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Trump Slams Top Health Expert After She Issues Virus Warnings; Postal Service: Ample Capacity To Handle Mail-In Ballots; Leaked Video Shows Details Of George Floyd's Arrest; Northern Irish Nobel Laureate John Hume Dies At 83; Vibrant Central London Now Quiet Due To COVID- 19; Rate of New Deaths Trending Up in 30 U.S. States; Trump Attacks Birx for Warning Virus Is "Extraordinarily Widespread;" Australian State of Victoria Declares State of Disaster; Hurricane Isaias Makes Landfall in North Carolina; Most Brazilians Not Using Unproven Drug Sent from U.S.; Parents Form "Pandemic Pods" to Teach Kids in a Bubble. Aired 2-3a ET
Aired August 4, 2020 - 02:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us from all around the world, you're watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Rosemary Church.
Just ahead, for health officials confronting COVID, the challenges of asymptomatic spread and containing the pandemic.
Australia's second largest city is facing tough new restrictions and penalties to get people to stay home.
And we are in Brazil to find out what happened to the millions of doses of hydroxychloroquine donated by the United States.
CHURCH: Good to have you with us.
We're here in the United States, where President Trump says the country is doing very well. But with the death toll climbing in 30 states, health experts disagree. The head of the World Health Organization puts the pandemic into a startling new perspective, saying the impact of COVID-19 will be felt for decades to come.
As schools start to reopen across the U.S., two new studies find testing and contact tracing are vital for bringing children back safely.
Meanwhile, the U.S. president is lashing out after one of his top experts called the virus "extraordinarily widespread." Dr. Deborah Birx warned that infections are spreading in rural areas.
Mr. Trump tweeted, "Pathetic." Dr. Anthony Fauci says the new phase of the pandemic is being driven
by community spread. He cites nursing homes, meatpacking plants and prison as examples where people without symptoms are infecting others. We get more now from CNN's Athena Jones.
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: When you have community spread, it's much more difficult to get your arms around that and contain it.
ATHENA JONES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In case you hadn't realized it yet, coronavirus is everywhere.
FAUCI: There are people who are spreading it who have no symptoms at all and we know that definitely occurs. It's difficult to identify it and it's difficult to do identification, isolation and contact tracing.
JONES (voice-over): While new COVID-19 cases nationwide may be leveling off, holding steady in hard-hit Texas and falling in Arizona and Florida, Mississippi has the highest percentage of positive COVID cases in the country at 21.1 percent.
California just became the first state to report half a million infections and daily death tolls there and across the country continue to climb. The CDC now projecting the death toll will surpass 173,000 people in the next three weeks.
CAITLIN RIVERS, INFECTIOUS DISEASE EXPERT: And we need to look ahead and decide where we want to be in one, two, four, six months and figure out what we need to put in place in order to get to that point.
JONES (voice-over): Parties presenting another challenge for communities trying to slow the spread. An indoor celebration at a bar to honor first responders causing alarm in Los Angeles.
And the New York sheriff's office intercepting a party boat off Manhattan and making arrests after alleged illegal partying.
GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): Really reckless, rude, irresponsible and illegal.
JONES (voice-over): And in New Jersey, where the infection rate, while still low, has ticked up in recent days, Governor Phil Murphy imposing new restrictions, limiting most indoor gatherings to 25 people, down from 100.
GOV. PHIL MURPHY (D-NJ): The actions of a few knuckleheads leave us no other course.
JONES (voice-over): Community spread of the virus already causing problems in Georgia's largest school system. Gwinnett County Public Schools reporting some 260 employees have tested positive for the virus or come into contact with someone who has. But Gwinnett County had been planning to re-open next week with online
only classes. Schools in Mississippi and Indiana that just reopened for in-person learning reporting students or staff testing positive for COVID-19, leaving officials scrambling to warn their contacts.
HAROLD OLIN, SUPERINTENDENT, GREENFIELD CENTRAL SCHOOLS: It's not exactly the start we were looking for in that specific school.
JONES: And there is more news on the treatment front. Eli Lilly & Company announcing the beginning of phase 3 clinical trials of an antibody therapy to treat COVID-19 with plans to recruit 2,400 residents and staff at long term care facilities to take part -- Athena Jones, CNN, New York.
CHURCH: Let's talk now with Dr. Celine Gounder, a CNN medical analyst and infectious disease expert.
CHURCH: Always good to talk to you.
DR. CELINE GOUNDER, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: It's great to be here.
CHURCH: One day after Dr. Birx told Americans the coronavirus was extraordinarily widespread, President Trump called her "pathetic" and falsely claimed the virus is receding and the U.S. is doing very well with its fight against the virus.
As a doctor, what would you say to the president about that and his handling overall of the pandemic?
GOUNDER: Oh, wow. That's a loaded question, Rosemary.
GOUNDER: I think the president has been very frankly dishonest in his portrayals of the coronavirus pandemic, whether it's here in the United States or elsewhere. We have been saying, as infectious disease experts and epidemiologists, we've been saying for months now that it was inevitable that the virus would eventually spread out, falling like dominoes, starting from the urban centers like New York City but eventually spreading to suburbs and rural areas, which is exactly what we have seen.
Frankly, it did not have to be quite such a rampant spread. We allowed that to happen by not implementing strict enough lockdowns in most of the country -- that's really just in the northeast that we had adequately strict lockdowns.
And so we allowed the virus to run rampant.
CHURCH: And Dr. Fauci reiterated what Dr. Birx said and added that asymptomatic cases are driving this new phase of the virus, which makes it more difficult to contain. And these two top doctors are trying to alert all of us. But President Trump apparently doesn't want us to hear.
What do we all need to be doing to protect ourselves, given how widespread this now is?
And how concerned are you right now, with where things stand in the United States?
GOUNDER: Well, Rosemary, previously some of the hot spots for transmission were nursing homes and meatpacking plants but now the virus is so widespread, that the kinds of places we are seeing a lot of the transmission being driven by are not just bars but private parties. They could be a wedding, a baby shower, it could be Friday night beers on the couch with your friends.
That's precisely the kind of setting that is driving much of this. And it's the people you know who are closest to you. That's why Dr. Birx recommended, that if you have some high risk, vulnerable people at home, you may want to be wearing a mask at home, because you want to prevent transmission in the home.
CHURCH: Yes, that was certainly a critical point she raised. And a new study reveals that college students need to test every 2 days, to ensure it's safe to be in class. We also learned that 260 school employees have been infected or exposed in Georgia's largest school district.
All this as more studies reveal that kids catch and spread COVID-19 just as much as adults do. But still Trump insists all schools must open for face-to-face learning.
What will happen when schools do that?
GOUNDER: Rosemary, there was also a recent publication, looking at a camp outbreak in Georgia, where they brought kids of all ages as well as adults to this camp. This was in the midst of a widespread transmission in Georgia. And not surprisingly, there was a big outbreak.
I think unfortunately that there is this insistence to open schools. But it's not just about opening schools; it's about keeping them open. And if you don't take the measures necessary to prevent spread and you are opening unwisely in the midst of widespread community transmission, you are going to have outbreaks.
If it was really a priority to safely reopen schools, there's a lot of work that needed to be done in the last couple months that, unfortunately, has not been done.
CHURCH: All right, Dr. Gounder, thank you for joining us.
GOUNDER: My pleasure.
CHURCH: Well, Australian officials have announced new restrictions to the city of Melbourne in an effort to contain a growing outbreak. Starting at midnight Wednesday local time, the city is expected to close some non essential industries, including retail and manufacturing businesses.
This comes after the state of Victoria imposed some of the strictest lockdowns ever. And we speak now to Anna Coren, who joins us now from Hong Kong.
So unlike the United States, Australia offers a global example of how to respond swiftly and severely to this virus.
What is the latest on their new stricter lockdown efforts now?
ANNA COREN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We heard from the Victoria premier, Daniel Andrews, who said who there is no plan B, that this option has to work to bring numbers down.
They have had about 500 new infections every day, for the past month and that was under the stage 3 restrictions in Melbourne. It wasn't working; situation clearly out of control which is why they have moved to the stage 4 lockdown, the harshest of restrictions ever enforced in Australia.
COREN: Obviously they need to contain this crisis. The premier has said there is going to be a substantial amount of pain, obviously financial hardship and it will hurt the economic recovery of Victoria and, of course, Australia. But doing anything less than these harsh measures was not an option.
COREN (voice-over): Eerie, empty, lifeless streets in the center of Australia's second largest city, scenes unheard of in Melbourne even during the pandemic's first wave. But COVID-19 has returned with a vengeance.
Victoria's capital is now under a six-week curfew with even tougher restrictions, as authorities desperately try to get this deadly outbreak under control.
SCOTT MORRISON, AUSTRALIAN PRIME MINISTER: This has been another heartbreaking day for Victorians, which means it's a heartbreaking day for all Australians. I know that, across Victoria, many today, frankly, would have reached breaking point trying to come to terms with what has happened in this state.
COREN (voice-over): It's the first time in Australia's peacetime history that citizens have had to face such a harsh lockdown. Melbourne's 5 million residents have spent the past month under stage 3 restrictions but the number of daily infections just continue to soar.
Too many people were flouting the rules, refusing to heed medical advice. The government said more than 50 percent of sick people who'd been tested, awaiting results, were still going to work while one in four who had tested positive were not self-isolating. As of this week, stage four restrictions are in place. Curfew will be
imposed from 8:00 pm to 5:00 am. All non-essential businesses will be closed, along with schools and child care centers. And only one member of each household will be allowed to leave the house each day to buy groceries.
DANIEL ANDREWS, VICTORIA PREMIER: This is a very tough day. And there are many more of those to come before we get to the other side of this. But these are the decisions that have to be made. That's why I've made them. We have a plan. We have a clear strategy. It'll only work out if everybody plays their part.
COREN (voice-over): For Melburnians, who've been playing their part and doing the right thing, the premier's announcement was a slap in the face.
MEREDITH FRASER, MELBOURNE RESIDENT: Six weeks is no mean task. It's a really long time when you add it onto the four that we've already had. So it's not just financial; it's mental and I think that is what hasn't been given the spotlight.
COREN (voice-over): Financial assistance will be provided to businesses that must now shut their doors until mid-September. The prime minister also offering a disaster payment of just over $1,000 U.S. to every Victorian who tests positive, saying there is no economic reason for people who are infected to not self-isolate for 14 days.
While the economic impact is terrifying. So is the human toll, with the majority of deaths in Victoria occurring in aged care facilities.
ANDREWS: There is no stage 5, this has to work. Otherwise, we will have to devise a set a rules that will even further limit people's movement.
COREN (voice-over): A move at the moment that's unthinkable for residents at the epicenter of Australia's most deadly coronavirus outbreak.
COREN: Now, Rosemary, the number of people who were not being compliant is really quite staggering. The premier held a press conference a couple of hours ago and he said that of the more than 3,000 people who had tested positive for coronavirus and had to be at home self isolating, more than a quarter were not home when the military and officials were doorknocking, to check up on those people.
The premier has now increased fines, they were on the spot fines for about $1000 U.S. , it has been increased to $4,500 U.S. , for anybody who's flouting those laws and breaching that self isolation period.
And Rosemary, the case numbers came out again today; 439 new infections and 11 deaths in the state of Victoria, all of them in aged care facilities, bringing the total number of deaths in Australia to 232. CHURCH: Authorities are certainly being thorough in enforcing those
rules, haven't they. Anna Coren, bringing us up to date, live from Hong Kong.
All right. We do want to take a look now at Hurricane Isaias bearing down on the United States and we have dramatic pictures here of structures on fire near where the storm came ashore in North Carolina just a few hours ago. Isai is a category one hurricane and it's caused flooding and knocked out power to nearly a quarter million households.
States in the Northeast are bracing for the storm's arrival.
CHURCH: Well, months after the U.S. sent a huge shipment of hydroxychloroquine to Brazil, the unproven COVID treatment remains mostly untouched. Why some doctors say that is a good thing. We'll be back with that in just a moment.
CHURCH: Well, Brazil has been reporting 5-figure case totals almost every day and Monday they had more than 16,000 new infections confirmed. Among them the president's chief of staff, the latest top ranking official to contract the virus.
Brazil has now reported 2.7 million infections since the pandemic began. The outbreak there is the second worst in the world but that has not stopped large gatherings on Rio's beaches. Hundreds have been hitting the sand as the city continues to reopen.
But many have ignored safety guidelines and, over the weekend, some were fined for not wearing masks.
Well it's been two months since the Trump administration provided Brazil with millions of doses of hydroxychloroquine. The U.S. said the drug would help treat those infected with COVID, even though it has not been proven effective. Now as Nick Paton Walsh reports, the shipment remains mostly untouched.
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR: So much of the rhetoric, the noise around this disease focused on one drug, hydroxychloroquine, despite the fact that study after study show it is simply not effective, possibly harmful in fighting the virus.
And here in a country, Brazil, it is still part of government policy, recommended even for mild cases, even for pregnant women. And also a large part of the aid given by a key ally, the United States, to a country whose government often considers a similar mindset to it, that of President Jair Bolsonaro.
Two million pills were given at the end of May, of hydroxychloroquine from the Trump administration to that of the Bolsonaro government here. Here's what happened to them.
WALSH (voice-over): It's a pandemic gift nobody should want. Brazil's president touting the drug he says saved him from the disease, hydroxychloroquine. Unproven, say studies, even dangerous, as his fellow disbelievers in COVID-19 chant, he's a living myth.
In May, the Trump administration sent 2 million doses of it to Brazil to help their ally.
So what happened to the expensive yet useless gift?
Well, CNN can reveal it did get to Brazil but, according to the health ministry, it's still near the airport, probably in this secure logistics center close by, which we weren't allowed into.
WALSH: It's a cold dose of reality that a high-profile gift like this from the American people did not get far from the airport. Perhaps that's good, because study after study has shown it's ineffective in the pandemic and may even be harmful.
Brazilian doctors, many of them, no longer following their government's advice to prescribe it. But Brazil is now overflowing with the drug, having also bought a large amount of ingredients for it from India.
WALSH (voice-over): Former health minister Luiz Mandetta was fired partly over the drug in April.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's just false hope. It's just something for people to believe. More like a placebo. Something for people to take and give credit to him. I don't know where they're going to keep so many pills, one years, they're going to have to throw it away. They are just going to have to burn it.
WALSH (voice-over): One problem is the pills came in packets of 100. They'll have to be broken down to be distributed which, in part, would eventually happen here, we were told, at an army laboratory in Rio de Janeiro. It's unclear why that has not happened yet.
WALSH: The real problem is the focus on hydroxychloroquine. It doesn't work, says study after study against coronavirus. But that has not stopped the Brazilian government spending huge amounts of money on it. Yet doctors here in Brazil's iconic city say they are lacking in other drugs that could really help in the pandemic.
WALSH (voice-over): One ICU doctor and union rep tells us what they need.
"Midazolam, fentanyl, more adrenaline," he says. "Public health is always running out of these so we have to make do with others. If the U.S. wants to help Brazil, send these, not hydroxychloroquine."
That urgent plea as the numbers rise, perhaps drowned out by the positive glow these two men seek to sell.
WALSH: Now it's difficult to underestimate the impact of this constant talk about hydroxychloroquine. Even a survey of doctors across Brazil recently suggested that half of them felt pressure to prescribe it, despite the growing number of studies globally but also key ones here in Brazil, that say it does not simply work at all and may even be harmful when it comes to treating coronavirus.
But still, as you heard there, so much distraction away from the things that need to be done, the drugs that do work, by the debate around this drug, where there, frankly, should not even be a debate. And that is continuing to cause here in Brazil the numbers to be horrific on so many days of the week -- Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, Sao Paulo, Brazil.
CHURCH: Two new studies show just how important COVID-19 testing and contact tracing are to keeping students safe at schools. Researchers in Britain found that if enough people with the virus could be tested, identified and isolated, a second wave of the outbreak could be prevented, making it safer for schools to reopen.
Researchers in Australia did a study with schools and daycares that stayed open between late January and early April in New South Wales. Even though some of the students and staff contracted the coronavirus, there was no significant spread because of good contact tracing. Both studies were published Monday in "The Lancet Child and Adolescent Health."
Television and radio stations in Mexico will be helping students learn until the country gets a handle on the virus. Schools in Mexico will start online in 3 weeks, it will be a problem though for the many students, who do not have access to the Internet. About 94 percent of Mexican households do have a television, though.
Mexico has the third highest coronavirus death toll in the world, with more than 48,000 deaths.
The first schools in Germany have reopened in the country's northeast, in a state with the lowest number of infections. Children will be split into age groups and their school hours will be staggered. Staffers will be offered free COVID-19 tests.
In the U.S. some concerned parents are taking action and forming what they are calling pandemic pods. These small groups allow children to learn together inside a home. Laura Jarrett has more.
MARNIE WEINSTEIN, EDUCATION CONSULTANT: The first thing that you need to do is get out your homework.
LAURA JARRETT, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): With coronavirus resurging across the country and so much uncertainty about what school looks like this fall, many parents are now taking matters into their own hands.
WEINSTEIN: Right now, people are in panic mode. They are going to check each other.
JARRETT (voice-over): Marnie Weinstein, an education consultant in Washington, D.C., says parents are reaching out, desperate for other options.
JARRETT (on camera): How many parents would you say have reached out to you?
WEINSTEIN: My e-mails are overflowing. My text messages are overflowing.
JARRETT (voice-over): She's helping parents form what they're calling learning pods -- small groups of young children paired with a single teacher in a home.
WEINSTEIN: It could be a basement, it could be a room upstairs, just as long as the teacher can set it up to feel like a classroom.
JARRETT (voice-over): This pod in a suburb of Atlanta has 12 families and 28 kids from kindergarten through fifth grade.
MEREDITH COPLEY, MOM, LEARNING POD ORGANIZER: We've talked about consistency and routine.
Whoever is hosting the group of kids -- my kids are going to get their backpack -- laptop and their backpack, their water bottle and a snack and they're going to take it to whatever house they're going to. We're, hopefully, going to stay pretty consistent with that.
ANDREA LABOUCHERE, MOM, LEARNING POD ORGANIZER: I envision a one-room schoolhouse. We wanted to create an environment where our kids could work together and read together and have that social part of school. It's so important for their development.
JARRETT (voice-over): And their kids like this option, too.
ADDY LABOUCHERE, 5TH GRADER: I'd rather be in a pod with my friends than be at home just working on school by myself.
JARRETT (voice-over): From San Francisco to Toledo, Ohio to Tampa, Florida, pandemic pods or micro-school groups are popping up all over social media, each with their own set of rules.
WEINSTEIN: We are going to say that we can go to the grocery store but always wear masks and wash our hands.
JARRETT (voice-over): But in-person instruction doesn't come cheap, with some parents guaranteeing a teacher their full salary or more, even if their child ends up back in a classroom at some point this year.
WEINSTEIN: So, a lot of the teachers, they'll tell me they're not sure they want to sign on. And a lot of them are coming back because they can get the same amount of money or more working half-day, staying safe.
JARRETT (voice-over): A lucrative deal for teachers but yet, another way COVID has highlighted how a good education often depends on what your parents can afford.
A more cost-effective option, families who plan to follow their school's virtual learning plan.
LABOUCHERE: We're not homeschooling them.
JARRETT (on camera): Yes.
LABOUCHERE: There's a difference.
JARRETT (voice-over): They're forming their own pods and hiring a tutor to help with all the digital homework and check-ins.
HELEN ARCHER, MOM, LEARNING POD ORGANIZER: Once they're done with the digital learning, then they take a break. And that's where the tutor will come and facilitate and make sure that they stay on track with that curriculum.
JARRETT (voice-over): In many cases, the details are still being ironed out. But parents who have kids with a preexisting condition or special needs say the pod model is the safest for their families as the pandemic continues.
NIKKI COHEN, MOTHER: I think it's a fantastic option because you can -- you can kind of tailor your educational needs to whatever your family needs.
ARCHER: When the kids look back, they're going to -- they're going to remember a fun community time that they had --
JARRETT (on camera): Yes.
ARCHER: -- for these few months because it's not going to be forever.
JARRETT (voice-over): Laura Jarrett, CNN, New York.
CHURCH: And coming up here on CNN NEWSROOM, the largest coronavirus outbreak in the Middle East.
Why is the virus surging again in Iran and what can be done to stop it?
We'll have that on the other side of the break.
[02:30:00] (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone. The U.S. President Donald Trump lashed out of one of the nation's top health experts in a tweet Monday. The criticism came after Dr. Deborah Birx warned that the Coronavirus is extraordinarily widespread in the U.S. It's the first time President Trump publicly slammed the coordinator of the White House Coronavirus Task Force. CNN's Jim Acosta brings us the details from Washington.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: As why members of his own Coronavirus Task Force are going rogue and contradicting his comments on COVID-19, President Trump sidestepped the question, and praised his administration's handling of the pandemic.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why are so many of these people on your task force contradicting you?
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, I think we're doing a great job.
ACOSTA: Three high-profile members of the task force are now openly differing with the President on the virus. While the President is blaming the rising number of COVID-19 cases on increased testing, Dr. Deborah Birx is warning the virus is simply seeping into every corner of the U.S.
DR. DEBORAH BIRX, WHITE HOUSE CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE COORDINATOR: But I want to be very clear, what we're seeing today is different from March and April. It is extraordinarily widespread. It's into the rural as equal urban areas. And to everybody who lives in a rural area, you are not immune or protected from this virus.
ACOSTA: That assessment outraged the President who pointed the finger at House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in a recent criticism of Birx's, tweeting "Pelosi said horrible things about Dr. Deborah Birx, going after her because she was too positive on the very good job we were doing on combating the virus, including scenes and therapeutics. In order to counter Nancy, Deborah took the bait and hit us. Pathetic."
But taskforce member Admiral Brett Giroir is also distancing himself from the President, taking issue with the use of hydroxychloroquine to treat the virus, Mr. Trump's drug of choice.
ADM. BRETT GIROIR, U.S. ASSISTANT SECRETARY FOR HEALTH: At this point in time, there's been five randomized controlled placebo-controlled trials that do not show any benefit to hydroxychloroquine. I think most physicians and prescribers are evidence-based, and they're not influenced by whatever is on Twitter or anything else. And the evidence just doesn't show that hydroxychloroquine is effective right now.
ACOSTA: Asked about that, the President appear to take criticisms of the drug personally. TRUMP: There's a lot of -- a lot of people that in a lot of areas that
have gotten very, you know, better very fast. Hydroxy has tremendous support, but politically, it's toxic because I supported it. If I would have said, do not use hydroxychloroquine under any circumstances, they would have come out, and they wouldn't say it's a great -- it's a great thing.
ACOSTA: The President is also sounding defensive when it comes to the U.S. leading the world in COVID-19 deaths.
TRUMP: Oh, hold it, hold it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why does the U.S. have so many deaths?
TRUMP: Hold it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: U.S. has so many deaths compared to so many countries around the world?
TRUMP: We haven't been given -- and not me, I'm not talking about me. Vice President, the task force have not been given the kind of credit. The United States has done an amazing job, a great job. And you're going to see that because we have vaccines and we have therapeutics coming very soon.
ACOSTA: As for Pelosi, she doubled down on her tough talk on Birx, accusing the doctor of looking the other way when the President pushed bogus treatments for the virus.
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): I don't have confidence in anyone who stands there while the President says, swallow Lysol and it's going to kill your virus.
ACOSTA: The President doesn't sound eager to work with Pelosi on another coronavirus relief package. Though, he insisted, he's been involved in negotiations, despite making his way to the golf course twice over the weekend.
TRUMP: The fact that I'm not over there with Crazy Nancy? No, I'm totally involved. I'm totally involved.
CHURCH: Well, the U.S. Postal Service says, it will be able to handle the projected influx of mail-in ballots for the 2020 General Election taking place in just a matter of months. The agency statement comes as President Trump has cast doubt repeatedly on whether it will be able to handle the added volume of voter mail as the pandemic rages on. He lashed out at the Postal Service again on Monday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TRUMP: The postal office for many, many years has been, you know, run in a fashion that hasn't been great. Great workers and everything, but they have old equipment, very old equipment. And I don't think the postal office is prepared for a thing like this.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: So, let's bring in Natasha Linstead. She is a professor of government at the University of Essex, and has taught American politics for many years. Great to have you with us.
NATASHA LINDSTAEDT, PROFESSOR OF GOVERNMENT, UNIVERSITY OF ESSEX: Thanks for having me.
CHURCH: So, in the midst of a pandemic, and only weeks from a presidential election, it makes sense to prepare the country for mail- in voting, but President Trump has been undermining that effort with cost cutting steps that have led to a slower and less reliable delivery, fueling concerns, of course, that the U.S. Postal Service isn't up to the task. It says that it is. So, what is going on here?
LINDSTAEDT: Well, this is similar to what Trump did in 2016, when he feared he might lose. He said that the election was rigged, and that there were going to be all kinds of cases of fraud. Well, in reality, in a study that's looked at the U.S. elections from 2000 to 2014, there are only 31 cases of fraud out of over a billion votes. So, voter fraud, and particularly mail-in fraud is incredibly rare. I mean, it's even actually rare in countries that are leaning autocratic because it is so easy to catch, but he's trying to create fear in people that we should shouldn't be doing mail-in voting when this has actually been going on in the U.S. for decades. In some case, in the state of Oregon, for over 20 years, and at the local level since 1981.
It's very safe, there's really no chance of fraud taking place that would impact elections. The other thing is it actually doesn't benefit Democrats or Republicans to have mail-in voting. Five states allow mail-in voting to really anyone. Your state will send in a ballot to you no matter what. And then, you also have an additional 28 states that allow you to vote by mail, without any kind of excuse. This has been a long time now.
CHURCH: And Natasha, meantime, President Trump says his government will sue the state of Nevada because that state wants to make it easier for the elderly and others, to vote by mail and avoid risky exposure to the virus. So, how's that likely to play with voters and what are the optics of a tactic like that?
LINDSTAEDT: I don't understand why he's trying to attack democracy so much right before our election. And this continues to be a, you know, part of his campaigning is that he's talking about the country being under threat of fraud, and that we have to stop all types of mail-in voting. Although in the same speech, he said absentee voting was fine. So, makes it look like he doesn't really understand the way democracy works here, that he is trying to impede voters from actually voting. And this election is, of course, more important than ever, so he should be funding states and offering more federal funding to ensure that everybody can vote in 2020.
CHURCH: So, if more U.S. states go ahead and utilize mail-in voting for the 2020 Presidential Election, and Donald Trump loses, how might he respond to that outcome if he's been saying all of this about mail- in voting?
LINDSTAEDT: He's already indicated in the interview that he had with Fox News that he doesn't know if he's going to accept the results. And this is something that he said in 2016, as well, which is incredibly concerning. And now, we know that in 2016, he actually won. But he was still trying to prepare the public that there was going to be some sort of rigged election taking place.
I think he's already trying to prepare everyone. Well, if he loses, that there was some kind of massive fraud taking place. And we know that that is not going to be the case because it is so rare. I think it's all part of his effort to save face.
CHURCH: And Natasha, we've heard from his own intelligence, they have said that there is no threat, that mail-in voting should be fine, and there isn't a problem in terms of voter fraud. Why we're not hearing other Republicans actually stand up and say more about these? They seem to remain so very silent.
LINDSTAEDT: They have remained silent, and for the most part, with some exceptions here and there, they go against Trump, but for the most part, they tied their future to him. They seem as if they are completely afraid to contradict him. Because when they do, he lashes out at them very publicly, maybe it embarrasses them. But there's actually been bipartisan support for mail-in voting because it does benefit Republicans in some ways. It's a little bit of a mixed bag; it brings in new voters. But it brings in also older voters and enables them to vote and oftentimes they vote Republican. So, there's no reason to think that this is a partisan thing that's going to benefit Democrats, and it would be better if the Republicans spoke out about this.
CHURCH: All right, Natasha Lindstaedt, thank you so much for joining us. We appreciate it.
LINDSTAEDT: Thanks for having me.
CHURCH: In Iran, someone dies of the Coronavirus every seven minutes. That is according to state media quoting a government health minister. Iran has the worst outbreak in the Middle East and now it's struggling with a resurgence. Worth noting that one person dies every minute in the United States. Worthwhile just making that comparison. Still to come, a peaceful political giant, Northern Irish Catholic league John Hume has passed away. We will look back on his contributions to bring peace to the region.
CHURCH: Leaked police body camera footage shows new details of George Floyd's fatal arrest. The video was obtained by the Daily Mail. A judge had previously said the footage couldn't be published and it isn't known how The Daily Mail obtained it. CNN's Omar Jimenez has more on the new video, and we must warn you, it is disturbing to watch. [02:45:10]
THOMAS LANE, POLICE OFFICER: Put your hand up there. Put your hand up there.
GEORGE FLOYD, KILLED WHILE BEING ARRESTED: God.
LANE: Put your hand up there.
FLOYD: I got shot.
LANE: Hands on the wheel.
FLOYD: I got shot.
LANE: Put your hands on the wheel.
FLOYD: Yes, sir.
OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This partial body camera video obtained by the Daily Mail showing former officer Thomas Lane pointing a gun at George Floyd within 25 seconds of he and former officer Jay Alexander King knocking on the window of the car Floyd was in. They were responding to a call over a fraudulent $20.00 bill being used at the store across the street. Officers next scene here, trying to get Floyd out of the vehicle.
LANE: Step out and face away.
FLOYD: Please don't shoot me, Mr. Officer, please. Don't shoot me, man.
LANE: Step out and face away.
FLOYD: You're not going to shoot me, man?
LANE: I'm not shooting you.
JIMENEZ: He's eventually pulled from the car and cuffed.
FLOYD: OK, Mr. Officer. I hurt my knees.
LANE: Stop resisting then.
FLOYD: I'm not.
JIMENEZ: Based on CNN's viewing of the complete body camera footage, this is the first of two struggles. The second, much more forceful, as officers try to get Floyd into the police squad car. Floyd says he's claustrophobic. Soon, he's being pushed in on one side by King and pulled in on the other by Lane, seen in video obtained by the Daily Mail.
FLOYD: I can't choke -- I can't breathe, Mr. Officer. Please. Please. My wrist. My wrist, man. I want to lay on the ground. I want to lay on the ground. I want to lay on the ground.
JIMENEZ: This is the first time George Floyd says, I can't breathe, based on CNN's previous viewing of the video. They fall out on Lane's side and go to the ground to what's now become an infamously familiar position, Floyd's neck under the knee of Derek Chauvin.
FLOYD: I can't breathe, officer.
DEREK CHAUVIN, FORMER POLICE OFFICER CHARGED WITH KILLING FLOYD GEORGE: Then stop talking. Stop yelling.
FLOYD: They'll kill me. They will kill me, man.
CHAUVIN: It takes a heck of a lot of oxygen to talk.
JIMENEZ: This is from the perspective of King's camera, where not long after, Lane asks if Floyd should be moved.
FLOYD: Please. Please. Please.
LANE: Should we roll him on the side?
CHAUVIN: No, he's staying put where we got him.
LANE: I just worry about the excited delirium or whatever.
CHAUVIN: That is why we have the ambulance coming.
JIMENEZ: Floyd loses consciousness shortly after and was pronounced dead at the hospital. Chauvin now charged with second degree murder and manslaughter. Lane, King and Tou Thao are charged with aiding and abetting second degree murder and manslaughter. None of the former officers have entered a plea, though, Thao and Lane have asked for their cases to be dismissed. And King's attorney says, he plans to plead not guilty. Attorneys for the four officers either declined comment or did not respond. Omar Jimenez, CNN.
CHURCH: Spain's former King has left his country. He delivered the news in a letter to his son the current King, Juan Carlos I, said past events from his private life are causing public repercussions. He had abdicated the throne six years ago, after allegedly receiving $100 million from the Saudi King. A top Spanish official says the money may have been linked to Spain's involvement in the construction of a high- speed train in Saudi Arabia. A royal spokesperson declined to reveal where Juan Carlos had gone. He is widely credited with steering Spain from a dictatorship to a democracy.
A Nobel Peace laureate, a Northern Ireland's Catholic leader John Hume has died at the age of 83. Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair called Hume's contribution to peace, epic. CNN's Nic Robertson looks back on his life and heroic efforts toward peace in Ireland.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: John Hume was a
giant of Northern Irish politics. A moderate man of immense powers of political persuasion, he became an immovable and implacable voice for peace. Born in Derry, Northern Ireland to a Catholic family, he was an early champion of civil rights in the 1960s. Hume became a leader in his community's push for parity and housing and employment with their Protestant neighbors.
The protests were met with stiff police reaction, Hume, by then, an up-and-coming politician was front and center at protest that caught the attention of leaders in London. Hume looked to America for inspiration, which he found in the Civil Rights Movement. Indeed, President Bill Clinton would later call Hume the Martin Luther King of the Irish conflict. But the troubles in Northern Ireland, as they were to become known, spiraled into three decades of bloodshed.
And Hume's moderate voice faded in Catholic communities with the rise of the Irish Republican Army and their violent tactics. More than 3,000 people died in the mostly sectarian violence as Hume and his social democratic Labour Party managed to get peace back on the agenda. Secret talks with Irish nationalist Sinn Fein leaders ultimately became fully fledged peace talks, which dragged out over several years. But Hume was dogged in his belief that violence wouldn't derail the process, helping convince all sides to let Sinn Fein into the talks before the IRA got rid of their weapons.
April 10th, 1998 saw the fruits of Hume's efforts rewarded. Tony Blair and the Irish Prime Minister in Belfast, nailed down the Good Friday Peace Agreement. Hume and his Protestant counterpart David Trimble rewarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Hume donating his money to charity. Incredibly, however, the peace deal with market downturn in Hume's political fortunes. The people of Northern Ireland would vote overwhelmingly for the peace deal, but Hume's party of moderates would lose support at the polls. Sinn Fein more associated with the IRA in the minds of voters, would capture most Catholic support over the coming decades. Hume's voice all but lost.
In later years, he suffered from dementia. He will be remembered as a quiet, humble, and determined man, who stood head and shoulders above the ugliness of his era, and brought peace to the people he loved. John Hume dead at 83.
CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone. Well, three sailors from Micronesia are in good condition after being rescued from a remote island in the Western Pacific. Australian and U.S. aircraft spotted the giant SOS message in the sand, and sent in a helicopter with food and water. A patrol ship from Micronesia picked up the man a short time later. The sailor started their 23 nautical mile journey on Thursday, but veered off course and ran out of fuel. That's a good save there. Well, lifting one spirits is a tall order during the pandemic, of
course, especially in parts of England that eerily quiet like in central London. CNN's Phil Black tells us the virus could mean some lasting changes for the city.
PHIL BLACK, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: In a time not that long ago, vast numbers of people migrated into Central London every working day. Now, they're mostly gone. Their towering offices loom empty without purpose. Streets famous for crowds, traffic, noise energy, are quiet and a bit sad.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I miss it. It doesn't feel right. The atmosphere is not here. The vibe isn't here.
BLACK: COVID-19 working from home, endless uncertainty, have all teamed up to silence one of the world's most vibrant cities. When office workers stay away, those who rely on them suffer. This once heaving street market is now just a quiet street. Stall owner, Richie Wicks thinks it's going to get worse as the pandemics economic pain bites harder.
RICHIE WICKS, STALL OWNER: There'll be tumbleweed running through here. It'd be like a ghost town.
BLACK: Property industry reports people aren't just avoiding central London, COVID-19 has triggered huge interest in leaving that skyline behind and moving away for all the things London can't easily provide, space, gardens, affordability.
AGATA OLSZEWSKA, MOVING OUT OF LONDON: We thought we were going to stay for probably another two years. But I think the pandemic kind of accelerated our decision to move now.
BLACK: After months of working from home, Michael and Agata have decided to quit London because, well, why not?
MICHAEL OLSZEWSKA, MOVING OUT OF LONDON: Why do we need to be in a city at all, at this point? Working anywhere is the same as working anywhere else now. Why not move somewhere where you have a fantastic local community, you've got really pretty sites around you?
A. OLSZEWSKA: Yes, and you can definitely get a huge garden in our price range, so that's good.
BLACK: How Londoners respond to COVID-19 could reshape the city's social and economic fabric, but not for the first time, and not as remarkably as the change inflicted by that other notorious source of multiple pandemics. The plague, London's last big outbreak in the 1600s killed an estimated 100,000 people, almost a quarter of the city's population.
The great plague, great fires, Nazi bombs, extreme crime and poverty, London's long history is a timeline of extraordinary violence, disease, and suffering. That long sweep of history tells us when Londoners can afford to flee danger and hardship, they often do.
But the city's current wealth and status also proves they usually come back.
TONY TRAVERS, LONDON SCHOOL OF ECONOMICS: These things happen when it has to adjust to reassert its economic power every time before it has done it. I don't think this is the one occasion when the whole world because it wouldn't just be London, but it changes to a less urban and less urbanized form of existence.
BLACK: London in the time of COVID-19 is a much-diminished city. Its story so far suggests it will recover, but many lives and livelihoods will be dramatically altered before it does. Phil Black, CNN, London.
CHURCH: And thanks for joining us this hour, I'm Rosemary Church. I'll be back with more news in just a moment.