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Major Universities in the U.S. Adjust Classes for Fall Semester; Child Vaccinations Drop at Alarming Rate; Inovio Claims its Vaccine Produces Antibodies in Mice and Guinea Pigs. Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired May 20, 2020 - 07:30   ET



JOHN BERMAN, CO-ANCHOR, NEW DAY: We learned overnight that the iconic University of Cambridge in England will not hold in-person lectures at all in the 2020/2021 academic year. In the U.S., we're still learning more about what colleges will do in the Fall semester. A growing number of them will reopen with in-person classes at least to start. Joining us now is Mitch Daniels; the president of Purdue University and a former governor of Indiana.

Governor, it's great to see you with us this morning. Can you please explain what Purdue is going to do with as much detail as possible come this September?

MITCH DANIELS, PRESIDENT, PURDUE UNIVERSITY: John, it all starts with a scientific understanding that we've all come to, who is and is not really vulnerable to this virus. And so everything -- all the changes we'll make are really concentrated on protecting those who would be vulnerable. Fewer than 20 percent of our campus community all in are even over 35, let alone suffer from the comorbidities that we now know put people in real danger.

So, there will be far fewer people in classrooms, they'll all be wearing -- all the students will be wearing masks. Many teachers, we will insist teach only online. But those who are in classrooms will be at a, I will say, extra protective distance, probably behind Plexiglas and so forth. We will offer online alternatives to all the big classes that we -- courses that we teach as a way both to de-densify the classroom, almost every student is likely to take maybe one course online.

And then some, of course, who can't get to campus or prefer not to for a semester, we will accommodate them online entirely. So, it'd be easier to tell you things that will be the same and things that will be different. But we think it's worth it.

BERMAN: Yes, it's interesting. What you're describing there is a real hybrid. A real hybrid of in-person and online. You know, did I hear you say correctly, that some teachers will be teaching from behind Plexiglas?

DANIELS: We're already putting it up. We're going to do absolutely everything we can to maximize the safety, once again, of those we now know, we have learned over these last two months where the real risk and danger resides. And that will be our area of focus with everything we do from physical facilities to the way we teach.

BERMAN: It's interesting. You told Erin Burnett last night, quote, "our institution only exists for the benefit of students, not as an institution for the adults working in it." Why make that distinction?

DANIELS: To me, it's an obvious point. But sometimes at least, I guess subconsciously overlooked by others. We've learned two things, John, in the last two or three months. I think I said to Erin last night, we wouldn't have made this decision to reopen in March, February or March. But what did we learn? We learned first of all that young people are at essentially zero lethal risk.

They're at much greater risk here and in other campuses from car accidents, other accidents, cancer, suicide, I'm sad to say and other threats. And so, the other thing we've learned is that overwhelmingly, and not unanimously, but an overwhelming numbers at least for Purdue University, those students want to be back here. We had record deposits, big surprise to us.

Record number of students saying that they want to be here and sending money in to reserve a spot. So, our -- that's what we're here for. And our job as the stewards of this university is to find -- is to make it possible for those young people to pursue their education and get their lives going.

BERMAN: It's not -- it's not zero risk for young people. I know it's a much lower risk. But it's not zero. There have been young people who have been getting sick. And as you of course note, they can be carriers of this. How much is that factoring into your decision- making, that it can be passed among the students and then to people perhaps in the older populations or people back home?

DANIELS: It's a fundamental point, of course, and the vast majority are apparently -- a majority of young people who get it don't even know they had it. So, they -- even if they want to protect others, they're going to need to be enabled and assisted to do that. So, yes, we'll be testing when we find a positive case, we'll be tracing, we've set rooms aside for quarantine of those students who can continue their education online as we discussed earlier.


You know, I guess the final point here is, after all the money we will spend on testing, tracing, physical changes to our dorms and dining facilities and classrooms, all of that -- so much of this will rest on behavioral change, compliance with a whole -- the pledge we're going to ask every student and staff member to take, to mask up indoors, to maintain social distance, to practice good hygiene, to self-quarantine if they do feel they have symptoms.

Take their temperature every day. And we're going to have to -- work just as hard on the cultural aspects as the physical --

BERMAN: Sure -- DANIELS: But I've very confident --

BERMAN: I want to ask you one quick question because you wrote a really interesting op-ed in "The Washington Post" and we're almost out of time. You warned America, and this is less about education than I think about the political culture against what you call a hindsight recrimination disorder when it comes to coronavirus. Quickly, what did you mean?

DANIELS: I just mean that none of us knows where this is going. There have been very different ideas about how to manage it from the sort of absolutist lockdown everything approach we have been taking to, you know, alternative suggestions. And I just -- I would -- I think we ought to all agree that decisions are being made sincerely and in good faith. And that those who are making them, if they turn out to be bad judgments later, we ought to just -- we ought to not go back and indulge in the recriminations we have in other cases.

BERMAN: Governor Mitch Daniels, president of Purdue University, a pleasure to speak with you this morning. Thanks so much.

DANIELS: Pleasure.

BERMAN: A troubling consequence of this pandemic, vaccinations in children are dropping at an alarming rate. We'll discuss the implications of it next.



ALISYN CAMEROTA, CO-ANCHOR, NEW DAY: Here's a developing story. Another U.S. drug manufacturer is claiming success with an experimental vaccine trial that has shown positive results in animals. CNN's senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen joins us now with the details. So, Elizabeth, this has shown positive results in mice and guinea pigs. So, how excited should we be right now?

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: You know, you never get as excited about animals as you do about humans. And even with humans, you take into account, this is early on, this is a marathon not a sprint. It is certainly good news that now the third or one of the three -- another one of the three, I should say American, U.S., you know, vaccine makers is seeing success in animals.

You always do animals first and then you do humans. A few days ago, we heard about humans with Moderna, now animals with Inovio. So, it's definitely good news, but you know, it could still fail. None of these are too big to fail at this point. They are all in the early stages. So, these animals developed what they called neutralizing antibodies, Alisyn. And so, what that means is that the antibodies manage to glom on to the virus and disable it so that it couldn't attack the actual animal cells.

So, again, good news, but as researchers like to joke, mice lie and monkeys exaggerate. So things that work in animals often don't work in humans. Often they do, but often they don't.

CAMEROTA: That is some good vaccine humor right there. So, basically, what I hear you saying is that Moderna is farther along than Inovio. So, is it -- does it -- does this mean that Moderna has already tested it in mice and guinea pigs, and they've passed that hurdle?

COHEN: They've tested it in some form of animals. I can't remember if it was mice or ferrets or guinea pigs. But by definition, once -- if you're testing in humans, you've already tested in animals. We test in animals to make sure that it's safe because you wouldn't want to just start with humans and harm someone. So, we start with animals. The most common are mice and ferrets and sometimes monkeys. Usually not because monkeys are very expensive.

So, it's often with mice or with ferrets, and they look for two things, one, did they kill any animals? That's bad. And number two, what kind of immune response did they get? And so that's what Inovio is announcing today.

CAMEROTA: You know, Elizabeth, there is another story, and it's that there are all sorts of health consequences to coronavirus even if you don't get coronavirus. You know, it has this ripple effect across the medical field as you know. And so, there's a report that children are not getting the necessary vaccines, currently the vaccines that are required for them. And is that because people are afraid to go to the doctor right now? I mean, what's that about?

COHEN: You know, I think it's unclear, we don't know why? But the numbers are so dramatic that there's obviously something going on. So, let's take a look at the most recent CDC report, it looks at Michigan data. And what they found is that vaccines are down 22 percent for people under 2, they're down 16 percent compared to previous years.

There was a previous report that looked at Michigan, and if you looked at -- I'm sorry, that looked at the state of Washington. The state of Washington which of course has been particularly hard hit. If you look at their April, if you look at last month, their numbers were down 42 percent. Their vaccination rates for children down 42 percent. And as you said, Alisyn, this obviously isn't a COVID vaccination that doesn't exist yet.

But you know, for all the child measles, mumps, rubella, et cetera, all of the childhood vaccines, you know, that we know about, my guess is that you're right that people are afraid to go to the doctor. They would go if they're sick. But if it's for something routine, they put it off. That's unfortunate because if you don't vaccinate your child against something like measles or mumps, and we lose herd immunity, we could see the rates of those cases increase.

CAMEROTA: Right. I mean, and also just so ironic because we're so desperate for a vaccine for COVID-19 and yet, skipping some of the vaccines that we already have, taking them for granted. So, we'll see if that changes now that the country is at least partially opening up. Thank you very much for all of the reporting, Elizabeth.

COHEN: Thanks! CAMEROTA: John?


BERMAN: We want to remember some of the nearly 92,000 Americans lost to coronavirus. Donnie Nickelson-Barret served 33 years in the Prosecutor's Office in Essex County, New Jersey, most of them as a clerical supervisor in the special victims unit. She was known as the matriarch of the office for the big laugh who spreads unconditional love, smiles, birthday cards, and to a lucky few, nicknames. She was 58 years old.

Sisters of Charity, Gabriella Nguyen and Monica Fumo were long time staff and friends at St. Joan Antida High School in Milwaukee. They died of coronavirus just one day apart earlier this week. And Annie Glenn was the widow of astronaut and senator John Glenn; the first American to orbit the earth. She died yesterday at the age of 100. Her daughter says her parents had an incredible love story, meeting at the age of 2 and never so much as dating anyone else.

Now, Annie grew up with a severe stutter which she did overcome, becoming a tireless advocate for those with communication disorders. What a life? We'll be right back.



CAMEROTA: New this morning. A federal judge in Texas says if voters are afraid of coronavirus, they can vote by mail. This ruling, of course, has implications for the presidential race. CNN's Ed Lavandera is live in Dallas with the details. So what do you know, Ed?

ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Alisyn. Well, you know, all eyes focused on that November election, but there's actually a primary runoff here in the state of Texas in July. So that is actually the more pressing matter in this back-and-forth that we're seeing between Democrats and Republicans here in the state of Texas. That federal judge here overruling the State Attorney General here and saying -- and pointing to the disability clause in the election code to allow absentee ballots in voting.

The code -- and part of the code that he pointed out here says that disability is a sickness or a physical condition that prevents the voter from appearing at the polling place. And in his ruling, the judge said that the court finds that such fear and anxiety is inextricably intertwined with voter's physical health, such apprehension will limit citizens right to cast their votes in person.

So, this has been going back and forth here for several weeks as Democrats say that people and voters should not have to choose between their health and casting their ballots. Republicans here in Texas are arguing that this will lead to widespread voter fraud. If you remember, a few weeks ago, in the state of Wisconsin during its primary, they had people come out, long lines you saw as they tried to practice social distancing. Some 18 people were infected with coronavirus and traced back to that

election day as well. So, this is something that the State Attorney General here in Texas is now saying he will appeal to the Fifth Court of Criminal -- Fifth Court of Appeals in New Orleans that tends to be a more conservative court. We'll see how that plays out in the weeks ahead. But this is a back-and-forth that we will continue to see here in Texas for weeks to come. John?

BERMAN: And very political around the country. Ed Lavandera in Texas. There is some breaking news. Michigan has announced plans to send absentee ballots to all voters. President Trump just announced he will block funding to Michigan. All funding to Michigan unless it reverses that decision. So we'll stay on that for you. This morning, new details related to Tara Reade; the woman accusing Joe Biden of sexual assault from an alleged incident 27 years ago complicating an already muddied picture.

CNN's MJ Lee joins us live with a previously unreported account from Reade's former co-worker about why she may have left Biden's office in the 1990s. MJ, you've done terrific reporting on this. What do we know?

MIN JUNG LEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, John, if you're trying to follow the story of Tara Reade, you might be confused about what happened and who said what and when? Well, this morning, we tried to piece together the numerous accounts that have emerged since Tara Reade first came forward last year.


LEE (voice-over): Tara Reid made a bombshell allegation earlier this year. She said then Senator Joe Biden sexually assaulted her while she was working in his office in 1993.

TARA READE, FORMER SENATE STAFFER FOR JOE BIDEN: You and I were there, Joe Biden. Please step forward and be held accountable.

LEE: It's an allegation Biden has vehemently denied.

JOE BIDEN, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm saying unequivocally, it never happened. It's simple. What are the facts? Do any of the things she said, do they add up?

LEE: And since Reade went public, varying accounts have emerged from Reade herself and her former colleagues, friends and acquaintances, painting a complicated and sometimes seemingly inconsistent picture of Reade's experience of working for Biden.

READE: My endgame is that, is basically telling my story in a dignified way, not be torn apart. And it's being able to move on with my life and heal.

LEE: And now a new account from Ben Savage; Reade's former colleague and Biden's Senate office from 1993 about the circumstances surrounding Reade's departure from Biden's office. He says the two worked closely and that he saw her at times overwhelmed by her job. While Reade now says she was fired after complaining about alleged sexual harassment, Savage says Reade told him at the time she believed she was being terminated for a medical issue.

Reade's attorney Doug Wigdor taking issue with Savage's claim that Reade was fired for performance issues. Wigdor also telling CNN, Reade did have health issues saying, yes, she was being sexually harassed and retaliated against, and ultimately sexually assaulted. She did miss days of work because of all of this. And a muddled picture of why Reade ultimately left Washington D.C.


In a now deleted medium post, Reade wrote she resigned to pursue acting and writing. In another deleted post, she said she was returning to the Midwest, so her then boyfriend could manage a congressman's campaign. Reade telling CNN, she wrote some stupid blog posts at a time when she wasn't ready to talk about Biden. In recent years, Reade has at times praised Biden on social media and to acquaintances. Reade telling CNN, she has been conflicted about her feelings towards Biden, saying many things are true at once.

READE: I didn't want to talk badly about him, and I wasn't ready to tell my history with Joe Biden at that point at all.

LEE: Victims of sexual violence do not always tell consistent stories about their abusers and experiences. Sometimes they have even praised the individual that they later accused of assault as Reade has with Biden. A complicating factor in Reade's life, a name change to Alexandra McCabe, after she left, what she said was an abusive marriage.

Some parts of Reade's life after that remain hazy. Reade told CNN that she received a bachelor of arts degree from Antioch University in Seattle under what she called a protected program to help her protect her identity. She also said she was a visiting professor at the school. But Karen Hamilton; an Antioch University spokesperson telling CNN, Alexandra McCabe attended but did not graduate from Antioch University.

She was never a faculty member. She did provide several hours of administrative work. A school official also telling CNN that such a protected program does not exist and never has. Reade graduated from Seattle University Law School in 2004, gaining admission through its Alternative Admission Program. Reade's description of Biden's alleged misconduct changed since she first came forward last year.

Initially, she said Biden made her feel uncomfortable, touching her arm and her hair. This year, she said the story she didn't share is that she was also sexually assaulted by Biden in a hallway on Capitol Hill in 1993. CNN spoke to ten former Biden Senate staffers who worked for him in the '90s. None of them were aware of any issues of sexual harassment or assault involving their former boss.

But others close to Reade have also corroborated parts of her story, including a former neighbor and Reade's brother. According to 1996 court records, her ex-husband said Reade related a problem that she was having at work regarding sexual harassment in U.S. Senator Joe Biden's office on multiple occasions. The document does not, however, state who perpetrated the alleged harassment or mentions sexual assault.


LEE: Now, what makes reporting on this story so complicated is that we're talking about a period of time almost 30 years ago, and Tara Reade told CNN that she vaguely remembers Ben Savage; this ex- colleague who shared this new account from 1993, even though he said that their desks were right next to each other, and that they worked closely together. John?

BERMAN: MJ Lee, you've done terrific reporting on this, thanks so much for your work. The CDC has finally released guidelines for reopening the country with one major omission. NEW DAY continues right now.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The CDC releasing detailed guidelines on how to safely reopen the country.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You get the sense from this document it is really leading more up to the discretion of governors now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is the risk of permanent damage. We want to do this in a balanced and safe way.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In the next 12 to 15 hours, downtown Midland could be under approximately 9 feet of water. We are anticipating a historic high water level.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The dams in the county are all wide open. We're just waiting for the water to press. We're assessing what damages we have.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're looking at flood heights that are the highest we've ever had in the city of Midland.


CAMEROTA: Good morning, everyone. Welcome to our viewers in the United States and all around the world. This is NEW DAY. And all 50 states will be at least partially reopened today. We also finally have that detailed guidance from the CDC about how to reopen safely. Though they have omitted guidance for churches and other religious institutions.

Also this morning, there is tension between the White House and the CDC, and it's escalating. Sources inside the CDC tell CNN that they are convinced that politics, not science, is driving the administration's response, and they say that has made this pandemic worse.

BERMAN: There are also new questions this morning about the data on coronavirus cases and deaths being reported by Florida and Georgia. In an e-mail to CNN's local affiliate, a former Florida official say she was fired for refusing to, quote, "manually" change data to drum up support for the plan to reopen. We're also following breaking news out of Michigan.

Two dams there have failed, causing catastrophic flooding, forcing thousands to evacuate. We have a reporter on the ground there with a live report just ahead.

CAMEROTA: OK, but first, let's begin our coverage with CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta and Dr. Richard Besser; he is the former acting director of the CDC, and now president and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson.