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Trump Floats Idea of Delaying U.S. Presidential Election; Google, Apple Leaders Push Back on Antitrust Claims; WHO Chief: Global Health Emergency "Most Severe" Ever; Trump Embraces False Drug Claims, Ignores His Own Experts; Spain Sees Highest COVID-19 Case Count since May; COVID-19 Pushes Lebanon's Already Fragile Economy to the Brink; NBA Returns after Four-Month Hiatus; Funeral of John Lewis, Civil Rights Icon, to Begin Soon. Aired 10-11a ET
Aired July 30, 2020 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): This is CNN breaking news.
BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST: Well, breaking news this hour. Donald Trump seems to suggest he should hold on to power.
It's 6:00 pm here in Abu Dhabi. I'm Becky Anderson. You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD.
There's a lot to get through this hour. We are well beyond 17 million cases of coronavirus around the world. It's now been six months since the World
Health Organization declared it an emergency. I want to get to that in a moment because right now, we are seeing the pandemic change our world in
manifestly new ways.
The American president now openly floating the idea that the U.S. election in November should be delayed. Andrew Yang is a CNN political commentator
who ran for the Democratic nomination for U.S. president earlier this year. He joins us now from New York.
Our viewers are seeing a tweet from Donald Trump in the past hour, openly floating the idea of a delay to the U.S. election.
ANDREW YANG, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, this is just the latest attempt to try and distract the American people from the fact that he's
mishandled the coronavirus pandemic. And he sees that he's down to Joe Biden by double digits in many polls. So when you're in that situation,
you'll grasp at any straw.
But happily, we expect that this is just going to be yet another tweet that excites a very small handful of people but inflames others and will help,
if anything, bolster the case that we need to have this election as soon as possible and then turn over a new page in this country.
ANDERSON: I mean, as I understand it, Trump cannot overturn the election. It requires two-thirds of the states to agree --
ANDERSON: -- to do so.
YANG: Yes. That's exactly right. And that's why it's just the latest desperate thrashing about of a losing candidate. And when you're in that
position and when you prioritize winning as much as Donald Trump does, he will grasp at anything that might give him a chance at victory because he
sees that his chances are plummeting daily.
At least 72 percent of Americans believe that this is the worst time they have ever lived in recorded memory, which is a terrible sign for a
incumbent. That's the opposite of a four more years type of atmosphere and that's obvious, given how much America is suffering economically and
socially and through the public health crisis we are handling very poorly.
ANDERSON: I mean, there will be viewers who say you would say that, wouldn't you?
You ran for the Democratic nomination. We are 96 days away from the American election as we speak now. You have been supporting Joe Biden.
What does he need to do next, Andrew?
YANG: Well, Joe has been rising in the polls in large part because people are dissatisfied with the leadership they're seeing from Trump, who's
whipsawed in various ways on wearing masks and other public health measures.
And I'm a parent, Becky, and we are all looking at what the heck is going to happen with schools in September. So Trump is failing a test of
leadership. And Joe is a very, very well known figure in American life. He was the vice president for eight years.
He presents a sort of steady leadership and return to normalcy that right now many, many Americans are hungering for.
Now Joe just announced a very, very ambitious, aggressive plan to combat climate change. And he'll be announcing other initiatives in the days to
come. But the fact is he's winning because people are very, very familiar and comfortable with Joe and his style of leadership that will help bring
YANG: Are you being offered a place in a Joe Biden administration, sir?
YANG: I'm focused on helping Joe win because I think another Trump term would be an utter disaster for this country. But I'm on the record saying,
that if I have a chance to solve some of the problems I ran for president on, I would be thrilled.
YANG: Because I'm a patriot and I'm a parent, I just want to do everything I can for this country. So in a Biden administration, if I had that
opportunity, I would definitely jump at the chance.
ANDERSON: Have you been offered a position?
YANG: Oh, we have had conversations but again, you know, you can't count your chickens before they're hatched. The number one goal is to make sure
that Joe Biden is our next president.
ANDERSON: The U.S. has just reported its worst plunge in economic history, a 30 percent drop. You have said it is, quote, "a ridiculous fantasy" to
think that the U.S. economy will snap back to normal post pandemic.
How bad do you believe the impact of COVID-19 will be?
YANG: It's catastrophic. You can't overstate it. And here in the States, it's been rolling on for months. You have Depression-era levels of
unemployment in many sectors. And economists have projected, Becky, that we lost 42 percent of these jobs for good.
That's why it's such a ridiculous fantasy to think that the economy is going to snap back into place if economists are suggesting that almost half
of these jobs will never return. So you're looking at permanent job losses at twice the level of the Great Recession, which itself took 10 years or so
for us to dig out from under.
So at this point, we should be enacting massive stimulus measures and doing everything we can to try and shore up existing opportunities and create
more jobs for millions of Americans.
A massive infrastructure project would be entirely appropriate, bailing out states so they don't fire people would be the right move. Putting cash in
people's hands, which I championed as a candidate, would be the right move; 74 percent of Americans agree we should be putting stimulus cash into
consumers' hands right now to help families manage this crisis.
So you can't overstate the economic carnage in the American labor market and the economy right now, unfortunately.
ANDERSON: Your signature issue is universal basic income, which given the unemployment fueled by this pandemic, couldn't be more prescient, as you
rightly pointed out. Congress is now in discussions about not one but a second $1,200 payment.
Would that at least satisfy you that government was working in the right direction?
YANG: These payments should be unconditional and should be regular. The problem with the $1,200 stimulus payment in April is that that money was
spent and dried up in a matter of days or weeks at the most. And then people had to figure out how they're going to keep a roof over their head.
Over 30 percent of Americans had trouble managing housing payments last month and that was when we still had benefits in place. So, to me, $1,200
would be a great step if it came in on a regular basis and Americans actually could rely upon it moving forward rather than a one-time payment.
ANDERSON: I want to talk to you about the tech hearings on the Hill yesterday. You're a man who's probably forgotten more about new tech than
most of us will ever know.
My team looked into just some of the stats as we were watching and considering what we heard yesterday.
According to Bloomberg, at least, Jeff Bezos, for example, the founder of Amazon, has made more than $60 billion during the pandemic over the last
six months while admitting that the company may have violated their own policies in some cases.
The CEO of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, making towards $20 billion extra during this pandemic, insisting he was joking when he said he could simply
buy up competitors in a 2012 email.
What is your response to what we heard from these tech titans, as they are known?
YANG: These hearings are long overdue. The fact is we have been in the midst of this winner take all extreme economy. And Amazon and Facebook have
been among the biggest beneficiaries.
Where, as you see 30 percent of retail stores and malls closing, Amazon's growing by $20 billion a year. It's one reason why you see Jeff doing
better and better. Facebook, of course, they can buy any start-up that begins to threaten them, which they did with Instagram.
And it was laughable for Mark Zuckerberg to suggest that he would not go into quote-unquote "destroy mode" if Instagram had turned down their
overtures to be acquired. So these hearings are years overdue.
YANG: If anything, you need a hearing for each of the companies because each company presents its own set of distinct issues. The anticompetitive
and antitrust framework needs to be revised for the 21st century.
The behaviors you heard about yesterday didn't even begin to touch what's going on with our data that's getting sold and resold by Facebook and
Google in particular.
ANDERSON: Which begs the question whether these congressmen and women were actually qualified to conduct these hearings. It was a pretty scatter gun
approach. Questions asked of one tech titan, when actually it was a question that needed to be answered by another.
You tweeted yesterday and I just want to quote you here. "It's pretty funny when trillion dollar tech companies make themselves seem like scrappy
start-ups by redefining the markets they're in and making themselves seem like also-rans."
By which you meant what?
YANG: Well, it was ridiculous how Mark Zuckerberg's testimony opened up by citing that there were these other companies that were like faster growing
in these little cherry picked categories.
If you take the basic category of social media network, Facebook is essentially a monopoly. So the fact they're reaching for these like tidy
categories that they're not number one in as a defense to their stature as a monopoly just struck me as laughable.
You're a $650 billion company. You know, you're printing -- you're printing billions of dollars a quarter, like acting like you're somehow this
vulnerable upstart just struck me as ridiculous.
ANDERSON: Two questions to you. Really all I need is a yes or no answer.
Are you weighing a bid for New York mayor?
YANG: Well, again, I'm focused on helping Joe win and then I'll take a look at what's ahead in 2021. But it's certainly very gratifying that
people are eager for me to consider getting into that race.
ANDERSON: And 2024, a run for president?
YANG: Well, you know, the daunting reality is that the problems I ran on are here right now. We have seen 10 years' worth of change in 10 weeks. The
rate of change has been accelerated by this pandemic.
And if there's something I can do to help solve the problems, like I'll do it. Certainly I'm very grateful for the fact that so many people got behind
me on this campaign, especially because no one had heard of me about two years ago.
ANDERSON: Well, we have all heard of the Yang Gang now and it's a blessing you're a CNN political commentator and one of our colleagues, at least for
the time being.
Andrew, it's an absolute pleasure, thank you. Important stuff and extremely important that we get your analysis across everything that we have been
discussing. Thank you.
YANG: Thank you so much, Becky.
Related from tracking the global spread of treatment and vaccine developments our colleagues at CNN Digital are updating cnn.com 24/7,
covering every angle, debunking myths and answering your COVID questions and your U.S. election questions there on cnn.com as well.
Six months into the global health emergency and no end in sight. We'll bring in one of the World Health Organization's top envoys to discuss what
Plus the pro democracy movement in Hong Kong takes a hit, we'll tell you which candidates are now banned from the upcoming election. That is next.
ANDERSON: I want to pause now for what is a moment in time in our lives so transformed by this global pandemic. It was on this day half a year ago
that the World Health Organization declared a global health crisis. At that time, there were fewer than 100 cases of the coronavirus outside of
Fast forward and we are well beyond 17 million cases around the world and adding thousands more every hour. So far, two-thirds of a million people
have lost their lives to the virus. Here is how the head of the World Health Organization described the situation that we are in now right now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. TEDROS ADHANOM GHEBREYESUS, WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION: This is the sixth time a global health emergency has been declared under the
international health regulations but it's easily the most severe.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: We'll speak to the WHO's special envoy for COVID-19, David Nabarro.
You and I spoke a lot February and March of this year. But six months ago today it was your colleagues who declared a global health crisis. A month
later, apparently it was still just that.
On February the 23rd, your colleague told me that the World Health Organization still wasn't calling it a pandemic because it wasn't one.
Do you and the WHO regret that?
DR. DAVID NABARRO, WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION SPECIAL ENVOY FOR COVID-19: I think, of course, there will be people who will question that particular
timing when it was called a pandemic.
But Becky, in our language in WHO the only thing that matters is this classification of a public health emergency of international concern. It
sounds like an awfully long winded expression. But it basically means something very bad is happening and we have to focus on it.
The appellation "pandemic" doesn't have the same meaning or relevance and one of the reasons why my colleagues and I were a bit nervous about using
the word pandemic, we wanted to remind everybody this is coronavirus, it's not a flu, it's a very different kind of virus.
It comes in little outbreaks that build up and become really bad quite quickly. But we are going to have to put an awful lot of effort at all
times into containing and suppressing these outbreaks.
I suppose I'm still quite pleased that we've kept that emphasis but I must say today, six months on, I want to say to you that this is a huge global
crisis. And as I look at the figures each day, they are getting more and more profound.
And I'm hearing reports of doctors dying in Bangladesh. I'm hearing reports of huge numbers of people at risk in Colombia, South Africa having serious
As I watch it happening all over the world, the one thing I wish is that all the world leaders could come together and say, this is so serious. And
we've got to unite and deal with it together and stop having a situation where individual countries seem to be doing it their own way.
ANDERSON: Well, not only have they not done that but the United States has decided it wants nothing to do with the WHO. There was an investigation
amid rising tensions between the U.S. and China and the WHO. And there are those who have suggested that the WHO was and is in China's grip.
NABARRO: No. Absolutely not. The WHO is a really small organization, one- third of the size of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. And it works within the space given to it by all nations.
NABARRO: It's done through a treaty or a series of treaties. Where there's no single country that owns WHO, instead, all of us try to serve the whole
world. And we actually serve people with no consideration at all about their nationality or their ethnicity or their class or anything. We just
work for humanity.
And I still am absolutely surprised by the United States' decision because it doesn't make sense to me when you're right in the middle of something
And when you have been the country that actually has supported most of the world's pandemic preparedness over the years, what on Earth is the reason
for pulling out?
Anyway, we just have to get on.
ANDERSON: Well, let's move on because clearly it's damaging for the WHO. But let's talk about what's going on now. Russia says it will have a
vaccine approved within weeks.
What's your response to this report?
And do you believe whatever is going on there is the development of a safe and effective vaccine?
NABARRO: Yes. Thank you for using those words. You see, a vaccine is a device that gets the body's own defenses hyped up and ready to repel a
particularly bad invader. And the coronavirus vaccine, when it is developed, will rely hugely on the capacity of each individual to develop a
response that then makes them more defended.
Will everybody be able to do -- to mount this response?
Will the vaccine be super safe?
Or will there be some people who get side effects?
All that has to be tested. So I'm very pleased that there's so much work underway on vaccines but I want to make sure that we don't raise
expectations unduly and that the necessary testing is done and done properly and no corners are cut.
And then we get a vaccine that's available for everybody in the world, not just for the people who come from richer nations, because everybody needs
it. I think it's going to be a bit longer than just a few weeks or months. I think it will be one or two years before we have a vaccine that's
available for everybody.
But gosh, I want it, because the world needs it, because that really is going to make such a difference to how we cope with the pandemic in the
ANDERSON: And that we understand, absolutely. That we understand. There is what is a global race, it seems, for a vaccine, some have described this as
the space race.
I mean, are you saying you do not buy the idea that there is a safe and effective vaccine ready, effectively for approval, in Russia in two weeks'
NABARRO: I just don't know. I want and hope that it will be going through the full testing procedure. There are specifications for these tests and
they take time. It's called a phase 3 test, when you really go to lots of different populations and check to see that your vaccine works.
So let's wait and see. And everybody wants this. Like everybody else, I'm hopeful. But I think it will take a little bit longer. And my real concern
is that the vaccine is available when it is found and tested. I want it available for everybody. I don't want it just to be for certain people
because then that would create terrible divisions in our world and it would be wrong.
ANDERSON: And ahead of a vaccine being made available to all of us, clearly, you know, there has been an awful lot of advice out there, which
can be conflicting at times, about what we should do to try and ensure that we are safe.
Donald Trump has been sharing information from a doctor who thinks masks are useless and who also believes in alien DNA and space demons. Have a
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. STELLA IMMANUEL, PHYSICIAN: It's what we call astral sex. That means this person is not really a demon or Nephilim, it's just a human being
that's a witch and they astral project and sleep with people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: What's your response to the U.S. president sharing what has been described as claptrap?
NABARRO: Everybody in the world is having to make sense of something that is unimaginable. In some ways, it's worse even than the most extreme of the
science fiction stories about what could happen to humanity. And it's difficult. And making sense of it is really hard. And a lot of people just
can't believe that this is happening.
NABARRO: So I'm perfectly -- absolutely perfectly understanding that there will be people who come out with approaches to this that I don't agree
with. All I'm saying is I wish all world leaders could come together and work with the public health professionals who have been dealing with these
kind of issues over the years and do everything we possibly can to make sure that those who are entertaining these alternative points of view don't
actually impede the work that has to be done to get ahead of this virus now.
We know it can be done. But we think --
ANDERSON: David, you are the envoy for COVID-19 at the WHO.
Are you telling me that that sort of -- that sort of content, retweeted by the U.S. president, doesn't do any harm?
NABARRO: Of course it does harm. All this stuff does harm. But I'm just trying to tell you, Becky, that I understand that there are millions of
people who are finding this pandemic really hard to cope with and who are looking for some alternative explanation, some conspiracy.
And I think those of us who work in public health, who work in the World Health Organization, can't just simply put ourselves on an ivory tower and
say, we're telling you the truth. Follow what we're saying.
We have to understand that there are people hoping that there are alternative explanations but we would ask leaders everywhere, please, to do
everything possible not to perpetuate these kinds of, what I believe are inappropriate statements, because the real thing that matters, that
everybody has got to pull in the same direction so that we can get ahead of this, whether it's wearing masks or physical distancing or all the rest.
ANDERSON: Well, let's talk about what we should do because, as I say, you know, there's been so much conflicting information. Governments that once
seemed to have the situation under control, take a look at Hong Kong or Australia, are now suffering second and third waves, many more severe than
the first. You just look across Europe at present.
How do you control this virus, David?
NABARRO: First of all, Becky, there will be resurgence. There will be new spikes of infection. That's the way this virus is. It's a horrible virus.
It's very easily spread. It has lots of bad effects on humanity.
And so we are going to have to learn that we have got to live with this virus as a perpetual presence in our world until we've got a vaccine and we
have been able to really able to push it away.
So what we have to do is to be able to live with it. And living with it means finding cases quickly, finding clusters before they build up into
bigger outbreaks and suppressing them.
Now actually some of the countries that are reported by you as struggling are at least doing the right thing. Hong Kong is doing the right thing.
Spain is doing the right thing. Vietnam is doing the right thing, because what happens is, when they get their spikes, they react very quickly.
They react robustly. They don't let these spikes get out of control. But if you do not have your population on side, if you do not have public health
services that are very well disciplined, if you do not have your health services really, really disciplined so that they can suppress these things,
then your problems build up.
So, yes, we have got the examples all over the world apparently to it and in the WHO we're very happy to share with any country what we know about
the best way to get ahead of this virus.
And we're also quite prepared to indicate that sometimes we have to change because we get new evidence. And that's the way it is with this particular
ANDERSON: Because we just have seen the worst contraction of the U.S. economy in history. There's an economic urgency to getting people back to
normal alongside the health imperative. When you have said you have seen the countries experience the second wave, call it what you will, second
wave, doing the right thing, you mean what?
The right thing is to lock down as soon as you --
NABARRO: No, no, no.
ANDERSON: Go on, tell me.
NABARRO: No, I want to be clear. Locking down your economy is not the way you get ahead of COVID. It basically stops the virus in its tracks and it
gives you a breathing space.
NABARRO: But the way you get ahead of COVID is by interrupting transmission, busting the clusters and suppressing the outbreaks. And it's
doable. It does cause some inconvenience. You do have to isolate people with the disease. You do have to isolate their contacts.
It may mean some local movement restrictions but absolutely not locking down a whole economy unless things are really, really bad.
And I'd like everybody to know this. You can get ahead of this virus without having to do lockdowns. You can get ahead of this virus and still
keep the economy and society going. But there will be some changes necessary, including how we behave and including how our health services
ANDERSON: Right. And with that, we will leave it there. We thank you very much indeed for your time today, David Nabarro, from the WHO.
NABARRO: Thanks. Bye-bye.
ANDERSON: We'll hear from Spain's new secretary of state for tourism about the economic impact of the pandemic and just how badly tourism is getting
Plus, curfews, fines and virtual celebrations, we take a look at how the coronavirus pandemic is rocking Eid al-Adha this year.
ANDERSON: Welcome back. I'm Becky Anderson. You are watching CONNECT THE WORLD.
The top story this hour, it has been six months since the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus an international crisis. And in that
time, the number of confirmed infections across the world has soared past 17 million.
Johns Hopkins University also says a staggering 1 million new cases were added over a period of just five days this month.
Well, that as U.S. president Donald Trump openly floated the idea that this November's election should be delayed until people can safely vote in
Plus, Europe's battle against the virus still isn't won. That's a warning from Italy's health minister, who says the continent is bracing for a
possible second wave, with infection rates rising in several countries.
Well, Spain is one of those countries with rising numbers, on Wednesday reporting the highest number of COVID-19 cases since May. Spain reopened
its borders in June; since then, cases have been on the rise and some areas are going back to modified lockdowns.
ANDERSON: The U.K. is now warning against nonessential travel to Spain's Balearic and Canary Islands along with the Spanish mainland.
Well, the loss of tourism is a serious hit to the economy. Spain normally sees about 18 million tourists. It is now projected to see only a fraction
of that due to the pandemic.
Well, Spain's new secretary of state for tourism is Fernando Valdes. He joins me now from Madrid with more on the economic cost of this
Let's start with your message to travelers looking to visit Spain this summer, sir.
What is it?
FERNANDO VALDES, SPANISH SECRETARY OF STATE FOR TOURISM: Well, hello and good afternoon here from Spain. Thank you very much. Let me please start by
saying that for us, we need to state what is the actual situation here in Spain.
Above all, right now we are not as we were three, four months ago. I mean, we are in a situation -- I don't know if we can call it as a new normality.
But I hear your previous speaker in the program. And I'm very certain that right now we are not there.
We have the proper rate that brings us to the situation that we can anticipate in an early stage a second wave and that's not the situation
right now. So at this very -- at a very point here in Spain, we can say that we are ready and we are prepared to receive those tourists.
And especially, if I may say, Becky, because we want to get an approach on a (INAUDIBLE), on a regional basis. For us, it is very, very important that
we can give a certain point of what we are going on Spain. It is an evolution, nonsymmetrical.
We are at a symmetric evolution of the virus and right now in those tourist destinations we have those numbers that can help us to receive and to
welcome all of those tourists.
ANDERSON: OK, because you have been very quick to point out, as a country, that the impact of the decision to reimpose quarantine on travelers from
Spain to the U.K., for example, was, quite frankly, unfair as far as Spanish authorities were concerned.
We are seeing other countries now looking at the potential for quarantine for people traveling from Spain.
So what is your message, sir?
Where would you say we're safe at present and where would you say is not?
VALDES: OK. So let me be clear. We have two important messages. First, it is important that our neighboring countries as well as other markets that
work with us on the tourist scene. They need to realize that Spain right now is not in the second wave. We are coping with the virus.
I think this is a very important message, that we have the means to react as quick as possible to this situation. And all of the outbreaks that we
are finding, none of them have to do with tourism change. So this is one thing we have to state.
And at the second level it is true, as you mentioned, Becky, that Spain is having a higher rate of infection but those are very localized. Those are
very centered at one or two regions here in Spain.
And while we are trying to explain to other countries, to other markets, is that other destinations, not these ones, that are specially affected by the
virus, those ones are completely safe, I mean, as safe as any other regions of our neighboring countries.
ANDERSON: Let me put this to you. This is what the health minister -- the U.K. health minister -- said earlier. Have a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MATT HANCOCK, U.K. HEALTH MINISTER: We want to take a precautionary approach to make sure that we can keep people in this country as safe as
possible. And we can see sadly a second wave of coronavirus that is starting to roll across Europe. As many European countries whose cases --
number of cases is going up again.
HANCOCK: And we want to do everything we possibly can to protect people here and protect people from that wave reaching our shores.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: And your response to Matt Hancock, sir, is what?
VALDES: Sure, come again?
ANDERSON: That was Matt Hancock, the health minister, the U.K. health minister.
What is your response to what you heard there?
VALDES: Yes. Yes. Well, obviously, we respect the position of the British authorities. And it is obviously -- they're compromised with public health
of their citizens, so there's nothing more to say other than respect for the position.
But I mean, we have to be clear about what is the situation in Spain. We are not talking about the second wave. We can talk about the rise on the
infection. We can talk about the rise on the community incidence of the disease.
But we are not in March or April here in Spain and if we look to the rates, let's say, the hospitalization or if we talk about death even, we have, for
the last seven days, just six deaths related with coronavirus, much less than other countries, even in Great Britain.
So when we talk about the affection (sic) of the coronavirus right now in Spain, what we want is to try to explain to our partners and, in this case,
to the British authorities that we would like to re-evaluate with them, re- evaluate the situation with them and try to reach a common approach because we -- I think we can share the situation that we cannot have a lockdown on
Not the British, not the Spanish. We have to cope with the virus. This is what we have right now as a new normality. And we're trying to tell them
is, OK, let's try to have a more surgical approach to this situation. And once we have that surgical approach, I'm sure we can have safe corridors
that allow British tourists to have a very pleasant summer in Spain as always.
ANDERSON: Lovely. All right. I'm going to have to leave it there, sir. We have got to take a break at some point. So thank you. Very useful to have
on you on and an important story here on CNN. Thank you.
Well, like Europe, the Middle East normally overflowing with travelers this time of the year, families flocking together to celebrate the Muslim
holiday of Eid al-Adha.
But this year after a Hajj like no other, curfews and fines being forced across the region for celebrations, all part of an ongoing bid to avoid
potential coronavirus outbreaks.
Here in the UAE, residents face fines of up to nearly $3,000 U.S. if they host gatherings. In a tweet, the Abu Dhabi media office encouraged families
to turn to virtual celebrations this year.
The UAE is one of a handful of countries in the region that have a firm grip on the coronavirus. But for many other nations in the Middle East, the
pandemic is thrusting already existing crises to a knife's edge sharp. And Ben Wedeman has this report from Beirut.
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This was Syria before coronavirus. And this is Syria now.
This was Iraq before coronavirus. And this is Iraq now.
The pandemic has changed so much in the rest of the world. But for many in the Middle East, it's just the latest catastrophe. Governments have
struggled to stop the virus, which has killed tens of thousands and brought already weakened economies to a virtual standstill.
And now, lockdown measures are being reimposed in many countries as a second wave of the disease approaches and to prevent further spread during
the Eid al-Adha holiday. The American University of Beirut's Dr. Fadi El- Jardali warns, now is not the time for complacency.
DR. FADI EL-JARDALI, AMERICAN UNIVERSITY OF BEIRUT: If we don't actually put in place stricter measures and make sure people are complying and a
good enforcement, we in fact -- we might -- we might get to stay where things might actually go out of control.
WEDEMAN (voice-over): Lebanon was already in economic freefall and convulsed by mass protests before COVID-19. Finding the wherewithal to keep
its head above water as the second wave crashes will be a struggle.
70-year-old Yousef Hawallah (ph) lived through all of Lebanon's woes.
WEDEMAN (voice-over): But this deadly cocktail of disease, political instability and an economic implosion is by far the worst, he says.
"This is the biggest catastrophe we've been in," he tells me. "All the other catastrophes were easier. Hunger is worse than war."
Iraq only recently emerged from its war against ISIS. The country was already in shambles with crumbling public services and high unemployment.
And now COVID-19 cases are spiking.
Syria, pummeled and torn asunder by almost a decade of war and throttled by ever tightening sanctions, has also seen its economy collapse. Millions
depend on food aid. And unemployment, according to the United Nations, is now just shy of 50 percent.
At this livestock market in Egypt, there's no talk of social distancing. People must put food on the table in this land of 100 million souls, where
the pandemic has taken a heavy toll.
"Now there's nothing, with coronavirus since February until now, it's been bad for everyone," says Mansour Abdelahim (ph).
One of the few bright spots is Jordan. The kingdom took no chances and has fared better than most.
EL-JARDALI: Jordan has, you know, implemented one of the toughest anti- coronavirus measures perhaps in the region or even in the world, where they have entered curfew, where they have actually put a more of a prison
sentence for one year for anyone that is not complying with the measures. Now they're starting to relax their measures but in a very, very more
cautious, vigilant way.
WEDEMAN (voice-over): But it came at a price. Jordan's popular tourist sites were shut, its airports have been closed since March. Wars have
ravaged Yemen, Syria, Libya and Iraq. Now joined by the horsemen of disease and desperation, stalking much of the Middle East -- Ben Wedeman, CNN,
ANDERSON: Well, a massive heat wave is now being added to the mix of misery across much of this Middle Eastern region. Record high temperatures
have been sweeping across the region from Egypt to Saudi Arabia, Syria and Iran, Baghdad seeing the highest temperatures, soaring to a record 51.8
degrees Celsius on Tuesday.
In the sweltering heat, Iraqis have been suffering through power cuts and protesting over the city's failing power grid. Temperatures were so hot on
Sunday they help set off a weapons depot explosion. The weather expected to cool down slightly this weekend.
ANDERSON: Just in to CNN, Trump ally and former U.S. presidential candidate, Herman Cain, has died after battling coronavirus. A co-chair of
Black Voices for Trump, Cain was at President Donald Trump's rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, back in June.
Several Trump staffers there also tested positive for coronavirus. Cain spent the past few days in the hospital and an aide tweeted earlier this
week that he was getting better. Herman Cain was 74.
We will be right back.
ANDERSON: Welcome back. Thursday is a massive day for basketball fans around the world as the NBA is officially restarting after four months'
hiatus due to the coronavirus, of course.
But it's a breaking story that's come out of FIFA over the last hour that we do want to focus on right now. Don Riddell in the house.
There's some major news involving FIFA president Gianni Infantino. Tell us more, mate.
DON RIDDELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, indeed, Becky. Of course we all remember the corruption scandal that plagued football's world governing
body in 2015, which ended the careers of then president Sepp Blatter and the UEFA president Michel Platini.
FIFA seemed to be headed in a more positive direction but today we've learned that criminal proceedings have been launched against the current
president, Gianni Infantino. Christina Macfarlane has been following these developments.
Christina in London, what can you tell us?
CHRISTINA MACFARLANE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Don, this alleged criminal case relates to three instances, where FIFA president Gianni Infantino
allegedly met with Swiss attorney Michael Lauber three times, twice in 2016, just after Infantino had been elected and once again in 2017,
reportedly in secret.
And now at the time, Lauber at the time was conducting a sprawling investigation into corruption allegations, at the very top of FIFA,
involving several high ranking officials, including former president Sepp Blatter; the former head of UEFA, Michel Platini; and Qatari socceri (ph)
effectively now president of Paris Saint-Germain, Nasser al-Khelaifi.
Alba and Infantini have come out as this has emerged and said they deny the allegations but labbette himself resigned from his post last week over the
Now these legal proceedings against Infantini are obviously a hammer blow not just to his reputation but to the whole of FIFA because this is the
exact opposite of what he was brought in to do and that is, of course, to restore the image of FIFA.
You mentioned Sepp Blatter a moment ago. Well, remember he was disgraced from world football in 2015. He was forced to resign over corruption
allegations. Some of them linked to that decision to award the 2022 World Cup to Qatar.
He was banned from football for eight years, as was Michel Platini at the time. Since taking charge of Platini from 2016, for all intents and
purposes, he has restored the image and has brought in some positive measures for football.
Not least among them is a real focus on the women's game, a strategy to grow the women's game, which has certainly worked. He has introduced VAR,
new technology, and he's not afraid to dip his toe into political issues such as the Muslim travel ban and also, you know, the fight for Iranian
football and the women.
But this, of course, -- these new allegations could threaten to undo any of those strides he was made. He was brought in in 2016 and then re-elected
unchallenged in 2019. So far he is seen as a truly positive force in football and he's set to remain in his position until 2023. But we'll have
to see what comes of this investigation that has just been announced.
RIDDELL: Yes. It's fascinating stuff, isn't it, of course, FIFA one of the most powerful sports organizations in the world. Their name was really
dragged through the mud in 2015. They won't want to return to those days.
Christina Macfarlane, thank you very much.
Becky, it's an exciting day for sport with the return of the NBA, fascinating to see what they're going through in the NBA bubble. Some
described it like a prison sentence, they're in there on their own; they're not supposed to leave until they get knocked out of the playoffs or at the
end of the season. Games without fans, we're all used to that now but it is great, at least, to have basketball back.
ANDERSON: Yes. Absolutely. Good stuff. Thank you, Don.
Still ahead, three former U.S. presidents will all take part in the funeral for congressman John Lewis. Up next, we will be live in Atlanta, where the
civil rights legend will soon be laid to rest.
ANDERSON: John Lewis, a man who was known as the moral conscience of the United States Congress, will soon be laid to rest in his home district of
Earlier the body of the late civil rights leader arrived at Atlanta's Ebenezer Baptist Church for a celebration of life. Former president Barack
Obama will give the eulogy. And the service is set to begin at the top of this hour. Let's bring in CNN's Martin Savidge in Atlanta for you --
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Hello, Becky. This is the service that's taking place at Ebenezer Baptist Church. If you
know the city, you know that it is the heart of faith in the African American community. It is so historic, perhaps one of the more historic
churches across America.
And it's here that the funeral for congressman John Lewis is being held. The "Fanfare for the Common Man" by Aaron Copland just the prelude to what
is about to begin. A remarkable service dedicated to a man who means so many things to so many different things.
He's a civil rights icon and he's been a powerful leader of Congress, representing Georgia's 5th District.
How do you honor such a man?
Well, three former presidents will try to do that, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and President Barack Obama, who is expected to deliver the eulogy.
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi will also give a tribute as will others.
Poignant moments, the reading of the "Invictus" poem, the one that inspired Nelson Mandela. But it will not be all somber. In keeping with the
tradition of homegoing, a celebration I would expect that toward the end of the service, they celebrate a life, the remarkable life of John Lewis.
Outside, the public has to gather. It's a closed ceremony. Only about 240 people allowed inside. Half of that will be family. The other half, the
dignitaries. The crowd would normally be much larger here.
But due to COVID, people are trying to social distance and do what they can at the same time, to honor a man who is beloved all across the United
States for a life that was so well lived -- Becky.
ANDERSON: Martin Savidge, thank you.
I'm Becky Anderson. That was CONNECT THE WORLD. Please stay safe.