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"Mass Casualty Incident" After SUV Plows Through Holiday Parade; Waukesha Police Give Update After Car Runs Through Parade. OIC: Peng Shuai says She's Safe and Well in China. Aired 1-2a ET

Aired November 22, 2021 - 01:00   ET




MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to our viewers here in the United States and all around the world. I'm Michael Holmes, I appreciate your company.

And we begin with the breaking news. Police say several people are dead, more than 20 are injured including children after a vehicle plowed through a Christmas parade in Waukesha, in Wisconsin on Sunday. They say one person is in custody and that there is no active threat to the community. A warning some of the videos from the scene are disturbing. One woman catching the moment the vehicle ran down members of a marching band.

(Disturbing video taken by Angela O'Boyle on Waukesha, Wisconsin Christmas parade incident.)

HOLMES: And we're obviously not going to show you the moment of impact here. We're told that the White House and FBI are monitoring the situation. And the incident has drawn swift reaction from lawmakers on Capitol Hill.

Police say that an officer did fire his weapon at the vehicle to try to stop it. No one was injured by that gunfire. CNN's Natasha Chen on the scene with the latest.


NATASHA CHEN, CNN U.S. CORRESPONDENT: The police chief mayor and fire chief would not answer any questions at the very latest update of the evening. But earlier Sunday night they did confirm a few key points, including the fact that more than 20 people were injured including children. They would not say how many people exactly had been killed. The police chief said they are still working on informing next of kin, and many people are still being treated in the area hospitals.

The police chief did say that initially about a dozen children and doesn't adults were taken to about six hospitals in the area with more people who had been taken to hospitals and private vehicles. They also said that there -- they did not believe there were actually shots fired from the suspect vehicle. Law enforcement on the scene actually fired at the vehicle in attempts to stop it. So initial reports from witnesses that they heard gunfire may have actually been the police discharging their weapon.

Another point is that they do have a person of interest in custody. And they have located the suspect vehicle as well. This was incredibly devastating and shocking for the witnesses in the families there who were trying to have a good time at this Christmas parade. I did speak to one woman who lives in a nearby apartment complex. She had stepped out onto her balcony to see this parade and saw this vehicle just plow through people running over, marching band. So, a very devastating night for this community in the middle of what was supposed to be a festive, happy event turning into tragedy. Back to you.


HOLMES: Thanks to Natasha Chen. Now earlier CNN spoke with a man who witnessed the terrifying scene unfold. He had just finished marching in the parade when he decided to circle back and watch it for himself. He described what happened next, to CNN is Pamela Brown.


ANGELITO TENORIO, EYEWITNESS, MARCHED IN PARADE: After we had finished the route, my family and I and my campaign manager, we decided we wanted to circle back and go head back to Main Street to watch the rest of the parade, grab some food.

But as we were heading back to Main Street, I saw an SUV speeding along the parade route. And then all of a sudden, heard a loud bang. And then I heard definite cries, screams from people in attendance, people marching in the parade. Folks start running away from the scene and folks were left their belongings behind, holding on to their kids, running away from Main Street where the parade was. And then when the crowd cleared out, it looked like that there were people on the ground who were struck by the vehicle.


HOLMES: Joining me now from Cambridge, Massachusetts is CNN's Senior National Security Analyst Juliette Kayyem. Good to have you on Juliette. In situations like this when it comes to why it happened. It's more what we don't know than we do know. What though is your read on what you know so far?

JULIETTE KAYYEM, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: The police department feels pretty confident saying that this is an isolated incident. And that to me is the most important thing at this stage. Because we're heading into the holiday season, the big travel days, people are finally back together. This was the first Kenosha parade since -- I'm sorry, Waukesha parade since COVID began. And so, people are out and about so you want to make sure that there's no systemic, pervasive kind of attack or unrest and I think that that's been sort of put to rest. So that's -- that is the good news out of this.

[01:05:09] HOLMES: And, you know, one other aspect of this is, of course, is that horrific video, the car plowing through people but there's another video of the car avoiding people driving by not targeting at all. What do you make of that?

KAYYEM: Yeah. So that's why I got on early. And, you know, people get mad at me because I don't speculate. But I got on early and said, look here from the perspective, someone's seeing a lot of these, right? And I help plan major events, right? So, either sporting events or whatever, for security reasons. So, a couple things stood out to me. And that's why we have to await judgment. I don't know if they hold. One is it the car looked damaged before it entered the parade area. So, you wonder was something else going on beforehand.

The second is, of course, that there does appear to be periods where the driver is swerving away from groups, doesn't mean he missed them all. But that he does appear to try to avoid them. We don't know what that means at the stage. But for someone like me, that cuts against the oh my god, this is terrorism, or oh, my god, this is some racial response or whatever it is that we're dealing with in the United States right now.

HOLMES: Yeah, yeah, great point. As you mentioned, I mean, that this time of year, there have been deliberate car attacks around the world, the Christmas markets in Spain, New York and elsewhere, there's been a number of them. So, I suppose law enforcement has to bear that in mind. But the jumping to conclusions is dangerous as well.

KAYYEM: I think -- yes, absolutely. And I think there's something to learn out of these. Because remember, there was an incident here in the United States, that ended up being an elderly man and in New York. And so, I think what we have to get trained better at is to have police information come out faster, right, you were probably watching today. But you know, they kept postponing this press conference that lets lots of rumors feed. At some stage, they knew that they had a person of interest, and that it was unlikely to be terrorism, even if they don't know what the reason is. And one of the things that that law enforcement needs to be trained for in the era of social media is being more comfortable saying, look, we don't believe it's terrorism, take that off the table, and we have the person in custody, or we have a person of interest that took several hours. And in those hours as communities upset, but also things get activated, for better or for worse, and we have to recognize that.

HOLMES: Yeah, we often say after, you know, incidents of various kinds, you know, we can't let this happen again. But really, it's impossible to fully prevent something like this happening, though, you know, they're so tall, low tech and so on.

KAYYEM: Right. That's absolutely right. And people like me, who started in a world of counterterrorism and prevention, really, for the reasons that you say, have shifted our thinking about, well, how can we be better prepared at that moment of impact, right? So, we can minimize losses, get communities back up and running, and thinking about what we call right of boom, right, after the bad thing, because there's no way you could have societies like ours. People want to get together, they want to go to sporting events, they want to go to parades, it's the holidays, it's been a pandemic, people want to be together, we want them to be together safely and vaccinated. There's no way that you're going to get the threat down to zero.

So, what we have to do is also anticipate, as you said, sort of, you know, a world in which these may be reoccurring, but their success is measured if less harm is done. And that is unfortunately, in an age of all sorts of mayhem, whether natural or manmade that is what we're going to have to think about. So, from that perspective, this is an incident that is tragic, but it could have been so much worse.

HOLMES: Yeah, yeah, good point. So, real quick, what is the procedure for law enforcement, their priorities at the moment when something like this happens?

KAYYEM: Well, so right now they have the person in custody. So, whether that's the owner of the car, the person who was driving it, or someone who knows who that is, that that information will likely come out. And now if it's not the driver of the car, there'll be a search for the driver of the car. So that's going on.

I think it's noticeable that the FBI has not gotten involved with this case, in most cases that are suspected terrorism they would have by the stage. So that's also good news, in the sense that maybe we don't -- it doesn't seem like we have a terror threat right now. And then every mayor and police chief will assess their parade and holiday planning to ensure that there are protocols for a rampage vehicle, whether it's purposeful or on accident.

HOLMES: Yeah, that's a good point. Yeah, there'd be a lot of revision going on. Juliette, thank you so much. Juliette Kayyem, I appreciate it.

KAYYEM: Thank you so much.

HOLMES: And lawmakers representing Wisconsin are speaking out about the tragedy on social media. U.S. Senate Democrat Tammy Baldwin tweeting. "The horrific violence set the Waukesha Christmas parade is just heartbreaking. Please keep the victims in your prayers."


Republican Senator Ron Johnson offering his thoughts and prayers tweeting, "My gratitude for all law enforcement, medical personnel and community members who are responding.

And U.S. House Republican Scott Fitzgerald wrote, "I'm praying for the safety of all those impacted by the senseless tragedy in Waukesha."

And the city of Waukesha now says five people are dead and more than 40 are injured. Although they caution those numbers might change. CNN will have more on the Wisconsin tragedy later this hour. Do stay with us for our continuing coverage.

Meanwhile, coming up here on the program after days of concern over the safety and whereabouts of the tennis star Peng Shuai. The International Olympic Committee says she told him she is safe and well in China. But critics are skeptical.

Also, anti lockdown protests read across Europe, the growing backlash as several countries impose tough new restrictions. That's all still to come here on CNN Newsroom.


HOLMES: The International Olympic Committee says Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai insist that she is safe and well and at her home in Beijing. The IOC says its President held a 30-minute video call on Sunday with Peng, who hasn't been seen publicly since accusing a former top Chinese official of sexual assault earlier this month. Many in the tennis community have expressed concern about her well-being, the IOC did not give CNN access to that video call.


For more on all of this, let's bring in CNN's Kristie Lu Stout in Hong Kong, who's been following this from the very start. And actually, before we go on, I just want to say that we've been monitoring China's signal of CNN's broadcast. And you can see there on your screen, colorblind, they have cut our signal, our broadcast within China. And that kind of says everything. You know, it, doesn't it?

KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, that is a reminder whether you see on the screen of the internet and the media censorship regime in place in China, since we've started reporting on this story last week. CNN has continued to be blocked out inside China. There's no mention of Peng Shuai in these serious sexual abuse allegations from her on social media in China or in state media in China. And also, you know, we continue to press the State Council Information Office for comment. We've gotten no response for a couple days in a row now. We would --the question would be posed from the international media to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs about the case involving Peng Shuai, and they always declined to comment saying it is not a diplomatic issue. The question will be raised again today at the MOFA briefing. So, we'll wait and hear from that.

But something that we do want to discuss is this new video chat through a statement that was released by the IOC. And what we see here, according to the International Olympic Committee, they're saying that this 30-minute video chat took place between its President Thomas Bach, and Peng Shuai in which she says she is safe and well. She is living at home in Beijing. She wants people to respect her privacy. And there were two other individuals who also took part in this video chat including a Chinese sports official. A video of this chat was not given to CNN. We only have the statement and the photograph that you see there, a still photo in which you see Peng Shuai smiling to the camera.

Now of course, it's been three weeks since Peng Shuai made that explosive allegation, you know, accusing a very powerful man, a former Vice Premier of China, of forcing her to have sex with him. She made that statement on her verified Sina Weibo post. It was shortly taken down after she has been under blanket censorship since then. That has triggered international outcry including the hashtag that went viral, where is Peng Shuai. And then that prompted Chinese media over the weekend to release a series of photographs and videos, apparently showing Peng Shuai out and about being active in Beijing, but a number of her supporters and also the Women's Tennis Association. They're not accepting that they don't buy these videos as a proof of life video. They want reassurances about her welfare as well.

Let's bring up a statement for you. It's the freshest one we have from the Women's Tennis Association. And wish to say this, "It was good to see Peng Shuai in recent videos, but they don't alleviate or address that WTA's concerned about our well-being and ability to communicate without censorship or coercion. This video does not change our call for a full, fair and transparent investigation without censorship into our allegation of sexual assault, which is the issue that gave rise to our initial concern."

And the latest news, Michael, about the IOC is video call with Peng that has not ended concerns. It's just adding another question into the mix among Peng Shuai's supporters internationally, just how free is Peng Shuai. Back to you.

HOLMES: And to that point, Kristie, a couple of things, it significant, is it not that the chat was with the IOC and not the WTA or someone close to paying, it just shows, you know, that the IOC or the China's worried about Olympic blowback, and also the videos that you mentioned, they were all posted on social media platforms that are not seen in China? So Chinese people are not seeing this?

LU STOUT: Yeah, two very interesting points. Firstly, IOC is not a neutral player. The IOC has a very close relationship with Beijing. It has a lot of stake here with the upcoming Beijing Olympic Games. The concern over Peng Shuai has cast a shadow over those games you have talk of a potential or people considering, governments considering the possibility of a diplomatic boycott, they had to address that. And that's why we saw this highly choreographed video chat being written up and being shared with us from the IOC.

In regards to your second point, Michael, yes, it was interesting that over the weekend when state media wanted to answer the question, where is Peng Shuai, they use Twitter to send these photos of Peng Shuai apparently of a youth tennis tournament, apparently at a popular Citroen government restaurant in Beijing. Twitter, of course is not available inside China. It was aimed squarely at an international audience to answer that question, where's Peng Shuai? Michael.

HOLMES: Yeah, yeah, great analysis. Kristie Lu Stout there in Hong Kong. I appreciate it. Thank you.

LU STOUT: You got it.

HOLMES: Joining me now from New York is Leta Hong Fincher. She's the author of the "Betraying Big Brother: The Feminist Awaking in China."


Leta, thanks so much for being with us. Peng Shuai's case has the world's attention right now but how representative is her situation of what many women face when they make allegations of harassment and worse in China?

LETA HONG FINCHER, AUTHOR, "BETRAYING BIG BROTHER: THE FEMINIST AWAKING IN CHINA": Well, of course, you know, puncture is very famous. But the vast majority of women who speak out about sexual abuse in China are not known at all. What is very typical is that, as soon as somebody puts a personal story of sexual abuse on social media, it's quite common for the censures to kick in. There has been a very harsh crackdown on all kinds of feminist activism and feminist discourse online, the Me Too movement is very heavily censored.

And so, the fact that Peng Shuai's Weibo post disappeared within 30 minutes is, is very typical. But of course, everything that's happened after that is unusual.

HOLMES: Talk more about the impact of how it's become incredibly difficult for China's own Me Too movement, and to even exist because of censorship in China. Authorities literally blocking the #Me Too scrubbing mentions of incidents from the internet, including Peng Shuai, but many, many others as well. What does that say about Me Too issues and how they're treated by authorities in general in China?

HONG FINCHER: Right. Well, the Chinese government really sees feminism as a threat. And it's ever since the #Me Too went viral globally at the end of 2017 the Chinese censors inside China have been very aggressive about wiping it off the internet, although sometimes it still gets through. It's not a complete blackout on the internet. So, it is very difficult for any victim of sexual abuse to use the internet in China to social media to gain attention and yet messages have been getting through and it's kind of amazing. It given the -- not just internet censorship, but the very heavy propaganda apparatus.

HOLMES: It was only a couple of months ago that the activist Sophia Huang, I think it's Xueqin was arrested for, "inciting subversion of state power." Others who've made allegations have had to do with being attacked themselves. There have been retaliatory defamation charges and so on. What happens to feminists or women's rights activists who speak out strongly?

HONG FINCHER: Yes, well, sometimes they are detained. Most notably, in 2015, there were five feminist activists who were actually jailed for merely planning to celebrate International Women's Day by handing out stickers about sexual harassment on public transportation. So, most of the time, though, the perceived troublemakers, the feminist activists or Me Too activist they'll be heavily censored, they may be persecuted, they may be taken in for questioning very aggressively. Sometimes security agents or police will talk to the women's landlords to put pressure on the landlord to kick the woman out of her apartment, that's happened a lot with feminist activists. And in the last few months, several prominent feminist activists have had their Weibo accounts completely deleted.

HOLMES: There's only one woman in the party's Politburo. And I think that says a lot. How entrenched is male domination in a top-down sense?

HONG FINCHER: Oh, well, I mean, I make the argument in my book, "Betraying Big Brother" that China has a system of patriarchal authoritarianism. It's very much all about male domination and the subjugation of women. There's a lot of misogyny and sexism in terms of women's political representation. There has never been a woman on the standing committee of the Politburo and the entire history of the People's Republic of China. There is very little representation of women at the Politburo. And even beneath the Politburo in the Central Committee there are very few women. In fact, there are fewer women today than there were in the past on the Central Committee.

HOLMES: Do you think there will ever be an investigation into the initial allegations as the outside world demands when it comes to Peng Shuai, given her -- given how close the former Vice President Zhang Gaoli was to the president, President Xi in the hierarchy. Do you think it'll ever be looked at?

HONG FINCHER: So, I think it's virtually impossible that the authorities in Beijing would ever truly investigate Peng Shuai's allegations.


I mean, it's just elite political leadership and China is a complete black box. We never know what is really happening with any of these senior leaders. And that is what makes Peng Shuai's accusation against this extremely senior former or senior -- former Vice Premier of China, just so incredibly explosive.

And there is this rape culture that is endemic in a particularly at the very senior levels of the Communist Party and Peng Shuai's accusation providing details about the sexual assault at the highest levels of the Communist Party. This is extremely politically sensitive. And so, it's no wonder that Beijing is carrying out his, elaborate kind of propaganda effort to try to just deal with the mess.

HOLMES: Yeah, and I think it's telling that all of the videos that have been released have not been on platforms readily seen in China and I think that says a lot too. Leta Hong Fincher we're going to leave it there. Thank you so much.

HONG FINCHER: Thank you. It was a delight to be here.

HOLMES: And I just want to point out the entire time we've been talking about this story, you can see there our signal into China has been blocked for the entire time that we've had this segment. It was not blocked until we started talking about Peng Shuai.

All right, we're going to take a quick break. When we come back, it has been described as an unspeakable tragedy in Wisconsin, a driver plowing through a Christmas parade leaving many injured, some dead. We'll have the latest details coming up.

Also, a backlash from the Netherlands to Austria as countries try to fight rising COVID cases. Coming up, protesters push back against restrictions they thought were a thing of the past.


MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: Updating our breaking news out of Wisconsin, Waukesha officials say five people are dead, more than 40 injured, after a vehicle plowed through a crowd during a holiday parade. The police chief says the suspect's vehicle was recovered and a person of interest is now in custody.

CNN's Natasha Chen spoke with a witness.


NATASHA CHEN, CNN U.S. NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: One of the people who saw this happen is Angela O'Boyle. I just met you, Angela because you were down here -- you actually live in the apartment complex where the window overlooks the parade. And you saw this happen.

Tell me about that moment you stepped out on your balcony to watch the parade.

ANGELA O'BOYLE, WITNESS: I was watching it for my kids. Saying I wish you were here. And then the next thing I heard were screams. And turned my head and saw the car come and plow into the van that was just past my balcony at that point.

It hit at least two people, right away, rolled over both of them, and then continued down the road to -- by like people's park which is at the end of the block.

And then it kept going. It didn't stop. He did not stop, at all, or she, or whoever it was but kept going.

CHEN: Did you hear gunshots as well?

O'BOYLE: I did not. Everyone says that but I did hear anything. All I hear our screaming, and I not hear anything. All I heard was screaming and then people yelling out their children's names. That's all I heard.

CHEN: This marching band that you saw, that this car had run into, you said this was the high school marching band. What kind of marching band.

O'BOYLE: I don't know. I missed the beginning. I literally just stepped outside, picked up my phone, hit record, and all of this happened. It was perfect timing.

CHEN: Yes. So this is obviously really, really horrible to see. What was going through your mind when you heard the screams, you saw the car and what did you think was happening?

O'BOYLE: I felt bad for the parents and kids. I couldn't imagine mine being down there, myself or anybody else that I know. It was not something I wanted to see.

And the people who've watched the video I took are also shaking, and just can't believe it. So, a little freaked out.

CHEN: The people you saw that got hit, where they young, were they old?

O'BOYLE: They look young to me. I don't know though because again, I was five stories up. So I have no idea, exactly, ages. But it was a band of some sort, and that's all I know.

CHEN: You stayed inside, just in case there was a threat of someone firing shots?

O'BOYLE: I didn't know what to expect, so yes, I stayed inside. Until everything was cleared up.

CHEN: And I know you told me you don't know anyone that you know who was perhaps at the parade. Does that make you nervous right now not knowing if certain people you know are ok?

O'BOYLE: I'm assuming my friends are ok. I was looking at Facebook and no one is saying that they're injured or family members are injured that I know personally. But I don't know who was here and who wasn't.

CHEN: How fast did you see and hear response from police and ambulance?

O'BOYLE: They were running down the street before he even hit the people. They were already behind him. Because he hit them -- I think this is the middle of the parade maybe or a portion of locks up.

But they were already running after him. So -- and it was instant that the crowd ran into the people who were injured as well.


HOLMES: And do stay with us here at CNN for continuing coverage as we follow the latest developments out of Wisconsin.

COVID cases on the rise in the U.S. and experts warn a combination of holiday gatherings and colder weather driving people indoors could lead to a further surge.

Here is where things stand right now. The U.S. averaging more than 92,000 cases a day, that is up significantly from two weeks ago. But experts say, it's not too late to blunt the surge, especially with vaccine boosters, now available for all adults.

Here's Dr. Anthony Fauci on Sunday.

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: Let's make it clear, you know, when there's lack of clarity people get confused. They're not sure what to do.

If you are 18 or older and if you've been vaccinated -- fully vaccinated with the Moderna or the Pfizer mRNA six months or more ago, get a booster. If it is J&J and it's two months ago or more get a booster. I don't think we should get hung up on should, may. Just go out and get boosted.


HOLMES: Around 59 percent of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, not nearly enough according to experts. More than 35 million Americans have received a booster shot.


HOLMES: Meanwhile, Dr. Fauci did have some good news for fully vaccinated Americans who want to celebrate the holidays with family. He says, they should be safe to gather with loved ones, as long as everyone has been vaccinated.

CNN's Polo Sandoval with more.


POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Over the weekend we heard from multiple health experts including Dr. Anthony Fauci.

He says bottom line, if you're vaccinated and if your family is vaccinated, then it is ok and safe to gather around the Thanksgiving table later this week without a mask.

Now that being said, Dr Fauci also added that if you're unsure of somebody's vaccination status or if you will be traveling then it certainly makes sense to hold on to that mask at least for now.

Regarding the rise, noticeable rise in new COVID cases throughout parts of the country, Dr. Fauci told CNN's Dana Bash this weekend that it is certainly to be expected, as we near those winter months and also as we enter what, hard to believe, is going the second pandemic holiday season for Americans here.

And that the best way to try to keep those numbers down, is to have people who haven't received their COVID-19 vaccines to actually get it. And if they did then the big recommendation is to actually get boosted.

Remember, as of this past Friday the CDC and the FDA and the United States have approved boosters for all adults who have received Moderna and Pfizer shots 6 months ago or longer; 2 months, or longer if they received Johnson & Johnson shots.

Polo Sandoval, CNN -- New York.


HOLMES: Some protests in Europe against new COVID restrictions turned violent over the weekend as cases continue to rise on the continent. Police in Brussels using water cannons and tear gas and they arrested dozens of people at massive demonstrations against tough new measures. Belgium is back to a rate of transmission that it has not seen since last year. Austria meanwhile has gone back to a nationwide, partial lockdown to fight rising cases. And that's led to a lot of unhappiness that as Salma Abdelaziz reports there are more tough measures to come.


SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Restrictions met with resistance on the streets of Vienna. COVID cases are on the rise and so is public anger. An estimated 40,000 people attended this anti- government demonstration.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We say no to that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We all have the choice what to do with our body. All of us.

ABDELAZIZ: Nearly one in three Austrians are unvaccinated. Authorities blame fake news and far right politics for the slow uptake.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know if something like this is necessary in Austria and in Europe.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The people are being treated like children, they are not allowed to make their own decisions.

ABDELAZIZ: As night fell tensions rose, several were arrested and two police officers injured. But at Austria's largest vaccination center, we find restrictions are quietly working. Rules, targeting the unvaccinated have forced some to come forward. Up to 20 percent here are getting their first shot, officials said.

Jaroslaw is among the reluctant.

"I gave in to the governments blackmail," he said. "I wanted to wait, but the government had other plans for me."

ABDELAZIZ (on camera): The government here is fed up with the unvaccinated. Austria plans to be the first country in Europe to acquire, mandate all eligible persons to be immunized. And the deadline is soon, February 1st.

(voice over): Expert, Peter Klimek says it is time for desperate measures.

(on camera): Will this vaccine mandate work?

PETER KLIMEK, ADVISER TO AUSTRIAN HEALTH MINISTRY: What we believe is that with this mandatory vaccination and if this is executed properly then at least we should be able to avoid occupations in the hospitals.

ABDELAZIZ (voice over): For now, Vienna's beloved Christmas markets must, a nationwide lockdown could last up to 20 days. And even when restrictions are lifted, rules will remain in place for the unvaccinated. The government's message? Holiday joy is for the immunized.

Salma Abdelaziz, CNN -- Vienna.


HOLMES: Still to come, the head of the World Food Programme lays down a challenge for the world's richest to help end global hunger. And now, he is detailing exactly how that should be done.

We'll discuss.


HOLMES: Welcome back.

The head of the U.N.'s World Food Programme is answering Elon Musk's challenge and detailing a plan to spend more than $6 billion of Elon's money to combat world hunger.

Last month, David Beasley urged billionaires to meet the problem head on, on a onetime basis. In an interview with CNN, he named the world's two richest men Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk as logical candidates for that task.


DAVID BEASLEY, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, U.N. WORLD FOOD PROGRAMME: Wake up. Smell the coffee and help. I mean I ask any billionaire, come with me. Just come with me on one trip and let me show you the reality.

This isn't some humanitarian scheme to raise money. I want to put the World Food Programme out of business, but my God, people are dying out there. Every four seconds, someone is dying out there from hunger- related causes.

We have got solutions, we've got vaccine for this -- money, food, that's easy. Billionaires need to step up.


HOLMES: Now Beasley he noted that $6 billion dollars would be just 2 percent of Musk's net worth. Now, Musk responded on Twitter saying if the program could describe exactly how $6 billion would sold world hunger, and if he could see the books on where it was spent, he would sell Tesla stock immediately and do it.

So Beasley then outlined how the money would be spent to feed more than 40 million people across 43 countries. It would pay for food and delivery, and provide cash and food vouchers, create new food programs that would adapt to the conditions within various countries and pay for operations management, and accountability.

It is unclear whether Musk has seen the plan, or will lend his support.


HOLMES: Arif Husain is the chief economist for the World Food Programme. He joins me now from Rome. And thanks for doing so early in the morning there.

First of all, what would be the impact of a $6.6 billion dollar donation to combat world hunger? If Elon Musk actually came up with the money, what sort of difference would it make?

ARIF HUSAIN, CHIEF ECONOMIST, WORLD FOOD PROGRAMME: Thanks, Michael. Good morning and thanks for having me. It will make a big difference. What that $6.6 billion is people living or dying. It's not about ending world hunger, it is about making sure that people for one year at a cost of about 43 cents per meal, one meal a day or 42 million people, that's all.

HOLMES: The offer was made with the condition that the spending plan was transparent. Open source accounting, he said. Do you think the WFP has met that condition with what you've laid out? It certainly looks like it?

HUSAIN: Yes, sir. I mean you know the things that the World Food Programme, we were awarded the Nobel Peace in 2020. People know us. We are the biggest humanitarian agency. We have an executive board made up of governments like the United States which is our biggest donor, like Germany, like European Union, like the U.K. And we meet their accounting requirements.

If it is good for American taxpayers, if it is good for all those taxpayers, I think it should be good for Mr. Musk too.

HOLMES: The challenge is right out there. WFP director David Beasley, who we just heard from. He said this quote, "The world is on fire. I've been warning about the perfect storm brewing due to COVID and climate shocks, now rising supply chain costs. It is here," he said.

Describe the impact of that convergence of circumstances on world hunger.

HUSAIN: I think, you know, CNN did this early out of Afghanistan, which was about people having to sell their daughters to put food on the table. There was another story done in Madagascar. It was about children eating mud to fill their bellies.

In the 21st century, if we are at this stage with so much wealth, there is definitely something seriously wrong. So I don't know what more evidence we need to show that the world is in a bad place, and it is because of shocks like wars, climate crises, COVID and rising costs. Food prices are up.

In the U.S., elsewhere, food prices are up. Inflation is up. Supply chains are disrupted. Fuel was up until about day before yesterday.

So what does that mean to a person living in a place like Madagascar or Yemen or Syria or South Sudan or DRC or Central African Republic? It is terrible out there. And we need to do something, because we know about this.

HOLMES: If Elon Musk follows through, what kind of pressure or encouragement might that put on other billionaires, I mean David Beasley as we said tagged Amazon's Jeff Bezos in the original challenge. Any word from him? Do you hope more step up to the plate where Musk is yet to step up, but hopefully he does.

HUSAIN: I hope so. You know, we are doing this in good faith. We are grateful to Mr. Musk and others for shining light on such a critical issue. But now, it's time for action. I think it is critically important and frankly it doesn't matter whether it is done through WFP or somebody else. Mr. Musk can do it himself. But the point is, let's get it done.

If this problem exists and people know that it exists, and there is evidence of that, then it needs to be solved, and let's get it solved. No matter who does it. If they can do it better, more power to them.

HOLMES: And just finally, a lot of billionaires around the world and this was pretty staggering. A lot of them actually got richer during the pandemic -- a lot richer during the pandemic. What's your challenge to them?

HUSAIN: Well you know, we're not asking for the moon. I mean this is very -- I mean it doesn't -- it's like they're (INAUDIBLE), it's like they're off the (INAUDIBLE) during the last year and a half.

And like my executive director David Beasley's saying, it's a one time ask (ph). Governments are supporting -- but they're broken down, I mean by COVID and the money spent to deal with the economic consequences of that, deal with the disease. Everybody stepped out.


HUSAIN: And in that situation, if you have it, I think it is not only a moral responsibility, it is also a smart thing to do both economically and politically, going forward to help these people out because the cost of inaction is thousand times more. We have seen it time and again.

HOLMES: Well, the challenge was thrown out. The WFP laid out how the money would be spent. I guess it's over to Elon Musk.

Arif Husain, thank you so much. And good luck with all you do.

HUSAIN: Thank you. Thank you, Michael for giving us the opportunity to bring this topic up in this international forum. Thanks a lot.

HOLMES: Of course.

Coming up here on CNN, the latest on our breaking news. A vehicle plows through a Wisconsin Christmas parade, as people watch in horror.

Stay with us. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) HOLMES: Our top story this hour. Wisconsin officials say five people are dead and more than 40 people are injured after a vehicle plowed into a crowd attending a Christmas parade in the town of Waukesha.

Now here is some video of the aftermath, showing people being treated at the scene. Police say they have a person of interest. He is in custody and there is no active threat to the community.


HOLMES: Last hour, I spoke to a local reporter, who was sent to Waukesha shortly after the tragedy occurred. Here's what he said.


DRAKE BENTLEY, REPORTER, MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL: You could see ambulances flying (ph) down the interstate and took the opposite direction towards the hospital. When I arrived on the scene, it was pretty quiet. The police officers did a pretty good job of breaking up the group, of getting people out of the area so they could take a look at the crime scene.

So a lot of red lights around everywhere, ambulances and fire engines coming from every direction. I arrived at city hall when the mayor arrived. He didn't take comments, and then from there we were shuffled into the fire department, waiting for instructions from the police department.


HOLMES: That was reporter Drake Bentley, speaking with me earlier. And he's going to be back in a few minutes to speak with Rosemary Church with the very latest. Do stick around for that.

Meanwhile, thanks for spending part of your day with me. I'm Michael Holmes. Follow me on Twitter and Instagram @HolmesCNN.

As I said, stick around. Rosemary Church picks up the coverage in just a moment.