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Large Crowds Protest Beach Closures Ordered By California Governor; FDA Approves Use Of Remdesivir As COVID-19 Treatment; Dozens Of States Will Be Partially Reopened By May 10; Residents In Big Cities Consider Move To Less-Dense Suburbs; Biden Again Denies Sexually Assaulting Former Staff Assistant; Fauci To Appear Before Senate Commitee May 12 But White House Blocks Him From House Panel Testimony. Aired 7-8a ET

Aired May 2, 2020 - 07:00   ET




VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: They don't look to be enjoying at all.

PAUL: -- sometimes (INAUDIBLE) know better and if you give them a treat, they don't care, they'll do it. Just saying.

BLACKWELL: All right.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The day of as well as uncertainty as the FDA approves the first emergency use of treatment for the coronavirus.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Every patient will receive remdesivir because the first trial showed benefit, shorten the course of illness and showed a decrease in mortality.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Families are suffering across the state, across the country, and it's time to get the economy moving again.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's a very contagious disease. So, I still think it might be a little too soon.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Check, come back out and be this close together.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There will be more dead people, just say it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: According to a just released report written by the CDC's Principal Deputy Director, limited testing, the continued influx of infected travelers from overseas all fueled the devastating early spread of this virus.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This virus doesn't take the weekends off. This virus doesn't go home because it's a beautiful sunny day around our coasts.


ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY WEEKEND with Victor Blackwell and Christi Paul.

BLACKWELL: Good morning to Atlanta. Beautiful shot there. Wherever you're watching in the world, thanks so much for being with us.

PAUL: Yes, this is the first weekend of these loosened coronavirus restrictions for more than half the country at this point. Right now, more than 30 states are easing those restrictions. Dozens are planning to be partially reopened in about eight days by May 10th.

BLACKWELL: And maybe there's a chance that you can go to a mall again, it depends on the state you're in. A mall giant, Simon Property Group says, the reopening 49 malls across 10 states. In California, there's a tension over decision to add some restrictions. You see here this crowd in Huntington Beach yesterday protesting the governor's order to close all beaches in Orange County.

PAUL: And let's look ahead together here, we're learning about key moments back in March that led us to this point where we are right now. A new CDC report out on the key factors that accelerated the spread of coronavirus in the early days of the U.S. outbreak. Among them, international travel, a lack of testing, and asymptomatic spreaders.

BLACKWELL: Some optimism here the FDA has given emergency use authorization to the experimental drug Remdesivir. It'll allow the drug to be used to treat hospitalized patients with severe cases. Let's start with CNN Health Reporter Jacqueline Howard. Jacqueline, good morning to you. The approval of Remdesivir does not mean that it is the new standard of care for all patients. Explain what we should, should glean from this, this authorization.

JACQUELINE HOWARD, CNN HEALTH REPORTER: Well, what we can really glean from this is that the authorization means that this drug, Remdesivir, can now be distributed and administered to the most severe COVID-19 cases in the hospital. So, this does count according to Dr. Fauci, he said that this, you know, will be the standard of care for those patients.

Now, more research is needed to determine whether this drug can be administered to more moderate illness patients who might not have such a severe illness at this point. So, the authorization really is really giving a thumbs up from the FDA that we can now just distribute and administer this for those severe cases in the hospital.

PAUL: I want to talk to you about this new CDC report that a lack of testing and continued travel early on, fueled the transmission of this, this virus? Help us understand what lessons we're learning from that, so we have a better understanding of what we need to do from this point forward.

HOWARD: Christi, you know, there's a lot of lessons we can learn and for one by really looking back in March and really determining, OK, what got us to this point that can help us really better prepare and you know really put in more serious measures to prevent an outbreak like this happening and again.

So, what the CDC report found were four factors that really seemed to drive the spread of the coronavirus here in the United States: One, as you mentioned, travel. Two, there were cases where the virus was introduced into areas where there was a lot of high density, like if you remember in March and nursing homes, there were a lot of outbreaks and that's one example of the virus been introduced into an area where there's a lot of vulnerable people.

That seemed to drive the outbreak. Number three, a lot of mass gatherings and large social events. And then number four testing, you know, we, we really had issues with detecting the virus early on, and not just testing and detecting but then tracing the contacts of those people who were positive for the coronavirus and then testing them. So, it really comes down to you start with testing and then move from there.


PAUL: All right, Jacqueline Howard, really appreciate it. Thank you

BLACKWELL: So, each of the states partially reopening by May 10th, it's taken in their own approach to easing the restrictions. Some are choosing to go slow, others -- or slowly, I should say -- others are moving at a quicker pace. Those right now are starting to open restaurants and theaters.

PAUL: Yes, CNN's Alison Kosik. Is has a closer look for us right now. So, Alison, good to see you this morning. Talk to us about some of these different approaches. Is there anything that stands out to you specifically?

ALISON KOSIK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Christi and Victor, at least 42 states across the country have begun to lift restrictions or partially reopened and yes, they are doing it in different ways, but there is one constant, they are asking people to continue to social distance. One state that stood out to me was Michigan, angry protesters demanding that Governor Gretchen Whitmer reopen the state. She actually extended the stay at home order till May 15th, but she will allow some types of businesses that traditionally prefer perform work outdoors to reopen on May 7th.

Businesses like real estate and construction and some types of manufacturing. Another state that stood out to me California, seeing mixed messages there. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti saying he doesn't think the city will reopen before May 15th, and that's despite an announcement by the governor.

Governor Newsom saying that he is days, not weeks away from beginning to lift restrictions there. So very different approach depending on which state you look at Christi and Victor.

VICTOR: So, New York, on pause restrictions, they've been extended through the middle of May. We also know there's been a decision on schools, right? KOSIK: Right. So yes, here in New York, the stay at home and the non- essential business closures remained in effect until May 15th. And Governor Andrew Cuomo announcing yesterday that schools in New York will remain closed for the duration of the academic year and the decision on summer schools that will be made by the end of the month, Victor.

You know today is interesting for New York because we're about to have one of our best one of our best weather days in a really long time. It's been gray, it's been rainy today. It's expected to be 72 degrees, and there's worry building as the weather gets better that people here in New York will become relaxed. We've been hearing from Andrew Cuomo saying, we have to remain vigilant and remain our social distance measures in place. Back to you.

BLACKWELL: Alison Kosik for us there in New York, thank you. So, there's some tension in California over the governor's decision to close beaches in Orange County. Let's take you to Huntington Beach. One Health official, well, I should say health officials do not want to see this: a large crowd of protesters, they packed pretty close together, you can see here. Many of them without masks.

PAUL: And they're not the only ones that are upset about the beach being closed, we should point out three cities in Orange County tried to block Governor Gavin Newsom's order, arguing that their county was singled out while other beaches in the state are open. A judge rejected that request though, but apparently, we'll hear more challenges even next week.

BLACKWELL: Well, the pandemic is urging some people to reconsider living in the city. The reality is that high density areas like New York are more susceptible to outbreaks and that could escalate an exodus to the less busy maybe a little more spread out suburbs.

PAUL: Yes. CNN's Athena Jones reports on a tough decision that some families are facing right now.


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

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

DAVIS: It's a challenge for me as a parent and, 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 four 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 are very few rentals in these places. So, it once again goes back to you know a 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 the 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 crowds, more space, and a better quality of life.


ALISON BERNSTEIN, 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.

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

WILLIAM FREY, BROOKINGS INSTITUTION DEMOGRAPHER: It's not just a 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.

JONATHAN BOWLES, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, CENTER FOR URBAN FUTURE: As the 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.

BOWLES: New York has been counted out before and after 911, and after 9/11, and after the Great Recession, New York, came back stronger than ever.

JONES: And Gen-Z-ers could lead the way.

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

JONES: Athena Jones, CNN New York.


BLACKWELL: Today, state parks golf courses are opening across the state of New Jersey. With us now a member of the governor's restart and recovery commission, Neera Tanden, President of the Center for American Progress and former Policy Director for Hillary Clinton, worked on the Obama 2008 campaign in the Obama administration. We'll get to some politics in a moment. Neera, good morning to you.


BLACKWELL: All right. So, let me start here: Governor Murphy has named former CDC director, former Fed chair transportation executives, education to this commission, in your announcement, you are quoted saying that you'll focus on making sure New Jersey builds back stronger and fairer. Give us an idea of what that looks like, what your priorities are to bring that to fruition?

TANDEN: Well, first and foremost, my focus is on ensuring public health and ensuring the safety of the recovery. Obviously, in according to experts, public health and the economy go hand in hand, people will not feel comfortable of reopening the economy going back to work unless they're safe. And so, I think I really appreciate the governor's response to that, which is to really ensure that we're focused on public health.

But obviously, we have a long term recovery in New Jersey and across the nation, and ensuring that we have an economy that is fair, that is, that is doing the kinds of things that we're talking about now: ensuring essential workers have the benefits they need to, you know, to actually do the critical work they're doing. I think that those are the kinds of ideas that will be reflected in the commission. And I look forward to that discussion.

BLACKWELL: So, you know, I went back and read the plan from the Centers for American Progress, Center for American Progress that was released a month ago. And what's remarkable is, how far the country is from accomplishing many of those things to get us back to, to work, get us back to school, get us back to some sense of normalcy.

TANDEN: Right. So, we outlined really three critical steps and I want to say what's been fascinating is, those steps are steps that the American Enterprise Institute, Harvard University, a range of experts have all physically created to consensus. We need mass testing and I just want to say, testing everyone who is sick, frontline workers, and really testing in the community where you don't see sickness so you know where the virus is in. Contact tracing, instantaneous contract tracing and just traditional

contact tracing, and then finally, the ability to separate out people who are sick to quarantine them essentially. What I'm incredibly hopeful about is that the governor of New Jersey and many governors around the country, Governor Cuomo, Governor Newsom recognize the importance of these steps.

And they are working to operationalize that. Testing has gone up, it's at around 300,000 per day now, which is a major improvement but still some distance from where we need to get.

BLACKWELL: So, let me ask you. As part of that plan we just put up, the benchmarks for easing restrictions, stay at home policies have to be in for a minimum of 45 days, instantaneous contact tracing. Two of the things that are not in place on a national scale or, or specifically in New Jersey, but today parks and golf courses are reopening in New Jersey. Is it too soon for that to happen even by the, the -- your group's standard?


TANDEN: Well, this is a really important point. So, opening parks, opening recreational opportunities outside is not really in conflict with what we're saying because what we're talking about is steps to reopen your economy. And actually, there's plenty of evidence that parks as long as people continue to socially distance within the parks, ensuring people have access to you know, essentially the outdoors is very critical.

The great worry in California and elsewhere is that people fled to beaches and, you know, aren't socially distancing while they do so. And I think I think governors and leaders have to be concerned about and I think that's why it was so important for New Jersey's Governor Phil Murphy to say that he's going to do this and monitor how people are interacting. And if, if people aren't socially distancing, then he may reconsider. I think that's a critical step.

BLACKWELL: All right, finally on politics here and I asked this because he worked on the 2008 campaign, the Obama Biden campaign after the Clinton campaign in the administration. About Tara Reade, she's accused former Vice President Joe Biden of sexually assaulting her in 1993. The Vice President has released the documents and for an interview denying them. The allegations, also calling for the President of the Senate to release any relevant documents. Many Democrats have said that this should be investigated, what do you think that investigation should look like?

TANDEN: Well, I think a critical component of this is that it has been investigated. It is being investigated. And I really appreciate Vice President Biden's response to this, which is not to dismiss the side of hand to state clearly that he didn't do it and then also call for a release. And I would note, this is a call for the release of documents and any information about the personnel records. I do think it's I think it's a very difficult situation, but I think he's handled it with respect to victims across the country by being so open about it and really trying to get the information out. BLACKWELL: Last thing, in the Kavanaugh investigation. Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, she asked for an FBI investigation. If Tara Reade were to ask for an FBI investigation, would you support that?

TANDEN: An FBI investigation is hard. I just want to be crystal clear about this. Every Supreme Court Justice has had FBI investigations as part of that process. I think that, I think so that's why I think it doesn't make sense to have an FBI investigation.

I think we should try to get the Senate records. And I'm glad that the vice president sent a letter last night trying to get those records and urging the Senate to release that. That's what I think is so important as he's trying to get the information out, and I think that indicates that he has strong trust, as many of us do in his in his answers.

BLACKWELL: Neera Tanden, thanks so much for your time this morning.

TANDEN: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: All right, Christi.

PAUL: So, there are questions this morning about why the White House is blocking Dr. Anthony Fauci from testifying before the Democratic- led house next week? We have a live report coming up for you next.

BLACKWELL: Also, what could be in the next coronavirus relief package that's being debated in Washington?



PAUL: So, the White House is blocking Coronavirus Task Force Member, Dr. Anthony Fauci from testifying next week before Congress.

BLACKWELL: The House Appropriations Committee wanted to hear from the Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, but he will apparently be allowed to testify the following week at a Senate hearing. CNN's Kristen Holmes is at the White House. Kristen, is the White House explaining why they are blocking Fauci from testifying before the House?

KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Victor and Christi. Well, they are. They are saying that it is counterproductive for Fauci to testify in the middle of the response to this pandemic, which, of course makes sense. However, as you mentioned, he is being allowed to testify in two weeks in front of the Senate. And as we have seen from every model, the pandemic response won't be over in two weeks.

Now, of course, this is leading many to think that this is a political decision as the house is led by Democrats and of course, the Senate is led by Republicans. And one thing to note here Dr. Fauci, while a critical member of the task force has often clashed with the President. Just this week, he was incredibly cautious on CNN talking about how we should all be careful with easing those social guidelines. We know President Trump himself has been eager to reopen the economy.

PAUL: So, Kristen, we know that the White House has been walking back a bit some of President Trump's comments about how strong this information is that links the coronavirus to that lab in Wuhan China in terms of the origination where this came from. What are we hearing specifically from the White House about that?

HOLMES: Good morning, Christi. Well, this all goes back to Thursday when President Trump said that he had seen evidence that there was there was a high degree of confidence within the intelligence community that the virus did, in fact, originate in a lab. Now, this came just hours after a rare statement from the intelligence community in which they said that they couldn't actually assess that at this time that they were still looking into it.

Now, we're hearing from a senior administration official who as you said is really looking like he's trying to walk this back saying essentially that while the majority of the intelligence community believes it originated in a lab in Wuhan that not all aspects, not all areas of the community know that or still have proven that. So that's kind of a walk back there saying that President Trump is partially right, something very different than we heard from that actual statement. Now, there have been a lot of questions about retaliation against China for their handling of the virus. Listen to what President Trump said yesterday about the possibility of tariffs.


DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're going to see what happens. A lot of things are happening with respect to China. We're not happy obviously with what happened. This is a bad situation. All over the world 182 countries, but we'll be having a lot to say about that. It's certainly an option.


HOLMES: And President Trump they're kind of hedging, but I will note that I've spoken to several senior administration officials who say tariffs are certainly on the table. Back to you.

PAUL: Kristen Holmes, always appreciate you. Thank you.

BLACKWELL: Canada is banning assault style weapons and After the country's worst mass shooting.

PAUL: Yes, 22 people were killed in that shooting. The assault weapons ban takes effect immediately as we understand it, CNN's Paula Newton is with us from Ottawa. Paula, walk us through the details of this.

PAULA NEWTON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You thought on the head you know it is the speed in the scope. I mean, basically this was a stroke of a pen. It was like the equivalent of an executive order and that was it, military style assault weapons completely banned in Canada here and it was not without controversy. You know, there are about over 100,000 of these weapons, but it's hard to really know how many they remain in the country. What's going to be controversial is what happens to these guns now. A

lot of gun owners saying look, if we talk about that terrible murder rampage, they say look, that man did not have a license. He did not legally own any of these firearms and also at issue here is the fact that some of those firearms actually police say we're obtained illegally in the United States.

A lot to get through here though. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau standing his ground and saying, look, you don't need an AR-15 to take down a deer. That was his message to legal gun owners. I don't have to remind you guys Christi and Victor.

Look, these are the kinds of weapons that were used in places like Sandy Hook and the Las Vegas shooting. And the irony here is as Canada tries to navigate what to do with these arms now, what to do with these firearms. They actually, the owners here in the next two-year amnesty could actually get a license to sell them back into the United States where they're legal in some states.

Listen, there will be legal challenges, but the Prime Minister saying his words, enough is enough. You want to do something about this. And he certainly has the majority of Canadians behind them. Although I'm telling you there is a minority of legal gun owners saying they will fight this legally. Christi and Victor.

PAUL: Paula Newton, thank you so much. We really appreciate seeing you today.


BLACKWELL: When we come back more aid on the way as lawmakers are debating what's going to be in this next coronavirus relief package. We'll tell you what's on that table and why some people are still waiting for that first stimulus check.



PAUL: Another devastating jobless number this week, 3.8 million Americans filed for first-time unemployment benefits. That brings the total number over the last six weeks to more than 30 million.

Well, lawmakers are now considering additional funding for state and local governments in the next coronavirus relief bill. CNN Politics and Business Correspondent Cristina Alesci is with us.

Cristina, good to see you this morning. I know this week, the Fed Reserve chairman, declared the nation is facing the worst economy in history. Help us have this conversation without scaring everybody to death.

CRISTINA ALESCI, CNN BUSINESS AND POLITICS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's a good point. What the Federal Reserve chairman tried to do is really put a human face on the staggering amount of job losses. These are people who are not only worried about the pandemic, but now worried about their future, and that really creates a real sense of uncertainty. And what the Federal Reserve chairman said is, I think, everyone is suffering here, but I think, those who are the least able to bear it are the ones who are losing their jobs, and that puts the human face on all of this.

And the fact that people are still waiting -- some people are still waiting for those economic relief checks, really underscores the pain that some families are feeling. The people who haven't received those checks are the ones who may not have their bank account information, you know, at the -- at the ready for the government to go ahead -- and to go ahead and provide that kind of relief.

But look, unemployment is just one troubling sign in the economy. This week, we also got a read on economic growth for the first quarter down 4.8 percent. That is just the tip of the iceberg. That's according to even a White House economic adviser, who said the second quarter is going to be really terrible.

And this pours a lot of cold water on the argument that Trump has been making mostly for political purposes that we are going to see a v- shaped recovery. Even the Federal Reserve chairman saying that over the medium term, there are real risks.

And less -- let's face it. The virus is going to determine what kind of recovery that we have in the economy. So, that's what we're looking at right now.

PAUL: Yes, yes. We've heard that the virus is the one making the decisions here at the end of the day. The stock market rallied early in the week and then it dropped. I've talked to some economists who say this is making no sense, we'll have a horrible employment rate, and then, the market will go up.

Help us understand the disconnect between the stock market, and, at least, it seems like a disconnect between the market and the real economy.


ALESCI: You're right, there is a disconnect and there usually is one. But this one feels way more stark because of the number of unemployed out there right now. And if you look at this chart, you'll see that the stocks have been rallying off their March lows. And that is because stock market investors got excited about the fact that -- you know, Congress passed that $2 trillion worth of stimulus.

And in addition to that, the Federal Reserve stepped in and injected even trillions more to make sure the markets continued -- continuing -- continued functioning normally. So, all of that got investors quite excited.

But then, we saw on Friday, hold on a minute, don't get too excited, there are still risks ahead. Especially now that you have President Trump agitating with China and the uncertainty over that trading relationship really pulled things back on Friday. So, more uncertainty ahead.

Unfortunately, I wish I had a better projection for you, but that's where we are right now. Christi.

PAUL: Yes, I know. We have to just be honest about it. Cristina Alesci, we appreciate it. Thank you so much.

BLACKWELL: Up next, human trials on a potential vaccine. They've started in Germany. We'll tell you when the experimental vaccine is going to be tested in the U.S. And how soon it could be ready for emergency use?



BLACKWELL: Twenty minutes until the top of the hour. There is some potential progress on a coronavirus vaccine in Germany. Scientists have completed the first dosing of an experimental vaccine that officials say could supply millions by the end of the year. Also, the German government says it's capable of testing almost 100,000 people a week.

PAUL: Frederik Pleitgen, CNN senior international correspondent is in Berlin. He's got some details for us. Fred, good to see you this morning. Walk us through the progress they've made thus far.

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's actually a lot of progress, Christi. This company is called BioNTech here in Germany. And they're actually the international partner of Pfizer.

And as far as the dosing of this first group of people is concerned, they say that they've now completed that all those people have the vaccine. It's only 12 people in the first cohort.

And what they want to do now is they want to immediately move forward very quickly to give the vaccine to about 200 people. And they say what they're going to do is they're going to increase the dosage, of course, they want to see whether or not, first of all, it actually works.

And then, second of all, also extremely important, of course, whether or not it is actually safe to use. But as far as Pfizer is concerned in all of this and BioNTech, both of them are saying they want to start trials in the U.S. as fast as possible as well.

I've been speaking to them, and they're telling us they hope that by sort of the latter half of next week, they are going to have regular -- regulatory approval in the U.S to start human trials there.

And as you guys have noted, their timeline seems pretty bold. They want to get emergency provisions for this by the end of fall. Then, they say, by the end of this year, they possibly -- if everything goes according to plan, could have over a million doses ready for use. And for next year, for 2021, they're hoping for hundreds of millions of doses.

So, maybe some good news. But, of course, we always have to keep in mind that right now they are still in the first stages of those huge human trials. As we said, only 12 people have gotten the vaccine so far. But the company certainly does seem to be quite confident in what they're making right now, guys.

BLACKWELL: Yes, a lot of people are optimistic. Very aggressive schedule there. We'll see if they can stick to it. Fred Pleitgen, thanks so much.

PAUL: Thank you, Fred. So, the desperate search obviously for vaccine is continuing, as he mentioned. And this is around the world. CNN investigates the risks that come with betting on treatments that haven't even reached the human trial phase. We'll be right back.



PAUL: So, we were just talking about this race to develop an effective coronavirus vaccine, which is in full force. The company that's creating the most buzz though, got nearly a half-billion dollars from the federal government, and it's never brought an approved vaccine to market.

BLACKWELL: CNN's Senior Investigative Correspondent, Drew Griffin, explains why so many people are so optimistic about this unproven technology.


DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SENIOR INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: 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've absolutely no symptoms, nothing to report.

GRIFFIN: Haydon was injected with a vaccine using a new medical technology developed by a company called Moderna, which has never had a drug or 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 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".

TRUMP: We want it fast. OK?

GRIFFIN: Most to the companies were talking vaccines some time in 2021. When Moderna's CEO Stephane Bancel took his turn, he told the president this.

STEPHANE BANCEL, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, 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 two right away.

TRUMP: So, you're talking over the next few months, you think you could have a vaccine.

BANCEL: Correct, correct, for phase two.


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: You won't have a vaccine. You'll have a vaccine to go into testing.

BANCEL: To phase two, 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.

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

NIKOLAI PETROVSKY, PROFESSOR OF MEDICINE, FLINDERS UNIVERSITY, AUSTRALIA: If we want to really have an impact on this pandemic, then we should be using vaccine platforms that are being 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: 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: But vaccine development is tough. Even the lead investigator for Moderna's vaccine trial at Emery University, says nothing is certain.

DR. EVAN ANDERSON, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR OF MEDICINE, 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: Moderna, says, right now, it is on track to move into phase two, phase three trials. And with luck, we'll be able to produce enough vaccine under emergency use authorization if they get it to begin inoculating millions of people. By the end of this year, tens of millions of people by 2021. Drew Griffin, CNN, Atlanta.

BLACKWELL: Thank you, Drew. Coming up, what we know and what we do not know about the drug remdesivir. The FDA has approved it for emergency used to treat the sickest coronavirus patients.


PAUL: We know that sleep helps boost our immune system. That's important to know right now. Yes, well, in today's "FOOD AS FUEL", CNN's Jacqueline Howard, shows us how the things we drink during the day can affect how we sleep at night.


HOWARD: Getting enough sleep or better quality sleep may begin with what you sip during the day. The first step is stay hydrated. An Oxford study found a link between sleep deprivation and inadequate hydration.

For women, experts recommend you drink about 11 cups of water each day, and a little more than 15 cups for men. Experts recommend before you head to bed though, try avoiding caffeine. That includes caffeinated coffees, teas, and sodas. And although a nightcap may be tempting, it may contribute to poor quality sleep.

According to the Journal of Neuroscience, drinking alcohol casually or chronically may interfere with adenosine levels, a chemical in the brain that helps you sleep. Instead, try sipping warm milk. Or better yet, milk mixed with some honey, which one nutritional studies suggest as an effective and affordable way to improve your sleep.

But overall it's recommended to watch your liquids close to bedtime. So, you won't have to make too many trips to the restroom while falling asleep.

PAUL: So, I want to tell you that the 16-year-old who's trying to make social distancing a little more tolerable with some incredible sidewalk chalk drawings. Look at this, some take as long as four hours to create.

Railey Warren is her name. She says she's even set up a map on her Instagram account to find them.


RAILEY WARREN, SIDEWALK ARTIST: Right now, people are always stuck in their homes, can't really -- social distancing. That can -- that's hard on some people. So, I'm hoping to create as much fun as possible, and something more interactive like this chalk art.


BLACKWELL: So, it's more than just fun, some of the drawings highlight local businesses in Augusta that are trying to stay afloat. So, helping them out as well.

To find ways to help your community during this pandemic, go to

PAUL: Good for her. Stay with us.

BLACKWELL: Next hour of your NEW DAY, starts right now.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A day of hope as well as uncertainty as the FDA approves the first emergency use of treatment for the coronavirus.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Every patient will receive remdesivir. Because the first trial showed benefit, shorten the course of illness, and showed the decrease in mortality.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Families are suffering across the state, across the country, and it's time to get the economy moving again. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's a very contagious disease. So, I still think it might be a little too soon to come back out and be this close together.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There will be more dead people, just say it.

NICK WATT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: According to a just-released report, written by the CDC's principal deputy director: limited testing, the continued influx of infected travelers from overseas, all fueled the devastating early spread of this virus.

GOV. GAVIN NEWSOM (D-CA): This virus doesn't take the weekends off. This virus doesn't go home because it's a beautiful sunny day around our coasts.