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U.S. Facing New Phase in COVID; Trump Wants to See School Back to Normal; Melbourne Follows Victoria's Strict Measures; One Dies Every Seven Minutes in Iran; Thousands Lost Power in North Carolina; Researchers in Britain Says Second Wave of Coronavirus can be Prevented; Germany Reopened Its Schools; Mexico Faces Problems with School's Online Learning; Arizona Couples Acquired COVID-19 After Ignoring Social Distancing And Masks; Most Brazilian Health Officials Not Using Unproven Drug Sent From United States; North Korea Claims It's COVID-Free And Working On Vaccine; Former Spanish King Leaves Country Amid Financial Scandal; President Trump Sets Deadline For TikTok Purchase; Vietnam Tourist Spots Becomes A Ghost Town; Socially Distance Service In Egypt. Aired 3-4a ET
Aired August 4, 2020 - 03:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us from all around the world. You are watching CNN Newsroom. And I'm Rosemary Church.
Just ahead, America's top infectious diseases expert says people who don't know they have COVID are behind this new phase of the outbreak.
Australia's second largest city facing tough new restrictions and penalties to get people to stay home. And we will go to Germany to see how the first day of school went for students who had back to class.
Good to have you with us.
The top U.S. infectious diseases expert warns the nation is entering a new phase of the coronavirus pandemic. Dr. Anthony Fauci says people without symptoms are unknowingly spreading the virus in their communities. He says this is making it difficult to identify and isolate the cases.
CNN's Sara Sidner has more on the latest warnings from officials.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRETT GIROIR, U.S. ASSISTANT SECRETARY FOR HEALTH, DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES: We are very concerned, and this is a very serious point. And deaths will continue to increase for the next few weeks.
(END VIDEO CLIP) SARA SIDNER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The coronavirus is still spreading out of control in parts of the Unite States and death toll is continuing to climb.
The CDC predicting 19,000 Americans over the next 20 days could die if the current trajectory continues. One reason why? The U.S. is in a new phase, according to the White House's point person on COVID response, Dr. Deborah Birx.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DEBORAH BIRX, COORDINATOR, WHITE HOUSE CORONAVIRUS TASK FORCE: What we're seeing today is different from March and April, it is extraordinarily widespread, it's into the rural as equal urban and to everybody who lives in a rural area, you are not immune or protected from this virus.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SIDNER: The numbers back that up. July's total new cases more than double that of any other previous month, the hotspots mostly flaring up in the south and west. Mississippi now the highest percentage of positive COVID-19 cases in the country with a staggering 21 percent positivity rate.
South Carolina follows with 18 percent, as Isaias strengthens threatening its shores.
In Florida, the storms winds force some testing sites to close for a bit, creating a drop in confirmed cases, though sites are now back open.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): We are encouraged by some of the trends we're seeing, we continue to see a downward trend and visits to the emergency department.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SIDNER: Still, Florida is on the verge of hitting 500,000 confirmed coronavirus infections. California, with nearly double Florida's population has already surpassed that terrible milestone. Despite that, in a state order shutting down bars three weeks ago in Los Angeles, dozens attended a party thrown for first responders without masks or physical distancing.
The county health department is investigating, saying this is exactly the situation that put our entire community at unnecessary risk.
In New York, which has now nearly conquered the virus, dozens were caught partying on a charter boat, ignoring the states' large crowd ban. The owner of that vessel arrested.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): I mean, it is just really reckless, rude, irresponsible and illegal.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SIDNER: Across America, schools are beginning to open now. Indiana and Georgia already seeing coronavirus infections, forcing some students to return to virtual learning next week.
Birx saying in-person learning should not occur in COVID-19 hotspots.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BIRX: We're asking people to distance learn at this moment so we can get this epidemic under control.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SIDNER: A special education teacher in Tulsa, Oklahoma expressing fear of returning to the classroom and regret for voting for a president she believes has botched the pandemic response.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NANCY SHIVELY, SPECIAL EDUCATION TEACHER: Watching the failure of leadership in our country, beginning with the president over the course of this pandemic, it's not just my death warn I might have signed, but there is 150,000 Americans who are dead.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SIDNER: And we're now learning just how deadly the coronavirus has become across the world with the top epidemiologists of the World Health Organization revealing today that COVID-19 kills about 0.6 percent of the patients that are infected.
Now that my might not sound like a very big number, but consider this that number means the virus is six times deadlier than the seasonal flu.
Sara Sidner, CNN, Los Angeles.
CHURCH: So, let's talk now with Dr. Celine Gounder, a CNN medical and infectious disease expert. Always good to talk with you.
CELINE GOUNDER, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: It's great to be here.
CHURCH: So, 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 over all of the pandemic.
GOUNDER: Well, that's a loaded question, Rosemary. You know, I think the president has frankly been very 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 epidemiologist, we've been saying for months now that it was inevitable that that the virus would eventually spread out sort of like 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've seen.
And frankly, it didn't have to be quite such a rampant spread, we allow 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 lockdown 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 thing -- where thing stand in the United States?
GOUNDER: Well, Rosemary, previously some of the hot spots for transmission were place like nursing homes and meatpacking plants, but now the virus is so widespread that the kinds of places that we're seeing a lot of the transmission being driven by, are not just bars but just private parties. It could be a wedding, it could be a baby shower, it could be your Friday night beers on the couch with your friends.
But that is precisely the kind of setting that's driving much of this transmission. It's the people you know who are closest to you. And that's why Dr. Birx in fact recommended, if you have some high-risk people or vulnerable people at home, you may actually want to be wearing a mask at home, because you want to -- you want to prevent transmission in the home.
CHURCH: Yes, that was certainly a critical point she raised. And doctor, a new study reveals that college students need to test every two days to ensure it's safe to be in class. We've also learned that 260 school employees have been infected or exposed to COVID-19 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 President 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, 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're 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 we needed to be done in the past couple of months then unfortunately has not been done.
CHURCH: All right. Dr. Gounder, thank you so much for joining us. We appreciate it.
GOUNDER: My pleasure.
CHURCH: Well, Australian officials have announced tough new restrictions for the city of Melbourne in an effort to contain its growing outbreak starting at midnight Wednesday, local time. The city is expected to close some nonessential industries including retail and manufacturing businesses. And this comes after the state of Victoria imposed some of its strictest lockdown measures ever.
We turn now to CNN's Anna Coren. She joins us live from Hong Kong. Good to see you, Anna. So, as other nations deal with a second, even a third wave of COVID-19 we see Australia take this swift and severe action, what's the latest on its new stricter lockdown and curfew?
ANNA COREN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: There is no denying that this is swift and some people are describing it as draconian action but there's also a feeling that this was preventable. I mean, Rosemary, we have to remember that Australia was on track to eliminating the virus and then they had the second wave in Melbourne which stem from that security guard scandal at the hotel government quarantine.
But this has now really, just blown out of control. There have been an average of 500 cases go every day for the past month and that is why the government has decided to move to this stage four lockdown, as you say it involves nightly curfew, the closure of nonessential businesses as well schools and child care centers, and I hope that they can bring down those numbers.
The Premier, Daniel Andrews, he addressed the media this morning, he said the case numbers today were 439, that's down slightly from that 500 average. He said that there were another 11 deaths overnight, all of them in aged care facilities, taking the national death toll to 232.
He is calling on all Victorians to do the right thing over the next six weeks to try and bring those numbers down, and that includes wearing masks which is now mandatory in all of Victoria. Take a listen to what he had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DANIEL ANDREWS, PREMIER OF VICTORIA: Wearing a mask is about keeping you, your loved ones and every Victorian's life. It is not too much to ask. The nurse in the intensive care ward will be wearing a mask, and it's not too much to ask that you wear a mask in order to avoid that nurse having to treat more patients than they otherwise would. (END VIDEO CLIP)
COREN: Yes, those workers on the frontline are risking their lives, the premier is saying that everybody must do the right thing, a really alarming incident that happened overnight, Rosemary, which was reported. A policewoman asked a 38-year-old woman to put her mask on, well this woman retaliated, she assaulted the police officer and slammed to head into the concrete pavement several times.
The premier saying that this was just appalling criminal behavior. Absolutely shameful, as those people who have tested positive for coronavirus and are refusing to self-isolate. The government said of the 3,000, more than 3,000 people who had tested positive were sent home to self-isolate, more than a quarter of them were not home, self- isolating when health officials and the military door knocked on their homes.
So, the premier is saying this has to stop. That is why they are increasing fines from $1,000 U.S. dollars to 4,500 on the spot fines to those people who are breaking the law. The premier said there has to be zero tolerance if they are going to bring down those numbers, Rosemary.
CHURCH: Yes. This has revealed some very unfortunate parts of human behavior. We've seen it all across the world. Anna Coren, many thanks to for bringing us up to date on the situation in Australia.
We turn to Iran now, and someone there dies of the coronavirus every seven minutes. That is according to say state media quoting a government health minister, Iran is the hardest hit country in the Middle East with 17,000 deaths since the start of the pandemic, 215 of those were recorded on Monday.
We turn to CNN's Jomana Karadsheh who is following this story from Istanbul. So Jomana, one person dying of COVID-19 every seven minutes. That is staggering. Why is the virus surging again and what's the government doing about it?
JOMANA KARADSHEH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Rosemary, it's such a grim statistic, but to put that into perspective, you know, back in March, the health ministry there was reporting that a person in that country dies every 10 minutes from coronavirus. Now they are saying it's every seven minutes.
It's part of this pattern that we have been seeing in recent weeks where the numbers are continuing to rise. As you mentioned, Iran is the hardest hit country in this region, they've got the highest number of confirmed cases, more than 300,000 highest number of deaths in that country, and you know, it was the epicenter of the outbreak in this region.
They came under a lot of criticism earlier on for being slow to react. Slow to come forward with the extent of the outbreak in the country. But after that, Rosemary, it did seem like they had gotten that outbreak under control, and then of course in recent weeks we have seen the numbers starting to rise again. And, you know, some experts believe that the country is perhaps going
through its second wave. And why is that happening? Well, you know, like so many other countries around the world, Iran couldn't afford to keep its economy shut down, especially if you look at the state of the economy right now it is really struggling with the impact of the unprecedented U.S. sanctions part of that maximum pressure campaign by the Trump administration.
So, they were struggling and in April they started opening up the country again, and in the weeks that followed we started seeing the numbers begin to rise again.
And then you've got another issue, we've heard officials lashing out at the public, voicing their frustration, saying basically that people in the country are not really adhering to restrictions to some of the measures. Now while the measures were ease, we've seen them slowly starting to reimpose some like in July, the government there made the wearing of mask mandatory, they've also hinted that there could be even more restrictions that could come into place to deal with the rise in cases.
You've got about more than a dozen provinces in the country that are part of a red zone where you're seeing the numbers continuing to rise including the capital Tehran.
One thing that officials now are going to be facing a very tough situation which has you've got a major Shia commemoration, commemorating the death of Imam Husayn, one of the most significant Shia religious events that is on the 21st of August. They seem so far to say, Rosemary, that it is going to go ahead with some measures in place according President Rouhani.
But this is a time where you see really large crowds of tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands around religious sites. So, we'll have to wait and see how they will handle that.
CHURCH: Yes, absolutely. It's very revealing as we mention human behavior, but also good or bad leadership. And we're all watching very carefully to see who the good leaders are across the globe.
Jomana Karadsheh joining us, many thanks to you. I appreciate it.
So, let's take a look now at hurricane Isaias in the United States. And we have dramatic images of structures on fire near where the storm came ashore in North Carolina just a few hours ago.
Isaias is a category one hurricane, it has caused flooding and knocked down power to nearly 245,000 customers in North Carolina. States in the northeast are now bracing for the storm to arrive in the coming hours.
So, let's turn to our meteorologist Pedram Javaheri, he joins us now live with more on this. So, Pedram, what are you seeing? PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN METEOROLOGIST: You know, Rosemary, since you were speaking to Jomana there we got an update from the National Hurricane Center and the storm has actually been downgraded now in the last couple of minutes to a tropical storm, so we are seeing rapid weakening here in the past several hours and really picking up its off of Florida direction and speed.
You all notice moving at almost 40 kilometers per hour, it made landfall across the state line of North and South Carolina within the next couple of hours. I would not be surprised if the storm system enters the state of Virginia.
But you'll notice upwards of 300,000 customers without power along the coastal region of the state of North Carolina as the system moved ashore. And the concern is this track takes it up entirely up the eastern seaboard through portions of not only the metro areas of the northeast but even through areas farther towards the north.
Notice we have tropical storm warnings even aligned into coastal regions of the state of Maine. In fact, the first time since 1960 when hurricane Donna impacted an area stretching from parts of South Florida into the state of Maine are, we're going to see another storm do a very similar sort of a track here riding northward.
But about 850 kilometer track here, before it gets towards areas around Washington, D.C. that would be around the late morning hours, and then eventually by the afternoon hours potentially still a tropical storm works its way through portions of Philadelphia and New York City with winds possibly over 100 kilometers per hour, and then gradually loses its tropical characteristics.
But really the big story becomes where this storm system ends up within the next 12 to 18 hours, because the intensity of these winds exceeding 100 kilometers per hour will be the first time since October of 2012 since super storm Sandy impacted this region that areas around New York City and Atlantic City have seen winds of this magnitude.
So, again, what has happened across areas around South Carolina, it is safe to say that power outages could be widespread across this region of the northeast. In fact, the forecast looks as such kind of highlighting the coastal region of the state of New Jersey, Long Island, and parts of New York State as well with widespread outages possible into Tuesday, Rosemary.
CHURCH: Yes. And as we've talked about, the combination of all of that plus the pandemic, it is a nightmare scenario.
Many thanks to our Pedram Javaheri bringing us up to date on that. I appreciate it.
And coming up, as the summer holidays draw to an end in the northern hemisphere, parents are wondering how and if their kids will return to school. We are live in Germany, but one state is reopening its schools for the first time since March. What they are doing to keep everyone safe. We'll take a look at that next.
CHURCH: Well, two new starters 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, then 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 daycare's 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.
So, the first schools in Germany have reopened in the country's northeast. In a state with the lowest number of infections children made their way to school on Monday for the first time since March since the country's restrictions began. And they'll be split into age groups and their hours will be staggered.
So, let's turn to CNN's Frederik Pleitgen. He joins us live from Berlin. Good to see you, Fred. Talk to us about how exactly this is going to work and how sure Germany can be that it will stop any future outbreaks and keep these kids safe.
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it's a gigantic project. It's something that the German government talked about yesterday. They said it's something that it's going to be very difficult to do but they do believe that it's something that they need to do.
The German states all of them have come out and said they definitely want to move forward with in-classroom lessons across the country. And now slowly you're seeing one state after the next here in Germany bringing students back to school.
Now the first one as you mentioned, was a state in northeastern Germany, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, but actually it opened its schools yesterday and they didn't have a requirement for masks in that school when they open yesterday.
But immediately on the first day they said look, now we do believe it's a better idea to have students wear mask when they come to school when they're in the hallways when they're in break rooms, but they don't have to wear them in class.
Now Germany's most populous state, North Rhine-Westphalia which is actually beginning lessons next week, they are now coming out and they are going even one step further. They are telling students above grade five and above that they have to wear masks not only when they enter the school, but when they actually also have to wear them in classrooms as well. The other things that the schools are trying to do, and that the
states are trying to do are things that you've already mentioned. They are trying to keep students from bunching up. They are trying to keep physical distance in place. So, they're essentially trying to do to keeping small groups together of students trying to make sure they don't meet, for instance, in break rooms, in the hallways or anywhere outside.
Trying to keep that physical distancing in place. And of course, hygiene measures as well. Big project for the German government, it's something that they believe that they need to do.
But the key is, Rosemary, and this is something that the Germans have made clear again and again, if this is to succeed, if the opening of schools is not going to lead to another flurry of new pandemic thing happening in Germany, they have to keep the pandemic under control. They have to keep the amount of new infections under control in general.
That is a prerequisite for bringing the students back for making sure that in-classroom lessons can take place. And it's something of course that we've been talking about, Rosemary.
The German government is very concerned about that they have a rise in cases, and they said that it's definitely something where everybody needs to make sure that they adhere to the measures, and make sure that the amount of new infections stays low to then be able to bring the students back under conditions, where you then don't have the students cause another pandemic by being in school themselves. Rosemary?
CHURCH: Yes. And that is the critical point, isn't it, because in Germany you've lot of cases, certainly in that part of the country. In America they are just too high for schools to open. But that is a big debate here and right across the globe.
Fred Pleitgen, I appreciate it. Thanks so much.
Well, officials in Mexico plan to start the school year online in three weeks, saying that the country is not ready for in-person learning yet, as it continues to struggle with the virus.
But as journalist Stefano Pozzebon explains, online classes pose a big problem in a region where many kids don't have access to the internet.
STEFANO POZZEBON, JOURNALIST: Yes, the return to schools, the return of kids into the classroom is an issue that is in common for every country in Latin America from Mexico to Argentina and with the region being currently the biggest hot spot of COVID-19, and with growing rates accelerating both here and Columbia where I am now, but also in neighboring Brazil.
And in Mexico a little farther north, the return for the kids into the classroom seems further and further away. Most of the country suggests, Mexico and Venezuela, for example, are still in a summer recess.
But education ministries all across the regions have to come up with contingency plan and to start the new school year online only. So, the kids will stay at home and learn only from a computer which in a region that is famous for the logistical difficulties and bad telecom connectivity can prove an even bigger challenge than elsewhere in the world.
For CNN, this is Stefano Pozzebon, Bogota.
CHURCH: And still to come.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We make any member or any customer that's walking through our doors remove their face masks. Again, that's our pride, that's also the understanding that your --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, you make people remove the mask when they come in.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Absolutely. You do not shop in my store with a mask on. Period.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: So many people are getting sick and yet there is still such resistance to wearing masks, a report from hard-hit Arizona. That's next.
And unlike the rest of the world North Korea says it has no cases of coronavirus, but that a vaccine is in development, the implications of those claims ahead.
ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: Months into the coronavirus pandemic, many Americans still don't seem to be getting the message about social distancing and wearing mask or they're ignoring it.
CNN's Miguel Marquez talked to a couple who learned the hard way just how serious this virus is.
DEBI PATTERSON, HOSPITALIZED WITH COVID-19: We were totally lax and easy about it.
MICHAEL PATTERSON, HOSPITALIZED WITH COVID-19: Yes.
MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Debi and Michael Patterson didn't think the coronavirus would ever affect them. D. PATTERSON: It was sort of almost like a joke in our group of
MARQUEZ: Did you wear masks?
D. PATTERSON: Nope.
MARQUEZ: Did you hang out with your friends as normal?
D. PATTERSON: Yes.
MARQUEZ: So, all the things you are told you should back off of, you did.
D. PATTERSON: We did.
M. PATTERSON: We did.
D. PATTERSON: We did.
M. PATTERSON: We did.
D. PATTERSON: And we still --
M. PATTERSON: And we paid the price for it.
D. PATTERSON: Yes.
MARQUEZ: From Lake Havasu City on Arizona's border with California, the Patterson's didn't give the virus much thought, even once developing symptoms in late June.
D. PATTERSON: We just kind of carried on. We went to the pool, we did stuff, you know, over the rest of the weekend. And that Monday morning is when we both woke up and we are just -- felt like a train had gone over both of us.
MARQUEZ: Michael got sick, Debi had to be hospitalized, put on oxygen but did not need a ventilator.
Over a month later, how are you now?
D. PATTERSON: Obviously, still short of breath, coughing, just the fatigue and dizziness, headaches daily. It's almost like somebody hit you in the head.
MARQUEZ: They once laughed about the virus. Now, they say it's no joke.
What is your message to people now?
D. PATTERSON: Be more careful.
M. PATTERSON: Keep your distance and wear a freaking mask.
MARQUEZ: In this ultraconservative corner of the state, masks are still highly controversial.
PATRICK BAUGHMAN, GUB SHOP OWNER: If we make any member or any customer that's walking through our door remove their face mask, again, that's our pride, that's also the understanding that you're --
MARQUEZ: So, you make people remove the mask when they come in?
BAUGHMAN: Absolutely. You do not shop my store with a mask on, period.
MARQUEZ: For gun shop owners, Patrick Baughman, the coronavirus itself doesn't add up.
But a 150,000 people are dead. Over 150,000 people.
BAUGHMAN: I definitely don't agree with that number that you just threw out there. I think --
MARQUEZ: What do you not agree with?
BAUGHMAN: There's so many cases of fraudulent claims as far as how they are reporting numbers.
MARQUEZ: Public health officials believe the number of dead from COVID-19 is probably higher than the official count, not lower.
When the president comes out and says wears a mask, do you think he's just playing politics?
BAUGHMAN: Unfortunately, I do, at that point, think that he's playing politics because originally he did come out calling this entire thing a hoax.
MARQUEZ: For the Pattersons, the coronavirus is no hoax and speaking out is not a political act. It's a friendly warning.
D. PATTERSON: It's ridiculous not to take this seriously. I mean, I could have died just like the next person. I mean, anybody can. It could've been either one of us or both of us.
MARQUEZ: So, if you think being from a small town protects you from the coronavirus, the Patterson story tells you, you are not. We should also thank them for speaking out. It was not easy. They are from a small town, Lake Havasu City, Arizona.
She supported President Trump in 2016, probably will again in 2020 from what we know. All of their friends are pretty conservative, so not an easy thing for them to raise their voice and speak out about them. But they say their experience was so tough that everyone needs to heed their advice. Back to you.
CHURCH: Great report there.
And Brazil has been reporting five figure case totals, pretty much every day. On Monday it was no exception with 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, more than 2.7 million infections, since the pandemic began. The outbreak there is the second worst in the world. But that has not stop some people from gathering on Rio's beaches. Hundreds have been hitting the sand as the city continues to reopen. However many have ignored safety guidelines and over the weekend somewhere fine for not wearing masks.
Well, it has been two months since the Trump administration, supplied 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, and now as Nick Paton Walsh reports the shipment remains mostly untouched.
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: 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 is off to considers a similar mindset to it, that of President Jair Bolsonaro. Two million pills were given at the end May, of hydroxychloroquine from the Trump administration to that of the Bolsonaro government here. Here's what happened to them.
PATON WALSH: It's a pandemic gift nobody should want. Brazil's president touting the drug he says saved him from the disease, hydroxychloroquine. Unproven safe studies, even dangerous as his fellow disbelievers in COVID-19 chant he's a living myth.
In May, the Trump administration sent two 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 logistic center close by which we weren't allowed into.
It's a call 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 brought a large amount of ingredients for it from India.
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 year, two years, they're going to have to throw it, or they are just going to have to burn it.
PATON WALSH: One problem is the pills came in packets of a hundred, they'll have to be broken down to be distributed which in part would eventually happen here, we were told. As an army laboratory in Rio de Janeiro, it's unclear why that has not happened yet.
The real problem is the focus on hydroxychloroquine. It doesn't work says study after study against coronavirus, but that has not stop 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.
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.
PATON 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 debates around these drug, where frankly, it should not even veer debate and that is continuing to cause here in Brazil, but numbers to be horrific on so many days of the week. Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, Sau Paulo, Brazil.
CHURCH: Well, North Korea insists it is free of the coronavirus and that a vaccine is in clinical trials. Close observers of the secretive state are skeptical of the claims, but they warned if Pyongyang did come up with a vaccine, it could be used as a weapon. Will Ripley has our report.
WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: COVID-19 has crossed nearly every border, except this one. North Korea says, days after announcing its first suspected case, state media claims the country is still virus free. Eight months into a global pandemic that began in neighboring China. North Korea also claims to have a coronavirus vaccine already in clinical trials.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's a lot of suspicious suspicion that North Korea -- that COVID has already been present in North Korea for many months now. RIPLEY: Why would North Korea say that they are developing a COVID-19
vaccine, but also continued to deny any COVID-19 cases?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a remote possibility that they would be able to do it. And if they did it would be a game-changer obviously for their global reputation.
RIPLEY: And a game changer for North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un.
BRUCE BENNETT, DEFENSE RESEARCHER, RAND CORPORATION: This year he has disappeared for more than three weeks, four different times. Obviously trying to be away from places where the virus might infect him.
RIPLEY: Finding a vaccine, may not be Kim's only motivation experts say.
BENNETT: They would not just be looking for a cure, they would want that for Kim Jong-un and his concerns, but they might also be looking for weapons.
RIPLEY: Blurring the line between science and the military is nothing new in North Korea. This 2012 satellite launch, used technology experts say is similar to an intercontinental ballistic missile. North Korea has long been suspected of having biological and chemical weapons. In 2017, Kim's half-brother was killed with a cold war era nerve agent. Pyongyang denies any involvement.
JOSEPH YUN, FORMER U.S. ENVOY FOR NORTH KOREA POLICY: North Korea may have biological and chemical weapons in their stockpile, but we never really know exactly how much they have. And this is something certainly, we would have talked about along with nuclear weapons if the conversation and negotiations had got on the way.
RIPLEY: Diplomacy, never fully did get underway. Three presidential meetings, little if any progress on key issues. Analysts say, a successful coronavirus vaccine, could give Kim new leverage with the U.S. and potentially a new biological weapon. Will Ripley, CNN, Hong Kong.
CHURCH: The former king of Spain, has left the country as passed financial dealings come under scrutiny. More on the letter he left his son, the current king when we return.
CHURCH: Spain's former king has left the country as his past financial dealings come under growing scrutiny. Juan Carlos I, abdicated the throne in favor of his son Felipe, six years ago amid a financial scandal. A royal spokesperson would not reveal where he has gone.
So, let's head out to Madrid where Al Goodman is standing by. Good to see you, Al. So, the former kings alleged financial dealings have dogged him since 2014. Since he's abdication, so where does all this leave his son, King Felipe and of course, the royal household?
AL GOODMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Rosemary. Well, it's widely seen that the departure from Spain, former King Juan Carlos is an effort by the current King his son, King Felipe VI to shore up he's position as the current monarch and also the institution of the royal household when he was sworn in six year ago.
In his opening speech he said then, that he wanted more transparency for the royal households. He wanted to be a real example for all Spaniards. Now, we are outside the Zarzuela Palace, the sprawling compound here on the western outskirts of Madrid.
You have to go way back in there. You go several kilometers or miles back in there to get to the buildings of the type of the residents that Juan Carlos has now abandoned. Deer are running around all of that, has now changed. This is our story on what has just happened, let's take a look.
GOODMAN: The departure of former King Juan Carlos I from Spain was sudden and secretive coming six years after he abdicated the throne under a cloud of financial scandal. A scandal that now includes investigations in Switzerland and in Spain into his alleged dealing, according to a senior Spanish official with knowledge of the proceedings.
Spain's Prime Minister address the allegations that had been widely reported in the Spanish and international media.
PEDRO SANCHEZ, SPANISH PRIME MINISTER (through translator): The Spanish people are witnessing some unsettling news that disturbed all of us including me. I'm thankful the royal household is distancing itself from this unsettling and disturbing news.
GOODMAN: The distance grew dramatically late Monday when the royal household published a letter Juan Carlos wrote to his son, Spain's current King Felipe VI. Announcing he was leaving Spain, due to public repercussions, of certain past events of my private life are generating. His son had vowed more transparency for the royal household when he became king in 2014.
Earlier this year, he renounced any personal inheritance from his father. And cut off the annual public stipend to Juan Carlos. A senior Spanish official tells CNN, that Swiss prosecutors are (inaudible) documents that alleged Juan Carlos may have received $100 million from Saudi Arabia's king in 2008.
Investigators want to know if that money was related to a contract for a Spanish group construction of high speed train in Saudi Arabia, the official said. Prosecutors in Spain Supreme Court are also investigating. But no formal charges had been filed against Juan Carlos in any court, his lawyer told CNN. And Juan Carlos even out of Spain, will still be available as needed to the courts, the lawyer said.
In the past, CNN has contacted the embassies of Saudi Arabia, and London and Madrid, but receive no immediate reply?
Juan Carlos is widely accredited with helping to guide Spain to democracy, after the dictatorship of Francisco Franco. Juan Carlos ruled for nearly 39 years, saying he wanted a monarchy close to the people. One constitutional law professor told CNN last month, he had expected to see more of a firewall between King Felipe and his father. Now, their own country's border will keep them apart.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GOODMAN: Now Prime Minister Sanchez, is due to speak to reporters in a few hours' time, this will certainly be topic a across the political spectrum. The ruling socialist, the opposition's conservatives are showing respect, that's what they're expressing here but some left parties and some independent minded parties are saying, they are definitely not in favor that the former king has left the country, while there are these investigations going on. Rosemary.
CHURCH: All right. Many thanks to Al Goodman joining us there. I appreciate it.
Well, President Trump said he will allow an American company to acquire TikTok, but he has conditions. Microsoft has the said talks to buy the popular video app are continuing. U.S. officials have raised concerns at the app owned by a Chinese startup could post a security risks. On Friday President Trump threatened to ban TikTok in the U.S., and now he is setting a September 15th deadline, for a deal to come together.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: My personal opinion was, you're probably better off buying the whole thing, rather than buying 30 percent of it. I think buying 30 percent is complicated, if you but it. Whatever the price is that goes to whoever owns it, because I guess is China, essentially. But more than anything else, I said a very substantial portion of that price is going to have to come into the treasury of the United States. Because we are making it possible for this deal to happen.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: And CNN's Eleni Giokos in in Johannesburg's South Africa. She joins us now live. Good to see you, Eleni. So how likely is it? That the security challenges can be ironed out by the September 15th deadline?
ELENI GIOKOS, CNN MONEY AFRICA CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I mean, it's not only security, there's a lot of other things right. You think about the price, and of course you've got to think about how both parties are going to be negotiating. So national security has always been the big issue. The fact that the Chinese government could ask for access to gather information of U.S. users.
Of course, we know ByteDance which is the parent company of TikTok, has always maintained that U.S. user information is stored in service in the United States. So Microsoft says that it will be the first and most important thing to ensure that all information is safely stored in the U.S., and that there will be no one behind.
Now, we also know that the White House state adviser, Peter Navarro says that even if Microsoft purchase wouldn't take away that element of national security for him. That because Microsoft operates in China. That could still be an element of risk. Interesting though, President Trump says that the U.S. Treasury would be entitled to a chunk of whatever the deal is that goes through.
And if you think about price tag, right. So, Microsoft wants to buy portion of the business. TikTok globally is around $50 billion. So you got to submit that, then you've got to think about the user experience, how do you maintain a social media platform of this nature?
It's going to be interesting and I have to take a step back and take a look at what China has said in the last few hours. Looking at some of the newspapers, China is saying that it demands to 2/5, that it is a smash and grab of a Chinese tech company and Rosemary, this could be a signal of retaliation.
CHURCH: Yes it could be and a lot to be done by mid-September. We'll see what happens there.
Meantime, negotiations continue for another emergency relief package in response to the pandemic and its impact on people. So, what is the latest on that? And the obstacles that remain?
GIOKOS: yes, I mean, there is an impasse right now. I mean, it's really -- we've been talking about it for the last few weeks, sadly a lot of the benefits have expired for the most vulnerable of Americans, and of course the big sticking point has always been that enhance unemployment benefit of $600 a week.
Now, Republicans want to move that down to $200 a week, through September, I mean focus on the 70 percent wage of you know, number going forward. The Democrats are still sticking to $600 a week. Right now, you are seeing so many vulnerable Americans, that are facing eviction and other benefits that were put on the table now had been taken away.
Democrats are still sticking to a much larger numbers when it comes to assisting the U.S. consumer. Republicans want to pull back saying, it's a disincentive to go back to work. Time is completely running out. So, let me tell you, we've got to look at the data. You have to look at unemployment numbers that will be up very soon. That is going to be an important (inaudible) in terms of the way that the negotiations are going to be continued. But right now, it's that one thing that the government needs to sort
out, because of the fact that we are still very much stuck in the middle of a pandemic and you've got coronavirus cases still an issue in many parts of the United States. Companies are not willing to go back to full capacity on operating like they were pre-pandemic levels.
CHURCH: Yes. There's a lot of people hurting in the midst of all this. Eleni Giokos, many thanks. I appreciate it.
Well, Vietnam has largely been able to control its coronavirus outbreak, but a new wave of cases is now turning a popular tourist destination, into a ghost town. We'll have that on the other side of the break.
CHURCH: Well, Vietnam has been praised for effectively curbing its coronavirus outbreak but now the country is struggling to contain a recent wave of infections. Most have been linked to the resort city of Da Nang, which confirmed another 10 cases on Tuesday. Now as the outbreak grows, the popular tourist spot is quickly becoming a ghost town. CNN's Kristie Lu Stout has our report.
KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Vietnam, like other countries in Asia reported its very first COVID-19 case in late January. But with proactive border closures, aggressive testing, contact tracing and quarantine measures the country quickly became a model for successful containment of the virus. The low numbers were impressive. Fewer than 500 confirmed cases of the virus. No locally transmitted cases reported in the last three months and no deaths. But all that changed in late July.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): Patient 428, has died. Cause of death is hypertension, heart failure, pneumonia, ischemia and COVID-19.
LU STOUT: The new outbreak, appearing to have started in the popular tourist destination of Dan Nang and spread quickly to neighboring Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi and Quang Nam. Months of near normal life of reopen restaurants, bars, schools and resumed tourism within its own borders ground to a halt.
The Vietnamese government, now trying once again to employ the aggressive measures it took at the start of the global outbreak. Immediately sending 80,000 local tourist home from Dan Nang. The beach is now closed. The streets once again eerily empty with lockdowns in place and returned mandatory widespread testing and contact tracing.
The government has also enlisted several hundred military students to help test all 1.1 million residents of Dan Nang. Some medical officials say they believe the strain of the virus is a more contagious one, although not necessarily more deadly. UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): The number of people, that
have returned to Dan Nang to Hanoi, as well as (inaudible) is very large. So the risk of an outbreak is huge. We are also aware that the situation of this outbreak is very complicated.
LU STOUT: Authorities have yet to find the origin point of the new cases. No matter what the cause. Vietnam is now scrambling to try and figure out just how the virus reemerged after nearly 100 days while standing at the precipice of widespread transmission. An outcome that looks more possible, with each passing day. Kristie Lu Stout, CNN Hong Kong.
CHURCH: And finally, a restaurant in Cairo is serving up some socially distant meals by way of a robot waiter, who has a tie and apron, but no human touch as your food is delivered to the table. The robots manufacturer said, they retooled the robot when the coronavirus hit Egypt, for service jobs like this, to lessen the spread of germs. Customers seemed to like the idea.
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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): Regarding the robot, it's a very good idea given the circumstances that we are in right now, everyone is afraid. Almost no one leaves their home. People in restaurants have become much less. So I think this is a good idea at a restaurant. Instead of having another human being come near you, there is a robot.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CHURCH: No word if anyone has left any tips, will keep an eye on that.
And you're watching CNN Newsroom, I am Rosemary Church I will be back in just a moment.