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Some U.S. States Start to Reopen Despite Warnings; WHO Reviewing Antibody Responses to COVID-19; Trump Launches Familiar Attacks against Media; Boris Johnson to Return to Work Monday; Spain Allowing Children under 14 to Exercise Outside; Japan's Health Care System Overwhelmed; Satellite Photos Raise Questions about Kim Jong- un; Some Beaches Reopen in California; Comedian Entertains Fans with Basketball Star Impressions. Aired 3-4a ET
Aired April 26, 2020 - 03:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Hello, everyone, and welcome to Studio 7 here at CNN Center in Atlanta. I am Michael Holmes.
The United States has the most reported coronavirus infections and deaths in the world. Now the nation is watching nervously as some states relax rules designed to slow the virus down.
Meanwhile, the U.S. government and its officials are saying three more coronavirus antibody tests are now authorized. That brings the total to seven. The FDA says the tests can indicate if somebody has had the virus already, even if they showed no symptoms. And yet, a potential setback to that.
The World Health Organization warning that people who had the virus, well, they could get it again. Scientists tell them there is no evidence that patients actually become immune, which has been a great hope of many.
What about a vaccine?
Obviously there isn't one yet and some scientists are urging caution.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. CHRISTOPHER WHITTY, U.K. CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICER: We need to be careful, we don't have a vaccine for this disease as we have for, let's say measles. Once you have it, you have it for life. You may or you may not but we have to be absolutely clear about that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOLMES: The number of virus-related deaths globally is more than 203,000 according to Johns Hopkins University, the U.S. accounting for about a quarter of those deaths.
Not everyone here in the state of Georgia is happy that hair salons and tattoo parlors and gyms are now open. The mayor of Atlanta tweeting on Saturday, those choosing to get their nails done at salons should share the state's coronavirus statistics with their manicurist.
And the graph there shows the latest case and death count rising across the state. Theaters and restaurants have the option to open on Monday even though there has not been a decrease, a 14-day decrease in new cases, which is what's recommended by the White House task force.
Many businesses, business owners themselves are divided on whether it is safe to open but some feel they have no choice. Natasha Chen with the story.
NATASHA CHEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Businesses like Jenkins Barber Shop opened on Friday for the first time in almost a month.
ERIC GREESON, BARBER: Sterilize your chairs between customers, as you can see we have the benches marked.
These are disposable here.
CHEN (voice-over): Georgia's governor says the state is ready.
KEMP: We will allow gyms, fitness centers, bowling alleys, body art studios, barbers--
CHEN (voice-over): Barbers like Eric Greeson, who happens to be diabetic.
GREESON: As was a barber, what we have to do and I definitely would not have opened anything against the health officials' recommendation or the President.
CHEN (voice-over): The president who initially supported states to quote "liberate," pulled a 180, issuing a public rebuke of the Republicans he once endorsed.
TRUMP: I didn't like to see a lot of things happening and I wasn't happy with it and I wasn't happy with Brian Kemp.
CHEN (voice-over): The state won't see a peak in daily COVID-19 deaths until next week according to widely accepted data.
GREESON: Everybody's scared of this basically. But we're also afraid that if we don't open, then the person down the street will. And then we won't have business.
CHEN (voice-over): This barbershop was one of two that were open out of the 10 Donna Whitfield visited on Friday morning.
DONNA WHITFIELD, BARBER AND BEAUTY SUPPLIER: These are our gloves. We'll probably run out by the end of next week.
CHEN (voice-over): She's a barber and beauty supplier in Georgia and Alabama. It was her first day back in the truck in a month. She'd rather not risk bringing the virus home to her husband who has cancer, but she also can't afford not to work.
WHITFIELD: I'm just kind of on the fence. You know, I don't know - I hope we're doing the right thing.
RANDY HICKS, OWNER, SOUTHERN LANES: They paid or not what they have done--
CHEN (voice-over): The right thing for Randy Hicks is making sure his 25 employees at Southern Lanes Bowling Alley could still support their families and he knows people may criticize his decision.
HICKS: I'm sorry for that. I hope they don't hold it against us for no reason. We're not trying to hurt anybody. If you look we just want to get the business go.
CHEN (voice-over): Fellow owner Debra Holland is a cancer survivor.
DEBRA HOLLAND, OWNER, SOUTHERN LANES: I'm conscientious about what we have. The cleanliness that we have, the exposure we have. As I don't want to have to go to the hospital with this virus or anything. I'm missing a half a lung.
CHEN (voice-over): The phone kept ringing with eager customers who all had to do temperature checks before coming in could only use half of the 32 lanes and were limited on the number of bowlers per lane. Even with restrictions there was a strong sense of relief.
HOLLAND: I literally felt the burden being lifted off my shoulders.
CHEN (voice-over): And many of their regulars felt the same like Leon Perpignan who came before doors even opened.
LEON PERPIGNAN, BOWLER: I just wanted to do something I enjoy doing. That I haven't done allow. Besides all the honey to-do lists are all done.
CHEN (voice-over): Natasha Chen, CNN, Douglasville, Georgia.
HOLMES: Dr. Emily Porter is an emergency physician. She joins me now from Austin, Texas.
Always a pleasure, Doctor. Thanks for being with us.
HOLMES: I mean, we -- we knew there was no certainty of immunity with coronavirus. But I think a lot of people were hopeful. And, now, we've got the WHO warning, again, that having had the virus, well, you cannot rely on immunity from catching it again.
How concerning is that, if it does turn out there is no immunity?
DR. EMILY PORTER, EMERGENCY PHYSICIAN: That's super concerning because that, by definition, means that vaccines might not even help. If you have no immunity from catching it and recovering, then how do you know a vaccine is going to prevent immunity?
And that's kind of what we've all been hoping for. If we don't have a treatment, then let's get a vaccine or immunity that way or at least herd immunity, if enough people in the community got something and recovered, then that herd immunity, either by catching it or by vaccination, you'd think would be OK.
Unless the virus mutated, for example, or there were a new strain. But if we don't know, we're in big trouble.
HOLMES: Yes, exactly. A lot of people concerned about that. I mean, there's been a lot of talk, to that point of places starting to reopen, and -- and even issuing so-called immunity passports. Prove you've got antibodies and you're good to go.
You know, how risky is that sort of approach if, indeed, there is no immunity?
And how risky is what we are seeing in places like Georgia, anyway, when it comes to fears of a second wave?
PORTER: I think it's very risky because, unless you know that you have enough antibodies that you will not get reinfected, the idea that you would get an antibody test and it comes up positive, it might make people let their guard down and say, well, I've already had it so I can't get it again.
So I don't need to wear a mask. I don't need to practice social distancing. I can go hang out with Grandma, who's 95. I can, you know, go be around.
And then how many more people could they pass it onto if they did get reinfected?
So that's why the WHO actually said they think immunity passports are a bad idea and they are recommending against them because there is no proof right now and not enough data to show that anybody has immunity.
So that's going to spill over into any of the states that are opening back up. My husband and I talked about this tonight.
What would I feel comfortable with?
Like if I had an antibody test that said there was a 90 percent chance that I wouldn't get reinfected, would that be enough for me to go back to Vegas?
Or go on vacation?
I don't know because, even then, I could -- even if I didn't get sick, that doesn't mean I couldn't pick it up on my hands and give it to somebody else, even if I didn't get sick in the process and be a vector.
HOLMES: Good point. I wanted to ask you about the role of testing as well. It's still so important in this conversation. I mean, widespread testing that gives a picture of spread, of hotspots, tracing and so on.
Dr. Fauci's saying it needs to, at least, double, the rate, that is. It does seem crazy that testing has been such a failure during this epidemic.
PORTER: Yes. I think testing varies state to state. For example, in Texas, we're 48th out of 50th in terms of per capita testing. So it really varies. I think New York and New Jersey and Connecticut, places that have been hit really hard, they've gotten a lot of resources. So you know, they have a lot more testing. That's helpful.
But you need it to where anybody can go to any urgent care and get a test, just like you can with the flu. But maybe more important than testing of presence of disease or antibody testing is, actually, besides a vaccine, is actually to just keep social distancing and keep practicing what we're doing and pretend like everyone has it and you're sick all the time.
Mask up. That, we know, handwashing, those things, we know. We have rapid flu testing but if you find out you have the flu, how many people really stay home and quarantine for 14 days?
Whereas, if you feel sick, you really need to stay home for 14 days if it turns out you might have coronavirus. That's -- contact tracing seems to be more important than testing, at this point, maybe.
HOLMES: Right. We're almost out of time. I did want to ask you. There are so many worrying things about this coronavirus. Issues coming out. And one has been strokes. "The Washington Post" and others reporting a worrying number of cases of young, previously healthy people, getting strokes, testing positive for COVID-19 even though they had no symptoms.
I mean, what is the fear here?
It sounds like a clotting issue.
What do you make of that?
PORTER: It sounds like it's inflammation is what we're thinking that it's causing strokes. Widespread, systemic inflammation, rather than just a local inflammation in the vessel wall.
What's interesting about these strokes is that they're happening in really young people and they're happening in large and small arteries as well as veins. Generally, strokes are in pretty major arteries of the brain.
The really scary thing is that if you have a clotting disorder caused by inflammation and you get clots in your heart, that's a heart attack. You get a clot in your lung, that's a blood clot in your lung. You die of a pulmonary embolism.
It's possible older people were having strokes but were dying of lung disease or heart disease first.
PORTER: And these younger people are dying of the stroke because they have good enough hearts and lungs that they're being spared from those problems. But a stroke is what's actually killing them or leaving them unable to talk or walk.
HOLMES: Still a lot to learn. Dr. Emily Porter, always a pleasure. Thank you.
PORTER: Thank you so much, Michael.
HOLMES: Well, President Trump is signaling that he may quit holding daily briefings on the coronavirus. There was no briefing on Saturday. Friday's was memorably short with the president taking no questions.
On Saturday, Mr. Trump tweeted the briefings were a waste of his time, because reporters only ask hostile questions.
But multiple sources are telling CNN that White House aides have been pushing to end briefings because they're lengthy and increasingly political and the president has been criticized for various alarming and inaccurate statements at the briefings.
And criticism over the administration's handling of the crisis could cost the top U.S. health official his job. A senior administration official confirming that discussions are underway to find a replacement for the Health and Human Services secretary Alex Azar.
Nothing imminent, we're told. Azar, who has been in his post for a little over two years initially headed up the Coronavirus Task Force before he was abruptly pushed aside by Vice President Mike Pence.
The British prime minister is about to go back to work after recovering from coronavirus. His absence left a void at the top of one of the hardest hit countries on Earth. We'll discuss when we come back.
And also, a taste of normalcy for many of Spain's children. We'll take you to Madrid as they're allowed outside for the first time in six weeks.
(MUSIC PLAYING) HOLMES: The British prime minister, Boris Johnson, set to be back at
work Monday now that he is recovered from COVID-19, a Downing Street spokesperson tells CNN. Dominic Raab will step aside in order for Mr. Johnson to make a return to his old job. He left the hospital on Easter Sunday and has since been recovering at the prime minister's countryside retreat. Isa Soares is standing by in London.
Good morning to you. I imagine he's going to have a full inbox.
What sort of day is he going to have first day back?
ISA SOARES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Very much so, very full inbox. Two weeks after the prime minister has been released from hospital with COVID-19, the prime minister said to be raring to go and when he goes back to work he will have his work cut out. He will face pressure, Michael, from pretty much all sides. First within the Conservative Party, though some Conservative donors within his own party pressuring the prime minister to either lift the lockdown or ease the lockdown restrictions because of the fear it may have on the British economy.
One of the Conservatives said we're in danger that the medicine that is the lockdown is more harmful than the cure. Then he has pressure also from the leader of the opposition, who's not calling, may I add, for the lockdown to be lifted but instead is calling for a clear exit strategy to lockdown, something the government has not provided as of yet.
But of course, at the same time, you're facing pressure as well from people here in the U.K. after five weeks of being at home, people feeling slightly restless. And I can tell you anecdotal from what I've seen in my own street, about three, four days ago, Michael, there's some building work here. There were actually no builders.
In the last three days what I've seen is going from one, to three, to four builders. People getting slightly restless. But what we have seen and heard from the government in the last 24 hours is that the lockdown won't be lifted anytime soon.
We heard from the home secretary who said it is imperative for people to stay the course. The U.K. is not out of the woods. And the prime minister will be looking at the numbers, a really grim milestone. More than 20,000 people have died.
That is in line with five other countries that have reached a milestone, a milestone, may I add, that no one wants to achieve. So the prime minister is coming back to work with a lot on his plate. And he'll have to make a decision on the lockdown in a fortnight our so -- Michael.
HOLMES: Isa Soares, thanks so much, there in London for us.
Let's turn our attention to Spain. Many children there getting some lockdown relief. Starting today, children under the age of 14 are allowed to go outside for the first time in more than six weeks.
Spain's prime minister is also preparing to present a wider plan for easing restrictions across the country but he warns it will be a gradual and cautious process. Al Goodman joins me now from Madrid.
And, Al, if I'm doing my math correct, now is the time and you should have children dancing about you.
AL GOODMAN, JOURNALIST: Well, Michael, right now, if you can see up here, let's just walk a little bit up here. You can see that there are some people, these are the first people I've seen come out, because the time to come out has just started at 9:00 am.
They can go out once a day for one hour for up to a kilometer or a half-mile from their home and they have to be with a parent who lives with them, an adult who lives with them. This is right here next to a park which remains closed.
And right here you can see the lockdown continues because that police checkpoint is checking for people who are out without authorization. So there's a lot going on here this day as these, as the lockdown measures in part are lifted. And the prime minister was under a lot of pressure to do that.
GOODMAN: Because of this, this has been six weeks since the kids have been able to go out but the health authorities did not want to do this until they got the numbers down to a level, the coronavirus cases and number of deaths, down to a more stable level.
So on Saturday night, the prime minister going on national television to say there may be some more relaxing of measures if people can get this right. Here's what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PEDRO SANCHEZ, SPANISH PRIME MINISTER (through translator): This first victory against the virus is a partial, modest victory but it is the victory of the whole of Spanish society and teaches us, above all, the path that we have to travel in the coming weeks. It is a victory of all of us and, for that, on behalf of the government, I thank you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GOODMAN: Michael, the prime minister says this is going to be a gradual opening in the month of May and June. The lockdown continues for a total of eight weeks until May 9th. After that, some regions may be able to reopen but it depends on whether people keep their social distancing.
HOLMES: Thank you, Al Goodman.
Now France, people there should find out early this week just how much longer they will have to abide by strict confinement measures. The nationwide lockdown has all but emptied the usually bustling boulevards of the French capital. Spokesperson for the prime minister on Tuesday the government leader will present the national assembly with a plan for easing restrictions. This comes as France's health agency says critically ill coronavirus
patients are still overwhelming the country's intensive care units, even though their numbers are decreasing.
Italy has been under quarantine since March 9th but lately its cases of deaths and cases have been dwindling. Italians say they understand their sacrifices have been for the greater good. Here's Ben Wedeman.
BEN WEDEMAN, CNN SR. INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For more than six weeks, lockdown has been a way of life for Italians. And while, elsewhere, there have been protests calling for a return to normal life...
BEPPE SEVERGNINI, COLUMNIST AND AUTHOR: It's all quiet on the Italian front.
WEDEMAN (voice-over): -- columnist and author Beppe Severgnini spoke to me from the hardhit northern province of Cremona.
SEVERGNINI: You hear the sound of ambulances every day, as we have for the last six weeks. You don't really -- like New Yorkers now, probably. You don't really need much to be convinced. And that's why I said, OK, I think it makes sense to stay home.
WEDEMAN (voice-over): Italy was the first country to impose a nationwide shutdown, during which a usually unruly people has been largely willing to obey the rules.
"I never expected Italians to be so disciplined," says Vladimiro. "Instead, we took seriously what the government told us."
In part, it's because the death toll from coronavirus has been so high, more than 25,000, and, in part, because of who is dying. The average age of death from the virus is 79. And, here, the grandparents are a national institution.
FEDERICA DE VIERNO, ROME RESIDENT: Old people are considered very important because they're pieces of history. You learn from them.
WEDEMAN (voice-over): In a country that has seen empires rise and fall, family is the one constant.
ANDREA CALORO, ROME RESIDENT: I think it's just a matter of respect. I mean, we've been asked, basically, to do nothing, to do something. So we stay home and we take it easy. And it's our way to protect our -- yes -- our maybe oldest people.
WEDEMAN (voice-over): Yet, the longer the lockdown goes on, the gloomier the prospects for Italy's economy.
WEDEMAN: For now, the government says the country can start to reopen May 4th. The reopening will be cautious. It will be gradual. Italy can ill afford a second wave of this virus.
WEDEMAN (voice-over): An entire generation, a nation's history, is at stake -- Ben Wedeman, CNN, Rome.
HOLMES: Japan's doctors are worried. They warn of an impending health care meltdown. We'll tell you why after the break.
And the United States top epidemiologist says the United States needs to double its diagnostic testing. We'll have a lot more to come after the break.
HOLMES: And welcome back to CNN NEWSROOM, everyone, I'm Michael Holmes.
Japan's health care system overwhelmed, raising concerns over a lack of protective equipment for front line workers, as hospitals are rejecting patients in record numbers and many Japanese are ignoring social distancing guidelines. Let's bring in Will Ripley in Tokyo.
You've reported for weeks on how Japan was slow to act, not taking it seriously enough. And now the whole system's on the brink of collapse.
WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And a lot of it started, Michael, because the government's messaging really didn't get all that serious until after they announced the postponement of the Olympics.
Shinzo Abe said the situation did not rise to a state of emergency and pointed to the low number of cases even though Japan was not conducting widespread testing. Now there's a nationwide state of emergency but some people are not heeding the warnings.
RIPLEY (voice-over): Loudspeakers are blaring amongst Tokyo warning people to stay home. Some are listening. Many are not, packing supermarkets, parks, playgrounds, even a gambling park.
Japanese health experts warn that without social distancing, hundreds of thousands could die of coronavirus. Getting tested remains incredibly difficult. This man's daughter had a 104-degree fever, 40 degrees Celsius for 4 days.
"My wife and I were very nervous. Desperately asking for a test but they kept saying no. They even hung up on me."
Within days, his entire family was sick.
RIPLEY (voice-over): They tried to get tested for two agonizing weeks.
"It was scary. Our first daughter also had a fever, then a seizure. We took her to the hospital but it was too late."
She was just 16 months old when she died of flu-related meningitis five years ago. His wife and children were never tested for the coronavirus. A doctor says the same thing is happening to a lot of his patients.
"Only 10 percent of my requests are accepted."
RIPLEY: 90 percent denied?
RIPLEY (voice-over): On average this month, Tokyo is testing less than 300 people a day. Japan's health ministry has repeatedly told CNN widespread testing would be a waste of resources.
Just this week, some areas did begin offering drive-through and walk- through testing. But it is not widely available. Undertesting is not the only problem. Hospitals are turning away ambulances at a rate four times higher than last April.
RIPLEY: Your patient is laying there for up to nine hours, getting no treatment whatsoever and hospitals kept turning him away?
"I have never experienced being turned away by so many hospitals before the coronavirus outbreak."
Japan's medical association warns the public health system is on the brink of collapsing. Running low on ICU beds, ventilators and personal protective equipment.
"We only get one mask per week."
CNN agreed not to use her full name, identify her hospital.
RIPLEY: How is one mask a week possible to keep you safe from the virus?
"It is scary," she says, showing me the cloth mask that she uses.
Experts warn that cloth masks don't protect nurses from coronavirus. Several Japanese hospitals have already become clusters of an infection.
"I am worried about how long this will continue. I am afraid that there is no end in sight."
With case numbers skyrocketing in Japan, this may be just the beginning.
RIPLEY: For the last month, Michael, Japan has seen a more than tenfold increase in the number of officially confirmed coronavirus cases and that is with still limited testing compared to other countries, Tokyo averaging less than 300 tests a day; New York right now averaging 20,000 tests per day.
HOLMES: Will, before I let you go, let's switch gears. I've lost count of the number of times you've reported from North Korea.
What are you hearing about the health of Kim Jong-un?
RIPLEY: What we're not hearing is what we need to hear, facts from the North Korean government. They have been radio silent ever since Jim Sciutto first reported last week that Kim Jong-un's health, the U.S. intelligence community believes, could be in great danger after a surgical procedure. There's been no denial nor confirmation of that and a lot of conflicting reports that I would say are largely based on second hand information.
I know my well connected sources don't have first-hand information. There is a small Group of people around Kim Jong-un and they would guard his health like the highest top secret in an already secretive country.
That said, these images give us some clues as to what may be happening. I emphasize may be happening from Wonsan in North Korea.
You can see Kim Jong-un's train where it usually is, by his luxury beach compound, a place he loves to go, where he spent summers as a child and from where he has launched missiles. There's speculation he might be there, maybe he's recovering there. Normally, he likes to fly his plane when he goes there.
However, if he just had surgery, maybe he's not able to fly. Trains are also used for very serious processions. For example, when Kim Jong-un went to China to meet with Xi Jinping or to Hanoi to meet President Trump. Also, his father died on his train and was taken back to Pyongyang in a very solemn way.
HOLMES: Will, keep an eye on it, appreciate it.
One of America's most prominent health authorities and a member of President Trump's task force on the pandemic says the country needs to double its diagnostic testing in the coming weeks. He says it is vital to have enough tests to respond to outbreaks that will inevitably flare up as the country opens up. But we says we shouldn't get hung up on the numbers.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: We do not want to get fixated. Right now we are doing about 1.5 million to 2 million per week.
We should probably get up to twice that as we get into the next several weeks and I think we will. Testing is an important part of what we are doing but it is not the only part.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
[03:35:00] HOLMES: He says those other parts are identifying the infected, isolating them and, of course, tracing their contacts.
A shortage of tests is at the heart of the debate over how fast and how much states should reopen their economies. One of those important tests, of course, is an antibody test.
But what exactly is that?
What does it tell you?
And does it mean you are immune to the virus?
CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta took one to find out.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm going to put a tight squeeze on you over here, OK?
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): There are two different tests that we are all becoming familiar with a diagnostic test that searches for the genetic markers of the coronavirus and this one, that test for antibodies.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm going to give you a cold wipe.
GUPTA (voice over): First thing you'll notice is that the antibody test requires blood. For me, it was just a poke.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And it's just like that, we're all done.
GUPTA (voice over): But then look at all of the steps that take place after that. My blood is taken down to the lab and then spun down in a centrifuge. You're looking at my serum. That's the clear part that might contain antibodies, if I have been previously exposed.
The way to find that out is fascinating. Just take some of my serum and put it in the same test tube as the virus and see what happens.
DR. JOHN ROBACK, MEDICAL DIRECTOR, EMORY UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL BLOOD BANK: If you have antibodies against that, they're going to bind and we're going to be able to detect that.
GUPTA (voice over): Dr. John Roback is the Medical Director of the Blood Bank at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta where I practice as a neurosurgeon. I was able to get this test because I'm still working as a doctor at Emory and healthcare workers are considered to be at high risk for COVID-19.
Now, this particular test approved under FDA emergency authorization at Emory was developed by Roback and his colleagues. Right now they test up to 300 people a day. By mid June, they expect to be processing thousands a day. It's far more sophisticated than the tests you may have heard of recently.
GUPTA: What do you make of these at home tests for antibodies?
ROBACK: I don't think that they can achieve the sorts of performance characteristics we can with these tests that we have in our clinical laboratory. We have a lot better control over the testing conditions over the sample that was collected.
GUPTA (voice over): Here's what happens in your body when you're infected. The blue line, that's how long the virus typically lives inside of you. Take a look at the green line. Early on, IgM antibodies appear, but they disappear shortly after and then the red line. That's the IgG antibody. That's the one that appears after the infection is cleared and might provide immunity for just how long, how strong that we don't know yet.
We do know that for other coronaviruses like SARS, antibodies lasted two to three years and MERS, the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome had antibody presence of about three years. But with this new coronavirus, it's still too early to tell. And in order to answer the question, researchers are going to focus on this term, neutralizing activity.
You see, it doesn't necessarily matter how many antibodies you have. It only matters how well they work at keeping the virus from entering a human cell. And that can vary from person to person.
ROBACK: It's fascinating that not everybody that has high levels of antibodies on the test we're doing now actually have very much neutralizing activity that those antibodies might still be helping. It causes us to pause a little bit before we just categorically say if you have high antibodies, you're immune.
GUPTA: What is the real value of having the test?
ROBACK: I think if you're positive on this test, it indicates you've been exposed. That can give you a little bit of peace of mind, I think, that the cough I had two weeks ago that was really COVID-19. It could indicate that some of your close contacts should be tested.
GUPTA (voice over): But perhaps most importantly, Dr. ROBACK told me something I hadn't really considered before, that if you test positive for the antibodies, that means you've dealt with this infection and you beat it. And chances are that if you're exposed to it again, you'll beat it again.
As for me, that part is still an open question mark. I tested negative.
HOLMES: Now we want to update you on a story we told you about yesterday, about researchers who studied coronavirus patients in New York City who were put on ventilators. They say they are updating their figures. And it's a major difference, actually.
The report earlier this month in the "Journal of the American Medical Association" indicated that 88 percent of those patients on ventilators died. Now the largest health care network in New York has now lowered that figure pretty dramatically, saying about 25 percent died. That is based on more complete data from more patients.
Researchers at Oxford University started human trials of their potential coronavirus vaccine this week. If all goes well, they could have a vaccine ready later this year -- could, if it works. But if it does, that would be much sooner than what many experts have been projecting so far.
CNN's Erin Burnett spoke to Professor Adrian Hill, one of the leading researchers for these trials at Oxford.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ADRIAN HILL, OXFORD UNIVERSITY: We've been given permission by regulators to proceed really at quite a rapid rate, certainly for our first human trial.
Over the next couple weeks we'll probably enroll as many as a thousand people into this trial, partly because we've used this type of vaccine before for other indications and partly because we believe the results should be very good.
We're probably in a location that has one of the highest levels of COVID transmission anywhere, certain in Europe at this time, so we have a fair shot of getting an efficacy result over the next three months and to do that we need quite a few cases around.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOLMES: That was Oxford professor Adrian Hill.
And, as we head to break, a moment you have to see.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HOLMES (voice-over): What you have there is nurses in Liverpool, England, cheering a 6-month-old baby, leaving an isolation room after recovering from the coronavirus. We'll be right back.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOLMES: Welcome back.
Some beaches in California were open on Saturday. Now usually with nice weather and soaring temperatures, it would be a crowded day on the seaside. But in the middle of a pandemic it's a little bit of a different story. CNN's Paul Vercammen has that.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: With this first case of extreme weather since the COVID-19 outbreak, it was a testing of the waters of sorts. Up and down the Southern California coast, there were beaches that were open such as this one in Newport Beach and then we had closures, all of L.A. County.
That put pressures on the beaches in counties such as Ventura and Orange County where they were open. People came in from out of town. We did observe people were maintaining the rules of social distancing. Nonetheless, surfers can be territorial and they seemed a bit stressed out about these out of county people coming to their beach.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't like how people are coming out of the county. Stay in your own county, stay home, stay safe.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do your best to stay away from people but you'll always be too close, I guess. They say 6 feet, maybe people are 6 feet, it's here and there. It's probably better than being at a grocery store.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm upset about the beaches being open in Florida and then I came down here and I saw they were kind of separated from each other. So I think it's pretty safe.
VERCAMMEN: We did observe people were staying away from each other. We did not see the big crowds, organized sports such as volleyball with 10 or more people playing, that type of thing. The lifeguards and the police said they were remarkably impressed with how well people behaved during this experiment.
They said they were under threat, though. They said they'd often walk up to people who seemed too close and ask them, you want to keep the beach open?
The answer seemed to be a resounding yes. San Diego County will open its beaches on Monday. So this is just one step in California where they are easing the social distancing restrictions -- reporting from Newport Beach, California, I'm Paul Vercammen, now back to you.
HOLMES: Thanks, Paul.
One of the things driving people to the beach is the summer-like weather, as you could see. Southern California in the midst of a heat wave this weekend.
HOLMES: Let's switch from weather and on to sports. And this man, a comedian and former baller in college, who impersonates some of the greats. He's got a lot of fans, too. More on his game just ahead. We'll be right back.
HOLMES: It has been a tough time for sports fans, of course, the coronavirus pandemic shutting professional sports down for the moment, as you may have noticed.
But one man filling the void with some pretty spot-on impressions of basketball stars like LeBron James and Steph Curry, Magic Johnson and others. Close to a million people, including me, follow him avidly on Instagram. CNN's Patrick Snell got to speak with him.
MAX PERANIDZE, NBA COMEDIAN (voice-over): (INAUDIBLE) Lebron's not easy, because actually (INAUDIBLE) LeBron (INAUDIBLE) and I twisted my ankle.
PATRICK SNELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Attempting finely- tuned impressions of your idol is not without its peril says 22-year- old Max Peranidze. But his attention to detail when it comes to imitating some of basketball's biggest names is now more than ever paying off in the most impactful way.
PERANIDZE (voice-over): There's no live sports (INAUDIBLE) so I'm trying to try my best to, you know, keep up with the spirits and make the videos for people that, you know, are going through hard times. (INAUDIBLE) I do my best just to make good videos, funny videos.
I get (INAUDIBLE) like, oh, I needed this, thank you, you know what I mean. Like this, I get the encouragement from the fans, you know me and I just want to stay consistent with it.
SNELL (voice-over): Max turned to his own brand of hoops comedy when a freak injury curtailed his college basketball career in Los Angeles. And while his popularity is now soaring with close to a million followers on his maxisnice Instagram account, he remains ever mindful of the sacrifices along the way.
PERANIDZE (voice-over): (INAUDIBLE) get a job and (INAUDIBLE) so you know, I just, sometimes I'll be hungry, sometimes I'll eat like one time a day.
SNELL (voice-over): The last few months, though, have been truly life transforming for Max, who arrived in the United States as a 10-year old from Moldova. His videos even capturing the attention of French World Cup winning football star Antoine Griezmann.
PERANIDZE (voice-over): I just woke up and (INAUDIBLE) and then it was him and his message was, he was like, I'm a big fan. You're hilarious and I was just like, wow.
PERANIDZE (voice-over): Because I know he's a famous (INAUDIBLE) player and everybody knows him. He has a big following base. So I was just like, that's dope. I was happy and ever since then I just kept it cool with him.
SNELL (voice-over): And if you want further proof Max and his talents really are now living the dream...
PERANIDZE (voice-over): I just got a deal from him one day. One day I was chilling on the couch, I was -- I think I was eating a cheeseburger or something, And I just I look at my phone and I get a DM (INAUDIBLE) and he's like, yo, and I go, yo, what's up?
And he tells me like, so I got this show coming on (INAUDIBLE) Tuesdays, I mean, I would like you to be a part of that. Would you be down for something like that?
And I was like, I was like, man, you don't even have to ask me. Count me in.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): Garage door like this (ph). (INAUDIBLE) little brother (INAUDIBLE). Me, Max, in hand (ph).
SHAQUILLE O'NEAL, FORMER NBA STAR: That dude's making that much money on social media, both them dudes got a nice little career.
SNELL (voice-over): And when it comes to working on future material, Max is already busy, clearly inspired by the U.S. TV miniseries, "The Last Dance," featuring the 1997-'98 Chicago Bulls and the iconic Michael Jordan.
PERANIDZE (voice-over): Jordan's the greatest (INAUDIBLE) NBA. He's just -- he's one of the greatest to ever do it. (INAUDIBLE). (INAUDIBLE).
HOLMES: Do check him out on Instagram. He is very funny.
Thanks for watching CNN NEWSROOM, everyone, spending part of your day with me, I'm Michael Holmes. The news continues after the break with a great improvement in Natalie Allen.