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Med Student Volunteers for Coronavirus Vaccine Trial; Trump Adds to Confusion Over Kim Jong-un's Health. Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired April 28, 2020 - 07:30   ET



ALISYN CAMEROTA, CO-ANCHOR, NEW DAY: A way that you know you're taking this risk. So what did they warn you about?

SEAN DOYLE, UNDERGOING TRIAL VACCINE: Yes, so every time there's an experimental treatment or vaccine that's been given, it's always a little unclear exactly what's going to happen. There are statistics for risk that are, you know, able to be found for similar vaccines that have been tried before. And those can be used as a benchmark for trying to see what to expect from a vaccine like this. So, as part of this process, the physicians that are leading the trial really did a great job, explaining what the potential risk would be as a participant in this trial.

And in my opinion, I think the potential benefits far outweigh those risks. And for the most part, experimental vaccines do not really result in a really serious adverse events that require medical attention.

CAMEROTA: We hope not, but let's talk about that --

DOYLE: We hope not.

CAMEROTA: Yes, I mean, obviously, we have the numbers up on the screen. You know, more than 200,000 deaths globally for people who have been exposed. So, I mean, did that cross your mind that something really bad could happen to you?

DOYLE: So, I can't see the numbers that you have on your screen exactly, is that for vaccine --


DOYLE: Trials or --

CAMEROTA: Just for global -- I mean, just for globally for people who have gotten sick with coronavirus.

DOYLE: Yes. So, I think considering how much of a problem the coronavirus is worldwide now, the potential risks and especially for something like death with receiving experimental vaccine like this are incredibly low. So I think that it really is worth it to test this vaccine and see if it can be an effective tool. CAMEROTA: OK, so let's talk about how your experience has been. You

received your first dose of this on March 27th. You got your second dose just this past Thursday. So, how are you feeling and what have been the side effects, if any?

DOYLE: I'm very happy to say that overall, I've been feeling very good. My experience personally has been that receiving this vaccine has been very much like getting a flu shot. It's given as an injection in the arm muscle and I have really experienced very minimal side effects.

CAMEROTA: That's great to hear. And are they testing you for antibodies? Is that -- after you -- after you get the test of the little bit of coronavirus, then do you go in and see if you are getting immune to it?

DOYLE: So, as part of the study, I'm having blood samples that are being collected that are being used for two purposes. One is that my health is being assessed to ensure that I'm remaining healthy after getting this experimental vaccine. And the second is to use in a laboratory setting to see whether or not an immune response is able to be generated when this vaccine is given.

So I personally as a participant, I'm not going to know what the results of that immune tenacity and immune response data is. But the investigators will have that data and decide whether or not to move forward into phase two and phase three clinical trials after seeing whether or not this vaccine is safe.

CAMEROTA: It's too bad that they don't tell you the results. I mean, you're a med student, I'm sure you're interested in what's happening inside your body and what they're gleaning from this test.

DOYLE: Absolutely. It would be really fascinating to know. But, if the trials do move forward, then I will know that there is probably an indication that it is able to generate some kind of an immune response. But even at this point, if an immune response is being generated, it's unclear how well that might actually be able to reduce to prevent transmission of this virus. So there's still a lot of work and study that needs to be done to tease that apart.

CAMEROTA: Sean, one last thing. I understand that you also participated in an Ebola vaccine trial for 18 months from 2017 to 2018. You were part of that study. I mean, you are really taking one for the team here. Isn't there an easier part-time job that, perhaps, you could sign up for?

DOYLE: I really -- with devastating viruses like Ebola and now the SARS COVID-2 virus, vaccines are the best way to reduce and prevent transmission. So, I have been involved in a lot of these trials. I'm going to try not to make it my full-time job. But I think that participation in these types of trials is really important for helping to combat these really deadly, devastating viruses and the diseases they cause.

[07:35:00] So I'm happy to participate in these trials with the hope that we can

develop some good tools to fight them.

CAMEROTA: Sean, we really appreciate you. We could not have vaccines without people like you, and so we're glad you're taking one for the team, and we look very forward to finding out what happens, what the results are of the trial that you're involved in. So, thanks so much for sharing your experience with us.

DOYLE: Yes, thank you very much.

CAMEROTA: Great to talk to you. John?

JOHN BERMAN, CO-ANCHOR, NEW DAY: So we want to remember some of the more than 56,000 Americans lost to coronavirus. Ninety-year-old Mollie Gustine joined the NYPD in 1963. There were not many African-American women on the force then. She eventually rose to detective doing mostly undercover work. Gustine's family was presented with an American flag at a somber ceremony in Queens.

Bernice Brown was a frontline nurse at a northern Arizona hospital. Her son says she made it almost through her 14-day quarantine before her condition suddenly worsened and she died at home in a matter of hours. He says she was a great mother and grandmother whose heart was so big. Twenty eight-year-old beauty pageant winner Valentina Blackhorse died last Thursday. She was crowned Miss Western Navajo 2015 and competed in the Miss Indian World pageant.

Family members say Valentina was passionate about sharing her culture and language. She leaves behind a 1-year-old daughter. We'll be right back.




DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I can't tell you exactly -- yes, I do have a very good idea, but I can't talk about it now. I just wish him well. I've had a very good relationship with Kim Jong-un. I do know how he's doing relatively-speaking. We will see -- you'll probably be hearing in the not too distant future.


BERMAN: President Trump adding to the confusion over the health of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un after CNN first reported last week that the U.S. is monitoring intelligence that Kim is in grave danger following some kind of surgery. Joining me now is Jung H. Pak; the author of the new book "Becoming Kim Jong-un: A Former CIA's Officers Insights Into North Korea's Enigmatic Young Dictator".

Now, look, I don't know what the president knows about the health of Kim Jong-un. I don't know who knows about his health to be honest. So let me put that question to you. Who really does know about how the dictator is doing and why is that information so tightly controlled?

JUNG PAK, FORMER CIA OFFICER: Thanks, John. So it's tightly controlled and no one really knows except for the tight inner circle of his advisors. And so -- and that's for domestic and political as well as international reasons. On the one hand, no country wants their leader's health or their whereabouts as open as we'd like. And North Korea is the champion of that. But also, I think, the North Korea -- the Kim regime has tried to shield information from getting outside of their inner circle to make sure that there are no grand ideas among other officials about coups, about rising against Kim.

So that kind of ambiguity about his health and about his whereabouts is a way for the regime to protect itself from domestic -- potentially domestic opponents and officials as well as for foreign relations as well.

BERMAN: Yes, one of the only ways the U.S. actually has of monitoring anything inside North Korea is from satellite imaginary. And there was this image from over the weekend of a train apparently, perhaps Kim Jong-un's train at this coastal resort where he is known to frequent. What does this show you?

PAK: So the train is -- it's interesting that it's -- but in Wonsan. And that tracks with some reporting that suggests that he went there to either convalesce or to relax or perhaps do self-quarantine or to get -- to recover after surgery, so we don't know. So it's not -- the train in and of itself is not diagnostic of how he's doing or where he is, like it adds another layer to a lot of reporting that we've seen so far on his whereabouts and on his exact health status.

BERMAN: We do know a little bit about his health history and in some way, we actually know more over the last two years because we've seen him a lot more.

PAK: That's right. So the summit since 2018 have had the unintended effect of showing the world how -- what a bad shape he is in. So without the regime filters that take out all of those things, we see him wheezing and huffing and straining to walk short distances. And so that showed the world that he's not in great shape. And, you know, he can't hide his girth.

We've seen even just in the regime media how he's grown over the years, straining against his clothing and basically looking like a very unhealthy 36-year-old.

BERMAN: Yes, you know, in some ways he's a walking pre-existing condition for the health concerns that are spanning the globe right now over coronavirus. He's overweight, he's a chain-smoker. We hear him having breathing problems. There has been some speculation -- well, there's been some speculation he could have coronavirus. We have no reason to believe that.

But there's speculation on the other side too that maybe he's just isolating because he's afraid of getting it.

[07:45:00] PAK: He should be afraid. But you know, what we've seen in regime

media, for example, in March when the North Koreans were doing some military exercises and firing ballistic missiles. We saw that he wasn't wearing a mask, whereas his officials were wearing masks. And that is in part to show his invincibility. The fact that he's this omnipotent person who is not afraid of the coronavirus.

But it also was a signal to the world and for domestic purposes that coronavirus is under control in North Korea. North Korea still says that they have zero infections in the country, but given the poorest 900 mile border with China where infection rates are high, it's almost impossible for North Korea to not have any infections in the country.

So we don't know what his -- what his status is, but it's -- it could very well be that he wanted to be isolated from the hustle and bustle of Pyongyang.

BERMAN: It's so interesting you talk about the image control that he does in your new book. You write that he wants to present himself to his country as a young John Kennedy and his wife as Jackie in some ways. Is that image clearly important?

PAK: When Kim was first identified as a successor, he was 26 years old, the world was scoffing at him for his youth about how he looked, how -- what a boy he looked next -- standing next to his father who was in his mid-60s. And -- but instead of taking that as a deficit, he -- Kim Jong-un embraced that and embraced his youth as an asset. So what he did with his youth and the many decades that he has ahead of him, potentially ahead of him, he tried to embrace the image of a modern, young, vigorous leader on the move.

And he's transferred that to the landscape of North Korea in dotting the landscape with skyscrapers, high-end restaurants, luxury department stores, water parks, skate parks, you know, riding clubs, these are all things that suggest that North Korea is a country on the move. And so I think that was a way for him --

BERMAN: Right --

PAK: To combat the conventional observation about North Korea as a hobbled, decaying, isolated country. But he also took that youth and tried to transfer that into his wife. So previous leaders of North Korea did not want to -- want their public -- personal lives out in public. They never showed their wives. Kim Jong-il, his father never showed his wife or his consorts in the way that Kim Jong-un does.

And I think that was a way for him to show that, one, that you know, you have this beautiful, young woman next to him that softens the image of an economically hobbled, nuclear weapons-wielding country. But second, also to transfer all of the consumerist energies of a new modern North Korea toward a domestic model. Somebody that they can aspire to be. So she represents the hopes and dreams of a modern North Korea.

But also she tones down and softens the edges of a brutal dictatorship with 120,000 people who live -- who are in gulags. BERMAN: Jung H. Pak, the book is "Becoming Kim Jong-un", a really

interesting read and a fascinating discussion this morning. We will find out about his health when the North Korean regime wants us to, in all likelihood. Thanks so much for being with us this morning. I really appreciate it.

PAK: Thank you.

BERMAN: So more people heading back to work this morning with hopes of getting the economy up and running. What about your personal financial health? Our experts answers your questions next.



CAMEROTA: Millions of Americans are in financial turmoil because of this pandemic. So we want to try to answer your pressing questions this morning. Joining us now is Jean Chatzky; she's a personal finance journalist and the CEO of Jean, great to see you.


CAMEROTA: People have written in and these are some great questions. Let's start with Sonya's. She says she's heard about the payroll protection plan for small businesses. "And I was wondering how this would affect employees currently receiving unemployment wages. If our employer gets PPP money, do you have a choice between PPP and unemployment wages, or are you allowed to receive both?" Great question, so many people are wondering about this.

CHATZKY: So many people are wondering because thanks to the additional$600 that the federal government is throwing on top of state unemployment benefits, many people are earning more from unemployment than they are from their regular jobs or than they were from their regular jobs. You can't double dip. You can't take both.

So it's up to you whether you want to go back to work if your employer receives PPP and offers you your job back. But from the employer's perspective, they need to use this money for payroll. And so, if you are not going to come back to work, they can use that money to hire somebody else.

CAMEROTA: OK, really good to know. This next one comes from Pam. She says "my husband and I are seniors, we qualify for the stimulus money, we filed our taxes for 2018, and even received a refund. Whenever I go to get my payment on the IRS website, the response is, quote, 'payment status not available.' They cannot determine our eligibility for a payment. This is so frustrating, please help!" Exclamation point.

CHATZKY: Yes, I totally get this. And the IRS has been working on the get my payment tool. Every single night, they try to do updates and they did a significant update over the weekend. I spoke to them yesterday. The problem for people who receive social security or social security survivor disability or railroad retirement benefits was that their information was not in the tool until this weekend.


But according to what the IRS tells me, it is in the tool now, so you should go again, because if you received your refund, in the form of a paper check, you do want to update that information so that the IRS can pay you your stimulus money by direct deposit.

CAMEROTA: OK, so hopefully, Pam will recheck and let us know how that goes. This comes from Jonathan. "I have a retirement pension from the state that I applied for due to start next month from the state of Massachusetts. Since my retirement is tied to the market, am I in danger of losing it?"

CHATZKY: Such a good question. The folks at Pew actually just released a study, and about 75 percent of state pension benefits are invested in equities or other alternative investments. So it's definitely a concern, however, these pension plans have other ways of meeting their obligations. They will either increase contributions or they'll reduce spending in other ways. And specifically to him, Massachusetts actually held a zoom call last week, just to reassure people they're fine.

In fact, they reduced their exposure to equities in Europe over the past 5 years, so they are going to have no trouble meeting their obligations right now.

CAMEROTA: OK, good, this one comes from Robert in Jacksonville, Florida. He says, "are businesses that reopen in Georgia and other states still entitled to those PPP funds? Are they going to generate enough business considering the new spacing rules and the fact that the majority of us won't venture into their businesses until science says it is safe?"

I think that's such an interesting question, Jean, because, you know, some of these businesses are ordered to operate at 25 percent capacity. How are they supposed to deal with that revenue shortfall?

CHATZKY: Yes, and the answer is we don't know if the customers will even come back to that 25 percent capacity. We saw empty restaurants yesterday. But the purpose of this PPP money is to sort of bridge the employers through this time period and give them money to pay their employees so that their employees can keep putting food on the table and keep the lights on.

So they are still eligible. It doesn't have anything to do with whether or not these businesses are open. And we saw an additional $310 billion become available through the PPP yesterday. The application flow was so dynamic that it actually crashed the computers within the first hour that the portal opened. And so if you're a business that has not been able to put your application through, don't wait. We do expect that this money will go quickly.

CAMEROTA: Let's hope that they can use the website today, and that it doesn't crash on them. Meanwhile, this comes from Jenny in Mountain View, California. What is a landlord's right during this pandemic? We have a single family house as rental property in California, all regulations are protecting the renters. The tenants have not provided any proof that their incomes are impacted by coronavirus. Meanwhile, we have mortgage, property tax, insurance and maintenance expenses to pay.

CHATZKY: I get it. There are 8 million mom and pop landlords in this country, and they absolutely depend on the income. If your mortgage is backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, you are eligible for several months of forbearance, several months is pushed off payments during this period of time. If you're not backed by Fannie or Freddie, talk to your lender.

Talk to your lender about what they're able to do to help you. And also talk to your tenants. Your tenants still owe you this money. They may need some sort of payment plan, they may need some sort of leniency, but they do owe you the money and you should try to work out the terms under which they're able to pay it.

There are also these helpful associations for apartment owners in various states. California has a good one called the apartment owner -- California Apartment Owners Association. And they've got language on their website that you can use to deal with your tenants to suggest this sort of a payment plan.

CAMEROTA: Jean, great advice, great to have you here. Thank you so much.


CAMEROTA: OK, we have a lot of new developments. So NEW DAY continues right now.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Our forecast now is for 74,000 deaths, but our best estimate is going up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Opening Texas must occur in phases.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Movie theaters, restaurants, malls will be allowed to reopen on Friday but only at a 25 percent capacity.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Those images are an example of what not to see, what not to do.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The reason we are shut down is because we've had inadequate testing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We believe we need to be in at least 500,000 tests a day.

TRUMP: We've launched the most ambitious testing effort on earth.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're going to put together our own testing protocol that the federal government.