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CNN NEWSROOM

Drug Maker Claims Antibody Test Is 99.8 Percent Effective; Fact-Checking Trumps Claims on Biden, Fauci, Obama And Bush; Interview with Norman McNickle, City Manager, Stillwater, Oklahoma, City Backs Off Requiring Masks After Threats Made; Paris Doctors Say Evidence that Patient Treated in December had Virus; Italy Taking First Steps in Reopening Businesses. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired May 4, 2020 - 15:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[15:30:00]

DR. CHRISTOPHER SEYMOUR, PHYSICIAN-SCIENTIST, UNIVERSITY OF PITTSBURGH MEDICAL CENTER: -- That they had the disease --

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: Of course

SEYMOUR: -- and that perhaps they're better. But we expect that this test and others like it, they are many that were approved will be used quite broadly as one piece of the puzzle to get us back to normal.

BALDWIN: Of course. And the CEO of the company who makes this is particular test says people who test positive should still be careful, should still social distance. Dr. Seymour, what would your advice be to someone who, you know, finds they do have coronavirus antibodies?

SEYMOUR: Sure, well, at least the data we've seen so far would suggest that the antibodies are present, the patient has likely had coronavirus at some point in the past.

But the immunology of COVID is complex and we just don't know a lot. Patients may make antibodies early and some may make them late, and it's unclear how long they stick around for in the body, and we're not certain yet whether that means they're protected from a new infection.

BALDWIN: You have also talked about the various complications -- just shifting gears -- the various complications that you're seeing in coronavirus patients, right, ranging from blood clots to lung issues. And we have talked here on CNN and of course it's been Dr. Fauci who's been talking about this drug remdisivir as a potentially having hope for, you know, speeding up the time in which somebody is sick. What do you think is the most promising treatment right now?

SEYMOUR: Sure. Well, that is a great question. What I could tell you is that there are so many treatments being proposed. Not more than patients but it's more than we've ever seen for a condition like this. And what we need is more clinical trials.

The remdisivir data that was discussed this past week is also super exciting. But that's one report about one drug. We're seeing all kinds of complications in coronavirus patients. There could be blood clotting as you mentioned, severe lung injury that lasts for weeks, we think that it is going to be a sort of a cocktail of medications that work at different mechanisms of the disease to ultimately improve outcomes.

BALDWIN: And then just lastly, Dr. Seymour, just because you are treating so many of these patients, you know, what is the most surprising thing you've

seen with the patients, most underreported?

SEYMOUR: Yes, well, you know, it's almost a human point but there is certainly a resilience that we've seen in our patients. You know, we hear anecdotes about folks surviving who we thought at all costs would either never wake up or never survive their stay on the ventilator.

I think, you know, the health care workers who have worked so hard and sacrificed their own time and even put themselves at risk to save their lives has been remarkable and we're starting to see the benefits of that, inside of the ICU and outside of it as well.

BALDWIN: We'll live it resilience. Dr. Seymour, thank you for everything you're doing. We appreciate it.

SEYMOUR: You're welcome. Thanks for having me.

BALDWIN: Thank you.

President Trump in a town hall on Fox News falsely claims states are heading in the right direction when it comes to coronavirus cases. So, we will fact check that, next.

And one city is now changing course, backing off of mandatory face masks at restaurants and stores after employees there have been verbally harassed and threatened with physical violence.

[15:35:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: We have said this before and now after the President's virtual town hall we're saying it again. At a time when the nation needs clarity from its leadership like never before, the President offers confusion, contradiction and false claims. Here is one clip from that town hall.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Attorney General sent a memo directing U.S. Attorneys to be on the lookout for health restrictions that could interfere with constitutional rights. There are a lot of people who cheered that because, you know, they do want to go back to church. And as your talking about, but there are others who fear he might be encouraging people to do things that might be unsafe at the time when some states are going up.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Yes. No, he's not -- well, there not too many states that I know of that are going up. Almost everybody is heading in the right direction.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: Let's go to CNN's Daniel Dale, he's with me now on fact checking the President. So, you know, what is the accuracy of what the President just said?

DANIEL DALE, CNN REPORTER: Well, Brooke, it's just not accurate. Let's acknowledge that the President was vague here. Let's acknowledge there are different ways to slice and dice coronavirus data. But it's just not true that almost everywhere is going in the right direction. In fact, Trump's own former FDA chief Scott Gottlieb tweeted yesterday that we have 20 different states where the number of newly reported cases is increasing. That data is from John's Hopkins University.

Again, you can slice it different ways, but you have states all around the country and in particular in the middle of the country, not just New York, not just the north east where the number of new cases is increasing. Now it is important to say some of the increase might be because they're conducting more tests. But we see other data that suggests it is not just an increase in testing that's resulting in the worsening of the numbers.

You see in Minnesota, for example, they're also seeing a worsening in their hospitalization numbers, their ICU numbers. So no, this is not just more testing the situation is indeed worsening in a substantial chunk of the United States.

BALDWIN: Daniel, the President was asked about whether he could have done more earlier to stop the spread of COVID-19 and here is what he had to say. It's quick, and he mentions the nation's leading infectious disease expert, Dr. Fauci.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: Everybody even Tony Fauci was saying it's going to pass, not going to be a big deal.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: Not going to be a big deal. Is that what Dr. Fauci said?

DALE: That is not what Fauci said.

[15:40:00]

So, Trump appeared to be pointing as other conservatives had to the comments Fauci made on NBC's "Today" show in late February. Listen to that clip of what Fauci said.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASE: At this moment there is no need to change anything that you're doing on a day-by-day basis. Right now, the risk is still low but this could change. I've said this many times even on this program.

This could be a major outbreak. I hope not. Or it could be something that is reasonably well controlled.

At the end of the day, this will ultimately go down, hopefully, we could protect the American public from any serious degree of morbidity and mortality. That's the reason why we've got to do the things that we have in our plan.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

DALE: So, it's fair for people to ask why Fauci was telling people they didn't need to change yet. You could make an argument he wasn't severe enough in his warnings at that point, but he didn't say it is no big deal. But that is just inaccurate.

BALDWIN: What about how the President was asked about the race for a vaccine and he compared it to the efforts to create an aids vaccine? Here he was.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: We will be aids free within eight years. We started ten years. Should have started in the previous administration. They did nothing. It started with my administration.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: And you call out specifically those comments as egregious.

DALE: It is an egregious lie, Brooke. He's been saying this over and over again. I 's not true that he started the effort to eradicate HIV/AIDS in the United States. George W. Bush, a Republican, was known for his anti-AIDS effort. And the Obama administration spent more than $5.5 billion per year on the three main domestic anti-HIV/AIDS programs alone. In addition to international spending that was billions more.

They also passed, of course, the Affordable Care Act that expanded care to more people who needed Medicaid as well as protected people with pre-existing conditions. And introduced a comprehensive anti-AIDS strategy that the Trump administration's own health experts credited before they released their own plan. I spoke to one anti-AIDS expert who's been in the field for decades who called this outrageous, it's just not true.

BALDWIN: I'm so glad you were able to fact check all of that. It's important to present the facts when we listen to him. Daniel, thank you very much.

One city is backing off its order that people wear masks at restaurants and stores after business owners are verbally abused, even threatened with a gun apparently in one case. We'll talk to the city manager next.

And breaking news out of France. Doctors in Paris say they have found evidence that a patient treated in December -- December had coronavirus. Which means this was circulating in Europe much earlier than we thought.

[15:45:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: Just into CNN, California will begin reopening this Friday. California Governor Gavin Newsom just now announcing that retail shops including clothing stores, florists and book shops can finally open their doors. Guidelines for reopening will be released on Thursday and businesses will be required to have active monitoring and surveillance to ensure the virus is not spreading.

California was the first to issue a mandatory stay-at-home order. Officials say key metrics like stability of hospitalizations and testing and tracing capacity are currently being met.

Now to this. Unfortunate, distressing, just two words used to describe how some people in Stillwater, Oklahoma responded after being ordered to wear face masks in public to stop the spread of COVID-19. People who own or work in Stillwater's businesses report being threatened with violence after the rule went into effect Thursday. And some of those threats reportedly coming from people carrying guns. The next day Stillwater's mayor backed off and now instead of a law requiring people there to wear masks in public they are simply encouraged to do so.

And with me now Norman McNickle, he is the Stillwater City Manager. So. Mr. Nichol, thank you so much for being on with me.

NORMAN MCNICKLE, CITY MANAGER, STILLWATER, OKLAHOMA (via Cisco Webex): Good afternoon. Thanks for having me.

BALDWIN: Can you just first be specific about just describing some of the incidents that prompted the mayor so quickly to back off requiring folks wear face masks?

MCNICKLE: Well, when our emergency proclamation went into effect last Friday, at midnight, the next morning when businesses opened they began receiving verbal abuse and threatens of physical violence for being from -- patrons being asked to put on a face mask.

And it got to the point where the managers at those businesses felt that it was putting their employees in a dangerous situation to try to enforce that. And that they simply could not. The incident involving the firearm was actually a call to the police department saying that if the mask mandate stayed in place, that that person would deal with that with his second amendment rights. So --

BALDWIN: Wow!

MCNICKLE: And then fortunately over the weekend we had a dilemma and our concern was the safety of the people in regard to the coronavirus and the safety of those employees and business owners. The police cannot be everywhere, Brooke, they just cannot. And it puts

them in a situation of an incident already occurring, someone being injured or worst as happened in Flint, Michigan over the weekend, where a security guard was shot and killed for asking someone to wear a mask into a store and that person is still at large. So, it came down to weighing the safety of those businesspeople and employees against insisting that people wear masks.

BALDWIN: Can you help us understand why are those people who made the threats, why are they so angry?

MCNICKLE: Well, I think there are several reasons. One, they've been closed up for several weeks.

[15:50:00]

About six weeks. I think that's part of it. I think that -- and I do want to say we live in a university community. We have really good citizens here. This is a reasonably small group of people but large enough to cause a significant problem. I think that there is mixed messages going out about the virus and how it can be caught and whether or not it's still here.

And I received one message that said that you couldn't get it from aerosol. So, the unfortunate thing is that there's a lot of disinformation out there and a lot of people are listening to it.

BALDWIN: I hear you. So, the mixed messages affect the folks and then the threats and then the mayor had to back off. But given what we do know about the data and the facts about wearing masks, right, and how protective they can be, why would the mayor back off, especially since it's for the public's good, it's for public health?

MCNICKLE: Well because this is also for the public's health. Again, the police can't be everywhere all the time. And we weighed the safety of the employees at local businesses and their pleas for help. And you can't put a police officer in every retail establishment in the city. It's just not possible. And one can look at it that we gave into the bullies or one could look at it that we provided for a safe environment for those employees. Those stores can still insist that somebody wear a mask if they walk past the entrance without it, they can call the police and that person can be taken out for trespassing. There is not unfettered access to private property.

BALDWIN: I understand. Understand. Here is my final question, Norman. And that is why do you think wearing face masks, just become -- not just where you are. I mean, but nationwide. Why do you think it's become such a flashpoint?

MCNICKLE: Once again, I think people feel absolutely unable to deal with -- there's not something they can do to deal with this whole situation. It is an unseen enemy. They don't see it. We've been fortunate here with a low number of cases and a low number of hospitalizations and one death in our county. And I think the belief is that it's just gone or that they're young enough that they will catch it and survive. And frankly, many of them don't care much about others that they might pass it on to.

BALDWIN: I hope your numbers still stay low in Stillwater where you are in Oklahoma. Norman McNickle, I really do appreciate you coming on, thank you.

MCNICKLE: Thank you.

BALDWIN: Here's some breaking news we're getting now out of France, doctors there say they treated a coronavirus patient a full month before the first cases were reported in that country. We have details on that new piece of news, next.

[15:55:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: Here's the breaking news out of France. Doctors at a hospital north of Paris say they found evidence that a patient they treated back in December was infected with coronavirus. And that would mean the virus was already spreading in a country one month before the first official cases were reported.

For more developments around the world, let's check in with our international team of CNN correspondents.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm Clarissa Ward in London where Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected on Sunday to lay out what the lifting of the lockdown may look like here in the U.K. Some suggested guidelines, according to British media reports, includes staggering work hours, enforcing PPE in the workplace, also social distancing in the workplace, and trying to eliminate rush hour on public transport. All of this happening, though, as the U.K. prepares to meet a grim milestone, potentially overtaking Italy this week as having the highest number of deaths from coronavirus in Europe.

BARBIE NADEAU, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: I'm Barbie Nadeau in Rome. Here in Italy, we're seeing the beginning of phase II, that's what the government calls co-existing with coronavirus. Across this country, around 4 million people are finally able to go back to work today. These are people who haven't been able to work from home since March 10. We're seeing restaurants and coffee bars like the one behind me finally able to offer take out services, that's something that hasn't existed in this country for 2 months. Parks are open, people can exercise away from their homes and churches are able to offer memorial services and funerals for no more than 15 mourners.

DAVID CULVER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm David Culver in Shanghai where Chinese state media is attacking Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, calling him evil, saying that he is spreading rumors. This in response to Pompeo's remarks over the weekend seeming to confirm Department of Homeland Security report that suggested that the Chinese concealed their knowledge of the severity of this outbreak early on and went on to stockpile supplies, badly-needed PPE. Meantime, at the epicenter of the outbreak in Wuhan, China, we've

learned that in just a couple of days they will begin a staggered reopening of schools, yet another step towards normality.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BALDWIN: All right, everyone. Thank you, very much. Thanks for being with me. I'm Brooke Baldwin here in New York. Let's go to Washington. Special coverage continues now with Jake Tapper.

[16:00:00]