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CNN NEWSROOM

Seven Countries Confirmed 300,000 Cases Of The Coronavirus; COVID Vaccine Moving Ahead; NYC's First Day Without A Covid-Related Death; Uncertainty Affects Predictions For Oil Demand; Trump Pulls Back on Criticism of Dr. Antony Fauci; U.S. Military Bases in Okinawa Hit by COVID-19; Russian Oil Spill Worse than Expected; Anchor Boards First Flight in Months. Aired 1-2a ET

Aired July 14, 2020 - 01:00   ET

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


TONY BLAIR, FMR. PRIME MINISTER OF BRITAIN: And then combining this with testing on a mass scale. It's very hard to give people the confidence to come back out of it again.

I can't see any way out of this other than to get behind the innovations that are now happening. So that you can get an on-the- spot test, antigen and antibody that allows you to decide very quickly what the disease status of and individual is.

JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, and welcome to our viewers joining us from around the world. I'm John Vause.

Coming up on CNN NEWSROOM.

The big question. Once you survive COVID-19, can you get it again?

Major studies all indicating yes, that is the case. What does it mean for a vaccine which the U.S. says will be in production in just weeks?

Politics, the pandemic and popularity. Donald Trump reportedly upset that the country's leading infectious disease expert has way better polling numbers when it comes to the pandemic. Compared to the president.

And think about the last time you filled your tank, chances are it's been a while. And that could spell economic disaster for the oil-rich Middle East.

The latest surge in confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the United States at 3.3 million means one percent of the entire population has tested positive.

But the real world number is likely to be much higher. One study from MIT suggests it could be almost 18 million.

California's governor is ordering bars to close, restaurants to end indoor dining. A majority of the state's counties will also have to close gyms, hair salons and places of worship.

Florida is also seeing a record number of infections. 27,000 in the past 2 days. If Florida was a country, it would rank fourth in the world in new confirmed cases.

Globally, infections have now topped 13 million, death toll closing in on 600,000. And that's according to Johns Hopkins University.

New infections in Brazil are skyrocketing. The health ministry reports more than a quarter million cases in just the past seven days.

Meanwhile, cases are rising in at least 35 U.S. states. Only Maine, New Jersey and Delaware are trending down.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TEDROS ADHANOM GHEBREYESUS, DIRECTOR GENERAL, WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION: Let me be blunt. Too many countries are headed in the wrong direction.

The virus remains public enemy number one, but the actions of many governments and people do not reflect of this.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: So with a surging number of cases in the United States, the White House has been trying to discredit Dr. Anthony Fauci. Sending out talking points over the weekend, opposition research it

was like, criticizing the nation's top infectious disease expert.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: Unprecedented in what it is. One thinks about the worst nightmare of an infectious disease person who's interested in global health and outbreaks, is the combination of a new microbe that has a spectacular degree of capability of transmitting and also has a considerable degree of morbidity and mortality.

And here it is, it's happened. Your worst nightmare, the perfect storm.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: Dr. Fauci says the U.S. hasn't even begun to see the end of the pandemic. The spike in cases also means long delays in getting test results.

Quest Diagnostics says soaring demand is causing delays of up to seven days.

The former White House Acting Chief of Staff, Mick Mulvaney, calls the testing capabilities in the U.S. simply inexcusable.

It's a rare break from a hard-core supporter of the president, mostly because he needed tests for his family.

Meanwhile, an unnamed administration official says vaccine production in the U.S. is four to six weeks away. Now that everything that experts warned would happen has happened, a growing number of U.S. states are starting to roll back their reopenings.

This report from CNN's Erica Hill.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ERICA HILL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: California shutting down again, as cases skyrocket.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. GAVIN NEWSOM (D-CALIF.): We are now effectively -- rather, effective today requiring all counties to close their indoor activities, their indoor operations in the following sectors.

Restaurants, wineries, tasting rooms, movie theaters and the shuttering of all bars.

This is in every county in the state of California.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HILL: Houston's mayor asking the governor for a shutdown as an army medical team arrives in the city to help deal with the surge in cases, now topping 30,000.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MAYOR SYLVESTER TURNER, HOUSTON, TEXAS: I am proposing two weeks. Or at the very minimum, to return to phase one.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HILL: The reality? A majority of the country is moving in the wrong direction.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MAYOR STEVEN ADLER, AUSTIN, TEXAS: I think the lesson to be learned in Texas is you cannot open up the economy in ways that look like the economy was open before.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

[01:05:00]

HILL: Florida reporting more than 15,000 new cases on Sunday, more than any state in a single day since the pandemic began.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FLA): Our biggest concern is South Florida right now.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HILL: Miami's mayor warning his city could be next.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MAYOR FRANCIS SUAREZ, MIAMI, FLORIDA: We have to get control of these numbers, these numbers are out of control.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HILL: Hospitals in these new hotspots stretched thin.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LEAH CARPENTER, ADMINISTRATOR & CEO, MEMORIAL HOSPITAL WEST, FLORIDA: We're out an ICU capacity of 103 percent. And then if you just carve out the COVID ICU, it's at 180 percent. That's a 26 percent increase from last Monday.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HILL: As cases surge in Georgia, Atlanta is moving back to phase one, which includes a stay-at-home order.

The major joining New York Governor, Andrew Cuomo, today.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MAYOR KEISHA LANCE BOTTOMS, ATLANTA, GEORGIA: And you told us very clearly that if we didn't do things differently in our cities and states, we would find ourselves in the same situation that New York was facing.

And unfortunately, you were correct.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HILL: Meantime, in New York City for the first time in months, a day without a single COVID-19 related death.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO, N.Y: It's something that should make us hopeful, but it's very hard to take a victory lap because we know we have so much more ahead.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HILL: Eric Hill. CNN, New York.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VAUSE: One reason, perhaps, why so many in this this country seem oblivious to the huge threat posed by the coronavirus is, because much like the president, they're confident that soon there will be a vaccine which will be a magic bullet. One injection and done, goodbye, COVID-19.

On Monday, an unnamed senior administration official told reporters it's now just a matter of weeks before production begins on a vaccine. Saying, the White House is very confident, he said, that --

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

-- "by year end, we will have tens of millions of vaccines put into American arms."

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: Also, Russia could start distributing a vaccine next month. And looking beyond that by a few months, Europe and China and Australia all say they are on track as well.

So this should be good news, right? But is it?

Well, joining me now is Dr. Kim Schrier who's a pediatrician and also an elected member of congress from Washington State. So it's good to have you with us. Thank you, Doctor. And

congresswoman, representative.

REP. KIM SCHRIER (D-WASH), PEDIATRICIAN: Thank you, John. Very nice to talk with you.

VAUSE: Thank you for being with us. It's appreciated.

So one of the big unknowns about the virus right now. Once you've had it, can you get it again?

I want you to listen to what the World Health Organization said on Monday.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DR. MICHAEL RYAN, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, WHO HEALTH EMERGENCIES PROGRAM: We don't know yet whether it's possible with this particular virus, whether the virus -- once you've had an infection and recovered, whether one can be infected again.

We do know with other coronaviruses that that is the case.

And there is some data out there that may suggest that immunity will wane.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: And there's a new study out (inaudible) from the U.K. which has found that protective antibody responses in the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 --

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

--"appear to wane rapidly. Whilst longer lasting in those with more sever disease, this is still only a matter of months."

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: There's an earlier study which found asymptomatic patients had weaker immune response. Another study from Spain reported immunity lasts just a few weeks as well.

So -- and I know it's a long question. But if all this proves true, what does that race in terms for the vaccine, which is under production right now? How much does the bar get lifted in terms of making this vaccine to be effective?

SCHRIER: Well, I think you raise some excellent questions. You're absolutely right.

We still don't know whether antibodies that we make naturally protect us and for how long. And so we really can't answer that question about a vaccine until it's gone through all of the clinical trials that we need.

And so I think people should just exercise a degree of caution.

What we heard back in February was that it would take at least 12 to 18 months to have a vaccine available. But I think people forget the "at least" in there because we still don't have an HIV vaccine. I think the fastest we've ever developed one has been four years.

I just we should have a degree of caution here because we still don't know whether a vaccine is safe, whether it's effective, how many people have an immune response and how long that response will last.

And there's a lot to learn before we just decide that this is all going to be over in four months or so.

VAUSE: Exactly. I'm just wondering if it would be sensible just to give up on the vaccine right now and just don't expect there to be one.

But I'm also wondering about the pace of the development here. Is speed coming at the expense of public safety?

SCHRIER: No, I think this is really widely misunderstood. That what we're trying to do -- in these cases, you either overshoot or undershoot.

And so in this case, we have many companies working on vaccines. Several of them who are kind of leading the pack are going to be put in a position where they can research the vaccine, see if is safe and effective, and at the same time before they even know if it is going to be the winner, they will start production.

And that means we may produce millions of doses of an ineffective vaccine.

But it would be pretty awful to get to the day where you say, "Hey this vaccine works," and now we're going to scale up production, we want it available as soon as possible.

[01:10:00]

That's why the congress devoted so many resources to the development of vaccines and therapeutics.

VAUSE: Well, we heard from President Trump on Monday. He continues to boast about doing a great job in dealing with this pandemic. And I guess that the now includes reopening schools nationwide.

(Inaudible), listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Schools should be opened, kids want to go to school. You're losing a lot of lives by keeping things closed.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: He went on to say that kids want to go back to school but they also don't want to kill their grandparents.

If the White House and congress actually allocated funding which many have been asking for to refit classrooms and schools for the reality of a pandemic world, it would've still been risky to send kids back, right? But they've done nothing.

SCHRIER: Well, you're right on multiple accounts.

First of all, let me just be really clear that, as a pediatrician, as a mom, as a member of congress, I can say that we all understand that children are better off in school.

But we need to make it safe for them to be there, and safe for their families to know that if their children go to school, they're not going to bring the disease home and infect their parents.

And so, it's all good and fine to just say open the schools. But, you're absolutely right, that we can't put the community at risk.

Also, no country out there has opened schools without first getting control of this disease. And we are utterly failing in our country right now to get the numbers down.

And until we wrap our heads around that -- I really feel like the adults in this country are not behaving as adults. And we're really letting our kids down.

It's our fault that they're not going to be able to go to school in the fall.

VAUSE: Yes. So I want to finish up with two theme parks, same corporate owner but two different parts of the world.

Both theme parks were actually reopening, state and local officials in one region, let's call it Region F reported a spike of 15,000 new cases in one day. The other, we'll call it Region HK, saw 52 new cases, that's just 52.

So which park would you expect to close down again?

The one (inaudible) by 15,000 new cases or 52? Because it was 52, Hong Kong Disney was closed down, but Disney World in Florida, how about it, they're still going.

How do you explain that discrepancy?

SCHRIER: I was discussing that very issue with my husband just about an hour ago.

About the notion that a big kind of explosion of cases in Hong Kong is 52 cases, and they take that so seriously and they clamp down and they get control so that it does not become the wildfire that we have here in the United States. In so many of the states.

Here, I think that there is an under-appreciation, and I have to say that I think a lot of that comes from the top.

That we have had a lot of downplaying, a lot of rhetoric about how this is under control from the administration. And it's just not true.

And I think at first parts of this country thought oh, it's just New York, it won't affect us here. Well, now it's in -- it's everywhere, it is in every state, it is in rural America and people need to wake up.

We know how to deal with this, we just have to do it.

VAUSE: Yes. I don't what people don't understand about more than 130,000 dead people. That just is a staggering toll.

But we're out of time. So thank you so much for being with us. We appreciate it.

SCHRIER: Thank you.

VAUSE: Well, a week from now, wearing face masks will be mandatory in shops in England.

A mask-wearing prime minister urged the country to do likewise. A rebuke of sorts for a top cabinet minister who said that decision should be left to common sense.

Masks have been mandatory on public transport in England for the past month and have been required in shops in Scotland as well.

Britain has the highest coronavirus death toll in Europe, almost 45,000.

Seven countries have now confirmed more than 300,000 cases of the coronavirus. The latest to reach that milestone is Mexico after reporting another 4,600 infections on Monday, and at least 485 dead.

Mexico has the fourth highest death toll in the world behind the United States, Brazil and the U.K.

And the death toll in Peru has risen to more than 12,000 people after another 184 fatalities recorded on Monday. The country also confirmed nearly 3,800 new cases, the largest one-day spike this month.

Despite this, the government is still pushing ahead with plans to reopen the economy with transportation services resuming this week.

Overall, Peru has confirmed more than 333 cases, the fifth highest total in the world, second highest in Latin America.

But Brazil remains the worst hit country in the region with nearly two million confirmed cases. At least 260,000 were reported in the past week.

Many infections are now being reported in rural towns where indigenous communities have been left devastated.

As Bill Weir reports it's happening as the president, that's President Jair Bolsonaro, continues to downplay the threat.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

[01:15:00]

BILL WEIR, CNN CORRESPONDENT:. A long lens found Brazil's most famous COVID-19 patient up and about this weekend.

And this Twitter selfie was part of a post that informed the nation they are on the verge of recession as he called for families to depoliticize the pandemic after so much, quote, "misinformation was used as a weapon."

To his critics, that is outrageous since President Bolsonaro often defied a judge's order to wear a mask in public and pushed out two health ministers who disagreed with him.

Although he now has a team of doctors and his own palace ICU at the ready.

Hospitals across his country are jammed.

Here in the geographic center of Brazil, a husband and wife suffer in adjoining beds. A son comforts his ailing father and their doctor is still regaining his strength after 10 days in intensive care.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DR. WILSON VILELA: So today, my boss, our boss is inside with the ventilation, with tube. WEIR: Really?

VILELA: Yes. Be better --

WEIR: Oh, my gosh.

VILELA: -- and not respond to chloroquine.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JAIR BOLSONARO, PRESIDENT OF BRAZIL (In foreign language).

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WEIR: Chloroquine is among the cheap, abundant anti-malarial drugs pushed by Bolsonaro as a COVID cure. Along with vitamins, steroids and medication for parasitic worms.

Dr. Vilela says he's tried them all. With wildly mixed results.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

VILELA: I don't know what to do, what I do.

WEIR: Right.

VILELA: Water?

WEIR: Yes, water.

VILELA: Yes.

WEIR: You have very little. You're trying everything you can, right?

VILELA: Ye, yes. It's a new disease.

WEIR: Yes.

VILELA: It's a new pandemic. So we don't have things to do.

WEIR: Right.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WEIR: He thinks it's even more challenging the indigenous Brazilians, who once had this edge of the Amazon to themselves but are now surrounded by farms and ranches.

A soybean trucker first brought COVID-19 to this region and it is tearing through a community already struggling with vulnerable immune systems, diabetes and a deep mistrust of the outside world.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) "I would like Jair Bolsonaro to stop talking stupid nonsense," Christiano Ruzo (ph) tells me. "The doctors have to prescribe, not the president. His government did not take prevention seriously, it did not prepare."

(END VIDEO CLIP)

The indigenous leader was on a ventilator when his mother died of COVID-19.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

"We have a very strong spirituality so she was there and took my hand and told me that I will get out of this to take care of my people. Five days later, my father died."

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WEIR: As the pandemic spread, Brazil's congress passed a bill that would provide clean water, disinfectant, and hospital beds for this country's 850,000 indigenous natives.

Last week those efforts were vetoed By Jair Bolsonaro.

Bill Weir, CNN. Barra do Garcas, Brazil.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VAUSE: Still to come on CNN NEWSROOM. We head to Lebanon which has seen famine, war, invasions, civil war. But it might not survive this pandemic.

Also, the IMF's bruising outlook for the rest of the region and its oil-producing economies. v

[01:20:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VAUSE: With unemployment and inflation skyrocketing, Lebanon had not seen an economic crisis like this in decades.

And while it was bad before the pandemic, it now seems the country is teetering on the brink.

Here's CNN's Ben Wedeman.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Protestors outside Lebanon's state electricity company light candles and curse the darkness.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WEDEMAN: Today, how many hours of electricity have you had today?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Four hours.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WEDEMAN: Flowers mark the spot where 61-year-old Ali Mohammed al-Hiq shot and killed himself, apparently in desperation as the Lebanese economy goes into a tailspin.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

"My people are hungry," chants this man at a demonstration that gathered after Ali killed himself on Beirut's once fashionable Hamra Street.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

Others have taken a more violent approach to express their anger at plummeting living standards.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DIMA KRAYEM, ECONOMIST: What you're seeing right now is not a crisis, it's a collapse.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WEIR: Economist Dima Krayem is following Lebanon's so far fruitless negotiations with the International Monetary Fund for a bailout.

In October last year, nationwide protests erupted as Lebanon's banking sector began to fall apart.

It was based on what economists had called a Ponzi scheme whereby Lebanese banks offered sky-high interest rates to mostly Lebanese diaspora depositors. And then used those deposits to finance ballooning government deficits.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KRAYEM: It's a collapse of a whole model, it's a collapse of a model that has accumulated losses for three decades.

And right now, the majority are bearing the brunt of this collapse, as opposed to the one percent that have made use and have made an infinite amount of dollars out of the system.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WEIR: In recent months, crises and unemployment have skyrocketed. The currency, the lira, has lost much of its value.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

"All day, I've been working and I've only earned 9,000 lira," says this taxi driver.

On this day, that was only about a dollar. A year ago, it was six. (END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

WEIR: Butcher Zuhair Taqoush can't make ends meet.

"I may close down," he says. "Everything," he says -- from the plastic bags to the paper he wraps the meat in has become expensive.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

Across Beirut, stores have shuttered. No business, no power, no hope.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DR. FIRASS ABIAD, DIRECTOR & CEO, RAFIK HARRI UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL: Two days we had more than almost 20 hours of power cuts per day. And that was very brutal on us.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WEIR: Keeping the lights on at Beirut's main state hospital is just one thing that keeps director, Dr. Firass Abiad up at night.

COVID-19 cases are mounting here, while resources evaporate.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ABIAD: If the situation gets more difficult and the appearances are, at the moment, is that it might become more difficult -- whether we will be able to keep finding solutions. And my answer at this moment is, I do not know.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WEIR: For those who've reached rock bottom, the dumpster is the last refuge.

For Lebanon, no one has answers.

Ben Wedeman. CNN, Beirut.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VAUSE: When was the last time you filled your car's tank? Chances are, it was a while ago.

And the very real world impact of that makes economic pain for oil- producing nations, especially in the Middle East.

And with struggling economies, governments there have been left with fewer options for finding poverty and stimulus plans.

CNN's John Defterios tracking all this live from Abu Dhabi.

VAUSE: It's pretty grim by all accounts. Is it worse than what we are seeing back in April when this report originally came out on the fall out from the pandemic?

JOHN DEFTERIOS, CNN EMERGING MARKETS EDITOR: Yes. In fact, I think, John, International Monetary Fund underestimated the depth of the pandemic and the influence on oil, John.

So this is a deep, deep recession. And by some accounts, three percent lower into recession than the original estimate.

[01:25:00]

We can take a look at the damage. And this is a report that covers from Morocco and the west all the way into Central Asia.

And the top line here, -4.7 percent includes everyone.

But if you look at that second line, we're looking at the Middle East and North Africa and oil exporters overall, look at that number; -7.3 percent, that is down three percent.

And it's not much better for the region I'm sitting in. We're at the heart of the Gulf here on the Arabian Peninsula, the six states with a -7.1 percent.

The advantage for them, of course, is they have about two trillion dollars of sovereign wealth. So they have a cushion.

Places like Iran and Iraq do not, of course.

And it's very hard to predict at this stage when demand comes back. Remember, John, it dropped by nearly a third in March and April. And we're looking at the totality of 2020, a drop of 10 percent. That is a record drop.

Here's the regional director of the International Monetary Fund.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JIHAD AZOUR, REGIONAL DIRECTOR, INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND (through translator): The recovery of oil will be dependent on various factors.

The first is demand. Demand has been playing an important role and the uncertainty about the recovery globally is affecting the expectations about demand.

Especially, since trade is expected to drop by 12 percent globally.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DEFTERIOS: So what we're looking at, John, for all of 2020 is a loss of $270 billion for the Middle East and North African producers overall.

And they're also having an OPEC meeting today, a monitoring committee, where they may bring more oil back in the market because the prices have stabilized. But we're seeing, as a result, in Asian trading both North Sea Brent

and WTI, the U.S. benchmark are down better than two percent. There's some jitters here about when real demand comes back in the third and fourth quarter.

VAUSE: We saw Wall Street shares, they spiked but then California announced that it's rolling back some of the reopening, those gains were wiped out.

We're coming into the second quarter of earnings seasons, reporting getting underway in earnest, if you like.

Are investors starting to look at all of this, are they starting to worry about the banks in any way? About a fall in earnings there?

DEFTERIOS: Yes. It's a good way to put it. Because the banks are the first ones out of the gate and they're the most vulnerable let's say, bar the airline industry, the restaurant, hospitality industry.

That's why we saw this kind of jitter into the market.

The cases are spiking and the banks have set aside $35 million in provision for bankruptcies and toxic loans. That's not nearly going to enough.

So we saw a sell off of nearly one percent, the S&P 500, two percent for the NASDAQ on Monday.

If you look at the DOW futures right now and the other indices, they are trading around break even so no panic. But we see the Asian stock markets lower.

So the banks that we're talking about here are Citi Group and JP Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo; all of the majors. And they're going to see their earnings probably drop around 50 percent.

Wells Fargo may eliminate its dividend for the first time since the global financial crisis.

I think most investors have priced this in, John, but after that rally of, what, 40 percent from the bottom to where we are today, the banks did not enjoy the rally. They're still mostly below the line for 2020. In terms of their stock prices.

VAUSE: John, thank you. Thank you for being with us.

John Defterios there, live in Abu Dhabi. Appreciate it.

DEFTERIOS: Thanks.

VAUSE: Well, after days of being in Donald Trump's crosshairs, there's a little presidential praise for Dr. Anthony Fauci.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Well, I have a very good relationship with Dr. Anthony Fauci. I've had for a long time, right from the very beginning.

I find him to be a very nice person.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: He's a very nice person. What is the impact, though, of this back and forth?

We'll have more on that when we come back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[01:31:10]

JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome back, everybody. Thanks for staying with us. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM.

I'm John Vause with the headlines this hour.

Coronavirus infections around the world have topped the 13 million mark. New cases in Brazil are skyrocketing. The health ministry reports more than a quarter million cases in just the past seven days. India reporting the world's third highest number of infections.

The U.S. leads the world in coronavirus cases with more than 3.3 million, a death toll now over 135,000. And the state of California is now responding to the surge by closing down bars and ending indoor dining.

A senior U.S. official believes American will have tens of millions of vaccines available to them by the end of the year. Under what is called Operation Warp Speed, that official says manufacturing will begin within the next few weeks, maybe up to six weeks and will not wait clinical trials to even be finished to determine if the vaccine actually works.

The official word from the White House? There is no deliberate attempt by the President and his aides to undermine Dr. Anthony Fauci. He would be forgiven for thinking otherwise.

Here's CNN's Kaitlan Collins.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: After multiple attempts to undercut him, the White House insisted today that President Trump isn't trying to discredit Dr. Anthony Fauci.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I find him to be a very nice person. I don't always agree with him.

COLLINS: Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany denied having anonymous officials distribute opposition style research to reporters after they did just that over the weekend.

KAYLEIGH MCENANY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: There is no opposition research being dumped to reporters. And we provided a direct answer to what was a direct question.

COLLINS: Though Trump has criticized anonymous sources in the past, an anonymous administration official claimed aides were concerned about the times Fauci had been wrong and circulated a list of bullet points with statements like this from early March.

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: There's no reason to be walking around with a mask.

COLLINS: The list did not include statements from other officials who have also been wrong like the surgeon general, and it didn't include any of the President's false claims either.

TRUMP: Anybody that needs a test gets a test.

COLLINS: Instead when it comes to medical advice, the President appears to now be turning to the former "Love Connection" game show host Chuck Woolery. A

CHUCK WOOLERY, GAME SHOW HOST: What does it take for you to fall in love Francie?

COLLINS: Trump retweeted Woolery after he claimed everyone including the CDC, media, Democrats, and most doctors are lying about COVID-19 in an attempt to hurt Trump politically. McEnany said the tweet was directed at rogue individuals inside the CDC who have leaked draft documents of reopening guidance.

MCENANY: When we use science, we have to use it in a way that is not political.

COLLINS: It is a similar sentiment to the one once echoed by Trump's former chief of staff.

MICK MULVANEY, FORMER WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: I think this is going to be what brings down the President. That's what this is all about.

COLLINS: But Mick Mulvaney appears to have reversed course. In a new op-ed today, Mulvaney cites firsthand experience that the U.S. has a testing problem. Saying his own son, waited five to seven days for results while his daughter was denied a test altogether.

Asked to respond to Mulvaney criticism, the White House cited the number of tests conducted but ignored the long delays in getting results.

MCENANY: Our reaction is that we have tested -- we lead the world in testing. We have done more than 40 million tests. That's an extraordinary number.

COLLINS: And the President once again repeating that false claim that the reason there are more cases in the U.S. is because there is more testing being done. He did not address what even his own former chief of staff is admitting, that are there are these serious delays in getting your results when you can get a test.

And health experts say that is basically rendering these tests useless if you have to wait five to seven days or longer than that in some parts of the country to get your results.

Kaitlan Collins, CNN -- the White House.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

[01:34:58]

VAUSE: Sabrina Siddiqui is a CNN political analyst and national politics reporter with "The Wall Street Journal". Good to see you.

SABRINA SIDDIQUI, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Thanks for having me.

VAUSE: Ok. Here is an example of how nameless Trump administration officials have selectively used Dr. Fauci's words to try and damage his credibility. In that oppo research, Fauci is quoted from late February saying this, "At this moment, there is no need to change anything that you're doing on a day by day basis."

You know, pretty damning stuff I guess. But we value context and truth at CNN. So listen to the entirety of that statement from Fauci.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FAUCI: Right now the risk is still low, but this could change. I have said that many times even on this program. You have to watch out because although the risk is lower now, you don't need to change anything you are doing. When you start to see community spread, this could change.

And force you to become much more attentive to doing things that would protect you from spread.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: a little different when you hear all of it. Forget the fact that it's misleading, forget the fact this kind of stuff is done in the heat of a political campaign, forget the fact that, you know, this is their leading expert on infectious diseases. Why would they attempt to undermine the public's confidence in the man who is effectively trying to save this country from a catastrophe?

SIDDIQUI: Well, this has been part of President Trump's response to the pandemic from the outset. He has frequently contradicted, not just Dr. Fauci but also the CDC and other public health officials who have been cautioning about the severity of the coronavirus.

Because for President Trump to accept that the pandemic is real, is for him to also except that it has spiraled out of control under his watch.

And now that you are seeing the ramifications of the lack of coordinated federal response in part because President Trump has willfully ignored not just early warnings but the council around wearing masks, doing a mask mandate, and having a national lockdown, something else he refused to do, rushing to reopen the economy, you're kind of seeing all of those, you know, effects play out now with the way in which a lot of these states are having to roll back their plans to reopen.

So all he has left is to really try and pass the blame on to someone else. And so he zeroed in on Dr. Fauci.

VAUSE: You mentioned that back and forth between Trump and Fauci, between, you know Trump saying something stupid and incorrect, then Fauci having to correct him. Here's an example. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Well, I think we are in a good place.

DR. FAUCI: We're facing a serious problem now.

TRUMP: And we are almost up to 40 million in testing, and 40 million people which is unheard of.

DR. FAUCI: I think what we do need is better screening, broader screening in the country to get a feel for really what the penetrance of infection is.

TRUMP: You looking at the chart of deaths, the deaths are way down.

DR. FAUCI: It's a false narrative to take comfort in a lower rate of death.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VAUSE: All know this is a president who does not like to be corrected, but apparently there are no plans to fire Fauci. Is that likely because they can't fire him legally?

SIDDIQUI: While it is true, that President Trump does not have the authority to fire Dr. Fauci, who is a career civil servant, directly. He could try and order other officials at the helm of certain departments to oust Fauci. But I think that that would be much more of a headache, not just perhaps legally and with pushback potentially on Capitol Hill, but also just with respect to public perception.

It is not of course, beyond President Trump to do so. We have seen him remove others who have dared to disagree with him in public. But right now I think there is so much more scrutiny on his handling of the pandemic, and as much as he is trying to undermine what Dr. Fauci and other health officials are saying, I don't think he wants to compound his problems at home especially in an election year where his disapproval rating is rapidly declining in part because this is -- this is a pandemic that touches Americans directly. Every aspect of their lives has been under this cloud of uncertainty.

And so, you know, lighting another fire on top of everything else will only do him more of a disservice to himself going into the election. In addition to the legal headache that you raised.

VAUSE: Right. Well here's -- I want to read part of a "New York Times" report from February. It's that Dr. Li, who was the first to try and warn others about the virus. In the middle the night officials from the health authority, the central city of Wuhan summoned Dr. Li, demanding to know why he had shared the information. Three days later, the police compelled to sign a statement that his warning constituted illegal behavior.

The report goes on. "Authorities silenced doctors and others for raising red flags. They played down the dangers to the public leaving the city's 11 million residents unaware they should protect themselves."

[01:39:55]

VAUSE: All of that including the treatment of the doctor who tried to tell the truth, how is that any different to what we're seeing play out under the 45th president in the United States?

SIDDIQUI: It's frankly not very different. And this is a trend that we have seen throughout President Trump's tenure. He has tried to control the narrative as well as prevent members of his own administration from speaking the truth. We've seen, of course, also his attacks on the free press.

And, you know, when you talk about comparisons to what's happening in other countries, he has repeatedly praised people like president Xi Jinping in China, Vladimir Putin in Russia, even Kim Jong-un of North Korea. So he also has had this strain of praising more authoritarian leaders and trying in some ways even if not on the same scale mimicking some of the tactics that they have used to suppress free speech.

I do think though that, you know, his efforts to really politicize this virus months before an election is coming at a time when people can't send their children to school, they can't go to work, unemployment claims are on the rise. And so this is not something that President Trump will simply be able to put aside or try to cast aside as a hoax.

The American public is very well aware that this pandemic is real because they have for a period of almost for months now, been feeling day to day the effects of the virus. In addition to the fact that the death toll has, of course, gone past 130,000. And that is something that will be very much a referendum on President Trump in November.

VAUSE: Yes. We're out of time, Sabrina but I think, you know, at the end of the day, if there is a war between Donald Trump and Dr. Fauci, then Joe Biden is going to end up being the big winner out of all of this.

It's good to see you. Thank you.

SIDDIQUI: Thank you so much. VAUSE: 17 U.S. States as well as many universities have taken legal

action to prevent the Trump administration from revoking visas of foreign students if their colleges move exclusively to online classes. President Trump has been pushing for schools to reopen and for students to return to the classroom. More than two dozen cities say denying those visas will send students into hiding.

The U.N. report says the coronavirus pandemic could mean 130 million people around the world with chronic hunger by the end of the year. Hunger was already on the rise before the economic slowdown due to the climate crisis and now comes this a pandemic.

Africa has been hit the hardest, followed by Asia, Latin America, then the Caribbean. This all means the world is not on track to reach the U.N.'s goal of reducing hunger by 2030.

Still to come here on CNN NEWSROOM, the U.S. military bases on the Japanese island of Okinawa have often caused tensions with locals but now there's a new problem -- COVID-19.

Also a massive oil spill in a Russian city. Authorities say they've got it contained but two whistleblowers say the problem is much bigger, there's a surprise, than anyone is letting on. That's ahead.

[01:42:50]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[01:45:01]

VAUSE: Officials have now confirmed U.S. actress Naya Rivera is dead. The "Glee" star disappeared during a boat ride with her four-year-old son on a lake in southern California last week. The boy was found asleep on board wearing a life vest. Rivera's body was discovered on Monday after a six-day-long search. Officials say there was no sign of foul play, no indication of suicide either. She was 33 years old.

U.S. military personnel on the Japanese island of Okinawa are on virtual lockdown after a spike in coronavirus cases on U.S. military bases. The bases have long been a point of contention to Okinawans over issues including financial support, crime and accidents.

Now local officials are concerned about U.S. measures to try and prevent the infections. The governor says he wants the U.S. to stop rotating troops onto island during this pandemic.

Kaori Enjoji, standing by live for us in Tokyo with more on this. So just add this to the list, but this certainly is a big one on the list, if you like.

KAORI ENJOJI, JOURNALIST: It is. Because we have confirmed that there are four new cases at the bases, not just in Okinawa but in the southern prefecture of Yamaguchi. And that takes the tally to 98 since July 7th.

And this has been significant for Okinawa because that prefecture had seen no new virus cases for more than two months. There is also a lot of anger and a lot of uncertainty among residents in Okinawa and near the Iwakuni base which is where the new incidents were reported because of the lack of information.

I mean, we know from government -- Japanese government reports that the three new cases were detected at Haneda Airport. It's people, man and woman in their forties and a child under 10 -- but that's all the detail we know.

And authorities are saying they need more detail for appropriate contact tracing. And that is why the governor of Okinawa is coming to Tokyo tomorrow to try and speak with top government, possibly with the Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to try and get some answers, and try to get people, the U.S. military to stop sending staff at least temporarily during this time.

A lot of families like to move, John, as you can imagine, around this time to coincide with the academic start in September. But the governor has been saying that because of the exponential amount of cases that we are seeing in the U.S. that they halt some of those programs.

But there is a lot of tension, not only among Okinawans but also within the government. The chief public government, excuse me, spokesperson said that they are sharing information with the United States. But the governor says he wants more. And this is a very tight rope -- excuse me -- a tight rope that he has to walk because on the one hand, Japan needs Washington for their security. And on the other hand, Okinawans needs the bases for their economy.

But at the same time all of us are fighting this pandemic together. So they want more information for better contact tracing and more updated information from the bases and, as you pointed out, this is yet another point of contention in what has been a very, very uneasy relationship from the beginning, John.

VAUSE: Yes. Better communication never goes astray, does it? Kaori, thank you. Kaori Enjoji in Tokyo, appreciate it.

Russian authorities say they've contained a massive oil spill in one of the most polluted cities in the country. But a whistleblower and an environmentalist tells CNN the damage is much worse than is being disclosed.

CNN's Fred Pleitgen reports from Berlin.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

FRED PLEITGEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It was one of the worst chemical accidents in the history of the Arctic. At the end of May a fuel tank near the city of Norilsk burst releasing over 20,000 tons of diesel into nearby rivers.

Now, there are clear signs the Russian company responsible, mining giant, Nornickel is dragging its feet in dealing with the aftermath. The company quickly claimed the damage had been contained, saving a nearby lake.

But whistleblower Vasily Ryabinin says that is not true.

VASILY RYABININ, WHISTLEBLOWER (through translator): It was such an obvious childish lie, I couldn't wrap my head around it. Obviously, I thought we must at least investigate the lake, but my management had a different view.

PLEITGEN: Ryabinin was working for Russia's state environmental regulator Rosprirodnadzor in Norilsk at the time it was one of the first to the site the day of the disaster.

He took CNN to the spot were even more than a month later puddles of diesel and gasoline streaks are still clearly visible and the water can literally be set on fire.

RYABININ: You can see that the fuel is still burning, and puddles like these probably stretch all the way down the river and will be polluting it for a very long time.

[01:49:49]

PLEITGEN: Activists say Nornickel tried to prevent them from independently investigating the water after the spill. But environmentalist Georgy Kavanosyan managed to sneak past the guards. what he found was shocking.

GEORGY KAVANOSYAN, ENVIRONMENTALIST (through translator): You can see contamination levels are two to three times of what is allowed.

PLEITGEN: Nornickel told CNN that it is guided on the official data from local authorities, as well as satellite imagery that shows the border of the fuel spread, and continues the cleanup.

Rosprirodnadzor did not respond to CNN's request for comment.

The disaster also highlights a wider problem as Russia looks to industrialize the Arctic and exploit the vast natural resources here. Melting permafrost is accelerating corrosion of the often poorly maintained infrastructure, making similar accidents more likely.

Some hoped the Norilsk disaster it could turn out to be a watershed moment for environmental protection in Russia. Nornickel's CEO agreeing to pay all expenses for the cleanup as President Vladimir Putin publicly ripped into it.

VLADIMIR PUTIN, PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA: I'm saying that if you had just changed that one tank on time, there would not have been any damage to nature and the company would not have to cover such expenses.

PLEITGEN: But now, the company already says it disagrees with a $2 billion cleanup bill the environmental regulator is demanding.

Nornickel still downplaying the disaster and its devastating effects on this fragile ecosystem.

Fred Pleitgen, CNN -- Berlin.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VAUSE: Coming up after the break, buckle up. We're taking to the pandemic skies. CNN's Richard Quest, his first flight since the outbreak began.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VAUSE: Months now after air travel all but came to a screeching halt, passengers are slowly coming back. And that includes CNN's Richard Quest, a man who's passionate about travel and flying, and a COVID-19 survivor. He boarded his first plane since the pandemic hit, an emotional journey to be sure.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RICHARD QUEST, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So my first flight in nearly four months, which is the longest separation from aviation that I have had in, I don't know, 35 - 40 years.

The airport is quiet but not unduly quiet. There is definitely a heightened sort of expectation, tension, apprehension, whatever you want to call it, of exactly what to expect at each different piece of the puzzle.

[01:54:41]

QUEST: The airport is pretty sparse. All the restaurants seem to be closed, or at least it's not immediately obvious where you can get something to eat. Everything is getting ready and perhaps will be, but it's not there yet.

I have done this flight so many times and yet it does feel different. Knowing the circumstances, knowing the state of the airline industry, being aware of the number of flight attendants and crew that are about to lose their job. Because something that has been so normal for me, so special, now very different.

If you look at a flight as being the plane took off, the engines kept going and the pilot knew the way, it was pretty much like any other flight. But it was far from that. I got quite emotional.

For somebody who travels so much like me, it really was quite an experience. The first flight after four months, and everything is totally different.

The vast slipstream sculpture at the Queen's Terminal -- arrived at Heathrow and the start of what I'm pretty sure will be many flights in the weeks and months ahead. It's all very different, you can't exactly say it's a particularly pleasant experience, but we will get used to it. And we will start traveling again and soon, you wonder, well, this is just the way it is.

Richard Quest, CNN -- Heathrow Airport, London.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VAUSE: We'll finish up with a little boy who might just be the next Yao Ming toddler from southwest China whose videos have gone viral because he had some pretty mean skills when it comes to the basketball court. Two-years-old, he can dribble it seems with the best (INAUDIBLE). He's got a few trick shots as well.

This all may explain why his videos posted by dad has hundreds of thousands of followers, there he goes. His parents plan to encourage their son to follow his talent. Everywhere he goes, he doesn't stop. There he goes again.

Thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm John Vause.

My friend and colleague Robyn Curnow takes over for me after a short break.

You're watching CNN.

[01:57:08]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

END