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J&J Vaccine Rollout Plan; Trump To Speak At CPAC; French Students Suffer Mentally From Lockdowns; State Republican Lawmakers Try To Make Voting Harder; Funeral For Captain Sir Tom Moore. Aired 5- 6a ET
Aired February 28, 2021 - 05:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KIM BRUNHUBER, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): A new vaccine gets the go ahead from the U.S. health officials and could be in American arms within days. We will tell what you makes this one different from the others.
Donald Trump is back. For the first time in weeks, he will be front and center as he speaks later today to a very friendly crowd at a conservative conference.
And the protests against Myanmar's military coup turned deadly, as police fire tear gas, stun grenades and live gunfire.
Live from CNN World Headquarters in Atlanta welcome to all of you watching here in the United States, Canada and around the world. I'm Kim Brunhuber. This is CNN NEWSROOM.
BRUNHUBER: The U.S. could soon have a powerful new weapon in its fight against coronavirus. On Saturday, the Food and Drug Administration signed off on emergency use authorization for Johnson & Johnson's COVID vaccine. It still needs to clear the CDC, which should happen in the coming days.
Here is what the process is expected to look like. Today a CDC panel is set to meet to discuss how to best prioritize use of the vaccine. And later today or on Monday, the CDC director is expected to sign off on the recommendations.
And after that, shots of the lifesaving vaccine can start going into arms. Now this is the third vaccine to get emergency use authorization in the U.S. and it requires just a single dose. CNN's Natasha Chen reports on why this is such a big deal.
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.
BRUNHUBER: Dr. Stephen Parodi is the associate executive director of the Permanente Medical Group at Kaiser Permanente and joins me from San Francisco.
Thanks so much for being here. For you on the ground, you have some 4.5 million patients across 21 hospitals in California, a state that's seen plenty of vaccine shortages.
BRUNHUBER: Is this a game changer?
DR. STEPHEN PARODI, ASSOCIATE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, PERMANENTE MEDICAL GROUP: I think this new vaccine is a huge game changer. First of all, it's a one-dose vaccine. It requires refrigeration instead of the freezers. So it's going to be actually much more mobile.
We're going to be able to get this into the communities in a much more ready and fast fashion. It has minimal side effects. And it prevents hospitalizations and it prevents deaths. And that is really what we've been struggling with in California and in the entire U.S.
BRUNHUBER: You say it will be deployed fast. So it's expected to roll out next week, possibly as soon as Monday.
So concretely how are you preparing?
What are the logistics involved here to actually get those shots in arms quickly?
PARODI: That's right. So literally, we are hearing that, as of Monday, we are going to see up to 4 million doses being released in the United States. And we expect about 10 percent of that coming to California.
So we've been ramping up both our internal operations in the hospitals, in our clinics but also mass vaccination sites. We've been having our personnel deployed in these facilities at the mass vaccination sites.
In addition to that, we've been actually getting out into the community. So we've actually stood up community centers in churches or popup clinics in particular counties that have asked for our assistance.
BRUNHUBER: Now because the Johnson & Johnson vaccine has a lower efficacy rate, some people, they might see it as a second-class vaccine. You know, the consistent message we've been hearing from health experts is, the best vaccine is the one you can actually get.
But how do you convince people of that?
You mentioned marginalized communities.
How do you approach it, with many of them who might be suspicious that the rich or white people are getting the good vaccine and they're getting the bad one?
PARODI: I'll tell you, I have this conversation with my patients and have been talking about this the last couple of weeks in anticipation of J&J coming out. The key thing here is that this vaccine prevents death, it prevents hospitalizations, it's going to prevent you from getting into an ICU.
And quite frankly, it acts faster than even the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines. So it gets you up to really the immunity that I'm talking about, in terms of preventing you from dying within four weeks, where it takes about six weeks when it comes to the other two vaccines.
So I think there's a lack of, you know, difference here in terms of when it comes to protecting you from what matters most, which is preventing death.
BRUNHUBER: We're still going to have to take all the measures that we've been taking for months now, masks, social distancing; things won't open up for a while. Unfortunately, as we see politics and COVID are inextricably intertwined, we saw more evidence of that last night at the conservative conference, CPAC.
One of the biggest applause lines was when South Dakota's governor touted her state's record on COVID, then bashed Dr. Fauci. I want to listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GOV. KRISTI NOEM (R-SD): We never focused on the case numbers. Instead, we kept our eye on hospital capacity. Dr. Fauci, he told me that, on my worst day, I'd have 10,000 patients in the hospital. On our worst day, we had a little over 600. I don't know if you agree with me but Dr. Fauci is wrong a lot.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BRUNHUBER: We didn't play it but there was a huge applause after she said that. So I'm playing that not because it was an exception or an outlier. All throughout the weekend, all the big-name Republicans have been mocking mask mandates. The crowd booed reminders to wear masks.
That anti-expertise, anti-science attitude, they're still persistent and prevalent.
How much harder does that make your job, as we still have to go through all these -- go through with these measures?
PARODI: It's been such a complicated messaging campaign when it comes to the disparate messages that are out there.
Let me just tell you, I stand with Dr. Fauci. When it comes to the science, we know that the way you protect yourself is by wearing a mask, washing your hands, keeping your distance and in getting those vaccines into arms.
And we know it works, by the way. You see the contrast between the behavior that occurred with the Thanksgiving Day travel, then what happened at Christmas and New Year's, where people actually stayed home.
And what we're seeing now is actually the benefits of that.
PARODI: We're seeing massive decreases when it comes to hospitalizations. I think that's a combination of both the vaccination effort but, most importantly, because people have taken it to heart, that we need to protect each other by following those good public health measures that we know work.
BRUNHUBER: Yes, well said. An important message. I hope people are listening. Thanks so much, Dr. Stephen Parodi, appreciate it.
PARODI: Thank you, Kim.
BRUNHUBER: Police in Myanmar have shot and killed at least four protesters today in what has become the deadliest day of anti-coup demonstrations so far.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRUNHUBER (voice-over): This is new video in from Yangon. Protests against the military's power grab have been going on every day for weeks now. And authorities are intensifying their crackdown, with hundreds reportedly detained just this weekend.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BRUNHUBER: Here with more details it's Kristie Lu Stout, joining us from Hong Kong.
Just horrific scenes in that crackdown.
What's the latest?
KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN ANCHOR: Kim, a horrific and brutal crackdown today, as police across Myanmar opened fire, using live ammunition on anti-coup protesters. This took place across the country.
According to local news reports in Dawei, a town in the south of Myanmar, at least three protesters were shot and killed. In Yangon, at least one protester shot and killed. In Mandalay, reports of at least an additional protester there shot and killed. This grim tally making today the deadliest day of protests since the
coup took place on February 1st. Additional local media reports say that at least five student protesters have been arrested.
We've been monitoring all day social media coming in from Myanmar, in which we see police in full riot gear, taking on protesters, using live ammunition. We hear shots, we hear gunfire, we hear the onlookers screaming and crying in terror.
This comes a day after the military in Myanmar dismissed Myanmar's ambassador to the United Nations. He defied the military after he gave that impassioned plea to the U.N. General Assembly on Friday, in which he asked for immediate international action in order to reverse the coup.
In that plea, he used that three-finger salute we've seen protesters use all along, including this day inside Myanmar. After that plea was made, he received a rare round of applause from his U.N. colleagues.
We are also monitoring the fate and future of the deposed leader Aung San Suu Kyi. On Monday, she is expected to appear in court via video link. She faces two charges, one for illegally importing six walkie- talkie radios, the other charge for violating a national disaster management law.
The military ousted her, seized power in a coup on February 1st. Ever since then, it's been a month now, every day there have been daily strikes, anti-coup pro-democracy protests taking place, despite the fact that the military and the police are using everything, from tear gas, truncheons, rubber bullets, stun grenades and live ammunition. These protesters are risking their lives in order to ask for the restoration of democracy.
BRUNHUBER: We will keep following this developing story. Thanks so much, Kristie Lu Stout in Hong Kong.
The nearly year-old pandemic has caused untold economic hardship for millions of Americans. Now the House has passed a massive COVID relief bill. President Biden is urging senators to approve the measure as quickly as possible. We will have that story just ahead.
Plus, Donald Trump is just hours away from his first public appearance since leaving office. We will preview what his faithful supporters are expecting from his speech. Stay with us.
BRUNHUBER: U.S. President Joe Biden is urging the Senate to pass his COVID relief package as soon as possible. He said that just hours after House Democrats narrowly passed the $1.9 trillion stimulus plan. Republicans have been dead set against it, so bipartisan support in
the 50-50 Senate isn't likely. But the president says too many Americans are hurting and counting on Congress to act.
(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)
BRUNHUBER: Meanwhile, former president Trump is set to tighten his grip on the Republican Party. Less than six weeks after leaving office, Trump will return to the spotlight this afternoon with a speech to conservatives at the annual CPAC meeting in Florida.
It will be his first time addressing his supporters directly since his social media accounts were shut down. You can see the enthusiasm of Trump's supporters reflected in the props and merchandise at this year's convention. And there's even a gold statue of Trump there, as you can see. CNN's Jim Acosta is in Orlando.
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: 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 know.
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.
BRUNHUBER: Many, if not all hardcore Trump followers, are in flat-out denial that he lost to Biden. And the ex-president's ban from social media hasn't cooled the enthusiasm of his base. Many still believe he will somehow regain the presidency and they are eager to help him do it. CNN's Donie O'Sullivan spoke with several of them in Orlando.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONIE O'SULLIVAN, CNN TECH CORRESPONDENT: What are you hoping to hear from Trump tomorrow?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It'll just be good to hear and see him in person out in public again. I think we all need it. The energy that we feed off each other, he feeds off our energy, we feed off his energy.
O'SULLIVAN: But what do you think of the Republicans who voted to impeach Trump?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They all need to go every single one of them.
O'SULLIVAN: Who's going to replace him?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don't know. But there's got to be people that are behind this movement that are for America for America. This is not even about Trump anymore. This is about saving our country.
DONALD TRUMP, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: America first agenda has hijacked the Republican Party. We don't want to speak against America go against.
O'SULLIVAN: What do you think of Republicans like Liz Cheney right now?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She's a loser.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She is a RINO.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She's a loser. She spoke against the party, we don't want her.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's right.
O'SULLIVAN: What is it that you guys want to hear from Trump tomorrow?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do we want to hear from him?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We want to know we're waiting to hear the next step. We're all looking for guidance.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BRUNHUBER: Scott Jennings is a CNN political commentator and joins me from Louisville, Kentucky.
Thanks for being here. All that ink spilled about how the Republican Party was looking to move past Donald Trump seems quaint, almost comical now. It's easy to make fun of the Trump statue and all that.
But are you surprised at how united they are behind him, how much friendly fire there was aimed at the Republicans who had been critical of him?
SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: No, I'm not surprised. I mean, Donald Trump is the most popular figure in the Republican Party. He has signaled that he wants to hang around for the next four years or more. He may even run for president again.
And there's really no counterbalance to him of equal stature in the party, at least as it relates to the Republican grassroots. So not really surprised about all of this. And we'll see how it plays out in the '22 and '24 primaries. I suspect Donald Trump's going to be around as long as he wants to be in the Republican Party.
BRUNHUBER: That's exactly it. Normally this conference is sort of a platform for future presidential candidates. But as you say, it seems hard to escape Trump's gravitational pull.
But given that, did anyone stand out to you?
JENNINGS: Well, I think governor Ron DeSantis of Florida is a rising star. Governor Noem of South Dakota is someone who made a big impact. There are always people at these conferences that make very good speeches.
In this particular iteration, Donald Trump will be the Republican nominee if he chooses to be. I mean, that's just a fact. And the rest of these folks are kind of playing to see if he decides not to run. And that's just the way it is for them. And they don't have any choice but to play along. But their fate is not in their own hands, it's in Donald Trump's hands.
BRUNHUBER: So if some of the more moderate Republicans had been there, assuming they wouldn't have been booed off the stage, what are a few of the actual issues beyond the Big Lie, cancel culture, things like that, real issues, that you would have liked them to bring up?
JENNINGS: We're not really running on much of a platform right now as Republicans. Trump didn't have a platform. The Republican National Committee at the convention didn't write a platform in 2020. Trump's issues were really nonexistent. Right now the Republicans are mostly just positioning themselves against things, against the media, which I actually think they treat more like the opposition party than the Democrats.
JENNINGS: They're against cancel culture, they're even against some Republicans. Ted Cruz gave a speech at this conference, basically trying to lop off everybody who wears a tie and works in a cubicle from the Republican Party.
And so we're sort of anti or against things. But I'm not sure what we're for. I think that will carry you some distance in politics. But in order to be competitive in a presidential campaign, I think you actually have to be for something.
You have to tell people how you're going to move the country forward. We didn't have it in '20. We don't have it right now. But for the party to be nationally competitive, I think it needs it by '24.
BRUNHUBER: You touched on cancel culture there. I mean, it's something I hear all the time from my Republican friends.
But I'm wondering with the economy, with COVID, with so many actual problems, why is that such an issue that resonates with so many Republicans?
JENNINGS: Well, I think it's because, number one, Republicans hate the media more than anything. And I'm just telling you, they think the media at large is a bigger problem than liberal Democrats. They think the media goes around trying to cancel Republicans.
They think big tech companies go around trying to cancel Republicans. And so they see this huge left-leaning ecosystem out there that is trying to silence Republican and conservative voices. And so it is a huge deal on the Right. And it's a legitimate concern.
I think the question is, though, is that enough to make you a nationally viable party in a presidential election?
It might make you regionally viable or in a certain jurisdiction. But Republicans just lost the presidential election by 7 million votes. And so it's been a long time, really, since we won the national popular vote.
I think the core question is, is something like cancel culture going to be enough?
I think it could be a component of a winning campaign but I'm not sure it's enough to make up your entire strategy or whole platform.
BRUNHUBER: Yes. And on that, many people on the Left point to the polls that suggest that Trumpism is kind of driving Republicans away from the Republican Party. But I've been wanting to ask you this for a while.
Is that just that Republicans are being driven away from the party itself but they're not being driven away from voting Republican?
They're still supporting president Trump. It's not like they're going to go vote for Democrats now.
JENNINGS: Well, I mean, the 2020 election, a lot of Republicans who usually vote Republican certainly did not vote for Donald Trump. And many of them voted for Joe Biden. Some of them voted Republican down- ticket, which tells me, in their hearts, they still want to vote for conservatives out there.
But there was something about Donald Trump that repelled them. That's the thing about the Republican brand. It has to be elastic enough to capture the moderate, as you called it, or the suburban voter or the white-collar voter, while, at the same time capturing this new blue- collar cohort that Trump has brought to the party.
There has to be some elasticity, the brand has to be big enough to capture both. When I hear Ted Cruz and others say, we want to get rid of certain kinds of Republicans out of the party, I don't understand why you would want to do that when that makes your party smaller and less viable.
If I were Donald Trump or anybody else who wanted to be boss of the party, I would be thinking, how do I get the most people in the tent, not, how do I exclude people. Because the politics of subtraction will only lead to losses in the future.
BRUNHUBER: The main event, Donald Trump speaking tonight. We'll see what he has to say. Thank you so much, Scott Jennings, we appreciate you coming on.
JENNINGS: Thanks a lot.
BRUNHUBER: 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 last year.
In a statement on Saturday, Cuomo denied the allegations, saying he has requested an outside review of the matter.
Cuomo also denies similar allegations by another former aide. She described her former interactions with the governor in a post on the Medium platform.
Still ahead on CNN, why French officials are raising the alarm about students' mental health during the pandemic.
BRUNHUBER: Welcome back to all of you watching here in the United States, Canada and around the world. I'm Kim Brunhuber. Let's get you up to speed on our top story.
A major development for the U.S. in the fight against the coronavirus. The Food and Drug Administration has approved an emergency use authorization for Johnson & Johnson's COVID vaccine. It does have two more hurdles to clear with the CDC, that process will begin later today.
After that, Johnson & Johnson says it's ready to begin shipping doses immediately. This is the third vaccine to receive an emergency use authorization in the U.S.
President Biden praised the authorization of the vaccine. He says, the more people that get vaccinated, the faster the country will overcome the coronavirus. But he also warned that the fight is far from over. CNN's Arlette Saenz traveled with the president and filed this report.
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.
BRUNHUBER: New Zealand's most populous city is going into lockdown after the emergence of two new COVID cases. Prime minister Jacinda Ardern made the announcement on Saturday.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JACINDA ARDERN, NEW ZEALAND PRIME MINISTER: We are in the unfortunate but necessary position of needing to protect Aucklanders once again. That is why cabinet met this evening and made the decision that Auckland will need to move to a level 3 for a period of seven days. The rest of New Zealand will move to level 2.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BRUNHUBER: The health ministry says they don't know how the first patient known as Case M contracted the virus. The second person is someone from their household. The ministry warns M visited several public places while potentially infectious.
Anti-lockdown demonstrations turned violent in Dublin on Saturday. Police arrested 23 people in clashes with protesters on a main shopping street. Three officers were injured.
Video posted on social media shows a protester launching what appears to be a firework in the direction of the police and police officers rushed forward, using batons to disperse the crowd, which they say violated health rules.
Ireland's lockdown is one of the strictest in the world. Earlier this week, the prime minister announced that restrictions would be extended until at least April 5th.
In France, the health minister warns of a looming mental health crisis facing the nation's young people. The country has been under lockdown on and off for nearly a year now.
BRUNHUBER: And it's taking a huge toll on students. Melissa Bell reports.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) 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 country's 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.
BRUNHUBER: Donald Trump's claim that he won the 2020 election has found fertile ground in statehouses across the country. Ahead, Republican lawmakers are now intent on fixing a problem, large-scale voter fraud that doesn't exist. Stay with us.
BRUNHUBER: Well, Donald Trump's Big Lie is that he actually won the 2020 election, even though he obviously didn't. He has repeated it for months and many of his supporters believe him.
But the Big Lie is having a more insidious effect closer to home. It's given state Republican legislatures the cover to propose ways to discourage Democratic voters under the pretext of fixing voter fraud, even when it doesn't exist. CNN's Dianne Gallagher explains.
DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The 2020 election is over, but Republicans in dozens of states are still using the baseless claims surrounding it, spread by former President Trump and his allies, to push new restrictive election bills.
Experts say the link is clear.
JESSICA HUSEMAN, PROPUBLICA: It's just as much about keeping people who will not vote for them away from the polls, as it is energizing their own base and getting them to be angry about election security, which is exactly the playbook that Trump used in the last year.
GALLAGHER (voice-over): The Brennan Center for Justice says it's tracking at least 253 restrictive voting bills in 43 states. That's roughly six times the number from this time last year.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The bill receiving a constitutional majority is declared to have passed the house.
GALLAGHER (voice-over): In Iowa, both Republican-controlled chambers passed a bill that would reduce early voting days, Election Day poll hours and make it harder to absentee vote. That now awaits the governor's signature.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The bill carries and is on its way to rule.
GALLAGHER (voice-over): In Georgia, the house and senate are advancing bills that would drastically change election laws and restrict access to mail-in voting, even eliminating early voting on Sundays. In Arizona, voting rights activists are sounding alarms.
ALEX GULOTTA, ALL VOTING IS LOCAL ARIZONA: There are bills that would really harm access to voting, particularly for people of color, for low-income families, for Native Americans. And they're rushing through because we have to fix a problem that doesn't exist.
GALLAGHER (voice-over): Most of the voting-related bills proposed in the Grand Canyon State focus on the mail-in voting process. Popular for decades in this sprawling scenic state, more than 80 percent of Arizonans voted by mail in 2020.
One bill would require mail-in ballots to be notarized; another lets voters request a ballot by mail, but you'd have to make the journey to turn it in in-person. A bill that zeros in on the state's permanent early voter list advanced out of committee just this week.
MICHELLE UGENTI-RITA (R), ARIZONA STATE SENATOR: If you are not voting, then you're not going to notice being removed.
GULOTTA: IT's not just one bill, it's 50 or more bills, right? And so it's the cumulative effect of all of them. Will they all get through? Probably not. Will a coalition of scrappy advocates be able to stop all of them? Probably not.
GALLAGHER (voice-over): Now some Republicans are skeptical of the more extreme proposals.
RUSTY BOWERS (R), SPEAKER, ARIZONA STATE HOUSE: Some of them I think are valid, we need to clean voter rolls and make sure that people are here to vote, that's pretty standard stuff. But other things are not as acceptable to me.
GALLAGHER (voice-over): Dianne Gallagher, CNN, Phoenix, Arizona.
BRUNHUBER: Nate Persily is a professor of law at Stanford University.
Thank you for joining us. Many Republicans have acknowledged essentially that, the fewer people that vote, the better Republicans do.
But now there's new cover for the strategy, right?
The Big Lie.
So how central is that to this large-scale national move to restrict voting?
NATE PERSILY, PROFESSOR OF LAW, STANFORD UNIVERSITY: Well, we're seeing several laws, in fact, over 100 or over 200 bills that have been proposed in different state legislatures, trying to make it more difficult for people to vote. [05:45:00]
PERSILY: Many of them are, as you say, trying to deal with the vote fraud problem that was given a lot of amplification but without a lot of evidence, over the last three months. But that is the strategy here, which is to use an anti-fraud rationale to try to make it harder for people to vote.
BRUNHUBER: Right, but they're trying to stop something that never actually happened, right?
I mean, this is not borne out by any research.
PERSILY: That's right. As you say, it is the Big Lie. But it is a pervasive one and it's one that close to 30 percent or 40 percent of Americans believe, that there is widespread belief that the election was illegitimate. And it's taken hold, unfortunately among a large sector of the U.S. population. Now politicians are feeding that lie in order to pass some of these vote-suppressive bills.
BRUNHUBER: Many of them seem to be targeting minorities almost specifically. Here in Georgia, how high turnout among minorities, we saw in the election, African Americans particularly, they can be so instrumental.
And now we're seeing those Republican attempts to, for example, cut Sunday voting, which is when many churches hold those Souls to the Polls events to get people to vote after church.
So how is the minority vote being targeted specifically with these laws?
PERSILY: I think that is a critical component to this, which is that, while they are articulating an anti-fraud rationale, you cannot justify these laws, based on a fight against fraud.
So as you mentioned, the restriction on Sunday voting, which has been traditionally used, particularly in Black churches, that's in-person voting. This is not -- you can't sort of say that this is a way of stopping mail voter fraud or the other kinds of fraud that were being alleged.
This is simply a way to make it harder for certain categories of people to vote -- and African Americans and Latinos in particular.
BRUNHUBER: Democrats, on the other hand, they're trying to expand access to voting. But in Congress, if they want to get anything done, they have to get rid of the filibuster.
Then in terms of local and state control, which is obviously so vital on this issue specifically, do Democrats have a shot to stop this wave?
Who has the upper hand here?
PERSILY: Well, it really does depend on the state. So there are Democratic governors in many of the battleground states -- Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, North Carolina -- they're able to veto laws like this that may come out of those legislatures.
But Arizona and Georgia, as you mentioned, the two tightest battleground states, have unified Republican control. So it's possible that, if the Republicans all vote as a bloc on these bills, that they might pass.
But these are legislators who are looking over their shoulders as well and they know what criticism they're going to get. So these are still bills in the hopper. They haven't been passed. So we need to make sure that they understand what the implications are if they were to pass these bills.
BRUNHUBER: And then the Supreme Court next week is going to hear a Voting Rights Act case.
So should Democrats kind of prepare themselves for disappointment, given that the court has a recent history on this issue?
Now with the new balance of power in the Supreme Court, that will further enforce that.
PERSILY: Yes, I think there's a good chance that the Democrats or the plaintiffs in the original case are going to lose at the U.S. Supreme Court. But you can lose badly or you can lose in a better way. And I think they're hoping that this doesn't gut Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, which is a way of trying to get at laws that have discriminatory impacts, whether they be voter ID laws, some of these Sunday poll closing laws, restrictions on absentee balloting.
So we'll see whether the court issues an expansive ruling on those issues.
BRUNHUBER: We'll be following. Thank you so much for your expertise on this, Nate Persily, we appreciate it.
BRUNHUBER: New Yorkers turned out Saturday to protest hate crimes against Asian Americans. These incidents have spiked dramatically since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. And many Asian Americans say they don't feel safe.
The New York Police Department says it's investigated at least four potential hate crimes against people of Asian descent in the last week. The NYPD recorded 29 such racially motivated crimes in 2020, compared to just three in 2019.
Britain is saluting one of its heroes. When we return, we will show you how Captain Sir Tom Moore is being remembered.
BRUNHUBER: Britain is a honoring a man who spent his life helping others. When coronavirus hit, Captain Sir Tom Moore walked straight into the history books. He raised millions of dollars for charity and grabbed the world's attention with his hopeful message.
He died earlier this month. Now his family and his nation are giving him a loving sendoff. Scott McLean joins us from London to tell us about it.
Scott, impossible not to be moved by his story and this tribute.
SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Captain Tom Moore was a man who set out only to help his country at the beginning of the pandemic. This was a 99-year-old man who wanted to raise a modest 1,000 pounds by his 100th birthday.
He ended up raising millions by, as his daughter said at his funeral yesterday, walking into the nation's hearts. Before he died, he wrote that, not that long ago, his funeral might have only been marked with a single line in a local newspaper. But yesterday, it was watched by people across the country.
MCLEAN (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.
(END VIDEOTAPE) MCLEAN: Now Captain Tom said that he wanted a simple white military headstone with the inscription, "I told you I was old," hoping that it might make people smile.
What really makes me smile, Kim, is the last pieces of advice that he had, which is, "Don't put off important things in life. Forgive people."
And when it comes to living a long time, well, he didn't have any advice because he said that he never paid much attention to health advice and he ate pretty much whatever he wanted. Those are words to live by, Kim.
BRUNHUBER: Yes, absolutely. A touching and inspiring note to end the show on. Thanks so much for that.
That wraps this hour of CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Kim Brunhuber. For our U.S. and Canadian viewers "NEW DAY" is just ahead. International viewers, it's "MARKETPLACE AFRICA." Thanks for watching.