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More Than Half Of U.S. States Begin To Partially Reopen; FDA Approves Use Of Remdesivir As COVID-19 Treatment; Georgia Reports 1,225 New Cases As Shopping Malls Begin Opening; Russia Sees Spike In COVID-19 Cases; Michael Hinojosa, Dallas Independent School District Superintendent, Discusses Reopening Schools In The Fall; U.S. Gives Vaccine Contract To Company With Unproven Technology; Explaining The Process of Getting Antibody Testing. Aired 1-2p ET

Aired May 2, 2020 - 13:00   ET




FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Hello again, everyone. Thank you so much for joining me. I'm Fredricka Whitfield. We begin with several states reopening this weekend for the first time in more than a month amid the coronavirus pandemic. 32 states are partially reopening by the end of next week. That number will be at least 42 easing restrictions means that restaurants, stores, even shopping malls are permitted to get back to business.

Despite that, many businesses are taking a more cautious approach choosing not to reopen. From California to Michigan, governors are facing increasing pressure to end weeks long stay-at-home orders. Demonstrators have even gathered demanding return to normalcy.

Meantime, a possible hopeful sign that a treatment for coronavirus is in the works. The FDA is giving emergency-use authorization to the drug remdesivir. Allowing hospitals to treat patients with severe coronavirus cases.

We have a team of reporters covering the state reopening across the country. Let's get started in Florida, where Governor Ron DeSantis announced that many of the state's businesses will reopen on Monday with restrictions, but several counties are excluded from the new policies. CNN Rosa Flores is in Miami. One of the several places not being allowed to reopen just yet. Rosa, why only reopen certain parts of the state?

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, you're absolutely right. And Florida is taking more of a regional approach because of the cluster of cases that have happened in this part of the state. I'm in Miami Dade County, Miami Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties accounted for about 30 percent of the population in the state. But they account for about 60 percent of the more than 35,000 cases.

And 56 percent of the more than 1300 deaths in the state. That's why it's no surprise that the mayors of this area got together and they decided to reopen. Now they're excluded from phase one but they did reopen parks, waterways and also other public spaces in this area with restrictions they are requiring face coverings and social distancing. Now not everybody is following the rules.

We checked in with Miami Beach, the police they're telling us that they have issued about 1500 warnings to park goers who are not wearing face coverings or who are not social distancing. Now COVID-19 has created another huge issue in these three counties. Feeding South Florida reports an increase of 600 percent and the demand of people needing food assistance. Now because there's been a stay-at-home order, there's been a decrease in volunteers.

So hear this, the Florida National Guard has been deployed to these food banks to help pack and sort food to make sure that people in this area get fed. Now when it comes to the rest of the state, excluding these three counties, phase one kicks off on Monday. This allows restaurants and retail to reopen at 25 percent capacity indoors. Now restaurants will be allowed to serve outdoors but the seating has to be six feet apart.

Now schools will still remain close because again, this is only phase one. And, Fred, gyms and hairdressers will still be closed as well. Again, it's only phase one editing excludes these counties with the most cases reported in the State of Florida. Fred?

WHITFIELD: All right. Rosa Flores in Miami. Thank you so much. All right. In Georgia officials are reporting more than 1200 new cases. Just one week after allowing hair salons, gyms, bowling alleys to reopen. CNN, Natasha Chen joins me now from Alpharetta, Georgia, north of Atlanta. So, what are you seeing there, Natasha?

NATASHA CHEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Fred, this is an outdoor mall, just north of Atlanta, as you said. And this mall, Avalon is actually recommending that its guests to wear face coverings when they come on property. They are giving them out at the concierge. They say they've given out about 20 of them today. And the reason we're not wearing them right at this moment is we're not seeing a ton of people really close to us at this point.

We're actually seeing fewer people than we saw yesterday, and yesterday was the first time in about six weeks that the retail shops could reopen. Of course, there were restaurants and a couple nail salons here on property that could already open as of last week.


CHEN: There are about 100 tenants here at the Avalon property and only about 20 of them are open right now. That includes the restaurants and nail salons. And the retail shops open are mostly doing curbside pickup or appointment shopping only. Here's what the mall management said about how they are preparing for more people coming back.


ANIELA RESPRESS, AREA GENERAL MANAGER, NORTH AMERICAN PROPERTIES: Sanitizing stations, we have implemented a one-way street at Avalon. We've spaced all the furniture out as you can see, but it's really everybody's comfort level whenever they're ready to leave their house. Avalon is there to be the place for the community to come out to.

KATE MARTIN, SHOPPER: I'm a nurse, so instinctively I think like still too contagious. It's a very contagious disease. So, I still think it might be little too soon to come back out and be this close together. So, we'll see.

CHEN: But you're here.

MARTIN: Yes. I am.


CHEN: And so we actually talked to that customer while she was waiting in line for a women's clothing shop just behind us. That's one of the shops here that's actually opening its doors for people to come inside. But they're only allowing 10 people maximum at a time and that includes their employees. So that's why there was a wait outside. They're also being very careful about steaming every piece of clothing after every customer has tried it on.

They're disinfecting the fitting rooms after each person. So, a lot of these businesses are doing their best to try and sanitize the place while still making business. And we can tell from the people who have brought their families here today that they are eager to get out in the sun. Not all of them are noticing the rules or following them. You -- we -- you heard about the one-way walkways.

There are stickers on the ground to show you which way you're supposed to walk, we've noticed some people who just don't notice that that's the rule. And in one case, I even saw management telling people they were walking the wrong way and they just flat out disregarded the manager. So, there are various responses here from people. But the shops again tentatively opening trying to be careful.

WHITFIELD: All right. Natasha, where that clothing store must be something else that people were lined up outside, anxious to get in this first weekend. All right. Thank you so much. Natasha Chen. They're in Alpharetta, Georgia.

CHEN: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: All right. Turning now to Texas where the governor is allowing many businesses to reopen including stores and restaurants. CNN's Ed Lavandera is in Dallas. So Ed, what has the reaction there been like?

ED LAVANDERA, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Fredricka. Well, we are in Bishop Arts District which is a cool little area just southwest of downtown Dallas. It's on a spring beautiful day like today. It should be filled with people, these streets going in and out of the boutique stores, the restaurants, ice cream shops, what have you. You see behind me just not many people turning out.

There are some stores that are open. It really kind of captures the dynamic that we're seeing play out here in Texas. This being the first day or the first weekend, I should say, of the stay-at-home order, statewide being lifted. And businesses, retail stores, movie theaters, restaurants, allowed to open at 25 percent capacity. And what we're really finding is all different types of businesses trying to figure out how to make this work.

Just a little while ago, we met Denise Manoy who owns a boutique clothing shop here in Bishop Arts. She can describe to us all the different things that she's doing to protect herself, for employees and her customers. She's only taking customers by appointment only. And she says that's a way to control costs, since they're not making much money. They're keeping the lights off, the air conditioning off until a customer shows up.

That's the kind of detail that some of these business owners are thinking about. But weighing over all of them is this idea in this question of whether or not the economy is reopening too quickly. And we asked her about that.


DENISE MANOY, OWNER, INDIGO 1745: For me, I feel like I have to almost plan for that. I have to plan for what ifs now. If everything goes well, there's this and then we come back out too fast or something happens. We have a second spike, then I have to plan for that. I have to have A, B and C plans now. I can't just -- I'm not comfortable assuming it's going to be one way or the other.


LAVANDERA: And Fredricka, one of the things I found incredibly poignant about talking to Denise is she opened her store just before the economic collapse of 2008, 2009. She says this experience is far more difficult to prepare for and to handle than that collapsed 12 years ago.

WHITFIELD: Wow. And then potentially to rebound as well. All right. Ed Lavandera, thank you so much. All right. Now to New York City where the pandemic has some residents questioning whether to move to a less populated area altogether.


WHITFIELD: Our Athena Jones has that.


CHLOE JO DAVIS, NEW YORK RESIDENT: I've been inside for 48 days, now with three little boys.

ATHENA JONES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Lifelong New Yorker Chloe Davis never imagined leaving her beloved city until now.

DAVIS: The challenge for me as a parent and for the kids themselves.

JONES: Davis and her husband were already used to working from home but weeks spent cramped inside their rented two-bedroom apartment, homeschooling their three young sons and caring for rescue pets have changed her calculation.

DAVIS: In a way our life has changed the least of all our friends because we're so used to being at home together, but also it's scary and you don't know what's to come down the pipeline, you know, financially.

JONES: Her family is now looking to leave the density of New York City where the coronavirus has confined them indoors for the space available in the suburbs. They hope to move to a less expensive home with a yard in Connecticut or Westchester. Davis acknowledges they are fortunate to have the means to even consider such a move. But even for them, it has been challenging to find an affordable match.

DAVIS: The problem is, is that there very few rentals in these places. So once again goes back to, you know, the class issue of who can run out and buy a house right away versus who can rent.

JONES: The Davis' are not alone and their desire to flee a crowded city. Alison Bernstein, whose company's Suburban Jungle helps city dwellers relocate to the suburbs says she's now fielding three times the call she was this time last year from families in search of greener pastures. Fewer crowns, more space, and a better quality of life.

ALISON BERNSTEIN, FOUNDER, SUBURBAN JUNGLE: There's no end in sight. So, if somebody said, hey, this is six weeks and you're going to be fine, it would be a different animal. But these people are like what happens to the second wave (INAUDIBLE)

JONES: After years of growth, New York City's population had already begun to slowly decline in 2017.

WILLIAM FREY, BOOKINGS INSTITUTION DEMOGRAPHER: It's not just to New York thing, it's a kind of softening of growth among cities all over the country.

JONES: Chicago and Los Angeles saw similar trends as the economy picked up in the suburbs and elsewhere. But some fear COVID-19 could supercharge the trend here. Already budget officials estimate the city could shed nearly half a million jobs by early 2021 due to the COVID- 19 crisis, leading to nearly $10 billion in lost tax revenue which could force steep cuts to basic services like schools, transit, law enforcement and trash collection.

As well as things like parks and museums, making the city less attractive, much as it did during the steep population declines of the 1970s.

FREY: As a quality of life goes down in New York, you know, it will spiral, more people won't want to come here. New Yorkers will likely leave and so, you know, it's absolutely important for the city to hold on to its population and keep that exodus from happening.

JONES: Still, there is reason for hope.

FREY: New York has been counted out before and after 911. And after the Great Recession, New York came back stronger than ever.

JONES: And Gen Zers could lead the way.

FREY: Once the economy comes back just a little bit, cities are going to be very attractive the Gen Zers, just like cities were attractive millennials back when the Great Recession was at its peak.

JONES: Athena Jones, CNN New York.


WHITFIELD: All right. Still ahead. Protests and anger spilling out into the streets of Orange County, California. People upset with the closure of beaches and now some cities are taking their fights to court.

Plus, as some states reopen one city in New Mexico under emergency restrictions but tough new rules affecting thousands of people.

Then later, the experimental drug remdesivir has been approved to treat hospitalized patients with coronavirus but how safe is it?



WHITFIELD: Welcome back. The spread of COVID-19 virus is prompting drastic measures in some communities. You're about to see a road that is blocked right there in New Mexico. It is keeping vehicles from entering the town of Gallup which sits on the edge of the Navajo Nation. New Mexico's governor declared a state of emergency Friday for Gallup New Mexico to "Mitigate the uninhibited spread of COVID-19."

So right now all roads into Gallup are closed. The governor says Gallup has 14 times the amount of cases of COVID-19, then New Mexico's largest urban center of Albuquerque. The state has more than 3500 cases and 131 deaths.

In California, Governor Gavin Newsom is closing some beaches after people did not practice social distancing. The order sent thousands of protesters to Huntington Beach on Friday, demanding the governor reopen the popular beach. CNN's Paul Vercammen is in Huntington Beach. So Paul, what's it look like there today?

PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, what we've seen this morning is people have come down to the beach to go surfing. In fact, we've seen hundreds of surfers. If you look behind me, a police official telling us here that the rules are, they will warn people and we've heard it via bullhorn, they will tell people that they are not to be on the beach. But right now, we are not seeing any heavy handedness.

Now why is this beach still closed? In the waning hours of yesterday, in impassioned court hearing, the city of Huntington Beach in Dana Point went to court to try to reopen the beaches, arguing that among other things shutting down the beach was violating people's constitutional rights. They also said that they felt the governor had made his decision from a podium in Northern California on some photographs.

And let's show you what they were alluding to. In Newport Beach last weekend, clearly there were a lot of people on the sand.


VERCAMMEN: And with a certain angle if you look at the umbrellas lined up though, it looks like these people are right on top of each other. But that's called a compaction shot. If you look from above and Newport Beach city officials provided this afternoon shot, it looks like there are vast open spaces and what the lawyer for Dana Point had said repeatedly, look, that was a checkerboard pattern or a chessboard pattern.

People really weren't on top of each other. In the end, an Orange County judge denied the appeal for a temporary restraining order, that left these beaches closed. That's leaving people here frustrated but nonetheless, some of them are still going out and surfing.


SAMANTHA SUTTERFIELD, SURFER: I almost cried. Like I was super sad and upset. I just bought this new surfboard and then like the next day, they're going to close the beaches.

GREG FRANK, SURFER: It felt a little targeted. It felt really like he was focusing on Orange County specifically because what happened last weekend. And, you know, it was unfortunate just because I felt like the ban in California was a little patchy, right? Some counties were more closed like San Diego and L.A. County were closed. So people came here, right? If we would have done just a fair even close on all beaches, that would have been more fair.


VERCAMMEN: So what he's saying is the closure or the opening of these other counties put pressure on Huntington Beach in specific. We'll see if the governor tries to work things out out of court in the meantime. Back to you now, Fred,

WHITFIELD: All right. Paul Vercammen, thank you so much. All right. Joining me right now is Dr. Amesh Adalja, a senior scholar at Johns Hopkins University Center for Health Security. Doctor, good to see you. So, you know, lots of people in California, you know, clearly upset about the decision to close the beaches. In fact, the mayor of Newport Beach says that the decision is not supported by data, what's your response to that?

DR. AMESH ADALJA, SENIOR SCHOLAR, JOHN HOPKINS UNIVERSITY CENTER FOR HEALTH SECURITY: These are going to be very difficult decisions where there's not really a black or white answer, it's a lot of gray. And there is going to be -- there needs to be data when you actually make these decisions. And we know that people on beaches can be relatively safe if they social distance, if those that are vulnerable are not coming to the beach, or if they are a social distancing. But oftentimes, there's a perception that people at the beach are going to be frolicking with each other and not observing that. And I think it's important that we -- when we do close beaches that there is data supporting the fact that this is -- this is what's necessary. And we encourage people if they are going to a beach that they still exhibit social distancing behaviors, because that's the best way to keep yourself from getting infected with this or spreading this virus.

WHITFIELD: Yes. And every state still trying to figure it all out, you know, California, however, the governor has said out loud that he's actually thinking about, you know, reopening some schools starting in July, whether it be, you know, summer programs or even an early start to the new school year. Do you think it would be a good idea? Perhaps there are going to be smaller school districts.

But is it a good idea that any school district could be entertaining that well before there was any kind of vaccine available or even breakthrough on treatments?

ADALJA: So closure of schools was always a controversial subject. This was something that was really divided many people in my field. And some people believe for good reason that closure of schools wasn't going to add much to our other social distancing measures. And we didn't quite understand the epidemiology of children. Meaning we knew they got infected, but were they actually spreading this or magnifying it like they do for influenza?

And that data is actually supportive of not closing schools, or opening them back up. So I do think that Governor Newsom's idea to open schools earlier rather than later is something that -- that's supported by the evidence and I think it could be a good -- a good step. There may be some modifications at schools with social distancing, changing how the cafeteria or recess is handled and making sure vulnerable employees are protected. But I do think that school opening is something that should be on the table.

WHITFIELD: Uh-hmm. And Dr. Adalja, what do you think about this experimental drug, remdesivir? You know, the FDA has issued an emergency use authorization. But how confident are you that it could successfully treat the virus?

ADALJA: I'm fairly confident that it does have a positive effect on those people who are infected with this virus and have severe illness and are in the hospital and it helps them get out of the hospital faster, which is really important for hospital capacity. I know they're going to be people that are two -- that are -- that their symptoms are too mild for this to benefit from. So we have to really figure out exactly which patients benefit the most from it.

And I think that's what the emergency use authorization is about, severe patients that are in the hospital and maybe get out of the hospital faster. Relieve hospital capacity. And I think that's an important advance because we didn't have anything to treat this with. And this is the first drug that we actually see evidence that it is beneficial. So I think it is something that people are celebrating.

WHITFIELD: All right. Dr. Amesh Adalja, thank you so much. I appreciate your time. Stay well.

ADLJA: Thank you.

WHITFIELD: All right. Coming up. At 2:30 right here on CNN, a panel of experts will be joining me to answer your coronavirus questions. Go to to submit your questions on health, money, education and we'll have answers for you.


WHITFIELD: Again, that's it 2:30 today Eastern Time right here on CNN.


WHITFIELD: All right. Now to Russia were Friday, the country saw yet another daily spike in COVID-19 cases. And Thursday, Russia's Prime Minister announced he tested positive for the virus.


All this just one month after Russian President Vladimir Putin told the country Russia had the coronavirus under control.

CNN's Matthew Chance brings us some startling images that show how much stress this virus is putting on Russia's health care workers.



MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For weeks, Russia insisted the pandemic there was under control. But these startling images from a hospital in the south of the country show just how overstretched its health service has become.

This cold, tiny room was a laundry storage cupboard, according to the narrator. Now it's a makeshift ward for five coughing women. No room for social distancing here.

And these aren't even the hospital's patients. They're medical staff, the narrator says, who have fallen ill with symptoms of the virus and with nowhere else to be treated.

We can't confirm they have COVID-19, but a local government official says the women were later moved to a fully equipped ward and several hospital employees were disciplined.

Still, it's a grim picture with a toll this coronavirus is taking on Russia's health workers.

This Russian doctor says she believes a large proportion of medical workers are already sick and, in current working conditions, she says more infections for just a matter of time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE) CHANCE: Across Russia, the plight of essential medical staff has become a major concern. Moscow's main coronavirus hospital is reported to have suffered mass resignations of key workers.


CHANCE: Like Natalia Lyubimaya, whose complaints on social media of excessively long shifts, lasting days on end, lack of equipment, as well as food and salary shortfalls.

The hospital denies it's using staff, but even the Kremlin is now acknowledging acute shortages of personal protection equipment or PPE despite ramping up production.

VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT (through translation): In March, 3,000 protective suits for doctors were produced per day. By mid-May, it would be over 150,000. Yes, in comparison with what it was just recently, it is a lot. But in comparison with what is needed now, it is still not enough.

CHANCE: It's been just a few weeks since Russia was exporting assistance overseas to the U.S. and especially Italy, where Russian doctors were shown working side by side with their European comrades.

But at this hospital at home in St. Petersburg, Russia's second biggest city, ambulance drivers said they were waiting up to 10 hours outside just to deliver a single patient.

The numbers, it seems, are already overwhelming and Russia's peak, according to the Kremlin, is yet to come.


CHANCE: The latest of those numbers, Fredricka, has come to us a few hours ago. The Russian authorities now saying they have diagnosed or officially confirmed more than 125,000 people in the country that have COVID-19 symptoms and have been confirmed with having that virus. Including the prime minister who's in hospital right now, as you mentioned earlier.

But the interesting figure is this one, nine and a half thousand people, new infections over the course of the last 24 hours. That's the single biggest daily jump since this crisis began.

Back to you.

WHITFIELD: That's a significant number.

Matthew Chance, thank you.

Up next, 44 states across this country are shutting down schools for the reminder of the academic school year. So what does the future hold for children in Dallas? I'll talk with the superintendent about his reopening plans.



WHITFIELD: Live pictures right now incoming. You see the Blue Angels as well as the United State Air Force Thunderbirds doing a flyover, paying homage to and honoring health care workers across the country. This time, over Atlanta.

And we understand there are a number of health care workers that are on a -- you can see the formation there -- on a rooftop parking lot over at Emery University Medical Center.

And these dozen aircraft also did a formation over the Washington, D.C., and Baltimore, Maryland, areas, paying respect to the health care workers. And it's taking place now over the skies of Atlanta.

All right, 44 states across the country have announced school closures throughout the end of the academic year. Schools are beginning to think critically about plans for the opening of their doors. It's not just a question of when but, how will they do it.

What does reopening entail for the second-largest school district in the state of Texas?

Joining me to discuss is Michael Hinojosa, Dallas Independent School District superintendent.

Good to see you, Mr. Superintendent.

Dallas another one of my favorite cities --


WHITFIELD: -- and a former resident of.

Your school district is one of the 44 -- among the 44 states who have said you won't be back in session until at least the fall. As you try to reassess reopening, how do you prioritize, what will it look like potentially?

MICHAEL HINOJOSA, SUPERINTENDENT, DALLAS INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DISTRICT: We've made some decisions. Obviously, for summer school, everything is virtual at home. We're going to pivot to the fall and how we're going to open a lot of the schools.

The first plan is business as usual, which is very doubtful. That would be Plan A. Plan B is our current state. That's also very likely. Then we get to plan C, and it becomes a hybrid or blended learning. We have a lot of different variations of that, depending on what the health officials and state officials and federal officials tell us. So we have multiple plans that we're finalizing as we speak.

WHITFIELD: When you say blended, meaning there may be some remote learning for part of the day and some of the months, before everyone is invited back into the classrooms, is that what you mean?


HINOJOSA: Yes, that's a big part of it. Also, another thing is connectivity. We also have to provide for our workers that go in. And most of our employees -- most of our parents are economically disadvantaged, over 90 percent. So a lot of their children are hourly workers.

So we're also thinking about, do we bring all the elementary school to the buildings and have the secondary schools learning at home? We have multiple variations of that. How do we serve our community and keep everybody safe and keep learning going?

We're juggling a lot of balls in the air, but we're busy planning it all out.

WHITFIELD: Serving your community means knowing your community. You know that 40 percent of your students in your district don't have reliable Internet access.

Given that as well, how are you going to be able to accommodate or address the learning needs, particularly in areas where they don't have the Internet or they don't have computer access?

HINOJOSA: We have given out a lot of computers and we've given out a lot of hotspots, but those are short-term solutions. We're starting a new initiative, called Operation Connectivity. This is going to be local, state and federal.

We're coming to the feds with some requests in the next package about how we can establish connectivity. We think it's a right just like any other utility you should have like water and gas and electrician. Connectivity is now a new expectation that is no longer a privilege. It should be a right. And we're going to be working on that very diligently in Dallas.

WHITFIELD: Dallas Independent School District superintendent, Michael Hinojosa, thank you so much. Be well, and best of luck.

HINOJOSA: Thank you, Fredericka. Thank you for having me.

WHITFIELD: Thank you.

As we head to break, more images of the Navy Blue Angels and the Air Force Thunderbirds performing a salute to front line workers over the skies of Atlanta.



WHITFIELD: As scientists around the world race to find a coronavirus vaccine, globally, there are eight human test trials underway. In the U.S. there are two, including one that uses some promising but unproven technology.

The government recently investing nearly $500 billion into Moderna, a biotech company, that became the first to begin human trials six weeks ago. While traditional vaccines like the flu shot involve injecting a tiny piece of a weakened or dead virus into the body in order to stimulate an immune response, Moderna's product does not contain any virus and, instead, prompts the body to make its own medicine.

Neal Browning is one of the 45 healthy people who volunteered to take part in Moderna's human trial. He joins me now from Seattle to discuss.

Neal, good to see you.


WHITFIELD: You had the first dose in March, and you have since had a second dose. How do you feel?

BROWNING: That's correct. I feel completely normal. I had no side effects whatsoever aside from a very sore arm the next morning, much like you get if you had a regular flu shot.

WHITFIELD: What was your understanding, what have you been informed about being part of a test trial, what it incorporates, before you actually did it?

BROWNING: So this was not previously tested on animals, so we are the first humans and first animals to receive this in order to speed things up. They let us know this is, as you said, not any part of a virus, live or dead. It's using messenger RNA technology that reprograms our cells to make something that looks like a COVID-19 virus cell so our bodies can recognize and attack it.

WHITFIELD: What inspired you to do this, to take part in it?

BROWNING: I mean, seeing the pain and suffering, and all the trauma, the deaths, knowing we're all members of the human race, and this opportunity presented itself, I felt like I need to give back and help our fellow men.

WHITFIELD: You're a family man. You have kids. You are a husband. Was your family on board with this? How much of this did they know?

BROWNING: So my fiancee is a registered nurse. She and I talked about this. With her medical background and doing my own research they gave us, we felt like the risk was minimal compared to what benefits it could help for humanity.

Discussing it with the kids, they didn't totally understand everything that was going on, since they range in ages from 8 to almost 12. They know that dad's helping out and that, in the future, they potentially could get the same shot I did, in terms of the next set of virus vaccines that go out.

WHITFIELD: You've had two doses. How long is this trial?

BROWNING: The entire trial will take just over a year. That is because they need to continue testing our blood to see that antibodies are remaining in the blood stream for, hopefully, approximately a year, in order to make it a successful vaccine.

WHITFIELD: You keep a journal, and in that journal, what do you write about? What have been your experiences?

BROWNING: They gave us a memory journey to basically write down any symptoms, signs of anything whatsoever, whether we think it is related to the vaccination or not, so their team can research it and determine if they think it's related to the vaccine.

It ranges from headaches, slight fevers, runny nose, fatigue, joint aches, nausea, as well as itching or swelling or redness at the site of the injection.


WHITFIELD: Then quickly what have scientists told you they are looking for to ascertain over the next year whether it is a viable option, whether it works, whether it is a good vaccine?

BROWNING: First and foremost is, of course, that there are no ill effects to the humans taking it. After that, hopefully, they see that the spiked protein are being formed by my body and my body reacts as if they are something invading the body.

And then, hopefully, the antibodies are created and remain in the blood stream for a good year to provide the extra layer of protection in the future.

WHITFIELD: You seem really nonchalant about this. Are you excited? Are you nervous about taking part? You did this willingly and voluntarily.

BROWNING: There was definitely some nerves involved in the beginning because this had not been trialed on people. I didn't know what to expect.

But after the first week or two, when there was literally no symptom or any change in my physiology or how I was feeling, it kind of mellowed with time. And it seems like this is definitely the right choice that I made in trying to help out, since there really hasn't been any side effects.

WHITFIELD: Neal Browning, doing this for all of us.

Really appreciate it. Thank you so much.

BROWNING: You bet. Thank you.

WHITFIELD: All right, as we head to break, another look at that salute to front-line workers during the coronavirus pandemic. The Navy Blue Angels and Air Force Thunderbirds performing a salute in the skies of Atlanta.

We'll be right back.



WHITFIELD: Antibody testing for millions of Americans is critical during this pandemic. But getting your hands on one can be very difficult. Much of the testing available today is for people with underlying conditions or a specific occupation. But now a renowned hospital in Denver is making antibody testing available for absolutely anyone who wants it.

CNN's Gary Tuchman goes through the process and shows how easy and stress free it is.


GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Getting your blood analyzed for COVID-19 antibodies has not been easy to do if you aren't a first responder or health care worker.

UNIDENTIFIED PHYSICIAN: And this was one thing we could do to really reduce the barriers to care and expand access to testing.

TUCHMAN: At Denver's National Jewish Health Center, if you want an antibody test, you can get an antibody test. You don't need connections or even a doctor's recommendation. You make a reservation and drive into a parking lot.


TUCHMAN: This type of interview starts an easy process.

(on camera): Hello, there.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hello. How are you doing today?

TUCHMAN: How are you?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Could I get your name please?

TUCHMAN: My name is Gary Tuchman.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let me find your paperwork, real quick.

TUCHMAN: Thank you.

(voice-over): I made an appointment the day before to get a close look at a process that will hopefully get more and more prominent across the country and to answer a question as I continue to cover stories on CNN: Have I already had COVID-19 without knowing it?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In the last two weeks, have you had any fever?

TUCHMAN (on camera): No.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. Any new or worsening cough?


(voice-over): Following the interview, you walk into this trailer for a 10-minute visit to get your blood drawn.

(on camera): You did a great job. Right in the vein, right?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you. Yes. You have a great day.

TUCHMAN: Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Relax your fist.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): My blood and the blood of others is then walked over to the medical center campus into this lab. The vials go into a centrifuge.


TUCHMAN (on camera): That's mine?

WOLF (ph): That's yours.

TUCHMAN (voice-over): Molly Wolf (ph) is the lab supervisor.

WOLF (ph): This is the process is where we pull the serum off the whole blood.

TUCHMAN: This is the final step for our blood. This machine is called the automated analyzer. The analyzing will take a little over four hours.

This test, which has been submitted for emergency use authorization to the FDA, costs $94 but is eligible for insurance coverage. Hundreds of people are getting tested here each day.

So while it is important for this country to have a better idea how many people have or have had COVID-19, what does it mean for any of us who test positive for the antibodies?

UNIDENTIFIED PHYSICIAN: I would not let your guard down. Even if you have it, you do not know how much protection you do or do not have and how long that protection will last.

TUCHMAN: Well, my guard will definitely be staying up either way. I got my results the next day. The determination? Not detected, which means negative. I have not had the coronavirus.

Gary Tuchman, CNN, Denver.


WHITFIELD: All right. Hello, again, everyone. Thank you so much for being with me. I'm Fredricka Whitfield.

We begin with the U.S. entering a new phase in the fight against the coronavirus. This weekend, more than 30 states are partially reopening. By the end of next week, that number will be at least 42. Easing restrictions means that restaurants, stores, and even shopping malls are permitted to get back to business.


Despite that, there are still some businesses taking a more cautious approach, choosing not to reopen.