CARL AZUZ; CNN 10 ANCHOR: 2020 has been a year of firsts, not all of them good. But in keeping with that tradition, we're starting today's show with a first of the United Nation's General Assembly. I'm Carl Azuz. This is CNN 10.
This year marks the 75th anniversary of when the United Nations was established and this week marks the beginning of the U.N. General Assembly, an annual meeting at the U.N. headquarters in New York City. Representatives, often the leaders of the UN's 193 member countries, are there to publicly address global cooperation, global concerns, global problems. This is what the event usually looks like with as many as 2,500 people assembled in one room. That's under normal circumstances.
But for the first time in the organization's history, its meeting is happening online this week out of concerns over the spread of coronavirus. Roughly 210 people, less than one-tenth of what you normally see are expected in the assembly hall. Their role, to introduce the videotaped speeches of their leaders.
Those recordings and virtual meetings will replace the large gatherings and sideline get-togethers. They'll be no in-person lobbying, no power lunches. Diplomacy has gone online.
And while Tuesday's speakers alone included the leaders of the United States, China, Russia, France, Iran and all of them within hours, there's no way to gauge audience reactions or to know who's watching live. And the Secretary General of the United Nations, the leader of the organization, says for diplomacy to be effective person-to-person contact is needed. So it's hard to say how much will get accomplished through this year's UN General Assembly.
But the event still has a list of topics it plans to address. Armed conflict, hunger, poverty and racism are among them. So is the elephant in the room, the coronavirus pandemic. Scientists around the world continue their race to find antibody treatments and drugs to fight the disease. The quest to develop a widely approved vaccine continues. But even that's only a step of the pandemic. Getting it to people will be the next challenge.