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Biden Administration Now Favors Waiving Vaccine Patents; India's COVID-19 Crisis Impacts COVAX Deliveries to Africa, Threatens Neighboring Countries; Interview with Dmytro Kuleba, Ukrainian Foreign Minister, ahead of Meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken; Chinese Rocket Debris Expected to Crash into Earth Soon; Japan Considers Extending State of Emergency in Four Areas; The U.S. Eyes Possible "Roaring 20s" Recovery. Aired 2-2:45a ET

Aired May 6, 2021 - 02:00   ET




ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us from all around the world. You are watching CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Rosemary Church.

Just ahead, the Biden administration says it supports easing patent protections to make more doses of COVID vaccines available worldwide. But the pharmaceutical industry says the move could backfire.

A new warning about COVID in India, why cases and deaths there could soon double.

Plus new details about how the pandemic would change this summer's Tokyo Olympics.


CHURCH: Good to have you with us.

U.S. President Joe Biden is making good on a campaign promise to support lifting trade restrictions so patents for COVID vaccines could be shared with the world. On Wednesday, his trade representative, Katherine Tai, sent this statement.

"The administration believes strongly in intellectual property protections but in service of ending this pandemic, supports the waiver of those protections for COVID19 vaccines."

The head of the World Health Organization was ecstatic and called it a monumental moment in the pandemic battle. The proposal to lift the waivers was first made by India and South Africa.

In theory, it could help address the global vaccine shortage by allowing other countries to make their own versions of the drugs. The U.S. surgeon general spoke with CNN's Erin Burnett about the significance of the White House decision. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DR. VIVEK MURTHY, U.S. SURGEON GENERAL: It was a statement that put people over patents. It was about leading in the world and helping producing what the world needed in a time of unprecedented crisis. It's a country that my parents dreamt of, before they moved to the United States, the country I feel blessed to be able to serve as surgeon general.

And if we stick together, if we work together, if we help and work and collaborate with countries around the world, I do believe we will turn this pandemic around.


CHURCH: While U.S. support for waivers is important, it does not mean anything will happen right away. Negotiations at the WTO will likely take weeks or even months to fine-tune the rules. Kaitlan Collins has the details.


KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: The Biden administration has now come out in favor of waiving those intellectual property rights when it comes to the COVID-19 vaccines. This is something that had been under debate about their formal position was going to be over the last several days.

You are seeing pressure start to build on the administration for waiving those property rights because, of course, they want companies and countries to be able to mass produce these vaccines, given what we are seeing happen in places like India and Brazil and other countries that are struggling with coronavirus infections or have not yet ramped up their vaccination rates.

This has to go through a WTO process and President Biden's trade rep acknowledged that in her statement. She also talked about the extraordinary circumstances we are in and saying they do respect intellectual property rights but also they recognize that we are in a pandemic and it's important to get as many people vaccinated right now as possible.

So that's where their position is. It seemed like that's where they were going to go since President Biden did say last summer he would commit to sharing vaccines, waiving patents so we could be sure the world is getting vaccinated if the U.S. is one of the first countries to develop a vaccine.

Of course, the question of how this plays out, whether or not it actually helps these countries in the near future is something that remains to be seen. They haven't figured that out yet. Of course, White House officials say it could be that it's easier to share vaccines, maybe sell them at cost.

So how those companies decide to navigate this remains to be seen. We know this is a decision the pharmaceutical industry did not want to say they did not want these property rights waived but the administration says, of course, it's a pandemic and so they had to do it -- Kaitlan Collins, CNN, the White House.


CHURCH: And as Kaitlan just mentioned, major drug makers are against the waivers. The head of the Pharmaceutical Research Manufacturers of America issued this dire prediction after Wednesday's statement from the White House.


CHURCH: "In the midst of a deadly pandemic, the Biden administration has taken an unprecedented step that will undermine our global response to the pandemic and compromise safety."

But health experts say the priority is getting doses to as many people in the world as quickly as possible. Here's how infectious disease specialist Dr. Anthony Fauci framed the issue.


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, WHITE HOUSE CHIEF COVID-19 MEDICAL ADVISER: I believe we have a moral obligation, Steve, to make sure that the rest of the world does not suffer and die, as it were, from something we can help them with and help to prevent.

We've got to get to the end game and the end game is the equitable distribution of vaccines. However we get there, it's fine with me. We need to get there.


CHURCH: India is reporting its worst numbers since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, more than 412,000 new infections and just shy of 4,000 deaths in the past 24 hours. Both are new records.

Still, many people are taking big risks and potentially spreading the virus. Huge crowds gathered for a religious festival in the western state of Gujarat, mostly without masks. Police arrested at least 30 people for violating COVID restrictions. Vedika Sud has more now from New Delhi.


VEDIKA SUD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: A projection model from the Indian Institute of Science estimates nearly 50 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 and over 400,000 COVID-19 deaths could be recorded by June 11th this year. This means India could see more than 2 times the cases that it currently has and almost double the fatalities.

According to a study, a 15-day lockdown could bring down the numbers. While India is in the midst of a second wave, the health ministry Wednesday said the country should prepare for a third wave, which they say is inevitable. The Indian government has strongly denied media reports of delaying

distribution of global aid to the country. The government says it has installed a streamlined mechanism for allocating aid. Nearly 4 million related items have been distributed to 38 health care facilities according to the health ministry.

Indian health officials on Wednesday reiterated that foreign aid to help tackle the country's brutal second wave is being sent to hospitals with an immediate need. Several hospitals across India's national capital region are still sending out emergency messages on social media for oxygen supplies.


CHURCH: Let's bring in Anna Coren now. She is following developments live from Hong Kong.

Good to see you, Anna. We have been covering the tragic record cases and deaths across India but now there is much concern for neighboring nations like Nepal.

How bad is the situation there and across the region?

ANNA COREN, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: The situation in Nepal, which borders India, is dire. The Red Cross has described it as a human catastrophe waiting to happen. They share a very porous border and that infection rate we've been seeing in India seems to be flowing into Nepal.

Just yesterday, there were more than 8,600 infections and 58 deaths. Since mid April, there's been an explosion in the number of cases. It's something like 1,200 percent it has risen. Just to give you an idea of where it's come from and where it is now and would help officials fear is where it's heading.

We spoke to a doctor in Nepal on the border and he says hospitals are overflowing. They are crowded, they are struggling to deal with the patients that they have. He himself is terrified of getting COVID.

We also spoke to a father, who lost his 21 year old daughter a week ago. His wife is fighting for her life in ICU. He's left looking after his 3-month old granddaughter because his daughter had died. The pain and suffering we've been seeing in India is now being felt very much in Nepal, a country of almost 30 million people.

It's impoverished, mainly impoverished, and its health system struggles at the best of times, let alone in the midst of a pandemic. The prime minister addressed the nation earlier this week and he pleaded with international countries to provide supplies, necessary supplies, medical supplies, oxygen as well as vaccine.

Only 1 percent of the population in Nepal has been fully inoculated.


COREN: They were getting their vaccine from India, getting AstraZeneca from India. They were getting Sinopharm from China. That was suspended a month ago because of drive of supply. These countries needing their own vaccine.

So the prime minister pleading they need 1.6 million doses of AstraZeneca because that's how many people had the first dose. They need the second dose as soon as possible.

CHURCH: Of course, Anna Coren, bringing us the latest from her vantage point there in Hong Kong. Appreciate it.

As desperation for oxygen and medical supplies grows in India, thousands of miles away, members of the Indian community in the U.K. are finding unique ways to help. Scott McLean has more.


SCOTT MCLEAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For two straight days, they've been peddling in the shadow of Britain's largest Hindu temple. They are a long way from India, but the coronavirus crisis there isn't far from anyone's mind. It seems everyone here knows someone trying to find oxygen or medical help, even some who've died without finding either.

ROSHNI SONEJI, CYCLING TO RAISE MONEY: You know, when you are talking to your relatives, absolutely, do you feel really helpless. But I think that's where, in any way possible, that we can help.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Myself and wife had COVID. My father, who's in his eighties, had COVID. And he was in hospital for about 20 days. So, I know the value of oxygen, simply no oxygen. So, it's very personal thing for me.

MCLEAN: Nearly 800 cyclists peddled a virtual relay to Delhi and back, raising more than $800,000 to help provide equipment, hospital beds and oxygen to people in India. All from just three temples in the U.K.

The ties between the U.K. and India are endless. In fact, India is producing many of the vaccine doses that have made the U.K.'s vaccine rollout such a success. It's been so successful that some are now calling on the British government to slow down that rollout to send doses to India. The government, though, so far, has said no.

LAYLA MORAN, BRITISH LIBERAL DEMOCRAT M.P.: Will the minister now committed to both increasing the money the U.K. gives to COVAX, much so that as we need to do more, but you also start sharing vaccine doses through COVAX now, today?

TUSHAR AGRAWAL, SURGEON: What vaccine does is it prevents COVID. Now we are already passed that stage. We are at a stage where people are not getting treatments. I think that should be the images it focuses.

ABHAY CHOPADA, SURGEON: We are getting --

MCLEAN: That's exactly the focus of Indian born doctors Tushar Agrawal and Abhay Chopada. CHOPADA: You are still coughing. Are you feeling all right?

MCLEAN: Surgeons by day, but using any spare moment to treat friends, family and total strangers in India through remote medical appointments from their homes in London.

Neither of you begrudged the British government for saying we don't have enough to share right now?

CHOPADA: Not at all, no. Begrudging is not the right thing to do for anyone.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was getting fever --

MCLEAN: The patients they are seeing remotely have had little or no success getting in-person medical attention in India.

AGRAWAL: At the moment, I'm looking after, five, six, seven, eight, nine, 11 people.

MCLEAN: It sounds like a full-time job.

AGRAWAL: Well, I'm spending seven hours on the phone every day.

Reassurance is key, telling people when they should or should not venture out to India's overrun hospitals.

CHOPADA: I could see what his heart rate was, what his oxygen saturation was, what his respiratory rate was. So, effectively, you are saying, you don't need to leave your home.

AGRAWAL: This is the time now you need oxygen.

MCLEAN: Dr. Agrawal has already told several family members to go to the hospital, but they can't find a bed. Three others have died in just the past week.

It must be more draining, given that it's your own family?

AGRAWAL: Exactly. Yes, yes. It makes you feel even more helpless because, you know, what's the point of being a doctor if you can't even help your own family?

MCLEAN: Feeling helpless, but trying to do their part -- Scott McLean, CNN, London.


CHURCH: Emergency restrictions haven't stopped rising infections in major parts of Japan. Now the fear is the outbreak won't be in control in time for the Olympics. First, CNN speaks exclusively with Ukraine's foreign minister ahead of his sitdown with U.S. secretary of state Antony Blinken. A look at the urgent issues they plan to discuss.





CHURCH: Hong Kong pro-democracy activists Joshua Wong has been sentenced to another 10 months in jail for taking part in last year's Tiananmen Square vigil. The event is held every year to commemorate the 1989 crackdown. Police banned the event in 2020, citing the coronavirus outbreak.

The 24-year old was among 26 activists charged with participating in unauthorized assembly. He and three others pleaded guilty. Wong was already serving a 17-month jail sentence for his role in two other unauthorized assemblies during the 2019 protests in Hong Kong.

U.S. secretary of state Antony Blinken is set to meet this hour with his Ukrainian counterpart. His trip to Kiev aims to bolster support for Ukraine in the face of Russian aggression and a military buildup at the border.

That issue will be at the top of the agenda when Blinken sits down with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky just hours from now. Before the meet happens, Dmytro Kuleba sat down with Matthew Chance for an exclusive interview.


MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Ahead of the secretary of state's visit, his Ukrainian counterpart is putting his best fist forward.

There are uncomfortable issues in the U.S.-Ukrainian relationship, like the activities in Ukraine of Rudy Giuliani, former president Trump's lawyer ahead of the 2020 U.S. election, issues Ukraine officials would wish to ignore.

CHANCE: Do you believe he may have engaged in criminal behavior?

DMYTRO KULEBA, UKRAINIAN FOREIGN MINISTER: Well, I'm not a lawyer to make my judgment on the criminal nature of his behavior.

CHANCE: How would you characterize it?

KULEBA: He was definitely playing politics and he put the situation at risk for Ukraine and for Ukraine's relationship with United States. And we did our best to avoid that trap and to maintain that bipartisan security with bipartisan support from the United States.

CHANCE (voice-over): But Ukraine is again under withering scrutiny, with the FBI investigating the former New York City mayor, whose alleged actions regarding Ukraine.

CHANCE: Can you tell us, has the FBI or any other investigating agency in the United States approached Ukraine for assistance with that investigation into Rudy Giuliani? KULEBA: Not to the best of my knowledge, I'm not aware of any formal legal process that has been initiated recently.

CHANCE (voice-over): Even if there was, Ukraine has for years, avoided being drawn into the toxic U.S. political battle. In fact, as the U.S. secretary of state paid his first visit here, Ukrainian officials want their own battle to be the focus, especially with a Russian armada assembling off their eastern seaboard. The Kremlin insists they are naval drills, posing no threat.

As CNN has learned, Ukraine has a shopping list of weapons it wants from Washington, including air defense systems and anti sniper tech. Crucial, say officials, with so many Ukrainian troops being gunned down on these front lines.

The question is, will Secretary Blinken and President Biden, who says he wants to find a stable pact with Russia, offering Putin later this year, risk inflaming Russia-Ukraine tensions?


CHANCE: In the Obama administration when Biden was the vice president, they didn't provide lethal weaponry to Ukraine for fear of provocation to Russia.

What do you think is changed?

Has anything changed?

KULEBA: My impression is that the Obama administration is about the past and Biden administration is about today. And this administration is more committed and more resolved, more resolute in containing Russia.

CHANCE (voice-over): How far the U.S. resolve extends in Ukraine will soon be put to the test -- Matthew Chance, CNN, Kiev.


CHURCH: The U.K. is sending two navy patrol ships to the channel island of Jersey as tensions rise with France over post Brexit fishing rights. Prime minister Boris Johnson has pledged his unwavering support for the self-governing island. He says the ships are a precautionary move in case French fishermen block Jersey's main port.

France has threatened to cut electricity to the island, after the Jersey government put new restrictions on fishing vessels. Jersey's minister for external relations says he wants to heal the relationship as soon as possible.

A centrist leader of Israel's opposition is now in the political spotlight. Israel's president has tapped Yair Lapid with the daunting task of ending two years of political gridlock to form a coalition government. He'll be working with parliament members who are evenly divided for and against Prime Minister Netanyahu. Hadas Gold explains from Jerusalem. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

HADAS GOLD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The Israeli president Reuven Rivlin has taken the mandate from prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and handed it to one of his rivals, as Israel tries to see who, if anybody, can form the next government.

President Rivlin gave the mandate to Yair Lapid, he's the leader of the centrist party Yesh Atid, which won the next highest number of votes in the March elections. Now he has 28 days to try and show that he can form the next government.

Even if he is the one that is able to form the next government, that doesn't necessarily mean he will actually be prime minister right away. In order to form the unity government he says Israel needs right now, that will unite parties from the Left to the Right across the political spectrum, he will likely offer the first round of being prime minister to Naftali Bennett, the head of a small right-wing party that only won 7 seats in the last election in March.

He has now become a key player in deciding who would be able to form the next government. Yair Lapid said that after two years of political paralysis Israeli society is hurting and a unity government is not a last resort, rather something that Israel needs at this time.

Now Yair Lapid may have a tall task still trying to unite a group of disparate political parties who may be united in how they feel about Benjamin Netanyahu but there are still a lot of issues that they do not agree on.

If Yair Lapid succeeds in forming a new government he will be the one to oust the longest serving prime minister in Israeli history. But if Yair Lapid fails in forming next door in the next 28 days, the Israeli president can send it back to the Israeli parliament asking them to nominate a new candidate.

If that fails, than Israelis may be heading toward an unprecedented 5th election -- Hadas Gold, CNN, Jerusalem.


CHURCH: A massive piece of space junk is set to reenter Earth's atmosphere this weekend. Debris from a large Chinese rocket is careening out of control and the U.S. says it is tracking it. Space agencies around the world try to avoid leaving big objects in orbit that could fall back to Earth but not this particular rocket.

CNN meteorologist Pedram Javaheri joins me now to talk about this.

Is there any way of working out when and where the debris will fall?

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Great question. It's traveling at such a fast velocity, at about 30,000 kilometers per hour, so any variation in its angle of approach will put it thousands of kilometers away on spots on Earth. We will show you where the best spots are for this rocket to land. But

space debris is plentiful. You can look at the orbital path of some 9,000 tons of space debris, about 4,000 satellites. Put all this together, the weight is equivalent to over 700 school buses.

We've got rocket boosters, shells, tools and all of this orbiting our planet. Even sometimes we get asteroids approaching our planet as well.


JAVAHERI: But when it comes to meteors or foreign bodies from outer space, these come in at an oblique angle. They run into friction, heat and stress on the body. So you really burn a vast majority of it. Usually they are not the size of 20 tons, which is where this rocket comes in.

Its approach is going to be critical in terms of how much will be burnt up in our atmosphere. We think it's a large enough and hefty enough to where parts of it can survive the friction and make it to Earth's surface. So 20 tons, talking about the largest and heaviest since 1991 of any object upon reentry. You could take that to scale.

That is the size or weight of about 15 sedans falling towards the Earth's surface.

Where will it end up?

We know this is among the heaviest top 5. But a reentry point within the atmosphere as estimated puts our planet at the entry. From New York City, Los Angeles, down towards Mexico City and Sao Paulo; Lagos, Nigeria; Beijing; even as far as Sydney.

We can isolate to the exact place upon reentry but because of the incredible speed of 29,000 kilometers per hour, this orbits our planet, Rosemary, 15 times a day. Where it ends up, it will be a debris field equivalent to a small airplane crash scattered over 100 kilometers within an area. So it won't be one particular space; it will be scattered over a 100-kilometer area.

CHURCH: That is still a concern. I'm glad you are keeping an eye on it. We will get another update later. Pedram Javaheri, thank you.

Mission accomplished.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Starship heading back to the landing zone.

CHURCH (voice-over): For the first time ever, SpaceX's Starship Mars prototype has nailed its landing. The SM-15 launched from South Texas Wednesday, soaring up 10 kilometers into the air before descending safely onto a landing pad.

It's the fifth spacecraft of its kind to attempt such a landing but the first to do it successfully. Earlier, prototypes ended in spectacular and disappointing explosions during their landings. Starship is the launch vehicle SpaceX CEO Elon Musk hopes will carry the first human to Mars one day.


You're watching CNN NEWSROOM. Ahead, parts of Japan are running out of hospital beds for COVID patients and the government is weighing more drastic action.





CHURCH: Officials in Japan may extend a state of emergency in Tokyo and other areas beyond next week due to rising COVID cases. Hospitals in Osaka are over capacity for severely ill COVID patients. Thousands more are waiting to be admitted. Blake Essig joins us now from Tokyo.

Blake, what's the latest on all of this?

And how might the July Olympics be impacted?

BLAKE ESSIG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good question, Rosemary. Medical experts tell me specifically in western Japan that the medical system has completely collapsed. In Osaka, according to the government website, the hospital bed occupancy rate maxed out at 103 percent. Nearly 3,000 people are now waiting to be hospitalized.

And since the fourth wave of infections started to build in March, at least 17 people have died from COVID-19 outside of a hospital. In neighboring Hyogo prefecture, nearly 1,800 people are waiting to be hospitalized. People also dying at home there as well.

Nationwide, despite the case count going down, the number of patients with serious symptoms is climbing, setting a new record nearly each day this week. Officials say virus variants are becoming dominant, with cases among younger people, who are getting seriously ill, also on the rise.

The majority of serious cases are focused in the densely populated areas of Japan, like Hyogo, Osaka and Tokyo. In Osaka, to deal with a number of people waiting, the government has opened up two medical centers for those who can't find bed space. They've asked neighboring prefectures to accept patients with severe symptoms.

They've even without a recruitment notice for nurses. A state of emergency was declared in Osaka and other prefectures 2 weeks ago. But in Osaka and Hyogo, there are now talks of extending the current order, which is set to expire next week on May 11th, by a month. A decision is expected tomorrow.

All of this, with less than 3 months to go before the Olympics. In fact, just yesterday, a test event was held in Sapporo, where a scaled-back state of emergency order has been requested and a medical emergency has been declared.

While organizers remain determined to hold the safe and secure games, infectious disease specialists I've spoken with say, at this point, it just simply doesn't seem possible, the idea of bringing tens of thousands of participants in from roughly 200 countries around the world with virus variants taking shape. It just seems incredibly irresponsible -- Rosemary.

CHURCH: Blake Essig, joining us live from Tokyo, many thanks.

As COVID surges in parts of the world, the Tokyo Olympics are just 2.5 months away. The games were already postponed once.

Assuming they happen this year, what will the experience be like?

CNN's sports analyst and "USA Today" sports columnist Christine Brennan joins me now to discuss the changes.

Great to have you with us.

CHRISTINE BRENNAN, CNN SPORTS ANALYST: Great to be with you. Thank you.

CHURCH: You write in your opinion piece for "USA Today" that the Tokyo Summer Olympics in July will likely be the biggest peacetime gathering with no gathering due to the pandemic, of course.

How will COVID-19 change the Olympic experience?

And how can Japan do this safely, given the country is struggling with COVID infections and hospitalizations right now?

BRENNAN: Rosemary, it certainly is. And it's really a problem for Japan and 2 percent of the population has been vaccinated. That's the key thing right there. Vaccines will not be mandatory for Olympic athletes coming up in July and August.

So that means the athletes basically have to stay away from each other. We will have never seen an Olympics like this one. The joie de vivre, the wonderful feeling in the village of athletes getting to know each other, an athlete from Australia sitting and talking to someone from Ethiopia, who's talking to someone from Germany, who's talking to someone from Russia, that's not going to happen. They have to stay apart.

They will stay with her teammates, their country men and women. They may not even go into the dining hall to eat. They may have grab and go. And most of the time, they will be in their rooms and a bus, back to the venue, to practice or compete and right back to their rooms, a very spartan existence for these athletes.

CHURCH: Absolutely. How do many of the Olympic athletes feel about competing this, year given they not only have to excel at what they do but they will also have to navigate a multitude of rules and regulations, with the fear that they might accidentally break one of those rules?

BRENNAN: That's true. Most of them are thrilled to be having an Olympics Games and the opportunity at all because, of course, last year it was postponed. First time ever Olympics have been postponed. And they don't want to cancel the Olympics.


BRENNAN: We know it's an incredible undertaking. We know there are billions and billions of dollars from corporate sponsors and networks and Tokyo organizers. Let's not be naive. Obviously money has a lot to do with this.

But when you look at the athletes who really, of course, are the lifeblood of the Olympic Games, that's why you tune in and watch and cheer for them, the fact they get a chance to compete at all, I think it's something that they are very grateful for.

CHURCH: What will it be like for many athletes and coaches when they arrive/

And what might the opening and closing ceremonies look like given all the restrictions and rules?

And the fact that vaccinations will not be mandatory?

BRENNAN: When everyone arrives, including yours truly, it'll be a lot of testing, there will be a tracing app that will be on. The bar code have, your credential, they will know where you are. You fill out a schedule about what your planned activities are, which aren't going to be many. That schedule won't be very long.

The opening ceremony is the real question, because the idea is to keep the athletes apart. You don't want countries mingling. Maybe they will just get out of the bus, go to holding area, around the track once and go right back out and back to the village.

It sounds strange but, if it's a TV show, which it, is it will look good on TV. It will look good enough. Although when they're waving, as they walk around the track, who will they be waving to if there aren't any fans in the stands or very few fans in the stands?

One other rule, it's very important, Rosemary, that every Olympic athlete is supposed to leave Japan within 48 hours of their final competition.

So that begs the question, who's going to be left for the closing ceremony?

Very few athletes will be in Tokyo by the time the games are closing. That's another issue and something else that the organizers will have to deal with.

CHURCH: It'll be very different but people are getting used to different.

Very quickly, do you think there is any possibility that these games will be postponed or even canceled?

BRENNAN: Canceled to be the most likely. They said postponement, there wouldn't be another postponement. I think maybe 2-5 percent chance of cancellation and it would have to be another outbreak of COVID in Japan, something that would be so horrific and scary that the health officials and politicians and International Olympic Committee would have to say we can't do it. And that would, of course, be a sad day. Let's hope that's not the case and let's hope they can get these games in.

CHURCH: Absolutely. Christine Brennan, CNN sports analyst and "USA Today" sports columnist, thank you so much for joining us. Appreciate it.

BRENNAN: Thank you, Rosemary.

CHURCH: Coming up, promising signs the U.S. could see another Roaring '20s economic boom. But will we be able to avoid the bust this time around?





CHURCH: Welcome, back everyone.

A global pandemic, a boost in consumer spending and a stock market hitting record highs. The U.S. economy looking eerily similar to 100 years ago. Economists say the nation may be on the verge of another Roaring '20s.

Does that mean another economic bust will follow the boom?

Clare Sebastian takes a look.


CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: A time of post- pandemic euphoria, excessive drinking and stock market speculation.

DONALD J. MILLER, PROFESSOR OF HISTORY, LAFAYETTE UNIVERSITY: Low inflation, easy money from the federal reserves. There's a surging sense that tomorrow is going to be better than yesterday.

ROBERT J. SHILLER, PROFESSOR OF ECONOMICS, YALE UNIVERSITY: One step down, two steps up was the mantra in the 1920s.

SEBASTIAN: Between August 1921 and start of the 1920s market and its peak in September 1929, the Dow Jones industrial average grew more than 500 percent. Compare that to today's '20s, the Dow already at more than 80 percent since the pandemic-fueled panic last March.

And behind those numbers are ordinary people. Today, amateur traders attracted by free trading platforms and social media stars.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stocks always go up.

SEBASTIAN: A century ago, by another form of entertainment.

MILLER: Your broker would have a customers' room with a Trans-Lux stock ticker, which is a big thing that a whole crowd could observe. It was like watching a movie.

SEBASTIAN (on camera): The illegal drinks flowed in the underground speakeasies of the 1920s. Few, it seems, were even aware that the boom years could come to an end. But a cocktail of risks were taking shape and some of that cocktail was still drinking today.

MILLER: People began to have the opportunity to buy stocks in the 1920s on the margins. Ten percent.

SEBASTIAN (voice-over): Trading with borrowed money, or margin trading, became popular in the 1920s and the risks were not widely known. Today, while margin trading is better regulated, it's still causing major volatility in some assets.

SHILLER: I think the GameStop phenomenon sobered a lot of people. And also, the big bitcoin phenomenon. The up and down and up. But you can't -- what they take from it so far hasn't been much discouragement about the stock market.

SEBASTIAN: Beyond the stock market, there's another historical risk in the mix.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Twenty million Americans lost their job in the pandemic. Working and middle-class Americans. At the same time, roughly, 650 billionaires in America. Saw their net worth increased by more than $1 trillion.

SEBASTIAN: Income inequality, which hit a 20th century peak in the U.S. in 1929 now rising again. And history shows us that makes the economy less resilient to shocks.

MILLER: The rich, of course, when a recession or depression hits may have a lot of disposable income that they could withdraw it and pull it out and the middle class can't. So, with some unemployed, there is no money being infused into the economy. And the recession really turns into a depression. It's remarkable speed.

SEBASTIAN: Today, the U.S. has a much more proactive central bank and a government already spending on social programs. The lesson of the last Roaring '20s: always be ready for the music to stop -- Clare Sebastian, CNN, New York.


CHURCH: And thanks so much for joining. Us I'm Rosemary Church. I'll be back with more news at the top of the hour. "WORLD SPORT" is next.