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Russia Claims First Coronavirus Vaccine Within Two Weeks; Trump: "Nobody Likes Me"; British Prime Minister Warns Europe Is Seeing Signs of "Second Wave"; CDC: Trump Slow to Recognize Threat from Europe; Democrats Clash with Attorney General on Host of Issues. Aired 2-3a ET
Aired July 29, 2020 - 02:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Hello and welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm John Vause.
Coming up on CNN NEWSROOM, as nations around the world brace for a vaccine, Russia now says it could have one ready to go in less than 2 weeks.
Plus, one of the world's most populous countries just crossed a milestone in coronavirus cases. We are live in New Delhi.
Muslims celebrating Eid al-Adha but it is a lot different this year. How the pandemic has impacted the Hajj pilgrimage.
VAUSE: We will begin with a CNN exclusive. Mark the date, August 10th. That's one officials in Russia say a vaccine for the coronavirus will receive approval, maybe even sooner.
This will be a global first in what Russia is branding as a Sputnik moment. But the pace of development and a decision to cut corners on human trials is raising serious safety concerns. CNN's senior international correspondent Matthew Chance has exclusive details from Moscow.
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Russian officials are calling it a Sputnik moment, a technological leap like the unexpected launch into space of the first satellite back in the 1950s.
Now Russian officials say it's the coronavirus vaccine that is being launched into the global pandemic to highlight Russian scientific achievement. This is the clearest indication we've had yet as to when that Russian vaccine will be approved for us. Russian officials telling CNN they're working towards a date of August the 10th, perhaps even earlier, extraordinarily quick, party according to Russian officials, because of the technology they are using.
They've used it successfully in the past on other vaccines but also, undeniably, because human trials would still be incomplete when the vaccine is approved. Russian officials tell CNN that third phase human trials will be conducted only in parallel with the vaccination of frontline medical workers.
Risky, of course, but given the acute coronavirus problem in Russia, which has reported the fourth highest number of infections in the world, it's apparently a risk that the authorities here are willing to take.
There is enormous skepticism around the world about the effectiveness and the safety of this Russian vaccine. Critics say Russia's push for it comes amid political pressure from the Kremlin and allegations that Russian spies hacked U.S., Canadian and British labs for vaccine secrets.
Also, no test data has been released by Russia so far. The Russian officials now tell me that that data will be made available for publication and peer review early next month, which will undoubtedly attract a great deal of international scrutiny -- Matthew Chance, CNN, Moscow.
VAUSE: Around the world, 25 potential vaccines are in clinical trials. Many are reporting signs of progress.
In the U.S., Pfizer and its German partner, BioNTech, began advanced trials for one of their candidates. Volunteers were injected on Monday. The trials will eventually see 30,000 participants. If it works, up to 100 million doses could be ready by the end of the year, 1.3 billion by the end of next year.
Brazil expects distribution of 15 million doses of the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine by the end of December, that is, assuming it is safe. Thousands of Brazilian volunteers are taking part in phase 3 trials.
And here in the U.S., five states now reporting a record number of deaths in the past 24 hours: California, Florida, Arkansas, Montana and Oregon. Despite that Donald Trump once again touting the unproven drug, hydroxychloroquine, as a treatment, which every study has found it ineffective, harmful and even fatal.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I happen to think it works in the early stages. Many front line medical people believe that, too, some, many. And so we'll take a look at it.
But the one thing we know, it's been out for a long time. It doesn't cause problems. I had no problem. I had absolutely no problem, felt no different, didn't feel good, bad or indifferent. I -- and I tested, as you know, it didn't -- it didn't get me and it's not going to hopefully hurt anybody.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: The overwhelming, prevailing clinical trials that have looked at the efficacy of hydroxychloroquine have indicated that it is not effective in coronavirus disease.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: With the death toll of the United States approaching 150,000, the U.S. president on Tuesday complained about all the attention and approval that Dr. Anthony Fauci is getting from the U.S. public.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: He's got this high approval rating.
So why don't I have a high approval rating with respect -- and the administration, with respect to the virus?
So, it's sort of -- it's curious. A man works for us, with us very closely, Dr. Fauci. And Dr. Birx, also highly thought of. And yet they're highly thought of but nobody likes me. That's all.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Compared to last week, death rates are rising in almost 30 U.S. states and starting August 11th, Alaska will no longer accept visitors, unless they have tested negative for the coronavirus. Here is CNN's Nick Watt with more from around the United States.
NICK WATT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The day Florida started to reopen May 4, there were 819 new cases confirmed in the state, today 11 times that, 9,210. And the state's highest death toll to date.
MAYOR DAN GELBER (D-FL), MIAMI BEACH: We've got to get the virus down. We've got to get our contact tracing in place, we've learned that we didn't have enough people at all to sort of even call people up and say you need to quarantine. Who else were you with?
WATT: The city of Miami now offering free tests for kids across the state. Cases and children and teens have climbed. But across the country, many test results are still taking so long that they're basically worthless.
FAUCI: We just can't afford yet again another surge. If you are trying to open up please, do it in a way that's in accordance with the guidelines.
WATT: Along with that Sun Belt surge concern now moving a little north, average daily case counts now higher. Along with that Sun Belt surge concern they're moving a little north, average daily case counts now higher than ever.
In Arkansas, Missouri, Oklahoma and Tennessee where despite this plea from Dr. Deborah Birx --
DR. DEBORAH BIRX, WHITE HOUSE CORONAVIRUS TASK FORCE RESPONSE COORDINATOR: Stop going to bars and indeed close the bars.
WATT: The governor just won't. Many places this now also a major concern, crowds of unmasked concert goers in Colorado, driving Chainsmokers gig in swanky South Hampton, New York, but people got out of their cars and mingled unmasked. Videos like this have sparked an investigation.
GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): It was a gross violation of common sense.
WATT: New Jersey cops say they spent hours breaking up a 700-strong mansion party at an Airbnb rental.
GOV. PHIL MURPHY (D-NJ): You're looking for trouble. You're absolutely looking for trouble.
WATT: Meanwhile, for more Miami Marlins have tested positive according to ESPN. All their games this week now postponed, the Yankees Phillies series also postponed.
ROB MANFRED, MLB COMMISSIONER: A team losing a number of players that rendered a completely noncompetitive would be an issue that we would have to address whether that was shutting down a part of the season, the whole season.
WATT: And football preseason games have been cancelled. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced in an open letter, the regular season still on but every player and coach currently subject to daily tests. According to Goodell, this process has not been easy.
Here in California, excitement on Tuesday. Only 6,000 new cases reported by the state, well below the 9,000-plus average that we've been seeing recently.
And then a state official came out and said, hang on, we think there might be a delay in reporting and that is why the number is so low. California, still really in the teeth of this -- Nick Watt, CNN, Los Angeles.
VAUSE: The presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, Joe Biden, took another swipe at how the president has responded to the pandemic.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, FORMER U.S. VICE PRESIDENT AND PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Donald Trump faces a real test, and he's failed it, the basic threshold of being president, the duty to care for the entire country, not just his reelection prospects.
He's shown that he can't beat the pandemic and keep you safe. He can't turn the economy around and get America back to work.
And he is, horrifyingly and not surprisingly, intentionally stoking the flames of division and racism in this country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: For his campaign event, vice president Biden unveiled a plan for financially aid for minority owned businesses. He says first time home buyers under his administration will receive a $15,000 refundable tax credit.
British prime minister Boris Johnson is warning of a resurgence of coronavirus in parts of Europe. He is defending new travel restrictions imposed by the U.K., saying the time to act is now. CNN's Nic Robertson has details from London.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Here in London, the British prime minister, Boris Johnson, says there are signs that a second coronavirus wave is hitting Europe.
This comes hard on the heels of a surprise decision by the British government over the weekend to impose 14-day quarantine on British tourists returning from Spain.
ROBERTSON: The Spanish prime minister has called the decision unjust. There is disagreement between Britain and Spain over this. The British prime minister defending his position.
But across Europe at the moment, we are seeing increases in coronavirus cases in Croatia, Belgium, Germany and France. The British government very aware that it was very heavily criticized for not acting swiftly enough during the first wave of the pandemic.
People in the country complained they should have put quarantine measures in place then for international travelers, pushed back on the tourism industry in the U.K. But the prime minister defending this decision -- Nic Robertson, CNN, London.
VAUSE: Dr. Ron Daniels is an intensive care physician with the U.K. National Health Service and joins us now from Birmingham, England.
Thanks for being with us. DR. RON DANIELS, U.K. NATIONAL HEALTH SERVICE: Good morning.
VAUSE: The question seems to be, where is Europe actually heading in terms of the spread of this virus?
A senior health official in Germany said we don't know yet if this is the beginning of a second wave but it could be. The British prime minister is not so hesitant. Here is Boris Johnson. Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BORIS JOHNSON, U.K. PRIME MINISTER: And let's be absolutely clear about what's happening in the -- in Europe and among some of our European friends. I'm afraid you are starting to see in some places the signs of a second wave of the pandemic.
And we all remember what happened last time. It's absolutely vital therefore that we make the necessary preparations here in the U.K. as we are doing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Given how infectious this is and our own inaction, if this isn't a second wave in the making, it seems like it's only a matter of time before it is.
DANIELS: I think we need to be careful here. Obviously, we need to be careful if there is any sign of a second wave surging in the European countries or any other one, we need to take it seriously. Thus far we have not seen a convincing second wave anywhere internationally.
This is the danger of looking only at national level data. It is too big a picture. We need to look at regions. If you look deep down at the German data, these surges are in places that have not previously been heavily hit, areas like North Rhine, Westphalia and so forth.
These are regional outbreaks. They are not necessarily a national second wave. Of course, when we count all the data together in one national picture, it doesn't give us granular enough information and we simply don't know what's going on.
VAUSE: The question then is, what is the difference between a first wave and a second wave if we are not into the second wave and this is just a continuation of the first?
What does that mean?
DANIELS: What that says to me is, firstly, that we need to integrate policy that is devolved to regions, to states, to cities if you like. This is about monitoring data at a local level, understanding what's going on in your region.
The big difference from a humanitarian perspective between the first and second wave is that if we have a national second wave, a true global second wave, it implies a degree of the immunity that was conferred by the first wave may indeed have dissipated, may have waned, may have died away.
There will be people who have been exposed for the first time if there were a second wave. But we are hoping is that there is a lot of immunity out there in people who we don't yet know have had the condition.
VAUSE: The head of the CDC in the United States told ABC News the introduction from Europe happened before we realized what was happening. By the time we realized Europe had shut down travel, there was 2 or 3 weeks of 60,000 people coming back every day from Europe. That's when the large seeding came in the United States.
They are admitting that they moved away too late on actually taking action against the coronavirus. So if history is prologue, what happens in Europe will happen again fairly soon in the United States.
DANIELS: This virus, we know, spreads really easily. It has spread around the world broadly from east to west but with notable exceptions. It's not just about incoming traffic from Europe into the U.S. airspace.
This is around the contamination possibility in major transport hubs like airports, rail stations and so forth. This is about being mindful. This is about being conscious of what we are touching.
It's not just about masks. It is around contact and droplet contact on hands, baggage carousels, all of this stuff. What we need to be really careful about is that we don't absolutely lock down an economy, lock down a country, just because of relatively spurious information.
DANIELS: But if we are seeing those surges, just as Mr. Johnson has done, it's important that we are brave in our decision-making. It's a balance.
VAUSE: It is a balance. What we are seeing in places like the United States is that there hasn't been a falling off of case numbers. They plateau and then they spike. Many medical services, health care workers, have been at a sprint from the very beginning of this. They haven't had time to breathe, essentially.
That is raising questions about PPE, protective equipment, medical equipment. There was a headline in "The Guardian," which called for restocking of national supplies there of PPE. That is an urgent call to ensure that these are -- medical stockpiles getting replenished before this COVID-19 second wave.
If you look at the situation that Britain is, in the U.K., are they better prepared for a second time around?
Here in the United States, there is grave concerns that they are just not ready for it.
DANIELS: This is not yet a demonstrated second wave. Let's hope it's not going to be. Certainly, in the U.K., speaking to colleagues across Europe,
absolutely. We have had some breathing space. Our intensive care units now are largely empty of patients with COVID-19 and are filling up with patients with our bread and butter conditions -- sepsis, heart attacks, stroke, following major surgery.
It's important to note these patients are often presenting to health care in a more sick state than they normally would. They are presenting too late and it's important to note in those countries the health care systems are open for business.
What I hope is that our colleagues in the U.S. -- and I think this is true in certain states that this is already happening -- managed to get some breathing space, can replenish, not only the PPE stocks but also the internal workforce resilience, the mental health of the workforce because this is hard for health professionals.
VAUSE: It takes a toll. We have seen that in the numbers of fatalities that they are exposed more than anyone else. Dr. Ron Daniels, thank you.
Still to come, he has been in the crosshairs for months and when the U.S. attorney general spoke before Congress, Democrats did not hold back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JERRY NADLER (D-NY), CHAIRMAN, HOUSE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE: Your tenure has been marked by a persistent war against the department's professional corps in an apparent attempt to secure favors for the president.
WILLIAM BARR, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: I am supposedly punishing the president's enemies and helping his friends.
What enemies have I indicted?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: There was a Democrat free-for-all on Tuesday when the U.S. attorney general appeared on Capitol Hill. He was grilled over a seemingly countless number of controversies. Through it all he was smug and stonewalled lawmakers. Manu Raju reports.
MANU RAJU, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Attorney general Bill Barr on the hot seat, facing the House Judiciary Committee for the first time in his tenure.
And Democrats had a litany of concerns, accusing Barr of using the Justice Department to do the political bidding of a president who has abused his power.
NADLER: You have aided and abetted the worst failings of the president.
RAJU (voice-over): Barr fired back.
BARR: He has told me from the start that he expects me to exercise my independent judgment, to make whatever call I think is right. And that's precisely what I have done.
RAJU (voice-over): Republicans came to Barr's defense, saying he was being treated unfairly.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are seeming to just contorted ourselves to get to some way to show that you have a nefarious motive.
RAJU (voice-over): Barr came under fire for his role in ordering peaceful protesters to be forcibly cleared from Lafayette Square last month in front of the White House, allowing the president across the street for a photo-op in front of a church.
REP. PRAMILA JAYAPAL (D-WA): Do you think that was appropriate at Lafayette Park to pepper spray, tear gas and beat protesters and injure American citizens?
BARR: Well, I don't accept your characterization of what happened. But as I explained, the effort there --
JAYAPAL: Mr. Barr, I just asked for a yes or no. So let me just tell you. I'm starting to lose my temper.
RAJU (voice-over): Barr also defending the actions of federal agents sent to respond to protesters in Portland, Oregon, even though local officials there say the Trump administration has only made the intense situation worse.
BARR: The U.S. Marshals have a duty to stop that and defend the courthouse. And that's what we are doing in Portland.
RAJU (voice-over): Protests have escalated in the wake of the killing of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man, at the hands of Minneapolis police. But Barr pointedly denied there is an issue with systemic racism in law enforcement.
BARR: It seems far more likely that the problem stems from a complex mix of factors.
RAJU (voice-over): Barr has intervened in cases involving the president's associates, seeking to dismiss a criminal case against former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who had pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI. And seeking a lighter sentence for the president's longtime friend,
Roger Stone, convicted on 7 charges, including witness tampering, lying to Congress and obstructing of proceedings.
President Trump later commuted Stone's sentence and Barr told the House committee the prosecutors' recommended sentencing of 7-9 years was too severe.
REP. TED DEUTCH (D-FL): Can you think of any other cases where the defendant threatened to kill a witness, threatened to -- threatened a judge, lied to a judge, where the Department of Justice claimed that those were mere technicalities?
Can you think of even one?
BARR: The judge agreed with our --
DEUTCH: Can you think of even one?
I am not asking about the judge. I am asking about what you did to reduce the sentence of Roger Stone.
BARR: Yes --
DEUTCH: Can you think, Mr. Attorney General, he threatened the life of a witness.
DEUTCH: And you view that as a technicality?
This appearance is as you said earlier, this is exactly what you want, the essence of rule of law is that we have one rule for everybody and we don't have law in this case because he's a friend of the president.
RAJU: Democrats' concerns with Bill Barr stem back to last year, his handling of the Mueller report. They believe he mischaracterized the report when he put out an initial summary. They are also fighting with him in court to try to get more documents related to that report.
And also during the hearing, there was an exchange between David Cicilline, a Rhode Island Democrat, and Bill Barr. Cicilline asked if it's appropriate at all for any campaign to ask for any foreign assistance whatsoever.
First Bill Barr responded, "It depends on what kind of assistance."
Cicilline was perplexed. He pushed further and eventually Barr responded, no, it is not appropriate -- Manu Raju, CNN, Capitol Hill.
VAUSE: Norm Eisen served as Democratic counsel during the Trump impeachment. His latest book is, "A Case his for the American People: The United States v. Donald J. Trump."
He is also ethics czar for the Obama White House.
It has been a long time. Good to see you.
NORMAN EISEN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: John, great to be back with you.
VAUSE: Quickly, let's begin with the big picture. Barr testified that President Trump told him to exercise independent judgment.
Given how vocal Trump has been on issues like sentencing for his friends, saying be independent, that seems like a mob boss saying, I can trust you to do the right thing.
EISEN: That's right John.
EISEN: This is like two mafiosi talking for the federal wiretap. If you look at Barr's career, the Mueller report, where he lied about it. I am not saying that, a federal judge said he misrepresented.
Ukraine, he came up with an excuse not to turn over the whistleblower report. His DOJ did it anyway, what over 70 inspectors general said was false.
COVID, where a Hawaii judge threw out his effort to defend the president's behavior.
And of course, the protests, where he lied today about not using tear gas. I mean, that is the opposite of independent judgment. And he just dug that grave deeper in the hearing today.
VAUSE: In his own defense, Barr posed this rhetorical question to lawmakers, here he is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARR: I'm supposedly punishing the president's enemies and helping his friends.
What enemies have I indicted?
Who -- could you point to one indictment that has been under the department that you feel is unmerited, that you feel violates the rule of law?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: The question is very narrow, there are many actions an attorney general can take; indictment is just one of them.
So how would you respond to Mr. Barr? EISEN: Well, John, in my book, "A Case for the American People," I described Trump's crimes. But if Trump is the criminal in chief, Barr is the enabler in chief. And he's like the jailer who beats an inmate with a rubber hose and then says show me the bruises.
What he did on the Mueller report, the lies on Ukraine, on COVID, on these protesters, those are all things done to lash out at the president's enemies.
VAUSE: For the most part, Barr was sort of smug. He stonewalled Democrats when it came to controversies like Trump using his pardon power to commute the prison sentence for his friend and convicted liar, Roger Stone. Here's an exchange between Barr and Representative Eric Swalwell.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. ERIC SWALWELL (D-CA): You said that a president swapping a pardon to silence a witness would be a crime. You are promising the American people that if you saw that, you would do something about it, is that right?
BARR: That's right.
SWALWELL: Now Mr. Barr, are you investigating Donald Trump for commuting the prison sentence of his longtime friend and political adviser, Roger Stone?
SWALWELL: Why not?
BARR: Why should I?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: The judge was very clear. In the rulings, he said Roger Stone was not standing up for the president, he was covering up for the president. Again, respond to the attorney general.
Why should he?
EISEN: Well, because the reason that Barr should investigate is because there is a lot of evidence of an obstruction of justice conspiracy. I lay that out in my book, John, and including new evidence, pinpointing a critical call that Roger Stone made.
Stone has the dirt on Trump's desire to have Russia intervene in our elections and Trump has dangled and then given this commutation in exchange for Stone saying mum.
VAUSE: Final, there was an exchange between Representative Jayapal and William Barr. She made the point here that he is the attorney general for the entire country, the United States of America, not just President Trump. Here she is.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. PRAMILA JAYAPAL (D-WA): There is a real discrepancy in how you react at the attorney general -- the top cop in this country -- when white men with swastikas storm a government building with guns. There is no need for the president to, quote, "activate" you because they're getting the president's personal agenda done.
But when Black people and people of color protest police brutality, systemic racism and the president's very own lack of response to those critical issues, then you forcibly remove them with armed federal officers, pepper bombs because they are considered terrorists by the president.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Barr didn't even really try to address it. No matter the controversy with William Barr, it seems there's a double standard at the heart of it.
EISEN: That's right, John. That's the opposite of what we expect in the American rule of law system. The attorney general is supposed to be independent. And I was so glad that Congresswoman Jayapal spoke out about that.
One other thing we saw today that was very troubling and I got notes from people in the room, Barr behaved differently toward the members of Congress who were women and people of color.
So there are multiple double standards going on here. That's terrible in anyone but in the man who is in charge of enforcing our civil rights laws and assuring there's equality under law, it is a deeply troubling double standard.
VAUSE: Norm, great to see you, thanks.
EISEN: Nice to see you. Thanks.
VAUSE: Well, the ever-quickening spread of the Coronavirus across India, now the third country to pass a million and a half confirmed cases. A live report when we come back.
VAUSE: China and India account for about a third of the global population and the coronavirus outbreak is getting worse in both. Less than two weeks, India has seen the number of confirmed cases rise from one million to 1.5 million. And for the first time in three months, China has confirmed more than 100 deadly infections. Health officials say most cases were locally transmitted primarily in the western province of Xinjiang.
Vedika Sud is live this hour in New Delhi, also Kristie Lu Stout standing by live in Hong Kong. And Kristie, first to you, with the situation in China. This is where all began. And of course, there are concerns that this is where -- it may be a resurgence.
KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, especially in the western region of Xinjiang. Look, there has been an alarming new rising COVID-19 cases in China as a nation battles a fresh flare-up of infection, especially in Xinjiang. Yesterday, China reported 68 new cases of COVID-19. Today, it reported 101 new cases of the Coronavirus. This is the highest single-day increase that China has reported since early April.
Let's bring up the data for you just from (AUDIO GAP) National Health Commission. According to China 101 use cases including 98 locally transmitted cases of these domestic cases, 89 reported in Xinjiang, eight in Liaoning, that's where the city of Dalian is located, and one in Beijing (AUDIO GAP) total 86,982 confirmed cases.
Let's bring up the next slide and zeroed in on the situation in Xinjiang. All of Xinjiang's 89 new cases are in the capital of Urumqi. Xinjiang now has a total of 322 confirmed cases, 320 are there in the capital. Now, given the opaque nature of reporting in Xinjiang, it's very difficult to get additional concrete details, information out, let alone you know fresh video out of that region, but this is what we know.
We know that these cases are linked to what's been described as a gathering activity. That those infected in Urumqi, they were not traveling abroad over this last year, and that these infections are centered in Tianjin district of the capital of Xinjiang, which is a district where it's the downtown areas and mixture of commercial residential and cultural sites.
It was a week ago when the government there in Urumqi declared that it had entered a wartime state. The entire residential compounds are under lockdown, subway service has been suspended for a week, widespread testing still underway. John?
VAUSE: Right now, they're reporting hundreds there in China. But as you know, hundreds can quickly explode into tens of thousands, in fact, millions which is what's happening in India. So let's go over to Vedika Sud there with the latest from New Delhi. So Vedika, we look at those numbers. This is a milestone 1.5 million cases which only two other countries have seen.
VEDIKA SUD, CNN PRODUCER: Absolutely worrying, isn't it? Now, let me just quickly tell you and our viewers that we hit the one million mark on the 16th of July. It took about four months to get there for India. But to get to a million and a half, it's just taken India 12 days for those additional half million cases.
What this also goes on to see and what experts have been telling me, John, is that when it came to the lockdown, we had four successive lockdown. The hard lockdown ended on 31st of May, which essentially means there was a pause button that was successively hit, because of which we didn't see a huge rise in the numbers, it hit about a million, like I said in the middle of July. But ever since the restrictions have been loosened across the country, we've seen a huge surge in the numbers, adding additional half a million cases to the existing cases taking it to 1.53 million cases today.
Now the other thing is the recovery rate. Prime Minister Modi also on Monday mentioned that India's recovery rate is much better than a lot of countries across the world. As of now, close to a million people who are tested positive for coronavirus have been treated, and about half a million are being treated as I speak with you.
The biggest worry at this point in time is that we've entered and nearly exited the second unlocking down of India as the government puts it, the third unlock is on the anvil. It should happen by the first week of August. What is the government really going to open up at this point in time when we've seen a huge surge in the cases is the worry not only for people across India, but parents as well. They're just hoping against hope that schools and colleges remain closed because as of now, at least the children and teenagers are being protected that way from COVID-19 infections. John?
VAUSE: Vedika, thank you. We appreciate the update. Vedika Sud there in New Delhi and Kristie Lu Stout also in Hong Kong. Columbia will extend some restrictions after a record number of new coronavirus cases near Bogota. It's calling for a new global strategy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CLAUDIA LOPEZ HERNANDEZ, MAYOR, BOGOTA, COLUMBIA (through translator): Countries like ours and Latin America, we must learn to mitigate the virus rather than suppress it. In our situation, aiming to eradicate the virus is impossible.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Neighboring Brazil is by far Latin America's hottest hit. On Tuesday, confirming more than 40,000 new cases, pushing its turtle to nearly two and a half million. Argentina has confirmed its highest daily death toll since the beginning of the pandemic. Some hospitals are now concerned intensive care units could soon reach capacity. The Ministry says authorities are now working to provide more beds.
And in Bolivia, the government has declared a state of public calamity as it struggles to contain the outbreak. The move is intended to address economic fallout caused by the pandemic. Mexico is now the latest country to confirm more than 400,000 cases of coronavirus. The outbreak there is one of the worst in the world but not nearly as bad as the crisis in the U.S. just across the border.
Still, a rising number of Mexicans are traveling to the U.S. They believe the healthcare system there is better equipped to deal with the pandemic. Details now from CNN's Matt Rivers.
MATT RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Among those waiting outside public hospitals in Tijuana Mexico, death is a constant companion. Deanna Lopez didn't get a chance to say goodbye to her father in law before COVID-19 took him.
She says, imagine a family member suddenly gets hospitalized and you just never see them again.
Tijuana and its state of Baja, California are among Mexico's hardest- hit regions. For months, health care workers and told us about overwhelmed hospital plagued by a lack of supplies. Roughly 20 percent of those diagnosed here with COVID have died.
This nurse says we were not prepared for the magnitude of what was and is the pandemic.
Tijuana sits just across that border there from the U.S. state of California. And though it's close to all non-essential travel, if you're legally allowed to be in the U.S., be it as a citizen, permanent resident, or otherwise, you can still cross, and if you want to, seek treatment at a U.S. hospital.
Which is exactly what Dr. Patricia Gonzalez Zuniga did when her husband got the virus. The couple are dual U.S.-Mexico citizens but live in Tijuana where Dr. Gonzalez Zuniga has worked for decades treating the city's poor. She says the public health system is broken. So when her husband got really sick, going to the U.S. for care was an easy choice.
PATRICIA GONZALEZ ZUNIGA, HUSBAND WAS TREATED IN THE U.S.: It's like a decision of stay and maybe you know 50 percent chance that you will die, or just go and get services.
RIVERS: At nearby Scripps Mercy Hospital in Chula Vista, California, we learn her story isn't unique. The hospital has been at or near capacity for months in part because of patients from across the border. In July alone, it has s admitted more than 50 COVID patients who recently came from Mexico. The hospital says the vast majority of patients who've traveled from Mexico test positive.
JUAN MANUEL TOVAR, DOCTOR, SCRIPPS MERCY HOSPITAL, CHULA VISTA: It does create stress in the system and we have to deal with it.
RIVERS: Dr. Jose Manuel Tovar says at its peak, 50 percent of all COVID patients at the hospital had been south of the border, but the number has gone down as new cases in Baja, California have slowed. But cases in California have spiked recently. So he's fears and the same happens in Mexico, a tough situation could get even worse. But he says this is the border. Everything is shared, culture, commerce, and COVID care.
TOVAR: This is one region. I have no qualms about seeing patients from Mexico.
RIVERS: Dr. Gonzalez Zuniga, for one, is extremely grateful for that fact. Her husband spent 14 days in a California ICU, nearly intubated several times, but he lived.
What do you think would have happened if he was in a public hospital in Mexico?
ZUNIGA: He wouldn't be with me now. He will be -- I mean, dead.
RIVERS: She calls herself lucky, and compared to the Lopez family, she is. They couldn't get care in the U.S.
Maybe we could have gotten them better care over there, more opportunity. But now after her father in law's death, that is nothing more than a hypothetical question. Matt Rivers, CNN, Tijuana, Mexico.
VAUSE: Islam faces holy pilgrimage in the era of COVID-19. When we come back, how Saudi Arabia is preparing for harsh.
VAUSE: With rising case numbers, tough restrictions are back in place in Lebanon, which includes sub businesses allowed to open just twice a week on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and a total lockdown will be in place from Thursday to Monday for the next two weeks. Travelers arriving from high risk countries will be tested and quarantined until their results are known. Lebanon reported more than 130 new infections on Tuesday.
Islam's most important annual pilgrimage is underway, but with just a fraction of the number of typical worshipers all because of this pandemic. Saudi Arabia has put a new crowd control measures for the house this year, including a ban on international visitors. The Kingdom passed the highest number of known COVID-19 infections in the Arab world.
CNN's Jomana Karadsheh joins us now live from Istanbul in Turkey. So this is difficult for a lot of people. It's an annual pilgrimage. They have to do it. But obviously, this year, so many will not be making that journey.
JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, John. You know, I mean the Saudis at one point were considering canceling the Hajj pilgrimage altogether. This is the most important pilgrimage, annual pilgrimage for Muslims. Instead they opted for this, you know, downsize, dramatically downsized Hajj, more of a symbolic one. You know, if you look at the images that we have coming out of Mecca right now when you compare it to previous years, it's just stunning, you know.
In previous pilgrimages, over the recent years, they've had more than two million people from around the globe who would participate in the Hajj. But right now, you know, you see these images only, you know, very few people. As you can see, the Saudis haven't specified how many people are taking part at this point.
Initially, when they made that first announcement about this downsized Hajj, they said about 1,000 people would be taking part. Some local reports have suggested up to 10,000 possibly, but that's really, you know, so much less than what you've seen over the past few years. And they said that 70 percent of those taking part in the pilgrimage are foreign nationals residing in the kingdom. 30 percent of them are Saudi nationals. They have gone through a really rigorous selection process.
These are people between the ages of 20 and 50. They've had medical checks, COVID tests, they've had to go into self-isolation before arriving in Mecca. When they arrived over the weekend, they went into quarantine and hotels for four days, and they will have to quarantine after the Hajj.
So the Saudis are really not taking any chances here. As you mentioned, with the numbers in that country, it's one of the highest infection numbers, confirmed cases in the region, the highest in the Arab world. And we've seen images over the past few days of hundreds of cleaners taking part in this, disinfecting and cleaning the different holy sites around the Ka'bah, the Grand Mosque there.
And you know, as you mentioned, so many Muslims around the world are heartbroken. They are really disappointed to not be taking part in what is one of the key pillars of Islam. It's an obligation for every Muslim who is physically able, who is financially capable, to at least perform the Hajj once in their lifetime.
So you have so many people who've saved up their entire lives waiting for this opportunity. And this year, they're not going to be able to make it. But there are some of the lucky ones, John. We've spoken to some of these foreign pilgrims who live in Saudi Arabia. They're young. They didn't really expect to be taking part in this pilgrimage this year.
They found themselves stuck in Saudi Arabia because of the travel restrictions. They ended up signing up for Hajj and they say they feel blessed. They feel lucky. And those we've spoken to say that this year, one thing is going to be on their mind. They're going to be praying for this pandemic to be over soon.
VAUSE: Jomana, thank you. Incredibly it is when you look at the Hajj this year. We've never seen anything quite like that before. It really is quite stunning. Jomana Karadsheh, thank you. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM. Just ahead, baseball is back in the U.S. but maybe not for long. How one team's outbreak is now threatening the entire season.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVE MARTINEZ, MANAGER, WASHINGTON NATIONALS: I think they did the right thing. You know, it's all about keeping us safe, you know, myself, the players, our staff, everybody. Not only do we have to compete on the field, but it's almost like we've got to compete off the field too and make sure we follow all protocols. I'm constantly on the players about wearing mask, washing hands. You know, we're doing all these things to try to stay safe. But it's tough. We're in some tough times.
(END VIDEO CLIP) [02:50:00]
VAUSE: There was a double rainbow appearing over the U.S. Capitol Building where the late U.S. Congressman John Lewis lies in state. A CNN journalists captured the image on Tuesday. Thousands have been streaming past Lewis' casket to pay their final respects. He served as a representative of Georgia for more than three decades.
He was widely seen as a moral conscience of Congress because of his long fight for civil rights. Lewis' body will return to Atlanta on Wednesday to lie in state at the Georgia State Capital, also this is a plan for the following day including (INAUDIBLE).
There's growing concern the major league baseball season in the U.S. could end in the early innings. ESPN reports 17 players and coaches on the Miami Marlins have tested positive for Coronavirus. At least eight games have been postponed.
In the National Football League, 21 players have tested positive for COVID-19 since reporting to training camp. More than 100 tested positive during the offseason.
Bob Nightengale is a major league baseball columnist for The USA Today. He's with us this hour from Phoenix in Arizona. Bob, thank you for staying up late. I appreciate it.
BOB NIGHTENGALE, MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL COLUMNIST, USA TODAY: Sure. My pleasure. Thank you.
VAUSE: OK, so I want -- here's the headline from Forbes on Tuesday. MLB should move to a bubble plan before it's too late. Why not play this season in a bubble like you know, professional basketball and hockey are already doing. What's the downside?
NIGHTENGALE: Well, the trouble is baseball is an outdoor sport. You know they're talking about originally having Phoenix, Arizona and going using spring training sites in their Major League ballpark, which has retractable roof. The players do not want to do that.
And you know, remember, unlike NBA, NHL, their season hadn't started yet. So they didn't want to be away from their families all summer long. And as it turns out, Arizona is one of the hot spots of all of the country, so I don't think it would have worked being in a bubble. I mean, right now, they're running out of hospital beds in Arizona.
VAUSE: Yes, good point. For now, America's doctor, you know, the guy who can't pitch, Dr. Fauci, had this prognosis for the infected team players. Here he is.
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ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: Even though they're young, vigorous, and very healthy, I hope they're OK. But you just have to watch this. This could put it in danger. I don't believe they need to stop. But we just need to follow this and see what happens with other teams on a day by day basis.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VAUSE: Where do you see the red line here? How many more infections? What's the tipping point before something gives?
NIGHTENGALE: Well, Major League Baseball says they're not at a danger point yet, although they have to shut down the Miami Marlins per week. How the Marlins got this, we're not sure. No one is kind of saying how it happened. But Major League Baseball has their concerns that maybe a few players are not following protocols. Maybe they went outside, you know, the hotel and got infected either in a restaurant, bar, what have you.
So it's a nightmare. A scheduling night (AUDIO GAP) sitting out in for you know, the Baltimore Orioles not be playing, Washington Nationals will miss all weekend. So it's going to mess up the schedule a big time. But as long as it's confined to one team, baseball feels comfortable.
Remember now, since they tested last Thursday, you know, the only players that were infected in all of baseball were the Miami Marlins.
VAUSE: With that in mind, here's the latest statement on Tuesday from Major League Baseball. "In over 6,400 tests conducted since Friday, July 24th, there had been no new positives of on-field personnel from any of the other 29 clubs. That's your point. This outcome is in line with encouraging overall data since the June 27th start of testing. Through last Thursday, July 23rd, 99 of the 32,640 samples 0.3 percent have been positive."
And these are impressive numbers that are being tested, but you know -- and this is a wealthy sport. You know, they can spend whatever it takes. They, you know, they can do whatever they think is necessary to keep players safe. And even then, there are no guarantees. You know, the NFL has canceled preseason games. So does this now raise questions about when and how, you know, all professional sports should be looking at restarting and just if they can?
NIGHTENGALE: Well, that's the point. I think everybody is trying at least to see what happens. The players want to play and get money, and you know, finish out their championship seasons. In the NHL and NBA, the bubble plan works. A lot of guys don't like it, but they're only going to be there for about six weeks. It's a beautiful complex. It is a complex in Orlando, Florida.
NHL, of course, have two bubble cities in Canada. You know, baseball can't do that. You know, they can't have, you know, 15 games on one night under a stadium, and everybody just going, you know, staying inside the stadium. It just doesn't work that way. So we'll see what happens.
You know, when you talk to baseball officials, they kind of worry about the NFL and college football, saying if we have a team that gets infected, you know, when the roll is going to happen, when teams are, you know, hitting each other and colliding, and there's no social distancing, like there is in baseball.
VAUSE: Just very quickly. How important is it that, you know, the season goes ahead as best it can.
NIGHTENGALE: I think it's important for you know, the country? I think people miss sports. You know, T.V. ratings are sky high right now. Baseball ratings have never been this high for regular season games, you know, in about a decade. So, I think that for the American public to feel good about themselves, it's great to watch.
If the players can take it seriously, the players, they can be a role model for all organizations and businesses and industries, saying if you do this right, wear your mask, social distance, you can be saved.
VAUSE: Bob Nightengale, Major League Baseball Columnist for USA Today, they're in Phoenix, Arizona. Thanks for being with us. We really appreciate it.
NIGHTENGALE: My pleasure. Thank you.
VAUSE: It had to happen sooner or later and chances are it was going to happen in Florida. That's where investigators believe David Tyler Hines lied on his paycheck protection loan application, spending $4 million of government money on luxury personal items. Allegedly like this $320,000 Lamborghini, just one purchase he apparently made along with thousands of dollars spent at a diamond store Saks Fifth Avenue, luxury hotels.
Hines' attorney says his client is a legitimate businessman who's suffered during the pandemic and is anxious to tell his side of the story. And we are anxious to hear it.
Thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm John Vause. CNN NEWSROOM continues with my colleague friend Rosemary Church after this. In the meantime, please wear a mask.