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Texas Records Biggest Single-Day Jump in Virus Cases; Moderna Announces Vaccine Trial Results; Coronavirus Pandemic Update from Around the World; Drive-In Theaters Make a Comeback. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired May 18, 2020 - 08:30   ET



MAYOR ERIC JOHNSON (D), DALLAS: We want to make sure that we -- we have that capacity in the event that there is any surge or any spike associated with the reopening of our economy.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: So, this morning, what does Dallas look like? What is open in Dallas? Is it now gyms and restaurants and bars, et cetera?

JOHNSON: As of today, gyms are going to be able to open at 25 percent capacity, like our restaurants were a couple weeks ago. And we're going to get an announcement today from the governor. We're not sure what he's going to announce, but he's going to likely announce some changes in his orders with respect to what can open. You can expect that possibly the things that were opened a couple weeks ago at 25 percent may go up to 50 percent.

In either case, in any event, we want to be prepared here in Dallas. And so what's important to me is making sure folks know that no matter what is open, they still need to use some common sense. They need to wear masks when they're out in public. If you are symptomatic, you need to stay home regardless of what's open. And if you're a venerable population member, then you need to stay at home as well. So that's my job is to make sure folks in Dallas get that message.

CAMEROTA: And is it your sense that people in Dallas are excited about everything reopening or do they have trepidation? Would you -- are you eager to go to a gym today?

JOHNSON: I probably needed to go to the gym a lot more before the pandemic came, but I am not jumping to go back to the gym. But I will say this, I think everyone here in Dallas has a mixed feeling about all of this, the same way I do as the mayor, because we want our economy back. We want people going back to work. We want people contributing to our tax base again. We've lost a lot of sales tax revenue here at the city. We want our economy back, but we also want to be safe. We don't want to get sick. So I think people have mixed feelings about this.

CAMEROTA: And so, I mean, look, we've all seen the video of what happened in Wisconsin, the day that the state supreme court overturned the governor and said that people could go back out. And, you know, we saw the pictures in bars of people racing out, they weren't socially distancing.

What's happened in Dallas? What does Dallas look like right now since restaurants had opened a while ago?

JOHNSON: I haven't seen the outpouring of folks into our restaurants the way you may have seen some other places. I think people are slowly reengaging the economy and they'll reengage it more the safer they feel, which is why I've really shifted my focus to doing what I can locally to make sure we have more testing and more contact tracing, trying to get more help from our federal partners to get more testing here, try to work with our private sector to get more testing here because I don't think you'll see the economy bounce back any sooner than people feel confident they can do so safely.

CAMEROTA: Mayor Eric Johnson, we really appreciate your time on this buzzy day. We'll obviously be watching Dallas and all of Texas.

Thank you.

JOHNSON: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: OK, we have breaking news this morning. The most encouraging news we've had on a coronavirus vaccine since the pandemic started. We have the breaking details for you, next.



JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: There is breaking news this morning on the race to develop an effective vaccine for coronavirus. The biotech firm Moderna reports that early results from its vaccine trial show that patients developed antibodies against the virus. That trial will now move to phase two.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta back with us.

And, Sanjay, we wanted to come back to this because, look, first of all, finding a vaccine is something that really everyone wants and, second, because the progress being reported here is very specific and gets to, I think, the process in developing a vaccine. So what are we seeing here?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. So these are early results, to be fair, but very encouraging results as well. Some potentially good news here.

What they found was that this Moderna vaccine, which is what's called an MRNA vaccine, a messenger RNA vaccine, basically is just taking a little bit of a blueprint of a part of the virus and injecting that into the body. What happens then is the body starts to actually make a portion of the virus, and the body then responds to that portion of the virus.

The question we weren't able to answer up until just now really was, OK, we put a little blueprint of the virus in, is the body actually going to make antibodies to that little bit of blueprint? And the answer seems to be yes. Not only does it seem to make antibodies -- and, again, early results. So we're just, I think, fewer than a dozen participants that they're talking about in this initial trial. But, still, in response to that blueprint, they're not only making antibodies, they're making antibodies at the same level as you would make if you got an infection, OK? So you're not getting sick, you're not running the risk of getting other people sick, and yet you're still making antibodies.

As you increase the dose of the vaccine, the numbers went up even more. You made more antibodies. And these are what are referred to as neutralizing antibodies. What does that mean? It means basically if you take some of the virus, you put it in a test tube, you take some of these antibodies and you put it in the same test tube, it neutralizes the virus, which is exactly what you want to see.

Again, I'll say it for the third time, these are early results, but we already knew this company was going to go into phase two trials. That was already announced. They're -- and by the end of the summer they should be in phase three trials. So this is good news. It's early, but we'll see what happens.

CAMEROTA: But, Sanjay, what about, the size of the trial, in terms of, I mean, in the second paragraph here it just says that in phase one trial, eight patients who received two doses of the vaccine had this experience. So eight patients, is that smaller than most trials are or is that standard?

GUPTA: Yes, well, the number of people in phase one is a larger number because they broke it into various doses, 25 micrograms is the lowest dose. They went all the way up to 250 micrograms. But you're right, Alisyn, these are small numbers.

But I think here -- here is the real question for me. And as I've been following this along for a few months is, when you think of vaccines typically, what you're basically saying, I'm going to take a little bit of the virus and give it to somebody, not enough to make him sick but enough that their body starts to generate antibodies.


That's typically what you think of with a virus.

Another way to do it was to take a little bit of inactivated virus, take the virus, inactivate it in some way, and use that as the vaccine.

What I've just described, where essentially you're taking a little blueprint of a part of the virus and injecting that into the body and then telling the body, do everything, make that portion of the virus and then make the antibodies to fight that portion of the virus. We didn't know if that would work in humans. There was evidence that it worked in animals, but there wasn't really clear evidence that it worked on humans.

There is now proof of concept of something that is really kind of very new in medicine. Not only would it be, you know, beneficial for this vaccine, it may be beneficial for all sorts of different therapeutics going down the line. So that's an important proof of concept.

It's also important to know that these antibodies were effective antibodies. They weren't just junk antibodies that were there, but weren't -- really weren't doing anything against the virus.

We do want to see these numbers, I think to you point, really play out in larger populations as it worked for the same for older people and younger people and people with preexisting conditions. We need to know all that. That's why we go into these larger phases. But I -- I think this is good news. I mean the fact that this worked at all we should be encouraged by that.

BERMAN: This is a new kind of vaccine. It's incredibly exciting just for that reason. But also because it's new, it will require, I think, the cross-checking at a different level even than we're used to.


BERMAN: Sanjay, you wrote an essay over the weekend that's getting a ton of attention I think for all the right reasons titled "If the United States were My Patient."

What inspired you to write this and what's your message?

GUPTA: You know, I still am taking care of patients at the hospital and I -- I was realizing as I was having some conversations with patients at the hospital that very much the conversations with them is similar to the one that we're having as a country right now. Nobody wants to be sick. Everyone is always, you know, upset, you know, emotionally, physically. When they get sick, they want to expedite treatment as much as possible, get through things as minimally invasive as possible. And doctors want the same thing for their patients.

But I think what really inspired me was that, you know, the conversations that you have with patients is that this is the treatment that we're going to have to have. This is what's going to get you better. It's not going to be easy. It's going to be tough. We're going to be in it together though. And if you do it, then I think your likelihood of success of getting through this is much, much higher. Oh, and, by the way, here are a bunch of patients that I've taken care of before that I'll give you their phone numbers. You can give them a call, see how they're doing and get a sense that while this is tough, there is a path forward and you can recover.

And as I was thinking about that, and the conversations that I've had with patients 30 years now almost since I graduated medical school, I thought, this is a very similar one. And sometimes it's hard to see things in the sort of more general sense, that the country as a whole, it's too big. But when I think of it as one patient, it starts to make a little bit more sense.

CAMEROTA: But, Sanjay, if the United States were your patient, what is the prescription right now for the United States? What would you have the U.S. do?

GUPTA: I -- you know, I think it's actually, you know, it's fairly straightforward, although I get the sense that, you know, I understand the confusion still. We don't have a vaccine as we're talking about or a specific therapeutic. So what are we trying to do? We're trying to basically slow the spread of the virus, just like we do with any infection, we're trying to slow down the rate of spread within the body. We're trying to slow down the rate of spread within the country.

So these stay-at-home orders, we now know, we have evidence, Alisyn, you and I have been talking about this for months, but we now have evidence that it works and that that treatment needs to continue for a period of time. For how long, right? It's not indefinite. For how long was, see a 14-day downward trajectory in whatever community, state, territory that we're looking at, and then to make sure you have the testing in place.

That's -- and I realize that's not the same as saying, here's a prescription for an antibiotic, but it is a treatment nonetheless. If you get to that point, you can basically say you're going to control the spread, not let this continue to overtake the body, and be able to handle little things that come up in the future.

CAMEROTA: Sanjay, thank you very much for sharing all your thinking on this with us and the viewers. Great to talk to you.

GUPTA: You got it. Thank you.

CAMEROTA: There are so many developments on the pandemic, and, of course, the economic crisis, so here's what else to watch today.


ON SCREEN TEXT: Soon, New York Gov. Cuomo briefing.

2:00 p.m. ET, Trump meets with restaurant execs.

3:00 p.m. ET, Texas Gov. Abbott makes announcement.


CAMEROTA: And speaking of movies, a blast from America's past makes a comeback during the pandemic.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let's hear those horns.



CAMEROTA: OK, the revival of the drive-in movie theater, next.


CAMEROTA: Now to this developing story. It's an update on a story we brought you last year.

CNN has just learned that the Saudi military trainee who you'll remember opened fire on a naval air station in Pensacola, Florida, last year, had been in touch with a suspected al Qaeda operative. This is according to multiple U.S. officials who have been briefed on the matter.

FBI investigators uncovered the al Qaeda link after breaking the encryption on the attacker's iPhone. Three U.S. sailors were killed and several others were wounded in that attack.

BERMAN: If we hear more on that.

Also this morning, there's new concern about the explosive growth in the number of coronavirus cases in Brazil, the most populous nation in South America.

CAMEROTA: It's our style (ph).

BERMAN: CNN has reporters around the world bringing you the latest developments.



MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Matt Rivers in Mexico City.

Further south, in Brazil, another difficult weekend for that country. The government there reporting more than 241,000 confirmed cases. That is good enough for fourth highest out of any country in the world. But, given the amount of day-to-day case total increases we've seen in Brazil recently, it is likely that during the coming week, if not in the next few days, Brazil will overtake the United Kingdom for third place on that list, at which point it would trail only the United States and Russia. The death toll in Brazil now tops 16,000.

MAX FOSTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Max Foster in Windsor, England, where the government has pledged another $100 million towards accelerating the U.K. vaccine program. They're working with AstraZeneca, the drug company, to make 30 million doses available by September, a hugely ambitious time line, especially when you consider they don't even know whether they're going to be able to develop a vaccine.

Meanwhile, more than 17,000 contact tracers have been recruited. They're the people who are going to try to locate those who have been in contact with people who have the virus, already for the beginning of June, when schools and some shops are due to start reopening.

BARBIE NADEAU, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Barbie Nadeau in Rome, where here in Italy the country is coming back to life after more than two months of a very difficult lockdown. No one is celebrating that more than the family of a 104-year-old grandmother named Ada (ph), who has recovered from Covid-19. Now, as the economy reopens all across this country, people are very

mindful of the journey it has taken to get here, and how dangerous it is, and no one wants to return to where we were two months ago.


New Zealand's prime minister was turned away from a restaurant this weekend because of her own government's social distancing coronavirus rules. Now restaurants only reopened to seated customers just last week in the island nation after it managed to keep the number of coronavirus fatalities down to just 21 so far. Jacinda Ardern's partner tweeted that restaurant staff later chased the first couple down in the street and invited them back in to dine after tables opened up. Jacinda Ardern's approval ratings have soared according to a recent poll due to her handling of the crisis.


CAMEROTA: Our thanks to all of our correspondents around the world.

Meanwhile, coronavirus has hit the entertainment industry hard, but the pandemic is reviving a piece of Americana that was all but lost, and that's the drive-in movie theater.

CNN's Tom Foreman has more.


TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Even with Virginia rain coming steadily down --

JAMES KOPP, DRIVE-IN OPERATOR: I hate it when it looks like this.

FOREMAN: Business is up.

KOPP: I know, and which movie?


FOREMAN: But James Kopp's drive-in theater --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi, what's the first name?

KOPP: Right-hand lane.

FOREMAN: Just in the nick of time.

KOPP: Small businesses are suffering. If it wasn't for my retirement account, we would -- we would not be able to put the show on. People are seeing it as a safe environment, a safe way to come out to see the movie.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How many is in the car? FOREMAN: With traditional cinemas and Hollywood itself reeling from lost income, drive-ins appear to be offering a rare and surging bright spot for the industry.

KOPP: (INAUDIBLE) man, you got online tickets from (INAUDIBLE).

FOREMAN: And far fans.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We drove from Washington, D.C.

FOREMAN: Weary of sheltering at home.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Maybe about an hour to get here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's the first time out of the house in a couple weeks.

FOREMAN: Drive-ins were started way back in the early 1900s as an alternative to the stuffy, cramped conditions in some early theaters. They boomed in the '50s and '60s, then fell into decades of decline.

But now that old idea, complete with popcorn, suddenly seems new.

KOPP: You must provide space between that vehicle.

FOREMAN: And needed.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Definitely worked out in this pandemic time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At least six feet away, and, you know, we can -- we can sit in our cars if we need to.

FOREMAN: And not just for movies. Country star Keith Urban, days ago, staged a tribute concert to healthcare workers at a drive-in.

KEITH URBAN, MUSICIAN: God bless our healthcare workers.

FOREMAN: Suggesting live entertainment may find a home in the automotive amphitheaters, too.

URBAN: Well, first of all, thank God the drive-ins are still happening.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: To all of the essential workers out there.

FOREMAN: At Kopp's, moviegoers expressed their support for hospital staffers with a blast of horns.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Let's hear those horns!

FOREMAN: Then, the light faded, the projector came alive, and for at least a little while, people sat apart, but felt close, and in the dark, the future seemed brighter.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It helps to make things seem not as bad in the world. [08:55:00]

KOPP: To me it's like, yes! Oh, my goodness! It's a -- like we're back here, we're bringing the community back together! Yes! The American drive-in theater rides again.

FOREMAN (on camera): They're still practicing social distancing, telling people to stay apart. They're limiting the number of people who come in. People have to make advance reservations. But for a lot of people, this is a really good option for a night out after so many nights in.

Tom Foreman, CNN, Bethesda, Maryland.


CAMEROTA: That does look really fun. I want to go to a drive-in movie

BERMAN: And then the sock hop. We can do both. We can do it all!

CAMEROTA: I have a poodle skirt.

BERMAN: You know -- you know, back when they went to drive-ins, they had bench seating, though, as opposed to the bucket seats. I do think it's a different ergonomic situation now.

CAMEROTA: What are you implying? I'm just curious, what are you implying went on at the drive-in?

BERMAN: I'm just saying. I have only seen it in the movies.

CAMEROTA: We should mention, the Dow futures are responding in a very big way to the breaking news that we just reported on the encouraging vaccine news. They're up 753 points at this moment. So we have all of the details after this very quick break.