Return to Transcripts main page

CNN NEWSROOM

Virus May Kill Extra 75,000 Through Deaths of Despair; Court Document Says Tara Reade's Ex-Husband Said She Spoke of Harassment; WHO Says Virus May Kill Up to 190,000 in Africa. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired May 8, 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]

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: So Dr. Brock, thank you so much for being on with me and what do you say -- how can you help folks who are so in need right now who are feeling so financially vulnerable?

DR. RITA BROCK, DIRECTOR, SHAY MORAL INJURY CENTER FOR VOLUNTEERS OF AMERICA: Well, I can understand that that sense of distress and high stress is pervasive. People who are at the end of their ability to maintain lives they had had hoped to have can feel like failures. They can feel ashamed and of course in fear of what is going to happen in the future. And those feelings are normal.

They're not a mental health disorder but they're an intense kind of suffering and without someone to talk to, to process, to try to calm yourself down and to get your sense of equilibrium back and it is really hard to function in the middle of such a huge crisis.

BALDWIN: What few words of encouragement or understanding would you offer these people?

BROCK: I would say that how you're feeling is normal. It's not -- there's not anything wrong with you. It's really a consequence of living in a major crisis like this and not knowing what the future is going to be. And the best thing you can do for yourself is to take a little bit of time, to just be with yourself, to be calm to try to calm yourself down and talk to somebody. Could be a friend, it could be a minister, it could be a neighbor or a member of your family that you think will understand and just talk about how you're feeling.

That of itself can relieve some of the stress and strain. Because if you keep trying to avoid the pain and you keep trying to just do whatever you're doing and keep working, and you don't take care of the stress that you're feeling, it will slowly wear you down to a point of despair.

BALDWIN: So, talk to me more about what we talked about moral injury, about what the Volunteers of America's online program, what they're doing, moral injury, what does that mean and how are you all helping?

BROCK: It means we're in the process of creating pure facilitated groups. So, we're working to train some medical workers and long-term care workers to lead groups of their own peers. In other words, they're not therapists, they're just people who want to help their peers survive this process and so we're teaching them how to run a group and ask questions about how people are feeling, and help them find affirmations in themselves and to give them self-care tips for how to deal with stress. So, they can get through this because we need them to get through this and survive to pull our society back together.

BALDWIN: Dr. Rita Brock, thank you and thank you for all of the work you're doing. Appreciate it.

BROCK: Pleasure to be on, thank you.

BALDWIN: Thank you.

Let's get back to our breaking news. From the White House, the Vice President's press secretary has tested positive for coronavirus. Keep in mind, she's also married to one of the President's top aides. So more on that coming up. You're watching CNN's special live coverage.

[15:35:00]

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BALDWIN: In Italy, Milan's mayor is lashing out at Italians for ignoring social distancing requirements. The mayor is calling images of strolling along the canals and holding picnics in the park shameful. During a Facebook live broadcast Milan as you know was hit especially hard by coronavirus leading officials to restrict access in and out of the city. Right now, people are only allowed to live homes for work and essential activities so more now from my colleagues posted all around the world.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm David McKenzie in Johannesburg. The W.H.O. has warned that up to 190,000 people could be killed by the coronavirus across Africa in just the first year alone if containment measures do not succeed.

They said testing, tracing, isolation and treatment are critical. Now they say the virus probably won't spread as exponentially as in other parts of the world but there will be hot spots. They also warn that many parts of the continent are woefully unprepared. They say in 47 countries there are an average of just nine ICU beds per 1 million people.

MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Matt Rivers in Mexico City. Further south in Brazil the confirm case count continues to spike. More than 135,000 and counting at this point. The death toll now higher than 9,000.

This as the official spokesperson for Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro tested positive for the coronavirus earlier this week. Meanwhile the President himself said he's more concerned about the economy than the outbreak saying that quarantine measures enacted by other government officials in the country should be lifted in favor of jump starting the economy.

SIMON CULLEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Simon Cullen in Australia where the government has today announced its most comprehensive plan yet for easing coronavirus restrictions and gradually reopening the economy.

The Prime Minister Scott Morrison says it will be done in three stages, he hopes it will be completed by July. At each stage, the number of people allowed at public gatherings will be increased, schools, cafes, restaurants and shops will also gradually reopen but the time frame is not set in stone.

[15:40:03]

If there is a risk of a second wave of infections or the number of infections spikes, the government says that timetable will be pushed back.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BALDWIN: All right, everyone, thank you. More on our breaking news. Lawyers for that ousted vaccine chief claims a federal agency says his ouster may have been retaliation. Plus, a doctor on the front lines of the epicenter shares dramatic moments inside the hospital.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm running to another intubation. This is my fifth for the day actually. It is about 2:30 in the afternoon.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[15:45:00]

BALDWIN: The former Congressional staffer who is accusing former Vice President Joe Biden of sexual assault is speaking out in a new interview. Tara Reade opened up about her alleged experiences on Capitol Hill back when Biden was a Senator and about who she told. CNN political correspondent MJ Lee has the breaking details. And MJ, what did she say?

MJ LEE, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Brooke, for the most part, she reiterated what she has previously told CNN and other outlets. She described this alleged sexual assault by Joe Biden in 1993 when she was working as a Senate aide on Capitol Hill back when Joe Biden was a Senator. Now, Biden, as you'll recall, he personally denied the sexual assault allegation last week and so this was the first time that we heard Tara Reade respond to what Joe Biden himself said so here is a little bit of that interview.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If he's watching this, what do you want to say to him? TARA READE, ACCUSED JOE BIDEN OF SEXUAL ASSAULT: I want to say, you

and I were there, Joe Biden, please step forward and be held accountable. You should not be running on character for the President of the United States.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

LEE: Now Reade also said that she's willing to go under oath and is willing to be cross-examined but when she was asked whether she is willing to take a polygraph test she said she would if Joe Biden were also willing to do so and she also said in the interview, I am not a criminal -- Brooke.

BALDWIN: Now that we're understanding, you know, that there is new reporting related to Reade's old divorce records. Right? Walk me through what we know.

LEE: That' right and just an important context first, remember last year Tara Reade came out and said that she had physical interactions with Joe Biden when she was an aide in the Senate that had made her feel uncomfortable. But at that time, she was only talking about sexual harassment and it's only this year that she publicly came out for the first time and said that actually she was also sexually assaulted by Joe Biden.

Now a local California paper got ahold of 1996 divorce records between Tara Reade and her now ex-husband, CNN has since obtained the records as well, and in those records her ex-husband says that he met Tara Reade in the spring of 1993 in Washington, D.C. and when they were dating on multiple occasions he says that Reade said that there was a problem that she was having at work regarding sexual harassment in U.S. Senator Joe Biden's office. And he also said in this document that this event had a very traumatic effect on Reade and that she is still sensitive and affected by it today.

Now just to be very clear about these divorce records, it mentions sexual harassment, it does not mention sexual assault and it also does not say who perpetrated this alleged sexual harassment. But it is significant, this document, because it does appear to be the first sort of written record that Reade did tell somebody that she was close to in the 1990s about some kind of issue that she was having while she was working at Joe Biden's Senate office.

Now I should also note, and this is important, Reade has also said she verbally complained at the time to supervisors about sexual harassment though not about sexual assault. CNN has spoken with all three of those former supervisors of Tara Reade and they all said unequivocally that this complaint was never brought to them and that they were never aware of kind of any sexual harassment allegation against Joe Biden in the many years that they all worked for him -- Brooke.

BALDWIN: What about Joe Biden and his campaign, are they addressing this divorce document?

LEE: The campaign is not commenting on the divorce document. But Kate Bedingfield, the campaign manager and spokesperson, she put out a new statement yesterday pointing to growing inconsistencies she said in Tara Reade's accounting of all of this. I just want to read a part of the lengthy statement.

Bedingfield writes -- women must receive benefit of the doubt, they must be able to come forward and share their stories without fear of retribution or harm and we all have a responsibility to ensure that. At the same time, we can never sacrifice the truth and the truth is that these allegations are false and that the material that has been presented to back them up under scrutiny keeps providing -- excuse me -- their falsity.

Now Bedingfield pointed to Reade telling the Associated Press last year, quote, I wasn't scared of him. That he was going to take me in a room or anything. It wasn't that type of vibe. Bedingfield also pointed to the fact that an anonymous friend of Reade's, this is a friend who said that Reade told her about this alleged sexual assault back in 1993. This friend told Vox last year, quote, Biden never tried to kiss her directly, he never went for one of those touches.

[15:50:00]

Now CNN got in touch with this friend earlier today and she confirmed that she did say this to Vox last year but that she stands by it and that what she meant was that in the instances where Tara Reade experienced physical interactions with Joe Biden in front of other people that made her uncomfortable, in those instances, Joe Biden never tried to kiss Tara Reade. So that's the explanation that we are getting from this friend.

BALDWIN: OK. MJ Lee, thank you for that.

As we hear, the President is being tested for coronavirus each and every day with staffers testing positive. How accurate are those tests? Dr. Sanjay

Gupta will join us.

And a teacher suffering with the loss of her own sister to COVID-19 is still showing up for work every day for her kids, her students. It is in honor of her sister's memory we'll talk to this teacher to explain, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[15:55:00]

BALDWIN: We here at CNN are highlighting heroes who are making a difference in their communities. And Grand Champion Pit Master, Stan Hayes, a 2017 CNN Hero, is one of them. His nonprofit Operation BBQ Relief normally prepares free hot meals for communities hard hit by natural disasters. But since March he's been responding to the pandemic with an innovative idea that's providing much more than delicious food.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STAN HAYES, 2017 CNN HERO: Our model was based on scale and bringing together a large number of volunteers to be able to push those meals out. With COVID-19, we have actually had to rethink how we do things. We find restaurants that have closed, pay them to reopen, and bring back employees, and put 2,500 meals a day back into the community. Meals, creating jobs, and helping businesses. It's a triple win. Together we're just feeding more people.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

BALDWIN: And you can learn about all these heroes, just go to CNNheroes.com.

The TSA says it will soon start requiring employees who work those airport screening stations to wear masks. The agency says the changes will occur over the next couple of days. Prior to the rule change, the TSA had been providing masks to screeners but wearing them was optional. So here is a look at news around the country with my CNN colleagues.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Kristen Holmes in Washington, D.C. where the U.S. Postal Service is warning that the pandemic is threatening its survival. Now the financial struggles of the Postal Service are not new.

However, in a statement issued Friday the U.S. Postmaster General said that the pandemic was causing a potentially dire situation and called on the Trump administration and Congress to help the Postal Service financially. Now it's unclear whether or not President Trump would sign on for that. In the past the President Trump has called the Postal Service a joke for losing money for delivering packages for Amazon and other internet companies.

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS ANCHOR: I'm Coy Wire in Atlanta. The NBA is allowing teams to open practice facilities today for the first time in more than eight weeks. Teams can allow four players and four staff members to enter the building, so eight total, as long as they follow local guidelines on shelter in place restrictions. The Portland Trailblazers and Cleveland Cavaliers will be the first to open to players on Friday. The Denver Nuggets say that they too will open their facilities today, but players won't be allowed to enter the building until Monday.

SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE REPORTER: I'm Shimon Prokupecz in New York City where the Brooklyn D.A.'s office has released arrest data showing that of the 40 people who have been arrested for failure to social distance, 35 have been black, 4 have been Hispanic, and one has been white. Now members of the minority community have been arguing that the police are unfairly targeting them.

The mayor today addressing those concerns, saying that the disparity concerns are unacceptable, they are looking at some of the statistics. He's saying that the police are showing great restraint. But there are things they could be doing better, and they are going to be looking at that. AMARA WALKER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Amara Walker in Atlanta. The hard-hit Navajo Nation is reporting 103 new COVID-19 cases and three new deaths, bringing the total number of positive cases to more than 2,700.

And it's their communities in Arizona that are seeing the highest numbers. Now, Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez tells CNN that the tribe has finally received $600 million in federal coronavirus relief funds as of Wednesday. He says the money will be used to purchase much-needed equipment for first responders and to prepare for the next pandemic. And he credits celebrities like Ellen DeGeneres and Mark Ruffalo for drawing attention to their difficult situation.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BALDWIN: And before we go, quick check of the Dow. You can see, despite, you know, today's unemployment numbers, right, it was the worst jobs report in U.S. history, April at a devastating 14.7 percent, you see the market right around 24,327 just before the closing bell here in 20 seconds.

So, there you have it. I'm Brooke Baldwin. Thank you so much for being with me the last two hours here on CNN. But stay put. Jake Tapper starts now.