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Plane Crashes in Karachi, Pakistan; Dr. Anthony Fauci Provides Advise for Going Outside During Memorial Day Weekend; Virginia Beach Deputy City Manager Ron Williams Interviewed on Rules for Opening Virginia Beach; CDC Provides Updated Guidance on Coronavirus Spread; Oxford Vaccine Trial Moves to Next Phase of Human Trials; Commercial Plane Crashes in Karachi, Pakistan. Aired 8-8:30a ET
Aired May 22, 2020 - 08:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Islamabad with the breaking details. What's the latest you're hearing?
SOPHIA SAIFI, CNN PRODUCER: Well, John, what we know so far is that the latest information that we have is that this plane cased in a very crowded urban area called Model Colony. This is very close to the airport. It's a very crowded urban area with three story high rises, people living very close together, a lot of traffic, and the plane crashed right in the residential area.
We've also have been told by officials from the airline, from PIA, that there was a May Day call by the pilot and the last thing that he said before they spoke to him, before the crash happened, before they lost him, was that he was attempting to land the plane. He couldn't -- he wasn't successful at the first attempt. He kept insisting that there were technical issues with the plane, and then he was attempting to circle back around without much of an explanation when they lost contact with him. So, according to PIA officials, they're going to be investigating into what caused those technical issues.
The other information that we have from the Ministry of Health of the province of Sindh, where the city of Karachi, the largest, most populated city of the country is located, is that there could be survivors. There's a bit of confusion about whether everyone on that plane has died or not. There is hope that there are survivors. We're being told that there were five survivors, but because this is a moving situation, it's being difficult to figure out what the death toll or the amount of survivors currently is.
BERMAN: Yes, exactly. We are getting these reports of the possibility of survivors. What's not clear to me at least, at least not yet, based on the video we're seeing of this wreckage, it's not impossible some of the people that may be considered survivors were in the buildings themselves and not the plane. What do we know about that at this point?
SAIFI: Well, there are concerns that there will be some casualties from the people living in that colony. We have been seeing a lot of visuals of ambulances, terrified people limping out of buildings, et cetera. You must understand that the city of Karachi has been the most struck city by the coronavirus scare. The city had been in lockdown, in extreme lockdown, for about two months, and it is only recently that domestic flights were restarted in the country, only last week. So the flights that were running at the moment were running at a low schedule, not many people, et cetera. And it is the season of Eid, there's festivities, so it has put a lot of damper on this -- this tragedy has put a damper on this situation. Alisyn?
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: Sophia Saifi, thank you very much for all of the update. Obviously, we will keep watching this and you'll bring us developments.
Back here in the U.S., our other top story, millions of Americans expected to hit the beaches and parks for Memorial Day weekend, but scientists want them to stay far apart. On CNN last night, Dr. Anthony Fauci implored Americans to wear a mask outside and stay at least six feet away from everyone else as the U.S. death toll from coronavirus nears 95,000 people. There is new concern that in some areas of the south they're showing spikes since they've reopened. The mayor of Montgomery, Alabama, says his city has just one intensive care unit bed left.
CNN's Rosa Flores is live in Delray Beach, Florida, with more. How is it looking there at this hour?
ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Alisyn, good morning. The rules here are very simple. You can jog, you can walk, and you can swim, but take a look behind me and you'll see that some people are hanging out, which is prohibited. Masks here are not required, but they are recommended if you can't social distance. Now, as you said, Dr. Anthony Fauci has said people can go out. You just have to be smart and safe.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: Go out, wear a mask, stay six feet away from anyone so you have the physical distancing. And go out, go for a run, go for a walk, go fishing, as long as you're not in a crowd and you're not in a situation where you can physically transmit the virus. And that's what a mask is for, and that's what the physical distance. I plan to go out for a nice walk and hikes over Memorial Day, and I'm going to do it with care, with a mask on.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
FLORES: Here in Florida, most beaches are open, except for Miami-Dade and Broward, which are the two most impacted counties. And, John, I want you to take a look behind me, because here in Palm Beach, the beaches are open. But take a look. Even though a lot of people might have plans to come to the beach, it looks like Mother Nature has a different plan. John?
BERMAN: It has its own idea there. Rosa, stay dry if you can. Thanks for being with us. Opening just in time for the holiday weekend, Virginia Beach. Joining
me now is Virginia Beach Deputy City Manager Ron Williams. Thank you very much for being with us this morning.
Let's put up on the screen here what your plans are for the, what, 26 miles of beaches in Virginia Beach. You're going to have six feet apart unless they're family, no groups of 10 plus people, no speakers, no large coolers, no alcohol, no tents or groups of umbrellas, no group sports. What is your goal here as you reopen this weekend?
RON WILLIAMS, VIRGINIA BEACH DEPUTY CITY MANAGER: Good morning, John. We have the widest beaches on the east coast. And so the goal is that people can come and recreate on the beach by sitting. The past few weeks we have been in an exercise and fishing only environment, per the executive orders that Governor Northam issued. So now you can sit on the beach, and what we want everyone to do is help stop the spread by making sure they're maintaining the executive orders for six feet apart and no more than 10 in a crowd.
BERMAN: It really is interesting, something as simple as sitting on a beach will be something that people haven't been able to do in some time.
WILLIAMS: Indeed. We also are going to have clean teams at every beach access so that they're cleaning those high tech surfaces every two hours and following CDC guidance on that.
BERMAN: So how are you going to enforce these goals or restrictions?
WILLIAMS: Over the past few weeks it's predominantly through our law enforcement when we are in the fishing and exercise only environment. But now we've added a layer of about 100, 125 beach ambassadors that are at every access. They're in bright, friendly, yellow uniforms, and they're that friendly front line to ask for voluntary compliance for the distancing.
BERMAN: What if there isn't voluntary compliance? And I ask that, because, look, we know most people are playing by the rules across the country, but some aren't. There are some people who are openly defiant.
WILLIAMS: Absolutely. If we don't get voluntary compliance to a beach ambassador, then they'll ask for law enforcement to come and actually enforce the governor's executive orders for the distancing.
BERMAN: Is there a limit, an upper end of how many people will be allowed on a certain section of beach?
WILLIAMS: Yes. We estimate it is about 1,600 per block in our boardwalk area. And part of the way we're going to control that is we're going to disperse our parking. We have new on-street parking we don't traditionally utilize, and we're making sure that the parking garages are no more than at 50 percent capacity. BERMAN: What are you hoping or thinking in terms of who will be
coming? Will this be primarily Virginia Beach residents, locals, or are you asking or inviting people to come from wherever they can?
WILLIAMS: Mostly drive to markets, John. Yes, residents, of course, but we have seen visitors over the past few weeks, and it has been increasing each weekend. Especially after these thunderstorms clear today, and we have some good weather over the next couple of days, we expect that as well. So predominantly mid-Atlantic drive to market.
BERMAN: Ron Williams from Virginia Beach, we wish you best of luck this weekend. Stay safe, stay healthy. I hope you get a chance to sit on the beach a little bit this weekend safely with your family. Appreciate it.
WILLIAMS: Thank you, John.
CAMEROTA: OK, John, joining us now is CNN's chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta. Sanjay, great to see you. Let's just talk about what is happening in the hardest hit area of the U.S. as we approach this weekend. So the south, there is only one ICU bed left, we're told, in Montgomery, Alabama. The mayor there says that that is unsustainable. And so I know you have been telling us for a long time that there will be different outbreaks at different times, there's no one size fits all, what do you think is happening in places like Alabama?
SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, we may start -- we may be seeing these resurgence of patients getting infected again. We're not sure yet because there could be a longer timeline on some of these things as we start to see re-openings. There are some places around the country that if you look at the models that seem like they're going to be doing OK. And a lot of that is because even though they're reopening, it is a very sort of different reopening, Alisyn. It is not a binary thing, either you're open or you're shut. In many places people are doing a good job of still wearing masks, keeping physically distant like you've just been hearing.
But in other places where either you had sort of patients who got exposed several weeks ago and you're just now seeing hospitalizations, smaller communities that don't have as much of a surge capacity, it could still be a problem.
And let me show you quickly, there's various projections going on in several different counties around the country right now. And again, majority of them, to be fair, look like they're either going to be flat or even going down overall in terms of cases, but a couple of places like Miami-Dade County there is a bit of a concern. I think there is around 100 new patients becoming infected every day. They project by June 18th, roughly a month from now, that number will go to nearly 400 people becoming infected. And Houston, they say that right now you have I think around 240, 250 people becoming infected, 205, rather, that is going to go to close to 2,500.
[08:10:00] So it is really, really variable place to place. Why? Why is that so variable? We're talking to the people who are generating these projections. They're saying it really has to do with are people abiding by physical distancing and mask wearing in these places. It's as simple as that. There is no therapy or vaccine or anything else in those places that would make that big a difference. It really has to do with human behavior.
BERMAN: So, Sanjay, we heard Dr. Anthony Fauci in the CNN town hall last night tell you about how he was going to spend his Memorial Day weekend outside, hiking, running. If he gets near anyone, he's going to be wearing a mask and staying six feet away. It's almost like we all need to be human bumper cars, Sanjay, he was saying, with a six- foot force field around us wearing masks. What would you say as we approach this weekend?
GUPTA: Yes, it's interesting, because I'm here in Georgia, and people talk about Georgia being reopen. I talked to the mayor here in Atlanta, and the mayor says, look, it is still closed, and Atlanta, the biggest city, obviously, in Georgia. I think it is fine to be outside. We've talked a lot about that. I would like to get outside as well. The city for the most part, though, is still so closed. People -- there is not a lot to do other than go for a run, go for a hike. It's not like in many of these places you can go to crowded bars or crowded restaurants or things like that. It can happen in some places, and some institutions are taking this on themselves. But for the most part it still feels kind of shut down in most places.
So being outside, great, maybe even better than being inside. Weather is not supposed to be so good, I'm hearing, around here, so maybe we'll be inside anyways. But yes, I think that as long as you can maintain that distance, wear a mask, wherever you think you're going to be coming in contact with people, whenever you think it's possible, even -- I carry a mask with me when I'm running. I don't wear a mask when I actually run unless I think I'm going to be near people. So people just have to use their judgment, I think.
CAMEROTA: Sanjay, the CDC changed some language on their website. And it is causing some confusion about how coronavirus can be most easily spread. So what do we need to know?
GUPTA: I've got to tell you, I was surprised by this. It's getting a lot of attention. It's in every newspaper this morning, this idea that in -- we know that this can spread through respiratory droplets. But what the CDC guidance says is a subtle change in language. They say that it is primarily spread through respiratory droplets, doesn't seem to be as easily spread through surfaces.
I think what is a little bit confusing about that is that we have always known that, that it is respiratory droplets primarily. I'm not sure what drove the change in language. There wasn't some new research study or something. We know -- still know that this virus can live on surfaces. It's a lot less likely to get someone infected that way. But I'm not sure why that change, to be frank. I think people still need to be careful of surfaces. You still need to disinfect. You still need to wash your hands, obviously. The washing of the hands is because you touch a surface and then you touch your eyes, nose, or your mouth. I don't think anyone should read this new guidance and say, oh, well, all I have to do now is make sure I avoid someone who is coughing or sneezing on me. There are other modes by which this is transmitted, clearly.
And it's also clear that asymptomatic spread -- two things came out of that, 35 percent or roughly of people who contract the virus will remain asymptomatic, completely without symptoms, according to this new guidance. But about 40 percent of overall spread in the country is generated by those asymptomatic people. So that's still a significant concern. Even if someone is not obviously sick, that's the reason you still wear the mask, that's the reason you still keep the physical distance. You've got to assume and behave like everyone might potentially have the virus.
BERMAN: Sanjay, I'm glad you cleared up that issue with surfaces, because I know it has been confusing. I've been confused by what exactly the CDC was doing with that. Another number the CDC put out overnight is guidance on the mortality rate, which they now say is 0.4 percent, or it's an estimate they say, perhaps a low end estimate of a 0.4 percent mortality rate. That's a lot lower than we have seen.
GUPTA: It is a lot lower than we have seen. I will point out it is still four times higher, for example, than flu, which is 0.1 percent. So just to give people a little bit of context, when they hear the numbers, they think it is low, but if you start to apply this to large populations of people, that's where the real concern comes in.
I think when you really drill down, there is a couple of things that jump out. One is that if you don't end up needing to go to the hospital, if you don't really get that sick from this, you're going to obviously do a lot better. But if you end up getting hospitalized or end up in an ICU, your chance of survival then goes dramatically down, which is obviously tough to say, but that's what we're seeing here. It really ends up being bifurcated.
And a lot of diseases it is more linear. Here you end up having two distinct populations.
It also breaks down distinctly, guys, by age. So, people 65 and older, mortality rates can be 10 to 15 times higher than people who are younger.
JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Sanjay, great having you here. Helping us understand what we have been seeing all morning long. Have a safe holiday weekend.
GUPTA: You too, guys. Thanks.
BERMAN: All right, they are the human guinea pigs in the global race to develop a coronavirus vaccine -- volunteers willing to take a risk and test it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I did have a few moments beforehand of thinking, whoa, you know, but we're all having to make decisions about risk.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BERMAN: More from them and hopes for the vaccine, next.
BERMAN: All right. New developments in the race to develop a coronavirus vaccine. The human vaccine trial in Oxford University is now moving to the next phase of its trial.
CNN's Clarissa Ward live in Oxford where she's actually spoken to some of the volunteers for these trials.
And, Clarissa, these people really are human guinea pigs.
CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: They really are. And, you know, honestly, what was so striking, John, is that they see this as a sense of duty. They're excited to be participating in a study like this one, which as you said has just announced new human trials coming up, 10,000 people will be involved in those trials.
Take a look.
WARD (voice-over): It is the oldest university in the English- speaking world. But Oxford University may soon be better known for taking a big step forward in the global race to develop a vaccine against COVID-19.
Graduate student Dan McAteer is one of more than 1,000 volunteers who signed up to be subjects in the first round of human trials. All participants had to be between 18 and 55, and in excellent health. Half were given the experimental COVID-19 vaccine, and half were given a control vaccine.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAN MCATEER, OXFORD VACCINE TRIAL VOLUNTEER: I, like all of, us felt very much impotent and powerless in the middle of a pandemic. So, I thought this sounds like maybe I can contribute in some way.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WARD: Mother of two, Lydia Guthrie had her inoculation three weeks ago.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LYDIA GUTHRIE, OXFORD VACCINE TRIAL VOLUNTEER: I did have a few moments beforehand of thinking, whoa, you know, I might be injected with this experimental vaccine. That sounds like something out of a science fiction film. But we're all having to make decisions about risk.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WARD: Guthrie says she experienced some mild side effects similar to a mild flu. Next week, she will go back for her first blood test.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GUTHRIE: We have an e-diary system, so every day I get an e-mail as a prompt to log in and complete a short questionnaire about my health and well-being. I also complete a questionnaire about my daily activities.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WARD: The vaccine's developers have made some bold predictions, saying it could be mass produced as early as September. But some experts have cast doubt on that optimism, pointing to test results on monkeys, while none of the vaccinated animals suffered from pneumonia after being injected with COVID-19, they did still contract the virus.
Jenner Institute director professor Adrian Hill says the data has been misconstrued.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ADRIAN HILL, DIRECTOR, JENNER INSTITUTE: We are very confident that the result in these countries is as good as we could've hope for.
WARD: Is the goal of this vaccine to create immunity, or is it simply to prevent the worst symptoms?
HILL: So, I think it will likely be one of the other, it doesn't work at all or it works against infection and disease. That's certainly how vaccines work.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WARD: McAteer concedes he will be disappointed if the vaccine doesn't work.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MCATEER: If you are part of something and you've given it your time and it's been a subject of a bit of anxiety of course because there are risks attached, of course you want your vaccine to succeed.
But fundamentally, we just need a vaccine to succeed or even better multiple vaccines to succeed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WARD: In the end, the real race is against the virus and time.
BERMAN: So interesting to hear from these people, Clarissa. Tell us more about the next round of trials and who exactly will be tested.
WARD: So this is interesting, John in the first round as you saw, it was people between 18 and 55. Now they're going to be testing above 70 years old and they're going to be looking at children potentially between the ages of 5 and 12.
But some experts have said that we should be a little cautious about popping the champagne just yet. It simply is still very early. This is moving at a really quick pace, those two subjects who we interviewed, they haven't even had their test results yet and already you're talking about testing another 10,000 people, so some people saying, well, let's put the brakes on just a little bit and see what the data really shows -- John.
BERMAN: That's right. Let the science work its course.
Clarissa, really interesting look. Thanks so much for being with us.
We do have breaking news this morning, a commercial jet carrying more than 100 people has crashed in Pakistan. More about what we know of the final moments next.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.
CAMEROTA: We do have more information now on our breaking news. A Pakistan International Airlines flight with more than 100 people on board has crashed in the city of Karachi. Officials say the flight was headed from Lahore to Karachi when it crashed just before it was scheduled to land.
We're told the pilot did make a mayday call, reporting a technical problem before the plane went down.
Joining us now is CNN (AUDIO GAP) been looking at the videos that are circulating online and what have you been able to determine?
MARY SCHIAVO, CNN TRANSPORTATION ANALYST: Well, one of the most interesting videos I have found that is circulating again, it was posted, can't verify the source, but it is of this plane coming in for what looks like the crash landing and you can see that the wings are straight and level, you can hear engine, you can hear engines in the background, it almost sounds like there is cooling down, in other words, for you, in layman's terms, not producing full power. The wings are straight and level and you can see the landing gear down.
Now, it is impossible to tell for a picture if the pilot is in the cockpit had the indication the gear was actually locked into place. But initial reports were that on the first attempt to land, the pilot reported some problems with the landing gear, along with mechanical problems. And then on the second after the go around occurred, reported problems (AUDIO GAP) engines, having lost an engine (AUDIO GAP).
So, it's -- you know, there are lots of causes for that. Bird strikes, engine difficulty, no fire, there is no fire coming from the engines on the plane. So it doesn't look like an uncontained engine failure, but that's very interesting footage that the wings are straight.
CAMEROTA: Yes, and makes it all the more mysterious.
Can you tell how close to the ground the plane was when it lost control?
SCHIAVO: Yes. Well, when it -- when it lost contact with air traffic control, it was 525 feet from the ground, so it was very close to the ground, so this footage, if accurate, would be reporting some of this flight's last moments, and would suggest indeed as the pilots are reported to have said to the controller that they had engine problems.