tv DW News LINKTV December 1, 2021 3:00pm-3:31pm PST
brent: this is "dw news" live from berlin. the race to answer questions about the new coronavirus variant. will this be a dreadful december? the w.h.o. says it is days away from knowing how dangerous the omicron variant really is. countries are moving to err on the side of caution by imposing new travel restrictions, from japan to the u.s.
also coming up, a potential make-or-break moment for abortion rights in the u.s., the supreme court hearing arguments over a new mississippi law that bans most abortions. is this the end of roe v. wade? and u.s. secretary of state antony blinken says he has evidence russia could be planning to invade ukraine. he is warning an attack can bring painful economic consequences for russia. ♪ i'm brent goff. . to our viewers watching on pbs in the united states and all around the world, welcome. on this first day of december, a month of holiday travel around the world, scientists are rushing to determine just how much of a threat the omicron coronavirus variant represents. the world health organization says a toxic mix of low vaccination rates and low testing rates is allowing variants like a macron to
spread. and more countries are closing their borders, despite w.h.o. advice against travel bans. reporter: one week after omicron's discovery, new travel restrictions imposed around the world. the w.h.o. says we may soon know more about the threat posed by the variant. >> we don't have other information yet on transmission in terms of if there is a disadvantage, if it is more transmissible. there is some suggestion of that, but it is early days. we expect to have more information on transmission within days. reporter: low rates of vaccination and testing are to blame for omicron, according to the w.h.o.. >> if countries and individuals don't do what they need to do to stop transmission of data, they will not stop omicron either. globally, we have a toxic mix of low vaccine coverage, and very low testing, a recipe for
breeding and amplifying variants. reporter: with the new variant already found in germany and nine other e.u. countries, an e.u.-wide vaccine mandate could be on the table. >> i think it is understandable and appropriate. this discussion now, how we can potentially think about mandatory vaccination within the european union. this needs discussion, this needs a common approach, but it is a discussion that i think has to be had. reporter: but even if vaccines are made mandatory in record time, it would do little to help the already overburdened health care workers grappling with the latest wave in europe. with the threat of omicron still unclear, health authorities can only will i on the current measures, and hope to hinder its
spread. brent: i am joined by the ceo of the international council of nurses, which represents 27 million nurses around the world. he attended the w.h.o.'s summit today. it is good to have you on the program. we know that health care officials, including nurses, are fatigued, exhausted and almost at their and dealing with this pandemic. what does the new omicron variant result for them? does it make things worse? guest: good evening to you. there is a palpable sense of anxiety around the world about what the next few days and a few months old for us. health workers are exhausted physically and mentally, and we are seeing around the world indicato going up for the numbers of nurses d others who are leaving because they cannot cope anymore. when our health care workers are crushed, our health systems crash. what we absolutely and urgently
need to be doing now is talking yes, about vaccines and science, but in the same breath, the support, the protection and the investment we need to be putting into our health care workers, because without them, we have no health systems. brent: earlier we spoke with one of south africa's leading infectious diseases experts, and we ask him about omicron. take a listen to what was said. >> when i look at the situation, i don't see a particular use for concern as far as clinical care is concern. my bigoncern is that because of its high transmissibility, we will see the number of cases rising very fast, and once that happens, then the hospital burden becomes high, not because the disease is more severe, but there are many more patients now one to care. that is what we have to prepare for. brent: he says, if we have more
cases, we will automatically have more hospitalizations. are we prepared for a surge in the number of new patients? howard: we are under huge pressure around the world. that is why when talk about vaccines, we shouldn't talk only about vaccines, we should talk about vaccines-plus. plus masking, plus distancing, plastic testing, plus ventilation. all these things will help to slow transmission and spread and that will help to reduce the pressures on our health care systems and our health care workers. brent: let me get your sense of where we are. you are at the summit, the w.h.o. summit today, and we are dealing with a new variant. is there a sense that we are in the middle of this pandemic, or is there a sense that we are at the end of the tunnel, the e
of the tunnel is insight? or does anyone have any idea when this will play itself out? howard: the honest answer is that no one knows. a few days o we thought the end was in sight. now there is a real fear we could be going back close to the beginning. what covid has done quite ruthlessly is expose the weaknesses in our health systems, the lack of preparedness, and also our inability to respond collectively as one world to all of this, which is why the w.h.o. have been expecting having a new global treaty. just take the vaccines issue. in the summer we were seeing only 10% of health workers in africa are fully vaccinated. we are in beginning of december and only 25%. we are moving at a snails pace, despite the political cry and the great promises about what we will do to end this pandemic. we have really struggled to
deliver. we have seen this race for boosters in rich countries where the poor are being bypassed. that is why a legal underpinning mobley is so important. but they have only agreedhe timeline to have this in 2024. i worry that that is too far away. brent: in the meantime, what about vaccination mandates for everyone, or for health care professionals, the people that you represent, for example? howard: we strongly encourage all health care workers to take the vaccine, to protect themselves and protect their loved ones, protect their patients. of course, it has not been helped by the misinformation we have seen in some countries, some outrageous and outlandish claims. that then feeds, and i can see the line, from misinrmation, to where we have seen abuse and attacks on nurses and health care workers around the world,
and that is something that we need to stamp on really clearly as well. but the underlying problem is that overwhelmingly, health care workers want the vaccine and in some places, we are just not getting it to them, despite the fact that we do have enough vaccines globally. brent: howard catton, ceo of the international council of nurses, we appreciate your time. and we appreciate the work of other nurses that you represent. thank you. howard: thank you very much. brent: the global response to the pandemic is certainly deserving of criticism but it has been faster, faire andr more humane compared to 30 years ago when h.i.v. was first detected. in hiv remains today. thousands of people per year die of hiv-related illnesses. we already have numerous covid-19 vaccines. so why is there still no shot against hiv?
reporter: h.i.v. is one of the toughest things to crack in medical science. it is pictured here in green, attacking the body. attempts to make any vaccine go back over 30 years. h.i.v. infects the t cells, the very cells that make up the bloodstream. the virus uses these cells to survive, to hide from the body's defenses, and to replicate. >> h.i.v. can hide in our, so to speak. the traditional mechanisms of immune protection that we rely on from vaccines such as developing antibodies may not be enough, meaning different types of the immune response are needed to also kill the virus hiding inside the cells. reporter: usually a vaccine's target like the coronavirus are in the bloodstream, and they look different to the body cells. the inoculation can stop the pathogen in its tracks. any vaccine would have to figure out which of the body's whom
cells are infected, and that is not easy. but there is hope mrna vaccines might be able to do this. h.i.v.'s ability to hide is one of the factors that makes it difficult to fight against. reporter: another big reason is that h.i.v. mutates so quickly, much more quickly than coronavirus. if you want to think about a scale, the mutation rate for coronaviruses are very small. any think about the influenza virus,hich mutates enough that we need new vaccines every year to cover new strains. and th h.i.v. is at an order of magnitude much higherhan influenza. reporter: scientists would have to make a vaccine capable of recognizing 100 forms of h.i.v. circulating around the globe, and they can look very different. finding a vaccine that will work is still an intimidating task for scientists but the speed of clinical research during the covid-19 pandemic has given
researchers a boost. brent: i am joined by the africa director for the one campaign, a nonprofit organization fighting extreme poverty and preventable disease. to have you on the program. what has the coronavirus pandemic meant for treating people with h.i.v. and just the general public education campaigns. the of h.i.v.? edwin: thank you for having me. there are three main effects. first, it limited access to testing and preventable supplies and supplies of medications especially during the lockdowns when the response to the pandemic was that nobody would move anywhere. that disrupted supply chains globally and disrupted clinic services. people with h.i.v. couldn't have access to the medicines they needed. one of the most important part
in the level of poverty that -- about 100 million people fell into poverty because of the pandemic, and inequality is a key factor in determining the rate at which people get infected. you see that with this new horde of people in poverty, you getn increase in new infections of h.i.v., and that is a major impact. but the other thing is that people living with h.i.v. are, when they get covid, they are more likely to die from covid than people who are not h.i.v. positive. those that the impacts of covid-19 on the h.i.v. situation right now. brent: the inequality of h.i.v. treatment, i was in the u.s. last week and saw a television ad for a monthly injection to treat people with h.i.v. instead of having to take a pill every day. so you have that level of medicine, and then you have 700,000 people dying of aids
related illnesses last year. how do you explain this huge disparity? edwin: i think it is about the geography, it is the spatial spread of people. the majority of people with h.i.v. live on the african continent, so when a new medicines show up, for instance, since 1995 there has been treatment for h.i.v., but did not get to the african continent until 2005, 10 years later. we are seeing the same thing right now with vaccines for covid. it is the same thing. when the number of people living with hiv-aids, the majority are on the african continent, a place that has the least access to new medicines a technology to fight the pandemic, transmission is still here and the number of people who are on rt in the continent is lower than anywhere else in the world. that is the situation we are
seeing. inequality is looking ats in the face. brent: aids was first diagnosed in 1981. in africa now, you still have the lack of access. where do you point the lame? is it national governments -- the blame? is it international governments letting down people? edwin: we need to acknowledge the level of global contribution that has led to the development, and the progress we have made in fighting h.i.v.. when we talk about the ambition to end aids, it still requires the political will end ambition, the urgency, not the complacency we are beginning to see now, as if hiv-aids is no longer a big deal, especially when a new pandemics come. it is not about putting blame on one end, it is that generally,
when attention is pushed away from a prevalent disease to another one, we need to see that there needs to be a holistic view, a holistic approach. to be always ready to fight each pandemic. i would say that global corporates are still needed, political will is still needed. one size does not fit all. the differential approaches by countries, differential approaches on the global level, the funding that is required needs to be stepped up. we have seen a 20% reduction for h.i.v. funding in the past 10 years. we nee more urgency on this matter? edwin: the director for the one campaign, we appreciate your time and your insights and the work that you do, it is valuable for the entire world. thank you. edwin: thank you so much for having me. brent: a look now at some of the other stories making headlines around the world. the right livelihood award has been handed out in stockholm. this year's laureates were honored for their fighting of sexual violence, advocating of women's rights, working to protect environment, giving a
voice to canada's indigenous people, and combating pollution in india. the award is sometimes known as the alternative nobel prize. if european forces say they have retaken areas closer to the capital of áñez about -- of addis ababa, that had been held by tplf forces. video appears to show the prime minister directing the fighting from the front lines, and urging his soldiers to destroy the enemy. a world war ii bomb has exploded on the construction site in the german city of munich, injuring several people. unclear why the bomwas not discovered before work began. d unexploded bombs are still found frequently in germany, but they are usually defused in controlled situations. the u.s. supreme court is-year rate arguments in a case that could severely restrict abortion rights across the entire country. the court will decide whether or not to uphold a mississippi law that bans abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy.
supporters and opponents of abortion gathered outside the supreme court building in washington, d.c. the court has a conservative leaning ever since former president donald trump appointed three of the current nine justices. their decision could have consequences for that landmark 1973 roe v. wade case that legalized abortion in the u.s. yeah, this is a momentous day in the u.s. joining us now is our washington bureau chief, she is standing outside the u.s. supreme court building in washington, d.c.. good afternoon to you. ines, this is a case that has important implications for u.s. abortion law, not just mississippi law. let's start with what the case is about, and that is implications for mississippi. talk to me about that. ines: we have to keep in mind, 1973, here right behind
me, the supreme court decided that women have a constitutional right for abortion and that is what the mississippi law overruled in 2018, saying that women after 16 weeks interpregnancy are not able to get an abortion anymore. if this law stands, that would mean after 20 other states would follow this law, leaving many women unable to get an abortion. brent: we have to point out that the roe v. wade case 50 years ago meant that women have had the right to get a legal abortion for half a century. this is the first time that the supreme court, a conservative court, could overturn its own ruling, right? we have never seen this before. ines: no, and actually i think many people in the u.s. and beyond doubt that roe v. wade would never be overturned.
now in the year 2021, after, as you just mentioned, president trump was able to install three new supreme court justices, who were just implemented exactly for that very reason, now it seems to be really possible that millions of american women are going to lose the right to get a legal abortion within their own state. that is traumatic. i just was in texas some weeks ago and talked with a woman who got raped, and under this new law, she would not be able, even though she was raped, to get an abortion in texas anymore. brent: that's right, and we were thinking that texas law would be u.s., but it turns out that mississippi law could do that. eunice paul, thank you -- ines pohl, thank you.
brent: a russian troop build up between moscow and ukraine is fueling tensions in the west. u.s. secretary of state antony blinken warned vladimir putin could quickly order an invasion if he had the right pretext. as nato leaders insist the kremlin would pay a high price for any aggression, poutine is demanding guarantees that nato will never expand eastward. [gunfire] reporter: moscow says this is simply a military drill, but for ukraine, these images indicate a threatening buildup of forces on its border. ukraine's president has called on nato for help, asking members to prepare sanctions and military action to deter russia. >> we must confess that without our troops, we will not be able to stop the war. we must tell the truth that we will not be able to stop the war without direct negotiations with russia. reporter: at a meeting of foreign ministers in latvia, the reaction was quick and firm.
>> ministers made clear, any future russian aggression would come at a high price and have serious political and economic consequences for russia. reporter: u.s. secretary of state antony blinken said the u.s. has seen evidence that russia may be plaing to invade ukraine. >> we are deeply concerned by evidence that russia has made plans for signifint aggressive moves against ukraine, that include efforts to destabilize ukraine from within as well as large-scale military operations. reporter: speaking at a kremlin ceremony, russian president vladimir putin said what he wants from negotiations from nato are guarantees. >> in dialogue with the u.s. and its allies, we will insist on developing concrete arrangements that will exclude any further nato expansion to the east and the deployment of weapons that threaten us in direct proximity
to russia territory. we prepared substantive talks on this matter. reporter: this sets the stage for a tense meeting between blinken and his counterpart in moscow. brent: i am joined by an independent military journalist the transmit tonight from moscow. good to have you on the program. this really is not about any military threat coming from the ukraine against russia, it is about russia not wanting nato and is influenced to come any closer. do you agree with that? guest: i am sure that is what the russianuthority, that is what putin says, that uaine is not important, that it is the west, that ukraine is not a sovereign nation and it has been taken over by the west a they
want to move closer to moscow to depl weapons to targee kremlin, things le that. soes, it is it is a standoff with moscow and a standoff wit the west. also, it is considered that the ukrainians are really russians, a russian part of the russian nation. brent: we know what happened after the russian annexation of crimea -- nothing. the west was not willing to go with russia over crimea. why would it be willing to go to war with russia over the dime backs region -- over the dime cks regionf eastern ukraine. guest: it is not about the don bass region. is about the whole of ukraine. if there will be an exhibition of fighting in a big regional war, it will be a big, regional war, not just several cities or
regions like the don bass. it will be about the entirety of ukraine. brent: you leave that hooted, youth -- that vladimir putin believe for a moment that nato would want a military conflict th russia over ukraine? guest: the buildup of forces could mean an escalation. this happened before in europe before the first world war when a significant incident in sarajevo triggered the great war. things happened like that in european history. you never know when escalation begins and troops begin to move and mobilize. we hope there will be a summit beeen biden and putin, a virtual one, that y be can
help descalate and prevent a war, a winter campaign right now. but ere is right now n asible way to diffuse the entire conflict, even if we don't have a winter campaign somewhere in february or january of this year. then comes springand then comes summer. the further this conflict, the higher the possibility of a regional war. anthony: there are talks scheduled between antony blinken and russia, we appreciate your time. thank you. guest: thank you. brent: the women's tennis association says it has suspended its tournaments in china over the concern over the well-being of the chinese tennis
star peng shuai. she alleged at the start of november that she had been sexually assaulted by a former chinese vice premier. she was then not seen in public for two weeks. she held a video call with the international olympic committee, but tennis players are still worried and have opted to punish china. we are watching dw news. after a short break, i will be back to take you through "the day." stick around. we will be right back. ♪
anchor: welcome to live from pairs,-- paris. i mark owen. women's rights eroded in the u.s. as the supreme court signal support for a law change in mississippi limiting abortion to 15 weeks. mandatory vaccination. the european commissioner ursula von der leyen has suggested this might be part of the next stage in the combat against covid-19. on world -- world aids day, u.s. pr