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Meet the Volunteers Behind COVID-19 Vaccine Trials; U.S. Accuses China of Trying to Steal Vaccine Research; Trump: Dealing with China is Very Expensive; MLS Plans Centralized Tournament to Resume Season; Naomi Osaka Opens Up While Tennis on Hold. Aired 12-1a ET

Aired May 14, 2020 - 00:00   ET




JOHN VAUSE, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Hello and welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. I'm John Vause. Coming up on CNN NEWSROOM, the growing disconnect between Donald Trump and the fact-based world with more testimony expected from senior government officials about a public health crisis only getting worse, while the president falsely brags about his successful response to the pandemic.

The first tentative steps to normalcy across England, thousands heading back to work after a 7 week long lockdown. But critics say the road ahead is chaotic and confusing.

And with the U.S. head warning an unprecedented hit to the economy, the next round of financial triage from Congress is stalled by bipartisan politics.


VAUSE: More than 100 viable vaccine trials are underway right now for COVID-19 and some are showing promising signs of eradicating the threat from this virus entirely.

But what happens between now and then?

When and if the vaccine is ready?

For worldwide distribution. On Wednesday the World Health Organization warned without a vaccine it will take years to build up a global immunity.


DR. MICHAEL RYAN, WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION: This virus may become just another endemic in our communities and this virus may never go away but we do have one great hope. If we do find the highly effective vaccine that we can distribute to everyone who needs it in the world, we may have a shot at eliminating this virus.

(END VIDEO CLIP) VAUSE: And expect another grim warning in the coming hours when another senior health official appears before the U.S. Congress. Doctor Rick Bright is expected to testify, by September, without a coordinated national response based on scientific fact, the country will be facing its darkest winter in modern history.

The current numbers are already bad enough. More than 4.3 million diagnosed with the virus, close to 300,000 dead, almost a third of them in the U.S. Those numbers coming from Johns Hopkins University.

And as the death toll in the U.S. spins towards 85,000, the U.S. president and his allies are calling into question the accuracy and the count, suggesting it is too high because of overreporting.

This could be an attempt to discredit the leading expert of infectious diseases, Dr. Anthony Fauci, who says the toll is likely too low and is calling for caution when it comes to restarting the U.S. economy. We have more details now from CNN's Jim Acosta.


JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): After weeks of simmering tensions, President Trump is taking some overt swipes at one of his top health experts, Dr. Anthony Fauci.

The president says he disagrees with Fauci's advice to carefully reopen schools across the U.S.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: To me, it's not an acceptable answer, especially when it comes to schools. Look, he wants to play all sides of the equation. I don't consider our country coming back if the schools are closed

ACOSTA: Fauci just warned lawmakers not to be cavalier with the health of the nation's school children.

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, NIAID DIRECTOR: I think we better be careful if we are not cavalier in thinking that children are completely immune from the deleterious effects.

ACOSTA: With the enormous weight of the pandemic hanging over the White House, sources tell CNN administration officials are questioning the accuracy of the coronavirus death toll in the U.S. and whether the number of dead is being overcounted.

But that would fly in the face of testimony from Fauci, who said deaths are likely being undercounted, as some residents in hard-hit New York died at home and were never counted as COVID-19 fatalities.

FAUCI: So, in direct answer to your question, I think you are correct that the number is likely higher. I don't know what percent higher, but almost certainly it's higher.

ACOSTA: The president suggested New York's number of dead was too high last month. TRUMP: I see this morning where New York added 3,000 deaths because they died and they're now saying, rather than it was a heart attack, they're saying it was a heart attack caused by this.

ACOSTA: Trump allies on FOX News have zeroed in on Fauci as an obstacle to reopening the country, blasting the doctor's cautious approach to the pandemic.

TUCKER CARLSON, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Is this the guy you want to chart the future of the country? Maybe not. This is very serious matter, the decisions we're making right now. Tony Fauci has not been elected to anything.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Fauci, to be very blunt, is the face of this failed administrative state. I think we have got to question the entire premise of this.

CARLSON: I totally agree. The chief buffoon of the professional...

SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: Dr. Anthony Fauci also seems to favor what the Democrats want and that is massive restrictions with no end in sight.

LAURA INGRAHAM, FOX NEWS ANCHOR: With all due respect to Dr. Fauci's expertise, no one elected him to anything.

ACOSTA: But there's one big problem for the White House. A CNN poll found a solid majority of Americans trust Fauci, not the president, when it comes to the pandemic.

Another public health official to watch, Dr. Rick Bright, a top vaccine expert who was removed from his post, he says, in an alleged act of retaliation.

Bright, who is set to appear before a House subcommittee Thursday, warns the U.S. must prepare for the pandemic to get worse.


ACOSTA (voice-over): Saying in his prepared testimony: "Without clear planning and implementation of the steps that I and other experts have outlined, 2020 will be the darkest winter in modern history."

Mr. Trump is brushing off Bright as an unhappy employee.

TRUMP: To me, he's a disgruntled guy and I hadn't heard great things about him.

ACOSTA: With such dire predictions, the president's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, was asked whether the November election might be postponed.

QUESTION: Do you commit that the elections will happen on November 3?

JARED KUSHNER, SENIOR ADVISER TO PRESIDENT TRUMP: It's not my decision to make. So, I'm not sure I could commit one or the way, but, right now, that's the plan.

ACOSTA: Kushner later released a statement, saying: "I have not been involved in, nor am I aware of any discussions about trying to change the date of the presidential election."

But the damage done to the economy is beyond question, according to Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, who adds, working Americans are taking a major hit.

JEROME POWELL, FEDERAL RESERVE CHAIRMAN: Among people who were working in February, almost 40 percent of those in households making less than $40,000 a year had lost a job in March.

This reversal of economic fortune has caused a level of pain that is hard to capture in words, as lives are upended, amid great uncertainty about the future.


VAUSE: Joe Biden, the man Trump will run against in the coming election came to the defense of Dr. Fauci, tweeting this, "I would trust a guy who is one of the nation's top public health experts, not the one who pondered injecting disinfectant into the body and looked directly at a solar eclipse."

And, yes, Donald Trump did look directly at the sun in August 2017 and he did it without any protective eyewear. We should note he did eventually put on said protective eyewear.


VAUSE: Dr. David Rubin is the director of PolicyLab at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and is also professor of pediatrics.

Dr. David Rubin, thanks for being with us.

DR. DAVID RUBIN, POLICYLAB: Thanks for having me.

VAUSE: Here's a reminder of what Dr. Fauci actually said on Tuesday to that Senate community.


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: We'd really better be very careful, particularly when it comes to children, because the more and more we learn, we are seeing things about what this virus can do than we did see from the studies in China or in Europe.

For example, right now, children presenting with COVID-19, who actually have a very strange inflammatory syndrome, very similar to Kawasaki syndrome. I think we'd better be careful if we are not cavalier in thinking that children are completely immune to the deleterious effects.

(END VIDEO CLIP) VAUSE: At face value, it seems sort of very much Joe Friday with the facts, it's what we know, what we don't know. And it's what President Trump described as basically being unacceptable.

We talk about the lives and safety of children, surely, more precaution is better than less.

What in that answer would be unacceptable?

RUBIN: It's hard for me to disagree with Dr. Fauci. This is a very serious syndrome we are seeing with kids. We are early in terms of understanding the spectrum of illness that we are seeing here. But it is very serious.

At the same time, I would caution that it still seems to be fairly rare. We are not seeing a lot of children with significant COVID disease but we are seeing the significant proportion of those who we do see are coming in very sick with this inflammatory syndrome.

The challenge, as you try to respond to it, is to recognize that, you know, the children aren't immune, as Dr. Fauci said. And as we think about reopening schools, while we recognize this, it may be a rare complication and a rare important complication of COVID disease in children.

It just behooves us to be very careful as we consider strategies to protect kids as they return to school in the fall.

VAUSE: Your colleagues at the PolicyLab have been building models to predict outcomes in states which opened early, saying that the lockdown for a week or so longer, that graph as you see peaks and them the number of cases flattens out and that is if the lockdown stayed in place for just a couple of weeks longer until June.

Other scenarios there for May as well and earlier. But the bottom line is that basically the longer the lockdown, the lower the death toll. But the news outlet looked at the seven-day averages of a number of states and found that the surge in cases from opening early had not happened.

In fact, Florida's new cases have declined by 14 percent compared to the previous week. Georgia fell by 12 percent, Nevada leads the pack with a 44 percent reduction.

So in Georgia's case, for example, it's been almost 3 weeks now since the tattoo artists and manicurists and hairdressers were allowed back at work.

Do these numbers surprise you?

You do think they're accurate?

RUBIN: No, they don't surprise me and I mean if you actually look at what we're saying in the PolicyLab study, states had a few choices and the decision to reopen has not been binary. Even in the Southern states, the governors are being cautious reopening some industries but not others.


RUBIN: Maintaining selective social distancing in certain places and if you look at our study, we acknowledge that, as states reopen selectively across their counties they had 2 choices, they could do this safely and delay the opening, particularly in the hardest hit areas.

Or if they were going to open, to go slowly and cautiously. So that was 2 different choices and to the degree to which they have done cautiously and slowly and taken advantages of some of the warning temperatures and weather down in the South and the ability to distance a little more because they tend to be less densely populated areas, I think I'm not surprised that we are going to continue to see declines.

And it reassures me that people are still remaining somewhat cautious and vigilant, despite the reopening. And so, I acknowledge that that was a scenario that could happen and reassured and somewhat optimistic that people are staying vigilant.

VAUSE: We had this warning from the World Health Organization on Wednesday, saying that the virus could be a permanent feature, here to stay and could lead to this type of scenario. Here it is.


RYAN: This is what we all fear: a vicious cycle of public health disaster, followed by economic disaster, followed by public health disaster, followed by economic disaster. There is some magical thinking going on, that lockdowns work perfectly. And unlocking lockdowns will go great. Both are fraught with dangers.


VAUSE: Here's an example of just how quickly this virus can spread on a plane, for example. It is incredibly contagious and can transfer quite easily and the more we know about it, it seems the more we learn this transmits so much faster and quicker than we thought before.

To your point earlier, without social distancing, this could quickly spread again. But the question is, is social distancing more effective in certain situations compared to others?

RUBIN: Well, in general, the foe here is crowding, densely crowded situations when there is poor ventilation are where we are seeing the most transmission. And so the strategy here is really on an individual level within our workplaces to mitigate transmission by either distancing people or using masks, hand sanitizer, frequent disinfection.

And the goal as we move forward is not to see this as an on/off switch but to see this as a dimmer switch that, because of our actions, that we can manage transmission much like we are seeing in Southeast Asia, so that we don't have to have these dramatic moves to shut down the economy and then have the indirect impacts of COVID in terms of joblessness and all the pent up demand for health care for other conditions unrelated to COVID.

Conditions that are not being treated right now as people are afraid to go to the hospital and so what we are trying to urge at PolicyLab, is to urge people to remember that our cautiousness and our vigilance is what will prevent these wild swings of opening and closing.

If we actually all buy into protecting our families, to each other within the workplace, we are going to be transferring responsibility somewhat from our governments to us individually to head into the fall and into the months ahead so that we don't have these dramatic swings.

VAUSE: This to me just comes down to how crucial it is and how important it is for people to be wearing masks.

RUBIN: Particularly in indoor locations. I really do believe that, as we begin to leave the confinement of our homes, that is the number one intervention, where we are effectively maintaining some distance, particularly in a crowded market.

But when we're outside on a beach and we can maintain distance, we can take the mask off. It appears for the risk of transmission is less. It's about recognizing the situations that you might be at risk and then selectively choosing to put that mask on to protect each other, to protect our workers who are in those environments whether on a mass transit platform or in a grocery store.

VAUSE: Doctor, we're out of time but very much appreciate you being with us and sharing your thoughts and results of your work. I appreciate it much.

RUBIN: You're welcome.

VAUSE: Well, England is seeing the first signs of life after a 7 weeklong lockdown. The tube was relatively quiet compared to a year ago but some buses were busy but the prime minister has encouraged a return to work for those who can not work from home, like retailers and construction workers.

There are new details about the impacts the pandemic has had on the economy, a contraction of the 6 percent in March and the economists warn April will likely be far worse. The prime minister is again facing criticism for how he has handled the reopening. Some saying his plans are vague, disconnected and confusing. CNN's Nina dos Santos has our report.



NINA DOS SANTOS, CNNMONEY EUROPE EDITOR (voice-over): London's usually bustling Kings Cross station looked more like a ghost town. A few commuters outnumbered by railway staff.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Trains are totally empty and everything is fine.

GARY TUNSTALL, CONSTRUCTION PROJECT MANAGER: It's really quiet. Normally, London is just absolutely heaving 24/7, isn't it really.


DOS SANTOS: Elsewhere in the city, there were more signs of life, traffic clogging roads and buses packed as parts of the U.K. begin to tentatively ease coronavirus restrictions.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The next nation is Battery Park.


DOS SANTOS: From Wednesday, those who can't do their job from home like construction workers, many factory workers, even garden center staff are being allowed to return, avoiding public transport when possible.


BORIS JOHNSON, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: I don't want to see crowding on mass transport or public transport in our capital or anywhere else.


DOS SANTOS: It's a mixed signal for many low paid Londoners we have no other way to get around.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think it's a risky strategy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it's ridiculous.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was really excited to go out and it kind of, doesn't help, because no one is really following any rules for even a second phase now.



DOS SANTOS: While British Prime Minister Boris Johnson insists that common sense will prevail, his Sunday address appears to have left many Britons even more confused than they had been before.


KEIR STARMER, LEADER, BRITISH LABOUR PARTY: After the confusion of the last few days, gaining public confidence in them is crucial. Crucial. The prime says its decisions were and I quote, "driven by the science, the data and public health." So, to give the public confidence in the decisions, can the prime minister commit to publishing the scientific advice that the decisions were based on?

JOHNSON: All sage advice is published in due course. I think people can see exactly what we are trying to do as a country and they can see that everyone is still required to obey the social distancing laws.


DOS SANTOS: Many aspects of the lockdown remain in place and even the small relaxation could be revoked if infections spike again.


JOHNSON: What we are doing is entirely conditional and provisional. The U.K. has made a huge amount of progress that the people of this country have worked incredibly hard to get the R down. We cannot now go back to square one.


DOS SANTOS: Even within the U.K. there is no consensus on how exactly to get back to business. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland with their own public health powers are continuing to tell their residents to stay home, a message that's more clear-cut than England's advice to stay alert -- Nina dos Santos, CNN, London.


VAUSE: For 11 consecutive days, Russia has reported more than 10,000 new coronavirus cases every day. Now comes another new setback. The government has suspended the use of some Russian made ventilators blamed for two hospital fired which killed at least 6 COVID-19 patients.

The same models were sent the U.S. early last month but apparently were never used and were sent back.

Hours ahead will be another staggering jobs report in the U.S. The head of the Federal Reserve warning that even more dire consequences could be coming. What he says must be done to rescue the U.S. economy. That's next.

And also ahead, as more people start to fly, airlines are struggling to enforce coronavirus guidelines. Why they could be putting passengers at great risks.





VAUSE: The U.S. Federal Reserve chairman was blunt, a hit to the economy is, quote, "without modern precedent," and he warned Congress and the White House they'd better pass some more financial support or that damage could be permanent. Jerome Powell's blunt remarks sent stocks down for a second day. His push comes as President Trump says the Democrats' $3 trillion dollar relief package is already dead on arrival. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JEROME POWELL, CHAIRMAN, FEDERAL RESERVE: The recovery may take some time to gather momentum and the passage of time can turn liquidity problems into solvency problems. Additional fiscal support could be costly but worth it if it helps avoid long term damage and leaves us with a stronger recovery.


VAUSE: Now in response to Powell's remarks, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said he wanted to take the next month to think carefully about what another stimulus package would look like.

Economists believe that Thursday's jobless claims which were another 2.5 million Americans filing for benefits last week. Goldman Sachs believes unemployment will peak at 25 percent, which rivals the worst period of the Great Depression.

Journalist Kaori Enjoji is in Tokyo for us, looking at how this is impacting the markets.

What this is really indicative of, is that the Federal Reserve could make liquidity available, pump trillions of dollars into the economy but they can't give that money directly to the people who need it.

KAORI ENJOJI, JOURNALIST: Decreeing the cycle of money is going to be a big challenge not only for the U.S. Federal Reserve but all central bankers and I think that they look to places like Japan and have tried with varying degrees of success, with quantitative easing and trying to bring or throw money at people to try to cycle that money through the system.

The losses that we are seeing here in Japan and throughout the Asian region on the equity markets are not as deep as we saw on Wall Street. But there is plenty of fear about some of the earnings coming out, particularly from companies that were vulnerable, even before COVID-19 came around.

The auto industry looks pretty vulnerable, Mazda reportedly lost for the first time since 2012 and big names like Sony saying they have no guidance for this business year. And I think businesses are worried about -- governments and central banks are worrying how to get money to these bigger firms as well, because, until now, the focus has really been on some of the smaller and medium sized companies.

But as we head into weeks and weeks and the second and third months of state of emergency, it is going to start affecting these bigger employers as well.

On that note, Japan will start lifting the state of emergency in parts of the region, not here in Tokyo, not in Osaka, some of the bigger regions. But this sort of gradual lifting of the state of emergencies is kind of trial and error at this point.

But I think businesses are starting to talk about the new normal and there is a body here, a lobby, very powerful with suggestions that they make and most of the businesses following in lockstep. They were talking early this week that, for a while, Japan may have to go to a 4 day work week.

And in a country like Japan, this is an incredible change of pace. So we might get some guidelines when the state of emergency is lifted later today.

VAUSE: Kaori, appreciate the update.

The European Commission has unveiled what air travel will look like for the northern summer. New guidelines in place for social distancing, contact tracing across borders and travel bubbles between countries where infection rates are low.

But the E.U.'s blueprint to say the summer season may not do much help. The International Air Transport Association says a return to 2019 levels of transportation and passenger numbers will take 4 years.

Meanwhile, TUI, the world's biggest travel operator, warns it could lay off 8,000 employees. Ultimately, the E.U.'s transport commissioner's message to everyone, travel at your own risk.


ADINA-IOANA VALEAN, EUROPEAN COMMISSIONER FOR TRANSPORT: Well, as I said, it is a risk you take. So no one can give you a 100 percent guarantee. And we are not labeling that this is 100 percent safe.

But of course, there are no-brainers. You can imagine that all security safety measures to be taken in a hotel, disinfection, distancing, providing services at a distance, protecting the personnel.


VALEAN: All of this are there. They can be observed easily. But as I said, the risk to be taken again by the traveler himself because no one can guarantee.


VAUSE: In the U.S., some airlines are struggling to enforce a face mask policy, which have been adopted to prevent the virus and spreading. This animation from Purdue University shows the spread of cough droplets, which often carry the virus across the cabin.

Earlier, a biology professor spoke to CNN about what airlines can do to try and keep people safe and healthy.


ERIN BROMAGE, UNIVERSITY OF MASSACHUSETTS DARTMOUTH: Well, if somebody is getting on board and they're actually symptomatic and sick, that needs to be stopped. We have got to make sure that doesn't happen. But the use of masks will definitely lower emissions from anybody. So,

you know, if everyone is wearing a mask, you can have -- it just lowers the viral burden together. If you had a mask on there, I don't think that you would have that same projection that you are seeing with that particular animation.


VAUSE: CNN's Pete Muntean has more now on the challenges airlines are facing as they enforce this policy.


PETE MUNTEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Packed in passengers might not be the norm right now, according to major airlines. But more scenes like this are raising new concerns about whether you can maintain social distancing while flying.

Change or cancel a trip because of coronavirus and you are not entitled to a refund. According to new guidance just laid out by the Department of Transportation, it says, you can get your money back within a week, if it is the airline that cancels.

But if you cancel what do you get back is up to the airline. In the U.S., more than half of all airliners are now parked but more passengers are stepping on board a shrinking fleet. The number of people passing through security has climbed to the highest level in six weeks.

BARRY BIFFLE, FRONTIER AIRLINES: We are already seeing visiting relatives as the backbone of our business it's coming back but it's at a very small level.

MUNTEAN (voice-over): United Airlines will not warn travelers if a flight is near capacity and let them rebook, even though it stresses that most flights are less than half full.

All major airlines are now mandating that passengers wear masks but are not guaranteeing that every middle seat will be empty.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We need federal rules.

MUNTEAN (voice-over): High-ranking House Democrats say is there is inconsistency and uncertainty in airline policies and want federal agencies to act.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think that we should put carefully out whether or not we require distancing on airplanes and that could require leaving the middle seat open.

MUNTEAN (voice-over): In a statement to CNN, the FAA says its authority lies in safe operation of aircraft and that it is lending aviation expertise to help officials and airlines. Airline workers want more intervention.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's a smart way to do this. We need to ensure that we are doing everything we can to prevent unnecessary, additional preventable risks our passengers.

MUNTEAN (voice-over): Without federal mandates, industry groups say each airline is coming up with its own protocols. Frontier, for instance, will do temperature checks at the gate and may turn you away with a fever higher than 100.4.

BIFFLE: We believe you are safer on board Frontier and most airlines for that matter, than most enclosed buildings.


Thanks to Pete Muntean for that report.

Still to come here, human guinea pigs.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just like the nurses and the doctors on the front line, I'm willing to take some risks myself if it means that we can move through this as a nation and world.

VAUSE (voice-over): Meet some of the humans in the human trials for a coronavirus vaccine.


VAUSE: Also, sports leagues not waiting for a vaccine, we will look at some of their ideas to get back on the field safely. Play ball.


VAUSE: Well, it seems the hopes of our species is resting on finding a vaccine to the coronavirus. And while most assume it will happen within a year or so, the World Health Organization is warning it may never come, and we'll need to learn to live with this disease, rather than eradicate it completely.


And that race for a vaccine is in full sprint. There are many volunteers putting their lives on the line right now in human trials.

CNN's Drew Griffin has our report.


DREW GRIFFIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): He donated a kidney last summer. Now, Abie Rohrig is ready to medically volunteer again, this time as a human guinea pig in a vaccine trial designed to infect volunteers with a virus the world has never known.

ABIE ROHRIG, HUMAN CHALLENGE TRIAL VOLUNTEER: Just like the nurses and the doctors on the front line, you know, I'm willing to take some risks myself, if it means that we can move through this as -- as a nation and as a world. GRIFFIN: He's 20 years old, lives in New York, has seen what the pandemic can do and has signed up online to be a volunteer in a potential COVID-19 human challenge vaccine trial.

Unlike other vaccine trials, in a challenge trial, a group of volunteers would first be injected with a potential vaccine, and a second control group would be injected with a placebo. After allowing sufficient time for the volunteers who got the vaccine to hopefully build up immunities, it's all challenged. All the volunteers -- those with and those without the vaccine candidate -- are intentionally contaminated with coronavirus.

Risky, potentially even deadly. Yes, all of that. But it also might be a quicker path to an actual vaccine for the rest of us.

(on camera): This is designed to get some people sick.

MARC LIPSITCH, HARVARD T.H. CHAN SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH: That's right. The intention is to make some people at least infected.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): Marc Lipsitch, epidemiologist, is one of the scientists whose idea of using a challenge vaccine for COVID-19, is now gaining interest from the World Health Organization.

LIPSITCH: This could save months off the time required to evaluate a vaccine. The goal is to do the fastest responsible and scientifically valid way of evaluating the vaccine.

GRIFFIN: Multiple vaccines could be tried at the same time, controls put in place for proper medical care for all the volunteers. And by selecting only young, healthy adults, Lipsitch says the chances of someone dying is extremely low.

LIPSITCH: But it is not zero, and that's why this is an altruistic act to volunteer for this.

GRIFFIN: It's not just the risk. It is the unknown risk, says Professor Robert Reid at the University of South Hampton in the U.K. He's in favor of the idea but insists there would need to be full disclosure.

DR. ROBERT CHARLES READ, UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHAMPTON: This case is different. We're not able to quantify the risk to the volunteer. And when we take informed consent from them, we will have to say to them that we cannot say exactly what is going to happen to them.

GRIFFIN (on camera): You're going to be infected with something for which there is no treatment for at this time.

ROHRIG: Right.

GRIFFIN: Does that give you pause?

ROHRIG: It certainly gives me pause. And I don't want to be naive or arrogant. And I don't want to hide myself from the fact that there is a serious, not at all trivial risk to me doing this. GRIFFIN (voice-over): Despite the risk, 16,000 people from more than

100 countries have already signed an online form saying they're interested in becoming volunteers. That includes U.S. Army veteran, businessman, husband, and father of four, John Gentle of Alabama.

JOHN GENTLE, HUAN CHALLENGE TRIAL VOLUNTEER: Yes, I am putting more people directly related to me at a greater risk if something were to go wrong, but I feel like the risk is low.

GRIFFIN: So far the challenge vaccine trial is hypothetical. John Gentle, Abie Rohrig and 16,000 others say that they are ready, if needed, to take the risk if it means that they can be part of ending the COVID-19 pandemic.


Drew Griffin, CNN, Atlanta.


VAUSE: A word to the wise now about where to find credible and accurate information about the novel coronavirus. It's not YouTube.

A recent study found one in four of the most popular YouTube videos about the virus contained misinformation. Researchers rated English- speaking videos on factual content covering symptoms, prevention and treatment, and the inaccurate information had been watched by 62 million people.

If you have questions about the coronavirus, be sure to tune in for our next global town hall. It's hosted by Dr. Sanjay Gupta and Anderson Cooper. Among the special guests, climate activist Greta Thunberg. Thursday, 8 p.m. in New York, 8 a.m. Friday in Hong Kong. "FACTS AND FEARS," only on CNN.

Well, what started as a blame game between the U.S. and China could be escalating to a new cold war. The latest accusation from Washington: Chinese hackers trying to steal medical research related to a vaccine. More on that in a moment.


VAUSE: Well, the U.S. has officially accused China of trying to steal critical information about a vaccine for the coronavirus, as well as other information. A joint warning from the Homeland Security Department and the FBI says China's hackers are targeting hospitals and other research outlets, but they gave no evidence of China's involvement. But they're urging medical facilities to protect their information.

Meantime, President Trump is stoking tensions even further, blaming China for the epidemic, tweeting 100 trade deals would not make up for the lives lost.

CNN's Steven Jiang live this hour from Beijing. So what are the chances here that this is just one of those sort of

blame games where both sides know that they've got to appease a domestic audience, but now, it's sort of getting out of hand. What's the assessment there?

STEVEN JIANG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: John, you know, this latest warning from Washington is not really that new and not even surprising. We were just talking about this a few days ago, when "The New York Times" broke the story.

But CNN's own reporting has also said that officials from the White House, from the FBI have been sounding such alarms for weeks. Now, we have not heard the Chinese response to the latest allegation. But when I asked then about this topic on Monday, they did say China's actually at the forefront of coronavirus research, so any allegation against the country without proof are just smearing and a fabrication.

I think we are likely to hear something very similar today, as well. The key here, of course, is evidence. As you mentioned, the U.S. government so far has not presented any evidence. I think that's something the Chinese would very much like to highlight.

But this, again, is part of this increasingly heated war of words between the two governments almost on a daily basis, now accusing each other of mishandling the response to the pandemic. The latest posturing we have seen here is state media suggesting the Chinese government is ready to punish U.S. legislators and state governments that sue the Chinese government for compensation for causing this pandemic.

So John, this very important but increasingly contentious bilateral relationship just seems to be going through a free fall for now -- John.

VAUSE: Very quickly, Steven, part of that U.S.-China trade deal, China has promised to buy $200 billion worth of U.S. exports. They don't seem to be in any shape of doing that at this point. So what are the chances of that happening, of them looking after that part of the trade deal?

JIANG: You know, it's interesting, because Mr. Trump himself now seems to be contradicting his trade officials and starting to express some doubts over this deal.

But remember, the trade officials from both sides had a phone call last week, last week, and the readouts from both governments after that was quite optimistic in terms of both sides sticking to the trade deal, including the Chinese fulfilling their purchasing obligations.

But I think the problem is the trade deal covers a span of two years, and this is just not good enough for the president, because Mr. Trump's deadline is obviously the November election. If the Chinese purchases cannot materialize before November, then it's probably no good to him. That's why I think, according to many analysts, you're hearing the president now expressing doubts over the very trade deal he was once so proud of -- John. VAUSE: Steven, thank you. Steven Jiang, live for us in Beijing.

Appreciate it.

Well, Clayton Dube is the director of U.S.-China Institute at the University of Southern California. He is with us now from Los Angeles.

Clayton, it's been a while, so thank you for being with us.


VAUSE: OK, so what's the view here from 12,000 feet of where relations are right now between Beijing and Washington? There's been a suggestion that we're entering into kind of a new type of cold war between these two rivals.

DUBE: Well, I think two points. First, this could be the beginnings of something approaching a cold war. It's definitely not a cold war at this point. We don't have the motive mobilization against each other in quite the same way as existed with the Soviet Union. There's 5 to $600 billion of two-way trade. We have 380,000 Chinese students in the United States. On a pre-COVID-19 average day, 8,000 Chinese came to the United States and 6,000 Americans went to China.

That would be so -- so -- that's just so different from what existed during cold war, part one.

VAUSE: Well, what we're looking at here, though, is that as this gets worse, and it looks like it's not getting better, the first fallout could be this trade deal, even though both sides said phase one will continue. But by Monday, the president was sort of in this wait-and- see mode. Here he is.


DONALD TRUMP (R), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We signed a deal. I had heard that, too. They'd like to reopen the trade talk to make it a better deal for them.

China has been taking advantage of the United States for many, many years, for decades, because we had people at this position right here where I'm standing, sitting right in that office, the Oval Office, that allowed that to happen. No, I'm not interested in that. Let's see if the live up to the deal that they signed.


VAUSE: Then we had the tweet on Wednesday, you know, referencing "the plague" from China. A hundred trade deals wouldn't make up the difference.

And Jonathan Swan of Axios said the tweet came amid internal discussions on whether Trump blows up the China trade deal.

It does seem like there's two ways this could go. Blow up the deal because China won't meet the expected $200 billion worth of purchases, or keep it in place, because both sides realize, you just cannot have a trade war during a pandemic. It's a bad idea.

Is there a door No. 3?

DUBE: Well, door No. 3 is a ratcheting back on the rhetoric. But this is an election year. And in 2020 it seems that, John, that Donald Trump is doubling down on making China the scapegoat that Mexico and China were in 2016. And he's got a lot of support. Opinion -- American opinion towards China has shifted profoundly more negative than it was in 2016. Recent polls suggest that two out of three Americans have an unfavorable view towards China.

That said, the two sides need each other. And if Donald Trump wants the economy to flourish, he needs, of course, domestic consumption to ramp up, but he also needs export markets. He needs access to raw materials. All of these things include China.

VAUSE: In that tweet, the president refers to the China plague. His national security adviser used that phrase a few days before that. It seems -- is it possible, I should ask, that Donald Trump would be willing to sacrifice the economic relationship with Beijing in order to blame China for this pandemic, and essentially, you know, boost his chances come November?


DUBE: It's -- it's certainly possible that he's -- he really sees only one pathway forward, and that is blaming everything on China. Using terms like "plague" is very incendiary in China. And it's not going to be received well.

But that's not the issue. He's aiming at a domestic audience. He's preoccupied with the domestic audience. And he's not concerned with alliances, with trade arrangements, these sorts of things.

VAUSE: I want to read part of a statement released by the FBI in regards to China cyber-hacking linked to the Chinese government. It reads in part, "The FBI's investigating the targeting and compromise of U.S. organizations conducting COVID-19-related research, by PRC" -- People's Republic of China -- "affiliated cyber actors and non- traditional collectors. These actors have been observed attempting to identify and illicitly obtain valuable intellectual property and public health data related to vaccines, treatment, and testing."

You know, I would be surprised if hackers from China, not necessarily government ones, weren't trying to steal information. But it happens all the time. Putting this complaint out there so publicly is what seems unusual.

DUBE: Yes. Ding it also before you accuse specific individuals. In the past, when the United States has said that the Chinese state or other Chinese actors were involved in cybersecurity hacks, they have pointed the finger at specific units, specific individuals. There have been indictments.

This is very much a rush to put forward this allegation, in part, the administration justifies it, by saying, we want everybody to be on guard. We want them to raise their security levels. But most of these concerns probably would have had that in place.

There seems to be a political element. This is part of the Department of Justice's China initiative. And so we have to be mindful of that.

VAUSE: Very quickly, they put out the allegation that the -- you know, the virus leaked from a lab in Wuhan, and there's no evidence that went with that. They're putting out this allegation of hackers trying to steal vaccine information from U.S. hospitals and research facilities. Again, there's no evidence to back that up either.

And this is already an administration in Washington which has a credibility problem, and this doesn't help.

DUBE: No. If you're trying to -- What the administration is trying to do is to win a propaganda war with a propaganda state. The way that the United States wins, in terms of world opinion, including Chinese opinion, is through performance. Through the demonstrated competency, through our transparency, through our openness, not through just shouting allegations. It doesn't work.

VAUSE: Yes. Clayton, it's been a while, and it's good to have you back with your insights, as well. So thank you so much. Good to see you.

DUBE: My pleasure. Thank you.

VAUSE: Up next, with tennis on hold, CNN catches up with two-two Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka. How she's handling life through the pandemic.


VAUSE: After weeks and weeks of quarantine, many sports fans around the world clambering for a little on-field action. Now Italy's top football league, Serie A, is just one step away from restarting June 13.


The clubs have voted in favor. All that's waiting now is government approval. The league says it will abide by whatever that government decision is and whatever medical protocols have to be put in place to protect players and personnel.

The sports minister also announced that the Italian Football Federation can resume training starting May 18, just a few days from now.

Well, the sports joy may not be confined to Europe. There are reports in the U.S. that Major League Soccer is planning for a centralized tournament in Florida, with all 26 teams, starting in June.

As Brian Todd reports, others sports leagues are also struggling to figure all of this out.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The crack of the bat may soon return. The roar of the crowd won't.

Major League Baseball has a plan that could allow regular-season games to start around the 4th of July weekend, according to multiple news outlets, including "The New York Times" and ESPN. They report the season would be cut roughly in half to 82 games. The games would be held without fans and played in team's home stadiums, but only in jurisdictions where the local governments and health officials would allow it.

BARRY SVRLUGA, SPORTS COLUMNIST, "THE WASHINGTON POST": They might have to move some teams away from home stadiums in places like California, where the restrictions are likely to be more stringent, to someplace like Arizona, where already, the governor has said that they're open for business for major league sports.

TODD: Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is also courting major sports teams from hard-hit areas of the country where local officials may not want to resume sports yet.

GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): We'll find a space for you here in the state of Florida, because we think it's important, and we know that it can be done safely.

TODD: Baseball's plan still hasn't been agreed to by the players' union.

The challenge for baseball to return this summer are enormous, starting with ensuring the health of everyone involved.

BOB COSTAS, HOST, MLB NETWORK: The safety of the players is going to be a concern for the Major League Baseball Players Association. Not just the players, all the ancillary people. Even without fans, you've got a large contingent of people who are not in uniform as players.

TODD: Other major sports leagues are struggling to navigate a return. ESPN reports top NBA executives are discussing ways to resume this season but weighing the health risks.

The NFL plans to hold its 2020 season as scheduled, with fans in the stands. Germany's top soccer league is returning. England's is considering it.

Top doctors warn those contact sports carry significant risks.

DR. ROCHELLE WALENSKY, CHIEF, DIVISION OF INFECTIOUS DISEASES, MASSACHUSETTS GENERAL HOSPITAL: They are leaning against each other. They are breathing within each other's space. They are less than six feet apart. That is certainly fair game for a virus to transmit from one person to another.

TODD: Experts say players would have to be tested almost every day. Dr. Anthony Fauci told NBC Sports those who test positive would likely have to be segregated from the others. DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR ALLERGY AND

INFECTIOUS DISEASE (via phone): Those who are positive, you know, are taken out of commission for 14 days until they become negative. Then that's a possibility.

TODD: And there's a huge debate over when to let fans back. When our major sports return in earnest, could it be look like South Korea, where the only fans at their baseball games are painted on seat coverings?

WALENSKY: I think until we have real control over this epidemic, and perhaps even a vaccine, I hate to say it, it's going to be hard to fathom how we can safely have thousands and thousands of people gathered in one space.

TODD (on camera): And sports analysts say in order to return safely, the major sports teams are going to have to navigate the dynamics between their players. Maybe one player on a team will be eager to get out there on a given night, but another player might say they've got a pregnant spouse at home or small children, and they don't want to play to risk infecting them.

Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.


VAUSE: Well, like so many of us, two-time tennis Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka has had a lot of free time of late. And we asked CNN's Christina Macfarlane to find out what Osaka has been doing for our "TIME OUT" series. Some of that downtime involves superstar Beyonce.


CHRISTINA MACFARLANE, CNN SPORTS: She's a two-time Grand Slam champion from Japan. A global sports star taking lockdown one day at a time. Naomi Osaka speaks to me from her home in L.A.

NAOMI OSAKA, TWO-TIME GRAND SLAM CHAMPION: I feel like I want to take this time to, like, learn something new or improve, because I'm pretty sure I won't have this much free time ever again.

I've been drawing a lot. I tried to, like, buy paint and stuff, but it was sold out in every store, so I think everyone else has the same idea as me. But yes, just trying to sketch.

And I don't know. I can send a picture, but it's really odd to explain. I'm trying to, like, put what I see in my brain on paper.

MACFARLANE: So you said you've been unable to play tennis during this period. Is it concerning to you at all that, you know, you haven't been able to kind of keep up the regularity of that?


OSAKA: Part of me is a bit concerned, but also, I know that, like, other players are in the same position as me, probably. And I just think that it's not like I'll forget how to play tennis. And I also don't want to train, like, five hours a day right now, because I think that's how you get burned out, and you never know when tournaments will start again.

MACFARLANE: Have you've been keeping in touch with any of the other players?

OSAKA: I actually did an Instagram -- Instagram live workout with Venus just now, and it was kind of more intense than I thought it was going to be. For some reason, I thought we were going to be stretching. But yes, we were doing, like, a bit of movement drills, and then lunges and staff.

MACFARLANE: I want to ask you about something you posted on Twitter. You spoke about the fact that you're done with being shy. What prompted you to tweet about that?

OSAKA: I don't know. I think people know me as being really shy. Like, anyone that could see me in the very beginning of my career would know, like, even going into the locker rooms, I was very shy. And I wouldn't know what to do or where to put my things.

And I want to also take, like, the quarantine time to just think about everything. For me I have a lot of regrets before I go to sleep. And most of the regrets is due to, like, I don't speak out about what I'm thinking.

MACFARLANE: As an example, you mentioned that you bumped into Jay-Z and Beyonce on holiday, but that you were so shy you could only give one-word answers. If you have the confidence, what would you have liked to have said to them?

OSAMA: I mean, the Jay-Z one is kind of a big one. Just because I wanted to know what he was going to keep talking about. Him and Beyonce, they were together in that moment. But just, like, thank them for making music that motivates me. Because there was a period of time in my life that I'd just watch Beyonce performances to get motivated.

So just getting the chance to, like, tell people I appreciate them while I can.


VAUSE: Well, thank you for watching. I'm John Vause. Please stay with us. More CNN NEWSROOM after a very short break.