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CNN NEWSROOM

U.S. Nears 4 Million Cases with Nearly 142K Deaths; California Surpasses New York for Most U.S. Cases; Some COVID-19 Test Results Delayed up to Two Weeks; Growing Backlash against U.S. Forces in Portland; Federal Agents Beat Navy Veteran; U.K. Took Its "Eye off the Ball on Russian Meddling; U.S. Accuses Chinese Hackers Of Trying To Steal Vaccine Data; Many Israelis Frustrated Over Netanyahu's Handling Of Virus; Monsoon Rains Trigger Deadly Flooding On India. Aired 2-3a ET

Aired July 22, 2020 - 02:00   ET

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


[02:00:00]

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ROBYN CURNOW, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): I am Robyn Curnow. You are watching CNN NEWSROOM, live from CNN's world news headquarters here in Atlanta.

Coming up this hour, with death rates rising and poll numbers dropping, did Donald Trump finally acknowledge that coronavirus is not going away anytime soon?

Then, the new normal. Sobering reports about future election interference from Russia.

And the U.S. says Chinese hackers tried to steal coronavirus research.

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UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): Live from CNN Center, this is CNN NEWSROOM with Robyn Curnow.

CURNOW: For the first time in weeks, the daily death toll here in the United States surpassed 1,000 people. The country has reported more than 140,000 deaths in total, with almost 4 million cases confirmed.

But experts say the real numbers could be much, much higher. A study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that in some places, infection rates were actually many, many times greater than the official count.

The U.S. president is finally acknowledging the grim reality of the crisis after months of playing down the threat. In his first coronavirus briefing since April, Donald Trump said the pandemic is not expected to improve anytime soon.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Some areas of our country are doing very well. Others are doing less well. It will probably, unfortunately get worse before it gets better. That's something I don't like saying about things but that's the way it is. That's what we have.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CURNOW: With more than 409,000 cases confirmed, California has surpassed New York as the U.S. state with the highest number of infections. Now as that virus continues to spread across the country, some places actually are rolling back their reopening plans and imposing strict measures to try and contain the outbreak. Nick Watt explains.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

NICK WATT, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Down on the border, one Texas county just ordered everyone to stay home again, after 34 deaths in just 24 hours.

DR. IVAN MELENDEZ, HIDALGO COUNTY HEALTH AUTHORITY: We're a hot spot in a hot spot of a hot spot. The United States is a hot spot. Texas is a hot spot. And we're a hot spot of Texas.

WATT: In nearby Cameron County, they say the death toll is higher than their official count because they just can't keep up with this virus.

JUDGE EDDIE TREVINO JR., CAMERON COUNTY, TEXAS: It's not slowing down because there's a presidential election at the end of the year. The virus doesn't care. Do you? Do you care?

WATT: Similar story in Florida, right now averaging over 10,000 new cases a day, 54 hospitals and 27 counties now completely out of ICU beds. But the governor will not change course.

GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): We're going to get through it. I think we are on the right course.

WATT: But Miami is closing all cities summer camps after several kids tested positive. So, schools?

DR. JEROME ADAMS, SURGEON GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES: The biggest determinant of whether or not we can go back to school actually has little to nothing to do with the actual schools. It's your background transmission rate.

WATT: Missouri now seeing, on average, four times the new cases every day compared to late May. But the governor wants schools open. And the kids?

GOV. MIKE PARSON (R-MO): And if they do get COVID-19, which they will and they will when they go to school, they're not going to the hospitals. They're not going to have to sit in doctor's offices. They're going to go home. And they're going to get over it. WATT: Not necessarily. And who are they spreading it to at home?

Meanwhile, still long lines for tests in too many places. One leading lab says some results are taking up to two weeks.

JUDGE CLAY JENKINS (D-TX), DALLAS COUNTY: We have never had enough testing. The federal testing is way too slow. That's why we had to get rid of it.

WATT: But there are some early signs that what the American people are doing, masks, et cetera, is helping. First time in a week the U.S. dropped below 60,000 new cases in a day, but it's all relative. Hundreds are still dying every day. And it's regional, Idaho largely spared in the spring, been climbing alarmingly midsummer.

Today or tomorrow, California will probably surpass New York as the state with the most confirmed cases.

GOV. GAVIN NEWSOM (D-CA): We have to minimize our mixing. We have to minimize the transmission of this disease, be as vigilant as possible, to work through the next few critical weeks.

WATT: And nationwide probably for many months to come.

DR. MICHAEL OSTERHOLM, DIRECTOR, UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA CENTER FOR INFECTIOUS DISEASE RESEARCH: We're still at the beginning of this pandemic. That's what I find so difficult.

Most people are already done with it. They're over. They have decided they are not going to do anymore. Well, they don't get to choose. The virus chooses.

[02:05:00]

WATT: Here in California, officials say that the transmission is so great that they're having difficulty keeping up on the contact tracing, even with an army, they say, of contact tracers. They say it is impractical and difficult to do -- Nick Watt, CNN, Los Angeles.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CURNOW: Let's bring in Dr. Scott Miscovich, a family physician and national consultant for COVID-19 testing. He joins me from Hawaii.

Doctor, hi. Good to see you.

Good to see you.

CURNOW: We heard the president made an about turn based on polls rather than health stats.

Either way, is that too little too late?

Or is it a welcome message by doctors like you?

MISCOVICH: We will take anything at any time. But clearly, it is too little too late. Look at these surges we are seeing. For something as simple as standing up and recommending masks across the country, we could be reducing this over 4 to 8 weeks.

So look at the death rate. Look at the positive numbers. It's too little too late but we have to start somewhere. As a country, we can't look backward. We have to look forward.

CURNOW: We know the administration is also sitting on billions of dollars in unused funding that Congress allocated that months ago. This is coming from lawmakers on both sides of the divide.

How does that make you feel?

That money has not been spent, despite these huge shortages in testing supplies and delays in results?

MISCOVICH: That's exactly the right question to ask, because it starts with testing. We are seeing right now in the country the 10 to 14-day lag is just unacceptable because, of course, you mentioned contact tracing.

How do you contact trace someone in 10 to 14 days?

That money should be spent on testing and it should be spent on testing that could be available the same day. Testing is effectively available 12 to 24 hours. We heard in a press briefing from the president that he gets his results back in 8 hours. The rest of the country deserve some rapid test results as well.

CURNOW: This is America. You would think that something like that, by this stage, would have been sorted out. As a doctor, you are intimately involved in trying to get this improved.

Why is it taking so long?

MISCOVICH: I do believe there is a political divide. I think there has been an effort to just try to ignore this. I believe that -- we believe in the medical world that there should be probably at least 10 times the amount of testing that's available.

Look at the best practices. I studied very closely the last 24 hours with South Korea. The models in these successful countries start with rapid, aggressive testing that can broadly screen their populations. We are so far away from that. We will need months and months to catch up. But it has to start somewhere.

Why?

I think we have to start asking Washington that right now. It's a fairly pleasant thing to see that there is a little bit of a bipartisan push to get more testing going and more contact tracing.

CURNOW: And release that money.

What are folks telling you?

What are your patients telling you?

MISCOVICH: I am working as a national and international consultant. I am working with groups across the country. We are getting called immediately by so many different organizations, so many different states.

And it's in the crises phase. So I have been on the front lines. I look at the people face to face and they are unsure. They are scared.

But once you give them a test, whether it's positive or negative, it does give them reassurance if they have access and that the government or county or city cares about them. But they are terrified right now. The people of our country are very afraid.

CURNOW: There is also so much mistrust. I know I have asked other doctors this but I have yet to hear from you. We know that there were steps that, even if there was a vaccine right now, only 50 percent, around 50 percent of Americans would actually take it. That's the level of distrust Americans have, not just in the medical system but in science.

MISCOVICH: Here is another point -- here is another point I think you have to add on to that. Most people don't even understand that the FDA guidelines for the vaccine that is going through the clinical trials, the benchmark it is shooting for is 50 percent effectiveness.

That's because we get 50 percent of the population immune and then you have another 10 or 15 percent that have, it you are achieving the herd immunity. If you are only going to get 50 percent, the whole concept is anybody who can get immunity is going to stop reducing the transmission rates.

But we need the country to understand, vaccine is not the panacea. It is going to rely on us to do the right thing as a country.

[02:10:00]

MISCOVICH: Wear your masks and socially distance, as we're hearing over and over again.

CURNOW: Doctor, we appreciate you joining us. Thank you, very, very much.

There is certainly a lot of hope. We were talking about this now riding on these coronavirus vaccines. A particular one being developed at Oxford University could actually have its fate determined in South Africa. David McKenzie joins me now from Johannesburg with more.

Hi, David. Great to see you. You heard the doctor there. Explain why Oxford University is using South Africa in many ways as a platform.

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Certainly. Oxford University developed experimental vaccines, that's one of the best hopes of getting a workable vaccine that may be some time next year. The phase 2-3 trial as they describe it, is critical to that effort. But they are up against some pretty incredible odds. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Oxford vaccine produces a strong immunity response in patients.

MCKENZIE: It was the announcement he was hoping for.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This isn't it, right?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is far from it.

MCKENZIE: But the head of South Africa's arm of the Oxford study is far from comforted.

SHABIR MADHI, VACCINE TRIAL HEAD: That's what keeps me awake at night now. That we're doing to study first on the African continent, but we bring it in the midst of a pandemic.

MCKENZIE: Madhi's team is testing the same experimental vaccine in the middle of a COVID-19 storm. We are even finding enough negative volunteers to make up their 2,000 participants study is a challenge.

MADHI: It might be all that we fail, not because the vaccine doesn't work in protecting people, but simply because the force of exposure is so tremendous, so this is really going to test the mettle of this vaccine.

MCKENZIE: South Africa's number of confirmed cases out ranks among the highest in the world. What happens here over the next few weeks the WHO warns is a troubling marker of what the rest of the continent could face.

MADHI: We could experience multiple waves of an outbreak for the next two to three years, so to think that it is going to probably break the back of this pandemic at the end of the day, not just in South Africa but globally is a vaccine.

MCKENZIE: In just the last few weeks, Neliswa Zozi has seen colleagues fall ill, family to.

NELISWA ZOZI, VACCINE TRIAL NURSE: So, by doing this, for me, it means a lot. Because we are not only trying for the community, we are trying for our lives also, for our families also.

MCKENZIE: Her hours here at the trial site are long, same for the

team inside the lab, working seven days a week, 16 hours a day. But no one is doubting their sense of purpose as cases surge. All the potential payoff when the South African results are expected to be released in November.

MADHI: If this vaccine works, under these circumstances in South Africa, then those vaccine would work anywhere.

MCKENZIE: Its high risk, high reward.

MADHI: Exactly.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

MCKENZIE: They are certainly working there at that lab extremely hard, Robyn. In fact, they will move to 24 hours a day soon, it seems, 2 or 3 shifts a day to try to do all they can to get those volunteers enrolled in this vaccine trial and then see whether this vaccine, experimental vaccine, is both safe and effective in trying to curb the spread and develop immunity, long-lasting immunity, for people that take it. Robyn?

CURNOW: This is also a key point.

Why is it important that vaccines need to be tested in different parts of the world?

MCKENZIE: Normally, vaccines take 5 to 20 years to really develop and fully go to market. What Professor Madhi was telling us is that it's important to tested in different regions, amongst different populations that have different characteristics.

Just because a vaccine works in the U.K. doesn't mean it necessarily will work all across the world. So it's important to accelerate the possible access to low and middle income countries, that they do these trials in places like South Africa, Brazil, as many places as they can.

As you heard from the leader of that vaccine trial, you need to have some level of infection going on in the community so that you can test it. But because the infection rate in South Africa is so high, according to the scientists, it really poses a challenge to see whether this vaccine will in fact work, as you said.

If they can do it here, then there is a good chance this particular vaccine could be at least an answer. But no time soon. They're talking about a second or third quarter next year of the initial batches of this vaccine going out.

CURNOW: Thank you so much, a COVID storm, as you reported. Stay safe, David, and all of you folks in South Africa.

[02:15:00]

CURNOW: Ahead on NEWSROOM here at CNN, we will look at the newly released report raising very serious questions about whether Russia has been meddling in British politics for years.

Plus, federal forces on the streets in a major U.S. city. Their presence is very controversial. How one administration official is defending this mission.

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(MUSIC PLAYING) CURNOW: Backlash is growing against the presence of U.S. forces in

Portland, Oregon.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CURNOW (voice-over): Once again, a sizeable crowd of protesters gathered, led by so-called Wall of Moms. Last, week federal agents began cracking down on demonstrators protesting police brutality and systematic racism.

Video showed officers carrying guns without clear identification on their camouflage clothing. They arrested people and took them away in unmarked vehicles.

Oregon's attorney general filed suit, alleging the arrests lacked probable cause. Then in an interview with CNN's Chris Cuomo, the acting deputy secretary of Homeland Security insisted his officers are operating legally.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KEN CUCCINELLI, ACTING DIRECTOR, CITIZENSHIP AND IMMIGRATION SERVICES: We're acting, first of all, at the president's insistence --

(CROSSTALK)

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: Well, I believe that.

CUCCINELLI: -- to protect this area of the community. Let me finish. But it's only within the boundaries of our federal jurisdiction. That doesn't cover all of Portland.

CUOMO: But he's not talking about buildings.

CUCCINELLI: -- these areas.

CUOMO: He's not talking about buildings.

He's saying "I don't like what's happening in these cities" --

CUCCINELLI: But in each place -- each --

CUOMO: -- "that are run by Democrats."

CUCCINELLI: That's true. We're staying within the boundaries of that federal legal authority and we're part of the executive branch.

CUOMO: Right.

CUCCINELLI: We work for the president.

CUOMO: But do you think the president should be sending your guys --

CUCCINELLI: But we are -- we are not going outside that boundary.

CUOMO: -- to every city? Do you think the president should be sending your guys to every city,

where he doesn't like the situation on the streets?

CUCCINELLI: Chris, there are a lot of cities he doesn't like --

CUOMO: I know.

CUCCINELLI: -- the situation on the streets. And he hasn't sent us --

CUOMO: He said he's thinking of Chicago.

CUCCINELLI: -- and he hasn't sent us to every city.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CURNOW: One Navy veteran saw federal officers on the scene and decided to ask why they were there. Chris David's encounter was captured on video. Take a look at this.

He is the man in the white sweatshirt and a backpack. He also told Chris that when he approached the agents to talk, they pushed him, started beating him as you can see with batons and sprayed him with pepper spray.

[02:20:00]

CURNOW: He said his hand is broken into places and he needs surgery. Take a listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHRIS DAVID, U.S. NAVY (RET.): When they came rushing out of the courthouse, they ran into the intersection and plowed into a bunch of protesters and knocked them down.

So what I did is I walked out of the park and into street and I stopped in the street, a few feet from the curb and I stood there.

And after they had sort of dealt with the folks in the intersection, it seems they started to surround me and I was standing there, trying to have a discussion with them about whether they were honoring their oath to the Constitution.

At that point, one of the gentlemen came up and leveled his semi- automatic weapon at my chest. And then, another individual plowed into me and knocked me back a couple feet.

And, at that point, all I did was get ready for the beating. I relaxed my body. I stopped talking. And then they proceeded to beat me and pepper spray me until I would leave.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CURNOW: The U.S. Marshals Service said David was not complying with lawful commands to move away from the deputies. We will continue to monitor that story. Also on CNN, a new report from a British parliamentary committee says

the U.K. took its, quote, "eye off the ball" when it came to investigating allegations of Russian interference and its politics. That includes the 2016 Brexit referendum.

The report goes as far as saying Russian influence is also the new normal. The Kremlin is denying the allegations as Nick Paton Walsh now reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A long awaited report here that critics say is essentially nine months late from when it could have been published.

And to some degree, it points a finger of blame at the U.K. intelligence community for simply not looking into the scale of the potential for Russia to influence Britain's democracy before the key moment here, which in 2016 referendum to leave the European Union, that eventually will lead to Britain leaving E.U. later on this year.

The report says that had the threats been assessed ahead of that referendum, it would have, quote, "been inconceivable for Britain not to have acted to reduce Russian influence."

But it also says it's impossible to gauge whether or not Russia did in fact impact that referendum results. They do say in the same report that there are, quote, "credible open source." Reporting suggest that perhaps Russia was able to impact the Scottish referendum for independence in 2014.

But more broadly, it points to the scale of this report of Russian influence in the U.K. It calls that the new normal.

It also points to an intelligence community that dealt with the issue of who should be responsible for containing Russia's influence as quote, "a hot potato," something which neither MI5, in charge of domestic security; MI6, in charge for intelligence or GCHQ, that do sort of this eavesdropping cyber security abroad, necessarily wanted to have entirely on their plate.

It asked for greater legislation perhaps to tackle the Russian threat and that posed by hostile state actors. And also to it's critical of some of the recent governments over the past decades decisions to allow large amounts of Russian wealth into the country, often against what they think may have been national security interests.

But essentially the big question, did Russia influence or change the results of the 2016 referendum?

Not really answered by this report because simply it seems the intelligence gathering may not have been done before that referendum. But a call, it seems for reform, for change, for greater focus amongst Britain's intelligence community, certainly delivered by this long- awaited and intensely politicized report -- Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, London. (END VIDEOTAPE)

CURNOW: CNN national security analyst Steve Hall joins me from Arizona. He is the former CIA chief of Russia and Ukraine operations.

Steve, hi. Good to see you. I know we have spoken a lot over the years. This is interesting. This report is damning, saying the U.K. dropped the ball on Russian interference and, quote, "no one protected British democracy from Russian influence."

What is your take on this?

STEVE HALL, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Robyn, I have had the opportunity to work with some of the British intelligence services over the years. My experience, especially with regards to Russia, has always been that they are the best allied service to work with.

So it is difficult for me to believe that somehow they just missed that, especially if you look at how the Russians have done business over the past couple years in the U.K. You have a couple of GRU goons that can basically take the train over and get on a bus to go to Salisbury and conduct an assassination attempt, a failed one, on Mr. Skripal.

This is not particularly subtle stuff. Influence operations are a bit more sophisticated, more difficult to detect but I am quite sure that the U.K. intelligence services have been up to the task.

CURNOW: So Nick Paton Walsh ended the report saying this is deeply politicized.

[02:25:00]

CURNOW: Do you think that's what's at play here?

In fact at this press conference, the MPs and Intelligence Committee seem more angry with the government than the spies, than with the Kremlin.

Whose hands does that play into?

HALL: The question is answered pretty obviously by Putin. He is the one who benefits. This is the type of politicizing that Russia really, really benefits from. We have certainly seen that here in the United States.

I don't know how many times I have said, look, this is really not a Republican problem. It's not a Democratic or a party problem. It's an American problem. We have an adversary attacking us.

The same holds true now in the U.K. Russia is interested in dividing and making Western democracies less strong, weakening them along social and political lines. When you have politicians going against each other, whether the United States, the U.K., France, Germany, any of those locations, that's what Putin wants to see.

CURNOW: What are the implications here for the U.S. and other countries?

Clearly there was a problem. There is concern that the ball was dropped.

But it's not just about election interference. It's also about Russian money and how that has corrupted politics. In many ways, that has been certainly stark in London. We know there are unnamed members of the House of Lords and politicians who apparently receive money from Russians or work for Russian companies.

HALL: Again, this is something we are constantly frustrated with. You have Russia taking advantage of open societies, of democracies, of Western business practices. For a number of different reasons, the Russians have always felt very comfortable doing business, doing banking in the U.K. Russian oligarchs often want to have London or other locations in Great Britain as fallback positions where they have nice houses if things don't go well in Russia.

It's a hard line for democracies to walk. On the one hand, you want there to be a free flow of business. You want there to be openness. You want foreign investors to play an important role in the economy.

But when foreign investors also have malign intentions and are an adversarial country like Russia, it is really hard for politicians and societies to figure out, how do we deal with these folks who are not wishing any good on us but want to participate in our economies?

That is just part of living in an open democracy. It is hard to walk that line.

CURNOW: You said you are supportive of British intelligence services. And you are complimentary of them. This report seems to say that they and the government badly underestimated the response needed and that agencies failed to really ask the hard questions on whether or not the Kremlin had interfered in the Brexit vote.

That is still sort of an open, floating question. In fact, they said it was actively avoided.

What does that mean for elections going forward, then?

HALL: Yes, there is an important distinction to be made there. The first is that it's my belief the Western intelligence services, Americans, British, others, are very well informed and understand what Russia's long term goals are geopolitically.

They also understand -- and certainly since 2016 attacks on our presidential election in the United States -- they also understand the modalities. That is different from what the reports, a piece of the report, a sentence I'm remembering says, that the intelligence services in the U.K. declined to say whether or not Russia's attempts were effective.

That's because the intelligence services there, just like in the United States, here don't spy on their own people.

They don't go around asking did you cooperate with the robbery?

Did you change your vote?

They are looking externally towards the threat. So it's not really their job to make the assessment. That is what happened in the United States when we were asked, did Putin manage to get more people to vote for Donald Trump?

And the answer is we don't know because we are looking at the Russians, not what American citizens are doing, just like the U.K. looking at what Russians are doing versus what British people are thinking about and voting for in terms of Brexit.

CURNOW: Thanks for the distinction. Steve Hall. Another part of this report is that Russian influence is so deep that it is, quote, "the new normal."

Steve, good to see you. Have a good week.

HALL: My pleasure.

CURNOW: U.S. prosecutors saying Chinese hackers tried to steal coronavirus vaccine research.

Was China's government in on it?

We will dig into that.

[02:30:00]

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CURNOW: I'm Robyn Curnow. It's 32 minutes past the hour. We are live from CNN Center here in Atlanta. Good to have you along. So, this is a story we're following here at CNN as well, two Chinese nationals face charges in the U.S. that they tried to steal research about a coronavirus vaccine.

Now, the charges were unsealed on Tuesday. The defendants are believed to be in China. U.S. prosecutors say the suspects worked both to benefit themselves and sometimes on behalf of China's intelligence services. Well, let's go straight to Kristie Lu Stout in Hong Kong. Hi Kristie. Tell us more.

KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The details are really stunning here. In the United States, two Chinese hackers have been charged in a sweeping cyberespionage and crime campaign that according to his prosecutors had the support of Beijing and targeted COVID-19 research institutions in the United States. These are research organizations that were focusing on Coronavirus vaccines and treatments.

Now, this is what we know about this alleged cyber espionage campaign. It goes back about 10 years. It has amassed terabytes of data, worth hundreds of billions of dollars. It involves two Chinese hackers, both former electrical engineering students believed to be currently residing in China.

And the indictment goes through an astonishingly long list of alleged targets including COVID-19 research groups in the U.S. from Massachusetts and Maryland to California. Hundreds of firms in 10 countries around the world including an artificial intelligence firm in the U.K., a solar energy company in Australia, also targeted dissidents and human rights activists.

The indictment also says that the e-mail passwords of a pro-democracy campaigner, as well as a former Tiananmen Square protester, were also targeted. Now, Robyn, for months now, we know that senior U.S. security officials have warned that Chinese hackers were attempting to infiltrate COVID-19 research institutions.

This is an allegation that China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs has responded to. And if we could bring it up for you a statement that was made by a spokesperson who said earlier this. "The confrontational mindset, reminiscent of Cold War will only poison the atmosphere cooperation and will not be conducive to peace and security of cyberspace. Some U.S. politicians seem to be alleging that China is waging cyberattacks to steal U.S. research on COVID-19 vaccines. It is just absurd."

Now, Robyn, that statement was issued by Hua Chunying watching some four days ago. The indictment was released just this week, so we are expecting a fresh statement from Beijing later in the day. Back to you.

CURNOW: But still, why is China accused of supporting them, that you know, they're not lone wolves? Is this a state-sponsored hacking. I mean, that's the big question here, isn't it?

[02:35:03]

STOUT: And that is the core question here. Now, these two individuals according to this indictment were private contractors, private hackers, but U.S. prosecutors allege that they were working with the support of Beijing, that they were working with Chinese intelligence agents. In fact, it says in detail that they work with an officer with the Chinese Ministry of State Security.

Now, when you talk to cybersecurity firms like Mandiant, like FireEye, they say that this is part of a pattern, that China in the past has used mercenary hackers or patriotic hackers because it gives them wider access to a wider array of cyber espionage talent. Robyn?

CURNOW: OK, that's fascinating. Kristie Lu Stout there live in Hong Kong. Thanks, Kristie. So the Coronavirus is taking an increasingly devastating toll across Latin America as it is across the entire world. Let's talk about Argentina first. It saw a record daily rise in new cases, more than 5,300 just on Tuesday alone. There were also more than 100 deaths, the highest daily fatality count there yet.

And then in Brazil, they were more than 41,000 new infections on Tuesday alone. The country is now second only to the U.S. Regional officials warn, there could be more to come. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CARISSA ETIENNE, DIRECTOR, PAN AMERICAN HEALTH ORGANIZATION: The COVID-19 pandemic is showing no signs of slowing down in our region. During the last week, there were almost 900,000 new cases and nearly 22,000 deaths reported in our region. Most of these within Brazil, Mexico, and the United States of America.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CURNOW: Well, the surge in cases are straining hospitals across the region. Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru are all seeing increased infections and hospitalizations. And that's resulting, of course, in dwindling resources for the influx of patients. Here's Stefano Pozzebon.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

STEFANO POZZEBON, JOURNALIST: This group of patients is waiting to be admitted into a hospital in Arequipa, Peru. Inside, there is no space in the wards, so patients young and old have to wait outside in a parking spot. The country has registered more than 350,000 cases. And even though Peru was one of the earliest South American countries to be hit by the virus, cases are far from dropping.

LEONARDO CHIRINOS, PHYSICIAN, PERU (through translator): In the last four or five days, there has been a dramatic increase in the loss of life. Over the last few days, there has been an increase averaging nearly 20 deaths per day.

POZZEBON: And a dire outlook from the Pan American Health Organization, the pandemic is showing no signs of slowing down with significant surges in Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru. Colombia capital, Bogota, has at least 65,000 cases. Doctors here have urged authorities to reimpose strict lockdown measures that were first lifted over a month ago when the virus seemed on its way out. They worried that Columbia's hospital would rapidly reach capacity as cases recently surged.

Bogota's mayor, Claudia Lopez, has urged citizens to follow the existing protocols, imposing lockdowns only in the most affected areas. She assures the hospitals won't be overrun, but warns of the heavy economic price to pay if a stricter lockdown is imposed.

For the past four months, Colombia has invested heavily in preparing for this moment, purchasing extra ventilators and increasing its testing capacity. On the front line, like in this Hospital in Bogota, doubts are creeping in and doctors feel worried the efforts might not be enough.

JOSE CELY, PHYSICIAN, COLUMBIA (through translator): My greatest fear is that when this will be over, we will have to count who didn't make it.

POZZEBON: Stefano Pozzebon, CNN Bogota.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CURNOW: And it was once seen as the world's worst hotspot, but now Italy's health minister says the country is out of the storm of the pandemic. However, he warns there is still are ways to go in eliminating the virus and that the crisis will only be over once a successful vaccine is developed. Well, the Italian government reported nearly 130 new cases on Tuesday and just 15 deaths.

Coronavirus and corruption claims against the prime minister are drawing Israelis into the streets. Israel is experiencing a recent surge in the virus and there's a lot of confusion and anger about the country's restrictions. Here's Oren Liebermann with me on that.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This was forbidden at 5:00 Tuesday morning but allowed by noon. It was forbidden Friday at sunrise, but OK by sunset.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If it wasn't so frustrating and sad, it would have been funny.

LIEBERMANN: Israel's Coronavirus restrictions have become a mixed plate of rules that sometimes change by the hour. Itamar Navon says he was determined to open his restaurant Mona, even if it meant open defiance of the latest government restrictions. He wants a long-term solution, not patchwork rules and regulations.

ITAMAR NAVON, CHEF AND OWNER, MONA: We're businessmen. We know how to work our business, we know how to calculate our models, but we need some answers. We can't have it that the government plays with us all day, and it really feels like they're playing with us and they're playing with each other instead of taking this crisis seriously.

[02:40:12]

LIEBERMANN: The government instructed restaurants to close Tuesday morning, a decision that was reversed a few hours later in the Knesset with some lawmakers saying data showed restaurants were not a major source of infection. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has tried to show he's in charge of leading the country through the Coronavirus crisis. But in the midst of a rise of new confirmed cases, public trust in Israel's longest-serving leader has plummeted.

It's been a revolving door of protests outside the Prime Minister's residence here in Jerusalem. There's the black flag protests against corruption, the economic protests against the government's handling of the coronavirus crisis. We've seen pro-annexation protests, anti- annexation protests, and now there's a restaurant owners protests to express their frustration with the government's handling of all of this.

Restaurant owners prep meals from their surplus stock, food they say would have otherwise been thrown away because of the changing rules around restaurants. BARAK AHARONI, CHEF, ALENA: The idea behind it is that because the

government and the state doesn't take care of the people, then instead of us just throwing food away, we can just serve it to people who cannot afford it to themself in this situation that we're having right now in the country.

LIEBERMANN: The confusion has spread beyond the kitchen. The special Knesset committee to deal with Coronavirus started with a simple goal.

Let's give rules that the public is able to understand, said the committee head. But ended up producing more confusion about what's open and with what restrictions because of major disagreements between the Knesset committee and the government.

Much of the country, and beaches, gyms, pools, and more, all stuck in this limbo of limitations. Oren Lieberman, CNN Jerusalem.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CURNOW: Thanks, Oren, for that report. So, coming up, thousands of villages are underwater. The raging floods are inundating parts of India. We have a report on this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

CURNOW: Welcome back. So, we know that relentless monsoon rains are still triggering very deadly floods across parts of Asia. In India's Assam state, dozens of people have been killed and so many more have been displaced. Villages have flooded hampering efforts to contain the coronavirus. India has the third-highest number of cases in the world behind the U.S. and Brazil.

Well, let's go straight to Pedram Javaheri. Pedram is following all of this. And again, hi, Pedram. Good to see you. These images really starkly showing, you know, the state of what is happening there.

[02:45:24]

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN INTERNATIONAL METEOROLOGIST: Yes. You know, it's incredible. And it's not even doing a justice given what's happened for so long now here. At least 40-plus days of tremendous rainfall, really now kind of culminating across portions of Eastern Asia, and as you noted, portions of northeastern India into Bangladesh, really an incredible sight taking place.

Official saying the aerial perspective not only looks like this, but once you get on the ground, very little on the ground is considered dry. You got to get to the top of treetops. That's the dry spots kind of right above the water surface and then rooftops and that is about it in some of these communities. And the persistence of the monsoonal rains, which we know bring the vast majority of the rainfall any given season to this area, they're higher by about 10 to 12 percent above what is typical in the wet season.

So, scenes like this playing out across portions of southern, central, eastern China as well. In fact, we know the Yangtze River, significant flooding taking place along China's longest river. 400 of its tributaries also taking on water. And officials estimating the economic toll could exceed over $12 billion when it's said and done across this area. Of course, fatalities have come with it as well. Over 150 fatalities, about two million people already displaced as a result in the persistence.

Again, this is the time of year you see it from the month of May through portions of mid-June on into the latter portion of July. That's the tail end of the monsoon. So we know at least the northern tier of all of this should begin to push in towards say Inner Mongolia region on into portions of the Korean Peninsula. But again, the wet weather at least within the next week still continues in that region.

Now when we shift the attention on over towards areas of say, Bangladesh, this is how it's looking across that area with tremendous rainfall. A lot of markets, a lot of communities completely submerged by water. And folks, of course, even reporting deaths not just because of flooding, but deaths because of snake bites.

Three of them reported across portions of Bangladesh simply because of how much water has pushed into some of these communities. And of course, wildlife has been moved across this area and they seek higher ground as well. And guess where they end up, right across your property there and the rainfall continues off towards the northeastern portion of India.

And when you look at this area, we know 18 of Bangladesh's 64 districts reporting some flooding as well. So about a third of the nation underwater across some of these areas. So incredible sight taking place there, Robyn.

CURNOW: It really is. Thanks so much for that update. All our viewers there, hopefully stay safe and stay dry if you can. I appreciate that, Pedram. I'll speak to you tomorrow.

So, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will arrive in Denmark in the coming hours. When he landed in London a little bit earlier on this week, he also landed in the middle of a growing spat between the U.K. and China. And he weighed in on that as well after meeting with his British counterpart as well as the Prime Minister. Here's Nic Robertson with the details. Nic?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Well, they talked about Iran, they talked about Russia, they talked about COVID-19, they talked about the Mideast peace plan. But it was China and Hong Kong that seemed to take up most of the conversation. Certainly, that was the way it played out in the press conference with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab.

And Pompeo congratulated Britain for the decision last week to stop using Huawei 5G equipment in the UK's 5G network. And he commended Britain on the decision taken about Hong Kong and the new national security law deciding to end the extradition treaty with Hong Kong. So, praise from Secretary of State Pompeo for Britain's actions connected to China. And then, of course, the question, was this related to pressure on the

U.K. to -- because it wants a good and strong free trade agreement with the United States. Secretary Pompeo answered it this way.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MIKE POMPEO, SECRETARY OF STATE, UNITED STATES: I think the United Kingdom made a good decision, but I think that decision was made not because the United States said it was a good decision, but because the leadership here in the United Kingdom concluded the right thing to do was to make that decision for the people of the United Kingdom.

ROBERTSON: Well, the U.S. Secretary of State very clearly pushing back there, but it doesn't really change the perception, certainly the Chinese perception of the way the U.S.-U.K. relationship is going at the moment. And that point made very clear by a spokesman of the Chinese Foreign Ministry saying that Britain shouldn't continue down this path. It's going on, the one that it has taken over Hong Kong, saying that there would be resolute action from China if it did. Nic Robertson, CNN, London.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CURNOW: Thanks, Nic. So, the U.K. Supreme Court is hearing a final appeal this week in a case over employment rights for Uber drivers. The drivers want the ride-sharing company to treat them not as good contractors but as employees entitled to a minimum wage, sick leave, and other benefits. Well, Scott McLean now report the court's decision could really radically change the rights of gig workers in Britain. Scott?

[02:50:15]

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

YASEEN ASLAM, LEAD CLAIMANT, UBER U.K. LAWSUIT: So yes, we're just trying to do what's right. We're just trying to make sure that you know, people haven't been abused.

SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: For years, Aslam has been fighting for some of Britain's most vulnerable workforce, gig economy drivers. This lawsuit against Uber is being heard this week in the U.K. Supreme Court. A win could force Uber to treat its drivers as employees are entitled to the minimum wage and the right to unionize. Islam says the timing of the case is ironic.

Protests demanding racial equality have brought millions to the streets around the world using a range of tactics to voice their discontent, targeting police brutality, police funding, and racism in old symbols. But largely unscathed, corporate America which arguably holds the most power to correct racial income disparities.

Perhaps that's because one by one, corporate giants have lined up to echo the protesters' message/ Uber, the $57 billion ride-hailing giant has been among the most vocal, declaring it stands with those peacefully protesting injustice, hatred, and racism. It's also pledging $1 million to equality causes and giving a special perk to black-owned businesses, a move some called the form of discrimination, other said it was merely window dressing.

ASLAM: I think all Uber cares about is money. The way the model is set, it's all about mass recruiting drivers, it's all about exploiting the workforce.

MCLEAN: But if you follow Uber's public statements, they sound pretty woke.

ASLAM: Well, this is it with Uber. They're really very good at their P.R., and that's exactly what they're doing.

MCLEAN: You think Uber is better at sort of token gestures than meaningful change?

ASLAM: That's correct. That's correct.

MCLEAN: In London, 94 percent of all private hire drivers are ethnic minorities. Uber, like its competitors, has long resisted legal challenges in Europe, in the U.S., that would give more protections to drivers through measures like a minimum wage or guaranteeing paid sick leave.

DARA KHOSROWSHAHI, CEO, UBER: I think that we're treating our workers as human beings, right. I think the number one reason why our drivers like Uber is because they have complete control and autonomy to do what they want when they want.

MCLEAN: Aslam's nonprofit found the net hourly income of even so- called top drivers in 2016 was just over five pounds per hour. But with 2018 study funded in part by Uber down the median was more than 11.

Aslam thinks improving pay would help black and minority drivers a lot more than statements and donations.

ASLAM: It's just not good enough just coming out going to a protest and shouting out Black Lives Matters. The fact is what are we doing to make sure there's equality, regardless of whether you're Black, or Asian, White, whatever race you form, there is equality and there is no exploitation or abuse of any kind of people.

MCLEAN: They could make a big difference.

ASLAM: That's correct. So, Uber could make a big difference.

MCLEAN: Scott McLean, CNN, London.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CURNOW: So coming up, banks and businesses need you to spare some change. Details on America's COVID-19 coin shortage. That's ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) CURNOW: It still seems the right time, doesn't it, to check behind the sofa cushions, smash open the kids' piggy bank and check those pockets of any loose change. Tom Foreman reports now on the shortage of coins caused by COVID-19.

[02:55:09]

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's not enough coins being distributed around.

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Business to business, coast to coast, the nation is being shortchanged with not enough quarters, dimes, nickels, and pennies to go around.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm just kind of concerned about the fact that change is not available for businesses like this place here.

FOREMAN: U.S. mints make billions of coins each year, yet some businesses are so strapped for change, they've stopped taking cash all together, raising alarms among the big money folks in government.

JEROME POWELL, CHAIRMAN, FEDERAL RESERVE: Stores have been closed so the whole system of flow has kind of come to a stop.

FOREMAN: Here's how it happened. When the pandemic hit countless businesses shut their doors, including some that get a lot of coins from customers. That stopped the flow to banks so they could not restock the change drawers. And when the banks turned to the mints, well, the mints had cut back production too.

So the problem was compounded, especially for businesses that deal in a great deal of cash and to roughly 25 percent of Americans who use cash much more than debit or credit cards.The Retail Industry Leaders Association calls it a perfect storm.

AUSTEN JENSEN, RETAIL INDUSTRY LEADERS ASSOCIATION: Think about the restaurants, clothing stores, malls, movie theaters, all that cash flow that was usually going into the system, ceased.

FOREMAN: The impact has been so profound; some banks and businesses are buying change from whomever has it. Walmart told CNN we're asking customers to pay with card or use correct change when possible if they need to pay with cash.

STEVE MNUCHIN, TREASURY SECRETARY, UNITED STATES: The mint is working overtime.

FOREMAN: For now, trade groups are urging people to dig out their old coins and get them into play.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We got about close to $73.00 in change.

FOREMAN: At least until the pandemic economy makes more sense.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wow, you save the day. FOREMAN: Some businesses are rounding or rounding down on all of their

cash deals now, but most say that can't go on indefinitely. They need a much bigger change when it comes to change. Tom Foreman, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

CURNOW: So, thanks for watching. I'm Robyn Curnow live from Atlanta. The news of course continues with Rosemary Church. Enjoy.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

END