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Civil Rights Icon and U.S. Lawmaker John Lewis Dies; White House Blocks CDC from Testifying on Schools Reopening; Exclusive Look at Russia's Coronavirus Research Lab; U.S. Fails to Get Pandemic under Control; Poll: 64 Percent Distrust Trump on COVID-19; Back to School in the Age of COVID-19; E.U. Leaders Deadlocked on COVID-19 Recovery Plan; Ruth Bader Ginsburg Announces Cancer Recurrence; War Veteran Tom Moore Knighted by Queen Elizabeth. Aired 4-5a ET
Aired July 18, 2020 - 04:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): This is CNN breaking news.
NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Hello. We're live from CNN Center in Atlanta. I'm Natalie Allen.
The breaking news this hour: the death of civil rights icon John Lewis and the outpouring of grief coming from around the world. Lewis was 80 years old and had pancreatic cancer.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ALLEN (voice-over): He was a giant in the fight for equality and an organizer and freedom rider. Earlier this year he joined this memorial in Selma, Alabama, where he and other activists were beaten by police in 1965.
He was also the youngest speaker at the civil rights march on 1963 in Washington, which he helped organize. John Lewis entered politics in the 1980s. Since 1987, he served in for Georgia's 5th District, which includes parts of Atlanta.
John Lewis was involved in some of the most iconic events in the push against segregation and for civil rights in the U.S. CNN's Martin Savidge has more on his life and work.
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Throughout his life, John Lewis stood for people's rights. Born on an Alabama cotton farm into a segregated America, he would not only live to see an African American elected president but he would be a major part of making it happen. JOHN LEWIS, CIVIL RIGHTS ICON: Tonight, we gather here in this
magnificent state in Denver, because we still have a dream. We still have a dream.
SAVIDGE (voice-over): Lewis, growing up, was angered by the unfairness of the Jim Crow South. He credited Martin Luther King Jr. for inspiring him to join the civil rights movement. Eventually, Lewis would become one of its most prominent leaders.
As a student, he organized sit-ins at lunch counters. In the early '60s, he was a freedom rider, challenging segregation at interstate bus terminals across the South. The embodiment of nonviolence, he frequently suffered beatings by angry mobs.
Lewis, 23 years old at the time, was the youngest speaker at the 1963 March on Washington.
LEWIS: We do not want our freedom gradually but we want to be free now.
SAVIDGE (voice-over): Then two years later, led a march for voting rights in Selma.
On the Edmund Pettus Bridge, he and many other marchers were met by heavily armed state and local police. They were set upon and beaten, Lewis suffering a fractured skull. It would be forever remembered as Bloody Sunday.
The images of brutality shocked the nation, galvanizing support for the Voting Rights Act signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson.
Lewis never lost his young activist spirit, taking it from protest to politics. Standing up for what he believed was right, Lewis was arrested more than 40 times by police, according to his congressional office.
LEWIS: I'm on my way and we're going to win this race.
SAVIDGE (voice-over): He was elected to city council in Atlanta, then to Congress in Washington, representing Georgia's 5th District, fighting against poverty and for health care, while working to help younger generations by improving education.
He reached out to young people in other ways, co-writing a series of graphic novels about the civil rights movement, winning him a national book award.
In a life of so many moments and great achievements, it was the achievement of another in 2008 that perhaps meant the most, the election of President Barack Obama.
BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We have never been just a collection of individuals or a collection of red states and blue states. We are and always will be the United States of America.
SAVIDGE (voice-over): A dream, Lewis admits, was too impossible to consider decades before, even as he fought to forge his foundation.
LEWIS: This is an unbelievable period in our history. Martin Luther King Jr. would be very pleased to see what is happening in America. This is a long way from the march on Washington.
LEWIS: It's a great distance from marching across the bridge in Selma in 1965 for the right to vote.
SAVIDGE (voice-over): In 2011, after more than 50 years on the front lines of civil rights, Lewis received the nation's highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, placed around his neck, by America's first black president.
Lewis wasn't content to just making history, he was also dedicated to preserving it. Considered the impetus of the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture.
And he never stop stirring up "good trouble," as he liked to call it, boycotting the inaugurations of George W. Bush after the contested 2000 election and vocally opposing Donald Trump in 2017, citing suspicions of Russian election meddling.
At a protest against President Trump's immigration policy, the congressman, by then an elder statesman of the Democratic Party, riled up the crowd, with words he had lived by as an activist, as a lawmaker, as a leader.
LEWIS: We must never, ever, give up. We must be brave, bold and courageous.
ALLEN: As you saw in the report, John Lewis worked with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. extensively. Earlier, King's daughter spoke with CNN. Bernice King talked to CNN about the man she knew as Uncle John and what he would want people to do in his name.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
REV. BERNICE KING, CEO, MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. CENTER: This morning, we're having (INAUDIBLE).
DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Yes.
KING: Tonight, Congressman John Lewis, who my family affectionately called Uncle John. And you know as I think about it, I think it is sending a very loud message to this nation that we've got to get it right with the Voting Rights Act and with voting in general.
You know, my hope and prayer is that this will send a signal to Congress that it's time to restore the Voting Rights Act. These two men literally sacrificed their lives for preserving voting rights. And most of them beat on the head in Selma, Alabama, one of the steps of the courthouse by Sheriff Jim Clark and the other one on the Edmund Pettus Bridge.
So it's a time for us to get that right and the time for those who have been indifferent and cynical about voting in this nation to really understand that people sacrificed and suffered and died.
Many people died, some people died. But these men, these gentlemen sacrificed their very lives, almost lost their lives, for the right to vote and so that's our citizenship right and it's a right we should exercise with dignity.
And we must fight voter suppression and once and for all do away with it.
But you know, Don, you know, John Lewis was one of very few people who really remained consistent and true to my father's nonviolence philosophy and methodology. He was a true non-violent warrior, through and through and a very pure heart. There are very few pure hearted people in this world. And he was a pure hearted man.
You know, his only motive was to stand up for what was right, to speak for those who could not speak for themselves. It was never about him. It was always about the struggle, the cause and justice and freedom. And, you know, we lost these kinds of leaders.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
ALLEN: Emotional tributes are pouring in from those who worked with Lewis in Washington, people who experienced the force of his passion for civil rights.
Former U.S. president Barack Obama said this, "Not many of us get to live to see our own legacy play out in such a meaningful, remarkable way. John Lewis did. And thanks to him, we now all have our marching orders: to keep believing in the possibility of remaking this country we love until it lives up to its full promise."
Congresswoman Ilhan Omar tweeted, "John Lewis was a giant, a civil rights legend, a leader in the halls of Congress and a moral voice for the whole nation. Having the opportunity to serve with him was one of the great honors of my life."
She goes on to say he told her how incredible it was for her to be in Congress and visit Africa with him as his colleague. She says his youthful joy and passion for democracy fueled all who knew and loved him.
ALLEN: And California senator Kamala Harris called Lewis "an icon who fought with every ounce of his being to advance the cause of civil rights for all Americans."
Our other top story this hour, the coronavirus pandemic. While Americans argue over face masks, COVID-19 is racing through the U.S. population with abandon. More than 70,000 new cases were reported Friday for the second day in a row.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention expects another 18,000 people will die over the next three weeks.
We're also learning that an unpublished document prepared for the White House task force identifies a red zone of U.S. states with alarming spikes. The report recommends those states roll back their reopenings.
As parents and teachers and students worry about returning to traditional classrooms in a few weeks, the nation's top health experts have been blocked by the White House from testifying next week before Congress about reopening public schools.
Globally, Johns Hopkins University now reports 14 million confirmed cases of coronavirus, more than 600,000 people have died so far. Here is the latest from CNN's Nick Watt.
NICK WATT, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): There are three global hotspots right now, India, Brazil and, here, the United States.
FAUCI: People keep talking about the possibility of a second wave in the fall. When you're having up to 70,000 new infections in certain areas of the country, that's something you need to focus on right now, as opposed to looking ahead and what's going to happen in September or in October.
WATT: Florida now leads the nation in cases per capita, the main floor of their emergency operations center now closed, after 12 workers tested positive. But Miami-Dade schools are supposed to reopen in just weeks.
ALBERTO CARVALHO, SUPERINTENDENT, MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA: It certainly is becoming very difficult to argue for a regular reopening of schools, considering the data right here in Miami-Dade, which, by the way, is comparable to the data and the circumstances that Wuhan, China, faced about six months ago.
WATT: The daily death toll is now rising in half our states, a record daily death toll in South Carolina, but the governor wants schools to offer five-days-a-week in-person teaching, the same page as the president.
KAYLEIGH MCENANY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: The science is on our side here.
WATT: No, it's inconclusive. And look at what happened in Israel after schools reopened May 17.
Make no mistake, we have the means to control this.
DR. MURTAZA AKHTER, VALLEYWISE HEALTH MEDICAL CENTER: I have got a really great drug. It's a blockbuster drug. It's called masks. Masks work. WATT: And they are now really issuing fines in West Hollywood.
GARY WALTERS, CALIFORNIA: It's nice to see the regulations being enforced, even if it's being enforced on me.
WATT: Washington State, that very early hot spot, on the rise once more, so they are outlawing live entertainment again.
In Florida, a current hot spot, the governor says he won't close gyms. Here's why.
GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): If you're in good shape, you know, you have a very, very low likelihood of ending up in significant condition as a result of the coronavirus.
WATT: In Texas, a current hot spot, record death tolls reported four days in a row., But apparently, the governor has no plans for more pausing or rolling back on reopening.
GOV. GREG ABBOTT (R-TX): The last thing that any of us want is to lock Texas back down again.
WATT: Nick Watt, CNN, Los Angeles.
ALLEN: Another one of Bollywood's biggest stars is in a Mumbai hospital on the coronavirus ward. Ashwari Aright Bashan (ph) and her family tested positive for COVID-19 last week. She and her daughter had been in self-quarantine at home. But reports say they were moved to the hospital Friday after complaining of difficulty breathing.
Now the whole family is there. A hospital source told one news agency they are fine.
Most countries seem to have no problem donning masks as they fought to flatten the COVID-19 curves but not here in the U.S. There's been stiff resistance to mandatory face coverings, beginning with the U.S. president. We will get perspective from overseas with our guest coming up.
Plus the Kremlin is rejecting the accusations that Russian hackers tried to steal COVID-19 vaccine research. We'll have more about it.
ALLEN: The Kremlin is again rejecting accusations from the U.K. that Russian hackers tried to steal its coronavirus vaccine research. A spokesperson said the Cozy Bear group allegedly involved in the hacking has nothing to do with the Russian secret services. Even if that is the case, there are many unanswered questions about
Russia's race for a vaccine. Matthew Chance has more about it.
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For Russia, the search for a coronavirus vaccine is a global race.
And it's at this research lab in Moscow that it hopes to win. Access to the Gamaleya Institute is tightly controlled. No CNN cameras were allowed through these doors. But they did give us exclusive footage of the sensitive scientific work taking place inside, a unique glimpse of Russia's rapid push for a coronavirus vaccine.
CHANCE (voice-over): They even sent recorded comments from their director, who, controversially, injected himself before human trials officially began.
ALEXANDER GINTSBURG, DIRECTOR, GAMALEYA INSTITUTE (through translator): It has become a task of unprecedented complexity. In a very short time, we have to create a vaccine against this disease.
CHANCE: But that need for speed in Russia means corners may have been cut. Russian soldiers, all volunteers, according to the Defense Ministry, were used in the first phase of human trials.
And now allegations, denied by the Kremlin, that Russian spies have been hacking U.S., British and Canadian labs to steal their coronavirus secrets, allegations we put to the head of the organization funding much Russia's coronavirus research.
(on camera): Russia desperately needs to develop and wants to develop a vaccine. Isn't that one reason why the Kremlin would try and get ahead by stealing other nations' vaccine secrets?
KIRILL DMITRIEV, CEO, RUSSIAN DIRECT INVESTMENT FUND: Well, first of all, Matthew, we are very surprised by timing of this, because, basically, it happens the next day after we announced that we expect approval of our vaccine in August.
CHANCE: Sure, but how do you explain that extraordinary speed?
I mean, other countries are working flat out.
Why would Russia be so far ahead?
I mean, there are allegations or concerns that this country has been cutting corners when it comes to its research.
DMITRIEV: Well, we have lots of infrastructure for vaccine development. And once again, we will be the first ones because of our scientists and because of the research we have done to date.
CHANCE (voice-over): Lack of transparency and no access to the lab means it's hard to know where Moscow actually is with its vaccine. But with or without the help of its hackers, it seems Russia is going all out for a quick result -- Matthew Chance, CNN, Moscow.
ALLEN: A little over a year after a devastating fire at Paris' famed Notre Dame Cathedral, another historic church is burning in western France. It's 15th century Cathedral of St. Peter and St. Paul. The prime minister tweeted his solidarity to the people there and said he's thinking of firefighters battling the fire.
We have Jim Bittermann joining me on the phone from Paris.
Any word on what may have caused it?
JIM BITTERMANN, CNN SR. INTL. CORRESPONDENT: Fire broke out, Natalie, at about 7:45 this morning. Fire officials are saying in fact it was probably in the organ area of the church.
Of course, the comparison to Notre Dame was evident to everybody right away. They rushed a lot of fire equipment to the scene. They now say the fire is contained. One of the fire officials said this morning that he believes it was not as serious as Notre Dame because the roof area has not been touched by the flames.
The flames were evident in some of the video that came out this morning. It was certainly a chilling wake-up call for everyone. The prime minister is on the way to the scene as well as two of his cabinet ministers. The culture of minister is one of those on the way.
This church caught fire once before in 1972 and was restored after that. Only recently in the last decade was the restoration construction work completed. So they were greatly concerned in the fact it could be going up in flames again.
The church is not as old nor as historic as Notre Dame but it bears a great deal of similarity to Notre Dame and has a lot of works of art inside. So a great deal of concern by everybody. But it appears at the moment the fire is contained according to fire officials.
ALLEN: According to the video we're seeing, this is very large cathedral. It may be a bit of a challenge to get up there. As you say, they have had success in putting it out. Thanks so much, Jim Bittermann talking to me from Paris.
Ahead, the death of the towering figure of the U.S. civil rights movement. We take a closer look at the legacy of Congressman John Lewis.
(MUSIC PLAYING) ALLEN: Welcome back. I'm Natalie Allen. You are watching CNN NEWSROOM.
For the second straight day, new cases of coronavirus rose in the U.S. by more than 70,000. Florida is leading the nation in cases per capita and the Miami area has emerged as a major hot spot. The virus even forced part of Florida's emergency operations center to close after 1 dozen employees tested positive.
In the absence of a national mask mandate from the White House, Dr. Anthony Fauci continues to press Americans to wear them in public, urging state and local leaders to be as forceful as possible to get compliance.
Somehow, despite surging cases in the U.S., wearing a mask in public is controversial. It could be that the U.S. president is saying things like this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: No, I want people to have a certain freedom and I don't believe in that. No. And I don't agree with the statement that if everybody wore a mask, everything would disappear.
Hey, Dr. Fauci said don't wear a mask. Our surgeon general, terrific guy, said don't wear a mask. Everybody was saying don't wear a mask, all of a sudden, everyone has got to wear a mask. And as you know, masks cause problems, too.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ALLEN: Now that is not true. Dr. Fauci, the top U.S. infectious disease expert, says it is very important to wear a mask and there's no evidence that masks cause health problems.
Mary Trump, President Trump's niece, says there is a reason he is going against the advice of his own advisers and medical science. She just released a book about her uncle and how his psychology is influenced by their family history. She talked about it earlier with our Chris Cuomo.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARY TRUMP, DONALD TRUMP'S NIECE: It's not because he doesn't know masks are good. It is not because he is, you know, rabidly anti- science. It is because those things work for the narrative he needs to spin.
So it would require him to admit, in one way or another, that he's made a mistake, a huge mistake, that's cost many, many tens of thousands of lives. He can't do that.
M. TRUMP: So all he's got left is creating division and that's a place in which he's very, very comfortable.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ALLEN: I want to talk now more about the spread of COVID-19 and developments with it with Dr. Keith Neal, professor emeritus at the University of Nottingham in England.
KEITH NEAL, UNIVERSITY OF NOTTINGHAM: Good morning.
ALLEN: How are you viewing this right to not wear a mask and the president does not wear one in the U.S.?
At the same time the U.S. has the most cases in the world. Numbers keep going up and up.
What do you think about masks?
Could they help turn things around for the U.S.?
NEAL: I think the answer is masks have a clear place in the role of controlling COVID-19. Let's talk about the right not to wear a mask but people have a right not to catch the disease.
In crowded areas in the United Kingdom, we're making wearing masks mandatory on the public transportation. Any place you can avoid people.
To wear them all the time outside, particularly in rural areas where you don't need a mask. Where you can't socially distance, I'm talking two meters and not one meter, wearing a mask probably protects you as well.
ALLEN: Right. The lack of masks is now coupled with testing shortages we are seeing here in the U.S. and now long delays in getting results; several days in fact.
Is this hurting the ability to stop the spread?
NEAL: I think if you go to two options. We started with the option if you became unwell to self isolate, a week without testing. In a sense, that doesn't allow contact tracing. If you have a delay in testing and then you self isolate, they won't spread but it doesn't help with the contact tracing which breaks the chains of transmission.
I think one thing, you got lots of university labs capable of doing PCR. It should be quite easy to scale up the testing procedures.
ALLEN: We haven't been able to get there.
How do you see the U.S. getting out from under this?
The unbelievable numbers, catastrophic numbers, without the basic tools of masks and testing and tracing in place?
NEAL: I think the system in the United States, looking from this side of the Atlantic, looks fragmented. You have two centers. NIH and Centers for Disease Control and prevention who are real experts. But some at state level have different agendas. It is difficult to comment on the 50 different states' responses.
ALLEN: That is true. We have not had leadership from the federal government on this. It's been one state does this and another state does that. It has been very difficult with the messaging that the citizens are getting from the various leaders.
The world's first phase three of the vaccine trial has now begun. There are advances on many fronts in vaccine research.
Are you optimistic?
NEAL: I'm completely optimistic we will get a vaccine simply because we'll keep throwing money at the problem until we solve it. The technology from the Oxford group in England have already created vaccines for SARS and MERS.
The difficulty is proving that the actual vaccine protects you. That's why I understand people are doing studies in Brazil and South America. You will have the potential among health care workers in the States.
ALLEN: There has been progress in therapies with two drugs, remdesivir and dexamethasone.
How are they helping?
NEAL: Dexamethasone showed you were less likely to die. Essentially we were only admitting people who essentially needed oxygen. So it would have made a massive help in reducing the death rate in the United Kingdom.
The big tragedy is these studies were not done already in China at the peak of the outbreak. No random controls were done properly. Remdesivir is a little more interesting, mainly because it speeds up your recovery but it increases survival from the current data.
ALLEN: We appreciate your expertise. Thank you again for joining us.
NEAL: Thank you.
ALLEN: We appreciate it.
ALLEN: The other story we are following this hour is U.S. lawmaker and civil rights icon John Lewis has died. He was 80. Lewis served for more than three decades in the 5th District in Atlanta.
He was the youngest speaker at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s March on Washington in 1963. He helped organize it. On the 50th anniversary of the March, Lewis showed his activist spirit still burned brightly.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN LEWIS, CIVIL RIGHTS ICON: We must say to the Congress, fix the Voting Rights Act. We must say to the Congress, pass comprehensive immigration reform. It doesn't make sense that many of our people are living in the shadows. Bring them out into the light and set them on a path to citizenship.
So hang in there. Keep the faith. I got arrested 40 times during the '60s, beaten, left bloody and unconscious. But I'm not tired. I'm not weary. I'm not prepared to sit down and give up. I am ready to fight and continue to fight and you must fight.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ALLEN: His friends say he was never angry, always hopeful and always forgiving. Lewis was a leader of the March across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, a march that would become known as Bloody Sunday. He spoke with CNN about that day on its 53rd anniversary in 2018.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DANA BASH, CNN SENIOR CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You marched across this bridge, in a peaceful protest and you were met with a billy club on your skull.
Do you have memory of that moment when you got beaten almost to death?
JOHN LEWIS, CIVIL RIGHTS ICON: I remember so well the moment that I was beaten and left the foot of the bridge. I thought I was going to die. I thought I saw death. I thought it was the last march.
Fifty-three years later, I don't know how I made it back across this bridge but apparently a group of individuals literally took me across the bridge back to the church where we left home.
But I do remember then back at the church and then someone asked me and then says something to do with the audience. And I stood up and said something like, I don't understand it, how President Johnson can send troops to Vietnam and cannot send troops to Selma, Alabama, to protect people whose only desire is to register to vote.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ALLEN: John Lewis spoke of making America better for everyone, no matter their race, color or where they were born. He also called on young people to exercise their power, urging them to get into what he always called "good trouble."
During that anniversary there in Selma in 2018, he had an inspiring answer for this 16-year-old with a question.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How can we wrestle with our parents in a way that is respectful so that we can aid them in seeing that normal children can fight in the movement and fight for justice as well?
LEWIS: Tell them that you have been touched by the spirit of history. (END VIDEO CLIP)
ALLEN: During that same event, Lewis told young civil rights protesters to be optimistic and never give up.
ALLEN: As the new school year looms closer in the U.S., many are wondering when students will return. But whether a few weeks or a few months, classrooms will look different. CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta shows us how much has changed in the age of the pandemic.
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: So you looking forward to the first day of school?
KEITH EVANS, HEADMASTER, THE WESTMINSTER SCHOOLS: I am. We have a group of students out there that are eager to get back, to see one another.
GUPTA (voice over): I don't relish the decisions that head masters like Keith Evans have to make about his 535 faculty and staff members and nearly 1,900 students at this school which includes my three daughters.
GUPTA (on camera): The cafeteria is going to feel very, very different as well.
EVANS: The cafeteria is going to absolutely feel different. And this will be -- students will come in and they'll grab lunch and go and eat in their classrooms and that kind of thing where we can maintain distance.
GUPTA (voice over): No surprise, physical distancing a key part of the CDC guidance. Also recommended, wearing masks, teaching good hand hygiene and not sharing supplies, like books and pencils.
GUPTA (on camera): If you could have anything you wanted that you don't have right now, what would it be? What would you like to have?
EVANS: We are really blessed with some great buildings and square footage here. That is -- that is the constraining factor, I think, in every school space. If you can -- if you can get the social distancing right and fit your program into it, it feels more normal and it -- and it works better. But -- but no school was designed to have students six feet apart, you know, anywhere.
GUPTA: Right. GUPTA (voice-over): Many other schools don't have that kind of space. And, truth is, that problem alone in classrooms, hallways, on buses, may prove too much for some schools to open this fall. But perhaps even more vexing is that more than six months after the first U.S. cases of coronavirus, we still can't definitively say what role do kids play in transition. One study found children carry just as much virus as adults and may be just as infectious.
But others have found differently. In one French study, a 9-year-old boy with symptoms of COVID-19 exposed over 80 classmates at three schools and none of those children contracted it. In New South Wales, nine infected students and nine staff across 15 schools exposed a total of 735 students and 128 staff to COVID-19. Only two secondary infections resulted. One possibly transmitted by an adult to a child.
DR. BENJAMIN LEE, PEDIATRIC INFECTIOUS DISEASE, UNIVERSITY OF VERMONT: With this virus, we now have lots of evidence that suggests that children are not drivers of the pandemic. They are far less susceptible to getting infected with the virus. And when they are infected, they're less likely to pass it along.
GUPTA: Enough evidence to persuade pediatric infectious disease specialist Dr. Benjamin Lee to co-author this commentary in the journal "Pediatrics."
LEE: The likelihood of children spreading the virus or transmitting it are still relatively low. However, in areas where there is a lot of transmission in the community, that could potentially increase the likelihood that an infected adult could step into the school setting.
GUPTA: Exposure from wherever is a concern for many teachers. According to a Kaiser Family Foundation analysis, nearly a quarter of all teachers in the United States have health conditions that make them more vulnerable to the coronavirus.
EVANS: We're planning for all of that as opposed to staying focused on students who have a more narrow band of risk in this. And so what it has meant was that from the very beginning we maximized kind of the safety protocols. We said, we're going to -- we're going to do the absolute limit of distancing, masking, sanitizing and so forth.
GUPTA: There are plenty of examples around the world where schools appear to have reopened safely, Germany, Norway. But there's also reminders that when social distancing restrictions were lifted early, like in Israel, large outbreaks followed the return to class.
In the end, it is a balance. No doubt closing schools can help curb this pandemic. How much? One model said closing schools would reduce COVID related deaths by 2 percent to 4 percent in the U.K. That's a lot or a little depending on how much virus is already in the community.
LEE: We need to move the conversation not towards whether schools should open or not, but towards how can we open the schools to ensure that they can open and remain open.
GUPTA: How to do that is a challenge.
EVANS: We are planning. And we're moving toward a particular end, but we're also eyes wide open, ears wide open, understanding how this is evolving and we understand the -- you know, next week, everything could change.
ALLEN: A lot of school leaders are asking for flexibility as they try to figure out as the data comes in what to do and how to react as far as opening. There is a growing debate over the rate of children transmitting the virus to each other and adults.
A study from Berlin's charity (ph) hospital found that children are just as infectious as adults. Several other studies suggest children do not play a big role.
Researchers in Geneva looked at 39 children with the virus and it was traced to another child in just three cases. Then a study in China found that 65 of 68 children with the virus likely got it from adults.
In France, as we mentioned in that report, a boy exposed more than 80 schoolmates. But not one of them contracted the virus.
It is now spreading across regions of Brazil that had avoided the worst of the pandemic so far. Those areas are mostly in the southern and central parts of the country. Brazil is reporting nearly 35,000 new COVID-19 cases on Friday alone, bringing the total to well beyond 2 million.
Because the transmission rate is so high there, researchers are turning to Brazil to test experimental vaccines.
Britain's prime minister wants the country to think about getting back to work in their actual offices as soon as August 1st. Boris Johnson says if workplaces are COVID-19 secure, employers should be able to decide if it is time to go back to the office.
He says he hopes the country can start a significant return for normal by November at the earliest. Yes, November. But Britain's chief medical officer says likely social distancing will be needed for a long time.
European Union leaders are trying to hammer out an $857 billion economic relief package. Easier said than done. The deal would help member countries rise out of the coronavirus recession.
Right now, the group is deadlocked with verification procedures among the points of contention. French president Emmanuel Macron urges member states to compromise.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
EMMANUEL MACRON, PRESIDENT OF FRANCE (through translator): It's a moment of truth and ambition for Europe. We are going through an unprecedented crisis on the health front as well as the social and economic front. It requires a lot more solidarity and ambition.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ALLEN: Let's talk it over with our Anna Stewart in London.
Good morning to you, Anna.
What's at stake with the discussions?
ANNA STEWART, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A lot at stake. To let you know, this meeting was yesterday. But late last night, they came to no agreement. So they will wrap up and start again very soon.
This is very much the first E.U. summit they faced for months. It's back in traditional style. Getting this recovery fund signed off is not just for the countries that really need the money to help recover economically but also if you think about the bloc as a whole.
Analysts say this speaks to the existential problems of the E.U. What you could see if this isn't signed off is a two-speed recovery. The wealthy northern countries recovering more than the southern European countries. That will inflame tensions.
We are seeing those tensions playing out. They are unable to reach agreement after many weeks. The main opposition here to the deal that's on the table comes from four nations, the frugal four. That is Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands and Austria. Natalie.
ALLEN: What are the sticking points as far as the nitty-gritty?
STEWART: When we look at this overall size of the package, over $850 billion, it is absolutely vast. The plan is to give out the money to the countries that need it with two-thirds grants, money that doesn't need to be paid back, handouts effectively. The other third would be loans.
Now this is where it has become controversial. From the beginning the frugal four nations are not in the idea of grants. They seem to have come on board slightly.
STEWART: They don't want to see their taxpayers footing the bill for countries that they view as less financially prudent and maybe could have committed to more fiscal reforms in the years preceding the pandemic.
They look at the grants as part of the package. If it is, they want fiscal reform and austerity and some say of how that works out. The Netherlands wants member states to veto any financial aid given out.
Austria is challenging the overall size of the package. This was the meeting yesterday. It is carrying on today. I would not be surprised if this bled through to tomorrow. ALLEN: All right, thanks, Anna Stewart, in London.
U.S. Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg says she is fully able to do her job despite a recurrence of cancer, this time in her liver. Ginsburg says she is responding well to chemotherapy and is maintaining a daily active routine. She's a fighter.
The 87-year-old is a mainstay of the court's liberal wing. Her health is always under a microscope since U.S. president Trump would seek to replace her with a conservative justice.
Queen Elizabeth performs an ancient ritual and gives a British hero a rare honor. You can now call him Captain Sir Thomas Moore. We will have this sweet story for you next.
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ALLEN (voice-over): Quite a special day here for British army captain Tom Moore, knighted by Queen Elizabeth at Windsor Castle Friday. The queen performed an ancient ceremony with the sword that belonged to her father, King George VI.
The frail World War II veteran was propelled into the spotlight as he raised $40 million for COVID-19 health workers by walking 100 laps in his garden. He performed his feat with the help of a walker ahead of his 100th birthday, which he celebrated April 30th.
It took him 24 days with his nation and donors worldwide cheering him every step of the way. All proceeds went to the U.K.'s National Health Service. Moore loved meeting Her Majesty, who also served in the war as a military mechanic and truck driver.
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CAPTAIN TOM MOORE, BRITISH ACTIVIST: I was overwhelmed by that moment. It isn't everybody gets a chance to see the queen and then (INAUDIBLE) absolutely marvelous for me.
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ALLEN: The queen gave her fellow veteran the Insignia of Knight Bachelor. He can now be called Captain Sir Thomas Moore. A delightful man there, what a moment.
Thank you so much for watching. You can join me on Instagram or Twitter and join me tomorrow. I'm Natalie Allen. Kim Brunhuber is up next with more news for you.