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U.S. Still Sees Debate on Wearing Masks, Social Distancing; "The Lancet": False Information about Coronavirus Is Public Health Threat; Hurricane Hits the Bahamas as COVID-19 Cases Rise; Hong Kong Issues Warrants for Six Activists; Protesters Gather in Downtown Portland, Oregon; Football Star Cesc Fabregas on Career, Family. Aired 3-3:30a ET

Aired August 1, 2020 - 03:00   ET




MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Yet another record number of new coronavirus cases around the world.

In the U.S., health experts grilled by Congress on the nation's response.

Plus strong winds, heavy rains pounding the Bahamas at this hour. Hurricane Isaias is expected to strengthen as it moves towards the U.S. state of Florida.

And Donald Trump taking on a new adversary, TikTok. Why the U.S. president says he's going to ban the social media app.


HOLMES: Hello and welcome to CNN NEWSROOM, everyone. I'm Michael Holmes, appreciate your company. Let's go to our top story.

The new month begins with broken records and ominous projections. The World Health Organization reporting a record number of global new COVID-19 cases in a 24-hour period, nearly 300,000.

Johns Hopkins University reporting more than 17.5 million people worldwide have been affected, the U.S. with a quarter of them, 4.5 million. More than 153,000 Americans have died.

And the CDC is warning another 20,000 could die in the next 3 weeks alone. The scientific team forecasting the pandemic says not nearly enough Americans are wearing masks meanwhile.

And the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has authorized the first two coronavirus tests to measure antibody levels. They are designed to not only detect the presence of antibodies but also the amounts.

Dr. Anthony Fauci and two other leading U.S. health officials testified at a congressional hearing on Friday. Dr. Fauci took questions on the U.S. response to the pandemic and why Europe appears to have been more effective. Erica Hill with more details for us.


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: I think that with such a diversity of response in this country from different states that we really did not have a unified bringing everything down.

ERICA HILL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): There was not one national plan to get the virus under control. And despite guidelines from the White House, there wasn't a unified plan to reopen either.

DR. LEANA WEN, FORMER BALTIMORE CITY HEALTH COMMISSIONER: We should've been able to anticipate that these surges of infections would occur. And I think so much of our response has been reacting to what's happened rather than anticipating what's ahead.

HILL (voice-over): Those decisions now playing out in real time. While things are looking better over the past week, even in the recent hotspot of Arizona, California and Florida, Texas seeing a slight decline in new cases. Infections are growing in the Midwest. And deaths which lag by at least two to four weeks are rising. The CDC now predicting fatalities could top 173,000 in the next three weeks.

GOV. PHIL SCOTT (R-VT): Taking personal responsibility is the best way to keep this in check and win the war against this invisible enemy.

HILL (voice-over): Hospitalizations are hitting record highs in several states. Earlier this month the administration moved to bypass the CDC, telling hospitals to send their data directly to HHS.

REP. MAXINE WATERS (D-CA): Dr. Redfield, when did you first learn? When were you first told? When were you first notified?

DR. ROBERT REDFIELD, DIRECTOR, CDC: Again, as I mentioned, I wasn't involved in the decision --

WATERS: So you weren't -- am I to understand --

REDFIELD: I don't remember the exact date --

WATERS: Am I to understand that you were not told at all?

REDFIELD: Well, I was told actually once the secretary's office made the decision that that was the decision. And we worked together.

HILL (voice-over): In the early epicenter, just 1 percent of tests are now coming back positive. New York City, the nation's largest school district, releasing new details about the plan for hybrid learning and how it will deal with an outbreak.

TED LONG, TEST & TRACE CORPS: If there's a case in a classroom, the kids, students and the teacher are going to quarantine for 14 days no matter what.

HILL (voice-over): Schools in Indiana and Georgia already welcoming kids back.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're ready to start. We need to get our kids in school.

HILL: Infections could be controlled at colleges this fall if students are tested every two days. Many universities have already decided to move learning online, instead -- Erica Hill, CNN, New York.




HOLMES: Dr. William Haseltine is founder of Harvard University's HIV/AIDS research department and the author of a few books, including "The Family Guide to COVID" and "A COVID Back to School Guide: Questions and Answers for Parents and Students," a great resource.

You are in Rosemary, Connecticut, thanks for joining us. We'll start with this. The upshot of the congressional hearings today with Dr. Fauci and others, is that there seems to be no coordinated unified national plan even six months in.

How does that hamper and has it hampered fighting the virus?

WILLIAM HASELTINE, PHD, HARVARD UNIVERSITY: It is a tremendous disadvantage not too have a nationally coordinated program. The United States is founded from a confederation into a federation. That means there is a lot of local authority given to states and our governors.

That means the central government as a special responsibility to be convincing, reliable, informed and persuasive; and I might add, compassionate. Those are the things you need in a federal system to get it to work.

We have had crises before. We have had the Great Depression. We have gone through wars. In those situations, we have had leaders who have managed to unite our disparate parts into a single whole. That has not happened this time. It has resulted in great disaster.

I think this is the greatest disaster and even it's an unimaginable disaster, from my point of view.

HOLMES: It is interesting, another aspect of this, the president said that children are, he used the words, "almost immune" to the virus. But there was the CDC report Friday where kids at a summer camp here in Georgia, at least 40 percent of the campers and counselors became infected with the virus.

There were a number of precautions that were not taken as well. But it raises the question, if it was unsafe in March to go back to school, when there were 500 cases of the virus, how can it be OK now?

How should those camp statistics play into the decision to reopen schools? HASELTINE: Reopening schools is a fraught issue. It is one that is argued around dinner tables every night in families all over the country.

The first thing to say is, how is this virus transmitted?

In fact, it is like a cold virus. And we know about them. This is a cold virus, even though it can kill you. It behaves just like a cold virus.

I want parents to ask themselves, how do they catch a cold?

They know the answer. They send their kid to school; the kid comes back and gives them a cold.

Well, this is a cold virus. It is not any different. For people to imagine it's a brand-new thing, it isn't. It just has a new brand new habit of killing some people and making others very sick.

But it's transmitted just like a cold virus. We now know, for measurements, that children under 5 have 10-100 times more virus in their nose to transmit. They may not get sick as much, some of them get sick and die. And I have a friend who has a grandson who didn't die but almost did.

So when they get sick, they get very sick but they are very easily infected. Maybe not as easily as a young adult but they are infected. And it spreads like crazy. They bring it into the household. It is not a mystery.

HOLMES: As the camp numbers show, they are truly stunning. I wanted to show people video of the president in Florida on Friday. Florida, of course, the U.S. epicenter of the virus. They had a record number of deaths on Friday.

In the video of him there, meeting with supporters and law enforcement, he is not wearing a mask. They are not wearing a mask. No social distancing going on. In the epicenter of this virus, as a medical professional, your reaction to that.


HASELTINE: It's horrifying. It is absolutely horrifying. Same as the rally in Tulsa, that may have killed Herman Cain. It is horrifying to see people so blatantly ignoring very simple measures.

For a president to do that is even worse. But we need people to understand how serious this is. I do not know how many hundreds of thousands of deaths it will take before people realize. This is a disaster.

There are so many things we can do. We are relying on vaccines, which may or may not come. We are relying on drugs, which I think will come at some time. But none of that without everybody pulling together, isolating, wearing masks, staying home when they have to. There's a simple rule of thumb I would say for people thinking about

sending their kids to school are behaving. Think of the COVID-19 like the weather. If you're in Florida today, you're in a hurricane. A real hurricane and a hurricane that is figurative, like the COVID-19 epidemic.

You are there, you go to the basement and you hunker down with your kids. If there is a thunderstorm, you stay at home; you don't go out with your kids. You might get hit by lightning.

That's what can happen when there is a lot of COVID around. There may be a heavy rain, that's some place like Tennessee, you're careful. You garb up, you take your galoshes, your umbrellas, raincoats. Same kinds of thing with COVID.

HOLMES: Great advice. I really appreciate your time. And your books, which I just learned something today, is that they are living books and they're updated often. So if you get the e-book, it's getting updated all the time.

Dr. William Haseltine, thank you so much.

HASELTINE: Thank you very much, Michael, I appreciate the time.


HOLMES: Let's turn our attention to another big threat right now. That is Hurricane Isaias, the U.S. state of Florida bracing for the storm but right now it is bearing down on the Bahamas, all while the island (sic) is dealing with its own spike of coronavirus cases.



HOLMES: I want to go to journalist Matthew Moxey now. He joins me now from Nassau, the capital of the Bahamas.

The Bahamas still not fully recovered from Hurricane Dorian last year.

What is the situation there?

MATTHEW MOXEY, JOURNALIST: Right. Although we are five hours away from this storm over the couple, there are already reports in the coastal communities of increased winds. Forecaster predicts Hurricane Isaias will be here by 8:00 am Eastern time.

Now the Bahamas is a chain of islands, stretching across some 1,000 square feet of water. Hurricane Isaias is centered southwest of Great Exuma in the Central Bahamas and continues to move into the northwest Bahamas with heavy showers and strong thunderstorms, along with hurricane to tropical storm force winds continuing across the central Bahamas.

Hurricane Isaias has also brought heavy rain and strong tropical storm force winds over Long Island and other central islands of the Bahamas with some northwestern islands now experiencing adverse weather.

Reports from the southern islands indicate that there was no severe damage. At last report we were told by the Long Island administrator that there were 13 people at shelters on the island.

Electricity on some islands were turned off and certain areas categorized as high risk. The electrical shutoffs are also expected to impact us here in the capital, as heavy rain and strong tropical storm force winds are expected to ensue any minute now.

The public hospital on New Providence also suspending operations at its outpatient pharmacy, family medicine clinic, blood bank and maternity services during the storm. This, as they say, the emergency department will only be seeing emergency patients. They are asking everyone with non-emergent matters to stay home at this time.

For the north, on Grand Bahama, residents in 20 communities along the coast and other vulnerable areas are being advised to evacuate by the government. This comes as the island still recovering a devastating blow from category 5 Dorian last year. Its forecast experienced 3-5 feet storm surge as the system brushes the island on later today.

The official shelter count has been increased from 4 to 8 on that island. But the storm really comes as a blow as the Bahamas is experiencing a significant resurge of COVID-19 cases with cases nearly 600 before the borders respond on July 1 to international travel. The cases were just over 100. One month later, the Bahamas now has a total of 574 cases.

HOLMES: All right, Matthew Moxey there in the Bahamas, appreciate it. Good luck there. We'll stay in touch.

TikTok's popularity in the U.S. is coming up against a powerful foe, President Donald Trump. We'll tell you what he's threatening to do when we come back.





HOLMES: Welcome back.

U.S. president Donald Trump says he will ban TikTok, the social media platform. It is owned by Bike Dance, a Chinese company. Critics fear the data it collects on U.S. users could end up in the hands of the Chinese government.

TikTok, however, says it stores its data outside of China. Cyber security experts downplay the risk. Mr. Trump says that he could use either emergency economic powers or an executive order to ban the platform as soon as Saturday. Hong Kong police have issued arrest warrants for six pro-democracy

activists under the controversial new national security law. One of them is an American citizen, living overseas. And another says he will have to sever his family relationships in Hong Kong because of all of this.

Here for, more and to explain for us, Kristie Lu Stout joining us from Hong Kong.

Tell us, who these people are and the message this sends importantly.

KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN ANCHOR: Hong Kong police are reportedly seeking the arrest of six pro-democracy activists who fled the city. Chinese state run CCTV reports that they are wanted for breaching the controversial national security law, mainly for inciting secession and colluding with foreign forces.

Both are very serious offenses under the new law. If found guilty, they could face life in prison. CNN reached out for Hong Kong police for comment and they refused. One of the 6 is the high-profile pro democracy leader and former lawmaker, Nathan Law. He is currently in the U.K. And around the time the national security law was put in place, he fled there.

On Twitter, he provided this response. Let's bring it up.

"My advocacy work overseas is conducted in my own personal capacity without any collaboration with others. Since leaving Hong Kong, I've also stopped contacting members of my family. From now on I will sever my relationship with them."

Also wanted, Samuel Chu, an activist who is a U.S. citizen. And from the U.S. he tweets this.

"Today, I woke up to media reports I am a wanted fugitive. My alleged crimes, inciting secession and colluding with foreign powers under Hong Kong's national security law. Except I'm an American citizen and have been for 25 years."

Michael, already, it has been one month since the national security law has been in effect. It criminalizes secession, subversion, terrorism, including with foreign forces. It applies to every person, even if they are outside of Hong Kong or not Hong Kong permanent residents.

Critics say it undermines Hong Kong's autonomy and its freedoms and supporters say it brings stability and fills a security loophole. In response, several governments around the world have suspended extraditional treaties with Hong Kong, including the U.K., Australia and Germany, offering a possible safeguard for the exiled pro democracy activists who are wanted by Hong Kong police. Michael.

HOLMES: A very changed Hong Kong these days. Kristie Lu Stout, appreciate, it good to see you.

I want to take you to Portland now. I want to update you on the protests that have been there. Protesters are out in the streets tonight, like they have been every day for weeks and Lucy Kafanov is there.

Lucy, tell us what the temperature of the protest is tonight?

LUCY KAFANOV, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It has been a calm atmosphere, Michael. This early evening began with several rallies and marches across the city of Portland, all of them converging here in front of the federal courthouse behind me. Groups actually converged on the justice center over there. There were some speeches, chants.


KAFANOV: We hear a lot of chants for Black Lives Matter, say his name, George Floyd and the names of other Americans killed at the hands of police across the United States.

And this has been a very different atmosphere than what we've been seeing the past few weeks. This is now day 65 of the protests. I do want to apologize for my voice. As of yesterday, as of Thursday, officially, the Oregon state troopers took over lead on patrolling and defending the federal courthouse building.

We have not seen them in any kind of visible presence on the street. Yesterday evening was the first night we saw no clashes whatsoever. Usually these protests would begin very peacefully, people would come to chant, to give speeches and then in the early hours of the night, it would devolve into something, where some protesters might shoot fireworks, trying to break down the fence.

The Feds, the federal paramilitary forces would come out and dispense tear gas and rubber bullets, to try to disperse crowds. There was no visible presence of any authorities. In fact, we saw protests end peacefully. It seems like what is happening this evening.

On Wednesday, actually, we were out -- that was the last night that officially at least, the federal paramilitary forces were in lead control. Although they are still here in Portland, they just are not out and about. That was a very stark contrast in terms of the environment.

We saw federal officers out in the streets and they were using tear gas, rubber bullets and they did not seem provoked from what we were able to see on the ground. Yesterday and today, you kind of see protesters policing themselves. There was one man yesterday that was starting to throw beer bottles over the fence.

A group of demonstrators came up to, him they talked him down, calmed him down, got him away from the area. So again, the message is very much now being refocused on racial equality, racial justice and Black Lives Matter, without the provocation of these federal forces.

HOLMES: Lucy Kafanov, thank you so much. Appreciate that. Keep an eye on it for us and we will get back to you.

I should point out, Donald Trump, just a few hours ago, actually tweeted, Homeland Security is not leaving Portland until, quote, "police complete cleanup of anarchists and agitators."

Obviously, not playing into the peaceful scene that Lucy is seeing there.

We will be right back on CNN NEWSROOM.




HOLMES: Welcome back.

Spanish football superstar Cesc Fabregas has had an illustrious and long career. He sat down with our Christina Macfarlane to reflect on how he is handling the pandemic and celebrating his great grandmother turning 96 years old, despite testing positive for COVID-19 twice.



CESC FABREGAS, SPANISH FOOTBALL SUPERSTAR (voice-over): I've done things and I've experienced things at home, that I would normally never have had not the player (ph) but the time or the energy, to do, you know, especially with my kids.

You know, when you are playing every three days, doing basically all your career, you don't have much time for these little things. It sounds silly but these are little pleasures that you appreciate once you have them.


CHRISTINA MACFARLANE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): And I know that the virus has affected your family, personally, with your great grandmother catching the virus. And surviving at 95 years old. She must be an incredible woman.

FABREGAS (voice-over): Yes, it's quite incredible. And today is your birthday, she's 96 today. She was positive twice and she overcome the situation twice. So we are very proud of her. And she seems good and healthy, so we thank God for that.

MACFARLANE (voice-over): We've been living through, quite frankly, an extraordinary period of change this year.

What do you make of football's response in recent months to the killing of George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter movement?

FABREGAS (voice-over): It was a very strong response. And I think we have to keep it this way. You know, when I hear like Raheem Sterling, Rushford, these guys, they are legends. They are the ones that we have to listen to because, you know, they say it as it is. And you learn so much from these young guys. And you know, they are an example to society and to all of us.

MACFARLANE (voice-over): How often have you seen racist incidents in your career, either directed at your teammates or in the stands?

FABREGAS (voice-over): Fortunately for me, I've never seen it face to face. But obviously, yes, I have heard it in stadiums. Sometimes you don't even realize, because you are focused on the game and people, some guys, they will tell you, look at what they're singing, look at what they are saying.

And you are like, oh, my God, you know, this is terrible. What's the need? (ph) There are so many people, kids watching, attending games. My dream is to bring, every weekend, my son to watch football, every Saturday, every Sunday. And if you see these things, you just won't do it. I won't do it if I see that this continues.

MACFARLANE (voice-over): You might have noticed that two of your former clubs are about to go head to head in the FA Cup final. Some would say that they took a bit of a gamble in appointing two former players in (INAUDIBLE).

What have you made of how they have managed this season?

And which, to you, has had the stronger showing?

FABREGAS (voice-over): Well, it is difficult because, for example, Nicolo (ph) started in the middle of the season and that is always more difficult in my view. But obviously, Frank had a -- how can I say -- a difficult challenge in front of him, even if he had the preseason, even if he recovered some players, that they believed in young players and they speak to them, they kept going, even if sometimes they did not have the best results.


HOLMES: Thank you for spending part of your day with me, I'm Michael Holmes. Natalie Allen will be along in about 30 minutes with more CNN NEWSROOM. "AFRICAN VOICES CHANGEMAKERS" is up next. I will see you tomorrow.