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E.U. Compromise on Russian Oil Imports Ban; Biden Says U.S. Won't Send Ukraine Long-Range Rockets; Canadian Prime Minister Introduces Bill to Strengthen Gun Control; U.S. Delegation Visits Taiwan, Angers China; Key Luhansk City Bombarded; Researchers Learn More about Long COVID-19. Aired 10-10:40a ET
Aired May 31, 2022 - 10:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The purpose for the Russians to get less resources, less financial resources to feed in the war machine. And this certainly
BECKY ANDERSON, CNN HOST (voice-over): Europe's boldest move yet, to try to starve Vladimir Putin's war machine. More on that, coming up.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR: Just startling how whole chunks of this cinema have been thrown into the crater there. This is
the ferocity of the airstrikes we're seeing here, designed simply to get people out of this town.
ANDERSON (voice-over): This is why that European deal is so important. Nick Paton Walsh shows us towns left in ruins as Russian forces continue
the offensive in the Luhansk region. And --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JUSTIN TRUDEAU, CANADIAN PRIME MINISTER: We are introducing legislation to implement a national freeze on handgun ownership.
ANDERSON (voice-over): As the number of deaths by shootings in the United States spikes, neighboring Canada taking a very different approach.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: It's 3 pm in London, hello and welcome to CONNECT THE WORLD. I'm Becky Anderson for you.
Reaching a compromise to punish Vladimir Putin and doing it while trying not to add injury to Europe's inflation-ridden economy. The E.U. has been
tearing its collective hair out, quite frankly, trying to turn off the oil taps that fund the Russian president's war in Ukraine.
Now the bloc appears to be getting somewhere. The E.U. ban announced supplies to crude delivered by tankers, there's a temporary exemption for
pipeline crude. It will give landlocked Hungary and Slovakia a break.
A lot of moving parts to this E.U. oil story, including an OPEC meeting set for Thursday. Looming all of this of course, food security. The European
Council chief says that Russia is using food as a quote, "weapon of war."
Today's E.U. meeting in Brussels is now over. We're looking at what this means, in practicality. So let's dig deeper with CNN's Anna Stewart, who is
with me now.
Let's just examine this deal, in and of itself, and what it will cost the Russians.
ANNA STEWART, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's going to cost the Russians dearly in terms of having to replace its biggest customer. Let's look at the deal
itself. This is the sixth round of sanctions announced by the E.U. one month ago. We've had four weeks of wrangling over this.
That has not been a good look from the E.U. in terms of unity. The biggest sticking point of the sanctions was oil and the idea of oil embargo. A big
concession has been given here to Hungary, Slovakia, Czech Republic. Those countries are landlocked. Very reliant on Russian oil via pipeline. And a
stretch of a pipeline has been exempt from this.
That why it's only covering 90 percent of oil. Becky, there's also the issue of time in this. This was expected but the crude oil embargo won't
hit for six months. And the refined oil embargo will not hit for eight months.
That does give Russia quite a lot of time and it has already had quite a lot of time to look for other customers further away, in terms of shipping.
And it can do that. My guess is it's much easier to ship its oil elsewhere at a cost.
And already we're seeing a huge discount when we're looking at the Russian oil cost, the benchmark crude is around $34 a barrel cheaper already,
likely to get bigger. So in terms of the, cost yes, this will cost Russia's economy.
ANDERSON: As far as Europeans are concerned, this isn't your weaning itself off oil full stop by the end of this year. It is the European Union
weaning itself off Russian oil. It is going to have to find that oil elsewhere. We already know that the price of oil has pushed higher off the
back of this announcement.
So where does Europe go next?
STEWART: Look at the oil price, we've seen the biggest run for months now at this stage, as the talks have been wrapping up. The E.U. got 2.4
million barrels a day from Russia last year. So it needs to replace 2 million barrels a day in terms of oil.
Where is it going to get it from?
If you think about some Russian oil heading elsewhere, there could be passing coming on the market from other customers. More will need to come
onto the market to bring those prices down. Saudi Arabia and the UAE have, the biggest capacity, roughly 3 million barrels per day.
STEWART: Will they release that?
I think it's highly unlikely, looking at OPEC+ as we've seen them recently, they're going to ramp up massively their production this year.
The U.S. looks to add another 1.4 million barrels a day through shale and there are some other smaller producers who could add more on to that. But
don't expect that oil price to drop much further than we're seeing today. This is looking increasingly like a tight market.
And as China comes out of lockdown, you see the biggest user of oil, ramping up production factories. So I think we're looking at a very tight
future in the oil price.
ANDERSON: Absolutely, OPEC+ meeting tomorrow, we will wait to see what happens, no significant moves, different moves, expected at this point. All
right, thank you for that.
While the E.U. moves on oil sanctions, Russia's foreign minister is heading to Saudi Arabia, to meet his Gulf counterparts. In Bahrain, today Sergey
Lavrov said Russia will guarantee passage of grain ships to the Mediterranean Sea if Ukraine demines coastal waters.
Now Western nation have repeatedly accused Russia of blocking grain ships from Ukraine. Turkey's foreign minister says he will meet with Lavrov next
week in Turkey, to discuss creating a sea corridor for Ukrainian agricultural exports.
In the meantime, on the ground, in Ukraine, 1.5 weeks after Russian forces seized Mariupol, a cargo ship has left port, carrying goods bound for
Russia. Russia's defense ministry released this video of the ship leaving port. It arrived Mariupol on Saturday, after Russian officials said the
port had been demined.
Ahead of the self proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic says it's carrying 2,500 tons of cheap model to Rostov, in Western Russia.
Ukraine's military in the meantime says the key eastern city of Sievierodonetsk is partially under Russian control. Russia capturing it
would open the gateway to Ukrainian held parts of the Donbas.
And the head of Ukraine's military in the Luhansk region says that Russian forces are gradually moving into the downtown region of the city. Matthew
Chance connecting us today, from Kyiv.
What is happening on the ground is clearly incredibly important, when we consider what the Europeans have just announced, the idea, of course, being
to try to starve the Russian war machine of cash from the sale of Russian oil at this point.
You and I were speaking at this time yesterday when you described the slow and steady progress by the Russians in the Donbas region; at this point
today, what is your assessment?
MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, that progress, steady progress or otherwise, is continuing. And in fact there's
new video over the last couple of hours from inside Sievierodonetsk, showing Russian troops in the center of the city.
Now what the Ukrainians are saying is that the Russians are still not in total control of it, still have people inside, troops inside, making it as
hard as possible for Russia to establish full control over that city, the last main city, really, to be left inside the Luhansk oblast, the region of
And the intense, from the Ukraine side, is to make Russians pay as high as a military presence as possible so before they can get control of the town.
While they do that, of course, the Russians are putting more and more military resources into achieving that goal.
But at the same time, leaving other areas of their now quite large area that is under Russian occupation, leaving it exposed to potential
counterattack. And indeed, that's what's happening further south, southeast of the country, near the Kherson, in the Kherson region. The city is under
Russian control but the region is a bit grayer.
And there are counter offenses underway on the part of the Ukrainian military to try to take back some of the territory that has been conquered
already by the Russians.
And so, again, it is a constant ebb and flow of military advances and withdrawals on both sides. On the one hand, in the northeast, the Russians
are on the move forward. But in the southeast, they're encountering, you know, a very strong counter attack and some difficulties.
ANDERSON: Matthew Chance is in Kyiv for you.
Matthew, thank you. It's important to understand exactly what is going on on the ground, as far as we can tell, since the beginning of Russia's war
on Ukraine, which is now of course 3.5 months in.
ANDERSON: The U.S. has tried to balance, providing military aid to Ukraine without going too far to provoke Russia. President Biden, made that clear
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
QUESTION: Are you going to send long range rocket systems to Ukraine?
JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're not going to send to Ukraine rocket systems that can strike into Russia.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: CNN reported last week that the Biden administration was preparing to step up the kind of weaponry it is offering Ukraine by sending
advanced long-range rocket systems. In response, Russia warned the U.S. will quote, "cross a red line" if those weapons are sent.
Let's bring Kylie Atwood at the State Department for more on this.
Kylie, is this the president walking back earlier commitments to provide Ukrainians with the sort of long range rocket systems that they are
extremely eager for at this point?
KYLIE ATWOOD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: No, I don't think that the president is walking anything back with these comments. But what he is
doing is dancing along that fine line, that, as you said, the Biden administration has been playing with over the last few months and growing
increasingly risk tolerant to providing these more advanced weapons to Ukraine.
But even though President Biden said the United States isn't going to provide weaponry that can hit Russia from Ukraine, that doesn't mean that
the administration isn't considering more advanced weaponry because these multiple launch rocket systems that our team has reported are being
considered by the Biden administration have a number of technical options when you look at them.
And so there are different distances that the rockets can travel that can be attached to these systems. So the Biden administration could provide the
systems but not provide the rockets that go hundreds of. Miles provide rockets that go a little bit further than what Ukrainians have. But not too
far into Russia.
So it is a bit of a confusing and technical conversation but the details here really do matter. And the administration still feels like they can
continue providing more, while not going too far into Russia and creating that, perhaps, blowback from Russia that they've been trying to prevent.
ANDERSON: Let's be quite clear about this. President Biden could still provide the long-range systems that we know President Zelenskyy says that
the Ukrainians need but with shorter range ammunition. Is that --
ATWOOD: That's exactly right. Yes, right. And so, it still increases Ukraine's capabilities, of course. But it isn't allowing them to send
rockets hundreds of miles into Russia, which, if you -- there are ways for those systems to be able to do that.
ANDERSON: Kylie Atwood, State Department, reporting from there, thank you.
You're watching CONNECT THE WORLD, out of London this week.
Still ahead on CONNECT THE WORLD, chilling new audio of the school shooting in Texas, raising more questions about what was this delayed police
And Canada's response to gun violence. Prime minister Justin Trudeau looks to clamp down on guns in neighboring Canada. Details on that are just
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON (voice-over): These are live images from Uvalde, in Texas, a week after a gunman opened fire in an elementary school, killing 19 students and
two teachers. This is the latest mass shooting in the United States.
Once again, it's raising calls for new gun reform law. In the coming hours, a bipartisan group of senators set to meet virtually to discuss reform in
Talks continue this week in the wake of the tragic shooting. As the families of those killed get ready to say final goodbyes, new disturbing
audio recording said to be of that day are now coming forward. Nick Valencia has the latest for you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, my God.
NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Chilling new video captured an apparent radio call outside Robb Elementary school where a gunman had
opened fire inside classrooms.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you injured?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I got shot.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Where?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE).
VALENCIA (voice-over): In the video, what sounds like a student says they've been shot. The man who recorded the video, who did not want to be
identified, tells CNN the audio came from the radio of a Customs and Border Protection vehicle outside the school in Uvalde, Texas.
He said an officer turned off the radio once officers realized he could hear.
This as new dispatch audio obtained by ABC News indicates dispatchers relayed that at least one student was alive in the classroom.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Advise we do have a child on the line. Child is advising he is in a room full of windows. Full of victims at this moment.
VALENCIA (voice-over): CNN has not been able to independently verify the audio or at what point during the shooting this occurred.
Law enforcement's timeline shows that the gunman remained in the classrooms for more than an hour while at least eight 9-1-1 calls were made by at
least two students, begging for help.
Officers had arrived within two minutes but the commander on the scene decided to wait before confronting the gunman.
COL. STEVEN MCCRAW, DIRECTOR, TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY: From benefit of hindsight where I'm sitting now, of course, it was not the right
decision. It was the wrong decision, period. There's no excuse for that.
VALENCIA (voice-over): The massacre is one of a string of mass shootings that have left the nation on edge. School districts nationwide are
intensifying security protocols, fearing copycat attacks, like in Buffalo, where a gunman opened fire at a Tops supermarket, killing 10 earlier this
New safety protocols include all doors remaining locked during the school day. And any person who wishes to enter must call ahead for approval.
REP. COLIN ALLRED (D-TX): Americans are on edge. And they're on edge, because they don't know if it's going to be their place of worship, a mall,
a concert, their children's school.
VALENCIA (voice-over): In Uvalde, the community plans for two weeks of funeral services to lay to rest the 21 victims.
Uvalde's mayor has decided to postpone a city council meeting in which several new members were to be sworn in, including school police chief
Pedro "Pete" Arredondo. He was elected to the city council earlier this month and reportedly was the official who made the decision not to breach
the classrooms while the shooter was locked inside.
Arredondo has not spoken to the media since the day of the shooting.
The mayor says Arredondo's role in the shooting response will not impact his ability to serve on the council. Arredondo's decision has angered
victims' parents, like Amerie Jo Garza's father.
ALFRED GARZA, AMERIE JO'S FATHER: They needed to act immediately, you know. There's kids involved. You know, there's a gun involved. There's an
active shooter wanting to do harm.
ANDERSON: While U.S. senators are talking about gun reform, in Canada, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a national freeze on hand gun
ownership across the country. The legislation would cap sales, transfers and imports of guns.
Brynn Gingras joins us now live from New York.
Canada has a long history of gun control laws.
How is this measure different?
BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It is taking it even further, Becky.
GINGRAS: There is a quote from a person high up in the government, who says, gun ownership is a privilege, not a right. This gives you the
perspective of what's going on in Canada versus here in the U.S.
This is very extensive, what is being proposed by Trudeau. I will take you through all of these points or many of them.
Essentially, this is going to freeze gun ownership in the entire country. This means that it is illegal to sell, transfer, import and buy any
handguns. This also is going to be putting extensive fines on gun smugglers and traffickers. They will face criminal penalties in addition to that.
The country will support law enforcement to go after this illegal activity. It also involves revoking gun licenses for those who are involved in
domestic violence, criminal harassment. They do not want the guns in the hands of those people.
And red flag laws to give the courts the options to take away gun ownership from people who exhibit behavior that could be harmful to others or harmful
One more thing, it is talking about rifles. They want no rifle to have more than five rounds in it. They will actually manufacture the guns, this new
proposal, say they need to manufacture these guns so that there cannot be more than five rounds at any time in the rifle.
This is a widesweeping legislative bills that is in front of everyone, thanks to the prime minister. This is something that he has campaigned on,
as you mentioned, Becky.
Gun control is not a stranger to the country. They had wide sweeping bills that passed, making it very hard for assault rifle style weapons to be in
the country after the major incident in Nova Scotia two years ago. This is taking it a step further. It is expected to pass because it does have a lot
ANDERSON: Let's have a listen to what exactly Justin Trudeau had to say today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JUSTIN TRUDEAU, CANADIAN PRIME MINISTER: As a government, as a society, we have a responsibility to act to prevent more tragedies.
Canadians certainly don't need assault style weapons that were designed to kill the largest number of people in the shortest amount of time.
Gun violence is a complex problem but, at the end of the day, the math is really quite simple. The fewer the guns in our communities, the safer
everyone will be.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ANDERSON: A position which could not be more different than that which is playing out in the south of the border in the U.S. at present. I want to
briefly -- how do you expect this bill to play out in parliament?
GINGRAS: It is expected to have support, like I said. They could enact some of these measures by the fall. Again, to underscore his points, 59
percent of the incidents that involved guns over the last 10 or 12 years have included firearms.
So it is a stark difference. Obviously, there is a stark difference in population compared to the U.S. But it does have that support to make these
measures in place, certainly in response to what they are seeing here in the United States.
You have to remember, a lot of the gun smuggling is coming from the U.S. And they want to put a stop on it.
ANDERSON: Brynn, thank you.
ANDERSON: China says it is not happy about a U.S. congressional delegation visiting Taiwan. It was led by Senator Tammy Duckworth to boost relations
between U.S. and Taiwan. China claims Taiwan as its own. My colleague Kristie Lu Stout has this report.
KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: A U.S. congressional delegation, led by Senator Tammy Duckworth, is in Taiwan for an unannounced
three-day visit. They stressed the importance of U.S. and Taiwan's partnership on security as well as economic collaboration.
President Tsai Ing-wen thanked Senator Duckworth for America's donation of COVID-19 vaccines as well as U.S. support on the security front.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TSAI ING-WEN, TAIWANESE PRESIDENT (through translator): We look forward to deeper and closer U.S.-Taiwan relations in matters of regional security. At
the same time, to address the challenges of the post-pandemic era, Taiwan and the U.S. have reviewed and assessed the many facets of our trade
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STOUT: China slammed the visit with its embassy in Washington saying it firmly opposes it. And in a statement, a spokesperson of the Chinese
embassy in the U.S. says, quote, "We urge the U.S. side to earnestly abide by the One China principle and the three Sino-U.S. joint communiques
handled Taiwan related issues in a cautious and proper way so all forms of official and directions of Taiwan and avoid sending wrong signals to the
Taiwan independent separatist forces," unquote.
The visit comes right after the U.S. President's visit to the region and his assertion that the U.S. would intervene militarily if China tries to
take Taiwan by force, a comment that he has made before and which was quickly downplayed again by the White House.
STOUT: But tension is rising in the region. On Monday, Taiwan's ministry of national defense said 30 Chinese warplanes made incursions into its Air
Defense Identification Zone, the highest daily figure in more than four months.
A Taiwan member of parliament calls it, quote, "a very worrying trend," and "the more China does this, the sooner we become used to it."
And it will become increasingly difficult to determine if China is just doing the routine exercises or are they preparing to launch an attack on
This is a very worrying trend. Taiwan's president has vowed to maintain peace while adding that she will defend Taiwan if attacked. China claims
Taiwan as its own territory and hasn't ruled out taking it by force if necessary -- Kristie Lu Stout, CNN, Hong Kong.
ANDERSON: As Russian forces close in, this is the battleground in Eastern Ukraine. I will get you to one of the last cities in Luhansk still under
Ukrainian control. There is not a lot left. That is coming up after this.
ANDERSON: Welcome back, it is just before half past three here. I'm Becky Anderson and you're watching CONNECT THE WORLD.
The European Union leaders say the ban on Russian oil will deal a blow to the Kremlin's ability to wage war on Ukraine. This is day two of a key
meeting in which the E.U. agreed to ban most oil imports from Moscow.
Meantime fighters are battling street by street as Russian forces do push deeper into the city of Sievierodonetsk. This is one of the last holdouts
in Ukraine's eastern lush region.
If Russia succeeds in taking that city and a nearby city, they would have coalesced their victories in the Luhansk region. But their prize, if you
can call it, that will be a region in ruins. CNN's Nick Paton Walsh was there.
WALSH (voice-over): This is the last road into Lysychansk. Putin's forces have moved with rare focus here and they soon encircle the pockets of two
cities on the river we're driving into.
Ukrainian forces we saw here, mobile, tense, at times, edgy and this is why. Across the river here, the besieged city of Sievierodonetsk,
increasingly more in Russian hands, whoever you ask.
We can hear the crackle of gunfire down toward the river below.
What we were told, the Russians have tried already to get into town.
WALSH: And it looks like we might be witnessing another attempt over there. That smoke near one of the remaining bridges into the city.
Our police escorts shout drone, often used to direct artillery attacks. We are on high ground, exposed and scattered. It is a tale of two desperations
here, that which makes people stay and that which makes them finally flee.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): We've not slept for three months.
WALSH: Leonid (ph) is the latter.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Shooting. Windows shaking. It's a catastrophe. One man told me the Germans in the war were better.
WALSH: Some who stay are increasingly angry of what's left of the Ukrainian state here. A young woman was killed here, a day earlier, by a
shell. And locals told us not to film, saying cameras attracted shelling.
Russia's bloody persistence and unbridled firepower is bringing the kind of victory in the ruins they seem to cherish. This cinema was a bomb shelter,
local officials said it's unclear if, when the huge airstrike hits, the Russian military was aware it had been empty days earlier.
Just startling how whole chunks of this cinema have been thrown into the crater there. Just the ferocity of the airstrikes we're seeing here,
designed simply to get people out of this town.
Those who stay among the shards of glass feel abandoned already.
ANYA, LYSYCHANSK, UKRAINE RESIDENT (through translator): Many, many people but there is no gas or water or power or anything. We asked the aid workers
today when it will all come back and they say there are only prostitutes, junkies and alcoholics left. That means the aid workers have left here.
WALSH: Lydia (ph) is carefully picking up the pieces of the air strike, which she felt the full force in her apartment, eight floors up.
There's an old lady on the first floor and me, with my disabled son, she says. He doesn't really understand the war is happening. Retreat lingers in
the empty air. If Putin takes here, he may claim he's achieved some of his reduced goals in this invasion. It's the unenviable choice of Ukraine's
leaders if this is the hill its men and women will die on -- Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, Lysychansk, Ukraine.
ANDERSON: Let's get you up to speed on some of the other stories that are on our radar right now.
Crews in Nepal have recovered the bodies of all 22 people killed in Sunday's plane crash there on a remote mountainside. The flight recorder of
the Tara Air jet, has also been found, the cause of the crash is still under investigation.
A single positive COVID case has forced a lockdown in one district in Beijing. That's because it was reported outside of the government's
quarantine centers. At last check, at least 16 Chinese cities are under full or partial lockdown, impacting at least 125 million people.
At least 91 people have been killed after heavy rainfall led to deadly floods in northeastern Brazil. The president there visited the affected
region on Monday. Unfortunately, he said, these catastrophes happen and praised the armed forces' role in rescue efforts; 26 people remain missing.
One of the world's top athletes, knocked down by the long term effects of COVID-19. Ahead on this show, more on Lionel Messi's struggle after
recovering from the disease and what researchers are only now learning.
And prepare for a clash of giants at Roland Garros. We will have the details in our "WORLD SPORT" update coming up.
ANDERSON: As the worst of the pandemic slowly recedes with each passing day, we are learning more about long term struggles of some of the people
who were infected with COVID-19. Lionel Messi speaks now about the difficulties that he faced after getting COVID.
The football superstar told Argentinian Channel TYC Sports that after he recovered from the virus in January, he continued to struggle with
respiratory issues. He missed three matches and said he couldn't run for about 1.5 months.
He also said he pushed himself to return to the pitch too quickly which made it worse. Joining me now, Dr. Amesh Adalja, senior scholar at the
Johns Hopkins University Center for Health Security.
And this is such an important issue to discuss, Doctor. We're talking about one of the world's top athletes. He said he was knocked down by the after
effects of this disease.
What do his struggles reveal about long term impacts of COVID?
DR. AMESH ADALJA, SENIOR SCHOLAR, JOHNS HOPKINS UNIVERSITY CENTER FOR HEALTH SECURITY: They reveal that we have a lot to learn, that we're still
scratching the surface in understanding this minority of people who, for whatever reason, even with a mild illness, develop symptoms that affect
their ability to go back to their normal way of life.
And I think we are starting to get better at defining this and understanding what the risk factors are but there's a long way to go to
give people definitive answers, to understand who's going to get this and what the prognosis will be.
But it's something that will be in the long tale of this pandemic. It deserves a lot of research effort.
ANDERSON: At this point, what of the most concerning health care issues of people are facing, those who are facing them, after recovery from COVID-19.
ADALJA: When you think about what kind of falls under the long COVID umbrella, it's many different symptoms, for me. What's important are
symptoms that interfere with peoples activity in daily living.
If they have problems going up the stairs, problems thinking, if they just can't function the way they did. And that often will be respiratory
symptoms, maybe they're short of breath faster or have a heart rate instability, heart rate goes very fast all of a sudden or they're just not
able to perform the same level of cognition in the past.
I think those are the big ones. You have to separate out people who are hospitalized, who were in the ICU, we know that those people will not get
back to their baseline, even if the were admitted for influenza.
It's these people who have mild illness and have the symptoms, that's the big mystery. And I think that we will find most likely is that there are
some genetic differences in their immune response that causes this to happen.
But we need to get really definitive studies, ones that use control arms, that match patients well so that we can home in on what's happening here.
ANDERSON: Evidence based today -- and I realize that researchers still have an enormous amount of questions that need answers about post-COVID
conditions. But evidence based at this point, what -- we just talked about the sorts of things that people might be experiencing.
Just by hearsay, I'm hearing people sort of struggled for 6 to 8 weeks, people have struggled to, you know, for upwards of a year.
And what's the baseline here -- what can people expect, if for example, you know they might be struggling from what they are now calling long COVID?
ADALJA: Each person's course is going to be variable.
ADALJA: And that may be because we're not all dealing with the same thing here. There may be multiple different subvariants of long COVID, that
people have different symptoms. Or they may have underlying conditions that are getting exacerbated by what happened with COVID.
Most people do get better over time. They tend to improve, if you check in on them in six, months eight months, their symptoms start to alleviate. But
this is kind of a hard thing to give people definitive information, about, because we don't really understand this phenomenon completely.
And that's why it's so frustrating for patients, it's frustrating for physicians, because we don't have all the answers yet and science is going
to move at its pace. And I think this has been prioritized but each person has to go day by day.
We're more seeing more hospitals and health care systems develop long COVID clinics to try to understand what's happening here and to offer treatments.
But we have a long way to go, before we have a handle on this problem or even just basic definitions of this problem.
ANDERSON: It's fascinating. And we understand, you know, even having an expert such as yourself on, will not answer a myriad of questions that are
still out there. You, at the beginning of this interview, suggested that it's a minority of people who are living with long COVID and you
differentiate between those who are hospitalized, who you say may never get back to their baseline, and those who are feeling lousy, let's say, after
having had COVID.
You call that a minority of people.
What sort of percentage in the United States, for example, are you talking about?
ADALJA: I think when you look at the really well-done studies, you're looking at 5 percent to 10 percent. If you remove the people that were in
the ICU, that were in the hospital, that didn't have some underlying condition, that got exacerbated or a new diagnosis, I think it's probably
about 5 percent to 10 percent at the top.
And that has to do with the fact we you might see these numbers, 30 percent, but many of those studies don't use control groups. And you need
to have a control group matched to the people who are in there or you might be picking up a lot of noise.
So rigorous studies are going to be really important to actually delineate what the percentage would be. But most people don't get long COVID. But
there is enough people, even if it's a small percentage, a small percentage of a big number, it's still fairly big number for dealing with the
aftereffects of the pandemic.
ANDERSON: Fascinating. We should talk again. And as you say, so much still being discovered at this point. Thank you, sir.