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Pro-Trump Election Protests; California COVID-19 Cases Spike; Trump Refuses to Concede; Parler Woos Conservatives Away from Facebook
by Michael Holmes - CNN
 Published on Tuesday November 17, 2020 - 10:37 PM
* US Presidential Election *
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Pro-Trump Election Protests; California COVID-19 Cases Spike; Europe Tightness Coronavirus Restrictions; Trump Pushes Fraud, Refuses to Concede; New York Leaders Weighing Emergency COVID-19 Options; Parler Woos Conservatives Away from Facebook, Twitter. Aired 2-3a ET

Aired November 15, 2020 - 02:00 ET




MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): After thousands of supporters of president Donald Trump rally in Washington, the situation turns violent after dark as the divide over the election grows deeper.

These lines of people waiting to take coronavirus tests in Los Angeles as the U.S. faces a sweeping escalation in infections, setting new records every day.

And police clash with anti-lockdown protesters in Germany, firing water cannon when the demonstrators wouldn't wear masks or practice social distancing.

Hello and welcome to our viewers in the U.S. and all around the world. Appreciate your company. I'm Michael Holmes. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM.


HOLMES: Violence in Washington, D.C., is overshadowing what had been a mostly peaceful demonstration in support of president Donald Trump's baseless election claims. Officials say one man was stabbed and is in critical condition. The mayor's office says two police officers also were injured and 20 arrests were made.

Trump supporters and counter protesters clashed but it is not clear who was responsible for the violence.

That's not stopping the president, though, from weighing in, as you might imagine, tweeting that his supporters, quote, "aggressively fought back" after he says Antifa attacked them. Our Sara Sidner gave us an update a short time ago.


SARA SIDNER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: There were thousands and thousands of people who came out to support Donald Trump because they believe that the election was stolen, although they are going on false information. They were -- it was a wholly peaceful event. But as night fell, that's

when we started to see some skirmishes. And really, what you're seeing are several different things. You're seeing anti-fascists, who are out, who are anti-Trump as well.

And when they see someone from the Trump supporting side of things, who come into the area where they are, we've seen arguments unfold and then sometimes violent acts unfold as well.

We've also seen, conversely, some of those folks, who are anti-Trump, who are walking the streets in large groups. And then we have seen Trump supporters, including the Proud Boys, who he infamously told to stand back and stand by during the very first 2020 presidential debate with Joe Biden.

We have seen them running toward a group of people who were not being aggressive until confronted with a bunch of folks who were coming and screaming curse words at them. And then it started to turn into a bit of a melee.


HOLMES: And CNN senior political analyst Ron Brownstein joins me now. He is also a senior editor at "The Atlantic."

Appreciate that, coming on, Ron. We've seen the incidents on the streets of the nation's capital. The country clearly divided.

But doesn't what's coming from the Oval Office just multiply the intensity of the division, worsen the polarization?

RON BROWNSTEIN, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST: This is where we are as a country. It is hard to imagine, you know, America four, six, eight, 10 years ago, being in this place with running street battles on the streets of multiple American cities and a president who is putting gasoline on all of these fires, essentially congratulating his supporters for fighting and attacking others in the streets.

I mean, with the silence and kind of abetting and enabling of essentially an entire political party, that is allowing the barriers between its coalition and far right extremists, whether it's QAnon or the Proud Boys, to be dissolved by this president.

I mean, it's an extraordinarily dangerous moment for America. I think people around the world can recognize the kind of symptoms they've seen in other countries. And we are moving down a path that we have not seen in modern American history.

HOLMES: See, and this is something we've talked about in past days as well. You know, you've got the situation, where the president is sort of stoking his base and saying, "I didn't lose. I was robbed. You were robbed."

Where are Republicans on this?

When does it become a dangerous situation? [02:05:00]

HOLMES: With Republicans in Congress not stepping up to the plate and saying enough?

BROWNSTEIN: We are way past that point. I mean, you know, as we talked about last night, as I've often said, every time he breaks a window, the Republicans in Congress obediently sweep up the glass.

There is no way he would have behaved -- so many of the things he has done he would not have done if Republicans had stood up at any point. And there has been, I think, a kind of any means necessary mindset that has taken root in much of the Republican Party.

If they believe that President Trump has picked the lock and figured out how to hold power, they are willing to give him as much rope as he needs, even to the point of looking the other way as he openly extorted the government of Ukraine.

But allowing him to go on in this way and so few of them acknowledging the obvious, that President Trump has lost the popular vote by well over 5 million votes; Joe Biden has won a higher popular share than even Ronald Reagan in 1980, that the key states in the Electoral College are not really that close. Biden won Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania by triple the margin that Trump did in 2016.

They are watering this kind of extremism. They're allowing the oxygen in the room for this to develop. And it is just an ominous indication, not only for these next few weeks but for these next few years about what direction the party may be headed.

HOLMES: Speaking of next few years, Joe Biden, of course, ran on uniting the country. I mean, you have to wonder how he does that with the temperature as high as it is.

Do you think it's possible?

BROWNSTEIN: Look, it is very difficult, as we've said. If Democrats had 50 votes in the Senate and a narrow majority in the House, I think Biden will be able to make deals with Republicans. That is his instinct. He will frustrate the Left of the Democratic Party and try to find ways to bring along at least a handful of Republicans, as they did during the stimulus bill in 2009.

However, if the Republicans have the majority in the Senate and the ability to simply block what he wants to do, he is going to find it very hard to pry maybe any of them from Mitch McConnell's grip.

I think the dynamic, the paradox is, if Democrats have unified control, there might be more bipartisan dealmaking than if Republicans have the capacity to block his agenda.

HOLMES: Yes, Barack Obama writes about that in his memoir, about Mitch McConnell. All right, Ron, we've got to leave it there. Ron Brownstein in Los Angeles, I appreciate you sticking around.

BROWNSTEIN: Thank you, Michael.


HOLMES: Turning our attention to the pandemic now, the U.S. in dangerous territory. Coronavirus cases spreading like wildfire and it isn't even winter yet. One medical expert points out, it's not an issue of hot spots anymore; the entire country is a hot spot.

The U.S. just topped 100,000 new daily cases for the 12th day in a row. Hospitalizations hit a new high for the fourth straight day, overwhelming medical facilities and health care workers across the country. And the daily death toll topped 1,300 at least three times this week.

California reported nearly 10,000 new cases of coronavirus on Saturday. Take a look at the massive line of cars, look at them there, they're lined up for coronavirus testing at the L.A. Dodgers baseball stadium car park.

The state's health department says they're seeing the fastest rate of increasing new cases since the start of the pandemic; 81 Californians died from the virus on Saturday. CNN's Paul Vercammen is in Los Angeles and spoke with the city's mayor about the COVID crisis.


PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Here in Los Angeles County and in the city of Los Angeles, they have dramatically ramped up testing, especially here at Dodger Stadium.

By all accounts, the most busy testing site in the country. If you look behind me, you can see those are the six lines of cars that have filtered through here. Earlier this week, they had one day where they tested 8,000 people. Another day, last night, about 7,800, from what we understand.

They're able to move people through here rather quickly, about a 20- minute wait per average. And instrumental in getting this done for the city, Mayor Garcetti.

This was an extraordinary measure you took. Why?

MAYOR ERIC GARCETTI (D-CA), LOS ANGELES: We see the tsunami coming. But the good news is we can hear the alarm as well. We stood this up as the biggest testing center in America, along with our firefighters and core volunteer group.

And it's been incredibly successful, to help people know when they have the symptoms and when they don't have the symptoms, whether or not they're positive. And right now this is right outside Dodger Stadium. If this were a baseball game, we're in the bottom of the sixth and the game will be decided in the next couple of innings.

VERCAMMEN: Given what's happened here in Los Angeles with unemployment, there are a lot of people extremely concerned about how they're going to continue to make ends meet or really not meet, given everything that has happened.


VERCAMMEN: Can you assure them we're not headed for some kind of complete lockdown in Los Angeles if the numbers continue to get exponentially worse?

GARCETTI: Well, the good thing about where we are now is we're smarter than we were in March. We understand that this blanket kind of lockdown, which did the trick then, may not be the best way now.

In other words, we've had the best numbers while these things have been closed and we've had the worst numbers, approaching them now, while the same level of things are closed. So it's not whether a store open or not; it's about your and my behavior.

It's about whether we think, well, I know that person. So I'm familiar with them. I can hang out with them. And then three other people tomorrow and then three other people the next night and then three other people the next night in my backyard or maybe we go indoors or we open a window.

Those things are what's causing the spread. To me, it's really getting people to realize, cancel those vacation plans right now. Do not sneak in other households for Thanksgiving. Get a chicken instead of a turkey or a small turkey. Do those things. To me, the mantra is two things. don't share your air and don't do stupid things.

VERCAMMEN: Words to the wise, don't do anything stupid, among his tips. And as you can see behind me, his vision being carried out here, as they are testing more people at Dodger Stadium than ever before. Back to you now.


HOLMES: And joining me now from San Francisco, Dr. Shoshana Ungerleider, an internal medicine physician at California Pacific Medical Center.

Good to see you, Doctor. Haven't seen you for a while. These numbers, they are simply staggering.

What is your fear about the trajectory about what's to come?

DR. SHOSHANA UNGERLEIDER, CALIFORNIA PACIFIC MEDICAL CENTER: Well, Michael, we know that over 180,000 new cases of COVID-19 were reported on Friday. We're reaching new highs every day with, frankly, exponential growth.

The fact that we're at the beginning of flu season as well as holiday time, with many people congregating indoors, is extremely troubling. We're still many months away from a widely available, safe, effective vaccine.

I'm very concerned things could get much worse. The fact is that hospitalizations and deaths lag behind new cases by approximately two and four weeks respectively. Right now, we're running out of frontline health care workers. And hospitals are seeing shortages of medications and PPE, which means that care will suffer.

And this is not just for patients with COVID-19, right. People can only receive high quality medical care if we have enough hands and supplies and beds to go around.

We need everyone's help right now. Please keep wearing masks. Don't congregate indoors with others and please stay home for the holidays. It will make a huge difference and save thousands of lives.

HOLMES: What needs to be done, in your view, on day one of a Biden administration, to turn this thing around or at least put a lid on it?

What should they do differently?

UNGERLEIDER: So many things: enacting a national mask mandate for one; a new CDC report released this past week indicates that mask wearing reduces the risk of transmitting and catching the virus by more than 70 percent in various instances.

Also ramping up the ability to do more rapid testing and have consistent public health messaging in place will be critical. The Biden administration has a wonderful COVID advisory team in place.

But I would also look to the expertise of mental health professionals, who understand trauma, given the impact the pandemic has had for the psychological well-being of so many Americans.

HOLMES: Yes, including medical workers. I wanted to ask you this, too, because it's something I've sort of been following along with for months now. There was a team of scientists at the University of Michigan Health System. They looked at nearly 500 COVID-19 patients who had been treated and released from hospitals. They checked in on them two months after their release. A third reported ongoing health issues. Nearly half said they had been emotionally affected by their illness.

How worried are you about ongoing COVID impact on people who survived the initial infection?

UNGERLEIDER: Michael, we're learning more and more every day about this novel virus. There are some very concerning long-term impacts for those who survive, including mental health problems, even major organ dysfunction, issues with blood clotting and neurological impairment.

So the bottom line is surviving COVID does not mean you'll have a symptom-free life. In addition, we don't know how long immunity lasts. Therefore, being infected once doesn't necessarily provide immunity against future infection.

HOLMES: Yes. That's very concerning. We just don't know. Dr. Shoshana Ungerleider, really appreciate it. Great to see you.

UNGERLEIDER: Thank you so much. HOLMES: We're going take a quick break. When we come back, Europe

trying to keep its second coronavirus wave under control with new restrictions and lockdowns. Some people aren't having any of it. We'll show you what happened in Germany, next.





HOLMES: Police in Frankfurt, Germany, dispersing lockdown protesters and counter protesters on Saturday. Police say they used water cannon after some of the protesters demonstrated without following social distancing and mask wearing rules.

Germany has been under partial lockdown since November 2nd. There is little expectation the restrictions will be eased for the moment. Let's take a look at Europe's devastating second coronavirus wave.

First, Austria; it will soon have its second nationwide lockdown. That's because COVID-19 cases are growing 10 times faster than expected. Poland, meanwhile, reporting a record high in daily coronavirus deaths, as the country has the biggest total in all of eastern Europe.

A few encouraging numbers coming out of other countries. CNN's Melissa Bell following all of this from Paris.

Good to see you again, Melissa. The lockdowns continue. But there is some good news. Fill news on the COVID landscape where you are.



BELL: You and I were speaking yesterday about those countries that have been in lockdown for more than two weeks, thinking here France, Germany, Belgium, and that have seen a slight tapering off of infection rates and encouraging figures in terms of the new numbers. Now in those countries, the lockdowns stay in place.

But what we're seeing is other countries where, far from stabilizing, the figures are getting a lot worse. You mentioned Austria, where Sebastian Kurz, saying they had lost track of the tracing system and that 77 percent of new infections, they simply couldn't trace. They didn't know where they were coming from.

Hence the new partial lockdown that will come in from Tuesday. In Greece, primary schools and nurseries to close from Monday. Extra measures aimed at bringing down the cases where they continue to rise.

And in Italy, another interesting case kind of in between the two cases. It's been several regions under lockdown for a while. It's increased the number of regions on Friday, even as it hit a record in terms of number of new cases.

It came down yesterday from the more than 40,000 recorded then to just over 37,000. But still a worrying rise and one that suggests that, for the time being, the partial lockdown is nowhere being brought to an end, Michael.

HOLMES: And we saw a video there of some disturbances in Germany. Talk about the public reaction.

Has there been a lot of resistance?

BELL: Well, I think what's so interesting about this second wave of partial lockdowns compared to the first is they're much, much looser than what we saw in the spring. Essentially, a number of European countries in the spring shut down to bring that first wave to an end, really confining people to their homes almost entirely.

This time, you see on the streets of Paris and other European cities where the second lockdowns are in place, anything you might do for fun, the shops, the restaurants, the cinemas, the theaters.

But many people are going out to work and most school children are back in classrooms here in Europe. So there is a lot more activity out there. It's simply not as strict as it was.

And yet there is this sort of corona fatigue that's set in. We've seen the protests in Italy. We've seen them in Spain as well and now Germany in Frankfurt yesterday. The anti-mask protesters have come out. They were delayed in their protest because they were made to put their masks on before they could march.

And anti-anti-mask wearers came out to demonstrate. The water cannon had to be used against both groups, a reminder of growing dissatisfaction about these sorts of restriction on their freedoms and the damage that these are doing to the economy, Michael.

HOLMES: You said something that was interesting there. Briefly, if we can touch on it. Going to school, is -- keeping the schools open is a hot button issue here in the U.S.

What about in Europe?

That seems to be still operating.

BELL: It has been extremely difficult for governments to work out what to do. Because clearly, unless children are in school, parents can't really go out to work. And there has been this determined effort on the part of European governments this time to try and protect their economies and keep them as open as they could.

But clearly we've seen protests last week, here in France, from teachers who said it was simply impossible to impose the rules inside overcrowded classrooms. It's a good example where governments are trying to do their best to keep people in class. But the effect is more people are out on the street. You see it at rush hour. And infection rates are only likely to rise as a result. A lot of countries refusing to keep their kids. In it's a question of

allowing grownups to work. Social justice, lockdowns for some kids are a lot more difficult for others.

HOLMES: Fascinating to get the inside look from Europe. Appreciate it. Good to see Melissa Bell in Paris for us.

Now Honduras is bracing for another hurricane as it still struggles to recover from the damage done by Hurricane Eta less than two weeks ago.

Let's show you the scene there. The Colombian air force assisted in rescue missions. Nearly a million people in Honduras have been displaced thanks to landslides and major flooding from the powerful hurricane Eta, sparking growing fears as Iota approaches.

We are continuing also to track Typhoon Vamco which is currently bearing down on Vietnam.



HOLMES: I'm Michael Holmes. For viewers in the United States and Canada, I'll be back with more CNN NEWSROOM after a short break. Up next for our international viewers, "Business Traveller."





HOLMES: And more now on our top story, the violence breaking out in Washington amid large pro-Trump election protests.

Things got heated after dark with Trump supporters clashing with counterdemonstrators. Officials say one man was stabbed and is in critical condition. Two police officers also injured; 20 arrests made.

It's not clear who was arrested or is responsible for the violence. But president Donald Trump already took to Twitter to blame Antifa.

It has been more than a week since projections showed Joe Biden winning the presidency. And Donald Trump is still refusing to acknowledge he has lost.

To be clear, Mr. Trump has no path to victory anymore. But that is not stopping him, as we have seen, from denying reality by continuing to push false claims and lawsuits. CNN's Jeremy Diamond reports from the White House.


JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, one week after Joe Biden was declared the winner of the presidential election, President Trump is still refusing to concede and admit defeat in this 2020 election.

Instead, what we've seen from the president is continuing to falsely claim that he has won, falsely claiming that there has been widespread voter fraud and that this election was rigged against him.

Of course, these are the same claims we saw the president make in the run-up to the election; but he has only continued to make those despite the clear and overwhelming evidence of this election, despite the fact that we have seen election officials, Republicans and Democrats, in all 50 states make very clear there is no evidence of widespread voter fraud and that, in fact, the 2020 election was one of the most secure to date.

During this week, we've also seen the president privately, according to our sources, waver between this pugilistic attitude where he says he wants to continue pursuing the lawsuits and recount challenges in key battleground states and also, at other moments, beginning to come to grips with reality.

We saw a sliver of that as the president spoke in the Rose Garden, acknowledging the possibility at least of a future Biden administration.


TRUMP: This administration will not be going to a lockdown. Hopefully, the -- whatever happens in the future, who knows which administration will be, I guess time will tell. But I can tell you, this administration will not go to a lockdown.


DIAMOND: But on Saturday we saw the president drive through this crowd of supporters who were protesting in Washington, parroting his claims of a stolen election.

And after that, the president seemed to be buoyed by those supporters, digging in once again on his claims of a rigged election, taking to Twitter, making several tweets that Twitter has labeled as misinformation about this election.

And the president showing no sign that he is prepared to concede this election publicly -- Jeremy Diamond, CNN, the White House.


HOLMES: Joining me now to discuss, Scott Jennings and Dr. Abdul al- Sayed. Scott is a CNN political commentator and former special assistant to President George W. Bush.

Dr. Sayed is a epidemiologist and a CNN political commentator.

Good to have you with us.

Scott, let's start you.

What do you think the Republican Party, as opposed to Donald Trump, is going to gain by supporting what have been futile challenges to results that seem set?

SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, there is really nothing to gain here. Joe Biden is going to be the next president. What the Republican Party really needs to do is focus on governing in December, which means passing a funding bill for the government, passing a defense authorization bill and hopefully passing a COVID relief package.

(INAUDIBLE) has to turn its attention to Georgia, where there are two Senate special elections, that it needs to win in order to hold the Senate majority.

So the real focus of the party at large needs to be on governing in Congress, winning in Georgia. That's where they have to gain in the short term.

HOLMES: But right now, should they be speaking out right now about what's happening?

JENNINGS: Well, Republicans -- I mean, Republicans speaking out for or against Donald Trump has never modified his behavior once in four years.

So what I'm saying is the party needs to focus on what it needs to do. Donald Trump needs to get a transition going. I mean, let's be honest. Joe Biden is going to be the president. So there needs to be a legitimate transition so Biden can be successful.

HOLMES: Good point on whether it would have any effect.

Doctor, what do you see as the impact of the whole Trump strategy in terms of its impact on people's faith in the democratic process?

I mean, the country is clearly divided.

But doesn't what's coming from the Oval Office multiply the intensity, the division and give more life to the anger we are literally seeing on the streets tonight in D.C.?


DR. ABDUL EL-SAYED, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Michael, there are a couple of things to say about that. It's good to hear Scott say what the rest of the party ought to be saying, that Donald Trump lost the election, he lost the election fair and square, that this was an election with extremely high integrity.

Almost no evidence, no evidence at all that's justifiable there is any sort of fraud. And the upshot here is that, when you don't see Republicans like Scott stepping up and calling the president out on the fact that he is making baseless allegations about fraud in the election, it undermines the democratic process itself. I'll tell you, my parents emigrated from a country where there is no

democracy. I take our democracy extremely seriously. And any Republican who is standing with Donald Trump right now is undercutting people's faith in the integrity of our election system, the integrity of our very democracy.

And I'll disagree with my friend Scott here because he says it doesn't matter what Republicans say, that it's not going to influence the president.

This isn't about the president. This is about the future of the Republican Party, whether or not they believe in democracy as it stands or they're more interested in whether or not the election validates their own preconceived notions about the president.

He's lost this election. There was no fraud. There were no -- there was no evidence that there was anything untoward about this election. And I think the entire party needs to step up, break the stranglehold that Donald Trump has on that party and to tell all of their supporters that this was a free and fair election. Joe Biden won fair and square.

HOLMES: And speaking of supporters, Scott, I guess you've been watching what's been happening in D.C. There has been at least one person stabbed. Guns have been recovered. Police officers have been injured. There has been palpable anger. And fair to say, there has been anger on both sides.

But regardless of that, this is not good.

And is this being amplified and fanned by this sort of vacuum that's been created by Donald Trump not accepting what happened?

JENNINGS: Well, first of all, I think anyone who commits violence against another person is responsible for their own actions. And although I think it's fashionable to try to blame Donald Trump for everything, the fact is, there are left-wing protesters committing violence in the streets of Washington.


HOLMES: -- I've seen them on the Right as well.

JENNINGS: I haven't seen that. I've seen peaceful protesters today showing their support for Donald Trump being harassed. I have seen fireworks and incendiary devices being shot into open-air restaurants tonight. That wasn't being done by Trump supporters.


HOLMES: But the point is, is this vacuum that's been created by the nonconcession, giving oxygen to that sort of demonstration.

JENNINGS: No, absolutely not. The same kind of people who are committing violence tonight were committing violence over the last several months by burning buildings in Portland and Kenosha and other places.

The same kinds of people committing violence tonight have been doing it, frankly, for the last six months in the United States. So, no, this has nothing to do with Trump. This has to do with extreme violent left-wing ideological protesters.

EL-SAYED: Scott. Come on, Scott. Come on. You and I both know that what we're seeing in the streets is being fed and watered by Donald Trump and Republicans, who are unwilling to concede the election that he lost fair and square.

Million MAGA March is exactly the name of the events in Washington, D.C., that you're talking about. And so if you guys want to be the party of law and order, then there should be law and order. And when your president loses an election fair and square, you should come out and say it and tell your supporters to go home.

JENNINGS: Dr. Sayed, you know as well as I do, the video coming out of Washington tonight, those Trump supporters were not committing violence. They were being harassed on the streets. Everyone can see it. It's been going on in America for months and months.

The same kinds of protesters in D.C. tonight have been in Portland and in other places, Kenosha, all over the United States. You know who is doing it. --


HOLMES: Scott --

EL-SAYED: -- killed people --

HOLMES: Let me ask you this, though.

Do you think this would be happening if the president wasn't tweeting constantly, "We've been robbed"?


HOLMES: You do?

JENNINGS: Of course I do because it's already been happening. And, yes, these Trump supporters went to Washington to support the president. Look, like I said, I recognize Joe Biden's won this election. These people need to support the president.

And because they gathered in support of Donald Trump, these left-wing protesters came to harass them. It's obvious what's happening.

EL-SAYED: That's not what happened. That's not what happened, Scott.

JENNINGS: -- violence, it's not right.


EL-SAYED: The sitting president of the United States is failing to concede an election that he lost. His supporters are out in the street because Republicans are unwilling to call the truth what it is. And those supporters, those very same people who claim to be the party of law and order, are now just like Kyle Rittenhouse did when he crossed state lines and killed two people, are now engaging in violence over an election that they lost.


EL-SAYED: That's what is happening right now.

JENNINGS: That is a complete and total falsehood.

HOLMES: We've got to leave there it, gentlemen.

Scott Jennings, Dr. Abdel el-Sayed, thank you for coming on.

JENNINGS: Thank you.

EL-SAYED: Thank you.

HOLMES: We'll take a quick break on the program. When we come back, like many other parts of the world, coronavirus surging in Mexico. The country now has more than a million cases. We'll show you what's being done to try to get the virus under control there when we come back.




HOLMES: For the 12th straight day, the U.S. is counting more than 100,000 new coronavirus cases, more than 160,000 on Saturday alone, according to Johns Hopkins. Infections climbing in every single state. Hospitalizations shattering records.

For four days, the number of hospitalizations has climbed; now more than 68,000 people in hospital beds across the U.S. with coronavirus. Experts warning those facilities will soon be at capacity.


DR. JONATHAN REINER, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: We're headed to more and more cases and an intolerable number of deaths. And what we're going to see in places where the rates of cases are continuing to rise, is we'll see hospital ICUs fill.

Now you can make more ICU beds but what you can't make are more ICU nurses. And we will run out of the capacity in many of these hospitals to care for the critically ill.


HOLMES: As coronavirus spreads across the U.S., it's getting another foothold into New York. That state once led the country in infections early on in this pandemic. Well, now cases are climbing again and local leaders are weighing their options.


HOLMES: Evan McMorris-Santoro has all the details.


EVAN MCMORRIS-SANTORO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: With the pandemic numbers heading in the wrong direction in New York, both the governor and the mayor of New York City are talking about new restrictions. There are two magic numbers.

The first is 10: at 10:00 pm every night, restaurants have to close to in-person dining. And 10 people are the maximum allowed in private gatherings, whether they're inside or outside. Those are new restrictions by the governor that began this weekend.

The other magic number is 3. If the seven-day rolling average of the infection rate crosses 3 percent, New York City schools are set to shut down again. That was the plan until this weekend, where the numbers have gotten close to that number but haven't crossed it.

Today in a press conference, the governor said that 3 percent number may not be the number anymore. He said that testing is good enough inside schools to keep those schools open, even if that number crosses 3 percent.

But that's not a guarantee yet. So parents and teachers and students are wondering which number is going to be the number that keeps schools open or closed, as everyone worries that the pandemic numbers could shut New York down again -- Evan McMorris-Santoro, CNN, New York.


HOLMES: Turning our attention to Mexico now, where case numbers are soaring. States across the country are moving back into more restrictive measures. Matt Rivers with that story from Mexico City.


MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Here in Mexico City, officials have announced for the first time since this pandemic began that Mexico has now recorded more than 1 million confirmed cases of the coronavirus.

This as the seven-day moving average of new cases, the seven-day average of new deaths, both of those metrics continue to steadily rise.

And just this week, we saw on a single day this week more than 7,600 cases confirmed in a single day. That is one of the highest single-day case increases that we have seen since this pandemic began.

As a result of that, multiple states across the country are moving back into more restrictive lockdown measures, all the way from the country's north to here in Mexico City, with the mayor of Mexico City saying this week that she could impose even stricter lockdown measures, should the numbers that we've been seeing recently continue to move in the wrong direction -- Matt Rivers, CNN, Mexico City.


HOLMES: Some say it's the only place to freely share ideas online, while others call it an echo chamber, full of misinformation. How the app Parler is courting conservatives by promising to allow anything, even lies.





HOLMES: Facebook and Twitter routinely, of course, put those warning labels on false and misleading posts, including a lot of those by the U.S. president, Donald Trump. Now that's causing a growing number of conservatives to seek out alternatives where misinformation is not discouraged.

The most popular one is an app called Parler. It's similar to Twitter, at the moment, one of the most-downloaded apps on the Apple App Store. The company's CEO explains the appeal.


JOHN MATZE, PARLER: Parler is about free speech. Making sure people have a voice again, which is extremely necessarily right now. People want a social media like Parler that works the way they thought, where it truly is by the people.

It's private, you choose the content you want to see and you get the content that you've chosen to see. So there's so much more than just free speech. But really, people are tired. They're really tired of what's going on over there.


HOLMES: Bridget Barrett knows all about this sort of thing, she's lead researcher at the University of North Carolina's Center for Information Technology and Public Life. She joins me from Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

Good to see you, Bridget. Let's talk about Parler. In many ways is it a refuge of the Right, now?

In that way, perhaps a more concentrated echo chamber?

And what are the risks in that?

BRIDGET BARRETT, UNC CENTER FOR INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY AND PUBLIC LIFE: Yes, absolutely. First of all, thank you so much for having me on tonight. Parler has become an echo chamber for the Right, which is particularly ironic, because it talks about in its mission and its founder talks about it being a platform in which ideas can be debated for productive conversation.

Yet in practice it runs exactly counter to that and has become very much an echo chamber of conservative media people as well as folks from Twitter and Facebook and other social media platforms who feel aggrieved by the treatment of false information on those platforms and who have joined Parler, which has committed to not fact checking or otherwise labeling or contextualizing even the most outright false claims.

HOLMES: And that leads me to the next question. All this limited moderation, we're not going to butt in.

What are the risks of that?

There is a lot of overt racism, anti-Semitism, already on that site and worse, too.

Without limits, isn't that risky, that these platforms become a haven for hate and perhaps worse?

BARRETT: Absolutely. I think when we talk about Parler, I do want to be clear that even though it's growing rapidly, it's still much smaller than the other social media platforms that we think about.

And when we talk about why it's risky or dangerous or bad, there are a few different things that really matter here.

For one, yes, the spread of hate, of false information but also recognizing that a poorly moderated platform may allow for terrorists, both foreign and domestic, to recruit or plan.


BARRETT: You'll also see online conspiracy theories that we worry about moving offline, which we've already seen with Pizzagate and QAnon. So recognizing that there are real-world harms that can come out of these places where hate develop.

They also want to talk about the harms that we see to democracy, that if you allow a space where none of these claims are going to be countered, that people are going to believe that an election was unfair or illegitimate, when every valid and legitimate source has been clear that this was one of the best-run elections that we've had in years.

HOLMES: And you study this for a living. There's also out there growing support for networks like OAM, Newsmax, other outlets, too.

What are the dangers of -- as I think Shannon McGregor (ph) put it in "The New York Times," "a fractured misinformation system," what are the dangers of that?

BARRETT: Over the past decade as the Internet has developed and grown more, we've been very afraid of kind of these filter bubbles and these echo chambers. And in many ways, they've failed to play out as we would expect.

Much of the research on this has shown that people still get their news from more mainstream sources and that, online, the news they get is quite diverse. And this could make claims harder to check, to verify, to folks who are receiving false information or who are, in this case, opting in to receiving false information.

HOLMES: It's all very dangerous. And glad that people like you are studying it for us, Bridget Barrett, thank you so much.

BARRETT: Thank you so much for having me.

HOLMES: And thank you very much for spending part of your day with me. I'm Michael Holmes. CNN NEWSROOM continues after the break with Kim Brunhuber.