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CNN NEWSROOM

Coronavirus' Asymptomatic Spread; Florida Governor Wants More Testing; Coronavirus Cases in U.S. Rising to Record Levels; Trump Refused to Wear Mask Publicly before Hospital Visit; How Countries around the World Have Responded to COVID-19; Poland Votes in Presidential Runoff Election; Dodger Stadium Hosts Both Baseball and COVID-19 Testing. Aired 4-5a ET

Aired July 12, 2020 - 04:00   ET

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


[04:00:00]

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NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Catching COVID but feeling fine, a new study suggests it is common. Why that seemingly good news actually complicates things.

President Trump dons a mask finally after months of avoiding advice from top medical experts.

Also, Mr. Trump sets his friend Roger Stone free. Now the former special counsel makes a rare public statement about that.

These stories ahead this hour. Live from world headquarters in Atlanta, welcome to our viewers here in the United States and around the world. I'm Natalie Allen. CNN NEWSROOM starts right now.

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ALLEN: Thank you for joining us.

The numbers are overwhelming but consider this, to get a sense of how many people in the U.S. have been infected with the coronavirus, according to Johns Hopkins University, the total stands at more than 3.2 million.

That's more than the individual populations of 21 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico; 29 states are reporting spikes in cases. You can see them in red and orange here. Single day case records were broken Saturday in Texas, Wisconsin and South Carolina. The mayor of Austin calls Texas a cautionary tale.

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MAYOR STEVE ADLER (D), AUSTIN, TX: I'm watching what's happening in cities around the country that have gotten their numbers low and now they're relaxing and it looks like too many of them are going to try to redo what we did in Texas when we reopened.

And Austin is a cautionary tale. Cities cannot open in any way that looks like what they used to do before the pandemic.

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ALLEN: New guidance from the CDC says up to 40 percent of people infected by the virus may show no symptoms at all. But they can still spread it to others. The agency also says about half the time the virus is transmitted before people get sick. That's part of the reason social distancing and masks are so important.

Speaking of masks, U.S. president Trump wore one in public for the first time on Saturday. He put it on for his trip to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. Ahead of the visit, he said he had never been against wearing them.

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TRUMP: I think it is 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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ALLEN: Until Saturday, Mr. Trump had resisted pressure to wear one, at least in public for an extended period of time.

Florida's governor says the state will not move to the next phase of reopening. He also says he's working with the White House to get more testing amid a staggering rise in hospitalizations. CNN's Randi Kaye has more fro Florida.

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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.

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KAYE: 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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ALLEN: The Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom at Disney have reopened at Florida despite the surging infections in the state. Everyone did have to get their temperature checked and face masks are required.

But not everything went smoothly. CNN spoke with a theme park journalist who was there. She says she got so uncomfortable on a crowded walkway she left. But she says Disney did get a lot of things right.

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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Every procedure they have laid out, for the most part, worked extremely well. It is everything in between that. Once you start putting a group of people in the parks, those issues start popping up.

Like what I saw today and a few other things. It's just when, there are lines, people stand in them and it is working incredibly well. It has worked at Universal in Orlando. But if there is a line you don't expect like today and there are not those lines, we don't know what to do because all of us have not been in this situation.

The employees, the guests, everyone.

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ALLEN: Almost all performances have been suspended at the park for now. Epcot and Hollywood Studios are set to open their doors Wednesday.

The coronavirus is, of course, raging through Latin America and the Caribbean. Brazil, as we have been reporting for many days, is the second worst affected country in the world after the United States. It reported more than 39,000 new cases Saturday, bringing the total past 1.8 million.

And the country's most high profile patient, president Jair Bolsonaro, is touting a controversial drug. Bill Weir reports from Brazil.

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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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ALLEN: Former special counsel Robert Mueller is making a rare statement, defending his indictment of Roger Stone. That's because Stone's loyalty to the president may have just saved him from a lengthy prison sentence. We'll discuss that coming up here.

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ALLEN: According to Johns Hopkins University, the total of coronavirus cases in the United States stands at more than 3.2 million; 29 states are reporting spikes in cases. You can see them here in red and orange.

Single day case records were broken Saturday in Texas, Wisconsin and South Carolina. New guidance from the CDC says up to 40 percent of people infected by the virus may show no symptoms at all but they can still spread it to others.

We're going to talk about the latest developments with my guest. Joining me from Toulouse, France, is Sian Griffiths. She led Hong Kong's inquiry into SARS in 2003.

Thank you so much for joining us. Good to see you. Good to have you on again.

DR. SIAN GRIFFITHS, EMERITUS PROFESSOR, CHINESE UNIVERSITY OF HONG KONG: Thanks.

ALLEN: As of Saturday, the United States has 61,352 new cases and we keep setting new records every day.

What does that tell you about the situation we are in here?

GRIFFITHS: From an external perspective, it shows that you're not really in control of the virus. The epidemic is increasing, the numbers keep -- as you say, keep breaking the records, which is a really unfortunate record to keep breaking.

And it is a very serious situation because obviously COVID is running rife, particularly in those states that show red on your map.

ALLEN: It is hard to fathom, isn't it, how quickly states like Florida and even West Virginia now, Louisiana, South Carolina, are surging and so rapidly.

What should states do to try to turn this back?

GRIFFITHS: I think they need to get public messages out.

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GRIFFITHS: This is a serious disease. There is a sense that it doesn't seem to matter if you get COVID, I read about COVID parties. But that's just ridiculous to think this isn't a serious disease.

It can affect any of us. It is more likely to affect older people, more likely to kill people who are older with a pre-existing condition. At the same time, young people can also contract it and there are long-term consequences of having the disease.

So really it is a matter of saying what can we do as individuals and what can we do as authorities.

And so for individuals, it is remembering social distancing, remember social hygiene and I would advise face covering from mask wearing.

And for the states, they need to think about what lockdown measures should be in place to stop the spread of disease. It seems to be increasing, increasing, increasing. And we head -- as we head toward winter, we add in flu and the (INAUDIBLE) population is poor.

ALLEN: We also now have seen this new development from the CDC, which estimates 40 percent of people infected don't have any symptoms.

How does that complicate the situation?

GRIFFITHS: It means that if -- you don't feel unwell, you think, I haven't got it. But in fact you can be infectious. If you're close to somebody who is vulnerable, then they will get the infection or they may well get the infection.

What you need to do is remember that each and every one of us needs to take those hand washing precautions, wear face coverings, needs to remember social distance and remember that, when we go shopping, when we go out for a meal, remember when with friends, we need to remember that, though we have no symptoms, we could be infectious.

ALLEN: And how long could it now take, do you think, for the U.S. to get out from under this?

GRIFFITHS: It will depend on what measures are taken. And I think, you know, I think that people -- that's why I'm really emphasizing it is the measures you take. We -- we can hope there is going to be a vaccine.

But the vaccine isn't with us yet.

And then the question is, who gets the vaccine?

Having a vaccine is not necessarily the answer. We're getting better at treating people. But a lot of the hospital system is under pressure. So don't rely on the hospital system. It is going to be about the public health precautionary measures, which will, you know, if you get symptoms, get tested, go into isolation, make sure your contacts are also tested and are in isolation and so that we can break the chain of transmission.

That's what we need to do and we need to do it many times over when you have such a huge surge in so many places.

ALLEN: Yes, and the threat here is hospitals being overrun, Florida, Miami-Dade County, is seeing over 100 percent increase in ventilators. There are a lot of very sick people in these hospitals. And even manpower could be short at some point. And that would put the United States in a situation that could be, well, quite frankly, historic.

GRIFFITHS: Well, the unfortunate thing is that we saw, in Wuhan, where the disease started in January, it was those pictures of overwhelmed hospitals, healthcare staff, who were getting sick and finding themselves -- because we know that they're at risk because they're closer to the virus.

It is the fact that the healthcare system can be overwhelmed. It was overwhelmed in northern Italy and so the States have plenty of time to look at these messages. That's what is so unfortunate. And we -- you will start to run out of protective equipment. You will

start to run out of ventilators if you can't stop the -- curb this disease and prioritize who gets care. All these things are (INAUDIBLE) so it is very serious that people think hard about how we can prevent the disease and think hard how we can best intervene.

ALLEN: Really important that you stress that people in these states must get proper information, you know. This has been a very much a conflict here in the United States. Young people, as you mentioned, haven't taken it seriously.

I saw one report today where a young woman, who was 30 years old, in a hospital died and. The last words to the nurse was, I got this wrong. I thought it was a hoax. That just goes to show you how far we are to getting the message straight.

GRIFFITHS: You really have to get the message straight. This is not a hoax. It can affect young people. It can also affect children.

So to think it doesn't is incorrect. And sometimes they can get an extremely severe reaction. So it is a serious disease. It will -- it can be controlled if we all take it seriously. But if you think of it as a hoax, it is not a hoax. It is a real disease. You look across the world.

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GRIFFITHS: You look at Brazil, Mexico, you look at Indonesia, Pakistan, India, they're all seeing increases in numbers of cases, increases in deaths. And the deaths are among the most vulnerable and the elderly. So you know, young people, it's your granny you're protecting when you take the measures, if not yourself.

ALLEN: We always appreciate your expertise, Sian Griffiths, joining us from Toulouse, France, thank you so much.

GRIFFITHS: Thank you. Thank you.

ALLEN: Two Republican senators have broken ranks with U.S. president Donald Trump after he commuted the prison sentence of his long time friend and ally, Roger Stone. Senators Mitt Romney and Pat Toomey both denounced clemency for Stone, even though most other Republican lawmakers have remained quiet on the matter.

Stone was convicted of seven felonies, including lying to Congress and witness tampering. The president on Saturday doubled down on his action, defying what the attorney general said about the Stone case.

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TRUMP: Roger Stone was treated horribly. Roger Stone was treated very unfairly. Roger Stone was brought into this witch hunt, this old political witch hunt and the Mueller scam, it is a scam, because it has been proven false and he was treated very unfairly.

What I did -- what I did, I will tell you this, people are extremely happy because in this country they want justice. And Roger Stone was not treated properly.

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WILLIAM BARR, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: Well, as you know, the Stone case was prosecuted while I was attorney general. And I supported it. I think it was established, he was convicted of obstructing Congress and witness tampering. And I thought that was a righteous prosecution. And I was happy that he was convicted.

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ALLEN: Most thought it was a righteous conviction there, prosecution of Roger Stone. The former special counsel of the Russia investigation, Robert Mueller, made a rare, reacting to Trump' action.

In "The Washington Post," he wrote this, "I feel compelled to respond both to broad claims that our investigation was illegitimate and our motives were improper and to specific claims that Roger Stone was a victim of our office.

"The Russia investigation was of paramount importance. Stone was prosecuted and convicted because he committed federal crimes. He remains a convicted felon and rightly so."

Let's get more perspective now on this. Joining me from London, Inderjeet Parmar, a visiting professor at the London School of Economics.

Thank you for coming on.

INDERJEET PARMAR, VISITING PROFESSOR, LONDON SCHOOL OF ECONOMICS: Thank you, good morning.

ALLEN: Good morning to you. There has been no shortage of outrage over this move by President Trump. A CNN Legal Analyst, Jeffrey Toobin, called the president's move the most corrupt and cronyistic act in perhaps all of recent history.

What are your thoughts?

PARMAR: Well, it is within his constitutional remit. On the other hand, the -- a commutation of a sentence doesn't mean a pardon, doesn't mean the person is not guilty.

But what it does show, if you like, is that President Trump is continuing to declare war on what he would call the deep state and he wants to wear again the mantle of the champion of the people, who is draining the swamp and so on and still fighting that war.

But what he shows is that now something like seven of his advisers who are convicted of various crimes, some of them are serving sentences. But President Trump wants to try to exonerate himself by exonerating the people who basically acted on his behalf, even if not necessarily with his own knowledge. So he's basically doing the opposite of draining the swamp, as a

promise he made to the American people.

ALLEN: On another topic involving the president, he finally wore a mask in this pandemic. Took a minute. Who knows if he'll continue because he doesn't like the look of it but he bent to pressure from his team.

What could be the significance when you consider he has staunchly rebuffed recommendations from top health officials as cases surge in the U.S.?

And he does impact his supporters. His country has had serious conflicts over mask wearing because they just haven't gotten that leadership from this president.

PARMAR: Yes, I think what it suggests is that President Trump's recent strategy of -- that there is no pandemic, there is no problem, people will get used to it, it won't make any impact and so on, has been basically contradicted by facts on the ground.

There is an objective reality about a pandemic. You can't just wish it away.

[04:25:00]

PARMAR: And as it moves closer to his political heartlands, it effectively has had massive political effects. And there is a great fear among the GOP leadership that they're going to lose the Senate and possibly quite badly.

The number of states which are safe, Republican states like Iowa, for example, now appear to be coming into play. And from what reports that I've read, it suggests the GOP leadership is putting pressure on the Trump administration to take this a lot more seriously, handle it better.

And effectively he's got until about Labor Day to save the day. But he's sinking in the polls. He's behind in key states which he won in 2016 like Florida, for example and battleground states as well and also nationally.

And he also appears to hit a low of 17 percent loyalty approval among his GOP voters as well. So there is a kind of massive shift going on, which is sort of taking the rug from under his feet. And the GOP leadership is keeping a good eye on this now.

And they're even casting around for other candidates in future elections as well. So I think they're losing a little bit of confidence and giving him a deadline to get it right by Labor Day or you're done. So the mask wearing may be a signal of a change of strategy.

ALLEN: Perhaps. We'll wait and see.

You recently co-wrote an article stating that mismanagement of the COVID crisis on behalf of the president, coupled with racial upheaval we have seen over police brutality and the president's response to that, have contributed to a terrible but perfect political storm.

Can you elaborate?

PARMAR: Yes, any storm of this character will take me a long time in the making. So President Trump, if you like, is the person in charge. He's responsible and he's got to take responsibility for a large amount of the outcomes.

But if you like, a long-term shift has been occurring. And the Floyd killing has taken away the kind of support for the police and his ideas about white nationalism and minorities are the problem and so on.

That has brought that home, that's taken the rug from under his feet. The pandemic hit minorities and workers very, very hard, much harder than most other people, that's taken a big hit on that front, too.

But also it's hit the economy, which is a second area he was going to give America back to the ordinary people, his people, and he's going to kind of strengthen the economy. That -- those two things together have actually removed the ground from under his feet and he's lost his two main kind of planks that he stood for.

I think he's, therefore, floundering. The majority of public opinion in America thinks race and racism and police brutality are major problems. And the economy is in a terrible situation.

And I think those two things combined have made the current position of President Trump rather desperate. It is a terrible but kind of perfect storm, too.

ALLEN: Inderjeet Parmar, thank you for your time.

PARMAR: Thank you.

ALLEN: Coming up here, COVID-19 cases in the U.S., as we mentioned, are soaring. But other countries have managed to stifle the spread. We'll have details on the shocking comparison.

Also, protests and coronavirus in Serbia, how the government's COVID- 19 response is having major consequences for the president there. We'll have live reports.

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ALLEN: Welcome back to our viewers here in the U.S. and around the world. I'm Natalie Allen. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM. We want to get you the latest on the COVID-19 pandemic here. There is

a new estimate of how many people may have coronavirus while showing no symptoms at all. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control says it could be as much as 40 percent.

It is one of the reasons why this virus has been so hard to contain. The number of confirmed cases worldwide is now beyond 12.7 million, according to Johns Hopkins University. The U.S. continues to rank number 1 for confirmed cases and for deaths.

More than half of all states are seeing a rise in cases. South Carolina, Texas and Georgia are reporting their highest number of daily new cases yet. For months, President Trump ignored the advice of his health experts and refused to wear a face mask in public. But on Saturday, he finally caved while visiting U.S. troops near Washington.

He made wearing one a political issue as the U.S. became the worst hit country in the world and remains so. Around the world, many countries have successfully managed the virus or avoided it altogether. CNN's Max Foster looks 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.

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FOSTER (voice-over): 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.

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.

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FOSTER (voice-over): 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?

(CROSSTALK)

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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ALLEN: One country's plan that is not going over well with its people is Serbia.

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ALLEN (voice-over): This is what is happening. Things were calmer Saturday but violent protests rocked the capital Belgrade on Friday. There were dozens of arrests and at least one stabbing as protesters squared off with riot police.

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ALLEN: The unrest began over anger at the government's handling of the pandemic. But demonstrations have evolved into wider dissent over the rule of the president. CNN's Milena Veselinovic is tracking this story from London to tell us what is fueling what is going on here.

MILENA VESELINOVIC, CNN PRODUCER: Good morning, Natalie. On Saturday, the protests were largely peaceful around a thousand people gathered around the parliament in Belgrade but also in other cities across the country.

As you mentioned, these protests started over the plans of president Aleksandar Vucic to put in a weekend curfew because of coronavirus cases in the country. But after two nights of rioting, the government was forced to scrap that plan.

But the protests continued. They have now moved into wider discontent with the leadership of the president. What the protesters allege he lifted lockdown too soon in early May and that's why the virus is surging now.

They say he did that so he could allow large gatherings, so he could hold a parliamentary election in June with political campaigning and other events.

Now Serbia was first country in Europe to hold a national vote during this pandemic. The party of the president overwhelmingly won. But opposition parties largely boycotted this election.

President Vucic says that's not true; he lifted lockdown, he says, because the situation with the virus was favorable at the time. And he's blamed his political opponents and also what he called foreign agencies for staging these protests.

Now the protests have at times turned quite violent at times; both the protesters and others have been injured. They're not led by a cohesive group or a movement. But what we have been hearing from some of those people attending the protests in the last few days is that far right groups have infiltrated these protests in order to cause violence.

ALLEN: Milena Veselinovic in London, we'll keep tabs on these developments. Thank you so much.

Voters in Poland are casting ballots right now. Next here, we'll tell you why observers say this could be the country's most consequential election in decades. We'll have a live report.

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ALLEN: Voters in Poland are casting ballots right now in a runoff race for president in what could be the country's most consequential election in decades. The populist right wing president faces a challenge from the more liberal center right mayor of Warsaw.

CNN's Frederik Pleitgen has been covering the run-up to the election for us, he's at a polling place right now.

This is certainly election being watched closely, Fred.

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Definitely being watched closely. It is an important election, some say one of the most important elections in this country in decades. Where the direction of this country is really up for grabs.

And also, Natalie, one that is really, really difficult to hold because of all of the coronavirus restrictions that are in place in Poland and around the world.

You can see before going into the polling station, people are -- can see all the rules for the coronavirus, you see the distance and then you have to wear the mask like I am now. And then we'll take you inside.

And you can see here, you get inside, first thing you need to do is sanitize. And if we come in, we can see the folks are already lined up, everybody perfectly socially distanced.

But this is really what it takes to hold an election in times like this. You need a lot of discipline from the voters. People need to be wearing their masks. And then they just go there to register.

They come over here, to actually make a cross on the ballot and then they throw it into the polling urn and that's how the vote goes. One thing we have to keep in mind, there are 27,000 polling stations like this one all across the country that are all operating under these rules.

It is a key election, a very important election, one that obviously you can feel in this country is very important and one being held under these conditions right now.

But you can feel from the electorate, and we have been here a couple of days, how important they think this election is going to be for the future of the country and for the future of the country in Europe and in the world.

ALLEN: Right. Europe is watching as well. Fred Pleitgen, following it for us in Warsaw, Fred, thanks so much for your report.

With the Major League Baseball season delayed here in the U.S. due to the pandemic, one team has turned its stadium into one of the largest testing sites in the country. CNN's on the scene in L.A. -- next.

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ALLEN: Major League Baseball is planning 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.

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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.

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.

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AARON BOONE, YANKEES MANAGER: Obviously this virus does not discriminate. It can get to anyone at any point.

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BOONE: 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.

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ALLEN: Here's a success story for you, we can share a few of those. Virus restrictions are prompting a New York City staple to do something it hasn't done before in its 132-year history: offer outdoor seating to customers.

We're talking about Katz's Deli, featured in movies, famous for its pastrami sandwiches and aisles of indoor seating. Now to comply with New York health guidelines, the tables are outside.

The owner of the deli says they have been able to keep all the staff employed despite challenges brought on by the virus. Since so many restaurants and bars are hurting, that certainly is good news.

I'm Natalie Allen. We have another hour to go. I'll be right back with our top stories. Thanks for watching.