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Countries Slowly Reopen as Global Deaths Surpass 250K; Key Model Now Forecasts 134,000 U.S. Deaths by Early August; Pompeo Claims Virus Came from Chinese Lab, China Disputes Claim; Greece Begins to Reopen & Prepares for Summer Tourists; Interview with Greek Prime Minister about Reopening; New Zealand and Australia Discuss Trans- Tasman Travel Bubble; Cargo Business Booming for Lufthansa; Americans Ignore Rules, Gather in Public as Cases Rise. Aired 12:15-1a ET

Aired May 5, 2020 - 00:15   ET




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. Hello, you're watching CNN NEWSROOM from CNN headquarters in Atlanta. Turns out, there's a right way and wrong way to lift a lock down and in the U.S., many could pay for a rush to restart the economy with their lives. The latest predictions, the death toll up to 200,000 by August. And a leak from a lap or come from a bat?

Intelligence say it is inconclusive. Can someone please tell the president?

And Greece insists a strict lockdown to what it was meant to do but there are concerns the arrival of summer tourists will bring a second wave of the coronavirus.

Countries from Asia to Europe to Africa are easing up on restrictions put in place to slow the spread of coronavirus. It's a slow, gradual, an incremental process that begins once there is clear evidence the outbreak has peaked. Even with bill into people staying indoors for weeks, the worldwide death toll has passed a quarter of 1 million but almost 3.6 million known infections, that's according to a count by Johns Hopkins University. But in a rush to reopen in the U.S. and many states are yet to see their numbers speak. The daily number of confirmed cases continues to rise. One of the major reasons why they are now warning in the United States that once again this country is on tact for a death toll north of hundred thousand. Details from Nick Watt.


NICK WATT, CNN ANCHOR: Today, restaurants can reopen in Nebraska, Florida, bars in Montana, offices in Colorado. Yes, some social distancing restrictions remain but by the end of this week, more than 40 states will be partially back open for business.

ANDY SLAVITT: We have been staying indoors, we have been slowing down thus far and. But we have not done is get rid of the virus.

WATT: This is what new normal looks like, eating in Texas, complete with masks. In Miami beach, they had to close the popular south point park again, after police issued 73,000 warnings to people not wearing masks. The projected number of deaths forecast by early August in this country just nearly doubled to more than 134,000 from, that well-known model from the University of Washington. The reason?

ALI MOKDAD, PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON: Increase mobility before the relaxation. Premature relaxation of social distancing, we are adding more presumptive deaths as well and we are seeing more outbreaks in the Midwest, for example.

WATT: Another model predicts a sharp rise and deaths to around 3000 a day by June 1st, according to sources. And a rough 8 fold increase in the number of new cases every day nationwide. In 15 states, the daily new case count is falling. Among them, those northeast hotspots.

ANDREW CUOMO (D), NEW YORK GOVERNOR: You see the decline is again not as deep as the incline but reopening is more difficult than the close down.

WATT: In 20 states, the daily new case count is still rising. Among them, Wisconsin, Illinois. Some retail will open Friday with significant modifications. He says certainly areas of lower concern can move even faster.

GAVIN NEWSOM, CALIFORNIA GOVERNOR: We will afford them that right with conditions and modifications that meet the health needs of the entire state.

WATT: Meanwhile, the White House is now focusing on 14 potential vaccines.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: We are very confident we will have a vaccine at the end of the year.

ASHISHA JHA, DIRECTOR, HARVARD GLOBAL HEALTH INSTITUTE: Miracles can happen. It could come together. But I am certainly not banking on it.

WATT: The makers of that potential therapeutic, remdesivir, say they have donated 140,000 courses to the federal government.

DANIEL O'DAY, CEO, GILEAD SCIENCES: They will determine, based upon things like ICU beds, that where the course of the epidemic is in the United States, they will start shipping tens of thousands of treatment courses early this week.

WATT: Today in D.C., history was made.

That is the Supreme Court, for the first time ever, meeting by teleconference. So California will begin opening on Friday. This was one of the first

states in the U.S. to tell us to stay home. On Friday, that will be 50 days ago. But the governor says that certain local areas can move faster or slower if they want. The mayor of San Francisco has already said that her city might need a little bit more time before they begin to reopen. Nick Watt, CNN, Los Angeles.


VAUSE: Dr. Peter Hotez is a professor and dean of tropical medicine at Baylor College and he joins us from Houston, Texas.

Thank you for being with us.

DR. PETER HOTEZ, BAYLOR COLLEGE: Thanks for having me.

VAUSE: So wherever restrictions will be eased, whether it's the United States, Nigeria, Italy, wherever, for the next 2 weeks as they start looking at restrictions, during the incubation period where patients are asymptomatic, will health care workers and officials be blind here?

Will they know if the spread of the virus has plateaued or accelerated and if there has been a surge, will it be too late?

HOTEZ: That's the problem, when the restrictions are lifted, it's not like all of a sudden you see a gradual increase in the number of cases. And then you see a very steep exponential rise.

The models coming out of the Institute for Health Metrics told us that in many states we have to maintain strict social distancing until June, the early part of June. And a lot of states were not willing to do that because they felt compelled to open up the economy.

And now the revision of the models coming out of the institute is showing that we will pay a price for that increase in mobility in the order of a doubling of deaths, unfortunately, from the initial estimates of 75,000 to more than 130,000 deaths.

So this is very concerning, obviously, and very tragic news. And it will not be evenly spread across the country. There are some differences. The model seems to show that area cities that are more densely populated, such as in New York or Boston or Philadelphia or San Francisco, they may suffer more than some of the cities where they are less densely populated, maybe in the southwestern part of the country, number one.

And number two, heat has a mitigating effect or heat and sunlight. So in cities in the Gulf Coast, like Houston, where we are, might suffer less than some of the cities up in the East and West Coasts.

So they are models, based on certain assumptions. But the tragic news tonight is we will be looking at a much larger number of deaths than we previously hoped for.

VAUSE: One of the researchers behind that new modeling is Dr. Christopher Murray, he spoke to CNN earlier and this is what he told us. Here he is.


DR. CHRISTOPHER MURRAY, UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON: The things that are going to drive up transmission are people getting out and interacting more. People can protect themselves a bit by wearing cloth face coverings or masks, that will help. They can avoid as much contact as humanly possible.

But there are some things in our favor. States can scale up faster testing and contact tracing. The faster they do that, the more we can reduce the risk of these resurgences.


VAUSE: But the reality is, right now, in many places, people are interacting. Not everyone is wearing a face mask. And, in the U.S., the testing is woefully inadequate. There's a patchwork system of tracers that has put in place, which seems inadequate at this point as well. It seems the U.S. is doing everything right to get a pretty big second wave.

HOTEZ: Yes, I think the big issue that we are looking at -- I understand the urgency to open up the economy and get people back to work.


HOTEZ: But the problem is that there are a number of states that put together leaders from the business community to create economic recovery teams without linking it to public health.

By that, I mean, in the workplace, as people come back to work, obviously, you want to know if your coworker has asymptomatic COVID- 19. But they have not really put in place a mechanism to rapidly get tested in the workplace, number one.

Number two, the level of contact tracing, that if someone has been identified as positive to identify all the contacts, is not geared up to a sufficient level. Some cities are starting to but the numbers are still pretty small of the number of contact tracers you have to hire. They have not put in a syndromic surveillance system, using an app system and all the public health communications that have to go with it.

So I understand about opening up the economy but they have not put in place a public health system that is commensurate to make certain that you can sustain that. That is why these numbers are going up so precipitously.

VAUSE: Initially the numbers had up to 2 million Americans dying because the coronavirus and they scaled all the way back to 65,000. Now we're creeping back up again. And even this latest model has a huge range of a few hundred thousand possible dead. But let's listen to Dr. Birx, the leading White House medical expert.


DR. DEBORAH BIRX, WHITE HOUSE CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE COORDINATOR: Our projections were always between 100,000 and 240,000 American lives lost and that's was full mitigation and us learning from each other on how to social distance.


VAUSE: That's a very significant difference from what we're hearing from the president every day and very significant difference from what these models have been saying.

So how do you see these various projections?

Should we ignore them?

Are they worthwhile?

HOTEZ: Here's the way it works. The original 2 million estimate likely came from the assumption that there was going to be no social distancing, that it was going to be a free-for-all, we would not do anything and large numbers of people were going to come in contact with COVID-19 patients.

So to the credit of the United States, a pretty ambitious program of social distancing was implemented. It came too late for New York City, probably six weeks after transmission started there. And that is why you saw that big surge.

In places like Texas, it was implemented much sooner because we saw what was happening in New York so we never experienced that same rise in the surge.

Things were going along pretty well and then the modelers told us, well, just keep it going until the beginning of June. And there were very few governors who were willing to do that, given the massive hit to the economy that a lot of the states were going to take.

So now we are opening up; to the surprise of no one in the field, now the deaths are going back up.

VAUSE: I want to finish up with what seems to be the new development in treating this disease. Scientists have created an antibody that can defeat coronavirus, the study was published in the Journal of Nature Communications.

"The antibody known as 47D11 targets the spike protein that gives the new coronavirus a crownlike shape and lets it enter human cells. In these experiments, it did not just defeat the virus responsible for COVID-19 but also a cousin equipped with similar spike proteins which causes severe acute respiratory syndrome or SARS."

This is very early in the process, no animal trials or human trials but it does seem to be significant.

How do you see that? HOTEZ: They manufacture monoclonal antibodies that targets the spike protein. The interesting percent is it not only neutralizes the spike protein of the SARS-2 coronavirus that causes COVID-19 but it also targets the original SARS that began in 2003.

One of our vaccines also hopes to crosstarget more than one coronavirus. It's also a first step towards looking at a universal coronavirus vaccine or a universal coronavirus antibody because, remember, as bad as COVID-19 is, it may not be our last serious pandemic coronavirus.

This is our third one now that we have had in the 21st century. We had SARS-1, then MERS in 2012 and now COVID-19, likely others will follow, unfortunately.

VAUSE: That's why this vaccine is important. I guess these things are being reported with such enthusiasm;, whether it's worth the enthusiasm is another question.

But thank you for being with us and explaining all of that. Thank you.

HOTEZ: Thanks so much.

VAUSE: Doctors in Paris are suggesting the coronavirus was circulating in Europe well before previously thought. France reported its first cases two people have detected out of the virus had been to Wuhan in late January.

New tests have revealed another patient was infected a month earlier. The doctors say identifying the first patient is crucial to understanding how the virus can spread.


Well, leaders have committed a billion dollars for research and development of treatments and a vaccine for the coronavirus. Monday's virtual event was hosted by the E.U., with the president of the European Commission saying this is just the beginning. Countries will be called upon again for financial help, and the big pharmaceutical companies should commit to making treatments and vaccines available worldwide at affordable prices.


URSULA VON DER LEYEN, EUROPEAN COMMISSION PRESIDENT: The reality is that we will have to learn to live with the virus until and unless we develop a vaccine. And this is why we have to join forces and pool our money and our minds to kickstart work on vaccines, diagnostics and treatments against coronavirus.

We need to develop, produce and deploy them to every single corner of the world. And we must ensure that they're available and affordable for all. And this is why we must all chip in to finance this truly global endeavor.

(END VIDEO CLIP) VAUSE: Norway, the U.K., Canada and Japan were among the biggest donors. Notably absent, though, official representation from the United States. But the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has promised $100 million.

Well, the U.S. president is doubling down on accusations against China and the origins of the coronavirus. But one of America's major allies saying, what about U.S. intelligence? That's ahead.

And summer in Greece? The government is hoping tourists return by July, but it comes with a caution. This will be a very different summer.


VAUSE: Well, the last few weeks, the U.S. president has played conspiracy theorist in chief, alleging the coronavirus leaked from a lab in China. But -- and more, he says, could have been done to prevent the pandemic.

But the latest intelligence shared among the Five Eyes, the group made up of the U.S. and four close allies, continues to support the original claim from Beijing that it most likely emerged from a wet market in Wuhan.

A diplomatic source tells CNN, "We think it's highly unlikely it was an accident. It is highly likely it was naturally occurring and that the human infection was from national human and animal interaction."

Just a day earlier, the U.S. secretary of state parroted the president, insisting China did it.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Mr. Secretary, have you seen anything that gives you high confidence that it originated in that Wuhan lab?

MIKE POMPEO, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: Well, there's enormous evidence that that's where this began. We've said from the beginning that this was a virus that originated in Wuhan, China. We took a lot of grief for that from the outside. But I think the whole world can see now.



VAUSE: China hit back with this in state-controlled media: "Politicians in the United States appear to run out of new ways to smear China. They have frustratedly repeating their wild claims and continue to propagate the idea that the virus was manmade and leaked from a laboratory. United States politicians have evil intentions behind the political farce."

CNN's Kristie Lu Stout live this hour in Hong Kong. You know, I'm just wondering if we're at the point now where either Washington or Beijing should put up or shut up. If they can prove it one way or the other, then do it.

KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You know, and right now, from Hong Kong, we're just waiting to hear what's going to happen next with this ongoing tit-for-tat war of words. We're still waiting for reaction from the ministry of foreign affairs. Not likely to get it today, because China is still in the midst of this public holiday, which will be over by tomorrow.

But last night, we heard from the China state broadcaster CCTV in a scathing and harshly worded commentary. It called the U.S. secretary of state evil. It also accused him of spreading poison and spewing lies.

Now, this CCTV broadcast, it also cited the work of an executive director of the World Health Organization, as well as a Columbia University virologist, both saying that they believe the virus is natural in origin and did not come from the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

There is additional pushback, as you mentioned, from the Five Eyes network. This is a security alliance between the U.S., the U.K., Canada, Australia and New Zealand, and they are contradicting the Trump White House theory that this lab in Wuhan is the origin of the virus. They say that there's simply not enough evidence to support it.

This is what we know about the institute at the center of all this. The Wuhan Institute of Virology is known for its research into coronaviruses into bats. It did, in the past, get funding from the United States, through the National Institutes of Health.

It also, two years ago, there were reports that U.S. diplomats in China sounded the alarm twice about the Wuhan Institute of Virology, because of lax safety issues there.

When Secretary of State Mike Pompeo presented this theory that the origin of the virus is there, he did not provide any new evidence about that.

Now, there is this ongoing war of words. The Trump administration has it theory. China, we know, has been peddling another conspiracy theory in the last few weeks, with senior officials saying that the U.S. military is to blame. That somehow the U.S. Army brought the virus into China.

We have this escalating war of words at a time when you really don't need it. International cooperation is needed to end this pandemic -- John.

VAUSE: And just around the world, though, there does seem to be a backlash against China, you know, regardless of whether the virus came from the lab or wet market.

STOUT: Absolutely. There is this growing outrage and uproar against China's role in the pandemic. In Australia right now, there are calls for an inquiry into the origin of the epidemic and to look into what really happened in China early on, causing this pandemic. Also in Europe, you have countries like Germany and the U.K.

hesitating and rethinking about doing business with Huawei, the China global tech giant. All this should not come as a surprise as you look at the devastating toll of the coronavirus, it's hammered global economies. It has taken the lives of hundreds of thousands of people -- John.

VAUSE: Kristie, thank you. Kristie Lu Stout for us, live there in Hong Kong.

Well, parts of Spain are emerging from an eight-week-long national lockdown, with Spain's islands relaxing restrictions faster than the mainland because of fewer confirmed cases.

Meanwhile, Spain's prime minister will ask Parliament for a two-week extension of the state of emergency. The conservative opposition is opposed to what would be a fourth extension of those emergency powers. For the first time in a month, Italy has fewer than 100,000 active cases. We saw factories and businesses reopen. Millions of Italians are now returning to work. Restaurants and cafes are offering takeout. Many parks are no longer off-limits. A seismic change from the draconian lockdown imposed on March 10.

Still, on Monday, health officials reported another 195 people died from the virus in one 24-hour period, bringing the country's overall death toll to more than 29,000.

Well, parts of Germany lifting social-distancing restrictions means it's time for a haircut. After a six-week-long shutdown, barbers, hairdressers, stylists were all back at work, but there are tight restrictions. And while demand is high, those restrictions mean they are operating way below capacity.

Well, thanks to rigorous testing and monitoring, Greece has been relatively unscathed by the virus, now hoping to have tourists back by July.

CNN's Nic Robertson reports on the country's plans to reopen and speaks exclusively with the Greek prime minister.


NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR (voice-over): Welcome to Greece, the new normal at Athens International Airport.

(on camera): Wow, thank you.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): Thorough COVID-19 testing. We're negative. Everyone off our flight is getting it. It's tough love, but Greece is defying expectations.

Despite an aging population and creaking health care, it is holding off COVID-19.

[00:40: (on camera): And it's no easier if you live here. Until this weekend, just to leave home, you had to register with the government, text the number, one through six, go to the pharmacy, buying groceries, exercise, all part of a hard fast lockdown. Greece's new, post- populist but pragmatic prime minister says is working.

KYRIAKOS MITSOTAKIS, GREEK PRIME MINISTER: So we feel we have reached a point where we have completely suppressed the epidemic, at least its first stage, and we can -- we can -- we will gradually begin to relax.

ROBERTSON: You feel like you have dodged a bullet?

MITSOTAKIS: We feel we dodged the first bullet, very clearly.

ROBERTSON: Putting on the mask here. Putting on the personal protective gear, because we're going to go into the ICU.

How are these patients doing?

(voice-over): Dr. Anastasia Kotanidou leads the way.


ROBERTSON (on camera): Is that good?


ROBERTSON: Yes, yes.

(voice-over): Life for some still in the balance. But ICU here at one- fifth capacity, thanks, she says, to the early lockdown.

(on camera): And this helped you in the hospitals?


ROBERTSON (voice-over): A hundred and fifty deaths around 2,600 confirmed infections. Less than New York some days, and not a single doctor or nurse in this Athens main COVID-19 hospital infected.

KOTANIDOU: We don't have any infection from our staff or doctors.

ROBERTSON (on camera): That's incredible.

It seems to be, dare I say, a very strong message for the United States and the United Kingdom, whose track records at the moment on this pandemic are probably some of the worst in terms of death and infection rates.

MITSOTAKIS: I think we've done it the right way. Of course, we didn't get everything completely right, but if you look at the numbers, you can't argue with what we -- what we have achieved.

ROBERTSON (voice-over): Mitsotakis's challenge now, restarting the economy. Selected stores reopened Monday. Another new normal. Hair salon owner Constantino Sklavenitis greets customers with a temperature check and hand sanitizer. Reopening after seven weeks, one-third capacity, but longer hours.

CONSTANTINO SKLAVENITIS, OWNER, BEAUTIQUE HAIR SALON: Economically, we're definitely taking a hit. Hopefully within 2 months, yes, we can go back to the norm, but normal will not be what it was.

ROBERTSON: It could be a long journey. Tourism, 20 percent of the country's economy, tentatively targeted to begin July.

(on camera): And that's where things could get tough. Imagine these beaches teaming with tourists again. Friend and potential enemy invisibly intertwined. A blade that cuts both ways. Economic salvation or a second wave of COVID-19 suffering.

MITSOTAKIS: Ideally, we want to have more high-end tourists, where we can actually respect social distancing.

ROBERTSON: We have it, but it's a risk.

MITSOTAKIS: It's -- it's a very tough trade-off. I'll be very honest with you. I think nobody knows exactly how to do this.

ROBERTSON: And remember our COVID-19 test at the airport? Well, the key to tourism success, the prime minister says, is a new international standard, where visitors are tested at home before they arrive.

Nic Robertson, CNN, Greece.


VAUSE: Well, airlines have seen passenger numbers plummet by 95 percent. But this pandemic has brought a boom in cargo flights. After the break, exclusive access to Lufthansa's operations.



VAUSE: Israel is moving ahead with a detailed plan to end its coronavirus shutdown. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says gatherings of up to 20 people will be allowed, along with weddings of up to 50 people.

Kindergartens and daycares will open Sunday. Sports facilities will gradually reopen by mid-June.


BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER (through translator): Israel's achievement in the campaign against the coronavirus are serving as a model for many countries. The world looks at us. We learned from the world, and the world learn from us.


VAUSE: The prime minister says there are more than 100 new infections a day, or more than 250 patients in serious condition. The phased reopening would start immediately.

Israel has reported just over 16,000 cases, 235 deaths.

Well, for a second day, New Zealand is reporting no new confirmed cases of the coronavirus. And with Australia reporting a similar success, and a mortality rate around 1 percent, the same as New Zealand, there's now talk of lifting travel restrictions between the two countries.

New Zealand's prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, joined Australia's national cabinet, meeting via teleconference on Tuesday to discuss the possibility of a Trans-Tasman travel bubble.

CNN's Simon Cullen tracking all the latest developments from Stanthorpe in Queensland, Australia, up on the table end there.

It's good to see you. So, who benefits the most out of this, and would they include, like, some of the other regional islands, some of the Pacific islands, you know, which rely on Australia and New Zealand for their economies?


Well, yes, as you say, this is obviously an early stage of the discussions because, of course, it would take some time to deal with the issues that would need to be resolved for travel restrictions to be lifted.

But yes, there is a possibility that after Australia and New Zealand manage to come up with a solution to the travel restrictions, it is possible that they would then extend it to other nations, but of course, there are some key issues that still would need to be resolved.

One is, at the moment, Australia and New Zealand both have 14-day travel restrictions in place. Now, they would need to be resolved before or waved before travelers could go into each other's countries.

There's also domestic travel restrictions in place, as well. And both leaders, Australia and New Zealand, have said that they would want to be reassured that they would not be importing coronavirus cases from each other.

Now, to that end, Australia has a contact-tracing app -- a contract- tracing app, rather, in place. And New Zealand doesn't yet have that. But there is a suggestion that they will move down that path.

There will need to be information sharing for that app to work. And of course, then, to involve other Pacific island nations, there would be, obviously, a next step in that process.

VAUSE: Interesting days. I guess a warm relationship between Australia and New Zealand at the moment, which is actually a great thing. Simon, thank you. Simon Cullen there with the latest with this travel bubble between Australia and New Zealand. Well, Europe's airline group Lufthansa is requesting the German

government provide some financial assistance. Like other airlines, travel restrictions because of the coronavirus pandemic left most of its passenger fleet idle.

But as CNN's Fred Pleitgen reports, in an exclusive here, Lufthansa's cargo business is booming.


FRED PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): While most of Lufthansa's passenger fleet stands idle, grounded due to the coronavirus pandemic, the cargo wing is still humming. This plane carrying medical gear, among other things, getting ready to depart for the U.S.

The pilots saying they constantly have to adapt to new rules for international travel in times of the pandemic.

JENS PIOTTER, CAPTAIN, LUFTHANSA CARGO: We have longer duty periods. We have -- we need more pilots in the cockpit. We have four pilots, for example, when flying goods to China.

PLEITGEN: Lufthansa has even had to convert some passenger planes into cargo planes to meet demand. Those weren't hard to find, as Lufthansa group says it's only flying about 1 percent of its usual passenger load.

Management saying Europe's largest airline group needs billions in bailout money from the German and other European governments.

(on camera): The Lufthansa group says at least 760 planes that they own, about 700, are currently on the ground. Many of them don't look like they're going to be taking off anytime soon.


Now, Lufthansa says it needs government assistance to get through this crisis but also to be competitive in the future.

(voice-over): European competitors like Air France, KLM, have already secured state assistance, and the Trump administration says it will pop up struggling U.S. carriers with billions of dollars.

Lufthansa says it believes the market for international air travel will remain volatile, and Lufthansa's cargo CEO tells me the company is currently adapting to an ever-changing business environment.

PETER GERBER, CEO, LUFTHANSA CARGO: This is clearly a challenge, because we have all these assets. We have to plan. We need the pilots. We need the traffic rights, all that. So this needs, of course, some days but sometimes, we have to adapt, really, in hours.

PLEITGEN: Before now, Lufthansa continues to bleed money as its planes stand still, only the occasional one taking off from what is normally one of Europe's busiest airports. Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Frankfurt, Germany.


VAUSE: This past weekend, it seems Americans crowded beaches and parks everywhere around the country. Call it coronavirus fatigue. It may be setting in, and that could be dangerous. More after the break.


VAUSE: Well, from a hot pot restaurant in Bangkok, what could be a glimpse of the future of eating out. So to follow social distancing rules, customers there are separated with a plastic divider. People say this new normal? It's all strange, but I guess they say it's necessary, as well.


SORANAN, CUSTOMER: It's very weird. From the first look, it's kind of weird walking in, and there's plastic everywhere. But, again, it's important that we should follow this, and I think everyone can adapt, right?


VAUSE: Thousands of Americans crowded public spaces this past weekend, ignoring social distancing guidelines. It was hard to spot anyone wearing a face mask. Experts say we could see a lot more of this as temperatures rise and patience wears thin.

CNN's Brian Todd reports.


BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The iconic Blue Angels and Thunderbirds staging flyovers over Baltimore, Washington, and Atlanta Saturday to pay tribute to healthcare workers. Thousands flocked to landmarks, large city parks and other city spaces to catch them, some calling it a relief from corona fatigue.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've been cooped up for the last seven weeks, and what a better opportunity to come down and visit the nation's capital, than when you have the Blue Angels and the Thunderbirds flying over.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was really nice! It really makes me feel really good.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, united. Especially seeing other people out here.

TODD: But that much-needed respite, experts say, is also a big part of the problem.

ANNE RIMOIN, EPIDEMIOLOGIST, UCLA SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH: The problem is that the virus is still circulating in the population. We still need to have all of the social distancing measures in place, all of the personal hygiene measures in place.

TODD: But that didn't happen this weekend. Scenes like this, at the National Mall, show that hundreds of people at a time were defying requests from public officials to stay home to watch the flyovers. Same for Central Park and other parks in New York. Hundreds not distancing enough, not wearing face masks.

GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): I said that I think it's disrespectful of people not to wear masks.


You could literally kill someone because you didn't want to wear a mask. I mean, how -- how cruel and irresponsible would that be?

TODD: In New York, New Jersey, and Florida over the past few days, thousands of people were given warnings, summons and citations for not distancing enough or failing to wear face mask coverings in public spaces. Parks and beaches that had been reopened, closed again.

A noted psychiatrist says what we've seen over the past few days is a release: people letting up pent-up feelings of enclosure and anxiety.

DR. LISE VAN SUSTEREN, PSYCHIATRIST: What we are releasing now is simply the notion that we need to continue to worry at such a feverish pitch. People can't focus for such a long period of time at really high anxiety. After a certain amount of time, we get worn out.

TODD: Public health experts say this could grow more dangerous as the weather gets warmer, as more people clamor to get out. Even those who do engage in distancing at parks may not be doing it the right way. Gathering in groups of six to eight people defeats the purpose, experts say, and there are other nuances people are missing.

RIMOIN: It's very difficult to navigate that an open setting, where you have lots of people coming in contact with each other. And it's not just necessarily a direct line, my face to your face. When we talk about 6 feet of distance, we're talking about it all -- at all angles here.

TODD: But there's clearly growing tension between officials enforcing face masks and distancing and members of the public who want to go out.

In Michigan, recently, a security guard at a Dollar Store was shot and killed after telling someone to wear a state-mandated face mask. And in one town in Oklahoma, officials there were compelled to relax their face mask requirements after members of a Walmart store were threatened with physical violence for trying to enforce face mask rules.

Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.


VAUSE: Thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm John Vause. Please stay with us. I'll be back with a lot more news after a very short break.


VAUSE: The cost of doing business in the U.S. during a pandemic might just be counted in lives lost. Tens of thousands, say the experts, because of a rush to end the lockdowns.

Politics over pandemic. How can so many ignore science and facts and have so little regard for the lives of others?

Plus, did it leak from a lab or come from a bat? Intelligence from the U.S. and four other major allies say it's inconclusive. Can someone please tell Donald Trump?