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Outrage Spills across America; U.S. Leads the World in Coronavirus Deaths; Trump Pulls Funding from WHO. Aired 4-5a ET
Aired May 30, 2020 - 04:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): This is CNN breaking news.
MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Hello and welcome to our viewers here in the United States and all around the world. I'm Michael Holmes. This is CNN NEWSROOM.
We'll take you straight to Portland, Oregon, in the U.S., where the violence that we've seen in other parts of the country is still underway over on that side of the country. What you're seeing there is a fire that has been set in a bank branch. We saw earlier police trying to put it out with a small extinguisher. They failed to do so.
You can still see the officers are still outside the bank as the fire continues. The authorities there have officially called this a riot. We can't see many protesters there at the moment. But it has been designated a riot and apparently the authorities have issued final warnings to the people on the streets to disperse, go home or action will be taken. We're keeping an eye on that.
Meanwhile, of course, there have been angry, sporadic violence spilling into the streets of many major U.S. cities, all of it sparked by the death of an African American man while in the custody of Minneapolis police. A short time ago the governor spoke about the unrest.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. TIM WALZ (DFL-MN): We understand what has to happen. What is going on out there right now is not that. The wanton destruction and specifically of ethnic businesses that took generations to build are being torn down.
The disenfranchisement that went with what we witnessed with George's death is one thing. But the absolute chaos, this is not grieving. This is not making a statement that we fully acknowledge needs to be fixed. This is life threatening.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: More people are mounting the sign at the CNN Center in front of the actual building and they are now still chanting, (INAUDIBLE) against the sign.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOLMES: Meanwhile Georgia's governor declaring a state of emergency, calling out the National Guard as well after protesters torched a police vehicle right out of the front of the CNN Center here.
And they also vandalized the CNN Headquarters, which is in downtown Atlanta. You had similar scenes across the country.
Meanwhile new video emerging of the moment George Floyd was arrested on Monday outside a convenience store. It is disturbing to watch, as is all of the video of this dreadful incident.
What it appears to show is Floyd on the ground and not just one officer but several officers on top of him. Of course, one has his knee in Floyd's neck. That lasted for nearly nine minutes. But you can see two other officers as well on top of his body.
Floyd was left motionless. He didn't have a pulse and that pressure on the neck continued. All four of those officers were immediately fired. The former officer with the knee on his neck is now being charged. The county prosecutor said the other officers could also be charged.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He is in custody and has been charged with murder.
QUESTION: What about the other three officers involved?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The investigation is ongoing. We felt it appropriate to focus on the most dangerous perpetrator.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOLMES: We have this story covered all throughout the U.S. Our Ed Lavandera is in Dallas but we start in Minneapolis with Sara Sidner.
SARA SIDNER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We're now 4.5 hours after the 8:00 pm curfew that was set here in Minneapolis. And what we're seeing play out in the streets, in this neighborhood filled with homes, just down the street about three or four blocks from the 5th Precinct, is a large contingent.
Hundreds of officers coming forward, for the first time tonight. We are seeing a large contingent of police pushing people back from that 5th Precinct and into the neighborhood.
What is happening, where you are seeing that fire there, is the protesters have made their own kind of barricade, trying to put something between them and the officers who are trying to advance, street by street.
And from those vantage points, where you see that fire, they will throw rocks. They will fight back. And they have kept saying, we are going to fight back this time. Nothing is going to stop us from fighting back.
The police are responding with teargas, with rubber bullets and we're seeing that play out. And when they start, you will see people start running because those rubber bullets leave some serious, serious bruises.
SIDNER: And you will also notice that we are in this neighborhood that's got tree-lined streets, there are folks that live here, looking down from their property, worrying about their property. But so far, the protesters here have not gone and dealt with any of these homes, not done anything to the homes.
But they have -- they have broken into things, like the bank that is up the street. That is on fire. We have seen a convenience store looted.
But here, they said they are sick and tired of what is happening between black folks and the police. And they are going to continue to fight for as long as they can so that they can get justice. Those -- those are their words and they are staying out here in these streets -- Sara Sidner, CNN, Minneapolis.
ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Thousands of protesters took to the streets of Dallas on Friday night and much of the evening the protests were peaceful. Thousands gathered here in front the police department and started marching their way through city points and into downtown and that is where things escalated on Friday night.
There were a couple of intersections where protesters became in close contact with officers. Dallas police say that's when objects and rocks were thrown at officers and SWAT teams moved in.
Dozens of rounds of teargas were fired into the crowd to disperse the crowd on the streets of downturn Dallas. That has lasted for several hours into this evening.
Much of the crowd has been dispersed into small groups and splintered up around downtown Dallas. Another small group ended up here late in the evening, once again in front of Dallas police headquarters.
We know that there have been a number of arrests made here throughout the evening. We witnessed two or three different arrests and people loaded up into the back of Dallas police vans. We don't know the exact number of how much people were arrested as the crowd dispersed in many locations. But it was another tense night, one of the many cities across the
United States, where these tense protests have unfolded on this Friday night -- Ed Lavandera, CNN, Dallas.
HOLMES: And demonstrations in Washington sent the White House into lockdown briefly on Friday. Protesters were in Lafayette Park, right in front of the White House. Some scuffles broke out and, for a time, the Secret Service went into lockdown and would not let anyone off the grounds. It was lifted a short time later.
Authorities say about 200 demonstrators blocked the 101 Freeway in San Jose, California, Friday. Both directions blocked for a time. Several California Highway Patrol officers were hit with projectiles, some cars were also vandalized.
And in Las Vegas, Nevada, demonstrators took over portions of the Strip on Friday night. Protesters were marching peacefully but Las Vegas police said several people were arrested.
And the National Guard is being deployed in Atlanta after what were peaceful protests turned violent on Friday night. Windows were smashed, buildings were looted, fires were set, including right outside here where I sit at the CNN Center. Police responded with tear gas in some areas. Nick Valencia was in the middle of the chaos.
NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: What started as a peaceful demonstration didn't take long to turn violent. CNN Center was one of the targets of the frustration of the demonstrators.
They showed up here in solidarity with the demonstrations that have been happening in Minneapolis. Hours after arriving here, though, at CNN Center, they began breaking windows, throwing rocks. Just look at some of the items that were being tossed towards the police line.
In fact, our crew here, along with my photographer, William Walker, and producer Kevin Conlon, were here as police had a standoff with demonstrators. That video you're witnessing, looking at now, it was intense, to say the least.
This scene was chaotic. It was -- we saw officers -- at least two officers injured in clashes with demonstrators. Look at these windows busted open by an individual who is using a skateboard to smash open the windows.
And there was a point and a moment where it appeared as though the demonstrators might actually gain entrance into the CNN Center. Eventually, that crowd was dispersed by the police using teargas canisters. They were eventually able to pull the demonstration -- demonstrators back.
But it did take hours before the unrest that we saw unfold in downtown Atlanta was finally clear from the streets -- reporting at CNN Center, I'm Nick Valencia.
HOLMES: And as the situation in Atlanta deteriorated, the mayor made an emotional appeal, calling for calm and telling the protesters there is a better way to win their fight.
MAYOR KEISHA LANCE BOTTOMS (D-GA), ATLANTA: When I saw the murder of George Floyd, I hurt like a mother would hurt. And yesterday when I heard there were rumors about violent protest protests in Atlanta, I did what a mother would do.
I called my son and I said, "Where are you?"
I said, "I cannot protect you and black boys shouldn't be out today."
So you are not going to outconcern me and outcare about where we are in America. I wear this each and every day and I pray over my children each and every day. So what I see happening on the streets of Atlanta is not Atlanta. This is not a protest. This is not in the spirit of Martin Luther King Jr.
This is chaos. A protest has purpose. When Dr. King was assassinated, we didn't do this to our city.
So if you love this city, this city that has had a legacy of black mayors and black police chiefs and people who care about this city, where more than 50 percent of the business owners in metro Atlanta are minority business owners, if you care about this city, then go home.
You're not honoring the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. and the civil rights movement. You're not protesting anything, running out with brown liquor in your hands, breaking windows in this city. T.I. and Killer Mike owned half of the west side. So when you burn down this city, you're burning down our community.
If you want change in America, go and register to vote. Show up at the polls on June 9th. Do it in November. That is the change we need in this country.
You are disgracing our city. You are disgracing the life of George Floyd and every other person who has been killed in this country. We are better than this. We're better than this as a city. We are better than this as a country. Go home. Go home.
And the same way I can't protect my son on yesterday, I cannot protect you out in those streets. You're throwing knives at our police officers. You are burning cars. You have defaced the CNN building.
Ted Turner started CNN in Atlanta 40 years ago because he believed in who we are as a city. There was a black reporter who was arrested on camera this morning who works for CNN. They are telling our stories. And you are disgracing their building.
This is not the legacy of civil rights in America. This is chaos and we're buying into it. This won't change anything. We're no longer talking about the murder of an innocent man. We're talking about how you're burning police cars on the streets of Atlanta, Georgia. Go home.
HOLMES: Let's speak more now with Rashad Robinson, he is the president of the civil rights group Color of Change, he joins me now from New York.
And thanks for doing so. I wanted to start by taking a look at the breadth of these protests. This is multiple cities; in many cases, multiple grievances. And that really does speak to the depth of feeling on the core issue, doesn't it.
RASHAD ROBINSON, COLOR OF CHANGE: It speaks to all the ways that communities and people have felt unheard, not counted, not listened to, have felt both the figurative knee on their neck and the literal knee on their neck from the policies and practices that have targeted, exploited and mistreated our community for a long time.
So people are, all across the country, speaking out but the thing is that video was just so clear and so visceral. And to not have sort of the wheels of justice instantly respond the way that they were required to also represented for folks sort of a deja vu.
ROBINSON: It sort of brought back the PTSD that we've seen in communities around the country, as police treat our communities like enemy combatants time and time again and suffer no consequences.
HOLMES: Regarding George Floyd, do you think the charges laid against the officer would have come if not for what we saw on the streets of Minneapolis Thursday night and, for that matter, if not for cellphones?
ROBINSON: You know, if I had pushed the life out of someone with my knee in front of a crowd of people, they wouldn't have needed to wait days upon days to arrest me, to charge me. There is a different set of rules for police.
And what we know about Hennepin County and much of the country is that police officers don't face consequences. This is why as we fight to ensure that justice is served in Minneapolis, that the district attorney in Hennepin County actually delivers justice and that those police officers are held accountable.
We have larger systemic issues to deal with to ensure that police officers are held accountable, that our justice system works and there are not two sets of rules.
So absolutely not, I do not believe in any way, shape or form that we would be here with one arrest, with third degree murder charges if folks did not rise up.
That is not even at the level that the family is asking for, that the community needs. There are other cops that need to be charged and arrested. We need to ensure that the district attorney doesn't throw this case, as we've seen far too often in so many communities.
But the people speaking out and standing up is so incredibly important because what we recognize is, without that, nothing would have happened. Folks would have went (sic) on with their day to day and treated it as just another life lost.
And it is significant, too, that George Floyd's death sparked these protests around the country an, in many cases, these protests are related to other incidents involving police.
And we keep coming back and having the same sorts of conversations that there needs to be, you know, fundamental change and there are systemic issues that haven't been dealt with.
Why do you think they have not been dealt with and we are still having these conversations?
ROBINSON: They have not been dealt with because our leaders haven't had the political will. They have been afraid of police unions and corporations and other political actors. The biggest corporations in the city, if they demanded the politicians do something about it, it would happen overnight. If they demanded it, it would happen.
If the political leadership recognized that this is something that needed to be done and black folks' lives were as important as white folks' lives, something would have been done.
And when there is sort of a desire to get things done in this country, the forces can come together quite quickly. But time and time again, video after video, uprising after uprising, we continue to hear excuses why police officers cannot be held accountable, why there is a different set of rules for police offices, why they get immunity, why they get to see evidence before an actual discovery, why body cameras can be turned off, why there is just a whole different set of rules time and time again.
And there is a whole profit incentive structure around policing in this country. That has to change. And so the question is, you know, as we ask people to join us at Color of Change and millions of people have already signed our petition and joining this movement, to not just hold the district attorney accountable but to deal with the fact that, if he doesn't do his job, that we need the governor to pull the case from him and put it in the hands of a special prosecutor.
But there are district attorneys all around the country not doing their job. If you are sitting at home watching this, there is a district attorney in your community that is likely not actually holding police accountable at the level.
And we need people to step up, stand up and get involved in this effort because we cannot continue to say that we want justice if we're not willing to fight for it.
HOLMES: Rashad Robinson, thank you so much. Appreciate your voice.
ROBINSON: Thanks for having me.
HOLMES: We'll take a quick break.
HOLMES: When we come back, the latest on the coronavirus pandemic. New York, which has had more cases and deaths than many countries, is moving to reopen.
Plus President Trump's move against the WHO, that is when we come back.
HOLMES: Welcome back.
The number of coronavirus cases worldwide has reached nearly 6 million according to Johns Hopkins University which also reports more than 360,000 deaths, more than 102,000 deaths just in the United States. And we know how hard New York has been hit but now the city is poised to get back on its feet again. Brynn Gingras with the story.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well done, New York City.
BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Once the epicenter for the global pandemic, New York City about to reach a major milestone. It's set to reopen in less than two weeks.
GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): June 8th, we have to be smart. Again, this is not happy days here again, it's over. We have to be smart.
GINGRAS (voice-over): The city says it will monitor key data daily in phase one. And if the numbers reach a certain threshold, it could trigger restrictions again.
On Monday, five regions of the state are set to move into the next phase.
GINGRAS (voice-over): Hairdressers, business offices and retail can open with some limits.
Like New York, 24 other states in the country are seeing a downward trend in the seven-day average of new coronavirus cases. In Washington, D.C., hair salons reopened today by appointment. And residents could enjoy dining out, again but outdoor only.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Today is the first day of phase one or what I like to call stay at home lite.
GINGRAS (voice-over): Georgia, which continues to hold steady, will take the major step of reopening bars and nightclubs with social distancing. Still, there is growing concern about the rising cases in 15 states, primarily, in the Southeast.
Like Arkansas, which saw its highest single-day increase of community spread coronavirus cases Thursday. The situation is critical in Alabama, where cases are doubling two weeks after the state started to reopen. ICU beds are filling fast, causing shortages in some cities.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE) the least prepared to deal with this kind of surge have the least capacity really to do this. And this is what we have been warning about for months now.
GINGRAS (voice-over): In Washington and California, where the first cases in the country were reported, both states are seeing cases spike, California recently just feeling its biggest jump since the pandemic started.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When you are testing 20 to 34 -- 30-fold more individuals, you are going to have more positive tests. That's an inevitability.
GINGRAS (voice-over): And a grim prediction from the CDC as we move into another month of this pandemic. The agency forecasting the death toll could surpass 123,000 deaths in the U.S. in the next three weeks.
Back here, in New York, if those numbers continue to drop. If that June 8th reopening date actually sticks, then we could see construction coming back, manufacturing, curbside retail pickup in New York City. The city says it's actually working with business owners to ease this transition -- Brynn Gingras, CNN, New York.
HOLMES: Despite a curfew in Minnesota's Twin Cities, demonstrators were out again on the streets of Minneapolis and St. Paul. We'll have the latest after the break.
HOLMES: Welcome back. I'm Michael Holmes. You are watching CNN NEWSROOM.
The rage over the death of an African American man in police custody boiling over across the U.S. In Minneapolis, protesters stayed in the streets Friday, despite an
evening curfew. Earlier in the day, about 1,000 people had peacefully marched along an interstate freeway.
In New York City, protesters clashed with police in Brooklyn. At least 72 people were arrested, including five facing felony charges involving assaults on police officers.
And here in Atlanta, a chaotic and destructive protest; it began peacefully but later demonstrators smashed windows at the CNN Center and at least one police car was set on fire outside our headquarters here.
All of this ignited, of course, by the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. The former police officer who pressed his knee on Floyd's neck was charged Friday with murder and manslaughter. But activists and his family say it is not enough.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're not satisfied with one officer. That's (INAUDIBLE). All of them were complicit in his murder and they all need to be held accountable just as if it was four black men that killed somebody.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOLMES: According to the criminal complaint, former police officer Derek Chauvin leaned on Floyd's neck with his knee for almost nine minutes.
HOLMES: Joey Jackson is a CNN criminal and legal analyst and criminal defense attorney. Delighted to say he is joining us now from New York.
And let's start with this officer, Derek Chauvin, who is charged with murder and manslaughter.
First of all, what is third degree murder?
I guess it can be upgraded.
But what is that?
JOEY JACKSON, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: So this is what occurs -- good to be with you -- what happens is that it is murder without intent.
Most people, when they think of murder, think of something as a deliberate intentional act, it was done on purpose. Murder two is depraved hard murder. It is when you engage in an act that is inherently dangerous, that you are just so void of humanity, you act with a depraved heart and you don't do it on purpose but there is a substantial likelihood a person can die because it was so callous.
So what are we speaking about? If you have your knee on someone's neck for almost nine minutes, you can argue, yes, you intended to kill them. But the prosecutors don't have to prove that. All they have to show is that it was inherently dangerous, the act that you engaged in, and that was likely the person would die and you didn't care. You did it anyway.
And so that is what the third degree murder charge is. And remember, there is also the manslaughter charge. And what that is, you don't even have to show the depraved heart.
What you have to show with manslaughter is that you were just so careless, that you acted in such a careless fashion, you were negligent. And the fact that you would have your knee on someone's neck, you may not have done it on purpose. But you did it in such a way where you consciously disregard the risk.
Of course someone could die and that is where you get that charge. And those are the two that he is facing.
HOLMES: Right. And we saw what happened in Minneapolis. I mean, a lot of people are asking, why the officer wasn't charged earlier, based on the available evidence.
I mean, that video, his knee on Floyd's neck, nine minutes, are you surprised he couldn't have been charged on the basis of just probable cause alone?
Wouldn't you or I have been arrested pretty much straightaway?
JACKSON: Right away. And I represent people in state and federal court. And the standard is not that you get every shred of information known to humanity so you can prove your case beyond a reasonable doubt and then you make an arrest. Doesn't work that way.
You have enough information, there is reasonable cause to believe a crime has occurred and that is enough. And you get that reason to believe you can move forward with a prosecution.
Now in the event the prosecutors don't stop there, they continue to investigate, continue to gather evidence. And you could always, as a prosecutor, upgrade charges, amend charges, modify charges, supersede charges.
So yes, in answer to your question, I'm very surprised that it took this long to make an arrest, the evidence was there from day one.
HOLMES: And does his behavior at the time, the amount of time that he was kneeling on Floyd's neck, his refusal to move his knee after Mr. Floyd said he couldn't breathe and his refusal to change his behavior, even after bystanders tried to intervene and another officer sort of inquired into the behavior, how does that behavior play into the legalities in terms of intent?
JACKSON: In a significant way. So remember, you don't have to demonstrate intent. But remember what you do have to demonstrate if you are going to get him on murder, that is a depraved heart.
People are asking you, hey, you know, get off of his neck. He is telling you he can't breathe. You don't seem to care. And I think with a depraved heart means that you acted inhumanely and you were engaged in something dangerous where he could die.
Shouldn't you know he would die?
So that gets you to the murder. But even still, if the jury says, we're not convinced, now you can go to the other issue of carelessness. You were just so overwhelmingly careless, you consciously disregarded a risk that what you were doing was not only wrong but it could lead to someone's death.
So you don't have to establish intent, you don't even have to establish a depraved heart, that wouldn't get you murder but you could get manslaughter.
What's the difference?
Murder, 25 years in jail; manslaughter, 10 years, still significant time.
HOLMES: When you look at the breadth of the protests, too, they are happening all around the country, happening outside the front door here where I am at the CNN Center.
When you look at the breadth of that anger, it speaks to nationwide concern about this. And there are those who cause trouble and sort of hijacked the grievance based protests.
But do you understand that level of anger?
JACKSON: Without question. And if you think about what happened this morning with Omar Jimenez, our colleague, CNN correspondent, doing his job, just reporting, doing nothing wrong. And yet he is arrested.
For exercising his right for speaking to the public, for reporting and getting an understanding of what is occurring on the ground?
And because everything was recorded, he wasn't disrespectful, he was compliant and wasn't attempting to otherwise flout the law, he was very accommodating but still arrested.
What would happen if that wasn't on tape?
Would we think that maybe he said something wrong, he called it on himself?
He didn't. We saw it. So imagine what happens when the cameras are not rolling.
And how is it that Omar can get arrested for doing his job?
And a police officer kills someone and it takes the community enraged and four days to arrest the officer?
And three other officers who stood and did nothing are still at liberty?
And there has to be a system that works for everyone, not just the few. No matter your status, no matter your title, no matter your education, your wealth, who you are, we have to be treated equally. And when you are not, you see this combustible just sort of energy that wants to burst because it is just so unfair.
HOLMES: A great point as always, Joey, thank you so much, Joey Jackson.
President Trump says the U.S. is withdrawing from the World Health Organization. We'll take a look at what this means for the U.S. and the rest of the world in the middle of a pandemic, after the break.
HOLMES: Amid all the unrest across the United States, coronavirus infections are on the rise. According to Johns Hopkins University, the death toll worldwide now stands at 365,000. Think about that, 365,000.
The U.S. leading the world by far and they have more than 102,000 deaths so far. Now most of those deaths are along the U.S. East Coast, New York state the hardest hit, more than 29,000 people killed.
But the daily death toll in New York fell to its lowest number on Thursday at 67. And New York City is poised to reopen in a couple weeks.
In California, hair salons and barber shops can now open in Los Angeles, that state has been in a pretty strict lockdown.
Throughout the pandemic, President Trump has been threatening to end the relationship between the U.S. and the World Health Organization. And now he says it is happening. Here are the reasons he's giving for the move, reasons that have drawn plenty of criticism From both sides of the aisle.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: China has total control over the World Health Organization, despite only paying $40 million per year, compared to what the United States has been paying, which is approximately $450 million a year. We have detailed the reforms that it must make and engage with them directly. But they have refused to act.
(END VIDEO CLIP) HOLMES: Some medical groups have also been speaking out against this decision. The American Medical Association president, Dr. Patrice Harris, says that, "This senseless action will have significant harmful repercussions now and far beyond this perilous moment, particularly as the WHO is leading worldwide vaccine development and drug trials to combat the pandemic.
"COVID-19 affects us all and does not respect borders," she said.
"Defeating it requires the entire world working together."
International diplomatic editor Nic Robertson is standing by for us in London.
It is a bewildering decision in the eyes of many.
What will be the reaction of allies particularly where you are in Europe?
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Yes, I think that we've had a taste of that already.
If we look back a couple weeks ago, the World Health Organization, the World Health Assembly, decided should they go with what the U.S. wanted and were suggesting, President Trump wanted to investigate why China had failed to inform the world about COVID-19 and the growth of the pandemic in China.
Or what the other option on the table was from European countries, U.S. allies, and that was to say, OK, let's look at all countries and see how we all handle this. Sounds a bit weaker, sounds a bit woolly.
But that is where the consensus lay. That is where the U.S. allies stood on that issue. So I think that what we'll see here is, again, the departure of the United States from the sort of global position, separating itself off from its allies, as it did with the Iran nuclear deal a couple years ago. It has never made up that ground; it is isolated.
ROBERTSON: The tensions with Iran have continued to rise. And this is the position I think that the allies -- United States allies will take now.
The U.S. can step out of the World Health Organization but everyone else is counting on the cooperation and the umbrella that the WHO brings. For example, yesterday they opened a portal which allowed for the sharing of new information on data, on vaccines, on therapeutics, you know, what medicines to take, all of these things.
I've been in hospitals and labs, talking to people on the front lines here. And they all say it is that collaboration that speeds, you know, finding a cure. President Trump is stepping away from that, I think, in so many people's eyes.
HOLMES: And the timing could not be -- I mean, yes, it is crazy. Nic Robertson, good to see you. Appreciate it.
And Anne Glover is a professor and former chief scientific adviser to the president of the European Commission. And she is joining me now via Skype.
Professor, thanks so much. Weigh in on this, speak to the impact of the U.S. pulling out of the WHO in the middle of a pandemic.
ANNE GLOVER, SCIENTIFIC ADVISER: Well, I think you've already commented on that by implying that it was, in terms of timing, a bit crazy. When we have a pandemic like this, we really need global cohesion. We need cooperation, people working together, working strategically.
Because, as said in your earlier report, the virus doesn't respect national boundaries. And so it is important not that we just control coronavirus wherever we live but also that we control it globally because, particularly, the way we live our lives now, there is such a massive movement of people right across the world day in and day out that we really need this.
And WHO provides that. And I'd also say we shouldn't forget that, by pulling out of WHO, it might have impact on our ability to address coronavirus. But think of what else WHO does, its fight against tuberculosis, malaria, HIV/AIDS.
And these are all programs that would suffer. And America would suffer by losing its influence globally.
HOLMES: And the president talks nonstop about China and sort of whether it is on its transparency but mainly its influence on the WHO. I would imagine that you are better off advocating for change from within.
And if you are worried about Chinese influence, aren't you just giving them more influence by walking away?
It seems a bit of a specious argument.
GLOVER: The WHO have already said that they would have an investigation into how they have addressed this particular pandemic. And I would welcome that.
I think it is useful, not because we can then blame people for doing one thing and not doing on the thing but because we can understand better how when the next time something like this happens and it will, then we have the opportunity to be able to respond better.
I mean, the arguments around China and so on, I'll be honest, that is politics. I'm a scientist.
HOLMES: Yes, I don't mean to put you on the political spot there but it does seem curious. I wanted to ask you about what the president said today. He said that
regarding the virus, well, it is going to go away and he said I think we'll have vaccines, I think we'll have therapeutics and maybe even a cure. And it won't be, in his words, in the long distance.
Sort of give us some sort of reality on that.
I mean, the notion that it will go away and that there could be a cure in the near future, I mean, is that giving false hope to people or do you think that that is possible?
GLOVER: Well, I could give you a simple answer, yes, it is giving false hope. There is no evidence available anywhere in the world to suggest that this is going to go away and certainly not go away in short term.
There is a large program, much of it led by the WHO, on developing a vaccine to protect against coronavirus. And that in a way it our best hope that we might be able to find an effective vaccine. But just getting a vaccine is not a given. I'm a natural optimist.
GLOVER: But still I have concerns about that. If you look at HIV/AIDS, we don't have a vaccine for that and we've known about it for a for a long time. So there are challenges in developing vaccines.
But that is our best hope. Therapeutics deal with the symptoms but you still will have huge impact on populations worldwide. And his comment about a cure, you don't cure viral diseases. If you have a vaccine, you can suppress for different periods of time.
We know that seasonal flu is -- the best we can hope for is a 6-9 month protection with that seasonal flu vaccine. And we know a lot less about coronavirus than we do about seasonal flu. So I don't know why the president said what he did but it doesn't seem to be backed by evidence.
HOLMES: Just quickly, we only have a minute or so left, the wearing of masks in this country has become a political or cultural flashpoint. The president sort of pooh-poohed it a bit in some of his tweets.
Masks are a good thing with this virus, correct?
GLOVER: I would say so. And certainly when I go out, I wear a mask.
HOLMES: Professor, appreciate your time and your expertise.
GLOVER: Thank you.
HOLMES: And when we come back, it is said that picture is worth 1,000 words and so many images speak so eloquently of the rage people feel. We'll have some images, after the break.
HOLMES: Welcome back.
America has witnessed countless demonstrations and protests through the years but the death of George Floyd has struck a nerve like few others.
In Charlotte, North Carolina, two women taking a knee and raising a fist outside a police station.
In Los Angeles, outside city hall, a poignant plea for peace on a humble piece of cardboard.
And near the White House in Washington, "I can't breathe" has become a rallying cry after George Floyd's heartbreaking final moments on that Minneapolis street.
And near the spot where he died, a new mural serves as a simple shrine. Its caption, "I can breathe now."
Thanks for spending part of your day with us. I'm Michael Holmes. This has been CNN NEWSROOM. I'll see you tomorrow. "NEW DAY" comes up next.