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Miami Mayor Hopes Masks, Beach Closings Will Slow Virus; U.S. Falls behind Rest of World as COVID-19 Skyrockets; Trump Administration Downplays Seriousness of Virus; Russian Intel Offered Taliban Cash to Kill U.S. troops; CDC: U.S. infections Much Higher than Reported; Some U.S. states Pause or Roll Back Reopening; Deaths in Spain Creeping Up as Nation Works to Reopen; U.K. Charities Push for Long-Term Housing for Homeless. Aired 4-5a ET
Aired June 28, 2020 - 04:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): The CDC says the number of people infected with coronavirus may be up to 24 times what has been reported. I'll ask our medical expert, the World Health Organization's COVID-19 special envoy, about that.
Also, reports that Russian intelligence officers offered cash to the Taliban to kill American and British troops in Afghanistan. We'll have the latest details and reaction to these shocking allegations.
Welcome to our viewers here in the United States and around the world. I'm Natalie Allen. CNN NEWSROOM starts right now.
ALLEN: Thank you for joining us.
Our top story: the world is about to pass two pandemic milestones, almost simultaneously. That's when the global total of documented cases hits 10 million and the global total of deaths marks a half million. And a big reason those numbers are going up is the United States.
Americans are less than 5 percent of the global population but account for 25 percent of all the world's infections and deaths. The U.S. recorded 87,000 new cases in just the past two days. Among the worst hit are states that reopened in May.
A month later, they're facing alarming spikes in new cases and hospitalizations. Many young people are falling ill and now the CDC says it is actually much worse than we thought.
To date, the U.S. has documented 2.5 million cases of COVID-19. But according to the CDC survey, the real number of infected Americans is at least six times higher and possibly a whopping 24 times higher than the official figures. Out of all 50 U.S. states, Florida is rapidly emerging as the new
epicenter. More than 9,500 new cases were reported on Saturday. That's a daily record. It adds to the fast rising infections of recent weeks. The state now has more than 130,000 confirmed cases.
Contrast Florida in green against Italy. Florida is now approaching what Italy had and is worse. CNN's Randi Kaye has more from West Palm Beach, Florida.
RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Here in Florida, yet another record day, spiking cases, 9,585, that is the highest number of cases in a single day. The governor still saying that that is because of increased testing. Increased testing from about 24,000 tests a day to 45,000 tests a day.
We are seeing higher positivity rates here in the state of Florida, mostly among young people, ages 33 to 35 years old, mostly asymptomatic. But they do hang out a lot in bars and the governor has decided that that was a reason to close all of the state bars which he has done.
But the governor has decided not to issue a mandatory order that everybody in the state of Florida wear masks. So he's leaving that up to the local government and local municipalities, saying he will trust people to make good decisions.
But we see people out and about here in West Palm Beach, not wearing their masks. So it is unclear if everybody really is making good decisions. In Miami, they've decided to close the beaches in Miami- Dade County, despite the spiking cases coming over the very popular, busy July 4th weekend.
The mayor there says he does not want to see a spike on top of a spike -- Randi Kaye, CNN, West Palm Beach, Florida.
ALLEN: The mayor of Miami says he believes Florida's spike in cases come from people gathering in large groups and refusing to wear masks. His city is taking steps to stop more illness from spreading. Here he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAYOR FRANCIS SUAREZ (D-FL), MIAMI: The numbers we've seen, for example, 2 days ago, we hit the high water mark of 1,500 cases. That's 3 times higher than what we had in late March, early April, at 500 cases.
The state of Florida hit 9,600 cases which is 7 times greater than their high water mark of 1,300.
[04:05:00] SUAREZ: So I think Florida, as a state, open bars, we never opened bars in the city of Miami. And the fact that we are closing our beaches now and we are requiring masks and we are now considering stiffer penalties for businesses that do not comply with the rules.
These are things we are hoping are going to help us reverse this horrible trend that we are seeing over the last couple weeks.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ALLEN: Texas is another state seeing an alarming increase in coronavirus cases. It reported almost 6,000 new infections Saturday. The surge has many local leaders urging residents to take more precautions. Here's what the mayor of Austin told us a short time ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAYOR STEVE ADLER (D-TX), AUSTIN: I need my community right now to just be real vigilant with respect to wearing masks and social distancing. And those that can, I want them to stay at home.
But right now, this messaging that is coming out of Washington is confusing people and we -- and we need more help from our state leaders to make very clear, this is very serious.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ALLEN: Much of the concern there in Texas is over hospitals reaching capacity. CNN's Alexandra Field is in Houston, where some intensive care units already are filling up.
ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Officials here in the Houston area, another of the country's hotspots, now sending out more warnings, letting people know the city's hospitals could be overwhelmed in a week to 3 weeks if we continue to see new COVID cases rise at this rate.
Texas Medical Center, the world's largest medical complex, reported that 100 percent of their ICU beds were full this week. They also reported that 28 percent of those beds were filled by COVID patients.
Hospitals are now moving to implement their surge plans across the city. Governor Greg Abbott has taken some steps to try to put the genie back in the bottle. He's placed new restrictions on bars and restaurants as we see more of these cases affecting people in their 20s and 30s.
But officials say more needs to be done. Nothing will stop the spread that we are currently seeing, short of an all-out stay-at-home order, something the governor has not ordered -- in Houston, Texas, Alexandra Field, CNN.
ALLEN: The fatal consequences of Washington's retreat from science- based reality is best understood against the rest of the world. In each case, fact-based data drove a strong, coordinated centralized response and public compliance. For more on this, here is Brian Todd in Washington.
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The coronavirus crisis in America has reached such disturbing levels that the European Union could soon block Americans from traveling to Europe, according to officials.
One diplomat telling CNN, Europe will be looking to keep out visitors from countries where the virus is circulating most actively. And by that measure, experts say, the U.S. doesn't stack up well.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The United States has not responded in a coherent, organized fashion, which is capable of doing anything serious to really stand in the way of this virus.
TODD (voice-over): The United States is returning to the high infection rates of the outbreak's early days, while the European Union has pushed its rate down and seems to be keeping it down.
In Europe, even in places like Italy, which was devastated by the virus early on, longer lockdowns, aggressive testing and contact tracing have proven effective, while states like Florida, Texas, Arizona and California are seeing enormous new spikes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The U.S. response is just lagging. We're not doing what we need to do to keep physically distanced. We're not across the country, scaling up contact tracing as effectively as needed so we can prevent cases from exploding into clusters and outbreaks.
TODD (voice-over): South Korea, like the U.S., has big cities with dense populations vulnerable to coronavirus but has had dramatically fewer cases and deaths than the U.S.
What tactics made the South Koreans more successful?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In South Korea, they have an extraordinarily, very smart testing program, which enables them to rapidly identify cases, rapidly inform the contacts of those cases and then rapidly isolate them.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you had moved to South Korea on January 20th, when each of our countries had its first case, you would have been 70 times less likely to be killed by this virus.
TODD (voice-over): Experts say another big reason the U.S. has fallen behind other countries in the handling of the pandemic is because the federal government allowed individual states to take the lead and make their own decisions of when and how to reopen.
As a result, many states reopened much too quickly, while states hit hard early on, like New York, didn't.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They held it over a period of weeks to months. They wrestled the pandemic to the ground to the point where now they're more worried about there being new introductions from states where it's taken off (ph).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Open your business now.
TODD (voice-over): Experts say one other problem the U.S. has had which most other nations have not, the politicization of the response.
TODD (voice-over): Leaders like President Trump, vice president Pence, openly shunning guidelines on wearing masks. Trump on FOX Radio even making fun of Joe Biden, who's worn them.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
TRUMP: He started speaking through the mask again. He feels comfortable with a mask on, I think. And even though there was nobody anywhere near him.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
TODD: But President Trump and other Republicans are not the only ones being criticized for politicizing the response to coronavirus. Experts point out not only did some Democratic governors not call out or prevent people from staging mass protests against police brutality recently, clearly a risky venture during the pandemic, but a couple of them joined the protests, breaking their own lockdown orders -- Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.
ALLEN: Dr. David Nabarro is a COVID-19 special envoy with the World Health Organization. He joins me now live via Skype from Geneva.
Good morning, Doctor. Thank you so much for being with us.
DR. DAVID NABARRO, WHO: Good morning. How do you do, everybody?
ALLEN: I'm doing pretty well, thank you very much. The world is about to hit 10 million confirmed cases and half a million deaths.
When this disease first made headlines in late January, did you see it getting this far this fast?
NABARRO: I always recognized that this virus has an incredible capacity to spread really quickly. And it is dangerous. And I suppose I hoped that all countries would be able to get on top of it and push it back.
But I did at one level, also with colleagues, have a sense of dread. It is not too late. Yes, the virus is advancing and it is advancing all over the world but we also know what needs to be done to hold it at bay.
And we're going to have to get on top of it, because, otherwise, for the next few years, it is just going to go on and on spreading and causing real distress. So, yes, now is the time when all nations need to get together, to get on top of this virus and push it back so that it doesn't continue to threaten humanity.
ALLEN: And we now heard that the CDC is projecting that infected Americans -- that the numbers may be at least six times higher, possibly a whopping 24 times higher.
When you see how the U.S. and, say, Britain as well, are reacting to this, countries that are seeing huge numbers, what worries you?
NABARRO: Most importantly I would like to be sure that every human being everywhere understands that this is a dangerous virus. And we've all got to act together to deal with it.
I'd love it if every single political leader could be really leveling with their people about the importance of acting in a way that reduces the risk of transmission: physical distancing, mask wearing, hygiene, shielding the people who are most at risk.
Secondly, I'd love it if we could also focus what needs to be done in the way of basic health services to make sure that, when outbreaks do start, we close them down very quickly. And that's finding people with the disease and isolating them and then getting their contacts (INAUDIBLE).
If everybody knew the basics and if every government everywhere could implement the level of health care that is needed, then we can get on top of it. So that's my hope.
And I suppose that's what I (INAUDIBLE) happen but I feel some countries are still lagging behind others and it is the countries that are perhaps not moving this as much in line with the rest, that are still unsure about the seriousness of this virus. I'd like to say to them, please catch up with the rest because we've all got to do this together.
ALLEN: Well, you mentioned the importance of leadership here. Certainly in the U.S., the fight against this has become very political. People wear or don't wear a mask as much to make a statement as for health reasons.
Your organization has felt the political fallout with Washington announcing it is cutting funding amid claims the WHO bungled early stages of this.
How much is the political fighting, Doctor, hurting what should be a worldwide unified effort that you say must be achieved?
NABARRO: Well, politics are real. We can't wish them away. So we have to live in a world where people are needing to find reasons to promote themselves and make sure they get voted in, in various elections coming up.
Just to say to everybody, this virus does not understand politics. This virus just exploits any weaknesses that we have. And as you said in the presentation we had just now, if there are inconsistencies in the political positions taken by leaders, then the virus will exploit them.
NABARRO: So I do actually ask that ordinary people (INAUDIBLE), people who are trying to get on with their lives, people with families who need to be looked after, that we all come together and say, we must put dealing with this virus before anything else.
We really must because, otherwise, the next few months and years are going to be really difficult for humanity. And that's really necessary. It's (INAUDIBLE) to be clearly across to everybody now that the virus exploits political differences. And actually where there are political differences, things are much, much worse.
ALLEN: Yes, absolutely. The United States is the leader, of course, in the cases. And we watched this epicenter move from central China to Iran to parts of Europe. The U.S. Now has a quarter of all cases as well as deaths. Latin America is poised to possibly be the new epicenter.
And hearing you say, well, we could be in this for months or years reminds people the work that has to be done to try to stop this, especially in some fragile countries.
NABARRO: Yes, in places where governments are not strong, in places where there are (INAUDIBLE), this is much, much worse than what is happening in the United States right now.
The United States has got a wonderful health system. It also has got some of the brightest communicable disease experts in the world. You know what to do. It is just a case of doing it.
People know what to do, they've got fabulous support services. But go to poor countries, places where people are living in slums or in favelas or townships and they don't have the resources, they don't have health services that can cope. They are suffering, very, very badly.
We all need to come behind them. You're dealing with an international broadcasting system in CNN, you're connected with people all over the world. (INAUDIBLE) together on this, all of humanity. Otherwise, we will find ourselves facing such terrible problems, as I say particularly for poorer people, people in refugee countries.
And we won't even have the numbers. At least in the United States, you know what's going on because you've got good testing. But there are so many countries where there is very little testing and we're finding out after a terrible accident, there's been a lot of people dying in a particular city.
We shouldn't be like this, we've got to work together to get on top of this.
ALLEN: I hope people are listening, thank you for your wisdom. Thank you for your expertise and your time. David Navarro, Doctor, thank you.
NABARRO: Thank you. Thank you for all you do. Bye-bye.
ALLEN: Overwhelmed, short staffed and fighting an enemy the U.S. was woefully unprepared to handle, back in April, a nursing union president spoke with CNN's Don Lemon about the terror of the coronavirus and its epicenter in New York. Here she was.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JUDY SHERIDAN-GONZALEZ, NEW YORK STATE NURSES ASSOCIATION: The level of illness has really increased. The number of patients has increased.
Yesterday -- last night alone, we admitted 200 additional patients. We have about 1,500 corona positive patients in our system. We have over -- we have 1,300 people out on furlough. We have about 600 positive COVIDs and many sick workers. Many of them nurses.
We have lost some nurses. They have succumbed to the virus. And we have quite a few already in the ICU. We're terribly at risk because of the intensity of the virus, the virulence of the virus. It is attacking our own systems.
And that's the big reason that we need the PPE, particularly the hazmat suits that can protect us. We started off being concerned. The concern turned to worry, then to fear and then to abject terror and now we're almost numb.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ALLEN: Next hour, we'll hear again from Judy Sheridan-Gonzalez and I'll ask her what improved, what hasn't and her advice for states and cities facing a surge in this deadly disease.
One person is dead and another injured after a shooting in Louisville, Kentucky. It happened during a protest in Jefferson Square Park Saturday evening. Demonstrators have been gathering to demand justice in the killing of Breonna Taylor there.
Officials say law enforcement performed life saving measures on one of the victims but he died. A short time later, police received word of a second shooting victim at the nearby Hall of Justice. He was transported to a local hospital with non-life threatening injuries. We'll keep tabs on this developing story.
Shocking allegations say Russia offered to pay the Taliban to kill U.S. and British troops. Coming up here, what the White House says about what President Trump knew about this and when.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [04:20:00]
ALLEN: The Kremlin and the White House are responding to shocking new reports about the war in Afghanistan. A European intelligence official tells CNN Russian intelligence wanted to see U.S. and British forces die in the conflict and it offered cash to Taliban fighters as rewards if they killed them.
The White House is not denying the reports but it is denying President Trump and vice president Pence were briefed about it.
That clashes with "The New York Times," which first reported this story. It says Mr. Trump was told about the intelligence in late March. Russia and the Taliban both are denying the report. International security editor Nick Paton Walsh is tracking this stunning story for us from London.
Good morning, Nick.
What more are you learning about it?
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR: As you said, a European intelligence official is telling me that Russian military intelligence began a scheme to incentivize Taliban fighters in Afghanistan to kill U.S. or other coalition soldiers.
WALSH: Now this European intelligence official says while they don't understand what the motivation was, they do believe that scheme results in some coalition casualties. It's not clear whether fatalities or injuries, which nationalities or when they occurred.
But in their assessment there was consequence. It incentivized the Taliban to do something.
Now some argue the Taliban don't need cash to kill coalition soldiers. But this feeds into the broader issue of what the insurgency is currently doing in Afghanistan while perhaps trying to strike a peace deal, waiting for prisoner exchanges and still continuing violent attacks on the back.
The Taliban have said denied any involvement in this. They say they don't need foreigners to tell them how to conduct their insurgency and the Russian embassy in Washington has put up #BlameRussia, saying they had nothing to do with this at all.
A Russian intelligence official has called this callous and reprehensible and shocking and said they are bewildered at quite exactly what Russia's motivation might be. Some say this is about increasing casualty to expedite an American withdrawal but Trump made it clear he wants out of Afghanistan.
The Pentagon even planning to reduce troop numbers below the 8,600 they agreed under current peace talks with the Taliban. So a startling allegation.
Frankly, here, I should point out one more detail, Natalie, the European intelligence official I've spoken to says the precise unit of Russian military intelligence known as the GRU that is behind this incentivization scheme is known as 29155.
They're the same unit accused, says this intelligence official, of the attack in Salisbury in the U.K. against the Skripal father and daughter, a prominent unit in their eyes and an exceptionally geopolitically dangerous scheme here.
The White House have come forward and said that as you pointed out, well, it really disputes the intelligence report themselves, they say "The New York Times" is wrong to point out that Trump and Pence were briefed on it. Startling, frankly, that they wouldn't be told if indeed, they're not disputing the intelligence itself, Natalie.
ALLEN: We're just learning about this story and it is just unfolding. Nick Paton Walsh with the very latest for us, Nick, thank you.
COVID cases are spiking across the U.S. While safety measures to protect President Trump from the virus have been toughened, in public, he's downplaying the risk. More about that coming up.
ALLEN: Welcome back to our viewers here in the U.S. and all around the world. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Natalie Allen.
Well, 87,000 new cases of coronavirus were confirmed in the United States in just the past two days. That has pushed the U.S. total to well past 2.5 million. More than 125,000 people have died since February. And now the CDC says the true scope of the pandemic is far more troubling.
According to the CDC survey, the real number of infected Americans is at least six times higher, possibly a whopping 24 times higher than the official figures.
Despite those numbers, President Trump paints a rosy picture of the situation in public. But in private there are tough safety protocols for those around him. Now the vice president is postponing events in Florida and Arizona, where infections have hit alarming new highs. For more from the White House, here is CNN's Jeremy Diamond.
JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, as coronavirus cases are surging nationwide, President Trump in recent days has continued to downplay the severity of the crisis and insists falsely that testing and increased testing is the reason why we are seeing these spikes in several places around the country.
Of course, the truth of the matter is that while testing is increasing, the percentage of positive cases is also rising. It shows that this is not just about testing. But while the president has downplayed the severity of this crisis publicly, we know that the president has actually been concerned privately about his potential exposure.
And with that we have also seen the protective measures around the president, measures to protect him from getting the virus have actually stepped up, in particular every venue that the president enters is now being inspected for potential areas of contagion by security and medical teams.
The bathroom that he may use during one of those events when he is traveling, scrubbed and sanitized thoroughly. And every individual around the president, who comes into contact with him, is also being tested.
That's despite the fact that the White House has actually scaled back some of its other preventative measures that don't necessarily deal directly with the president.
For example, when I walk into the White House, I've normally gotten a temperature check. That is no longer happening. Now while all of that is happening, we also know the vice president, who has himself made that same claim about testing and really tried to paint a much rosier picture of the situation in the United States than actually exists, he's also scaling back some of his plans to travel and specifically some of his plans to campaign in person.
The vice president was scheduled to travel to Florida and to Arizona for campaign events. The vice president will still be going to those states, we are told, to get an in-person briefing on the situation there.
But he is canceling campaign events that were scheduled to take place in both of those battleground states. Certainly, some changes are happening but, again, protective measures around the president tightening but the president himself, his rhetoric, certainly hasn't changed -- Jeremy Diamond, CNN, the White House.
ALLEN: I'm joined now by Inderjeet Parmar from City University of London and visiting professor at London School of Economics.
Good to see you, Professor. Good morning to you.
INDERJEET PARMAR, CITY UNIVERSITY OF LONDON: Good morning.
ALLEN: The United States is seeing surges of the virus in half of its states. And the message from the White House is, all states are opening up safely and responsibly. That's a quote.
When eight states paused their reopening and three have seen a 50 percent increase in cases.
What do you think of the rosy White House message that the vice president issued just Friday amid this real situation?
PARMAR: It is quite puzzling in many ways to declare the (INAUDIBLE) actually what is going on and it seems to be that there is an (INAUDIBLE) underlying point of view that the November election doesn't matter but that it's already lost and they're just trying to do as much as they can (INAUDIBLE).
(INAUDIBLE) it doesn't square (ph) with the health officials, the scientific expertise which is available to them, and the (INAUDIBLE) cases in states and counties now which are increasingly (INAUDIBLE), counties that went something like 60 percent towards the Republicans in 2016.
So it is very, very deeply puzzling but it suggests an underlying philosophy about how government and what government should do as well.
ALLEN: President Trump has gone back on the campaign trail. He definitely wants to be at his rallies again. We know that the campaign reportedly removed stickers promoting social distance at that Tulsa rally.
How will it look if President Trump continues to hold rallies at this time during a pandemic?
PARMAR: Well, it shows that the president basically has a particular view, despite the fact that he is protected quite well himself and people around him are screened so that he's (INAUDIBLE) because that would be politically the worst thing absolutely possible.
But he wants to basically suggest it's business as usual. There is no problem here. But he is going against the majority of the population, including the majority of Republicans as well, who do not want America to be reopened and the risks to be increased.
So he's actually now going against his own electorate but he seems to be very secure in the knowledge that he's got a very loyal voter base, that they will turn out. And maybe what he thinks is that that loyalty will remain and that will impact the voter restriction measures that are being ramped up will reduce the turnout, among others, that the mail-in ballot process may well be undermined by what he says is (INAUDIBLE) and maybe he then thereby, he believes, he may well just swing the election in November.
ALLEN: Yes, that's an angle many people are watching. The White House has not offered a unified plan for the country, the president talks about other issues more often than this pandemic. He's looking to overturn ObamaCare now. That was just announced.
Now with his support lagging, as you say, since the protests also began over racist issues, how does he turn this around before November, if he ignores the realities of this pandemic? PARMAR: I think that's the exact thing Tucker Carlson on FOX News said it, he said President Trump effectively has been given two gifts this year. One is the pandemic, the other is rioting or looting, from the right wing perspective.
Both of those normally would suggest the leader leads, pulls the nation together, develops a policy, a strategy of law and order and so on and effectively rises above the fray to suggest that he is a unifying force, going to bring peace and stability.
President Trump has turned that into a penalty. The penalty is the majority of people do not support his pandemic policies and a majority of people don't support his latest law and order (INAUDIBLE) that the police should be very tough on people and so on.
And his displays of militarism, when he left the White House to go to a church (INAUDIBLE), so I don't see how he squares it. The only thing I can think of is he believes that November is somehow already in the bag or he doesn't care because his world view is the government shouldn't be doing very much in regard to ordinary people in any case.
It should really only look at the stock market indexes and it should try to reopen the economy and reduce the unemployment figures. It doesn't make any real sense to me at this time, I have to say. He's doing the exact opposite of what one would expect.
ALLEN: And I want to ask you, as a professor of political science, can you recall in the history of the U.S. when a president has kind of looked the other way during a national disaster that we're seeing?
PARMAR: I don't think I can. National disasters are just that. And the president is the only figure who is affected on a national basis. So what we have is the only kind of national representative of the American people who decided that, in fact, government need not take any responsibility. He personally doesn't need to take responsibility. Only the states should be doing it.
And that suggests a kind of world view which is deeply self-centered, the kind of what Stephen Bannon called a deconstruction of the administrative state.
PARMAR: That is the administrative state, the regulatory state, the state that looks after that looks after people, the environment, health and so on, really doesn't matter. We need to pare that down as much as possible and empower corporate (INAUDIBLE) and so on. And that will take care of the problem.
The market will decide and determine outcomes. And in effect it is a zero-sum game being played. And it hasn't played out very well politically for him and that is the most puzzling thing. He stands as an outlier in the history of the United States.
ALLEN: He sticks to his same playbook but it seems to be slipping away from him at this juncture. We always appreciate your insights, Professor Inderjeet Parmar in London. Thank you.
PARMAR: Thank you very much.
ALLEN: Lawmakers in the state of Mississippi took a big step toward removing the divisive Confederate battle flag from its state flag. A resolution to begin the process sailed through the Mississippi house and senate Saturday. The measure paves the way for a bill to allow for that change.
The Confederate battle emblem has been criticized as a white supremacist symbol, the states that fought the Civil War under it were trying to preserve their slave-based economies. Mississippi is the last state to have that emblem on its flag. The governor recently changed his mind and now says he'll sign a bill to get rid of it.
The great, great grandson of Confederate president Jefferson Davis, Bertram Hayes-Davis, spoke with CNN on Saturday saying he supports that move.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BERTRAM HAYES-DAVIS, GREAT-GREAT GRANDSON OF CONFEDERATE PRESIDENT JEFFERSON DAVIS: It does not represent the entire population of Mississippi. It is historic and heritage related, there are a lot of people who look at that that way and God bless them for that heritage.
So put it in a museum and honor it there or put it in your house. But the flag of Mississippi should represent the entire population. And I am thrilled that we are finally going to make that change.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ALLEN: Mississippi lawmakers have been weighing the removal of the emblem amid recent protests for racial justice. Looks like it is going to happen.
Next here, come on in, the water's fine, the beaches in Spain are being monitored closely for potential COVID surges. We'll have a live report for you about how they're going to monitor that right after this.
ALLEN: Want to take you now to Spain. They're seeing a step back in the fight against coronavirus as the country reports eight deaths Friday. This is a jump from last week, when it had a maximum of three a day. The Spanish health ministry also reported almost 200 new cases in the last 24 hours.
Yet Spain continues to take steps to reopen. And with summer here, officials are using high technology drones and patrols to keep an eye on people on the beaches. Let's talk about it with our journalist Atika Shubert in Valencia, Spain, there on the beach.
What are you seeing right now?
And tell us more about the steps that officials are taking.
ATIKA SHUBERT, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it is all part of the new normal, that, yes, we can go outside and resume normal activities but with precautions.
At the beaches, these are some of the precautions on the signs here. Keep groups to under 20 people, try to keep two meters apart. There will be constant disinfections of the area.
In fact what we saw a little while ago, I'll bring you over here and show you at the beach, there was a guy spraying in this area, where people wash the sand off their feet, spraying the showers and beach loungers (sic) here. That's just some of the measures that they're doing.
In addition to that, they're really trying to control access to the beach. What they have here, they have volunteers from the Red Cross, for example, they also have police patrols. And what they're trying to say is, listen, we need to keep people moving in one direction here and coming out here.
It's all about trying to keep the crowds organized and keep them into a sort of a way that they can at least space themselves out. As you can see, this beach is pretty big. It has a capacity to fit thousands. It has not been a problem so far.
But if necessary, the local communities here say they will bring out drones, for example, and start surveying the area to make sure that they have sufficient crowd control and make sure that people are a safe distance apart -- Natalie.
ALLEN: Yes, you know, managing people on a beach, that's certainly a new thing, isn't it?
So you talk about the drones, so how do they communicate to people?
I think you said earlier that they're also using apps?
SHUBERT: They are. They're using a lot of different technology and some beaches, not at this one, but there are other beaches where, in order -- because it is a much narrower beach, if you want a space on the beach, you have to book a space. And that will get you a three by three square meter space for you and your group to ensure you have enough space between other groups.
There are also apps that make sure, if you want to go to the beach but you're not sure about the crowds, you can check it out and there will be a red sort of map that will show you it is a little too crowded now, you don't want to go, or green says there is plenty of space to lay your blanket out. In addition to those apps, they will have drone patrols if it gets too
crowded. If the drones see that there are too many people in one area, they'll send out an alert, an audio alert to the people, saying you need to disperse, you need to calmly move aside and get some space between you, so that it is a safer distance from everyone.
So it is, again, a little unusual this the best way people can get out and enjoy the beach and be safe.
ALLEN: A lot of other countries with beaches around the country, world, may be watching this to see how it works. Atika Shubert for us in Valencia, Spain. Thank you so much.
In the United Kingdom, as many as 15,000 homeless people have been sleeping in hotels during the lockdown. But with restrictions winding down there, we look at the future for those with no place to call home.
ALLEN: England's lockdown is supposed to be relaxed starting July 4th. Some charities are seeing an opportunity to help thousands of homeless over the long term. These last few months, hotels in the U.K. opened their doors to thousands of people living on the streets. CNN's Phil Black shows us the impact it has made.
PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is existing at society's edge, being invisible to most, having no reason to hope. It's life on Britain's streets, without a home, without work or support because of trauma, addiction, mental illness and just bad luck.
It was Bob Sheppard's life until a few months ago.
So how are you doing now?
BOB SHEPPARD, HOMELESS MAN: A lot better. A hell of a lot better. (INAUDIBLE) take longer, physically it's coming back together quite well.
BLACKWELL (voice-over): Bob's turnaround is an unlikely positive consequence of COVID-19. As the country locked down, he and the vast majority of Britain's homeless, more than 15,000, were quickly taken off the streets and given their own hotel rooms.
The result, no significant spread among some of the country's most vulnerable people. And many are now engaging with health and drug abuse services. LOUISE CASEY, COVID-19 ROUGH SLEEPING TASK FORCE: I think that's an
amazing tale during what's a really, really dreadful period in certainly our nation's history.
BLACK (voice-over): Louise Casey coordinated that initial effort. Then she and other began pushing the government for something far more ambitious.
CASEY: We all now think, crikey, OK, let's not go back.
BLACK (voice-over): So the goal now is to get those 15,000-plus people into safe, longer-term accommodation. The long lines regularly waiting for a hot meal in London's Trafalgar Square represent only a small part of the need, an expected pandemic recession is going to make that need even greater.
CASEY: I want to get the 15,000 sorted now, so that we are ready to face whatever will happen this autumn, when I think we will see it's inevitable. You get higher unemployment, higher levels of homelessness and actually get higher levels of hunger.
BLACK (voice-over): One of Britain's leading voices on homelessness, the founder of the "Big Issue" magazine, predicts the government will soon have to find ways of helping hundreds of thousands of vulnerable people.
JOHN BIRD, "BIG ISSUE": People in their homes, give them jobs. Train them up, skill them up, new forms of work, job creation, programs around health, around local authorities' support, around education, around the environment. We can do it. We really need a revolution now in government thinking.
BLACK (voice-over): Bob Sheppard is proof, a change in thanking can change lives. He now has a guaranteed home for at least the next six months.
BLACK: Is that comforting?
SHEPPARD: It is. It is comforting. I've got a stable place now. It is stable. As long as I don't do something stupid, I'm fine there. I've got a bed, I've got a cooker, I can eat food. I can build my life back up again.
BLACK (voice-over): For years, homelessness has been a highly visible growing problem in Britain with no easy fix but the recent extraordinary progress points to what's been missing until now: political will -- Phil Black, CNN, London.
ALLEN: I'm Natalie Allen. Another hour of CNN NEWSROOM is just ahead. Our top stories right after this.