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WHO Reports Largest Uptick in COVID Cases; President Trump Put all the Blame on China; CDC Director's Fate in Question; Russia Now in Second Place with Highest COVID Cases; Korea CDC Says It's Inevitable Not to Have Infected People; Coronavirus Pandemic; Some Students In South Korea Are Back In School; Tropical Cyclone Amphan's Pulverizing Impact; Cyclone Amphan Makes Landfall, At Least 12 Dead; Thousands Forced To Get Away After Dams Burst In Michigan; Emirates Airline Resuming Passenger Flights To Nine Cities; Coronavirus' Impact On Travel And Tourism; France Scrambling To Save Its Tourism Industry; The Changing Space Of The Covid-Era Office. Aired 3-4a ET
Aired May 21, 2020 - 03:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, and welcome to our viewers joining us from all around the world. You are watching CNN Newsroom. And I'm Rosemary Church. Just ahead.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TEDROS ADHANOM GHEBREYESUS, DIRECTOR-GENERAL, WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION: In the last 24 hours, there have been 106,000 cases reported to WHO. The most in a single day since the outbreak began.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: While we process that startling announcement, from the WHO, countries with the largest numbers of cases continue to downplay the severity of the pandemic. We dive deep into the mistakes made along the way.
And America's attacks on China are at full speed again, with President Donald Trump blaming the republic for what he calls mass worldwide killing.
Plus, as countries scramble to attract tourists, how many people actually feel safe traveling in the middle of a pandemic? We explore that just ahead.
Good to have you with us.
The coronavirus pandemic has now infected more than five million people globally, according to Johns Hopkins University. And the World Health Organization reports the biggest one-day spike yet in new cases with the U.S., Russia, Brazil and India leading the way. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GHEBREYESUS: In the last 24 hours, there have been 106,000 cases reported to WHO. The most in a single day since the outbreak began. Almost two-thirds of these cases were reported in just four countries.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: And it's noteworthy that the leaders of the top three countries did not take the virus as seriously as they could have early on. Now researchers at Columbia University in a study not yet peer reviewed found that issuing stay-at-home orders just one week earlier could have 36 -- could have saved 36,000 American lives.
But U.S. President Donald Trump earlier insisted he would not have done anything differently.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. President, with 4 percent of the world's population and 30 percent of the outbreak, what would you have done differently facing this crisis?
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Nothing. If you take New York and New Jersey, which are very hard hit, we were very, very low, and in terms of morbidity and in terms of, you look at the death, relatively speaking, we are at the lowest level along with Germany.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: The president says publicly his pleas with the head of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention saying Dr. Robert Redfield is doing a very good job. But behind the scenes, there are troubling signs that Redfield's job may be in jeopardy.
CNN's Jeremy Diamond has more now from the White House.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERT REDFIELD, DIRECTOR, CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION: It's important to clarify this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Questions about Robert Redfield's future as head of the Centers for Disease Control. With tensions simmering between the White House and the CDC, a senior administration official telling CNN's Kristen Holmes are informal conversations about Redfield's fate.
Another source said Redfield who privately dismissed concerns about his job security last week is now worried he may have a target on his back after a top White House official took the infighting public.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) PETER NAVARRO, WHITE HOUSE TRADE ADVISER: Early on in this crisis, the CDC which really had the most trusted brand around the world in this space really let the country down with testing. That did send us back.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DIAMOND: President Trump echoing that criticism behind closed doors, taking a swipe at the CDC during a lunch with Senate Republicans, but publicly --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I think they work very hard. I will say they originally, they had no tests and one of the tests had a problem very early on. But that was quickly remedied.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DIAMOND: Other officials pushing back, saying there isn't an appetite for a major shakeup amid the pandemic. The question mark over Redfield coming as the CDC released 60 pages of detailed reopening guidelines without a word from the White House, which initially shelved those guidelines.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KELLYANNE CONWAY, COUNSELOR TO PRESIDENT TRUMP: They are saying how come the White House isn't talking about this? That's just false. As opposed to what? I mean, the CDC guidelines are posted. That's -- they are accessible to everybody. That is a White House product because it's a CDC product.
DIAMOND: A lot of fanfare for the CDC guidelines, but not for reopening.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CONWAY: As for the rallies --
ED HENRY, CHIEF NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT, FOX NEWS: Yes.
CONWAY: -- there will be a campaign, there will be rallies. I sure hope so because people want to do that. I would just say if you are socially distancing at a rally, if you only have two out of every 10 seats filled at a Trump rally, it looks more like a Biden or a Clinton rally. So that would be odd.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DIAMOND: Meanwhile, Vice President Mike Pence traveling outside of Washington for the first time since the day that his press secretary tested positive for coronavirus. The vice president heading down to the battleground state of Florida where he had lunch in a restaurant with the Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.
And as you can see in this footage from Pence's visit down there, nobody wearing masks, not very much social distancing going on. That's despite the recommendation from the CDC that if you are not able to stay 6 feet apart from somebody, you should be wearing a mask to protect other people from yourself in the event that you are potentially infected.
And we should note, of course that while - that it's been 12 days since the vice president had traveled since the vice president's press secretary tested positive for coronavirus. That's less than the 14 days that the CDC guidelines say you should self-isolate for, if indeed you are in close contact with someone who tested positive for coronavirus.
The president, meanwhile, we'll see if he decides to wear a mask or not on Thursday when he heads to a Ford manufacturing facility in Michigan. Ford has said that masks are required at that plant.
President, though, not committal so far, on whether he will wear a mask for the first time.
Jeremy Diamond, CNN, the White House.
CHURCH: Joining me now is Dr. Shoshana Ungerleider. Good to have you with us, doctor.
SOSHANA UNGERLEIDER, PHYSICIAN, INTERNAL MEDICINE: Thank you. Good to be with you.
CHURCH: So, the WHO announced Wednesday the largest single to increase in COVID-19 cases at 106,000 worldwide in a 24-hour period. What's your reaction to that number, and could it possibly reflect better and more expansive testing or something more ominous, do you think?
UNGERLEIDER: Thanks, Rosemary. You know, as we expected, the infection rates in Latin America and beyond have actually lagged behind the United States, Europe, and Asia and have been growing very rapidly and I do think that this presents an increased spread to something more ominous.
You know, in many countries, they lack a robust infrastructure for testing, tracing, and isolation needed to really control the spread. So, I think this shows us that we still have a long way to go in the global pandemic, especially in the lower- and middle-income countries.
CHURCH: All right. We'll keep a close eye on that. Of course, and then, publicly, President Trump supported CDC Director Robert Redfield Wednesday, but sources tell CNN his fate is in doubt as the White House looks to blame someone for the high death toll in this country. Now at more than 93,000.
How concerned are you when you see politics injected into a health crisis at the expense of science and coming after the CDC releasing new guidelines for opening up the country after the White House had shelled them?
UNGERLEIDER: Rosemary, the men and women at the CDC are some of the smartest and most dedicated civil servants in this country. But they've really been absent from leading the U.S. response, which is a real problem.
You know, as a physician, I took an oath to keep patients well, and prevent illness if possible, and I'm very concerned for the safety of the American public based on what's happening now from the touting of medications that aren't proven and evidence-based, to medications that can cause harm, to a lack of clear and evidence-based guidance to reopen the economy.
You know, unfortunately, all 50 states have started easing the coronavirus related restrictions, even though many of them have not met the federal benchmarks for doing so. And I think there is going to be consequences which are serious illnesses from infections to many preventable deaths.
The work of the CDC is really critical now more than ever and needs to be adequately supported and public health needs to be separated from politics. The health of the American people transcends political parties and should be the central focus of all of our efforts during this pandemic.
CHURCH: And doctor, earlier in the week, we heard progress made in Moderna's human trials for vaccine. Now, we are hearing positive results in monkeys for Johnson and Johnson's vaccines. How much hope does this gave you that a vaccine will be made possibly as early as 2021?
UNGERLEIDER: Well, so, this data, you know, represents only a very small first step in a long process to bring a vaccine to market, you know.
The Moderna data comes from an interim report on a very small number of patients, followed over weeks, whereas the necessary steps to approve a vaccine require really broad testing in thousands of people, followed over many months or even years.
You know, I think we all want to see a vaccine as quickly as possible, but it's important that the vaccine is safe and doesn't cause harm to people. So, these accelerated development timelines that have been put forward by the federal government are possible in theory, but I think extremely optimistic, and depend on everything going right.
And if we look at history, lots of vaccines that look good out of phase one don't actually turn out to be good products, unfortunately. And I think we still have a long road ahead of us before we have a safe, effective vaccine available. I'd say we are at about a mile to of a 6.2-mile marathon at this point.
CHURCH: That's very sobering. And of course, worth pointing out that Moderna and Johnson & Johnson have not yet released the underlying scientific data to back up their claims. This has raised alarm bells for pioneer Dr. William Haseltine from the Harvard Medical School.
He say -- he says that making vaccine breakthrough claims without the data to support it is dangerous and benefits the stocks of those companies and those leading those companies without any proof of progress. Do you agree with him? Should we be wary?
UNGERLEIDER: I think we absolutely should be. We know that many, many hundreds of vaccines may need to be created in order to find the one that actually works, and is safe. I think the worst thing we could possibly do is accelerate this, fast-track things too quickly and produce a vaccine that causes harm.
I think that we have to take this slowly, have a deliberative process that's evidence-based, and really wait for the data before we make any decisions about what to do.
CHURCH: Thank you so much, Dr. Ungerleider. I appreciate talking with you.
UNGERLEIDER: Thank you.
CHURCH: Well, Russia is only second to the United States when it comes to COVID-19 cases. And now the country has seen that number climb past 300,000. That somber milestone coming Wednesday as Russia reported more than 8,700 new cases. It also recorded 135 deaths. That's the highest daily increase to date.
And as President Vladimir Putin struggles to control the crisis in his country, he is now getting some help from the United States.
Our Matthew Chance has the details.
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: These are the first images of a batch of U.S.-made ventilators being loaded on a military transporter bound for Moscow. Now, it's America's turn to send Russia medical aid.
U.S. Officials say there is 50 in the shipments, another 150 will be sent soon. But a few months ago, it was Russia sending aid, including doctors, and medical equipment to Italy at the height of the pandemic there. From Russia with love is what Moscow called it, but for critics, it was mike propaganda from the Kremlin.
Russia was projecting an image of control, even the U.S. got a hand out. A planeload of Russian aid sent to New York as that city became the American epicenter of COVID-19. No matter it later emerged the Russian ventilators were unsafe, the fact that Moscow is helping America in a crisis was a P.R. coup for the Kremlin. With extremely few recorded infections back then, Russia appeared to bask in its performance.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): Thanks to the prompt measures taken in the first weeks of the epidemic, we managed to contain the massive penetration and spread of the infection in Russia. Now, despite the potentially high level of risk, the situation is generally under control.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHANCE: But it wasn't. And it still isn't. Perhaps the first sign was this Putin in full plane garb visiting Moscow's main coronavirus hospital in March. Previously, it appeared unprotected. Soon, Russia had record daily infections.
The grim truth of Russia's pandemic emerging as key figures including the prime minister, and Putin's longtime spokesman Dmitry Peskov were hospitalized giving concerns about Putin's own health.
Soon, with the highest number of infections after the U.S., Russia seemed to descend into a coronavirus hell. Images of infected medics, coughing in makeshift wards, exposed hideous conditions.
Here, a doctor is arrested, trying to deliver much-needed medical supplies. She argued the country was in denial about its coronavirus problem.
At least three more critical of the pandemic response mysteriously fell out of hospital windows more out of desperation with their workload said colleagues in a conspiracy to silence critics as two died of their injuries.
It's why this first shipment of U.S. aid to Russia is so significant. Not just the return favor to the next worst affected country in the world, but also an admission by Russia, finally, that it needs help.
Matthew Chance, CNN.
CHURCH: And right behind Russia in the number of cases, Brazil. A surge of new virus cases there has set another daily record and a death toll now close to 19,000.
Brazil's health ministry on Wednesday reported almost 20,000 new cases of the virus. Still, the country's president has downplayed the threat and is now calling for expanding the use of the unproven drug hydroxychloroquine. The pandemic has killed almost 19,000 Brazilians.
With Russia third, the U.K. has the 4th most cases of coronavirus globally. And yet, the second highest death toll just after the United States. Three hundred sixty-three deaths and nearly 2,500 new cases were recorded on Tuesday, suggesting the infection rate continues to slow there.
But as Prime Minister Boris Johnson pushes ahead with plans to reopen parts of the economy, some feel the country isn't ready.
And our Nina dos Santos joins us now live from London. Good to see you, Nina. So, despite the prime minister's eagerness to open up the U.K. economy and get kids back to school by June 1st, he's getting considerable pushback here. What is the latest on this? NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: He is, Rosemary. Good morning to
you. He's getting pushed back on one hand from teacher unions, some of them have conducted their own survey saying that 85 percent of their members feel that they might be put in harm's way by going back to school.
And that, you know, in primary schools which is the part of the school system that the U.K. is trying to reopen on June the 1st is going to be impossible in some groups to try and keep children at a social distance to prevent transmission of this virus.
Add to this the fact that now local authorities appear to be warning the government, it says councils who runs schools that some of their schools just won't be able to be up and ready by the time that this is going to be implemented in a few weeks' time.
They say that it's going to be too difficult to try and rearrange classrooms. Remember, some of these classrooms are going to have to be split into two. They don't know whether people have to teach in two shifts. All of this appears to be at the moment up for consideration.
And then you add to the fact that many parents might feel at this stage not yet comfortable enough to send their children back to school. So big questions here for the education secretary and big questions for the rest of the cabinet
Because as you pointed out in your introduction, what is crucial to reopening the U.K. economy is getting children back into the school system not just for their education, but also to allow the parents to go back to work because their children are then in education and child care as well.
One final thing I want to point out is that the U.K. appears to be going -- so, excuse me -- England inside the U.K. appears to be going it alone on the strategy sticking to June the 1st.
Remember that there are the parts of the U.K. that are devolved nations with their own ability to set rules on things like this. Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Wales say it's still too risky to reopen schools this summer and are planning to do so in the fall. Rosemary.
CHURCH: Yes. They certainly not on one page here. And, Nina, how are U.K. if it's to expand testing and contact tracing progressing in the midst of this push to reopen?
DOS SANTOS: Yes. This is the other part of the equation. So, local authorities in schools saying, well, look, if you give us some of the data that shows us how widespread coronavirus is in our community whether many people have had it or currently have it then maybe we'd have a little bit more confidence in being able to open some of those schools.
Having said that, though, well, the contact tracing app that the U.K. is supposed to be ruling out on the very same day that schools, some schools are set to reopen on June the 1st, that, again, has been beset with hiccups, concerns about privacy and concerns about its ability to be intercepted by hackers.
Now, this was at the heart of an exchange between the leader of the opposition, Keir Starmer, and also Boris Johnson. The head of the Labour Party accused Boris Johnson of having stalled on this track in tracing up.
Remember, the first few cases of coronavirus in this country were identified back in January but the strategy of testing and then tracing was actually abandoned in early to mid-March. This is the exchange that Keir Starmer put to Boris Johnson on that particular subject yesterday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KEIR STARMER, LEADER, BRITISH LABOUR PARTY: There's been no effective tracing in place since March the 12, when tracing was abandoned. That's nearly 10 weeks in a critical period without effective test or tracing. That's a huge hole in our defenses, isn't it, Prime Minister?
BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: What I can tell him, and I think his sort of famed ignorance really doesn't come very well, but what I can tell him, is that, today, I am confident that we will have a test and trace operation that will enable us, if or the other conditions are satisfied, and if, and it is entirely provisional, that will enable us to make progress.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DOS SANTOS: So, Boris Johnson confidently is going to have the staffing levels up to scratch to contact trace about 10,000 people per day as they launch that on the 1st of June.
Once spanner in the works, though, today, Rosemary, is that Australian researchers have identified further security flaws in this app so far which means that it wouldn't necessarily meet a type of criteria that the NHS would normally add to their app's library. Rosemary?
CHURCH: All right. Still some problems there to iron out. Nina dos Santos joining us live from London. Many thanks.
In South Korea, this is how the coronavirus pandemic has affected classrooms, but despite all precautions a few students have tested positive for COVID-19. And we are live in Seoul, next.
CHURCH: President Trump is ramping up his criticism of China's response to the pandemic. This time, all but blaming President Xi Jinping.
Earlier, he tweeted China's incompetence led to, quote, "mass worldwide killing." In the recent past, Mr. Trump has showered China and his counterpart in Beijing with praise.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: And now we're friends to China. In fact, maybe we have never had a better relationship, and we are working with them very closely on the coronavirus.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you concerned that China is covering up the full extent of coronavirus?
TRUMP: No. China is working very hard.
We've been working very much with China. I've spoken as you know with President Xi. They went through hell, and their numbers are starting to look very good.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: CNN's Anna Coren is live in Hong Kong. She joins us now. Anna, good to see you. And of course, we just heard President Trump showering China with praise in late January and February. Now, he's accusing Beijing of mass worldwide killing. How is China likely to respond to these attacks?
ANNA COREN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: He struck a very different cord, hasn't he, in the last few months. He's really upped the ante in these latest series of tweets overnight, Rosemary, really speaks to that.
He doesn't mention the Chinese President Xi Jinping by name, but he certainly says that this goes all the way to the top.
Let me read to the tweet that I'm referring to. He says, "the spokesman speaks stupidly on behalf of China, trying desperately to deflect the pain and carnage that their country spread throughout the world. It's disinformation and propaganda attacks on the United States and Europe is a disgrace. It all comes from the top. That could have easily stopped the plague, but they didn't."
This follows his incompetence of China that's responsible for this mass worldwide killing. Now, obviously, the president's critics will say that Donald Trump is trying to deflect attention away from his own mishandling of the pandemic in the United States.
So, he say that mixed messaging from the White House and with health experts, and then of course, United States has the highest death toll in the world, as we have been reporting. But, you know, the world is scrutinizing China, and this obviously plays to Donald Trump's base.
There is a lot of anti-China sentiment because of the origins of the coronavirus, but Donald Trump is certainly not emitting his words. He is trying to lay the blame squarely at China.
CHURCH: He most certainly is. Our Anna Coren bringing us that live update from Hong Kong. Many thanks. Well, it is day two of school for senior high students in South Korea
after a shutdown of classes due to the coronavirus, but life is anything but normal on campus with strict temperature checks, face masks, and hand sanitizers being dispensed.
But the return to class in two cities got off to a rocky start. Dozens of high schools were vote force to closed when at least three students tested positive Wednesday for COVID-19.
CNN's Paula Hancocks is live from Seoul. Paula, a bit of a bumpy start. Bring us the latest on all of this.
PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Rosemary, for the vast majority of schools, it was a fairly smooth start, but as you say, there were some that it has to close quite quickly after positive cases were identified.
We heard from Korea CDC today and they said that it wasn't inevitable that there would be some positive cases simply for the fact that there are silent transmissions throughout the country, and that they believed was inevitable that that was going to come to the schools as well.
But certainly, for the most part it was a smooth transition for the high school seniors. And this is, let's take a look at what the new norm would be for South Korean schools.
HANCOCKS: A temperature check, hand sanitize, and wet wipes. Back to school during a pandemic. These are high school seniors, the first to physically come back. A sign South Korea is trying to return to a semblance of normality.
Students cue two meters apart as they wait to enter the building, and another temperature check with a thermal camera. Desks in the classroom have been arranged to be at least one-meter part, masks must be worn at all times.
This semester may be starting more than 11 weeks late, but it feels like a milestone in South Korea's fight against coronavirus. Over the next few weeks younger grades will also be coming back to school in a phased approach, and schools are hoping that by June 8th, every student will be back.
online learning now replaced by face-to- face classes. The cafeteria had this school in Seoul has been disinfected and plastic partitions put in between where students can sit. Many seats left empty. This will be the one area students are allowed to take their masks off.
Principal Kim Seung-kyeom has been working for weeks to prepare for this day.
KIM SEUNG-KYEOM, PRINCIPAL, JOONKYUNG HIGH SCHOOL (through translator): I'm so happy to see my students back again after a long wait. The students can now begin their school life. HANCOCKS: But Kim knows the risks involved.
SEUNG-KYEOM (through translator): If we get a confirmed case, the school will immediately shut and return to online classes.
HANCOCKS: Dozens of schools had to close again in Incheon City, west of Seoul after two students tested positive, believed to be linked to the outbreak in Seoul's nightclub district. Schools have been fully disinfected ahead of time; officials say the health of the students is the number one priority.
A cluster of cases in Seoul's nightclub district push the opening date of schools backed by a week. Another potential outbreak in a Seoul medical center is also concerning health officials. But for some of those in school today, just being here feels like a victory.
HANCOCKS: Now there was this school this Thursday morning that did have to shut down as well in Daegu, the southeast of the country, which was one of the hardest hit cities at the beginning of this pandemic.
But the CDC is saying that at this point it is important to understand that schooling has to go alongside disease prevention. So, yes there will be positive cases. But they're hoping that they can keep the schools open. Rosemary.
ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: Yes. The opening of schools are probably the hardest task for all countries across the globe in the midst of this pandemic. Paula Hancocks joining us live there from Seoul. Many thanks.
Well, tropical cyclone Amphan has made landfall with deadly impact. We will see where the storm might hit next when we come back.
CHURCH: India has seen its largest single day spike in new coronavirus cases, with more than 5,600 reported on Wednesday. That jump in infections has pushed India's total above 112,000. The government says more than 2.5 million tests have been administered.
But the virus is only one of the problems India is facing right now. Tropical cyclone Amphan killed at least 12 people in the eastern part of the country, and pulverized districts in west Bengal. Officials say Kolkata has never seen stronger winds, which uprooted trees around the partially flooded city. And in Bangladesh, the storm ravaged thousands of temporary homes, displacing many people there.
And for more, I'm joined now by our meteorologist Pedram Javaheri and Vedika Sud in New Delhi. Good to see you both. Pedram, let's go to you first, for a look on what's happening right now. What are you seeing? PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN METEOROLOGIST: The storm system itself is
beginning to taper off. It has moved across areas of Bangladesh, northern Bangladesh into eastern areas of India. So, rainfall really becomes the main concern and I always say that it is that water element that is the most intense element of all of these. Of course, you know landfall on the immediate coast storm surge comes with -- storm system made landfall 80 kilometers south of Kolkata.
But as Rosemary mentioned, significant damage even uprooted trees as far away as Kolkata with this land falling storm. Now the moisture, now -- it can be really the biggest concern moving forward, because even through say Saturday, Sunday, Monday and even up to Tuesday of next week, we do expect moisture for the storm to be in place there.
Of course the Himalayan Mountains to the north -- that is a blocking area here. So, we do see quite a bit of heavy rainfall on the windward side of these mountains and as often is the case. Every time you force moisture on an area as high as the Himalayas, you are going to force the air to want to rise as it arises, it cools, it condenses into clouds. And then you have yourself the recipe for tremendous rainfall, especially if that moisture was associated with the largest tropical cyclone we've ever seen across the Bay of Bengal.
So, that is the biggest concern moving forward, is all of this heavy rainfall upstream. And in fact, interestingly enough, you look at the wettest places on our planet, the city of Cherrapunji, the town there across the area of the state of Meghalaya to the north has recorded as much as 26,000 millimeters of rainfall in one year, and also holds the world record for most rainfall in a two day period, which is about 2,500 millimeters of rainfall in two days.
This, again, associated with a tropical cyclone back in the 1990s, but really speaks to how much moisture potential exists with the system of this magnitude essentially raining itself out in an area that has already been decimated. Rosemary.
CHURCH: Yes. Absolutely. Pedram, many thanks for bringing us up to date on that. Vedika, let's go to you now, for more on what is happening on the ground in both Bangladesh and in India in terms of damages and casualties at this time. And how people are coping with this in the midst of a pandemic?
VEDIKA SUD, CNN PRODUCER: It's a double whammy, isn't it? Well, the cyclone has left a trail of devastation in the city of Kolkata, as well as the eastern course (inaudible). Two districts in the eastern coast is in a bad shape. We also do know at this point in time that Kolkata, people in that city was shock when they that storm coming. At about 6:00 p.m. local time, everything was dark and the devastation could be seen this morning where we could see a lot of trees have been uprooted.
Collateral damage also being that these trees were obviously destroying cars under them as well as buses. You also have roads that remain flooded and inundated at this point in time. So, you have rescue relief going on in the city of Kolkata as I speak to you, but as far as we move a bit closer to the eastern coast of west Bengal, where two districts have been badly damage.
Now, you have to remember at this point in time that the eastern coast of west Bengal is where the poorest people reside, and millions of them. They have temporary homes that have been destroyed. Their roofs are patch roofs of tin roofs that are made of asbestos. They have lost a lot of their property to this cyclone as well.
What we also do know at this point in time, is that the communication lines are down in two of those six districts that have been battered by the storm. Also (inaudible), part of it lies in India, part of it lies Bangladesh. This is a mangrove area. And you have the rarest of wild species animals out there that has been pulverized. It's what the national relief force had to say to us.
As far as Bangladesh is concerned, news is strictly mean, what we've got to know from officials there is we are still trying to assess the damage. It is huge, the impact has been terrible, but as far as casualties are concerned, they have yet to come out with an official figure. Rosemary.
CHURCH: All right, Vedika Sud, and Pedram Javaheri, many thanks to both of you, bringing us up to date on that story. I appreciate it.
SUD: Thank you.
CHURCH: Well, the U.S. State of Michigan is also juggling a natural disaster, along with the pandemic. Days of heavy rain caused bridges and two dams, the resulting floods forcing nearly 10,000 people to abandon their homes. Swollen rivers could crest at nearly 12 meters, breaking previous flood records.
Michigan's governor has declared a state of emergency, and says orders involving in the coronavirus are suspended locally if they impede emergency response to the floods.
Well, just ahead, one major global airline is resuming some flights across the world, but how many travelers are ready to fly in the midst of this pandemic? We will get the latest update live from Dubai.
CHURCH: The coronavirus pandemic has crippled the airline industry across the world, but Dubai based Emirates airlines is hoping to rebound by resuming passenger flights out of the UAE to nine cities, beginning Thursday. And they'll be the first regular non repatriation flights out of Dubai since March 24th.
CNN's John Defterios joins me now from Dubai International airport. Good to see you, John. So, talk to us about the passenger experience first in the airport.
JOHN DEFTERIOS, CNN EMERGING MARKETS EDITOR: Well, I had say, it was worthwhile for me to come in and take a look at what passengers are faced with, and the new normal, if you will, for travel. It is quite in terminal three now, but they actually loaded two flights going to Europe, one for London, earlier, and then to Milan and then we had a fly going to Bangladesh for repatriation as you are suggesting here.
The new normal is Plexiglas, for example, at the check in counters. It is the same thing in immigrations. Social distancing and all line through the airport, we are on air side as well. And the first board to call, when a passenger comes into the terminals that goes through the thermal screening to check the temperature if it's high, and it doesn't come down. The Dubai health authority actually steps in and determines whether you can travel or not.
And a very different experience with a cabin crew. We came at sunrise and sat in a cabin crew meeting, to get a sense of what they are faced with, and really, there's going to be barriers between the passengers and the crew for safety. It is a whole new experience. Let's take a listen to that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DEFTERIOS: You'll be donning a visor, and a robe that almost feels like you are working in hospital, not on an airplane itself?
ELISABETH KRAUS, EMIRATES CABIN CREW MEMBER: It probably will feel like that, yes. It's going to be new for me too. So, I'm excited to see how it will feel, but for sure it will be very different than before, because you will have all these measurements, but just to be safe, so, it's like -- it's only a good thing and I'm very positive.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DEFTERIOS: Elisabeth Kraus, a member of the crew for EK001 going to London. That will be going out daily from this point forward. Also on board, again, this is a new twist to the travel experience, one member that will be on board just for sanitation between the washrooms and keep the cabin clean, unusual. Box meals only. That's the name of the game at this stage.
And those who are frequent travelers or business travelers, think that can walk in at 90 minutes before their flight or up to two hours before a flight. That is not the standard anymore, Rosemary. Its four hours before the flight now as we try to rebuild the travel experience and have all the safety precautions met before going through the terminal.
CHURCH: Of course, you know, it is new for everyone, isn't it as they try to sort of feel around working out what to do. And it's one thing to resume these flights, it is another to fill those seats with passengers willing to fly during a pandemic. What has been the reaction so far?
DEFTERIOS: Well, we are tracking the flight to London, as I noted, and then also to Milan and the report back from Emirates Airlines, we have 30 to 50 percent capacity depending on the class. I would say that's not bad for the first day, and those who wanted to come out of the gate to start.
And I also think it has been very important for Emirates here, sending a signal to the outside world if there is anybody that is going to lead the process, it will be us, because it is so dependent on the carrier, that air travel represents about 30 percent of GDP that feeds into the buy economy, finance, trade, tourism, business exhibitions.
It's all very important. So, I asked the chief operating officer of Emirates, are they willing to set the global example and why so eager here in May to get out of that starting gate. Let's take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ADEL AHMAD AL REDHA, EMIRATES AIRLINES COO: It is very inevitable and clear that the aviation sector is very important to any city, to any growth and the economic of any country. And being here in Dubai, it makes it more important because Dubai and the United Arab Emirates rely on the tourism and it rely on the flow of people coming in and going out.
So, Emirates launching this flight, to restart, to give confident to the people, there is a good and green life that we can't be all locked in one area. So, we are starting this, but we starting it very carefully, with discussion with everybody, and we have taken all the measures to launch ourselves. People are wanting to move, and we would like to facilitate for that.
DEFTERIOS: How do you rebuild trust? So you can see the markers of the Plexiglas, the distance when people checking in. Same thing in immigration, hygiene kits. Is this restoring confidence? Is that the primary motivation at this stage?
AL REDHA: I think we need to accept that we need to start adapting to a new measure in our normal day-to-day activity. Look at what we are doing. Look at how we are keeping distance. So, there will be a new way of implementing certain hygiene or sanitization processes.
Now, by doing this kind of thing, we want to reassure our staff, and we want to reassure our customers that we are implementing these measures to enhance the sanitization. To enhance their safety, and to assure we are implementing a proper measure for social distance.
And we are giving them certain tips kits for measures, for masks, for gloves, for sanitization purposes. That is to reassure, and remind them to do it and use it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DEFTERIOS: Adel Al Redha, once again the CEO of Emirates Airline, and by the way, they had 157 destinations before the coronavirus set in, Rosemary, they are starting very gingerly with nine here. They want to establish the bilateral ties with governments to begin opening them up by mid-June in a much more aggressive way, back to you.
CHURCH: Baby steps, right? Taking it very carefully.
DEFTERIOS: That's a good way putting it.
CHURCH: John Defterios, many thanks. I appreciated it.
Well, global tourism has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic according to the world travel and tourism council about 100 million jobs will be lost in the industry. The world tourism organization says overall international travel and tourism will be down by about 20 to 30 percent compared to last year.
Well, Europe's tourism industry is also taking a hit as many borders remain shot and travel is limited. France, which normally welcomes 10s of millions of foreign visitors each year is now hoping a stimulus package and local tourists can help save its battered industry. Now, Cyril Vanier joins me now from Paris. Good to see you, Cyril. So, what's safety measures are being put in place across France to help encourage more tourists back into the country in the middle of this pandemic?
CYRIL VANIER, CNN SHOW HOST: Well, Rosemary, you just talked about baby steps. I think that's a great way of putting what's happening here in France. When you think of restaurants is still close, borders by in large are still closed. You can understand they're not going to be many tourists.
And now the industry is counting on some amount of domestic tourism but as far as social distancing and mitigation measures for the virus, there is only so much you can do in tourism settings. I mean, think of, you know, your postcard of the Riviera with beaches packed with sunbathers. Well, that's just not going to be possible this summer. It's left up to law enforcement and local authorities whether or not to reopen beaches. Many are open but not for sunbathing. It's just if you want to walk along the beach then you can do that.
One thing we notice in our reporting and it became immediately obvious to us Rosemary, is that some places, some tourist attractions are just better suited to social distancing tourism. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VANIER: Stunning views, majestic castles, centuries of history. The Loire Valley is one of the crown jewels of French tourism, drawing six million visitors a year from all over the world. An industry crippled by the coronavirus.
After a nearly two month national confinement, and with borders mostly shut to outside travel, tourists are now a rare commodity. Chateau Chaumont, once owned by the queen of France is one of the first in the region to reopen. It so calm, and it is so peaceful here. It's tempting to forget that there is a coronavirus epidemic. But of course, you can't.
In fact, the only reason the Chateau was able to reopen is because here too, there are strict social distancing guidelines. Mask on, gel on your hands, there is a predetermine route that you must follow through the domain, and the number of visitors has been kept in order to avoid crowds.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): It's been a while since we haven't been out so if feels good.
VANIER: Just a trickle of visitors today, all of them locals. Travel is still limited to a hundred kilometer radius. Martin and Jean-Marie (inaudible), had a plan to visit Denmark (inaudible), this summer. That will have to wait.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): In a way, this period is very good. We often forget to visit these beautiful sites in France, but it's a magnificent country.
VANIER: The Chateau does not expect to see its usual foreign visitors this summer, about a 3rd of its business, they say. But the domain manager does see a silver lining.
CHANTAI COLLEU-DUMOND, DIRECTOR, CHATEAU CHAUMONT (through translator): I hope that the increase in French visitors will come because they can't travel abroad and will make up for the foreign visitors who sadly won't be able to come.
VANIER: Here in Paris, however, there is no silver lining on the horizon. The main attractions remain shut, the Eiffel Tower and the river boats are not far from here. The sacred heart, the (inaudible), the louvre museum. All closed. Not to mention restaurants and cafes and with power still considered a red zone for the coronavirus, there's no telling when any of them might be allowed to reopen.
With almost 90 million tourists a year, France is the most visited country in the world. Last week, the French Prime Minister said saving the industry was a national priority. The government's bailout package for the sector includes guaranteeing bank loans to businesses, and paying 80 percent of the salaries of furloughed workers. For Yann, owner and manager of two hotels and a restaurant in the heart of Paris, it's a lifeline. His last booking was on March 12th.
YANN CHEVANCE, HOTEL OWNER: It's scary.
VANIER: Thanks to 250,000 euro loans, he hopes to be able to survive the next few months, but desperately needs borders to reopen and travel to pick up.
CHEVANCE: We need people to fly again. Tourism is airplanes. No airplanes, it really limits the amount of tourism that we are going to have.
VANIER: Until then, Parisians will have the streets of the capital to themselves.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VANIER: Rosemary, the tourism industry in France accounts for 2 million direct and indirect jobs. It's almost 8 percent of the French GDP. It's impossible to understate how important this is for the French economy. Now, the tourism sector is hoping, expecting one pretty important bit of good news, which is that restaurants in zones considered green zones that is where the virus is not as presents in France may be able to reopen as early as June 2nd.
CHURCH: Definitely one of my favorite destinations. I hope it certainly picks up. Cyril Vanier reporting there live from Paris. Many thanks.
Well, join CNN on Thursday for a special look at tourism in crisis. Richard Quest will be speaking with top airline and hotel CEOs. As well as tourism ministers from some of the countries that rely on visitors the most. That's on Thursday at 8:00 p.m. London time, 9:00 p.m. in Paris. And we will be back in just a moment.
CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone. Well, as businesses reopen around the world, the workplace is getting a radical make over, gone on the days of open meeting spaces or mingling at the water cooler. In the covid world, companies are reinventing how colleagues will coexist. And for some, the office of the future is already here. Clare Sebastian reports.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If they move my desk one more time, then I'm quitting.
CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This from the movie Office Space is what offices used to look like. Confined spaces, minimal contact. Over the past few decades, they have evolved to this. Open plans, social hubs, like the salesforce tower in San Francisco.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We love to come together. We love to collaborate. We loved to have face-to-face meetings, we loved it when the officers were crowded.
SEBASTIAN: Salesforce has spent the last eight weeks turning those principles on their head. Inspired by this model from real estate firm Cushman and Wakefield dubbed the six feet office, it's not exactly a return to cubicles, but there are eerie similarities.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You will see Plexiglas dividers between workstations on the open floor plans, and then even meeting rooms will have the capacity signs because they are not able to hold as many people as before. It's really about giving people visual cues to help remember about that physical distancing.
SEBASTIAN: Plans are still being finalized, but masks will be mandatory, shifts will be staggered, temperatures checked, elevators in the company's many towers socially distanced. Across the corporate world, high rise offices present a particular challenge. SCOTT RECHLER, CHAIRMAN AND CEO, RXR REALTY: We are changing
technology to be able to use Bluetooth to go touch list into the elevators.
SEBASTIAN: Scott Rechler runs RXR Realty, the fourth largest office landlord in Manhattan. He is reevaluating every detail of his buildings.
RECHLER: All the (inaudible) systems have been changed, so that they have filters -- that are highest rate filters that pull of the smallest particles where possible. We are changing the location like for a pantries and printers that usually are in corners where getting congested to more open spaces.
SEBASTIAN: And technology also critical to his plan.
RECHLER: We will have an app that before you even come to work, they we will be able to actually look to see what the health index of the building is. When you go into your space, it's going to be a tool on your app that will actually monitor your extreme social distancing. And at the end of the day, we will be able to see if you are 70 percent, 75 percent.
SEBASTIAN: Amidst all that change, there's one part of this new office reality that's already here. And that is working from home. Many companies are planning to stagger shifts, others are telling staff you can work from home that they can keep going. Twitter has even told its employees that if they want to, they can work from home forever. It's clear in this world where the virus is still a threat, the ultimate trick to keeping offices safe is having fewer people in them. Clare Sebastian, CNN, New York.
CHURCH: I'm Rosemary Church. And I will be back with more news in just a moment.