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CNN NEWSROOM

Sheriff Promises Public Will See Fatal Shooting Video Of Andrew Brown Jr.; U.S. Vaccinations Dip, Experts Fear Vaccine Hesitancy; India Hospitals Facing Severe Oxygen Shortage; U.S. Justice Department To Probe Minneapolis Police Practices; Italy's Vaccine Program Under Fire As Deaths Continue; Armenians Cheer U.S. Designation Of 1915 Massacres A Genocide; Anti-Lockdown Protests In London; Family And Friends Celebrate Life Of DMX; Oscars Team Hoping To Beat Pandemic-Era Slump. Aired 3-4a ET

Aired April 25, 2021 - 03:00   ET

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


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KIM BRUNHUBER, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): COVID-19 cases in the U.S. are going down but we'll tell you why there are concerns about the number of people refusing to get vaccinated.

India has shattered another pandemic record, as hospitals face a shortage that's costing lives.

And President Biden says what happened to Armenians more than 100 years ago was genocide. We're live in Istanbul with a look at how this could further hurt U.S. relations with Turkey.

Live from CNN World Headquarters in Atlanta, welcome to you here in the United States, Canada and around the world. I'm Kim Brunhuber and this is CNN NEWSROOM.

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BRUNHUBER: We begin with signs that the coronavirus vaccine supply in the U.S. may soon outstrip demand. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 93 million people have been fully vaccinated. But over the past few weeks, average daily vaccination rates have started to fall. CNN's Polo Sandoval takes a look at what might be behind the drop.

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POLO SANDOVAL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: As Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 vaccine is cleared to go into arms again, a slight but ongoing drop in overall shots being administered a day, that average number, according to the CDC, dipped below 3 million this week.

The Biden administration attributing it to vaccine hesitancy. It is a trend that the University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation has been closely watching even before J&J's pause. DR. CHRIS MURRAY, DIRECTOR OF THE INSTITUTE FOR HEALTH METRICS AND EVALUATION, UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON: Facebook runs a survey every day and we look at that data on a daily basis and that has shown that vaccine confidence in the U.S. has been slowly, but steadily going down since February.

You know, not by huge amounts like a percentage point a week, but that starts to add up.

SANDOVAL (voice-over): Some of that hesitancy being felt more among Republicans. A Monmouth poll recently showed 43 percent of GOP voters said they will likely never get a COVID vaccine compared to five percent of Democrats.

The head of the CDC said Friday that the government must perform quote, "extraordinary outreach" when it comes to educating clinicians and patients.

DR. LEANA WEN, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: All right, I am getting the injection now.

SANDOVAL (voice-over): Baltimore's former Health Commissioner, Dr. Leana Wen received a J&J dose before the pause. If given the option, she encourages certain women avoid it given the fresh findings about extremely rare blood clots.

WEN: Since there are two other vaccines, Pfizer and Moderna that do not carry this very small risk, I don't think I would have chosen to get the Johnson & Johnson vaccine myself knowing that risk.

And I wish that the CDC and the FDA had gone further in their discussions yesterday to explicitly put a warning for women under the age of 50 to say, if it is available to you, consider choosing one of the other vaccines that do not carry this particular risk.

SANDOVAL (voice-over): The consensus remains the same among health experts, all COVID vaccines authorized for use in the U.S. remains safe and effective.

DR. ABDUL EL-SAYED, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: If you look at the tradeoff here, this is still far better -- it is far better to choose to take the Johnson & Johnson vaccine than to go unvaccinated given what we know about the risks of COVID.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One thousand shots.

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SANDOVAL (voice-over): A local Canadian pharmacy in Toronto celebrated administering its 1,000th vaccination this week, as here in the U.S., efforts at a much larger scale continue amid vaccine hesitancy.

SANDOVAL: Well, here in New York state, about 31 percent of the population already considered fully vaccinated in an effort to try to keep increasing that number, multiple locations and vaccination sites continue to open up, including here in New York City, where the American Natural History Museum is now serving as a mass vaccination site, even offering free admission to the museum as an added incentive -- Polo Sandoval, CNN, New York.

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BRUNHUBER: India has smashed another global record for daily coronavirus cases. On Sunday, officials reported more than 349,000 new infections. It's the fourth consecutive day India has broken the global records. Hospitals across the country are running short of critical supplies, including oxygen. Anna Coren is tracking this from Hong Kong.

The U.S. government says it will deploy support to India to help with this crisis. Looking at the heartbreaking numbers there, it's sorely needed.

ANNA COREN, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: Yes, absolutely. U.S. secretary of state Antony Blinken made that tweet and appealed to the Indian people.

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COREN: Saying that his thoughts were with them and that the United States would do whatever they can to help with this crisis unfolding in real time on the ground.

You mentioned those figures, almost 350,000 daily cases, more than 2,700 deaths. That's the fourth consecutive day of a global record for India. The experts say that these figures are not a true reflection of what is actually happening on the ground.

Crematoriums are working around the clock, the fires burning, the bodies are burning 24-7. It really is staggering, the situation there in India. And we're not just talking about the capital, New Delhi. We're talking right across the country. The

real figure could be two to five times that number, because testing is not ready available in the cities, let alone in rural areas, where it is virtually nonexistent. So the real figures on the ground could be much, much more.

We talk about that acute shortage of oxygen. We've been speaking the last couple of days of that hospital that actually ran out of oxygen and 20 critically ill patients died. The chief of that hospital has told us that he is turning patients away now, unless they're coming with their own oxygen cylinder and that family members can fill up those tanks.

That is how dire the situation is now in hospitals in the capital. You can just imagine how bad it must be in some of those rural areas. And we are hearing reports, it's been documented, of people taking their loved ones to hospitals. They are not allowed inside because they are at full capacity.

People are being turned away. They are dying in the parking lots. I should also note, Kim, that the prime minister, Narendra Modi, has given a monthly address in the last few hours. I want to read some of this. It's the first time he's addressed the second wave.

He says, "COVID-19 is testing our patience and capacity to bear pain. Many of our loved ones have left us in an untimely way. After successfully tackling the first wave, the nation's morale was high, it was confident. But this storm, the second wave, has shaken the nation."

Kim, many would say the government took their eye off the ball; they completely dropped their guard, they beat COVID the first time around, became complacent. There was no preparation, no stockpiling. They allowed life to return to normal, social gatherings, religious festivals and political rallies.

The prime minister himself was at a political rally with thousands of people packed in, listening to him address them. So India is going through a national emergency at this very moment. And the fear is that, until they can get the oxygen, until they can make more room available in these hospitals, more and more people are going to die.

BRUNHUBER: You paint a very bleak picture there, Anna Coren in Hong Kong, thank you.

At least 24 people are dead and dozens more injured after a fire in a Baghdad hospital treating COVID-19 patients. Officials say oxygen tanks exploded, causing the massive blaze.

Video shared on social media shows the chaotic scene as firefighters scramble to get the fire under control. Health care workers tried to evacuate patients from the burning building. Iraq's prime minister is ordering an investigating into the incident.

Switzerland has reported its first case of the double mutant COVID variant identified in India. The person was a passenger at an airport.

In Japan, a new state of emergency goes into effect today in four prefectures, including Tokyo. Japan is in the middle of a fourth wave of the coronavirus. The new restrictions are set to last through May 11th.

Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau received his first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine Friday. According to Canadian health authorities, only about 900,000 people have received two doses of vaccine, about 2.4 percent of the population.

COVID-19 has claimed the lives of more than 119,000 people in Italy. That's the highest number of deaths in the European Union. Hundreds of people continue to die from the virus each day, even though the government started vaccinating people back in December.

Critics say there are serious issues with the country's vaccine program. Delia Gallagher explains.

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DELIA GALLAGHER, CNN VATICAN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Months into Italy's vaccination program, authorities realized something had gone terribly wrong.

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GALLAGHER (voice-over): Despite government recommendations to vaccinate front line health care workers, the elderly in the most vulnerable, some regions in Italy were allowing other people to get their shots first.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): The regions proved sensitive to the lobbies, as we must say, the vaccinated, the magistrates, the lawyers.

GALLAGHER (voice-over): Prime minister Mario Draghi admitted the problem earlier this month and reprimanded the queue jumpers, asking Italians with what conscience could they skip in front of older, more vulnerable people at risk of death.

A researcher for an Italian think tank estimates 6,200 more lives could have been saved from mid January to now if those shots had gone to the elderly. Another complicating factor is that the AstraZeneca vaccine was initially only recommended for people under 55.

It was the perfect storm that left some of Italy's over 60 population stranded, a group that accounts for 95 percent of the deaths, according to Italy's health minister.

Like 63-year-old teacher Roberto Nania (ph), who died of COVID on April 3rd in Tuscany.

OLGA NANIA, ROBERTO'S WIDOW: Then when they started the vaccination for the people of his age, it was over.

GALLAGHER (voice-over): His wife blames Italy's delayed and disorderly vaccination rollout for her husband's death.

NANIA: They killed him, everybody of them, they killed him.

GALLAGHER (voice-over): By the first week of March, the region of Tuscany had only vaccinated about 8 percent of people over 80, prompting a letter of protest from its residents.

NANIA: The organization of all of this, the decision of the government to open the schools without vaccinating. Then the way how they started to vaccinate, for me, they had to start with the elder people, not with the younger ones.

GALLAGHER (voice-over): In March, Prime Minister Draghi brought in a military general to head his COVID 19 commission and clean up the mess. The general issued an ordinance to regions that they must toe the line.

Tuscany has since increased vaccinations for the elderly but the governor of the region of Campania in southern Italy has said he's not going to obey the general orders to vaccinate by age.

NANIA: Do something. GALLAGHER (voice-over): In the meantime, Olga wants justice for mistakes that she thinks could have been avoided.

NANIA: He was brought here.

GALLAGHER (voice-over): For 2 weeks Roberto's (ph) body has lain here in a cement block awaiting cremation, another agonizing delay for an already grieving heart -- Delia Gallagher, CNN, Pistoia, Italy.

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BRUNHUBER: The horrific massacre of Armenians 100 years ago is finally called genocide by an American president. That was welcome news in Armenia. But the Turkish government wasn't happy about it. We'll have a live report from Istanbul.

Plus policing in America: calls for transparency that the Justice Department opens an investigation into police practices in Minneapolis. Details next, stay with us.

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BRUNHUBER: Protesters took to the streets for a fourth straight day in Elizabeth City, North Carolina. They're demanding answers after shot and killed a Black man, Andrew Brown Jr., on Wednesday.

Police were serving an arrest warrant at the time. Witnesses say police shot into his car but no shots came from his car. Radio traffic from emergency responders referred to a gunshot wound in the back. Brown's family want the police to release the body cam footage.

On Saturday, the sheriff released a video on social media, saying that's what he wants, too.

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SHERIFF TOMMY WOOTEN, PASQUOTANK COUNTY, NORTH CAROLINA: Because we want transparency, we want the body camera footage made public. Some people have falsely claimed that my office has the power to do so.

That is not true. Only a judge can release the video. That's why I've asked the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation to confirm for me that the releasing of the video will not undermine their investigation.

Once I get that confirmation, our county will file a motion in court hopefully Monday to have the footage released.

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CURNOW: Seven deputies were placed on administrative leave following the shooting and three others left the department entirely.

In Minnesota, many are welcoming the conviction of Derek Chauvin and a federal investigation into Minneapolis police but there are those who say they don't go far enough and that African Americans are still too often the target of police violence. CNN's Sara Sidner reports from Minneapolis.

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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Find the defendant guilty.

SARA SIDNER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: A day after jury found former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin guilty of murdering George Floyd, the Department of Justice announces it has set its sights on the Minneapolis Police Department.

MERRICK GARLAND, U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL: Today, I am announcing that the Justice Department has opened a civil investigation to determine whether the Minneapolis Police Department engages in a pattern or practice of unconstitutional or unlawful policing.

SIDNER (voice-over): No detail is too small. Officials familiar with the investigation tell CNN one of the items it may look into is a discrepancy between the initial MPD press release, saying Floyd had a medical emergency, and what really happened.

The head of the Minnesota Justice Coalition, Johnathon McClellan, says they've been asking federal officials for a federal patterns and practices investigation for years. While he and several other rights groups welcome it, he says it is terribly unfortunate that it took the slow motion murder of Floyd to propel it forward.

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JOHNATHON MCCLELLAN, MINNESOTA JUSTICE COALITION: This case is significant in the sense that it brought the reality of what Black and Brown people face into the living rooms of America.

This is the same thing that happened when the march happened over the Edmund Pettus Bridge, when that -- the reality of what black people were facing was brought into the living rooms of America. And that spawned a litany of legislation.

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MCCLELLAN: And the same thing needs to happen with this as well.

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SIDNER (voice-over): In a CNN analysis of Minneapolis Police Department data after Floyd's death, the department reported using force on far fewer people but then the use of force spiked late last year and Black people are still subject to the use of force by Minneapolis officers at a highly disproportionate rate.

The analysis found between 2008 and May 25th, 2020, when Chauvin murdered Floyd, 64.6 percent of people who police used force on were Black. Since Floyd's death, 62.6 percent were Black, in a city that's 19 percent Black, according to U.S. Census records.

That comes as no surprise to Toshira Garraway Allen. Allen is the founder of Families Supporting Families against Police Violence.

TOSHIRA GARRAWAY ALLEN, FAMILIES SUPPORTING FAMILIES AGAINST POLICE VIOLENCE: And for every high profile case that you hear about, there's hundreds, there is 100 bodies behind that high profile case.

SIDNER (voice-over): Allen and McClellan their issue with this kind of federal investigation is they wanted to cover more police departments across Minnesota, not just Minneapolis.

ALLEN: The highest, the biggest profile cases in history have come from the state of Minnesota. Philando Castile, Jamar Clark, George Floyd, Daunte Wright, the biggest ones in history have come from this state. So it is clear that it is a problem here in the state of Minnesota.

SIDNER (voice-over): Sara Sidner, CNN, Minneapolis.

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BRUNHUBER: Joining me is Cheryl Dorsey, retired sergeant with the Los Angeles police, the author of "Black and Blue: The Creation of a Social Advocate."

Thanks for joining us. So the DOJ is investigating the Minneapolis Police Department. During the Obama administration, there were about 25 of these types of investigations.

Under the Trump administration, the attorney general issued a directive, discouraging federal oversight of police agencies. Now that policy being reversed.

My question is, do these types of federal probes into local police departments actually lead to improvements?

CHERYL DORSEY, RETIRED LAPD SERGEANT: Well, you know, they may behave during the time that there's a consent decree in place or when agencies understand someone is actually looking over their shoulder.

But by and large, you know, for officers who work patrol, these kinds of measures really do little to deter bad behavior. We know this is true because we see it happening over and over and over again.

My concern is, while they're revving the engine back up, that's great, I appreciate all of that. There's talk of, you know, initiating new policies or procedures and reform.

But what are we going to do about the problems that have been existing for decades, over these 18,000 police departments?

BRUNHUBER: Well, they're trying to get at that in Congress. They're talking about police reform. We've seen bipartisan efforts. But the main sticking point is the issue of holding individual officers more accountable, both criminally -- you hear people referring to 242 -- then civilly, the concept of qualified immunity.

So here we're going to play something that Stacey Plaskett, the Democratic congressional delegate for the U.S. Virgin Islands, said here on CNN.

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REP. STACEY PLASKETT (D-VI): Qualified immunity has, in many instances, become the hood for bad police officers to, in fact, act as modern-day Ku Klux Klan members against Black and Brown people in this country. And it has got to stop.

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BRUNHUBER: Clearly strong words there. Do you agree?

Does any meaningful police reform have to include an end to the laws protecting individual police officers from prosecution?

Is that a deal breaker for you?

DORSEY: Absolutely.

If you're not going to hold the officers accountable, what's the point?

Holding an agency accountable, maybe, is being talked about, rather than having the liability shift to the responsible officer.

If you don't do anything to deter the bad behavior of one officer who may be committing this conduct, how then do you stop that bad behavior?

You have, in Derek Chauvin, an officer who was engaged in obvious misconduct, which led to 22 personnel complaints, only one of which he was ever disciplined for. And so clearly, over his 19-year career, he learned nothing, collecting personnel complaints as if they were gifts from a good friend.

BRUNHUBER: Then the answer for some people, at least, seems to be more training, more training, de-escalation and so on. I've seen some of the training the LAPD, your former department, does on that. I've been out on patrols, where they've used some of these interventions.

But then on the other side, some people argue, the answer isn't more training.

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BRUNHUBER: At the end of the day, generally, police know what to do. It's that, as we saw in the Chauvin case, they go against their training, maybe because they feel that they'll get the cover to do so.

Where do you stand on this concept of, we need more retraining? DORSEY: Absolutely, training is not the issue. We know that officers, by and large, are well trained. And I understand that it varies from department to department, based on resources and funds that are allocated.

But officers absolutely know what to do. They would act -- have us believe that accountability is a four-letter word, something that they just don't want to say.

And so I'm back to, if you don't do anything to deter the bad behavior, how then do we change the problem?

We know that one of the things that was different, in my opinion, in the case of the Derek Chauvin murder trial, is that we had command staff officers testifying truthfully as to the type of training that their officers received.

There's a lot of talk about the blue wall shattering. That was not the blue wall. Those are not patrol officers that were testifying. Those are not folks who are in uniform, in a black and white day to day, who have to worry about retaliation and not getting the adequate backup that you need, should your officer friends be bothered by you speaking truthfully.

These are people who are up in the ivory tower, who haven't seen a police car or a foot pursuit or an assault at the end of a car chase in years.

And so maybe the key is, we need to bring more police chiefs in and ask them, under oath, is this how you train your officers?

Is this what you expect from your patrol officers?

BRUNHUBER: We'll leave it there. Thank you so much for speaking to us, retired police sergeant Cheryl Dorsey. Really appreciate it.

DORSEY: Thank you.

BRUNHUBER: Armenians celebrating the long-awaited recognition of atrocities suffered under the Ottoman empire. Joe Biden's declaration of genocide is the word they've waited to hear from an American president. Why he did it now and what the Turkish government has to say about it.

And next, it could save your life.

Why do so many people in the U.S. say they won't get a COVID vaccine?

We'll explore that coming up.

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BRUNHUBER: Welcome back to all of you watching us here in the United States, Canada and around the world. I'm Kim Brunhuber. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM.

The U.S. government has now formally recognized the mass killings of Armenians during World War I as a genocide. The Turkish government has always rejected that term and summoned the U.S. ambassador to complain.

Turkey is a key NATO ally and past American presidents have always sidestepped the issue. CNN's Joe Johns explains why this U.S. president decided to do it now.

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JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: It's been a long time coming but the American president has now declared, in a statement released over this weekend, that the atrocities that occurred in Turkey 106 years ago, being commemorated this very weekend, were, in fact, genocide. Here's part of that statement.

The president writes, "Each year on this day, we remember the lives of all those who died in the Ottoman era Armenian genocide and recommit ourselves to preventing such an atrocity from ever again occurring."

This recognition has been years in the making. In fact, many American presidents have declined to take such a step out of fear of damaging the strategic relationship between the United States and Turkey. Turkey has also repeatedly denied that there was ever genocide.

So the question is, why did Joe Biden decide to do this at this time?

Number one, there has been a big lobbying effort that's gone on for decades here in the United States to get this recognition to actually happen. Joe Biden used it as part of his campaign promises while he was running for president.

Also, the Biden administration has been working very hard to try to stress the importance of human rights here in the United States.

There's also a tough relationship between the President of the United States and Turkish President Erdogan. In fact, Joe Biden called Erdogan on Friday, indicating to him that he was going to make this statement. Previously the president of the United States has referred to him as an autocrat.

The Turkish government did respond with a long statement. Some of it was muted, however, once again, denying that there was ever a genocide, also suggesting Joe Biden may have had domestic political motivations for putting his statement out.

At the end of the day, the government did promise to maintain dialogue and cooperate with allies. The question going forward is whether there will be any more blowback as a result of this episode -- Joe Johns, CNN, with the president in Wilmington, Delaware. (END VIDEOTAPE)

BRUNHUBER: Los Angeles is home to the largest Armenian community in the U.S.

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BRUNHUBER (voice-over): This was the scene there after President Biden issued the genocide statement. A large crowd assembled near the Turkish consulate to play the Armenian national anthem and display an effigy of Turkish President Erdogan. CNN's Arwa Damon is covering this story from Istanbul.

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BRUNHUBER: Arwa, very divergent reactions to this announcement. Take us through the reaction where you are in Turkey and how it might affect relations with the U.S.

ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, to take this the other way around, if we're looking at the relations between Turkey and the United States, they are already fractured over a number of issues.

So we can just add President Biden recognizing these mass killings that took place more than a century ago into that whole basket of things that are potentially facing both countries, as they try to somehow move their relationship forward.

What was interesting was that neither the White House nor the president's office, following the call that took place between Erdogan and Biden, before Biden made this specific announcement, mentioned the fact that they had spoken about how the United States would now be viewing what took place in Ottoman lands more than 100 years ago.

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DAMON: They both completely sidestepped this, instead choosing to focus in both of these readouts on the strategic relationship between both countries and mentioning that they would be having a bilateral meeting in June on the sidelines of the NATO summit.

That being said, though, entirely expected, a very harsh reaction coming from Turkey. Worth noting that President Erdogan, as he does every single year, did offer condolences to Ottoman Armenians but said it should be up to historians to decide how to categorize what took place, not third parties.

We had a very harshly worded statement from the Turkish foreign minister, who called it a vulgar distortion of history, also went on to say, "We are not going to take lessons about our history from anyone," calling this whole move by President Biden political opportunism.

But suffice to say, it does not sit well with anyone when two NATO allies, the United States and Turkey, are at odds over so many issues. BRUNHUBER: Appreciate the analysis. CNN's Arwa Damon in Istanbul,

thanks so much.

Health officials in the U.S. battle more than just the spread of the coronavirus. Just ahead, how false information and conspiracy theories are feeding vaccine hesitancy.

Plus England has relaxed many lockdown restrictions but that's not enough for these protesters, who are spreading conspiracy theories as they march. That's next. Stay with us.

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BRUNHUBER: Several thousand people marched in central London Saturday, calling the coronavirus a hoax and a myth. Most obviously weren't wearing masks and they were openly defying the ban on mass gatherings.

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BRUNHUBER: Police say eight officers were injured trying to disperse the crowd. At least five were arrested on offenses, including assault on a police officer.

Despite the massive push by U.S. officials to get people vaccinated, there's still a reluctance to get the shots, especially among young, rural Americans and Republican voters. CNN's Martin Savidge went to Mississippi to see how officials there are working to fight conspiracy theories.

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MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): At COVID-19 vaccination sites in Mississippi, they're seeing something new: boredom. By Friday, the state had more than 74,000 opening slots in the scheduling website through the middle of May.

This is the drive-up lane of a mass vaccination site in Jackson. They say they can handle 1,200 appointments a day. So far, they've got 275 scheduled. Well, they admit some people just don't show.

It's not that everyone 16 and older has got the shot. Far from it. Thirty percent of Mississippians have had their first vaccine dose. The national average is closer to 40 percent.

It's pretty quiet.

DR. NELSON ATEHORTUA, SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH, JACKSON STATE UNIVERSITY: Yes, I mean, today is quiet. But it hasn't been like that all the time.

SAVIDGE: So what's going on? Experts worry the drop-off suggests a lot of people don't want the vaccine and fear what's happening here could jeopardize reaching herd immunity, which doctors say wouldn't be achieved until at least 70 percent of the population is vaccinated.

Besides Mississippi, other states significantly lacking when it comes to percent of adult population fully vaccinated, include Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee, states that are more rural and more Republican, a population more skeptical of the vaccine.

Do you continue to fight misinformation?

ATEHORTUA: Yes.

SAVIDGE: Even now.

ATEHORTUA: Every day, yes, every day.

SAVIDGE: Public service campaigns encouraging vaccination are overwhelmed by a flood of false information on social media.

It's what caused Halle Coleman to delay getting her vaccine.

HALLE COLEMAN, STUDENT: It just felt like everywhere I looked, I was seeing somebody with a new conspiracy theory or just a reason not to get the vaccine.

SAVIDGE: Those false fears were only fuelled when the Johnson & Johnson vaccine distribution was paused due to concerns over a rare type of blood clot. In Mississippi, since that happened, health officials say projected vaccination numbers have fallen off a cliff.

That incident fed in the fears of those who are hesitant.

FELICIA KENT, JACKSON-HINDS COMPREHENSIVE HEALTH CENTER: Yes, it did.

SAVIDGE: It was, I told you so.

KENT: Yes, yes. It was like, OK, see?

SAVIDGE (voice-over): When it comes to getting people vaccinated, Mississippi has a number of challenges, not the least of which it's one of the poorest, if not the poorest, states in the country.

As a result, there are a lot of people who don't have access to the Internet which you need to get information or to even make a vaccination appointment. A lot of people can't afford transportation to a vaccination site or can't afford to take time off to be vaccinated.

As America closes in on nearly half of all adults getting vaccinated, medical experts are beginning to realize that just may have been the easy part. Getting the other half vaccinated could be a lot more difficult -- Martin Savidge, CNN, Jackson, Mississippi.

(END VIDEOTAPE) BRUNHUBER: Still to come, why this year's Academy Awards show will be

an experience unlike any other in Oscars history.

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BRUNHUBER: The final goodbye to a music superstar. A monster truck escorted by motorcycles carried the coffin of rapper and actor DMX to a memorial service at Brooklyn's Barclay Center.

Inside, his family and friends gathered for a celebration of life. DMX's fiancee and his 15 children paid tribute during the online memorial. She spoke of the late rapper's love of Jesus and his fans. The three-time Grammy nominee died on April 9th at the age of 50 after suffering a heart attack.

TV ratings for awards shows have been going down lately. But the producers of this year's Oscars are hoping they can attract a big audience tonight with a new type of experience. CNN's Stephanie Elam explains.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): From struggle --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am a revolutionary.

ELAM (voice-over): To desperation.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I need work, I like work.

ELAM (voice-over): The times are felt in this year's Oscar nominees.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you concerned about an overreaction from the cops?

ELAM (voice-over): But so is the silence, including from viewers whose lack of interest made most award shows this year a bomb.

MATTHEW BELLONI, FORMER EDITORIAL DIRECTOR, THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER: If the ratings continue to decline, you're going to see some changes. I think some awards shows might go away.

ELAM (voice-over): The Oscars want to reverse the trend. Gone is the internet remote access feel that hindered shows like the Golden Globes.

BELLONI: It ended up being like a bad version of an office meeting and the Oscars don't want that.

ELAM (voice-over): Enter Steven Soderbergh and Stacy Sher, the team ironically behind the film "Contagion." The pandemic will be a big theme, they say, but Soderbergh wants a show unlike any others.

BELLONI: And he has said that he wants the Oscars to feel like a movie. There're going to have shots from behind shoulders of people, moving cameras.

ELAM: To pull it off, the show is moving to a smaller venue, here to L.A.'s iconic Union Station, itself a star in Hollywood films, like "Catch Me If You Can" and "The Dark Knight Rises."

ELAM (voice-over): And with vaccines out and fewer restrictions the biggest challenge may not be the pandemic but the movies themselves. Absent of any theatrical hits like year's past, this year the best films come mostly from streaming platforms.

BELLONI: It's very different than choosing to go to a movie theater, buy your popcorn, sit in the theater and watch a movie. People just become attached to those movies in a way that they don't when they are on streaming.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Please, call me Mank.

[03:50:00]

ELAM (voice-over): "Mank" leads with 10 nominations. But "Nomadland" is the front-runner for best picture.

CHADWICK BOSEMAN, ACTOR: Yes. I know what I'm doing.

ELAM (voice-over): Chadwick Boseman is expected to win a posthumous award for Best Actor, but the biggest thing may just be on the Oscar themselves.

BELLONI: Will they be able to get that audience back, when there are movies in theatres or is this just accelerating a trend that already existed and those audience members are not coming back?

ELAM (voice-over): In Hollywood, I'm Stephanie Elam.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BRUNHUBER: Joining me now is the film critic for the "Los Angeles Times" and NPR's "Fresh Air," Justin Chang.

Great to have you on.

On the Oscars themselves more broadly, the types of films chosen, does it speak to a broader trend?

Or has this year been so extraordinary, it's just kind of a one-off that we can basically write off?

JUSTIN CHANG, FILM CRITIC: Thanks for having me. I wouldn't write it off at all. Some have spoken about, should there be a special asterisk next to this year's Academy Awards?

Because -- as if it doesn't really count? Because this was a year without a lot of big studio movies, a year when most of us stayed home and watched movies at home, if we watched new movies at all.

I know many haven't and are concerned about the ratings of the Oscars tomorrow. But I would see this, if there's an asterisk next to this year, I would say this has been one of the more interesting years for the Academy Awards and that a lot of really terrific movies were recognized that might not have had a chance to be recognized in other years.

BRUNHUBER: What happens to those big tent pole movies that you were talking about, that were kind of held and held back and held back again?

Presumably they'll be released later.

But do those films still get made going into the future, considering the different ways that we're consuming movies and so on?

Or has there been a sea change that might see fewer of those movies, more of the types that we're seeing now recognized in the Oscars?

CHANG: I'm actually not too concerned about those big movies. I think that there's always going to be an appetite for them. I think that studios recognize that pictures that they can sell as big events are an obvious and easy -- maybe the easiest way -- to get people to buy tickets and go to movie theaters.

I'm more worried about things that aren't superhero movies, worried about movies, quote-unquote, "for grownups." The awards season does provide an apparatus and an appetite for these kinds of movies, so it's not like they're going away forever. But it's the kind of -- the in-the-middle pictures that I think I'm a little more worried about.

BRUNHUBER: We've seen, you know, movies released free onto streaming platforms, we've seen video on demand, home release. Everyone's asking that question.

When we finally -- enough people have been vaccinated, will audiences go back to the old ways, movie theaters, popcorn?

Or have we changed so much because of the pandemic in some irrevocable way?

Will that have an effect on the industry and also on movie theaters?

We've seen so many of them chose during the pandemic.

Will they stay shuttered?

Or, you know, will you see a sort of a resurgence when we go back to the way things were?

CHANG: Well, Kim, right now I think a lot of us in Los Angeles are still reeling from the devastating news that the ArcLight Cinemas and Pacific Theaters, one of the biggest chains, has closed. Unless something changes, those theaters are not coming back.

That's a crushing blow for a film exhibition in one of the movie-going capitals of the world. I think it's very touch and go as the industry is trying to figure out a lot of things.

Speaking for myself, although I don't think I'm alone, I think there's an extraordinary hunger to go back to theaters, as there's a hunger to go back to live events and to go back to museums. I think a lot of us are going to want to go back to theaters with a vengeance when it's safe.

BRUNHUBER: Lastly, quickly, I wanted to ask about L.A., the city. I used to live there. It's hard to convey exactly how all-encompassing the entertainment industry is there. Seems like every coffee shop is pitching running lines, discussing projects.

How has COVID changed all of that, the ebb and flow of the town itself?

Is there a sense that things are getting back to normal?

Or has this kind of changed the way people will work going forward in L.A.?

CHANG: I certainly hope it does. I live in Pasadena. I've been a little -- I feel distant from L.A. proper myself a little bit because just having -- working from home, you know, all the time. And so -- but absolutely.

I miss, you know, seeing the shoot setup, just seeing the immersion, the immersion as you describe it in the industry, that is just part and parcel of living in this great movie town.

[03:55:00]

CHANG: I'm very curious to see how the Oscars are going to be tomorrow night at Union Station, you know, which is a very iconic location. I know not everyone's happy about it. But I am fascinated to see how and if they're going to pull it off.

BRUNHUBER: We are as well. We'll have to leave it there. Thank you so much, Justin Chang, really appreciate it.

CHANG: Thank you, Kim.

BRUNHUBER: It has been a monumental week for space exploration.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He is the first to ingress onto the International Space Station.

BRUNHUBER (voice-over): The crew in a SpaceX capsule arrived to hugs and smiles, as you can see here on Saturday at the International Space Station. For the next six months, they will work on research that NASA hopes will help in the development of drugs and vaccines. They now have 11 astronauts and cosmonauts, the largest crew the

orbiting station has ever hosted.

Also, this week, NASA's Ingenuity helicopter, successfully flew a second time on Mars, going higher and further than it did before. And the Perseverance rover on Mars converted carbon dioxide into oxygen, enough to sustain the national for about 10 minutes. This technology is key if humans ever want to set foot on the Red Planet.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BRUNHUBER: That wraps this hour of CNN NEWSROOM. Don't fear, I will be back in just a moment with more news. Please do stay with us.