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Trump Claims Election Fraud, Biden Cements Victory, New Daily Coronavirus Record,SpaceX-NASA Send Four to ISS
 Published on Tuesday November 17, 2020 - 10:29 PM
* US Presidential Election *
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Trump Claims Election Fraud with No Evidence; Biden Cements Victory with Electoral College Count of 306; U.S. Breaks New Daily Coronavirus Case Record Again; Ethiopians Flee Fighting to Sudan; France's COVID-19 Hospital Admissions Drop; SpaceX-NASA Send Four to ISS. Aired 2-2:45a ET

Aired November 14, 2020 - 02:00 ET




MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Hello, welcome to our viewers all around the world, I am Michael Holmes, appreciate your company. Coming up on CNN NEWSROOM:


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Who knows which administration it will, be I guess time will tell.


HOLMES: The problem is, time has already told. Donald Trump doubles down on conspiracy theories as Joe Biden further cements an historic win.

Another day, another sad coronavirus record set in the United States.

What is Biden's plan of attack?

I'll speak to a member of his COVID task force.

In northern Ethiopia, in a state of emergency this, hour as thousands flee the fighting. Officials say that the conflict could quickly escalate.


HOLMES: U.S. President-Elect Joe Biden, cementing his election victory as CNN makes the final prediction in the 2020 race. The state of Georgia, flipping blue, for the first time since 1992. North Carolina going with President Trump. That goes with Joe Biden getting 306 Electoral College votes. The same number Mr. Trump won, against Hillary Clinton, in 2016.

Then, of course, Mr. Trump called winning that many electoral votes a landslide victory. Now he cries fraud. President Trump spoke for the first time in over the week but didn't answer the main question on everyone's mind. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

QUESTION: When will you accept that you lost the election, sir?


HOLMES: Chief White House correspondent, Jim Acosta, with more on the chaotic state of the transition.


JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Welcome to the White House Twilight Zone, where President Trump is still publicly clinging to an alternate reality, the one where he can still win the 2020 election.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This administration will not be going to a lockdown. Hopefully, the -- whatever happens in the future -- who knows which administration it will be? I guess time will tell.

ACOSTA: But in the real world, it's a different story, as CNN projects Joe Biden has won Arizona and Georgia, with Mr. Trump clinching North Carolina.

That gives Biden a big 306-electoral vote victory, as the popular vote margin shows the President-Elect to head by more than five million ballots.

GERALDO RIVERA, FOX NEWS: I got no impression that he was plotting the overthrow of the elected government.

ACOSTA: Still, some of the president's friends like FOX's Geraldo Rivera are sounding like hostage negotiators, trying to talk Mr. Trump into surrendering to defeat.

RIVERA: Every impression he gave me, Harris, was that, if the process went against him and he was satisfied that every vote, legitimate vote, had been counted and every illegitimate vote had been thrown out, that he would follow the edict of the Constitution and surrender the office.

ACOSTA: The problem is the president still has a team of dead enders enabling him.

White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany, who is doubling as a campaign adviser, is spinning the fantasy that Mr. Trump is marching toward a second term.

KAYLEIGH MCENANY, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: I think the president will attend his own inauguration. He would have to be there, in fact.

ACOSTA: The president's top trade adviser, Peter Navarro, sounds stuck in an upside-down world too.

PETER NAVARRO, DIRECTOR, WHITE HOUSE OFFICE OF TRADE AND MANUFACTURING POLICY: We're moving forward here at the White House new assumption that there will be a second Trump term. We think he won that election. And any speculation about what Joe Biden might do, I think, is moot at this point.

ACOSTA: They're taking their cues from Mr. Trump, who's tying himself into a pretzel claiming he's been cheated, tweeting, "Now they're saying what a wonderful job the Trump administration did in making 2020 the most secure election ever. Actually, this is true, except for what the Democrats did. Rigged election."

Not so, according to the president's own Cybersecurity Agency, which stated: "The November 3 election was the most secure in American history. There is no evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes, or was in any way compromised."

And while McEnany insists Mr. Trump will fight it out in the courts...

MCENANY: Read through some of these affidavits. I now have three binders.

SEAN HANNITY, FOX NEWS HOST: Wait. Hold that up. Let me up. Hold that up. Can I see it?

MCENANY: Well, I have three binders. These are court filings and affidavits. But they're startling, Sean.

ACOSTA: His campaign has dropped a legal challenge in Arizona and his lawyers have bailed on a case in Pennsylvania. Despite those developments, advisers say the president may never can see the race, a contest he once said he couldn't handle losing.


TRUMP: He is the worst candidate ever to run in the history of a presidential election, really. At least, if you lost, you could say, hey, you lost to a good candidate. How the hell do you lose to a guy like this?

ACOSTA: One White House adviser comparing him to the 1991 Detroit Pistons, who famously refused to fake shake hands with the Chicago Bulls, who won the NBA championship that year. The advisor said the president can do the same thing when it comes to the election: leave the stage without conceding defeat -- Jim Acosta, CNN, the White House.


HOLMES: I want to bring in CNN senior political analyst, Ron Brownstein, also, senior editor at "The Atlantic."

Good to see you my friend. One of my favorite sayings of yours is the Republicans. When Trump breaks a window, congressional Republicans sweep up the glass and stay silent.

What is your read on the Republican Party bowing before Trump's wins as this all goes on, questioning the results that few others question? What damage is being done?

RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: It's astonishingly destructive on two levels. Obviously, the most immediate level, is we are seeing a systematic effort to undermine the legitimacy of the election. The president, obviously, cannot reverse the result.

But he sure can convince many people he was stabbed in the back and there was something untoward about this result and that would allow him to nurture the grievance for four years, as if the election was stolen.

The Republicans in Congress are doing astonishingly little to push back on that and are abetting it, much like Kayleigh McEnany. That would be bad enough.

But think about what is happening and not happening. While the president nurses these grievances and these fantasies, he is AWOL. He has deserted his position, at a time of enormous, threat to Americans.

We are seeing case loads on coronavirus that would be unimaginable a month ago. He is, essentially, throwing up his hands and saying, I won't do anything to protect the country. And congressional Republicans are not any putting pressure on him.

It's just an extraordinary moment of a dereliction of duty, to the country, both by the president and those who enable him.

HOLMES: They are just scared.

I did want to talk about Joe Biden and going forward after he is inaugurated. He has this reputation as a deal maker.

But how can he bring Republicans into the, tent on things like health, care gun control, immigration and so on?

Will any deals he make with the Republicans forward the agenda of the grassroots Democrats?

What they actually want?

BROWNSTEIN: It's going to be very hard. One of the things that happened in American politics over the last generation is that there are fewer bridge builders in Congress. Bridge builders who are elected by a constituency, who go one way for president and another for Congress.

There used to be senators and Republicans, elected on the coast and states that normally voted Democratic for president and then Southern Democrats who are elected in places that were normally Republican. They had an inherent incentive to find a way through, this to make a deal between parties, because if the issues are polarized along partisan lines, they are out of luck at hoe.

Right now, there are 20 states voted, both, times against Donald Trump, now that all results are in. Democrats hold 39 of 40 Senate seats, each one, except Susan Collins. 25 states voted both times for him. Republicans hold 47, of their 50 Senate seats.

Those 47 Republicans are not looking for deals with Joe Biden. He may have an opportunity on COVID, in particular, because the need is great. But on many issues, maybe on infrastructure, on climate, on health care, on immigration, everything you mentioned, deals will be few and far between, unless they win those two Senate seats.

If they have the majority, after Georgia Republicans may make a deal, paradoxically. If they have the capacity to stop him completely, that's probably the way they go.

HOLMES: It could be, with Mitch, if he's on the driver seat, the party of no all over again, that brings me to the point I wanted to ask about. There was a record popular vote for Joe Biden but an underperformance down-ticket.

The Senate seats you talk about, some were thought winnable, we're not. And seats were lost in the House. It is a delicate balance going forward. I mean, try to get compromise to get things done. That said, that will not make the progressive wing happy and they aren't.

How to walk that line within his own party?

BROWNSTEIN: Look, it is hard to come out of this election and feel for Democrats to argue that they have a real mandate for an aggressive progressive agenda. We saw an asymmetric consolidation and the basic story, that we talked about many times, was that metro America consolidated behind Biden, to an extraordinary extent.

He ends up winning 91 of the 100 largest counties in America, 49 of the top 50. The counties he won account for 70 percent of our total economic output.


BROWNSTEIN: Trump dominated the non-metro counties, generally smaller, generally less economically productive. The difference was, Republicans also dominated those counties, up and down the ballot; where in big metro counties, there were a fair number of people what they call the Romney Republicans, in the suburbs, who split their ticket between voting for Biden, because they couldn't abide Trump, but voted Republican for House or Senate or both because they didn't trust the Democrats.

That is what really cost them, I think, in the battle for Congress, they're looking at a precarious majority. I think they will have to look at things that broadly unify their caucus and then try to peel off a few Republicans in the Senate if they can, on a few issues like infrastructure, with COVID relief and maybe Medicare to negotiate for prescription drugs.

But a lot of things of Joe Biden ran, on even a 50-50 Senate, even if they have majority, will be tough to push through.

HOLMES: Exactly. Anything progressive less likely.

I did want to ask you, Trump grew the Republican vote, including among minorities.

Do you think he still wants to retain effective control of the party going forward for power reasons or a potential to monetize control?

Or do you think he will leave politics?

BROWNSTEIN: I think he will dangle the possibility of running until the last hour that it is plausible. Mario Cuomo, New York governor, famously, in 1991, had a plane waiting on the runway on the last day you could file in New Hampshire.

I think Donald Trump will go down to that final hour himself, because it's a way to not only monetize and keep himself in the public eye but to exert control over the Republican Party and to prevent them from moving away from his direction.

That could be very much a mixed blessing. Don't forget, he did grow the vote. But about 80 million people will vote against him as well. It is quite clear that Trumpism does not represent a majority of the country, even though it has a powerful following. It'll be hard for Republicans to move away from his direction if he runs again until the very last hour.

HOLMES: As you point out, correctly, shifting demographics are everything. Ron Brownstein, always a pleasure, thank you so much.

BROWNSTEIN: Thank you for having me.

HOLMES: The U.S. is hitting all of the wrong coronavirus benchmarks. The Biden transition team, access to critical information needed to start their attack plan is being blocked by the Trump administration. We will talk to a member of the Biden COVID-19 advisory team, coming up.

Also, some cautious optimism for parts of Europe, trying to put a lid on COVID-19. We will take you live to Paris and Melissa Bell, when we come back.




HOLMES: The coronavirus numbers in the U.S. are rapidly going in the wrong direction. The country smashing another record on Friday.


HOLMES: More than 184,000 new infections, by far, the most recorded in a single day. Think about it, it's 20 percent higher than the record the day before.

With cases, deaths and hospitalizations rising across the nation, health care workers say that they are overwhelmed and are running out of resources. The U.S. president, Donald Trump, says that a vaccine is on the way. But he took the opportunity to threaten New York state and its governor, Andrew Cuomo.


TRUMP: He doesn't trust the fact that it's this White House, this administration, so we won't deliver it to New York until we have authorization to do so. That pains me to say that.


HOLMES: Nick Watt, taking a look for, us at where the coronavirus is hitting hardest, starting with New York.


NICK WATT, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Open schools in New York City were a sign of great progress. Those doors might close again, as early as Monday, as positivity rates rise toward 3 percent.

MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO (D-NY), NEW YORK CITY: We are making preparations as a result, in case that number does exceed 3 percent, and in the event we do have to temporarily close our schools.

WATT (voice-over): Hell is back on the horizon, when there could be hope.


WATT (voice-over): But turning this around requires discipline and right, now COVID fatigue is winning.

FAUCI: It's understandable. I don't want to be critical of that but we want to just plead with them to understand the dynamics of this outbreak. If you do that, we will continue to soar.

WATT (voice-over): 100,000 plus new cases, every day, 10 days straight; Thursday, topping 150,000, a new record.

In Utah, Lindsay Wootton lost her mom and grandfather, to COVID-19.


And she said, "Dad, I'm not either."

And he said, "Trey, I'm dying."

And she said, "Dad, I am too."

And he said, "Then I'll look for you in heaven."

WATT (voice-over): Look at South Dakota, a staggering 56 percent of tests are now coming back positive. Analysts say, that is a rampant spread. But Sioux Falls city council just voted on a mask mandate and --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So my official vote on this is a no and that item fails 5-4.

WATT (voice-over): A vote against science. And "masks are oppressive," a newly minted GOP member of Congress tweeted today, "my body, my choice."

Meanwhile, in Missouri, doctors are now begging for a statewide mask mandate.

DR. ALEX GARZA, ST. LOUIS METROPOLITAN PANDEMIC TASK FORCE: The real peak of this pandemic has yet to come.

WATT (voice-over): And they want a plan for when beds run out.

GARZA: Our health care heroes have fought valiantly, day after day. But we have no reserves.

WATT (voice-over): This virus might soon force some very tough decisions. Illinois, just crushed its daily new case record.

GOV. J.B. PRITZKER (D-IL): If things don't take a turn in the coming days, we will quickly reach the point when some form of a mandatory stay at home order is all that will be left.

WATT: And here in California, Governor Gavin Newsom is expressing some regret after "The San Francisco Chronicle" reported that he attended a birthday party at a fancy restaurant that broke the state's COVID guidelines.

"We should have modeled better behavior," said the governor -- Nick Watt, CNN, Los Angeles.


HOLMES: Dr. Celine Gounder is a member of President-Elect Biden's COVID-19 advisory board and host of the epidemic podcast.

Great to have you on, Doctor. We've seen cases, hospitalizations and deaths, surging ICU capacity dwindling. I wanted to get your sense of what you make of the Trump administration, what it is doing right, now in this transition, period or not doing.

Earlier, I heard you say that the lack of cooperation is becoming a national security threat.

DR. CELINE GOUNDER, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: This is business as usual, I suppose, for the Trump administration. But this is anything but business as usual for a presidential transition. And this truly is a national security threat. The coronavirus is killing Americans, in astonishing, rates and is having a tremendous impact on our economy.

If we were dealing with another national security threat, say, we were at war, I could not imagine that a president would not be passing on the reins, handing over the reins, to a president-elect, providing information, empowering them to take over and I think it is highly concerning that this is not happening.


HOLMES: What needs to be done, in your, view on day one of a Biden administration?

To turn this thing around?

Or the very, least put a lid on it?

What should a Biden administration do differently immediately?

GOUNDER: Some of our priorities include, one, the president-elect invoking what's called the Defense Production Act. It essentially forces manufacturers, located in the United States, to manufacture whatever we need to defend ourselves against the threat.

In this particular case, that includes providing personal protective equipment, to frontline health care worker and tests and testing related supplies, like swabs. Just so we can combat this threat.

I think the other things we are focused on is scaling up testing dramatically. It is impossible to control a threat, without understanding where it is. Unfortunately, because so many infections of the coronavirus are asymptomatic, they are essentially invisible. The only way to know where they are, what is happening, is to do this testing.

HOLMES: Instead of saying we're doing too much testing, there needs to be more done.

I'm curious if you're noticing, in more than one jurisdiction, you've had courts, conservative judges, rejecting shutdown or mask mandates, issued by governors and others in authority. This is in states with raging cases. It happened again in, Friday in Texas.

And what do you make of courts overruling over mitigation efforts?

GOUNDER: I think, ultimately, even if you have a mandate that is passed, it is challenging to enforce that. So I think, really, the point of a mandate is to communicate to people that we are in a crisis and this needs to be taken seriously.

Beyond that, it's a question of, how do you convince people this is the right thing to do?

I would compare wearing a mask to using toilet paper. It is something that should never have been politicized. You don't use toilet paper or not, based on your politics. This is a basic hygienic measure that needs to be employed, by everyone at this moment.

HOLMES: A vaccine, promising news from Pfizer on efficacy but obviously, big distribution challenges because of the temperature that needs to be kept at.

Quickly, what was your take on the vaccine landscape in months ahead?

GOUNDER: The Pfizer vaccine is exciting, it seems to be effective. But there are a number of other vaccines in the pipeline, some, also quite close to completing phase 3 clinical trials; namely, Moderna, J&N and AstraZeneca vaccines.

There are a whole host of others that are in the pipeline after that. We will have a number of different vaccines at our disposal, some for certain populations, certain, settings, certain geographies and others for other settings.

I think we will be targeting each, depending on what the characteristics are of the vaccine and the population we are trying to reach.

HOLMES: We've known this for a while but there is another report out about COVID data, showing the virus is hitting people of color harder. These are the new CDC figures showing Hispanic and Black, people in the U.S. 4 times more likely to be hospitalized and white people.

Why is that concerning?

GOUNDER: This is not genetic predisposition. It is not. This is a reflection of who is being exposed more, with fewer health and safety protections on the job, because of the nature of the kind of jobs they are doing, the fact that many of these jobs do not provide employer sponsored health insurance and then, many of these, folks do not have access to government subsidized or provided insurance.

I think you have many reasons of these particular populations are quite vulnerable and it has nothing to do a genetics.

HOLMES: Great point to make, if this virus has done anything, it is exposed social injustices and inequalities and that is absolutely true. Dr. Celine Gounder, leave it, there thank you, appreciate it.

GOUNDER: My pleasure.

HOLMES: We will take a quick break on the program. When we come back on CNN NEWSROOM, U.N. officials fear that fighting in Ethiopia could spiral out of control as thousands flee to Sudan. We have a full report, coming up.





HOLMES: Fighting between the Ethiopian government and a political faction, forced thousands of men, women and children, fleeing to camps in neighboring Sudan. Food and fuel, are in short supply. Some officials fear that the conflict could quickly escalate. David McKenzie, with our report.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Under a state of emergency with communications cut, this is some of the only video emerging from Ethiopia's Tigray region, seemingly far from the fighting, soldiers posing on state TV. But a senior U.N. official warning that the conflict could spiral out of control.

The U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights is calling for a full inquiry into a brutal mass killing; possibly of hundreds of day laborers that Amnesty International says occurred in Southwest Tigray on November 9th. Witnesses told Amnesty that it looks like the dead were killed by knives and machetes.


ABIY AHMED, ETHIOPIAN PRIME MINISTER: This mischievous force is surrounded on all sides. It's a force in its final throes of death. Your children are suffering death and injuries on the front line.


MCKENZIE: Ethiopia's Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has said that the concerns his country will descend into chaos are unfounded, but fears of an all-out civil war continue to grow. The recent tension in the north began in August, when Abiy's government delayed elections because it said the risk of COVID-19 was too high.

They held elections in Tigray anyways, setting off an escalation of rhetoric and action. That tension turned into full-blown conflict in early November, with an alleged attack by the Tigray people's liberation front, or TPLF, on a federal military base in the region.

For the prime minister, a red line had been crossed and he ordered troops in. Remember, this is the same prime minister who won a Nobel Peace Prize last year. He quickly negotiated peace with Eritrea, ending a dangerous stalemate following the Ethiopia/Eritrea war that ended in 2000.

But peace at home is proving more difficult to achieve. In Ethiopia's federal system, regions often divided among ethnic lines have considerable autonomy and run their own police force and militia.

When Abiy came into power, his appeal was built in part with his campaign of synergy, an effort to promote Ethiopia United above regional or ethnic lines.

Some accused him of a power grab, including regional leaders in Tigray, and they complained that Abiy's promises of a democratic transition were sham.

That set up a clash between the central government and regional capital leaders. Ethiopian parliament has since dissolved the region's leadership and Abiy has arrested opponents. He tweeted that the TPLF has shown criminal hubris and intransigence and says he's just enforcing the country's rule of law -- David McKenzie, CNN.

(END VIDEOTAPE) HOLMES: In the U.K., there is more turmoil, Number 10 and a source of

Downing Street telling CNN, the British prime minister's chief advisor, Dominic Cummings has resigned. Cummings is literally out the door with his belongings, as you can see from this video.

Downing Street says that he will continue to work at the prime minister's office until mid December. He is often painted as Boris Johnson's right-hand man, and the mastermind behind the Brexit campaign.

Four players head into Saturday's second round of the Masters tournament, tied on the leaderboard. Tiger Woods is not one of them. We'll show you how he lost ground and Friday's historic rounds. Stay with us.

Also, the holidays are right around the corner.


HOLMES: But in some places, you can't even tell. You can blame it on, yes, you guessed, it COVID-19. We will show you how some are spreading holiday cheer without spreading germs. We will be right back.




HOLMES: Welcome back to our viewers, joining us from around the, world I'm Michael Holmes. Appreciate your company on CNN NEWSROOM.

The latest numbers on the coronavirus, nothing short of staggering. More than 53 million cases of COVID-19 have been reported, worldwide. More than 1.3 million people have lost their lives to the virus.

Several European countries, making up some of the biggest virus hotspots right now. The good news is, the infection rate for some of them is improving. CNN's Melissa Bell is watching Europe for us. She and, France as, well where health officials say that COVID hospital admissions fell sharply on Friday.

The prime minister says, don't expect the country's partial lockdown to be lifted earlier.

Let's get to you Melissa. With the latest and France.

MELISSA BELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We heard from the French prime minister on Thursday night, who said, look, it's too early and would be irresponsible the stage to lift France's partial lockdown. Although there had been a slight tapering of infection rates, it was simply too early to lift anything. We will hear from him again in a few weeks.

But since then, the figures from Friday, quite interesting, mark a very sharp drop in a number of hospital admissions. To give you an idea of those figures, on Friday, the number of people in hospital for COVID-19 increased by 22. The day before, to give you an idea of the context for, that that number was 736. A sharp drop.

Similarly, ICUs, 3 people, extra people in ICUs on Friday, compared to the day before and the day before that figure, it was 95. These are impressive drops and suggested that this partial lockdown, we've been under from 4 weeks, now is working

HOLMES: OK, tell us more about the rest of Europe. Some worrying signs, some good news, tell us?

BELL: That's right. I think, on the, whole the trend seems to be those countries are hardest hit by the second wave, France, Germany, Belgium, Spain, the Czech Republic, have all seen a slight either decrease in number of new cases or a stabilization, in terms of that figure and its progress over the last week.

So a number of countries, France, Belgium, Germany say they will keep partial lockdown in place until the trend translates, as we've seen in France yesterday, into drops in hospital admissions and ICU admissions.

There is, already, a lifting of some of the harsh restrictions in some of Madrid's neighborhoods and the Czech Republic.


BELL: For instance, second graders going back next week, suggesting there are countries that put those restrictions in early, a few weeks, ago are now starting to see the benefits. We, may therefore, see Christmas, where some of these restrictions, the toughest of them can begin to be eased.

HOLMES: Some positive signs. Melissa, thank, you there in Paris for us.

It is mid November, which means, many of us are thinking about the holidays. With COVID-19 causing headaches for those trying to make plans, of course. On one hand they need a bit of cheer, don't they?

On the other, health officials are worried about the cases going, up when we all get together. Let's see if it is possible to find some sort of middle ground.


HOLMES (voice-over): A rainbow of colors, of lamps, baubles and firecrackers, decorate shops in India. A brilliant display of holiday wares mark Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights. This year, officials worry the occasion will spark a new surge in the coronavirus, as large crowds of people, tired of months of restrictions, look for a reason to celebrate.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm so bored at home, that I'm just trying to go out, I don't care about COVID.

HOLMES (voice-over): A different holiday but the same fears in many parts of the world. The Philippines already decking the halls for Christmas. But the government is urging people to avoid holding and attending crowded social gatherings.

Church services are also limited there, which could make the season a more somber one.

Ireland, currently under a six-week lockdown, said that if cases decline, it will consider a phased reopening, beginning in December, to allow people to enjoy the season. Though one official warns, restrictions on travel to Ireland, still in the air.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In terms of people booking flights, for Christmas, to come home, I would advise them to not do that at the moment. I know it's difficult, I know it's tough.

HOLMES (voice-over): In the U.S., the mayor of Chicago advising all residents to stay home, starting on the 16th, saying, people should consider canceling the upcoming traditional Thanksgiving celebrations, something health experts say, would be hard to swallow for some.

FAUCI: Obviously, it's difficult to be, eating and drinking, at a dinner, with a mask on. You can't do that. But to the extent that you can keep the mask on, I mean, nothing will be perfect in this.

HOLMES (voice-over): Canadian officials say they saw a new spike in cases after it celebrated its Thanksgiving, about a month ago. Prime minister Justin Trudeau, warning, Christmas could be in jeopardy if people do not reduce their contact.

JUSTIN TRUDEAU, CANADIAN PRIME MINISTER: You have to reverse these trends now.

HOLMES (voice-over): Still, some places, trying to find ways to keep the holiday spirit up and the number of infections down, like this business in Germany, which turned its Christmas market into a drive- through.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): My biggest Christmas wish?

The coronavirus is finally brought under control, that next year is halfway normal again.

HOLMES (voice-over): Even time honored traditions like sitting on Santa's lap will have to adjust for this year's social distancing. The school for Santas in the U.K., giving Saint Nick a crash course in video conferencing to prepare for virtual visits with children. This focuses less on a global pandemic and more on toys.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think, this year, we need it more than ever, it is watertight, it is safe and it will happen. Christmas is go.

HOLMES (voice-over): The wish of a weary world, in need of a bit of cheer.




HOLMES: After weeks of delay, the SpaceX Crew Dragon, is ready to take off this weekend. There may be a coronavirus related hiccup. In a combined project between SpaceX and NASA, the mission to the International Space Station was originally scheduled to launch Saturday night.

But rough winds prompted a one day postponement. Now there may be cause for another delay. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk tweeting on Friday, he took four tests for COVID-19 and two came back positive, raising concerns about Sunday's launch.


JIM BRIDENSTINE, NASA ADMINISTRATOR: I talked to Elon two days ago, before this news came to be. We are looking to SpaceX to do any contact tracing that is appropriate and then, of course, if there are changes that need to be made, we will look at those. But it's very early right now to know if any changes are necessary at this point.


HOLMES: Now if Sunday's launch goes as planned, four astronauts will ride to the ISS in a capsule named Resilience, atop the Falcon 9 rocket. It will be the first fully operational mission for SpaceX, kicking off what NASA hopes will be many routine trips to the space station.


BRIDENSTINE: The whole goal here is to commercialize our activities in low Earth orbit. NASA wants to be one customer, of many customers, in a very robust commercial marketplace for human space flight in low Earth orbit.

But we don't just want to be one of many customers; we also want to have numerous providers that are competing against each other on cost, on innovation and on safety, ultimately, bringing more access to space than ever before.


HOLMES: Now the four astronauts include three from NASA and one from Japan's space agency JAXA. Their six months mission would involve research, completing maintenance, repairs and other work on the ISS.

I'm Michael Holmes, back at the top of the hour with more CNN NEWSROOM, "MARKETPLACE AFRICA," after the break.