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CNN NEWSROOM

Brazil Surpasses 1.8 Million Cases, Tops 70,000 Deaths; Trump Refused To Wear Mask Publicly Before Hospital Visit; Coronavirus Cases In U.S. Rising To Record Levels; Mueller Defends Prosecution Against Roger Stone; Trump Demands Schools Reopen As Cases Surge Across The U.S.; Arizona Teachers Concerned About Safely Reopening; Florida Releases Detailed Numbers Of Coronavirus Hospitalizations; Tourists Risk Arizona's Surge To See Nature; International Students May Be Forced To Leave U.S. Aired 12-1a ET

Aired July 12, 2020 - 00:00   ET

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


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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:

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DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think it's a great thing to wear a mask. I have never been against masks but I do believe they have a time and a place.

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M. HOLMES: Masked up: President Trump, finally seen publicly wearing a face mask, this as coronavirus cases skyrocket in the U.S., COVID-19 surging through Brazil, the country has seen nearly 400,000 cases and 1,000 deaths from the virus in one day alone.

And back to school hear from two teachers who lost a colleague to the virus, like many they are questioning if they can't keep themselves safe, how can they keep the kids safe.

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M. HOLMES: President Trump now doing what some Americans have been doing since the month of, March wearing a mask. During a visit to a military medical center on Saturday and the president's case this is the first time he's been wearing one of these in front of the cameras.

Doctors and scientists have been saying for months that wearing a mask keeps the virus from spreading. There is a new estimate of how many people may be infected with coronavirus while having no symptoms at all. The CDC says it could be as much as 40 percent.

The CDC also estimates that about half the time the virus is transmitted, it is before people get sick, it might be one of the reasons that explains this: 29 states now reporting a rise in coronavirus cases. South Carolina, Texas, Florida and Georgia all reporting record or near record daily case numbers on Saturday.

Now the hospitalizations are catching up with soaring new case numbers, experts are sounding the alarm. This week the number of lives lost to COVID-19, above 800 4 days in a, row so far there's been almost 135,000 deaths nationwide.

Now again, this is the first time the U.S. president has warned a mask on camera during the coronavirus outbreak, he has refused for months. Despite the urging of his own team and public health experts. Kristen Holmes explains why he decided to do it now and whether he will stick with it.

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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.

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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.

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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. [00:05:00]

K. HOLMES: 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.

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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.

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STEPHEN: 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, Dr. Jacob Stephen, we really appreciate, it thank you so much.

STEPHEN: Thank you, Michael.

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M. HOLMES: Well, the coronavirus also raging through Latin America and the Caribbean, Brazil the second worst affected country in the world after the United States, of, course it reported more than 39,000 new cases on Saturday, bringing the total past 1.8 million for that country.

And the country's most high-profile patient is the president, Jair Bolsonaro, who is touting a controversial drug, CNN's Bill Weir is in Brazil, has the latest.

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BILL WEIR, CNN CHIEF CLIMATE CORRESPONDENT: Here in Brazil, that COVID-19 curve continues to go completely in the wrong direction, averaging over 1,000 deaths a day, now over 1.8 million confirmed cases but with a lack of testing all across this vast country.

A lot of experts believe that number is off by at least a factor of 5- 10. Meanwhile President Jair Bolsonaro, the most favorite COVID-19 patient in Brazil, continues to promote his prescription of chloroquine, hydroxychloroquine, the anti-malarial drugs that he has so fond of.

And I'm in the center of Brazil today, in the geographic center, a big agricultural region where I met a doctor who spent 10 days in intensive care. Now his, boss the supervisor it is, hospital is in intensive care.

I asked him about Bolsonaro's prescription. He said he took those antimalarial drugs and they did not work at all for, him and yet he prescribes them because he has no other choice, they are cheap, they are available, he says, otherwise, what do I give my patients, water?

He also says that for a lot of the patients in this rural agricultural area, the other choice to infection is poverty or starvation. And so it does not take much encouragement from the man in charge for people to get back to work, for people to heed that call.

So that comes down to the only way to protect themselves and to try to flatten this curve here is mask wearing, social distancing, quarantines. We know the president is not fond of that and the president, even though he was ordered to wear a mask by a judge back in June, defied that time and time again through the other states.

Would wade into crowds with hugs and handshakes. We have seen him wear the mask although he took it off the day he announced he had it. It will be interesting to see if he comes through, hopefully he comes through this, whether it will change his mind about those other precautions.

His wife and daughters tested negative for COVID-19, the Bolsonaros. But right now it is just places are bracing for what may be another wave that never really went down as more and more cases become evident all around this country -- I'm Bill Weir, CNN, Brazil.

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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, of course, legally, his conviction stands. Roger Stone, President Trump's friend and political ally, was found guilty of lying to Congress.

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M. HOLMES: Found guilty on seven charges. Mr. Trump commuted Stone's 40 month sentence on Friday night.

Now on a rare op-ed in "The Washington Post," Mueller is defending his team against the White House's cries that the investigation was a hoax and a witch hunt. In his op-ed he writes, 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."

We are seeing enormous pressure from the top to get U.S. schools up and running again within weeks. But can it be safe? I talked to two teachers who know the dangers, first-hand. That's when we come back.

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TRUMP: Children, in many cases, the immune system is so powerful, so strong. But the young and the healthy to safely return to work and to school.

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TRUMP: We have to open our schools.

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M. HOLMES: The U.S. president Donald Trump, there and his relentless push for students to get back to the classroom. But the country's health experts don't seem to be in agreement.

An internal CDC document obtained by "The New York Times" warns that fully reopening schools and universities remains the highest risk for spreading the coronavirus.

It's not known if the president has seen that or not. But it appears to have been distributed earlier this week when the president slammed the CDC's school reopening guidelines.

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 --

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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?

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SKILLINGS: They are going to share everything, 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.

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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."

Coming up here on CNN NEWSROOM, we will get an update from the hardhit state of Florida, find out which way the numbers are going and what the governor has to say.

Also why some tourists are still willing to book a ticket to Arizona for a vacation in the middle of a pandemic hot spot. We will be right back.

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M. HOLMES: Welcome back to our viewers here in the U.S., I'm Michael, Holmes you're watching CNN NEWSROOM.

There is a new estimate of how many people may have coronavirus while showing no symptoms at all. The CDC says it could be as much as 40 percent. It's one of the reasons why this virus has been so hard to contain. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases worldwide is now beyond 12.6 million, according to Johns Hopkins University. U.S. continues to rank number one for both confirmed cases and deaths; 4 percent of the world population with a quarter of cases and deaths.

The cases in the U.S. now exceeds the population of 21 states. This, week 29 states are reporting a rise in cases, with South Carolina, Texas, Florida and Georgia all reporting record or near record daily case numbers on Saturday.

And the governor of hardhit Florida says the state will not be moving on to the next phase of reopening, for now. He says he's working with the White House to get more testing capabilities.

Saturday, Florida reported its third highest daily increase in cases, more than 10,000 new infections and officials saying nearly 4200 deaths have been reported since the beginning of the pandemic in that one state. CNN's Randi Kaye has an update.

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RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Here in the state of Florida, we are getting word that the numbers just keep going, up more than 10,360 new cases in the last 24 hours and 95 deaths in the last 24 hours here in the state of Florida.

We also know finally the number of hospitalizations here in Florida. Reporters have been pressing the governor's office for weeks to release those numbers of those who have COVID-19 and are in the hospital.

We now know more than 7,200 people are hospitalized with COVID here in Florida; more than 560 of them are in Orange County, where Orlando is, where Disney World, and more than 1,600 in the hardhit Miami-Dade.

And the news just keeps getting worse for Miami-Dade County in southern Florida, that is the hardest hit county. We are getting word today that 44 county bus drivers have tested positive for the coronavirus. One of them has died. It's unclear if that driver was symptomatic or what route that driver had taken. The others are quarantining at home. The numbers just continue to jump, since the state reopened on May

4th. We have seen more than a 1,200 percent increase in the average number of daily new cases here in the state. Back on May 4th the average number was about 680; now it's more than 9,000.

But the governor did say he was going to get more self-swab testing in place to try and get faster results. He said that would be about 36 to 72 hours instead of several days that it's taking now -- I'm Randi Kaye on Singer Island, Florida, back to you.

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M. HOLMES: Arizona is buckling under the pressure of the coronavirus surge, officials reporting more than 3,000 new cases on, Saturday. The state now has fewer than 1,000 hospital beds available for inpatients and more than half of its ventilators have been in use this week.

Arizona has led the nation for a month with the highest 7 day average of new cases per 100,000 people. Despite it all Evan McMorris-Santoro finds some people still seeing Arizona as a holiday destination where they can leave their cares behind.

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EVAN MCMORRIS-SANTORO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is the Grand Canyon, nearly a mile deep and 8 to 10 miles wide, depending on where you're standing. Should be a place where it should be easy to social distance.

But it's also the south rim of the Grand Canyon, one of the most important tourist destinations in Arizona -- hotels, gift, shops gathering places, other places that officials are worried the pandemic could spread.

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MCMORRIS-SANTORO: There are new rules here about masks and socially distancing that they're hoping will help to keep things controlled. Vacationers say it's worth the risk.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Basically because it's the safest thing to do right now with COVID-19. You can still enjoy a good vacation. You are out with family, friends, still outside, a great view, good times.

MCMORRIS-SANTORO: What's it like to go on a vacation in the middle of this?

You are coming from one hot spot to another one.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Basically everything is different. Normally on vacations you are looking for the ability to go out, sit down, eat. Now it's kind of getting everything and bringing it back to your rooms. And you have to wear a mask and you wear it in this heat, that can be difficult.

MCMORRIS-SANTORO: Let me ask you about that mask thing, yours is pretty direct, you read this, you're too close?

I walk around here I see some people not wearing them.

What do you say about that?

What do you think about what you're seeing in terms of people doing the mask requirement?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: To each his own. I personally believe we have to think beyond ourselves. I'm not just wearing a mask for myself, I'm wearing a mask for the next person. And I don't want them to take anything back to their house and infect their family.

MCMORRIS-SANTORO: The story in Arizona remains one of the governor, who wants to keep things open versus local elected officials in the largest cities, wanting to keep things closed.

Last week the governor kept the indoor dining capacity at 50 percent, which he said was enough to curb the pandemic. Local officials said they want more -- Evan McMorris-Santoro, CNN, the Grand Canyon.

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M. HOLMES: When we come back here on CNN NEWSROOM, COVID-19 cases in the U.S., soaring other countries have managed to stop the spread, though, just, ahead a shocking comparison the, U.S. versus other places around the world.

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M. HOLMES: Welcome back.

COVID-19 continues to spiral out of control in the U.S. as we have been reporting. But around the world many other countries have successfully managed this virus or avoided it altogether. CNN's Max Foster has a look at how they got it right.

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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.

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.

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FOSTER (voice-over): 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 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?

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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.

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M. HOLMES: Hundreds of thousands of international students in the U.S. could face deportation, thanks to a new mandate from the Trump administration.

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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I feel like we deserve to be here. We're also -- international students are also supporting the economy. We're paying tuition, we're paying for our apartments, our housing.

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M. HOLMES: What some colleges are now doing for students to help them remain in the country. We will have that when we come back.

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M. HOLMES: A U.S. Immigration policy will force international students to leave the country or risk deportation if their universities put switch to online only classes. That could impact thousands as many schools go virtual due to the coronavirus pandemic. Some are keeping limited in-person classes to allow those international students to legally remain, like the University of Southern California.

It just announced that it will let students attend an in-person class for free, USC also joining Harvard and MIT in a lawsuit against the Trump administration policy.

Now losing international students would deal another blow to the U.S. economy, according to the Association of International Educators. Those students contributed nearly $41 billion to the economy in the 2018-2019 academic, year that's a lot of, money.

They help to support more than 458,000 jobs that means that for every 7 international students, 3 U.S. jobs are created. Now one of those impacted is Salvador Moratillo, a full-time student in Los Angeles, who now faces an uncertain future. Robyn Curnow looks at the plight he and thousands of other students are now facing.

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ROBYN CURNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's already been an uncertain year but now over 1 million students in the U.S. from all over the world were blindsided this week by a surprise announcement by the Trump administration.

The message, if colleges and university decided to only give courses online this upcoming semester, then international students would have to go home. Salvador Moratillo is one of those whose life is suddenly in limbo, facing the threat of his student visa being canceled. And if he doesn't leave voluntarily, being deported.

CURNOW: Do you feel like this is unfair, that you are being unfairly targeted here?

SALVADOR MORATILLO, INTERNATIONAL STUDENT: It is. It's either forcing us to take in-person classes while corona cases are surging, especially here in the U.S. or taking or forcing students to travel back to their home country.

CURNOW (voice-over): Salvador is studying audio production and hopes to be a sound engineer. He is supposed to be going into his second year at the Los Angeles Film School in California. But instead, the 19-year-old Peruvian is worrying about his options, because going home is complicated.

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MORATILLO: And so my parents actually live in China but we kind of like crossed out the chance of me going back to China to see them. So it would most likely be me going back to Peru, where my grandparents are at.

CURNOW (voice-over): More than 8,000 colleges and universities in the United States who accept foreign students are impacted by the sudden decision.

KEN CUCCINELLI, ACTING DIRECTOR, CITIZENSHIP AND IMMIGRATION SERVICES: They're not going to be a student or if they're going to be 100 percent online, then they don't have a basis to be here.

CURNOW (voice-over): The Trump administration says they're looking at providing as much flexibility as possible, because over a quarter of some schools' budgets come from international students.

But universities and colleges aren't putting much faith in that. Harvard and MIT have filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration. In this lawsuit they alleged that the effect and perhaps even the overall goal is to cause as much chaos for international students and universities as possible.

Higher education in the U.S. is a huge money spender for universities. In 2018, just the students from China, India and South Korea contributed more than $44 billion to the U.S. economy.

MORATILLO: I feel like we deserve to be here. We're -- international students are also supporting the economy. So we're paying tuition, our apartments, our housing.

CURNOW (voice-over): For, now Salvador will have to pay his rent up front as he waits for a court decision and his college on how they will teach classes next semester.

MORATILLO: I decided to be here in L.A., to be surrounded by these professionals. It's been a real (INAUDIBLE) to learn from them stuff that I wouldn't be able to obtain if I was in my country or back in China.

CURNOW (voice-over): After so much hard work, so many are caught up in politics they want no part of -- Robyn Curnow, CNN Atlanta.

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M. HOLMES: Thanks for, watching I'm Michael, Holmes the news continues after the break.