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Dow Soars on Drug Promise; Glitches in Stimulus Money Receipts; Coronavirus Pandemic Update across the U.S.; U.S. Grapples with Nursing Home Deaths; New Clinical Trials for Coronavirus Treatment; Sports Return without Fans. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired April 17, 2020 - 06:30   ET




JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Early success in a clinical trial for coronavirus treatment is leading U.S. stock futures to rally this morning.

CNN's Julia Chatterley joins us now with more.

Julia, I've got a friend of mine yesterday who is involved with hedge funds who said, this is at 5:30, you won't believe what's going on in the markets right now after this one report over this one drug.

JULIA CHATTERLEY, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: This is what hope looks like, John. And it's not just about the United States. The whole globe, I think, saw a lift from this.

At the heart of this is a drug that is being used in trials as a treatment. It's not a vaccine. We have to be very clear about that first. It's called Remdesivir.

What's got everybody excited is Stat (ph) News, a medical website, cited a recording of a doctor in one of these trials at the University of Chicago. They had 125 patients, most of them very sick. They've recovered. Many of them recovered in rapid time. Just two patients died.

Now, the company that owns this drug, Gilead, have come out and said, look, while this is encouraging, it's not a full body of data. They've got multiple studies going on. They hope to update us by the end of this month. But these things will evolve over the coming months.

So, John, as excited as we all are because we simply just want to get to -- back to some semblance of normal life, we have to be a bit cautious here.

BERMAN: Just to give you a sense of what it did in the market yesterday, there was a time that Zoom, which we're all doing our conference calls on, Zoom was down because people -- there were people who thought, oh, we're not going to need it so much anymore because there's this miracle drug. Let's wait and see. Let's wait and see. CHATTERLEY: Hope. That's hope.

BERMAN: In the meantime, Julia, there are reports that glitches prevented millions of Americans from getting their stimulus money this week. What happened?

CHATTERLEY: A few things, it seems. People have said that they didn't get their $500 check for their children. We know that the website that the IRS set up the "Get My Payment" website, has been challenged. But there's another factor here and it ties to people that filed their taxes with an online tax provider. Think H&R Block or Turbo Tax. It specifically seems to be affecting people that either got an advance on their tax refund or they paid that online company with their refund.

What that means potentially is the IRS paid the tax filing company the money and not the individual people. It doesn't have their direct deposit information. So I've got three suggestions and they're not great, unfortunately. Call the tax filing company if this affects you and you didn't get your money. You can try and go to this website that's been challenged, "Get My Payment." The hope is that the IRS is getting this -- the glitches there fixed. And if those two things don't work, the likelihood is you're going to have to wait for a paper check in the post (ph). So more (INAUDIBLE), guys. I'm sorry.

BERMAN: All right, Julia, appreciate the reporting. Thank you very much.

CHATTERLEY: Thank you.

BERMAN: Alisyn.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: OK, John, the coronavirus is affecting different states in different ways, of course. And CNN has reporters across the country to bring you the latest developments.


STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Stephanie Elam in Los Angeles.

California Governor Gavin Newsom has signed an order to provide relief funds for the state's undocumented workers who've lost their jobs because of the pandemic. Newsom says that these workers make up 10 percent of the state's workforce and pay state and local taxes of $2.5 billion.

However, because of their status, they're ineligible for federal stimulus aid. Under this order, individuals will receive up to $500, families up to $1,000. And the money is coming from a private/public partnership with the state adding $75 million into this fund and private philanthropists adding $50 million.


Amazon is working on its own coronavirus test to help the battered economy. CEO Jeff Bezos echoing what many business leaders have told me over the past couple of days, that they need more and regular testing in order to get the economy back up and running safely for both employees and customers. And, clearly, there aren't enough tests yet.

So to that end, Jeff Bezos said that he's instructed a group of Amazon employees to get together across units and develop tools to create these tests. And that they'll be using it on small numbers of employees. He writes to shareholders, we think it's worth trying and we stand ready to share anything we learn.

Look, this is part of a much bigger story about business leaders taking the lead on reopening the economy.


The state of South Dakota is now reporting 1,311 cases. More than half of those, 733 of them, are associated with the Smithfield Foods pork processing plant in Sioux Falls.


A special CDC team inspected the plant on Thursday. The governor said she is expecting a report on that inspection within the coming days. Smithfield has also shut down two additional plants, one in Wisconsin and one in Missouri.


As more and more people grow restless over coronavirus related restrictions, a group of Minnesotans were the latest to protested the state's stay at home orders in front of the governor's mansion Thursday, calling for the state to reopen for business. It follows a protest in Lansing, Michigan, where people gathered there, many of them seen without wearing masks, although a majority of them were in their cars jamming traffic for miles. Similar scenes playing out in North Carolina and in Kentucky.

And, later this week, a prominent right wing media host of Info Wars will be organizing a rally in Texas.


CAMEROTA: Our thanks to all of our reporters.

Let's talk about nursing homes, because this morning there's growing concern about the deaths at nursing homes across the country. So what should you do if you have a family member in an elder care facility? That's next.



BERMAN: This morning, authorities are investigating one of New Jersey's largest nursing homes after 17 bodies were found in a small, makeshift morgue built for just four people. The probe comes as officials continue to grapple with mounting deaths at care facilities across the nation.

Joining me now is Dr. Peter Hotez, the dean of the school of tropical medicine at Baylor College of Medicine.

Dr. Hotez, it is always an education to get to speak to you.

And one of the key moments, I think, of illumination in this entire crisis was your testimony before Congress, it was like six weeks ago, at the beginning of March, where you sounded the alarm about what was happening at our elder care facilities.

Listen to this.


DR. PETER HOTEZ, DEAN, SCHOOL OF TROPICAL MEDICINE AT BAYLOR COLLEGE OF MEDICINE: Look what this virus did in that nursing home in Kirkland, Washington. It rolled through it like a train.

This is like the angel of death for -- for older individuals. We need to go back and support all of our nursing home. I mean I don't know what we're doing wrong.


BERMAN: Angel of death. That was on March 5th. On April 17th, how were we doing in terms of our nursing homes?


You know, it's funny, as I was making that statement, I knew I was being provocative, and I knew it was going to be on the evening news that night. And, sure enough, it was.

And I did it -- and I don't like to be deliberately provocative, but I felt it was necessary because we weren't really protecting our nation's nursing homes. There didn't seem to be that sense of urgency, even after what happened in Kirkland, Washington, what were ultimately 60 residents died, up to 60.

And, sadly, this has not been the first terrific incident. We've had four or five now incidents in nursing homes where multiple deaths of -- in Richmond, Virginia, there was 46 death. In New Jersey, as you just mentioned, and a couple of other places. And now, "USA Today" has come out with a new study to show that there are more than 2,300 nursing homes in the United States with Covid-19 patients. And we still don't have the full tabulation. But at least 10 percent of the deaths in the United States are occurring in nursing homes, more than 3,000 deaths.

And, you know, one of the issues is, why is this coming out of "USA Today"? You know, why isn't this being tracked and monitored at least in -- maybe it is, but it's not -- we don't have a lot of public information coming from the Centers for Disease Control. So we've learned that nursing homes -- we knew this was coming and it happened and we still need to take better steps to protect our nursing home residents. And we can talk about what needs to be done there.

BERMAN: I just want to make clear to people, this is something that is of personal importance to you. Your mother, I think, is 90 and up in a Jewish senior care center in Massachusetts, which is my demographic, Jewish nursing centers in Massachusetts. They're my people.

HOTEZ: Right.

BERMAN: But, Dr. Hotez, and I just want to let people know another thing here, which is that the reason that we don't have a wider look at this, there's no federal reporting guidelines. You don't have to report number of cases or number of deaths from nursing homes to any federal government facility here.

I want to look at what the new guidelines released by the administration last night do to nursing homes. In phase one and phase two, no changes. Still they're suggesting no one visit anybody at a nursing home. But in phase three, visits to senior care facilities and hospitals can resume. Those who interact with residents and patients must be diligent regarding hygiene.

Is that enough?

HOTEZ: Well, here's the problem. The problem is this. It's -- you know, when -- after I sounded that alarm and after the terrible circumstances that occurred in Kirkland, Washington, many nursing homes, I'd say most, made good faith efforts to try to (INAUDIBLE) testing. When testing wasn't available, they had to be rationed. And, as a result, they wound up testing only symptomatic individuals, those with fever or cough. And that turned out to be a bad mistake because the CDC, they came out with documents in April showing that many of these nursing home epidemics were occurring through asymptomatic spread, individuals who actually were tested positive and were spreading the virus in the nursing home but did not have symptoms. And now we know up to 50 percent of people can go without symptoms. So I think that's been a huge problem is that it turns out that as testing on the basis of symptoms just is -- is not effective.

And this is actually going to be one of the big stories as we write the history of this epidemic. The simple fact that this virus replicates in the upper airways of individuals and really high amounts of virus in the upper airways early on in the course of infection, early on in asymptomatic individuals, that simple fact has been in some ways responsible for this whole mess.


And now what we really need to do is figure out a way to test everybody in nursing homes on a regular basis. And, unfortunately, this is going to have to become a model for the country if we're going to start getting people back to work as well.

BERMAN: Everybody?

HOTEZ: I don't see a way around it. If you've got a situation where you have up to half the individuals with no symptoms, how else do you do it unless you can figure out a way to monitor on a regular basis? Clearly, that's not going to be possible in every case. I think Dr. Birx even mentioned that last night. But that is the reality and we're going to have to figure a way around that.

BERMAN: Dr. Peter Hotez, as I said, always an education to get to speak with you. Thank you very much for being with us this morning. Please give our best to your mother as well.

HOTEZ: Thanks so much.

BERMAN: So nearly 40 new clinical trials that have potential treatments were registered just yesterday alone. The latest on these drugs, next.


CAMEROTA: This morning we're following a number new developments into potential coronavirus treatment.


CNN's Elizabeth Cohen breaks down the latest.


ELIZABETH COHEN CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): It seems to be President Trump's favorite drug.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think it could be something really incredible.

COHEN: It's Hydroxychloroquine, and early study results suggest it might not work and it could cause heart problems.

Thursday, the head of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration told "The Washington Post" that he doesn't feel political pressure to push this drug forward as a treatment for Covid-19.

DR. STEPHEN HAHN, COMMISSIONER, FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION: I can promise the American people that FDA will use science and data to drive our decisions always.

COHEN: And there are other drugs being studied to see if they might work against the novel coronavirus. On Thursday, in just one day, nearly 40 new clinical trials to study potential treatments for Covid- 19 were registered here on this government list of clinical trials.

Biotech company Genentech announced Thursday that the FDA had given approval to move on with the next stage in trials for its drug called Actemra, which is already used to treat arthritis and other ailments.

A similar drug called Kevzara, from manufacturer Regeneron, is also being studied to treat Covid-19.

And in a video leaked to the health news website Stat, doctors from the University of Chicago discussed how their patients taking an experimental antiviral drug called Remdesivir were recovering quickly, but it was literally just talk, not published research. So no one knows for sure, not yet anyway, whether Remdesivir, which was designed but didn't work for Ebola, will work for Covid-19.

And beyond drugs, the FDA has put out a call for people to donate blood plasma if they've already recovered from coronavirus. Their antibodies could help people who are currently suffering. Studies are underway in New York and at universities around the country.

The ultimate weapon, a vaccine, is moving along at research centers around the world, including at the University of Oxford in England. They announced that they've teamed up with an Italian manufacturer to make the vaccine, all with an eye towards putting an end to the pandemic.

Elizabeth Cohen, CNN, reporting.


BERMAN: Our thanks to Elizabeth for that.

So President Trump says that sports could resume soon as made for TV events without fans. But is that what the sports commissioners are saying? We have details next in the "Bleacher Report."



CAMEROTA: President Trump says sports will soon return but without fans in the stands.

Andy Scholes has more in the "Bleacher Report."

So what does this mean, Andy?


Well, it looks like golf is actually going to be the first sport we're going to get back. The PGA Tour announcing its plan to return to action June 11th in Ft. Worth. The tour saying, though, that for -- they're going to have no fans for at least the first four events.

Now, President Trump did speak with all the commissioners from the major pro sports leagues earlier this week. He says they're going to get back to action soon, but just on TV.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Many of them are going to be starting without the fans. So it will be made for television. The good old days, made for television. And it will go that way and then fans will start coming in. Maybe they'll be separated by two seats. And then, ultimately, we want to have packed arenas. When the virus is gone, we're going to have packed arenas and we're going to be back to enjoying sports the way they're supposed to be.


SCHOLES: Now, the NBA, Major League Baseball, and NHL have all just said that they're kicking around ideas right now of how they're going to return. No firm plans of when and how they will get back to playing games.

All right, Super Bowl 50 MVP Von Miller, meanwhile, is the latest athlete to test positive for coronavirus. Miller told KUSA in Denver that he developed a cough a couple of days ago and when his nebulizer for his asthma didn't clear things up, he decided to get tested. The results came back positive. The Super Bowl MVP telling KUSA he's in good spirits, not feeling sick or hurting or anything like that.

And, Alisyn, Von said he wanted to come out there and tell his story because he just wants everyone to know how serious coronavirus is and that anyone can get it.

CAMEROTA: For sure. But let's just hope that his version stays as mild as it sounds like right now.

Andy, thank you very much.

SCHOLES: Yes. All right.

CAMEROTA: OK, there is a federal plan to reopen the U.S., but what about testing?

NEW DAY continues right now.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Our approach outlines three phases in restoring our economic life. We are not opening all at once.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm concerned that this plan is laying out a set of goals for what needs to happen without really saying what the federal role will be.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think what the president did today, he issued a political statement, trying to distance himself if things don't go well in the states.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ignoring the testing capacity makes the whole rest of the plan irrelevant.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There is no disease where we test 140 million workers on a weekly basis.

GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): Why don't you open tomorrow? Because we're afraid the infection rate will go up. (END VIDEO CLIP)

ANNOUNCER: This is NEW Day with Alisyn Camerota and John Berman.

CAMEROTA: We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and all around the world. This is NEW DAY.

First, it was flatten the curve. Now the phrase you hear doctors and governors use most is testing and tracing.

The White House put out new federal guidelines yesterday but they do not include details for testing or tracing. Still, the White House hopes to reopen parts of the country in three phases. So we will explain to you what those are.

But many governors say they're not ready. CNN has learned that on a conference call yesterday, governors told the president they're not only lacking tests, they're also lacking the basic materials for tests, like swabs.


In a CNN town hall last night, Dr. Deborah Birx called it unrealistic to expect that every worker in the country.