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Key model Projects 230,000+ U.S. Deaths by November; Trump Floats Election Delay Despite No Authority to Do So; U.S. Experiences Worst Economic Plunge on Record; Examining the Mental & Emotional Effects of COVID-19; Thailand Claims It's Eliminated Community Transmission; China Accused of Abusive Campaign Against Uyghur Women; Indonesian Company makes Plastics from Seaweed. Aired 12-1a ET
Aired July 31, 2020 - 00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: Staggering death toll is ahead.
Also, U.S. elections were held as scheduled during the Civil War and two world wars. Donald Trump likes to style himself as a wartime president, but he's suggesting delaying November's vote.
And a downward spiral, in the U.S. economy and GDP recording a historic drop. And first-time jobless claims, well, they're rising, too.
Hello, everyone. Welcome to CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Michael Holmes.
Welcome, everyone. We are following a number of new developments on the coronavirus, which has now infected more than 17 million people around the world.
Here in the United States, a key model projects more than 230,000 deaths by November. That's an increase of about 80,000 from the current count.
Now, the man leading the vaccine effort in this country says he's optimistic every American can get a vaccine by the end of next year, if not sooner. Operation Warp Speed, as it is called by the Trump administration, is currently funding eight vaccine trials in the U.S.
Now, one-time Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain, meanwhile, has died after battling COVID-19. He attended a Trump rally in Oklahoma in June without a mask, although it's not clear exactly where he did get the virus.
Meanwhile, President Trump once again saying it is safe for kids to go back to school, because according to him, they're virtually immune to the coronavirus. They're not, by the way.
Doctors say children may not get as sick. A South Korean study finds kids aged 10 and older can still spread the virus as easily as adults can.
The president also claiming things are getting better in hard-hit states like Arizona, Florida, and Texas.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The data is showing very encouraging signs. Arizona, in particular, has crossed an important threshold. For every person with the virus, we're now seeing an average of less than one additional person infected. And the numbers are coming down and coming down very substantially. They are starting to come down in Florida. Arizona is really leaning away.
I was in Texas yesterday, and it's starting to come down significantly, we believe, in Texas. Need another few days to figure that one out, but it looks like they're coming down very significantly. We can never, ever forget the people that have been lost. We never will. We'll never forget them and never forget what happened. This could have been stopped in China. They should have stopped it. And they didn't.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOLMES: Florida has broken its record for most coronavirus deaths for the third day in a row. Texas and California, they're not faring much better. CNN's Nick Watt has the headlines from across the U.S.
NICK WATT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The Sun Belt surge is seeping north.
DR. DEBORAH BIRX, WHITE HOUSE CORONAVIRUS TASK FORCE COORDINATOR: So now we see the virus probably because of vacations and other reasons of travel, moving up.
WATT: Michigan just closed a lot of bars again. When the percentage of tests coming back positive in a state climbs, that's the danger sign.
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: We're starting to see that in some of these states now: Kentucky, Tennessee, Ohio.
WATT: Ohio just reported the most cases in a day. Illinois, the most cases since late May.
Mayra Ramirez from Chicago, just 28 years old, fell ill in April. She's one of the first COVID-19 patients to receive a double lung transplant.
MAYRA RAMIREZ, DOUBLE LUNG TRANSPLANT RECIPIENT: I wasn't aware I had received a lung transplant when I awoke. It wasn't until weeks later that I had the ability to, you know, think to myself, there's a family out there that's grieving their loved one. I have that person's lungs, and how lucky I was to have received it.
WATT: Yesterday across this country, 1,403 lives reported lost to COVID-19, highest number in nine weeks. DR. JODIE DIONNE-ODOM, UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA AT BIRMINGHAM: It's
really a travesty that we're -- that we are where we are today. I'm worried about the future. I am worried that, unless we make some significant changes in our response, this death rate is going to continue to rise.
WATT: The NBA season restarted tonight in a bio bubble in Orlando. This weekend's Phillies-Blue Jays series is off after two Phillies staffers tested positive. The NFL watching and learning.
MIKE TOMLIN, PITTSBURGH STEELERS HEAD COACH: We're working our tails off to familiarize ourselves and adhere to the COVID protocols.
WATT: If we all do that, there's a way out.
BIRX: We believe, if the governors and mayors of every locality, right now, would mandate masks for their communities, and every American would wear a mask and socially distance, we can really get control of this virus and drive down cases, as Arizona has done.
WATT: Some Arizona cities began mandating masks June 19, and look what happened two or three weeks later. The average number of new cases in the state every day started to fall.
(on camera): And here in California right now, we are losing, on average, more people to COVID-19 every day than ever before. The mayor of Los Angeles, Eric Garcetti, says that we were sold a bill of goods by people who claim we were going to get a vaccine soon, that this was all going to be over soon. He, like many others, says we're going to be dealing with this well into next year.
Nick Watt, CNN, Los Angeles.
HOLMES: Joining me now is the former director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Tom Frieden.
Great to have you with us, sir. You are now the president and CEO of Resolve to Save Lives. I want to raise that in a minute, but let's start with you used to be the CDC director.
When we see the CDC in this crisis not giving daily briefings, the CDC getting bypassed when it comes to the data; when we see them changing or tailoring their guidelines and advice after pressure from the White House, what goes through your mind? Do you worry that some of the messaging has been affected by politics and political pressure?
DR. TOM FRIEDEN, FORMER DIRECTOR, CDC: All over the world, Michael, what we see is the places that do better are places that are guided by and fully support public health. And by better, I mean they have fewer cases, fewer deaths, and less economic disruption.
Being guided by science means hearing from the experts, the top specialists in this area, daily or near daily. That would help us get on the same page. Absent that, what we're hoping will happen is that every state and county will begin presenting data in the same way, so we can track this pandemic much better and get a much better control over it.
HOLMES: Do you worry that the organization that you once had has been politicized, and that that's impacting the messaging from it?
FRIEDEN: The same great scientists are there today who I was privileged to work with for eight years under President Obama. They need to be able to speak directly to the American people.
What you can still find on the CDC website is a lot of great information, rigorous scientific recommendations, information, communication, publications coming out even today, showing, for example, on the delicate topic of elections, how elections can be held more safely, with more mail-in and absentee ballots, more drop-off ballots, and if needed, in person, how you can do that as safely as possible.
HOLMES: Pretty -- pretty timely, too, it must be said, but we won't go down that road.
I wanted to ask you about vaccines. I mean, a lot of faith is being put on -- on a vaccine. I mean, a WHO today said a vaccine available to everyone is still a year or two away. I mean, if you're listening to Russia, it's next week.
But even when it comes along, it won't solve this overnight. Will it? I mean, is there a risk at looking at a vaccine as being the end of it?
FRIEDEN: We need to get past the one thing, whether it's a travel ban on masks or tests, or contact tracing, or staying home, or even a vaccine, no one thing is going to make this pandemic go away.
There are three things we need to be careful about with the vaccine. Does it work? Is it safe? Can we get it to people? And for each of those three things, there are a series of steps we have to go through.
In the U.S., it's very important this goes through independent advisory bodies: one at the Food and Drug Administration and one at the Centers for Disease Control and prevention. Those two bodies will give public information so we can know exactly what is happening with this vaccine.
You don't rush a vaccine into people. You don't cut any corners on safety. Vaccines are one of the greatest inventions ever. They have saved hundreds of millions of lives, and it's the single most important thing we could do to get some semblance of normalcy back. But that's going to require doing it carefully and not messing it up.
HOLMES: Yes, and you mentioned, you don't want to rush it. I mean, the administration's program for this is literally called Warp Speed. And that's all very well, to speak to the need for scientific rigor. FRIEDEN: Well, first off, does it work? You need to know is there
protection from the virus? How long does that protection last? How complete is the protection? And does it cover all people? Are there some groups that don't get protected by a vaccine? That requires careful studies.
Second, is it safe? And one thing, Michael, that we have to look carefully at is, could a vaccine in rare cases, caused that kind of inflammatory reaction that happens in children? Kawasaki-like disease. I'm not saying that's going to happen, but let's be completely open and honest with people. Otherwise, there are going to be suspicions.
Trust is very important, and trust is broken if you don't share all information openly. So I'm hopeful that that information will be available to the public as we learn about it.
HOLMES: There is global competition out there, but also, nations are going to want to look after their own. And there is, of course, money to be made and influence to be wielded with whoever gets it first.
The president made the point Thursday that the U.S. holds 90 percent of the world's supply of Remdesivir. And to that point, speak to the risk of, I think, what's being called vaccine nationalism.
FRIEDEN: We're all connected, and we're not going to get our lives and our economy back, unless the pandemic is controlled globally. To think that we can control it here alone, after everything we've been through, is just delusional.
And that's why it's so important that we recognize that vaccines are a global public good, and it's in all of our best interests to get vaccines out as quickly as possible, to as many people as possible. And that may mean compulsory licensing. That may mean supporting the manufacture of vaccines. Basically, open source for how this is done, as long as it's done safely and carefully.
But ultimately, we're getting ahead of ourselves, because we don't know that we have a vaccine that's safe and effective yet.
HOLMES: Yes, and you can only hope it's not used as a tool of influence. I did want to get to what's over your left shoulder. You're involved these days with the Resolve to Save Lives Initiative, which in part is focused on epidemics, in particular, in low and middle- income countries. And that's so important at the moment.
What -- what do you think when you look at those COVID risk for those countries?
FRIEDEN: COVID is a teachable moment. Many of us have been saying for many years that something like the pandemic will come, and we need to be much better prepared as a world. And sadly, this is not necessarily the worst-case scenario. There will be a next one.
And what we need to do globally is have a sense of solidarity, fully support the World Health Organization. They are essential to combatting this. They are necessary, but not a sufficient condition to make the world a much safer place.
So as we move forward, we need to think of what more we need to do to strengthen the ability of countries all over the world to find, stop, and prevent health threats when and where they emerge.
And we're privileged to work in dozens of countries in Africa and elsewhere. It's been impressive to see how investments that have been made in recent years have allowed these countries to respond rapidly, and in some cases, quite frankly, in a much more organized and consistent fashion than the United States has to find, stop, and prevent the spread of COVID.
HOLMES: That's -- that's actually a very good point. I just wanted to ask you. We've just completed six months since the declaration of a pandemic. Where do you see things six months from now?
FRIEDEN: Well, first off, in the U.S., we've passed 150,000 deaths, and COVID will be the third leading cause of death in the United States in 2020. If the U.S. had the death rate of Germany, COVID wouldn't be in the top 10.
So what happens in the next six months very much depends on what countries do. Right now, Latin America is getting hit very hard by COVID. The U.S. still doesn't have it anywhere near under control. And in parts of Europe and Asia, you're seeing risks of a resurgence. So the future is very uncertain, and the more we unite, but stay physically separate, the better we can control this.
HOLMES: Dr. Tom Frieden, a pleasure to have you on and get your expertise on this. Thanks so much.
FRIEDEN: Thank you.
HOLMES: Brazil's first lady, Michelle Bolsonaro, well, she's tested positive for the coronavirus. Perhaps not surprisingly, because her husband contracted it in early July. He, though, tested negative on Saturday.
President Jair Bolsonaro says he feels a bit weak, and he thinks he might have mold in his lung after being in isolation.
The U.S. president attacking an election he is at risk of losing. After the break, we'll dive into the unproven claims Donald Trump is making about mail-in voting, and why it matters. We'll be right back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: I don't want to delay. I want to have the election. But I also don't want to have to wait for three months, and then find out that the ballots are all missing, and the election doesn't mean anything. I don't want to see a crooked election. This election will be the most rigged election in history if that happens. (END VIDEO CLIP)
HOLMES: Now, if there was any doubt as to how the U.S. president, Donald Trump, might react to an election loss, well, there isn't much doubt anymore. Without a single vote being cast, he's already suggesting the outcome can't be trusted.
He set all of this off by tweeting the idea of a potentially delaying the election. And let's be very clear on that: he can't do it. But, as he often does on such things, Mr. Trump doubled when asked about his claims.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN ROBERTS, FOX NEWS: Is the net effect of what you tweeted this morning and what you're talking about now, to cast doubt on the results of the November 3 election?
TRUMP: Well, it's had an interesting impact. I didn't think it was going to be the impact it had. What people are now looking at is, am I right? But not me. Are all these stories right about the fact that these elections will be fraudulent, they'll be fixed, they'll be rigged?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOLMES: Well, rejection of any possible election delay has been swift, and it has been bipartisan. Our Pamela Brown with more on that.
PAMELA BROWN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): President Donald Trump floating the idea of delaying November's presidential election, something only Congress has the authority to do, as laid out in the Constitution.
The president claiming, without evidence, mail-in voting would cast doubt on the election results, tweeting, "With Universal Mail-In Voting, 2020 will be the most INACCURATE & FRAUDULENT Election in history. Delay the Election until people can properly, securely and safely vote???"
To date, there is no evidence that mail-in voting leads to widespread fraud. Both Republican and Democratic lawmakers responding by saying the election will not be moved.
SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D-WV): It's never been done, Jim, and it never should be done.
SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL (R-KY): Well, never in the history of the country, through wars, depressions, and the Civil War, have we ever not had a federally-scheduled election on time.
BROWN: This isn't the first time the president has railed against mail-in voting.
TRUMP: It's very bad what's going on with mail-in ballots.
I'm very worried about mail-in voting, because I think it's subject to tremendous fraud and being rigged.
If people mail in ballots, there's a lot of illegality.
BROWN: In an attempt to clarify today's tweet, Trump's campaign released a statement saying, "The president is just raising a question about the chaos Democrats have created with their insistence on all mail-in voting."
Trump, even leaving the door open he may not accept the results of the election in a recent FOX News interview.
CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Can you give a direct answer? You will accept the election?
TRUMP: I have to see. Look, I have to see. No, I'm not going to just say yes. I'm not going to say that.
BROWN: Some Democrats are worried the Trump is laying the groundwork to cast doubt on the results of the election. Cedric Richmond asked the attorney general about it this week.
REP. CEDRIC RICHMOND (D-LA): Do you believe that this 2020 presidential election will be rigged?
WILLIAM BARR, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: I have no reason to think it will be.
BROWN: Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden warned about the possibility back in April, saying, "Mark my words, I think he is going to try to kick back the election somehow, come up with some rationale why it can't be held, trying to let the word out that he's going to do all he can to make it very hard for people to vote. That's the only way he thinks he can possibly win."
The Trump campaign immediately released a rebuttal to Biden back then, saying, "Those are the incoherent conspiracy theory ramblings of a lost candidate who is out of touch with reality. President Trump has been clear that the election will happen on November 3rd."
(on camera): Former President Barack Obama's eulogy first civil rights icon John Lewis, he appeared to take direct aim at President Trump, suggesting he wants to suppress voters' rights. President Trump, on Thursday, did not react to that at his press briefing.
Pamela Brown, CNN, Washington.
HOLMES: President Obama's eulogy was fiery, to say the least. At times, drawing parallels between the civil rights battles that Congressman John Lewis fought, and the current anti-racism protests across the U.S. And while he didn't say the name Donald Trump, the implications were quite clear. Here's some of what he had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There are those in power who are doing their darndest to discourage people from voting by closing polling locations, and targeting minorities and students, with restrictive I.D. laws and attacking voting rights with surgical precision. Even undermining the postal service in the run-up to an election that's going to be dependent on mail-in ballots so people don't get sick.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOLMES: Ron Brownstein is CNN political analyst and a senior editor for "The Atlantic." He joins me now from Los Angeles. Always a pleasure. It's so good to see you.
Let's get out of the way that tweet raising the possibility of delaying the election first. I mean, the fact is, he can't do it. And to many, a pure distraction, as he is wont to do. And particularly on a day of brutal economic and unemployment numbers. But what does it say about his strategy to raise such a thing?
RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, obviously, you got the right -- the first point right, which is that, you know, came out with the biggest quarterly decline in the GDP since the Depression. And he wanted to change the subject, which he succeeded in doing, as he often does, by raising an issue of his behavior that alienates a majority of the country.
I mean, we saw in polling around the impeachment that a majority of Americans say that he believes -- he considers himself above the law. And, you know, this was as powerful a demonstration of that as you can see.
Now, you know, to put something out that he knows he has no capacity to do, I think, he was really testing the waters to see how far Republicans would go with him in his efforts to delegitimize this election.
And it was striking to me today, Michael, that while Republicans said he was incorrect, not many of them, if any, said he was wrong. This was dangerous. A president shouldn't be talking that way.
So this is TBD about what -- what the party reaction will be as he continues to try to argue that this election cannot be trusted.
HOLMES: Yes, very good point. They did indeed not reject it outright.
We heard from Barack Obama there, the former president, speaking at John Lewis's funeral on Thursday, and you tweeted about that. And I want to read just part of that tweet. You said you did not expect such a consequential, sharply defined, Barack Obama speech on this occasion. And you went on to say, "He drew a straight line from Selma, to Lafayette Park, and Wallace to Trump. A signal of how sharply Obama may define the stakes in the weeks ahead." So well put it, as always, Ron Brownstein. I mean, how do you expect
Obama's role to play out in the run-up to the election? Because he's been fairly quiet today.
BROWNSTEIN: Yes, he has been. And he's been extraordinarily differential, that kind of presidents club, don't criticize your successor. I think today was a real marker. That was an extraordinary speech in many ways.
You know, usually at this event, if there's criticism of the current administration, like for example, at the John McCain funeral, it's always oblique. It's -- it's less direct than Barack Obama was. And Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush kind of fit in that tradition earlier in the event.
But then Obama came up, and he not only equated, I think, very clearly, Wallace and Trump, and Selma and the actions of the administration against nonviolent protesters in the past few months. But he also tied it to a very specific agenda.
On the same day that Donald Trump is talking about delaying the election, Barack Obama talked about expanding voting rights, expanding access to voting, reauthorizing the Voting Rights Act that was eviscerated by the Republican majority on the Supreme Court in 2013. And he went so far as to say this was important enough, that if necessary, Democrats should end the filibuster in the U.S. Senate to achieve this agenda, which is, of course, the rule that allows a minority to block voting.
I said today that I thought that Barack Obama saying end the filibuster before Joe Biden could be the equivalent of Joe Biden embracing gay marriage before Barack Obama. It could be kind of that stake in the ground that signals where things are going.
HOLMES: Fascinating. He's going to play a role, that's for sure. I mean, I want to ask you on the Democrat side, because there's something that stuck out to me this week. The Democrats' platform committee, voting down Medicare for all.
I mean, this is something the overwhelming majority of their voters want. And -- and it comes as millions have lost their health insurance during a pandemic. There are those on the progressive left who see the Democrat establishment already as part of the problem, and the health industry lobby having too much sway.
What did you make of that? Because Democrat, the voters, they want that.
BROWNSTEIN: Well, it's entirely consistent with, you know, Biden's approach. Right? I mean, he had a very ambitious climate plan, but it doesn't ban nuclear power. It doesn't ban the internal combustion engines in 2030, as Bernie Sanders wants to do. It doesn't ban all fracking in the U.S., you know. And you can go up and down the line. By any historic standard, his
agenda is on the progressive side of things. His vision of the public option, for example, as the alternative in health care to single payer, is so much more inclusive and ambitious than what Obama tried to pass in 2009.
And you can go up and down the agenda, you know, ending the use of carbon-generating power by 2035, but it doesn't go all the way, and that's a reflection of his belief that his strength as a candidate is the capacity to appeal to ordinarily Republican-leaning voters, and the center of the electorate, who may have given Donald Trump a chance in 2016, but have been horrified by the tone, and especially by the incompetence that's been displayed over the last few months in the pandemic. So it's very consistent with Biden's vision of how he wins.
HOLMES: Yes, yes. I mean, it sort of reminds me of, you know, Republicans acting on guns when the majority of people want background checks, and the Democrats now not acting on universal health care, when the majority of the people want it.
BROWNSTEIN: -- the whole country, though, Michael?
HOLMES: Yes, absolutely. Absolutely. I do want to ask you, before we go, real quick, because another thing Obama raised, and it's very important. And there's a lot going on on this. This undermining of the post office --
HOLMES: -- which of course, would handle mail-in ballots. A lot of complaints that the postal services have slowed down under the new guy running it, a Trump guy. This is a pretty crucial issue.
BROWNSTEIN: It is. I mean, in 2016, one quarter of Americans voted by mail. Roughly the same share of Democrats and Republicans, voted by mail. The best estimates from the experts are that maybe one in two Americans will try to vote by mail this time.
And you know, for some states, even if -- even though, as we've talked about before, and all the states that are likely to pick the president that will pick the winner, the president has already lost this battle. You can get a mail ballot for any reason in Arizona, Florida, North Carolina, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, you know, the key swing states. But in many of those states, there just isn't the tradition of voting by mail.
Some of those states like Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Wisconsin, 5 percent or less of ballots are cast by mail. So it's going to be this enormous task for the post office. And for that matter, for the election infrastructure.
And again, I am struck here. It is not just Trump trying to undermine these institutions. The Republican Congress is making no effort to fortify the post office before. They seem pretty comfortable with a world in which it may be difficult to vote by mail. Of course, the paradox here is that, historically, it's been Republicans who have focused more on voting by mail. Democrats have put more effort into early voting. Souls to the polls, among African- American churches the Sunday before the election. And now you have many Republican consultants and some county chairs complaining that Trump is delegitimizing voting by mail to their own voters, which may be the ironic outcome of all of this.
HOLMES: Yes. It's going to be a huge issue. I mean, the guy running the postal service at the moment, a Trump appointee, a lot of people think he's deliberately sort of slowing things down. I mean, it's a big issue, in this election of all.
Ron, always a pleasure. Good to see you, Ron Brownstein.
BROWNSTEIN: Thank you for having me.
HOLMES: All right. We'll take a quick break.
When we come back on CNN NEWSROOM, the U.S. economy in freefall, as the GDP records a historic drop. And first-time unemployment claims continue to rise, well over a million in the last week. What it will take to recover, next.
HOLMES: And welcome back to CNN NEWSROOM, everyone. I'm Michael Holmes.
Researchers predicting another 80,000 coronavirus deaths in the U.S. over the next three months. Scientists at the University of Washington blaming rising infections and the refusal by some people to wear masks or practice social distancing.
The U.S. economy suffering a drastic hit from the pandemic. On Thursday, the government reporting the worst quarterly performance since they started keeping records. The worst, by far.
From April through June, the economy contracted by an annualized rate of almost 33 percent. First-time unemployment claims also rose for the second week in a row, by more than a million.
CNN's Eleni Giokos joins me now from Johannesburg. I mean, the president talking up the economy, saying it's going to boom next year. It will be the best you've ever seen. Then you look at these numbers, and they are frightening.
ELENI GIOKOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I mean, honestly, completely frightening. We've never seen anything like this before. And if you compare this to the global financial crisis, it doesn't even come close. I mean, even the worst moments during the 2008, 2009 crisis, we saw the U.S. economy contracting by eight percent.
And then I compare that to the Great Depression. Again, this doesn't even come close. It goes to show the catastrophic impact of the lockdown. When you're asking the lifeblood of your economy, the U.S. consumer, to stay home.
Remember, the U.S. consumer counts for 70 percent of economic growth. You're basically telling people, don't spend. Of course, jobs have been lost. And you mentioned initial claims.
Look at these numbers. The past two weeks, we've seen an incremental rise. That is why looking at economic data on a weekly basis is an important barometer of what's to come.
Remember, this is second quarter number. And now, we're expecting third quarter and fourth quarter figures to come through, and there's this hope that we will see a jump up.
Now, we know that economic activity has started to recover, but we've also seen what that meant: an increase in coronavirus cases. And then again, the rate to truly resume economic activity.
So what impact is that going to have? And this is why initial claims are important. A rise for two weeks in a row, that is a worry. And of course, we know stimulus still needs to be in play here to protect the vulnerable.
I was just looking at what was happening in Asia overnight, as well. I mean, in the last few hours, Asia has been coming under pressure. Again, economic data out of China helped boost some of those stocks.
Look at what the Nikkei is doing today. Again, you see the same stories coming through. Coronavirus cases, a concern about whether these economies can return to true economic activity, and that is the trade, Michael, that is going to be playing out on the global level. But when you've got the largest economy in the world, the United States playing under this much pressure, it gives very little hope for everyone else.
And what is interesting there, and let's talk about that just briefly, too, because the coronavirus cases in Japan and the market goes down. The Dow in the U.S. seems to be doing its own thing. I always like the saying that the stock market isn't the economy. And the Dow can be boosted by a few socks, but what is that parallel universe?
GIOKOS: I mean, it absolutely is a parallel universe, right? So you've always had stock markets running ahead of themselves in pricing in the future.
In other words, you know, this economic recovery that is anticipated, and I get that. But remember, markets are also moved by sentiments. Any kind of stimulus plan, any news from the Federal Reserve that helps boosts sentiment, because then they're starting to apprise (ph) some good news.
The reality check always comes in with regards to earnings. And we had the tech stocks coming out with numbers yesterday, all beating expectations and collectively, the likes of Facebook, Amazon and Apple adding another $200 billion in market capitalization to the market, which is absolutely insane to think.
So you've got the standout stocks, and then you've got stocks that are coming under pressure. But let me tell you, Michael, if you do not have a recovery for the U.S. consumer, would they feel comfortable to spend? You will not see these market prices be sustained. Even if you sustained it with some kind of stimulus policies. And of course, you need a strong U.S. consumer, as well.
So it will be interesting to see how the markets play out today on the back of this news. Remember, it was anticipated we'd get a very bad GDP. Now it's all about the new economic data and the earnings that are going to be giving us really important clues about what's to come in the next few months.
HOLMES: And speaking of consumers, most Americans don't own stocks, so there's that, as well.
Eleni Giokos in Johannesburg, we appreciate it. Thanks very much.
Contracting coronavirus can take a mental toll, as well as a physical one, of course. Well, joining me now to talk about those mental consequences is Andy Schwehm. He's a clinical psychologist at Bellevue Hospital in New York. And really appreciate you coming on and talking about this important issue.
I mean, the one thing about stress or -- or PTSD is that it affects people differently in terms of severity and how it manifests. Give us a broad brush of what sorts of impacts COVID has had on people that you've spoken to.
ANDY SCHWEHM, CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST, BELLEVUE HOSPITAL: Yes, first of all, thank you so much for having me on. I really appreciate it.
You know, from what I've seen, both working in the hospital and in my private practice, is there's a really wide range of responses that people can have to the stress that this disease has brought upon.
You know, we recognize a lot is that a lot of people are feeling more isolated. And especially when you're talking about people who might already have pre-existing mental health conditions like depression or anxiety, or perhaps even pre-existing PTSD, this can really bring on -- that sense of isolation can really bring on a worsening of some of those pre-existing symptoms.
And so what we're really worried about right now is about a heightened risk of suicide among those people and -- and making sure that those people are taking care of themselves. So you're going to see that, and not only that but people who might not have had anything preexisting, this might be a really new phenomenon to them. And so you're seeing people who are dealing with -- with these sorts of issues for the first time.
HOLMES: You know, I know you've looked at what healthcare professionals have been going through, and I think for those who have never been in such situations, it is impossible to know the types of stress and trauma they deal with hour by hour. But just try to explain the sort of visceral nature of that experience.
SCHWEHM: Sure. So I think this is something that, actually, you might be able to relate to. You know, you were -- I know that you spent some time over -- overseas in the Middle East during the war. And I think that experience, you know, that sort of warlike experience is probably what a lot of people are experiencing right now who are working on the, quote unquote, "front lines."
You're seeing a lot of people, especially in the early wave of the pandemic hit, and now as you see these second waves hit in certain states, the healthcare systems in certain big areas are being flooded.
And so doctors are being pulled out of their natural positions. So you're seeing, say, dermatologists being pulled into E.R. rooms, and people who aren't used to these sort of conditions. And now all of a sudden, they're being thrown into this environment that they're not used to. And they're having to make decisions that they're certainly not used to making.
HOLMES: Yes. No -- And you're right. I've covered numerous wars, and I've sort of seen PTSD up close. And the thing is about one of the -- one of the unique things about it is nobody understands what it's like unless you've been there.
I did want to -- We touched on the medical professionals, but I was reading up on some of your writing. And aside from healthcare workers, you've spoken about clients working in -- even in supermarkets. And I think the quote was that people who have been absolutely breaking down, not only because of the anxiety of working in a place where you can easily contract the virus, but from what they're seeing out of humanity. I mean, these people are, too, on the front line.
SCHWEHM: It's really unfortunate the position they're being put into. And I think some of this comes from, you know, these -- these workers, these grocery store workers, these clerks and people working in customer service, or people working in restaurants. They're being put into positions that they've never been in before.
Where you're thinking about -- I think we've all seen the videos that have gone viral of people, you know, shouting in grocery stores over -- over certain mask policies. And what you're seeing is these people being placed into really unfortunate and awkward circumstances, when they're already concerned about their own safety.
And so you -- I really feel for those people who are out there serving, you know, doing the best that they can, helping as best as they can. And yes, I mean, you're seeing some of these people just -- It takes a psychological toll on these people.
HOLMES: We're literally out of time. But as quick as you can -- you can bill us later -- but what would be some key pieces of advice you'd give to people who might be feeling depressed, stressed, traumatized by this virus and what it has wrought?
SCHWEHM: I think it's hard to paint a broad brush for everybody, because everyone is so different. But what I would say is that the biggest thing to do is to make sure that you take time for self-care. And self-care doesn't have to look like things like exercise or meditation. It can look like just taking that time in the shower, the five or 10 minutes you spend in the shower, viewing that as self-care.
Of course, also doing things like meditation and exercise. I think also really limiting the intake that you have of news around certain topics that can -- might be triggering, especially right before you go to bed, can really help you to sleep better at night and allow you to feel more rested when you wake up in the morning.
HOLMES: Yes. Great points there. I really appreciate your time. Andy Schwehm, thanks so much.
SCHWEHM: Thanks so much for having me. I really appreciate it.
HOLMES: Well, with about 3,300 reported coronavirus cases and fewer than 60 deaths, Thailand considers itself a coronavirus success story. And now, the country claims it has eliminated community transmission of the virus.
CNN's Anna Coren reports.
ANNA COREN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Thailand and its state (ph) capital of Bangkok welcome more Chinese tourists than anyone else in the world. It was back in January when one of those travelers, a man from Wuhan, became the first COVID-19 cases diagnosed outside of China.
But fast forward to now, and Thailand says it is crushed COVID-19.
Officially, just over 3,000 of the 66 million strong population have called the virus with only 58 deaths. And for two months, all new cases in the country have been brought from overseas. So how did Thailand do it?
DR. SURAPHONG SUEBWONGLEE, GOVERNMENT PUBLIC HEALTH ADVISOR: The network of the epidemiologists and the community health volunteers are the most important factors in controlling COVID-19 in Thailand.
COREN: A bitter fight against the mosquito-borne Dengue Fever last year left Thailand in a strong position to jump straight onto a new infectious outbreak, experts say.
(MUSIC: "HAPPY BIRTHDAY")
COREN: When COVID-19 struck, one million public health volunteers were already assembled and prepared to fan out across the country. When a case was discovered, this team of friends, family, and neighbors, traced and isolated it straight away.
"Our strength is that we know our community. We know who is most at risk," says one volunteer. "People are scared of this invisible disease. They know how quickly can spread. That's why people are so cooperative."
In a country that calls itself the land of smiles, public health officials believe that tradition has kept people safe. An acceptance of face masks and a long-standing culture of showing respect by keeping social distance helped to protect ties.
"We're just the soldier ants," says this registered nurse. She says her role is to communicate and provide people with safety gear and food when they need to isolate.
When cases began to climb in March, borders were closed, and businesses locked down. Bustling Bangkok went quiet.
Thai martial artists fought their final rounds, shadow boxing in empty stadiums after the sport was linked to massive outbreaks. Schools that closed swiftly look very different now. Classes resumed months later.
What about the dreaded 2nd wave, like the ones that have hit other previously successful nearby countries like Australia and Japan?
SUEBWONGLEE: If a second wave occurred, I think that we can manage better them in the past, because we have the experience. I'm not afraid to deal with the coronavirus.
COREN: But could all this be too good to be true? Despite the low numbers, a state of emergency continues to be enforced in Thailand by a government that came to power during a military coup in 2014.
As Thailand recovers from its first bout of coronavirus, its economy remains stagnant. This sleepless city now in a deep freeze.
And small groups of protesters are beginning to demand more transparency from their government and a way out of the coronavirus economic slump.
Anna Coren, CNN.
HOLMES: This is CNN NEWSROOM. We are looking into allegations against China of horrifying human rights abuses. Find out who is allegedly being targeted and why. We'll have a report when we come back.
HOLMES: Welcome back. China has long been accused of human rights violations against the Uyghur population. The Uyghurs are mostly Muslim, an ethnic minority in northwestern China. Survivors and activists say Beijing has been targeting Uyghur women in a campaign of horrific abuse.
Senior international correspondent Ivan Watson with our report.
IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Living in exile thousands of miles from their homeland, ethnic Uyghurs protest near the Chinese consulate in the city of Istanbul, a demonstration filmed a month before the coronavirus pandemic.
Among the speakers, Gulbakhar Jalilova, who talks about a war against Uyghur women in China's Xinjiang region. This was Gulbakhar (ph) before her ordeal. She's an ethnic Uyghur from Kazakhstan who was in a business trip to Xinjiang when, on May 22, 2017, she says Chinese police came to her hotel and later dragged her to a crowded cell.
GULBAKHAR JALILOVA, CAMP SURVIVOR: (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
GRAPHIC: They shoved me in. It was already midnight. I entered, there were 20 girls standing there.
WATSON: Gulbakhar says guards shaved her head, put chains around her ankle, and periodically took her away for interrogation, where they tortured her to sign a confession. In one of those sessions, she says she was sexually assaulted.
JALILOVA: (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
GRAPHIC: The officer was young, maybe around 30 years old. He said sign the document. I said why? I didn't do anything. I'm not going to confess. You can kill me, whatever you like, I won't confess. I don't understand what you wrote here. And he then took his pants off and put himself into my mouth.
WATSON: Gulbakhar says guards forced the inmates to take daily drugs and get weekly injections. She says her menstrual cycle and those of her fellow inmates completely stopped, an account that matches the testimonies of other female camp survivors that CNN has interviewed.
Strict Chinese censorship makes it nearly impossible to confirm testimonies like these, describing the mass detention of hundreds of thousands of Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities in Xinjiang.
This rare leaked footage from Xinjiang shows lines of men, heads shaved, blindfolded, with their hands tied. CNN cannot verify this footage, but in October, China said the transportation of inmates as part of normal judicial activities.
Beijing says that it created a system of what it calls vocational training centers. It's aimed at eradicating extremism through reeducation.
The Chinese government denies subjecting detainees to any abuse. But official health statistics published annually by the Chinese government revealed damning new evidence to academic Adrian Zenz. He found over a decade when sterilization operations dropped substantially on a national scale, the procedures performed on women's surged in Xinjiang. The same goes for placements of IUD, intrauterine birth control devices in women.
ADRIAN ZENZ, UYGHUR SCHOLAR: Maybe we should call it demographic genocide. Because it specifically fulfills one of the five criteria of the United Nations convention for the prevention of genocide, which is the suppression of births.
WATSON: Zumrat Dawut is a Chinese Uyghur who says she was forcibly sterilized by the government. In October 2018, she says she was summoned to a government office and fined 18,401 wan, the equivalent of around $2,600, for having one child too many.
ZUMRAT DAWUT, UYGHUR CAMP SURVIVOR: (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
GRAPHIC: They said there is an order from above that says you must have a birth control procedure done. We went to the surgery. They put me in bed and hooked me to an IV bag, and then I passed out.
WATSON: A doctor later told Zumrat the sterilization was permanent.
China's ambassador to the U.S. denies allegations of forced population control.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know how absurd all these fabrications can go.
FAREED ZAKARIA, CNN HOST: But that means you deny it?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Of course.
WATSON: The Chinese government has not responded to requests for comment from CNN.
For Gulbakhar Jalilova, her 15-month nightmare ended when police suddenly set her free and left her with this letter, saying she was detained for suspicion of terrorist activities.
In a video made months after her release, Gulbakhar explained she's still suffering from skin rashes and sores. She shows me her handwritten list of the names of more than 60 other women and girls she met in detention.
She says she's traumatized by the memory of the sound of the screams of these women she left behind.
JALILOVA: (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE)
GRAPHIC: I want help from the world to close the camps, so that people can live.
WATSON: Ivan Watson, CNN.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) HOLMES: Indonesia is home to roughly 270 million people. According to the Ocean Conservancy, it's also the world's second largest contributor of plastic trash to the ocean. One entrepreneur is turning to seaweed to help fight the pollution crisis.
Cyril Vanier reports.
CYRIL VANIER, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR/CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): With over 17,000 islands in Indonesia, the ocean is a source of life and livelihood. Here, seagrass beds and coral reefs team with plants and animals.
But it's not just wildlife lurking below. According to a 2015 study in the journal "Science," Indonesia produces 3.2 million tons of plastic waste a year, half of which ends up in the ocean. One Indonesian has turned to these very shores for a solution.
DAVID CHRISTIAN, FOUNDER & CEO, EVO & CO.: Indonesia is the second largest plastic polluter to the oceans. As a country that should not only care about oceans, we can really see the difference before us.
VANIER: To develop alternatives to the plastic he saw clogging Indonesia's waters, the 27-year-old entrepreneur began working with scientist Nori Muliano (ph) back in 2016 to develop products using locally abundant seaweed.
CHRISTIAN: This is the raw dry seaweed we use to make the seaweed packaging.
VANIER: From sachets to jelly-like cups, they're biodegradable and edible, which means you can eat the burger and its rapper.
CHRISTIAN: I say that seaweed has a big potential to replace plastics and raise awareness of what the danger of plastics, in a fun and different way.
VANIER: Some experts say seaweed helps the environment in other ways.
SUDARI PAWIRO, CHIEF TECHNICAL ADVISOR, GLOBAL QUALITY AND STANDARDS PROGRAM: Seaweed is the most climate-friendly way of processing bioplastic, because it has the lowest carbon footprint of any bioplastic production.
VANIER: Christian says Edo & Co. has made 100,000 seaweed products, well above the price of conventional plastic. There's a way to go before they can compete.
But for Christian, building a business sustainably starts by supporting the seaweed producers.
CHRISTIAN: We increase their livelihood of the seaweed farmers, there can be even more impacts that we can get by replacing plastics. VANIER: Indonesia's pledge to cut plastic pollution in the ocean 70 percent by 2025 may well shore up the seaweed bioplastic business in coming years, protecting life above and beneath the water's surface.
Cyril Vanier, CNN.
HOLMES: Hope that works out.
Well, 20 weeks after a pause cause by the coronavirus, one of the world's most popular sporting leagues, the NBA, resumed on Thursday evening in the so-called bubble in Orlando, Florida. The league has never not completed a season in its 74-year history, and this one took months of planning, bringing 22 teams into isolation with no fans.
A lot has happened since the March shutdown, and NBA players paid tribute to the Black Lives Matter movement. And then, just moments after tip-off in the opening game between the Utah Jazz and New Orleans, the Frenchman Rudy Gobert. Now, he is the very player who mocked the coronavirus, then caught COVID-19 and was the reason the NBA was shut down in the first place. Or at least the trigger. And he scored the opening basket, and the final one, as well.
Play will continue through October, when a champion will be crowned, again, with no spectators.
Now NASA's latest mission to Mars is underway after a successful launch. A spacecraft carrying the Perseverance rover is on its way to the red planet. It's expected to arrive there in February.
The focus of that mission is to search for signs of ancient life. Isn't it always? And the rover has new technology in a bid to accomplish that goal. A small helicopter also along for the journey and is set to become the first to fly on another planet.
I'm Michael Holmes. Thanks for spending part of your day with me. I will be back with another hour of CNN NEWSROOM right after the break.