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Countries Ban Travel from India; Crush at Religious Festival at Israel's Mt. Meron Kills 45; Giuliani Says Prosecutors Hate Him, Hate Trump; Biden in Philadelphia to Sell Economic Plan; Desperate COVID-19 Victims in India Turn to Makeshift Oxygen Tents; Car Bomb Kills at Least 21 in Afghanistan; Thousands Attend Experimental Rave to Test U.K. COVID-19 Rules; World's Longest Pedestrian Bridge Opens in Portugal. Aired 4-5a ET
Aired May 1, 2021 - 04:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KIM BRUNHUBER, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): A staggering toll in India, as the country struggles with a massive surge of COVID-19.
The U.S. president's all-aboard pitch to Americans to boost support for his infrastructure plan.
And thousands pack a night club with no masks and no social distancing. We'll explain why the British government actually encouraged it.
Live from CNN headquarters in Atlanta, welcome to all of you watching in the United States and around the world, I'm Kim Brunhuber, this is CNN NEWSROOM.
BRUNHUBER: India's battle with COVID-19 has hit another record with more than 400,000 new cases in a single day. It's the 10th day in a row that new infections have soared past the 300,000 mark.
The worsening crisis has prompted the U.S. to restrict travel from India, beginning Tuesday. U.S. citizens and permanent residents aren't affected.
India is the world's largest producer of vaccines and today was supposed to be the launch of an aggressive new inoculation program. But there were relatively few shots to be given because most of India's vaccines have been exported. CNN's Vedika Sud has more from Delhi with the latest.
I want to start with the vaccination program that was supposed to be rolling out and, in many places, it seems to be stalling.
What happened here?
VEDIKA SUD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Before that, I don't know if you can hear the ambulance go by, on average, one every 20 minutes on the ground here, that is how dire the situation is, every 20, 25 minutes.
They can hear it here. We are giving you the live updates. We can hear it. The situation is that grim.
The vaccinations, there is talk of vaccination, today was the day that nationwide 18+ people would be vaccinated, and the supplies are running out in places. And the head of the state, they have actually put their hands up and said, you know what, we don't have the supplies. Don't form queues outside vaccine centers because you're not going to get them.
Not everyone who is 45-plus, which is the age of the vaccination program in India, have gotten the second vaccine. I know my grandmother hasn't got it yet because there were no vaccines available.
I know of others who got this message on their phone, saying, sorry, the second dose has been canceled for now because we don't have the supplies.
So why promise something when you're not getting it?
The question a lot of people are asking on social media. That being said, like I said, it's a grim situation here. People are dying, especially young people. And one of the reasons possibly could be because they fall in that bracket and they're awaiting vaccinations at this point in time.
And you talk about 400,000 a day and that is beyond staggering, have you heard of these numbers anywhere else across the world? And these are official numbers they're talking about. They're talking about numbers of people dying.
We know these people here, all of my crew members know it, my staff members know these people. It's just getting desperate. So desperate now out here because I'm wondering if I actually am making a last call to someone and may not speak to them again. It's that bad. Kim?
BRUNHUBER: Unbelievable. And touching everybody, as you say. And now, to India, being isolated with more and more countries, including the U.S. banning travel.
Is there a scramble to get out?
SUD: Yes, there will be and there has been. I was speaking to the other news anchors last night when we were live. And I was saying that the domestic carrier Air India here in India, that ferries people to the United States, they were working at pre-COVID levels and that's even before the advisory.
And then this policy came into action from the U.S. So they were flying about 29 flights a week. And they were having so many people trying to move out of India, so many American citizens and others who wanted to go back.
So, yes, there is this push now for people to move out. And you do know that the rule applies for non-Americans, where you cannot be moving into America at this point in time. But the rush remains that ticket prices are soaring and people we have spoken to have paid five times they normally have to pay for a ticket.
SUD: So you can imagine the demand for one single seat on this flight that had been taking off from India to the United States.
BRUNHUBER: A desperate situation as you've said. Thank you so much, Vedika Sud, reporting from Delhi.
And we wish you all the best out there and you and your crew as well.
The new U.S. restrictions on travelers from India that we just spoke about began, begins just a few days from now. Officials say the decision was motivated by concerns about India's massive surge in infections and worries about the spread of variants. Kaitlan Collins explains the new rules.
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: As we are seeing rising cases in India, the White House is now saying that, starting on Tuesday, May 4th, at 12:01 am, they are going to restrict travel from India to the U.S. to deal with not only the rising cases but also concerns that federal health officials say have over those variants that are present in India.
They say there are multiples at least. And until they know just how powerful they are, against the vaccine, they are going to restrict travel from India to the U.S. for now.
Now it's not clear how long this is going to last but what we do know is that it doesn't apply to U.S. citizens. So if you're a U.S. citizens, you can still come in and out of the country. You will have to take a negative COVID test before getting on that plane and quarantine when you arrive, if you've not gotten the COVID-19 vaccine.
But this also doesn't apply to humanitarian workers. That's been a big subject of conversation, as the White House has been sending PPE, oxygen, other testing supplies, to India, to help them deal with the rising case number there.
But other than that, if you are a non-U.S. citizen and you have been in India in the last 14 days, a similar timeframe to those other travel restrictions in place around the world, you will not be permitted into the United States starting on Tuesday.
This is a call that the White House has been facing for several days from many people, saying that this is something that should have already been in effect.
But I was told that the White House had been discussing it, they wanted to make sure they were pursuing the right option here. And they also didn't want to cause a panic by putting this travel restriction in place immediately and having a scene play out, where there's mass chaos in airports, like what we saw last year when some of the travel bans first went into effect.
So this is it for now. It does start on Tuesday. We do expect President Biden to address it before then -- Kaitlan Collins, CNN, the White House.
BRUNHUBER: And further to all of this, Australia, in the meanwhile, has threatened to jail anyone entering the country from India, including its own citizens. Starting Monday, anyone who has been in India the last 14 days will be shut out of the country.
Violators face up to five years in prison. There are around 9,000 Australians in India, registered as wanting to return.
An investigation has been launched into what triggered the deadly stampede at a religious festival in northern Israel. The country's in mourning as families begin to lay their loved ones to rest; 45 people were killed in the crash at the celebration on early Friday morning.
CNN's Hadas Gold has more from just outside the entrance to Mt. Meron.
What more have we learned since yesterday's tragedy?
HADAS GOLD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Kim, we are learning that this tragedy is spreading beyond Israel's borders. Five U.S. citizens are believed to be among those killed and two Canadian citizens.
Now the shock has turned to anger and questions because critics are saying it is not a question of if a tragedy would occur at this festival but when.
GOLD (voice-over): A crumpled pair of glasses. Water bottles, flattened and scattered on the ground. These are the trampled remnants of a festival in Israel, where dozens of people were crushed to death in a stampede, according to the Israeli health ministry.
Tens of thousands of ultra orthodox Jews, gathered at Mt. Meron for the religious bonfire festival Lag B'Omer. The witnesses say the night quickly turned into a tragedy, when packed crowds crammed into a narrow passageway.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I was there exactly when it happened. Now there on the side. It started when a few paramedics started to run and then there was some kind of mess, police screaming, big mess.
And after half an hour, it looked like a scene of a suicide bombing attack.
GOLD: What happened around 1:00 am when tens of thousands of worshipers were celebrating the Lag B'Omer holiday, crowds of people were trying to exit and enter along this ramp right here. They started to slip and slide all over each other, turning into a table of bodies.
GOLD (voice-over): Officials say, some people were asphyxiated, others were crushed.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Most parts of my body got pinned down under several people, except for my head and chest. So I can still breathe. I think it is a miracle I survived.
GOLD (voice-over): Funerals began Friday afternoon for the victims, some of whom, were children. Israeli media says bonfire areas were cordoned off as a COVID-19 precaution.
GOLD (voice-over): And this may have created bottlenecks in the walkways. Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu says it's one of the worst disasters in Israeli history.
BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, PRIME MINISTER OF ISRAEL (voice-over): We will carry out a comprehensive, serious, detailed investigation, to ensure this kind of disaster never happens again.
GOLD (voice-over): The prime minister saying, this Sunday will be a national day of mourning.
GOLD: And, Kim, the former head of the regional council here was saying in media interviews yesterday that he was just waiting for something like this to happen, that the writing was on the wall.
And every year that such a tragedy would not occur, he would breathe a sigh of relief. And now the question will be, what will the investigation found, what went wrong and, of course, whether next year, whether this festival will happen and if it will look any different. Kim?
BRUNHUBER: Thank you so much, Hadas Gold, for us, thank you.
The FBI raid on Rudy Giuliani apparently has some Trump allies worried. We'll bring you what sources close to the former U.S. president are telling CNN about what they fear could come next.
Plus, President Biden indulges in a bit of nostalgia as he tries to sell his $4 trillion economic plan.
Can he get it through Congress?
Take a look just ahead. Stay with us.
BRUNHUBER: Sources close to former president Donald Trump tell CNN that his inner circle is feeling uneasy about the FBI raid on Rudy Giuliani, his one-time personal lawyer.
One Trump adviser says it has ignited a sense of fear about what else could be coming for those linked with Trump. Giuliani has been under investigation for his activities in Ukraine, including whether he conducted illegal lobbying for Ukrainian officials. He says Wednesday's raid was all about politics.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RUDY GIULIANI, FORMER TRUMP ATTORNEY: Obviously, the assistant U.S. attorneys hate me. And they hate Trump. Which is probably the whole thing. I mean to believe that I am some kind of Russian agent?
Look at my career. I mean look at my background and my career.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BRUNHUBER: Meanwhile, we're learning more about what federal agents may have been after. Here is Alex Marquardt.
ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): When federal agents swooped in this week, raiding the New York apartment and office of Rudy Giuliani, they were reportedly trying to zero in on the role that Giuliani played in ousting the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch.
According to "The New York Times," one search warrant stated it was seeking evidence related to the Yovanovitch ouster. FBI agents seized Giuliani's electronic devices to investigate communication that he had with Ukrainians about the effort.
GIULIANI: That warrant is completely illegal.
MARQUARDT (voice-over): On FOX News, Giuliani denied he was acting on behalf of Ukrainians and blasted the prosecutor's decision to search his home and office.
GIULIANI: There is no justification for that warrant. It is illegal unconstitutional warrant, one of many that this department of injustice tragically has done.
MARQUARDT (voice-over): Warrants were executed against Giuliani's assistant and fellow lawyer Victoria Toensing, who also had dealings with Ukrainians. Ambassador Yovanovitch was a career diplomat who focused on anti-corruption efforts in Ukraine. Giuliani's allies wanted her out and enlisted his help.
During the first impeachment of Donald Trump, Yovanovitch accused Giuliani of mounting a smear campaign against her.
MARIE YOVANOVITCH, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO UKRAINE: I do not understand Mr. Giuliani's motives for attacking me, nor can I offer an opinion on whether he believed the allegations he's brought about me.
MARQUARDT: Giuliani's efforts worked, Trump was convinced and Yovanovitch was removed.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why do you need her out of the way?
GIULIANI: I didn't need her out of the way. I forced her out because she's corrupt.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MARQUARDT: We know one of Giuliani's main Ukrainian contacts, a lawmaker named Andrii Derkach, was, according to U.S. intelligence, a Russian agent. And sources told CNN that while Giuliani was working with Ukrainians, the Trump administration was warned that some of the information being given to Giuliani was from foreign intelligence.
So it's very hard to believe that Giuliani wouldn't have known there were very serious concerns about the people he was working with -- Alex Marquardt, CNN, Washington.
BRUNHUBER: And now to the Big Lie. One of the biggest spreaders of baseless conspiracy theories about the 2020 U.S. presidential election is issuing an apology and retraction as part of a lawsuit settlement.
Right wing network Newsmax reached the agreement with Dominion Voting Systems executive Eric Coomer, issuing a statement saying Newsmax has found no evidence that Dr. Coomer interfered with Dominion Voting Machines or voting software in any way or that Dr. Coomer ever claimed to have done so.
"Nor has news Max found any evidence that Dr. Coomer ever participated in any conversation with members of Antifa nor that he was directly involved with any partisan political organization."
President Biden is reaching back to his past to help promote the future of his ambitious infrastructure plan. He spoke at an Amtrak station in Philadelphia Friday, pitching his multitrillion dollar agenda to the American people. CNN's Jeff Zeleny explains.
JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We have to build back better and today we have a once in a generation opportunity.
JEFF ZELENY, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In Philadelphia today, President Biden rallying support for his ambitious plans to revive and transform the American economy
BIDEN: And like the rest of our infrastructure. We're way behind the rest of the world right now. We need to remember, we're in competition with the rest of the world.
ZELENY (voice-over): The President standing in the shadow of 30th Street Station to mark the 50th anniversary of his beloved Amtrak.
BIDEN: That's an Amtrak.
ZELENY (voice-over): He famously took the train every day from Wilmington to Washington for more than 30 years as a senator.
BIDEN: My name is Joe Amtrak Biden.
ZELENY (voice-over): Biden is asking Congress for $80 billion to improve rail service, a small slice of a sweeping economic plan. Now at the heart of negotiations between the White House and lawmakers.
BIDEN: There's so much we can do. And it's the biggest bang for the buck we can expend.
ZELENY (voice-over): The visit is part of the President sales pitch for his two-part economic agenda. The American Jobs Plan, a $2.25 trillion package aimed in part at fixing the nation's infrastructure. And the American Families Plan, a $1.8 trillion proposal to expand access to education, childcare and more.
BIDEN: To make investments that can help America get back on track, no pun intended.
ZELENY (voice-over): It's a heavy lift with skepticism from a handful of Democrats and most all Republicans who oppose raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans to pay for the plans. A new CNN poll finds not only a deeply divided country, but one where 70 percent of Republicans believe Biden was not legitimately elected. Yet Biden is seeking bipartisan support. And as invited GOP Senator Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia to the White House to try to find common ground, at least on infrastructure.
BIDEN: We had a good conversation and I invited her, you know, to come with anyone she wants to bring with her to the White House.
ZELENY (voice-over): The White House is increasingly focused on selling the plan to the American people outside Washington. A group of Biden allies launching a new advertising campaign today touting his achievement and praising his approach.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You won't hear him yelling or sending angry tweets because, for Joe Biden, actions speak louder.
ZELENY: Those ads are part of a multi-million dollar campaign to rally support in the country for the president's proposals. Infrastructure is one thing that Republicans and Democrats agree on.
Of course, the question, how to pay for it and how big the plan, is a central one. The White House will be having meetings next week with some Republicans. The challenge is getting them on board with how to pay it.
Raising taxes is certainly a sticking point and keeping Democrats together is also a big test. This is the next challenge facing President Biden -- Jeff Zeleny, CNN Philadelphia.
BRUNHUBER: For more on Joe Biden's economic agenda, I'm joined by Leslie Vinjamuri, the head of the U.S. and the Americas Programme at Chatham House.
Nice to see you again. You've written that Biden's plan will dramatically alter the economic and social landscape of the United States.
If passed -- and that's a big if -- so which is going to be a harder sell, the jobs plan or the family plan?
LESLIE VINJAMURI, CHATHAM HOUSE: It's a really, it's a very big question, of course, both are seeking to be absolutely transformational.
I think the question really on -- the broader question, is to what extent there will be debates in Congress about different elements of those plans, because of course, one of the things that Joe Biden wants to do, in addition to harnessing this crisis, really transform America's political economy, is also to build bridges.
And in order to build those bridges, you know, ideally, he would pass both of these bills through Congress, with bipartisan support rather than using a budget reconciliation measure.
But if he wants to do that, there's going to be a lot of bargaining and horse trading about key elements within the proposals.
One concern, of course, is what exactly counts as infrastructure. And I think, you know, there is broad bipartisan support for investing in America's railways and its roads and its airports.
But when you start to talk about things like child care, digital infrastructure, those broader definitions of what really makes it possible to do work on a daily basis and to transform an economy, one that is very digital, that I think is a lot more complicated.
The aggregate amount of spending, of course, is going to be deeply contentious in Congress, not the least because the proposal to pay for it is focused very much on raising corporate taxes, raising taxes on the wealthy, raising capital gains taxes, all of those things that are deeply contentious amongst Americans, not only within Congress.
BRUNHUBER: But a lot of those individual planks are very popular with the American populace, which would have translated into political capital in the -- before times of traditional politics, when things were popular with voters. Often you could bring enough members of the opposing party around to your cause and pass it.
But do those old formulas count for anything?
Does it matter how much voters might be behind those individual proposals that Biden's trying to pass? VINJAMURI: Yes, I think in the medium term, it matters a lot. If we go back to the American Rescue Plan, of course, it wasn't widely supported in Congress. But it was, as we know, widely supported by the American people.
And it depends what your measure is. If your measure is, do you get bipartisan support to get something through Congress, then that's going to be difficult, because, as you've indicated, America is very polarized.
VINJAMURI: That's expressed through divisions in Congress and a certain narrative that's currently painting Joe Biden and the Democrats as being socialists and seeking to destroy the fabric of America's individualism and incentive-based economy.
But I think if your measure is the midterm elections, then the key thing is going to be how does this resonate with the American people?
And that's a complex question and, again, it's going to, in the next phase, you know, the American Rescue Plan was one thing, it was temporary, it is temporary. But I think in this next phase of spending, it's going to get more contentious, in part because people are feeling better.
They're back on the streets, the economy is opening up and they will begin to query specific spending items and they will certainly be concerned about the question of taxes.
BRUNHUBER: I want to delve more into those, you know, the divisions we're talking about, not just in Congress and the American people as well. We are truly in a different world now.
A CNN poll found that 70 percent of Republicans think that Joe Biden didn't win enough votes for the presidency.
So on one hand, that's not surprising, right?
I mean those were the same numbers we saw in January.
But is it at all surprising that, even with Trump largely out of the limelight, that the Big Lie lives on to such an extent?
And what does that tell you?
VINJAMURI: You know, my question, I find the data, they are extraordinary, we do know this. The question is how much it factors into people's current decision making.
Does it become something that, you know, the narrative amongst Republican voters, about 2020, was that the election wasn't fair?
But they moved forward and evaluate the president in terms of what he does and the alternatives when it comes to, you know, future elections. Or does that stay with people and really drive decisions about how we conduct elections and who you vote for?
And those are really tough questions to know the answer to. My suspicion is that people will look forward, that America is coming through a phenomenal crisis. Americans want to get back out there on work and want to send their children to school.
And I think they will look to see whether their daily standard of living dramatically improves and whether that's sustainable. That, I think, is the thing that will matter, when, as we move forward.
BRUNHUBER: We'll see if those pocketbook issues do transform the political discourse here. Leslie Vinjamuri, thank you so much for joining us, always appreciate it.
VINJAMURI: Thank you, Kim.
BRUNHUBER: The surge of COVID infections in India grows more desperate by the hour. Just ahead, we'll speak with a prominent virologist in New Delhi about the shocking vaccine shortage in a country that makes more doses than anywhere else in the world.
Meanwhile, in the U.K., thousands of maskless club goers packed shoulder to shoulder in Liverpool.
How is this happening in the time of COVID?
We'll explain coming up. Stay with us.
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.
India reported a record 400,000 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday, the highest death toll so far anywhere in the world and the 10th day in a row of new confirmed infections skyrocketing above 300,000.
Hospitals have run out of just about everything they need to keep people alive, especially oxygen. So desperate patients are turning elsewhere. Here's CNN's Sam Kiley in Delhi.
SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A sensor reveals dangerously low levels of oxygen, stifled by COVID-19, this canister of gas buys this patient time.
All of these patients arrive barely able to breathe. This isn't a medical clinic. It's a tent on the outskirts of India's capital, run by volunteers.
KILEY: Without the initiative being shown by these volunteers from the Hemkunt Foundation, who are providing oxygen on the street, on the outskirts of Delhi, they say many dozens, perhaps over 100 patients, would be in deep trouble medically now.
They already had one death, just over there, earlier on today. They treated over 100 people who are coming in, desperate for oxygen, unable to breathe. And it's all about this, the supply of these oxygen cylinders. It's a 300-mile drive each way to get one of these filled and brought back to Delhi.
KILEY (voice-over): They cost about $25 when filled.
KILEY: How easy has it been to found oxygen?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, my God, trust me, this is the toughest thing, we have to say.
KILEY (voice-over): With COVID-19 infections and numbers of deaths breaking records daily in India, many patients in Delhi have given up on hospital treatment, where they know that oxygen is scarce and beds often shared.
Pankaj Chandrawal said he was turned away by three hospitals. He took off his oxygen mask, demanding to be heard.
PANKAJ CHANDRAWAL, COVID-19 PATIENT: They are just not entertaining anything and they're just refusing all things. I cannot tell whom I can believe. It is both government and the hospitals also.
KILEY (voice-over): Bottled oxygen is mostly produced outside Delhi. Neighboring states are prioritizing their own needs. And so the city gasps. And many die, unrecorded, in their homes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (Speaking foreign language).
KILEY (voice-over): Tijinder Gutji (ph) collects the bodies of patients who die at home. He'll pick up three in this one-hour run. Many are even afraid to take their dying loved ones to hospital.
Prashant Sharma's family decided to keep his grandmother at home.
PRASHANT SHARMA, GRANDSON OF COVID-19 VICTIM: We were scared. (INAUDIBLE). So we got scared if we cannot do any nearby hospital, who's going to (INAUDIBLE)? You know, who's going to give us the information, exactly the information what is (INAUDIBLE) in the hospital?
KILEY (voice-over): India's government has promised a vaccination campaign with renewed vigor. But with around only 2 percent of the nation inoculated so far, that's cold comfort here -- [04:35:00]
KILEY (voice-over): -- Sam Kiley, CNN, Delhi.
BRUNHUBER: With us to talk about this from New Delhi is Dr. Shahid Jameel, a prominent virologist and director of biosciences at Ashoka University.
Thank you so much for taking the time to speak with us. The desperation and despair that we saw in the last report there, from your perspective, as a virologist, are you surprised at the scale of what's unfolding now in India?
DR. SHAHID JAMEEL, ASHOKA UNIVERSITY: Well, thank you for having me, Kim. Yes, I think most scientists are surprised at the scale of the surge. We knew that something would come.
But in our wildest imagination we didn't dream it would be such a big surge. So clearly, things have gone wrong in doing things at the right time, in not being able to contain superspreader events.
And, of course, the new variants that have emerged in the population, both developed in the country as well as that have come into the country, have now completely taken over the community.
So it's really multiple factors. But to answer your question, no one in their wildest imagination imagined so much.
BRUNHUBER: You said before, everything had opened up and we thought the virus had gone away.
Was it that too few people were sounding the alarm bells or was just no one listening?
JAMEEL: Well, I guess, it's a mixture of both. The work that had been done, consistently showed high levels of antibodies, at least in cities where the population is more dense and the virus moves very quickly.
Data coming from the countryside has always been sketchy. So I think manning something, based on the science that would be projected, that would be available, was obviously not up to the mark. And they couldn't predict this kind of storm surge because all markers are based on available data, trends and assumptions we make.
I would say a mixture of both.
BRUNHUBER: So trying to get a handle on this, I mean, no country makes more than India and now we're seeing vaccine rollout after vaccine rollout postponed and stalled due to lack of vaccines.
How is this happening?
JAMEEL: Well, India actually started vaccinating at the right time and with the right attitude. A pandemic vaccine is supposed to do three things: one is to protect front line workers, who are there to save lives.
The second is to reduce mortalities, so deploy to the highest mortality bracket.
And the third is to control the pandemic. So when they started vaccinating in mid January, the rollout would be to health care personnel, front line workers and then to people between 45 and 60 who had co-morbidities. So the plan was just fine.
And there was sufficient vaccine available at that time. There was some amount of hesitancy because of the response to narrative that the epidemic is over for us. And also right around that time, we have the scale of blood clots coming from the European countries.
So a mix of that didn't really allow our vaccine program to really go up to scale. And then, you know, we started thinking that it's really needed now; by the time the surge had set in, so we were really caught on the wrong foot, both when we started the program and then the surge came.
I guess India being a supplier of such large numbers of vaccine, the companies that supplied these are not government companies. These are private companies. And you know, they need support to be able to ramp up vaccines in such a short period of time.
BRUNHUBER: Let me just jump in there, because I actually wanted to ask you exactly about that, to ramp this up, India is producing roughly 2 million vaccine doses each day but the country needs vaccines between, what, 6-7 million people a day, which means you need to triple manufacturing capacity.
So given what you're saying now, is that even possible?
And if it isn't, then what?
JAMEEL: Yes, so, actually, the numbers are that, from here on, India needs to deliver 7.5 million doses every single day to be able to vaccinate everyone above 18 during this year. So that's a phenomenally high number.
Yes, I think vaccine capacity, even if it is ramped up now, is not going to really save us from this wave. Any vaccine given now will take at least six to eight weeks to take its effect and break the chain of transmission.
Therefore, I think the time to control this surge with the vaccine is over. When we vaccinate people now, it will really be to prevent future surges. This virus has to be really controlled with public health means, with restricted movement, with just trying to save lives. Unfortunately, we are past that now. BRUNHUBER: Wow, Doctor, you paint a grim picture there. We really
appreciate your analysis. Thanks so much for taking the time to speak with us. Appreciate it.
A deadly attack on civilians in Afghanistan just hours after peace talks and just one day into the U.S. troop withdrawal. We'll get the latest from CNN's Ben Wedeman, who has extensively reported from there. Stay with us.
BRUNHUBER: At least 21 civilians were killed and dozens were wounded when a vehicle packed with explosives detonated in Afghanistan. It's happened in the provincial capital of Logar province, south of Kabul. So far no one has claimed responsibility.
It comes hours after U.S. and key allies met in Doha with the Taliban to jumpstart peace talks.
BRUNHUBER: And one day after the start of the U.S. troop withdrawal from Afghanistan. Senior international correspondent Ben Wedeman has reported extensively from Afghanistan and he joins us now from Beirut.
Many had warned that, if the U.S. leaves, violence will skyrocket.
While this clearly didn't take very long, what does this rise in violence portend?
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Basically it gives you a very good indication of what comes next. Normally at the end of periods of foreign occupation, whether it's in Afghanistan or in Iraq, the insurgency stops targeting the occupation forces and is preparing for the stage afterwards, preparing to grab power.
And what we've seen is that the agreement that was initially concluded between the Trump administration and the Taliban in February of 2020, was that the Americans basically have two primary interests as far as Afghanistan goes.
One is that Afghanistan does not go back to being used as a base for attacks abroad, as was the case in 2001, and that the Taliban severed relations with Al Qaeda.
Beyond that, there's only a hope that the Taliban and the current government, supported by the U.S. and its allies in Kabul, enter into some sort of political process, hopefully, ending in a form of coalition government.
But that is only a hope. And therefore, what we see is that the Taliban -- and there are other groups in Afghanistan as well, including the Islamic State -- are jockeying for post-occupation power.
Exactly what happened after the withdrawal of Soviet troops in February 1989, which was followed by prolonged years of civil war that essentially left the capital, Kabul, in ruins and so many Afghans are bracing for a repeat of the dark history that followed the Soviet withdrawal in 1989, the possibility of civil war -- Kim.
BRUNHUBER: Grim picture there. Ben Wedeman in Beirut, thanks for joining us.
Maskless club goers turned out by the thousands to attend a rave in England. It was all in name of science. We'll explain next. Stay with us.
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BRUNHUBER (voice-over): Look at this, thousands of people packed into a nightclub, no masks, obviously no social distancing there, just lots of dancing. This isn't from last year, this isn't archived footage here. This is this weekend. The U.K. government asked them to do it.
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BRUNHUBER: We've got the explanation here. So let's go to CNN's Cyril Vanier in London.
Every molecule in my body is screaming, no, when I see those pictures there. It's a fascinating, seemingly risky experiment. So take us through what they're hoping to learn here and how.
CYRIL VANIER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, I love the way you framed it, what they're hoping to learn is exactly how risky this is exactly. I mean this is the real deal in terms of experimenting with a post-pandemic life.
There are no face masks, no social distancing, this is indoors. And it's people rubbing shoulders. And if you've ever been to a club, you know people are going to lean in, breathe on your face. You know, it's the worst kind of COVID situation you could think of.
But all of these people have been screened. Those who were admitted in were those who had done a negative COVID test. So, really, what you're doing is assembling thousands of people, who are supposed to be COVID- free.
And then you ask them to do a test five days later, which is the case with this crowd, to see whether there has been -- there have been any infections and any spread of the virus. And the government is hoping that it can draw lessons from that because, less than two months from now, June 21st, everything is going to come back online, including night life, which has been shut for more than a year.
And the government wants to see what precautions, if any, it needs to take. It has floated the idea of a vaccine passport or a vaccine certificate to show that you're COVID free, either you've had the vaccine or you've been infected and, therefore, have immunity, or you can show a negative COVID test.
They're road testing these things at the moment to see how they can open up large-scale live events like this one. So a little too early to know what happens, what the lessons will be from this particular event. You have to wait five days for people to take the test to see any infections have occurred -- Kim.
BRUNHUBER: I still can't imagine anything I would like to do less than what we're picturing right there.
VANIER: Not my thing, either.
BRUNHUBER: Yes, even for science. All right, thanks so much, Cyril Vanier, always appreciate it.
Well, for the first time in more than a year, Californians can visit the happiest place on Earth. Disneyland opened on Friday at 25 percent capacity to state residents only with some restrictions. Visitors to the amusement park in Anaheim have to wear masks, practice social distancing and avoid getting too close to their favorite Disney characters.
It's a sign that life in California is returning to normal after months of COVID restrictions. Many Disney employees have been rehired and it's a shot in the arm for the local economy.
Finally, something not for the faint of heart. Portugal has just opened the world's longest pedestrian bridge. The hanging structure spans 560 meters.
BRUNHUBER: It's more than 150 meters high and took three years to build. Now as you walk through, you can see there, you can look down through that grated deck at the waterfall, a gorge and the river below. The crossing takes about 10 minutes, unless you get frozen with vertigo.
And social media accounts from across the world of sports are shut down this weekend, to demand an end to racist abuse online. It was organized by English football organizations, including the Premier League and the Football Association. The unprecedented blackout on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter will run through Monday.
And it's growing to include British broadcasters, UEFA and other sports and Adidas says it is halting paid advertising across the U.K. social media platforms and many Formula 1 drivers are supporting the social media boycott.
I'm Kim Brunhuber. I'll be back with more CNN NEWSROOM in just a moment. Please stay with us.