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Hala Gorani Tonight

Top U.S. And Russian Diplomats Meet For Talks On Ukraine In Geneva; CDC Releases New Data On Boosters; Saudi-Led Airstrikes Kill Dozens Across Yemen; U.S. To Provide Written Answers On Russian Demands Next Week; MP: Long COVID Should Be Recognized As An Occupational Disease; Legendary Rock Singer Meat Loaf Dies At 74. Aired 2-3p ET

Aired January 21, 2022 - 14:00   ET



HALA GORANI, CNN INTERNATIONAL HOST: Hello, everyone, live from CNN in London, I'm HALA GORANI TONIGHT. Diplomacy might not be dead just yet as

Russia and the U.S. wrap up talks on Ukraine. We'll explore what progress was actually made. I'll be speaking to a senior official in the Ukrainian

president's office. Then some promising news on boosters. The CDC releases new data on their effectiveness against Omicron.

And later, we'll try to break down the mystery of long COVID. I'll be joined by two guests who have both professional and personal experience

with the dreaded disease. Well, no breakthrough was expected and no breakthrough was achieved. But U.S. Secretary of State Tony Blinken says

his talks with Russia's foreign minister were, quote, "useful" by providing a clearer path in trying to resolve the escalating standoff over Ukraine.

The diplomats met for 90 minutes in Geneva today. There they are before the talk, shaking hands and smiling for the cameras. Blinken agreed to give

Russia something next week that it's long been demanding, written answers to its security proposals. Yet, Russia well knows that its core demands are

dead on arrival. Blinken says while the two sides can find common ground on some issues, others are not even up for discussion.

For his part, Lavrov again denied Russia is planning to attack Ukraine, and said the U.S. must not strengthen one country's security at the expense of

another's. Our Fred Pleitgen is in Geneva with the very latest. And you had an opportunity to ask Sergey Lavrov a question today, Fred.

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I certainly did, Hala, and all that really revolved around the fact that, of

course, right now, we're facing an extremely dangerous situation there on the borders of Ukraine with those more than 100,000 Russian forces there,

also now with those sophisticated anti-aircraft systems that the Russians have put in place in Belarus as well. And so therefore, I asked Sergey

Lavrov, how big he felt the threat of war is for Europe right now. I want you to take a look at how all this unfolded. Let's have a look.


PLEITGEN (voice-over): With Russian forces continuing their build up near Ukraine's border and the U.S. warning that Moscow could quickly send

significantly more forces to the area, there was a sense of urgency to the meeting between U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Russian Foreign

Minister Sergey Lavrov. The Secretary of State saying the U.S. made clear a further invasion of Ukraine would have severe consequences.

ANTONY BLINKEN, SECRETARY OF STATE, UNITED STATES: This was not negotiation, but a candid exchange of concerns and ideas. I made clear to

Minister Lavrov that there are certain issues and fundamental principles that the United States and our partners and allies are committed to defend.

That includes those that would impede the sovereign right of the Ukrainian people to write their own future. There is no trade space there. None.

PLEITGEN: The meeting came just after new satellite images seemed to show the Russian troop build-up progressing, with forces now stationed less than

10 miles from the Ukrainian border well within striking distance. Both Russia and the U.S. say Washington will provide written answers to Moscow

next week, replying to Moscow's security demands including that Ukraine never become a member of NATO. Blinken has recently called that demand a,

quote, "absolute non-starter".

While Russia claims it has never threatened Ukraine, the U.S. and its allies say the danger of an escalation is real. Russia's foreign minister

with an angry response when I asked him.

(on camera): How big do you think right now the threat of war is in Europe through some sort of miscalculation with obviously such a large force

gathering around Ukraine?

SERGEY LAVROV, FOREIGN MINISTER, RUSSIA (through translator): I think that the State Department also needs to analyze how fair CNN is in presenting

its information and the accuracy of the facts that are represented. Antony Blinken repeated his position on the right to choose alliances. I asked how

America is going to fulfill its obligation, which was approved at the highest level in the framework of the OSCE.

Along with the right to choose alliances, the obligation does not strengthen anyone's security at the expense of infringing on the security

of others. He promised to explain how the United States treats the fulfillment of this obligation. As I told you, this is not the end of our


PLEITGEN (voice-over): While both the U.S. and Russia say there will be further talks, Russia's military build-up goes on.


Moscow saying it has now forward deployed sophisticated S-400 anti-aircraft missiles to Belarus, Moscow says for upcoming military drills.


PLEITGEN: So further talks in the future amongst that very dangerous military situation on the ground. One of the other things that both sides

floated today is the possible top-level meeting between President Joe Biden and, of course, the Russian leader, Vladimir Putin, in the not-too-distant

future. The U.S. says such a meeting is possible if it's both necessary and can be productive, Hala.

GORANI: All right, thanks so much, Fred Pleitgen. Let's go to Moscow now, Nic Robertson is there. We heard from Sergey Lavrov in Geneva, one of the

quotes from him today was, well, unless the -- unless the United States doesn't go to bed with Ukraine, we don't think there will be an invasion,

which was kind of a puzzling statement to make. What do you make of it?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Yes, he said, you know, I think it was his way of answering the very direct question, which

was, you know, are you going to go to war in Ukraine? And his essential answer was, I don't think so. Which is different than the answer he gave in

the press conference, obviously, where he really doubled down and said what he's been saying all along, but no, we're absolutely not going to invade


You know, and Fred hits the nail on the head there because, you know, while the diplomacy track is continuing, and that's what Secretary of State

Antony Blinken went into the talks for today to see if that was possible, and it is possible and it's going to happen, at the same time the military

build-up continues, and that's a concern for the United States. Their position has been, look, Russia, if you're really all about getting our

attention and getting into talks and getting talks about the things you want to talk about, we've heard you. We're in the talks.

You don't need the troops there anymore, de-escalate, remove them. And that's not happening. In fact, Lavrov today described Blinken's adherence

to saying that in the meeting as a mantra. So, you know, the fact that diplomacy continues and the military build-up continues, the longer that --

those things run in parallel, the greater the concern is going to be in the United States and among European partners.

Whatever Sergey Lavrov or President Putin or any other Russian official says just because, quite simply, that trust doesn't exist between the U.S.

and Russia and NATO and Russia because of what they see as Russia's past practices. Georgia, Ukraine, Crimea, it's really fundamentally that simple

I think, Hala.

GORANI: Right, if we look on the positive side, they are still talking.

ROBERTSON: Well, you can say that, and, you know, and that's a great analysis. They're still talking, and that's good. But, you know, I'll make

a comparison for you. When a magician wants you to be -- is doing a trick and wants you to -- wants you not to see how he's doing the trick, he

distracts you with something else. There are military analysts who say right now, that the military hardware that Russia is putting in position,

despite what Sergey Lavrov and others say, the hardware though they're putting in position, it would enable them to go to war.

So the diplomacy in one essence is a distraction. Think about it this way. In the past, it's possible to have an invasion without people seeing it

coming. You amass troops on the border, there's no satellites to see them. Now, there are satellites to see them. The United States and NATO thought

that they were hoodwinked when Russia annexed Crimea in 2014. They didn't see it coming. They've seen the build-up of troops coming at the moment,

but because this diplomatic track is continuing, the troop build-up continues.

And if there was no diplomacy engaged, the alarm bells would be ringing even louder, if there wasn't -- if there was this military build-up. But

there's a military build-up accompanied by diplomacy, and that's really the worrying thing. That's what gets NATO concerned. That --

GORANI: I get that --

ROBERTSON: De-escalation hasn't happened.

GORANI: But can I -- if I can just -- if I can just jump in? I mean, if --


GORANI: A magician is trying to distract you while playing a trick, nobody is not seeing the trick. I mean, we have satellite imagery, you've reported

on it over the Russian troop build-up on several fronts, potentially ready to invade Ukraine. So we know what's going on and the diplomacy is one

track --

ROBERTSON: Well, we think they do --

GORANI: The military build-up is another one. Well, we can -- we can see certainly at least from the air, from satellite imagery what is going on

militarily. We don't know what the intentions are, there's no telegraphed intention here. But the fact that both diplomats are still talking and that

the U.S. is going to provide Russia with a written response, which was one of their requests, and that also they're open to talking about things like

limiting military exercises, the U.S. is, or restricting the number of missiles in Europe.


That type of thing seems like it is an overture to Russia to try to avoid a military confrontation in Ukraine. No, Is that not?

ROBERTSON: Yes, I think --

GORANI: A positive label --


GORANI: Yes, go ahead.

ROBERTSON: Yes, it is, and I think that's what Sergey Lavrov was talking about when he talks about the OSCE, and this, you know, you can't have, you

know, one nation can't -- security can't threaten the security of another nation. And that was, you know, what both Russia and the United States

agreed to at the OSCE. What the NATO's response would be is, yes, but there are many international agreements that Russia has agreed to, that allow for

nations like Ukraine to be able to exercise their freedom of choice and join NATO.

So, perhaps their discussions behind the scenes will get to that, but I think the point is here, and you nailed it. It's no one knows what the

final intent is. And while, yes, we see the build-up and we see the diplomacy, we don't -- the fact that the build-up continues leaves that

option, the military option that, should Russia change its mind, because it has no mind it says at the moment to invade. If it changes its mind, that

option becomes available. And that's --

GORANI: Yes --

ROBERTSON: I think the point there. There is that scope, you're right. There is that scope for troop reduction on both sides, reciprocity that's

talked about, get back to some kind of arms control negotiations, that's there. But that is such a tiny fraction of what Russia called for in its

security proposals. There are other things there that --

GORANI: Yes --

ROBERTSON: Ukraine not joining NATO, they're rolling back to 1997. We both know them because we talk about it so much. So, will -- fundamentally, will

Russia really accept that much lesser what it's saying about this reciprocity on security, you know, one country's security versus another

country's security.

GORANI: Right, certainly, there are many open questions still. Thanks very much, Nic Robertson is live in Moscow. With both the west and Russia deeply

entrenched in their demands, it's hard to see what an off-ramp from this crisis would look like. I talked to the U.S. ambassador to the Organization

for Security and Cooperation in Europe earlier.



they've raised other than a compromise of our core principles, including the fact that nations are allowed to choose their own alliances. So, on

that issue, there's no trade space. But if they want to talk about risk reduction and transparency and confidence building, we're ready to go.

GORANI: Right. So these diplomatic off-ramps, could they include limiting military exercises in the region? On NATO's part, could they include

restricting missile deployments in Europe that Russia believes is a threat to their own security? Are those two topics that the U.S. and its allies

are willing to discuss with Russia?

CARPENTER: Well, I'd say this. First of all, anything that we agree would have to be reciprocal, and anything that we agree, whether it's as an

alliance or whether it's here at the OSCE with 56 other participating states at the table, would have to be agreed by everybody. So whatever

outcome we get, we're not going to do over the heads of our allies and partners, that's for sure. But let's --

GORANI: Right.

CARPENTER: Talk a little bit about -- you know, exercise transparency. I mean, right now, we've got Russia engaging in unprecedented troop build-

ups, not only on the border with Ukraine on its own territory, but now also in Belarus, putting in place very sophisticated air defense systems with

very little transparency about the reason for these exercises. So, we would encourage Russia to get back to basics and fulfill the obligations that it

has already freely signed up to and that it's not currently doing.

So, yes, we're willing to talk about exercises in transparency, but we want Russia to implement its commitments right now.


GORANI: And that was Michael Carpenter, the U.S. ambassador to the OSCE. And later in the program, we'll get the Ukrainian perspective. I'll be

speaking with the deputy head of the office of the Ukrainian president. He has just met with the Ukrainian president. Of course, it's a very tense

time for them in Kiev right now, so we'll get that perspective. OK, on to COVID now. As the pandemic continues, so does the research regarding

exactly how much protection we are getting from those booster shots so many of us have gotten.

If you're not carrying a complete vaccination card right now, reports from the CDC released today might inspire you to go ahead and get that third

shot. The new data reinforces the importance of getting fully vaccinated and boosted. Senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen joins me now with

the details from those reports. What do they tell us?

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Hala, if you remember back last Fall, you and I talked about all of the discussion over whether

or not boosters were worth it, was it worth recommending boosters to the entire U.S. population? Would they do any good? Well, now, the data is in,

and I will tell you this is really very interesting. These aren't -- you know, studies that are just being talked about in press releases, they've

actually been published in medical journals and they are huge data sets, really unusually large data sets.


So, let's take a look at what they found. These are all three studies conducted by researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

in the United States. What they found was booster effectiveness at preventing Omicron hospitalizations. And remember, this is all Omicron

which is important because that's what's out there now. When they looked at 88,000 hospitalizations in ten states, the boosters were 90 percent

effective, but two shots were only 50 percent effective at preventing hospitalizations.

When they looked at 200,000 visits in ten states to emergency rooms and urgent care visits, boosters were 82 percent effective at preventing visits

for Omicron. Two shots though, only 38 percent effective. Then, when they looked at booster effectiveness at preventing Omicron illnesses, just

people who felt ill with Omicron, they looked at 13,000 cases and they found that the odds of becoming ill were 66 percent lower for people who

had the booster compared to people who had had just two shots.

Now, let's take a look in the United States at what the booster recommendations are. In the U.S., the CDC recommends boosters for everyone

age 12 and older, get it five months after your second shot. Less than half of those eligible in the United States have gotten boosters and only a

quarter of the total population is vaccinated and boosted.

So, as you can see, even though boosters have been recommended for some time now, people haven't really picked up on it in great numbers. One

wonders, perhaps, we could do a better job at getting Omicron under control if more people got boosted. Hala?

GORANI: Sure, you know the anti-vaxxers, they point to the fact that you can be triple-vaccinated and boosted and still end up in the hospital, but

without given this very important context. I wonder, do we think this will change the definition? Some countries in Europe are already saying, you've

got to be boosted to get that vaccine pass. Will this change the definition of fully-vaccinated?

COHEN: You know, talking to many experts and CDC observers, they think that really it could. As one long-time CDC adviser put it, he said we used

to think of the boozer -- of the booster rather as dessert. You could have it if you want it, don't if you don't. But he said really, it may be the

meal, it may be the meat and potatoes. And so, I think there is a reasonable chance that the CDC is going to change the definition here of

fully vaccinated because we see, it really is so much more protective if you've had that third shot.

As a matter of fact, we really shouldn't even think of it as a booster. It seems like this is perhaps just a three-shot vaccine. Many vaccines are.

GORANI: All right, thank you, Elizabeth Cohen. And still to come this evening, thousands are taking to the streets in Yemen's capital of Sana'a

following Saudi-led coalition airstrikes where dozens have been reported killed. Plus, we're starting to hear from survivors of the tsunami that

wiped out entire villages in Tonga. We'll bring you that.



GORANI: We have new video now to show you of what happened after today's deadly airstrike in Yemen. And a warning, what you are about to see is

disturbing. A Saudi-led coalition airstrike targeting a telecom's building led to absolute chaos as you can see in these new pictures and the deaths

of three children. But another airstrike in the city of Sa'dah was much more deadly. Thousands have taken to the streets in Yemen's capital in

protest. Sam Kiley is following the story for us.


SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We're getting more details emerging that would show that the Saudis have confirmed that they

conducted an airstrike against a telecom's tower in the port city of Hudaydah according to Save the Children Fund, three people -- three

children were killed there playing outside nearby where this strike occurred. And then others, a large number were killed in this detention

center in Sa'dah Province which was a detention center for economic or other kinds of migrants trying to traverse through war-torn Yemen on to a

different life somewhere else, potentially I think probably Saudi Arabia.

Large numbers of people do migrate through Yemen looking for work into Saudi Arabia, backwards and forwards. So a tragic mess there. And this all

coming on the day, the answer almost simultaneously with the Emiratis speaking in private to the U.N. Security Council, demanding greater support

and laying out their allegations against the Houthi rebels of the Yemen, an organization that they want to see back on the list of groups named as

terrorist organizations.


GORANI: That was Sam Kiley reporting. And officials in Ghana are investigating whether safety protocols were followed the day after a mining

truck carrying explosives collided with a motor bike, and that caused a massive explosion. We've been reporting, and the Ghanaian government has

confirmed to us that at least 13 people have died, 59 others were injured at least. Many people have lost their homes, you're seeing aerial pictures


The destruction is massive. Ghana's information minister told me they are still assessing the damage.


KOJO OPPONG NKRUMAH, MINISTER OF INFORMATION, GHANA: The area of impact itself on the crater, they're very devastating. Buildings close to it, some

literally gone, and then those a bit further off very badly damaged. Lots of persons injured. We're expecting that either about in the next 24 hours,

there will be clarity on the number of residents in all of these properties and, indeed, the number of actual properties that were in the area.


GORANI: While Tonga is quickly running out of clean drinking water and nearby countries are rushing to deliver aid almost a week after that under-

water volcano erupted with the force of 500 Hiroshima bombs. As Blake Essig tells us, damaged communications are making those deliveries a lot harder.


BLAKE ESSIG, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): The main communication lines for the island nation are still weeks away from being restored, but

international call service has been partially restored for two islands including Tonga's main island of Tongatapu. Now, this service is very

limited and can only support about 400 calls at the same time. That's obviously great news, but Tonga is made up of more than 170 islands and

roughly 100,000 people living there inhabit 36 of those islands.

While a large majority of the population lives on the islands where cellphone service was partially restored, there are tens of thousands of

people still unable to communicate with the outside world. Although communication remains an issue for the time being because of ash

contamination, a shortage of drinking water and food remains the biggest concern for those living in Tonga. And according to Tonga's speaker of the

house, all agriculture has been ruined.

Now, starting Thursday, international aid started to arrive after the airport was cleared of ash. Planes filled with humanitarian aid, water and

other supplies started arriving from New Zealand and Australia. A royal Navy ship from New Zealand has already arrived in Tonga. It has on board a

desalination plant that can produce about 70,000 liters of fresh water daily. Japan is also expected to fly in about 500 tons of bottled water.


The U.K. is sending a royal Navy ship from Tahiti filled with water and medical supplies, and Australia has sent a Naval ship expected to arrive

next week. That ship will not only be carrying humanitarian aid and medical supplies, but also four helicopters and small boats to help distribute

supplies to the outer islands. Blake Essig, CNN, Tokyo.


GORANI: And survivors of the eruption and tsunami are telling their stories. One 57-year-old man who lives on an isolated island was swept out

to sea and it took him 27 hours to swim to Tonga's main island. He says that's how brutal the force of the water was.


LISALA FOLAU, TSUNAMI SURVIVOR (through translator): So I went under water eight times and I tried to get air. The sea kept twirling me and taking me

under water. On the eighth time, I thought next time I go under water, that's it because my arms were the only things that were keeping me above



GORANI: Well, what's even more remarkable is that he has a disability and can't walk well. He says he was able to grab hold of a log and that kept

him going. So he survived, which is great and good news there. Still to come tonight, a behind-the-scenes look at the crisis over Ukraine. I'll

speak with a top aid to Ukraine's president moments after he finishes a presidential meeting. What did they discuss?

Plus, the extreme measures China is taking to make sure Winter Olympians stay safe from COVID when the games begin less than three weeks from now.


GORANI: Well, diplomacy has not reached a dead end yet, but after high- stakes talks in Geneva today, the U.S. and Russia appear no closer to resolving their core disputes over Ukraine and its future relations with



Next week will be pivotal. That's when the U.S. has agreed to give Russia written answers to its security demands. Russia says the content of that

document will determine what happens next, although it already knows that its biggest demand, that Ukraine never become a member of NATO, that that

demand was rejected.

I want to turn now to Ihor Zhovkva, the Deputy Head of the Office of Ukraine's presidency, who just came from a meeting with President Zelensky

and joins me now live from Kiev. Thanks for being with us. What is your reaction first to the love rove Lavrov-Blinken talks today? Did you find

any of it reassuring from your perspective?

IHOR ZHOVKVA, DEPUTY HEAD, OFFICE OF THE UKRAINIAN PRESIDENCY: Well, definitely any dialogue is better than the absence of the dialogue. So that

is why we're satisfied with today's talk as to the extent we can be satisfied because obviously we could be satisfied when the Russian troops

will be withdrawn from the borders of Ukraine, or the Donbas and Crimea will be giving that to Ukraine.

But very good that the talks are taking place. And the next rounds of the talks, as I understand, are scheduled to be on the bilateral Russia-U.S.

format, be it in the Russia-NATO format or any other format. So, we are following closely, not only following closely, but enriching our partners

with the arguments which should be given to Russia asking them and they are supporting this position not to yield to any other Russian red lines or

ultimatums. So, for the time being, the diplomatic work is going on and we are absolutely eager and sure to take part in it.

GORANI: OK. And do you ever feel that as Ukrainians are being talked about a lot, but you're not necessarily sitting at the table where the decisions

are made, is that a frustration?

ZHOVKVA: Not really, we are taking part in any format where the physical presence of Ukraine is possible. Just to give you an example, ahead of

NATO-Russia Council on the 12th of January, we're in the Ukraine commission two days ahead. Where we were, our delegation, we're talking to NATO allies

and Secretary General enriching them with the arguments that later were given to Russian part.

We are regularly checking and coordinating our position with the U.S. side with the rest of NATO allies with the E.U. leadership as well just

recently. Just an hour ago, my President finished his conversation with the President of the European Commission. So, we are present, we are heard, and

we put much hope on these diplomatic talks.

GORANI: Are you concerned that according to reports, Russia is actively preparing an invasion by getting in touch within your country with pro-

Russia operatives that could form some sort of transition leadership that would be allied with a Russian occupation? This is one of the reports

that's coming out that Russia is working both the military angle with some of its troop movements at your borders, but also internally, is this

something that worries you?

ZHOVKVA: Absolutely right. Russia is very general hybrid warfare against Ukraine for over eight years. So, we have an external concern. I mean, this

military buildup concentration along the borders, and in the occupied territories of Ukrainian Donbass, and in the occupied Ukrainian Crimea, but

at the same time, they are waging internal warfare in Ukraine using the -- like rightfully saying they are fifth column, using, you know, mass media

and false information, using hybrid cyberattacks, for instance, which just were the -- was the case the previous week against the governmental

websites, using panic and hysteria, spreading it among the Ukrainian population. So yes, we are aware about this internal front. And we are

absolutely ready to give, you know, our answer in this regard as well.

GORANI: So, Russia obviously doesn't want your country to become a member of NATO. If you look at a Soviet era map, obviously, Ukraine was part of

the Soviet Union. Now you have all these other countries closer to Russia that are members of NATO, it feels threatened strategically, it feels

threatened militarily. Is there any case to be made for saying, OK, at this stage, we're not going to be joining any military alliances with the United

States, can that help defuse the situation?

ZHOVKVA: Well, honestly, I like the position of NATO allies, which was, you know, talked openly, as I understand to Russian Federation that there's

only about 30 NATO members and Ukraine to decide what is the future of Ukraine within NATO. The same refers about our bilateral relations with the

U.S. or with any other partners. So, it's only Ukraine in the states who will decide what should be done. What should be done with we are openly

talking to our partners.

It's the political support we are enjoying. It's the diplomatic efforts we're taking part in is the sanctions, but sanctions which should be

preventive rather than reactive. For instance, we now urge our partners to appear with the sanctions, with a huge package of new, totally new, bigger

sanctions against Russia, to present it to Russia, to present the possibility of imminent reaction of Western Community if Russia thinks

about any possible scenarios of offensive. And --


GORANI: Because sanctions haven't worked -- as sanctions have not worked so far as far as you're concerned, why would they work -- what kind of

sanctions would be more effective in your opinion?

ZHOVKVA: That a good use to the existing level of sanctions got used, you know, somehow, but it should be really much bigger sanctions, be it

economic sanctions, be it personal sanctions among the -- towards the leaders and the entourage of President of Russia, be it some blocking of

economic cooperation between Russia and Western states.

So, we are following very closely the discussion which is taking place in the European Union and among the other states about presenting this

package, but very important, please hear me it should be before rather than after invasion, because in case it would be after, you know, it could be

done deal and could not help us.

GORANI: Thank you so much for joining us with your perspective there from Kiev, Ihor Zhovkva, who is the -- who just met with the Ukrainian

president, I understand, the Deputy Head of the Presidential Office. Thank you.

To COVID now, once again, the number of active COVID cases in Beijing has more than doubled with the detection of, wait for this number in a country

like France or the U.K. or the U.S., it would be pretty much nothing. But in China, 12 new cases is a big deal. That's what was announced on Friday.

Despite extreme efforts, the government says the Omicron and Delta variants have made their way to the Chinese capital.

They are blaming imported goods and an international parcel delivery from Canada. Their experts will tell you that is extremely unlikely. Almost

11,000 athletes, media and Olympic officials will be arriving and are required to follow strict protocols that start even before they get on a


As it welcomes the world, China is going to extraordinary lengths to keep COVID from spreading. There's been a lot of talk about the Olympic bubble.

But as David Culver explains from Beijing, it's not one big bubble at all, but rather an entirely separate living space, something that's never been

seen before at any global competition. Take a look.


DAVID CULVER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Traveling into Beijing may prove to be a tougher race than an Olympic competition. These winter games taking place

in a capital city that increasingly feels like a fortress, China determined to keep out any new cases of COVID 19 starting at the airport.


CULVER: This is the terminal that's going to be used by athletes, some of the Olympic personnel and media arriving into Beijing. We've got a wall up

that keeps the general population away from everyone who's part of the Olympic arrivals.


CULVER: Those coming in required to download this official app to monitor their health, inputting their information starting 14 days before arriving

in Beijing. While health surveillance and strict contact tracing is part of life for everyone living in China, it's making visitors uneasy. Cyber

security researchers warn the app has serious encryption flaws, potentially compromising personal health data. China dismisses concerns but Team USA

and athletes from other countries are being advised to bring disposable burner phones instead of their personal ones.

From the airport, athletes and personnel will be taken into what organizers call the closed-loop system. Not one giant bubble so much as multiple

bubbles connected by dedicated shuttles. Within the capital city, there are several hotels and venues plus the Olympic village that are only for

credentialed participants.


CULVER: The dedicated transport buses will be bringing the athletes, the personnel, the media through these gates, but for those of us who are

residents outside, this is as close as we can get.


CULVER: Then there are the mountain venues on the outskirts of Beijing, connected by a high-speed train and highways, all of them newly built for

the Winter Games so as to maintain the separation. Even the rail cars are divided, and the closed-loop buses given specially marked lanes.


CULVER: It is so strict that officials have told residents if they see one of the vehicles that's part of the Olympic convoys get into a crash to stay

away. They've actually got a specialized unit of medics to respond to those incidents. It's all to keep the virus from potentially spreading.


CULVER: It also helps keep visiting journalists from leaving the capital city to other regions like Xinjiang or Tibet to explore controversial

topics. With the world's attention, the Olympics allows China to showcase its perceived superiority and containing the virus, especially compared

with countries like the U.S. but this will, in many ways, also be a tale of two cities, one curated for the Olympic arrivals and pre-selected groups of

spectators, another that is the real Beijing.

Though some local Beijing residents are now in a bubble of their own communities locked down after recent cases surfaced in the city outside the

Olympic boundaries, a mounting challenge for a country that's trying to keep COVID out and yet still stage a global sporting spectacle to wow the

world. David Culver CNN, Beijing.


GORANI: Still to come tonight. I'll be talking to two experts about long COVID. Can Omicron cause it? How can you get better if you're suffering

from it? We'll be right back.


GORANI: So, you've got brain fog, heart palpitations, extreme fatigue, these can be some of the symptoms one in three COVID survivors still

experienced weeks or even months after contracting the virus. Many are calling long COVID A hidden pandemic. Doctors are largely still in the dark

about what causes it, how long it lasts, or even how to treat it. This is what life looks like for so many around the world known as long haulers.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I kind of thought that I was starting to get better. And then it was literally just, bang, symptoms came back.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Headache every single morning.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Muscle aches and pains all over my body.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't feel that my brain is working the same way anymore.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The chest pain in particular, it's as if I'd been just hit by a train.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I haven't had a day since mid-March where I felt better.


GORANI: So you can see you it can be very debilitating. Joining me now are two professors with both professional and personal experience with long

COVID, Professor Resha Pretorius is a Stellenbosch University Professor in South Africa and Professor Paul Garner is with the Liverpool School of

Tropical Medicine. Thanks to both of you. Professor Garner, let me start with you. You suffered from long COVID Are you feeling better and what were

your symptoms?

PAUL GARNER, PROFESSOR OF INFECTIOUS DISEASES, LIVERPOOL SCHOOL OF TROPICAL MEDICINE: I have now recovered. I was unwell for a year with the symptoms

that you -- the people on the program have described. I was extremely frightened because they're saying no explanation of what was happening to

me. And it wasn't until I gained some insight into how the body alarm systems have sort of gone dysfunctional that led to these symptoms and that

I had some agency myself in helping get recovered.

GORANI: OK. And we're going to get to those in a moment. Resha Pretorius, you're also looking at long COVID suffers. What is your research telling



RESHA PRETORIUS, PROFESSOR, STELLENBOSCH UNIVERSITY: During 2021, my research group, and in collaboration with Professor Douglas Kell from the

University of Liverpool, discovered that blood samples of patients from long COVID patients contain numerous circulating micro clots. And these

micro clots may actually block small blood vessels called capillaries. And they may also prevent oxygen from traveling efficiently to the cells of the

body, blocking small blood vessels or interfering with oxygen delivery to cells can actually result in all of the widespread symptoms that we know is

synonymous with long COVID. And it causes widespread cellular hypoxia, or a shortness of oxygen to the muscles.

GORANI: Is that the conclusion you came to when -- in your own case, Professor Garner, or --

GARNER: No. I mean, I think the symptoms I had have been seen with other post viral syndromes and with the previous SARS, there is a -- an abnormal

response of the immune system, which is fueled by -- partly by your psychological state, actually. And so your whole body is on high alert. And

so some of the things that Resha is talking about may well be the consequence of what's going on rather than being the cause.

I certainly found that my solution to long COVID was not through a lot of medical treatments or drugs, but it was through things about changing my

expectations, getting rid of fear and looking forward to recovering because people do recover. And a fear that you won't recover fuels the symptoms, in

my view.

GORANI: Yes, and that very much leads to an anxious cycle as well. I find the relationship potentially between your thought process and your physical

well-being fascinating. In this case, you're saying there's a definite relationship.

Professor Pretorius, how long on average have the patience you've observed, suffered from these long COVID symptoms?

PRETORIUS: We have seen patients suffering from long COVID patient -- symptoms from -- anything from two months after they recovered from the

acute phase or the infective phase, and then up to 24 months, or now more than 24 months, I must just also say that although psychological symptoms

can actually be very debilitating, we must just sometimes remember that if we look at symptoms from non-COVID patients, all of the symptoms that the

individuals complain about cannot be traced back to simply a psychological process.

They are very real symptoms with very real reasons and physiological processes happening in the body. And that might -- in our hands, it was

micro clots. And the reason for that is that individuals during the acute phase, I have seen in every single individual in the acute phase that I

have looked at that they do have micro clots in their circulation, and it's well known that micro clots are central to -- or clotting abnormalities are

central to the acute phase. So if we look at long COVID, these molecules just keep on in circulation.

GORANI: Sure. So you're -- you have an experience, and observations on one side and yours, Professor Pretoria's perhaps a slightly different set of

conclusions there. But I've got to ask you, Professor Garner, is the severity of long COVID linked to the severity of the initial illness itself

or not?

GARNER: It isn't really. And I just want to point out that I am not saying that the illness is psychological. What I'm saying is it's a very real

illness, the symptoms are real, but it's a dysfunction in the brain body balancing systems that then leads to the kind of stress biological stress

response that's been described in these experiments. So I actually was much relieved to find out that I wasn't biologically unwell, because that kind

of fed my worry and my symptoms, but it's an area for debate and I -- I'm pleased that people are discussing this openly.

GORANI: And this is why it's interesting. This is a new virus, long COVID is even more mysterious than obviously the illness itself, which we're

starting to understand more. But if I could get you, Professor Pretorius, to talk about who is more likely to suffer from long COVID because I hear

anecdotally 25 year olds who have a very mild case of the actual illness but then spend two years with heart palpitations and shortness of breath.


And then much older people recovering within a few weeks and being OK. So can we predict who will get long COVID?

PRETORIUS: Unfortunately, we cannot predict who gets long COVID. The issue is that, as mentioned, people with very light, acute COVID symptoms

actually sometimes now come -- we see patients complaining of long COVID. So, what drives it, perhaps previous predisposition of genetic

predisposition. It can also be previous symptoms like cardiovascular disease, that with comorbidities that that patients complain about, we

simply don't understand the whole process fully.

GORANI: Sure. Got it. Thank you, Professor Resha Pretorius of Stellenbosch University and Professor Paul Gardner of the Liverpool School of Tropical

Medicine. Thanks so much to both of you. This is just one conversation of many I know we'll be having over the years sadly. So many people are

suffering. In the U.K. 1.3 million people according to the ONS have long COVID. That's a lot and has an economic impact as well. Thank you so much

to both of you and still to come tonight, the music world mourns, Meat Loaf, the man behind hit songs that have moved listeners for decades that

we've been singing in the studio all day, we'll take a look back at his life and career.


GORANI: Meat Loaf, the larger than life a rock star whose songs resonated through the decades has died. The musician passed away Thursday with his

family by his side. In his statement they told his fans, "From his heart to your souls, don't ever stop rocking." Chloe Melas tells us about the star's

life, both on the stage and the screen.


MEAT LOAF, SINGER: Oh, I would do anything for love but I won't do that.



CHLOE MELAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Meat Loaf performed sweet suburban melodies with dramatic flair, unleashing the lyrics of composer Jim Steinman.


MEAT LOAF: I go out on the stage as if it's the last thing I'll ever do. I will -- and that's what I've always said, if I'm going to -- if I'm going

out, I'm going out on a stage.


MELAS: Meat Loaf. Where did that name come from?


MEAT LOAF: The real story is that there is no story. The real story is that, kids, I was about 8 years old. I've been called Meat Loaf since I was

about 8.



MELAS: Meat Loaf, or Meat for short, was born Marvin Lee Aday in Dallas, Texas, but even Texas wasn't big enough to corral his talents. Meat Loaf

would go on to sell more than 80 million records worldwide, one of the top- selling musicians ever. His three Bat Out of Hell albums became staples in college dorm rooms. The first one selling 43 million copies.


MEAT LOAF: Bat Out of Hell, I was not ready for. I had a nervous breakdown. I went to psychologist and psychiatrist for two years and I went with him

to deal with the word "star."


MELAS: Meat got a hold of his demons. He starred on stage and screen known for the Rocky Horror Picture Show. And Bob Paulson in Fight Club.


MEAT LOAF: First rule is I'm not supposed to talk about it. And the second rule is I'm just supposed to talk about it. And the third rule is --

EDWARD NORTON, ACTOR: Bob, Bob, I'm a member.


MELAS: Off Screen, he married twice, became a father to two daughters, and Meat Loaf entered reality, TV Donald Trump's Celebrity Apprentice. In an

infamous episode, he blistered Gary Busey.


MEAT LOAF: You look in my eyes, I am the last person in the (BLEEP) world you ever (BLEEP) want to (BLEEP) with.


MELAS: Such harsh yelling a stark contrast to what launched Meat Loaf to international adoration, that operatic voice.


MEAT LOAF: Oh, I would do anything for love, but I won't do that. Oh, I won't do that.


GORANI: And the singer Adele was set to begin a three-month residency in Vegas today but like so many other things, it was derailed by COVID.


ADELE, SINGER: I'm so sorry, but my show ain't ready.


GORANI: Well, Adele says half her team has COVID right now and between that and delivery delays, it's been impossible to get everything up to speed she

said in that tearful post on Instagram. Tickets for the residency broke sales records when they went on sale last month. And Adele is promising the

shows are going to be rescheduled, but a lot of people traveled from abroad so unclear what they will be doing.

Thanks for watching tonight, I'm Hala Gorani. Do stay with CNN. Quest Means Business is up next. I'll see you next time.