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Mixed Messages Confuses People on What to Follow; President Trump Push to Reopen Schools; Serbians Protested the Country's Curfew; Australia Takes Drastic Measures to Combat Coronavirus; Coronavirus Pandemic, President Trump Threatens Funds For Schools That Won't Reopen; President Trump Bashes CDC School Reopening Guidelines; Dr. Anthony Fauci Sidelined From Latest White House Briefing; President Trump Disagrees With Tough And Expensive CDC Guidelines; Teachers, We Want To Bring Kids Safely Back To School; New School Plans Must Balance Virtual In-Person Learning; U.N. Expert, United States Killing Of Iran's Soleimani Unlawful; Iran Surpasses 12,000 Virus Deaths; Cuba Emerging From Lockdown; China's Stock Market Soars On Economic Recovery Hopes; United Airlines Warns 36,000 Employees May Lose Jobs; Havana's Businesses And Beaches Reopen But Not Its Airport; Robots Cheer Baseball Team To Victory. Aired 3-4a ET
Aired July 9, 2020 - 03:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, and welcome to our viewers joining us from all around the world. You are watching CNN Newsroom. And I'm Rosemary Church.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: We have never gotten out of the first wave.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We had a new record of positivity yesterday.
DON LEMON, CNN HOST: This is the worst day yet of this pandemic in this country.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF America: If you look at the chart of deaths, the deaths are way down.
FAUCI: It's a false narrative, to take comfort in a lower rate of death.
MICHAEL PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: We want to get our kids back, we want to get them back in the classroom.
TRUMP: I think it's going to be good for them politically so they keep the schools closed, no way.
(END VIDEO CLIP) CHURCH: The pandemic is worse than ever, here in America. And yet, the president is now an all-out open conflict with top health officials. We dive into that.
Plus, as thousands protest in Serbia, police stage a violent crackdown. We show you the first major unrest in Europe during the pandemic.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now the people are permitted to come back out here life does feel like it's returning to normal, but there is still that strange sensation of being on an island that is almost entirely cut off from the rest of the world.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: CNN takes you around Cuba as it takes its first steps in months to slowly get back to island living.
Good to have you with us.
For the second straight day, the U.S. counted more than 58,000 cases of COVID-19, pushing its total number of infections past three million. Still, despite the sobering milestone, President Trump is again pushing for schools to fully reopen and threatened to cut their federal funding if they didn't.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: Because they think it's going to be good for them politically, so they keep the schools closed, no way. So, we are very much going to put pressure on governors and everybody else to open the schools to get them open and it's very important.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: On Twitter, Mr. Trump also blasted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calling its guidelines on how to reopen safely tough and expensive. Hours later, Vice President Mike Pence said the agency would soon release new recommendations.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PENCE: The CDC will be issuing new guidance next week, as part of a five-part series of recommendations that will give all new tools to our schools, but what Dr. Redfield made clear yesterday I'm sure he'll make clear again today is, we are here to help.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: President Trump also noted that countries like Germany, Denmark, Norway and Sweden have all reopened their schools without a problem, and suggested the U.S. could do the same. But the outbreak in those countries has been a lot less severe.
On Tuesday, all four of them confirmed fewer than 600 cases in total, while the U.S. reported more than 60,000 infections. Well, now the country seemingly on track to reach the sobering numbers, the top expert Dr. Anthony Fauci predicted last week.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FAUCI: I would not be surprised if we go up to 100,000 a day if this does not turn around, but I think it's important to tell you and the American public that I am very concerned because it could get very bad.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: And the rate of new infections is trending upwards in at least 35 states, and hospitals and healthcare workers are being stretched to the limit.
CNN's Nick Watt has more now from Los Angeles.
NICK WATT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The vice president was big on platitudes.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PENCE: The American people are finding a way to do their part.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WATT: But short on detail.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PENCE: Just keep doing what you're doing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WATT: Even though we hit a new one-day record for new cases again.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PETER HOTEZ, INFECTIOUS EXPERT, BAYLOR UNIVERSITY: Just a few days ago, we were aghast that would hit 50,000. Without a national strategy and a roadmap, we'll quickly accelerate to 100,000 cases.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WATT: But the vice president sees a silver lining.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PENCE: We are seeing early indications of a percent of positive testing flattening in Arizona and Florida and Texas.
(END VIDEO CLIP) WATT: There, that blue line is what he's talking about. Flattening in Florida above a 15 percent positivity rate on tests. The WHO guideline is to flatten under 5 percent before reopening.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PENCE: In Arizona and Florida, we are beginning to see declining number of emergency room visits as well.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WATT: No mention of the full ICUs in 43 Florida hospitals or just the 145 ICU beds in Arizona currently unoccupied.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAYOR KATE GALLEGO (D), PHOENIX, Arizona: Our medical professionals are already feeling exhausted, asking for reinforcements, and they tell me the worst is yet to come.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WATT: The U.S. has a little over 4 percent of the world's population, yet right now, a little over 24 percent of the world's COVID-19 deaths. But the vice president is upbeat.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PENCE: We are encouraged that the average fatality rate continues to be low and steady.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WATT: Although the death toll is now starting to climb in Florida, Arizona, and Texas, and in eight states, from sea to shining sea, record numbers now of COVID-19 patients in hospitals.
Dr. Deborah Birx asked everyone in surging spots, basically, to return to strict phase one recommendations.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DEBORAH BIRX, COORDINATOR, WHITE HOUSE CORONAVIRUS TASK FORCE: We are asking the American people in those counties and in those states -- in those states to not only use the face coverings, not going to bars, not going to indoor dining, but really not gathering in homes either.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WATT: Here in California, the number of COVID-19 patients in the hospital up 44 percent in just two weeks, and the fear is that the death toll will also rise. With that as the backdrop, here in Los Angeles, school districts have been told that it would be prudent to have a distanced learning plan in place for the fall in case numbers don't get any better.
Nick Watt, CNN, Los Angeles.
CHURCH: And joining me now is CNN medical analyst Dr. Amy Compton- Phillips. Always great to have you with us.
AMY COMPTON-PHILLIPS, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: Thank you so much.
CHURCH: So, let's start with the numbers. More than three million cases of COVID-19 in the U.S., more than 132,000 lives lost so far, 1,100 Americans died on Tuesday alone and yet, we see the president and vice presidents playing down the severity of the situation, and even threatening to cut funds to any schools that don't fully open next month.
As a doctor, what's your response to this pressure to open all schools for in-person learning in the midst of a pandemic? How smart is that?
COMPTON-PHILLIPS: Well, my advice to our government is to look at the CDC guidelines, and use those to make very wise decisions for each community. And it absolutely is true that children get services beyond education at school, we deal with childhood hunger, it's how you identify children in risky situations at home, it is going to set them up for life better, if they get a strong education as a child.
So, there are reasons that you want to open schools, but there's also ways to do it safely. And pushing schools, particularly if they are overcrowded or they haven't been able to make the accommodations over the summer to open safely, is not something that would end up well for the health and well-being of either the children or the teachers who care for them.
CHURCH: And you mentioned the CDC, because it's now being pressured by the president to rewrite its guidelines for reopening schools, because he thinks they are currently too tough and impractical.
So, let's just take a look at some of those guidelines. Wearing masks, staying home when appropriate, staggered scheduling, backup staffing plan, modified seating for social distancing, closing communal spaces. Which of these do you think the president finds too tough and do you worry that these guidelines will be watered down to satisfy the president and perhaps put lives at risk?
COMPTON-PHILLIPS: It is hard to read his mind, so I'm not going to pretend to do that. But I can say that all of those guidelines are there to minimize the risk of spreading the virus to one person to another, one child to another or one child to a teacher, one teacher to another. We have to have a workforce that says healthy.
So, every single one of those guidelines is there to make it safer to be able to actually do what we want. Educate our children. So I think probably in total, those looked on team to somebody who is sitting back going that goal number one is to open the economy, because I think what is really essential is to say yes, everybody must open the economy any everybody wants kids to be in school, everybody wants the parents to be able to go back to work, but we can do that safely, thoughtfully and well, while preserving the health and well-being.
CHURCH: And doctor, meantime, the numbers show the deaths are rising in Florida, Arizona, and Texas. And in Florida, more than 40 hospital ICUs have hit capacity and nearly 10,000 new COVID-19 cases will recorded Wednesday. Seven states have record hospitalizations, all this moving in the wrong direction.
What do you expect to see in the next few weeks in terms of hospitalizations and deaths across this country?
COMPTON-PHILLIPS: I think they will keep going up and predominantly because it takes a couple of weeks for people to change their behavior to see the benefits of that changed behavior reflected in hospitalizations.
So if you get exposed to COVID today, it will take you somewhere, you know, just call it a week, to get some symptoms if you're going to be one who gets symptoms, and then after you have symptoms for a week or so they can get bad enough to have you need the hospital.
So, if you decided to completely isolate yourself and stay home today, go into quarantine today, 14 days from now you might be at the hospital if you got COVID today. Right? So, there is that timeline.
So, we are going to at least see a couple more weeks of numbers climbing, until we see the benefits of all these new regulations, and requirements that Florida and Texas and Arizona are putting in place right now to minimize the risk of transition. So, we have a little bit more up to go before we start coming on the downhill side.
CHURCH: Right. And doctor, we did learn yesterday from the respective Washington University model that if 95 percent of Americans wore masks right now, we could save around 45,000 lives, and yet, there's a reluctance to do this definitely from the president and from his supporters, and we labor this point every single day. And you and I have been doing this as well, and yet the message doesn't get through, does it?
So, do you think the president needs to be telling people this? And why wouldn't he be doing that already if so many lives could be saved? Where is the disconnect?
COMPTON-PHILLIPS: Somehow there is a disconnected not understanding that masking up lets us open up. The fact that if we wear a mask, and we keep people safer, we can get the economy going faster. And so, it has artificially become this distinction either you are in favor of wearing masks or you are in favor of opening up. The former allows us to do the latter.
And so, I think we need to start speaking the president's language and say that this is about the economy and the economy is going to be better if people are healthier and people wear masks.
CHURCH: Masking up, lets us open up, I like that. We need to put it on a t-shirt. Thanks so much, Dr. Amy Compton-Phillips. Always great to chat with you.
COMPTON-PHILLIPS: Thank you so much for having me.
CHURCH: And President Trump's push to get children back to school quickly despite the spike in COVID-19 cases prompted a pointed response from the president of one of America's largest teacher's unions. Here is a part of my conversation with her that's coming up later in the show.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RANDI WEINGARTEN, PRESIDENT, AMERICAN FEDERATION OF TEACHERS: All he cares about, he's never heard about public schools and public education in the three and a half years that he's been there. All he cares about is he's trying to jack up the numbers of people who are going back to work, and so he is trying to do that by any means necessary even if it hurts kids and hurts teachers.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: So, let's take a look at the worst outbreaks in the world over the past week. The U.S. States of Arizona, Florida, and South Carolina lead the way with more cases per one million residents than Bahrain, Qatar and Oman. Now those Middle Eastern countries have all seen a surge in infections among low wage migrant workers, often living in cramped quarters.
And here is the global picture. You can see places like Australia, Mongolia and parts of Northern Africa, are seeing the biggest surges right now from week to week.
Well there's been a sudden surge in new COVID-19 cases in Hong Kong. Officials are calling it the third wave of the pandemic. Hong Kong has been praised for its vigilance in handling previous outbreaks, but this new crop of cases shows just how difficult the virus is to control. Health authorities will be giving an update in the coming hours.
And CNN's Will Ripley is in Hong Kong. He joins us now live. Good to see you, Will. So, what is behind this sudden surge in COVID-19 cases and how is Hong Kong responding to this one?
WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's all relative, isn't it, Rosemary? We're talking about 38 cases that have cropped up in the last two days after many weeks of no new cases, or at least no new locally transmitted cases. Because that is what is really concerning about this trend that health officials are noticing, it's how many of these cases they can't through contact tracing figure out where they came from.
Which means that even though Hong Kong shut down its borders effectively, first with mainland China than with the rest of the world, only allowing in Hong Kong residents who have to complete in most cases, a mandatory 14-day quarantine.
[03:15:02] There are exceptions for people like flight crew and diplomats and some are saying maybe those exceptions for the quarantine could be bringing, you know, coronavirus into the community.
But the fact is they just don't know. I mean, there is also, you know, there's clusters at a retirement home, a place where senior citizens are cared for, and usually only a handful of workers at that kind of place get tested, maybe they need to test more workers.
So, what we are waiting to hear possibly in the coming hours from Hong Kong leaders is what the city is going to do to respond. Are we going to ramp up testing? Are they going to tighten the borders even further? Are they going to go back to some of the social distancing measures that were in place earlier this year?
This is already a city, Rosemary, where everybody is expected to wear a mask when they are out in public, if you don't have a mask, you are going to get a lot of dirty looks. If you forget your mask you almost feel like you're walking around in your boxers, because it is a very uncomfortable feeling. Everybody has a mask, that's one good thing.
But when people go to dinner, and they are sitting down with larger and larger groups that are being allowed, obviously you don't have a mask when you're eating. You don't a mask if you get on a boat, you know, with your friends for a weekend afternoon, which is very popular summer past time here in Hong Kong.
So people are getting comfortable kind of easing back into the normality of life here, and it's far more normal here than it a lot of other places, but, we know in the age of coronavirus, Rosemary, the things could go right back to the way they were, especially if these numbers continue to tick up.
CHURCH: Yes. Certainly, a big lesson for the United States, we're watching what's happening there. And Will, while we have you with us, China's foreign minister is saying China-U.S. relations are facing their most severe challenge since the establishment of diplomatic ties, what is the significance of this coming at this time?
RIPLEY: Well, look, it's no secret that things have been getting worse and worse when it comes to U.S.-China relations. Here in Hong Kong this is one flash point. It seems like every other day the U.S. Secretary Mike Pompeo puts out a new statement blasting China for its national security laws saying that it is basically done away with one country two systems, the U.S. blames China for the coronavirus pandemic, then of course there is the ongoing trade issues that exist between the two countries not to mention the military tensions in the South China Sea and other places as China kind of continues to make increasingly bold territorial claims.
The Trump administration has long felt that China is the greatest long-term challenge facing the United States. Some might even call it a threat facing the United States. Those are the views that the Trump administration has had for a number of years, and so the policies that we are seeing are certainly a reflection of those views inside the administration. And you now have Chinese diplomats, you know, basically firing back their vice foreign minister saying hey, it's time to stop with this megaphone diplomacy and show a little bit of mutual respect. You know, they've been kind of going back and forth at each other. But it seems as if the messaging from Beijing is that China is hopeful, that after this, as they called the dark clouds subside, that the sunshine can shine again on the U.S.-China relationship.
That might be kind of a rosy outlook, considering the reality of the situation, but certainly both sides don't want things to get any worse than they are right now.
CHURCH: Yes, most definitely. Will Ripley bringing us the very latest there from Hong Kong. Many thanks.
Well, thousands of protesters in Serbia's capital have laid siege to parliament for a second night after the president announced a weekend COVID-19 curfew. He now maybe backing off of that. But the country is seeing a second spike in cases, and its death toll is approaching 350. And many are personally blaming the president for that surge.
CNN's Milena Veselinovic reports.
MILENA VESELINOVIC, CNN PRODUCER: Riots erupted in Serbia's capital Belgrade for the second day in a row, as a furious crowd raged against the leadership of President Aleksandar Vucic.
On Tuesday, Serbia suffered its deadliest day yet from the virus, prompting Vucic to announce a weekend curfew to try curb the surge in cases. But this sparked violent unrest that evening, with protesters surrounding the parliament building, and breaking into the lobby before they were pushed back.
On Wednesday, Vucic backtracked on his commitment to the curfew, saying that other measures could be introduced. He blamed extremists and foreign intelligence for staging the protests.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALEKSANDAR VUCIC, PRESIDENT OF SERBIA (through translator): This political gathering was well organized. Our security services underperformed because we saw only later that there was a criminal and foreign involvement of foreign agencies.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VESELINOVIC: Vucic urged people not to protest again because the virus is surging. Earlier saying that the situation was alarming. But demonstrators say that is his fault. Alleging Vucic lifted lockdown too soon so he could hold parliamentary elections in June.
They were the first in Europe during this pandemic. Opposition parties, most of whom boycotted the elections, accused Vucic of using coronavirus legislation to entrench his rule. All accusations that President Vucic denies.
But Serbia went from one of Europe's strictest lockdowns to bars, restaurants, and nightclubs working at full capacity by early May. There wasn't much social distancing at this campaign rally. Nor at this celebration at the ruling party H.Q. after their election win.
And it was business as usual for these soccer fans, thousands packed tightly, no masks in sight. As protesters surrounded the parliament building on Tuesday night, they chanted "arrest Vucic, " and "treason." Both police and demonstrators were injured, but with frustration over the country's leadership boiling over, many have vowed to continue taking to the streets.
Milena Veselinovic, CNN, London.
CHURCH: And you are watching CNN Newsroom. Coming up, how a new lockdown in Melbourne, Australia is taking a toll on the everyday life of millions of people. We'll have the details when we return.
CHURCH: In Australia, millions of residents in Melbourne have started a six-week lockdown as the country battles a resurgence of the coronavirus. There are now more than 3,000 cases in the state of Victoria, with 165 new ones just on Wednesday.
CNN's Anna Coren is in Hong Kong, she joins us now live. Good to see you, Anna. So, Australia has always taken this pandemic seriously, and with the new spike in cases, Victorians are now under this six-week lockdown, maybe longer. What's the latest on this?
ANNA COREN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, they are going through their first day of this six-week long down -- lockdown. It's deja vu, really, for Melburnians. They went through this back in March, but this is what they have ahead of them.
And the Prime Minister, Scott Morrison in addressing the nation he thanked Victorians for what they are about to do over the next six weeks. He also warned the rest of the nation not to be complacent, and said that everybody needs to be mindful that this virus is highly contagious, and that they could be outbreaks in other states and territories.
But 165 new cases in Victoria today, Melburnians are now being told by health officials, Rosemary, that they should wear face masks in public.
COREN: As the city of Melbourne prepares for its second lockdown in a matter of months, residents stock up on necessary supplies and finish some last-minute shopping that will help get them through the next six weeks.
EMILY BLISS, COVID-19 SCREENING CLINIC WORKER: I was a bit nervous coming in, but compared to last lockdown, there's a lot more product in there, which is quite surprising.
COREN: A surge in coronavirus cases in the Victorian capital prompted the state's premier to take drastic but necessary action. Forcing Australia's second largest city with five million people to self- isolate from the rest of the country.
DANIEL ANDREWS, PREMIER OF VICTORIA: This, as I said, not the situation that anybody wanted to be in, but it is the reality that we must confront, to do otherwise is to pretend that this isn't real. To pretend that we have other options.
COREN: With more than 1,200 active cases in Australia, Victoria alone makes up two-thirds of the nation's total. A surge that has occurred in just over a week. The prime minister warning while the outbreak is serious, it's not surprising. Considering the highly contagious nature of the coronavirus.
SCOTT MORRISON, AUSTRALIAN PRIME MINISTER: We are all Melburnians now when it comes to the challenges we face. We are all Victorians now because we are all Australians. We will prevail, and we will get on top of it, and we will protect the rest of the country.
COREN: But there have already been breaches in the system. A Jetstar flight from Melbourne carrying 137 passengers allowed 48 of them to disembark in Sydney without any screening. Authorities now scrambling to trace those who left the airport without being checked.
But no such risk is being taken at the New South Wales Victorian border, hundreds of police and military are manning 55 road crossings along 1,000 kilometers, turning back vehicles trying to enter the northern state, and potentially spread the virus.
It's the first time since the Spanish flu, more than 100 years ago, that the border has been closed. Thousands of permits have been issued for those who live in townships that straddle both states, including Chris Carter, whose 29-year-old wife, April, is being treated for terminal bone cancer at the hospital located on the border.
CHRIS CARTER, VICTORIA RESIDENT: Our home is in Victoria, kind of thing, we crossed into New South Wales every day to come to this hospital. I mean, almost every day. But here in the border closures I'm just like, I'm not going to stress about that. I'm going to stay here, so luckily the hospital can give me a bed.
COREN: The couple met at university, and tied the knot three years ago. 12 months later, April was diagnosed. Family members raced to the hospital before the border shot, after learning her condition has rapidly deteriorated. Doctors have given her only days to live.
CARTER: It's a bad year for everyone, it's a really bad year for me.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm sorry.
CARTER: Yes, I don't know. (END VIDEOTAPE)
COREN: Such a heartbreaking time for Chris Carter and his wife, Rosemary. It just goes to show that the pain that people are going through in their everyday lives has just been exacerbated by this coronavirus.
And I should also mention that the border has been closed between Victoria and New South Wales. Queensland has also announced today that it will be shutting its border to Victorian residents. So, turning back anyone from Victoria, obviously this is an attempt to contain the virus and stop its spreading to other parts of the country. Rosemary?
CHURCH: Yes. Australia takes this seriously in a way this country, the U.S., does not. And it is a lesson to the rest of the world.
Anna Coren joining us live from Hong Kong. Many thanks.
Well, Australia has suspended its extradition treaty with Hong Kong. And New Zealand is taking another look at its relationship with the city after China implemented its controversial new security law.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison says the law created a fundamental change in circumstances. He also announced a pathway to permanent residency for Hong Kong citizens who want to leave the city. There's been outrage and protests in Hong Kong despite the new law, targeting what Beijing considers subversion and terrorism.
Well, President Trump is pushing to get American children back in classrooms quickly and threatening to punish schools if he doesn't get his way. We will explain after the break.
CHURCH: Welcome back everyone. Well, even asked coronavirus cases surged across the southern and western U.S., President Trump is doubling down on his demand that schools reopened this autumn and he is threatening to cut off federal funds for schools that don't. He's also pressuring the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention over its guidelines for reopening schools. CNN's Kaitlan Collins explains how the CDC is responding.
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: The CDC Director on defense after President Trump publicly attacked his agency's guidance on reopening schools.
DR. ROBERT REDFIELD, DIRECTOR, CENTER FOR DISEASE CONTROL: I want to make it very clear that it's not the intent of CDC's guidelines is to be used a rationale to keep schools closed.
COLLINS: Dr. Robert Redfield sought to defend the guidance, but hours after President Trump publicly complained that it was too tough, Vice President Mike Pence said that's why the CDC will issue new guidance next week.
MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The president said today, we just don't want the guidance to be too tough, that's the reason why next week CDC is going to be issuing a new set of tools, five different documents that will be giving even more clarity on the guidance going forward.
COLLINS: The original guidelines include refitting classroom so students can social distance, closing shared spaces and updating ventilation systems. Though it's not clear what Trump disagreed with. Asked if he was changing the guidance to appease the president, the CDC Director said this.
So are you going to change that guidance because the president said that he does not like it?
REDFIELD: We will continue to develop and evolve our guidance to meet the needs of the schools and the states that we continue to provide that assistance to.
COLLINS: The president has said publicly that he will pressure governors to put kids back in classrooms this fall. And today he threatened to cut funding if they don't. The vice president described that as a sign of leadership.
Can you explain why the president is threatening to cut funding from schools at a time when educators are saying that they need more so they can safely reopen?
PENCE: Kaitlan, first and foremost, it's what you heard from the president is just a determination to provide the kind of leadership from the federal level that says we are going to get our kids back to school because that's where they belong.
COLLINS: While Trump has little control over the majority of school budgets, the federal government could withhold emergency relief funding that educators have said they desperately need to safely reopen. The education secretary says she agrees with the president.
BETSY DEVOS, SECRETARY OF EDUCATION: They must fully open and they must be fully operational.
COLLINS: The administration has said it's up to schools and local governments to decide how they reopen, but they struggle to explain why that doesn't also include when.
PENCE: As just as the president said earlier in this pandemic, that he wanted to get our places of worship back open again.
COLLINS: New York City's Mayor appeared to ignore Trump's threat today and announced the nation largest school district won't fully reopen this fall. New York's governor said Trump's threats have no legal basis.
GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): You're not going to bully New Yorkers. That's not going to happen. Right? Threaten me, threaten me, threaten me. How many times have we've been through this? I'm still here, right.
COLLINS: At the second task force briefing in months, Dr. Anthony Fauci was noticeably absent. Yesterday Trump openly criticized Fauci during an interview.
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Doctor Fauci said don't wear masks, and now he says wear them and then he said numerous things, don't close of China, don't ban China and I did it anyway. I sort of didn't listen to my experts. Wand I ban China, we would have been in mush worse shape.
COLLINS: So, instead of attending that meeting at the Department of Education with the other members of the task force who are there, Dr. Anthony Fauci was told to watch it via teleconference here at White House in the situation room. That of course is why he was not subsequently at that briefing. And when the press secretary was later asked if the president still has confidence in Dr. Fauci, she didn't say yes but said he has confidence in the consensus of his medical advisers. Kaitlan Collins, CNN, the White House.
CHURCH: Joining me now from New York is Randi Weingarten, she is the president of the American Federation of Teachers. Thank you so much for talking with us.
RANDI WEINGARTEN, PRESIDENT, AMERICAN FEDERATION OF TEACHERS: Of course.
CHURCH: So, President Trump is pressuring all schools to reopen, and is now threatening to cut funds to those that don't. And on Wednesday, he tweeted this. I disagree with the CDC on their very tough and expensive guidelines for opening schools. While they want them open, they are asking schools to do very impractical things. I will be meeting with them. Exclamation mark three times. So, what is your reaction to the president suggesting that CDC guidelines, as they stand right now, are too tough and impractical?
WEINGARTEN: So, the president has played fast and loose with people who go to his rallies, we now see a huge increase in Tulsa that they think is because of the rally, because of with people who go to bars, with people who go to hair salons, but we don't want him or DeVos to play fast and loose with teachers and kids.
And if they had simply listened to the CDC guidelines, and reopened the way the CDC had said, just like the European countries have reopened with safety first, we'd be in a lot better shape than we are right now. So, the president wants to be reckless, because all he cares about -- he's never cared about public schools or public education for the 3.5 years that he's been there.
All he cares about is he's trying to jack up the numbers of people who are going back to work, and so, he is trying to do that by any means necessary, even if it hurts kids and hurts teachers. CHURCH: So, you are saying that he is really using the schools as
WEINGARTEN: Yes, He's using the schools as childcare but even worse than that, he's using the schools as pawns in his political games. And ultimately, you want to use adults, you know, as pawns. You want adults to come to your rallies, fine. You want adults to go to bars, fine. But when it comes to being in school, indoors for that long period of time, we need to actually be safe and at the AFT, we've been fighting for the conditions that are in the current CDC guidelines, which essentially boils down to six feet physical distancing and mask.
We've been fighting for them since April, knowing full well this year is going to be unprecedented and we want to make sure that we can have in school, we've been fighting to have people back at school since April. We want to make sure it's safe, and that we meet the needs of kids. We know kids shouldn't be home, but we know that if you do it safely, as the CDC has said, as epidemiologists have said, as a universe of scientists have said.
You make sure that you have enough distance between people so that if you sneeze, your droplets are not going to get on to somebody else. That's why there's a six feet of distancing. And so, we have seen that work in the wreck centers, and in the child care that happens for essential service workers. In New York, in New Jersey, meaning physical distancing and masks, and so, we think that they become the anchors of what we do in schools to reopen them.
CHURCH: Right, so you like the guidelines that are in place now and you don't to see them watered down by the CDC in response to President Trump. I did want to ask you from an educational point of view as well, because earlier in the year, the pandemic forced students to study remotely from home, an easy solution of course for those kids with computers and Wi-Fi, but a real challenge for those students who don't have access to those.
So, how do you strike a balance between virtual and in-person learning to ensure students have a safe and educational environment?
WEINGARTEN: So, we've been saying all along that remote should never be a substitute for in-person learning. So, that's why we have, you know, we have actually just had a poll of our members who overwhelmingly said 86 percent said that remote didn't really work, and we had known that for years.
But balance has to be to the extent that parents are willing to send their kids to school, and teachers and parents have the safeguards so that they know we're not spreading the virus in school. It's a hybrid model. Where you basically have 50 percent capacity of kids in school, at any one time, and then the other 50 percent are on remote instruction.
And so, for younger kids, we need to really do direct instruction in school, and do reinforcement and remote for this more senior kids. You consume some direct instruction remotely, and then do the reinforcement in school. And that's what teachers, who frankly now know more about remote instruction than in Silicon Valley have told us, you know, teachers who had been doing it every single day since March.
CHURCH: Randi Weingarten, thank you so much for joining us, we appreciate it.
WEINGARTEN: You're welcome.
CHURCH: And still to come, a top U.N. expert says the U.S. broke international law in its killing of Iranian general Qasem Soleimani. A closer look at the accusations. That's next.
Plus, why China's stock market is surging, and the role Chinese state run media is playing in feeling that.
CHURCH: Well, a top U.N. human rights investigator says the U.S. broke international law in its killing of top Iranian general, Qasem Soleimani. The general along with five others was killed in a U.S. strike in Iraq in January this year. The U.S. said he posed an imminent threat to American interests, and President Trump said his killing quote, stopped a war.
But on Monday, a U.N. investigator submitted a report saying the strike violated the U.N. charter, and there is insufficient evidence that there was an imminent threat. The Human Rights Council is meeting later today to discuss the report.
And CNN's Jomana Karadsheh is in Istanbul, she joins me now live with more details on this. Good to see you, Jomana. So, what are the likely consequences of this, and what might come out of the human rights council meeting on the report?
JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, look, Rosemary, I don't think we expect to see any sort of action. What we are going to see, as you mentioned is Agnes Kalamar, the United Nations top expert on extra judicial killings. Today presenting her report to the United Nations Human Rights Council, and all she can do, this is not a binding report or an in-depth investigation. These are her findings and her recommendations.
So, all she can do is present them with recommendations, and just to give you a bit of background about this report, Rosemary, this is really about the use of armed drones in targeted killings. Kalamar reading -- raises a lot of concerns about the current state of the world right now, the increased use of these drones, the more sophisticated armed drones that are being used, and what she's describing right now is the world entering the second drone age, where you have states and non-state actors using, increasingly using armed drones in targeted attacks and killings. You've got more than 102 countries, according to Kalamar that are
using these armed drones. You have got more than 20 non-state actors like ISIS, for example, the Houthis in Yemen, who are using these drones. So, a lot of concern about where the world is handed when it comes to states, countries, it's the issue of their interpretation of international laws, the legal justification's they are using to carry out these attacks, and this is where the case of General we Qasem Soleimani comes in here.
She basically focuses also on that case in her report. She says, basically, the United States violated international laws. The United Nations charter, by basically failing to provide any evidence that Qasem Soleimani posed an imminent and an ongoing threat to United States.
As you recall, when the U.S. carried out that drone strike that killed him and others in that convoy in Baghdad, in early January, they said that it was to stop an imminent attack on U.S. interests, U.S. embassies. It was an evolving story at the time. These claims, we heard, from the U.S. Administration.
What Kalamar's saying is the U.S. did not provide any such evidence that he was posing a threat to U.S. interest, and also, the fact that, you know, they violated Iraq's sovereignty, she says. That this is the first known incident where you've got a state carrying out a targeted killing against another state actor on a third country's soil, using the notion of self-defense, yet failing to provide evidence to back that claim.
So, you know, we will wait and see. Kalamar is going to submit this report, her recommendations to the Human Rights Council today amongst her recommendations is that the United Nations secretary general launches more of an investigation into the use of armed drones in targeted killings, and also calling for more accountability, but it's also worth noting that the United States is not part of the human rights council, because it withdrew a couple of years ago under the Trump administration, Rosemary.
CHURCH: We shall watch to see the outcome. Jomana Karadsheh joining us from Istanbul, many thanks.
Well, Iran has surpassed 12,000 coronavirus deaths after reporting 153 new deaths on Wednesday. Despite a slowdown of new cases in May, infections and deaths have continued to increase, prompting the country to re-impose restrictions, and order everyone to wear a mask. Iran has reported close to a quarter million infections as of now.
Cuba's reopening is giving the country a taste of freedom after months in lockdown. But, without foreign tourists, how will local businesses get back on track? We will take a look after the break.
CHURCH: Well, hopes of an economic recovery have lifted China's stock market which has seen several days of impressive growth. Chinese state run media also fueled the rally with the reports saying investors should look forward to the prospect of a healthy bull market. As you can see here, it is still trending that way. China, Shanghai Composite was up Thursday as markets surged in Asia.
So, let's bring in CNN's John Defterios, he joins us live from Abu Dhabi. Good to see you, John. So, we've been talking about the U.S. rally, the NASDAQ hitting another record Wednesday, but stock markets on mainland China have taken on a life of their own. What's going on here?
JOHN DEFTERIOS, CNN EMERGING MARKETS EDITOR: I don't want to overplay it but it almost seems like a duel between the United States and China who can have the fastest growing market right now. That one in Asia clearly the crown sits on top of Shanghai and it's had a gain of 17 percent over the last month, Rosemary, and half of that gain coming in this week alone. Extraordinary.
As you suggested here, people are hopeful that there's an economic recovery, and this will play into earnings. But there's another thing at play, and that's nationalistic pride in supporting President Xi Jinping at the same time. There was a state run equities journal saying this is a time for a bull market, and (inaudible) would give a diplomatic leg up for the foreign minister Wang Yi was saying at the press conference today that the U.S. needs to come up with a new narrative. It's the worst in terms of bilateral relations in 40 years.
As you can see this all tied together in terms of that spirit, and there are U.S./China tensions right now that could undermine the Wall Street rally and the same thing Shanghai. You can list them. There is the Hong Kong security law that China put into place here, and reports that the U.S. wants to undermine the dollar peg for the Hong Kong currency to punish the mainland.
ZTE, the telecoms equipment maker sanctions on that, Huawei and the latest is TikTok. We've heard from Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo saying they're going to pursue this aggressively throughout the year in 2020. It is an election year, both markets in United States and Shanghai are rallying, but we have to go back to 2015, where we saw a similar tale playing out in Shanghai. It was a horrible, bear market thereafter. So, buyers beware is the message.
CHURCH: Yes. Absolutely. John Defterios, many thanks.
Well, United Airlines has told 36,000 workers they may lose their jobs in the coming months. The furloughs would affect almost half of the carrier's employees, including pilots, flight and gate attendants, and maintenance workers. The company has been hit hard by the pandemic. United says it's hemorrhaging $40 million every single day.
Well, businesses and beaches in Havana have reopened after a lockdown that lasted more than three months. The Cuban government says it has nearly eliminated coronavirus on the island, but the country isn't welcoming tourist back just yet. CNN's Patrick Oppmann takes a closer look.
PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The doors are open again, even if it's not business as usual at Havana's el cafe. Cuba was on lockdown for more than three months, but following a massive country wide effort to bring the coronavirus under control, the government is now easing restrictions. Allowing businesses, like this one, to reopen.
Staff at restaurants like El cafe have to wear masks, we arrange the tables to allow social distancing, and sterilize the hands of every customer that comes in. Owner Nelson says that after four years, serving some of Havana's best coffee, and all day breakfast, he is starting from scratch.
NELSON RODRIGUEZ TAMAYO, CUBAN RESTAURANT OWNER: It was completely and totally collapsed and I got down, and I feel like that I am starting again the business.
OPPMANN: While hard hit economically by the coronavirus, Cuba's program of extensive contact tracing, isolating the sick, and closing borders paid off. Health officials say there are now less than a few dozen active cases of coronavirus on the island of 11 million people. On the first day the beach reopened, Cubans swam in the pristine blue waters that have been tantalizingly forbidden to them all these weeks.
It's been really good, for me and my family to get refreshed, get some air and some sun, Michelle says. But it's also important to maintain the hygiene and safety measures. That will be crucial to preventing a resurgence of cases, and allowing the island to fully reopen.
Havana is in stage one of recovery, and it won't be until stage three that the city's airport once again reopens to regular commercial flights. This is the Malecon seawall, Havana's couch, Cubans call it, because everyone comes out here to sit on it. But for months, it was eerily empty, off limits.
Now that people are permitted to come back out here, life does feel like it's returning to normal. But there is still that strange sensation of being on an island that is almost entirely cut off from the rest of the world.
For the time being, only hotels on five keys, small islands off the coast of Cuba are open to foreign visitors. To keep further infection from spreading to the mainland, both guests and hotel workers will be regularly tested, health officials say. So, for the time being, the rest of the island is inaccessible to the tourists who Nelson estimates made up 80 percent of his clientele before the outbreak.
RODRIGUEZ TAMAYO: We've been to many months -- I need to -- I will enjoy it more to do different things, focusing on other customers.
OPPMANN: Cuban's have endured hurricanes, economic sanctions, and near economic collapse. And now, the first wave of coronavirus, even if this isn't a full recovery, the hope is that this new normal will last. Patrick Oppmann, CNN, Havana. (END VIDEOTAPE)
CHURCH: OK, so, if you don't have fans to cheer you on at a sports game, why not let robots do it instead?
A good catch on, right? In Japan, the Fukuoka Hawks baseball team was treated to this display on Tuesday, around 20 robots did their best to stand in for the 40,000 or so fans who would normally fill the stadium. Their support might have been a factor in the Hawks 4-3 win, maybe not. Restrictions our set to ease in Japan on Friday, meaning up to 5,000 fans will be allowed back in the stadiums for baseball and football. The robots, of course, will be very disappointed.
And thank you so much for joining, us I'm Rosemary Church, I will be back in just a moment with more global news. Just stick around.