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Leading Scientist: Virus Vaccine Not Likely This Year; Single Parents Hit Hard By Unemployment Crisis; Trump Administration Rejects CDC Guidelines To Reopen U.S. Aired 7:30-8a ET
Aired May 7, 2020 - 07:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
MELISSA HONKANEN, NYU VACCINE TRIAL PARTICIPANT: I want to be able to help people and have people not be dying alone.
ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Her vaccine was made by Pfizer.
Currently, around the world, eight teams have vaccines in human clinical trials -- three in China, one in the U.K. at the University of Oxford, and three in the U.S. One by INOVIO Pharmaceuticals, one by Pfizer Pharmaceuticals, and one by the National Institutes of Health.
The NIH was the first to start clinical trials on March 16th. The most recent, Sinopharm in China, on April 28th. They're all in the beginning stages, making sure at this point that the vaccine doesn't hurt anyone.
At INOVIO, one of the U.S. companies, so far, they've enrolled 40 study subjects.
JOSEPH KIM, INOVIO PHARMACEUTICALS: You want to demonstrate that the vaccine is safe in these small subsets.
COHEN (voice-over): Later, these teams will do studies with thousands of people. Some people will get the vaccine, others will get a placebo -- basically, a shot that does nothing. Then they'll wait and see who contracts COVID and who does not.
In January, Dr. Anthony Fauci said it could take a year to 18 months to get a vaccine on the market.
DR. MARK MULLIGAN, NYU VACCINE CENTER: A one-year timeline here or maybe a little better if we're very lucky, that's a blazing process for vaccine development.
COHEN (voice-over): One way to make that happen, make large amounts of vaccine even before you know if it's going to work. But remember --
COHEN (on camera): Is it possible that a vaccine for COVID-19 might just not work? KIM: It is possible. The world has been trying to develop a vaccine against HIV or AIDS for the last 40 years, unsuccessfully.
COHEN (voice-over): But with so many efforts around the world and more on the way --
KIM: I think having multiple shots on hold against this pandemic is a great thing.
COHEN (voice-over): -- the hope is that one of them will work out to bring the world back to normal.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: So, Elizabeth, if someone makes a large amount of a vaccine before you know for sure it works, could you just be wasting money in the end?
COHEN: Yes, absolutely, that is what will happen. And it will be taxpayer money, to some extent, that will be wasted. It's called making the vaccine at risk.
You pick your candidates, you say we don't which will work but we're going to start manufacturing early. What works, that's great -- we'll have plenty of it. If it doesn't work, wasted money.
BERMAN: Maybe worth the expense, though, if it does help get things out there.
BERMAN: All right. Elizabeth Cohen, thanks so much for being with us. Appreciate it.
COHEN: Thanks, John.
ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR: We want to remember some of the nearly 74,000 Americans lost to coronavirus.
Clarence Ballard was a church deacon, a radio broadcaster, and a family man. Ballard traveled the country with his brothers and sons performing in the gospel quartet group he helped create. His son Mark says at 80, he was more active than most 50-year-olds.
Casadear Williams was a medical assistant at the Mobile County Metro Jail. Coworkers said her positive, upbeat attitude was unfailing and her sassy honesty was refreshing. This Saturday would have been her 59th birthday. She leaves behind two children and a grandchild.
Sgt. Raymond Scholwinski joined the Harris County Sheriff's Office in 1979 where he served with honor, charm, and distinction, according to Sheriff Ed Gonzalez. The sheriff said Sgt. Scholwinski represented the best of the Harris County Sheriff's Office family and his legacy of service will be honored. He was 70 years old. We'll be right back.
BERMAN: This morning, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is out of the hospital and we are told she is glad to be home. The 87-year-old Supreme Court justice was discharged from Johns Hopkins Hospital after treatment for a benign gallbladder condition.
Ginsburg participated by phone in arguments for two cases yesterday.
She will return to the hospital for outpatient visits in the coming weeks to remove a gallstone non-surgically.
HILL: For the first time, we are hearing from friends and family of an unarmed man who was shot and killed while out for a run in Georgia. Ahmaud Arbery would have turned 26 tomorrow.
CNN's Martin Savidge has more on what exactly happened the day he died, more than two months ago.
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Ask anyone who knew him. Ahmaud Arbery loved to run.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Unless it was pouring rain down outside, Ahmaud was going to be running.
SAVIDGE (voice-over): But somehow on a sunny Sunday in a coastal Georgia community, Arbery's run became a deadly chase.
One p.m., February 23rd, according to police reports, Arbery is seen in the Satilla Shores neighborhood where residents say there have been break-ins. He was walking around a home under construction and then he's spotted running in the road.
His presence triggers calls to 911.
DISPATCHER: And you said someone is breaking into it right now?
CALLER: No, it's all open. It's under construction. And he's running right now. Here he goes right now.
DISPATCHER: OK, what is he doing?
CALLER: He's running down the street.
SAVIDGE (on camera): According to the police report, Gregory McMichael is standing in his front yard when he sees what he thinks is the suspect in the neighborhood break-ins, as he puts it, hauling ass down the street.
SAVIDGE (voice-over): McMichael, a retired Glynn County police officer, and his son Travis grab a handgun and a shotgun. According to police documents, jump into a truck and begin following Arbery.
The report describes how the father and son, along with another man, tried repeatedly to cut him off. Each time, Arbery just ran around them. Eventually, the father and son managed to get ahead of Arbery, using their truck to block his path. Travis McMichael on the street holding a shotgun.
The worlds of the runner and the chasers collided violently. It's the moment captured by an unidentified person in this video that CNN's not been able to authenticate, allegedly depicting a fight for the shotgun. Three shots and Arbery dying in the street.
More than two months later, no one's been charged, a fact that has left Arbery's father and others outraged.
MARCUS ARBERY SR., AHMAUD ARBERY'S FATHER: I want to see these people go to jail, go to prison -- whatever. They need the harshest crime they can get.
SAVIDGE (voice-over): Critics contend that there was no arrest because the man with the shotgun is the son of a former police officer from the same department initially investigating the case.
In fact, because of the father's law enforcement connections, two district attorneys recused themselves. Before he quit, the second D.A., in a letter, said Travis McMichael was acting in self-defense when he killed Arbery, and that the pursuit by two armed white men of an unarmed young black man was perfectly legal under Georgia's citizen's arrest law.
Outraged, Arbery's friends and family feared his story was being overlooked in the pandemic that also kept protesters at home.
JOHN PERRY, NAACP BRUNSWICK CHAPTER: There are a lot of people who are discouraged and believe that this is going to be one of those cases that has happened in other parts of the nation where life was lost and justice was not rendered.
SAVIDGE (voice-over): But the video has now trumped pandemic concerns.
JEFF GUEST, GLYNN COUNTY BUSINESS OWNER: The community is united. I mean, as you seen out here, there's members of all races.
SAVIDGE (voice-over): Wanda Cooper, Arbery's mother, says she has not seen the video and never will.
WANDA COOPER, AHMAUD ARBERY'S MOTHER: I saw my son come in the world. And seeing him leave the world is not something that I want to see, ever.
SAVIDGE (voice-over): We made a number of attempts to speak to the McMichael family without success. Friday would have been Ahmaud Arbery's 26th birthday. His father says
there would have been a celebration and afterward, his son would have stepped out the door and run.
Martin Savidge, CNN, Glynn County, Georgia.
HILL: The president says nobody could have seen this coming. One journalist, however, has been sounding the alarm about a pandemic just like this one for years and she joins us with her perspective, next.
HILL: More than 30 million Americans are unemployed and we'll learn in just a few minutes how many more filed unemployment claims last week. The struggle to stay afloat is even more difficult for single parents.
CNN's Vanessa Yurkevich has more.
VANESSA YURKEVICH, CNN BUSINESS AND POLITICS CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): More than 30 million Americans are struggling right now to keep their families afloat. Single parents struggle alone.
CHANDI BOZEMAN, APPLIED FOR UNEMPLOYMENT: I don't want to fail at not being able to take care of myself and my son.
YURKEVICH (voice-over): A quarter of U.S. children live with a single parent, more than three times the global average.
Chandi Bozeman is one of those parents. She filed for unemployment for the first time after closing her salon in Dayton, Ohio in March. She was denied. Even as a teen mom, Bozeman said she never asked for help.
C. BOZEMAN: I've never filed for unemployment and the minute that I do -- the minute that I need the help, it's not there for me.
YURKEVICH (voice-over): Katrina Harvey knows what it's like to make tough choices. When she was homeless in 2015, she sent her then-11- year-old son Carson to live with relatives.
KATRINA HARVEY, APPLIED FOR UNEMPLOYMENT: It was absolutely the hardest thing I've ever had to go through.
YURKEVICH (voice-over): But in January, after years of saving, Harvey rented a new apartment in Orlando.
HARVEY: I can finally start putting money away and get ahead and this happened.
YURKEVICH (voice-over): Harvey was furloughed from her restaurant job in March and filed for unemployment. She received her first check last month. The money helps but the fear of returning to her past never goes away.
HARVEY: I didn't want it to affect my son because he went through all of those same struggles I did. And so, for him to be put back in a place where he feels uncertain, then that can be really hard for him to deal with.
YURKEVICH (voice-over): In Texas, Kim Willis is running a full household. She's taken in her twin daughters, back from college, and her 79-year-old mother who suffers from early dementia.
YURKEVICH (on camera): Is that tough?
KIM WILLIS, FILED FOR UNEMPLOYMENT: It is tough but I'm the daughter for the job.
YURKEVICH (voice-over): But she was furloughed from her hotel job in March. It took 300 calls to unemployment, day and night, to get approved. Willis got her first check on April 17th.
WILLIS: I've been carrying the weight of being a single parent with my family. And so, my logic was OK, well, it looks like the government is the backbone to this family so I need to get through.
YURKEVICH (voice-over): Living quarters are also tight at the Bozeman's. Chandi and Jamel are sharing a one-bedroom, taking turns sleeping on the couch.
JAMEL BOZEMAN, CHANDI BOZEMAN'S SON: As long as my mother is OK and if she's operating fine, I can adjust to anything. I'll sleep on the floor if I've got to.
YURKEVICH (voice-over): Jamel also applied to a grocery job to try to help his mom, but Chandi doesn't want him to take on that responsibility.
C. BOZEMAN: I'm not allowing him to work because I don't want my son subjected to the virus. He wants to help take care of me and I won't allow him because it's my duty as his parent to protect him.
YURKEVICH (voice-over): Vanessa Yurkevich, CNN, New York.
BERMAN: What a revealing and sobering report. Our thanks to Vanessa for that.
So this morning, why would the White House urge states to reopen but keep guidelines for doing so safely under wraps? CNN has learned that detailed guidance from the CDC is being kept from the public. Those guidelines were meant to ease the process for community pillars like schools, transit, restaurants -- all of them still dealing with the shock of coronavirus.
So, one journalist is not shocked by the virus at all. She's been warning about a pandemic like this for decades.
Joining me now is Laurie Garrett, the Pulitzer Prize, Peabody, and Polk award-winning writer and author of "The Coming Plague: Newly Emerging Diseases in a World Out of Balance." She's also a columnist for foreign policy.
Laurie, thanks so much for getting up and joining us this morning.
It's interesting because you foresaw so much of this. And in just the last week, you've been talking about the CDC and the emasculation or the sidelining of the CDC. So I want to get your reaction to the breaking news this morning that these guidelines that they put out have been rejected.
LAURIE GARRETT, AUTHOR, "THE COMING PLAGUE: NEWLY EMERGING DISEASES IN A WORLD OUT OF BALANCE,", COLUMNIST, FOREIGN POLICY, PULITZER, PEABODY AND POLK AWARD-WINNING WRITER: Well, we don't know if they're rejected or just stifled, but the point is the CDC ought to be in leadership.
In every past outbreak in my lifetime, the CDC has been in leadership. We've had daily press briefings from the CDC in the past. We've had every imaginable way that the CDC takes charge and that's just not the case now.
BERMAN: And you've been saying you've been hearing from people around the world -- from scientists and CDCs in other countries asking you where is the U.S. CDC? What's the impact of this retreat?
GARRETT: Oh, it's overwhelming. I mean, the depth of the bench at the CDC is not mirrored by any other equivalent agency in the world. We have incredible talent, incredible skillset, and a lot of experience. You have people at the CDC who have been in command positions inside epidemics all over the world and they're sidelined.
Meanwhile, we don't have any overarching way of controlling policy vis-a-vis what is public health in America unless we have guidance from the CDC. Otherwise, every state does its own thing. Every county within every state does its own thing.
Well, here we are in a crisis unlike any we've ever faced before where every day we're faced with a mystery. Every day the virus throws a curveball at us. And instead of having a single agency that provided wisdom for all of the states and all of the public health departments across the United States and, frankly, the world, we have mum's the word and chaos.
BERMAN: Is that a choice? I don't really understand it. I don't understand why you would keep these guidelines from being released.
GARRETT: Why would you keep any of the CDC's best advice from being released? Why would you not be holding daily briefings in the Situation Room at CDC headquarters in Atlanta? Well, the answer has to be that whatever the CDC is trying to tell the American people does not coincide with the appropriate messaging that the White House wants us to hear.
BERMAN: Choosing economy over health when, in fact, I'm not sure that has to be a choice. Do you think that has to be a choice or what do you think about the presentation of that as a choice?
GARRETT: It's a false dichotomy. You can't pick up the economy if people are terrified to go to businesses, terrified to be customers, terrified to go to work. And they will be as soon as -- maybe they'll trot off to the hair parlor on Tuesday but when they find out their friend Suzy got COVID at the hair parlor they're not going back again.
And I think that this is just madness. We're acting as if you can wish away an epidemic. You can just say I want the economy going and the virus will cooperate. It doesn't work that way.
BERMAN: We've been saying and you've been credited with predicting something like this for decades so I don't think the existence of it surprised you per se. But what has surprised you the most as America suffers under this pandemic?
GARRETT: Oh, my goodness. You know, I'm accustomed to seeing America as the leader of the world -- as the country that says hey everybody, there's a problem here.
You know, Hitler is bombing London or the Japanese have bombed Pearl Harbor or the communists have crossed a key line in Korea -- whatever. And that it was America that rallied the world and America that led the battle, and America that offered the best scientific expertise that the whole world counted on -- that we were number one.
And now, we're the laughing stock of the planet. We're the only one that refuses to engage with everybody else in a cooperative agreement on developing vaccines and drugs. We're the only one that says we won't work with the WHO and we refuse to pay our dues.
And we're the only one that's acting like whatever we do today may be different from what we do tomorrow. But it's what we do, so the heck with the rest of you.
This is -- I mean, I can't even tell you how upsetting this is. This is as if we stood on the sidelines and watched somebody else make the first landing on the moon.
BERMAN: What's different -- because talk to me then about what exactly is different?
We're looking at Germany, right now. And, Angela Merkel, the chancellor, yesterday, said we could afford a little audacity.
They have begun to reopen. They're 10 days into reopening. They're going to have soccer games, albeit in empty stands, in a few weeks.
So what have they done that's so different than what we're doing? GARRETT: Oh, well, most of the Northern Europeans have taken very strong steps, both lockdown and creative measures with testing, so that they have a pretty darn good idea of where are the pockets of transmission, where is the virus spreading the most, and where have they managed to take the right steps to control the spread -- to hold it down.
And they -- I think they've done a really excellent job of getting that under control and having a knowledge-based set of actions so they have data to guide their actions.
And, you know, they're not going to suddenly one day wave a magic wand and say hey everybody, olly olly oxen free, free, free -- let's all jump back in the pool. No -- they're going to step-by-step slowly open one kind of business after another, one kind of sporting event, one kind of public activity until they're sure that they have the virus under control.
BERMAN: You do say, though, that the idea of testing everybody -- and again, I think that's actually a false endpoint or a strange strawman -- but you say testing everybody is not realistic and maybe not necessary. Why?
GARRETT: Well, first of all, we're never going to have billions of test kits that are valid, certified, and give us results that are predictable and that we can rely upon. We're not going to make that scale of testing capacity anytime in the near future.
And so, if every country in the world tries to do the scale of testing necessary for every single workplace to know what workers are potentially infected, and every single airport, and every single point of contact to have testing all the time, we won't be able to do that.
We're going to have to do testing that's really smart, that's targeted -- that follows basic principles of science to help figure out all right, I can't test every single child before they walk in the classroom every single day. But perhaps I can come up with a random correct sampling of students that I test every week to see if there's a trend to worry about or whether it's still safe to keep the school open.
It has to be smart testing. They have to come -- they have to follow the right principles so that we can count on it as a good indicator -- a good way of advising the mayor, the governor, the city council, the Senate, the president.
BERMAN: More than now, though, in terms of testing?
GARRETT: Oh, definitely more than we're doing now. We're not doing any smart testing. There's only a handful of places in the country where testing is following the kind of scientific principles that means that what -- the results of the testing are valid.
I mean, to just tell all of America drive in to your Walmart parking lot and randomly get yourselves tested -- well, those results might mean something for the individual on day one; not necessarily the next day. They might get infected the next day. But it means nothing for a policy analysis. It's just totally random.
BERMAN: So, Laurie, you, I think, shocked a lot of people over the last few days when you said at a minimum, it will take 36 months to get back to normal. At a minimum even if everything with a vaccine goes correctly. Part of that reason, you say, is because even if we do get a vaccine quickly it will be hard to scale it up to get it everywhere in the world it needs to get to.
So, in your scenario of 36 months being the shortest period of time, what does this country look like? What can we expect our lives to be like?
GARRETT: Well, I think that we have to really pay attention closely to what's happening in countries that have managed to combine testing, walk down, and slow reopening to allow their economy to come back. And then been hit again with a second wave and taking a partial retreat. Then carefully lock down testing, et cetera, all over again to allow them to safely reopen again.
Countries like Hong Kong -- a place like Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, South Korea -- these places have figured out this virus will come in waves. It's not going to be a giant tsunami that just sweeps over America all uniform, all at once, then retreats, then it all comes back all at once across America again.
It's going to be more like little brushfires popping up here, there, and everywhere. So, perhaps, Des Moines is hard-hit in August, just randomly saying that -- not predicting that.
GARRETT: Perhaps it's Des Moines in August and it might be San Francisco in September, and it might be Houston in October.
Each community in each part of the country has to be ready and know. Yes, and maybe you've got things under control right now in May -- maybe in June.