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When Will It End? U.S's COVID Record Wednesday Shattered Thursday; India's Irony: Massive Case Numbers, Low Death Rates; 1,300 People Die Of COVID In Brazil Wednesday; U.K. Vaccine Tests Shows Promise; U.S. Breaks One-Day Record with 75,000-plus New Cases; Tensions Rising Between the U.S. and China; The U.S. Economy: Good News and Bad; Twitter Hack Sparks Growing National Security Concerns; Interview with Christian Cooper. Aired 1-2a ET

Aired July 17, 2020 - 01:00   ET


TONY BLAIR, FMR. PRIME MINISTER OF BRITAIN: 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 an individual is.



India has surpassed one million cases of coronavirus. We'll be live in New Delhi.

Breaking the ice. President Trump finally speaks with Dr. Anthony Fauci after more than a month of silence.

But that doesn't mean the president is taking a different approach to the pandemic.

The man who helped spark a movement. Christian Cooper takes us on a walk through Central Park.

Hello and welcome to our viewers all around the world.

I'm Michael Holmes. This is CNN NEWSROOM.

And breaking news this hour.

The U.S. shattering another record in the coronavirus pandemic, more than 75,000 new infections in just the past day.

It's a record no country wants. But one that President Donald Trump seems all too eager to ignore.

He and his administration are pushing to send kids back to school in the coming weeks.

The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention was expected to issue updated guidelines in the coming day but a spokesman says that's now on hold maybe until the end of the month. The White House press secretary describing the president's back to

school plan with this statement.


KAYLEIGH MCENANEY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The president has said, unmistakably, that he wants schools to open. And I was just in the Oval talking to him about that.

And when he says open, he means open in full. Kids being able to attend each and every day at their school.

The science should not stand in the way of this.

The risk of critical illness from COVID is far less for children than that of seasonal flu. The science is on our side here.


HOLMES: The science shouldn't stand in the way and the science is on our side.

Scores of educators and pediatricians are pushing back on that theory.

The National Education Association among four influential groups who say a one-size-fits-all reopening plan is not appropriate for return to school decisions.

Meanwhile, the nation's top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, says the country must address the recent surge in new cases.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: You've got to do it correctly. You can't jump over steps which is very perilous when you think about rebound.

And the proof of the pudding is look what's happened.

There really is no reason why we're having 40-, 50-, 60,000. Other than the fact that we're not doing something correctly.


HOLMES: One thing health experts do agree on is that face masks are very effective in stopping the spread of the virus.

But listen to the reaction from the crowd at a local government meeting in Utah.


TANNER AINGE, CHAIR, UTAH COUNTY COMMISSION: This is the exact opposite of what we need to be doing.

We are supposed to be physically distancing, wearing masks --

(Crowd noises)

-- and so --

(Crowd noises)

-- all of our medical --

(Crowd noises)


HOLMES: That meeting was then adjourned.

At least 39 U.S. states now require face coverings in public.

And Georgia's governor, Brian Kemp -- well, he is suing the mayor of Atlanta to stop her citywide mask mandate.

CNN's Erica Hill has today's other coronavirus headlines.


ERICA HILL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A stark reality in Texas. Refrigerator trailers brought in as morgues reached capacity.


EDDIE TREVINO, JR., JUDGE, CAMERON COUNTY, TEXAS: I need everybody to help us and do their part. Because people's lives are at stake.

Not just the people getting sick now. We've got doctors, we've got nurses that are worked to the bone.


HILL: Alston's convention center and this Laredo hotel also being prepped for non-ICU COVID-19 patients.

Texas is one of 16 states reporting record hospitalizations. All but two of those are also seeing a rise in deaths.

DR. JONATHAN REINER, PROFESSOR OF MEDICINE, GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY: It doesn't have to be this way. There are straightforward things -- it requires leadership but there are straightforward things we could do.


HILL: Thirty-nine states are now moving in the wrong direction.

Confirmed cases in the state of Florida more than 315,000, now outpace also and China combined.

Miami's hospitals are at 95 percent capacity, ICU beds pushed to the limit.


MAYOR FRANCIS SUAREZ, MIAMI, FLORIDA: The situation is dire. I don't want to sugarcoat it or I don't want to downplay it in any way.


HILL: As cases surge in Georgia, Governor Brian Kemp signing an executive order extending the public health state of emergency and banning local officials from mandating masks.



MAYOR KELLY GIRTZ, ATHENS, GEORGE: I'm deeply frustrated today.

We believe our local orders can stand and so we're going to fight this.


HILL: At least 39 states now require face coverings in public. Arkansas and Colorado adding mandates today.

Target, CVS and Publix the latest businesses to require them for customers nationwide.


DR. LEANA WEN, EMERGENCY ROOM PHYSICIAN: The science at this point is very clear.

Wearing a mask can reduce your chance of transmitting COVID-19 and acquiring it by five times.


HILL: New analysis from the CDC finds travel bans came too late, especially for New York.

The virus was already here.


HILL: The Northeast hit hard at the start has been holding steady over the past month.

New cases in the Midwest declining in mid-June have now more than doubled. The West seeing a similar spike.

While the South has exploded, more than tripling its daily case count.


WEN: Unlike other countries, we never got COVID-19 under control here. Basically we, gave up. (END VIDEO CLIP)

HILL: Here in New York City, which is set to move into phase four of reopening on Monday, Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio have warned that likely will not include indoor activities.

Governor Andrew Cuomo saying he's concerned about what he's seen in other parts of the country in indoor spaces, bars, restaurants, as the virus has spread.

The governor also announcing a "three strikes and you're closed" rule.

He's cracking down on bars and restaurants that are not abiding by the social distancing and reopening measures put in place.

And said that egregious violations could result in an immediate loss of their liquor license.

In New York, I'm Erica Hill. CNN.


HOLMES: CNN medical analyst and epidemiologist, Dr. Larry Brilliant joins me now from Mill Valley in California.

Good to see you again, Doctor.


HOLMES: I wanted to ask you. There's been a lot of criticism about the lack of a federal response, federal coordination. On everything from PPE distribution to overall strategy.

And that really still hasn't happened.

I'm curious. If you were sitting in one of those coronavirus task force meetings, what would you be saying?

BRILLIANT: Well, it's nice to be with you, Michael.

I've been doing this for 50 years, since the smallpox eradication program in India.

And this is actually the first time I've seen an epidemic or a pandemic where there was not a coordinated national strategy, where there was not a series of meetings coordinated -- run by the Centers for Disease Control in coordination with the World Health Organization.

I think the politicization of this response has been the problem from the very beginning.

The denial of it is a problem. The belief or the wish that it would disappear, the conflation of it with influenza. The kind of huckstering of snake oil, whether it was bleach or light or all these other things. What I would do is I would professionalize the response, if I was

sitting in that coronavirus task force meeting.

I would actually move the response from Washington to Atlanta, Georgia, to the Center for Disease Control.

Maybe because of the problems the CDC has had I would bring in an oversight committee made up of all the former heads of CDC.

And I would make sure that CDC had the money and the political power and will to run this the way we have to run every response to a pandemic or a global epidemic or a nationwide disaster the way this is.

We would start off with a national strategy.

You can't run a response to something that is global on a county-by- county or state-by-state basis. You make them compete with each other for scarce resources.

That's where I'd begin.

HOLMES: That sounds like something that hasn't been happening. So, yes.

Testing is a good example of that, both in numbers and also in turnaround times.

Which seems utterly incredible this far into the pandemic, especially when it comes to turnaround times.

What good is a test result every eight days or even two weeks after it was taken? If you were positive, you've spread it.

Why do you think there is that delay? Is it excusable that it continues now, this far into this?

BRILLIANT: No, it's inexcusable. It's exactly as you say. If the test results are one week then you have been spreading it for five or six days.

What's the value of rapid action if you can't act rapidly?

I think the problem is once again the lack of professionals running the program.

CDC itself fumbled early on. And the reaction, instead of fixing the problem, was to first define those people who could get a test so narrowly that they had to have come from China, they had to have had this set of


symptoms and not the other, so people were not getting tested.

Then the response was to tell the Food & Drug Administration, the FDA, to essentially open up their approval process to almost anybody who had an idea of a test.

And we wound up with hundreds of different tests without having a tester of the tests.


BRILLIANT: It's the Wild West of testing, I'm afraid.

HOLMES: It's extraordinary -- and it is extraordinary.

In the meantime, I think Florida's been reporting more cases every day than the European Union. If it were a country, it would rank fourth in the world.

We're seeing these sorts of numbers now weeks after shutdown, with states now open and the numbers way worse than they were under lockdown.

What's likely to happen with the numbers in the week to come -- in the weeks to come?

Not just cases, but, of course, deaths that follow.

BRILLIANT: I don't know what will stop this in Florida. 10,000, 15,000 cases a week; 200, 300, 400 deaths increasing?

What you're seeing is the result of never really locking down and then opening up what already had been closed and doing it just before Memorial Day.

So you've got kids running out to the beaches on Memorial Day, behaving in a way that continued to make the epidemic grow.

Then after that, you had 4th of July.

And all along, the governor is saying what a wonderful job he's done and asking for accolades instead of perhaps being criticized for what he's done.

He's created one of the worst epidemics in (inaudible).

HOLMES: Well, just finally. Because that comes back to what you started with.

And that is the politicization, and the fact of the lack of federal leadership.

Because you've got states doing things, it would seem, for political calculations and not being directed on a national level.

So some states are making horrendous mistakes and other states will be impacted by that. Inevitably.

BRILLIANT: I don't really understand what the motivation is to pretend that an epidemic or pandemic is not real. To suppress cases, to give people the idea that somehow it's a hoax or a campaign against them.

Ultimately, we really are all in this together.

Ultimately, this virus doesn't know the difference between someone who's black or white or rich or poor, Christian or Muslim or Jewish.

This is an equal opportunity infector. It is not an equal opportunity killer because people who have pre-existing conditions who are older are so much more the victim.

That's another reason why we should be taking extra care.

That's our duty.

HOLMES: Yes, exactly. Dr. Larry Brilliant, always an honor to have you on, sir. Thank you so much.

BRILLIANT: Thank you for having me.

HOLMES: India right now reporting more than a million COVID-19 cases, the most after the U.S. and Brazil.

What's worrisome there is the number of new cases confirmed each day is going up.

India reporting a record high of daily cases on Friday, the previous record was just a day earlier.

CNN's Vedika Sud joins me now live from New Delhi with more.

So what are the trends and what's being done about it?

VEDIKA SUD, CNN PRODUCER: Well, as of now, the government is also coming out and stating that while India has crossed a million confirmed cases of COVID-19, just a third of those cases remain active.

And also about 84 percent of those cases are from ten states and Indian territories across India. So that's really where most of the cases lie, as I speak with you.

We've always spoken about Delhi and Mumbai because these are the two cities that have the maximum case load, as cities.

But now we're seeing the focus shifting to South India, where states like Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, of course, are facing a huge caseload.

The numbers are rising.

Because of which you also see some lockdowns taking place across three states to try and avoid the numbers from going up.

But then the doctors that I've spoken with go on to ask what will happen post that lockdown being lifted, the cases will be going up.

This is the time (ph) , according to medical experts, that India really needs to be vigilant.

The state of Maharashtra that I've been talking about over and over again -- it's a western state in India -- has many cases or rather more cases as a state when compared to countries like Italy or Spain.

So that's why it's staggering as far as the numbers of Maharashtra are concerned.

Also, just to let you know, that the fatality rate as of July 14th for India was Brazil percent.


So that's quite an oxymoron in a way, isn't it?

India crosses more than a million confirmed cases of COVID-19, but has a relatively low fatality rate. Michael.


HOLMES: Well, some silver lining there. Vedika Sud, thanks so much. Good to see you.

We're going to take a quick break here on the program.

When we come back on CNN NEWSROOM, the race for a coronavirus vaccine.

We'll look at some pretty promising trials in the U.K.

Stick around, we'll be right back.


HOLMES: There are now more than two million coronavirus cases in Brazil.

On Thursday alone, more than 1,300 people died.

The virus spreading so rapidly that the case count doubled from one million in less than a month.

And states that had been spared the worst of the outbreak are now seeing some rapid increases.

Shasta Darlington with the story.


SHASTA DARLINGTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yet another grim milestone for Brazil.

The total number of COVID-19 infections now over two million.

The South American nation registered more than 45,000 new cases on Thursday, and 1,322 additional deaths. Bringing the total death toll to over 76,000. Experts have said they don't expect the pandemic to peak in Brazil

until sometime in mid August.

Nonetheless, we've seen a shift from big cities like Sao Paulo to smaller cities and towns.

Indigenous communities have been particularly hard hit but even rural states like Mato Grosso in the west are facing crisis.

The government there says they've run out of intensive care beds.

Meanwhile, brazil's most famous patient, President Jair Bolsonaro, remains in semi-isolation at the presidential residence.

He posted a video on social media this week saying he's taking the controversial malaria drug hydroxychloroquine, and he says doing very well.

Nonetheless, he tested positive a second time when he took another coronavirus test.

He says he'll take a follow-up test in coming days in the hopes of getting back to work.

Shasta Darlington, CNN, Sao Paulo.


HOLMES: Hong Kong, meanwhile, trying to stop its third wave of coronavirus infections.

On Thursday, the city recording 67 new cases. All but four coming from community spread.

The government tightening social distancing guidelines, mandating masks on public transportation.

Cases have been steadily rising over the last two weeks and health experts warn the worst is yet to come.

Will Ripley is in Hong Kong for us.

And it's interesting. Dealing with 75,000 cases in one day in the U.S.. Hong Kong takes a massive sort of crack down, takes these big steps, when they haven't even hit 100 a day.

WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, Michael. But I think public health officials here know that that could easily happen.

Because it wasn't that long ago when the United States didn't have any cases.


This thing can spread like wildfire if it is left unchecked.

And that's why Hong Kong has taken a very aggressive approach with this pandemic from the beginning.

This is a territory that straddles the border with Mainland China which was the epicenter -- seems like ancient history, a long time ago.

But they shut the borders. They're testing everybody who comes in for COVID-19 at the airport. And that has effectively eliminated the cases that are coming in.

Because now the majority of the cases, that 67 that we saw yesterday, all but a handful of them are community spread.

And just under half of them cannot be traced.

And this is what is troubling for public health officials. People who are asymptomatic people walking around this densely populated city of seven million people not knowing that they might have the virus. And unwittingly passing it to others who might show symptoms and might have a more severe case.

And there's a limited number of hospital beds. There are a lot of senior citizen -- senior citizen patients, potentially affected here because one of the clusters was at an elderly care center.

And, in fact, the most recent two deaths that we saw just within the last day-and-a-half or so were both people who were over the age of 80, Michael.

HOLMES: All right. Will, good to see you. Will Ripley there in Hong Kong for us.

Serious hacking allegations against Moscow and indignant denials from the Kremlin.

Three Western allies say Russia-backed hackers are trying to steal coronavirus vaccine and treatment research from institutions around the world.

Matthew Chance reports.


That Russian spies have been hacking into organizations trying to find a coronavirus vaccine in the U.S., Britain, and Canada.

And one which has drawn angry denials here in Moscow.


"Russia has nothing at all to do with these (..) attacks," is what the Kremlin spokesman, Dimitri Peskov, told state media earlier on.


But the latest allegations are that a hacking group known as, amongst other things, "Cozy Bear" linked to Russian foreign intelligence services, or the SVR , exploited software flaws to access vulnerable computers and then used malware to upload and download files from infected machines.

U.K. security services say vaccine research has not been hindered by those attacks.

But coronavirus research is, of course, a particularly sensitive area in the moment with nations racing to find effective treatments.

Russia is, of course, one of those nations with one of the highest number of coronavirus infections in the world. And Moscow has plowed vast resources into trying to find a vaccine.

So on one level, it wouldn't be surprising if the country's intelligence services were also focused on finding out as much as possible about what research other countries may be engaged in.

Russia, though, says its own vaccine program is already at an advanced stage.


And that the allegations of spying are, according to one Russian senior official "merely an attempt to tarnish the Russian coronavirus vaccine."


Which may yet become the first in the world.

Matthew Chance. CNN, Moscow.


HOLMES: Well, there are 23 coronavirus vaccines in human trials around the world. And four are in what is known as phase three.

You can see them pictured there.

And as you can see, that phase involves thousands of patients. And it uses a placebo so researchers can determine if the vaccine works better than no vaccine at all.

Countries conducting human trials right now include the U.K., the U.S, China, Germany, Russia, South Korea, Japan, Canada, and Australia. There's a lot going on.

And the coronavirus researchers at Imperial College in London, well, they're proceeding with a second round of human trials.

They say they're working on a unique type of vaccine that hasn't been brought to the market before.

And one researcher told the U.K. Parliament the chances of finding an effective vaccine are high. CNN's Nina Dos Santos with more.



NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Justine, in her 30s, is receiving an experimental new vaccine against coronavirus.




DOS SANTOS: She'll get a second booster shot in two weeks time, and if all goes to plan, should become immune.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. This goes under your tongue.


DOS SANTOS: She's one of around 300 volunteers who've been tested for coronavirus and deemed eligible to take part in this stage of human trials at Imperial College, London.


DOS SANTOS: Justine, how do you feel?

ALFORD: I feel really good, actually. It'll definitely be something to tell the grandkids over supper one day.


DOS SANTOS: And here's why. This is what Justine has just received.

It works quite differently to other vaccines. It doesn't contain a full albeit weakened copy of COVID-19, instead just a tiny piece of genetic material.


The hope is that now that genetic material has found its way into one of her muscle cells, her body will be encouraged to produce antibodies, thereby conferring immunity to coronavirus.

The vaccine is based on a synthetic strand of self-replicating code or RNA.

It's a technique that has never yet been brought to market, but one which could transform the way future vaccines are made.


LONDON: That allows the vaccine to be very scalable.

And that's exactly what you need when you've got a pandemic and you're talking about not just vaccinating millions, but potentially billions of people.

DOS SANTOS: This is something of a gamble though, isn't it? This is very, very high science.

POLLACK: That's true to say that. That makes it very exciting.


DOS SANTOS: And part of the answer as to whether this method will work lies 250 miles north in the capital.


LUCY FOLEY, BIOLOGICS BUSINESS UNIT DIRECTOR, CPI: Look at this container here. This is a 5-litre drum.

This could potentially contain up to five million doses in there.

DOS SANTOS: And how long will it take this production facility, when everything's up and running, to make a bottle like that?

FOLEY: So the process that we're working on developing will take two weeks to make the product, and then encapsulate it so that it can go into humans.

DOS SANTOS: Before they can do that, these scientists in Darlington are figuring out how to go from the experimental phase to a product that can be mass manufactured.


FOLEY: Imagine stirring a cup of tea with a spoon and then stirring a bucket with a spoon. You wouldn't get the same mixing effects.

DOS SANTOS: So how quickly could you scale this up?

FOLEY: If you look at a more traditional vaccine, you'd be looking at around an 18-month program.

Well, this vaccine, we're looking between four and six months to get a scaled manufacturable process ready.


DOS SANTOS: The vaccine will still have to be tested on thousands more in locations where the virus is still circulating.

This is among 23 vaccines in clinical trials worldwide, and one of several using RNA.

But with billions of people to protect in this pandemic, developing a vaccine in such small doses could make a big impact soon.

Nina Dos Santos. CNN, London.


HOLMES: And next hour, we'll hear more about vaccine research. Do join us for the "CNN GLOBAL TOWN HALL, CORONAVIRUS FACTS And FEARS." 7:00 a.m. London time, 2:00 p.m. if you're in Hong Kong.

And we will take a short break. When we come back here on CNN NEWSROOM.

While the virus rages across the United States, President Trump hardly acknowledging it.

We'll take a look at what he's been up to instead.

Plus, growing national security concerns in the U.S. after that massive hack targeted some of Twitter's most popular users.

A look at the investigations, when we come back.



MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: And welcome back to our viewers watching us all around the world.

I'm Michael Holmes. This is CNN NEWSROOM.

The U.S. shattering its single one-day record of new coronavirus cases, more than 75,000 on Thursday. There is growing concern of no cohesive plan to curb the outbreak. Some people questioning if the pandemic is even on President Trump's radar.

CNN's Kaitlan Collins reports.


KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: The White House is insisting President Trump is focused on the pandemic, despite having no public events focused on it.

KAYLEIGH MCENANY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The President is routinely focused on the coronavirus.

COLLINS: Though public health experts and data are in high demand, the Trump administration has taken several steps to undermine both. After the administration told hospitals to bypass the CDC and send their COVID-19 data directly to Washington, some of that data disappeared from the CDC's Web site.

Facing criticism for shielding data from public view, the Department for Health and Human Services reversed course and told the CDC to put the numbers back online. After days of sustained attacks on Dr. Fauci by the President's own staff, CNN has learned Trump finally spoke to Fauci for the first time in weeks.

Fauci told "InStyle Magazine", "I don't like conflict. I'm an apolitical person. I don't like to be pitted against the President. It's pretty tough walking a tightrope while trying to get your message out." Fauci added, "Sometimes you say things that are not widely accepted in the White House, and that's just a fact of life."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One of the biggest problems --

COLLINS: Today a Republican governor is calling out Trump's response to coronavirus. As he detailed his struggle to get supplies in an op- ed in "The Washington Post", Maryland's Governor Larry Hogan accused Trump of leaving states to fend for themselves. After Trump said this on a governor's call in March --

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I haven't heard about testing in weeks.

COLLINS: Hogan said he had a one word response, "Really."

The White House pushed back on Governor Hogan today.

MCENANY: This is revisionist history by Governor Hogan and it stands in stark contrast to what he said on March 19th.

COLLINS: Instead of changing his behavior because several polls show Americans don't approve of his coronavirus response, the President is changing campaign managers. He announced overnight that he is demoting Brad Parscale and putting deputy campaign manager Bill Stepien in his place.

The move was widely seen as an acknowledgment of Trump's diminished standing though the White House insisted otherwise.

MCENANY: We believe this President has great approval in this country, his historic COVID response speaks for itself.

COLLINS: Parscale's only response so far has been this ominous tweet citing the Book of Romans: "Bless those who persecute you, bless and do not curse them."

And as we were discussing Brad Parscale's departure, a senior White House official said, "You know, Brad is not the one who downplayed coronavirus and refused to wear a mask. That was President Trump." And the question is whether or not just changing who the campaign manager is, is really going to change the race when it is the candidate that some of them view as the problem and his refusal to change. Of course, that's just going to be a question for November.

Kaitlan Collins, CNN -- the White House.

(END VIDEOTAPE) HOLMES: And the coronavirus is only one of the issues stoking tensions between the U.S. and China. There is also, of course, the disputed South China Sea and Hong Kong's new national security law. And now, there are reports the U.S. is considering a travel ban on members of China's Communist Party.

Kristie Lu Stout is live in Hong Kong for us. What more do you know about this? That would be an extraordinary move, wouldn't it?

KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely extraordinary. I mean this was first reported by "The New York Times" saying that the Trump administration is weighing this sweeping travel ban that would affect over 90 million members of China's Communist Party and their family members, effectively blocking 200 million people from entering the United States. We have reaction from China's ministry of foreign affairs who called the planned proposal quote, "pathetic".

Now, if this does go through, who would be affected? Well, it would affect the party's elites. It would affect rank and file members. It would business leaders from China including Jack Ma, the founder of Alibaba, obviously China's most famous capitalist is a member of China's Communist Party. But also it will affect the founder of (INAUDIBLE) as well as the editor-in-chief of ByteDance (ph), that's the owner of the popular app Tiktok.

It would also affect academics, scientists, even doctors, like the late Dr. Li Wen Liang, of course, you may remember him as the whistleblower COVID doctor who warned his circle of family and friends about this in the early stages of the virus and later passed away from COVID-19.


STOUT: Now if this does go through, it would be one of the Trump's administration's toughest moves yet against China. And of course, China would almost certainly retaliate, Michael.

HOLMES: Yes. Now, what's interesting is it's sort of becoming more apparent that, you know, the administration -- an administration that is quote-unquote, "tough" on China -- that sort of mantra is sort of becoming part of the election campaign, it would appear.

Is it being seen that way there? And in reality, has Trump been tough on China?

STOUT: It is an excellent question. It is quite transparent to people here in Asia and the people in China that the Trump administration's "Tough on China" theme is a focused point of its reelection campaign, especially as the election year's in November.

Look, on one hand, Donald Trump has been tough. His administration floated this idea of a travel ban on Communist Party members, they have unilaterally taken the United States out of the World Health Organization over the (INAUDIBLE) relationship with China. They also allude this week signed the Hong Kong Autonomy Act into law. But on the other hand, you have those damning revelations from his former national security adviser, John Bolton, which has been widely reported out here, in fact, John Bolton spoke to the Foreign Correspondents Club here in Hong Kong just the other day and those revelations including that Donald Trump asked Xi Jinping for help in reelection, that he told Xi Jinping that making the camps in Xinjiang is quote, "the right thing to do".

And let's face it, you know, despite all the tough talk and rhetoric that we heard from Trump and his aides, Donald Trump is still refraining from any direct criticism of Xi Jinping, who has praised on record as a friend, Michael.

HOLMES: Yes. It's a fascinating aspect of all of this.

Kristie Lu Stout in Hong Kong, good to see you. Thanks my friend.

All right. We'll take a break.

When we come back, coronavirus and the U.S. economy. Millions of Americans out of work. There is some good news for someone trying to buy a home right now. Perhaps, horrible news if you are a renter.

We will be right back.


HOLMES: Welcome back.

Mortgage rates in the U.S. are the lowest they have ever been. The average 30-year fixed rate fell to just 2.98 percent. That is good news for home buyers, under 3 percent. And the mortgage giant Freddie Mac says there is a lot of demand.

But that does not mean the U.S. economy is in good shape, in fact, quite the opposite. More than a million Americans filed first-time unemployment claims again last week. That is tens of millions since this pandemic began.

Let's get a breakdown of what's going on.


VANESSA YURKEVICH, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: I'm Vanessa Yurkevich in New York. 1.3 million Americans filed for unemployment last week. That is 50 million Americans since the pandemic began.

And in just two weeks, the extra $600 that Americans are receiving every week is set to expire. And the timing could not be worse. This is just as COVID cases are spiking around the country and in many states are rolling back their reopening.


YURKEVICH: This is critical for people who relied on this extra $600 to pay bills, to put food on the table, and to staying in their homes. Some experts are warning that we could see record-high evictions and homelessness and this is going to particularly impact communities of color and women.


HOLMES: Megan Greene, global economist and senior fellow at Harvard Kennedy School joins me now from Boston, Massachusetts. Good to see you again, Meghan.

I mean some of these numbers we're going to talk about. In May, 4.3 million homeowners missed their mortgage payments. That was the worst since 2011. A survey showed 30 percent of people have missed some or all of their mortgage payments this month. Huge numbers.

What is the potential economic fallout from this?

MEGAN GREENE, SENIOR FELLOW AT HARVARD KENNEDY SCHOOL: So you could end up getting kind of cascading defaults, but I don't think it is likely. And that's partly because the CARES Act includes this forbearance regime (ph) so a lot of banks have been leading with forbearance and, of course, banks want to get paid back so they are incentivized to try to work with homeowners so that they can service their mortgage.

But it's also partly because there are fewer subprime mortgages, you know, down payments were bigger than in the last crisis, people own more equity in their homes because house prices are still going up, actually, and have been for the past couple of months.

And so people have more equity and so I don't think we'll end up with cascading defaults. But it is, of course, putting a squeeze on a lot of homeowners.

HOLMES: Yes, absolutely.

There's another issue thought that's concerning a lot of people and that is people who don't own, they rent. Rental assistance, eviction protection, and for many people, unemployment benefits, all run out soon. There is a lot of concern there's going to be an explosion of evictions.

Are you worried about that? And what might that look like both for the individuals, and the society in terms of impact?

GREENE: Yes. So I think this is where the potential real crisis is brewing. You know, the eviction protection runs out on July 25th, and so without any kind of reupping of it, we could end up having, you know, millions of people evicted all of a sudden.

You know, there have been protections for low income families, other than the CARES Act, but even so for everyone who have lost a job and is unable to pay their rent, they could end up being ousted. The only question is whether that's really in the landlord's best interest because if they go ahead and evict people then they are looking at just eating that rent. And it is unlikely, the rental market is pretty slow probably and so it's unlikely they will be able to get someone else in really quickly. So it's unclear whether people really will be evicted, but on top of that, as you point out, unemployment insurance benefits will be stopped and that's going to end also at the end of July.

And so these people who have not been able to afford their rent now might face a cash crunch (ph) in terms of unemployment insurance. If that doesn't reup (ph), of course, that's still being negotiated by Congress and so we might get some more assistance for people who have lost their jobs.

But that's been clear and it might come rather than in the form of a $600 dollar a week check as it has been, it might come, in the form of kind of a bonus if you get a job. And I think that could be problematic because the issue isn't that people are just hanging out on unemployment insurance because it's, you know, so luxurious. It's more the issue that they can't get jobs. And so incentivizing people to get a job probably won't help much.

HOLMES: And we've talked before about how many of the jobs that have gone because of coronavirus just won't come back as well. That could be a perfect storm in the next couple of weeks as the month winds up.

I mean that's something I'm seeing a lot of discussion on on Twitter. There's been trillions in corporate welfare, but comparatively little given to the workers. And it's all but run out.

I mean a lot of people on the left are saying enough of the top down assistance. What the economy needs is bottom up bailouts, for want of a better word. Does that make economic sense?

GREENE: That's absolutely right. What we need is to kind of figure out which pockets of society in terms of individuals and businesses often small businesses need the money and get it to them.

The problem is that most of our tools are top down. But in so far as we do have an actor (ph) who can kind of act on a bottom-up basis, the state and local governments. And they have to balance their budgets. And without more federal government assistance, they are going to face massive spending cuts.

And so I think, absolutely, part of this next fiscal package that I hope is forthcoming, will have to be assistance for state and local governments. Without that, we will absolutely go back into a recession.

But, you know, it shouldn't be understated how much Congress did in a quick period of time. But they are going to need to re-up a lot of it. So these PPP loans, they've extended the time period for them to use this, to go ahead and use that money, but they haven't increased the money. And so they are already budgeting so they brought workers on but they are already running out of money and are going to have to lay them off.

I think we could end up seeing unemployment go up in July actually. And if we don't beef up unemployment insurance again, I think that is another recipe for a renewed recession.


HOLMES: I wanted to also ask you about the stock market. It is up. That's great, the President brags about it.

But you know, only half of Americans even own any stocks. And I think it's like around 90 percent of the stock market is owned by 10 -- the top 10 percent of income owners. So it's not helping the ordinary person.

Why is the Dow so high and is it divorced from realities that we've just been talking about?

GREENE: So I don't it's totally divorced from reality. I think the markets are soaring in part because if you look at which stocks are soaring, it's largely the FANGS (ph). So the tech stocks, Microsoft and health care.

Now, those stocks together account for about 40 percent of the S&P 500 and it makes sense for investors to go ahead bet on tech and pharma companies in the face of this pandemic where we are all working from home and, you know, I'm doing an interview over Skype, for example. So that does make some logical sense.

Also the Fed has stepped in. It backed up corporate debt and so equity holders feel comfortable that the Fed will back up them too. So there's this old adage, don't fight the Fed. I think that makes logical sense as well.

And finally, if you want to hold the safety of an asset because you are nervous about things, equities in the U.S. are probably the best that you've got. The S&P 500 dividend is way above the 10-year government bond yield.

HOLMES: It doesn't -- it doesn't help the little guy much though, does it?

GREENE: No, it doesn't help Joe Six-pack at all. It only helps those who actually hold these assets. And that's the problem we saw on the last crisis as well that, you know, all of these top-down tools, a lot of them end up just pumping up the markets. That isn't the intention but it is an unfortunate corollary.

And it's these other things like beefing up unemployment insurance, the PPP loans, the Main Street lending program that the Fed is starting to implement. Those are starting to help on a grassroots level. But for the most part, a lot of this money has just gone into pumping up asset prices.

HOLMES: Right. Right. Again yes, the little guy. We never even got to deficits. Will save that for next time.

Megan Greene -- great to see you. Thanks so much.

GREENE: Thanks. HOLMES: Well, the FBI is launching an investigation after dozens of high-profile Twitter accounts were hacked on Wednesday. Bill Gates, former president Barack Obama, Elon Musk -- they were just among many well known names hijacked in an apparent cryptocurrency scam.

The historic hack raising national security concerns as it exposed vulnerabilities in Twitter's system, to say the least.

CNN's John Defterios joining me now from Abu Dhabi.

I mean due to this sort of high-profile breach, does it seem it could open the floodgates to reviews and investigations? I mean it does -- it really has shocked a lot of people.

JOHN DEFTERIOS, CNN EMERGING MARKETS EDITOR: Yes. It smells different, doesn't it, Michael? It's early days, but it doesn't seem like any ordinary hack. And as a result of what you're saying, the high-profile targets, and the fact that it includes cryptocurrencies, I think it won't be an ordinary probe as well.

So let's kind of take a score card of where we 48 hours into this process.

You talk about the FBI, I would think they would hone in on violations perhaps, by a nation state. Wire fraud is something the FBI does pursue as well, and because this value that we saw kind of disappear from bitcoin accounts, it could fall into that probe.

The Senate Commerce Committee chairman on Capitol Hill in the United States is calling for a hacking briefing by Twitter itself. So that was happening very quickly.

Another critic of Twitter on Capitol Hill was saying that the data privacy is just not robust enough on the Twitter platform, particularly during an election year. And two former officials who spoke to CNN in Washington were suggesting that the Federal Trade Commission is likely to open up its own investigation, which could influence fines and practices for Twitter in the future.

So you can see the dynamics change. The other you all bring to the table here, because of the accusations of election tampering back in 2016 during the presidential election on the Facebook platform, and the mishandling of hate content, and the criticism on Capitol Hill of Mark Zuckerberg in that context.

I would expect Silicon Valley would just be hit like a heat seeking missile in the next few months. It does raise the question, are they late probing Silicon Valley, Michael? Because the election is in November and it raises all sorts of questions on the content that will be posted on Twitter ahead of that election.

HOLMES: Yes. I mean there is a lot that is odd about it. I mean it seems odd that such a huge hack like this has the perpetrators walking away with 100,000. It doesn't sort of add up.

The questions being asked, of course, is what if they came out and put out some sort of policy statement for Joe Biden or, you know, some other senior government official and had them declaring nuclear war or something like that. I mean it could have been so much worse.


DEFTERIOS: Yes. In fact, this is that lag indicator I'm talking about here, that regulation is not keeping pace with what is on the Internet today on Twitter, Facebook, and other platforms. But you also flag the scale of the highest -- $116,000 is no major bank move here by a sophisticated player, but they were audacious enough to post it and brag about it. And it's on a ledger,

on a block chain ledger so it's out there in the public for those who follow it.

I've actually chaired panels on cryptocurrencies, Michael, and they were born out of the fact that they don't like regulation. They like to avoid tax. They don't like the idea of central banks. They don't like ministries of finance or the U.S. Treasury getting in their way.

A couple of years ago, I interviewed Christine Lagarde, the former head of the International Monetary Fund. And she clearly said this is an area that needs to be regulated and this, Michael, could serve as the tipping point into that.

They can't wrap their arms around it because of the technology, but I would expect the OECD in Paris and the G-20 to start to say that this is going a little bit too far for us.

HOLMES: Yes. Yes. Yes -- cryptocurrencies have long been sort of a target of those who want to collect taxes and all the rest of it.

Yes. John, good to see you, my friend. Thanks for that.

John Defterios in Abu Dhabi.


HOLMES: Time for a quick break.

We will come back, and we will go for a walk in New York Central Park with the bird-watcher who became an inspiration for anti racism protests in the U.S.

Stay with us here on CNN. We'll be right back.


HOLMES: The Central Park Karen case in New York also fueled the anti- racism protests. You might recall, a white woman called police on an African-American man after he asked her to follow the dog leash law, which she was not doing. She is being prosecuted although the man, a bird-watcher named Christian Cooper, isn't cooperating with the proceedings.

CNN's Jason Carroll went for a walk with Cooper in Central Park.


CHRISTIAN COOPER, BIRD WATCHER: She was walking along the path, over there.

JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Christian Cooper, a passionate bird- watcher, says this is where it all began.

COOPER: I'm like well, she's yelling for her dog, it's not on the leash.

CARROLL: It was early Memorial Day, and Cooper says he thought he was about to have another run in with someone refusing to leash their dog in this protective section of Central Park called the Ramble, an area with numerous signs indicating leashes are required.

COOPER: She said, oh, the dog runs are closed, he needs his exercise.

I'm like ok, I get it. And it just evolved from there.

AMY COOPER, DOG WALKER: Sir, I'm asking to stop recording me.

COOPER: Please don't come close to me.

A. COOPER: Please turn your phone off.

COOPER: Please don't come close to me.

A. COOPER: I'm calling the cops.


COOPER: Please call the cops.

A. COOPER: I'm going to tell them there is an African-American man threatening my life.

COOPER: Please tell them whatever you like.

A. COOPER: I'm in the Ramble and there's a man, African-American (INAUDIBLE). He is recording me and threatening me and my dog. I'm being threatened by a man in the Ramble. Please send the cops immediately.

CARROLL: Did you even have time to process that at the moment or?

COOPER: My reaction was, whoa, you know, she's going there. She is making this racial. And I thought, well, I can keep doing what I'm doing as if I was black, white, brown, green or purple, you know, because race really didn't have a factor in what I was doing.


COOPER: Or I could, you know, capitulate to her attempt to racially intimidate me. And I had to stick to my guns or else I would be participating in my own dehumanization. CARROLL: The woman with the dog is Amy Cooper, no relation. Once she leased her dog, Christian says they both went their separate ways. He says he had no interaction with police.

COOPER: Who wants to have a situation that goes to the point that the police become involved?

CARROLL: Later that day, Cooper posted the video of the confrontation on Facebook. His sister, so angered by the implications of what could have happened, tweeted the video, which went viral, re-tweeted thousands and thousands of times within hours.

By the next morning, it had made national news.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Overnight, this video taking over Twitter.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Confrontation in Central Park.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: This story is getting a ton of attention.

CARROLL: Amy Cooper issued an apology, saying she is not a racist, and telling CNN, "I know I made an off-color remark, and I don't know why I did it. I'm deeply apologetic that I did something like that."

Still, the fallout from her actions was swift. Within days, Cooper was fired from her job at Franklin Templeton. The city's Commission on Human Rights began an investigation.

COOPER: Let's talk about what she tapped into because --

CARROLL: and what did she tap into?

COOPER: She tapped into this underlying, pervasive, racial bias that has run through this country, and the city for centuries. And it's still here, obviously.

CARROLL: It is not lost on Cooper how what happened to him is now part of the national conversation about race in America.

His confrontation happened the same day George Floyd died in Minneapolis. His death, touching a deep wound, unable to heal in this country.

COOPER: I'm still here, you know. Ahmaud Arbery isn't still here. George Floyd isn't still here. So that's painful for me.

CARROLL: On this day, there were people of all races, who gave Cooper words of encouragement.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You have taken such an extraordinarily high road, it's fantastic.

CARROLL: So despite seeing ugliness in human behavior --

COOPER: You can hear all the birds. They're all giving their alarm calls. There is a predator here. CARROLL: For Cooper, this is a place where he can still find beauty in


COOPER: Red-tailed hawk on the ground. This is why the Ramble is so special. This is why we try to protect it.

CARROLL: Jason Carroll, CNN -- New York.


HOLMES: Thanks for watching and spending part of your day with me, everyone. I'm Michael Holmes.

"CNN'S GLOBAL TOWN HALL: CORONAVIRUS FACTS AND FEARS" is next. I will see you tomorrow.