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CNN NEWSROOM

WHO: Global Cases Rise for Sixth Straight Week; Canada Facing "Very Serious" Third Wave; WHO: Benefits of AstraZeneca Vaccine Outweigh Risks; India Reports Biggest Jump in COVID-19 Cases; Russia Denies Navalny's Health Is at Risk; U.S. and Iran's Indirect Talks to Revive Nuclear Deal Inconclusive; Doctors Still Looking for Best COVID-19 Treatment; Customers Watch Chauvin Trial at Cup Foods. Aired 2-2:45a ET

Aired April 7, 2021 - 02:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[02:00:00]

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PAULA NEWTON, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Hello and welcome to our viewers joining from all around the world. I'm Paula Newton at CNN Center in Atlanta.

Coming up on CNN NEWSROOM, another setback to Europe's vaccination program. AstraZeneca pauses its pediatric trials in the U.K.

Warnings from health officials in India: do not let your guard down. The country just reported its highest daily increase in COVID-19 cases.

And as the world watches the trial of Derek Chauvin, community members in the neighborhood where George Floyd was killed tell CNN their lives have been changed forever.

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NEWTON: Sobering words from the World Health Organization, saying global coronavirus cases are now up for the sixth consecutive week. More than 4 million new cases have been reported worldwide over the past week, with Argentina and Bangladesh reporting record infections.

South Korea saw the largest one-day jump since early January. Meantime, southeast Asian countries, including India, are seeing the highest increase in cases and a 46 percent surge in deaths.

In the United States, health experts are warning that relaxed COVID restrictions will lead to more cases. California, in the meantime, plans to fully reopen activities and businesses starting June 15th. Miami Beach has lifted the 8 pm weekend curfew.

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DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF COVID-19 MEDICAL ADVISER: This issue of the variants that have now become dominant, particularly the B.1.1.7 variant from the U.K., all of these can be handled if we just stick for a bit longer with the full court press on the mitigation.

We will be able to pull back for sure as we get more and more people vaccinated. We don't want to be too premature and saying we can go ahead and just let it fly, no more masks, don't worry about congregate settings. That would be a mistake.

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NEWTON: The variant first linked to Brazil is fueling a huge wave of cases and deaths in that country. The World Health Organization says Brazil now has the highest weekly death toll in the Americas.

This is extraordinary. On Tuesday alone it reported nearly 4,200 people dead, a new national record. Nearly 1,400 of them came from Sao Paulo, the worst hit state in the country. The intensive care units are now more than 90 percent full. Unfortunately, they are on the verge of collapse.

To France now, they're hoping more than 3 weeks of lockdown and an accelerated vaccination campaign can bring the latest wave of infections under control. More than 30,000 people are hospitalized, the highest rate since November.

This is staggering. Intensive care numbers have surpassed last April's peak. The country is now administering vaccines in a national stadium near Paris.

Vaccination rates are rising quickly around the world. But the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine has now hit another roadblock. Salma Abdelaziz explains.

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SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN PRODUCER: Oxford University has paused the trials of the vaccine in children pending investigation by the U.K. medicines regulator, one of the members of the Oxford University tribe saying there is no concerns about the trial itself but that they are awaiting the review from the U.K. medicines regulator.

Now the Oxford University AstraZeneca vaccine has been a matter of controversy between the E.U. and the U.K., with some nations in the E.U., banning its use in certain age groups. This all comes down to concerns, that there may be links between the blood clots, severe blood clots in rare cases. And this Oxford University and AstraZeneca vaccine.

Just a few days ago the U.K. confirmed that there had been 30 people out of 18 million vaccinated up to March 24th that had exhibited signs of these blood clots. Unfortunately, seven people died, that was what was confirmed by health officials to local. Media

Also the Europeans medicines agency was investigating this. They said that there is a possible but not proven link.

[02:05:00] ABDELAZIZ: So all of this ramping up now, but again Oxford University saying there are no concerns about the trial among children, a few hundred, children, who are part of this trial. There is no concerns about the trial themselves but they are awaiting review from the U.K. right now -- Salma Abdelaziz, CNN, London.

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NEWTON: You heard Salma there talk about the news we are waiting for. We are expecting an announcement from the European Medicines Agency about the latest review of the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine. Meantime, the World Health Organization's regulatory director repeated what experts keep telling us. The vaccine is safe.

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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For the time, being there is no evidence that the benefit risk assessment for the vaccine needs to be changed. And we know from the data coming from countries like the U.K. and others that the benefits are really important in terms of reduction of the mortality, of populations that have been vaccinated.

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NEWTON: To be clear, that doesn't mean there isn't a link. AstraZeneca says the incidence is lower in people who got the vaccine than in the general population.

In Japan now, that country is worried about COVID variants possibly driving a fourth wave of infections. It comes as preparations for the Tokyo Olympics are now in full swing. The torch relay passed through the prefecture but Osaka's governor asked that it be rerouted around his city. Blake Essig is in Tokyo now.

Great to see you, especially as Japan continues to cope with the increase in cases. It barely has a vaccine campaign underway right now.

What do officials say about this very troubling fourth wave?

BLAKE ESSIG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Paula, to put things into perspective vaccine wise, 0.2 percent of the Japanese population has been vaccinated to this point. That compares to 20 percent of Americans who have been fully vaccinated.

When it comes to vaccines, Japan has a long way to go, a very slow rollout, which has played a role in part as to why we are seeing a potential fourth wave here in Japan. Japanese health officials are concerned that more infectious variants are likely the cause this recent increase in case counts around the country.

Of course, two weeks ago, the state of emergency was lifted. Since then, the weather has been great. Cherry blossoms have been blooming. People have been out. The case count across the country in 39 of the 47 prefectures has increased. A number of factors all playing a role into why Japan seems to be moving in a direction of a fourth wave. NEWTON: Troubling for sure and the Olympics are set to start in less

than four months.

Are some wondering, is this the worst possible time to be trying to host the Olympics?

You see the countdown clock right there.

ESSIG: The Olympics, prior to this potential fourth wave, were already deeply unpopular. There was a scandal of more than $25 billion spent to put the games on and then the pandemic.

A lot of people I've spoken to here in Japan, the biggest concern is the fact that you are going to be bringing potentially tens of thousands, 60,000 people from around 200 countries around the world to Japan. There is no quarantine requirement. Vaccinations are not required.

There is no real plan in place as far as how they are going to keep these athletes safe once they are in the bubble here. That doesn't take into account the officials and support staff, who will be accompanying these athletes.

People are still upset and they feel like the Japanese government is pushing forward with the games at the same time as they are not taking into consideration the general health and well-being of the population here in Japan.

NEWTON: Given the vulnerability of the population without a mass vaccination program in place, we will continue to stay on top of this story. Blake Essig, thank you.

We will go to India now. That country is reporting 116,000 new infections in a single day. In case you are wondering, it's the biggest jump since the beginning of the pandemic. Experts say the second wave is more infectious but less lethal.

The health ministry is warning people not to let their guard down. Several cities and states have imposed new lockdowns and curfews and some are asking the government to lower the age of vaccine eligibility, which is currently 45.

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NEWTON: Vedika Sud is live this hour in New Delhi.

I guess it was predictable; this is what officials had feared.

How much more difficult do they fear it will be to bring the case count down in the coming days and weeks?

VEDIKA SUD, CNN PRODUCER: Good to be with you, Paula. That's an important question you asked. No one has the answer to the question of gatherings, because to this point, India is experiencing the highest 24-hour rise since the pandemic hit the country. You are talking about staggering numbers here. On Tuesday, the health

ministry had a press conference and they said the situation is extremely serious. We see that infections are increasing at a rapid rate but it's not as bad as it was during the first wave last year in India.

Here is what the health ministry had to say about the spike in cases that India is experiencing.

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UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): The pandemic has worsened in the country. There is a serious rise in our COVID-19 cases, like a wave. You have also noticed and written about the fact that, this time, the speed of the spreading infection is faster than that of last year. We should know this.

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SUD: Fifty percent of these cases come from India's richest state. The capital is the city of Mumbai, which is also the financial capital of the country. That's a huge number.

And when it comes to COVID-19 cases, what we also know at this point in time is the central government is sending out special teams to at least three states, which is a cause for concern. They have tried to be assessing the reason behind the uptick in cases.

NEWTON: Vedika Sud, we will continue to follow the story. Appreciate it.

SUD: Thank you.

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NEWTON: It was a day of dramatic testimony in the trial of Derek Chauvin, the police officer accused of killing George Floyd. The police instructor who trained Chauvin in use of force restraints told the jury that officers in service are not trained in leg neck restraints. Josh Campbell has the details.

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JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): One by one, veteran members of the Minneapolis Police Department took the stand. Each part of the department's training force.

Today's testimony added to the chorus of police department witnesses, including the Chief who have said Derek Chauvin's use of a knee on George Floyd's neck was not part of their training.

STEVE SCHLEICHER, PROSECUTOR: Would it be appropriate and within training to hold a subject in that prone restrained position with a knee on the neck and a knee on the back for an extended period of time after the subject has stopped offering any resistance?

LT. JOHNNY MERCIL, MINNEAPOLIS POLICE USE-OF-FORCE INSTRUCTOR: No, sir.

SCHLEICHER: Or has lost their pulse?

MERCIL: No, sir.

NICOLE MACKENZIE, MEDICAL SUPPORT COORDINATOR, MINNEAPOLIS POLICE DEPARTMENT: If you don't have a pulse on a person, you'll immediately start CPR.

CAMPBELL (voice-over): But the defense pushed back with this image.

ERIC NELSON, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: This is a specific kind of photograph that demonstrates the placement of a knee as it applies to prone handcuffing. Correct?

MERCIL: Correct.

CAMPBELL (voice-over): While the witnesses emphasized a focus on minimal force and prompt medical care --

SCHLEICHER: How soon should the person be put into the side recovery position?

MERCIL: I would say sooner, the better.

CAMPBELL (voice-over): The defense asserted, rules can be fluid.

NELSON: There is no strict application of every single rule, agreed? Or every single technique.

MERCIL: That is correct.

NELSON: Have you had people say "I can't breathe"?

MERCIL: Yes, sir.

CAMPBELL (voice-over): At times, the witnesses contradicted each other.

NELSON: Have you ever been trained or trained others to say that if a person can talk, they can breathe?

MERCIL: It's been said, yes.

SCHLEICHER: Do you train officers that if a person can talk, it means that they can breathe?

MACKENZIE: No, sir. Just because they're speaking doesn't mean they're breathing adequately.

GEORGE FLOYD, POLICE MURDER VICTIM: I can't breathe.

CAMPBELL (voice-over): And in a trial defined by numerous graphic videos of George Floyd's final moments --

NELSON: You would describe sometimes that the public doesn't understand that police actions can look really bad.

KER YANG, MINNEAPOLIS POLICE CRISIS INTERVENTION COORDINATOR: That's right, I'd say yes.

NELSON: And -- and -- but they still may be lawful, even if they look bad, right?

YANG: Yes, sir.

AL SHARPTON, FOUNDER, NATIONAL ACTION NETWORK: Here we are now in the shadows of a courthouse, praying for justice.

CAMPBELL (voice-over): During the trial's lunch break, George Floyd's family joined the Reverend Al Sharpton outside the courthouse.

[02:15:00]

PHILONISE FLOYD, GEORGE'S BROTHER: After we get the verdict and we get this conviction, we will be able to breathe.

CAMPBELL: We are still early in the trial but Tuesday it was arguably the best day yet for the defense. They were able to elicit some advantageous information from witnesses called by the prosecution, including one officer, who admitted there had been instances where a suspect was saying they were in medical distress or that they couldn't breathe, which later ended up not being the case.

Of course, here in the United States, under the American criminal justice system, all the defense has to do is create doubt in the mind of one person, in order to threaten the prosecution's case -- Josh Campbell, CNN, Minneapolis.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

NEWTON: Iran says the first round of nuclear talks were constructive but officials acknowledge there's a long way to go before agreement with the U.S. can be reached.

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NEWTON: Russia says Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny won't get any special treatment in prison. Any health issues he might have been trying to address will now be addressed according to prison policy.

Navalny has complained of several symptoms, including a fever and bad cough. Human rights group Amnesty International says his life may be in danger. CNN's Matthew Chance has more.

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MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): From inside this grim penal colony where Alexei Navalny is languishing, reports are emerging of the Russian opposition figure's failing health.

The latest from Navalny, unconfirmed by authorities, is he is coughing hard, running a high temperature and has been moved to a sick ward on the prison grounds. A group of sympathetic doctors has even gathered at the gates, demanding access to the jailed Kremlin critic, who has complained of a tuberculosis outbreak behind bars.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am troubled about his health and about what could happen tomorrow with his health. And I understand very clearly about some symptoms that he has now, that it can lead to a very severe condition and even death.

CHANCE (voice-over): But those in power are pushing back on the claims he is at death's door. This closed circuit television footage purports to show Navalny in his prison dorm after complaining of a bad back and lack of sensitivity in his legs.

You can see him walking across the room and chatting to a prison guard, suggesting his poor health may have been exaggerated.

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CHANCE (voice-over): There is also this, broadcast on Russian state media, silent video of Navalny fast asleep in bed, recorded by a prison employee during a prison inspection. The opposition figure has described being woken every hour by guards, tantamount to torture by sleep deprivation, he says.

There has also been extraordinary access granted to this woman, Maria Butina, once a high-profile prisoner in U.S. jail after being convicted of conspiracy to be a foreign agent. Now a reporter on Russian television, comparing Navalny's prison conditions with her own.

"You should spend time in an American jail," she screams. "At least here, it's clean."

It was, of course, Navalny who was taken suddenly ill on a flight from Siberia last year, suspected nerve agent poisoning. Amid concerns of neurological damage, the opposition leader, who was jailed after recovering and returning to Russia in January, says he is on hunger strike until he gets proper medical care.

But Russian officials are showing no sign of relenting. Navalny's wife says she just got this letter from the penal colony, requesting her husband's passport. Without it, the letter says, he cannot be treated in hospital.

Russia's stubborn bureaucracy now threatening the health of its beleaguered opposition leader -- Matthew Chance, CNN, Pokrov, Russia.

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NEWTON: Jordan has banned the publication of any stories, images or social media posts about the rift in the royal family. The conflict is between King Abdullah and his half-brother, former crown prince Hamzah bin Hussein.

It started over the weekend when Hamzah released a video, criticizing Jordan's leadership. Hamzah has since published a letter, pledging allegiance to the king and that was following family mediation.

There has been a surge of social media posts supporting Hamzah, leading the government to ban any online discussion of the royal family's troubles. Ben Wedeman is following the story.

A lot to keep track of, here. Ben, about this publication, clearly the kingdom is afraid of something.

Could the strategy backfire?

BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It probably will, Paula. In fact, this ban is a bit like banning a horse -drawn buggies in the jet age. The fact of the matter is the Jordanian press, it sort of fluctuates between periods of relative freedom and compliance. At the moment, the Jordanian press is fairly well muzzled.

I think the real concern is social media.

But how do you control social media?

That is much more difficult. I have certainly been the source of lots of -- or rather the recipient of lots of interesting information coming out of Jordan. It's very hard to stop that from coming.

This does indicate a nervousness, a nervousness that's not just to do with this case but with the general situation in Jordan. The economy is in shambles; in the last quarter of 2020, unemployment was just a hair shy of 25 percent.

There is much discontent. On the one hand, people saying that it's more important to eat than to speak. But it's very hard in this day and age to stop information from getting out and going around. And it is going around furiously at the moment -- Paula.

NEWTON: And they clearly suspect it can do some damage, which is why they want to try and do everything they can to curtail it. Still more to come out in Jordan in the coming days, Ben, thank you so much. I appreciate the update.

Iran says the latest efforts to revive the 2015 nuclear deal are off to a good start. The country said indirect talks with the U.S. Tuesday were constructive. Another meeting is scheduled for Friday.

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ABBAS ARAGCHI, IRAN'S CHIEF NUCLEAR NEGOTIATOR: We are quite serious. Nobody can question Iran's goodwill. The JCPOA is alive because of Iran and they paid a heavy price for. That our people have suffered. From this sanctions imposed by the United States. Now if they want to come back, they should lift all sanctions at once.

(END VIDEO CLIP) NEWTON: All right, CNN's Fred Pleitgen takes a look at the challenges both countries face.

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FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Talks are underway in the Austrian capital of Vienna to try to salvage the Iran nuclear agreement. The first day of negotiations was described by the Iranian chief negotiator, the deputy foreign minister, as being constructive, according to Iranian state media.

[02:25:00]

PLEITGEN (voice-over): All sides agree making headway is going to be very difficult. A reason is these were not direct talks but indirect talks where negotiators from the United States and Iran not seeing each other face to face.

Instead, the Iranians for the most part are negotiating with the remaining nations in the Iran nuclear agreement and keeping the United States abreast of what progress is being made and what could possibly happen in the not too distant future.

The two sides are still quite far apart as to what exactly they expect from one another. Iranians are saying if the United States wants to return to the Iran nuclear agreement, they must abide by it immediately, meaning immediate sanctions relief.

The U.S., for its part, says, before it will take steps, it wants to see the Iranians come back into compliance with all of the protocols of the Iran nuclear agreement. Only then will there be sanctions relief on the part of the U.S.

There are still deep gulfs between these 2 countries. However, one of the things that they can agree on is they both want to salvage the Iran nuclear agreement and try to move forward from there -- Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Vienna, Austria.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

NEWTON: COVID-19 vaccines are bringing new hope to many but people are still getting sick and dying. Find out what other tools they have on this front lines of the pandemic.

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NEWTON: Global cases of COVID-19 on the rise for a sixth consecutive week according to the World Health Organization. The southeast Asia and the western Pacific areas had the largest increase. Vaccines, of course, a booming hope to many but some countries have a little or no access to them at all. New research finds the variant that arrived in South Africa is showing

increased resistance to two vaccines. Doctors worldwide still looking for the best way to treat patients and save lives. And here's what they have available to them now.

You can see, in the U.S., the FDA approved drugs related to antibodies and anti inflammatory reactions in patients. Some you may recognize like remdesivir. Globally, much the same thing with other targeted treatments.

Let's be clear, most of these drugs are not available to the majority of people who contract COVID-19 around the world, even though they are used in multiple countries around the world.

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NEWTON: Dr. Murtaza Akhter is an emergency room physician, he joins me now from Hershey, Pennsylvania.

I can imagine you are joining me during the end of a very rough day. Outside of the pandemic, we thought we had therapeutics, drugs that could help frontline workers like you and those patients that are severely ill with COVID.

Yet, a year out, what is your assessment?

How much progress has there been?

DR. MURTAZA AKHTER, VALLEYWISE HEALTH MEDICAL CENTER: Yes, thanks for having me, Paula. There are some therapeutics out there. Remdesivir for example has even got FDA approval.

I will say, some of these drugs do help, a monoclonal antibody or an antiviral agent. But in a subset of patients, it only goes so far. So I don't want anybody thinking, hey, listen, we've got a cure. It's absolutely not a cure. The drugs we have are treatments and they can reduce mortality in some cases, especially with the steroids for people who need oxygen.

And the antivirals and monoclonal antibodies can reduce the duration of symptoms. But there are no silver bullets and really the best treatment we have, we have had for a long time, that is not getting COVID-19, either by distancing or wearing masks or getting vaccinated. So we have a lot of great treatments. There just are not new drugs, which are only moderately effective at best.

NEWTON: I hear you. Nothing revolutionary. As hard as you try, especially with these variants, it's difficult, especially for essential workers, to not contract the virus.

In terms of what you hope to see in the months to come and, especially when we start to talk about treatments that are easy to access, inexpensive, is there anything you see on the horizon that would really help?

AKHTER: Plenty of countries have beaten COVID without the vaccine, Taiwan, Singapore, New Zealand, South Korea. By beaten, they still have a few cases but so few that they've effectively beaten it.

It was with a very cheap drug: having a good public health protocols, distancing and masking. And now restaurants are open and they've been having baseball games for many months without the spread of disease.

If you want a cheap drug, avoid indoor, large gatherings and get vaccinated. I know that sounds trite but it's really what we have the best evidence for.

NEWTON: Doctor, we've been let down by so many governments now. If we show some of the drugs being used around the world, a lot of people have not really been misled around the world by their governments. They haven't had a chance to shut down.

Many people have to go to work in really dangerous environments now in order to just make a living. That means they do contract the virus.

Is there nothing you see in the next year or two that you think would help?

Let's say I get a positive test and I can use a nasal spray, an antiviral like for HIV.

AKHTER: The answer is no. If you are a frontline worker, masks go a long way. In particular, N-95 masks can help prevent contracting it, whereas some only prevent spread. If you have a good mask with good seal it can prevent you contracting it.

There's drugs that are antivirals and monoclonal antibodies.

Will it guarantee you get immediately better?

No. I know that's not what people want to hear. People want to hear we have a silver bullet. There is just no silver bullet. I hate to be the Debbie Downer but I need to tell the truth.

NEWTON: We will forgive you for that, given the kind of day you have likely had. Some people have seen that the vaccine is a magic bullet.

What would you say to them about that?

AKHTER: For one thing, that magic was science. So it does seem magical how quickly it was created because this was supposed to take potentially many years. And give credit where credit was due. Remember, a lot of people ask questions like, what's better, BioNTech, Pfizer, Moderna, J&J.

You can talk about effectiveness in terms of how much viral load there is. When it comes to what we care about, severe illness, meaning hospitalizations and/or death, all of those vaccines are at about 100 percent.

There are very few things in life that reach 100 percent. But the vaccines somehow found a way.

NEWTON: All good points you made, Doctor. I appreciate your insights here.

[02:35:00]

NEWTON: Dr. Murtaza Akhter, thank you so much.

AKHTER: Thank you for having me. Stay safe.

NEWTON: How could anyone forget?

It was the store George Floyd went into before he died. How customers at Cup Foods are reacting to the Chauvin trial as they remember the day Floyd died.

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P. FLOYD: My family, we have a faith. It's small as a mustard seed. We are going to get through this. But one thing I can tell you, me and Ms. Gwinn Carr (ph), without the -- we get the verdict and we get this conviction, we will be able to breathe.

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NEWTON: George Floyd's family there. They held a prayer vigil outside the Minneapolis courthouse where Derek Chauvin, the police officer accused of killing Floyd, is on trial. Meanwhile, customers at Cup Foods, the store Floyd was in when police were called, had been watching the trial inside the store.

They told CNN's Sara Sidner that life for them, surprisingly, will never be the same again.

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SARA SIDNER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Few are watching the trial more closely than the folks in the neighborhood where George Floyd took his last breaths.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everybody that comes in takes a look at the trial.

SIDNER (voice-over): Inside Cup Foods, the place where Floyd allegedly paid for cigarettes with a counterfeit $20.00 bill, every day the television is set to the trial of the former officer accused of killing him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the training that you received.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is the training that --

TRACIE COWERS, MINNEAPOLIS RESIDENT: It is sad. It's so sad and it's really sad to watch it in the raw. SIDNER (voice-over): Minneapolis resident, Tracie Cowers came in for her breakfast with her dog, Ador. Cowers reveals what everyone around here already knows. The strongest of emotions are just under the surface here.

One scratch, this time in the form of a question and sorrow flows out.

SIDNER (on camera): How hard is it to watch this trial?

COWERS: It is mind boggling how somebody is here to serve and protect and they are the very ones who harm you. Not all, but some.

SIDNER (voice-over): She says she can't look away even though it hurts to watch.

The store owner say they have received both love and hate, especially after their former cashier testified he was the one who took the alleged fake bill from Floyd.

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CHRISTOPHER MARTIN, WITNESS: The policy was that if you took a counterfeit bill, you'd have to pay for it out of your money, or your paycheck.

SIDNER (voice-over): Christopher Martin, a teenager, tried rectifying it with Floyd. That didn't work and police were called.

Martin now regrets that.

MARTIN: If I would have just not taken the bill, this could have been avoided.

SIDNER (voice-over): The store owner, Mahmoud Abumayyaleh says the store has received dozens of fake bills over time.

MAHMOUD ABUMAYYALEH, OWNER CUP FOODS, MINNEAPOLIS: When employees do take counterfeit bills, part of our training is we tell them that they're going to be responsible to pay for it, just as a deterrent. We've never made an employee pay for a counterfeit bill.

SIDNER (voice-over): The store has also received threats. But most people are sending support via stacks of mail for Christopher Martin and phone calls from all over the country.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (via phone): I just thought I would make a call to you, to see if there was something we could do.

SIDNER (voice-over): We happened to be there during one of those calls.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: His mother has obviously done a wonderful job in raising him and this is what we need to do in society.

SIDNER (on camera): Outside the Cup Foods store, there is not just a memorial to George Floyd anymore, it's more of a community center. There is community gatherings that happen at the former gas station and there's a community garden that all of the people help plant and take care of.

SIDNER (voice-over): On any given day, Jay Webb, a former professional basketball player is in the square planting hope and beauty.

Feet away Floyd took his last breaths last year. Then in March this year, another man's body lay dying outside the store. He was shot and killed by a resident.

Neighbors, business owners and activists are battling back violence and arguing over the barriers that have closed off the streets to traffic to the Square for nearly a year now.

But there is still love and light being shared here.

JAY WEBB, FORMER BASKETBALL PLAYER: This is our response. Do your worst and we'll do our best. This is his. This is his -- every direction, peace and love.

SIDNER: Despite the tension that appears on and off in that neighborhood, Jay Webb summed up the sentiment that he is trying to create there as well as the others who take care of the memorial every single day. He said, "Do your worst and we will do our best" -- Sara Sidner, CNN, Minneapolis.

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NEWTON: Our thanks to Sara there.

Thank you for joining us. I'm Paula Newton. "WORLD SPORT" is up next.