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The World Health Organization Probes The Origins Of Coronavirus; Traffic Resumes Through The Suez Canal; Concept Jet Could Change Aviation. Aired 4-4:10a ET

Aired March 31, 2021 - 04:00   ET


CARL AZUZ, CNN 10 ANCHOR: On this last day of March 2021, we hope you`re doing well and thank you for watching CNN 10. I`m Carl Azuz. Coronavirus

cases and theories are first up today.

When it comes to the spread of the disease, it`s a mixed bag in Europe. Cases have been decreasing in the United Kingdom. They`re on the rise in

France and Germany. In Brazil, a new variant or version of coronavirus has been spreading and it`s been sickening more young people than previous

strains have and across the United States new cases may be on the rise once again.

Since the start of the year, there`s been an overall drop in the number of new positive tests recorded each day. The average number for last week was

61,632 cases per day.

At one point in January, the Centers for Disease Control recorded more than 300,000 new positive tests per day. However, health officials say the

latest numbers are going in the wrong direction. According to Johns Hopkins University, just under half the states in America recorded an increase over

the past week.

New cases are holding steady in 19 other states and decreasing in five but the CDC`s concerned that another wave of cases may be on the way. Early

this month, several U.S. states lifted their requirements for people to wear masks in public.

With decreasing cases at the time, governors said people should be able to make their own decisions about masks. President Joe Biden spoke out against

that and now he`s once again asking state and local leaders to put mask requirements back in place.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The failure to take this virus seriously, precisely what got us in this mess in the first place, mask up.

Mask up. It`s a patriotic duty.


AZUZ: The international search for answers continues into how all this got started. Initially health officials said coronavirus originated late last

year at a seafood market in Wuhan, China. The former director of the CDC recently suggested that in his opinion, COVID-19 originated in a laboratory

in China.

That it was being studied by people and might have accidentally escaped into the public. Yesterday, the Director General of the World Health

Organization said investigators should take a deeper look into the lab origins theory and he criticized China for not giving international

investigators enough access to information. But at this point the WHO does not think a lab is where the outbreak started.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: After a year of wrangling and delays, the WHO is set to finally publish their first report into one of the most important questions

over this novel coronavirus. Where`d it start? A copy of the report retained by CNN ahead of its official release reveals that first and most

importantly, they conclude they don`t know for sure.

The report says that among four possible sources for the virus most likely is it began in bats and then moved through another animal to humans. How

that happened remains unclear but the report says more urgent testing and investigation is needed of wild animal markets in Wuhan and the province

it`s in Hubei and the farms in China that supply them.

It says evidence suggests the well-known Hunan seafood market was involved in the early spread but its role is still unclear. And that while about

half of the December 2019 cases had links to markets like these, only a quarter were linked only to Hunan meaning this particular market may not

have been the only source of the outbreaks.

That suggests the virus was spread more widely that first month than thought before. The report also discusses records of a rise of influenza

like illness in Hubei and six neighboring areas in China in December 2019. That was also reported by CNN late last year citing leaked Chinese

documents. It is unclear whether that is linked to coronavirus` early spread.

The report also deals with the lab leak theory saying it was the least likely scenario. Some scientists and governments have questioned China`s

involvement in the investigation accusing it of not being transparent on the pandemic.

A claim that Beijing denies and much of the data the WHO had to work on was supplied by China. But the report is 123 pages long with annexes and is a

serious body of work and it recommends further digging into blood banks storing historical samples from residents from Hubei over years into more

tissue samples were available and into wildlife farming.

More questions have emerged from the report but it gives the world some insight to help to try and prevent a pandemic like this from happening in

the future.


AZUZ: 10 Second Trivia. In what nation would you find the world`s longest manmade waterway? Italy, Egypt, Panama or China. The Grand Canal, China`s

grand canal is more than 11,000 miles long.

But our focus today is on another international waterway that`s located in Egypt. The Suez Canal, it`s open again after the giant container ship that

was blocking it was finally freed earlier this week. The manmade canal has been operating since 1870.

At that time fewer than two ships on average sailed through it each day, now there are dozens and many of them are huge. The Ever Given, which got

stuck in the Suez Canal last week, can carry 20,000 shipping containers. The waterway has been widened on several occasions in recent years to

accommodate ships like this.

Shipping companies say that vessels like the Ever Given make it more efficient and environmentally friendly to move large amounts of goods

around the globe. But when there`s a problem with one of these ships, it can be a big one and in the case of the Ever Given it effected an entire



BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Tugboats blast their horns as the ship blocking the Suez Canal is finally freed. Taking advantage of a high tide,

a team of about 10 tugboats dislodges the Ever Given unblocking the crucial canal. The first signs of progress coming overnight when the stern was

pulled off one bank.

Then the bow was freed which had been lodged in the other bank even after digging, dredging and offloading some weight.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We used the water power that was in the canal (inaudible) to push the vessel while we were pulling it.

TODD: The ship has been moved to a wider waterway to check it for damage from the grounding.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It can cause cracking. It can cause all sorts of damage to the vessel. Internal and external.

TODD: The ship, 220,000 tons and almost as long as the Empire State Building is high got stuck last Tuesday wedged crosswise. If hadn`t been

freed by tugboats, experts spoke of unloading the ship by erecting giant cranes or using helicopters while other ships would detour all the way

around Africa.

The blockage caused a growing back up of over 400 tankers and freighters putting perishable cargo like livestock at risk, causing fuel rationing in

Syria and driving up shipping prices.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What you`re looking at now is several months of disruption for global supply chains.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is now a very high risk that once the canal opens, within a week of that opening we will have congestion problems especially

in Europe. TODD: The cause of the grounding could be 40 knot winds and a sandstorm

canal authorities say or technical or human error.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You`ll definitely see some changes in the operation of the Suez Canal when it comes to the operation of these ultra large vessels

going through. And fortunately, rules, regulations, oversight for vessels haven`t stayed a pace to the vessel`s size.

TODD: The incident experts say highlighting our precarious dependence on global, just in time delivery using mega ships.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The past week has really highlighted the maritime transportation system. The -- the grounding of Ever Given really

demonstrated how vital maritime transportation is and also how fragile it is. These large vessels have the potential to cause disruptions on a global


TODD: Authorities say they`ll work 24/7 to get through the backlog of waiting ships. The chairman of the Suez Canal Authority estimates that even

at that pace, it could take at least three days to end the congestion. To get a sense of what was lost during this crisis usually 80 to 90 ships pass

each day through the Suez Canal, nearly $10 billion worth of trade passes through the canal each day. Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.


AZUZ: A non-stop flight between Japan and California covers about 5,500 miles and takes between 10 and 12 hours but it could be just three hours if

the Aerion AS3 gets off the ground. This is a concept of a passenger plane that could travel faster than Mach IV, 3,800 miles per hour.

It hasn`t been built yet but if and when that happens its makers say it could carry as many as 50 passengers at supersonic speeds by the end of the

decade. Some will like the sound of that. It`s "plane" to see while this would make a "boom" in the industry. And there`s probably some "cabin

pressure" on airlines to climb higher and fly faster when the sky`s the limit.

But before we "buckle up" and make sure our "tray tables" are in the upright and locked position, let`s get our heads out of the clouds and take

a deep breath through our oxygen masks. Because this project needs to take "flight" before we can look out the window and see the "future".

This is your captain Carl Azuz reporting for CNN 10. Concordia Lutheran High School, it`s great to have you aboard from Tomball, Texas. We hope

you`ll travel with us again tomorrow.