to go back to work. So I think that we are in a real problem here. We don't have the testing, we don't have the therapeutics. We do not have a vaccine. We are not any closer to a vaccine right now. So this is all very dangerous.

HOLMES: What do you, as you look at the landscape, what do you think is ahead of us in the short to medium term?

RIMOIN: I can say what I think needs to happen in the short and medium term. We need to ramp up testing, we need to double down and make sure that we have -- that we reap the benefits of the social distancing that has gone into place.

We need to start working on specific recommendations for what will happen when things open back up, to help all of the businesses, the individuals, figure out what they are supposed to be doing.

If we do not do those things, what I see in the short and medium term is that we are going to have an increase in number of cases, increase in mortality. We will have to go back to where we were to flatten the curve.

HOLMES: History has shown that 2nd and 3rd waves are often worse than the first in pandemics, especially with the reopenings going on and starting around the country.

How big of a concern is that 2nd wave?

RIMOIN: We can look to the 1918 influenza pandemic. We can see that is exactly what happened. We relaxed and we had rebound in cases, places that close early, they stayed closed, they did better. I would imagine that we could be seeing the same thing.

Waves of an epidemic, a pandemic, they are real. It's something that we should be very concerned about. We don't know exactly how the virus is going to behave, it is a novel virus, new to humanity. We are still learning about it.

But there is ample evidence from past pandemics of respiratory illness that could give us some clues as to what we could see going forward.

HOLMES: What are you seeing at the moment as an epidemiologist in the training and developments that maybe gives you some hope going forward?

The U.K. is doing a vaccine trial for example.

Is there anything that makes you feel better about the future?

Or is it too early for optimism?

RIMOIN: Well, there should be optimism. There should be optimism because what we are seeing is some progress. It is not the kind of progress that maybe we would hope for. We could all do better. But there is progress.

We know so much more about the virus that we did. There are vaccines in the pipeline. There are therapeutics in the pipeline. There are diagnostics in the pipeline. We just need to be pushing harder.

The problem is, there is never enough money for research, never enough money for development of diagnostics. We are losing time by not investing wholeheartedly. We need a Manhattan Project to be able to really attack this.

We should not be penny foolish, pounds short, so to speak. We need to throw all resources at this, to tackle it. Half measures will avail us of nothing.

HOLMES: Well put, as always. Anne Rimoin, thank you so much, we appreciate you coming on.

RIMOIN: My pleasure.

HOLMES: A new medical study paints a rather bleak picture for coronavirus patients who are required to use a ventilator. A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association journal studied around 2,600 hospitalized patients in the New York City area.

Overall, 20 percent of those coronavirus patients died. For those that required ventilation, 88 percent died. The study also showed that even the most common symptoms of coronavirus are far from universal.


HOLMES: For example, only a 3rd of those admitted had a fever, that thing that we have all been told to look out for. Less than 20 percent were breathing at a faster rate than usual.

Authorities in Vietnam planning to relax or partially relax COVID-19 restrictions. This after no new infection has been recorded in the country for nearly a week now. Restrictions on the movement of people will be eased, some non-essential businesses will remain closed.

The Southeast Asian nation have reported only about 300 positive cases of COVID-19 and no fatalities. Extraordinary, really. Authorities credit the mass quarantine of tens of thousands of people. Also, contact tracing and testing, a lot of it.

The mayor of Osaka, Japan, is facing public backlash after saying men are better suited for grocery shopping than women during the pandemic. This is coming as the country has seen a spike in coronavirus cases. CNN's Will Ripley with more on that.


WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I am Will Ripley in Tokyo, where the government is having a hard time getting people to comply with social distancing guidelines, even as the country enters the golden week under a state of emergency and made increasingly dire warnings from the government that hundreds of thousands of people could die without social distancing measures from the coronavirus.

In Japan's 3rd largest city, Osaka, the mayor says that he has a an idea to cut down on the people packing into supermarkets. A lot of people in Japan go grocery shopping every day because they have to carry groceries home if they don't have a car.

He says that people should only go grocery shopping 2 or 3 times a week and suggests that men should do shopping instead of women.


Because he says that women take too long in the grocery store because they look at the products, compare prices. He says that men just go in and pick up what they are told. Even in this largely male dominated society, those comments are sparking outrage.

Some are suggesting that the mayor may have never gone grocery shopping himself. Meanwhile, the number of coronavirus cases in the country has increased tenfold in the last month.


HOLMES: The coronavirus restrictions are not stopping young climate protesters in Europe. They have found a creative way to continue their Fridays for Future campaign. We want to show you Zurich in Switzerland. Activists placed rows of shoes in a square to represent protesters. Police dispersed a handful of people gathered in the background with banners.

In Germany, young activists are displaying hundreds of cardboard cutouts to represent protesters. The Fridays for Future campaign was started in 2018 by the teenage activist Greta Thunberg to draw attention to global climate crisis issues.

That will do it for now, thanks for watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Michael Holmes, "MARKETPLACE AFRICA" is next. We will see you later.