Return to Transcripts main page


Trump Refused To Wear Mask Publicly Before Hospital Visit; Coronavirus Cases In U.S. Rising To Record Levels; CDC Warns Against Fully Reopening Schools; Arizona Teachers Concerned About Safely Reopening; Governor Ron DeSantis Not Proceeding With Reopening Plan; How Countries Around The World Have Responded To COVID-19; DNC Warns Campaigns About Using TikTok App; Dodger Stadium Hosts Both Baseball And COVID-19 Testing. Aired 2-3a ET

Aired July 12, 2020 - 02:00   ET




MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Thank you for joining us here in the United States, you're watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Michael Holmes.

Coming up this hour, President Donald Trump now doing what some Americans have been doing for months now, while wearing a mask. He did it during a visit to a military medical center on Saturday. This is the first time he has been wearing one of these masks in front of the cameras.

Doctors and scientists have been saying for months that wearing a mask keeps the virus from spreading, even if you don't know you have it. In fact, there is now a new estimate of how many people may be infected with the coronavirus while having no symptoms at all.

The CDC says it could be as much as 40 percent. And it might be behind one of the reasons for this: 29 states now reporting a rise in coronavirus cases, South Carolina, Texas, Florida, Georgia, all reporting record or near record daily case numbers on Saturday.

Now for months, President Trump has, of course, refused to wear a mask, despite the urging of his own team of public health experts. Kristen Holmes explains why he has decided to do it now and whether he might stick with it.


KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: President Trump wearing a mask for the first time in public Saturday, on a visit to Walter Reed Hospital. There he met with wounded warriors as well as some of those health care workers on the front lines.

And we have learned that this was a result of a begging and pleading by aides and advisers who wanted him to have a photo op to in a mask, to endorse mask wearing. There are some questions to announce whether or not what it will work. It's become incredibly politically. He made a statement about why he was wearing a mask at this point.

Take a listen.


TRUMP: Well, I will probably have a mask if you must know. I mean, I'll probably have a mask. I think when you're in a hospital especially in that particular setting, where you're talking to a lot of soldiers and people that in some cases just got off the operating tables, I think it's a great thing to wear a mask. I've never been against masks but I do believe they have a time and a place.


K. HOLMES: See, here President Trump is giving a very limited setting, he's talking about soldiers coming off of the operating tables and that is not the same message that these health experts are saying.

They're saying wear a mask anytime you cannot socially distance. They want people wearing masks indoors. They're saying wear them in grocery stores. It's unclear that this is going to send the message that his aides and advisers were hoping it would when he has himself limited it to such a small venue of when he believes wearing a mask is appropriate.

And, just to remind our viewers, it's something that President Trump has really been against. He has said he hasn't been. But he said wearing a mask wasn't for him. We know behind closed doors he's said if he's seen wearing a mask, it might send a wrong message to his supporters as he's trying to move away from the virus.

Whether or not we even see President Trump in a mask again, the likelihood of him going to another hospital to visit wounded warriors, that really just remains at this point unclear -- Kristen Holmes, CNN, the White House.



M. HOLMES: And with me now to clarify some of this is Dr. Jacob Stephen, a cardiologist at Northwestern Medicine.

Doctor, we appreciate your time. Rather than just talking about today, I wanted to ask you about the cases of those who died and what they went through. But there seems to be evidence of long term damage for those who survive this.

What are you seeing?

DR. JACOB STEPHEN, CARDIOLOGIST: Thanks for having me, Michael. Yes, as the pandemic is in its fifth month, we're starting to see patients come back who have recovered from the initial illness and they're having lingering symptoms.

These are patients who have confirmed COVID positive, tested negative, have some type of immunity in their blood and now they have persistent symptoms, such as fatigue, some neurological symptoms, difficulty breathing. So I am seeing more of it, talking to my colleagues, and even in my own practice.

M. HOLMES: What has surprised you most in terms of those, what sort of things we do not have expected?

STEPHEN: I really would not expect to see such lingering shortness of breath, especially with light amounts of activity. I really did not expect to see this generalized weakness or fatigue weeks, even a month after it had resolved.


M. HOLMES: Is it surprising how broad the damage can, be?

Not only the, lungs I mean we are hearing kidney damage, liver, heart, brain, nervous system, gastrointestinal, all of these, things -- all of these things were noted, Friday in a review about COVID patients, it's a very broad range of damage.

STEPHEN: Yes, I think the medical community, when the pandemic initially started, was kind of modeling it after flu infections, so primarily lung infections. But unfortunately we're getting a lot of data from autopsies. What it's showing is that people are dying of systemic inflammation, blood clots. It's a much more ubiquitous infection than a traditional flu.

M. HOLMES: Yes, the blood clotting in lots of organs as well, I remember Chris Cuomo and Richard Quest, they talked about who had the virus, they've spoken about things like balance and brain fog and so on.

What are you seeing in terms of neurological impacts, even among patients who didn't have respiratory symptoms?

STEPHEN: I actually read the piece that Richard Quest had put in. And that's a very apropos article. That's exactly what I'm. Seeing I'm seeing a lot of patients who are having chronic fatigue. Can't quite get their breath. Even with light amounts of activity. Generalized weakens, kind of a malaise feeling that does not go away.

And sure enough the pandemic is still young, in its 5th month so we don't know if mostly symptoms would eventually recover down the road. But that's exactly what I'm seeing.

M. HOLMES: Yes, and you touched on, this I mean we obviously what we're showing is how much we don't know. We have a lot to learn, as you say.

What would you like to see done in terms of getting your hands around the wider impacts of the virus and those lingering affects going forward?

What sort of needs to be done to study that and get our heads around that? STEPHEN: Now that we're getting a lot of data, both here in the United States and around the world, I think the -- we should really focus on creating an international database, classifying these things for better targeted treatment for those that are affected.

I don't think we have enough of an international cooperative database to start looking at these large volumes of patients that we have the benefit of studying.

M. HOLMES: I wanted to touch on this, as well, I was seeing reports of people uninsured, under insured, getting massive treatment bills, given that the U.S. doesn't have universal health.

Are you seeing stuff like that, what could we see in terms of the financial impact on people post-treatment or with ongoing treatment needs?

The U.S. system isn't kind to people who are not uninsured and the unemployment issues only adding to that.

STEPHEN: Yes, I'm starting to see quite a few patients who have ended up losing their jobs and possibly losing their health insurance.

I think it's affected the patients who have critical illness the most, people on ventilators for weeks to a month, they're going home, they recovered, then they're going home and they are being hit with these very large bills.

So I really don't see that changing until Congress starts addressing that particular focus of the population.

M. HOLMES: And just, finally what are you saying regarding non COVID emergencies? I guess in terms of people, perhaps not seeking medical treatment when they should because they are worried about, COVID and those with other conditions heart or whatever, those perhaps having to wait to be seen, is that a problem?

STEPHEN: Well, when the pandemic first started, we had to put off these elective procedures. So fortunately most of them were not, critical. As far as the critical cases people were initially afraid to come into the hospital in case they got COVID-19. So they were putting off symptoms related to heart, attack strokes, they just were not coming in.

And by the time they just couldn't tolerate the symptoms anymore, much of the damage was irreversible. So we have these education programs in our system to make sure patients are vigilant about some of these symptoms and not stay away from hospitals.

We have a lot of protections in place now. We are much better with protection to patients that have come into the hospital and we're better at treating COVID at this point.

M. HOLMES: Much to, learn, much to be concerned about.

[02:10:00] M. HOLMES: Dr. Jacob Stephen, we really appreciate, it thank you so much.

STEPHEN: Thank you, Michael.


M. HOLMES: Now the CDC estimates that 40 percent of people infected with the virus don't have any symptoms. And while they may not show any signs, they could, of course, still be spreading it to other people. CNN's Brian Todd has more on a new study of these so-called silent spreaders.


JASON HARTELIUS, RECOVERED CORONAVIRUS PATIENT: I've had oxygen coming in, up my nose, coming out of the wall.

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Before he was admitted to a hospital in Pennsylvania this spring, TV sports producer Jason Hartelius believes he carried the coronavirus in his system while he moved around and his work for about a week. A danger that Hartelius warned about as he was recovering.

HARTELIUS: You may say you're fine, you may say your low risk. You know what, you might get it, not know it. Go back to work thinking you're fine never have any symptoms. You could give it to people you work with who could get very sick or die.

TODD: That danger of silent unknown transmission of coronavirus is coming into greater focus. A new study published by the National Academy of Sciences says people who are so called silent spreaders could be responsible for about half of all coronavirus cases.

ALISON GALVANI, DIRECTOR, YALE UNIV. CENTER FOR INFECTIOUS DISEASE MODELING AND ANALYSIS: And this makes control of COVID-19 particularly challenging. With COVID-19, people are infectious before any symptoms. So most people who are transmitting the virus are doing so inadvertently without even realizing that they are sick.

TODD: Study author Alison Galvani says that means the silent spreaders are mostly people who are going through those few days just before symptoms show themselves or who are completely asymptomatic. And she says younger, seemingly healthy people are disproportionately responsible for silent transmissions.

A key question now, given this new study, how do we combat silence spreading? Experts say it means doubling down on the basics.

JENNIFER NUZZO, EPIDEMIOLOGIST, JOHNS HOPKINS BLOOMBERG SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH: First thing is distance. Second thing is if you do have to go out, you know, try to physically separate yourself from others. And try to avoid those crowded indoor spaces and wear masks reduce the chances that you could transmit your virus to others if you have it and don't know about it. TODD: And experts say this new information on silent transmission does not mean we should panic when we venture out or think that everyone we see, is a silent spreader of coronavirus.

NUZZO: We still very much think that this virus is spread by close prolonged contact. So we shouldn't take from this that if you're just out in the streets or in the grocery store and you're maintaining distance from people that this puts you at even greater risk than we may have thought otherwise.

TODD (on camera): Still, tracking silent spreaders of coronavirus is going to be a huge challenge in the months and years ahead. This new study says more than one-third of silent infections would need to be identified and isolated in order to suppress any future outbreaks.

And the author of the study says, we are not there yet. Pointing out there's not enough contact tracing available and not even enough tests for people who have symptoms, let alone people who are asymptomatic -- Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.


M. HOLMES: Robert Mueller, the former special counsel who investigated the 2016 Trump campaign's ties to Russia, says the prosecution against Roger Stone was legitimate and his conviction, of course, stands.

Roger Stone, President Trump's friend and political ally, was found guilty of lying to Congress, seven charges in all. Guilty verdicts were handed down. Now Mr. Trump commuted Mr. Stone's 40-month sentence on Friday night.

And in a rare op-ed in "The Washington Post," Mueller defended his team against the White House cries that the investigation was a hoax and a witch hunt.

He writes in part, quote, "We made every decision in Stone's case, as in all our cases, based solely on the facts and the law and in accordance with the rule of law. The women and men who conducted these investigations and prosecutions acted with the highest integrity. Claims to the contrary are false."

The U.S. president putting pressure on states to get students back to class but can it be done safely?

I talk with two teachers who know the dangers firsthand. That's when we come back.




(MUSIC PLAYING) M. HOLMES: We are just weeks away from the traditional start of the

academic year in many states in the U.S. But there are a lot of concerns about how students and teachers are going to stay safe when they do get back to class. CNN's chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta takes a closer look.


DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: I have three girls going into 10th grade, 8th grade and 6th grade. So as you might imagine, what's going to happen this fall is topic number one in our household, what's going to happen with schools.

The American Academy of Pediatrics has been very clear on this. They say kids physically in school is key to their development. But we also know case numbers continue to rise across the country. It's still not entirely clear just how transmissible, especially young kids are. We know they're less likely to get sick.

But how likely are they to contribute to the spread?

We also know for sure that schools are going to are to do everything they can to try and keep kids safe. So it's going to look a lot different when you get to school this year.

Now if there is anything we know about this virus, it's that it doesn't like masks. So those are going to be required in all schools. And it doesn't like distance. So you see here, the desks and the teachers area, all six feet apart. Well aware that a lot of school districts can't possibly do this.

All the desks facing in the same direction. If there is any virus in the air, you want it going in one direction as opposed to mixing. Also this idea of cohorting. That means the same students would be together all day long, less spread, less mixing that way.

And also, if someone does get sick, it's easier to contact trace. Another thing schools are going to have to think about, trying to reduce areas where children will congregate. Think about staggered start times, for example, rotating classrooms, one-way hallways.


GUPTA: And possibly even getting rid of common locker areas. And another thing schools might start doing is having outdoor classrooms or at least opening the windows to improve the ventilation in indoor classrooms.

At the end of the day, every family is going to have to look at the risks and the rewards of sending their kids back to school. Also, pay attention to what's happening in your community. Is the virus increasing or is it decreasing?

That may play a factor in your decision. And finally, use the rest of the summer to get your kids used to wearing masks, which they're going have to do, and, of course, washing their hands as much as possible. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

M. HOLMES: Schools in Arizona, one of the hardest hit states, are struggling to determine how to reopen safely as coronavirus cases there continue to rise. One school district in Gila County not far from Phoenix is struggling more than most.

Kimberley Chavez Lopez Byrd taught an online summer school class with two colleagues in the same room. They all followed the precautions, cleaning, distancing, wearing masks and so on. But all three contracted the coronavirus and two weeks later, Byrd died.

Now her colleagues are mourning her loss and, of course, wondering if they couldn't keep themselves safe, how will they keep a school full of students and teachers safe when they go back in the autumn?

Byrd's fellow teachers join me, now, I'm delighted to say.

Jena Martinez teaches first grade, Angela Skillings second grade.

Thanks so much, it's a tough time, I know.

First of all, Jena, let's start, with you. Tell me about Kimberley, the kind of teacher and, more importantly, the kind of person.

JENA MARTINEZ, KIMBERLEY BYRD'S COLLEAGUE: The type of person she was, she was just a very faithful person and she led her life based on her faith. She was very supportive, she was what I would call a giver, a giver of knowledge, a giver of kindness, a compassionate person, a strong person who stood by her values.

And she was bold when she needed to speak up, if there was an injustice or something that needed to be heard, especially when it came to children, especially when it came to her students or colleagues. She was fun, she was adventurous and she was just a true loving person all the way around. And --


M. HOLMES: I mean and this story is just so incredibly sad, the loss of her. And now, of course, we are seeing this push for schools to reopen, the president even threatening to pull federal funding from states who don't do what he wants them to do.

And given your own experiences of COVID in the classroom, I'm just curious, what goes through your mind, numbers soaring in many states and you have the president saying, open up or else, Angela?

ANGELA SKILLINGS, KIMBERLEY BYRD'S COLLEAGUE: It is very heartbreaking with what we have gone through. And my main thing is, if we can't stay safe, how are students going to stay safe?

I understand we need to open up America economically. We need to get people back to a normal. But we are no longer in the normal society we've been living in. We are now going to have to switch things around because of the virus. For our children, we have to think of their emotional state.

If we bring them back to the classroom, children that like to touch things, like to share, they are socializing, what are we going to do to them emotionally if they take that virus home and give it to a family member or a daycare worker or someone they are close to and that person passes away?

We are going to have to support them more emotionally that way.

M. HOLMES: No, I understand, it and it's interesting, as you are speaking we were running some file video of kids in school rooms and it's just striking. When you think about places where cases are skyrocketing, even with guidelines,

I mean, how realistic is it to imagine that you are going to be able to have distancing in corridors, mask wearing, hygiene, when kids are being kids?

SKILLINGS: Yes, in my classroom, you know, I -- last year I had 20 students and I was lucky if they were 6 inches, apart. I can't imagine if they're 6 feet apart. They are constantly, you know, you have small, groups. They tell, you do a lot of student grouping.

And how are we going to do that in a classroom if we have to social distance?

They are going to share everything.


SKILLINGS: They share viruses, they share different illnesses. It's going to happen. And the mortality rate might be low but we have to protect our youth. We have to protect our future. These are the kids that are going to lead us 30 years from now.

M. HOLMES: You both had this.

How are you now, really briefly?

Jena, you start.

MARTINEZ: Today is my best day, yet in about a month, I still have a cough, I'm still taking breathing treatments to relieve the tightness of my chest. The fatigue is still lingering and I tested negative. And I retested.


M. HOLMES: I'm just going to say to people before we started this interview you were both coughing,

Angela, really quick, how are you?

SKILLINGS: I thought I was getting better. And yesterday the cough came back, full force. I'll be feeling the worse today than I have in the last month. I retested a week ago, came back positive again. So next week I will go back and get tested, again, hopefully this will be negative and we can push through this.

M. HOLMES: You are both remarkable ladies, our hearts go out to you for the loss of your friend and what you have gone through. Thank you for your courage, thank you for talking to, us, Jena Martinez and Angela Skillings, thank you so much.

SKILLINGS: Thank you.

MARTINEZ: Thank you.

M. HOLMES: The principal of the school where Byrd taught released a statement to CNN, Pamela Gonzalez saying this, quote, "Losing Ms. Byrd in our small rural community was devastating. She was an excellent educator with a huge heart.

"We find comfort in knowing her story may bring awareness to the importance of keeping our school employees safe and our precious students safe in this pandemic. We are as eager to be able to see our students in person. It has been a long wait.

"However we will wait as long as we have to, until we can provide the safest environment possible for our students and staff. It is our responsibility to do so."


M. HOLMES: We'll take a quick break. When we come back on CNN NEWSROOM, an in-depth look at where countries around the world stand with the coronavirus pandemic, compared to the hardhit United States. The contrast is startling, as you might imagine. We'll be right back.





M. HOLMES: Welcome back to CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Michael Holmes.

Johns Hopkins University now reporting more than 61,000 new COVID-19 cases in the U.S. on Saturday alone. The U.S. continues to rank number one worldwide for both confirmed cases and for deaths. This week, 29 states reporting a rise in cases. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases worldwide now more than 12.6 million. That's also according to Johns Hopkins University.

The governor of hard hit Florida says the state will not be moving on to the next phase of reopening for now and he says he is working with the White House to get more testing capability.

Saturday, Florida reported its third highest daily increase with more than 10,000 new infections. Governor Ron DeSantis says packed party situations at bars were not part of the guidelines for reopening but that he does want as many as low risk businesses operating as possible. Here is how he explained the situation in terms of the numbers.


GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): We started to see more cases. Yes, we have been testing more the last 3 weeks by far then we have before. But you see the positivity goes up to 9.6 percent. Then the next week in June, 12 percent. And then we were at 14.8 percent for the last part of June, beginning of July.


M. HOLMES: Now when you look around the world, it is pretty clear that the disaster unfolding in the U.S. did not have to happen. Many countries have successfully managed this virus or in many cases avoided it altogether. CNN's Max Foster looks at how they got it right.


TRUMP: They need help, because this horrible virus has hit 188 countries.

MAX FOSTER, CNN LONDON CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): President Trump is fond of reminding us that plenty of others have struggled with COVID- 19. But here's the reality: for every 100,000 Americans, at least 40 are dead. And the number of new cases is soaring.

Meanwhile, many parts of the world have either recovered or avoided the brunt of the pandemic altogether.

FOSTER: No two strategies were the same but public health experts tell us that around the world, there was some commonality to the places that got it right. They took the virus seriously and they acted quickly.

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: When we shut down as a nation, in reality only about 50 percent of the nation is shut down, with regard to other things that were allowed. In many of the European countries, 90-95 percent of all activities were shut down.

FOSTER: One strategy, quick and total lockdown.

FOSTER (voice-over): There is a lot we don't know about when COVID-19 first surfaced. The Chinese government suppressed the earliest reports of the virus, silencing whistleblowers, like Dr. Li Wenliang, who would eventually succumb to the disease.

But when the scale became clear, China led the way with a lockdown strategy. They ordered Wuhan's 11 million residents to stay home. Then, more and more, 62 million by early February.

There was a high toll at the epicenter but the official nationwide death rate per 100,00. is less than one. Its curve of new coronavirus cases way down.

New Zealand was one of the first democracies to shut down. Just 2 weeks after their first case was discovered at the end of February, prime minister Jacinda Ardern announced mandatory quarantine for anyone entering the country.

That was followed by a ban on almost all non citizens and residents entering at all. After that, total lockdown. The government reports that just over 20 people total have died, less than one per 100,000. It's curved, down.

Italy was the first European country to be hit hard by the coronavirus and proof that COVID-19 would not stay in East Asia. Infections and deaths spiraled, cemeteries filled and Italy's hospitals, especially in the heart of Lombardy region, were overwhelmed and overrun.


FOSTER (voice-over): More than 100 doctors died in less than 2 months of the initial outbreak there. But the government knew when to change tack, eventually locking down the entire country. The reported death toll in Italy was high, 58 per 100,000, higher than the U.S.

But it is not climbing much anymore, the COVID curve, is now down. Denmark also adopted the early, lockdown the second European country after, Italy before it had a single confirmed death. Its strategy stood in stark contrast to Sweden, which refused to lock down to pursue herd immunity.

Masks have never been widely adopted in Denmark. Mass testing is only just taking off. But extreme social distancing allowed Denmark to become one of the first European countries to reopen. It's reported 10 deaths per 100,000. Their curve, way down.

TRUMP: When do you do testing to that extent, you're going to find more people, you're going to find more cases. So I said to my people, slow the testing down, please.

FOSTER: Another common technique, mass testing for the virus and tracing its spread.

FOSTER (voice-over): Vietnam had the potential to be a COVID 19 hotspot but they knew a lot about fighting disease. They also had an aggressive and innovative communication strategy.

The government says not a single person has died from COVID-19 there. Their curve, down. South Korea also made its own tests. Just weeks after Chinese scientists published the virus' RNA sequence. They haven't even had a single confirmed case at the time, just the genetic code. They quickly ramped up testing, setting up drive-through testing way before it would become commonplace around the world. South Korea has a reported total confirmed death rate of one per 100,000. And their curve is down.

Iceland, I saw firsthand last month, it's home to one of the leading genetics labs in the world. They used that scientific knowhow to trace the contacts of anyone who had COVID-19. I met this woman who was told to quarantine, not to be in contact with the waiter, who had COVID-19.

Days later, quarantined at home, she also got sick. The government reports 3 per 100,000 have died, Iceland's curve is down.

TRUMP: No, I just wouldn't want to wear one myself. It's a recommendation, they recommend it.

FOSTER: It took months for President Trump to say he was all for masks. But for many places around the world, they simply weren't controversial.

Whilst the West endlessly debated face coverings, East Asia drew on years of standard practice. Japan long declined to lock down but masks, already popular, became near universal. Official death rate, one; the COVID curve is now down.

America's northern neighbor has had its struggle with coronavirus, especially in elderly care homes. But the Canadian government was able to keep its response free of political bickering. Masks aren't controversial in Canada.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's just respectful to other people.

FOSTER (voice-over): Canada has a reported 24 deaths per 100,000. Its curve, down.

Turkey may not have had the mask culture of East Asia but face coverings became mandatory in public places way back in April. Just 6 people per 100,000 are reported to have died there and their curve is down.

FOSTER: American doctors know this as well as their counterparts abroad, COVID-19 is new and it requires innovation. Here at the University of Oxford, for example, scientists have discovered the power of the steroid dexamethasone, at least according to preliminary results.

FOSTER (voice-over): Germany helped avoid the worst of the epidemic, in part by massively increasing its ICU capacity. They had so many extra beds, the patients were flown in from strapped hospitals in France and Italy.

Like the U.S., Germany is a federal system but Chancellor Angela Merkel avoided the pitfalls of political infighting; 11 per 100,000 are reported to have died there. Their curve, way down.

FOSTER: Here in the U.K., the government's come under heavy criticism for its response to the, virus particularly how it didn't go into an immediate lockdown. Attention now is focused on places like the University of Oxford, which is leading the way in vaccine development.

Above all, the most successful countries empowered the public health experts from the very beginning.

The Icelandic prime minister told me why she stepped out of the way. KATRIN JAKOBSDOTTIR, ICELAND'S PRIME MINISTER: We listen very closely

to the experts, that was actually a very conscious decision, now we are going to follow their guidelines and not put up a show around it.

TRUMP: And I think we're going to be very good with the coronavirus. I think that at some point that's going to sort of just disappear, I hope.

QUESTION: You still believe so?



TRUMP: I do. I do. Yes, sure, at some point.

FOSTER: The American president is hoping for the best but scientists will tell you, there is still no end in sight to this pandemic -- Max Foster, CNN, Oxford, England.


M. HOLMES: We'll take a short break. When we come back on CNN NEWSROOM, Gen Z made it famous. But now the TikTok app is everywhere.

So is it really a security risk?

We'll discuss after the break.




M. HOLMES: The U.S. Democratic and the U.S. Republican National committees are warning staffers about using the Chinese owned app, TikTok. The video sharing service is facing increased scrutiny since the U.S. secretary of state said Washington was looking into banning it. He said it was a possible threat to national security.

TikTok has already been blocked in India where it also has millions of fans. Joining me now is executive editor for CoinDesk, Pete Pachal.

Pete, thank you so much for being with, us OK, so how does an app for quirky videos end up in this situation? What are the concerns?

PETE PACHAL, EXECUTIVE EDITOR, COINDESK: It's owned by a Chinese, company that's the short, answer so like many apps TikTok has had some sector issues that mostly have to deal with the data it collects.

So like many other social media apps, it's collecting user data and is going beyond the stuff that you have entered into the app. It's also looking at some browser history, some activity outside of the app. It could be using another technology to profile you in some ways.

On top of that they have been shown to be capturing clipboard data, which could actually end up capturing passwords.


PACHAL: because that's where a lot of password managers work. They put passwords on your clipboard.

As far as the clipboard issues are concerned, TikTok says they've addressed that and they will stop doing, even though they said so before. But they didn't stop doing it but they said for sure this time.

And the broader data question is sort of -- is a good question. It just applies to all kinds of social media companies that profile. Us

M. HOLMES: Right and from what I'm reading the app's being downloaded more than 2 billion times and that's according to research.

Is it so widely used now that, in terms of people stepping back from using it or can a ban be effective or even legal?

PACHAL: Well, you can always ban an app were already starting to see that now that they have pulled out of Hong Kong, India decided to ban the app, basically you need to get the app providers, Apple and Google, to cooperate, so they will no longer operate.

And on top of that the country in question can block the app because people have already downloaded it. Those people will have to be blocked from using the servers and making sure they don't use it. So that is certainly possible but it's very popular. Two billion downloads is huge.

So I can see there being quite a user revolt if it were ever banned in a particular jurisdiction. But it depends on who has the more convincing case as to whether it is really a security risk or not.

M. HOLMES: I mean, how much of this could be just political?

Donald Trump has a beef with China over a number of, things and could he be using this for geopolitical advantage, some, leverage?

And what are the risks of governments stopping people from using certain apps?

In terms of precedent, they can turn around and do it for whatever apps they don't like.

PACHAL: Exactly, it's almost entirely political or geopolitical. So Trump has chimed in and others have chimed, in but the ban at the end of the day it becomes this situation where China is increasingly becoming a big competitor in tech and geopolitics and all kinds of arenas and is widely seen is an adversary.

So when an app that happens to be owned by a company, by a Chinese, company takes off in huge popularity, it's going to get scrutinized. Whether that's fair or not is another question. If you are buying this, what could potentially happen, there is no evidence that TikTok has shared information for the Chinese government, even these other companies which have come under scrutiny. They are being scrutinized for the potential. That is true but that's a very wide net to cast. That's basically saying any app or service that's based in China or has a Chinese parent is at, risk so that is --


PACHAL: -- that's what we're saying. Let's just say. It

M. HOLMES: I was going to say every household in the developed world probably has Chinese made electronics, any things that could do to various things as well as any other apps as, well I mean.

Do you think it's political?

PACHAL: I do think that TikTok is going to bend over backwards to show they're not in the thrall of the Chinese government. They're doing this partly by pulling out of Hong Kong, now that the Chinese government has a plant down there. They're going to have an American CEO based in L.A. to continue to insist that their data is kept in the, U.S.

Whether that's, enough we will, see but again, I just think the bar of evidence, you kind of need to go a little bit more, it's a Chinese app, owned by a Chinese company. You have to show where the security risk really is. And that has not really been made.

M. HOLMES: It is political times. Pete Pachal with CoinDesk, thank you so much, a really fascinating issue.

PACHAL: My pleasure, thank you for having me.

M. HOLMES: Major League Baseball preparing for its long delayed opening night less than two weeks from now. It's not going smoothly, though. We'll get the latest from Dodger Stadium when we come back.





M. HOLMES: Major League Baseball has big plans to finally get its season going, four months late. But big names have been opting out or testing positive almost every day. Paul Vercammen has the details from outside Dodger Stadium.


PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: At latest count, 57 new deaths, more than 2,900 new cases here in Los Angeles County. And two developing stories intersecting this weekend here at Dodger Stadium.

In the parking lot, aggressive COVID-19 testing continues, six lanes, a capacity of 6,500 tests per day. They're trying to flatten the curve here in Los Angeles and this might be the biggest testing site in the nation. The city of Los Angeles thinks that it is. So that will continue.

Inside the stadium, the Los Angeles Dodgers held an intersquad game and Major League Baseball is ramping up to begin its season with new protocols. Among other things, the players will take a COVID-19 test every other day. Their temperatures will be taken at least twice a day. There will be no more of these sharing team meals and buffet style.

They are going to have their meals given to them in individual containers. There's no arguing with the umpire: get in his face, you'll get ejected.


VERCAMMEN: Now one player who's not on the field, David Price, he is opting out for the season. And we've also learned that the Yankees closer, Aroldis Chapman, has tested positive.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Obviously this virus does not discriminate. It can get to anyone at any point. So it's obviously just another reminder that we have to be vigilant as far as wearing our masks when possible, the distance, the decisions we're making away from the field to as best we can stay out of harm's way.

Those are all just constant reminders. By the way, not that anyone who has been in here hasn't done that, including Chappy, but it's important to know that it can strike at any time.

When the Dodgers enter squad game ended, it saddened for all the world like Dave Roberts, the Dodgers' manager, quipped, Dodgers win. Well, they're playing each other and then the song, "I Love L.A." by Randy Newman, was played on the speakers. They are getting prepped and ready to begin the season against the Giants with all of the COVID-19 precautions. And that's a week from Thursday -- reporting from Dodger Stadium, I'm Paul Vercammen. Back to you.


M. HOLMES: Our thanks to Paul there.

Now virus restrictions are prompting a New York City staple to do something it hasn't done before in its 132 year history and that is offer outdoor seating to customers. We're talking about Katz's Deli. It's been featured in movies. It's famous for those massive pastrami sandwiches and aisles of indoor seating.

But now they have to comply with New York health guidelines. The tables have been moved outside. The owner of the deli said they'd been able to keep all of the staff employed despite challenges by the virus.

If you haven't been there, those sandwiches are huge.

Thanks for spending part of your day with me. I'm Michael Holmes. The one and only Natalie Allen will improve your day with another hour of CNN NEWSROOM after the break.