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Erin Burnett Outfront

Ukrainian Commander Upbeat On Gains, Touts Successful Counter- Attacks; Senate Approves $40B Ukraine Aid Package For Total Pledge Of $54B, Topping What U.S. Spent On All Foreign Aid In 2019; Biden Admin Secures First Batch Of Formula From Overseas; Ex-AG Bill Barr Tentatively Agrees To Testify Before January 6 Panel; All Eyes On Georgia Governor Race: Kemp Versus Trump-Backed Perdue; NYC Health Department Investigating Possible Monkeypox Case; North Korea Scrambles To Contain Fast-Spreading COVID Outbreak; U.S. Days Away From Lifting COVID Border Rules, Migrant Surge. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired May 19, 2022 - 19:00   ET




A Ukrainian commander says his troops are making major gains against Russia today as the United States gets even more involved in the war.

Plus, the head of the FDA slammed over the baby formula shortage. A Democratic lawmaker even calling the responsible a, quote, dereliction of duty. It was a Democratic lawmaker. I'm going to talk to one mother struggling to find a specific formula for her sick child.

And just in, the New York City Health Department now investigating a possible case of monkeypox. New cases of the serious virus have been popping up across the globe. So, what is monkeypox and how is it spreading?

Let's go OUTFRONT.

And good evening, I'm Erin Burnett.

OUTFRONT tonight, the U.S. opening the floodgates for Ukraine, a massive $40 billion aid package about to be signed into law. So that brings the spending from the Biden administration and the United States to $54 billion in just 60 days to aid Ukraine.

It sounds enormous and I want to be clear, it is enormous, in fact it is more than the United States spent on the entire foreign aid budget in 2019 in 60 days to Ukraine. Now, it is important to note, this is a bipartisan thing, the Ukraine aid bill, broadly bipartisan.

And once the bill passes, it's going to be flown to Seoul so President Biden can sign it during his trip to Asia. And tonight, Biden is already pledging more aid.

So the money is coming at a turning point in the war -- three-month war, and Ukraine's top military commander tonight saying, and I quote: tonight, we're not just defending ourselves, we have conducted a series of successful counter attacks.

So Russia, of course, now, controls Mariupol and the war is waging on. Shelling killed 12 people today and more in eastern Ukraine. It's just one of the apartment buildings that was hit and burnt out, and it's part of a city where people have been living in underground bunkers for weeks.

We've seen some of these across Ukraine. No power, no light, little food, little water, and to the south, in Mariupol, there is still a message of defiance from one commander who is still holed up in that steel plant.


CAPTAIN SVYATOSLAV PALAMAR, DEPUTY COMMANDER, AZOZ REGIMENT (through translator): An operation is underway, I will not give any details. I'm grateful to the whole world and to Ukraine for support. See you.


BURNETT: It is believed that there are still hundreds of Ukrainian fighters in the Azovstal steel plant, which, you know, may surprise you because you heard of a lot leaving, in fact nearly thousand left in convoys organized by Russia.

We have reporters in Ukraine tonight. I want to start with Sam Kiley. He is OUTFRONT live in Kramatorsk, Ukraine, obviously, where there has been so much fighting.

Sam, what is the latest on the ground tonight?

SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think in the last 48 hours or more, perhaps, there's been an intensification, Erin, of the fighting here as the Russians continue to try to punch through the Ukrainian defensive lines, just as you were talking to me there, I heard the distant thump of some kind of artillery, either incoming or outgoing, it's too difficult to tell.

But it's just a completely normal aspect of life here at the moment, a more normal, a more horrific but normal is what's been happening in Severodonetsk where apartment buildings and hospital have been recently bombed or attacked with artillery and rockets. And at the same time, over the last 48 hours, there's been this concerted thrust coming in from the east, from the due east, from the territory that since 2014, held by Russian-backed rebels. They've been trying to push through, hitting very hard against the town of Bakhmut.

Now, that is a very important regional administrative center, it is as a military, very busy there, obviously civilian administration there. There are important hospitals treating people. They're coming from Severodonetsk and indeed from that town itself. This morning, there were at least three air strikes. A number of apartment buildings were killed, at least three people reportedly killed in that town, and just an endless rolling thunder of exchanges of artillery in both directions and rocket launches as the Russians are trying to make this breakthrough, Erin. BURNETT: All right. Sam Kiley, thank you very much on the frontlines

there in Ukraine.

And in a courtroom in Ukraine today, a widow confronts the Russian soldier who killed her husband. It's the first war crime trial and the war gets underway.

Melissa Bell is OUTFRONT from Kyiv.


MELISSA BELL, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): From the start, Russia's invasion of Ukraine, stalled, like here, on February 28th. These pictures shared exclusively with CNN by Ukrainian armed forces show a column of Russia's Fourth Tank Division off to had hit a landmine and soldiers had fled. One of those soldiers on Thursday facing both justice and grief.

KATERYNA SHELYPOVA, UKRAINIAN WIDOW (through translator): Why did you come here? Did you come to defend us? From who? Did you defend me from my husband you killed?

VADIM SHISHIMARIN, RUSSIAN SOLDIER (through translator): Our command gave us an order to move in as a column. I didn't know what would follow.

BELL: Vadim Shishimarin is accused of killing Katarina Shelypova's husband, Oleksandr, an unarmed civilian in the village of Chupakhivka. CNN has located this video where his unit hit the mine as being just two miles from Chupakhivka. The Ukrainian armed forces then say the Russian soldiers fled and killed local civilians.

In court, the prosecutor says Shishimarin and four other soldiers have fled the scene in a stolen car and Shishimarin was given an order.

SHISHIMARIN (through translator): It was very stressful, I was under great stress, he shouted at me.

BELL: A version of events corroborated by another Russian soldier who was traveling in the car that day.

RUSSIAN SOLDIER (through translator): The war officer ordered Vadim to shoot with the justification of the man could be reporting on us. Vadim refused to do it and the man ordered him to do it.

BELL: A glimpse into the chaos and fear of the early days of the war on the Russian side as well.

SHELYPOVA: Can you please tell me, what did you feel when you killed my husband?


SHELYPOVA: Do you repent?

SHISHIMARIN: Yes. I acknowledge my fault. I understand that you will not be able to forgive me, but I am sorry.

BELL: Shelypova said she wanted Shishimarin in prison for life. The only alternative, she said, an exchange for the Azovstal prisoners of war now in Russian hands.


BELL (on camera): Erin, a reminder there that this extraordinary trial, war crimes trial getting underway even before the war comes to a conclusion is now taking place in the context of these 1,700 Azovstal evacuees now being in the hands of Russia as prisoners of war and that extraordinary development here tonight that you mentioned that video released by one of the Azovstal commanders saying that he is inside the steel plants with his command, not giving much more detail but vowing to fight on.

We hadn't known how many were left. We hadn't known what their state were -- was, now we know that one -- perhaps several of them are still in there and intending to fight, Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Melissa, thank you very much. It's just very hard to watch that trial. Really tragic on all sides. It's hard not to be moved by her and him.

OUTFRONT now, retired Army Major General James "Spider" Marks.

And, General, a lot to ask you about. I mentioned at the top of the program, obviously, that we have now spent -- the United States has spent $54 billion committed in 60 days which is more than the entire foreign aid budget for the entire year of 2019, the amount of money and aid and weapons is absolutely stunning and President Biden is now promising more, specifically, 1,850 millimeter howitzers, 18 tactical vehicles for them, 18 artillery tubes, 36 counter artillery radar.

This is just another specific to-do list. Show us on the map where that sort of ordnance can make a difference.

MAJ. GEN. JAMES "SPIDE" MARKS (RET.), CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Yeah, Erin, it's really wonderful reporting and it really shows you how NATO, led by the United States, is really covering down to make sure this continues, that there's a sustainment of this fight.

And, clearly, the handoff takes place in places like this but where those systems will be most effective will be with Ukrainian units that are right here in contact with Russian units. What the artillery provides you, and these are smart weapon systems. These are not dumb rockets. These are going exactly where the Ukrainians want them to go.

You -- the Ukrainians will be able to get into the rear area of the Russian units. When they do that, the Ukrainians now set the tone of the engagement. The fight along these lines where Ukrainian units are engaged with Russian units is absolutely critical. That's the line of contact. That's where troops are in contact.

You hold them there, and then you put your artillery in the rear and then the Russians cannot continue to echelon forces forward. So, this is show the forces have got to get from here up to these locations to continue to reach deeply into the Russian rear.

BURNETT: Right, right, and, of course, in Ukraine, all of that so crucially depends on rail, which the Russians periodically missile and Ukrainians then rebuild as quickly as they can.

So, it's unclear tonight what's happening at that besieged steel plant in Mariupol.


You know, Melissa laying out the confusion, right, because it appeared Ukraine had surrendered. Nearly a thousand fighters were taken from the plant by Russia. Now, though, it seems there are a few hundred fighters still inside and one of the commanders, you know, we heard one and other wrote a post saying the fight continues.

So, General, what does Russia do now? Is this, you know, got nearly a thousand of them out but a few hundred still there fighting. How big a thorn in their side is this and why is it so important?

JAMES: Sadly, I don't think this is a thorn in their side. I mean, this is a blow-up of where the steel plant is located. You can see that it's got Russian forces completely surrounding.

Let me blow it up here to this map right here. So, this is where -- this is where Mariupol is. Russia, really, if they're at the point where they think or they estimate that there are probably 200-plus remaining Ukrainian soldiers -- God love them, God bless them -- these are incredibly, a high will to resist. This is amazing morale, but there's little they can accomplish other than to remain in place.

And the Russians don't have to do much. All they have to do is surround the place like they've done and they just need to be able to wait through at the various exits and at some point raise their hands and say it's time to come out.

What the Ukrainians can do, though, Erin, is if they had forces here, they would have to -- that's what makes it so difficult. They have to have a break-through here and some type of link up with these folks if they can bust out. That's incredibly hard to do.

BURNETT: Right. Not anywhere near where they are now at least.

JAMES: Right.

BURNETT: All right. General, thank you so much for your time.

JAMES: Thank you, Erin.

BURNETT: And next, the baby formula shortage now in its third month. If three months is an eternity when you're talking about a baby on baby formula and I'm going to speak to mother whose story we've been following, how much closer is she getting the formula she needs to keep her daughter alive.

Plus, the January 6th Select committee now zeroing in on a Capitol tour that a Republican member of Congress gave just one day before the deadly insurrection.

And COVID breaking through North Korea's defenses, now spreading like wildfire in an unprotected population, infections and deaths now skyrocketing in a dilapidated healthcare system that now could be on the verge of collapse.



BURNETT: Tonight, CNN learning that the Biden administration is getting ready to fly its first batch of baby formula from overseas.

Now, it's a crucial supply. It will include three formula brands for children who are allergic to cow milk and it will be flown from Switzerland to Indiana within days.

Now, it comes as the FDA chief comes under fire for the shortage, which is now in its third month.


DR. ROBERT CALIFF, FDA COMMISSIONER: Now, I can assure you that the FDA has been working tirelessly to address this issue. So, within days, it will get better, but it will be a few weeks before we're back to normal.


BURNETT: Now, Califf says that Abbott, which is the company at the center of the baby formula recall that exacerbated the shortage, will have its Michigan plant back up in the next week or two. But the company says even after that, it's six to eight weeks minimum after production resumes even get the formula back to store shelves. So, you're looking at a couple months more.

And, by the way, shelves were sparse because of COVID related supply chain issues to begin with, but I just want to be clear about one thing here, because people seemed to get upset when you're blaming.

This is a problem. It is completely unacceptable that it has taken this long, when you have a major supplier go off line three months ago. And now, only three months later are we actually having a freak out about it at the government level. That's just completely bogus and unacceptable. It impacts a massive number of families.

Seventy-five percent of parents in the United States are using formula by the time there babies are six months old. And that's according to the CDC and formal government figures.

OUTFRONT now, Angela Konczak. Her 2-year-old daughter Brooklin depends on specialty formula because she has a rare genetic disease that requires her to be fed by tube.

We've been following her story throughout this crisis and you may have first seen her speak with our Adrienne Broaddus OUTFRONT last week in her special report.

And Angela is back with me now.

And, Angela, I appreciate your time.

I mean, I -- you know, gosh, my heart goes out to you. I know Brooklin was in the hospital recently. She had to be put on life support and you shared some photos with us that are difficult to look at, but, you know, we're sharing them because we wanted so people -- to show them to people so that they can understand what this is like.

I mean, how concerned are you that she could end up back in the hospital if this -- the shortage of what she needs to live continues?

ANGELA KONCZAK, MOTHER OF 2-YEAR-OLD WHO DEPENDS ON SPECIALTY FORMULA: Honestly, I'm extremely terrified, because the hospital is the last place that an immunocompromised child needs to be.

BURNETT: So, what is her situation now?

KONCZAK: So, my daughter has a rare genetic disease called spinal muscular atrophy type one. And she can only tolerate one formula. It's an amino acid base formula. And because of her disease, her body cannot break down animal fats and proteins. So, she has to have this amino acid base formula.

Right now, I am having to scour the Internet to get the formula for her so that we do not end up back in the hospital. If I'm unable to keep her formula in stock, and she goes through one can every two days. So if I'm unable to keep, you know, her nutrition going, she's going to have to be hospitalized for TPN IV nutrition.

BURNETT: So, this is -- this must consume your life every day. I mean, what is it like every day trying to go online to find formula just so that you can get her another couple of days?

KONCZAK: It is so exhausting. And not to mention, no matter where I look, the formula is price gouged so badly.

Just to put it into perspective -- on the manufacturer's website, a case of four cans, which is an eight-day supply for my daughter, normally costs $168.


Right now, I've been having to pay upwards of $300 every eight days and have family members help. And we've had -- you know, we've had some help from outside sources, but it's ridiculous that it's costing too much, especially for my daughter who has a prescription for this formula and we're unable to obtain the prescriptions.

BURNETT: Because of where you're sourcing it from?

KONCZAK: So, normally, she would get her formula shipped through her DME company. And the DME company is unable to get the formula and stock. They have been unable to send her formula prescription in three months now, which has left us scrambling and looking, you know, frantically for the formula just keep her home.

And if I find it, you know, like, for instance -- like, a few days ago, I found a shipment out of Walgreens local. Medicaid denied coverage of the formula there at the Walgreens because that's technically not a drug and it's over the counter. So, they wouldn't cover it unless it's coming from the DME company, which left us having to pay out of pocket for 13 cans, which was, you know, $600.

BURNETT: I mean --

KONCZAK: Thankfully, we had some --

BURNETT: Well, I mean, yeah, I mean, obviously, this is unacceptable and not sustainable. And I hope that that gets rectified, you know, going back to when this is resolved -- you know, obviously.

But the FDA commissioner now says it's going to be a few weeks, right? That they're all on this, right? But, obviously, it's already been three months. Now, it's this urgent thing, and now, they're saying it's still going to be a few weeks even if it moves urgently.

I mean, is this good enough?

KONCZAK: No, it's not. And the second the babies were without formula, it should've been a national crisis right from there, because three weeks or two weeks to them is nothing. But to us who like -- a family like me who is already medically -- you know, I have a medically complex child and I'm already financially strained, that's, you know, a couple of thousand dollars for formula that I can't afford right now during a pandemic.

BURNETT: Angela, thank you very much for explaining all of this. I hope people hear you and hear, you know, as you use the word "frantic", that you're frantically searching and what you're going through financially. It is unacceptable. And I thank you for sharing this and for sharing those images of your daughter. I know it's hard to do. My thoughts are with you.

KONCZAK: Thank you. I appreciate that.

BURNETT: And next, all eyes on a crucial race that's pitting Donald Trump against Mike Pence and George W. Bush. So, this one matters, which candidate has the momentum tonight. We're just days away from the vote.

And just in, health officials in New York City now investigating a possible case of monkeypox. What do we know about this virus that's spreading across the globe that you're not seeing so many headlines about? One of the nation's top epidemiologist is OUTFRONT.



BURNETT: Tonight, two major developments on the investigation into the insurrection of January 6.

First, former Attorney General Bill Barr has tentatively agreed to give sworn testimony to the January 6 committee.

That comes as the committee is also investigating a Capitol tour that a Republican congressman gave the day before the deadly insurrection. They think this one could be significant. The committee telling Barry Loudermilk of Georgia that it wants to know about the tour and he was part of it.

Loudermilk was one of the 139 House Republicans who voted to overturn the election on January 6.

So, let's go to Ryan Nobles.

And, Ryan, tell me about Mr. Loudermilk. What else do we know about this tour?

RYAN NOBLES, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, at the very least, we know that the committee thinks it's suspicious and they want to learn more information about what exactly who Loudermilk was giving a tour of the Capitol complex on the day before the Capitol insurrection.

And this comes after Representative Mikie Sherrill of New Jersey in the days after January 6 has suggested in a virtual town hall with her constituents that Republican members were giving, what she called, reconnaissance tours.

Now, Sherrill never provided any evidence or named any names, so this is the first time we've had a congressman associated with any type of tour that took place the day before the insurrection that could come into question, or at least be a part of the January 6 investigation.

Now, Loudermilk is pushing back on the idea that there was anything inappropriate about that tour. In a statement tonight, he said: A constituent family with young children meeting their member of Congress in the House office building is not a suspicious group or a reconnaissance tour. The family never entered the Capitol building. The Select Committee is once again pushing on verifiably false narrative that Republicans conducted reconnaissance tours on January 5th.

And Republicans have very critical of this accusation from almost the very beginning. They've done an investigation of their own, where they claim they pored through thousands of hours of videotape that did not demonstrate any kind of suspicious activity.

So, this essentially become the word of the committee against the word of Loudermilk. And keep in mind, Loudermilk was somebody that was in touch with Mark Meadows on January 6. He sent him a number of text messages about the chaos happening here on Capitol Hill. It doesn't look like he wants to cooperate with this investigation, Erin, but he is certainly someone who now the committee has focused on.

BURNETT: All right. So, now, what about Bill Barr? Bill Barr, obviously, you know, subsequent to January 6, you know, has written a book and done a lot of -- more media, talked about the former president.

What do investigators think he'll be able to shed light on if he testifies?

NOBLES: Well, the big question is, just what did Bill Barr know about the mood in the White House and the period of time after the election leading up to January 6? Barr, of course, left the administration before January 6, but made it clear to the officials and the attorney general's office and the president himself --


NOBLES: -- that he just did not see enough evidence to be -- to think that there was enough fraud to overturn the election results.

So, the mood -- just the activity that was happening in the White House at that particular time, that's of great interest to the committee. It could be a big part of their investigation if he does come forward and speak.

BURNETT: All right. Ryan, thank you very much, reporting there from Capitol Hill tonight. Also tonight, all eyes are on the next big election. We're just days away, right?


And these primaries are becoming so crucial. This one literally pits an election denier backed by Donald Trump -- I mean, that is the core of it -- against an incumbent who is backed by Mike Pence and George W. Bush, who, you know, signed off on the entire results in Georgia.

That's Georgia Governor Brian Kemp, fending off a primary challenge from former Senator David Perdue. The two literally could not be further apart when it comes to the 2020 election.


DAVID PERDUE (R), GEORGIA, CANDIDATE FOR GOVERNOR: The election in 2020 was stolen. Brian Kemp caved and let radical Democrats steal the election.

GOV. BRIAN KEMP (R), GEORGIA: What I have done is followed the law and Constitution. What David is doing is going back and trying to litigate an election that he lost.


BURNETT: You know, like I said, it cannot be more stark. So if you view how a Republican sees the 2020 election as the litmus test, Georgia is where it's at, and again, we're just hours, days away, I'm sorry, from that primary.

OUTFRONT now, Van Jones, former special adviser to President Obama, and, of course, political commentator here. And John Kasich, the former Republican governor of Ohio.

So, Governor Kasich, as we talk about the governor's race, let me come to you, the latest poll shows Kemp right now running away with this, the margin, you know, less than a week ahead here is 32 points in favor of points over Perdue. That's the latest poll and it's from Fox News.

Is -- you know, what do you make of that? And obviously, as goes Georgia doesn't necessarily go the overall country. But what does this say about that litmus test?

JOHN KASICH, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Oh, I think that's very significant and a real blow to Donald Trump if in fact the margins hold up for the incumbent governor.


KASICH: And as I've thought about these things, Erin, what I've concluded is if you have an incumbent who people know and people essentially like, it doesn't matter what Donald Trump does. Now, here in Ohio, Mike DeWine won. Donald Trump never waded into that, he couldn't win that.

And in Georgia, people like Kemp. They think he's done a good job. And regardless of what Trump says, they don't really care and David Perdue is, you know, trying to do whatever he can to sound like Trump.

Now in a race where there's a scramble like the Senate race in Ohio or what's been happening in Pennsylvania, when there's a scramble, then I think Trump has a larger impact than he does whenever we're talking about an incumbent who is known or whom people have an opinion. So if Kemp wins this, it's a big blow to Trump. There's no question about that.

BURNETT: Van, it also is not necessarily what the Democrats want in terms of what they will be an easy to win race, right? If you get an election denier, that's a lot better for the Democrats because they think they can get more people in the Senate.

So whoever wins this is going to be up against Stacy Abrams. So should Democrats be concerned if Kemp incumbent, popular guys, runs away with this primary?

VAN JONES, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I think Stacey Abrams is a very, very strong candidate. So, obviously, she'd rather run against Perdue. But the reality is, she's going to have to get her base up. It's going to be a very big red wave going across the country. If anybody can stand up to that red wave and give her base excited, it's Stacey Abrams.

And, in fact, you got to remember, this is a rematch. So, for a lot of people, to get a chance and go back and have her beat Kemp, who they felt she, you know, would have beaten the last time if the vote had been fair from their point of view, is -- it's almost a motivating force. BURNETT: Yeah, okay. So, Governor Kasich, Kemp has gotten big

endorsements from the Republican establishment, okay? So, they're all piling in, the former President George W. Bush, former Vice President Pence, right? Perdue, of course, let's just be clear, that's the -- he's backed by Trump.

So what's going to happen at this point then, if Perdue loses against Kemp, does this damage Trump's endorsement at all?

KASICH: Well. I think it's pretty clear, as I said earlier, Erin. If you are incumbent and people know you and quite like and they think you're doing a decent job, it's very hard for Donald Trump to come in and disrupt.

If you have like five or six people in the race and nobody knows who they are like we saw across the country, then I think an endorsement by Trump or even endorsement by a Republican Party can make a difference. But, you know, I think this holds out.

Now, let's just assume that in places where there's a scramble and one of Trump's candidates wins okay, like in Pennsylvania, the race for governor, I think it's really an open question as to whether that person can win in the fall.

So, you know, it's, you have mixed results but I think what I've just laid out is a formula that can allow us to decipher Trump's influence. Make no mistake about it, still has a lot of influence, but, you know, it's also based on the fact that the Republican Party has become more populist, it's different, and we may be in a middle of a realignment -- I think Van will agree with that -- a realignment of the political parties, both Republicans and Democrats.


If we're in the middle of it, we'll have to wait to see where we come out.

BURNETT: Well, for sure.

And also, Van, it's not as simple even in Georgia as I'm laying it out, because the secretary of state, obviously, in Georgia, Brad Raffensperger, remember on the other end of the phone with former President Trump, he was the one who took the incoming on all of this, right? Kemp eventually signed off on it, but Raffensperger is the one.

That secretary of state is a contested election -- primary with Jody Hice, who is the Trump-backed candidate.

JONES: I think that was more important because if an election official in this country does the right thing, stands up to the pressure and then is hounded out of office, that tells every other election official in the country, not just in Georgia, if you do the right thing, you make it thrown out of here. I think Raffensperger, if he gets knocked out, that is a very troubling sign for American democracy.

BURNETT: That is a crucial one. You know, it is amazing to point there, as you say --

KASICH: But that's a race, it's great, but, Erin, I have to say, that's a race. You have to look individually. This guy -- he's, he's pretty well-known in Georgia, he's a popular radi show. He has a name to himself.

People don't know what the secretary of state does. I agree with Van, it's important race but is not as important. Kemp, in fact, that's the one that Trump really went out there and is getting his clock cleaned down there, Trump's pick.

JONES: For the internal dynamic for the Republican Party, true. But for the country, I think somebody who stood up and did the right thing for an election by an election denier, that is very important.

BURNETT: Yeah, Brad Raffensperger, we should say, you know, a lifelong Republican, but he has stood up. He has written book about it, he has spoken up for the truth.

All right. Thank you both so very much, I appreciate it.

And, next, one case of monkeypox confirmed in the United States and a potential case now being investigated in New York City. So how is it spreading?

And a COVID outbreak ravaging North Korea. How a military parade became a superspreader and a famously reclusive and largely unvaccinated nation.



BURNETT: Tonight, new cases of monkeypox popping up around the world. Headlines coming out, a new case in France announced tonight. Spain, Portugal, Italy and the UK all confirming cases of monkeypox today. Canada announcing that they identified 17 more possible cases after one case was reported at the beginning of the week.

Here in United States, a man is Massachusetts is in the hospital with a confirmed case of monkeypox. New York officials are also investigating a possible case, we just found out within the hour.

Altogether, it is the largest outbreak of monkeypox outside of Africa ever.

I want to go OUTFRONT now to Bill Hanage, the professor of the evolution of epidemiology and infectious disease at Harvard.

Professor, I've been watching your twitter feed on this for the past couple of days.

So, you know, look, in light of where the world's, and what we have gone through, people are noticing this and concerned. Can you tell us more about what monkeypox is and how it's transmitted? BILL HANAGE, PROFESSOR, EVOLUTION AND EPIDEMIOLOGY OF INFECTIOUS

DISEASE AT HARVARD: Sure, let's start with what we know. Erin, thanks for having me on the show.

Monkeypox is a disease caused by virus related to smallpox, which has been causing outbreaks of increasing size in Africa for several decades now. As you say, this is the largest outbreak that we have seen outside of Africa, and you just listed a bunch of countries. You know, we just found out in the last few days, it is spreading to more countries than we have ever known it spread to before outside the African continent.

How it is transmitted? We are still learning. We do not know enough about it because most of the studies that have been gun have been done in Africa, and the work there has been woefully underfunded. You will hear about droplets, so much we had from COVID.

To be entirely honest, we're going to learn a lot more within the next few weeks.

BURNETT: Right, right. I mean, I mean, you talk about large respiratory droplets, but look, I remember the beginning of COVID, a lot of what we are told at the beginning ended up being incorrect as we learned more. Obviously, it is transmitting in some form.

You know, you hear about a case here and there. That was Ebola, which did not obviously end up spreading widely. That was COVID, which has changed -- impacted the entire planet.

So, how worried should people be right now. Obviously, it is a pox, right? So, you're going to have the global population basically unvaccinated for it. No one was vaccinated for smallpox essentially.

So, what are the chances of getting severely ill or death?

HANAGE: Well, we -- the risk of getting severely ill or dying do not right now seem to be particularly high. But, you know, they're not particularly high with COVID, and COVID still managed to cause, you know, havoc.

The most crucial thing that people should understand about an emerging infectious disease is whether or not it transmits before people are aware that they are infected. If this is like other poxviruses, and then probably we will be able to do some symptom monitoring and be able to slow things down pretty quickly.

But if that's not the case, things could be very different. We're going to learn that in the coming weeks.

BURNETT: All right. Well, Professor Hanage, I very much appreciate your time. Thank you so much.

HANAGE: Thank you so much.

BURNETT: Next, an explosive outbreak of COVID cases pushing North Korea's, you know, incredibly strained health care system completely to the brink.

Plus, DHS fearing tens of dozens of people will flood the border, the southern border of the U.S., if immigration restrictions are lifted, as it seems they may be in days. And residents along the border are sounding the alarm.



BURNETT: As President Biden is on his way tonight to South Korea, there is growing evidence that North Korea is fueling up intercontinental long-range missile and preparing it for a test launch, this as North Korea faces a COVID crisis, the severity of which is frankly still unknown to the outside world.

Will Ripley is OUTFRONT.



WILL RIPLEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The mood was triumphant, the crowd massive, most people not wearing mask. At last month's military parade in Pyongyang, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, promised to protect his people from hostile forces like the U.S. Protection from the virus that would soon ravage his unvaccinated population, not existent.

Weeks later, a devastating fever believed to be undiagnosed COVID 19, infecting and killing some of Pyongyang's most privileged citizens.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The military parade was a superspreader event. And we know that they flew in citizens from across North Korea.

RIPLEY: Some of those citizens from the Chinese border region, a place that I visited five years ago. North Koreans are living a literal stones throw away from the raging omicron outbreak in China.

Beijing pledged to help Pyongyang battle the outbreak. The hermit kingdom's hermetically sealed border apparently breached by the highly contagious variant. Two years of pandemic isolation, two years of sacrifice gone in one parade.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That is the perfect Petri dish for this fires to spread. That parade will go down in history as a very bad idea for North Korea.

RIPLEY: A colossal miscalculation. Experts say that the likely cause of North Korea's explosive outbreak, an unprecedented nationwide lockdown skyrocketing infections and deaths. a dilapidated health care system on the verge of collapse, lacking even the most basic of medicines and medical equipment. Millions of malnourished North Korean's at higher risk of severe infection.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it is going to test his leadership, certainly, and it's going to create some urgency for very creative storytelling in the North Korean propaganda apparatus.


RIPLEY: North Korean propaganda crucial to keeping the Kim family in power, even during times of crisis, like the deadly famine of the late 1990s, when citizens literally a tree bark to survive.

The Kim's role over a plea state that relies on heavy surveillance, restrictive movement and brutal political prison camps.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They strengthen social controls because they had the fear that if there is an outbreak, if there is a crisis, that is what happened in the 1990s. That the police, the secret police, the military, they all went hungry.

RIPLEY: Now, they're getting sick. State media says that around 2 million fever of cases in one week, a crisis of Kim's own creation, potentially devastating hardship for the North Korean people.


BURNETT: And what's pretty incredible, you're talking 2 million cases in one week. And that's -- that is just the estimate. I mean, who knows how bad it could be, right?

How do you even know what we are hearing out of North Korea is the truth? Is there any other source of information that you deem trustworthy from all of your long experience reporting on and in the country?

RIPLEY: I can tell you, Erin, the only time I got the full true story was when I was sitting in Pyongyang having a coffee with my contacts. And that's when they could speak a little bit more candidly. If you're trying to email or phone call, you're not going to get anything because all of the phone lines are monitored.

I mean, as I mentioned in a piece, it's a police state. Pretty much every home has somebody listening into all their phone calls, even listening into the rooms in their home. So, this is how the Kims have essentially maintained power, Erin, because they will arrest people at even hear them saying something controversial.

BURNETT: That is absolutely unbelievable, as we watch the scale of this, it is impossible to fathom, 2 million in one week. And again, that's just what we are hearing.

All right. Will Ripley, thank you so very much, live from Taipei tonight.

And, next, the Biden administration expected to lift an immigration order days from now that has the Department of Homeland Security and border town residents bracing for impact.


[19:56:13] BURNETT: Tonight, the U.S. is days away from where experts warn will be an epic surge of migrants at the southern border. President Biden is set to lift Title 42 on Monday, which is the Trump era policy that allowed border agents to turn around migrants at the border because they said that was preventing the spread of COVID. So, that's going to lift.

And Biden's own homeland security officials say that could mean up to 18,000 additional migrants crossing the border every day.

Ed Lavandera is OUTFRONT.


ED LAVANDERA, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): So, where are we headed?

RUPERTO ESCOBAR, RANCHER: We are headed towards the river.

LAVANDERA (voice-over): For seven generations, Ruperto Escobar's family has farmed the land near Roma, Texas, 75 acres. They sit on the edge of the Rio Grande.

It's a short little ride?

ESCOBAR: It's a short little ride.

LAVANDERA: You're right on the river.

ESCOBAR: Oftentimes I walk it this way. My ancestors came and settled right here.

LAVANDERA: Migrants have crossed the river and through this property for decades. That's not new. But Escobar says what is new is the staggering number of migrants crossing the river now.

ESCOBAR: That's the Mexican side.

LAVANDERA: Escobar represents the vocal opposition to the Biden administration's efforts to lift the COVID-19 pandemic-era policy known as Title 42 which allows immigration officials to block many migrants from staying in the United States for public health reasons.

ESCOBAR: It's going to get wild here. We don't stop immigration right now? And then by lifting that, it will get worse.

LAVANDERA: U.S. Customs and Border Protection says that in April, there were 234,000 apprehensions of migrants along the U.S. southern border. The Department of Homeland Security says that that accounts for about 7,000 migrants being caught every day. But DHS is also bracing for a worst-case scenario if Title 42 is lifted, of capturing 18,000 migrants per day.

For more than 40 years, Jorge Salcines has run McAllen Sports, a custom apparel and trophy business. The shop is just blocks away from a prominent shelter taking care of migrants passing through this border town.

Many people feel like were over the pandemic, but many people still want Title 42 kept in place. Does that seem kind of hypocritical in any way?

JORGE SALCINES, OWNER, MCALLEN SPORTS: It actually helped. Title 42 is helping to slow that down. And if we take it off, what is going to replace is because I don't see anybody coming up with a plan to replace this.

LAVANDERA: Salcines also owns sprawling ranch land in south Texas, he says that right now the hunting cameras on his property capture more pictures of migrants then deer.

If Title 42 is lifted, what worries you most?

SALCINES: It will be chaos on the border. We have a huge influx now of immigrants, illegal immigrants. It will be chaos on the border.

MAYOR JAVIER VILLALOBOS, MCALLEN, TX: We are going to be swamped with people.

LAVANDERA: McAllen's Mayor Javier Villalobos says that the U.S. government has pumped more than $30 million in the last year to help the city handle immigration costs like transportation and housing. But the mayor says that the Biden administration should keep title 42 in place to slow the flow of migrants in south Texas.

Do you worry, though, the Title 42 is going to be used as an immigration policy, not a public health policy, which is what it is?

VILLALOBOS: We have been seeing lesser numbers and it's more beneficial to us. Do I know that it's not a policy, an immigration policy? The answer is, yes. But it has been useful to us.

LAVANDERA: For a nation of laws, and we're using a law incorrectly, are we -- are we being hypocritical?

ESCOBAR: Maybe. What else is being done to hold immigration down? Or to stop it or to at least control it to some degree? Nothing.

LAVANDERA: Ruperto Escobar will keep working his land, and keep waiting for an immigration solution that seems lost in these fields.

Ed Lavandera, CNN, in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas.


BURNETT: Important report. And thanks so much joining us.

"AC360" starts now.