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Colleges Plan to Limit In-Person Classes; Attorney in Arbery Killed Volunteers Polygraph; Coronavirus Update from Around the World; Answers to your Coronavirus Questions; Baseball Writer Auctions Memorabilia for Charities. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired May 19, 2020 - 08:30   ET



DAVID LEEBRON, PRESIDENT, RICE UNIVERSITY: The important thing was really to be very flexible, very agile and very adaptable. And that mean if we had to make quick decisions to go completely online, we could make a quick decision to do that. That means we could accommodate members of our community who might be more vulnerable. And that's why we also decided, in connection with that decision, to go to what we call dual delivery, which means that every class that can be will be taught simultaneously both in person and on campus.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: So are you giving all students the choice of whether or not they feel comfortable taking a virtual class or going into the classroom?

LEEBRON: We haven't worked out all those details. Certainly a student who suffered from some underlying, you know, deficiency or diabetes, for example, might choose not to go to class. But we have to decide the degree to which at any moment, regardless of the circumstances, people might be able to make their own call.

But we're also concerned about students who might not be able to get back to campus. We have a lot of international students. They may -- might want to start the semester not on campus. And we also wanted to make that possible as well. But we're still working out what all the rules might be.

CAMEROTA: And so, I mean, last, do you feel that coronavirus will fundamentally change the college experience for students going forward, I mean not just for fall semester?

LEEBRON: Yes, I think it will fundamentally change in some ways. We've gotten used now -- Rice already had online degree programs, online courses and so we were pretty prepared for this. But I think students and faculty learn about new capabilities and some things that are actually work better than in person. Don't get me wrong, our students and faculty are eager to return to the campus as long as they feel safe about it, but there are some advantages in terms of participation and the way one can arrange chat rooms, and how we deliver student services. And so I think universities are going to become more nimble, more flexible, more personalized for students. A student might take a semester abroad, but still enroll in half or more of his or her classes, in effect, classes from the campus. So I think it's going to make universities in that sense better into

the future. But, again, I want to emphasize, our students make very clear that they -- they really do want to be back with each other and on our campus.

CAMEROTA: Yes. I mean, obviously, that is a huge part of the college experience.

President David Leebron, thank you very much for letting us now your thoughts on what's going to happen at Rice. We really appreciate it.

LEEBRON: Thank you so much for including me.


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: All right, this morning, the attorney for the man who filmed the last moments of Ahmaud Arbery's life says a polygraph test shows his client was not involved in the killing. The attorney has submitted the results of that test to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

CNN's Martin Savidge, who has been covering this story from the beginning, joins us now with the latest.



Yes, there has always been this kind of cloud of suspicion that hangs over William Roddy Bryan, even though he took the video that everyone agrees changed the whole trajectory of the case. It's because there had been some police accounts that seemed to depict him as a participant as well as just a witness. But his attorney has become so frustrated that the GBI has not either indicted or cleared him that he had his client take a polygraph test and late last night he revealed some of the results.


KEVIN GOUGH, WILLIAM "RODDIE" BRYAN'S ATTORNEY: Contrary to speculation, the polygraph examination confirms that on February 23, 2020, the day of the shooting, William Roddie Bryan, did not have any conversation with either Gregory or Travis McMichael prior to the shooting, nor did William Roddie Bryan have any conversation with anyone else that day prior to the shooting about criminal activity in the neighborhood.


SAVIDGE: We reached out to the GBI, Georgia Bureau of Investigation, to see if they had any further updates on Mr. Bryan, and they just said -- the police said they're continuing to investigate.

Now to that home that was under construction in the neighborhood where Ahmaud Arbery died. We've shown you a number of surveillance video clips that depicted a young African-American male that was inside the house. That is what seemed to be of concern to the McMichael family. But we want to show you that there were a lot of people that visited that home. It's a home under construction and, well, I walked on to sites just out of curiosity and the video show that there is at least a couple, there were some kids that went in there, there are other people that have visited that construction site, but it appears only one, the African-American male, was the one that got the suspicions of the McMichael family.


BERMAN: Yes, Martin, it's a good point. Can't tell you how many times I've walked on construction sites to check out a house that's being built.

Martin Savidge, thanks very much for being with us this morning.

SAVIDGE: You're welcome.

BERMAN: China firing back after President Trump's threat to defund the World Health Organization.


New developments, next.


BERMAN: Was attacking the Trump administration for threatening to defund the World Health Organization. CNN has reporters around the world bringing you the latest developments.



The Chinese government is defending the World Health Organization's record on dealing with the deadly coronavirus pandemic. This after President Trump sent a four-page letter slamming the WHO and threatening to withdraw all U.S. funding permanently from that multilateral institution. The Chinese foreign ministry argues that this is just an example of the Trump administration trying to deflect and distract from the Trump administration's own failings and inconsistencies in dealing with this terrible disease.


A key milestone is about to be hit in South Korea's fight against coronavirus as schools start to reopen this Wednesday. Now, they will start with the high school seniors and there will be rules.


They will have to wear masks. They have to wash their hands frequently. They have to keep a safe distance from each other. And the second there is any case on any campus confirmed, they will shut that school immediately and go back to online learning.

Now, this has already been pushed back a week, the reopening. That was due to the outbreak in Seoul's nightclub district, an outbreak that the president now believes has been contained.

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm Fred Pleitgen in Copenhagen, where Denmark is continuing to ease some of the restrictions meant to combat the coronavirus pandemic. As of this week, shopping malls, bars, restaurants and cafes are allowed to open and very soon professional sports leagues will start playing again as well.

Now, Denmark is seen as a role model for combatting coronavirus, not just in Europe, but really around the world. The country went into a lockdown very early on and so now is able to get out of that lockdown fairly soon as well. Denmark also has seen a decline in coronavirus cases and a fairly low death toll.


Brazil topped 250,000 confirmed Covid-19 cases on Monday, surpassing the U.K.'s total and making it the third highest in the world. The death toll topped 16,000.

In Sao Paulo, the mayor warned that the health system is on the verge of collapse. He said 90 percent of intensive care beds are already full and yet less than half of the population is sheltering at home. The outlook is similarly bleak in hospitals from the Amazon to Rio de Janeiro.


BERMAN: All right, our thanks to our reporters from all around the world.

There are still obviously many questions about coronavirus. Dr. Sanjay Gupta back to answer some of them.

Sanjay, this comes from Bo Hetrick (ph) who writes, can the vaccine being developed by Moderna, or other vaccines, be used therapeutically to mitigate severity of virus in persons with existing Covid-19?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Great question. There's not evidence of that yet. I mean there's -- this is all very early evidence. But typically the vaccine is used before someone gets infected. There have been situations in other diseases where, you know, giving a vaccine after infection may have had some benefit. We just don't know yet. We just don't know yet.

In this particular case, though, the real goal is to create these antibodies within the body that prevents the virus from actually entering the body in the first place and starting to replicate.

CAMEROTA: Next question comes from Bernie Morgan about testing. He says, I tested negative almost three months ago. Do I need to get retested at some point?

GUPTA: Yes. So when you get a negative test, that means that you are negative at that point in time. You could potentially test positive the next day. And that could be from an exposure in the past. It doesn't mean necessarily that you were exposed in between the negative tests and the positive tests.

The point is that, yes, Bernie, you may -- you may need to get tested again at some point. Right now the concern is that, you know, there's still priority in terms of who should be getting tested. People who have symptoms, healthcare workers who have symptoms, other people who have symptoms, and then so forth down the line. Ultimately, it will be great that people could get testing on a regular basis, at point of location, before they're entering a public space or their workplace or whatever it might be. We're not there yet.

BERMAN: What does that mean regular intervals, though, Sanjay?


BERMAN: I mean we're not obviously back at work yet fully, but when people are back in their offices, how often should they be tested?

GUPTA: Yes, I've had this conversation with lots of people, including Dr. Fauci. Youi know, they decided, for example, once a week at the White House. As you know, John, there are people within the White House that are getting tested every day. That may be too regular.

The question's going to be is, how long between the time someone is exposed to the time they may become contagious? We have focused on this idea of time of exposure to time of symptoms, that that period, they say, incubation period around 14 days. But now we know that people can spread this even before they develop symptoms, if they do develop symptoms. So what is that period of time?

It's seeming like it's somewhere around, you know, five, six days. Maybe that's where every week comes from. It's still not clear. But I think it's going to be pretty frequently -- some interval like that probably.

CAMEROTA: Susie Whitfield (ph) wants to know, can the coronavirus be spread through a mosquito bite from an infected person?

GUPTA: Doesn't appear to be. This appears to be a respiratory virus. So spread through respiratory droplets. There are mosquito borne illnesses. We know that. In order for an illness to be mosquito borne, first of all, you have to have virus in the blood. We do know this coronavirus has been found in the blood. But it has to be there in sufficient enough quantities that a mosquito then takes some of that blood, the virus then lives in the mosquito's body as well, which this coronavirus does not seem to do, and that that mosquito can then transmit it to another human being.

So there's several steps in order for this to actually be a mosquito borne illness and this -- thankfully this coronavirus does not seem to do that. [08:45:05]

BERMAN: Yes, thankfully. Finally, one less thing to worry about.

Sanjay, great to have you on with us. Thanks so much.

GUPTA: You got it. Any time.

BERMAN: A sportswriter, not just any sportswriter, but the best kind of sportswriter, which is to say a Boston sportswriter, offers up his prized collection to help those in need. "The Good Stuff" is next.


BERMAN: It is time now for "The Food Stuff."

So without baseball to write about during the pandemic, a baseball writer for the Red Sox in Boston put up his memorabilia, his collection of autograph stuff that he's collected throughout his life, to help raise money for charity. And he raised $57,000.

Joining me now is Chris Cotillo, Red Sox beat writer for

Chris, it's great to have you on. It's like anchor prerogative. I get to talk to the people that I read every day.


So thanks for the work that you do.

How did you get this great idea?

CHRIS COTILLO, RED SOX BEAT WRITER, MASSLIVE.COM: Honestly, once spring training shut down, I kind of relocated to my parents, ditched the apartment and while I was sitting in this room, I remembered all the cards and the autographs that I had in the closet here and I think it was Easter Sunday just decided, you know, maybe I could do something with those and really had the idea to auction them off for charity.

So, put a couple cards up that first night and it really took off from there. And I could have never imagined that it would get to the point that it did. But I'm obviously really happy that so much money went to so many good causes.

BERMAN: How much stuff are we talking about here?

COTILLO: For me it was about 200 items. So about probably 150 autographs and 50 other cards, whether rookie cards or whatever. And then about 150 other items from people who donated. So, signed baseballs, signed jerseys, some experiences. A lot of really big ticket stuff came in from the outside, but overall about 350 items.

BERMAN: So 200 of your own personally.

COTILLO: Yes. BERMAN: You don't get just 200 pieces of memorabilia by snapping your fingers. So talk to me about how you collected that.

COTILLO: Yes, growing up as a kid in Massachusetts, you know, going to Fenway Park, as I'm sure you did, and going to the card shows and all that kind of stuff with my parents, a lot of really good memories doing that. And, you know, just going up to guys and getting autographs. I'm sure I was that, you know, annoying 11, 12-year-old who the players didn't want to see before the games. Now I think I'm the annoying 24-year-old who is in that boat. But just a lot of autographs and, as I said, you know, they kind of were hanging out in a binder for a year -- for ten years and it kind of dawned on me about six weeks ago to start doing this.

So it was a huge collection, a lot of hall of famers, a lot of stars, but I'm happy that they all went to good homes.

BERMAN: What was the hardest to put up for auction? What was the hardest to part with for you?

COTILLO: Yes, for me, I got Mike Trout's autograph when he was a rookie at Fenway. Obviously he's the best player in baseball. So I kind of held off on pulling that one out of the binder for a while. But at the end of the day, I saw how much these things were going for and realized I couldn't hold on to that one. So that went for over $1,300 for the Orange County Food Bank in Anaheim that got there safely to California where it now resides. And, you know, for $1,300, you can't be hoarding that type of thing. If people are willing to pay that much, it's well worth it.

BERMAN: It's such a great cause, right? I mean it's such a great way to do something with this stuff you've collected. How did you choose the charities that you gave to?

COTILLO: It was just random. You know, as I went through it, it was a lot of local food banks, a lot of local charities here. And then as time went on, I started mixing and matching depending on where the item, you know, would probably belong. If it was an LK (ph) line or a Detroit legend, a Detroit food bank makes sense. Like I said, Mike Trout for Anaheim, Johnny Bench for a Cincinnati food bank. So I kind of figured where the people would be bidding, obviously in the cities where these guys made their names and then picked accordingly based on the charities.

BERMAN: You know, it's so funny, I don't have autographed stuff, but I have a ton of baseball cards and memorabilia I've collected. And the thing my wife always asks me is, why? What are you going to do with this? And I don't really have a good answer. It seems like you came up with the good answer, finally, for what to do with all this stuff.

COTILLO: Yes. I think it's a great way for, you know, people, especially kids, to connect with players and connect with people that they look up to and it definitely was for me. But as the job changed, and obviously my career led me down this path, you don't get autographs while you're in the clubhouse. So, for me, it -- they were going to be better off with other people anyway and once I realized that people were willing to give as much for a card (ph), it was a no brainer.

BERMAN: So a little bit of baseball news. I heard Boston Mayor Marty Walsh say they're not playing games in Fenway in front of fans in July or August. What do you think's going to happen?

COTILLO: It's -- I think 50/50 if the Red Sox are going to be playing at Fenway or not. Obviously the pandemic has been tough here. It's been one of the hardest hit areas in the country. So it's unclear if they'll be ready. Let's say the season starts around the Fourth of July, if they'll be ready to play here or they'll have to relocate maybe to Fort Myers for a little bit.

There's some places where we know that those teams are going to be able to play in their home stadiums, but with the Red Sox, if anything, it will be without fans. But, still, like I said, unclear to see right now if that will be here.

BERMAN: Maybe they can figure out a way to play with Mookie Betts (ph) again. That's a whole other issue.

I do notice a jar of bar behind you. Did you save anything? Is there anything you saved that you just couldn't part with?

COTILLO: Yes, there's one David Ortiz. He was my favorite player growing up. So I had to keep that. And then some of the legends that I know my dad enjoyed meeting, Fred Lynn (ph), Jim Rice (ph), Dwight Evans (ph), those type of guys, we kept a few of those just because we had duplicates. But I would say, you know, 90 percent of the binder is gone. There's just a couple that I wanted to hold on to. And if I had duplicates, I got rid of let's say three Ortiz, four Veriteck (ph) and (INAUDIBLE) myself.

BERMAN: Well, great work. Listen, what a great cause. $57,000 to charity. Cleaning out the autographs and the memorabilia.

Chris Cotillo, thanks for being with us. I do appreciate reading you every day. Good luck going forward.

COTILLO: Thanks, John.

BERMAN: So, Alisyn --




CAMEROTA: I'm here. Hello.

BERMAN: Do you have autographed baseball cards?

CAMEROTA: No. But I do want to auction off some of my stuff for charity, but I realized when listening to you, I have to start collecting stuff first.

BERMAN: Yes. When you collect stuff, you can auction off your glasses.

CAMEROTA: I could auction off some of my dresses and I would like to do that if somebody likes jewel tones.

BERMAN: What about -- what about your copy of "Amanda Wakes Up"?

CAMEROTA: No, John, no, that's a -- that's a --

BERMAN: I left it in the office. I --

CAMEROTA: You don't have it with you?

BERMAN: She wrote a great book, "Amanda Wakes Up," now available in paperback. We'll auction off some copies of "Amanda Wakes Up."

CAMEROTA: Well played, John. Well played. Thank you very much.

BERMAN: All right, CNN's coronavirus coverage continues, next.



POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, everyone. I'm Poppy Harlow.