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NYT: EU to Let Fully Vaccinated Americans Visit this Summer; Cases, Deaths Surge in India Amid Second COVID Wave; Japan Struggles with Surge 3 Months Ahead of Olympics; Video Released After Unarmed Black Man Shot in Virginia; Minneapolis Pastor Reflects on His Connection to Floyd; Optimism Grows for New Reform, But Sticking Points Remain. Aired 4-4:30a ET

Aired April 26, 2021 - 04:00   ET



ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us here in the United States and all around. You are watching CNN NEWSROOM and I'm Rosemary Church.

Just ahead, the EU considers welcoming certain American tourists this summer. We are live in Paris with a look at who might qualify.

The U.S. and its allies are sending aid to India the new epicenter of the pandemic where the number of cases is skyrocketing.

Plus --


CLOE ZHAO, DIRECTOR, "NOMADLAND: This is when it helps more people like me get to live their dreams. I'm so grateful for this.


CHURCH: The academy crowns a new, and apparently humble best director. How she made history and why her home country is not celebrating.

Good to have you with us. Well we begin with good news for Americans who have been dreaming of a European vacation after more than a year of COVID restrictions. The European Commission president tells "The New York Times" that fully vaccinated Americans will be able to visit EU countries this summer.

That's also good news for European economies that have felt the financial sting of travel bans. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 95 million people in the U.S. are now fully vaccinated. That's more than a quarter of the population, and nearly 140 million people have had at least one dose. White House senior advisor Andy Slavitt explained to Pam Brown how vaccinated Americans will be able to enjoy more freedom, such as traveling abroad.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) ANDY SLAVITT, WHITE HOUSE SENIOR ADVISER FOR COVID-19 RESPONSE: The key to getting back to life that we used to know is vaccination. And so far, we have more than half of adult Americans that have done their vaccine shots. That's great. But that also means that we have near half of Americans that still haven't done that yet.

So I think we're increasingly going to see a world where people who have been vaccinated will enjoy a lot of freedoms. They're going feel like they can take a lot of activities and low risk. They can reunite with families and cases are going to continue to be there for people who haven't been vaccinated yet. So whether it's traveling to Europe or whether it's just seeing your family and friends without having to worry, vaccination's the key.


CHURCH: For more on all of this, let's bring in CNN's Melissa Bell. She joins us live from Paris. Good to see you Melissa. So great news for fully vaccinated Americans and Europe's tourist industry. But how will it work exactly? And when will it likely happen?

MELISSA BELL, CNN PARIS CORRESPONDENT: Rosemary, that's the big question. Because although that key is the vaccination rates saying countries like the United States, which of course make all the difference, as Ursula von der Leyen pointed out in her article and her interview with "The New York Times" yesterday. It is those very vaccines that are being used in the United States, three of them that have been approved here in Europe by the European Medicine Agency.

So why not have some system whereby a green certificate which should by mid-June allow Europeans to travel within European countries, also be extended to allow say Americans to cross Europe's external borders. Now several countries within Europe that are super dependent on tourism -- and I'm thinking here countries like Greece for instance, Rosemary, have long been campaigning for a system that would allow them to get much-needed tourist revenue by this summer.

The trouble is, that also Ursula von der Leyen says that this should be possible and will be possible, it isn't actually down to the European Commission how Europe's external borders work or to whom they are open or closed. In fact, what we've seen over the course of the last year, the last year of pandemic, is that even the internal borders of the European Union, Brussels has lost some of its power of those since decisions have been made on an ad hoc individual national basis. Restrictions have been put in place. The internal borders of the European Union have essentially been closed off for much of the last year, for many months at least.

So it is perhaps slightly wishful thinking to imagine by mid-June there will be some system allow all of Europe to open all of its borders to Americans. But that is what the European Commission say it is aiming for. Essentially the extension of that European green passport that would allow Europeans to travel once again, to be extended to countries where the vaccination rates are as good as they are in the United States. But between now and mid-June, that's going to take a lot of work actually to put in place -- Rosemary. CHURCH: All right, Melissa Bell joining us live from Paris, many


Well the story is very different in India, which has broken the global record for New Delhi cases for a fifth straight day. Health authorities reported nearly 353,000 new infections Monday putting the total number of cases since the pandemic began to over 17 million.


There are shortages of medical supplies and in the Delhi region, hospitals are tweeting S.O.S. messages for oxygen. The U.S. and U.K. are promising assistance and U.S. health officials explain why helping India is crucial.


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI: DIRECTOR NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: We do take the very difficult situation that India is going through very, very seriously. You know, the United States and India are the two countries now that have suffered the most. Things like getting the vaccinations is certainly on the table.

DR. VIVEK MURTHY, U.S. SURGEON GENERAL: It matters to us for several reasons. First and foremost, because we are human beings, and we should care about other human beings around the world. Second, it varies on uncontrolled spread of the virus in other parts of the world. That means that there's a greater chance that new mutations and variants will develop that may escape the protection of the vaccines that we have in the United States. And that means those viruses, those mutant viruses, those new variants could travel here to the U.S. and cause real challenges here.


CHURCH: CNN's Anna Coren takes a look at the struggle on the ground.


ANNA COREN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Volunteers roll out canisters of oxygen to victims of COVID desperate for air. But this is no hospital. It's Sikh temple in a city on the outskirts of New Delhi. Where aid workers are treating people in the backseats of cars. Since medical facilities in the capital are too overwhelmed to take in new patients.

JASPREET SINGH, SEEKING OXYGEN FOR FATHER: People who are not getting beds or oxygen and are dying in government hospitals. For them, it is a great help. They are getting oxygen. It's a great help for the people struggling to breathe.

COREN: It's life and death for some. Conditions aren't much better inside hospitals. In some places with two to three patients to a bed and little room for standing.

Outside another hospital, people are treated in cars and ambulances as they hope and wait to be admitted. The Prime Minister Narendra Modi says this second wave of the virus has shaken the nation. The government has deployed military planes and trains to bring in more oxygen from around the country and overseas.

The U.K. now promising to send ventilators and other medical equipment. The EU and the U.S. said they'll help, too. But that's little comfort to those infected right now. For days, India has had the highest number of New Delhi cases in the world. Causing critical shortages and forcing some people to turn to more immediate means to help loved ones.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): My father is 70 years old. Last night I purchased an oxygen cylinder on the back market and it's already empty. Oxygen cylinders aren't even available on the black market now.

COREN (voice-over): Dwindling resources and a scramble to replenish them. Until then, the anguish of families trying to help the sick and dying is one thing in India there's too much of.

Anna Coren, CNN, Hong Kong.


CHURCH: So let's talk now with Dr. Anish Mahajan, chief medical officer of Harbor UCLA Medical Center. Thank you doctor for talking to us and all that you do.


CHURCH: So I want to start with this, because the EU is set to allow fully vaccinated U.S. tourists to visit the continent this summer. How safe will it likely be? What will the traveling Americans need to do when they return to the U.S., considering Europe has very low vaccination rates, at this time?

MAHAJAN: Well, you know, I think, first of all, it's a real vote of confidence in how vaccination protects all of us from getting the virus or getting very sick from the virus and from giving the virus to someone else, as data is now emerging about that. Now the fact that the European Union is allowing Americans to come over, if they can prove they've been vaccinated is just that. It shows us that that's the case.

Coming back from the European Union, I think Americans have to take the same precautions that they're going take wherever they go. Whether it's the United States or within the U.S. or the EU.

CHURCH: And while Americans have had extraordinary access to the COVID vaccines, Indians have not, despite their own country being one of the biggest producers of the AstraZeneca vaccine which the Indian government had been exporting to other nations instead of vaccinating their own people.

Now the U.S. will send test kits, oxygen, ventilators, and PPE to India as it tackles these record surging daily cases and deaths. But what India really needs at this time is the vaccine itself. But less than 1.6 percent of their population has been vaccinated so far. Should the U.S. be sending its own supplies of AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson vaccines to India given a lot of Americans are reluctant to take both.


MAHAJAN: Well let me just start by saying that in India, in Brazil and other parts of the world, we are witnessing a humanitarian disaster. I myself have lost relatives in the last several weeks who live in India. I have several relatives in Bombay who are quite sick. If they need hospital beds and oxygen, I'm very worried as to whether they'll have access to that.

Now the United States' first answer when this was discussed last week was well America comes first. That's what we heard from the State Department. This is an entirely wrongheaded approach. This is a global pandemic. The virus crosses borders very easily. So what can we do? As you point out, the U.S. now with pressure is agreeing to send a lot of supplies that India does need. But we need to do more than that.

We have 100 nations including India and South Africa requesting the World Trade Organization to put a temporary halt on the patent rights to vaccines. Now why should they do this? Well doing this would enable the sharing of that vaccine knowledge, the sharing of the knowledge of how to increase production along with the assistance of increasing that production in countries like India in the continent and Africa and other places. Would be the real answer to help us get vaccination to lower income countries. At the current pace, we're looking at two to three years before the majority of the people in the globe can be vaccinated. That's too long and too risky.

CHURCH: Yes, the whole world needs vaccinating and if those vaccines aren't sent out to everyone, then we're all vulnerable aren't we. Doctor Anish Mahajan, thank you so much for joining us, appreciate it.

MAHAJAN: Thank you.

CHURCH: Well, the Tokyo 2020 Olympic torch relay continued Sunday. The route was lined with spectators, but organizers say parts of the relay will be taken off public roads next week due to COVID concerns. Japan has declared its third state of emergency in Tokyo and Osaka and is planning to ramp up vaccinations as infections rise once more. CNN's Selina Wang has the report.


SELINA WANG, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The Tokyo Olympics are just three months away, but Japan is far from ready. The country is struggling to contain a fourth wave of COVID-19 driven by more contagious variants. The Prime Minister has just declared another state of emergency in Tokyo and other prefectures. Japan may be one of the most technologically advanced countries on the planet, but it has struggled to roll out the COVID-19 vaccine. Japan has fully vaccinated less than 1 percent of its 126 million

people. The slowest of G7 countries. Only 17 percent of health care workers have received two shots. Just 0.1 percent of senior citizens have had a single dose.

WANG: Do you think the Olympics should be cancelled?


WANG: If you had to predict when Japan's population will be fully vaccinated. I mean, how long is it going to be?

SHIBUYA: Given the context, it would take, you know, ten years or something.

WANG (voice-over): Officials have blamed European export curbs for the delay, but red tape, poor planning, and vaccine hesitancy have also held the country back. A key reason is Japan's slow approval process. The country requires additional domestic clinical trials of new vaccines, so far it's only approved Pfizer's. Officials say the cautiousness is necessary. Japan is one of the lowest rates of vaccine confidence in the world driven by a series of vaccine scandals over the past 50 years.

A key lawmaker said vaccinations for people over 65, which only started this month, may not be finished until end of this year or next. The Japanese Olympic hopefuls the slow rollout is leading to mounting anxiety. 73-year-old Kimie Bessho is vying to be in her fifth summer Paralympic Games. A competition she says she's risking her life for.

KIMIE BESSHO, PARALYMPIAN (through translator): I'm prepared to die under these circumstances, she tells me. But I don't want to die of COVID.

WANG (voice-over): The qualifiers for Paralympic table tennis are just weeks away in Slovenia. Bessho says called her local health center many times. They say they still have no plans to provide vaccines. Despite public opposition to the games in Japan, officials have projected unwavering confidence.

YOSHIHIDE SUGA, JAPANESE PRIME MINISTER (through translator): I expressed my determination to realize the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympic games as a symbol of global unity this summer and President Biden expressed his support, he said.

WANG (voice-over): The question is what kind of symbol the Olympics will be if Japan is unable to protect its citizens.

Selina Wang, CNN, Tokyo.


CHURCH: And next on CNN NEWSROOM. Growing calls to have bodycam footage released of a fatal police shooting in North Carolina.


Why the family may soon get their wish.


CHURCH: Well, the family of a black man shot and killed by deputies last week in North Carolina may have a chance to watch the bodycam footage on Monday. That's what their attorney tells CNN. Few details have been released in the shooting of 42-year-old Andrew Brown Jr. Wednesday in Elizabeth City. The sheriff's office says deputies were trying to serve him with an arrest warrant at the time. Seven deputies have been placed on leave. The sheriff says he plans to file a court motion to get the footage released to the public.

Well there's disturbing new bodycam footage and emergency audio from the shooting of an unarmed black man in Virginia. A sheriff's deputy had given this man, Isaiah Brown, a ride home then a 9-1-1 call set off a chain of events that ended with a man being shot multiple times by that same deputy. CNN's Polo Sandoval has the latest.



POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Authorities in the United States involving yet another police-involved shooting. This time though in the state of Virginia where the family of Isaiah Brown say that a Spotsylvania County deputy actually mistook Brown's cordless house phone for a gun prompting him to shot him and wound him while he was responding to Brown's own call of a domestic disturbance.

The shooting was actually captured on a 9-1-1 recording. I listened to it and in it you can hear Brown having an argument with his brother. At one point even threatens to kill his brother. Asks him for a gun and his brother refuses. But then also Brown tells the police dispatcher that he is not armed before he actually heads out to the street before that deputy arrives. And that's where the police- provided body camera video picks up. A warning to some viewers, it may be difficult to watch.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's got a gun to his.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Drop the gun now and stop walking towards me. Stop walking towards me. Stop. Stop.


SANDOVAL: A Virginia state police investigating this matter, they say that Brown was not armed at the time of the shooting. As for the deputy himself, he's actually on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation. As for Brown, we're told by authorities that he is currently listed in serious condition. Polo Sandoval, CNN, New York.


CHURCH: Minnesota's Attorney General made a candid confession about the trial of Derek Chauvin. Keith Ellison says he wasn't sure they'd win the case against the disgraced former officer until the verdict was finally read. Despite last week's guilty verdict, the city of Minneapolis remains unease. The pastor of a church at the intersection where George Floyd was murdered spoke to CNN. He said his work is needed now more than ever.


CURTIS FARRAR, PASTOR, WORLDWIDE OUTREACH FOR CHRIST: It happened on that side of the building.

ADRIENNE BROADDUS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Pastor Curtis Farrar will never forget the day he saw George Floyd pinned to the ground by police.

BROADDUS: How close is your church to the site where George Floyd --?

FARRAR: I think it's about 25 yards.

BROADDUS (voice-over): He was standing across the street from the Cup Foods store in his church sanctuary.

FARRAR: And I saw what was going on with George Floyd.

BROADDUS (voice-over): For more than three decades, Farrar has pastored the church on the corner of 38th and Chicago, an intersection now known worldwide, as the site of George Floyd's murder.

FARRAR: God bless every one of you --

I believe God deliberately prepared me to be here because I realized that everybody, every pastor can't be on 38th and Chicago. A lot of people are afraid to come to 38th and Chicago.

BROADDUS (voice-over): He's seen this square transform from the site of yet another police killing to an epicenter of activism and unity. Something he couldn't have imagined 45 years ago.

FARRAR: I was brought into a building --

BROADDUS (voice-over): Farrar says he nearly died after an encounter with law enforcement in 1976.

FARRAR: Someone had called the police and they thought I was somebody that I wasn't. They started to beat me. They started to beat me. This white lady came out and said leave him alone. Believe it or not, they took me down to the hospital. They pulled me out. And in my head you can see it.

BROADDUS: Farrar said the encounter left him with a traumatic brain injury.

FARRAR: I did not believe that police officers would beat a black man simply because he was black. I thought they had to have sensed something. He had to have done something. Nobody feels that way about another person enough to kill him because of his skin color. I was proven wrong.

BROADDUS (voice-over): Decades later he can't unsee what he saw through this window. A reflection on his own life.

FARRAR: God has changed my heart. I've come to understand that that's a human problem. Racism. And we're going to have that in our world today because it's a part of human nature. You cannot say you love God and be Christian and hate your brother.

BROADDUS (voice-over): From the sanctuary of his church, some only see Cup Foods where George Floyd was killed by Derek Chauvin. But Farrar sees a community ready for restoration no longer living in fear.

FARRAR: You cannot even think you're going to heaven with hatred in your heart for a brother because of what color they are.

BROADDUS: And despite the struggle, Pastor Farrar remains hopeful.


Meanwhile, sentencing is scheduled for Derek Chauvin on June 16th.

Adrienne Broaddus, CNN, Minneapolis.


CHURCH: And all these cases of police use of force have led to demands for new legislation in the U.S. to hold officers accountable. Now lawmakers on both sides say there's hope for comprise on the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act. But a key sticking point to the bill is what is called qualified immunity. It's a controversial federal rule that protects officers accused of violating the constitution while on duty. Here's what Democrats and Republicans are saying about it.


REP. CORI BRUSH (D-MO): Right now we need to end qualified immunity. Period. You know, that's my stance. We comprise on so much, you know. We comprise. We die. We comprise. We die. We comprise. We die.

REP. KAREN BASS (D-CA): I don't know if I'm willing to blow up the deal. I don't consider that blowing it up. But we have to look at ways. Now if Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott can show us some other way to hold officers accountable, because this has been going on for just decades. And officers right now are not really held accountable.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): My idea along with Senator Scott is you can't sue the police officer. You sue the department if there's an allegation of civil rights abuse or constitutional right abuse. We can solve that problem. We can solve the issues if there's will to get there. And I think there's will to get there on the part of both parties now.


CHURCH: The New York Police Department is now investigating six possible hate crimes at four different synagogues in the Bronx. They were damaged by an unidentified suspect hurling rocks over the weekend. Some of them were hit twice. Surveillance footage appears to suggest the same person is responsible for all the attacks. No one was injured. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has condemned the synagogue attacks saying there's no tolerance for discriminatory acts.

Well supporters of Kremlin critic Alexey Navalny brace for a court ruling that could deliver a devastating blow to his organization. The latest from Moscow next.

And later this hour, why the Cloe Zhao the first Asian woman to win best director in Oscars history is sparking controversy in her native China.