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Two Cities on Lockdown amid Virus; Trump Downplays Concussion Injuries; New Democratic Primary Polls; 75 Years Since Auschwitz Liberation; Hacking of Bezos' Phone. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired January 23, 2020 - 06:30   ET



WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And, you know, a lot of things could happen. The plane could break apart in midair. If they flew into a large plume of smoke, they could lose visibility and then they can crash. So there's a lot of different scenarios. But what the New South Wales premier is saying is that this is a tragedy being felt, not just by the United States, but also in Australia.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, that's all really frightening stuff, Will. Thank you very much for the reporting. We will check back with you.

Meanwhile, China is racing to contain the deadly coronavirus. Two cities are on lockdown as the number of deaths and confirmed cases rises. Here in the U.S., the CDC says at least 16 people are under observation after coming into contact with the very first patient identified with it in America.

CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta joins us now.

And, Sanjay, we've been talking to you every morning about this. And just since yesterday, the death toll has almost doubled?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: It has. I mean these numbers continue to go up. We monitor these all through the evening. And we continuously get these updates.

And, Alisyn, you know, when they say these cities are on lockdown, it's worth pointing out again, as you and I have talked about, that these aren't -- you know, these are populated cities. Wuhan is a city of over 11 million people. When you say a city like that's on lockdown, you can start to imagine. No one's really allowed out. No one's allowed in. What it must be like in that city right now.

We are starting to get a better idea of who's most affected by this new coronavirus in terms of the age. We know people who are more likely to die are in their early 70s, 73 was the average age of these deceased that you just mentioned. Forty years old, average age of people who have severe cases, many of them with underlying illness, and mostly men for some reason. We don't know why that is. This is just early data. They're trying to figure that out. We're also getting a better idea of what's happening in the body,

especially of these patients who develop the severe infection. I'll show you quickly. You look at the lungs and you look at what happens in the lungs. I don't know how well you can sort of see that. But sort of in the middle of the picture, you'll see this inflammation in the -- what are called the alveoli. In the bottom there, in the yellow, that's fluid that starts to fill the air sacks of the lung. That fluid is a direct response to the virus. And that's typically what's causing severe illness and even death.

Alisyn, we spent a little bit of time at the NIH yesterday. They're obviously very focused on this right now. It's one of the big priorities. And the biggest priority is to develop a vaccine. And that work is underway right now. It's going to take some time to prove that a vaccine is safe, to prove that a vaccine is effective. But as you might imagine, that is the race that is happening right now, can we develop a vaccine quicker than this outbreak continues to spread.

Let me just show you one final thing, an important point when you talk about what happens to these viruses. We know that these viruses will mutate over time. They mutated so they can spread from human to human. There's two things we pay attention to. One is how contagious is it. How quickly can it spread. And the other is how severe. If it's low severity and low transmisability, that's in the "a" box. That's the best case scenario. What, you know, as you might imagine, public health officials are worried about is that this gets to the "d" box, which means that it both increases in transmisability and severity. And that's what they're hoping doesn't happen right now, Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: Really scary stuff, Sanjay. We will talk to you tomorrow for an update.

GUPTA: You got it.

CAMEROTA: Thank you very much.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: It's the seventh biggest city in China. San Antonio is the seventh biggest city in the U.S. Imagine San Antonio just being locked down.

CAMEROTA: Imagine New York City being locked down --


CAMEROTA: Because the numbers are even bigger there. I mean I think that Sanjay put a fine point on how frightening it must be right now to not be able to get your arms around this.

BERMAN: So President Trump seeming to downplay the traumatic brain injury suffered by U.S. troops after the Iranian missile strikes a few weeks ago. The president, who reportedly avoided military service because of bone spurs, say these injuries, just headaches.

We'll discuss, next.


BERMAN: This morning, the president creating something of a medical controversy after word that about a dozen U.S. troops suffered brain injuries in the Iranian missile attacks, some even being evacuated to Germany for evaluation. The president seemed to downplay the severity of those injuries.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I heard that they had headaches and a couple of other things. But I would say -- and I can report, it is not very serious. Not very serious.

QUESTION: You don't think that a potential traumatic brain injury is serious?

TRUMP: They told me about it numerous days later. You'd have to ask the Department of Defense. No, I don't consider them very serious injuries relative to other injuries that I've seen.


BERMAN: Joining us now, retired Lieutenant General Mark Hertling. Also back with us, CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

And, General, the thing is, by saying headaches the way he did and suggesting that these injuries are not severe, now we don't have visibility on exactly what these troops are suffering right now. The president, I suppose, may have more accurate and more current medical reports. But any suggestion that traumatic brain injuries are not serious, I know offends a lot of people, including the thousands, hundreds of thousands of troops who served in Iraq and Afghanistan where traumatic brain injuries were a real plague.

LT. GENERAL MARK HERTLING, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Exactly right, John. And here's the thing, when we're talking about the numbers, there's been a significant amount of research by the Department of Defense, the Department of Veteran Affairs, the military's on over 300,000 -- again, I say 300,000 soldiers who have suffered some type of blast injury over the last 16 years of combat in Iraq and Afghanistan. And some of the research is pretty frightening and somewhat enlightening. And to say that just assuming that these are headaches when you're sending folks to clinics in Kuwait or the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany seems to indicate just the fact that you're being -- a soldiers being sent there, that they have -- they have to be seen under the seven-day protocol that's used by the military now, which is something the military has determined they need to do since about 2014 because of the severity of these kinds of injuries.


BERMAN: And there's research that's still being done on this. Just to give people the statistics once again, prevalence of MTBI, that's mild traumatic brain injuries, among returning service members range from 15 percent to 22 percent, affecting as many as 320,000 troops. And, Sanjay, again, this is years ago we would have said getting your

bell rung, getting a concussion, but it's a traumatic brain injury.

GUPTA: Yes, I mean, I think that those terms sort of minimize the extent of the injury, concussion, which is why a lot of medical professionals don't use terms like that any more.

But to -- you know, to the general's point, I mean, these can be pretty significant. I think because there's an invisible nature to them, there's not an outward physical sign that oftentimes are ignored. And that's unfortunate because in a certain percentage of patients, not only can they be severe symptoms, but they can be quite prolonged and they can last a long time. There's something known as post-concussive syndrome.

All sorts of different syndromes that people have from that, a long list of things, irritability, trouble sleeping, forgetfulness, anxiety. Often young people who are perfectly fine and then have this sort of mild traumatic brain injury and it does change their lives, changes their ability to function.

And also, John, you know, it's worth pointing out again, Arwa Damon's reporting last week, you think about a blast injury. I mean these were, according to her reporting, 3,000 times more powerful than simple IEDs or simpler IEDs. So these were significant blasts. Even if people weren't directly impacted by the blast in the sense that something actually hit them or touched them physically, the concussion waves from these types of blast injuries can be quite significant. It really moves the brain around in the skull and causes a lot of the symptoms that we're talking about here.

BERMAN: And, General Hertling, I hope the president knows more than we do about this. I hope he's got an accurate report on each of those service members who were evacuated either to Kuwait or Germany and they're all doing well and they have no more symptoms. We just don't know that.

And I know when a lot of people heard the president say headaches the way he did, seeming to dismiss it, it struck them as offensive given that this is not someone who served in the military. This is someone who reportedly used bone spurs to get out of serving in Vietnam.

HERTLING: Yes, that notwithstanding, John, what's interesting to me is what Dr. Gupta just said. These were blasts, the kinds of blasts that service members have not experienced over the last 16 years. You know, I was subjected to several IED blasts. Those are relatively small amount of ammunition.

When you're talking about a ballistic missile, which has literally hundreds of pounds of explosive power and the kinds of things that can happen, I just say the commanders on the scene did the absolute right things, along with their surgeons, with their division surgeons, to say, hey, let's get these people under observation. And that usually comes because the service member says, hey, I'm having cognitive disabilities or I'm having headaches or I'm having nausea. So it's the first sign of the kinds of things that have to be handled under these protocols.

Truthfully, John, as a commander in combat, I had hundreds, literally hundreds of soldiers who experienced blast injuries. And staying in touch with them and their families, I see the repercussions that Dr. Gupta just talked about. And they are significant. It can't be wiped away by just saying these are headaches.

BERMAN: I do want to note, the president also clearly has some consciousness about the severity of brain injuries. He said in an interview that he would not steer his son Barron toward playing football because of all the injuries happening in that sport.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta, General Hertling, thanks so much for being with us.

GUPTA: You got it. Thank you.

BERMAN: Alisyn.

CAMEROTA: OK, John, we are 11 days away now from the Iowa caucuses.

BERMAN: Yes, we are. Are you going to finally admit that they're close.

CAMEROTA: I've looked at a calendar. I believe you now.

Harry Enten is going to join us to tell us where the Democratic race stands.



CAMEROTA: New polling gives us a look into the race for 2020 and where the Democrats stand. We are 11 days away from the Iowa caucuses. The man who's most excited in the world is Harry Enten, our CNN senior politics writer and analyst.


CAMEROTA: See what I'm saying.

ENTEN: That's ten and an extra one for you, right?


ENTEN: I am so excited. My time may finally be here.

CAMEROTA: This is your moment. Take it, Harry.

ENTEN: This is my moment.

BERMAN: Today you are a man.

ENTEN: Today I am a man. It's my second bar mitzvah.

CAMEROTA: Oh, my goodness.


OK. Here we go.

National polls, top choices for the Democratic nomination. We had two different polls that came out yesterday. Slightly different pictures, folks.

So our CNN/SSRS poll has brought Sanders and Biden right at the top of the field. Sanders, 27, Biden, 24, everyone else back 14, 11, 5 for Bloomberg.

The Monmouth University poll, again, a slightly different picture here. Biden actually at 30 percent, Sanders at 23. You even see difference down here with the Bloomberg and the Buttigieg flipping places in fourth and fifth place.

BERMAN: So what do you do when you get such wildly different numbers?

ENTEN: What do we do, folks? What do we do?

Well, here, I'll tell you what we do. We average the polls. We average the polls.

So now we look at our average, what do we see? We see Biden at 27, Sanders at 21, Warren at 15, Buttigieg at 8, Bloomberg at 7. Biden, pretty steady from last month, right? Sanders up a little bit. He's up to 21. He was at 19. Warren's stable. Bloomberg also going up a little bit from 5 to 7.

CAMEROTA: Well, there's been a lot of talk about Bernie's ascendance. So have you looked at that specifically?

ENTEN: Yes, so take a look at this. I took a look at Harry's average going all the way back to March of 2019. And we saw he had that post- announcement bump, right? He was there. A little bit above 20 percent. Then the dropped into the mid-teens, July to September. And then we've seen a little bit going up recently. And so he's here right now hovering right around 20 percent, 21 percent. So he is, in fact, up a little bit. I don't think there's a doubt about that.

BERMAN: And one of the reasons may be, at least inside our poll, is that Sanders seems to be gaining among non-white voters.

ENTEN: Yes, I think this is rather important. Remember, all the challengers so far to Biden, right, have really done well among white voters but not really non-white voters.

But take a look here. I averaged our CNN and the Monmouth polls. And what do we see? We see Sanders is actually doing slightly better among non-white voters at 28 percent versus that 22 percent among white voters. So that's a really different dynamic going on here and why Sanders could actually be a much more legitimate challenger and have more staying power, especially as we move outside of Iowa and New Hampshire. [06:50:07]

CAMEROTA: OK, tell us about caucus goers.

ENTEN: Yes. So, here we go. But, of course, Iowa is where we all begin, folks. This is so important. So take a look. This is our average of the CNN/"Des Moines Register"/Mediacom poll and the Monmouth University poll. And we see, look at how tight this is. Look at this, 20, 19, 17, 16. And even Klobuchar sort of in the running at 7 percent. So very, very, very tight.

But here's where I'm going to add a little bit of spin here. So I went back, looked at the polls. Based off of their predictiveness since 1980, I give you an odds of winning, the different candidates and odds of winning and odds of losing. And, look at this, three in 10 for both Biden and Sanders. Buttigieg and Warren right behind it, two in 10. Klobuchar, not really, one in 20. But I think this is also key. They all have a better chance of losing than they have of winning. So even though Biden and Sanders are at the top, chances are neither one of them will actually win.

BERMAN: Most of them, it turns out, will lose.

ENTEN: That's exactly right. That's --

CAMEROTA: What happens if every Democrat loses the Iowa caucus?

ENTEN: I believe then you two tie for the win and you become president and vice president.

CAMEROTA: Finally. Thank you.

BERMAN: So, can I tell you a story, Harry?


BERMAN: So we saw an ad -- I was watching TV with my boys and we saw an ad for the Pro Bowl --


BERMAN: Which is this weekend and they asked me, what's the Pro Bowl, dad? And I say, it's nothing.

ENTEN: Exactly. It's nothing. No one cares about the Pro Bowl. Yawn, yawn, yawn. NFL Pro Bowl.

So I'll be watches "Murder She Wrote" instead because I'll tell you this much, I love nothing more than a nice mystery with Angela Lansbury, aka Jessica Fletcher.

CAMEROTA: I can't build on that.

Thank you, Harry, very much, for explaining all of that.

ENTEN: Thank you. BERMAN: Coming up, stunning new details about how the Saudis reportedly hacked into Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, his personal cell phone. How concerned should other world leaders be that their phones could be compromised also? What are the Saudis, if this is true, what are they doing here?



BERMAN: New this morning, dozens of world leaders gathering in Jerusalem to mark 75 years since the liberation of Auschwitz. Vice President Mike Pence, and the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, are among those in attendance, along with Russia's Vladimir Putin and Britain's Prince Charles.

CNN's Oren Liebermann is live at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem.

This is quite a moment.

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: John, this is arguably the greatest gathering of world leaders, heads of state, dignitaries, and members of royal families that this country has ever seen. And if take a look inside the ceremony here, you can see those dignitaries, those visitors making their way in as the ceremony here at the Fifth World Holocaust Forum set to begin any moment now.

Some of the biggest names arrived just this morning. Vice President Mike Pence, Russian President Vladimir Putin, who almost immediately went into a meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and then held a short dedication ceremony for a memorial. And there are others here as well. As you point out, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, as well as a bipartisan delegation, and many others.

Many of those leaders will speak at the ceremony set to begin any moment now. And the importance of this is not just the timing. It's not just that this is the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, the concentration camp in Nazi occupied Poland in which approximately 1 million Jews were killed. It's also the situation around the world today. Rising fears of anti-Semitism in Europe. In Dresden, Germany, for example, where an emergency was declared over the resurgence of Nazi ideology. And then, of course, we know about the anti-Semitic attacks we've seen across the United States, San Diego, Pittsburgh, Muncie, Jersey City. That is why this event is so important. As Israel's president pointed out last night in hosting these leaders, it's a chance for world leaders to speak together in one voice and stand up against anti-Semitism, extremism and racism.


CAMEROTA: Thank you very much, Oren.

We also have new details about the hacking of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos' phone. Two U.N. experts tell CNN that a WhatsApp account linked to the Saudi crown prince appears to have been used to hack the phone. A source tells us that it was deeply sophisticated and hard to trace. The Saudis deny any involvement.

CNN's Nick Paton Walsh is live for us in London with more.

What have you learned, Nick?

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR: Alisyn, an extraordinary tale here involving two billionaires with a bitter, frankly, feud between them surrounding the death of Saudi activist Jamal Khashoggi and journalist too.

Now let me wind you back to where this all begins. They meet at a dinner party in Los Angeles, exchange phone numbers, and then an account that seems to be linked to the Saudi crown prince, Mohammad bin Salman, sends a video file to Jeff Bezos. He receives it. He opens it. Nothing seems to happen at that point.

But, later, he is, of course, it seems victims to various things occurring because of the compromising of his private information that seems to be open his phone. He hired security experts who look into his account, see that there's been a huge amount of information leaving his phone, gigabytes. And it all dates back roughly to just after when this video file seems to have been opened.

Another thing that roused their suspicion, too, well, in November of 2018, just after the death of Jamal Khashoggi in the consulate in Istanbul at the hands of Saudi agents, he gets a message seemingly from Mohammed bin Salman which seems to show a picture that looks a bit like the man he's alleged -- woman he's alleged to be having an affair with, with the phrase, agreement -- sorry -- software license agreement or something like arguing with women. You have to just click on them and say I agree and essentially ignore them.

Later on he gets a message saying, you've been warned by some Saudi activists about your cybersecurity. Well, don't worry about that. Essentially things which suggest that the account that seemed to have been used by the Saudi crown prince has an intimate knowledge of hiss private messages.

So essentially here we're looking at a U.N. report which makes a very serious accusation. A source close to the investigation says they haven't had their hands on the phone physically, but they have had four separate experts look through the assessment done by Jeff Bezos' security consultants and seem to agree with it.