Return to Transcripts main page

CNN 10

International Experts Consider The COVID Lab Leak Theory; Super Flower Blood Moon Lights Up The Sky; We Observe Gorilla Conservation Efforts In Rwanda. Aired 4-4:10a ET

Aired May 27, 2021 - 04:00   ET


CARL AZUZ, CNN 10 ANCHOR: Hi, I`m Carl Azuz. As we wind down our coverage for the Spring season, we`re examining some new questions about COVID-19.

It`s not just the biggest news story of the past year. It`s one of the biggest of the 21st century.

International experts don`t know for sure where the virus came from but one question that`s getting more and more attention is did this virus leak or

escape from a Chinese laboratory before spreading around the world. At first, international scientists called that just a conspiracy theory.

Last April we reported that the World Health Organization and the U.S. Center for Disease Control were among the groups that believed the virus

originated in wildlife, likely bats and then jumped over to people as some other viruses have done.

But as 2020 went on, some members of the Trump Administration and Congress pushed for a closer look into what became known as the lab leak theory.

Earlier this year, the World Health Organization said that theory was the least likely explanation but that more research was needed.

Now, a growing number of health officials are saying they`re not convinced the virus spread naturally like it might have through bats and that a

deeper investigation is crucial. China has said the COVID outbreak started at a seafood market in the eastern Chinese city of Wuhan and that its

investigation is over, but some American experts say China lied about that.

For one thing, there`s a question of timing. At a research laboratory in Wuhan, Chinese scientists said they didn`t encounter COVID until late

December of 2019 but several workers at that lab got sick the previous month and had to be hospitalized according to a U.S. intelligence


The Chinese lab strongly denies that. According to a separate report by CNN, a number of Chinese whistle blowers who tried to warn the world

about the virus last year have gone missing or are being held by the Chinese government or have died from COVID-19. Analysts say all that

suggests that China`s communist government is trying to cover something up.

China has not allowed an open investigation into the origins of coronavirus. It put strict rules on a previous study by the World Health

Organization. But international experts say an unhindered study is needed to help guard against another pandemic. U.S. President Joe Biden has given

American intelligence officials 90 days to report on whether the coronavirus came from an animal or an accidental lab leak.

10 Second Trivia. In a lunar eclipse, what is the term for the dark shadow the Earth throws over the moon? Umbra, tetrad, node or ombre. The umbra is

the dark part of Earth`s shadow in a lunar eclipse and the moon shadow in a solar eclipse. In yesterday`s total lunar eclipse, reportedly the first one

of those since 2019, the Earth`s shadow completely covered the moon for 15 minutes. But this wasn`t just any old lunar eclipse, it coincided with

what`s called a blood moon.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What it was a total lunar eclipse, what does that mean? That means the moon was completely in the shadow of the Earth. So why

red. Right? Let`s look at it another way. Let`s pretend we spin you around and pretend you`re on the moon looking back at the Earth.

So what do you see? You`re seeing all of the Earth`s sunsets and sunrises at the exact same time being projected right back at the moon and then the

moon just reflects that red color back to you to Earth. That`s why it looks red.


AZUZ: And that wasn`t just any old blood moon. Because it was close to Earth in its elliptical orbit, that made it appear bigger earning the name

super moon. And because this is the month of May when flowers bloom, the full moon is known by the name flower.

So what happened yesterday was titled the Super Flower Blood Moon, which sounds like a power up in Mario Cart and it was at least partially visible

in North and South America on Wednesday morning and east Asia and Australia in the evening. How common are Super Flower Blood Moons?

They`re not. For one thing, there are only two to four super moons we can see every year. Most of them do not coincide with eclipses. There`s only

one total lunar eclipse on the calendar in 2021 and it just happened to be in the month of May. So, rare. But if you missed it, don`t fret. There`s an

angular solar eclipse set for June 10th.

We`re taking you to east central Africa for next story today. It centers on the veterinarians who are caring for wildlife in Rwanda. The Virunga

Mountains are home to some famous and endangered primates. The golden monkey is one.

The mountain gorilla is the other. These can grow to be five and a half feet tall and weigh as much as 500 pounds and they can catch diseases from

humans. Richard Quest explores what it`s like to have "gorillas in the midst".


RICHARD QUEST, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: The Virunga Mountain chain in east Africa. Stunning. Beautiful and boasting one of the most diverse habitats

on the continent. This is where to find the true kings of the jungle.

More than half of the population of endangered mountain gorillas live here and I`ve come to meet a few of them. Duly sanitized and ready to start the

climb to the gorillas. We have to wear masks throughout.

Obviously, this is to protect ourselves but more importantly to protect the gorillas from us. (inaudible). Onward. We humans share 98 percent of our

DNA with gorillas. It means coronavirus maybe just as harmful to them as us.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Even before COVID, gorilla (inaudible) suffered from respiratory infections. We have compounded some of those are from humans

but they are more vulnerable with activities given that they`re close to us. We can transmit disease to them. Our (inaudible) are very dangerous

when they get to their communities.

QUEST: Dr. Noel Jon-Bosco (ph) works for the Gorilla Doctors. A team of 12 veterinarians in the region. His patients have been more prone to catching

human illnesses for more than a century. Ever since the expansion of agriculture in the area, the susceptibility to our illnesses combined with

historic hunting of gorillas was disastrous for the population.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In 1943, King Kong movie, that one had initiated more hunting, buying (inaudible) and going out and hunting gorillas. If you kill

one, you -- your extraordinary. So that`s what went on leading to the (inaudible) decline of (inaudible).

QUEST: In the 1980s`, the number was less than 250. Thanks to the work of Dr. Noel and his team and the conservation efforts, there are more than

1,000 of them. Delivering medication and performing surgeries of course is real trial on cases that weigh up to 500 pounds.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They`re very heavy (inaudible). We don`t usually have to carry that much mega (inaudible) from a place to another place because our

hospital is right in the forest. So we do everything there.

QUEST: Hunting is now illegal in the parks but it`s still a big problem for even the smallest in the group like this infant whose hand was caught in a

poacher`s snare.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you don`t (inaudible) in time, that animal will die. It will (inaudible) hand off too. It depends on where the snare is.

QUEST: Freeing and returning him safely to the group was a career highlight for Dr. Noel.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The feeling, well you`re making a difference. It`s very unique, you see how much you`re contributing to the -- using digital

science to restore a population. It`s -- it`s really beyond imagination. You feel like, wow, I`m there.

QUEST: As for me, observing these miraculous creatures so close to us and so threatened by what we do. It`s difficult to express how overwhelming it

is to be in their presence and watching the interplay trying to work out what`s going on between the silverbacks and the black blacks and the kings

who rough and tumble. And the eternal (inaudible). Leaving us wondering, wow, (inaudible).


AZUZ: When Xiao Qi Ji, the National Zoo`s panda cub was born, CNN Jeanie Moss described him as a shrieking alien salamander. Thankfully he`s now in

a cuter phase. The giant panda, well he`s not that giant yet.

But he is nine months old and he`s gone from shrieking to climbing, getting cuddled by his mother, cuddling her back and climbing some more. With the

National Zoo reopened, visitors can now see him in action assuming he`s not hiding in a tree.

What`s black and white and cute all over, a Border Collie but I don`t mean "to pan" the panda. They provide "pantential" for "pandering" "pundas".

After "pandaling" a "pandemic" there`s "panned" up demand to "unbearden" ourselves and for "fandas" of the panda, "cubbing" out to the zoo is a

"bear" necessity.

From pandas to foxes. Foxborough High School that is, thank you for watching from Foxborough, Massachusetts. We have one show left to go in our

2021 Spring season. I`m Carl Azuz for CNN 10.