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Highly Populated States Seeing Spike in Coronavirus Cases; President Trump Pick a Fight with Dr. Fauci; Safety for Kids Not Guaranteed this Fall; Heavy Rain Battered China's Provinces; WHO Investigates Origin of Virus in China; Two Pandemics Ravages South Africa; The White House is Aggressively Pushing to Reopen Schools; Walt Disney World Partially Reopens as Florida Coronavirus Cases Surge; President Trump Defends Frequent Golfing as His "Exercise"; Many Countries are Struggling with COVID-19; Incumbent President Andrzej Duda is Set to Win Election. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired July 13, 2020 - 03:00   ET




ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us here in the United States, and of course, all around the world. You are watching CNN Newsroom. And I'm Rosemary Church.

Just ahead, pandemic roulette this time the wheel of reopening too soon lending on record case numbers out of Florida.

Science versus politics. How Dr. Fauci and President Trump ended up on other sides of the ring when the real fight should be against COVID- 19.

Plus, pop quiz for U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, what should schools do if there is a coronavirus outbreak? Her answer that leads to more questions, coming up.

Good to have you with us.

We begin this hour with the relentless rise in coronavirus infections across the United States, the numbers just keep going up and up. You can see them here in this chart note how steep the rise is become in recent weeks as cases increase rapidly.

This surge is hitting Florida hard, it shattered the single day case record which by any state Sunday reporting over 15,000 new infections, cases are spiking from coast to coast, see those darker red states on this? Map where they have all seen increases of 50 percent or more.

In California's Los Angeles County, officials say they now have substantially more COVID hospitalizations than they had a month ago. Phoenix, Arizona has so many coronavirus patients who need help breathing. They have set a record for ventilator use.

And Michigan health authorities have issued an advisory, telling partygoers at this Independence Day celebration to get tested. At least one of them now has the virus.

But there is encouraging news out of New York City as sign tough lockdown measures can be worth it and they work. Preliminary data indicates the city had no coronavirus deaths Saturday.

Well despite those spiraling U.S. numbers, there is a rift growing between the White House and the country's top infectious disease expert. The White House took aim at Dr. Anthony Fauci on Sunday, releasing a lengthy statement that claims to describe mistakes the doctor had mate. California Democrat Adam Schiff called the situation atrocious.


REP. ADAM SCHIFF (D-CA): Dr. Fauci is the most respected voice in the country on how we have to be dealing with this pandemic. And to be trying to sideline him or diminish him or discredit him is just atrocious, but it is so characteristic of Donald Trump. He can't stand the fact that the American people trust Dr. Fauci and they don't trust Donald Trump.


CHURCH: Yes, Dr. Fauci's reputation is strong in places like Florida, where the virus has hospitalized more than 7,500 people. In Miami Beach, hospitals are reaching full capacity. And cities -- the city's mayor cited Dr. Fauci as the only federal officially he trusts.


MAYOR DAN GELBER (D), MIAMI BEACH, FLORIDA: Dr. Fauci is the only person in the federal government we are listening to on the local level. Because obviously, you know, this is all following the mayors and commissioners to not only get people to comply but to actually do these rules that people have to comply with, he is the only one we have been listening to.

It's not that the federal government has decided that we don't that he is upsetting the president so we should all not listen to the doctor anymore, because we don't like what he's telling us.


CHURCH: And for more on the administrations push against Dr. Fauci here's CNN correspondent Kristen Holmes in Washington, D.C.

KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it would be extraordinary to see this sort of broad siding of one of the top health officials by the White House in any situation, but it's particularly striking given that it's happening during a pandemic.

We had seen this tension between Dr. Fauci and President Trump really start to boil up in public, kind of lashing out at one another, at one point, Dr. Fauci openly disagreeing with President Trump, he said that the government's response wasn't really that great to coronavirus. He also talked about how he wasn't sure where President Trump had

gotten certain information, and then you have President Trump saying that Dr. Fauci was a nice man but it made a lot of mistakes.


Now in an official statement from a White House official, when asked about this relationship between the two between the White House and this leading health expert, they said, a White House official saying several White House officials are concerned about the number of times that Dr. Fauci has been wrong on things.

And then they presented a list here that looks almost like opposition research that we would get if they were talking about someone like Joe Biden or a political opponent, listing out early comments that Dr. Fauci made when talking about the pandemic that you don't need to her mask or that the epidemic is not driven by asymptomatic carriers, things that we heard not just from Dr. Fauci but from many medical experts early on, when we were still figuring out what was going on with the pandemic.

But again, the broader picture here is that during this pandemic, you are seeing a White House that is actively lashing out at one of the nation's top officials, someone who is supposedly an adviser to President Trump. He was a member of the Coronavirus Task Force here, so it's very striking to see something like this going on at a time when these cases just continue to surge.

Kristen Holmes, CNN, the White House.

CHURCH: I'm joined now by Dr. Anna Rimoin, she is a professor in the Department of Epidemiology at UCLA. Doctor, always good to talk with you.


CHURCH: So, we are seeing President Trump wear a mask at last, which is a move in the right direction, but tension between the White House and top infectious disease Dr. Anthony Fauci is escalating in the middle of this pandemic, because he openly disagreed with the president in favor of science. What is your reaction to this level of tension between politics and medicine while the country goes through this massive health crisis?

RIMOIN: Rosemary, this is a huge problem. We are letting politics dictate our public health agenda here. And it is just not acceptable, we need to be led by science. This is a virus. We know how this virus spreads we know now so much more about how to be able to attack this and what we need is our top scientists to be advising the president and to have policy enacted as such.

You know, the whole idea that we see Donald Trump wearing a mask for the first time going into a military hospital should not be something to celebrate, I mean, he should have been wearing a mask from the very beginning. There is no downside to wearing a mask. None. CHURCH: And doctor, currently 33 states are reporting increases in

new coronavirus cases. Florida just shattered the single day infection record with 15,300 new cases, and yet, the U.S. president is still threatening to cut funds to any schools that refused to open their doors to students next month. Now, we all want our schools to open but we want that to be done safely, how can we do that?

RIMOIN: You know, we've needed to have started talking about this months ago, but because we're not going to, we can't go back to where we are right now, we have to get really serious about what we are going to be doing going forward. And the first thing that we really need to do is we need to tamp down the spread of disease.

And that is where we need to be doing our very best everyone, across the country, to stamp -- to stamp out infection here. And that will likely include going back to phase one. We need to make sure that the virus has hit the lowest possible rate of transmission and then, we can get back to, you know, reopening but with very stringent controls including wearing masks, and social distancing.

The other thing that is going to be very important for opening schools is the funding to be able to make the social distancing possible, to make sure that the ventilation systems are appropriate. To make sure that the teachers and that everybody is trained in how to be able to manage this new normal in COVID.

CHURCH: And doctor, the U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, she wouldn't say on CNN Sunday if schools should listen to CDC guidelines but she wouldn't offer her own plan, and we know that President Trump thinks the current CDC guidelines are too tough and impractical.

So, let's just bring those up because we have some of those points listed there. You refer to them. Wearing masks, staying home when appropriate, keeping that distance that social distance the fix feet apart, but a lot of schools are incapable of doing that.

But do you feel these guidelines which the CDC now says it will not be watered down for the president, do you think those that stand right now will be sufficient to open schools safely?


RIMOIN: The first thing we need to be able to open school safely is to have a very serious reduction in the rate of viral transmission of community transmission of this virus.

So, if we can get to a very -- to an acceptable level of community transmission, then yes, I think that those guidelines are appropriate. We cannot be relying on hopes that the transmission rate will go down or that hopes that schools will be able to find funding to be able to do what they need to do. And hopes that are will have enough testing and contact tracing. I mean, we need to make this happen.

CHURCH: And doctor, finally, the U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams said this about masks, let's take a quick listen.


JEROME ADAMS, U.S. SURGEON GENERAL: The disease course is about two to three weeks, so just as we've seen cases skyrocket we can turn this thing around into two to three weeks if we can get a critical mass of people wearing face coverings, practicing at least six feet the social distancing, doing the things that we know are effective.

And it's important for the American people to understand when we are talking about the fall, we have the ability to turn this around --


ADAMS: -- very quickly if people will do the right thing.


CHURCH: Doctor, do you think that's possible that timeframe two to three weeks, if people wear masks and keep social distance?

RIMOIN: I think that in two to three weeks we could do a lot, and that is certainly true, anything that we can do is important. But that being said, two to three weeks from now will be just seeing the infections that were being -- that were happening right now and those infections are not just going to disappear, those people will be able to infect other people.

So, we need to be looking at a good, you know, six to eight weeks of really doubling down and making sure that we are stopping transmission of this disease. Not only for one cycle but at least two.

You know, it's really important to remember that whatever we are seeing today is because of exposures that we had two to three weeks ago. And these kind of lagging indicators are what gets into trouble every time, just when we think these might be OK, we remember that everything that happened just a few weeks back is what is going to come to bear, you know, two or three weeks later.

CHURCH: Let's hope this country can do it. Dr. Anne Rimoin, thank you so much.

And still to come this hour, a long-awaited trip to China by the World Health Organization, what investigators are looking into the origins of the coronavirus hopes to uncover.

Plus, South Africans are calling for action against the country's second pandemic, how women in the country are fighting to end gender- based violence and get justice for the lives taken by it. We're back with that in a moment.



CHURCH: Well, China has raised its flood emergency response to the second highest level in areas along the Yangtze River. This, after days of rain has impacted nearly 38 million people across more than two dozen provinces.

State media report at least 141 people have died, or are missing. More than two million people have fled their homes, and more than one million others are in urgent need of supplies.

China's president is calling for all out efforts in rescue and relief operations. More rain is expected in the coming days.

There are growing fears of the coronavirus in Hong Kong as new infections are on the rise. Officials have closed schools in the city to stem the spread of the virus after nearly 48 new cases were confirmed on Friday. The city is fighting its third wave of infections, and some experts are concerned the virus may have mutated.

This, as a team from the World Health Organization has landed in China to investigate the origins of the virus.

So, let's bring in Kristie Lu Stout from Hong Kong. Kristie, a couple of few issues to cover here. Let's start with that WHO team that's investigating the origin of COVID-19. How much freedom will they be given to do their job?

KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's a big question. Also, apparently, not a lot of freedom to talk to the media today, as we've been chasing after WHO officials asking about additional comment on this mission, that's supposed to be underway in China, but we yet to get any substantial response.

On Friday, the World Health Organization announced that this to member advance team was on route to China to set up a probe looking into the origins of the novel coronavirus. And this is what we know at this stage.

There is two individuals, consist of two experts, one in animal health, the other in epidemiology, again, this is an advance team, so they are out to determine the agenda and scope of a broader investigation. So, this is still very much early on in the process. And according to the WHO, they hope that these two individuals will be able to get some answers to two key questions.

I mean, one question, we know that the virus exists in bats but did it go through an intermediate species, or another animal host? The other question, how did it make that jump? How did it make that leap from animals to humans?

Now the World Health Organization has been under fire for its relationship with China, we know that the United States under U.S. President Donald Trump is saying that it will withdraw from the world body effective of July of next year because of the WHO's relationship with China according to Donald Trump (Ph), and also because of concerns that it didn't ask the tough questions early on. But we are still waiting to hear answers from this fact-finding mission.

Back to you.

CHURCH: And Kristie, you're there in Hong Kong, we mentioned the 38 new cases that have been confirmed, schools have been closed, we talked about that mutation, bring us up to date on all those issues?

LU STOUT: Yes. We just know on Sunday where we heard from the department of health, 38 new COVID-19 cases, of which 30 are locally transmitted. And this is what we are calling here as the third wave of infections here in Hong Kong.


And that's the reason why I'm home, reporting from my study, because we are back to work from home measures. Over the weekend, we heard from the Dr. Fauci of Hong Kong, she is the head of communicable disease of Hong Kong, Dr. Wang (Ph) and she called the situation, you know, very serious. And she also said that it is, quote, "worse than the situation in March." That was when the second wave hit Hong Kong.

She said it's worse because for two reasons. The number of locally transmitted cases, and the fact that they can't contact trace the source of this new surge, which has been bubbling up since this week.

We'll keep an eye on the situation here, the government to hold a press conference with the latest numbers in the next hour or so. Rosemary?

CHURCH: All right. We appreciate that. Kristie Lu Stout, joining us there live from Hong Kong. I appreciate it.

Well, South Africa is reinstating a daily curfew and banning alcohol sales as virus cases continue to rise. The curfew will be from nine in the evening to four in the morning. The country is reporting over 12,000 infections every day. And that's almost 500 cases every hour.

And South Africa's president says healthcare facilities are already under tremendous strain. But in addition to the coronavirus, the country is also experiencing a rise in violence against women.

And CNN's David McKenzie joins us now from Johannesburg to talk about this. So, David, South Africa, fighting the virus and also this surge in violence against women. How is it doing?

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's a surge in violence against women, but it's been pandemic in a way for many decades, Rosemary. You know, one of the most talked about measures is reinstating that alcohol ban overnight to try and curb the number of people hitting the ICU beds in South Africa to give people the chance to really focus on COVID-19 in those hospitals.

There are many people upset about that, but one group definitely not upset about it, a gender-based -- gender rights activists in this country. They say when the alcohol ban was lifted the last time, they saw a surge in violence against women. But this is something that has been going on for years and shows no signs of improving.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He kept her get at his place, behind her she sat in the back with garbage on top. MCKENZIE: In this corner between the corrugated iron and concrete,

neighbors found her granddaughter's body when the smell became stronger than the stench of the garbage.

MAVIS GABADA, VICTOM'S GRANDMOTHER: When the people would say, what's going on there? No, it's garbage I'm going to throw it away. That's the kind of person he was, an animal.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But why didn't they find this?

MCKENZIE: He, the suspected killer, was her granddaughter's boyfriend.

And weeks, ago when the police came to the shack, his shack, they didn't find her purse inside, just feet away from where she was dumped.

What does this tell you?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This tells us they are not doing their job.

MCKENZIE: The police didn't respond to requests for comment, and the prosecuting authority drop the case against Sibongiseni, Gabada's suspected killer for lack of evidence. Only taking it up again, the lead prosecutor told us, because of the public outcry. He is now in custody formally charged with murder and awaiting trial. He is yet to plea.

BRENDA GABADA, VICTIM'S SISTER: Any police must take their charge very careful at this time. Because we are tired, we must do talk because we're scared every (Inaudible) because we don't know we are going to meet with someone or danger guy. You don't know. So, we are not safe. Justice must be served. We need that to punish that guy.


MCKENZIE: In June, South Africa's president said the country is battling what he calls two pandemics.

RAMAPHOSA: Violence is being unleashed on the women and children of our country with a brutality that defies any form of comprehension.

MCKENZIE: On an incomprehensible scale. There were nearly 180,000 violent crimes against women just last year. Nearly 3,000 murders, according to official police statistics.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This community calls for much-needed radical change with the urgency it deserves.


MCKENZIE: But after decades of protests, the promises of action, change hasn't come. Daughters, mothers, and sisters are still lost. And far too often, say gender rights activists, justice is delayed, if it comes at all. Is the state doing enough?

MANDISA MONAKALI, ACTIVIST, ILITHA LABANTHU: No, not at all. I don't think they're serious about it. If they could deal with GBV, with gender- based violence exactly as the way they are dealing with COVID- 19, we'd be fine.

MCKENZIE: Her organization took on more than a dozen cases of gender- based violence in just the last week. They have supported victims from age two to well into their 70s.


And it seems like there is almost a war on women in South Africa.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You can say that today. You can say that today.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, because we are not safe. You go outside with fear. Maybe it might happen to me. Who's done my sister, who looks at me are my children. It's very hard.

MCKENZIE: I know that this is still so raw for you.

B. GABADA: It is. It is.

MCKENZIE: Still difficult for her to find the words.

B. GABADA: I don't know what to say. I don't have much to say.

MCKENZIE: But she says, it's important to try so Sibongiseni's killing won't be ignored.

B. GABADA: Just seeing why my daughter was killed like a dog.


MCKENZIE: Well, that terrible case really tore apart, has torn apart the Gabada family, and what activists fear, Rosemary, is that this violence, this horrific violence has almost become normalized in this country and that really, people are numb to it until it affects them directly.

But given those terrible numbers, it affects many, many families like the Gabada's every day, every month, every year in this country, and they just actually don't see a way to solve this problem. Rosemary?

CHURCH: We thank you for bringing this to light, David McKenzie joining us live. Many thanks.

Well, U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, accuses the Trump administration of messing with the health of children. As the White House pushes for schools to reopen in the coming weeks. More on this debate, that's next.

Plus, Disney's Florida theme parks are reopening despite a sharp increase in virus cases. But guests can expect quite a few changes because of the pandemic. And we'll explain on the other side of the break. Stay with us.



CHURCH: Welcome back to our viewers here in the United States and, of course, all around the world. You are watching "CNN Newsroom." I'm Rosemary Church. Despite cases surging across the United States, the Trump administration is pushing an aggressive agenda to fully reopen schools in the coming weeks.

On Sunday, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos told CNN that children need to return to the classroom, but she refused to say whether schools should follow the safety guidelines like wearing masks from the CDC. She says this list compiled by the nation's top health officials on how to safely reopen schools is meant to be flexible.


BETSY DEVOS, UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF EDUCATION: The reality is that there are ways for those teachers to be able to continue to do what they do and every district, every state has the real opportunity to work with and figure out the best scenario for those teachers.


DEVOS: -- older teacher. That's something for them to work out with their local district. But it -- again, that's the exception, not the rule. The rule needs to be schools need to get open, kids need to go back to school, and they need to be learning. Teachers want to be there.


CHURCH: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi responded to DeVos with a strong rebuke, accusing the Trump administration of messing with the health of children.


NANCY PELOSI, SPEAKER OF THE UNITED STATES HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES: I think what we heard from the secretary was malfeasance and dereliction of duty. This is appalling. They are messing -- they are messing. The president and his administration are messing with the health of our children. It is -- we all want our children to go back to school. Teachers do, parents do, and children do. But they must go back safely.


CHURCH: And as the U.S. debates the safety of returning students to class, some countries have already reopened their school successfully, and others maybe not so much. For more on this, I'm joined now by Will Ripley. He is in Hong Kong. Good to see you, Will.

So as the U.S. struggles with what 60,000 new cases a day complicating efforts to open schools, other nations have been able to contain the virus, get kids back to class. Who got it right? Who didn't?

WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's the thing. I mean, there's really no right or wrong, because here in Hong Kong, where they had the virus contained and they opened up schools a month and a half ago, today and for the rest of this week, which happens to be the rest of the school year, they are closed because cases have been popping up in recent days.

Community spread is now back in Hong Kong and that is enough for officials here to close all the schools out of precaution. So the U.S. actually is the only country right now that is thinking about opening schools at a time that the number of cases is rising so quickly. But for those that are open, aside from the virus being contained, there is a whole new list of social distancing procedures.


RIPLEY (voice-over): Students gather for assembly in Thailand, their first day back to school since mid-March. There are new rules to go along with the new normal, educating in the time of coronavirus. First, the lineup, a pump of hand sanitizer, a full face visor, a temperature check, and class is back in session.

One of these groups first lessons, how to keep their distance. Makeshift cubicles made out of old ballot boxes help to keep students separated. One girl says she feels good studying behind the box. It makes her feel safer returning to school.

Before its reopening, Thailand effectively contained the virus. Its infection rate remains low, just over 3,200 confirmed cases, even though it was the first country outside of China to detect the case of COVID-19.

Around the world, other starts and stops. Hong Kong schools are closing again. It, too, restarted classes a month and a half ago. Because of a new spike in cases, officials decided to start summer break early. One student says he just finished his exams and there was just one more week of classes to go, so not too much of a difference.

There have been similar rollbacks in Beijing and parts of Australia, where officials opened up schools after a seemingly successful lockdown, only to shut them again after a flare up of coronavirus. In global hotspots like South America, there are thousands of new cases every day.


RIPLEY (voice-over): Schools are closed with a few exceptions. Most of Uruguay students have returned to class. It closed its borders early and has about a thousand total cases, unlike its much larger and denser neighbor, Brazil, which is topping 1.8 million.

The remoteness of Chile's eastern island may have spared the fate of the mainland. Schools recently resumed there. One student says it is an opportunity that has been given to them because on the continent, it's not often possible to return to class because of the pandemic. It is an opportunity countries around the world are struggling to manage, as schools learn even after reopening, there are no guarantees the virus won't return.


RIPLEY: That's why a lot of schools are also focusing on enhancing their virtual education opportunities. For example, in South Korea, schools are technically open, but a lot of them are closed right now. It really depends how many cases have been detected in each particular school district, so they can kind of have a hybrid model where they go back and forth from the classroom to studying at home.

But Rosemary, this is proving to be the most challenging task or one of the most challenging tasks aside from finding a vaccine, is figuring out how to get kids who need the socialization and all of the learning benefits that come from being in school, how to get them there safely, and I don't know if anybody really has the answer to that.

CHURCH: Yeah, that's it. I mean, we all want them open, but it has to be done safely and that is the challenge. Will Ripley, joining us live from Hong Kong, many thanks, great report.

The Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida reopened two of its parks over the weekend, even as the state is seeing a surge in coronavirus cases. Guests were welcomed back to the magic kingdom and animal kingdom parks for the first time in almost four months. Social distancing is encouraged, though judging by the lines here, it may be tough to enforce. The remaining two parks are set to reopen this week.

So CNN's Eleni Giokos joins me now live from Johannesburg. Good to see you, Eleni. So despite the surge in cases in Florida, Walt Disney World is back in business. How different will that experience be in the midst of this pandemic?

ELENI GIOKOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah. This very same weekend, we saw a record number of coronavirus cases you had the Disney deciding to open up its flagship park. And this was a really interesting move. I mean, Disney is justifying by saying, look, this is the new normal and we need to operate with these new parameters in place.

It is, of course, high season, it is summertime, so Disney says it was the first to shut down its parks and now the last to reopen. Universal and Sea World have been operational for a few weeks now. Now, in terms of the actual experience, online ticketing is the way to go. Disney says that it's really pleased with the demand that it's so full on Saturday's reopening. In fact, it is selling tickets through to 2021.

Social distancing is in queues, sanitizing as much as possible. You've got basins to wash hands across the park. And then, of course, rides. You will have to wait until a certain amount of people are able to leave that ride (ph). You will see people going through in waves. You cannot go up to Mickey Mouse and hug him anymore. No masks, no photograph. Mandatory mask wearing is the way to go. You also have to keep in mind that you have around 75,000 people returning to work. Disney is the largest employer on a single site in the United States. So, of course, the mechanics of bringing this number of employees back meant about protocols and, of course, you got to think about training, as well.

Unions have said that Disney needs to think about the safety of its staff first and foremost. Now, California has not opened yet. And remember, California has different rules in terms of businesses getting back to full capacity. But we do know Disney says that it has successfully opened theme parks across the world, in Shanghai, Hong Kong, in Tokyo.

It is even considering its next step of (INAUDIBLE). We also got to keep in mind here, Rosemary, that the parks are such an essential part of the business. It accounts for almost 40 percent of revenue. And Disney being the largest entertainment company in the world has already lost $1.4 billion in profits just this year.

CHURCH: Absolutely. We will watch to see how this goes. Of course, masks are key. Eleni Giokos in Johannesburg, many thanks. Well, despite the pandemic raging in the United States, we saw President Trump golfing again over the weekend.

Mr. Trump defended the activity vigorously in a Tweet on Sunday, describing his frequent trips to the links as his exercise regimen. He also said he played much less than his predecessor, Barack Obama, something CNN has found to be false.

Coming up, as cases continue to rise in Honduras, we will learn about one nun who has tested positive after she refused to stop helping the children who so desperately need her.


CHURCH: We will have that after this short break.


CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone. Mexico is now the country with the fourth highest number of COVID-19 deaths in the world. It has surpassed Italy, according to Johns Hopkins University. Mexico's health ministry reported 276 new deaths on Sunday, bringing the total number to more than 35,000. That is on top of more than 4,000 new cases, bringing the total to almost 300,000. On Sunday, the country's president claim the virus is losing intensity. No evidence of that.

Well, in the days ahead, Brazil is expected to confirm two million cases of the virus. The country has already reported more than 72,000 fatalities, making it the second worst outbreak in the world. With thousands of new cases being confirmed each day, the crisis there is showing little signs of easing.

Still, President Jair Bolsonaro continues to downplay the threat, even as he recovers from his own COVID-19 infection. He is urging local officials to reopen their economies, saying the country is on the brink of recession.

Well, thousands of Venezuelans who migrated to Columbia in search of a better life are now trying to return home as the coronavirus outbreak in Columbia is now getting worse. But very few of them are being allowed back in and it is creating a new crisis at the border between the countries. Stefano Pozzebon has our report.


STEFANO POZZEBON, CNN JOURNALIST (voice-over): A familiar sight, families trying desperately to cross Venezuela's border, only this time, instead of fleeing, they are trying to get back to the country they work so hard to escape. They travelled all over South America in search of economic opportunities and a better life.


POZZEBON (voice-over): But as the coronavirus pandemic (INAUDIBLE), those jobs evaporated and their ability to pay for rent and food disappeared.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I came from Chile. I am 16 and I have walked for three months.

POZZEBON (voice-over): With cases of COVID-19 on the rise throughout the region, they know they will still be at risk for the virus in Venezuela, but at least, they will be home.

The Colombia-Venezuela border crossing has been closed since March. The government of embattled Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has called his own citizens "biological weapons" and accused Columbia and other governments of infecting them with COVID-19 to spread the pandemic across Venezuela. Columbia called the accusation deplorable and miserable.

Every day, only a few hundred of the most vulnerable migrants are allowed to re-enter. The rest have to wait in a makeshift migrant camp.

(On camera): This place on the border with Venezuela is where all of these movements of people collide and come together. There are people who just arrived from the interior of Columbia, from Ecuador, from Peru, people who are taken today to other centers before being allowed to transit to Venezuela. Many people are staying here, sometimes for days, sometimes for weeks.

(Voice-over): Social distancing does not exist in this camp. The conditions here present a separate risk. Without toilets and raw sewage, children and families are exposed to other serious illnesses. Many of these migrants have walked thousands of miles across the Andes to get here. Francisco Alvarado (ph), an epileptic, says he has been living in this camp for more than a week.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have been to four countries: Brazil, Chile, Peru, and Ecuador. Now I am stuck here. POZZEBON (voice-over): The next day, he loses consciousness and faints. He must be taken to the emergency room. His friend, Herman Martinez (ph), tells us Alvarado (ph) has convulsions several times a day and needs three different medicines to control them, medicine he cannot afford. And as an undocumented immigrant, he is only able to access emergency medical care.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Every day is the same. The doctors help him for the day, but they can't do much else.

POZZEBON (voice-over): As night falls, more waiting and uncertainty for Alvarado (ph). Other families are still on the road, making their way here. Many are unaware of the bottleneck they are about to face. So many who have made this journey are hopeful that the next day will mean it is their turn to go home. But the reality is most will continue to be turned away from Venezuela, a land that has failed them once again.

Stefano Pozzebon, CNN, Cucuta, Columbia.


CHURCH: Honduras is also getting hit hard by the pandemic. Johns Hopkins University says more than 28,000 people had been infected there and nearly 800 have died. The president of Honduras was among those infected and was released from hospital earlier this month. He said I don't wish this on anyone, I don't want any of my fellow citizens to get infected or that any other human goes through the agony of battling between life and death.

But sadly, many other citizens are battling this virus, including a national hero. A 93-year-old nun, who has helped more than 80,000 orphaned children and abandoned children in Honduras, has tested positive. Sister Maria Rosa Leggol is the subject of an upcoming documentary and the filmmaker gave us an update on her condition.


JESSICA SAROWITZ, FILMMAKER: Right now, she is in stable condition. She's doing OK. She feels fine. And she got infected because, you know, she has been just doing her work ministering and people are coming and going from her compound. They are keeping her up to date on what is happening. She was attending mass with the children.


CHURCH: And as for those children she takes care of, they are in lockdown in their homes because of the possibility of getting the virus. People in the outside are providing food and medical care to these children.

And still to come, an ally of President Trump has apparently being re- elected in Poland after the results came down to the wire. We are live in the Polish capital after this.



CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone. Well, Poland's incumbent president, Andrzej Duda, appears to have narrowly won another term. The populist right-wing president is seen as an ally of U.S. President Trump. Poland's election committee says Mr. Duda has a slim majority with almost all of the votes counted and those remaining won't change the outcome apparently.

CNN's Frederik Pleitgen is in Warsaw. He joins us now live. Good to see you, Fred. So, it was too close to call for a while there. But now, it appears that President Duda is set to win. What more are you learning about this?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi there, Rosemary. It certainly was a pretty exciting election night that happened here in Warsaw and, of course, this entire country. You're absolutely right, when the first exit polls came out, it was one less than one percentage point between these two candidates, and so it was at the beginning very much too close to call.

But now, as more and more votes are trickling in, as you just mentioned, over 99 percent of the votes have now been counted, it certainly does seem as though Andrzej Duda, the incumbent, has eked out another victory. It seems as though Andrzej Duda either was able to mobilize more of his base or that his base might simply be larger than that. Rafal Trzaskowski, of course, was his liberal opponent.

I've been still looking at the breakdown of which part of the population voted for whom in this election. It really is quite interesting because you do have a sort of divide between younger people voting more for Trzaskowski, older people more for Duda, probably no surprise because he is seen much more of a conservative incumbent president.

But then also is the rural population versus the city population going more for the liberal candidate. And then also geographical divide here in Poland with the east of the country which generally is a bit more conservative overwhelmingly, going for Andrzej Duda.


PLEITGEN: So one of the things that we can see, Rosemary, is what we've been talking about before, is that Poland is a very divided country, remains a very divided country. It seems as though in those five years in power, Andrzej Duda was not able to bridge that divide. But at the same time, the liberal forces here in this country have not been able to mobilize to an extent to be able to take power in this very contested election.

But there certainly does seem to be a lot of work left to be done for Andrzej Duda to try and win over some of those people who obviously voted against him last night because, of course, it was an extremely close election where for a very long time it was not clear which way it was going to go.

Andrzej Duda, of course, for his part, has already said that he is going to continue the policies that he has been following over the past couple of years, some of them, of course, leading to large concern among members of the European Union, saying that the division of power here in this country was under threat.

At the same time though, obviously, Andrzej Duda, close ally of President Trump here in Europe, as well, again saying that he is going to continue those policies he has been following for the past five years. Rosemary?

CHURCH: All right. We will keep an eye on this. You and I can talk about this more next hour. Fred Pleitgen, joining us live from Warsaw, many thanks.

And thank you for joining us. I'm Rosemary Church. I'll be back with another hour of news after the short break. You're watching CNN. Stay with us.


CHURCH: Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us here in the United States and all around the world. You are watching "CNN Newsroom." I am Rosemary Church.


CHURCH: Just ahead, setting records for all the wrong reasons. Coronavirus cases surge in the United States.