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Leading Experts: Masks Prevent Spread of Coronavirus; Fauci: Good Chance for Vaccine by End of Year; Scientists: Six Feet May Not Be Enough; Trump Distractions a Sharp Contrast to JFK's Message; Remembering Some of the 100K Americans Who Died; Brazil Reports 1,000+ Deaths, 20K+ Cases in One Day; Protests Intensify in Minnesota Over George Floyd's Death; Russia's Frontline Doctors Facing Hostility, Mistrust, Pandemic Brings Unique Challenges to Bangladesh Brothel; Tabitha Brown Shares Message of Joy and Hope Amid Pandemic. Aired 12- 1a ET

Aired May 28, 2020 - 00:00   ET




JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Hello and welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm John Vause.

Coming up on CNN NEWSROOM, from, "We have got this under control," to 100,000 dead in just over 100 days. And for a grieving nation, it seems the trumpeter (ph) in chief prefers a public fight with Twitter rather than talking about the staggering death toll.

Under pressure and under suspicion, doctors in Russia dealing with an out-of-control coronavirus and conspiracy theories all at the same time.

And from bad to truly awful, how the pandemic has made life even worse for sex workers in one of the largest brothels in the world.


VAUSE: On February 6th, the first death from the coronavirus was recorded in the U.S. Later, that same month, the president reassured everyone the virus would disappear by April. The outbreak, he said, was under control.

It did not and it never was. In just over 100 days, more than 100,000 people in the United States have died, significantly more than any other country, close to a third of the worldwide coronavirus death toll.

Those who died are someone's mother or father, brother or sister, friend or colleague. Chances are they died alone. The U.S. president, who often sees the world through numbers like profit margins and opinion polls, has been silent about the staggering death toll on his watch. "The New York Times" has this context: the pandemic death toll of

100,000 is the equivalent of 22 Iraq wars, 33 September 11 terror attacks, 41 wars in Afghanistan, 42 Pearl Harbors or 25,000 attacks on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi.

And the predicted death toll by early August has been revised upwards again, now more than more than 130,000. Still the entire country is down in the process of reopening. A collective roll of the dice that will be done right because, if it's not, chances are it will cause another outbreak, possibly many times worse. CNN's Jason Carroll begins our coverage this hour.


JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Despite the president's mixed messaging on mask wearing, the nation's leading expert on the pandemic remains crystal clear: social distancing and wearing masks works to help stop the spread.

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: I do it when I'm in the public for the reasons that, A, I want to protect myself and protect others and also because I want to make it be a symbol for people to see that that's the kind of thing you should be doing.

CARROLL (voice-over): What does not work is this, scenes from a now infamous lakeside pool party in Missouri this past weekend.

FAUCI: We all want to reopen. Everyone understands that. But when you see some of the scenes that were shown just now, that's very troubling because that's inviting there to be an issue.

CARROLL: Fourteen states are still seeing increases of new cases, several of those in the south. Today, the nation's capitol becoming the latest major city to announce its reopening. Starting Friday barbershops, hair salons and outdoor restaurant dining all allowed but with a warning.

MAYOR MURIEL BOWSER (D-DC): Moving into phase one means that more people can get infected.

CARROLL: In Florida, Disney World and some of the surrounding theme parks announce they hope to reopen to the public in July with some new rules.

JIM MCPHEE, SENIOR V.P., WALT DISNEY WORLD: All of our cast members are on social distancing squad understand the policy and are encouraging and persuading just to ensure that they keep their masks on at all times.

CARROLL: And late this afternoon MGM Resorts announced several of its key properties in Las Vegas will be opening, June 4th, including the Bellagio, the hotel New York, New York and the MGM Grand.

While in hard hit Miami-Dade County, the beaches and hotels will welcome people again starting Monday with some restrictions. Restaurants on south beach's famed Ocean Drive have already opened their doors today. On the other coast retail businesses, churches and pools can reopen in California, again, with limitations and a word of caution.

GOV. GAVIN NEWSOM (D-CA): We stopped and gotten through the first wave.

CARROLL: The numbers continue trending in the right direction in nearly 20 states, including Texas and New York, the epicenter of the pandemic.

New York City still under a stay-at-home order while Long island, just outside New York City, has already begun phase one of reopening with some construction, manufacturing and curbside retail.

Looking ahead many businesses banking on hopes a vaccine will be developed by the end of the year. Dr. Fauci says it may not just be wishful thinking.

FAUCI: I still think that we have a good chance if all the things fall in the right place that we might have a vaccine that would be deployable by the end of the year.


CARROLL: Jason Carroll, CNN, New York.


VAUSE: Joining us now from San Francisco is Dr. Shoshana Ungerleider, an internal medical specialist and founder of

Thank you for being with us. The narrative that we are hearing now from many experts seems to be shifting towards an actual cautious tone that, even if there is a vaccine, whenever that is, it doesn't mean the virus will disappear.

Here's part of a report from "The Washington Post."

"Experts call such diseases endemic, thoroughly resisting efforts to stamp them out. Think measles, HIV, chicken pox. It's a daunting proposition, a coronavirus tinged world without a foreseeable end."

So if we are going to live with the virus, we will have to make some significant changes to the way we live. And judging by what we've seen over the last couple of weeks of people crowded onto beaches and water parks and bars as well as clubs, would it seem that most if not many people have not come to terms with this yet?

DR. SHOSHANA UNGERLEIDER, ENDWELLPROJECT.ORG: You know, I think that's right. I'm not sure that we are ever going to get back to what people are considering to be this pre-virus normalcy, where we can go out to bars, hang out at the beach without thinking about our actions.

We didn't take aggressive measures early enough. So in other countries, countries like New Zealand, that started very early on with social distancing, they will hopefully be able to contain things like outbreaks, which are essentially inevitable at this point, given that we have really reopened society without clear, straightforward guidelines on how to do that.

So I'm very concerned about the public health ramifications of the current situation.

VAUSE: I wonder if we should stop thinking about safety as a binary choice. Total isolation equals total safety; anything less equals not safe at all. Maybe thinking about a gradient or spectrum of risk, you know, a beach of people spaced out at appropriate distance is a lot safer than a crowded restaurant or a bar.

UNGERLEIDER: I think that's right, John. The virus is here; it's in every state, it will be for a long time. I think part of the confusion that we have seen evaluating personal risk is that states, of course, have reopened and haven't had clear guidelines from the federal government for citizens about how to evaluate their own personal risk.

I think everyone needs to know that their personal risk depends on their age, their underlying health conditions, the age and the health of the people that live in their homes and then, of course, the prevalence of the virus in their area.

And the precautions that you take when you leave your home. And there's no such thing as a zero risk outing. And we do need to take these nuanced risks as we venture out. And it takes just one infected person to launch a whole new outbreak. We saw this in Washington state, with the choir gathering that came together. Only one infected person gave COVID to 90 percent of the group.

So I think it's very important to recognize that our actions really matter and that our behavior, how we choose to behave, really, will have an impact for ourselves, for our families, for our neighbors and our communities.

VAUSE: Part of that is being obviously aware of where we are. Places which have documented where the virus has spread includes choir practice, exercise classes, religious services, birthday parties, funerals, nursing homes, conventions, nightclubs, meatpacking plants, prisons, across cruise ships as well.

Documented cases of outdoor transmission are almost nonexistent. But we have this new research which has found increasing evidence suggesting 6 foot WHO recommendation is likely not enough under many indoor conditions, where aerosols can remain airborne for hours, accumulate over time and follow air flows over distances further than 6 feet.

If we're indoors in a poorly ventilated room and if no one's wearing a mask, that's a great idea if you want to get sick. What this comes down to is just how important wearing a mask is.

UNGERLEIDER: That's right, John. We know close quarters indoors are the highest risk places. My colleague, Dr. Toba Wande (ph) has talked about what we could actually learn about hospitals when we think about reopening schools, offices, places that tend to be densely populated indoors, of course. It's a 4-step approach.

It starts with good hand hygiene, washing and sanitizing the hands, wearing masks to reduce transmission, meaning I protect, you, you protect me. Distancing, using barriers, limiting the number of people who can sit in a classroom or a conference room and then, of course, it's also symptoms screening. Asking each person before they walk in the door if they have any worrisome symptoms.

So I think it's important to know each one of these things on their own isn't enough and that all 4 measures really need to be done together for us to be safely reopened. It's worked in hospitals to reduce transmissions and this four phase approach really should be used going forward.


VAUSE: I'd like you to listen to Dr. Fauci here on the second chances of the inevitability rather of a second wave. Here he is.


FAUCI: It could happen but it is not inevitable. If we do the kinds of things that we are putting in place now, to have the workforce, the system and the will to do the kinds of things that are clear and effective identification, isolation and contact tracing, we can prevent this second wave that we are talking about if we do it correctly.


VAUSE: Dr. Fauci is talking about all the preventative measures put in place but what about all these other things that we are doing, like anti mask protests and reopening economies without an adequate precautions and so many people especially here in the South following the president's example, not wearing a mask, that would seem to make a second wave almost a certain bet.

UNGERLEIDER: That's, right John. I agree. And if the last few weeks and months have shown us anything, a second round of COVID-19 cases is very likely in the coming months, unfortunately.

We know this virus is so contagious, it spreads very quickly from person to person, it's all across the U.S. And I am concerned, actually at the combination of a second wave of COVID-19 coinciding with flu season coming up.

It could make this much worse, and create a lot of confusion because of the overlapping symptoms between COVID-19 and the flu and this is going to put a heavy strain on the already taxed health care system.

So we need to be preparing for this now. Health care facilities need to be stocking up on PPE and testing supplies, and our city and state officials as well as the public need to prepare and understand that we may quickly have to reissue stay-at-home orders when local outbreaks start occurring. So I think it is true that our behavior matters and if right now we

can encourage everyone we know to wear a mask, to stay at home if you are able to and if you need to venture out, really think hard about your own personal risk for infection.

VAUSE: Dr. Shoshana Ungerleider, thank you so much for being with. Us I really appreciate your insights and your opinions. Thank you.

Well, the U.S. president has not said a single word about the coronavirus death toll. His public schedule this week makes no mention of a moment of silence or commemoration, no moment of collective grief.

He said his only reference to the number of dead came on Tuesday with two tweets bragging about lives saved because of his response to the pandemic.

But as CNN's Jim Acosta reports, the president has been saying a lot on other issues and it's often the case, much of it either misleading or just plain wrong.


JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Unmasked and unmoved by health experts, President Trump is playing the distractor in chief picking fights and spreading misinformation as the number of dead in the U.S. from the coronavirus hovered at the heartbreaking milestone of 100,000 lives lost. Stoking a cultural war over wearing masks --

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Can you take it up because I cannot hear you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'll just speak louder, sir.

TRUMP: OK, good. You want to be politically correct. Go ahead.

ACOSTA (voice-over): The president has been contradicted by a familiar face, Dr. Anthony Fauci.

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY & INFECTIOUS DISEASES: I mean, I do it when I'm in the public for the reasons that, a, I want to protect myself and protect others. And also because I want to make it be a symbol for people to see that that's the kind of thing you should be doing.

ACOSTA (voice-over): But even fellow Republicans aren't following the president's lead.

GOV. MIKE DEWINE (R), OHIO: This is not about politics. This is not about liberal or conservative. This is not a liberal or conservative issue. This is a issue of how do I protect my neighbor, how do I protect people that I love, how do I protect people I don't even know.

ACOSTA (voice-over): The president leveled more false attacks on MSNBC's Joe Scarborough drawing a rebuked from Senator Mitt Romney who tweeted, "I know Joe Scarborough. Joe is a friend of mine. Enough already."

Twitter has had enough too on Mr. Trump's bogus complaints that mail- in voting leads to widespread fraud. Twitter flagged his followers to get the facts.

The president threatened to shut down Twitter on Twitter, warning, "We will strongly regulate or close them down before we can ever allow this to happen". As it turns out, the president and White House Press Secretary Kelly McEnany have voted by mail in Florida. McEnany told CNN, "Absentee voting has the word absent in it for a reason.

It means you're absent from the jurisdiction or unable to vote in person. President Trump is against the Democrat plan to politicize the coronavirus and expand mass mail-in voting without a reason, which has a high propensity for voter fraud".

But that's not quite the case. The Florida division of election says, except on Election Day, no excuses needed to vote a vote by mail ballot, effect last on the president.

TRUMP: Absentee is OK. You're sick, your way as an example. I have to do an absentee because I'm voting in Florida and I happen to be president.

ACOSTA (voice-over): As for the president's fixation on hydroxychloroquine to treat the coronavirus, France just announced its banning the use of the drug for COVID-19. Fauci told CNN hydroxychloroquine just hasn't panned out as a treatment.

FAUCI: I'm not so sure it should be banned, but clearly the scientific data is really quite evident now about the lack of efficacy for it.

ACOSTA (voice-over): The president's litany of distractions during the pandemic stands in stark contrast with a different president, John F. Kennedy, and his message during the Cuban Missile Crisis.


JOHN F. KENNEDY, 35TH PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Many months of sacrifice and self-discipline lie ahead, months in which both our patience and our will will be tested, months in which many threats and denunciations will keep us aware of our dangers. But the greatest danger of all would be to do nothing.


ACOSTA (voice-over): The president met with New York Governor Andrew Cuomo here at the White House earlier today. The president hasn't commented on that meeting but Cuomo says both men talked about ways to energize the struggling U.S. economy, especially in the New York area, which was devastated by the virus -- Jim Acosta, CNN, the White House.

(END VIDEOTAPE) VAUSE: Now in contrast to Donald Trump, the man who will challenge him for the presidency in November was talking about this grim milestone. In a video message posted on Twitter, Vice President Joe Biden spoke softly and directly to the camera as he addressed those who've lost relatives and friends.


JOE BIDEN, FORMER U.S. VICE PRESIDENT AND PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: All of you who are hurting so badly, I'm so sorry for your loss. I know there is nothing that I or anyone else can say or do to dull the sharpness of the pain you feel right now.

I can promise you from experience, the day will come when the memory of your loved, one will bring a smile to your lips before it brings a tear to your. Eyes my prayer for all of you is that they will come sooner rather than later. But I promise you it will come, when it does. you know you can make it.

God bless each and every one of you and the blessed memory of the one you lost. This nation grieves with you. Take some solace from the fact, we all grieve with you.


VAUSE: Biden's show of empathy and compassion seemed in stark contrast with the U.S. president, who spent Wednesday in a fight with Twitter over fact checking.

The staggering death toll is the pain and cree (ph) for their relatives and friends and according to Pew Research, more than 60 million Americans say they know someone who is hospitalized or has died because of COVID-19. CNN's Wolf Blitzer has the stories of some of those lives that have been taken by this pandemic.


WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST (voice-over): Valentina Blackhorse was a member of the Navajo Nation. She won several pageants, including Miss Western Navajo.

As the pandemic swept through her reservation, she warned others to stay home, wash their hands and wear masks. She died one day after testing positive for coronavirus. She was 28.

Wilson Roosevelt Jerman worked at the White House under 11 U.S. presidents. He started as a cleaner during the Eisenhower administration. He was promoted to butler under President Kennedy, a move his granddaughter says was orchestrated by then first lady Jacqueline Kennedy.

In all, he served more than 50 years, ending with President Obama.

Forty-two-year-old Sundee Rutter was in remission from breast cancer when she became ill with the coronavirus. Her six children said their last words to her through a walkie-talkie placed at her bedside. Rutter had been a single mother since her husband's death in 2012, her six children, aged 13 to 24, now left without a father or a mother.

Leslie Leake, her daughter, Enekee, and her son, John Leake Jr., all died in the span of one month. Surviving daughter, Shanta, says her mother always helped others, despite being on a fixed income herself. She says her sister was the social butterfly of the family and her brother, John, was the chef who cooked at every family gathering.

Ellis Marsalis Jr. was a New Orleans jazz legend and the patriarch of the Marsalis family. The mayor of New Orleans called him a teacher, a father and an icon. Ellis Marsalis was 85.

Mary and Wilford Kepler were married for more than 73 years. They went to the same high school in Wisconsin and wed in 1946. They had three children, eight grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. Because they both had coronavirus, they were able to stay in the same hospital room with their beds pushed together.

They died within six hours of each other. Their family says, in their final hours, they were able to hold hands and say "I love you" to each other one last time.

Assistant school principal Joe Lewinger was a father of three. In his final moments, doctors handed him his phone so his wife, Maura, could say goodbye.


MAURA LEWINGER, WIFE OF CORONAVIRUS VICTIM: Every single day, my husband wrote me beautiful love letters on my lunch box, not just, have a great day, but just beautiful letters about what I meant to him.

I thanked him. I thanked him. And then I prayed. And then the doctor took the phone. And he said, "I'm sorry, but there's no more pulse."

And then I played our wedding song for him. And then -- and then that was it.


VAUSE: We find more remembrance for the victims of COVID-19 on

We'll take a short break. When we come back, protests are turning violent in Minnesota, demanding justice for a black man who died in police custody.

Also as China moves to strip Hong Kong of independence, the U.S. ups the ante with a stunning announcement that could further destabilize the situation.



(MUSIC PLAYING) VAUSE: According to accounts from the Pan American Health Organization, Latin America has surpassed the U.S. and Europe in deadly coronavirus infections, making it the new epicenter of the pandemic. Mexico has been among the countries worst hit.

Officials confirm more than 3,400 new cases in the past day, the largest increase so far there. Chile's health department also reporting a big spike in infections. Nationwide the virus has sickened more than 80,000 people, killed at least 840.

But Brazil is seeing the deadliest outbreak by far. In the past 24 hours alone, recorded more than 1,000 new deaths, 20,000 cases. Nick Paton Walsh reports from Rio de Janeiro.


NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR: It's startling to see Copacabana Beach deserted. That is what the rules say here in Rio de Janeiro. And the times firefighters have been seen on the beach, getting people off of it.

But still the boardwalk here, at times, busy, sometimes people seen there not wearing masks, exercising. And Rio de Janeiro potentially about, like many of the big cities in Rio, about to see the worst of the peak in the week or so ahead.

Face masks aren't mandatory here and many businesses closed. But the issue, of course, for Brazil is how the federal presidential level guidance has been significantly weaker. Jair Bolsonaro, the president, at times calling this "a little flu," playing down its severity and even now focusing more on the damage to the economy the lockdown measures have been causing and, in fact, insulting the governors in cabinet meeting, the video of which was released by the supreme court as part of a separate investigation, insulting local officials who've implemented these lockdown measures.

So many Brazilians here, frankly, looking to him for what they should do in their daily lives. You have to remember that the lockdown here has been in place for months.


WALSH: And so some pollings in fact suggest a slight increase in the reticence of people to go along with the more severe measures. But this is, of course, at the very worst of times.

The numbers here in Brazil are increasingly bad. They are edging towards 400,000 cases confirmed. And those are just the people who've managed to get a test in a country where on many occasions you seem to need three coronavirus symptoms to qualify for one.

So it's likely the full picture is, in fact, worse. The death toll at about 24,000 or so is bad but modeling from the IHME in the United States suggests it could get to 125,000 by early August. That would in itself would be utterly staggering. So Brazil here, while, frankly, its natural iconic beauty not lost at

all, it's a little more deserted and I think deeply anxious as the weeks progress as to how hard it will be hit by the virus' peak -- Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.


VAUSE: In the coming hours China's national parliament is expected to approve a sweeping security law for Hong Kong criminalizing acts of sedition and terrorism. The U.S. secretary of state has warned that the new law would mean that Hong Kong would no longer be autonomous. That stands as a manificial (ph) policy by the White House. It could mean an end to the city's special trading status with the U.S.

CNN's Kristie Lu Stout is live in Hong Kong; Steven Jiang also live in Beijing.

Steven, first to you, when is the law expected to be rubber stamped for approval?

And is there any word when it may come into effect in Hong Kong?

STEVEN JIANG, CNN SENIOR PRODUCER, BEIJING BUREAU: In about three hours, the 3,000 delegates are going to approve this decision to enact this law. The actual legislative process will take longer by the standing committee but the passage and anathema (ph) of this controversial line, Hong Kong is really now not in doubt anymore.

The Chinese government so far hasn't responded to Mr. Pompeo's latest assessment, as well as the latest remarks from Mr. Trump on the issue of Hong Kong. But they've been saying for days, of course, that they are determined and capable of enacting this law in Hong Kong and asking the U.S. to stop interfering in China's internal affairs and to abandoning their double standard on national security.

Now the leadership's focus today is the NPC closing ceremony, after which the country's number two leader is going to hold his annual press conference. This issue is undoubtedly going to come up.

Mr. Li is unlikely to bring up a specific counter measures against the U.S. if Washington imposes sanctions on China over Hong Kong. But state media here has made it very clear that the Chinese government has factored in these potential consequences, including the U.S. stripping Hong Kong of its special trading status.

In the words of the always nationalistic "Global Times" newspaper, the era of China being scared of the U.S. is now officially over.

VAUSE: You can always count on them for a good quote.

Kristie, that statement from the U.S. secretary of state, it seems like it's opening the door for the U.S. president to revoke Hong Kong's special trading status. Some describe that move as a nuclear option.

How is that decision being seen in Hong Kong? KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN ANCHOR: It's interesting here in Hong Kong, from the protesters, who seem to support the move. I'll get to that in a moment.

But the question is this, what does it mean to open that door?

It opens a significant door for the Trump administration to revoke the special trading status for Hong Kong and, for the territory, it would mean that the United States would treat Hong Kong the same way it treats China in terms of both trade and other purposes.

It also means it would jeopardize billions of dollars of trade between U.S. and Hong Kong. It would also dissuade people and companies from investing in Hong Kong. It would also hurt China, because Hong Kong is a very valuable east-west conduit for international finance and trade.

A number of Mainland Chinese companies and multinational companies have their regional and international bases in the city as well. Within hours of Mike Pompeo making that declaration that Hong Kong is no longer autonomous from, China we heard from high profile protest leaders in Hong Kong, including Joshua Wong. He gave a press conference with Nathan Law in the last hour and we will bring that to you shortly.

Let's bring us the tweet. Joshua Wong is appealing to international leaders all over the world to follow suit.

He wrote this, "I also urge, U.S. European and Asian leaders to reconsider whether Hong Kong special trade status can still be held since, once the law is implemented, Hong Kong will be assimilated into China's authoritarian, regime on both rule of law and human rights protections."

Protest leaders like Joshua Wong may support this move and what comes, next but the question needs to be asked how would revoking the special trade status of Hong Kong actually help safeguard Hong Kong's autonomy and safeguard its freedoms?

Could it very well hurt the people of Hong Kong?

Hurt businesses of Hong Kong and not sway Beijing at all?


VAUSE: Kristie, thank you. Kristie Lu Stout there for us in Beijing -- in Hong Kong, rather. And in Beijing, we have Steven Jiang. Thank you both.

We'll take a short break. When we come back, Russian doctors on the front lines of the pandemic are now facing another kind of threat. It's hostility from the very people they're trying to care for. Details in a moment.


VAUSE: Welcome back, everybody. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM with me, John Vause.

Now, protests in the U.S. state of Minnesota have continued well into the night with hundreds demanding justice for George Floyd, a black man who died in police custody. Protestors were seen throwing rocks, bottles and Molotov cocktails. A Target store has been looted. At least one other business was torched.

Officers responded with rubber bullets, flash bombs, tear gas.

A warning now: The video you're about to see of the police encounter with George Floyd is, in fact, quite disturbing. It shows the Minneapolis police officers there pinning the 46-year-old to the ground, with one knee on his neck for several minutes, despite Floyd repeatedly saying he could not breathe. Police insist he was resisting arrest.

A new surveillance video from a nearby restaurant shows the initial police encounter with Floyd. You can see him being walked from a car to the sidewalk, but there's no evidence in that video of Floyd actually resisting.

There's also police body cam footage that CNN is working to obtain. It has not been released.

The four police officers involved in this incident have been fired. The mayor is now calling for criminal charges against the officer who pinned Floyd to the ground.

The family wants all four officers to be charged with murder.

Live now to Minneapolis. CNN's Sara Sidner joins us on the lines.

Sara, what's the very latest now with these protests, because there's reports of gunfire being heard, as well as shops being looted? What else can you tell us?

SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (via phone): So earlier today, we'll show you some of the pictures of what went on. You know, there were flash bangs thrown by the police. There was tear gas. That was in reaction to water bottles being thrown at police and then eventually fire crackers at the police precinct, as well as eventually folks throwing things and breaking the windows -- some of the windows of the precinct.

But police responded in force. They came out, flanked the entire side of their precinct and this chaos just erupts. People were running. There were -- you know, it looked like the same picture as I have covered protests around the world, the same picture that we saw, for example, in the early days in Ferguson, although there were not the military-style vehicles that were used in that particular protest.


Instead, what you saw is protestors, for example, moving things like huge garbage cans into the way. Police walking a line, trying to push people back in that constant back and forth between police and protesters, a lot of the protestors with their hands up. That's just become, you know, the chant in the United States, "Hands up, don't shoot."

And so what you're seeing is absolute frustration, absolute angst and anguish, and anger over this video. And this is just one of a string of things that has happened in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area.

You know, they've had some other incidents where black men have been killed by officers. And this is just one in a stream. But this video is so excruciating to watch. It is so painful to watch, no matter, you know, sort of where you land on the spectrum of what you think happened. You actually see a man die right there in front of your face. And so there's been such an emotional reaction to this.

You saw mothers, fathers. You saw grandparents out there today, as well as, in some cases, some children. And then later on, in the evening things changed.

As the evening, as night fell, I was outside watching as suddenly, these flash things in the back and forth got very serious. We saw what appeared to be Molotov cocktails that were sort of sitting. And we were waiting to see what the protesters were going to do with those.

The rest of the group of protesters sort of standing back and having that conversation and yelling at police.

And then, suddenly a fire broke out. A fire broke out at the Auto Zone. And it was engulfing the entire area. You can see the smoke just billowing. That particular store is right across the street from the Third Precinct, the police precinct here in Minneapolis where people have been protesting.

On top of that, you saw people break into, eventually, a wine and spirits store. And suddenly, you know, a dozen people went in and started taking things out, looting that store.

And then, all hell broke loose, for lack of a better word, at the Target, where we saw the people going in, and just taking cartloads of things out of Target, putting that in their cars. It turned into a melee, and a reaction that, you know, some people at the very beginning of this, who were out there in the daytime, some -- some elders who were out there in the daytime, African-American leaders saying, Please don't do this. Please don't let this deteriorate. Violence begets violence. But there is a way to go about this.

But there were others who were saying, We are so angry. You can fix, stores, and you can repair windows, but you can bring back this life. And this is their reaction to that.

And we are still seeing that going on. There is still smoke billowing. There's still firefighters trying to control that. There are still police out and protesters, as well -- John.

VAUSE: Sara, thank you, Sara Sidner there on the line with the very latest from the protest in Minnesota. Thank you, Sara. A lot earlier, doctors in Russia are on the front lines of this

pandemic, but they're also dealing with open hostility from government officials, the media, and the public.

CNN's Matthew Chance has details.


MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): They're under pressure like never before. But instead of being applauded like in the west, doctors in Russia say that they're facing mistrust, even open hostility as they battle the coronavirus pandemic.

Doctors like Tatyana Revva, an intensive care specialist reported to the police after this video about equipment shortages was posted on social media.

Now she tells CNN she fears being fired, even prosecuted after investigators gave her hospital the all clear.


GRAPHIC: Because of my video they decided to check the availability of PPE and ventilators. But the check was carried out a month after I flagged the problems. You can imagine how much had been purchased in a month after the buzz the video made.

CHANCE: The desperation of Russian doctors and the overwhelming pressure on them has emerged as a grim theme in this country's pandemic.

One of these stressed out medics was questioned by police for spreading false information, after complaining about shortages in his hospital.

The other on the left sustained severe head injuries, falling out of a window. Two other doctors infamously died in similar circumstances.

Public disdain may be one factor driving them to despair. Not helped by rampant coronavirus conspiracy theories, some propagated on Russian state television.

Analysts say a significant proportion of Russians believe the virus has been invented by doctors to control society. Others, that doctors are hiding the true extent of casualties from the public.


Either way, disinformation is corroding trust in Russia's medical profession.

ALEXANDRA ARKHIPOVA, ANTHROPOLOGIST, RANEPA: Many people, of course, see doctors as heroes, but for -- for many of Russian society, doctors are traitors or villains, because they are participating in these hidden plans for controlling people. People don't believe in state medicine. They only believe in doctors whom they know personally. CHANCE: But it's the coronavirus itself that's killing Russian doctors

en masse. Official figures put the number at just over 100 so far, but healthcare workers have compiled a list of more than 300. Even the government admits nearly 10,000 medical staff are now infected.

Including Dr. Stella Korchinskaya, the X-ray specialist who says she was given practically no means of protection at her hospital, and had to appeal to an opposition-backed doctors' union for equipment. It didn't go down well with the hospital administrators, who denied any shortcomings.


GRAPHIC: They recorded me on video while the deputy head doctor started asking where was that PPE? At that moment, the PPE was being sneaked into the hospital, but I told them it was at my home so they wouldn't find it. We gave it out later that night. Then I got sick, so they didn't have time to discipline me.

CHANCE: You know it's bad when infection with coronavirus feels like a lucky escape.

Matthew Chance, CNN.


VAUSE: The European Commission has proposed a multi-billion-dollar financial package with the Euro Zone. The 19 Euro countries are expected to see an almost 8 percent recession this year. The commission is proposing to raise $825 billion on financial, markets, then distribute two-thirds of it through grants, the rest through loans. It would be the first time the block would raise a large amount of common debt.


URSULA VON DER LEYEN, PRESIDENT OF THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION: We are at a defining moment for the European Union. But I'm confident. The past weeks have shown that there is a growing awareness of the need to invest together in the European common good, and to do this by laying the foundations for the well-being of Europe's next generation. I always think, where there is a will, there is a way.


VAUSE: Southern European countries have agreed with the plan, but the more fiscally conservative northern countries would prefer just loans. The united (ph) vote is needed for this to pass, so guaranteed, there will be a lot more negotiations to come.

A short break now, but when we come back, we'll visit one of the world's biggest brothels, where the coronavirus is bringing a unique threat.



VAUSE: Larry Kramer was a voice demanding to be heard, and the author and outspoken AIDS activist has died of pneumonia, 84 years old.

In the early 1980s, he published an essay that was a call to action against a disease that wasn't well understood. His often controversial activism helped force a national response to the AIDS crisis.

Kramer is credited with saving thousands of lives, but he remained frustrated by the lack of a cure for HIV.

Even in countries where prostitution is legal, sex workers live on the margins of society. And the coronavirus pandemic is bringing new challenges to one of the world's biggest brothels in Bangladesh. CNN's Anna Coren reports in today's "CNN Freedom Project."


ANNA COREN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A desperate struggle for basic supplies as women jostle in the pouring rain. A kaleidoscope of color among this drab, squalid and desperate existence, as two months of hunger turns to frustration.

These women are under lockdown in Daulatdia, Bangladesh, one of the biggest brothels in the world. It's stores are now closed to customers in an attempt to stop the spread of COVID-19. With nothing to eat and no way to earn money, their only hope is to be one of the lucky ones to receive a bag of rice.

"Thank God I got the relief," this woman says.

The local government, police and charities have been bringing in supplies to help them survive, including this activist who used to be a sex worker.

"I'm trying to help them," she says. "I want them to be safe and healthy. But these supplies will only last them a week."

For the 1,500 women and girls stuck in this filthy, sprawling slum 100 kilometers outside Dhaka, they say this aid is not enough.

NODI, SEX WORKER (through translator): If this continues, women and children will die from starvation. We pray that the virus will go away.

COREN: For 25-year-old Nodi, her world has gone from bad to worse. She arrived at the brothel when she was 14 after she says she was tricked by a broker and sold to a brothel madam. More than a decade after being sold into sexual slavery, Nodi is now facing a new problem: hunger.

NODI, LIVES IN BROTHEL (through translator): Because of this pandemic, we are now in trouble. There isn't enough relief for everyone.

COREN: Nodi has a son that lives with family who have disowned her. She says it's better this way.

NODI (through translator): We want our children to be far away from us so that they can become good human beings.

COREN: Situated on the banks of the Padma River, with a train line running next to it, Daulatdia is one of 11 government-sanctioned brothels in Bangladesh. Prostitution is legal here if you are over the age of 18.

Before the lockdown, around 3,000 men would visit this brothel every day, many of them truck drivers transporting goods to the train station or ferry terminal.

A study by a local human rights group showed 80 percent of the sex workers were trafficked or tricked into coming here. And many of them are underage.

The local police chief denies there are underage sex workers in the brothel. But he did tell CNN that human trafficking has been a problem and something they're working to combat.

The Bangladesh home ministry also told CNN that the law has severe penalties for trafficking. And says police are on full alert for this even during the pandemic.

Some of the women in the camp are pregnant, fathered by men who pay as little as $2 for sex. And of the roughly 500 children inside, many of them were born in the brothel.

Twenty-two-year-old Shurovi was one of them. Her mother was a sex worker but gave her to a local charity to raise. Shurovi received an education, got married, and moved to the capital until her marriage fell apart. Homeless with no job, she ended up back in the place she thought she'd escaped. Her dreams of making enough money to buy a plot of land and break away from this existence now drifting away.

SHUROVI, LIVES IN BROTHEL (through translator): I am facing a financial crisis which threatens our survival. If I do not have any income I cannot support my child. The sport we are getting for the government is not enough.

COREN: She can't even buy baby milk or diapers for her 10-month-old boy.

SHUROVI: It seems like we have died before death.

COREN: Now Shurovi and these other women face an uncertain future inside this living hell.

Anna Coren, CNN.


VAUSE: After the break, meet America's mother, Tabitha Brown. She earned the title on social media with video messages of hope, delivered with a voice which sounds like a hug, made all the more popular in the midst of a pandemic.


VAUSE: History will have to wait a few more days, it seems. With 17 minutes before takeoff, bad weather for SpaceX and NASA to scrub their mission to send two NASA astronauts to the International Space Station.

It would've been the first manned space flight to take off from U.S. soil in almost a decade. Next attempt is schedule for Saturday afternoon, weather permitting, of course.

A cruel twist to this pandemic is that survival means keeping our distance, minimizing time and contact with almost everyone, which in turn is feeding our fears and anxieties.

And right now, almost all of us could do with a hug, some kind words and reassurance that everything will be OK.

For many who have been alone and in lockdown, the closest they could get to a hug has been the smooth, dulcet tones of Tabitha Brown. In the her first five weeks of this pandemic, she amassed two million followers on TikTok. Her most watched video has been viewed more than 12 million times, all driven by a combination of vegan recipes, messages of hope, and a voice like sweet melted chocolate.


TABITHA BROWN, INFLUENCER: I want you to do something with me, OK? Breathe in, breathe out. Did you do it? You did? Did you feel it? You know what that means? Baby, you're still alive. Honey, you are live and able. Yes, you. Which means you still have purpose. No matter what right now feels like or looks like, you have a reason to be here OK? I know sometimes it gets tough. I promise you, it's going to be OK.


VAUSE: Tabitha Brown is with us this hour from Los Angeles. And a quick disclosure: I've been a very big fan since my daughter sent me one of your videos a couple weeks ago. So thank you. It's great to talk with you.

BROWN: Thank you. I appreciate it.

VAUSE: All the recent stories I read described you as America's mom. How does that title sit with you? It seems a bit of a big responsibility right now.

BROWN: You know what? What is so crazy, over the last 10 years, on my vision board, I've always said I want to be known as America's mom, as an actress. Because I always told people, I'm like Claire Huxtable means Roseanne, right in the middle.

And so when people started calling me that after doing on TikTok, it blew my mind. And I accepted it, and I take it as a good responsibility. So I don't mind it at all. I actually love it. VAUSE: Excellent, Well, I want to play a brief clip from one of your

most watched videos, one of your most popular videos. Here it is.


BROWN: You need a hug? Well, sometimes potato wedges make you feel like they're hugging you. At least that's how I feel. Let's make some.


VAUSE: Why do you think these videos have resonated with so many people during this crisis?

BROWN: You know, what I first started doing TikTok in particularly, I had this thought of I want people to feel like it's just me and then talking. Because I suffered many years ago from anxiety and depression, and I know what it feels like to be scared or in a dark place. And I realized we're going through something as a world that we've never been through before. And that's the pandemic.

And so in that moment, I thought, Well, I want to get real close and comfortable with them to make them feel like I'm your friend right now. You can count on me. And if I am the only light they get in the day, I wanted to be that.


And so that's why I did it, and I -- that was my prayer, and my hope, and I think that it worked. People kind of identify with me.

VAUSE: Absolutely, and you mentioned this. When you started out in Hollywood, you started out as an actor. And I think they kept telling you, you know, for a while there, lose the accent. Now I want to play, again, the first TikTok video you did, or the one that started all of this. It's about a vegan sandwich. It went viral.


VAUSE: Here's part of it.


BROWN: Honey, I've got to take another bite just so you all can see. OK? Just so you all can see, because I'm in the car, and I said, Let me just eat a little bite of it. Honey, I ate that whole half. I said, Well, I've save the other half for later. But honey, listen. Y'all, lord have mercy. You know I can't sing, but this done make me sing, Whole Foods!


VAUSE: There you are, complete with a southern accent, and more "you alls" than you can poke a stick at. It seems to be a valuable lesson about being true to yourself.

BROWN: Absolutely, and you know, me being true to myself and being authentic is really what I call freedom. You know, for many, many years I covered my accent. I wore my hair one way, because I was told to do so.

But the moment I found my freedom, I feel like it's like a second chance at life. And I have never looked back since. And this is who I am, and I'm very proud of it. And I would never change. Of course, as an actor I'll develop a character and do whatever that character needs. But when you want Tab, honey, this is what you're going to get.

VAUSE: We're almost out of time, but do me a favor. Tell me. Tell me, John, that everything is going to be fine.

BROWN: Honey, John, do you know that everything is going to be OK? Everything is going be fine, honey.

VAUSE: OK. I appreciate that. Thank you. I feel better already. Thanks, Tabitha. Good to see you.

BROWN: Thank you, bye.


For the latest on the global pandemic, please tune into Anderson Cooper and Dr. Sanjay Gupta and their global town hall, "CORONAVIRUS FACTS AND FEARS," 8 p.m. Thursday in New York, 8 a.m. Friday in Hong Kong.

Thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm John Vause. Please stay with, us. I'll be back with more news right after this.