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Coronavirus Update from Around the Country; Pace of Developing a Vaccine; U.S. Makes Big Bet on Vaccine Company; LeBron James Pushes Back at Rumors; Steps to Prevent Deaths at Long-Term Care Facilities. Aired 6:30-7a ET

Aired May 1, 2020 - 06:30   ET



KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Activities, like golf, will be allowed to begin again on May 1st. Religious services will also pick up as long as people stay in their cars. So some relaxing. Certainly not normal. But as far as the economic engine that will bring people back to these sidewalks, it will not happen for some time.

SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Shimon Prokupecz in New York City, where the governor announced that they're going to be starting to shut down subway service on May 6th, between 1:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m., to start cleaning the subway cars and buses all across the city.

One of the concerns for the governor has been how to get front line workers who rely on the subway system to work. So what they're going to do is between those hours, they're going to provide bus service, they're going to provide Lyfts and Ubers and vans to transport front line workers that need to get to work during those hours.

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Stephanie Elam in Santa Monica, California.

California Governor Gavin Newsom targeting the beaches of Orange County and ordering that they remain closed. This after a heat wave over the weekend drew droves of people to the coastline, especially in Newport Beach, where the city council voted earlier this week to keep their beaches open and just enforce stricter social distancing guidelines.

However, the governor saying he doesn't want to undo all of the great progress the state has made so far and he also applauded the efforts in San Diego County to have their beaches open but also making sure that the people there do maintain those distances.


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: I've got to say, some remarkable pictures from around the country this morning.

Also this morning, a bit of a new message. At least a new tone from Dr. Anthony Fauci when it comes to the pace in developing a vaccine in the United States. How realistic is it to get a vaccine by January? CNN's senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen with the latest.



ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Scientists from around the world have begun testing their experimental Covid-19 vaccines in people. Historically, it's taken years to do human clinical trials and get vaccines approved. For polio, in the 1950s, it took about three years. It took about that long for the rubella vaccine in the 1960s. And it took two years for mumps. But no one wants to wait years for a vaccine for the novel coronavirus.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, I hope we're going to have a vaccine. And we're going to fast track it like you've never seen before.

COHEN: And there are reasons to be hopeful. Researchers are moving with lightning speed, with more than a billion dollars in projected investments already pouring into the effort. And the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which will need to approve the vaccine, has been moving faster since the pandemic began.

And the effort is quickly growing. As of April 26th, 89 teams internationally were working on vaccines according to the World Health Organization. Four days later, the WHO listed 102 teams working on vaccines. That's 13 more teams in just four days. Seven are already in human trials.

Of those seven, three are led by teams in the U.S., one is headed by the National Institutes of Health outside Washington, D.C., another by Inovio, a biotech company with research and development in San Diego, a third by pharmaceutical giant Pfizer headquartered in New York City. Another is in England at the University of Oxford. Two are in China, one in Beijing and one in Wuhan, where the pandemic began.

Human trials began a month and a half ago with the NIH first on March 16th. Pfizer and Oxford are the most recent. They started human trials April 23rd.

Who finishes first is anybody's guess.

Elizabeth Cohen, CNN, reporting.


BERMAN: Our thanks to Elizabeth.

So one company in the midst of this vaccine race has never successfully brought a vaccine to market. So why are they getting hundreds of millions of dollars from the U.S. government? CNN investigates, next.



ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: When will we have a vaccine against Covid-19? As you know, the race is on. One biotech company is creating a lot of buzz and getting a ton of money from the government, but the company has never done this successfully before.

CNN's senior investigative correspondent Drew Griffin digs deeper into this.


DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: Alisyn, if it works, we could have a vaccine in unheard of speeds. But as you said, the company the U.S. is betting on has never brought any drug to market.


GRIFFIN (voice over): Three weeks ago Ian Haydon was injected with one of the first possible vaccines against the novel coronavirus. He runs, takes his temperature several times a day and he has not gotten sick.

IAN HAYDON, VACCINE TRIAL PARTICIPANT: Today I feel exactly like I did two months ago. I have absolutely no symptoms. Nothing to report.

Haydon was injected with a vaccine using a new medical technology developed by a company called Moderna, which has never had a drug or a vaccine approved for market. The basic technology, synthesizing messenger RNA, a molecule in a person's body, prompting the body to make its own medicine. In this case, directing living cells to kill off any novel coronavirus. In theory, the science behind the vaccine should work. In reality, no one knows for sure.

Moderna's CEO promoted the company's technology and speed at this meeting at the White House March 2nd, which President Trump ran like an episode of "Shark Tank."


GRIFFIN: Most of the companies were talking vaccines sometime in 2021, when Moderna's CEO, Stephane Bancel, took his turn. He told the president this.

STEPHANE BANCEL, CEO, MODERNA: And then it will be a few months to get the human data that will allow us to pick a therapeutic dose to start the Phase 2 right away.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: So you're talking over the next few months, you think you could have a vaccine?

BANCEL: Correct. Correct, for Phase 2.


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, WHITE HOUSE CORONAVIRUS TASK FORCE: You won't have a vaccine. You'll have a vaccine to go into testing. BANCEL: Phase 2, yes.

GRIFFIN: Dr. Anthony Fauci tried to temper the enthusiasm.

TRUMP: I like the sound of a couple of months better, I must be honest.

GRIFFIN: The next day the FDA green lit Moderna's product for a trial and within weeks the federal government pledged to give Moderna up to $483 million, more than any other vaccine company. Moderna had an edge over other companies. Its scientists had already been collaborating with the NIH on a vaccine for another similar virus so it was able to quickly pivot.

Professor Nikolai Petrovsky, who's working with a competitor to Moderna, is just one of the experts who question whether the investment's investment makes sense.

NIKOLAI PETROVSKY, FINDERS UNIVERSITY, AUSTRALIA: If we want to really have an impact on this pandemic, then we should be using vaccine platforms that have been proved to be safe and effective, rather than an unproven technology.

DR. TAL ZAKS, CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICER, MODERNA: We have delivered on everything that we have promised.

GRIFFIN: Dr. Tal Zaks is Moderna's chief medical officer, interviewed via computer from his base in Boston.

ZAKS: Actually, the public investment proportionately is a small investment on top of what this company has invested in its core technology for years now.

GRIFFIN: For the last decade, the company has been trying to use its MRNA technology to cure cancer, restore damaged tissues, even cure heart disease, and develop vaccines. The research promising, the results mixed.

GRIFFIN (on camera): Moderna has never brought a vaccine to market, never had a drug FDA approved and skeptics are wondering why your company was able to achieve this contract.

ZAKS: We're a young company with an emerging technology. And for that reason we have not yet brought anything to full licensure. We have time and again demonstrated clinical results in phase one across multiple different vaccine applications.

GRIFFIN (voice over): But vaccine development is tough. Even the lead investigator for Moderna's vaccine trial at Emery University says nothing is certain.

DR. EVAN ANDERSON, EMORY UNIVERSITY: If it's successful, it could allow us to shorten the timeline for developing new vaccines in the future. But it comes with its own challenges.

GRIFFIN: Dr. Evan Anderson says challenges for this type of vaccine include that it's difficult to store, difficult to mass produce and no one knows yet whether it's effective. The NIH is testing Moderna's vaccine on humans without waiting for animal trials. A speed that was unheard of before the pandemic. The company is already preparing to produce its vaccine in mass quantities on the sheer hope it gets approved and can be distributed almost immediately.

ZAKS: The biggest source of pressure is the fact that, you know, this is personal. I think for my colleagues and I who are in the front line of trying to develop a vaccine, it's an equal weight of the sense of potential that we can do something about it and a tremendous sense of responsibility that we have to do something about it.


GRIFFIN: Alisyn, Moderna is moving on to the next phases of its trials, Phase 2, Phase 3. If -- if all goes well, this company says it could be delivering usable vaccines, millions of doses, by the end of the year and tens of millions of doses by early 2021.


CAMEROTA: I mean, well, fingers cross. But beyond Moderna, we've heard of others as well. There's the Oxford University study about the vaccine. So, I mean, this is a foot race. And are others getting as much attention?

GRIFFIN: They're not getting as much attention. Some are getting as much money. Johnson & Johnson got a big chunk of money from the U.S. government. Sanofi, also working with GlaxoSmithKline, is working on a vaccine. All of these in a race. It's really pretty good. And we need a race between companies because, Alisyn, vaccines are tough. Only about one in 100 eventually get approved and into our bodies. So we need all these companies racing, including ones like Moderna, who are trying something new with new technology.

CAMEROTA: Well, that is a sobering statistic, the one in 100 that you just said, Drew.


CAMEROTA: Thank you very much for explaining what's happening out there on the front lines. We really appreciate that.

GRIFFIN: Thanks.

CAMEROTA: So this might be a time when there is crying in baseball. The Little League World Series canceled because of the pandemic. We have details in the "Bleacher Report," next.



BERMAN: So, this morning, a new ray of hope maybe for sports fans who want to watch a live basketball game. LeBron James says he hasn't heard anyone talking about canceling the NBA season. Andy Scholes has more in the "Bleacher Report."

Hey, Andy.


You know, LeBron was addressing reports out there that some agents and team executives want to just cancel the rest of the NBA season, but king James says that's not what he's hearing. LeBron tweeted, that's absolutely not true. Nobody I know is saying anything like that. As soon as it's safe, we would like to finish our season. I'm ready and our team is ready. Nobody should be canceling anything.

Now, Boston Celtics co-owner Steve Pagliuca told CNN's Erin Burnett he agrees with LeBron.


STEVE PAGLIUCA, BOSTON CELTICS CO-OWNER: LeBron is consistent with what Adam Silver is trying to do. He's looking at the data every day. He's a fact-based commissioner and monitoring the situation. His big concern is he wants be able -- the players to go back safely and fans to be safe when fans come back, as they can be, then the season will go on. If it's not, Adam's going to be patient and wait.


SCHOLES: All right, Nascar, meanwhile, officially announcing that drivers will restart their engines May 17th. The green flag is going to wave at Darlington Raceway in South Carolina. But there will be no fans in the stands. Nascar plans to hold seven races over 11 days when they return to the track.

But there will be no celebrations at the Little League World Series this summer. For the first time since the event began in 1947, the tournament has been canceled. The Softball World Series was also canceled.

And, you know, John, it's understandable considering all of the travel that's involved in the Little League World Series, teams coming from all over the world. But definitely disappointing. One of my favorite events every year, just seeing all the pure joy on all those kids' faces as they compete.

BERMAN: Absolutely. Look, it's understandable. I can say this as a parent of 13-year-olds, there's no baseball being played.


BERMAN: There is no little league right now.


BERMAN: So how could you even get to the point where there's a world series.


All right, Andy Scholes, thank you so much.

SCHOLES: Any time.

BERMAN: So, new guidelines this morning in some places for grandparents and grandchildren. How close can they get in this pandemic? New information, that's next.


CAMEROTA: Seniors have been hit very hard by this pandemic. The Kaiser Family Foundation says at least 10,000 deaths nationwide are tied to long-term care facilities. What's being done now to protect our aging parents and grandparents?

Joining us is Dr. Sean Morrison. He's the chair of the Brookdale Department of Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine at Mount Sinai.

Dr. Morrison, great to see you.

Let me pull up this graphic. This is the one that I was just referring to at the Kaiser Family Foundation. They find that there's been 10,000 deaths in nursing homes.


But that's only in 23 states, OK? That's all the data that they have.

So only half the states and they already are at that tragic number of 10,000 deaths.

And so now, today, as states reopen around the country, is there a sense that we've learned something during these past tragic three months and that we're going to be doing something different in nursing homes and for our senior citizens?

DR. SEAN MORRISON, CHAIR, BROOKDALE DEPARTMENT OF GERIATRICS AND PALLIATIVE MEDICINE AT MOUNT SINAI: I think we have learned a couple of things. And it's important to recognize both what we've learned and what we haven't learned.

The first thing we've learned is that older adults are at very increased risk of severe Covid illness. Unfortunately, despite the fact we've been in this for eight weeks or so, we still don't know which group of older adults are at higher risk.

The second thing we know, which is different than when this pandemic began, is that we know that Covid-19 is very, very contagious and that people can carry the virus around for a while with minimal or no symptoms and that they can therefore unwittingly spread the disease to others without even knowing that they've had it.

CAMEROTA: I want to get back -- I want to talk about a different group of seniors outside of nursing homes, and that's just grandparents. When can we get back to normal with grandparents, because, you know, we missed Easter, we missed Passover, we missed these sort of family celebrations. It's been a long time since all of our kids have been able to hug and sit next to and hang out with their grandparents. And if we've all been staying inside for the past month or so, can we get back to seeing grandparents now without putting them at risk?

MORRISON: I wish I had a really good answer for you. And I don't. Children appear to be at much lower risk for infection and probably transmit the virus less than adults. But, and this is a really important but, we don't have really strong data to support this. And we know that older grandparents are in one of the highest risks groups. And I just -- I can't recommend to my patients that their grandchildren visit them in person yet until we know more.

And I see how hard this is. My young niece hasn't been able to visit my father in weeks, and yet the consequences and the potential risks are so strong now, I just can't see how, until we have more data, we can say it's safe.

CAMEROTA: I mean, obviously, it's taking an emotional toll on everyone. We don't want to put them at physical risk. But the emotion toll is real. I'll tell you what my kids are doing, because they miss their grandparents. My son has regular Yahtzee games -- virtual games of Yahtzee with his grandparents and they sound very lively, to me, these games. And then my daughter has a daily online exercise class, like a 20 to 30-minute exercise class, with her grandmother. And these are fantastic, right? So they still have a connection, but it is not the same as an in-person physical connection.

And just what do you think the emotional or long-term toll of all of this is?

MORRISON: I wish I knew. I'm worried about it, to be honest with you. I think what your children have done is brilliant. And I would encourage everybody to try and do something very similar in order to make that connection.

I'm hoping that, as has been said, we will have a vaccine soon. However, I don't think we're going to know. And the best we can do right now is to ensure that we continue to connect with our older relatives, make sure that they know they're not alone and to use all types of communication that we have available, the telephone, computers, streaming services, to make sure that we keep a connection and make sure that people don't feel lonely.

CAMEROTA: Dr. Sean Morrison, great to see you. Thank you very much for the suggestion.

MORRISON: Thank you very much.

CAMEROTA: NEW DAY continues right now.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: More than 30 U.S. states are taking tentative steps to restart their economies.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We sent out a citywide survey. Overwhelmingly people are saying that it's too soon to open up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is very important that we, as Americans, stand up for our civil liberties.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're going to do a hard close. The images we saw on a few of our beaches were disturbing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I had to tell the governor we were not in agreement with that.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The federal government has done a spectacular job.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you use (INAUDIBLE) properly, you didn't have to go through this horrific, economic cost.


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

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

And this morning we are seeing a delicate balancing act in America. Much of the country is reopening for business in just the next few hours, even though