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Nine People Killed in a FedEx Facility; Officer Kim Potter Appeared in Court; Minneapolis Bracing for More Unrest; Thirteen-Year- Old Killed by Police in Chicago; U.S. Responds to Russian Hacking; At Least Eight Killed In Indianapolis, Indiana FedEx Shooting. Europe Surpasses One Million COVID-19 Deaths; Younger Brazilians Dying Of COVID-19 As Variant Spreads; Blinken Visits Afghanistan Amid Troop Withdrawal Announcement; Talks Between Taliban And Afghan Government Have Largely Stalled. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired April 16, 2021 - 03:00   ET



GENAE COOK, SPOKESPERSON, INDIANAPOLIS METROPOLITAN POLICE DEPARTMENT: At the scene with injuries consistent to gunshot wounds. Those aid were pronounced to cease here at the scene.

We have been made aware of multiple other people with injuries, who have been transported to local hospitals, or who have transported themselves to local hospitals. IMPD detectives are working with the Indiana state police detectives gathering information and interviewing not just those people who are here at the scene, but also those who have gone to area hospitals seeking medical treatment.

A family unification center has been established at the Holiday Inn express, 8555, Stansted Drive. Our victims' assistance units and chaplains office are here at the scene and at the family unification center assisting with family members who have shown up to this area.

Right now, I want to make everybody know that people here at the scene are still being interviewed by detectives. So, they may not have an opportunity to contact their family but as soon as they are able to they will.

For any and all information about the situation we are asking that the primary information come from the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department Public Affairs Office. We will be your source for the most accurate and up to date information. You can reach us at impd.publicaffairsoffice -- correction, for information.

Anyone that was here and who left the scene to seek medical treatment or just for safety, we ask that you contact either 262-TIPS and give us your information and anything that you may know or contact or homicide office at 317-327-3475.

It's important to know that emotions are very high here. There are lot of people not just officers but family members who are still arriving and still learning about this incident. This occurred after many went to bed and some are just now waking up to this.

We ask for your continued support for everyone here involved. And we understand that there are a lot of moving parts. And we ask for your patient as we gather the most accurate information and so that information comes to you and you can -- and relate it accurately to everybody else. We don't want to give out information that may hurt somebody.

UNKNOWN: Can you put this moment in perspective? This is a horrific situation eight people dead. Just -- it's tough. This is heartbreaking.

COOK: It is very heartbreaking. And you know, Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, the officers responded, they came in, they went in and they did their job. And a lot of them are trying to face this because this is a sight that no one should ever have to see.

But we, as Indianapolis members, we need to come together. We need to support each other and understand that there are going to be people out there that are going to be emotionally upset and we need to support them regardless of any circumstance. This is a tragedy. But yet, through it all we will come through it with fine (Inaudible).

UNKNOWN: Genae, can you describe the gun?


UNKNOWN: Do you have any information?

COOK: No, I do not have that information right now.


COOK: At this time, it's still early to tell. They are still attempting to identify different people and we may make proper identification at this time.

UNKNOWN: Have any law enforcement officers been injured?

COOK: No, they have not.

UNKNOWN: Can we talk about the people who were injured and going to different hospitals? Can you give us a ballpark at this time? Dozens? Hundreds?

COOK: No. You know, we know for sure that we had four people transported by ambulance, one in critical condition with gunshot injuries consistent with gunshot wounds, we had three others that were transported with various other injuries. And then we had two other people that were here at the scene treated by medical staff and then released from -- by that.

We had multiple other walk-ins to different local hospitals around this area. We have to understand that, you know, we are in Marion County but some of that we are very near to two other counties. And some of them are going to other counties for medical treatment. [03:04:58]

So, this is where we continue to reach out and find out, you know, ask them to call us, let us know, what they saw, what they heard, it's very important that we work together on this.

UNKNOWN: Genae, can you confirm --

COOK: I'm sorry?

UNKNOWN: Hundreds of people work at this facility. Can you tell us whether they remain open or should people report to work? What should people do who are waking up this morning and see all of this images and wondering, what do I do? Do I go to work? Do I stay home? What do I do?

COOK: I think the best thing for them to do is contact their supervisor or other human resources office. This building is going to be closed for a while due to this investigation. This is going to go long into the morning, there are lot of components that detectives need to gather and get the evidence picked up.


UNKNOWN: The shooter are the ninth or the eighth?

COOK: Go ahead, I'm sorry.

UNKNOWN: Can you talk about the bravery of the officers and the first responders and those that, as the shooting was going on, we're helping each other and making sure that people are safe? Can you give us any insight into that? Because my understanding is that officers when they arrived on the scene others did their jobs, but also there were good Samaritans who also help one another just to make sure people were safe.

COOK: You know, I don't have a lot of the independent stories that you are looking for, like I said, detectives are still talking with people. We don't have that information. The officers came in and without second thought they went in to try to help people.

UNKNOWN: Genae, of the eight dead is the gunman part of that number of eight?

COOK: No, he would be the ninth.

UNKNOWN: He would be the ninth. OK.

UNKNOWN: What do you think about the person who was found dead now? My understanding is that he was quickly found by a metro police officer within 17 minutes after the initial shots. Can you tell us anything about that at all? I know it's an investigation and we don't want to get in the way of an ongoing investigation, but can you tell us?

COOK: You know, there are a lot of things that we are trying to gather also, but right now it's too early to give out any preliminary information on that. We are still trying to ascertain the exact reason and, you know, cause for this incident.

UNKNOWN: Can you talk about whether the gunman go in and just start firing and whether in the backstage?

COOK: You know, Courtney (Ph), that's something that we're still trying to figure out. Exactly how, why, what went on, and that's going to be a -- this is going to be an investigation that goes on throughout the day. We are going to brief again. This will our last brief from here at the scene but we will have a press conference later on this morning and we will (Inaudible) the exact type of location.

UNKNOWN: Genae, one more question. We've been seeing mass shootings all over the country (Inaudible). What do we tell the public, again, waking up this morning they are going to see their Twitter feed and (Inaudible) what do we tell the people (Inaudible)? What the heck is going on?

COOK: It's a great question. You know, you have -- you have to look at your own life and say you know, look at the positive things in your own world. And you have to keep going. And you're going to look for a way to support each other. Whether it's your neighbor, the guy down the street, your family member. That's where you have to start at. And you just keep supporting each other, you know. (Inaudible). Thank you.

UNKNOWN: Thank you so much. I appreciate it.

UNKNOWN: Thank you.

MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR (on camera): Indianapolis Police Department there briefing reporters on what we know. And just a recap, this was at a FedEx facility. Eight people shot dead and the shooter himself founded as well. So that's nine dead total.

And difficult to ascertain just how many people were wounded in this incident because the police were saying multiple people were taken to multiple hospitals or took themselves to hospitals, and at least a couple of people were treated at the scene and released.

Meanwhile, family members are being asked to go to a nearby Holiday Inn for more information and family assistance and the like, just a terrible incident at this FedEx facility in Indianapolis.

The Indiana Congressman Andre Carson, he represents the seventh district of Indiana including Indianapolis. Now he tweeted a little bit earlier and he said this. I'm heartbroken by the mass shooting at the FedEx facility here in Indianapolis. I'm praying for all affected by this tragedy. I'm communicating with local authorities to get all details of the attack, and in my office stands ready to help everyone affected any way we can.

Again, eight people dead, the shooter also dead. Multiple people have been wounded at the shooting that has taken place at a FedEx facility in Indianapolis. And we will keep you informed of more developments as they come to hand, another terrible shooting in America. Meanwhile, this was the scene outside of the Brooklyn Center Police

Department in Minnesota a few hours ago where hundreds of protesters gathered for a fifth straight night.


They want justice for Daunte Wright, the 20-year-old killed during a traffic stop on Sunday. Many demonstrators defying as they have in other nights a nighttime curfew. The former officer charged in Wright's death make a brief court appearance on Thursday via Zoom. She is being released on bail. She is charged with second degree manslaughter.

Meanwhile, in nearby Minneapolis, law enforcement preparing for potential unrest once the verdict comes down in the murder trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin. Closing arguments are going to begin on Monday.

CNN's Omar Jimenez with the latest from the courtroom.


JERRY BLACKWELL, PROSECUTING ATTORNEY: Your honor, the state of Minnesota rest.

UNKNOWN: Mr. Nelson, anything further?


OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): The stage is now set for the long-awaited closing arguments in the trial of Derek Chauvin and the longer awaited jury deliberations. Notably, jurors didn't ever hear testimony from Derek Chauvin who until Thursday --

DEREK CHAUVIN, FORMER MINNEAPOLIS POLICE OFFICER: Nope, he's staying put where we've got him.

JIMENEZ: -- was only heard through his comments caught on body camera video presented.

CHAUVIN: Had to hold the guy down, he was a -- he was going crazy. He wouldn't get -- (Inaudible) for the moment -- wouldn't get into the back of the squad.

JIMENEZ: He then confirmed jurors wouldn't hear testimony from him in this trial.

CHAUVIN: I will invoke my fifth amendment privilege today.

JIMENEZ: Outside of Chauvin's decision a lot of court centered on a familiar face. The return of pulmonologist Dr. Martin Tobin who prosecutors used as a rebuttal witnesses to refute that carbon monoxide could've played a role in George Floyd's death. Pointing to a blood oxygen saturation report that showed George Floyd's was at 98 percent when he died.

BLACKWELL: Does that tell us anything whatsoever about what the carbon monoxide content could have been at a maximum?

MARTIN TOBIN, PULMONOLOGY EXPERT: Yes, it does. If the hemoglobin is saturated at 98 percent it tells you all there was for everything else is 2 percent. And so, the maximum amount of carbon monoxide would be 2 percent.

JIMENEZ: Tobin was among more than 40 witnesses that were called in this trial from those steps away from George Floyd on May 25th 2020.

UNKNOWN: Mr. McMillian, do you need a minute?

CHARLES MCMILLIAN, WITNESS: I just feel helpless.

JIMENEZ: To law enforcement experts on the use-of-force that day.

UNKNOWN: Was this a trained Minneapolis Police Department defensive tactics technique?

UNKNOWN: It is not.

BARRY BRODD, DEFENSE USE-OF-FORCE EXPERT: I felt that Derek Chauvin was justified and was acting with objective reasonableness.

JIMENEZ: And doctors on the cause of death.

LINDSEY THOMAS, PROSECUTION WITNESS, FORENSIC PATHOLOGIST: There is no evidence to suggest he would have died that night except for the interactions with law enforcement.

JIMENEZ: Now a process almost a year in the making is just days away. As a dozen jurors have a weekend to prepare for what will be one of the most significant decisions in Minneapolis history.

PETER CAHILL, JUDGE, HENNEPIN COUNTY FOURTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT: If I were you, I would plan for a long and hope for short.


JIMENEZ (on camera): And we're now in the final preparation stages both from a court standpoint but also from a community standpoint as additional fortifications have started to go up.

Thursday, additional razor wires was put up and all five of the Minneapolis police precincts out of an abundance of caution as we get ever closer to the moment of the verdict in a very tense Minneapolis area.

Omar Jimenez, CNN, Minneapolis.

HOLMES: Meanwhile, graphic body camera footage was released on Thursday by Chicago police showing the moments before and after an officer shot and killed 13-year-old Adam Toledo. It happened last month.

Now CNN's Randi Kaye with the latest on the investigation. But a warning the video is obviously disturbing and difficult to watch. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RANDI KAYE, CNN INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER (voice over): It is hard to watch the final moments of a 13-year-old boy's life. The Chicago police officer's body cam appears to show the teenage boy with what police say is a gun in his right hand, turning toward the officer. In less than a second, he is fatally shot, a single bullet to the chest from the officer's gun.

It happened to March 29th. Chicago police say officers were responding to a shots fired call on the cities westside when they say they came upon 13-year-old Adam Toledo and a 21-year-old man walking down an alley, the officer's body cam footage showing Toledo fleeing and the officer pursuing the teenager on foot, yelling at him to stop.

UNKNOWN: Stop. Stop right there now. Hey, show me your (muted) hands. Stop it.

KAYE: What happened next is still under investigation. But police say the body cam video shows Toledo with a gun in his right hand as the officer once again yells for him to stop. As the boy turns around, the officer opens fire.


MAYOR LORI LIGHTFOOT (D), CHICAGO: I've seen no evidence whatsoever that Adam Toledo shot at the police.

KAYE: Police later tweeted out this picture of a gun they say was recovered from the scene. And prosecutors say Toledo's right hand tested positive for gunshot residue. But the family's attorney insisting the boy was not holding a gun when he was shot.

ADEENA WEISS-ORTIZ, TOLEDO FAMILY ATTORNEY: Adam, during his last second of life did not have a gun in his hand. The officer screamed at him, show me your hands, Adam complied, turned around, his hands were empty when he was shot in the chest at the hands of the officer.

KAYE: She later suggested Adam Toledo may have had a gun at some point but tossed it. On the video the unnamed officer who shot the boy immediately calls for an ambulance and tries to render aid. Police say 21-year-old Ruben Roman was with the teenager and is in custody. The charges against him include felony reckless discharge of a firearm and felony endangerment of a child.

Adam Toledo's family first saw the body cam video of the shooting on Tuesday. The boy's mother sobbing as she questioned why anyone would kill her baby. Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot also saw the video before it was released.

LIGHTFOOT: It was excruciating watching the body cam footage. It shows young Adam after he's shot. It's extremely difficult.

KAYE: The boy's family initially asked that the video not be made public right away, but later, attorneys for the family and the Chicago's mayor's office agreed to release the video along with a slow down version of it.

LIGHTFOOT: He is running through an alley. The raw video footage is extraordinarily jumpy. It's really hard to see anything. Providing kind of a slowdown frame by frame opportunity to see what happened is going to be helpful to members of the public.

KAYE: Adam Toledo's mother describes her son as happy. Saying he loved animals, building Legos and playing with Hot Wheels. Now, so many questions about how he ended up dead in a Chicago alley at the hands of police.

Randi Kaye, CNN, Palm Beach, Florida.


HOLMES (on camera): You are watching CNN Newsroom. We'll be right back.



HOLMES (on camera): Continuing to follow that breaking news out of Indianapolis, Indiana where police say at least eight people are dead in a shooting at a FedEx facility. A number of other people were taken to hospitals. A police spokesman says that the gunman is dead, apparently a self-inflicted gunshot wound. And there is no active threat to the community at the moment.

Earlier, a FedEx worker described what he heard while inside that facility as he and a friend were on a break. Have a listen.


TIMOTHY BOILLAT, FEDEX WORKER: We sat down in the back of like this metal smoke shack kind of deal. Literally, I opened my chips, got my sandwich, about to take a bite, he was about to take a bite of his sandwich and we heard two metal -- loud metal clanks at first, because they weren't -- they didn't sound like gunshots at first.

They may because there was, again, there was a loud clank after the first two and then my buddy Levi stood up as he was like, kind of squatting at the bench and then looked over and out into the parking lot. We didn't see anything yet and then we heard three more shots. And then my buddy Levi saw someone running out of the building and then more shots went off. Somebody went behind their car to the trunk and got another -- and got another gun. And then I saw one body on the floor.


HOLMES (on camera): Extraordinary. Turning now to a clear sign from Joe Biden that the biggest threat to the U.S. lies inside the space and not the mountains of Afghanistan. The president carving out a foreign policy marked by new sanctions on Russia aimed at protecting against hackers and election interference. Now this comes as the top U.S. diplomat Antony Blinken made a surprise

visit to Afghanistan one day after the president announced he would pull U.S. troops from the country starting May 1st and they would be out by September.

Mr. Biden meanwhile will welcome Japan's prime minister to the White House later today, a signal to China that the two countries are united in their opposition to recent aggression against Taiwan.

And U.S. climate envoy John Kerry will wrap up meetings in Shanghai on Friday testing China's willingness to cooperate on environmental issues. But those new U.S. sanctions on Russia, well, they are sending a clear message to the Kremlin.

Here is CNN's chief White House correspondent Kaitlan Collins.


KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: President Biden is vowing to hold Russia accountable after four years of slaps on the wrist by President Trump.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I was clear with President Putin, if Russia continues to interfere with our democracy, I'm prepared to take further actions to respond.

COLLINS: The president sanctioning Russia for conducting a major hacking operation against the U.S. and attempting to influence the presidential election.

BIDEN: My bottom line is this. Where there's an interest in the United States to work with Russia, we should and we will. If Russia seeks to violate the interest of the United States, we will respond.

COLLINS: In total, the U.S. sanctioned 32 Russian entities and individuals, expelled 10 Russian diplomats and officially blamed Russia for the SolarWinds cyberattack on federal agencies in the nation's biggest companies. The sanctions also revealed for the first time that a Russian agent who received internal polling data from the Trump campaign passed it along to Russian intelligence services in 2016.

Konstantin Kilimnik was sanctioned today for attempting to help influence the 2020 election on Russia's behalf.


Biden isn't punishing Russia for allegedly putting bounties on U.S. soldiers after officials said they only have low to moderate confidence in the intelligence.

JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: It's challenging to gather this intelligence and this data. This information really puts the burden on Russia.

COLLINS: On the campaign trail Biden criticize former President Trump for not taking action on those same alleged bounties.

BIDEN: He is Putin's puppy. He still refuses to even say anything to Putin about the bounty on the heads of American soldiers.

COLLINS: National security adviser Jake Sullivan said President Biden wanted to take action against Russia without escalating tensions.

JAKE SULLIVAN, U.S. NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISER: His goal is to provide a significant and credible response but not to escalate the situation. He believes that the United States and Russia can have a stable and predictable relationship.

COLLINS: The Kremlin has yet to respond to Biden's invitation for a face-to-face meeting.

PSAKI: The invitation remains open and we believe that it would be a good step forward.

COLLINS: U.S. officials are also keeping an eye on a massive buildup of Russian military on the Ukraine border near the Crimean Peninsula that Russia illegally invaded in 2014.

BIDEN: I strongly urge him to refrain from any military action. Now is the time to de-escalate.


COLLINS (on camera): And in those remarks tonight you saw President Biden reiterate that invitation for President Putin to meet him in Europe for a summit this summer. Of course, that is an invitation that the Kremlin has not responded to yet, and they also haven't responded to the sanctions which the U.S. says they are waiting to see what they will do in retaliation.

Kaitlan Collins, CNN, the White House.

HOLMES: Let's get some reaction to all of this from London with CNN's international diplomatic editor Nic Robertson. Yes, it's interesting, Nic. You know, it's a pretty tough line by President Biden on Russia. What is your analysis of the move and are Biden's concerns share there in the U.K. and Europe?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: They definitely shared. And certainly, Biden has put in a lot of diplomatic effort and this has been his sort of leadership strategy all along with bringing allies into a position of support. You know, his sent his secretary of state here to Europe now twice whose had extensive meeting with E.U. officials and leaders or foreign ministers at least from NATO countries.

So, there's been a real effort from Biden to get alignment from European allies and partners and that's been achieved here. Just yesterday British foreign office called in the Russian ambassador to go through the same point that President Biden had made about cyber hacking, about election interference issues that are as keenly felt here in the U.K. as they are in the U.S. That Russia is a potential and real threat, the military escalation on

the border with Ukraine were part of that. So, there is this sort of lockstep support but Biden is clearly leading the way. European nations, U.K. don't have the same clout clearly in putting sanctions on Russia as President -- as President Biden does.

However, the European Union does have a lot of sanctions on Russia. So how is this going to play out? Look, Biden has built in this diplomatic off-ramp by saying let's get together, it's important we talk face-to-face. That's the only way we can move forward effectively together. He says that President -- President Putin has agreed to that idea that they should meet, that the only way to -- the only way to have an effective relationship is to communicate directly. It will certainly appeal to President Putin.

But there is no love lost between the men. I mean, the Kremlin and Putin have essentially played the image of Biden as old and feeble, wished him good health, an indication that they are not really sure that he would be around for a long time. And you know, as president. And Putin as we know it is effectively now president until 2036. So, he can slow roll his reaction and he can play the long game here.

HOLMES: Yes. Yes, absolutely. Good point. Good to see you, Nic. Nic Roberson in London.

Now we'll take a quick break. When we come back, a serious situation in Europe with coronavirus deaths rising in many countries. We'll go live to Paris for an update.




MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR (on camera): Alright, I we want to update you now on our breaking news. Police say at least eight people have been killed in a shooting at a FedEx facility in Indianapolis, Indiana. An unknown number of wounded are being taken to hospital. A police spokesperson telling us that the gunman is dead as well apparently taking his own life. At the moment no active threat to the community. FedEx says it is aware of the situation and is cooperating with investigators.


OFFICER GENAE COOK, INDIANAPOLIS, METROPOLITAN POLICE DEPARTMENT: For any information that this time is that the alleged shooter has taken his own life here at the scene. After a preliminary search of the grounds inside and out, we have located eight people at the scene with injuries consistent to gunshot wounds. Those eight were pronounced deceased here at the scene. We have been made aware of multiple other people with injuries who had transported to local hospitals or who had transported themselves at a local hospital.

(END VIDEO CLIP) HOLMES (on camera): And as you just heard there at least eight people

dead, a number of others wounded at that shooting at a FedEx facility in Indianapolis, Indiana. Yet another mass shooting in the United States. We will bring you more information as we get it here at CNN.


Now the World Health Organization says Europe has now passed 1 million COVID deaths and official say the situation remains serious despite progress on the vaccine front. Here is how things look across the continent have a look at the map there. You can see deaths spiking in countries like Ireland, France, Poland, also in Norway. France, in fact, has now exceeded 100,000 COVID fatalities on its own.

Paris correspondent Melissa Bell joining us now with more. It's a big milestone, a million COVID deaths. The WHO also talking of what they described as intensive care capacity having been exceeded from all parts of the region meaning Europe. How dire is the situation?

MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Pretty bad. We simply haven't seen figures like the one we now have in terms of the number of COVID-19 patients in ICU, Michael in a year. The peak that we saw when France first tend to its lockdown in much of last year was just over 7,000. We are now at more than 5,900, again, a figure that we haven't seen in a year.

And so that is once again a sign of a healthcare system that is under tremendous strain. And of course, the peak is not yet reached and that's what French authorities tell us. The lockdown -- partial lockdown that was extended to the whole of France recently take some time to have that impact on the number of new cases which in turn within several weeks, has an impact on ICU entries and we are not there yet. So, that is what authorities here had been extremely worried about.

The big difference in this is what the government paints to point out is that now more and more people are getting vaccinated. So, the French Prime Minister has tweeted that 12 million French people have now received at least one dose and now have been vaccinated at least partially. And that of course is more likely to make a difference going forward.

But for the time being, their health care system still under strain. The number of new daily infections still at an average of 30,000 to 40,000 per day, Michael. Which is pretty substantial. And some concern of course that that peak not having been reached. The health care system will remain under strain over the coming days and into next week.

Now there is some light at the end of the tunnel, of course thanks that vaccination strategy says the French government there are able now to look ahead to what steps progressively and little by little they are going to be able to take in terms of reopening the economy. We are now in the third partial lockdown since this all began here in France with a battered economy desperate to reopen. We haven't had restaurants and terraces open now since the end of

October Michael. What the government hopes that, that by the middle of May they will once again be able to open. As perhaps will museums.

HOLMES: Yes. Very worrying but hopefully the vaccines will continue to roll out. Paris correspondent Melissa Bell there for us. Thanks, Melissa.

And we are going to take a quick break, we will be right back.



HOLMES: And another update now on the breaking story out of the United States where police say at least eight people have been killed in a mass shooting at a FedEx facility in Indianapolis, Indiana. Other people have been taken to the hospital.

Police don't know exactly how many were wounded. They said that police -- some people self drove to hospitals others went by emergency service. And some others were actually treated at the scene. And were allowed to leave. The spokesperson said that the gunman is dead apparently a self inflicted gunshot wound.

And just in the last few minutes FedEx has tweeted out among other things saying, safety is our top priority, our thoughts are with all of those who are affected. We are working together more information and cooperating with the authorities. And do stay with us here on CNN for more coverage of this breaking story as information comes to hand.

Now, Brazil just can't seem to get its coronavirus outbreak under control. And more cases will undoubtedly mean more lives lost. MSF, also known as Doctors Without Borders now says, the Brazilian government's response or lack thereof is killing people by the thousands.

Doctor Miguel Nicolelis is with me now from Sau Paulo in Brazil. He is a professor of neurobiology at Duke University. Doctor, good to see you again. Let's start with this. Initially it was believed babies and young children weren't severely impacted by COVID. But official numbers in Brazil say that between February and -- February of 2020 and March of 2021, COVID killed at least 850 of Brazil's children up to the age of 9 and 500 babies. And there's been other research says it could be twice that. What do these numbers suggest to you?

MIGUEL NICOLELIS, PROFESSOR, NEUROBIOLOGY AT DUKE UNIVERSITY (on camera): Well, this has been reported down here in Brazil and is very scary to see the numbers, because these are, you know, 10 times more than the United States and about 20 times more than the U.K. And we are seeing since the beginning of the year that the neo NATO ICUs are getting crowded in several parts of Brazil.

So this corresponds to the reality of what is going on down here where you see more pregnant women being infected and more babies being born already infected by the coronavirus? HOLMES: Worrying numbers. I mean, also for the first time, since the

start of the pandemic the majority of COVID patients in ICUs across Brazil are younger than 40 years old.


That is according to a new report by the Brazilian Association of Intensive Medicine. And also the mortality rate among patients aged 18 to 45 has soared. What does that tell you?

NICOLELIS: Well, things are getting worse for sure. And we have some studies here suggesting that even in Sau Paulo, where you get the best possible health care in Brazil, seven out of 10 patients that get intubated at the ICU will die. This is, you know, 70 percent mortality rate for patients who get intubated which, you know, I never heard in my entire career.

And other parts of Brazil in the northeast, some states in the north in the Amazon region, that number is nine out of 10, which is, you know, you don't even know how to understand that.

HOLMES: That is incredible. I mean, for months in Brazil's death sat at around -- I don't know, it was around 1,000 a day. And then, literally in a manner of weeks, it was 2,000 and then 3,000. Now more than 4,000. Is this a warning for the world?

NICOLELIS: Absolutely. Things are getting out of control and I actually believe that last week we had at least had one day in which Brazil reached 5,000 deaths. Because one of the major states in Brazil did not reported fully the data they got. They reported less than a fifth of the real data.

So, since they got the other data, the day after 500 deaths in the state, we probably crossed close to 4,900 deaths in Brazil at that point. So, that shows you how fast things are getting out of control down here. And that shows that the pandemic in Brazil is probably generating a lot of mutations and variants that could spread out of the country.

HOLMES: Yes. What happens in one country could impact the rest of the world. I wanted to read a couple of things from -- there was a team from the Harvard, school of public health and experts at the University of Sau Paulo and elsewhere. There was a study or report in the journal of science and I will just quote a little bit from it.

It said, in Brazil the federal response has been a dangerous combination of inaction and wrongdoing. In Rio de Janeiro, political chaos compromised the prompt and effective response. It also says the COVID response in Brazil was neither prompt nor equitable. It still isn't and Brazil is currently facing the worst moment of the pandemic. And what does all of that say about the COVID response in Brazil where you are, the leadership?

NICOLELIS: Well, basically the Brazilian leadership, I mean the federal government never took this seriously since the beginning. And they found all sorts of excuses not to act properly and when we had this warning in January saying that Brazil would get into the worse part of the pandemic in two or three months.

All of the epidemiologists in the scientific community in Brazil started recommending a national lockdown to prevent what is happening right now. And the federal government didn't listen to any of us.

So, it's pretty clear they never acted up to the task that they had in front of them to prevent this tragedy that is happening in Brazil. It is unfolding in levels that we never imagine could be possible down here.

HOLMES: It is incredible. It just gets worse and worse every time I speak with you. Dr. Miguel Nicolelis in Sau Paulo, I really appreciate your time and your work.

NICOLELIS: Thank you. Thank you very much.

HOLMES: We'll take a quick break. We'll be right back.



HOLMES (on camera): The U.S. Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken made a surprise visit to Afghanistan on Thursday. This of course coming just one day after President Biden announced plans for U.S. troop withdrawal from the country.

CNN's Nick Paton Walsh with details.


NICK PATON WALSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: U.S. Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken, in Kabul. He said to essentially tell and reassure Afghan officials that the U.S. is not simply not going away from here. The relationship it has with the Afghan government is simply evolving.

Now, I'm sure some of those words may have run hollow in the hearts of Afghan officials fearing would a U.S. military withdrawal could do here by September 11th on the battlefield. But certainly, publicly and that is something which Anthony Blinken said was reflective in private as well.

The reception seemed to sustain the first reaction we got from the Afghan government is President Ashraf Ghani, who tweeted after Joe Biden -- President Joe Biden's speech that they respected the U.S. decision about troop withdrawals and wanted a smooth transition.

That's something here reiterated when meeting Anthony Blinken saying that the Afghan government simply had to adjust its priorities now. And that's pretty a very fine point on it certainly. But Anthony Blinken, full of messages of reassurance, talking about how their relationship would move to a diplomatic and economics sphere as well.

There is a small (inaudible) between the lines readings you could do of Joe Biden speech, suggesting there is still possibility for U.S. military involvement before it departs here. Particularly if it or its Afghan partners or attack by the Taliban.

But Anthony Blinken laid out the two essential notions. Firstly that the idea of keeping behind a large force here to fight a counterterror mission has substantially evolved into other countries into other forms over the past 20 years. Simply didn't make logical sense to the United States.


And also to what's seems to be the key creed behind this Biden administration strategy. That is the Taliban essentially once legitimacy. He said that the Taliban wouldn't really want to use force to try and dominate Afghan society, because it would lose that legitimacy. Some believing that the insurgency after two decades simply wants to have international recognition, if its part of a transitional government like the U.S. peace plan suggests.

And then possibly get international aid if it does indeed gets it hands more on the leaders of power here. But it's an enormous gamble and one the face of the Taliban right appears to entirely contradict. They keep putting out messages saying that they are not interested in the peace talks that the U.S. wants to start on Saturday week in Istanbul. Particularly if foreign forces are still in Afghanistan.

And that in fact was a message reiterated demanding the full withdrawal just before Anthony Blinken gave a press conference here. The Taliban put out a statement saying, that they felt there had to be a full withdrawal and that the U.S. were not doing that by May 1st which was in violation of the agreement signed by the then Trump administration known as the Doha agreement.

They said there could be countermeasures against the Americans and the Americans would only have themselves to blame. That essentially brings to mind the key threat in the months ahead. The violence could pick up, it could be focused on Americans. It could be focused on the Afghan government. It could simply be focused on taking more territory for the Taliban.

But that is a real risk and normal Afghans here run, they see main guarantor of security, now definitively departing and in a possible abyss that the country is edging towards. Diplomacy is where all eyes are now but the Taliban currently saying that is not in their game plan. Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, Kabul, Afghanistan.


HOLMES (on camera): I'm Michael Holmes don't go anywhere. Kim Brunhuber will be here with more CNN Newsroom. And of course the latest on the mass shooting that has killed eight people in Indianapolis. Thanks for being with us.