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Florida Reports More Than 10K New Cases, Dozens Of Deaths; "The New York Times": White House Pushed Responsibility For COVID-19 Crisis Onto States; Camouflaged Federal Agents Arresting Protesters In Portland; U.S. Flags Lowered To Half-Staff Honoring Rep. John Lewis; States Provoke Clashes As More Announce Mask Mandates; Israel Imposes Restrictions Amid Surge In New Cases. Aired 3-4a ET
Aired July 19, 2020 - 03:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): The new world epicenter of the coronavirus, the U.S. state of Florida. Cases surging so quickly they're running out of ICU beds.
President Trump under fire. New information surfacing about how the White House's early steps in the pandemic led to a deeper crisis.
And a look at the legacy left by civil rights icon Congressman John Lewis.
Coming to you live from CNN World Headquarters in Atlanta, hello, everyone, welcome to our viewers in the U.S. and around the world. I'm Natalie Allen. CNN NEWSROOM starts right now.
ALLEN: We begin with a record surge in the coronavirus pandemic as it rapidly spreads through the world. The World Health Organization said Saturday nearly 260,000 new infections were reported over a 24-hour period. It is the biggest spike in a single day so far.
According to Johns Hopkins, the total number of cases is now beyond 14 million, with more than 600,000 people dead. One quarter of the cases are in the United States. New infections are on the rise in most states, including Florida. A local official says the virus is out of control and needs a coordinated response.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAYOR DAN GELBER (D), MIAMI BEACH, FL: Right now we do not have a handle on this at all. It has a handle on us, really. When we talk about opening things, the governor and the president are all for it. They sent us mandates about opening up schools.
But when it comes to closing things, which is the tough medicine we're asking people to follow, and making sacrifices by wearing masks, it's like their voices are nonexistent. (END VIDEO CLIP)
ALLEN: On Saturday, health officials in Florida reported more than 10,000 new infections and, keep in mind, that's just the total for one day. CNN's Rosa Flores has more from the current epicenter, Miami.
ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The state of Florida reporting more than 10,000 new cases on Saturday. Here in Miami-Dade County, where I am, this is the epicenter of the crisis here in this state, accounting for about 24 percent of the now nearly 340,000 cases.
ICU capacity right now in Miami-Dade County is at about 122 percent. This is according to county data. The goal is not to exceed 70 percent. For the past few days, the county has exceeded 100 percent.
Here are the numbers for Saturday. There are 484 COVID-19 patients and 396 beds. Now the good news is that the county says they have more than 400 beds that they can convert into ICU beds.
When it comes to ventilator use in the past two weeks, it has increased by 64 percent. Now I wish I could give you a full report on the positivity rate in this county. But today when we went to go look for the data, it was not presented by the county.
We asked the county about this and they sent us this statement, saying, "County officials are meeting with state DOH" -- Department of Health -- "statisticians on Monday to go over discrepancies in the way the state and county collect and report testing data.
"Once all agree on the appropriate parameters, Miami-Dade County will be updating the daily dashboard to ensure as much of an accurate measure as is statistically possible."
Now the state of Florida has had some issues with transparency and now apparently also with the quality of the data that is being presented here.
What I can tell you about the positivity rate here in Miami-Dade County is that yesterday it was at 27 percent and the goal for the county is not to exceed 10 percent. For the past 14 days it had been exceeding 22 percent.
With all that said, governor Ron DeSantis had a press conference on Saturday. And if you would have listened to the entire press conference, you would have walked away thinking that Florida has it all under control -- Rosa Flores, CNN, Miami.
ALLEN: The mayor of Los Angeles is making testing a priority. He's sending mobile teams around the city to test people showing symptoms of COVID-19. This comes as hospitalizations and case numbers have hit record highs in Los Angeles County. CNN's Paul Vercammen is there.
PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Los Angeles city leaders say a way to stop the tide of bad COVID-19 numbers is through testing and then contact tracing and finding out just who does or doesn't have COVID- 19.
Testing here at the Crenshaw Christian Center in this neighborhood, predominantly black and Latino, the council president here, Herb Wesson, said he would be in favor of even more shutdowns in Los Angeles and Los Angeles County to get after this rising problem.
He also said that he wants to see more leadership out of the White House.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HERB WESSON, LOS ANGELES CITY COUNCIL: Now this is not a time when government shrinks. This is when government rises. This is when government does what the people hired us to do, take care of them, make sure they're safe.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VERCAMMEN: Wesson is also critical of California's governor. He said part of the problem now is he believes governor Newsom reopened California way too soon -- reporting from Los Angeles, I'm Paul Vercammen, now back to you.
ALLEN: President Trump has started to hold tele-rallies instead of appearing in person. He spoke by phone to an audience in Wisconsin Friday. The Trump campaign says they're not ruling out in-person rallies but the decision to go remote comes weeks after a rally in Oklahoma brought out disappointing crowds and health experts say led to a surge in virus cases.
And we're learning more about how the White House's early steps in the pandemic led to a deeper crisis. Here's Jeremy Diamond.
JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, amid this rise in coronavirus cases across the United States, we're learning more about some of the decisions made right here at the White House that led to where we are today.
And that is specifically the decision in mid-April for the White House to begin focusing on reopening the economy and shifting responsibility for the future of this pandemic over to the states.
And what we're learning, and according to this new "The New York Times" report that goes really in-depth into some of this decision- making, is that Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House's Coronavirus Task Force coordinator was actually central to some of those decisions being made, in particular because it appears she was overly optimistic about some of these models that was showing the United States was getting the coronavirus pandemic under control back in mid-April.
Of course the reality proved to be that the United States was not like Italy, for example, as Dr. Birx thought the United States might be, meaning a peak, a surge of coronavirus cases and then bringing those cases down.
Instead, the United States remains at a pretty high plateau. And then now we are seeing this resurgence once again. Now it was in June when White House officials, according to "The New York Times" report, actually became aware that their predictions were wrong, that the coronavirus wasn't working as effectively, that they had underestimated the extent to which President Trump's comments about reopening, focusing on that rather than focusing on the mitigation efforts, the extent to which that really undid a lot of the progress that was already happening across the United States.
But one thing that we have not seen is President Trump shifting his rhetoric. In fact, in recent weeks, as recently as this past week, we have still heard the president continue to downplay the threat of coronavirus and continue to be at odds with the science.
On Saturday, the president was talking in an interview with FOX News about the fact that he disagrees with what the CDC director is saying about mask wearing. That still, as we're seeing these surging coronavirus cases in more than half the states across the country -- Jeremy Diamond, CNN, the White House.
ALLEN: Let's talk more about what's going on with Dr. Raj Kalsi in Illinois.
Thank you for coming on, Doctor.
DR. RAJ KALSI, EMERGENCY MEDICINE PHYSICIAN: Thank you.
ALLEN: First step, I want to talk about that interview in the report. The president's still downplaying the pandemic and pushing back on mask wearing.
Is his stance affecting where we on this as a country?
KALSI: Maybe. I think about that, too. And I'm starting to see in the emergency departments that I work at, I worked tonight a long shift, where I had to fight with some patient family members to let them know, you can't come in the hospital without a mask, that's just the policy.
And I hear some of these governors talking about conspiracies and that COVID isn't real and that sort of thing. It's lost on me, Natalie.
[03:10:00] KALSI: I think we should pay attention to the people in science and people in local governance, who seem to know what they're doing for the betterment of our community.
ALLEN: Yes, absolutely. That has been a conflict, of course, in many states across the country. There in Illinois, for the most part, where numbers have leveled off, you locked down early. There was clear and consistent information from the state and, for the most part, people in Illinois, I've read, have worn masks.
The positivity rate in Illinois, 2.9 percent. And let's look at Florida, where it's been 18 percent or more.
What lessons can be learned from your state that Florida perhaps could use right now?
KALSI: Well, simply what you said, perhaps Florida needs to dial back. To see the droves of people out there without masks and so comfortable that they can foray out into the community and not worry about this or it's an older person's disease or it's a disease of other people that have medical problems or co-morbidities is unfortunate in terms of a way of thinking, because this is still such an important thing that you can control for your neighbor, for your community if you convey this virus to somebody else.
And they can learn that from Illinois, how we did mask and we did lock down early and we did follow the guidelines. And to this day, it seems like we're doing OK.
ALLEN: Well, the White House, we've learned, is objecting to Senate Republicans pushing for more money for the CDC for testing and tracing. And hardhit states right now, it is taking days to get test results back.
Does that complicate trying to reduce the spread?
KALSI: Absolutely. This has been the biggest thing that we talk about, boots on the ground as doctors. We all need access to rapid tests where we get a result in 20 to 30 minutes. I have that in one of my biggest institutions but I don't have it in six other ERs that I work at. That's just unacceptable.
When somebody comes to get a COVID test, everything is predicated on that result.
How long are they quarantined?
Who else is quarantined in the house?
Can they go back to work?
Can they bring food on the table? Can they pay their bills because they can go back to work?
What about seeing Grandma and Grandpa, seeing their kids and doing day care? Everything depends on that result. yet, here we are still begging for rapid results. When we go back to school with these kids and they come back home with fevers, they're not going to get rapid results.
ALLEN: Right, I was going to ask you about that. There is such a quagmire over schools and teachers, families, trying to figure out what to do. You have to feel for people that are trying to make these decisions that run schools.
What are the risks as they try and figure out how they perhaps can do this safely?
KALSI: You know, it's a wonderful question. It's the question. I sit on a board as a doctor, advising a local community district. And one of the things I've been trying to convince them to understand is that, in the first two to three weeks of any school year, kids are going to get viruses.
We're not talking about COVID, we're talking about simple viruses like cold viruses, fevers from strep throat, things that happen when kids get together, share their germs and come home at 2:00 or 3:00 in the afternoon or earlier because they have a fever.
And I just don't think that the schools have the checks and balances in place to be able to screen children that are coming in and them have a great way to social distance them once they do register as flagging for a COVID symptom.
And then how long are we going to keep all these kids quarantined?
Ultimately, the in-person component of schools will be shut down and we'll all go back to remote.
ALLEN: Absolutely. Everyone wants their kids back in school. I know you have kids as well but it's like, how do you do it? We always appreciate your expertise and your time. You're so very busy, thank you very much, Dr. Raj Kalsi.
KALSI: Thanks, Natalie, stay safe.
ALLEN: Thank you, you, too.
Now police in Portland, Oregon, have deployed tear gas as protesters continue to gather. The demonstrators have been calling out racial inequality and police brutality for more than 50 days now.
As CNN reported earlier, officials put up reinforced steel fencing around the federal building that has been repeatedly vandalized. That fence has now been dismantled. Josh Campbell is in Portland for us. He's been watching the developments tonight.
What is the very latest, Josh?
JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Let me show you what that fencing looks like now. You see the pieces here on the ground. Earlier, this whole area was surrounded by this metal fencing. And that was brought in because you see a lot of the graffiti and the
defacing of federal property on the other side. That is something that authorities tried to stop by erecting this barrier out here.
I can tell you, it took some of these protesters about 20 minutes to defeat that fence and to get it down.
CAMPBELL: Now we can see them in and around this area. We have seen protesters who have continued to build, the numbers that have been coming out, as you mentioned, police did come out of this building. We're kind of on high alert. It could happen at any time.
Inside this federal building are several heavily armed federal agents. They're willing to come out and use dispersants. We were tear gassed ourselves as we were in and among this crowd. They were using dispersants. They're trying to push people back.
One thing it did do in the short it term, they achieved their goal in getting everyone away from this bidding but it also really agitated this group. They're frustrated before; they're now very angry.
As you mentioned, this has been going on for over 50 days. People who are here demanding racial justice, demanding that, in their view, excessive use of force by police stop. And here in Portland there continues to be this showdown between federal agents.
President Trump has ordered a number of officers here, agents from the Department of Homeland Security. Local officials want the Feds to leave. Protesters want the Feds to leave. President Trump says that they are staying. As long as there's this type of vandalism that we see, they're going to have federal agents here.
It's a cycle where the more officers from the federal side are here, the more protesters are angry and these protests continue night after night.
ALLEN: All right, it's a shame that there can't be any dialogue, something to defuse this, other than what you're seeing and what people are experiencing there. Thank you so much, Josh Campbell, bringing us the latest on that situation. We know you'll continue to follow it.
The United States continues to mourn the loss of a towering figure in the fight for racial equality. John Lewis was the last surviving member of the big six leaders of the civil rights era. Next we look back at his life and legacy.
(MUSIC PLAYING) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN LEWIS, CIVIL RIGHTS ICON: My mother, my father, my grandparents, my great-grandparents always said to me when I asked them questions about the signs that said white waiting, colored waiting; white men, colored men; white women, colored women.
They said, don't get in trouble. don't get in the way. But I was inspired to get in the way. I was inspired to get in trouble, good trouble, necessary trouble.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ALLEN: John Lewis right there in 2016, talking about what drove him early on to get involved in the civil rights movement. The long-time congressman and social justice icon died Friday after battling pancreatic cancer. He was 80 years old.
For much of his life, Lewis worked to make sure every American enjoyed the rights and freedoms promised in the Constitution. Fellow civil rights champion and former U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Andrew Young spoke with CNN about Lewis' humble character.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDREW YOUNG, CIVIL RIGHTS LEADER, FORMER U.S. CONGRESSMAN: John's strength was his humility. He had almost no ego. No sense of his own self-importance. But he had a sense of his spiritual power.
And he also had a very charming personality where even when you disagreed with him you couldn't get mad with him. And I think and he didn't, he learned to disagree without being disagreeable.
And that's, and for other reasons, one reason we all lived so long is we had no anger in our movement. We understood the complications of racism and we saw it as a sickness, not something that people were -- you know, you don't get angry with anybody having polio.
And you don't get angry with people if they were born in a situation that deprived them of the love and understanding of different races, agendas that made them prejudiced.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ALLEN: Another icon right there, Andrew Young.
Congressman Lewis influenced and inspired many of his political colleagues. CNN's Wolf Blitzer spoke with Senator Cory Booker about John Lewis' legacy.
SEN. CORY BOOKER (D-NJ): Since he was a teenager, he was on the frontlines of the fight for justice in America. The youngest person to speak on the March on Washington, leading a major protest from freedom rights to pivotal marches like the fall on Bloody Sunday on the pediment Edmund Pettus Bridge.
But even in his senior years, he was there at the center of the well of the House of Representatives, fighting for just about every major issue from immigration reform to the rights of LGBTQ Americans.
He's got an extraordinary career and he did it in a way and a society that can often being too materialistic, too much about possessions and position.
He showed you that in this country, you have true power which comes from your capacity to love, your dignity, your grace, and your unrelenting commitment to make true the virtues of this country put down on our founding documents, but yet to be achieved in a reality for all.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: He was truly an amazing American. I had the honor and pleasure of interviewing him on many occasions, and he was always, always wonderful. You told "The Atlantic," Senator, earlier today, and I'm quoting you now, there are lots of ways to honor him, and I will be very frustrated if we stop it with words and not with real legislative action.
So how do you want to see him honored?
BOOKER: Well, you know, I'm scrolling through Instagram and Twitter today and seeing lots of people post niceties to him, and we all should I have, but the reality is, is John was insistent on so much more, and I don't think he wants his legacy to be the words people say about him in his death, but how we choose to live like him while we have our remaining years here.
BOOKER: And so there is unfinished business. I can't imagine the sting that he must have felt to literally bleed the southern soil read for voting rights, than to watch those voting rights to be eroded with the Shelby decision and with state law after state law, as one state North Carolina federal judge said that they were now designing laws with surgical-like precision to disenfranchise African-Americans, and so there's a lot more work to be done.
And I think that the beauty and the power of Congressman Lewis was that he held a sense of redemption, redemptive opportunity to the Bull Connors, to the man that fractured his skull.
But what he was really often challenging was those of us that are comfortable, those of us that are bystanders. He said, and you said it in your tape, he challenged us to get in the way. He challenged us to be about good trouble, not to just be witnesses to history, but to get out there and make it happen.
ALLEN: Some of John Lewis' fellow lawmakers have tried to pay tribute but totally missed the mark. One of them, Republican senator Marco Rubio. He tweeted this photo of himself, not with John Lewis but Elijah Cummings, the Congress man who died last year. Rubio has since updated his Twitter page with a photo of Lewis.
But he wasn't alone. Another Republican senator, Dan Sullivan from Alaska, had the same mistake on his Facebook page. A spokesman blamed his staff.
A virus hot spot in the southern U.S. erupts into a political battle between the Republican governor and the Democratic mayor of the state's largest city. That would be right here in Atlanta.
And frustrated business owners aren't sure whom to listen to. We'll have the story coming up next here.
ALLEN: Welcome back to our viewers here in the U.S. and around the world. I'm Natalie Allen. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM.
Well, for all the bad news we're hearing, there may be a positive development in the battle against the coronavirus. For the first time, U.S. regulators are giving the green light to pool testing. Samples from four people could be done at the same time to speed up the process.
Meanwhile, the Centers for Disease Control and prevention have issued new guidance. People without symptoms only have to isolate for 10 days or fewer if back to back tests more than 24 hours apart came back testing negative.
The virus has infected upwards of 14 million people worldwide and killed more than 600,000.
An unpublished report to the White House task force identified Georgia as one of 18 U.S. states in a virus red zone where reopening should be rolled back. But when the mayor of Atlanta tried to do just that, the governor sued. The high-profile dispute has created a lot of confusion for business owners. Here's Natasha Chen here in Atlanta.
NATASHA CHEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Tensions have been growing between Atlanta mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and Georgia governor Brian Kemp, who sued Atlanta officials late in the week over the city's rollback to phase one.
That's the recommendations that calls for restaurants and other businesses to go back to curbside pickup or delivery only. The governor said that no local jurisdiction can make any rules more or less restrictive than what he's made for the entire state.
The city mayor has said that this is a political move. She said taxpayer dollars are better spent expanding testing and contact tracing. The business owners we've spoken to in Atlanta have found this extremely frustrating, not knowing what to do because their local and state leaders can't agree. Here's what they said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're not getting the answers. So it's like, we're having to make decisions on our own on how to do this. It's a political game. I call it a political pickle that we're in that we don't want to be in because I don't want people to see us as choosing sides.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHEN: In Georgia, the trend of new cases has been climbing steadily upward, especially in the first half of July since the pandemic began. More than 3,000 Georgians have died of COVID-19 and more than 100,000 have tested positive, including the mayor herself -- Natasha Chen, CNN, Atlanta.
ALLEN: We heard the frustration from that business owner there. Many Americans are deeply split over how to fight COVID-19. One group wants everyone to wear masks in public. The other feels being forced to do so infringes on their freedom. Now some influential companies have made their choice. Here's CNN's Tom Foreman.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE)! There's no pandemic!
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In the fury over face masks, the confrontations are growing fast, even as the business community is rocked by declining sales, layoffs and angry investors.
Now, some big names are saying enough. Walmart is requiring everyone to wear masks in its more than 5,000 stores in the U.S. and Puerto Rico. Target is doing the same and Walgreens too.
Home Depot and Lowe's new mask mandates roll out next week. So, are Apple, Best Buy, Costco, CVS and, in all 9,000 of its U.S. locations, Starbucks is saying if you want that latte, you must mask up.
KEVIN JOHNSON, CEO, STARBUCKS: It's just avid and it's going to help us all reduce the spread of COVID and that's the right thing to do.
FOREMAN: The movement is intriguing because President Trump has cited concerns about business time and again as he has pushed to reopen the economy and shoved away the idea of any government requirement for masks. Some of his closest allies are at least embracing the science and favor of them now.
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): I'm here to tell you, put it on.
FOREMAN: But others are still vigorously resisting. GOV. BRIAN KEMP (R-GA): I refuse to sit back and watch as disastrous policies threaten the lives and livelihoods of our citizens.
FOREMAN: Georgia's governor won't order a statewide mask rule and is forbidding towns from enforcing their own, citing the flailing economy is one reason to not impose any impediments to consumers. He is suing the mayor of Atlanta for allegedly violating his order by requiring masks in the city.
She tested positive for COVID and is flabbergasted.
MAYOR KEISHA LANCE BOTTOMS (D), ATLANTA, GA: This is not a political stance.
BOTTOMS: This is about the lives of people. And the people in my city are dying.
FOREMAN: For government, the issue remains complicated. In Utah, a county meeting about trying to send kids back to school erupted when unmasked people packed the room.
TANNER AINGE, COMMISSION CHAIRMAN, UTAH COUNTY COMMISSION: I'm going to suspend the rules and I'm going to make a motion to continue this entire meeting to another date.
FOREMAN: But for businesses, the way forward suddenly seems much clearer. Indeed, many CEOs from some huge companies are pushing governors coast-to-coast to enforce mask mandates, in other words, to take the role the businessman president and his pals have so far refused to embrace -- Tom Foreman, CNN, Washington.
ALLEN: Coronavirus numbers climbed higher in Brazil, with more than 900 deaths reported Saturday. Total cases there now have topped 2 million. The numbers are partly driven by a rise in the country's south and interior. There are lockdowns in several regions and one state reports 90 percent of all ICU beds are occupied.
Only the United States has been hit harder. Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro greeted people outside his residence for the first time since he tested positive. He wore a mask and kept his distance, saying unemployment, hunger and misery kill more than the virus does.
Some advanced vaccine studies are underway in Brazil, partly because of its coronavirus troubles but also because of its research centers and experience distributing vaccines. For more about it, Shasta Darlington reports from Sao Paulo.
SHASTA DARLINGTON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Brazilian doctor Vinicius Campos lives his life helping others, providing care to help people deal with illness. But now he's taken that mission one step further.
Campos is taking part in phase three clinical trials of an experimental coronavirus vaccine developed by U.K. pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca and Oxford University.
DR. VINICIUS CAMPOS, VACCINE STUDY PARTICIPANT (through translator): I was motivated to help. I know the importance of having a well-designed clinical study, of having participants so it's a well-done clinical study. I'm not scared. It's likely a safe vaccine.
DARLINGTON (voice-over): Campos is one of several thousand volunteers, mostly health workers from Brazil's biggest city, Sao Paulo. Half of the volunteers are receiving the experimental COVID-19 vaccine while the others receive a meningitis vaccine which can provoke similar symptoms. They are then closely monitored by the vaccine team.
CAMPOS (through translator): I have to fill out a virtual questionnaire that I received in my email. It asks if I have any symptoms, if I have a fever. In the first few days, it was more specific. Now it's more about symptoms and fever. It asked if I had any injuries, any wound at the site of the vaccine.
DARLINGTON (voice-over): The AstraZeneca trial is one of two phase three studies underway in Brazil and is one of only three in the world to have reached this advanced stage.
The Chinese biotech firm Sinovac is testing its experimental vaccine here in partnership with locally based Instituto Butantan; 9,000 volunteers will participate. Several factors combine to make Brazil an attractive market for COVID-19 vaccine trials.
One reason, its internationally renowned research centers. But it's also because of the country's rapid COVID-19 transmission rate. In the last few days, Brazil achieved an unenviable milestone, registering more than 2 million cases of infections, second only to the United States.
It also has the second highest number of confirmed deaths. Scenes like these are common across the country. Some here see these ongoing vaccine trials as a positive step in battling this deadly disease and the chance to gain access to vaccines if they're approved.
ELCIO FRANCO, BRAZILIAN PUBLIC HEALTH OFFICIAL (through translator): The agreement provides for the purchase of lots of vaccine and technology transfer. The initiative therefore not only guarantees that the product is available but will give autonomy in production.
DARLINGTON (voice-over): Preliminary results of the trials are expected by the end of the year -- Shasta Darlington, CNN, Sao Paulo
ALLEN: A new study found that a baby had been infected by coronavirus while still in the womb. We'll tell you how doctors say it happened and why they're encouraged by some of what they're learning. That's next. (MUSIC PLAYING)
ALLEN: Israel's government is reimposing strict limitations on the public as coronavirus cases surge in a second wave. Starting this weekend, most places where people can gather have been closed, like malls, museums and zoos. Beaches will close next weekend.
It's the country's attempt to limit the spread of coronavirus as Israel nears a second total lockdown. Oren Liebermann is in Jerusalem for us live.
You have to wonder what happened. Israel was looking good. And then this happened. And now they're back to square one, sort of.
OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: In mid-May, you're absolutely right, Israel looked like it was leading the world in terms of containing the coronavirus and getting back to reopening with new cases. And only 25 new cases a day or so and then a surge, 1,900 cases in a day, far more than the 25 or so we saw a couple months ago.
And that record broke other records set earlier in the week. Now it's a question of how can this be contained. And we see this reimposition of lockdown measures. Not a complete closure; Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu is trying to avoid that because of unemployment more than 21 percent.
But it is essentially a full weekend closure when beaches close next week and more limitations on public gathering during the week itself.
The question, is this enough or a second closure on the horizon for the country?
Meanwhile, the public's approval of the government's handling of the coronavirus crisis is plummeting. There were large protests in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv on Saturday night and it used to be they had a focus, either anti-corruption, anti-Netanyahu or the economic situation.
But now they have combined and they're growing off of each other as the protests, the frustration, the anger spreads.
ALLEN: Yes, that doesn't look good for the prime minister. And meantime, he has his bribery trial to deal with.
What's the latest on that, Oren?
LIEBERMANN: So today is the official second day of the trial on charges of breach of trust, fraud and bribery. Today's largely a procedural day. Netanyahu doesn't even have to be there.
What we have learned is the trial itself, the part where we hear evidence, will begin in January, where there will be three hearings a week, where we hear evidence, we hear from witnesses. And that will certainly add more pressure to Netanyahu as he tries to remain prime minister here in what's essentially supposed to be a rotation government.
ALLEN: All right. Oren Liebermann, we appreciate you. Thanks so much.
A doctor in France says a woman who contracted COVID-19 toward the end of her pregnancy passed it to the infant in her womb. Newly-published research indicates the virus was transmitted through the placenta. It is a disturbing development but the study also holds reasons for hope. Our Cyril Vanier has the story from Paris.
CYRIL VANIER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Dr. Daniele DeLuca specializes in critical care for newborns at this hospital outside Paris.
At the height of the pandemic in France, late March, dozens of pregnant mothers presenting severe coronavirus symptoms are admitted here. In a research paper recently published in the medical journal "Nature," the doctor says it's now confirmed that one of the mothers transmitted the virus to her unborn child.
DR. DANIELE DELUCA, HEAD OF NEONATAL CLINICAL CARE, HOPITAL ANTOINE- BECLERE: This is the reality. The view virus can pass through the placenta to the baby. In the beginning we're told, well this is never going to happen, this is not true. That's the reality and that's the bad news.
VANIER: The doctor said the virus was present in the mother's blood, which was rare and was then transmitted through the placenta and when the baby boy was delivered, he tested positive for the virus.
(on camera): There were already strong suspicions of what is called neonatal transmission, but Dr. DeLuca says his study confirms it.
The hospital carried out half a dozen test on the baby boy, swabs, blood tests, tests of the placenta, the cord, the embryonic fluid, all within an hour of the birth. All confirming that the baby was indeed infected before he even came into this world.
(voice-over): Within 24 hours, the newborn presented severe neurological complications, cerebral inflammation and irregular muscle movements.
DELUCA: I cannot deny that. In the beginning we were very worried, these are our set of symptoms, so we were worried. And then as I told you, they improved pretty steadily. We're very happy.
VANIER: The virus left no lasting damage and the baby was discharged from the hospital less than three weeks later. DELUCA: When it happens, wow, as you see the baby, it's most likely going to recover pretty soon alone.
VANIER: According to the doctor, there is now growing evidence that newborns are resistant to COVID-19 and the best news of all, he says, neonatal transmission of the virus remains extremely rare -- Cyril Vanier, CNN, Paris.
ALLEN: Next here on CNN NEWSROOM, sumo is back in Japan, so are the fans, despite rising coronavirus numbers. We'll get the latest on this from Tokyo.
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ALLEN (voice-over): The umpire will not be calling play ball in Toronto this season. The Toronto Blue Jays baseball team canceled all home games due to coronavirus fears after Canada's federal government denied them permission to play.
It decided that Canadians' health could not be adequately protected because the team and their opponents would travel to and from coronavirus hotspots in the U.S. No word yet on where the Jays will play home games. The Canada-U.S. border is closed for non-essential travel until August 21st.
And the first preseason games of baseball's COVID-19 era are now in the books. The New York Yankees clobbered the Mets 9-3. Clint Frazier pounded a two-run homer into the empty stands at City Field. The Cleveland Indians beat the Pirates and the Phillies beat last year's World Series champs, the Washington Nationals.
Opening day of the shortened 60-game season is Thursday.
Two more U.S. military personnel in Okinawa, Japan, have tested positive for the coronavirus. That brings the total number of cases on U.S. military bases in Japan to 143. The Japanese defense minister is asking the U.S. to test all military personnel coming to the country.
The numbers are rising across the country, including in Tokyo, where thousands of fans will be attending a sumo tournament. It's coming back. Journalist Kaori Enjoji has this one.
KAORI ENJOJI, JOURNALIST: Even some sumo fans are surprised they're being let in to watch a match so soon. It was a last-minute decision before this 15-day grand sumo tournament and it comes at a time when new coronavirus cases are climbing in Tokyo to record levels.
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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): Letting fans in is good for Japan and good for wrestlers so long as we take every precaution. I just think the timing is a little bad.
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ENJOJI: Baseball opened up to spectators last week but that's outdoors. Sumo is indoors and sumo is the only sport in Japan to have one of its athletes die from COVID-19 back in May.
It's a contact sport competitors are virtually naked. In an era of social distancing, it might be a template for sports like judo and boxing. Organizers are being extra cautious; 2,500 people are going in, that's 25 percent of capacity. No shouting, just clapping, please.
These are the spectator guidelines that are becoming the standard across all sporting events here in Japan.
ENJOJI (voice-over): Masks and temperature checks are so common nowadays that it doesn't feel unusual anymore. But the virus has wiped out many of the rituals that go with the ancient sport of sumo: the pre-match ritual of power water, wrestlers taking a sip of water from a shared ladle, not today.
A ritual that did happen was one to pray for safety. Salt and rice, traditional offerings, were buried in the ring. The favorites to win are the two yokozuna, who are the highest-ranked wrestlers. But it will be disorienting to wrestle in front of a 25 percent full arena, maybe not quite as much as an empty arena back in March but enough to make this one of the most unpredictable sumo tournaments in years -- Kaori Enjoji for CNN, Tokyo.
ALLEN: The pandemic could not stop a royal wedding. Britain's Princess Beatrice was supposed to marry Italian businessman Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi in May but the couple opted for a private ceremony Saturday at Windsor Castle instead. Buckingham Palace says the couple followed coronavirus guidelines and had only close family in attendance.
And as you can see there, including Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip.
I'm Natalie Allen. I invite you to follow me on Twitter or Instagram and also stay with me for another hour of NEWSROOM. I'll be right back.