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U.S. Doctors Travel to Mexico to Help Treat Patients; Peru Reports 4,020 New Cases in 24-Hour Period; Hong Kong Leader: Security Law Guarantees Civil Liberties; New Studies Show How COVID-19 Travels. Aired 1-2a ET
Aired May 26, 2020 - 01:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOHN VAUSE, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Ahead this hour, crowd control, a long weekend in the U.S. where tens of thousands of beachgoers taking a holiday from social distancing and wearing masks, but there was no Memorial Day off for the Coronavirus. They call him the Trump of the Tropics, and now Brazil's Jair Bolsonaro is rivaling the Real Donald Trump as leader of the country worst hit by this pandemic. And don't do as I do, a senior advisor to the British Prime Minister keeps his job after admitting he defied national lockdown rules, visited relatives hundreds of miles away and was suspected of having the coronavirus.
Hello, everyone. Welcome to our viewers from all around the world, I'm John Vause, this is CNN NEWSROOM. Around the world, as governments restart their economies and many begin to relax and ignores social distancing guidelines, a stark warning from the World Health Organization. We are just months into this pandemic. It's not over. It's not even the beginning of the end. And perhaps at best, it's the end of the beginning. The head of the WHO Emergencies Program says we're in the middle of the first wave, meaning the outbreak is still on the way up. A second peak could come months from now during the normal flu season. All countries should remain on high alert.
The United States which accounts for about a third of all global cases marked Memorial Day on Monday. Traditionally time to honor servicemen and women, this year, though, many will also be marking the deaths of almost 100,000 people who've fallen to the Coronavirus, a death toll higher than all the wars in Vietnam, Afghanistan, and both Iraq wars combined. The likely Democratic Presidential nominee Joe Biden appeared at a Veterans Memorial wearing a mask. Donald Trump, too, went to a memorial but did not wear a mask.
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DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: As one nation, we mourn alongside every single family that has lost loved ones, including the families of our great veterans. Together, we will vanquish the virus. And America will rise from this crisis to new and even greater heights. Except the U.S. is nowhere near vanquishing the virus. The death toll continues to climb; number of confirmed cases is not falling in most of the 50 states. At least 18 American states, the rate of infections is on the rise. Now, the part is either plateaued, in a few areas, it's starting to fall. Regardless, it seems many Americans have decided to throw caution to the wind, ignoring social distancing guidelines and party like it's 2019 all over again. We begin our coverage with CNN's Jason Carroll.
JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: After weeks of caution and confinement ...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You wouldn't know a pandemic was going on by looking at the beach today.
CARROLL: Memorial Day weekend is looking almost normal in some places, crowded beaches and busy boardwalks seemingly little sign of social distancing, and even fewer facemasks. In Missouri, shocking images of a packed pool party in the Ozarks causing concern.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Traffic has completely shut down with...
CARROLL: More crowds in Daytona Beach, Florida, where gunfire erupted as people stood shoulder to shoulder and blocked traffic.
DERRICK HENRY, MAYOR OF DAYTONA BEACH, FLORIDA: When you get this volume of people, it's going to be tough to control.
CARROLL: In other areas, more vigilance, with some communities encouraging people to maintain six feet of distance on the beach. In New York City, beaches remained closed. And normally, a gathering place for remembrance on Memorial Day. Arlington National Cemetery is open only to families with loved ones buried there. Today, the World Health Organization warns we could see a second peak of the virus.
DR. MIKE RYAN, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, WHO HEALTH EMERGENCIES PROGRAMME: We cannot make assumptions that just because the disease is on the way down now that it's going to keep going down.
CARROLL: Another WHO official says all countries should remain on high alert since the hallmark of the virus is how fast it can spread from a single event. In the United States, at least 18 states are showing an upward trend in COVID-19 cases and health experts warn Memorial Day weekend gatherings have the potential to spark a new string of infections in some areas. In Alabama. the Montgomery mayor is again sounding the alarm over ICU beds.
STEVEN REED, MAYOR OF MONTGOMERY, ALABAMA: This morning, we have six ICU beds out of 100 in this region. And so, while that is some mild improvement, it is not the type of improvement we'd like to see.
CARROLL: And in Arkansas, the governor is already warning of a second peak. GOV. ASA HUTCHINSON (R-AR): It's clear and evident to me that we have
one peak and then we've had a deep depth and they were having a second peak.
CARROLL: While governors and health officials are urging people to wear masks in public, the governor of North Dakota now pleading with his constituents not to judge those who do.
GOV. DOUG BURGUM (R-ND): They might be doing it because they've got a 5-year-old child who's been going through cancer treatments. They might have vulnerable adults in their life, who are -- who are currently have COVID and they're fighting.
CARROLL: As deaths relating to COVID-19, near 100,000, the New York Times publishing a stark reminder of the humanity behind the numbers. John Herman Clomax, Jr. of New Jersey, taken by the virus in April, was one of a few African-American corporate bond traders on Wall Street.
PAULETTE CLEGHORN-CLOMAX, HUSBAND'S NAME FEATURED IN NYT OBITUARY: Just seeing all of those names, you realize the vastness of this pandemic, you realize the immensity of it.
CARROLL: And late Monday, this bit of news when it comes to human vaccine trials, a biotechnology company in Maryland announced it's going to begin enrolling some 130 people for a human vaccine trial. This now marks the 10th company worldwide, trying to come up with a vaccine to beat this deadly virus. Jason Carroll, CNN, New York.
VAUSE: Joining me now from Seattle is CNN Medical Analyst, Dr. Amy Compton-Phillips. Dr. Philips, good to see you.
DR. AMY COMPTON-PHILLIPS, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: Great to see you, too.
VAUSE: OK. So, Memorial Day and the unofficial start of summer in the United States. I'd like you to listen to a few people explaining why they hit the beach or the waterpark this past weekend. Here they are.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I could get killed by COVID today or I could get hit by a bus or a car tomorrow.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want to (INAUDIBLE) taking a bath, enjoy life, you know?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everybody going to get sick one day. I mean, everybody -- it's just -- it's life, man. You could die outside in a car. If you stay six feet apart, so be it, but I mean, we're going to be sliding down these slides. And hey, if we bump each other, we bump each other.
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VAUSE: Is that sort of almost Cavalier approach, kind of to be expected at this point after so many weeks of restrictions and, you know, much like the virus, do you think it could -- you know, this perspective well actually could spread exponentially. You know, more people go out, the more like sort of act this way.
PHILLIPS: You know, I think people are just tired of being inside, and they're seeing the sun come out, and they're used to being, you know, being able to enjoy themselves over Memorial Day, you know, big cookout weekend, get together with family. And so, they are reacting. But I have to say, I still think that's the exception, not the rule, that when I walk around the streets of Seattle, when I look at my neighbors, I see people very much taking this seriously. And so, for the most part, I think people do recognize that, as we get back to life and we are getting back to life again, right? The lockdowns are easing in almost every community.
But as we're doing that most people are taking it seriously. Most people are observing social distancing. And the few that aren't are not only risking themselves, they're risking their neighbors and their parents and their children and their loved ones. So, I do hope that we are able to stick this through even though it's hard.
VAUSE: Yes, it is harder. That's certainly is for sure. Now, Chris Murray, with the U.S. Institute of Health Metrics, he believes the virus may actually ease up in the coming weeks and months. But then added this warning. Here he is.
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DR. CHRISTOPHER MURRAY, RESEARCHER, UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON: There is some seasonality and that's -- but it's not anywhere near as strong as flu. That does mean that we'll -- we may be lulled into a false sense of things not being as bad as they could be. But if it is seasonal, it means that starting in September, and then progressively going up, it could get progressively worse right through to January.
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VAUSE: So, assuming there is still no vaccine widely available, if that scenario played out, would it mean return to the lockdowns, the shelter-in-place orders would be the only way we'd have a breaking the chain of transmission should it reemerge in a significant way?
PHILLIPS: It's certainly a risk, and it's what happened in the 1918 flu plant pandemic, that in the spring, people had initial lockdowns during the summer, as the flu goes away, it has seasonality. And people relaxed their behaviors and they got out of the habit of seeing six feet apart and wearing masks. And then in the fall, it came roaring back and became much worse and they had to reenact lockdowns. So, I do hope that doesn't happen.
But it's absolutely a possibility. And it's why we need to ingrain ourselves with some new behaviors, with some new habits. And that's avoiding shaking hands, that's wearing the mask, that's much more handwashing. And that's sticking a little bit more to ourselves taking vacations that this summer that are closer to home and camping instead of going to a big resort with a million other people. And so, it really is just thinking differently about how we behave this summer so that it doesn't come roaring back again this fall.
VAUSE: Yes, the salad bar seems like a thing of the past. With regards to the vaccine, research in Oxford University, they seem to be one of the leading candidates, but they told Britain's telegraph newspaper, "We said earlier in the year that there was an 80 percent chance of developing an effective vaccine by September, but at the moment, there's a 50 percent chance that we get no result at all. We're in the bizarre position of wanting COVID to stay, at least for a little while, but cases are declining. Explain exactly what they're talking about here.
PHILLIPS: In order to understand if a vaccine is effective, you have to give a population of people the vaccine, and then have enough exposure to the vaccine to see whether or not the people who got the vaccine get the disease significantly less often than people who have not gotten the vaccine, which means you have to have enough people getting exposed to the virus in the community, that you get your answer. And so, if the virus circulating in the community is virtually eliminated, which you know, most of us would say that's a good thing, you can't tell whether or not the vaccine works, just because you simply haven't had enough of a challenge to the vaccine, people who got the vaccine to see whether or not it's effective. And so, it's easier to test the efficacy of a vaccine in a population where the disease itself is rampant.
VAUSE: That's such a double-edged sword.
VAUSE: Let's finish up with facemasks. Because we know now that this is how important it is to wear these facemasks in slowing the spread of COVID-19. Here, listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. DEBORAH BIRX, WHITE HOUSE CORONAVIRUS TASK FORCE: We now have excellent scientific evidence of how far droplets go when we speak or just simply talking to one another. And we know that it's important for people to socially interact. But we also know it's important that we have to have masks on if we're less than six feet, and that we have to maintain that six feet different -- distance.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Did the CDC sort of bungled this at the beginning because the messaging was so confusing. At first, there was no benefit, and now it's changing. And then, we still don't see the President of the United States wearing a mask out in public because he thinks he looks silly in which, again, is not exactly sending the right message. PHILLIPS: It is not sending the right message. You know, and did the CDC mess up? I'm not sure. You know, I think when a new disease comes around, you have to learn how the disease spreads, you have to learn how it behaves. And they were very clear that they didn't know yet and that they were researching it. And now, as soon as it became clear, they issued the facemask guidance. And so, I think having a little bit of forgiveness here because nobody knew how it spread, nobody knew what it did. That said, now we need leaders. So, those leaders include presidents and include governors and include physicians and scientists, and people just walking around on the street.
We need people to show the leadership that each one of us has in showing our neighbors that we care about them, because that's what wearing a face mask is all about. Right? It's about ensuring that if you have the virus, you're not going to pass it on to someone else. And it is not that much to ask. We really need to do it to help protect the lives of the children and the parents and the grandparents and the people undergoing cancer treatment and the friend who just had a heart attack. I mean, they all need to be protected from this virus. And so, each and every one of us needs to wear a mask to make sure that happens.
VAUSE: Yes. We're out of time, but I heard someone say, if you don't wear a mask, the word T-shirt which says, I don't care about you, which kind of sums it up. Dr. Amy Compton-Phillips, thank you. Good to see you.
PHILLIPS: Thank you.
VAUSE: The White House has brought for a travel ban on Brazil taking effect late Tuesday, two days earlier than planned. No reason was given for the change in schedule on new restrictions which apply to anyone who has been to Brazil within 14 days of arrival to the U.S. Brazil is now second only to United States in confirmed Coronavirus cases. And Monday saw another surge, authorities in Brazil report 12,000 confirmed cases in just 24 hours, bringing the overall total to close to 375,000. The death toll now over 23,000. Located in the heart of the Amazon, Manaus is one of the many Brazilian cities overwhelmed by the Coronavirus. CNN's Nick Paton Walsh is there.
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR: We're here in Manaus, the worst-hit city in Brazil, the worst-hit country in Latin America, the worst-hit region in the world. We've seen some startling things today that show the gravity of the problem, and frankly, the enormity of the challenge here in the heart of the Amazon to get the people affected by this disease to medical treatment. We've seen flights landing bringing people in from far flung places. We've seen startlingly large cemeteries built in a record amount of time, 1,500 people buried in one plot that we saw and troublingly, too. About four-fifths of them were suspected COVID cases, not people who tested positive, and that calls to question, frankly, the official numbers the Brazilian government are giving out.
It varies between states, but the full tally of 374,000 confirmed cases may not be the entire number because it doesn't always contain suspected cases as well. 807 people have died in the last 24 hours, and that of course, is a deeply troubling number for Brazil, but may have had some possible relation these worsening numbers to why President Donald Trump's administration has moved up the travel ban against Brazil forward 48 hours to the end of Tuesday.
That may have some impacts possibly on how Brazilians feel about their situation globally. They're now the second worst impacted country on the planet. But they are possibly a week to two weeks away from the peak still. And much criticism level towards Jair Bolsonaro, the Brazilian President. He called this a little flu, initially, and as recently as the weekend was seen not wearing a mask in a rally of his supporters. Commonplace to see those rallies and commonplace, too, for his messaging to be suggesting that it isn't as bad as everyone thinks, and that the economy is certainly a priority.
But it is quite clear here in the City of Manaus. This disease has been utterly devastating, this city is so remote from the rest of the country. And having to fly in so much support to keep itself going. The peak seems to be behind them but even at the cemetery we were at, five bodies turned up for burial in coffins while we were there just this morning. So, startling scenes where we are here and a sign possibly that the worst has certainly ahead for the rest of Brazil. Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, Manaus, Brazil.
VAUSE: Still to come, he won't resign and the British Prime Minister won't fire him. How his chief adviser Dominic Cummings broke the lockdown rules but kept his job. To test to test to test some more. How can Denmark offer COVID-19 tests to anyone who wants one?
VAUSE: Montenegro has become the first European country to declare itself free of the Coronavirus. Prime Minister made the announcement Monday after the country went 20 days without a new infection. Montenegro has a population about 630,000, recorded only 324 cases of the virus, nine deaths in total. The Czech Republic will no longer enforce wearing face masks in public with the exception of public transport, and enclosed areas, or part of a roll back on restrictions which began a month ago. The number of new infections has stayed relatively low, many have credited face masks for those numbers.
England's retail sector is set to begin reopening mid-June, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the move on Monday, part of the government's second phase of relaxing lockdown restrictions. Stores will need to complete a risk assessment and to take steps to guard against Coronavirus as outlined by the government. Business owners who don't comply could face fines or even jail sentences up to two years.
Well, the British public was told to shelter-in-place back in March under some of the toughest public order regulations since World War II. Boris Johnson's chief adviser tour drive in the country, visited relatives all the while he was suspected of having the virus, but Dominic Cummings will not resign. And CNN's Bianca Nobilo reports he has the support of the prime minister.
BIANCA NOBILO, CNN LONDON-BASED CORRESPONDENT: In an unprecedented move, the Prime Minister's chief aid Dominic Cummings took to the garden behind 10 Downing Street today to defend his actions. Cummings have been under fire in the British press and by the British public for violating the lockdown rules in the United Kingdom. He left his residence in London and then traveled 260 miles to his parents' place in Durham. He said that he did so because his wife had taken ill and he had a 4-year-old son to look after. Adding insult to injury, in terms of Cummings account of events, he then stopped off at Barnard Castle, about 30 miles from his parents place. He then said that he did so because he wanted to test his eyesight before journeying back to London. He also revealed that he'd returned to work at 10 Downing Street, after knowing that his wife had come down with Coronavirus symptoms. Cummings defended his decision.
DOMINIC CUMMINGS, CHIEF ADVISER TO BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: I could understand that some people will argue that I should have stayed at my home in London throughout. I understand these views. I know the intense hardship and sacrifice that the entire country has had to go through. However, I respectfully disagree. The legal rules inevitably do not cover all circumstances, including those that I found myself in. My thoughts and I think today that the rules including those regarding small children and extreme circumstances, allow me to exercise my judgment about the situation I found myself in.
NOBILO: Cummings, often accused of holding the press in contempt, ignoring them or being rude, then took questions from journalists. He revealed that he hadn't offered his resignation to the Prime Minister, nor had he considered it. A lot of the questions centered around how Cummings could justify his actions when members of the frontline services had stayed away from their families to try and protect them, hadn't visited grieving relatives, or hadn't been allowed to go to hospitals to see their loved ones suffering with Coronavirus. The prime minister was then asked to address those same concerns at a press conference in Downing Street Monday. He said he understood the British public sentiment.
BORIS JOHNSON, PRIME MINISTER OF BRITAIN: It's absolutely true that I didn't -- I didn't know about any of the arrangements in advance. What I think did happen was while I was ill and about to get a lot sicker, we had a brief conversation in which I think Dominic Cummings mentioned where he was. But I have to tell, you know, at that particular stage, I had a lot on my plate, and really didn't focus on the matter until the story started to emerge in the last -- in the last few days. So, my answer to your question is, you know, do I -- do I -- do I regret what is -- what has happened? And yes, of course, I do regret the confusion and the anger and the pain that people feel.
NOBILO: So, has the Prime Minister and his chief aide, who many credits with Boris Johnson's recent election victory, done enough to quell the public anger and to stop questions for now? Only one thing is really for sure after that incredible and unprecedented event in the garden behind Downing Street today. And that is it may have placated some but it certainly put fuel on the fire for others. Bianca Nobilo, CNN, outside London.
VAUSE: Well, Spain may have overcounted the national death toll from COVID-19. On Monday, a health official said discrepancies in reporting made a revision downwards by close to 2,000. Regardless, Spain still has one of the world's highest death rates and is now pushing on with the reopening, and that includes allowing tourists to visit from July without being required to stay in quarantine for 14 days. On Monday, Italy reported the lowest daily increase in the death toll since the end of February, just 300. And as new infections and deaths continue to fall, the country's moving forward with phased reopening. Now, seeking thousands of volunteers to help enforce social distancing that comes after complaints about nightlife activity.
Meanwhile, as of Monday, gyms, swimming pools and sports centers can now reopen, tourists have returned to Venice in St. Mark's Square. Many who are wearing face masks are taking in the sights. French health workers can expect a big increase in pay after the Prime Minister announced an overhaul of the hospital system on Monday. Low salaries and insufficient staff have long been complaints by health workers. Meantime, France reported a continued decline in the number of Coronavirus patients admitted to hospital after a spike over the weekend.
Well, Denmark has fared better than many of its European neighbors with the outbreak, and in the early stages of the pandemic, the country did not do a lot of testing mostly because of a shortage of kits. But now Denmark is said to reopen and it's ramping up testing in a big way. Here's Fred Pleitgen.
FRED PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It was a big promise President Trump made in early March. Coronavirus tests for anyone who wants them.
TRUMP: Anybody that wants a test can get a test.
PLEITGEN: A promise the President has not fulfilled to this day. But now, tiny Denmark is making exactly that possible. People are flocking to tent centers in Copenhagen and other towns. (INAUDIBLE) lives in a shared apartment and says she wants to make sure she's not jeopardizing her flatmates.
SARAH WIESE, RESIDENT, COPENHAGEN: The certainty and also so we can -- if I have it, that I can tell my friends, because we have been a little bit close, too close. PLEITGEN: The process is simple, make an appointment via an app and head to the nearest testing facility. The average waiting time to get an appointment, Denmark's Health Ministry says, is less than a day. There's even a drive-in facility, where motorists get tested in their cars.
HELLE HOSTRUP, TEST CENTER LEADER: Testing a lot lots of people in Denmark, just to be wiser to learn about how the virus is spreading.
PLEITGEN: Denmark is seen as a role model for the way it's combating the coronavirus in Europe. It shut down very early and its death toll remains low. But the country only recently started mass Corona tests to test both the presence of the virus or the antibodies showing a previous infection. Now, anyone whether they have symptoms or not, can get tested. That's to make sure there's no pockets of the virus left, Denmark's health minister tells me.
MAGNUS HEUNICKE, HEALTH MINISTER OF DENMARK: We are really chasing the last pockets and it is important for us to find them and then to really stop the spread of the virus.
PLEITGEN: With a population of less than 6 million, Denmark says it easily has the capacity to test anyone who wants to be tested. The health ministry says the broad testing scheme is part of a larger push to gradually open up the country after beating back the virus. Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Copenhagen, Denmark.
VAUSE: From Greece, a glimpse of the new pandemic reality for the tourism industry. Coffee shops, restaurants and bars reopened on Monday for the first time in two months. You'll note tables were set apart to observe social distancing guidelines. Employees were also wearing masks. Spending time at cafes and restaurants very popular in Greece, many people were just happy to be out again.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TEXT: We have missed this. This is psychology therapy for us, so of course, it's important.
TEXT: I was quite depressed because day and night I was in the house. Now, they have opened, we can get out to drink a cup of coffee.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Domestic travel restrictions have also been lifted ferries will operate at 50 percent of capacity. Greece is also preparing to welcome domestic and international tourists, international flights expected to resume next month. Well, death toll for the Coronavirus is soaring in Mexico. Doctors there have been struggling to treat patients, but now they're getting some much-needed support from colleagues north of the border. We'll hear from two of them in a moment. Also, strict measures have been in place, but COVID cases are soaring in Peru. We'll look at why, that's also ahead.
JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: Thanks for staying with us, everybody. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM.
I'm John Vause with the headlines this hour.
As the number of global coronavirus cases approaches 5.5 million, the World Health Organization is warning of a possible second peak in the pandemic. A senior official says it could coincide with the normal flu season, and that right now we're still in the middle of the first wave.
Meantime, the U.S. death toll close to 100,000 but that did not stop many Americans from packing beaches and boardwalks on Monday -- it was the Memorial Day holiday. Some wore masks and tried to social distance, but many others did not.
The White House pushing forward with a travel suspension from Brazil. Restrictions due to come into play in the next 24 hours. Brazil is now second only to the United States in confirmed coronavirus cases with nearly 12,000 more infections recorded on Monday.
As Latin America emerges as the next epicenter of this pandemic, officials in Mexico are reporting a spike in the number of confirmed cases in cities like Tijuana, not far from the U.S. border. The Mexican border state of Baja, California currently has the third highest infection rate in the country according to Johns Hopkins University.
In Tijuana, the state's biggest city, has seen hospitals overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients with reports of a chronic shortage of protective equipment like masks and gloves. And for the past week now, small teams of health care professionals from San Diego have volunteered to cross the border and offer whatever help they can to their colleagues in Mexico.
The teams were organized by Dr. Jess Mandel, a pulmonologist with the University of California San Diego Medical Center. He's with us from San Diego. So too is Dr. Timothy Morris, a critical care specialist who's been acting as the liaison with Tijuana General Hospital. Thank you, guys, for both being with us.
I want to start with Tim because you've been doing daily rounds on patients in Tijuana including those on the ventilator. So from your perspective, how serious is the crisis they're dealing with right now and is there one factor in particular which you think is making a bad situation a whole lot worse?
DR. TIMOTHY MORRIS, CRITICAL CARE SPECIALIST: Yes, it's a gigantic crisis right now. I think Tijuana General Hospital, which is the one that I have the privilege of going into has the sickest patients that you can possibly have with COVID-19. They are extraordinarily sick with the (INAUDIBLE) respiratory illness. The doctors down there are doing a great job with very limited resources and I think if there was one thing that would be the limiting factor in Tijuana General is just resources. They are doing -- they're making do with ventilators without perfectly adequate replenishment supplies and they are, as I said, they're doing a great job. But it's quite resource scarce.
VAUSE: And Jess, when you organized this, you weren't responding to any kind of official call for help, but you heard about the situation and heard it was pretty grim. These small medical teams that you've organized, it's all more of a collegial basis. Maybe you can help them, maybe they can teach you a few things in return. It's just basically helping out colleagues.
DR. JESS MANDEL, U.C. SAN DIEGO HEALTH: Yes. That's exactly right. We heard about the situation in Tijuana several weeks ago and the challenges that folks were facing down there. And really in speaking with the San Diego County Public Health group, the San Diego County Medical Society that the hope was that we could go down and assist them.
What we found is that these are terrific colleagues who were working extremely hard and in a very skilled fashion and that this is really a win-win. That by each of our groups sharing our experience, sharing our perspective, we both learn. And I think that the result is that it helps patients on both sides of the border.
VAUSE: Just to stay with you -- Jess. This has been happening, what, for about a week now. And the volunteers -- I think the plan is it will continue for another three weeks. Is that when you expect to see a peak in the outbreak and the worst should be over? Is that the timing here?
DR. MANDEL: Well, we wanted to commit in the beginning to a daily presence, seven days a week for four weeks, and reassess things as things go along and decide at that point whether every want to continue with that level of intensity, whether we want to continue at that level of intensity, whether we want to back it off to some type of telemedicine situation, or go a different approach.
But we saw there is really no substitute for being there in person, being able to speak with our colleagues, being able to look at the patients together, look at the ventilators together and brainstorm about how to address problems in these very sick patients.
VAUSE: And Tim -- I was reading some reports of local officials in Mexico believed the surge in COVID-19 patients, at least in part, can be traced to American citizens who just crossed the border, dual nationalities, over to Mexico. They're bringing the virus back with them. What have you heard about this?
DR. MORRIS: Well, there's really no evidence that I can point to -- to back that up at all. You know, of course, we're really seeing the sickest of the sick patients. I can tell you that the patients that I have been seeing don't have a preponderance of people who came to the United States and came back.
So I'm not really sure epidemiologically where we can trace the population surge to. I know that in Tijuana, it's a very poor city and the luxury of social distancing and staying at home and working by computer, et cetera is not something that they can really afford to do.
So a lot of the strategies that might work in the United States don't work all that well down there. So however the virus got down there, it tends to spread, you know, quite a bit.
There's also some chronic diseases down there that are predisposing people towards getting worse COVID infections or get worse infections if they have COVID. And it ends up putting them up in the ICU.
VAUSE: And Jess, regardless I guess of where the virus is coming from, it doesn't respect the border even if that border is closed. It moves in either direction which means a surge in a place like Tijuana could easily have been a surge in a number of cases in San Diego, right. So the bottom line is everyone is sort of in this together and should help each other. They don't have a choice.
DR. MANDEL: Absolutely. I think people don't always realize how tightly the communities on both sides of the border are connected. It's really one binational community connected by people, connected by families and the economies have very, very deep links as well.
So we have seen this in other conditions, other diseases that are within that one community diseases spread. And as you said, it's exactly right that to control it on one side of the border, we really need to control it on both sides of the border.
VAUSE: And Tim -- very quickly, we're almost out of time but Tim -- has there been anything which stands out to you which you've taken back to San Diego as something which you've learned that you weren't doing in San Diego that they're doing in Tijuana?
DR. MORRIS: I think we've seen a number of complications down in Tijuana that we haven't seen in San Diego simply because of the mass of people that have ended up in that intensive care unit. So we've seen some rather devastating neurological complications from COVID that we haven't seen up north. But as I said, I think that is because the volume of patients is really enormous down there.
VAUSE: We are out of time. But Dr. Jess Mandel and Dr. Tim Morris -- thank you very much for being with us and good for what you are doing. I'm sure it's much appreciated. Thank you.
DR. MORRIS: Thank you.
DR. MANDEL: Thank you for having us.
VAUSE: Meantime Peru saw a staggering one-day increase in coronavirus cases on Monday, more than 4,000. The country is second only to Brazil in the number of cases in Latin America. Unlike Brazil though, Peru enacted strict measures but the infection rate is still high because many of the poor have to leave home for work.
Rafael Romo reports on Peru's frantic battle to contain the virus.
RAFAEL ROMO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Field hospitals have become a necessity and inside public clinics the situation has turned chaotic.
This video obtained by CNN shows a government medical center in Lima, Peru's capital, with dozens of patients waiting for care in wheelchairs because there are no beds available.
The leader of Peru's main medical association describes the coronavirus pandemic in the South American country as a health catastrophe. Peru's health system, Dr. Alfredo Celis says is already overwhelmed by the pandemic.
The country of 32 million of South America's Pacific Coast has a coronavirus mortality rate of around 10 per 100,000 people. It's just as bad as Brazil, it's much larger neighbor to the east with nearly seven times Peru's population and the world's second highest number of COVID-19 cases.
The health system is so overwhelmed that doctors say they must make hard decisions. Since there aren't enough beds available, some say critical health care is prioritized for those with better survival chances.
Dr. Jesus Valverde, president of Peru's Intensive Care Medical Association, says it's not about discriminating against the elderly. But he admits there is a point system based on each patient's outlook.
President Martin Vizcarra has stayed away from the controversy, choosing instead to take action including forming a COVID-19 task force.
Pilar Mazzetti, the task force's chief and a former health minister says it is neither the health ministry nor the task force's policy to dictate whether patients get access to medical care based on their age.
ROMO: Mazzetti also says prioritizing health care based on the patient's outlook is not yet happening, although she doesn't rule out it may be necessary in the future.
Those on the front lines have no time for disagreements. Teams of nurses and doctors are traveling to the hardest hit areas. Along with Lima, the capital, the jungle region in the north had become Peru's new COVID-19 epicenter. It's a dangerous mission.
According to Peru's medical association, more than 30 doctors have died so far fighting the virus. Health professionals, the group is now paying homage at its headquarters in Lima.
Rafael Romo, CNN.
VAUSE: Still to come, why is Hong Kong's leader publicly supporting a Beijing-backed secretary law which most say would strip away even more of the territory's independence?
VAUSE: In Wuhan, China the original epicenter of this pandemic, officials say more than six million of 10 million residents have now been tested, part of an extraordinary push over the past week or so involving more than 200 mobile screening centers to try and contain a potential new outbreak.
After a 76-day lockdown earlier this year, the mass testing was ordered because a small number of new asymptomatic cases showed up.
Well, Beijing moving to impose new national security laws on Hong Kong. China's military says it's ready to safeguard national sovereignty in the city.
Hong Kong's pro Beijing security secretary publicly supported the new laws on Monday, warning of a growing threat from terrorism, saying calls for independence could undermine national security.
The move by Beijing widely seen as an attempt to strip away another layer of Hong Kong's independence. Despite that, it has the support of chief executive Carrie Lam.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CARRIE LAM, CHIEF EXECUTIVE, HONG KONG: Rights and freedoms are not absolute. If we want to protect the majority of people than if the minority of people -- indeed, a very small minority of people are going to breach the law, so organize and participate in terrorist activities to subvert the state power then, of curse, there has to be abandoned by the needed legislation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: CNN's Steven Jiang is standing by live in Beijing. Anna Coren also live in Hong Kong. That's where we'll begin. So Anna -- you've specifically asked Carrie Lam during this new conference that guarantees that the people of Hong Kong will enjoy freedoms like freedom of speech, right to protest, civil rights that they have become used to. She didn't really give much of an answer.
ANNA COREN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: No, she didn't.
She seemed to try to avoid it. She said that there is no need to worry. That people will be allowed to still express their personal opinions, if you like, as long as it is done legally. I said will people be allowed to take to the streets and demonstrate, have opposing views to Carrie Lam, to the Hong Kong government, to the CCP? Once again, as she said as long as it's legal.
COREN: Now a legal protest is one where the police grants a permit to the protesters. We saw some of that last year and that is where the peaceful protests began. But towards the end of last year, police weren't granting any permits. And that is where we saw that violence.
And Carrie Lam, the Hong Kong government, the CCP will say this is why that national security law is needed, to stamp out the terrorism, the separatism, the subversion that is being carried out by certain elements in Hong Kong society.
But John -- since we last spoke we have heard from the PLA commander here in Hong Kong, and this is indeed very worrying. These basically confirms people's fears in Hong Kong that PLA could very well be used to enforce Beijing's national security law.
Chen Daoxiang basically said that the PLA here in Hong Kong is determined and confident in safeguarding national sovereignty in the city. He says that his troops will resolutely implement the central government's decision and perform defense duties according to law and fulfill all tasks entrusted by the party and the people. Well the party is the CCP.
When Carrie Lam was asked this question a few hours ago, she didn't deny that the PLA or Chinese police could be used here in Hong Kong to arrest people in Hong Kong under that national security law. Well, the PLA commander has basically confirmed that they can be used, John -- to arrest people once that national security law is put into place.
VAUSE: Stay with us Anna -- because let's go to Steven now in Beijing and get sort of more details on this from the Chinese catalyst (ph). Steven -- we now have this word from the PLA that, you know, there is a very real possibility of seeing the People's Liberation Army rolling down the streets of Hong Kong at some point, arresting protesters.
What are you hearing from Beijing about this? Are they backing away from it, are they supporting it, have they confirmed it?
STEVEN JIANG, CNN SENIOR PRODUCER: Well, that's actually one of the things they have revealed so far that is in this upcoming law which, of course, is still being discussed by these National People's Congress delegates behind closed doors. Although its passage is never in doubt because the NPC, as you know, is largely ceremonial.
But one of the things that will be in this law is that state security agencies from Beijing will be able to set up their branches in Hong Kong to operate there to carry out relevant provisions because according to the Chinese government Hong Kong's own police forces lack experience and professionals to carry out national security laws. And that is why this is very, very worrisome to many people in Hong Kong when they realize one of the most powerful and secret of agencies in mainland China, the State Security Department, will be able to set up operations in Hong Kong and carry out this law directly.
But of course, from Beijing's perspective, this is long overdue because they say no government will allow any activities to endanger its national security on its own territory. And Hong Kong, of course, is a Chinese territory. That is why the government here is getting increasingly frustrated because almost 23 years after Hong Kong's sovereignty returned to Beijing, the local authorities there still unable to pass a similar law. That's why Beijing has decided to act and now to take the matter into their own hands because they increasingly see this territory becoming a bastion of anti-China forces -- John.
VAUSE: Steven -- thank you.
Just quickly back to Anna. What are the chances that this new security law will be rushed through to prevent the annual memorial there for the victims of the Tiananmen Square crackdown? We know that's something Beijing really hates.
COREN: Yes. John -- look, we don't really know as to when this national security law is going to be enforced. We understand that it's going to be voted-on on Thursday by the NPC. But as to when it's actually going to be enforced, we are not quite sure.
The Hong Kong government has extended the social distancing laws here, so people cannot gather in a group of more than eight. They have extended that to the 5th of June.
So this is not about people's health. This is purely a political play. It has angered people because as we know, Hong Kongers have been able to gather on the 4th of June to commemorate the Tiananmen Square massacre. This is the only place in China where you can actually hold a vigil for that anniversary.
It is looking more and more likely John -- that that will not be allowed to take place. And police have not issued a permit. They are not allowing it to be at this stage a lawful assembling. And if Sunday, which was the first real protest that we have seen of 2020 -- if Sunday is any indication as to how the police are going to act, they showed zero tolerance to anybody turning out on the streets, anybody chanting freedom for Hong Kong, any sort of slogans, you know, like that -- they were arrested.
COREN: So people gathering on the 4th of June, it is highly anticipated that police will not allow that to happen.
VAUSE: A week from Thursday. It could be a flash point. One which we'll be watching very closely.
Anna -- thank you. Anna Coren there in Hong Kong. And Steven in Beijing. Appreciate it. Thank you both.
List of foreign travelers banned from entering Japan expected to grow this week starting Wednesday. Japan says it will block entry to people from 11 more countries. That includes the U.S., India, South Africa.
Tokyo has already restricted entry to 100 other countries as it tries to contain the coronavirus outbreak. The move comes after the prime minister lifted a nationwide state of emergency. So far Japan has confirmed more than 800 dead and 16,000 cases of the virus.
We have this just in -- the largest air carrier in Latin America is filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the U.S. The CEO of Latam Airlines Group says the travel restrictions due to the coronavirus are the main cause of the bankruptcy. (INAUDIBLE) in Chile, Peru, Colombia, Ecuador and the U.S. will be impacted but the carrier says the bankruptcy will not affect reservations, employee pay, or flight vouchers.
The move comes just two after Colombia-based Avianca filed its own bankruptcy, also blaming financial problems caused by the virus.
Still to come, new studies show how easily the coronavirus can spread. Chances are you'll never go to a buffet ever again.. That's next.
VAUSE: Well just how the coronavirus travels seems to be an open question. Is it by touch, by air transmission? Is it direct contact with someone who's infected?
CNN's Brian Todd shows us two recent studies on how this virus travels.
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A disturbing altered reality demonstration of how coronavirus spreads. Medical experts teamed up with Japan's public broadcaster NHK to gather 10 participants.
The setting? A simulation of buffet style eating in a cruise ship's dining area or restaurant. The first participant rubs his hands with a special fluorescent liquid, only visible under black light.
He is simulating an infected person who'd coughed into his hands. Nine other people join him, put food onto their plates and proceed with a communal meal. After 30 minutes, the room goes dark. Ultraviolet light shows that fluorescent liquid the man had rubbed on his hands is now on several surfaces. Pitchers, tongs -- his residue has spread to silverware, glassware, three people had gotten it on their faces.
DR. PETER HOTEZ, DEAN OF TROPICAL MEDICINE, BAYLOR COLLEGE OF MEDICINE: Even some basic rules of dining like buffet style eating, we might have to reconsider that and go back to individual servings.
TODD: After one round, the team in Japan did a second, cleaner version of the same experiment. Had people wash hands, separated dishes, and replaced utensils more frequently. After 30 minutes of that test, no one had picked up the residue.
DR. MARK RUPP (ph), UNIVERSITY OF NEBRASKA MEDICAL CENTER: If that initial event where that person had the contamination in their hand had used hand hygiene prior to touching that utensil, that would have prevented the whole line from being contaminated. TODD: Another new study shows how this invisible enemy strikes when we
talk to each other. Researchers at NIH and the University of Pennsylvania found that one person talking loudly for one minute in a confined space could generate at least a thousand droplets. Into a dark box lit with lasers, a researcher speaks for 25 seconds, repeating one phrase.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stay healthy.
TODD: Inside the box, thousands of droplets can be seen here as streaks in the air, stirred by a fan, which is then turned off. The clock up top shows how slowly the droplets dissipate. Some linger for more than 12 minutes.
Those researchers say in real life, that's plenty of time for infected particles to be inhaled by others and cause new infections.
DR. HOTEZ: You're in a loud restaurant with a fair bit of noise. People are speaking loudly. There is going to be lots of micro droplets of this virus in the atmosphere.
TODD: One expert says both of these studies show that for the foreseeable future, we'll have to build safeguards everywhere to ward off this unseen threat.
DR. RUPP: Whether that is a flashing light or piece of tape on the floor, or a crossbar that comes down, or what have you -- you know, some sort of a reminder for somebody to say you can't do this until you have practiced hand hygiene. You can't come into this establishment unless you have a mask in place.
TODD: Brian Todd, CNN -- Washington.
VAUSE: A mall in Bangkok has a hands-free solution for a safe elevator ride. It's pretty simple really. Foot pedals have replaced buttons removing the need to touch anything with your hands and risk spreading the virus. Thailand's malls and department stores reopened about a week ago for the first time since March.
And for anyone in Seoul who can't travel because of the pandemic, a South Korean media project is bringing the ocean to the city. A giant screen at a mall in the Gangnam district is mesmerizing passersby with an animation of waves crashing what looks to be a glass tube.
The screen is about size of four basketball courts. The design company has received calls from all over the world to try and recreate it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LEE JWO HWAN, GENERAL MANAGER, CJ POWERCAST: We think people are particularly impressed and moved by the incredible energy of the waves in this closed off space. I think it is very meaningful that we brought a part of nature into the middle of the city, especially during this time when it is difficult to move or travel.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: It will be on display until the end of the month.
You're watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm John Vause.
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Robyn Curnow takes over for me right after this.
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