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CNN NEWSROOM

U.S. East Coast On Alert For Tropical Storm Isaias; Microsoft In Talks To Buy TikTok; No Agreement On $600 Monthly Relief Package; Trump Begins Election Roadblock Tactics; Hurricane Watches Issued as Isaias Heads Toward Carolinas; Dr. Birx: U.S. in New Phase with More Widespread Cases; Brazil Reporting More than 94,000 Coronavirus Deaths; U.K. Orders Strict Lockdown Hours before Muslim Holiday; India Says it Has Surpassed 1.8 Million Cases; NASA Astronauts Splash Down in SpaceX Capsule. Aired 1-2a ET

Aired August 3, 2020 - 01:00   ET

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


MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: A coronavirus outbreak in part of Australia leads to a state of disaster and a new lockdown in metropolitan Melbourne.

And if the coronavirus wasn't enough for Florida, the state's coping with a tropical storm as well that could become a hurricane before making landfall on the U.S. East Coast.

Plus TikTok's troubles. Donald Trump threatened to ban the video app in the United States but new developments could change his mind.

Welcome, everyone, to CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Michael Holmes.

We do begin in Melbourne, Australia, which is now under some of the most severe coronavirus lockdown measures to date after a state of disaster was declared in Victoria.

The latest restrictions include a overnight curfew and the end of pretty much most recreational activity. This coming after Victoria reported almost 700 new cases of the virus on Saturday.

CNN's Anna Coren is live for us in Hong Kong.

It's a pretty severe crackdown after what has been really an average of less than 10 deaths a day. But they're not messing around.

ANNA COREN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: No, they're not messing around, they're taking this extremely serious. And they also understand that what is taking place in Victoria is going to affect the entire country.

Certainly, Australia's economic survival and getting back on its feet is going to be hurt severely by this lockdown over the next six weeks.

It is the harshest lockdown that Australia has seen during peacetime.

A curfew came into effect as of last night, Michael, from 8:00 pm through till 5:00 am. And that will be the case for the next six weeks.

Only one family member can leave the house to go and buy groceries. You are only allowed to travel within five kilometers of your home to go grocery shopping.

Schools will be closed, universities closed. No childcare except for essential workers and vulnerable children.

This is going to be tough going for Victorians. Certainly for Melburnians who have been having these restrictions for the last now four weeks.

And then for the premier to come out last night and announce that it has not gone far enough, that the government cannot get a handle on the situation, that they need to move to this harsh lockdown stage four restrictions.

So, Michael, they are going to be going through this for the next six weeks.

My sister, she lives in Melbourne, and she's a mother with young children. And everyone is struggling.

They thought they were doing the right thing, but there are so many people who are not doing the right thing.

The government was releasing statistics that found that one in four people who had COVID-19 had tested positive. When officials came round to knock on the door, they were not home.

People who had been tested for the virus waiting for results, more than 50 percent of them were still going about their normal lives, still going to work.

And that is why we've seen this huge outbreak in aged care facilities where workers have continued to go to work thinking that they just got the flu, that they're a little bit sick. When, in actual fact, they are spreading the coronavirus.

And this is something that the premier said, obviously, people are not taking it seriously enough. We need to impose these harsh rules, harsh measures, so that we can stop the spread, stop this crisis. Michael.

HOLMES: All right, Anna. Thanks very much. Crackdown in Melbourne. Thanks.

Anna Coren there, in Hong Kong.

Here to discuss further is Professor Sharon Lewin who is director of the Doherty Institute in Melbourne, Australia.

Good to have you on, and your expertise.

This full lockdown, how concerned are you and authorities there?

DR. SHARON LEWIN, DIRECTOR, DOHERTY INSTITUTE: A pleasure to be with you.

Well, there's a lot of concern in Victoria and particularly in Melbourne as we've seen numbers of cases increase progressively over about the last five weeks.

There's been some interventions and the numbers of new cases has slowed but they haven't yet reduced. And that's what causing some alarm here.

HOLMES: When you look at the restrictions in place there and you think about New Zealand went to stage four restrictions when there were 90 cases a day.

[01:05:00]

And it did take them a month to bring the virus under control, although they did, obviously.

How long do you expect this to last for these restrictions to make a difference?

LEWIN: Well, I think once you bring in a restriction, you are limiting transmissions. You should see that the numbers start to fall within about a week or seven to ten days.

Now that, of course, won't fall to zero but what we really want to see is a progressive decline in numbers of new infections. And that may well be in place now, we are estimating for about 6 weeks.

HOLMES: What was the cause of the uptick? Australia worked hard on things like contact tracing and lockdown -- if I understand it correctly, a lot of these cases can't be traced back to a source, right? They're sort of mystery cases. What happened?

LEWIN: Well, first of all, just to be really clear. These numbers, these increases in new cases have really only happened in one part of Australia. So this is not running out of control across Australia.

This is just in one particular state, Victoria, and predominantly the city, the capital city, Melbourne.

And in our first wave of coronavirus cases which we experienced in late March similar to the rest of the world, most of those infections were from travelers that returned to Australia, and we had very little community transmission and very aggressive testing and tracing really dating right back to February and March.

This time, we were throughout May and June, quarantining all visitors to Australia. They were all in hotels paid for by the government for at least two weeks.

And what happened in Melbourne were some breaches in quarantine, transmission from people in quarantine to the security guards actually in those hotels, and then spreading amongst communities linked to those security guards.

And it all started emerging about five weeks ago, sort of in early June. And progressive incremental strategies were implemented.

First of all, restricting the number of people in your house then locking down 10 suburbs of Melbourne then mandating mask wearing.

And what we've seen with each of these interventions is that the numbers of new infections are still increasing.

We've also had outbreaks in some industries like abattoirs which are quite common around the world. We've seen also outbreaks in housing projects.

So we're seeing different communities being infected, which are a lot more challenging now. Community transmission, people in high density living.

HOLMES: Yes.

LEWIN: So the problem (inaudible) up.

HOLMES: I guess -- it's interesting. I was doing some comparison today on deaths in Victoria versus a U.S. state like Florida, which is a real hot zone.

Florida is three and a half times the population of Victoria, but 20 to 25 times the daily deaths. And in Florida, the schools are going to reopen, distancing and mask wearing is patchy, to say the least.

To that point, what difference can public cooperation and government action make in a situation such as this?

LEWIN: Oh, look, the goals of what we're trying to do in Australia right now are very different to what I'm seeing happening in the U.S.

The goal here is certainly flattening the curve and reducing deaths -- and we've had just over 100 deaths in Victoria, which is still alarming.

But we really want to get cases right down so that we're in step with the rest of Australia, which is currently experiencing less than 20 cases a day in other parts of Australia, and several states having absolutely no new infections.

So the goal here is to really squash this right down to levels so that we're consistent with the rest of the country.

HOLMES: It's a country that did well with coronavirus.

And looking at the actions being taken in Victoria, a lot of U.S. states -- well, they could learn something, I guess.

Professor Sharon Lewin, good to see you. Appreciate it. Thanks so much for that.

LEWIN: Pleasure, thanks very much.

HOLMES: Hurricane watches are being issued for parts of the Carolinas as tropical storm Isaias is projected to make landfall there in the coming days.

Alerts have been issued up and down the eastern sea board in advance of the storm's projected move northward. Isaias is bringing heavy wind, rain and rough tides to Florida's Atlantic coast.

But meteorologists say by the time it makes landfall, it could strengthen and become officially a hurricane once more.

Meteorologist Pedram Javaheri is tracking the storm. He joins us now with more.

What have you been seeing?

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Well, models suggest this has a very good potential here to strengthen just a little bit. And, Michael, it's not going to take much.

About three to four miles per hour more than where it is right now. That'll designate it back into a category one hurricane.

But really the impacts are going to be nothing different than what is expected to happen within the next 24 hours when the system makes landfall across portions of the Carolinas.

[01:10:00]

But here we go. Fifty miles or 80 kilometers, just east of the coast of Cape Canaveral, Florida.

The concern is as the landscape across this region kind of turns toward the right, the storm system will run out of time to try to pull away from the coast.

We know the wind shear, or winds aloft begin to kind of shred the system apart and allow it to weaken a little bit. But, of course, the Gulf Stream is north of this area.

So you'll notice as the system migrates north, we think some time around the late night hours of Monday into the overnight hours there of Tuesday morning there, you could see the system make landfall near Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. It's right there around the border of South and North Carolina where landfall is most likely.

And again, either as a tropical storm, a strong tropical storm or potentially a weak hurricane that'll bringing wind around 70 to 75 miles per hour, upwards of 120 kilometers per hour.

And then northbound it goes into say Wednesday and Thursday into a very densely populated corner of the United States.

But here's why we think strengthening is possible. The Gulf Stream just ahead of this particular feature. So even though the winds want to shred it apart, the Gulf Stream will fuel it from below.

And you'll notice high pressure nudging this, trying to pull it away from the United States while we have the jet stream trying to push it farther towards the east. So it's kind of stuck between these two zones.

And we know the storm surge, as often is the case, is the biggest threat of any tropical systems making landfall.

People fall in love with the wind speed, even with the rainfall amount; it is that coastal impact right there with the storm surge that could be two to four feet from Edisto Beach towards Charleston up towards Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

Keep in mind, Monday is a full moon. Which means the astronomical high tide for the entire month of August takes place there within the next 24 hours.

I'll tell you what, the system expected to move ashore right around this time when the high tide takes place.

Which should be 9:00 p.m. around Charleston, six-and-a-quarter feet. In Wilmington, about five feet at 10:30 p.m. Factor in an additional two to four feet on top of that, flooding certainly going to be a probability across these areas.

And rainfall, as the system moves closer to land, makes landfall on Tuesday into the early morning hours. The heaviest rainfall come down across this region of the Carolinas into the Delmarva.

You factor in winds of 50, 60 and 70 miles per hour, Michael, we know power outage is going to be very much a concern.

And of course, with life during a pandemic a lot of these power outages, especially as you head in towards a very densely populated area of the Northeast could be delayed as far getting power restored when trees do come down.

So this is really an incredible scenario developing when it comes to a land-falling tropical system, a pandemic. And, of course, people are being urged to evacuate at the time you're supposed to try to keep distance.

So really, it's going to be interesting how everything plays out.

HOLMES: A lot of moving parts. Pedram Javaheri, thanks so much. Good to see you.

Now the storm is compounding another emergency, as we were saying, already devastating Florida.

The coronavirus cases there. And they continue to spike.

Also, health experts fear super spreader events could come from those people riding out the storm in shelters.

CNN's Natasha Chen shows us how officials are dealing with both of those dangers.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) NATASHA CHEN, CNN U.S. CORRESPONDENT: So far, Isaias has not caused a

whole lot of problems for Florida. It's been moving very slowly here and here in Daytona Beach, people aren't expecting the worst of the storm to hit until overnight local time.

But emergency management officials have been prepared. They opened a few shelters on Sunday in case people needed them but closed them back down after seeing not a lot of people show up.

They did prepare for this situation of having a tropical storm, a possible hurricane during a pandemic.

Typically, families will be given a certain amount of space in each shelter.

They're giving families more space this time, that reduces the capacity in each of the shelters. Which also means they have prepared for the possibility of needing more shelters available in case the storm becomes very severe.

We talked to the emergency management director yesterday in a war room, which is typically filled with people, filled with first responders, but they're all taking care of this virtually at this time.

Here's what he said about the bizarre nature of two threats at the same time.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JIM JUDGE, DIRECTOR, OFFICE OF EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT: It's weird. Because we -- they're our friends. And we do enjoy getting together and problem solving.

So once we get into the event tomorrow, once we have a few people in here and we're looking at the evacuations and the transportation and then solving the problems that are going to come up -- because now we've got to on a computer, get on a phone to be able to get a hold of people to do those things -- when I can walk across the room and solve that problem immediately.

It may take a little bit longer. And we're going to go through it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

CHEN: Other ways in which COVID-19 and the storm are overlapping through these emergency officials, some of the testing sites by these counties on the eastern coast of Florida had to temporarily close as the storm passes.

And those are expected to reopen early next week.

[01:15:00]

Now while this storm was downgraded to a tropical storm for Florida, hurricane watches were issued Sunday evening for the Carolinas north of us. So that will be the focus in the days ahead.

Natasha Chen, CNN. Daytona Beach, Florida.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

HOLMES: A much-needed unemployment benefit has ended, and millions of Americans are worried about making ends meet. Ahead, we'll see where the negotiations stand on a new stimulus plan.

Plus, the coronavirus death toll still rising in Brazil. But parts of the country seem pretty unfazed. Why some Brazilians are ignoring health warnings.

We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HOLMES: Welcome back.

Microsoft says it is still in talks for a possible purchase of TikTok.

This coming on the heels of President Trump's threat to ban the popular video app from operating in the U.S. over national security concerns.

Eleni Giokis is in Johannesburg, South Africa with the details.

Yes, a lot of people weren't actually convinced that President Trump would actually go ahead and ban the app. But this Microsoft move could resolve the issue.

ELENI GIOKIS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, exactly. We heard him, he's floated the idea around before.

And then him coming out and saying it once again on Friday really made the companies decide to come out and say look, we're in talks right now, there is something that is going to happen and it's probably imminent.

Microsoft said that hopefully they'll have some kind of decision made by the 15th of September.

Microsoft saying that they're looking to acquire ByteDance's TikTok operations in the likes of the U.S., Canada, Australia as well as New Zealand.

This is a really important move, Michael. And the reason being is that national security issues have been top of mind for the Trump Administration.

And because TikTok, of course, is based out of China, despite the fact that they've said look, all U.S. user information are served -- are basically saved under servers in the United States and then backed up in Singapore, that's not enough. It has to be a U.S-owned company.

So this is going to be a really significant move. I want you to take a listen to what ByteDance said over the weekend,

saying that it's always been --

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

-- "committed to becoming a global company. In this process, we are faced with all kinds of complex and unimaginable difficulties, including a tense international political environment.

And we still adhere to the vision of globalization and continue to increase investments in markets around the world, including China, to create value for users around the world."

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GIOKIS: This is really interesting. And if you focus on the political element here. ByteDance, of course, is definitely stuck with regards to political tensions between China and the United States.

Now TikTok has a U.S-based CEO, it's a former Disney executive, saying this is a move to show transparency. We also know that the U.S. manager has been very vocal about the safety of users.

I want you to take a listen to what Vanessa Pappas said over the weekend.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

VANESSA PAPPAS, GENERAL MANAGER, TIKTOK: I want to say thank you to the millions of Americans who use TikTok every day, bringing their creativity and joy into our daily lives.

We've heard your outpouring of support and we want to say thank you. We're not planning on going anywhere.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GIOKIS: Yes. Not planning on going anywhere. That's the big message.

So whether it's under Microsoft or continue to be under the auspices of ByteDance, whether it will be allowed to operate in the U.S., that's the big question.

Remember, that around 172 million people in the United States, Michael, have downloaded the app. Globally, almost two billion people.

Any company operating in China has to give any information that the Chinese government requires to them. So this is where the national security problem comes in.

And it definitely is not just a U.S. problem. We've heard other countries voicing concerns and that, of course, has been a very big consequence for ByteDance and the way that it's going be operating on a global platform.

HOLMES: All right, Eleni. Thanks very much. Eleni Giokis there in Joburg for us. Appreciate it.

Now a top White House coronavirus expert says schools in areas with widespread case increases should not reopen until the infections are under control.

You'd think that was self evident. But that goes against President Trump's push to get kids back into class.

Dr. Deborah Birx spoke to CNN's Dana Bash.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DANA BASH, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: The CDC Director Robert Redfield suggested schools in some of those hotspots you're talking about, those with a five percent positivity rate or higher, need to use distance learning.

As you know, many counties in the U.S. are there right now.

So should schools in areas with a positivity rate of five percent or more remain closed and have distance learning only?

DR. DEBORAH BIRX, WHITE CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE COORDINATOR: So, as you described at the beginning, I am the coordinator. So I work with Dr. Redfield, Dr. Fauci, Dr. Hahn, Dr. Giroir, Dr. Adams every single day. We go over the data together.

And I certainly would endorse what Dr. Redfield is saying. In the areas where we have this widespread case increases, we need to stop the cases. And then we can talk about --

BASH: So schools there should stay closed?

BIRX: And then we can talk about safely reopening.

BASH: So schools there should stay closed?

BIRX: I'm going to do what the CDC guidelines have recommended and certainly the director.

If you have high caseload and active community spread -- just like we're asking people not to go to bars, not to have household parties, not to create large spreading events -- we're asking people to distance learn at this moment. So we can get this epidemic under control.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HOLMES: U.S. lawmakers and White House officials will be meeting again in the coming hours to try to reach agreement on another stimulus plan.

Now a key sticking point is the extension of the $600 dollar weekly unemployment benefit that expired last week.

Republicans view it as a disincentive for some Americans to go back to work, and want to cut it to $200. Now they also want states to move toward benefits based on a percentage of worker wages.

[01:25:00]

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SEN. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), SPEAKER, HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES: The fact is, they put on the floor the end of this week in the Senate, $200.

So when you say, well, you end up [ph] doing the 600, they have no support for that in their party.

We are unified in our support for the $600. They are in disarray.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STEVE MNUCHIN, U.S. TREASURY SECRETARY: Mark Meadows and I will be back there every day until we reach an agreement.

We understand there's a need to compromise, but on the other hand, there's also a big need to get kids into school, get people back to jobs and keep the economy open and keep people safe.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

HOLMES: Also at issue is the Democrats' push for additional funding for state and local governments.

Political analyst, Michael Genovese, is the president of the Global Policy Institute at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles.

He joins us now. Good to see you, my friend.

Let's talk about the stimulus. You've got both sides blaming the other, as usual.

But the thing is, meanwhile millions, tens of millions of Americans, are without those enhanced unemployment benefits, and/or are facing potential eviction from their homes.

It is a terrifying scenario in a societal sense, the human element. The politicians just out of touch again?

MICHAEL GENOVESE, POLITICAL ANALYST & PRESIDENT GLOBAL POLICY INSTITUTE, LOYOLA MARYMOUNT UNIVERSITY, LOS ANGELES: You've got many families who have zero income. August 1st, rents and mortgages were due. August 15th, the mortgage moratorium and the rent moratorium will end.

And so you've got desperate people who are just grabbing onto anything for a hope. And the politicians, of course, are fiddling while Rome burns.

Half of all Americans are going to miss rent.

Now this is money that you will put back into the economy so it makes sense to give the money out now, give it out so that it can be spent helping the economy.

But the two parties, the Democrats want 600 more in unemployment, Republicans 200. And they both seem to have their heels dug in.

They'll come up with a deal, but it will be a bit too late. And a lot of people are suffering in the meantime.

HOLMES: Yes. Exactly, yes. They're not the ones without the paycheck.

Sunday we saw senior Trump Administration officials -- there was Dr. Deborah Birx, there was Admiral Brett Giroir, CDC Director Redfield -- all basically giving the opposite advice to what the president has been saying.

That is a good sign, of course, because they were giving good advice. But is it a split with the president's rosy narrative?

GENOVESE: Well, the president is giving political advice that helps the president. The medical officials, they're giving the advice that you should give towards a pandemic, to public safety, to public health.

And there is an inherent contradiction in the Trump White House between health and politics.

And normally in a situation like this, the president would be up front, out front, and a leader. But here, the president is sort of sending mixed messages. He wants people to think everything's rosy. It's clearly not.

Why are we the ones who are suffering so much and so many more people are getting the disease, while in other countries they're able to stop it? So we've failed.

We need to have a national policy, we need it sooner rather than later.

HOLMES: I wanted to ask you about this. Because I can see this is a train wreck coming and it's going to be a very big deal in November at this rate.

Mail-in voting, a huge story. And Trump's unfounded claims that there will be fraud.

But the major part of this story that's getting some traction at last, is the postal service that will send out and get back those ballots -- Trump put in a major supporter and donor as the Postmaster General.

There have been cuts that are resulting in big backlogs in mail delivery.

The thing is those delays could be crucial, come the election. And a lot of states have laws that say a ballot postmarked before the election but delivered after won't be counted.

There's a lot of people saying the postal service cuts and voting by mail are not coincidental.

GENOVESE: That's right. Your viewers have to remember, there are 50 different states with 50 different sets of laws. And it's not one national policy, it's 50.

And so there's going to be confusion. And the president has started early to try to undermine the results of the election.

By setting the stage now, by planting the seed now saying, oh, mail-in ballots are corruptible and they're unreliable and it's going to be a fraudulent election.

One out of four people vote by mail now.

It is common, it is tested, it is difficult to manipulate, and it's very, very effective.

But the president is setting thinks up so just in case he does lose, he's got the built-in excuse.

And the more he says things like this, the more people will start to think of it as normal instead of unusual. To say that mail-in balloting is off, is unusual.

[01:29:51]

MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: Yes. Yes. I mean the slowing down of the post office service, it's got to be a big deal if it's like that in November, that's for sure.

Michael Genovese in Los Angeles, good to see you. Thanks so much.

GENOVESE: Thank you.

HOLMES: Well, tropical storm Isaias is expected to make its way up the East Coast. Just ahead, we'll get as live weather update and find out where the storm is headed next.

You're watching CNN.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

HOLMES: Welcome back to CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Michael Holmes.

Let's get back to the southeastern U.S. for more on tropical storm Isaias. So far, it's only dealt Florida a glancing blow, bringing some heavy wind and rain and some high tides to parts of the state. But that could change in the coming hours and days further north. As the storm moves across warmer waters, it is expected to pick up strength. Isaias is projected to make landfall in the Carolinas, and by then could return to hurricane status.

Meteorologist Pedram Javaheri is following all of this for us. Pedram, wat are you seeing?

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes. Michael, we are about 24 hours away from that landfall that you noted there across portions of the Carolinas. And exactly, it is certainly possible this could get up to a category one hurricane. Has enough time, has the warm waters of the Gulf stream just ahead of it.

Right now, it sits at 70 miles per hour which is about 110 kilometers per hour or slightly shy of what would be considered a category one hurricane. So it's about 80 kilometers east of Cape Canaveral, Florida.

[01:34:52]

JAVAHERI: But we kind of follow this particular track, and you'll see as it kind of skirts farther towards the north, eventually portions of the state of North Carolina and South Carolina interact with the system. That would be some time into the early morning hours of Tuesday. Again, given any potential slight variation in this, this would be a category one hurricane.

But regardless, the impacts stay much the same. Storm surge is going to be significant, the heavy rainfall significant, and of course, notice where the system could end up by Tuesday night and into Wednesday evening as well. This could be into the northeast, a densely populated area and still could be a tropical storm at that point.

So here's what we're looking at as far as the steering environment of this particular feature. High pressure trying to pull this away from the United States, and of course, the jet stream kind of nudging it in between there. So we are getting this to ride all the coastal communities and impact is going to the greatest across those areas.

Notice landfall there into the early morning hours of Tuesday, heavy rainfall here, potentially 150 to 250 millimeters in a matter of say 12 to 24 hours. You bring this down in an area, of course, plenty of foliage to go around, plenty of population north of this region.

We know power outages could be widespread especially when you notice some of those orange contours. That's around much of the state of New Jersey, into areas even including New York City.

If this is a widespread power outage event during a pandemic, this certainly could be a very, very big story across that particular region given how long it takes to get power back, potentially with the restrictions in place.

The storm surge threat could be several feet. Now, keep in mind, Monday is the astronomical high tide across this region. And we were talk about this. It's going to be the highest high tide of the month of August and you bring in stronger winds, you bring in the storm surge and you add an additional couple of feet or about a meter or a meter and a half on top of this, it's going to be problematic across this particular region.

So we're going to watch this carefully. Of course, we know when it comes to landfall and tropical storms fundamentally, you are required to try to evacuate. But at the same time, social distancing becomes something you have to try to observe. So really both of them together is going to be a balancing act across this region, Michael.

HOLMES: Yes. All right. Good to have you on the case there, Pedram, thanks. Pedram Javaheri there.

Now a top White House coronavirus expert says the U.S. is in a new phase of the pandemic. Cases now surging in rural areas not just the big cities with the country's death toll now approaching 155,000.

Polo Sandoval shows us some of the states that are struggling the most.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: California, once the role model for flattening the curve, has become a coronavirus hot spot. Much of the state showing dark red, as California's Department of Public Health announced its highest number yet of COVID-related deaths. That number, 219 in a single day.

Since the pandemic started, more than 9,000 people in California have died from COVID-related complications.

DR. ANNE RIMOIN, EPIDEMIOLOGY PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA LOS ANGELES: It is very frustrating as an epidemiologist to see these case numbers continuing to rise without a national strategy, without adequate testing, without contact tracing as we need it.

All of the things that we have been talking about for months and months. And these numbers are going to continue to go up until we do have these things in place.

SANDOVAL: People struggling financially in Los Angeles waited in line for seven hours on Saturday at a food bank.

TRINITY TRAN, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, URBAN PARTNERS L.A.: It is surreal to see, you know, that many people standing in this line for food. And it's really a larger indictment of a failed system and the (INAUDIBLE) of the federal government to take care of the people because at the end of the day, it's unconscionable to live in a world where people have to wait for seven hours for a box of groceries.

SANDOVAL: Florida reported 9,000 plus cases for a fifth consecutive day on Saturday. And in Texas, the city of McAllen's convention center is being converted into a health care facility to help meet hospital capacity needs in the hard-hit southern part of the state.

A new CDC report on how quickly children transmitted the virus at a summer camp in Georgia came out as schools are starting to reopen across the country. A Mississippi high school student tested positive for coronavirus during the first week of classes according to (INAUDIBLE) school district's social media post.

Indiana last week, the Hancock County Health Department notified Green Field Central Junior High School that one of their students who had attended part of the school day tested positive for COVID-19, the superintendent told parents in a letter.

And a staff member at Avon High School in Indiana tested positive for COVID-19 but had not been at school this past week.

DR. WAYNE J. RILEY, PRESIDENT, DOWNSTATE MEDICAL CENTER: The safest way to open schools is to decrease community transmission. The Achilles' heel of our whole national effort has been the lack of testing capacity. We are not doing nearly the amount of tests we need to do on a daily basis. Probably about anywhere one million to three million tests a day. We are under a million.

SANDOVAL: The coronavirus spreads again on Capitol Hill. Arizona Democratic Representative Raul Grijalva has tested positive for the coronavirus, his office confirmed on Saturday. In a statement Saturday, Grijalva slammed Republicans who don't wear masks in the building citing the events of the week.

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SANDOVAL: Most of the U.S. is now in the red zone. And in July, the U.S. saw 10 days where COVID deaths surpassed 1,000. The CDC now projecting more than 173,000 U.S. deaths by August 22nd.

Polo Sandoval, CNN -- New York.

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HOLMES: More than 200,000 coronavirus deaths have been now been confirmed in Latin America and the Caribbean. Brazil accounting for almost half that total. Its outbreak is by far the worst in the region. But even with the death toll mounting, some Brazilians refusing to take things seriously as Nick Paton Walsh reports.

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NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR: 94,000 dead now here in Brazil, A startlingly-high number for a country which on the surface at times appears day to day to be trying to act as thought the disease hasn't really taken a grip of its population.

And we've seen over the weekend, the 24-hour period ending Sunday, the number of dead contributed to by just over 500, and 25,800 new cases. Startlingly-high numbers but for Brazil, possibly because of reporting lag over the weekend, not as high as we have been seeing in the 50,000 or so cases that have been reported daily on some days over the past couple of weeks.

And the disease continues to tear its way through the high levels of government. A sixth cabinet minister, the comptroller general, reporting himself positive late last week. That comes after the first lady, Michelle Bolsonaro, said that she in fact had tested positive and after her husband, President Jair Bolsonaro, the man whose behavior is so much the focus of Brazil's at times contrary response to this disease after he recovered from a two-week infection from the disease.

He was seen in the south of the country, meeting supporters in the town of Baja (ph), waving hydroxychloroquine. Again, a medicine which has proven ineffective in study after study. In fact, it may even be harmful to people with coronavirus.

He was seen too on Saturday leaving the presidential residence in Brasilia, the capital, on a motorbike, at times not wearing a mask. It is, as I say, at times surreal to see particular here in Rio de Janeiro how daily life tries to carry on unimpacted by this virus, and how the government so many times appears to behave as though it isn't the most grave problem they face.

In fact President Bolsonaro was critical at the weekend about how local officials have been providing unemployment support to those affected by the lockdown, startlingly-high numbers every day. Still Brazil's government doing its best to downplay the disease.

Nick Paton Walsh, CNN -- Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

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HOLMES: Just hours before the start of the biggest holiday of the Muslim faith, the U.K. imposing a last-minute lockdown from northern England. We'll have reaction to that when we come back.

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HOLMES: Welcome back.

The U.K. has issued strict lockdown measures for northern England and the order came right before the start of Eid. Friends and families hoping to spend the holiday together, forced to cancel plans on what some Muslim leaders call shockingly short notice.

Milena Veselinovic has more.

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MILENA VESELINOVIC, CNN PRODUCER: A last-minute lockdown on the eve of Eid. Just hours before the start of the holiday, the government announced on Twitter, new restrictions in northern England because of a coronavirus spike in the area.

Separate households can no longer meet in their homes or gardens, disrupting the plans for hundreds of thousands of Muslim families who are preparing to celebrate the biggest holiday of the faith together.

ZULFIQAR KARIM, PRESIDENT, BRADFORD COUNCIL FOR MOSQUES: Picture the scenario. It was 9:30 in the evening last night, which is Christmas eve. You basically put the turkey in the oven. You've wrapped the presents. You've got family coming around early in the morning from all over the country. And 9:30, you read the news, you see the Twitter feeds saying, I am sorry but tomorrow is canceled.

VESELINOVIC: The tweet was posted at 9:16 p.m. announcing new measures coming into force at midnight. Muslim leaders said it was shockingly short notice and they feel singled out because pubs, bars and restaurants remain open in affected areas though people are not allowed to mingle with other households.

Many community leaders say authorities should've allowed families to celebrate Eid and then move in with restrictions but the government says that household gatherings were a key factor in the virus surge and they had to move quickly.

MATT HANCOCK, BRITISH HEALTH SECRETARY: We take this action a heavy heart but unfortunately it's necessary because we have seen the households meeting up and lack of social distancing is one of the causes of this rising rate of coronavirus. And we'll do whatever is necessary to keep the country safe.

VESELINOVIC: One conservative lawmaker representing one of the affected areas accused members of the community for the rising infections saying they were not taking the pandemic seriously enough. A blame game some Muslim leaders say isn't helpful, especially after missing out on a holiday that is meant to bring people together.

IMAM KAWSAR AHMED, OLDHAM MUSLIM CENTER: There is no point of grieving and doing anything. And all we can do is follow the guidelines and help the people and help the government saving lives.

VESELINOVIC: A scaled down celebration amid a frustrating new reality.

Milena Veselinovic, CNN -- London.

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HOLMES: In hard-hit India, two high-ranking officials have tested positive for the virus. Both of them in the hospital. And a legendary Bollywood star, good news on that front.

To fill us in, Vedika Sud joins me now from New Delhi.

Let's talk about those prominent politicians testing positive. What is the latest on that and the spread and the efforts to contain this?

VEDIKA SUD, CNN PRODUCER: Well, the minister of home affairs Amit Shah, who's the second most powerful person within the government (INAUDIBLE) Mr. Narendra Modi was admitted to hospital on Sunday after he tested positive for COVID-19. He has also reached out to officials he has been in close contact with over the last few days appealing to them through Twitter to ensure that they quarantine themselves and consequently get themselves tested as well.

Also Karnataka Chief -- Karnataka is the southern state of India, one of the worst affected when it comes to COVID-19 numbers -- has tested positive. Yediyurappa has also been admitted in the hospital among others. There's also been a death unfortunately reported from India's largest state, the state of Uttar Pradesh (ph) where a state minister succumbed to COVID-19.

There are other officials also, ever since the last few days, who have reported that they have been infected, varying (ph) numbers (INAUDIBLE) coming out.

[01:49:45]

SUD: Today, India has reported over 1.8 million confirmed cases of COVID-19. The death toll stands about 30,000 (ph) deaths. And also this has been the deadliest week for India with over 300,000 cases of COVID-19 being reported, and over 5,300 deaths in the last seven days, Michael.

HOLMES: Give us some good news. One of the biggest Bollywood stars there is out of the hospital.

SUD: Well, the biggest, like a lot of people in India say yes, Amitabh Bachchan is the superstar we are talking about. He was discharged yesterday he took to Twitter to announce the good news.

And his son who is also an established actor in Bollywood is still in the hospital, while Amitabh Bachchan has been discharged. Last week, if you remember, his daughter-in-law who's also a famous actress here in Bollywood, Aishwarya Rai and her daughter had been discharged as well.

Amitabh says that he is quarantining himself, isolating himself rather, in his house. And he has also taken to his blog late last night where he has mentioned -- in fact he just mentioned this here. He said that it is quite a relief rather, to be out of the hospital after recovering from COVID-19. But it has left a sour taste in the mouth because his son is still in the hospital.

Abhishek Bachchan had tweeted to mention that due to comorbidities he is still in the hospital where he is recovering, Michael.

HOLMES: All right. Good to see you, Vedika, thanks. Vedika Sud there in New Delhi for us.

NASA's mission to the International Space Station ended in a successful landing on Sunday. Why this is a big win for both SpaceX and the U.S. That's when we come back.

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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Splash down.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: As you can see on your screen, we have visual --

(END VIDEO CLIP) HOLMES: Now this was the scene on Sunday as SpaceX's Crew Dragon spacecraft safely splashed down in the Gulf of Mexico. Fuzzy picture but it was pretty remarkable to watch, especially live. Two NASA astronauts emerging from the craft, proving the first-ever manned commercial flight to the International Space Station was a success. SpaceX planning more such missions in what is being hailed as a new era in space flight.

After the landing's SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said while he isn't religious, he was praying for a safe return.

CNN's Rachel Crane takes us through the final moments before the capsule landed.

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RACHEL CRANE, CNN INNOVATION AND SPACE CORRESPONDENT: NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley making history with Crew Dragon's successful splash down in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Pensacola after a two-month stay at the International Space Station, and a 19-hour journey home.

Recovery boats were waiting nearby to attend to the astronauts and the spacecraft after the capsule parachuted into the ocean at around 15 miles per hour, a far cry from the 17,500 miles per hour it was traveling at just before reentering earth's atmosphere.

The astronauts then making their way to Johnson Space Center where they were reunited with their families and underwent some medical assessments. The successful return means SpaceX has indeed made history, becoming the first private company to put NASA astronauts into orbit and safely bring them home, and finally returning the U.S. human space flight to American soil after the retirement of the shuttle program nine long years ago.

Now, this technically was a test mission intended to certify SpaceX's Crew Dragon spacecraft for future operational missions which could start flying as soon as two months from now. This is all part of a multibillion dollar contract SpaceX has with NASA to regularly run such missions, ushering in a new era of spaceflight, one where private companies are the ones tasked with bearing people to low earth orbit and NASA is just a customer.

Back to you.

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HOLMES: Thanks for watching and spending part of your day with me.

I'm Michael Holmes.

Don't go anywhere though, this purely (ph) eloquent Kim Brunhuber has another hour of CNN NEWSROOM coming up next.

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