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Prince William: "We're Very Much Not a Racist Family;" Black Britons React to UK Media Schism on Race Issues; Broadway Remains Dark Amid Pandemic; The World is Still Struggling One Year After the Pandemic is Declared; War in Yemen; Uniting Against Myanmar's Military Violence.; U.S. Condemns China's Hong Kong Electoral Changes; First Quad Summit. Aired 2-2:45a ET

Aired March 12, 2021 - 02:00   ET




MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Coming up, clashes continue in Myanmar. A CNN report on ethnic groups uniting against the military coup.

It has been a year since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Lessons learned, vaccines, and a look at Brazil's COVID crisis.

Plus, the royal rift. Prince William reacts, saying his family isn't a racist. We will have a live report from Windsor. That is also coming up.

Hello, everyone. I am Michael Holmes, and this is "CNN Newsroom."

Welcome, everyone. It has been more than a year now since the pandemic was declared and the coronavirus is still holding a tight grip on the world. More than 118 million people worldwide have been infected and the virus has claimed more than 2.6 million lives.

While the world shut down, research, of course, ramped up. Countries around the world have been developing vaccines at record speed. Russia was first to roll out its Sputnik V vaccine, followed by the UK approving Pfizer-BioNTech, and then the U.S. gave the green light to Moderna.

The shots are offering a glimmer of hope, even as more variants continue to rapidly spread.

And now, the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine has been approved for use by the E.U. with 200 million doses expected to arrive in April.

Let's go to Europe now, and our Melissa Bell is joining me from Paris. It's interesting. Some E.U. countries suspending the AstraZeneca vaccinations, talking about blood clots, even though I don't think there is any evidence of causality. What is the debate about?

MELISSA BELL, CNN PARIS CORRESPONDENT: Well, the European Medicines Agency right has gone to the lengths of publishing a statement, saying it didn't agree with those decisions to suspend, in some cases, the delivery of the AstraZeneca vaccine altogether, and others, the suspension simply of one batch that was linked to those questions of blood clots they want to investigate.

But, yes, clearly, another set of problems with regard to the AstraZeneca vaccine. Remember Michael, this has been the subject of so much trouble for the European Union. Those questions over deliveries, the row with the E.U., then, of course, from those national governments, the health agency saying that they didn't believe it should be given to people over 65, the change of mind on that, and now this.

Europe really divided over this question. France and Spain has also spoken out against the idea that this could be suspended in some European countries. So, the subject of a fierce debate, and I think until we get through these investigations by these individual health agencies, it is (INAUDIBLE) to see how they are going to get that AstraZeneca vaccine back up and running.

And, of course, bear in mind, Michael, this is in a context of these tremendous supply shortage -- shortages we have seen throughout the European Union. One bit of good news, that is, of course, the EMA approving one more vaccine. It is fourth so far, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine that you mentioned a moment ago, single dose. That should come align within the next few weeks.

HOLMES: That is good news. And Novavax, the U.K. final data confirming that its COVID-19 vaccine is nearly 90 percent effective, offers protection against variance. What does that mean for rollouts?

BELL: This is really important because one of the major problems here in Europe is that figures have been getting so much better as a result of restrictions. It is those new variance, specifically, Michael, the one first identified in the United Kingdom, that are now dominant in both Germany and France and spreading fast.

So, the crucial thing about these latest vaccines, the Johnson & Johnson one just approved by the European Medicines Agency, this one, the Novavax now under consideration by the European Medicines Agency, but then we have seen those results from the United Kingdom, they are being tested in clinical trials, even as those new variance are circulating.

So you can look at how efficient they are against them. Novavax, we have seen from the U.K., shows that it is 96 percent -- it has 96 percent efficacy, Michael, with regard to the original coronavirus, 86 compared to the strain first identified in the United Kingdom. So that, of course, is good news and offers some important hope.

HOLMES: It is good to be getting some good news a year into this. Melissa Bell, in Paris, good to see you, thanks.

Now, even as more vaccines become available around the globe, some regions are still seeing cases on the rise. Italy is reporting more than 25,000 new cases on Thursday. [02:05:01]

HOLMES (on camera): That is the most since November. Health experts say the variant first identified in the U.K. is prevalent there as well as clusters of the variant from Brazil.

COVID cases in Africa plateaued in the past few weeks, according to the World Health Organization. The group says the continent is nearing the four million mark with more than 106,000 deaths.

In Asia, Bangladesh is seeing the biggest surge in new cases right now. India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and the Philippines also headed in the wrong direction.

And here in the United States, President Joe Biden says all American adults should be eligible to get a COVID vaccine by May the 1st, and people should be able to gather in small groups by the fourth of July holiday weekend.

We mentioned Brazil, the daily coronavirus death toll there topping 2,000 again on Thursday. The governor of Sao Paulo, the most populous state, says the country is collapsing. He has announced new restrictions starting on Monday on offices, schools, churches, and sporting events.

And while hospitals across Brazil are near capacity, doctors are warning new variants of the virus could bring global complications.

CNN's Isa Soares reports.


MOISES BARBOZA, COUNSELOR, PORTO ALEGRE: (translation on-screen): I saw them discussing whether I should be intubated or not.

ISA SOARES, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Shaken and still visibly weak, Moises Barboza, a counselor for the city of Porto Alegre in southern Brazil, tells me he has never smoked or been seriously ill. Still, the 42-year-old ended up spending 10 days inside an intensive care unit after contracting COVID-19. He survived, but the trauma is deep.

BARBOZA (translation on-screen): While I was in the ICU, I lost my father-in-law, he died, and I didn't know. He was admitted, and was still speaking. And four days later, he was buried. And I didn't know.

SOARES (voice-over): Weeks later, Barboza's voice remains coarse. And as we speak, it's clear he's still breathless. But even if those lingering effects fade, others are forever etched in his mind.

BARBOZA (translation on-screen): I saw three people unfortunately die in front of me. There was a girl, 39 years of age, intubated in front of me.

SOARES (voice-over): Barboza's case is one among thousands as ICUs across Brazil reached peak capacity and daily deaths hit new records. Warning signs seemingly not severe enough to change the Brazilian president's view of the pandemic.

JAIR BOLSONARO, PRESIDENT OF BRAZIL (translation on-screen): We have to face our problems, enough fussing and whining. How much longer will the crying go on?

SOARES (voice-over): Under Jair Bolsonaro, Brazil has struggled to implement a unified countrywide strategy to deal with COVID-19, not least because the president has continuously downplayed the virus at every turn, first insisting it was just sniffles --

BOLSONARO (translation on-screen): A little flu.

SOARES (voice-over): And now questioning vaccines as they become available.

BOLSONARO (translation on-screen): If you turn into a crocodile, it's your problem.

SOARES (voice-over): Jeopardizing a vaccination program that continues to progress at a very slow pace. Just a couple of months ago, he was accused of failing to act as the health care system in the Amazonas state capital of Manaus collapsed. He blamed local health officials. An investigation is underway.

In Manaus, patient after patient literally gasp for air when hospitals ran out of oxygen. Now, tells Professor Nicolelis, it is much, much worse.

MIGUEL NICOLELIS, PROFESSOR, DUKE UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF MEDICINE: People outside Brazil focus on -- in Manaus. Manaus has been a huge tragedy. Well, I have news for you. We now have 20 Manaus right now in Brazil. Twenty capitals in Brazil have reached capacity in ICU beds.

SOARES (voice-over): Nicolelis, who is a doctor and a neuroscientist at Duke University in the U.S. and who has been tracking the crisis in Brazil, tells me it is a matter of when, not if the Brazilian health care system collapses.

NICOLELIS: This is a perfect storm.

SOARES (voice-over) Speaking from Sao Paulo, he tells me Brazil, he says, is an open air laboratory for the virus to evolve, creating more deadly mutations. A challenge, he says, not just for Brazil, but for the world.

NICOLELIS: If you allow this thing to run amok in Brazil, this pandemic, you are certain to get new variants. It is going to spread first in the continent here, Latin American, South American, likely to the U.S. and Europe, and Asia, too.

SOARES (voice-over): So now, he says the world needs to challenge the Brazilian government of its failure to contain the virus.

Back in Porto Alegre, Barboza says for that to happen, the political (inaudible) must come to an end.


BARBOZA (translation on-screen): It's very sad for me being a part of the political class to see that. It's not the moment for that. Myself, for example, I would of course trade away my mandate for my father-in- law's life.

SOARES (voice-over): Isa Soares, CNN.


HOLMES (on camera): And joining me now from Oxford, England is infectious disease and global health expert Dr. Peter Drobac. Good to see you, doctor. Looking back, I guess, on what is a blink anniversary, lessons are often not hidden (ph). But what lessons do you think have been learned for next time because surely there will be a next time?

PETER DROBAC, INFECTIOUS DISEASE AND GLOBAL HEALTH EXPERT: Absolutely. Thank you for having me, Michael. I think the first lesson is that we live in an age of pandemics. We are in an interconnected world and the next, you know, pandemic threat can come from anywhere at any time.

And so the big lesson is that we were not prepared. If you think about where we were a year ago now as the virus is really taking hold in Europe, in America, et cetera, we were not up to the challenge.

Those countries that had experienced SARS and had public health systems in place were able to respond quickly here. I am talking Japan, South Korea, Singapore, et cetera. So we need mechanisms within countries and across countries to be prepared for the next pandemic.

And the second big lesson is that global threats require global cooperation. On the political side, we haven't seen so much of that. On the scientific side, there has been extraordinary cooperation and that, of course, has been the big success story of the last year.

HOLMES: Globally, and we've reporting this, too, that the one nation that really stands out for the wrong reason, Brazil, 2,000 COVID- related deaths in a single day for the first time. I mean, there are reports of people who had COVID being re-infected with the country's variant.

That is fixed to the issue of the risk to even the vaccinated world that when spread is uncontrolled, it leads to more mutations which could then evade the vaccines and that affects everyone. So, how important is it that wealthy nations share the vaccine?

DROBAC: You are exactly right, Michael. A threat to, you know, health anywhere is a threat to health everywhere. And beyond the rolling tragedy for the people of Brazil right now, you know, this is -- this is a threat to all of us. It is a perfect storm in a way. Every time the virus replicates is an opportunity for a new mutation that could contribute to a new variant. We know that one of the things contributing to the spike right now apart from the (INAUDIBLE) incompetence of the Brazilian government's response has been the spread of this P1 variant which is more transmissible and seems to be able to evade natural immunity. So we are seeing people who have had COVID in the past getting re-infected.

So this variant continues to spread. That could threaten our vaccination program. We also have to remember, it may not be the last variant that we see. You know, this is happening as we speak. The combination of a few people being vaccinated and uncontrolled spread of the rest of the population is a perfect recipe for the emergence of new variants.

HOLMES: Absolutely. That is a big worry. One year in -- we do have to acknowledge that we have quite a selection of the vaccines. I mean, I guess it is important to note the momentous aspect of that achievement.

DROBAC: Absolutely. If you would asked me a year ago, we would be in this place, having several safe and effective vaccines and having also seen to rolled out to tens of millions of people around the world, you know, it wouldn't been hard to fathom at that time.

This is such an extraordinary accomplishment. It is a testament to the power of scientific innovation and also scientific cooperation. It is so extraordinary that it gives us a reason for hope and a light at the end of the tunnel.

We still have a long ways to go and, of course, our real concern is that we are seeing almost all the vaccines have been hoarded out by wealthy countries. And as we just talked about with Brazil, it is important that we have a strategy for equity to vaccinate the world.

HOLMES: Absolutely. Real quick, if you can, just speak to, you know, as people are getting vaccinated, there is some light at the end of the tunnel. It is important that the ball is not dropped. I mean, not everyone is vaccinated, thousands of deaths in the U.S., as we said 2,000 in Brazil, the variants and so on. It is not the time to think it is over, right?

DROBAC: That's right. In fact, it is a very critical and almost a dangerous period. It is a time not to let down our guard because the bulk of population almost everywhere is still susceptible to the virus.

There is still the threat of new variants. So what we need to do is we hope and we accelerate the vaccination campaign just as happening in the U.S. We need to really double down on all of the other public health measures, individual and as a society, to prevent the spread of this virus.

HOLMES: Dr. Peter Drobac in Oxford, England, always a pleasure. Thank you, doctor.

DROBAC: Thank you.

HOLMES: An exclusive CNN investigation in Yemen is drawing reaction from Saudi Arabia.


HOLMES: How the kingdom says it is working to end the fighting and the famine since then.

Plus, as security forces in Myanmar continue their brutal crackdowns on protesters, the country's different ethnic groups are finding common cause. We will talk about that with Kristie Lu Stout when we come back.


HOLMES (on camera): Welcome back. Yemen is on the verge of the -- quote -- "biggest famine in modern history," and the head of the World Food Programme says that the Saudi-led coalition must lift its blockade.

An exclusive investigation from CNN's Nima Elbagir and her crew found children starving and dying in hospitals in the port city of Hodeidah, and famine has gripped parts of the country as food and fuel run out.

The U.N. report says more than 20 million people are in need, more than half are in acute need, and four million others are being forced from their homes.


DAVID BEASLEY, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, WORLD FOOD PROGRAMME: Around 400,000 children may die in Yemen this year without urgent intervention. That is roughly (INAUDIBLE) every 75 seconds. So while we're sitting here, every minute, a quarter, a child is dying. And to end all of their misery, the innocent people of Yemen have to deal with a fuel blockage, a fuel blockade.

For example, most hospitals only had electricity in their intensive care units because fuel reserves are so low. I know this first-hand because I walked in the hospital. And the lights were off, electricity was off. The people of Yemen deserve our help. That blockade must be lifted as a humanitarian aid. Otherwise, millions more will spiral into crisis.


HOLMES (on camera): It is extraordinary. Saudi Arabia is responding to CNN's exclusive investigation. Its U.N. ambassador says the kingdom is looking for a political solution in Yemen while the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels continue to attack.


PRINCE ABDULLAH BIN KHALED BIN SULTAN AL SAUD, SAUDI AMBASSADOR TO U.N.: Saudi Arabia has always looked for political solution in Yemen. Saudi Arabia is committed to the ceasefire, the past year. Unfortunately, the Houthis have not. They have launched dozens of ballistic missiles and drones in the past month. This is not the act of any party that wants a ceasefire or that wants peace.


HOLMES (on camera): Of course, Houthi leaders tell a very different story. They blame the U.S.-backed Saudi-led coalition for the suffering and the starvation.

At least 80 civilians have been killed by security forces in Myanmar since last month coup. That is according to the U.N. A Burmese human rights group says at least 12 protesters were killed on Thursday alone.


HOLMES: The U.N. special rapporteur in Myanmar says it is part of the military's concerted effort to wipe out (INAUDIBLE) by force, saying the brutal crackdowns likely made the legal definition of crimes against humanity.

Paula Hancocks is live for us in Seoul to talk more about this. And Paula, more than 130 distinct ethnic groups in Myanmar, unity is rare, but this coup seems to have brought them together.

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on camera): That is right, Michael. They seemed to have a common enemy now in the military itself. The source of things that we're seeing on the streets of the cities now, those particular troops who are known for having carried out atrocities in the ethnic areas, they are now in the likes of Yangon and they are using excessive force against protesters. So there really is a sense of unity that hasn't been felt in years in Myanmar because of this common enemy.


HANCOCKS (voice-over): Villages flee their homes in the mountains of (INAUDIBLE) State, saying Myanmar's military is attacking. Violence and oppression from the army are many ethnic groups across Myanmar have faced for decades.

Sheltering in the jungle, the displaced rely on humanitarian groups for food and medicine. Children continue their schooling wherever they can. Aid group Free Burma Rangers believes some 6,000 people are currently unable to return home in this one state alone.

DAVE EUBANKS, FREE BURMA RANGERS: The coup, evidently, was well planned beforehand, and we saw the pressure began to build in the ethnic areas here in December, last year, and then January, and then after the coup even more.

HANCOCKS (voice-over): Ethnic groups on self-determination. The military has been accused of carrying out atrocities against them, most recently against the Muslim Rohingya in Rakhine State in 2017. The military generals have stand accused of genocide at the international court of justice, an accusation they and (INAUDIBLE) civilian government denied. The one thing the coup has achieved (INAUDIBLE) a nationwide ceasefire signed in 2015 could not entirely ethnic unity. With 135 different official groups in the 70-year long civil war, solidarity between ethnic groups and with those in the cities has until now been scarce. Groups said the ceasefire with the military if off and they stand firmly behind the anti-coup protesters.

LIAN HMUNG SAKHONG, CHAIRMAN, ETHNIC NATIONAL COUNCIL: I think this is the time we are so united, ethnic groups and the people, the whole country, the whole nation for democracy, for equality, for federal peace. The people are very much aware of that. They don't want to go back to military rule. They have suffered long enough.

HANCOCKS (voice-over): Two thousand teachers and students in the (INAUDIBLE) State protested earlier this week, escorted and protected by the ethnic armed forces, the KNU. Last month, before security forces increase the level of force used against protesters, a member of an ethnic group gathered in Yangon showing solidarity with the civil disobedience movement.

This protester says, we have been protesting against the military dictatorship for well over 70 years. We are not just starting now. It is important to be here as we don't know how long it might last.

The protests in the cities may seem a world away from the displaced in the jungles, but the desire for democracy and hatred of the military runs throughout.


HANCOCKS (on camera): A head of the humanitarian aid group that I spoke to also said that he had met an elderly woman in one of these villages who had lost (INAUDIBLE) of the amount of time that she had to flee her village over recent decades because the military was shelling them.

And now, of course, these groups are seeing what has happened to them for so many years, happening to protesters in the cities as well, and that is bringing a unity that hasn't been seen for a long time. Michael?

HOLMES: All right. Paula Hancocks, there in Seoul, appreciate it.

Now, Washington has strongly criticized China's move to change Hong Kong's electoral system by reducing democratic representation and promoting pro-Beijing candidates. The State Department calls it a -- quote -- "direct attack on Hong Kong's autonomy."

CNN's Kristie Lu Stout joins me now from Hong Kong to talk about this and more. Let's start with the U.S. hitting back on China's latest move on Hong Kong.

KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, and we should be expecting this, right? You know, the decision was rubberstamp on Thursday and as if on cue, the U.S. has slammed it. Overnight, we heard from the U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price, calling this electoral reform change imposed in Hong Bong by Beijing -- that was passed by the National People's Congress on Thursday -- as a direct attack on Hong Kong's autonomy, its freedoms, and its democratic processes.

On Thursday, the NPC passed the resolution. We learned a little bit more details about it after it passed yesterday.


LU STOUT (on camera): As expected, the election committee, the usually pro-Beijing body that selects the chief executive or top leader in Hong Kong, that will be expanded, but we also learned that a special vetting committee will be set up. That will screen for candidates for the election committee, for the chief executive, as well as members of the legislative council or the parliament here in Hong Kong.

When the announcement was made, the chief executive of Hong Kong, Carrie Lam, hailed the move. She said that the electoral reform plan will be implemented. Any existing electoral loopholes will be plugged. She also said that the plan would be very helpful in order to deal with and just screen out harmful elements in the opposition. I want you take a listen to this.


CARRIE LAM, HONG KONG CHIEF EXECUTIVE: They are trying to politicize everything that we put through the legislative council. And by advocating and promoting this anti mainland, anti-government sentiment or even inviting external forces to impose sanctions on Hong Kong, which is not hurting the government alone, it is hurting the people of Hong Kong.


LU STOUT (on camera): Of course, mainland Chinese officials backed that view. They say this electoral reform plan that allows patriots to run Hong Kong will strengthen Hong Kong. Critics and pro-democracy advocates say that this is a major step backwards for democracy in the territory. Michael?

HOLMES: I wanted to ask you about this quad summit, as it is being called. Tell us about that. And also, China is not happy and all of this comes as all four of those countries have heightened tensions with China over a variety of issues.

LU STOUT: Yeah, the four countries being the U.S., Australia, Japan, and India. Earlier today, the prime minister of Australia was asked whether or not the upcoming virtual quad summit, which the leaders of all these countries will be meeting, 8:30 a.m. Eastern time on Friday, he was asked whether China should be concerned. And he said, no, China shouldn't be concerned because the quad is an anchor for peace and stability in the Asia Pacific region. But, look, historically, you know, the quad was set up with the intent to counter an increasingly assertive China in the region. It is interesting that early indicators show that today -- the meeting that will take place will focus on non-China topics. You know, they are going to focus on climate change, on coronavirus vaccine manufacturing and rollout, as well as trade.

But the fact that these four countries are meeting and they have very frayed relations with China right now, as the leaders of these four nations who will be meeting via video chat later today, that is sending a signal that this isn't escalation aimed at China.

We have been looking at comments in state-run media. We will bring up something that we saw in the Global Time op-ed section recently, saying this -- quote -- "days before the meeting, Japan, India, and Australia couldn't help but again hype the China threat."

It goes on to say that the quad is not an alliance of like-minded countries as the U.S. claims. The three countries other than the U.S. would probably take a tactic of coordinating with the U.S. in narratives while sticking to their own approaches on China.

That is actually amid a criticism that we are hearing in the west as well. What will the quad meeting actually accomplish? Is this just going to be a top shop between these four leaders who have four very different interests or will this be a united front to counter an increasingly assertive China? Michael?

HOLMES (on camera): All right. Great analysis. Thank you. Kristie Lu stout there in Hong Kong for us.

We are going to take a quick break. When we come back, how Prince William's comments following his brother's bombshell interview are resonating.


I think my reaction was, still -- are we here still?

HOLMES (voice-over): We will take a look at how Black Britons are handling the accusations of racism in the palace. Plus, we will have a live report from Anna Stewart in Windsor. We will be right back.




HOLMES: Welcome back. Prince William has now made his first public comment since those explosive Oprah Winfrey interview with his brother Prince Harry and sister-in-law, Meghan.


REPORTER: Sir, have you both - have you spoken to your brother since the interview?

PRINCE WILLIAM: No, I haven't spoken to him yet but I will do.

REPORTER: And can you just let me know is the royal family a racist family, Sir.

WILLIAM: No, we're very much not a racist family.


HOLMES: Now during the interview, Meghan claimed that a senior royal had made a racist comment about her son during her pregnancy. She didn't say who it was, only that it wasn't the Queen or Prince Philip.

CNN's Anna Stewart joins us now live from Windsor and Ana, I mean, I guess it's almost surreal that the heir to the throne is in a situation where he publicly has to say, we are not a racist family. How's it all being seen there?

ANNA STEWART, CNN REPORTER: Actually extraordinary, isn't it? And also, just the fact that this actually happened. I mean, I've been on plenty of these official royal visits is pretty strict protocol. It's all masterminded by the palace. And if you're on the royal route, you can't actually speak about it till it's all over.

You don't generally lob questions at them as the royal family and they don't answer them. Clearly in this case, you know, the journalist but he couldn't not ask. And Prince William felt he couldn't ignore it, he couldn't not answer.

So really quite extraordinary. And then you've got to consider that earlier this week. We had that statement from the palace from the Queen herself. And it made really clear that this this issue, all the issues raised in the interview would be taken privately. They wanted to discuss it as a family. Earlier in the week, Prince Charles was asked a similar question.

Also one of these sort of official royal visits. He dodged it. So here you start to wonder is the palace PR machine breaking down? Has Prince William surprised Buckingham Palace by doing this? And also by answering this question, and I can see why he wanted to answer it.

Unfortunately, I suspect he will just invite more questions, Michael.

HOLMES: Yes, how is the whole issue sparked debate on race more generally there in the UK?

STWEART: It's really lit a fire under the issue of racism in the UK, not at least within the UK media, which is one of the main points Harry and Megan made in that interview. Straight after the interview, lots of people sort of tried to look and point out that maybe there weren't as many overt racist headlines in this press, as might have been suggested by that interview, which totally ignored of course, covert racism, unconscious bias.

On Monday, a body that actually represents UK media came out with a statement that said, the UK media is not bigoted. That was their headline. And of course, plenty people in the UK media simply didn't agree.

250 journalists of palace signed a letter against it. And despite them trying to walk that bat, the executive director resigned. So this issue of racism is a big debate here in the UK and it is having an impact, Michael.

HOLMES: Yes and maybe some good out of it. Anna Stewart live from Windsor. We'll be checking in with Anna next hour as well. Appreciate it. And as the UK deals with the fallout from that interview, many black Britons are feeling hurt and isolated. CNN Salma Abdelaziz has this story.


SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It was the moment that gave hope to black Britain.

KAREN GIBSON, CONDUCTOR, THE KINGDOM CHOIR: And it felt like everything had changed. What was it, two hours.

ABDELAZIZ: Karen Gibson was one of the stars of the royal wedding. Her choirs moving performance showed Britain's diversity. That day, her heart was full of joy for the couple. But after watching their interview with Oprah, she shares their pain.

GIBSON: I think my reaction was still, we're still in 2021.

ABDELAZIZ: Meghan accused some in the British press of racism in their coverage of her. Karen and others believe this is true.


PIERS MORGAN, UK JOURNALIST: Which is exactly the thing you accuse me of doing.


MORGAN: You've got something to say about the interview.

ABDELAZIZ: Shola Mos-Shogbamimu whose heated exchange with TV host Piers Morgan went viral after he questioned Megan's truthfulness says the lack of diversity in the media has created mistrust.

MOS-SHOGBAMIMU: I cannot waste my energy on those who are still on the ABCs, 123s, Do-re-mis of racism. If the media is going to change your words, change the tone of your words, how are you going to trust them with your most valuable asset, which is your voice?

ABDELAZIZ: Away from the overwhelmingly white institution, the British press, Zeze Mills has carved out her own space.

ZEZE MILLS, CULTURAL COMMENTATOR: So welcome back to The Zeze Mills show.

ABDELAZIZ: Her weekly Instagram show speaks to an audience of nearly 120,000 on cultural and political issues.

MILLS: Our voices are going to be heard now. And if it's uncomfortable for you, then tough luck.

ABDELAZIZ: Meghan's comments on her palace experience resonate on Britain's streets.

MILLS: They always kind of gaslight you and come up with another reason as to why it might not be racism or maybe they just don't like or maybe it has nothing to do with that.

ABDELAZIZ: But exposing systemic inequality is only step one.

MILLS: The racism is too deep, you know, is too deep for one person to come in and almost change all of that. But I think that this interview has - will spark a lot of change.

ABDELAZIZ: Buckingham Palace said in a statement that the issues raised particularly that of race are concerning. But for the UK black community, Markle's account is yet more confirmation that institutional racism still exists. Now the country needs to find a way forward. Salma Abdelaziz, CNN, London.


HOLMES: And for more news about the British royal family do drop in on our website. We actually now have a weekly newsletter And still to come here on the program.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When Broadway reopens, it will send a national and international signal to the world that the pandemic has been beat.


HOLMES: We'll have a report from New York's Great White Way.


HOLMES: Broadway was among the first entertainment districts to close and it will likely be among the last to reopen. One year after the curtains came down, New York theaters are eyeing an eventual comeback CNN's Richard Quest reports.


RICHARD QUEST, CNN EDITOR-AT-LARGE: When they closed the theaters in March of last year, no one really expected they would be shut for so long.


But now as the anniversary passes and with no date in sight for reopening Broadway and all the theaters around 42nd Street, it's as if time has stood still. GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D) NEW YORK: Maybe by Easter, maybe by May, maybe

by June. Broadway thinks June. Broadway is a very important part of our economy. I get it. It's a lot of jobs. It's a big economic engine. But how can you say that?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're going to work with Broadway we're going to see if there's a way but health and safety first.

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): The Phantom of COVID has hit Broadway, maybe the hardest of all the live venues in America.

QUEST: Coronavirus hit New York early and hit it hard. It had halted the spectacular long run of hit shows like Wicked and scuppered new productions such as Moulin Rouge, which recently made its debut hoping to form its way into the Great American Songbook.

All told, an estimated 97,000 jobs are suddenly gone. Philip Birsh, the CEO of Playbill says this created a lost generation of talent on Broadway.

PHILIP BIRSH, CEO & PRESIDENT, PLAYBILL INC: There is no one working in these theater except the maintenance people keep maintaining them and keeping them ready to reopen but Broadway is in complete ice.

QUEST: And how are they surviving?

BIRSH: Some are not I think that there's probably a whole swath of people who are now leaving New York. They're back in their parents basements, and patiently waiting for Broadway to reopen.

QUEST: The Pandemic tamped out a Broadway that was booming. Ticket sales had never been higher. Now these theaters are figuring out how to reopen safely, economically. Economically, can you open these theaters and can you have productions with 30 percent capacity?

BIRSH: It's not possible. Broadway is a very low margin business on many levels. It is very expensive, very labor intensive, very talented people, will have to be paid well. Broadway will open at 100 percent or it probably will not be able to open at all.

QUEST: Anne sings the sun will come out tomorrow. And Philip Birsh says you can bet your bottom dollar that theaters in New York will thrive once again.

BIRSH: Broadway is the heart of New York City. And when Broadway reopens, it will send a national and international signal to the world that the Pandemic has been beat.

QUEST: As the world's light switch on one jab at a time, Broadway remains dark for some months to come. But eventually, these lights will be switched on returning Broadway to its proper place as the great white way. Richard Quest, CNN, Broadway.


HOLMES: Thanks for spending part of your day with me. I'm Michael Holmes. Follow me on twitter @holmescnn. World Sport coming your way next. I'll see you in about 15 minutes.