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Infections Rise in 31 U.S. States; CDC: U.S. Infection Rate May Be 10 Times Higher; U.K. City Declares major Incident Over Packed Beach; Liverpool Win First Ever English Premier League Title; Former Formula One Boss Speaks Out about Race Relations in the Sport; Brazil Reports More Than 39,000 New COVID-19 Cases; Nurse in Peruvian Village Fights COVID-19 Alone; Texas Reports Nearly 6,000 New Cases Thursday; Trump Refuses to Wear Mask Despite COVID Threat; Belgium Confronts Elements from Its Past. Aired 12-1a ET

Aired June 26, 2020 - 00:00   ET



JOHN VAUSE, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us from around the world. I'm John Vause.


Coming up this hour on CNN NEWSROOM, back to square when with record highs. Never before have so many people in the U.S. tested positive for the coronavirus in one day, a sign the outbreak is once again spiraling out of control.

Pandemic? What pandemic? Tens of thousands head to the beach in the U.K. A chance to relax and forget about that global health crisis which has killed almost half a million people and counting.

And former Formula One boss and father to be, 89-year-old Bernie Ecclestone talks to CNN about racing and racism.

The United States is once again in the midst of the worst of the coronavirus pandemic. For weeks, the rate of transmission has been accelerating, and on Thursday, Johns Hopkins University reported 37,000 new confirmed cases of the coronavirus, the highest daily total since the pandemic began. And chances are, it's much worse than that. The Centers for Disease Control says the actual number of infections is likely 10 times the official number. That would mean 23 million people.

Dr. Robert Redfield says, now that there is more testing, it is clear a large percentage of the population have either mild or no symptoms at all. Young people, 18 to 44-year-olds, are testing positive at a higher rate.


DR. ROBERT REDFIELD, CDC DIRECTOR: This virus causes so much asymptomatic infection. We probably recognized about 10 percent of the outbreak. (END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: Infections are rising in 31 U.S. States. Texas and Florida are reporting new daily records. Hospitalizations in California are up 32 percent in the past two weeks.

And the head of the CDC says social distancing remains, quote, "the most powerful tool we have to fight the virus."

Chicago is deploying social distancing ambassadors in parks and other public areas.

And in one British beach town, not so much a pandemic but rather pandemonium. Thousands of sun seekers crowded the shores of Bournemouth on Thursday with little regard for the virus. The local council declared it a major incident urging the public to stay away. Get off the beach.

The surge of new cases in Texas is forcing the state to put on hold plans to reopen some businesses. And California's governor is declaring a budget emergency to free up $16 billion to fight the pandemic. We have more details now from CNN's Nick Watt.


NICK WATT, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Partiers backed this Fort Worth bar Saturday night, but the reopening of the Lone Star state is now on hold, as case counts climb at record rates and hospitals fill up.

RON NIRENBERG, SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS, MAYOR: If this acceleration continues unabated, we will find ourselves overwhelmed.

WATT: Nevada, North Carolina and Louisiana also now pumping the brakes on reopening.

GOV. JOHN BEL EDWARDS (D-LA): I think these numbers meet crystal-clear the correctness of the decision not to move forward.

WATT: In California, Disneyland now won't reopen July 17 as planned.

GOV. GAVIN NEWSOM (D-CA): That is an example of the data informing decision-making.

WATT: California and Florida, along with Texas, are reporting record high new case counts. Our three most populous states are going in the wrong direction fast. They are home to more than a quarter of all Americans.

GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): We've seen most of this case growth in those under 40 category.

WATT: A focus now on efforts to staunch the spread, younger asymptomatic spreaders.

ERIN BROMAGE, UNIVERSITY OF MASSACHUSETTS, DARTMOUTH: We're seeing the infection rates, especially in Texas, Florida and Arizona, just skyrocketing that demographic.

WATT: Arizona now has the most cases per capita in the entire country.

DOUG DUCEY (R-AZ): There is no consideration of increasing activity. Arizona is on pause.

WATT: The CDC just added pregnant women to the at-risk demographics. They say just over 5 percent of women with COVID-19 require hospitalization. For pregnant women, that soars to over 30 percent.

They also now say our actual infection rate might be 10 times the confirmed cases, so not around 2.4 million, but around 24 million. And they say that social distancing is now our most powerful weapon.

DR. WILLIAM SCHAFFNER, VANDERBILT UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF MEDICINE: The time to normalize wearing masks and social distancing behavior is now so that we get used to it by the time the fall arrives. And I'm very concerned that the second wave this fall will be substantially greater than what we have experienced so far.

WATT (on camera): The number we've really got to keep an eye on moving forward is hospitalizations. How many COVID-19 patients are in the hospital? And here in California, that's gone up by a third in just the past two weeks, a trend that the director of public health here in Los Angeles calls extraordinarily worrisome.

Nick Watt, CNN, Los Angeles.


VAUSE: Dr. Shoshanna Ungerleider is an internal medicine physician at California Pacific Medical Center and founder of, and she is with us from San Francisco.

Doctor, thank you for being with us. We take -- we appreciate your time.


OK. So so much for that second wave towards the end of the year. Clearly, the virus never went away. I want you to listen to the governor of Arizona with a grim statement about the weeks ahead.


GOV. DOUG DUCEY (R-AZ): I don't want there to be any illusion or sugarcoated expectations. We expect that our numbers will be worse next week and the week following in terms of cases and hospitalizations.


VAUSE: OK. So bad times ahead. The reason why we had the national lockdown, it was to buy us some time so the health system wasn't overrun, so that hospitals could keep up with the people who were infected. Essentially to get ahead of this and to prepare, I guess, for this moment which we were expecting a little later. But are we prepared to deal with this now?

UNGERLEIDER: Gosh, John. You know, it's -- in some places yes, in other places no. I think hitting another record in the number of new cases just today in the U.S. is extremely distressing and points to the fact that maybe we're headed in the wrong direction.

Young people are now the biggest source of cases, as was pointed out, and hospital beds in places like Texas and Arizona are -- are filling up.

There still isn't enough testing and contact tracing happening to find these new cases and isolate them from the general population.

So there's really no question about what's needed here. We need mask wearing in public to be mandatory. We need more testing and contact tracing all over of cases, to find their recent contacts. And anyone with even a slightest COVID-19 symptom or with close contacts with a known case needs to get tested and self-isolate immediately.

And most of all, we need clear, consistent messaging from all of our government officials that supports these efforts.

VAUSE: Yes. That is something which -- you know, we hope for that. It's just not going to happen, it seems, at least on the federal level.

The CDC dropped a few headlines on Thursday, including you know, this belief that the number of real cases in the U.S. could be 10 times the official number of 2.3 million. That's 23 million people.

On the one hand, it's a staggering number, considering what this 10 million cases worldwide, 23 million would be in the U.S. But isn't it in line with expectations? Isn't that a formula they do for countries which have inadequate testing?

UNGERLEIDER: Well, you know, John, I think from looking at the blood samples across the country for the presence of antibodies to the virus, which was what was done, so for every confirmed case of COVID- 19, as you pointed out, 10 more people had antibodies. So these are the proteins in the blood that indicate whether a person's immune system has previously come in contact with coronavirus. So, you know, estimating that around seven percent of the U.S. population or more like 23 million people are walking around either with active infection or recent infection, you know, is really significant.

I think looking at these numbers, taking them very seriously, and then planning accordingly for an increased number that were playing planning to see going forward, is really what we need to be doing right now.

VAUSE: Yes, this time around, compared to the last time with the surge in cases, it seems to be coming with a twist. I want you to listen again to the director of CDC. Here it is.


REDFIELD (via phone): I think, obviously, what we're seeing right now, infections that are targeting younger individuals.


VAUSE: It seems young people were spared for the most part. In Europe they became vulnerable. They're vulnerable as anybody else.

Here in the U.S., it seems that they're the ones who are, you know, bearing the burden of the infections. Is there a simple way to explain how that has transitioned?


UNGERLEIDER: You know, not really. I mean, I think that, with widespread sort of community spread, as it's happened here in the U.S., I mean, it makes sense that there are many more cases of young people that are -- that are turning up.

And, you know, the best possible way for young people, for older people, for everybody to reduce the spread of infection is to stay away from other people. So this social distancing being so important.

And, you know, I understand it's summertime. People, young and old, want to be outdoors, enjoy themselves, be with friends and family. People, I think, are tired of staying home.

But the stakes are just so high. We need -- we need people to know that, of course, the virus is invisible. It spreads so easily from person to person via droplets from talking, or from breathing. And when people congregate, even outdoors, much like, you know, what we saw at the beaches in the U.K., and they don't wear masks, this is a recipe for disaster. I think your behavior, every moment, matters. And our actions today put the lives of the people that we love in danger. So I think --

VAUSE: I'm glad you mentioned -- sorry, I'm glad you mentioned beaches in the U.K. Because here's part of a report from CNN's Nic Robinson. Sorry to interrupt, but listen to this.


NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Here in the U.K. authorities have declared a major incident at one of Britain's seaside holiday towns. Why? Because it's not holiday time, but the beaches were absolutely crowded with thousands of people flocking out from what has been a very hot couple of days here.

The concern is that they're not social distancing and the people in that town are not ready for people from other parts of the country to come on vacation.


VAUSE: You know what if I really incredible? Is that the number of young people I know who heard -- the initial report that came from China that young people were sort of almost immune to all of this, but they've heard nothing since.

UNGERLEIDER: Yes, I mean, I think seeing situations like this, we're probably, in about two weeks, as is the typical lag time between people, you know, congregating and seeing spikes of infections of somebody. You know, if people who are on those beaches, in fact, do have COVID-19, that is the perfect storm, the perfect recipe for disaster.

People being close together, despite them being outdoors, but not wearing masks. Talking, laughing, spending many, many hours with one another. That is how this virus spreads.

And so we need to be talking about what everybody, including young people, should be doing to prevent the spread. Our behavior absolutely matters, and we all have the power to save lives if we -- if we listen and pay attention.

VAUSE: Yes. As you say, just looking at the beaches, it's understandable why people want to be there, but this is not 2019 anymore. So Shoshanna Ungerleider, thank you so much for being with us. Appreciate it.

UNGERLEIDER: Thank you for having me.

VAUSE: Well, the World Health Organization is warning the coronavirus could still overload healthcare systems in parts of Europe.


DR. HANS KLUGE, WHO EUROPE REGIONAL DIRECTOR: In 11 of these countries, accelerated transmission has led to very significant resurgence that, if left unchecked, will push health systems to the brink once again in Europe.


VAUSE: Dr. Hans Kluge says the risk of a resurgence in Europe -- in Europe has now become a reality. The 11 countries he mentioned stretch from Sweden in northern Europe, down to Albania in the south, Kazakhstan to the east.

WHO's European region includes central Asia.

In the U.K., a southern coastal town -- we've been talking about flooded with thousands of people, throwing caution and social distancing to the winds and the waves and a good time, raising fears that a surge of COVID-19 cases in England now seems more likely than ever, especially if the lockdown is relaxed in two weeks, as planned.

ITV's Julia Bremner explains.


JULIA BREMNER, ITV (voice-over): The plea was to stay away, but nobody seemed to be listening. Tens of thousands from across southern England and the Midlands descended on Bournemouth today. It was impossible to keep a safe distance from strangers. And there was little or no awareness of any health risks.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why did you come to Bournemouth today?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why? I'm enjoying today. It's really nice weather. Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was a really hot day. I thought I'd take advantage of it by the time the rain goes back. And all of the rules of the lockdown has just been kind of, like, eased on.

BREMNER: With the town overwhelmed and police apparently powerless to intervene, by early afternoon, the council declared a major incident.

VIKKI SLADE, LEADER, BOURNEMOUTH, CHRISTCHURCH & POOLE COUNCIL: What's very obvious is that people don't believe COVID is a problem anymore. That's very obvious from people's behavior.

BREMNER: The M3 was close to a standstill as sun seekers drove from as far away as Birmingham and London. The local conservative MP told me police must be given more powers to deal with the deluge.

TOBIAS ELLWOOD, BRITISH CONSERVATIVE MP: Dorsett can't cope with this. If we need messaging of Waterloo Station or Birmingham's National, or indeed on the M3, there's big signs on the motorway to say Bournemouth is now closed. There is a major incident in play. Please turn around or go somewhere else. If the police doesn't have the necessary powers, we should be operating very quickly in Westminster to give them those powers to deal with this enduring emergency.

BREMNER: To people living close to beauty spots like Durdle Door in Dorset, it feels like an invasion. One councilor trying to turn back vehicles was physically and verbally abused.

LAURA MILLER, DORSET COUNTY BOARD: Unfortunately, he then came back at me through his car window, and fortunately, it landed at my feet. See, the main problem is, the aggression. People traveled four or five hours in a car. And they're hot. They're grumpy.

BREMNER: Along the south coast, they're attempting to stop the crowds, and a second wave of COVID, but it's a battle they fear they may be losing.

Julia Bremner, ITV News.


VAUSE: Microsoft founder Bill Gates, who's spoken out often about the threat of the pandemic, spoke to CNN's Anderson Cooper, and Dr. Sanjay Gupta about this latest coronavirus outbreak, just a few hours ago. You can watch that interview and more during CNN's global town hall, "CORONAVIRUS FACTS AND FEARS," a little less than two hours from now, 7 a.m. in London, 2 p.m. Friday in Hong Kong. Only here, on CNN. Well, the coronavirus did not stop thousands of fans from celebrating

in the streets of Liverpool. Well, Liverpool ended their 30-year-long wait for the lead title after winning the English Premier League for the first time ever.

CNN WORLD SPORT's Alex Thomas has more now from a joyous Anfield Stadium.


ALEX THOMAS, WORLD SPORT (voice-over): Liverpool's footballers celebrating a moment of history: the club's first Premier League title. Social media video shows them gathered to watch together, as their closest challengers, Manchester City, lost to Chelsea. If they were happy, the fans were ecstatic.

More than an hour after clinching the title, without kicking a ball, the party is in full swing here at Anfield Stadium. We've heard car horns beeping, flares and fireworks being set off. You can see how much it means to these Liverpool fans to be champions of England after an agonizing wait of 30 years.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Long, long wait. It doesn't feel real yet. I mean, obviously, it is real. It's amazing. Just to see it, given we couldn't be on the ground to see us winning it. And hopefully, we'll get to see them lifted up after the game. But it doesn't matter. We're champions, and no one's taken that away from us, now Premier League champions.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's the super club (ph). Is when the young people, 2019. Now, it's just the icing on the cake, winning the Premier League is the run of the moment, (UNINTELLIGIBLE), leading up to the top.

THOMAS: Manchester City had to beat Chelsea to take the Premier League title race into next week, but fell behind to a goal from U.S. Star Christian Pulisic.

City equalized with a stunning free kick from Kevin de Bruyne, regaining the momentum. But Chelsea refused to give it in, winning a penalty, when Fernandinho was sent off for handball.

Willian, scoring from the spot to seal a 2-1 victory that ended City's reign, and gave Liverpool their 19th English championship title, but their first in the Premier League era.

Boss Jurgen Klopp telling Sky Sports he did it for the supporters.

JURGEN KLOPP, LIVERPOOL MANAGER: It's for you all there. It's for you. It's incredible. I hope you stay at home, or go in front of your house if you want, but not -- do not more, and celebrate it. It's all here, and it's all here. We've been doing it together in this moment, and it's a joy to do it for you, I can tell you.

THOMAS (on camera): The local authorities did warn fans to try to stay away from here because of the threat of coronavirus. But you can understand why they wanted a party after waiting so long to be champions of England once again. The team that dominated European, and English football, throughout the 1970s and 1980s are back where they, feel they belong. The best team in this country.

Alex Thomas, CNN, Liverpool.


VAUSE: Well, Formula 1 working to improve its record on diversity. The former boss didn't help a whole lot. Listen to this.


BERNIE ECCLESTONE, FORMER FORMULA ONE CHIEF EXECUTIVE: In a lot of cases, black people are more racist than what white people are.

AMANDA DAVIS, CNN SPORT: What makes you say that?


VAUSE: Yes, what does make him say that? We'll find out in our interview with Bernie Ecclestone in a moment.



VAUSE: Well, NASCAR has released an image of that noose found in Bubba Wallace's garage. He's the sport's only African-American driver. Officials say the noose was real. It looked like one they used for lynching. And Wallace had reason for concern.

This comes after the FBI determined that no hate crime had been committed, because the rope had been there, used as a pulley for a garage door, since last year. NASCAR says every other garage has been checked, but Wallace's was the only one with a rope tied into a noose.

Who put it there, and why, remains a mystery.

Formula One will kick off its delayed season in a little more than a week, with the Austrian Grand Prix. Coinciding with the sport's return is a new initiative, to try and improve inclusion and equality.

You'd think that would be something everyone could get behind, but former -- former Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone seems to have some different takes on issues involving race. Here's our Amanda Davis.


DAVIS: Six-time Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton is the sport's only black driver in its 70-year history. He's often talked about the challenges he's faced in his career because of the color of his skin.

And in the wake of the death of George Floyd, he called out other members of the motor sport community for not speaking up against racial injustice.

He's decided to take matters into his own hands, launching the Hamilton Commission, a research partnership aimed at making motorsports more diverse and multicultural.

And this week, when I spoke to the man in charge of Formula One until 2017, the man dubbed as Mr. F One because of his 40-year relationship with the sport, Bernie Ecclestone, he did praise Hamilton for his actions and talked of its importance for the sport, but he made what I think it's fair to say were some fairly controversial comments.

I began by asking him, why he thinks F1 hasn't done more to tackle the issue of diversity in the past.

ECCLESTONE: I don't think anyone was bothered about it before. They're too busy trying to win races or find sponsors or something. Really, other things are of little, if any, interest.

DAVIS: So what impact do you think what Lewis has launched, the Hamilton Commission, what impact do you think that's going to have in real terms for Formula One?

ECCLESTONE: I don't think it's going to do anything bad or good for Formula One. It will just make people think, which is more important. But I think that's the same for everybody. People ought to think a little bit, and say, Oh, what the hell. Somebody is not the same, not the same as white people. They're black. And the black people should think the same thing about white people. Because I think, in lots of cases, black people are more racist than what white people are.

DAVIS: What makes you say that?

ECCLESTONE: Well, things over the years I've noticed. And there's no need for it.

DAVIS: Is that not a case of fighting for equality and fighting against injustice for such a long time?


ECCLESTONE: Well, against injustice, for anyone, whatever color they are, it's important to do something about that, for the start. But as, I mean, I don't think you're going to easily change people's attitude. I think they need to stop being told at school, so they grow up not being able to think about these things.

And I think it's completely stupid taking all these statues down. They should have left them there, take the kids from school to look and say why they're there and why the people did, and how wrong it was what they did.

DAVIS: As somebody who was so integral to making Formula One what it is today, do you not want to see it as a sport leading the way and changing attitudes and portraying society as it is?

ECCLESTONE: Well, I suppose the people that need to do that are the viewer's. For the number of people are directly involved in sport, such a small number of people, can do very little.

I'm surprised if anyone in Formula One, certainly the teams and the people like the promoters, have any concern about this. I think it's the public at large that have to start thinking.

DAVIS: You wonder what the sport's current owners will make of those comments.

Ecclestone, of course, while still an influential figure in the F1 paddock, is no longer in charge. That's the Liberty Media Group run by Chase Carey. They, in recent days, have launched a new initiative to tackle the issues around diversity and inclusion, the We Race as One campaign, including a task force to address the issues both on and off the track.

But set against the backdrop of the issues that Bubba Wallace has faced in NASCAR in recent weeks, now, Bernie's comments, there's no doubt the scrutiny will be greater than ever on Formula One when the delayed season hits the track in Austria, next weekend.

Amanda Davis, CNN, London.


VAUSE: Well, one reason for the rapid spread of the coronavirus in Texas, scenes like this. Bars are packed and the night life is rocking. Maybe for not much longer, though.

Also ahead, a surging virus and tanking poll numbers. Donald Trump wants to talk about anything but the pandemic, please.



VAUSE: Latin America's pandemic death toll has surged past 100,000, according to Johns Hopkins University. And Brazil, Peru, Chile and Mexico are the hardest hit, by far. First to Brazil and CNN's Shasta Darlington for the latest.


SHASTA DARLINGTON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Brazil has reported more than 1.2 million cases of COVID-19 and more than 120,000 new cases in the past three days alone. The death toll is nearing 55,000 and no signs of peaking.

On Thursday, just the state of Sao Paulo surpassed Italy in total coronavirus cases: 248,587.

And yet, several cities in Sao Paulo and across Brazil continue to relax restrictions, reopening stores and shopping malls and heading back to offices, egged on by Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who has repeatedly insisted hunger and unemployment could kill more people than the virus itself.

Sao Paulo has even presented its plan for students to start returning to classrooms as of September 8.

Shasta Darlington, CNN, Sao Paulo.


VAUSE: Peru reporting nearly 4,000 new coronavirus cases on Thursday and has the second highest numbers of confirmed cases in Latin America. Nearly 270,000 have been infected and nearly 9,000 died.

And healthcare workers in one indigenous village in Peru feel like they're fighting all this alone. Deep in the Amazon rain forest, medicines, supplies and other much-needed equipment are hard to find, and nearly everyone, it seems, has fallen ill.

Journalist Guillermo Galdos takes us there.



GUILLERMO GALDOS, JOURNALIST (voice-over): Eight hours downriver from the nearest hospital, this remote Shipibo village in Peru's central Amazon is struggling.

About 80 percent of this community has COVID-19 and no doctor to care for them. The one doctor they did have abandoned his post when the outbreak began, leaving Elias, a nurse, in charge.

He and two others are doing the best with what they have to care for the 750 people in this village. But it's getting harder every day.


GRAPHIC: In the past three days we ran out of the medicine the government gave us. We don't have anything.

GALDOS: They are so remote, Elias says he doesn't know if or when they will get additional supplies.

After checking on patients in the clinic, Elias goes out in the community to check on those too sick to walk.


GRAPHIC: And you are positive for COVID, as well?


GRAPHIC: Yes, I am.


GRAPHIC: Since when?


GRAPHIC: The day before yesterday I tested positive.

GALDOS (voice-over): And yet, Elias keeps working. He says he has to keep helping.

He has come to see Raynor (ph), a 32-year-old man who has been sick for the past two weeks.

This is the front line against COVID-19 in the remote Amazon.


GRAPHIC: He feels so weak that he cannot even stand up.


GRAPHIC: My heart is agitated. It feels like it wants to stop.

GALDOS: Raynor (ph) has lost around 17 pounds in the past few days, and he still has a fever.

His wife is extremely worried. She has tried to isolate him, but they still share the same hut with their four children.

Caimito is one of the hundreds of thousands in the Amazon now affected by the pandemic. Here, nobody has a bank account. So when the government gave a bonus check to Peruvians struggling to find work during the pandemic lockdown, people in Caimito had to travel eight hours to the nearest bank in Pucallpa, carrying back to the communities more than just money.

It is here in Pucallpa, the capital of Ucayali region, that you find these. People dying at the hospital doors. There are no beds left.

(on camera): This is the COVID area in one of the main hospitals of Pucallpa. Doctors here have to work 12- to 18-hour shifts under 40 degrees Celsius. The heat under these suits is practically unbearable. You feel like the mask is melting on your face.

(voice-over): The hospital is short on staff and running low on oxygen. With only four intensive care beds, the waiting list is long. But only one in 10 in the critical condition will survive.

Back in Caimito, the evangelical church has organized a service. Elias, our nurse, did not show up at the church. He did not agree with social gathering.


The next morning, he decides to make his own statement.


GRAPHIC: To all the people of Caimito, please. We haven't beaten this disease.

GALDOS: He warns them that, by not respecting social distancing, they are setting themselves up for disaster.


GRAPHIC: If we don't take action, we are going to keep dying.

GALDOS: And dying they are. Not just here in the remote part of the Amazon but all across Peru. Despite lockdown measures, the daily infection rate is climbing, without an end in sight.

Guillermo Galdos, for CNN, Caimito, Peru.


VAUSE: Thursday say almost 6,000 new cases of the coronavirus in Texas, a record for the Lone Star state and a warning shot, says a former CDC director, for other states which have failed to follow guidelines from health experts.

CNN's Lucy Kafanov reports now from Dallas.


LUCY KAFANOV, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The coronavirus nearly killed Christopher Marshall.

CHRISTOPHER MARSHALL, CORONAVIRUS PATIENT: I got so sick that it was acute respiratory distress syndrome with septic shock.

KAFANOV: The 37-year-old University of North Texas graduate student spent weeks at Dallas area hospitals.

(on camera): Do you think you would have died?

MARSHALL: I never would have died. It got that serious.

I'm going home.

KAFANOV (voice-over): Though doctors saved him, Marshall now lives in fear of getting sick again, due to the surge in infections across Texas. He's rarely leaving his home, struggling with survivor's guilt.

MARSHALL: The hardest part for me, initially waking up and saying, how many people have died from COVID-19? Because it's like why did I live? And everybody else died.

KAFANOV: Texas, one of the first states to push an aggressive reopening, is now seeing new cases and hospitalization rates reaching record highs.

GOV. GREG ABBOTT (R-TX): There is a massive outbreak of COVID-19 across the state of Texas.

KAFANOV: So many getting sick that in Houston, the Texas Children's Hospital is now admitting adult patients.

DR. PETER HOTEZ, BAYLOR COLLEGE OF MEDICINE: Our big metro areas seem to be rising very quickly. And -- and some of the models are, you know, on the verge of being apocalyptic.

KAFANOV: Minority communities are bearing the brunt of the pandemic. In Dallas, Hispanics account for more than 60 percent of cases. Among them is Dallas ISD Police Officer Vicente Ramirez (Ph), in the hospital for 82 days.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Take that COVID stuff serious. I wish I never caught it. I wish I never heard of it. But I tell everybody else, you know, take it seriously.

KAFANOV: The father of six was on a ventilator for more than one month. His brother says Vicente barely survived.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The family was worried about him passing away.

KAFANOV: Bishop Greg Kelly worries most about undocumented patients, many of whom are essential workers.

BISHOP GREG KELLY, CATHOLIC DIOCESE OF DALLAS, TEXAS: They don't have any access to any kind of support, any kind of stimulus support. And so they have to work.

KAFANOV: And it's not just Latinos. Health officials say an increasing number of infections are among young adults like Chris Marshall.

MARSHALL: Stop thinking that you're solely invincible. That you're young and that this cannot happen to you. It can happen. I am 37. It happened.

KAFANOV (on camera): Meanwhile, the governor announcing that Texas is going to hit pause on any further reopening of the economy for now. This, an attempt to slow down the spread of this virus.

Lucy Kafanov, CNN, Dallas.


VAUSE: What you just saw there in Texas is the here and now reality. While the pandemic, which is only getting worse across much of this country. The virus seems to be on an unstoppable, random killing spree. The young and elderly, the healthy and ailing all have fallen victim.

And while the bodies pile up, it seems the 45th president of the United States is hoping that ignoring the crisis will make it go away.


JOE BIDEN (D), PRESENTIAL CANDIDATE: It's like a child who can't believe this has happened to him. All his whining and self-pity. This pandemic didn't happen to him. It happened to all of us. And his job isn't to whine about it. His job is to do something about it, to lead.


VAUSE: But yet, the president barely mentions the pandemic these days. And when he does, he often uses racial slurs to describe the virus. An attempt, most likely, to distract from reality.

Another reality is that until a vaccine is approved, the most effective way of controlling the outbreak and safely returning to some kind of normalcy is for everyone to wear a face mask in public. And the sad reality is, the U.S. president refuses to do that. One simple act.

The president did not wear a mask during a FOX News town hall on Thursday, no mask earlier in the day at an event to mark the end of the Korean War. And he grows cantankerous when asked why.



DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Then why aren't you -- why aren't you further away? And why aren't you wearing a mask?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can take a step back if that makes you comfortable, sir.

TRUMP: You're way -- I mean, you're not social distancing, based on the question.


VAUSE: Larry Sabato is the director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia. He is with us from Charlottesville. And it's been a while, Larry, so it's good to see you.


VAUSE: This is a president who does not like to read, but he reads poll numbers obsessively. It seems likely he would know this. Pew Research found among conservative Republicans, 49 percent had worn a mask all or most of last month. Sixty percent for moderate Republicans, while 83 percent of liberal Democrats say they've done that. And 71 percent for moderate Democrats.

So surely, the president knows that his actions are one of the reasons why so many of those conservative Republicans are face mask truthers.

SABATO: You'd think so. Certainly, part of it is that Trump is really encouraging Republicans not to wear a mask. Particularly, by the way, male Republicans. Female Republicans and women generally are much more inclined to wear masks.

It's become for him a sign of strength, projecting strength. Projecting masculinity, which has absolutely nothing with proper behavior during a pandemic. But this is Donald Trump were talking about.

VAUSE: Well, the other polls which Donald Trump has no doubt seen comes from "The New York Times," which gives Joe Biden, the Democrat presumptive nominee, a very big lead nationally over the president. That actually would be good if we had one big national election in November, but you know, it doesn't mean anything, because we have 50 elections.

But in those key swing states, Biden has a comfortable lead in Arizona, a big lead in Wisconsin, and not so much a big lead in Ohio but ahead nonetheless. It's probably within the margin of error.

So can these polls be trusted? Are there are secret Trump voters out there who, you know, are unwilling to show their support for the president, because maybe they're a little bit embarrassed or whatever, they just won't tell anyone, but come election day, they will vote for him?

SABATO: Well, look, there might be. Most of the studies of that particular question have indicated that, in fact, there aren't many people who aren't -- who are lying about it.

Some people won't express an opinion. They'll claim to be undecided, even though they are very decided. And I think disproportionately, they would lean toward Trump. So that part's true.

What's important to say, though, is that the Electoral College only becomes critical and can override the popular vote when the popular vote is -- is very close, a couple of points one way or the other.

The polls had better tighten, from Trump's perspective, or he won't need to worry about the Electoral College or slow mail-in ballot counting. It's going to be pretty obvious on election night, if this continues. Oh, it's June. Loads of things could happen between now and November.

VAUSE: Lots of things are happening. And we keep hearing it from the conservative side, at least, sort of mixed messages, if you like, about the masks.

Last month we heard Rush Limbaugh, when all the health experts were urging people to wear a face masks, he told his conservative audience on the radio show that -- that call from those health experts was, in fact, made by "mask-wearing freaks," Democrats who hope to turn the face covers into a symbol of fear.

But then on Thursday, we saw Vice President Pence actually, look, there he is wearing a face mask on a public trip to Ohio.

Contrary to Joe Biden, the Democrat nominee, who's been wearing a public face mask in public since this pandemic began. It's not a big deal, but it sends a big message.

SABATO: I don't endorse candidates, but I certainly will endorse healthy behaviors. And what Joe Biden does is the appropriate thing to do.

Obviously. If you listen to the public health experts, if you listen to the scientists. And there's the difference. Because throughout the Trump administration, scientists and public health experts have been, for the most part, been denigrated. Democrats still put a lot of stock in what they say.

Who knows where that's going? But clearly, there are spikes in places where mask wearing is not very popular, like Texas. The governor there, who's a very conservative Republican, has come around to the view that mask wearing is essential. Now he's being criticized by the right wing of his own party in Texas for giving in to those mask- wearing freaks. Gee, I wonder where that came from?

VAUSE: Good question.

Well, the president was not wearing a face mask, as I said, during that town hall on FOX News. But what was interesting is there was a recent study which actually looked at Sean Hannity, who was the MC for this town hall, and his misleading statements, his half-truths, his lies about the impact of -- and how that impacted the pandemic.

They found greater exposure to "Hannity" relative to another FOX News show an hour earlier called "Tucker Carlson Tonight" leads to a greater number of COVID-19 cases and deaths.

It's very complicated the way they did the math. But in other words, there's parts of the country which were slow to act, in this case because Sean Hannity was telling them that it was not as bad as the flu, or Democrats were using it as a political point scorer. And they've seen more severe outbreak and a greater rate of death.


If Sean Hannity could have that sort of impact, it's incredible to think, you know, how different this all might be if the president had decided to set a better example from the very beginning.

SABATO: Of course that's true. And this would be a very different situation if the president had acted quicker and listened to his own experts about the pandemic and what needed to be done.

But it is what it is. Donald Trump is not going to change personalities, and he's not going to change his basic characteristics. So this is what we've got, and the voters will have to determine whether they're happy with that or whether they want a mask-wearing president in Joe Biden. It's one or the other.

VAUSE: And there was this -- sort of very quickly, a feedback loop between Hannity and Trump and the White House.

SABATO: Yes, well, they talk all the time. Both have admitted that publicly. Actually, Trump also talks to Tucker Carlson a lot. So, you know, it is a feedback loop, and that's part of the problem.

VAUSE: Yes. OK, Larry, we'll leave it there. We're out of time, but thank you so much. Good to see you.

SABATO: Thank you, John.

VAUSE: You're watching CNN NEWSROOM. When we come back, the 14-year- old boy in Belgium taking on a monarch, a murderous one at that. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VAUSE: Well, in the wake of George Floyd's death, past cases of African-Americans killed by police are being reassessed, including the death of 23-year-old Elijah McClain, last August. He was walking home from the mall when he was stopped by police in Aurora, Colorado. Police body cam footage shows how this all began.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stop, stop, stop.

ELIJAH MCCLAIN, KILLED BY POLICE: I have a right to walk --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stop. I have a right to stop you, because you're being suspicious. Turn around, turn around.


VAUSE: Police used a chokehold at one point, and then, the drug ketamine to sedate McClain, who later suffered a heart attack and was declared brain dead three days later.

No charges were filed at the time. The state governor, though, has ordered a new investigation after more than two million people signed an online petition.

Demands for correcting the historical record on race have spread around the world, and in Belgium, a country largely unaware of its own horrific past, a teenage boy is taking on a 19th Century king accused of killing millions in Africa. CNN's Scott McLean reports.


SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For decades, the ugliest chapters of Belgian history have been buried. Out of sight and out of mind. Like this century-old burial ground, just outside Brussels, containing the remains of seven Congolese. Dignity in death was not a luxury these people received in life. They were brought to Belgium to be put on display.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was basically like a human zoo. I mean, they had to do row races on the lake, and the women had to cook, and basically, Belgians came and looked at it. It was pure racism.


MCLEAN: That human zoo was commissioned by King Leopold II in 1897.

The killing of George Floyd in the U.S. has opened an old wound in Belgium. King Leopold made Congo his personal possession, sending troops to pillage the ivory and rubber by enslaving the local population. Those who fought back paid with their hands, feet, or lives. At least half a million died.

And yet, today, Leopold is memorialized in street names and statues across Belgium.


GRAPHIC: I feel belittled. Because it is people of my origin and my community who were killed. And when you put a statue of Hitler in Berlin, for me that is like putting a Leopold statue in Brussels.

MCLEAN: The visual legacy of a king who reigned for 44 years may will be taken down by a boy who's only been alive for 14.

Noah, born in Belgium to Congolese parents, has got more than 80,000 people to sign his petition, demanding the city of Brussels take down Leopold statues by June 30.

Pierre Kompany was born in colonial Congo, and is now Belgium's first black mayor. He thinks correcting Belgium's problems with racism start with the proper education about the past.


GRAPHIC: If kids in Belgium had studied history, well-written history, I wouldn't think we'd have the problems we have today. If your grandfather was present in places where hands were being cut off, you're not going to start shouting "my great-grandfather did that."

MCLEAN: Vandals have already torch the Leopold statue in Antwerp, taken a sledgehammer to a bust in Brussels, and dumped paint on another outside the African museum, which still houses artifacts pillaged from Congo.

Director Guido Gryseels spent half a decade scrubbing its colonial image, but he may soon have a new headache. Several cities and towns are looking to the museum, to give their Leopold-era statues a new home.

GUIDO GRYSEELS, DIRECTOR-GENERAL, ROYAL MUSEUM OF CENTRAL AFRICA: We haven't really decided yet whether we want to become a memorial or shrine for Leopold II, or whether we can converted to into some sort of work of contemporary art.

MCLEAN (on camera): So here, you've tried to decolonialize this museum, and yet, you may end up with a colony of Leopold statues?

GRYSEELS: Yes, but it will be in a different context.

MCLEAN (voice-over): Last week, Parliament voted to start a truth and reconciliation commission to atone for the sins of Belgian rule in Africa.

But in response to Noah's petition, the Brussels mayor says he doesn't have authority to remove any statues.


GRAPHIC: If we remove statues, we are not removing history. I find it is not the statues that should educate people. MCLEAN: Removing the statues won't reverse the atrocities of yesterday, but the empty plinths may force Belgium to learn a lesson that's long overdue.

Scott McLean, CNN, Brussels.


VAUSE: Well, if Americans don't want to wear a face mask for the good of others, soon, they may have another reason. And it's coming from the Sahara.


VAUSE: Well, a massive plume of sandy dust from the Sahara Desert has crossed through the Atlantic and is now covering parts of the United States. The Caribbean has already been blanketed, and blue skies are turning a milky brown haze, like Mexico, on Thursday where the dust set off air quality warnings.

Meteorologist Derek Van Dam, who are you? I remember you. I saw you a while ago. It's good to see you.



Yes, John, I find it fascinating that every year around hurricane time, in the Atlantic, we have hundreds of millions of tons of dust that's picked up from the deserts of Africa, blown across the Atlantic.

This occurs on an annual basis, but it's this concentration that has been astounding scientists. In fact, it has darkened skies across Mexico and into Puerto Rico, reduced visibility.

And guess what? This thing is here to stay for at least the next few days across the southeast. And it has the potential to envelop several states with that hazy, milky substance you saw on the imagery you saw just a few minutes ago.

So this is some of the forecast imagery that we see with the Saharan dust. It does peak around late June and lasts right through the middle of August. That is the Atlantic hurricane main development season.

What's happening is, along the western portions of Africa, we get these updrafts that allow for the -- the dust plumes to travel and get lofted well into the atmosphere. It takes a ride on the Jet Stream across the Atlantic, travels that 5,000-mile distance, eventually making its way into the Leeward and Windward Islands, and into the Gulf of Mexico, where it's currently located now.

And here's the latest satellite imagery. You can see that the dust across the southeastern United States, as it stands. Now, it's not going to do much more than inhibit or put a pause on our Atlantic tropical season, but it also is going to allow for hazy skies and perhaps some pretty nice looking sunrises and sunsets, just like we experienced in Houston, as well as some of the shorelines of the Gulf of Mexico.

So this will be a common scene as you scroll through your Twitter feed over the next couple of days across the United States and throughout the Gulf of Mexico. Because that is one of the brighter spots of this Saharan dust layer that is traveling towards us.

It does however, John, have the potential to degrade our air quality, so maybe just gives us another reason to use our masks these days. Right?

VAUSE: Good idea. Good idea. Put on that mask. I don't use Twitter. I think Twitter's mean at times. Anyway, thank you. Appreciate it.

VAN DAM: It's no problem.

VAUSE: It's been a while. Hope to see you again.

You've been watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm John Vause. Please stay with us. Back in a moment.


VAUSE: Welcome back and thank you for joining us. This is CNN NEWSROOM. I'm John Vause.

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