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CNN NEWSROOM

Concern As COVID Hospitalizations Increase Yet States Loosen Restrictions; Calls For Policing Reform Lead To Action; How U.S. And U.K. Police Protest Tactics Compare; Possible Structural Changes For U.S. Police Departments; Grim Predictions Of Coronavirus Deaths Come September; Trump Weighing Executive Action on Police Reform; Fed Predicts Sluggish Recovery from Pandemic's Impact; Widely Different Predictions about Virus Spread in Africa; Mexican Medical Workers Struggle to Get Protective Equipment; How a U.S. City Disbanded its Police Force and Started Over. Aired 1-2a ET

Aired June 11, 2020 - 01:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[01:00:00]

ROBYN CURNOW, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to our viewers joining us from all around the world. I'm Robyn Curnow, this is CNN.

So just ahead.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PHILONISE FLOYD, GEORGE FLOYD'S BROTHER: I'm asking you, is that what a black man is worth. $20? This is 2020. Enough is enough.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CURNOW: Powerful words from George Floyd's brother before Congress, but will there be change?

And as coronavirus cases in the U.S. reach two million, one doctor says he fears the death toll may nearly double between now and September. We'll hear from him.

Plus quick action and a delayed pathway. Experts now predict a surge in the virus won't happen in parts of Africa. We're live in the region with that investigation.

That's next.

CNN VOICE-OVER: Live from CNN Center. This is CNN newsroom with Robyn Curnow.

CURNOW: So we begin this hour with signs that peoples voices are being heard.

Protesters are marching on city halls across the United States demanding social justice and policing reform in the wake of George Floyd's death. They want accountability for officers accused of violence on the job, and money diverted from police budgets into youth jobs programs and mental health counseling.

Well, lawmakers on Capitol Hill are paying attention to these demands and on Wednesday they heard a impassioned plea from George Floyd's brother.

PHILONISE FLOYD: He called all the officers "sir." He was mild mannered, he didn't fight back, he listened to all the officers. The man who took his life, who suffocated him for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, he still called him, "sir," as he begged for his life.

CURNOW: Well, back in Minneapolis, fired police officer Thomas Lane is now free on a $750,000 conditional bond. He's one of two rookie officers involved in George Floyd's arrest.

Our other top story, though. The coronavirus pandemic is showing no sign of slowing down; 7.3 million people have been infected around the world, more than 400,000 have died.

The U.S. has more than a quarter of the world's infections and deaths with cases now topping two million.

And still ahead this hour, we hear from a top doctor at Harvard University who says the death toll in the U.S. death toll could grow by another 100,000 by September.

More now though on the push for policing reform here in the U.S.

The city of Minneapolis where George Floyd died in police custody is leading the way.

Here's CNN's Lucy Kafanov.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MEDARIA ARRADONDO, POLICE CHIEF, MINNEAPOLIS: Race is inexplicably a part of the American policing system. We will never evolve in this profession if we do not address it head on.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

LUCY KAFANOV, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Minneapolis police chief, Medaria Arradondo, in the harsh national spotlight tonight laying out a plan to reform his department in the wake of the death of George Floyd.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ARRADONDO: History is being written now. And I'm determined to make sure that we're on the right side of history.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KAFANOV: The first move, withdrawing from police union contract negotiations, calling for new policies on disciplining officers, the use of force, and other matters he suggested the union contract has prevented from changing in the past.

The chief is also launching a warning system to weed out bad police officers early on.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ARRADONDO: So for the first time in the history of policing, we here in Minneapolis will have an opportunity to use real-time data and automation to intervene with officers who are engaged in problematic behavior.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:. I can't breathe.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

KAFANOV: Also tonight, revelations that former Minneapolis police officer, Derek Chauvin, seen with his knee on George Floyd's neck was negotiating a possible plea deal with prosecutors before he was arrested and charged. But the Hennepin prosecutors' office did not say why.

That plea deal ultimately fell through for reasons unknown.

This, as protests continue to spread across the nation with calls for police reform now leading to action.

At least 12 cities and municipalities moving to ban police from using neck restraints or chokeholds, the techniques controversial long before Floyd's death.

And on Capitol Hill, a blunt reminder from George Floyd's brother of what triggered the call to police that cost George Floyd his life.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PHILONISE FLOYD: He didn't deserve to die over $20. Is that what a black man is worth? $20. This is 2020. Enough is enough.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KAFANOV: Leaving lawmakers with this emotional plea.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PHILONISE FLOYD: I'm here to ask you to make it stop. Stop the pain, stop us from being tired.

[01:05:00]

George called for help and he was ignored. Please listen to the call I'm making to you now. To the calls of our family and the calls ringing out the streets across the world. (END VIDEO CLIP)

KAFANOV: Lucy Kafanov, CNN, Minneapolis.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CURNOW: Well, after his news conference, the Minneapolis police officer sat down with CNN's Sara Sidner to talk about how he hopes to move forward on a personal level.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SARA SIDNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Is your police department capable of policing justly in this town?

MEDARIA ARRADONDO, POLICE CHIEF, MINNEAPOLIS: I believe that the Minneapolis police department is. I also know that there are parts of this organization that have to do better, and must do better.

There are certainly parts within the policing agencies across this country that are broken, and in the Minneapolis police department there are areas that we must change and must get better.

But I absolutely am inspired by the men and women who come here each and every day. Our sworn-in civilian team members who are doing all they can to do their best on the best interests of those that we serve.

So I do believe that we can be that police department that our communities look towards and trust, and see as legitimate. And that we do have their best interest at heart.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CURNOW: Well, the police union in Minneapolis criticized the chief for pulling out of contract talks saying public employees are required by state law to negotiate in good faith.

DeRay Mckesson is a civil rights activist with Campaign Zero and the author of "On the Other Side of Freedom." And joins me now from New York.

Good to see you, sir.

You heard the police chief there as Sara Sidner was talking to him, talking about history is being rewritten, is being written now. What needs to be written or rewritten in your opinion?

DERAY MCKESSON, CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIVIST, CAMPAIGN ZERO: So remember, when we zoom out we think about what it means that the police have killed more people since the last protest, not less. About 1100 people a year.

Thinking about what does it mean that in 2019 black people were more afraid of being killed by a police officer than being killed by community violence. And thinking about in March and April of 2020, the police killed as

many people as they did in March and April of 2019.

COVID, quarantine, lockdown changed nothing about the rate or number of people killed by the police.

Now I start there because when you think about what needs to change it's like I worry a little bit that people are doing a lot of symbolic changes. That elected leaders think that merely changing the flag or taking down some statues will be a substitute for changing the structures. The structures have to change.

The rules about the police -- as long as there are police, they should have much less power.

But the reality is we need to move money away from policing and put it into community-based solutions that we know will prevent so much other things that people consider to be crimes already. And then the third thing is that we need to have a conception of safety that is just not rooted in policing.

So I hope that Minneapolis has the courage to sort of go through the process that they have said that they're going to go through. And that cities across the country start to transition.

Because we look at the data, only 5 percent of the arrests that happen in the country are for violent crime. But we staff police departments as if it's like 60 percent.

CURNOW: And you talk about police departments because that's also I think -- you're speaking to a global audience here, that's what many people around the world look at America and know that police departments are not the same, there is no uniform behavior that is expected from police.

And that in many ways also will implicate the way different police departments change. Some will move faster or not move at all than others.

MCKESSON: Yes. So there are 18,000 different police departments in the country --

CURNOW: Yes.

MCKESSON: -- and they all operate differently. When we look at the data, we realize that the police have actually killed less people in cities over the past six years, but it's increasing in rural communities and suburban communities at a rate that is eclipsing and sort of diminishing the return that's happening in cities.

So suburban communities and rural communities really are where a lot of the focus should be.

It's one of the things I worry about with the media, quite frankly. Is that the media right now about all that's going is heavily LA, it's heavily New York City. But the reality is, is that so much of where the worst problems are in the country are not on the coast.

It's St. Louis with the single biggest rate of police violence in the country. It's Albuquerque. It's a host of other cities.

CURNOW: So when you look at the suggestions that are being putting forward in Congress, there is some suggestion of bipartisan support. What sticks out for you? More money for body cameras, incentives for police departments to recruit officers who look like the community like they're policing? Incident reports?

These all seem very basic, but this is what is being discussed in Congress. Does make you hopeful, at least, or concerned?

[01:10:00]

MCKESSON: So what worries me is that the bill includes some things that the research is really clear don't work.

So body cameras have not been proven to change anything about the force that officers use so we don't need to dump any more money into that program.

And police departments, let's be clear, are the most well-funded agencies in most cities across America. So they don't need any more money from the federal government.

A ban on chokeholds is good. We launched a thing called "8 Can't Wait" and it was about these eight use of force policies and banning chokeholds and strangleholds is a good thing. It is simple but not small, so the federal government does that.

And it has a clause about data in that bill, and it is good that they are going to collect more data.

But I wanted to see more restrictions on what police departments could do. I want to see the DOJ using its funding power to withhold money from departments that don't do a set of things.

I think that this bill is a interesting start, but shouldn't be where we finish.

CURNOW: And what -- we've seen one man die and a global reaction being triggered. Why do you think that has happened? In many ways whether you're in Bloemfontein or Belgium or Bristol, whether you're marginalized or disempowered, there is something about the death of George Floyd that has triggered a universal stark moment of commonality. Where do you think this is going?

You mentioned the statues and confederate flags. That's being felt around the world as well.

MCKESSON: Yes. So I think that is a good start. You know, the symbolism of hate is important to remove but the structures have to change so that the outcomes can change. So that means the laws, the policies, the practices. If they don't change, then there's no reason to believe that the rate

of people killed by the police will decrease, there's no reason to believe that we'll actually transition from a system of public safety that's rooted in policing.

I think that the reason why Mr. Floyd's death resonated with so many people, honestly, is because they have proximity to a problem like this too.

The government killed him. What does it mean when agents of the government can just kill somebody while the public watches? The public tries to tell that government agent not to and he kills him anyway.

And I think that everybody has a basic understanding that that shouldn't be the role of government.

And when governments allow those things, when governments enable those things, then that is a failure. And then we have a responsibility and a duty to stand up.

CURNOW: DeRay Mckessen, a pleasure talking to you. Thank you very much for your perspective. Thank you so much for joining us.

So a British rapper is speaking out after police in London used a taser on his dad. But some law enforcement officials in the U.K. say their tactics are very, very different from the American police that have ignited worldwide protests.

Here's Nic Robertson with that story.

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: As police rush into a house looking for a suspect, they taser a 62-year old father on the stairs.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, my God.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERTSON: All this during lockdown. The police body cam video emerging as global anger over policing and racism rises in the wake of George Floyd's killing.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MILLARD SCOTT: At this moment in time, we are being singled out and targeted.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERTSON: The son of the victim, not involved in the police incident, is rapper Wretch 32.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) WRETCH 32, BRITISH RAPPER: I've grown up in a household with my dad and my uncle, and I've watched them fight against police brutality my whole life. And I now have to have the same conversations that my dad and my uncle and my grandparents and my parents had with me when I was a child.

That means there's no progression.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERTSON: Police dispute Scott's version of events saying an internal review has revealed no misconduct.

A statement released by London's most senior minority officer says that progress in dealing with racism in the police has been made over recent decades. And in what appears to be an effort to de-link (ph) anger at George Floyd's death from anger at British police -- says no comparison can be made between British and U.S. police forces, because here, he says, they police by consensus mostly. Not force.

His point, the heavily-armed tear gas-wielding cops who bore down on peaceful protesters near the White House last week so President Trump could pose, bible in hand, for a photo up outside a looted church wouldn't be the tactic of choice in the U.K.

The subtext for protesters here. Don't react to British cops as if they would.

[01:15:00]

By contrast with many of their U.S. counterparts, British police mingle with peaceful protesters. Officers armed with little more than handcuffs, gauging the crowd's mood. Out of sight, down side streets, a hefty force is on standby.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COLIN ROGERS, POLICE SCIENCES PROFESSOR: The result has been completely different. There's more consensus, there is more peaceful demonstrations. So I think that there's too quick, perhaps, a reaction to go to war, paramilitary methods in dealing with people in demonstration situations.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROBERTSON: But getting to this point hasn't been easy. Just a decade ago, a police killing sparked riots heard around the world.

Where the toughest policing lessons were learned, was northern Ireland. Confrontation and perceptions of police bias exacerbated and prolonged the three-decade conflict there.

Today, police are still firebombed and shot at, but are more likely to draw a line, sit in their up-armored wagons than respond in kind. Even so, today's protests in London still offer a very real glimpse of how quickly tensions can escalate. At the heart of it still, anger protesters are being ignored. A

police problem, yes, but at its root a political one too.

Nic Robertson. CNN, London.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CURNOW: So you're watching CNN. Still to come: the U.S. passes another staggering benchmark in the coronavirus pandemic.

And one expert still believes the country still hasn't seen the worst.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CURNOW: So the U.S. is now the first country to confirm two million cases of coronavirus. It's more than a quarter of all known infections worldwide, and the outbreak is still getting worse in some parts of the country.

Take a look at this map.

Over the last week 19 states have reported an uptick in new infections. And in the two weeks since Memorial Day, at least a dozen have seen a rise and hospitalizations.

And now as states continue to loosen restrictions, experts are warning of even more outbreaks to come as Nick Watt now reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

NICK WATT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This morning, Miami's beaches reopened, in New Jersey up to 100 people can now gather outdoors. And this weekend, NASCAR will allow some fans back in the stands.

Nationally, our daily new case count is falling. But is there devil in the detail?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-N.Y.): If you're going to get into trouble, you'll see it in the numbers. You'll see them starting to increase.

And as we sit here today, states are getting into trouble.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WATT: Hospitalizations are up in at least a dozen states since Memorial Day. And in 19 states, the average new daily case count is rising, as is concern that this coronavirus is making a comeback.

[01:20:00]

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DR. ASHISH JHA, DIRECTOR, HARVARD GLOBAL HEALTH INSTITUTE: I think we're going another 100,000 deaths by September. That's what we have to try to prevent.

And we really do have to try to figure out how to bring the caseloads down from these scary levels in some states.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WATT: In Arizona's Maricopa County --

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE:. You notice today something different --

WATT: County officials must now wear masks.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DR. REBECCA SUNENSHINE, HEALTH DEPARTMENT, MARICOPA COUNTY, ARIZONA: We're getting reports of almost 600 cases per day in comparison to just an average of 200 cases per day about two weeks ago.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WATT: Hospitals across the state now being told, if they haven't already, to fully activate your facility emergency plan.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WILL HUMBLE, FRM. STATE HEALTH DIRECTOR, ARIZONA: It is prudent to start looking at the surge capacity because, unless there's an intervention that comes in the next few days, I think we're on a railroad to overcapacity in early July.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WATT: In North Carolina, there are now more people in the hospital with COVID-19 than at any time since this pandemic began.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: You still need to wash your hands as often as you possibly can. And avoid congregation in large numbers.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WATT: The D.C. National Guard deployed to quell protests sparked by George Floyd's killing says some members have since tested positive.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: The report of the National Guardsmen being infected is certainly disturbing but is not surprising. It's the kind of things that we were concerned about. And unfortunately, we're seeing it come true right now.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WATT: Arkansas is right now basically a microcosm of what problems the U.S. will face moving forward. Hospitalizations are spiking but unemployment's also running at over 10 percent. So they are pushing ahead with re-opening.

The governor summed it up today. He said Americans are back on the move and they can't be restrained. But we're not out of the woods, he said, we are still in the heart of the woods.

Nick Watt, CNN. Los Angeles.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CURNOW: The doctor who made that prediction is Ashih Jha. He's the director of the Harvard Global Health Institute and joins me now from Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Doctor, great to see you.

So you didn't just suck that number out of your thumb. I mean, you basically just did some basic maths based on the numbers we're seeing today.

JHA: That's right. Yes, so this was not a number that we just pulled out of thin air.

Right now, in the United States, we're seeing between 800 and 1,000 people die every single day. And all of the best predictions are that those numbers are likely to go up.

But even if we assume that they stay flat and even if we take the low end of that range, it's 25,000 deaths a month.

And so some time in September we are going to surpass 200,000 deaths in the United States. So really astronomical cost of the mismanagement of the coronavirus in

the United States.

CURNOW: Yes, it certainly is. And the numbers are certainly startling. But that's just September, which is essentially around the corner.

JHA: Yes.

CURNOW: What happens when the flu season hits, when the autumn, fall, and winter hit?

JHA: Yes. No -- 200,000 and we're not going to be anywhere near done.

And if the numbers tick up in the fall with more cases, as we expect, we could easily hit 300,000 before the end of the calendar year. And another 100- to 200,000 people dying before the next summer arrives. Before -- we hope that there will be a vaccine that's widely available.

So just a devastating toll on the American people. Largely because our federal government has not taken this virus seriously.

CURNOW: So you're looking at -- just by your tally there, that's half a million Americans in the next year. That's an outstanding number of people.

And you're laying the blame squarely at the foot of the Trump Administration.

JHA: Well, what I'm saying is -- yes, there are a lot of things that could change those numbers, right.

So I am laying it at the foot of the federal government which has largely not taken this as seriously as it needs to, still isn't taking it seriously. But a lot could change.

We could develop new therapies that lower mortality, we could get much better testing. We could have a different president in January who could decide to take it seriously.

So there are a lot of factors that could affect those numbers. It just depends on how things play out over the next 6 to 12 months.

CURNOW: So we're at this point now -- we're in Georgia here where CNN center is. Georgia opened very early.

Around the world, people are exhausted. They're sick and tired of being inside, they want to get out. They're sort of saying be damned with COVID, I just need to go and visit my granny, I just need to go for a run.

The numbers aren't really registering, and there's sort of a fatigue, a fear fatigue. So how do you warn people that this is potentially you?

JHA: Yes. So two things, I think are contributing to that. One, is that the deaths have been very concentrated in a few places.

In Italy, it's been in Lombardy, in the U.S. it's been around New York.

[01:25:00]

The problem is that in the second phase, as the virus continues to spread, it's going to go from these localized hotspots much more across the country.

So if it has not hit a neighborhood or a county or a state hard that you live in, it is coming because the virus does not respect borders. So I think that's one part of this.

The second part is I don't want to be locked down and shut down anymore either. And those are not our only two choices, there is a third choice. And the third choice is a really robust testing and tracing infrastructure that keeps the virus levels low. And let's people get out and get back with their lives and doesn't lead us into hundreds of thousands of deaths.

CURNOW: What do you make of where we are globally? We talk about the fall in the U.S., but it's winter in the southern hemisphere now. What do you make of where we are in terms of the numbers in key countries around the world?

JHA: Yes. So we're really seeing an acceleration in the number of cases every day. More than 100,000 new infections. I'm confident that is a dramatic underestimate but we're really seeing an exponential rise in some countries.

So Brazil is obviously doing very, very poorly with a lot of cases, a lot of deaths. India is really starting to tick up pretty substantially, Russia's in bad shape. So here are three relatively big countries that are, I think, in some trouble.

Of course, if you look across the global landscape, the African continent has so far done pretty well. Australia, South Africa are moving into the winter months.

It'll be very interesting to see even -- Chile and other South American countries, it'll be very interesting to see how they do during the colder months, as a way to teach us what the northern hemisphere is also going to experience as we go into our fall and winter later on in the year.

CURNOW: Doctor, thanks so much for joining us. Great to have you. Fascinating perspective.

JHA: Thank you.

CURNOW: So the coronavirus has killed more than 41,000 people in the U.K. And now one British epidemiologist says that number could have been cut in half if a lockdown had been introduced just one week earlier.

So the nation went into lockdown on March 23, weeks after other European countries. However, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the decision was based on scientific advice.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BORIS JOHNSON, PRIME MINISTER, BRITAIN: We made the decisions at the time on the guidance of Sage, including Professor Ferguson, that we thought were right for this country.

And I think that the questions that are posed are still unanswered, and there's a lot of data that we still, frankly, do not have.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CURNOW: Meantime, England is continuing to lift its restrictions. Johnson says all shops will be allowed to reopen on Monday as long as they meet COVID-19 guidelines.

Meanwhile, coming up.

President Trump has struggled to come up with a coherent message on racism. But he's going to try, once again, later today. As demands for police reform grow louder.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[01:30:41]

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KAYLEIGH MCENANY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The President does not regret standing up for law enforcement -- men and women across this country. And let me say this and just give you a little bit about the mindset behind the President's tweet.

Look, we're living in a moment that is it seems to be reflexively anti police officer. And it's unacceptable to the President. And this tweet that he sent out he was in no way condoning violence. He was not passing judgment on these two officers in particular.

But what he was saying is that when we see a brief snippet of a video, it's incumbent upon reporters and those who are surveying the situation to ask questions rather --

(CROSSTALK)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Isn't it incumbent upon the President to have facts before he tweets anything out? He's the President of the United States.

MCENANY: The President did have facts before he tweeted that undergirded his question.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's a baseless conspiracy theory.

MCENANY: It's not baseless conspiracy -- no, not at all. I won't acknowledge that.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ROBYN CURNOW, CNN ANCHOR: The White House press secretary there defending President Trump's tweet in which he wrongly suggests that an elderly protester shoved by police is part if a radical leftist group.

Well now, after weeks of marches and demands for justice, President Trump may finally be considering some sort of action on police reform as Kaitlan Collins now reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: As Republicans rush to respond to overwhelming demands for police reform, all eyes are on the White House and the leader of their party. SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM (R), SOUTH CAROLINA: He's important. If he

doesn't sign off on it it's a waste of exercise.

COLLINS: President Trump's aides are preparing to present him with legislative options. But question remains about what he will support. The White House is also working on crafting an executive order though it's still unclear what that will include.

MCENANY: We do believe that we will have proactive policy prescriptions whether that means legislation or an executive order.

COLLINS: So far Trump's response to the unrest across the nation following George Floyd's death has been muddled. He's invoked law and order, called for governors to use force on unruly protesters and promoted conspiracy theories on his Twitter feed.

The last time he talked to reporters, he denied there are systemic race problems within law enforcement. And today one of his top economic advisers said there's no systemic racism in the U.S. at all.

LARRY KUDLOW, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF ECONOMIC ADVISER: I don't believe there systemic racism.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You don't think there's systemic racism against African-Americans in the United States.

KUDLOW: I will say it again. I do not.

COLLINS: In Dallas tomorrow, the President will host a roundtable on race relations with law enforcement officials and faith leaders. But sources say he's also aiming to make an announcement while Texas on police reform.

Yesterday chief of staff Mark Meadows and Jared Kushner huddled with Republican lawmakers about what they could agree on.

MARK MEADOWS, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: We're not going to get into the specifics I think to negotiate it in the press. That would do a disservice to the senator.

COLLINS: Some of the President's political advisers fear that his response to Floyd's death has been confusing and incendiary.

And polls showing him trailing former vice president Joe Biden have raised alarms within the Republican Party. Amid fears about potential election day consequences, Trump met with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell at the White House today to talk about competitive races.

In turn, Biden has seized on the opportunity to contrast himself with Trump. In an op-ed today he wrote that Trump's hate-filled, conspiracy-laden rhetoric is inflaming the racial divides in our country but just fixing the way the President talks won't cut it.

The President also tweeted, breaking with his Pentagon chief, by saying he's not open to renaming those military bases that are named after confederate leaders who fought to preserve slavery. He says instead he wants to preserve the nation's heritage.

They are not going to be changing them despite a statement from the Pentagon earlier this week that the Army Secretary and the Defense Secretary were both open to having a bipartisan discussion about changing those names, the President says that as commander-in-chief, that is not going to be happening under his watch.

Kaitlan Collins, CNN -- the White House.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CURNOW: Thanks Kaitlin for that update.

Meanwhile the U.S. Federal Reserve is indicating the economy will need years of extraordinary support to recover from the pandemic. Policy makers project an unemployment rate of over 9 percent at year's end. Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said women, black and Hispanic workers are bearing the brunt of this crisis.

The Fed also projects a 6.5 percent decline in Gross Domestic Product this year.

[01:34:56]

CURNOW: Well, John Defterios joins us now from Abu Dhabi with more on all of this. So John -- I mean did the Fed chairman here pour cold water on the hope of v-shaped or rapid recovery from the pandemic?

JOHN DEFTERIOS, CNN EMERGING MARKETS EDITOR: I'd call it a sober assessment -- Robyn. And this is one of those cases where the global financial community and beyond were listening to every word from Jay Powell, that's for certain.

He was very blunt in the language saying it's been a tremendous human and economic hardship, calling it like it is as I was suggesting here. And also saying that it's going to be at least two and a half years where they're going to be needing to provide support to the American consumer, whether it's in loans or direct payments. That's how bad the situation is. And he made it crystal clear that interest rates are not going anywhere. Here's the signal.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JEROME POWELL, CHAIRMAN, U.S. FEDERAL RESERVE: Many borrowers will benefit from these programs as well the overall economy. But for many others getting a loan that may be difficult to repay may not be the answer. In these cases direct fiscal support may be needed.

Elected officials have the power to tax and spend and to make decisions about where we as a society should direct our collective resources. The CARES Act and other legislation provide direct help to people and businesses in communities. This direct support can make a critical difference, not just in helping families and businesses in a time of need, but also in limiting long-lasting damage to our economy.

(END VIDEO CLIP) DEFTERIOS: So, this is the role of Congress going forward, and the Federal Reserve suggesting that until the end of 2022 don't expect anything in terms of interest rates and the persistent unemployment. We're at 13.3 percent right now. They're projecting just about 9 percent by the end of the year -- Robyn.

But if you look at 2021 and 2022 -- that's historically high at 6.5 and 5.5 percent. The run rate (ph) should be 4 percent.

And we have this dichotomy right now. The low interest rates are fueling the rallies and records on Wall Street while on Main Street consumers have a difficult time getting loans. And even the OECD in Paris is suggesting in all 30 industrialized countries we are facing the worst hardship in a century within peace time.

CURNOW: Yes, certainly there's a massive disconnect between Wall Street and Main Street. You mentioned these U.S. jobless claims figures. They're coming out later today. You lay out improvement potentially expected, but really the damage -- we can't say it over and over again, and people know this because they're feeling it in their pocketbooks is that this damage is historically high.

DEFTERIOS: Yes and the number is very high -- Robyn. People get excited because we've got a below two million claims for the week, right. So we are on the staircase lowering. That peaked out at nearly seven million at the height of the crisis. The expectation is for about one and a half million jobs but that is extraordinary because the average before the pandemic is about 200 claims per week and the number of 1.5 is more than double that we saw at the peak of the global financial crisis.

So this is where we are today, you have to keep into context, 43 million, nearly that, have filed for jobless claims meaning they don't have access to unemployment benefits unless they go to the jobless employment office.

Secondarily the Federal Reserve at the beginning of the process we could have 50 million claims by the end of June. Everybody was like that's impossible. It will never happen. It may very well happen. We'll be knocking on the door of 50 million by the end of this month.

CURNOW: Wow. Thanks so much. John Defterios there in Abu Dhabi. Thanks so much.

DEFTERIOS: You bet.

CURNOW: So once they were devastating warnings for African countries over COVID-19, but so far the pandemic is playing out much differently compared to Europe or China, say.

We'll find out why.

Plus the virus is surging though in Mexico. And some paramedics are still struggling to get proper protective equipment. The human toll it's taking -- that is next.

[01:38:59]

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CURNOW: So COVID-19 cases in parts of Africa are rising fast. South Africa is the continent's hardest hit country with more than 55,000 confirmed cases. But the death rate there is far lower than what we are seeing in the U.S. or the U.K.

And it's one of the reasons why experts can't seem to agree on how much the virus will affect the region. A few months ago human experts were saying there could be millions of deaths. Well now, some are saying that a surge won't ever happen in some areas.

Well, this is something that David McKenzie has been investigating for us. He joins us now live from Johannesburg. Hi -- David.

Just give us some understanding of why we are seeing this disconnect in the modeling?

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hey -- Robyn.

You know, one expert I spoke to put it quite nicely. He said though it feels like we had this virus for some five years, in terms of the stress levels, it's only been around five months or so. And many people are still -- many scientists don't know much about it, don't know exactly how it will operate in different countries.

So a group of African scientists have a very different take on what the consequences of COVID-19 will be across the continent.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MCKENZIE: As lockdowns across Africa began, health officials sounded the alarm. Frightening, severe, catastrophic -- words used to describe the continent's prospects in the pandemic fight. But that was then.

DR. HUMPHREY KARAMAGI, WHO TEAM LEADER: The countries in the African region are not where they have predicted that they would be by now. I think a lot of earlier predictions had painted a picture of, by this time, it would be quite overwhelming.

MCKENZIE: A group of leading African scientists had predicted a very different outcome. Even in the worst-case scenario, they're modeling suggests a smoldering outbreak in Africa, where many countries could avoid a deadly surge.

KARAMAGI: The deaths or the severity of the outbreak would be less severe than we've seen in other countries.

MCKENZIE: A key to their modeling work, including the socioecological factors that impact COVID-19 spread. Like weather, population movement, urbanization.

Two factors stand out -- the relative youth of sub-Saharan Africa, 70 percent of people are under 30; and the lower overburden of so-called diseases of lifestyle like diabetes, obesity and hypertension. Both they believe could lessen the severity of the disease.

But even if countries avoid a surge, they believe that any spikes could overwhelm weaker health systems.

KARAMAGI: Those are less severe outcomes that need to be balanced against the capacity of the system to respond to those outcomes.

DR. JOHN NKENGASONG, DIRECTOR, AFRICA CDC: Our curve is increasing and increasing quickly. So I think the virus is seeding (ph) itself into the communities and getting momentum.

MCKENZIE: And despite the new predictions, the head of the Africa CDC says it's far too early to be complacent. He says just five countries on the continent represent more than half the confirmed cases, and overall testing is still woefully inadequate.

NKENGASONG: I have characterized it as a delayed pandemic, and now we have to intensify our efforts be bold and aggressive in and putting in place probably health measure.

MCKENZIE: Health measures like the army of health workers in South Africa, tracing and testing for COVID.

Here and like in many African countries, the cases are rising quickly. And the modeling of COVID-19's future spread will soon be tested.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

[01:44:45]

MCKENZIE: Well Robyn -- the head of Africa CDC used a baseball analogy. In fact, you know, he after all was at Atlanta CDC before this. He said, you know, the virus came to the continent later than some other areas. He says it's only in the second innings, and there's a long way to go-- Robyn.

CURNOW: Maybe he should have used a cricket analogy and spoken about a five-day test if you are talking about South Africa. This might just be the first day.

So let's talk about South Africa. We're both South Africans. We both know a few people who have COVID.

Why -- why are cases surging there, particularly after such a -- I mean you can call draconian lockdown?

MCKENZIE: Well, I think the lockdown certainly shows that they were able to flatten that curve pretty effectively, according to the science.

But you're right. There is a surge in level of cases now, but it was kept down in eastern Cape provinces. That surge -- in a way is the exception that proves the rule -- proves the rule say the scientists because South Africa does have a high level of those co-morbidities like diabetes and hypertension that puts it at risk. But also it's a much more urban population than large parts of the continent where there's a lot more rural populations.

The thing is this virus acts differently in different places. And Africa, as you know, is a vastly diverse continent. So, they do expect those differences. They do say that on the whole, if you take the average, this continent might be better off than other places -- Robyn.

CURNOW: Which is great news either way. David McKenzie -- thanks so much. Good to speak to you.

So, Latin America is the world's coronavirus hot spot right now. Johns Hopkins University is reporting that more than 70,000 people there have died.

Brazil is accounting for more than half of that number. It's actually confirming the third highest death toll in the world after the U.S. and the U.K.

Well, Shasta Darlington takes a closer look -- Shasta.

SHASTA DARLINGTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Latin America and the Caribbean surpassed 70,000 deaths from coronavirus as of Wednesday, with Mexico reporting a record daily surge in new cases.

In Chile, police were deployed on the streets of Santiago to enforce lockdown measures after a spike in COVID-19 cases prompted an extension of quarantine.

Meanwhile, in Brazil, Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro forged ahead with plans to reopen stores and even shopping malls despite warnings from the Pan American Health Organization that the virus is still spreading aggressively in the region.

Officials insist the decision is based on improving conditions such as increasing availability of intensive care beds in some areas.

But experts worry the rush to get back to some kind of normal and limit the financial ruin could just fuel more transmissions and postpone a real recovery.

Shasta Darlington, CNN -- Sao Paulo.

CURNOW: Thanks -- Shasta, for that.

So Mexico is seeing another surge in coronavirus cases. It reported nearly 5,000 infections on Wednesday and as paramedics are left responding to mounting number of emergency calls, CNN's Matt Rivers shows us how many, many are struggling to protect themselves.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: They chant his name and the sirens wail.

This is a tribute to Dr. Miguel Angel Perez Alvarado, a doctor who worked in a public ambulance in Mexico City. He died last month of COVID-19.

For weeks, the father of three girls treated patients with the virus.

"He was worried," his wife Nancy tells us, "because he knew his working conditions weren't safe."

Dr. Perez told her he wasn't given the right protective equipment on the job and he's not alone. Seven paramedics and a doctor who worked in public ambulances told us the same thing.

Here, one demonstrates how water can be sprayed through the coverall they've been given. Duct tape is now important. They use it to patch holes in their suits, and to tape up garbage bags to try and isolate COVID cases inside their ambulances.

Speaking anonymously for fear of losing his job, this paramedic says he and his colleagues had to buy their own safety equipment. He says they are sending us into a war with nothing. You don't send a firefighter to a fire without protection.

So, this is the mask that the paramedic were speaking to and says the government issued him. And you do not need to be a medical expert to understand that this does not give him the kind of protection he needs.

The paramedics we spoke to work for two sections of Mexico's health ministry. Both section said all their paramedics have the required supplies -- statements that seemed to be demonstrably untrue especially when you see how it's supposed to be done.

We spent the night recently with a Red Cross ambulance crew -- private volunteers who have all the right equipment and even designated COVID units. And that's a necessity because the worst of Mexico's epidemic is happening right now.

On a 12 hour shift, there are 12 COVID calls. And sometimes, we were too late.

[01:49:54]

RIVERS: So, we got this call a little over 20 minutes ago now. And we just arrived on scene. And in that time, the 43-year-old female victim had already died of symptoms consistent with COVID-19.

And arriving with patients still alive didn't always matter in the end. 72-year-old Maria Isabel Cruz Hernandez was taken from her apartment and brought straight to the hospital. Her son told us she has since passed away.

After each exhausting call, trucks and paramedics are both sprayed head to toe with a special disinfectant. Paramedics and government-run unit say they try and disinfect too once again, with supplies they bought themselves.

"Are you scared," we ask. "Always," he says. "You don't sleep. Scared for myself. Scared of infecting my family. And scared of ending up like Dr. Perez."

Two days after he went to the hospital, he texted a final message to his wife.

"He said be careful, I love you all. That was last time we spoke." Eight days later, Dr. Perez passed away.

Matt Rivers, CNN -- Mexico City.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CURNOW: And as we struggle with this pandemic, it's not just about the health of our bodies, but also our minds. Experts say social distancing has made many people emotionally vulnerable and lonely just when they need the closeness the most.

For ideas on how to stay connected, please do go to CNN.com.

And still to come -- you see the signs, and here the chance to defund the police in the U.S., but how would that work? We'll take you to one American city that fired its entire police department and then started from scratch. And the results might surprise you.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CURNOW: So a stolen mural by famous street artist Banksy has now been recovered. The artwork painted on an emergency exit door outside the Bataclan Theater in Paris was stolen back in January 2019.

You might remember this, the brazen thieves cut the mural right out of the steel door. Well, authorities have now found it in an abandoned farmhouse in Italy. Banksy painted the picture and called it "Morning Girl", following the November 2015 terror attack on the theater where 90 people were killed.

And it has become a familiar slogan during the protests right now in the U.S. Crowds are chanting defund the police as they push for change. But can you get rid of a police force? One city in New Jersey did that years ago and started over.

Gary Tuchman now shows us how it all worked out.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Did you disband the Camden police department?

SCOTT THOMSON, FORMER CAMDEN COUNTY, NEW JERSEY POLICE CHIEF: Yes. At the end of 2012, in the early 2013, every member of the Camden City Police Department was fired, including myself, and a new police force called the Camden County Police Force was created and it was staffed.

TUCHMAN: Scott Thompson is the recently retired police chief. His disbanded city police force meant no more police union and the ability to make new work directives. The union is now back but the work directives and new traditions remain innovative, like this. Serving barbecue or ice cream as a regular feature of the community- oriented police station that is done here in Camden.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Make it a high five here.

TUCHMAN: With the nearly 400 cops in this city of roughly 77,000 are expected to walk the streets and personally get to know those they are policing.

[01:55:01]

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's our future -- that's our future recruit right there.

TUCHMAN: Crime is still a problem here but violent crime is way down since the high point in 2012 when the city police department was disbanded. Homicides down by about 63 percent as of last year. And the department says excessive force complaints against police are down 95 percent all amid this directive.

THOMSON: You will use force as an absolute last resort and you will de-escalate. There must be an attempt to de-escalate a situation prior to using force.

TUCHMAN: This video from a few years back shows an example of that policy. A man flailing a knife inside a store. He continues doing so outside.

It is a dangerous situation.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Drop the knife.

TUCHMAN: But police stayed calm and let it play out on the downtown streets. It looks like a bizarre parade.

THOMSON: They enveloped the individual and walked five city blocks without using deadly force.

TUCHMAN: The suspect was safely apprehended.

There is another very notable principle to abide by if you're a Camden County police officer. And that is you are mandated to notify a supervisor if a fellow cop violates any of these directives.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have to intervene. An officers doing something wrong at that moment, it is your job because if not you are as wrong as that officer that's doing it.

TUCHMAN: So if one of these two guys -- and I know you guys won't do this, but hurt someone and they were being peaceful, you would report them?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would probably take the badge right off his chest at that moment because (INAUDIBLE). And he's not carrying (INAUDIBLE)

TUCHMAN: And you would do the same thing to him? UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes -- sir.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Absolutely.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I expect nothing less.

TUCHMAN: This reimagined police force gets a lot of attention here.

You've heard what is going on in the country right now? with cops.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

TUCHMAN: Do you think your cops here in Camden are different.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. They are very different. They treat us nice, polite and very cool with us.

TUCHMAN: There is criticism though that the Camden County police force doesn't have enough minority officers, isn't transparent enough and may not be responsible for the crime drop.

Kevin Barfield is the president of the local NAACP.

KEVIN BARFIELD, PRESIDENT, CAMDEN CITY NAACP: The crime statistics have been going down throughout the state of New Jersey and has been going down within the nation. So I would not credit that with the policing programs that have -- or supposed to be taking place right now.

TUCHMAN: The former police chief says the department can improve while keeping its principles.

THOMSON: I think that most of the police officers here get it. Every once in a while we get one that doesn't and we move swiftly and with certainty to remove them from the force.

TUCHMAN: Gary Tuchman, CNN -- Camden, New Jersey.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CURNOW: Well, I'm Robyn Curnow. Thanks so much for joining me.

CNN NEWSROOM continues with John Vause.

You're watching CNN. Stay with us.

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