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J&J Vaccine Rollout Plan; Pfizer Aims For Vaccine Tests On Children 5 And Older; Trump To Speak At CPAC; New Yorkers Rally Against Attacks On Asian Americans; French Students Suffer Mentally From Lockdowns; COVID-19 Exposes Decades Of Neglect In Canada's Care Homes; Two Protesters Killed In Myanmar Protest; Funeral For Captain Sir Tom Moore. Aired 1-2a ET
Aired February 28, 2021 - 01:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Hello and welcome to our viewers in the United States and all around the world. I am Michael Holmes. Appreciate your company.
Coming up here on CNN NEWSROOM, the FDA gives the go ahead to Johnson & Johnson. Its single shot COVID vaccine, that experts say checks all of the boxes, should be available in the U.S. this week.
Hours from now, Donald Trump returns to the political stoplight, taking the stage at the huge conservative gathering in Florida.
And Canada's prime minister called it a national tragedy. The country's shameful secret, its failure to provide even basic care to the elderly during the pandemic.
HOLMES: Welcome, everyone.
The Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine, soon being shipped across the United States, following the Food and Drug Administration clearing it for emergency use. It is the third COVID vaccine to receive authorization in the U.S. and the first to require only one single dose.
The federal government says it is ready to distribute up to 4 million doses immediately. Most will go directly to the states and other local areas. The rest will boost federal initiatives, like the retail pharmacy program.
Two more steps before shots can go into arms and the CDC's vaccine committee will meet in the coming hours to set to guidelines for who should get it. And then the agency's director must give the final signoff.
The single dose is not the only advantage of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Natasha Chen reports on why else this is such a big deal. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
NATASHA CHEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A third coronavirus vaccine will likely become available as soon as next week now that the Food and Drug Administration has authorized Johnson & Johnson's single dose vaccine for emergency use.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Significantly, the vaccine is highly effective in preventing severe COVID-19.
CHEN (voice-over): The Johnson & Johnson vaccine requires no complex refrigeration and only one dose. They say they're ready to ship doses as early as Sunday.
DR. ROCHELLE WALENSKY, CDC DIRECTOR: Having an additional safe and effective vaccine will help protect more people, faster.
CHEN (voice-over): And more people are eager to get one. A Kaiser Family Foundation report on Friday showing 55 percent of surveyed of adults in the U.S. had either had at least one vaccine dose or is eager to get one.
That's up from early December when only about a third of adults surveyed wanted the vaccine. There's still more demand than supply, especially after last week's winter storm, sweeping through the Midwest and Texas, disrupting the supply chain all over the U.S.
CHEN: Vaccination sites, like this one, outside of Atlanta, saw none of that severe weather but are feeling the effects. This afternoon, they are seeing all the people whose scheduled second dose appointments were canceled last week due to shipment delays, caused by the severe weather.
CHEN (voice-over): More groups of people, like younger adults with underlying health conditions, are becoming eligible for the vaccine in some states.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think I was, actually, shaking. I thought, oh my gosh, I can go get it. I think I was the youngest one that had been through, so far. So they were all saying, wait, we don't know what to do yet.
CHEN (voice-over): With 7 percent of the country fully vaccinated, the number of cases, deaths and hospitalizations continue to stay lower than the holiday peak. This relative progress is threatened by rapidly spreading variants.
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF COVID-19 MEDICAL ADVISER: We have variants that are in play. We must address these.
CHEN (voice-over): And the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions, in many states. New York nursing homes, reopened with restrictions Friday to some visitors. Tennessee, lifting restrictions on visiting at long term care facilities Sunday. South Carolina, lifting restrictions on mass gatherings starting Monday. DR. CARLOS DEL RIO, EXECUTIVE ASSOCIATION DEAN, EMORY UNIVERSITY
SCHOOL OF MEDICINE AT GRADY HEALTH SYSTEM: I'm worried people are lifting restrictions, saying it's over, when the reality is, we aren't over yet. We're really, right now in a race between variants and vaccines and we have to do everything we can to shut down the virus.
CHEN: More and more groups of people are becoming eligible to get the vaccine, depending on the state. Here in Georgia, in a little more than a week, we will start seeing teachers, for example, joining the group of people eligible for the vaccine -- Natasha Chen, CNN, Atlanta.
HOLMES: President Joe Biden, welcoming the addition of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Arlette Saenz is traveling with the president and has his reaction to the news.
ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: President Biden praised the FDA's emergency authorization of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, as this vaccine adds another tool to the country's toolbox in defeating the coronavirus pandemic.
He released a statement saying, this is exciting news for all Americans and an encouraging development in our efforts to bring and end to the crisis.
He went on to thank the scientists who developed this vaccine and talked about the importance of vaccinations and, also, maintaining social distancing and handwashing during this pandemic.
He added, at the end, there is light at the end of the tunnel. But we cannot let our guard down now or assume that victory is inevitable. We must continue to remain vigilant, act fast and aggressively and look out for one another. That is how we're going to reach that light together.
Now the White House has been working for quite some time for the rollout of this vaccine once it's approved. They are planning to ship 3 or 4 million doses over the course of the next week.
And the president has said he wants to ramp up manufacturing of this vaccine, as there are now 3 vaccines that will be available to Americans in the coming months, as the pandemic continues to rage -- Arlette Saenz, CNN, traveling with the president in Wilmington, Delaware.
HOLMES: Dr. Onyema Ogbuagu is the principal investigator of the Pfizer vaccine trial, he is a professor at Yale University. Doctor, a pleasure to have you on. You have worked on the Pfizer
vaccine but on Saturday, it was interesting. You tweeted fulsome praise for the Johnson & Johnson authorization and pointed out the positive of the vaccine.
You said works great and prevents hospitalizations and deaths, which is huge.
I guess this is obviously a situation where it's not a competition, they're all important.
DR. ONYEMA OGBUAGU, PROFESSOR, YALE UNIVERSITY: That is exactly correct. So again, this is just a welcome addition to our arsenal, of really highly effective and, safe vaccines. Due to the demand for these vaccines, both in the United States and globally, every vaccine that's authorized is a welcome addition. Obviously the J&J vaccine has the advantage of being a single dose vaccine, so I could easily see logisticians high-fiving and celebrating how much easier it is to deliver.
It can be stored at fridge temperatures as well. And just the fact that these vaccines prevent severe and critical illness and deaths to such a high degree is really exciting.
HOLMES: They were tested, too, with the South African variant so that was also a plus for it.
I want to ask you about kids; that's something that's been in the news. Pharmaceutical companies are moving forward with a trial enrollment for kids, mainly the 12-17 age group I believe.
But the American Academy of Pediatrics, with 67,000 members, they wrote the Biden administration asking that it use every measure available to increase enrollment of children of all ages, in clinical trials.
Do you support that and why is it important?
OGBUAGU: Absolutely, Michael. There is no achieving herd immunity without vaccinating children. There is at least 22 percent or so of the U.S. population below the age of 18 so that's a critical demographic to include in studies.
I do recognize that children do not having the worst outcomes, such as death from COVID-19, such that they haven't made it made it to the priority groups. But we know that children can become ill, can be vectors of transmission of the virus.
We've actually studied children who have comorbidities, including cancer, lung conditions and could be at higher risk of having COVID-19 complications. It's really important for both their own personal benefit as well as public health benefit.
And including at the end of this pandemic, trying to include children of all ages for the vaccine. It's not uncommon that vaccines are tested first in adults and then de-escalated to children. That is currently progressing.
HOLMES: What would the trials be looking for?
Most children don't have it to the severity of adults.
What would they be looking for in determining whether a COVID vaccine for kids works in the same way?
OGBUAGU: Of course, it would be the two big things, making sure that the vaccine is safe for children and the very careful monitoring of side effects. There's been some talk of using lower doses of the vaccine and children, as we did observe in the adults that older individuals have less side effects have much more robust immune response to the vaccine had higher side effects so there may be some tweaking of the doses to calibrate and optimize the safety and the side effects for children. But also, efficacy.
OGBUAGU: And efficacy with regard to its ability to protect against getting sick from the virus but also airing the virus as well as symptomatic disease.
HOLMES: The Academy of Pediatrics letter I mentioned, the current pace of, things, this may not be right, but there may not be a vaccination approved for children under 12 until next year.
What would be the impact of that timeframe, both in terms of schools getting back to normal and the virus spread?
OGBUAGU: There is evidence that if schools take the proper precautions, they can definitely mitigate the risk of transmission within schools. But yes, vaccination will play a critical role in opening schools safely and resume some form of normalcy.
It's hard to be too optimistic for the reopening of schools in the fall because most of the studies are looking at children aged 12 years and above. The studies for younger children, 11 and below, is starting roughly around the summer. So there is a lot of efforts to try and speed up those trials. It appears it will take some time, though.
HOLMES: A great pleasure to speak to you, Doctor, thank you so much, I appreciate your time.
OGBUAGU: My pleasure.
HOLMES: President Joe Biden, calling on U.S. senators to quickly pass his sweeping coronavirus relief bill. Meanwhile, House members approved the legislation early Saturday morning, all but two Democrats, supporting the nearly $2 trillion measure. No Republicans voting for it.
After the vote, the president said the U.S. is one step closer to helping Americans in need but the Senate must move fast.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) BIDEN: We have no time to waste. If we act now, decisively, quickly and boldly, we can finally get ahead of this virus. We can finally get our economy moving again. And the people of this country have suffered far too much, for too long.
We need to relieve that suffering. The American Rescue Plan does just that. It relieves the suffering. And it is time to act.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOLMES: An eager show of support for former U.S. President, Donald Trump, ahead of his return to the political stage. We preview his big speech on Sunday, when we come back.
HOLMES: Welcome back.
Former U.S. President Donald Trump is set to step back into the political spotlight on Sunday with his first speech since leaving the White House. He scheduled to speak at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Florida.
Sources say Trump is focused on helping Republicans getting control of Congress and the White House. Jim Acosta setting the stage for us for Trump's appearance.
JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Even though Donald Trump is a defeated ex-president, this is a Trump love fest at CPAC. When you walk around the corridors of CPAC and talk to people inside this conference, you'll run into Trump world figures, like the longtime adviser to the former president, Roger Stone.
We even caught up with former secretary of state Mike Pompeo. We tried to ask him if he still stands by the statement that he made after the election, that there would be a continuation or transition to another Trump presidency. He declined to talk to us.
But all day long, in fact throughout this conference, you'll see speaker after speaker making the case that the future of the Republican Party depends on Donald Trump. Here's one example earlier in the day.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The most popular Republican figure in this Congress today is Kevin McCarthy. Let me tell you who the least popular Republicans are in the party today. There are those few. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's tittering out there, I just want you to
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There are very few Republicans, the least popular in our party, the ones who want to erase Donald Trump and Donald Trump supporters from our party. Let me tell you, let me tell you, if that happens, we won't win back the majority in 2022. We definitely won't win back the White House in 2024 if we erase Donald Trump.
We have a leader right here, I'm a conservative leader and you and I both know, Matt, and for decades, the conservative leader fights with the Republican leader. Not anymore, because Kevin McCarthy is the right leader for the right time to win back the majority. He's going to be the best Speaker of the House we've had in a generation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ACOSTA (voice-over): And when you try to talk to CPAC attendees and ask them whether or not Donald Trump in fact lost the election or whether he had anything to do with the violence that took place on January the 6th at the Capitol, you are often met with hostility, irate attendees who don't want to take those kinds of questions.
As for the former president, as he is preparing for this speech on Sunday he's down at Mar-a-lago meeting with former advisers. In fact, tonight, he is having dinner with his former acting Director of National Intelligence, Rick Renault -- Jim Acosta, CNN, Orlando.
HOLMES: Now Trump allies have been warming up the crowd at the conference for him including White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders. She is now a candidate for governor of Arkansas. Here's what some of she had to say about her former boss.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, FORMER PRESS SECRETARY: I have so many great memories and certainly he is one of the most engaging, charismatic people I have ever encountered. I have really never met anybody like him.
And people got to see that on stage but one of the things that they didn't get to see about this president is what a big heart he had. He had a million reasons to be focused on anything but me.
And as we were walking down, he stopped me and he grabbed and he said, Sarah, and he looked me in the eye and he said, do not let them get you down. The only reason they attack you is because you are good at your job. He said, you get out there, he said get out there, you're smart, you are beautiful.
And then he used a few colorful words, which I won't repeat because my 8 year old daughter is here and he said but you don't let those haters get after you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOLMES: Joining me now is Tara Setmayer, she's a resident scholar at the University of Virginia Center for Politics and a senior adviser for The Lincoln Project.
Thanks for being with us, Tara. Let's talk CPAC. We've already seen a 6 foot golden statue of Trump being wheeled through the conference. There's already been at the conference a worshiping of if not an idol, the actual Donald Trump.
What do you expect him to tell the faithful?
TARA SETMAYER, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I think it's going to be a rehash of his Twitter feed for the last few months. He's been unable to express himself through his favorite medium on social media. So this is really his coming out party.
It's going to feel like one long Twitter thread. I just have to say that the country is exhausted. The fact that the Republicans are allowing Donald Trump to continue to be the head of the party after being a twice impeached failed president is just really remarkable. I don't think we've ever seen anything like it.
HOLMES: You took the words out of my mouth. I was just about to say, you have a one term president, lost the House, lost the Senate, lost the White House, lost the popular voice twice, twice impeached.
Why this continued fealty to a man in purely electoral terms has repeatedly lost?
SETMAYER: It's a really strange phenomenon and I think there will be many volumes written about this historically. It resembles a cult. I have been saying this for years, the personality cult that Donald Trump built over the last few years is unlike we've ever seen in politics.
And Republican leaders who know better, the McCarthys, the McConnells, the Lindsey Grahams, Ted Cruz, Josh Hawley. These guys, they know that Donald Trump is a menace. However, they continue to pledge their fealty because if you look at the polls, the Republican base is still incredibly loyal to Donald Trump, more loyal to Trump than they are to the Republican Party.
They recognize this and when you're an elected official, your single goal is to be reelected or else you lose power. So they are continuing to sell their souls, because they want to stay in power to placate a base that is a cult-like following of Donald Trump.
HOLMES: Now you mentioned the base. It is loud, it is passionate.
But isn't it fair to say that that core Trump base, in a purely numerical sense, is not enough to win elections?
It may swing a Republican primary but is Trumpism big enough to win actual seats?
Especially as a lot of moderate Republicans turn away from the party?
SETMAYER: Well, I think it depends on what's type of seats. If you're talking national elections, the presidency, absolutely not. When you're talking about congressional districts, possibly.
We have already seen some pretty far right wing members get elected, QAnon conspiracy theorists and kooks that have gotten elected, from Marjorie Taylor Greene to Lauren Boebert and some others. So because of gerrymandering in the United States, there are some pretty red districts, where those folks could get elected.
But nationally, no, the Republican Party will be marginalized as a right wing extremist party, which is a shame because it was the party of Lincoln and the party that I worked for and helped get people elected for over 20 years and decided to walk away from after the election when I saw Donald Trump and Republicans enabling him, undermining our free and fair elections.
That is at the heart and soul of our democracy and he attacked that and the Republicans allowed him to do it. Of course, we have the insurrection on January 6 that literally cost lives and Republicans had every opportunity to exit, to off ramp with Donald Trump.
And they still chose fealty to him despite what happened on January 6th, a deadly insurrection on our capital. It's shameful, frankly.
HOLMES: It's clear from what we have already heard, a good sized portion of this party, publicly, even if they don't believe it, is OK with an insurrection and still believes the lie that the election was stolen.
I'm curious, you love your party, it's not the party of Reagan and Lincoln anymore. HAs the extremist right wing in the GOP grown too big for the party to realistically confront and by refusing to confront it, are they normalizing and strengthening that element?
And what is the danger of that?
SETMAYER: Well, the danger of that, I will start with that first, is what we saw January 6th. It is whipping up and fomenting a crowd of people to basically commit a domestic terrorist act, chanting things like, hang the vice president.
We have never seen anything like that. And it's very dangerous, that type of rhetoric. It's what Anne Applebaum, the writer, describes as the seduction of, the seductive lore of authoritarianism.
SETMAYER: That's the danger of this because these people are no longer espousing these principles of democracy or liberal democracy. They have become some type of illiberal authoritarianism. That's dangerous. So while the party has decided to go this way, they have completely abandoned all the principles that used to define the Republican Party, which is why I walked away from it.
It's very difficult, negative partisanship is a powerful tool, that's all we've seen for the last decade or so from Republicans. They're not really interested in governing. They're just interested in being a party of no and of extremism and apparently a party of sedition. And that is unsustainable.
HOLMES: Always a pleasure to get you on, Tara, thank you so. Much
SETMAYER: Thank you.
HOLMES: Now a second former aide to New York governor Andrew Cuomo is accusing him of sexual harassment. That's according to "The New York Times."
The former executive assistant and health policy adviser for Cuomo claims, among other things, the governor asked about her sex life and if she had ever had sex with older men. She says this happened late last spring.
In a statement on Saturday, Cuomo denied the allegations, saying he had requested an outside review of the matter.
Cuomo also denies similar allegations by another former aide. She describes her former interactions with the governor in a post on the Medium platform.
A vicious and ugly impact of the pandemic, hate crimes against Asian Americans have surged with the virus. After the break, we will tell you how New Yorkers are pushing to stop it.
And the pandemic has also exposed how some seniors in Canada have been mistreated for years. We are hearing stories of people wasting away, hungry and in pain.
HOLMES: Welcome back to our viewers, here in the United States and all around the world, I'm Michael Holmes, you're watching CNN NEWSROOM.
As the pandemic has surged across the U.S., so too have vicious attacks against Asian Americans. Many people of Asian descent say they are afraid for their lives. It has gotten to the point where groups are demanding that local leaders do something about it. CNN's Jean Casarez with more, from New York.
JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: There has been a very large turnout at this rally, which is combating the increase in anti-Asian crime here in New York City. There are many notables here, the attorney general of New York, Letitia James, saying that if there is crime against a nation of America, it is crime and it is against all of us.
Senate majority leader, Chuck Schumer, also speaking here and mayor Bill de Blasio. The statistics cannot be ignored. The NYPD is saying that, last year in 2020, there were 29 crimes against Asian Americans. In 2019, there were 3.
It was just Thursday night, and we are very close to Chinatown, where the courthouse complexes are but was an Asian man, walking, surveillance video caught it, because surveillance videos is catching a lot of these things now.
He was stabbed in the torso from the rear. He is now in critical condition. The assailant was caught, allegedly three hours later. He is currently in custody. But Friday night, in Brooklyn, there were 4 Asian American males that were all stabbed. One is now deceased , others had severe stab wounds and one had puncture wounds. The people I've talked to here, who live in this community, say they are afraid.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I walk out the door and I brace myself, I prepare myself. And just I make sure I no longer listen to music when I'm walking around, I no longer listen to podcasts or are distracted in any way. I want to make sure I pay attention to whatever might be happening around me. That is where I am right now.
WILL LEX HAM, NEW YORK CITY RESIDENT: My family members are living in fear or anxiety. A couple nights ago, a man was stabbed in the back, randomly. It's just not a way to live, that -- to walk with our backs against the walls, always in fear.
Something must be done and we're going to look to our elected officials and our government and really society at large to understand and recognize this problem and do something about it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CASAREZ: Crimes against Asian Americans are not only rising here in New York City but all across the country. Notably, Chinatown in San Francisco. The New York City Police Department Asian Crime Task Force is saying that this is a priority for them. Crimes in New York are going up in general. But they're saying that their focus ion that task force is to protect the Asian Americans who are the vulnerable -- Jean Casarez, CNN, New York City.
HOLMES: Former U.S. presidential candidate Andrew Yang told CNN that, while he has not personally been the victim of any attacks, the feeling of fear is real.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDREW YANG, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: This is a heartbreaking and devastating time for so many people in the Asian American community. I talked to the family of one of the victims this week. and there just so much pain and confusion and a desire to feel safe.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOLMES: Yang, who is currently running for New York City mayor, saying many of these crimes against Asian Americans go unreported.
Let's take a quick look at the state of the pandemic outside the U.S. New Zealand, now has Auckland, its largest city, under a 7-day lockdown. That is after finding two new local cases of unknown origin. Residents will be allowed to leave home only for essential work and shopping.
Irish police say they have arrested around 2 dozen anti lockdown protesters after violent clashes in Dublin. The gathering was in total violation of public health measures.
In England, the government trying to get children back to school safely. Every household with children old enough to go to school, will get two rapid COVID tests, per person, per week. Classrooms are set to reopen, March 8th.
France may have to deal with a major mental health crisis, on top of the virus. The country has been under lockdown, on and off, for nearly a year now.
HOLMES: And it is taking a huge toll, especially on students. CNN's Melissa Bell, reports.
MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For 23-year-old Yasmine Al Bydeoi (ph), it was last autumn that her dream of studying in Paris hit the reality of the pandemic.
YASMINE AL BYDEOI, STUDENT (through translator): I was starting my studies and thinking, I'm going to arrive, make loads of friends, join lots of students' societies, try lots of activities. And then boom. I'm stuck in a house, all alone, between its 4 walls.
BELL (voice-over): So Yasmine took up painting instead. But the pandemic has also cost her her peace of mind. Before, she could teach Arabic classes to make ends meet.
AL BYDEOI (through translator): In the end, the two difficult things to deal with are the financial side and then the psychological side. So for the financial side, there is help from authorities, from associations, food distributions.
But from the psychological side?
Really, we are on our own. BELL (voice-over): After nearly one year of lockdowns and
restrictions, French authorities are warning of a third wave not of COVID but of mental health issues, including among the countries more than 1.5 million university students.
A recent poll, carried out by a mental health charity among 18, 24- year-olds in France showed that 3 out of 10 had considered suicide or self-harming.
KOSTAS KOURIS, PSYCHOLOGIST: You are building your life, you're projecting down the road, you want to become this, you want to do this and that and then, boom, you can't do anything. You're stuck.
So we have to let them know, right now, we're in the middle of the storm but have still visualize where we're going to go. Otherwise, we will be stuck in the storm, with no vision. That creates despair.
BELL (voice-over): But despair isn't necessarily the only difficulty. For some, the time of their lives meant to be the most footloose and fancy-free, has become a matter of survival. The line here is for a food bank, set up in the heart of Paris by students who realize that some of their classmates were no longer able to eat.
BENJAMIN FLOHIC, STUDENT (through translator): We are the sacrifice generation. Not only can we not have a social life or go to class or get a great quality education, on top of that, we find ourselves in this extremely precarious situation.
BELL (voice-over): Flohic says that many students who have been able to turn to their parents in time of need, could no longer do so. Their parents, too, he says, have lost their jobs.
BELL: The students coming in aren't just offered food but also psychological support. This food distribution center can help 500 students, every week. But the organizers say that the demand is, in fact, at least 10 times that -- Melissa Bell, CNN, Paris.
HOLMES: A devastating story out of Canada now. The horrible treatment of seniors, only made worse by the pandemic. In some cases, in some care homes, they were basically left to die, starving so badly that the prime minister needed to call troops in to help. CNN's Paula Newton, meeting with families who lost loved ones and they want answers.
PAULA NEWTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For days and weeks and even now, COVID-19 has mercilessly killed thousands of Canadian seniors living in long term care homes. At one point, as seen here, even the military was called in to help.
Many families say it was not just the virus, it was gross negligence by the nursing homes and governments that regulate them. NADIA SBAIHI, GRANDDAUGHTER OF NURSING HOME VICTIM: It was quite
shocking to see that that was happening. There were, for several days, people could not get a hold of their loved ones.
NEWTON (voice-over): Nadia Sbaihi's grandfather, Rodrigue Kennell (ph), died of COVID-19 last April at his nursing home, just outside of Montreal.
Dozens of others, dying there as well, as nursing home employees, overwhelmed and understaffed, were on their own because the government banned all visitors, even family, as the virus was spreading.
SBAIHI: I regret those last days. That, to me, is something that we were robbed, particularly in the first wave, where we were not allowed to see our loved ones. And our loved ones died alone.
NEWTON (voice-over): Hilda Slaugherov (ph) did not die of COVID-19. But she did suffer just the same, her family says; 102 years old, living with dementia an in room camera, placed there by her family, painfully documents how she wasted away. Unable to feed herself, too weak to even hold a glass of water and her family says staff was, seemingly, too swamped to notice.
NICOLE JAOUICH, DAUGHTER OF NURSING HOME VICTIM: I was looking to my mother through the camera and she was breathing so heavily and she was -- and she was -- you could see, she was in pain.
NEWTON: How upsetting is it for you to know that your mother, essentially, starved to death?
JAOUICH: It was heartbreaking for me to know that I wasn't there.
JAOUICH: And that when the last 6 weeks of her life, she starved. Nobody was there to comfort her, to explain to her. That was the most heartbreaking for me. And to think that she really felt abandoned, that's, for sure.
NEWTON (voice-over): Government investigations, some still ongoing, found dramatic staff shortages of residents neglected and without adequate medical attention. The situation that so many of these care homes were so grave, Canada called in troops, in the spring of last year, to help with what was becoming a humanitarian disaster.
Prime minister Justin Trudeau calling it a national tragedy.
JUSTIN TRUDEAU, CANADIAN PRIME MINISTER: In Canada, we shouldn't have soldiers taking care of seniors.
NEWTON (voice-over): Yet, what the soldiers said they found, shocked many. A scathing report, detailing chronically understaffed facilities, with little protective equipment, rotten food and the elderly, bewildered and neglected.
PATRICK MENARD, LAWYER: Multiple people, did not receive even the most basic care, including help to feed themselves or to drink or baths or anything. Many people died as a result of that.
That decision of the government to prevent family caregivers from going in and to not provide for adequate personnel, provide even the most basic care, that decision is completely unforgivable.
NEWTON: Nothing will bring back their loved ones.
But what do they hope will happen now?
MENARD: I think we need to take a very long look at ourselves, collectively and think about the way that we have treated our elderly population, not just during the pandemic but over the past 10, 20, 30 years.
NEWTON (voice-over): And that is the reason that families continue to speak out. Government leaders, across the country, are now vowing to change the way seniors are cared for, acknowledging that this pandemic has laid bare a system that, families say, was inhumane. Nicole says it was what her mother would have wanted of her.
JAOUICH: I held her hand and they were so cold and I was warming her hands and she squeezed my hand 3 times. This was such a moving moment for me. I told her, Mommy, I did not abandon you, I tried my best to be with you.
NEWTON (voice-over): I asked Nadia if it bothered her that her grandfather's last days were not what he deserved.
SBAIHI: It's not about my emotions, that's not why I'm doing this. It's not what this is about. It's to give a voice to those who don't have one. Voices weren't heard.
NEWTON (voice-over): Paula Newton, CNN, Ottawa.
HOLMES: Welcome back.
Police in Myanmar are cracking down hard on protesters today. So far, at least 2 protesters, reportedly, killed. We want to show you the scene in Yangon.
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HOLMES (voice-over): Police, firing tear gas, stun grenades and live gunfire. Reuters reporting that one protester was killed in Yangon and there are more injuries and arrests, as anti-coup protesters continue well into the fourth week.
In the town of Daiy (ph), the local news outlet is reporting that one person was killed and more than a dozen wounded, when police opened fire there on protesters.
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HOLMES: Kristie Lu Stout, joining me, live, from Hong Kong, with the very latest.
This latest crackdown, particularly brutal.
What do we know about what's happened?
KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN ANCHOR: A very tough and very brutal crackdown is underway as police opened fire on anti-coup and pro-democracy protesters across Myanmar. This is a town in southern Myanmar and Reuters say that at least one protester was shot and killed in Yangon. This is Myanmar's largest city. Reuters reports another protester has been shot and killed.
The local news report is saying that 5 protesters there, in Yangon, have been shot and wounded with reports of 5 student protesters being arrested.
We have been monitoring social media video, that has managed to get out of the country and, in it, you can see the police moving in on groups of protesters and you hear the chilling sound of gunfire and shots being fired.
All of this, coming today after the military fired the U.N. ambassador who had represented Myanmar. The ambassador defied the military but on Friday, made an impassioned plea to the U.N. General Assembly, asking for immediate, international action, to overturn the coup.
During that plea, he used the three-finger salute we have been seeing protesters use today, inside of Myanmar. He also received a rare round of applause from his U.N. colleagues.
The next thing to look out for is Monday, Aung San Suu Kyi, the deposed leader, will be in court via video link. She has been charged, first, for illegal import of six walkie talkies, as well as violating natural disaster management law.
The military deposed her, seized power, in a military coup on February 1 and has claimed, without evidence, that Aung San Suu Kyi and her party, the NLD, won the election in a fraudulent manner.
For three weeks running now, every day, we have seen these anti-coup pro democracy strikes and protests take place, despite the fact that the military and the police have been using truncheons, batons, water cannon, tear gas, stun grenades, rubber bullets, even live ammunition. These protesters continue to take to the streets, asking for the reversal of the coup. Michael?
HOLMES: Incredible bravery. You have the U.S., U.K., others, calling for Aung San Suu Kyi's release, the restoration of democracy. They are also imposing sanctions aimed at the military junta and its business interests.
The question being, will those sanctions work?
It certainly doesn't look like the military is in any mood to back down.
STOUT: It doesn't look like that and sanctions have been applied before and quite recently, under the Trump administration in 2019, where sanctions were slapped on the military general, the military leader, as well as three other generals there.
They seized power in a coup on February 1st of this year anyway. There is that fear that international pressure through the form of sanctions will not sway the military junta from releasing Aung San Suu Kyi, reversing the coup, restoring democracy.
There's additional concern that further isolation would push Myanmar further into the orbit of China. As you know, China has vast interest assets, one bill, one road assets and investments inside Myanmar.
STOUT: And when the coup took place on February 1st and many nations, especially in the West condemned it, China used not so harsh language, calling it a major shuffle, a cabinet reshuffle. Back to you.
HOLMES: Kristie Lu Stout, in Hong Kong, thank you.
We are taking a quick break here on the program and when we come back, honoring one of the U.K.'s national treasures. We talk to you about how Captain Sir Tom Moore is being remembered.
HOLMES: Britain is honoring a man who spent his life helping others, especially the latter part of that life. When the coronavirus hit, Captain Sir Tom Moore raised millions of for charity and grabbed the world's attention with his hopeful message.
He passed away earlier this month. Now his family and his nation are giving him a loving sendoff. Scott McLean reports.
SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is the last lap for Captain Tom Moore. With his casket draped in the Union Jack, it was the final farewell for the 100-year-old national hero.
MCLEAN (voice-over): He died on February 2nd, after testing positive for the coronavirus. He was a father, a grandfather, military veteran. But he is remembered most for walking the lengths of his garden, 100 times, with the aid of a walker, a challenge for him to mark his 100th birthday and inspiration for the rest of us, during some of the darkest days of the pandemic.
He raised nearly $45 million from donors in 163 countries for National Health Service charities. He earned international fame and a knighthood for his efforts. Members of the Yorkshire Regiment, the modern version of the unit he served in World War II, carried his coffin.
The firing party performed a salute. And a plane from the World War II era, did a flypast. Only his immediate family could attend the funeral, because of coronavirus restrictions. A quiet service, for a man whose small act of service, resonated around the world.
LUCY TEIXEIRA, MOORE'S DAUGHTER: Daddy, I am so proud of you. What you achieved, your whole life and especially in the last year, you may be gone but your message and spirit, lives on.
MCLEAN (voice-over): Scott McLean, CNN, London.
HOLMES: Captain Sir Tom Moore was 100 years old.
Thank you for watching CNN NEWSROOM, spending part of your day with me. Don't go anywhere, though, I will be right back with more news.