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Delta Variant Surges in Africa Despite Vaccination; Tokyo 2020 Loses More Athletes Due to Positive Tests; China Shuts Down WHO COVID-19 Origin Investigation; Over Two-Thirds of India May Have COVID-19 Antibodies; Pfizer BioNTech to Make Vaccines in South Africa; On the Radar. Aired 10- 11a ET
Aired July 22, 2021 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST (voice-over): The Tokyo Olympics hit with another scandal. The man in charge of the opening ceremony has been fired on the
eve of the big show.
What are the origins of the coronavirus?
China claims it is now impossible to accept the World Health Organization's plan for further study.
And as African hospitals are stretched to breaking point, we speak to the head of Africa's Centres for Disease Control about the surge in coronavirus
deaths on the continent and what needs to be done to help.
It is 3:00 pm in London. I'm Becky Anderson. Hello and welcome to CONNECT THE WORLD.
ANDERSON: Yes, less than a day to go until the Olympics opening ceremony and the director of the event has been fired. It's related to a decades-old
comedy skit about the Holocaust. He's not the only one whose Olympic dream is over.
At least 20 athletes have dropped out of the competition due to COVID-19. And the opening ceremony is going to be a damped-down version. Some
countries only sending a fraction of their athletes to participate.
You see here how many Australia, South Korea, India and Canada are sending. While members of the public are excited for the games to begin, you see
people here taking photos of the countdown clock.
Only five of the 42 venues will be allowed to host fans. Among the guidelines, shouting not allowed. Still the United Nations secretary-
general provided this welcoming message.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANTONIO GUTERRES, UNITED NATIONS SECRETARY-GENERAL: I'm proud to salute the Olympic athletes and I thank the people of Japan. The Olympic spirit
brings out humanity's best. Teamwork and solidarity, talent, tolerance, it inspires and unifies us in troubled times.
We are all in mourning for those lost to the COVID-19 pandemic. Every effort in Tokyo has overcome enormous obstacles and demonstrated great
determination. If we bring that same energy to our global challenges, we can achieve anything.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Well, Selina Wang is in Tokyo with the very latest.
Let's quite clear. There is some excitement and one would expect that as we move toward the actual event. But this thing is still marred in
controversy. Antonio Guterres there, talking about the Olympic spirit.
And these games could certainly do with some of that. More controversy this time surrounding Friday's opening ceremony. Just get us up to date on what
we know at this point.
SELINA WANG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Becky, these opening ceremonies have just been hit by scandal after scandal. And now just a day before the
opening ceremony, the director is getting fired for making those anti- Semitic comments back in the 1990s.
The organizing committee saying they apologize for him making a mockery of a painful historic fact. And they apologized for the trouble caused to the
Japanese people as well as all of the Olympic stakeholders.
But Becky, this isn't the first one. This comes just days after the music composer for the opening ceremony resigned after interviews surfaced of him
in the 1990s, describing his severe abuse of his former classmates.
But the organizing committee did not immediately ask him to resign. In fact, they said they hoped that he would continue and only later did he
announce he was resigning.
And just months earlier, Becky, the former creative director also stepping down after comments surfaced that he had made offensive comments to a
female Japanese celebrity. So not a most promising sign for an event that is supposed to be a symbol of hope and unity.
WANG (voice-over): The first lady starts her first solo trip overseas, Jill Biden arriving in Tokyo in support of close U.S. ally, Japan, a
country in a day by day fight to keep the Olympics going, even before the games have officially started.
As Biden travels in, more Olympic hopefuls will travel out after testing positive for COVID-19. Five athletes from Team USA alone have been cut from
the games due to the coronavirus. The NBA star Kevin Durant says he feels well looked after.
KEVIN DURANT, TEAM U.S. BASKETBALL: USA Basketball has made this experience so easy for all of us, especially throughout the circumstances
of COVID, especially in Japan, where cases have risen. So I think USA Basketball is keeping us safe as they could.
WANG (voice-over): Yet nothing is certain when it comes to COVID. Around 100 people connected to the games have now come down with the virus as
Tokyo is now recording more than 10 times that number of cases each day.
And if the pandemic wasn't enough to worry about, Olympic organizers are getting hit with another controversy. The director of Friday's opening
ceremony dumped from his role for past remarks, making light of the Holocaust.
"I'd like to extend my sincere apologies," she said. Not the press that the Olympics needed as it hobbles toward an opening ceremony sure to be
subdued. One person who will be there is the state premier of Queensland, Australia, Annastacia Palaszczuk led Brisbane's successful bid to host the
But that didn't spare her condescension from IOC vice president John Coates late Wednesday.
JOHN COATES, IOC VICE PRESIDENT: And the other thing is I was raising some questions about you going to the opening ceremony. You aren't going to the
WANG (voice-over): As the COVID controversy continues to stir, sports stars in action, including soccer teams, who took the chance to take the
knee in protest of racial inequality.
WANG: And, Becky, there is now a growing list of athletes whose dreams are being derailed by positive COVID-19 tests, including now five members of
the Czech Olympic team.
Their national Olympic committee is now launching an investigation into the charter flight that took those athletes to Japan.
And a heartbreaking statement from the Czech beach volleyball player, who tested positive. She said that, after traveling all the way to Japan,
following all of these COVID-19 protocols, this is not what she hoped for.
What was supposed to be the pinnacle of her career and that she and her teammate cried together, they swore and then they cried again. She said
that this is a nightmare and she wouldn't hope (sic) this on any athlete. She also said that she doesn't know quite how to process all of this.
Really heartbreaking, Becky.
ANDERSON: Yes, absolutely. Selina Wang on the ground for you, together with a big team for CNN covering the Olympics and you can find more on
cnn.com. Thank you.
Well, the head of the World Health Organization offered this warning when speaking to the International Olympic Committee in Tokyo. Have a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. TEDROS ADHANOM GHEBREYESUS, WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION: In the time it takes me to make these remarks, more than 100 people will lose their lives
to COVID-19. And by the time the Olympic flame is extinguished on the 8th of August, more than 100,000 more people will perish.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: Just underlining how bad things are when it comes to this pandemic.
Well, the WHO itself getting short shrift from China. Beijing says the organization is playing politics with its plan for a second look into what
started the pandemic. The proposal includes researching the hypothesis that the virus could have escaped from a lab in Wuhan and also a request to
examine China's rural data about the early days of the virus.
Chinese officials say the investigation is, quote, "compromised by political manipulation and disrespect of scientific facts."
Well, CNN's international security editor Nick Paton Walsh has been following this story.
As we originally understood, WHO had begun its investigation -- you and I talked about how that first phase of the investigation went.
What do we know at this point?
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR: Well, China's point is that the increasing clamor in Western nations to examine the possibility
at this point, lacking in any real open source evidence, that somehow a lab leak was behind the beginnings of the coronavirus.
That has essentially put their back up to the extent that they consider further cooperation with the WHO to be impossible. A significant press
conference, with a number of senior figures, including laboratory heads in Wuhan and the deputy head of the national health commission, today saying
that the next phase of the investigation the WHO would like to happen of the coronavirus origin doesn't respect common sense and it's against
It's impossible for us to accept such a plan.
Now the WHO had hoped not only to look at the possibility of a lab leak, the head of WHO quite vociferous in how he's been suggesting there needs to
be greater scrutiny of that particular idea.
But also as you said, looking at that raw data, that raw data frankly is where the truth may ultimately lie. As I said, there is little public
evidence over the lab leak theory although that is geopolitically of great contention, sating those anti-China hawks, who think somebody must be
ultimately easily to blame for this.
But it's really the raw data of those October-November 2019 months before the December outbreak we are all aware of where you might find the clues,
if you look more carefully.
At this point WHO investigators have essentially had analyzed data that the Chinese have sifted through and presented to them, about nearly 80 cases in
those earlier months, that might warrant further investigation.
WALSH: Deeply unsatisfactory, frankly, for anybody looking for a transparent investigation here. So essentially, the geopolitical row over
the lab leak overshadows this vital moment for you and I as humans on this planet to work out where this once in a lifetime pandemic originated.
Signs at this point says it's most likely it came from a bat, maybe through an intermediary animal, then onto a human. But the timeline within the WHO
report itself points to certainly events beginning before December in terms of the spread of the disease.
And it was that urgent need to dig further into that. It's already hard to continue this detective trail because the evidence has been lying in the
open, you might say, bad metaphor there, but well over a year and so possible forensic detailed examination that convinces everybody is
But the mere fact China has said an absolute no to the second visit of the WHO essentially kills this investigation of entirely, unless a miraculous
compromise is found. And again, it will increase the clamor of those pointing toward China for not being transparent enough about this; in
short, for having something to hide.
I think, sadly, that is what history will record as having been the story around the origins of this virus. And science will be, sadly, none the
wiser about how we can stop this happening again, Becky.
ANDERSON: Absolutely. Nick Paton Walsh on the story for you.
While it is clear it's hugely important that we understand how this thing began, so we might be better prepared going forward, how this all ends,
riddled with controversy, we know vaccines are crucial across the industrial world.
The COVID vaccine is easy to access for just about everyone over the age of 12 in the U.S. For example, some communities are even offering cash or
gifts to sort of bribe people to get the jab that could save their life.
And there are different incentives, as it were, in different parts of the world. But in Africa, where coronavirus cases are surging, health care
systems struggling, the vaccine nearly impossible to get,, even for the most vulnerable, like senior citizens and frontline health care workers.
CNN's correspondent Larry Madowo is in Nairobi. And for him, this story of what some call a vaccine apartheid is also an agonizing personal one.
Larry, you've got a powerful story to tell. We promoted that on the show yesterday. It is at cnn.com and our viewers can find it there. Just explain
LARRY MADOWO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: So Becky, this is the complication for me. It is very easy for me living in the U.S. to get vaccinated because I
walk to my nearest CVS and get a vaccine. There are many points at CVS, at Walgreens.
In the U.K., I can go into Boots and getting a vaccine and anybody can get it. Now anybody over the age of 12 in the U.S. can get vaccinated.
But I came back home here, my grandparents, my elderly relatives still did not have a vaccine. Many of them today still do not have a vaccine. So last
month, when my uncle got sick, he died within a few days because he just didn't stand a chance even though he was in his 60s.
For the last few weeks, my grandmother has been battling for her life on a ventilator. Again, if she could have got vaccinated at 96, she should have
been a priority. But because Kenya doesn't have enough vaccines, even for people of her age, we have to contend with the possibility that we could
get a call anytime now, Becky, to say she's gone, killed by the coronavirus.
ANDERSON: I'm so sorry, Larry. Let's talk about what needs to happen to begin closing this gap. I mean, this gap is being described by so many as a
catastrophic moral failure. And we have been highlighting this on this show now for months and months and months.
What do you see happening in Kenya, for example?
MADOWO: There's just an urgent need for vaccines because, while the rest of the world is entering a post-pandemic life, here in Kenya, across
Africa, it's still carnage. The World Health Organization director-general has called it greed by Western countries.
The latest briefing out of the World Health Organization in Africa says there is a steep surge in cases all across the continent. Apart from a
slight drop in South Africa, which is a country with a third of cases, the rest of the continent is still in the throes of a devastating pandemic that
is killing people because they are not protected.
And this is why this is serious. The third wave is far from over. Listen to the World Health Organization.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. MATSHIDISO MOETI, REGIONAL DIRECTOR FOR AFRICA, WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION: Let us be under no illusions. Africa's third wave is
absolutely not over. The smallest step forward offers hope and inspiration but must not mask the big picture of Africa.
Many countries are still at peak risk and Africa's unprecedented third wave surged up faster and higher than ever before.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MADOWO: What that means is that Africans are watching the Euros and seeing crowds at Wembley and wondering because we're not there yet, that's what
the World Health Organization is saying. We can't go to the beach, we can't crowd.
But even more seriously, it means life cannot go back to normal in places like Rwanda, because they're in another lockdown in Uganda. Tunisia's
health care system has collapsed. South Sudan has completely run out of vaccines. And the G7 has committed some doses to Africa; the U.S., the U.K.
have committed doses to the poorest parts of the world. But they're still not nearly enough. There is so much greater need. And I know that now
personally, because I see the pain it's brought my family and the fear that more of my elderly relatives might be at risk.
ANDERSON: Yes, absolutely. Look, we wish your family the absolute best. And those people all over the world who are in a similar position. Larry,
Look, we are going to speak this hour to the director of Africa's CDC. That is going to be an important interview.
Also, if you head over to cnn.com, you can read more about vaccine inequality, how that's changed Larry's life. That's a good article by my
colleague, how millions of families across Africa are suffering from this shortage of doses.
Larry says, after the richest parts of the world have won the war on the pandemic, Africa may still be fighting this virus with little ammunition.
There is some hope, though. Coming up, we will speak to the Africa director for CDC and we will talk about what that hope might be.
Well, coming up, new numbers are showing just how widespread the COVID pandemic is across India. Why an already bad situation just got worse. We
are live in New Delhi.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON (voice-over): And spontaneous protesters erupting across Iran as the country tries to get water to drought-stricken people and businesses.
In the next hour, I'll be talking to a top Middle East expert about Iran's hard times and its new hardline president.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: And from the devastating floods in Germany to heat waves and wildfires in Siberia, the climate crisis is sparing no one. My next guest
next hour has details on how the European Green Deal may help share the load to struggling nations.
ANDERSON: Eight hundred seventy million, that is roughly how many people in India may have COVID-19 antibodies, 870 million. That is according to a
new nationwide survey. The government-led study was done between June and July following a massive second wave of infections.
ANDERSON: And these figures show just how widespread the virus may have been compared to what has been reported.
And this comes as another study estimates nearly 5 million more Indians actually died from COVID. That is 10 times higher than the official count.
Let's get straight to Vedika Sud in New Delhi with more details.
Look, I think neither you nor I are actually surprised to learn that it is likely these numbers were so much higher. We talked a lot about this during
the peak of the wave.
Of course, what more does this study tell us about what has happened and what this might mean going forward?
VEDIKA SUD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good to be with you, Becky. So very quickly, this is the fourth such survey conducted by the ICMR, which is a
medical research, like you mentioned, a government-run institute.
Now this survey was conducted across 21 states, the same areas as conducted earlier with 29,000 participants. What's different this time is they
included children from the age group of 6 to 17 for the first time in their survey.
Now the biggest takeaways like you mentioned, two of three people in India may have already had COVID-19 because the antibodies from the survey point
towards that; 400 million people in India are still vulnerable to being infected.
And this is ahead of the third wave, which many experts say is coming our way. Also, at this point in time, it's very important to understand that,
in the third survey conducted by ICMR, Becky, which was about December to January -- December 2020 to January 2021 this year -- it said 24.1 percent
of the participants had been infected, which means about a quarter of India's 1.36 billion population was the indication.
Now they're saying almost 68 percent of India's population could have been infected.
So why such a huge jump?
This jump is essentially what we heard because of the second wave. If you remember, like you and I spoke so much during the second wave, Becky, this
is also a part of that survey. And that's where the figures are coming from, a huge difference in the third and fourth survey, Becky.
ANDERSON: Vedika, thank you for that.
My next guest is the coauthor of the recent study showing India's excess COVID deaths. And an article for "India Express" -- in an article for
"India Express" he said why we need to count the COVID dead.
He writes, "As a country, India must confront the scale of tragedy to draw lessons and to etch remembrance of it in the nation's collective
consciousness to foster a "never again" resolve.
"The counting and the attendant accountability will count not just for today but for the long future."
Abhishek Anand joining me live now from New Delhi to talk about the significance of it.
What is this very important study?
According to government numbers there are about 400,000 COVID-related deaths across India. Your study shows a huge, huge difference, nearly 5
How did you and your fellow researchers reach those figures?
ABHISHEK ANAND, INDIA COVID DEATH TOLL STUDY: Yes, first of all, thanks for having me on the show. So we basically look at three different
methodologies because there is so much uncertainty if you rely on one data set.
Just to be sure what could be the ballpark number, we do the study three different ways.
The first relies on the information provided by the government. Now many journalists in India are trying to get the data from the state governments
through writing or other means. So we already have data for around seven states, which accounts for almost 50 percent of Indian population.
So basically we look at how many people have died in 2021 and 2020 and compare it with 2018 and 2019. We look at the difference between the
benchmark in 2020 and 2021. That is the first method.
Second, as we were discussing, we look at what is the national prevalence as to how many have already been infected. And we use that and combine it
with the numbers, what is indicated internationally, what is the best method and using both the numbers we come up with a second estimate.
The third way is a household survey conducted in India. It's a survey where we go back to the same household every four months. We get to know if any
death has happened in a particular household. We're using that information from the nationally representative survey.
We come up with another estimate so we get a range of between 3.5 million to 5 million deaths, depending on which method you look at.
ANAND: So no matter which number you look at, it's substantially higher than the official numbers we have as of now.
ANDERSON: You have pointed out it's really important for India to understand exactly what has happened and to learn from what has happened
going forward. In many parts of the world, a spike in case numbers is not reflected by a spike in hospitalizations and deaths, certainly not at this
And that is being put down to the rollout of vaccines that have proved to prevent severe illness, even in the face of the Delta variant, for example.
What can India learn from the study that you have just conducted?
And, indeed, the government study that suggests that something like 870 million Indians now have antibodies.
I mean, that might suggest that there is actually, you know, some sort of herd immunity potentially in India at this point, which, to a certain
extent, might be a good news story, correct?
ANAND: Yes. So first of all, what we also write in our report and in the op-ed is that we must confront the true scale of the tragedy because, until
we write policy lessons, first we have to have right infrastructure in place.
For example, we don't have enough health infrastructure that is required. And if we don't accept what has happened in the latest (INAUDIBLE) but also
in the previous wave (ph), perhaps we'll not be investing enough in our health infrastructure and in future again we'll have to suffer consequences
if something like this happens.
So that is the first lesson. Second, in terms of the recent report, where so many people have already been infected, it also says that close to 400
million people have antibodies. So if there is a third wave, of course, the chances are high that again a catastrophe can be very high. We have to be
prepared for that.
We should not feel negligent, that so many have already antibodies, so maybe there is herd immunity. (INAUDIBLE) perhaps we are far away from
having herd immunity. So we should not be because that's in the first wave because we didn't realize what the true catastrophe was.
There was this feeling perhaps somehow we are special, we somehow came out of this wave without being -- something happening much. So we have to be
very mindful of others, the true scale of the tragedy going forward.
ANDERSON: Just very briefly, let's get your assessment, then. We know the government wasn't prepared for that second wave. They were completely ill
Is this time potentially different?
ANAND: I hope so because, unlike second wave when it happened, of course, vaccination was an issue. There was a supply side problem. Hopefully, there
are enough -- and if not, government should try to augment supplies as quickly as possible because the only way perhaps we can -- if there is a
third wave, we can come out of it without much damage is only if we have enough vaccinations in place, the supply side is there.
And then you can convince people to come out and get vaccinated. So that should be the focus of the government going forward.
ANDERSON: And with that, we'll leave it there. We thank you very much indeed for joining us. A really important study and thank you for that.
One hundred million doses all produced exclusively for African countries. That's at least the promise from Pfizer BioNTech. I'll ask Africa's CDC
director whether the new doses will come fast enough and what else needs to be done.
Plus, even after an aggressive vaccination campaign, Israel expecting its own fourth wave of infections. We'll tell you why next hour.
You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD. This is a two-hour show.
ANDERSON: The World Health Organization says the rate of new COVID-19 cases in Africa has slowed after surging for eight straight weeks. However,
that is happening because infections have gone down in South Africa.
Otherwise, health officials say 20-odd countries on the African continent have seen a 20 percent rise in cases in just the last two weeks. It's more
evidence that Africa's third wave is far from over. Less than 2 percent of the population is fully vaccinated.
Well, yesterday we told you how Pfizer and BioNTech will boost its vaccines' availability on the continent by producing its doses in South
Africa. They are promising to eventually produce 100 million vaccines a year. But that is starting in 2022.
Well, clearly those doses don't come fast enough. My next guest calls the news great and welcome news that must be celebrated in the midst of this
pandemic as every action counts. But -- there is a big but there -- the director of the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, John
Nkengasong joins us now live from Addis Ababa.
While you do applaud the announcement by Pfizer BioNTech, this has been something that the Big Pharma companies have been encouraged to do, as it
were, by governments around the world and organizations.
So look, this is a start but we are talking about 100 million doses by the end of this year or beginning of next.
That is not enough, sir, is it?
What else needs to happen now?
JOHN NKENGASONG, AFRICA CENTRES FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION: I think the news as indicated earlier, must be celebrated and welcome. We are
in here for a long stay with the COVID fight. So any new developments that enable the continent to fight the pandemic is welcome.
At the same time, we also have to celebrate the news that, in the coming days -- and I mean days -- the doses that we acquired by the African
Vaccine Acquisition Task Team will begin distribution across the continent. About 8 million doses will begin to be distributed from the Johnson &
Johnson product. So that is much welcome news.
I think waiting for that production to kick in early next year, I think we believe that Africa is preparing itself to begin to take its own destiny
into its hands by distributing the vaccines that member states have procured themselves.
NKENGASONG: So I think we must celebrate COVID-19 developments.
ANDERSON: Yes, 8 million, is, you're right to point out, it's good news. But look, only 1.5 percent of Africa is fully vaccinated at this point.
It's going to take millions and millions more doses.
So what is your message at this point?
NKENGASONG: Well, my message on this point is that of continuous (INAUDIBLE) that we will start with 8 million. And in the month of August,
September, those doses will escalate to 10 million and 20 million progressively.
So I think the abbot (ph) mechanism or the African acquisition task team provides a clear vehicle now for a beginning of a long journey. Also the
partnerships, we need to continue to work with bilateral donations as we speak.
We are in the process of distributing the 15 million doses of vaccines that were donated by the United States government. We need to see more
partnerships along the same line so that we can get to our stated target by the end of the year, which is a goal to at least try to immunize at least
20 percent to 25 percent of our population by the end of the year.
ANDERSON: This isn't just about the supply of doses, is it?
It's about the distribution of those doses once they are on the continent.
ANDERSON: And, indeed, the state of the health care infrastructure in many parts of Africa, which is pretty poor, tell me, where are the greatest
needs at present?
It was good news that we've seen a drop in the number of cases in South Africa and clearly that brings the entire African continent's numbers
lower. But we are seeing a spike of cases elsewhere.
Are we also seeing a spike in hospitalizations and deaths?
NKENGASONG: Absolutely. You are seeing that -- I mean, let's -- we have to look at the continental (INAUDIBLE) with South Africa and without South
Africa. As we speak to in nine countries in Africa are going through the third wave. And two countries are actually going through the fourth wave.
So we have to bring the data together and look at that and celebrate that slight decrease but also recognize that that represents earlier efforts
that are going on in South Africa. So we are a long way from seeing what I will calling a sustained decrease across the board.
So we need to continue to intensify the public health measures and all actions that are necessary to bring down the curve so that they can ease
the burden on the health systems.
ANDERSON: We are talking the long game here. You expressed that yourself. Let's just be quite clear.
Where are the greatest needs?
You've talked about 29 countries, who are either in their, what, third or fourth wave, as you say.
What are you -- where are you most concerned about?
NKENGASONG: We are most concerned that the countries that have not experienced the third wave are now beginning to move towards a third wave.
I think that is very, very obvious, that if we did not intensify what we are calling a community enhanced surveillance, using the rapid diagnostic
tools there to find out where the hot spots are within the country and take action, we will see that other countries who are of the 55 member states,
additional countries will move towards the third wave.
I think that is a major source of concern that we must bear in mind.
ANDERSON: Finally, my colleague Larry Madowo, whose story, I'm sure, you know, is echoed by so many, so many families around Africa, he's in Kenya;
he's lost his uncle in his 60s to COVID. He didn't get a vaccine quickly enough.
His 96-year-old grandmother ill at present. She hasn't had a vaccine and he's worried that he will lose her. And he was providing sort of the
comparison, as it were; he walks into a Walmart himself in the States and was able to just get himself a jab. Look, you will have heard this story
again and again and again.
This vaccine inequality is just shocking, isn't it?
And it's painfully apparent at this point.
If there was one message, as it were, to the rest of the world, it would be what?
Because the world is only as strong as its weakest link. We keep saying that.
NKENGASONG: The message to the rest of the world and humanity is that we have the tools in our hands to win this battle against COVID-19 in a
decisive manner. But our behaviors have been the most surprising.
The behavior to understand that COVID will continue to be a threat everywhere until -- if it continues to be a threat everywhere, especially
on the continent of 1.2 billion people.
So the story you just described there is the story of 1.2 billion Africans who are desperate to have vaccines but don't know how to get the vaccines.
I think that is -- that gap in understanding of the reality is what is extremely amazing.
We find ourselves in a moral dilemma, where we've deliberately created a divide between the vaccinated and the unvaccinated, which is very, very
ANDERSON: With that, we'll leave it there. We thank you very much indeed for joining us, sir. Good to speak to you.
Still to come, the Mars rover is about to take one of its most important steps in the search for signs of life on the Red Planet. The details on
that are in a moment.
Plus contact tracing has led to many in England being pinged and told to self-isolate. Well, now there are more empty shops and a lack of staff
across England. We'll tell you why after this.
ANDERSON: All right. Let's get you up to speed on some of the other stories that are on our radar right now.
More heavy rain is forecast Thursday for already flooded parts of central China. At least 33 people have died and eight are missing in Hunan, one of
China's most populous and poorest provinces. The flooding there being described as the worst in 5,000 years.
Well, the U.S. and Germany have reached an agreement to allow completion of the controversial Nord Stream 2 pipeline. The pipeline carrying Russian gas
to Germany and the rest of Europe. The Biden administration has expressed concerns that Russia could use the pipeline as leverage in Europe.
Well, the U.S. space agency's Mars rover is set to collect rock samples within two weeks. Perseverance has been on the Red Planet since February,
searching for signs of whether Mars was ever able to sustain life. The rover will send the samples back to Earth on a later mission.
Well, U.S. gymnast Simone Biles has become the first Olympic athlete to ever get a personalized emoji on Twitter. If you tweet the name of the
four-time gold medalist, you will get an emoji, a gold medal-winning goat doing a split.
Biles is known as the G-O-A-T GOAT because she is described as the greatest gymnast of all time. I'm joined by the GOAT of sports presenting, as it
were, "WORLD SPORT's" Amanda Davies.
AMANDA DAVIES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Becky, that is a phrase you never expected to say when you came into work this morning.
ANDERSON: I actually didn't. I could hear it coming out of my mouth as I said it and I said, is this appropriate?
DAVIES: Well, Simone Biles has wonderful nicknamed her GOAT Goldie. She won four Olympic goals and a bronze in Rio four years ago. I do feel like
it should be upside down or kind of mid air because Biles has already in practice in Tokyo pulled off the greatest, most difficult vault of all
time, the Yurchenko double pike vault.
She's done it twice in practice so perhaps a sign of what's to come in the next couple of weeks.
ANDERSON: I think people should get medals for their warmups these days. It's unbelievable. It's a great story. "WORLD SPORT" is up next with Amanda
Davies. I'll be back with more CONNECT THE WORLD after that.