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President Trump Issues Ultimatum with North Carolina on GOP Convention; Questions Grow About Oxford's Human Vaccine Trial; A Doctor Survives Coronavirus After 55 Days in Hospital. Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired May 27, 2020 - 07:30   ET



JOHN BERMAN, CO-ANCHOR, NEW DAY: Over the last five days, and its single highest day of hospitalization --


BERMAN: Yes --

FOREST: In full disclosure, it's going down. You know, just a few weeks ago, it was 13 percent, now it's 6.9 percent over that average, I can obviously not see the ground, it's on the screen --

BERMAN: You're talking -- but we're talking about two different things. We're talking about two different things. Just so people know. I'm talking about the number of new cases, the seven-day trend --

FOREST: Yes --

BERMAN: Is going up. You're talking --


BERMAN: About the percentage of positive tests --


BERMAN: Which is going down.

FOREST: The percentage is the important thing because the number of tests goes up rapidly. So the percentage is the number you actually want to track. The actual number when it spiked is what you're probably showing is that spike. What you're not showing is that there was no testing done on Friday, Saturday or Sunday --


FOREST: The testing labs were actually shut down. So, we knew last week there was going to be a spike. But again, as I said at the beginning, full disclosure is important. So, full disclosure of all the facts is really important here. When you have a spike, you need to tell people why you have a spike in a single day.

BERMAN: Look, all I was doing was putting the numbers up on the screen, and also telling people you've had your single highest day of hospitalizations which is important to keep in mind also. OK, so now people know what the numbers are. Both of the things we have said are out there. But what I want to know is, how you would conduct this convention safely. What is your idea?

What would you like to see the Republican National Committee come forward with how to do it safely?

FOREST: Well, there's -- like I said, there's a big span of time between now and then. I think right now we have to operate under the conditions that trend lines are heading down. Things are flattening in North Carolina. What's your ultimate goal? I think somebody needs to declare what the goal is in this pandemic response. It was to flatten the curve. Well, our curve in North Carolina --

BERMAN: Let's just talk about the convention --

FOREST: Has always been flat --

BERMAN: Let's just talk -- I just want to talk about the convention --

FOREST: Yes --

BERMAN: Because the president has threatened to pull the convention.

FOREST: Yes --

BERMAN: I want to know what you think should be done to do it safely.

FOREST: Sure --

BERMAN: So, if the president is given a week-long ultimatum. You keep saying there's three months to decide, I agree. There are three months. The president seems to think there's a week. What I want to know is looking forward, what would your plan be to do it safely?

FOREST: Well, the plan is to have the convention, to protect the most vulnerable amongst us. We know very clearly, John, who the most vulnerable are. Who the people are that are impacted by this virus, and we can take real strong measures to protect them, 70 percent of the deaths in North Carolina are from nursing homes. So, we know exactly who those folks are.

The vast majority or the average age of death is over 80 years old in North Carolina. So, protect the most vulnerable, do everything you need to do in that regard, and then allow healthy people to go back about their lives and to start planning for a full convention in North Carolina --

BERMAN: A full convention?

FOREST: Just like I would say start planning for sporting events to take place --

BERMAN: A full convention --

FOREST: And getting people to fill the stands and all those kinds of things.

BERMAN: A full convention -- well, sporting events, they're not allowing --

FOREST: Yes --

BERMAN: Fans to be in the stands. There was just a NASCAR race in your state where there were no fans in the stands. That may be something that's similar to, you know, the idea of conventions. President Trump says he wants it to be a fully occupied convention. The spectrum center has what, 17,000 seats in it? Would you like --

FOREST: Something like that, yes --

BERMAN: Would you like to see --

FOREST: Something around that range, yes --

BERMAN: Would you like to see 17,000 people in the Spectrum Center?

FOREST: I would love to see 17 -- I would love to see 17,000 people, just like I would love to see people at football games again, I would love to see things get back to normal. I think you're going to have to continue to make decisions on things as time goes forward based on, you know, the data that you have at the time. But full disclosure on data is really important. And our --

BERMAN: Total --

FOREST: State has not been hit hard compared to other states, all sides --

BERMAN: Understood. So, I understand -- I mean, everyone wants to see --

FOREST: And in New York City, New York City may have very different approach to this than North Carolina --

BERMAN: Everyone wants to see full occupancy -- you keep saying that we need to see and react as things develop. So, why do you need a guarantee today that 17,000 people will be in the Spectrum Centre or allowed to be in the Spectrum Center at the end of August? How can you keep 17,000 --

FOREST: I didn't say that. Those are -- those are not my words that we need a guarantee today, John. You know, that's the words of other folks, then that's OK, but that's not my words. I said we need to move forward as a team and plan for this. This is a potential great boost to the economy. It's a great boost to the folks of Charlotte.

I think we should be looking forward and providing some positive input here and some good hope for the future and getting things opened up, and saying to the people who have been planning this convention for two years and the hospitality industry out there that we can move forward with this thing, and let's start planning as if we're going to, I don't think there's anything wrong with that.

BERMAN: So you said they're not your words. Just to be clear then, do you want the president to back off saying that the governor has to fully guarantee within a week? Because that's what the president has done. He's put an ultimatum. He says within a week, the governor --

FOREST: I'm not going to tell the president of the United States what to do or what to say. That's a fully --


This is his convention.

BERMAN: Is it fair -- is it fair to issue that ultimatum -- is it fair to issue that ultimatum that you need to guarantee within this week?

FOREST: I think it's fair to issue the ultimatum to say we can move forward with this convention. Let's work together --


BERMAN: But that's not what he's saying, he's saying the full guarantee of 17,000 people --

FOREST: Well, then talk to the president. Then talk to the president, don't talk to me. You're asking my opinion. I think it's fair to say we can -- these two groups would get together and move forward to have a full convention.


We should have a positive approach to this. Let's talk about protecting the most vulnerable --


Excuse me, how do we do that? How do we protect the most vulnerable and move forward in a reasonable way? I think we should do that? But I think it's the president's prerogative to say, hey, we need to have some guarantee from the state of North Carolina before we spend $35 million down there right now on top of the other millions that have been spent that we can have a convention in Charlotte.

BERMAN: Lieutenant Governor Dan Forest, thanks for being with us this morning. Wish you the best over the course --

FOREST: Thanks, John --

BERMAN: Of the Summer. Take care.

FOREST: Thanks, you too. BERMAN: Alisyn?

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CO-ANCHOR, NEW DAY: Really interesting conversation, John, thank you for all of that. Meanwhile, there are new questions this morning about the future of one coronavirus vaccine trial. The Oxford University trial is now said to have a 50/50 chance of success. CNN senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen joins us with the details. Is that good or bad 50/50?

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Alisyn, I'll say that it's different than what they've been saying for months. This was this past weekend, one of the lead researchers from Oxford saying only that there's a 50 percent chance they'll get no results. That is a very different tone than what the Oxford researchers have been striking for months. They've been saying an 80 percent chance of success.

One of the researchers telling me in an interview we will be first. He was very confident about that. He also disparaged other vaccine makers, calling their technology weird and nearly noise from the boys. Now, what I'm hearing from emphasis and from infectious disease experts is that there's no -- this is -- there's no time, this is not the time to be insulting other people's products, this is not the time to be bragging and making prognostications that you're going to have to change later.

Some people are feeling that Oxford has put a spin on their monkey data and made it seem more positive, made the monkey data seem more like the vaccine will work than perhaps what the reality is. So, now these emphasis and doctors saying, look, we need to stop all this, put our nose to the grind stone, pay attention to the science and do what we need to get the data out so that we can have a vaccine on the market. Alisyn?

CAMEROTA: Elizabeth, thank you very much for all of that update. So, even for those who survived coronavirus, their battle is rarely easy.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was a perfectly healthy guy. And you know, in a very short period of time he became deathly ill.


CAMEROTA: A family doctor describes his ordeal after nearly two months in the hospital, and the treatment that ultimately saved his life, next.



CAMEROTA: Now to an incredible story. An Arizona doctor has recovered from a near fatal bout with coronavirus. He spent 55 days in the hospital. Dr. Sanjay Gupta is back with his story. What did he tell you, Sanjay? SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I mean, we're

learning so much about this disease, and I can tell you that he's doing well. You're going to see him here in just a second. But the question that he was trying to answer for us is what happens if you try everything in the midst of this disease and nothing seems to work. What options do you have left? Take a look.


KARL VIDDAL, FAMILY PHYSICIAN: I started coming down with symptoms. And they're just chills and a cough, and Saturday that kind of progressed into shortness of breath.

GUPTA: That was late March. And even though 46-year-old Karl Viddal is a family medicine doctor, he still wasn't too worried at first when he returned from a trip feeling sick.

ROSS BREMNER, DIRECTOR, DIGNITY HEALTH SAINT JOSEPH'S NORTON THORACIC INSTITUTE: We thought that he really had contacted some sort of strange virus.

GUPTA: Dr. Ross Bremner is a surgeon and the executive director of St. Joseph's Norton Thoracic Institute in Phoenix, Arizona.

BREMNER: He was a perfectly healthy guy. And you know, in a short very period of time, he became deathly ill.

GUPTA: That sudden decline is something we have heard about over and over again. X-rays that go from looking like this to looking like this. Dr. Viddal managed to face-time with his family right before he had a breathing tube placed.

(on camera): You were sedated obviously through this. But at some point, it sounds like that wasn't enough.

VIDDAL: You know, the ventilator settings were maxed out and they decided to go ahead and do ECMO on me.

GUPTA (voice-over): ECMO, extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, think of it as a sort of artificial lung. A last resort when the lungs had become just too stiff, too sick to work. The blood is then pumped out of the body.

VIDDAL: It runs through a circuit. That circuit oxygenates the blood and removes the carbon dioxide, and then returns that to the right atrium of the heart. It allowed my lungs to rest and heal, and then oxygenate my body and essentially saved my life.

GUPTA (on camera): Do you think you wouldn't have survived without it, doc?

VIDDAL: Absolutely not.

BREMNER: About half of the patients who go on ECMO for COVID don't survive. And he certainly had many brushes with death. GUPTA (voice-over): Because here's the thing. The process of removing

all the blood from the body increases both your risk for clotting as well as your risk for bleeding.

BREMNER: He basically saturated his left lung with blood. He subsequently had some significant bleeding from his airway as well.

GUPTA: As you might imagine, none of this has been easy for him. Fifty five days in the hospital, 55 pounds of weight gone.

VIDDAL: Some few weeks ago, I couldn't give you a thumbs up. Now, I'm walking. My strength is coming back slowly, but surely, yes, if I walk up a couple sets of stairs, I do compensate a little bit and I'm huffing and puffing. So, it's going to take a long time to get that physical back.



It's good to get back home, to be back home and be together with family and friends. You know, I'm doing well. Just looking forward to, you know, making hopefully a full recovery.



CAMEROTA: Oh, my gosh. Sanjay, the herculean effort that teams of doctors --

GUPTA: Yes --

CAMEROTA: Go to, to save just one life. I mean, that's incredible. Can anything that they learned from that be used on other patients, or is that just too extreme of a case?

GUPTA: Well, this type of technology is becoming more available, but I think what they're learning, and I think what can be applied elsewhere, Alisyn, is this idea that the virus for -- we're not sure why? But for some reason it really seems to cause this very significant decline. Someone who is doing fine, even able to talk to their family on the phone, and then all of a sudden needs a breathing tube.

The lungs not only develop this infection, but they become so stiff, it's this respiratory distress-like syndrome. And in that case, no matter what, I mean, you can try pumping air in and removing carbon dioxide all you want, but if you think of the lungs like a sponge, but the sponge is hard. No matter how hard you squeeze on it, you're not really going to move air in and out of it.

So, that's why they have to do this. So, this may become more of an option for people. It is risky as you heard the doctors say. When Dr. Viddal went on this, he had about a 50/50 chance of survival. Luckily, he's doing well, seems to have gotten through the side effects. But as a result of what people are learning from him, they might be able to apply this to other patients.

CAMEROTA: Sanjay, what an incredible story. Thank you very much for sharing it with us.

GUPTA: You got it. Thank you.

CAMEROTA: OK, up next, we're going to take you to Cape Canaveral, Florida, ahead of the historic SpaceX launch and what this means for the future of America's space program.



CAMEROTA: We are just hours away from the historic launch of the SpaceX first-man mission. But the weather is not cooperating at the moment. Look at all of that fog on your screen. Two American astronauts hope to blast off to the International Space Station, this would be the first launch with astronauts from U.S. soil in nearly a decade. CNN's Rachel Crane is live at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida with more. How is it looking on your end, Rachel?

RACHEL CRANE, CNN BUSINESS INNOVATION & SPACE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Alisyn, you know, this launch is a decade in the making, and so much planning goes into having a successful mission. But, of course, one variable NASA has no control over is the weather. As you can see, it's raining here at Kennedy Space Center today, but we still have a couple of hours until that plan lift off. So fingers crossed, the weather will cooperate. As of now, it's still 60 percent favorable.


CRANE (voice-over): SpaceX and NASA are set to launch the Crew Dragon spacecraft, and for the first time, humans will be on board. The Demo 2 mission is a culmination of a decade-long partnership between the agency and Elon Musk's space company.

JIM BRIDENSTINE, ADMINISTRATOR, NASA: This is really the dawn in a new era of space flight.

CRANE: The launch is expected to be the first time a private company has ever sent people into orbit.

BRIDENSTINE: We need to have affordable access to the International Space Station. And that's really what this launch represents.

CRANE: The two veteran astronauts on board, Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley could stay on the ISS for up to 110 days.

(on camera): You and Doug have known each other for ages. You were even at each other's weddings. So, does that relationship -- how does that help you in the cockpit at history?

ROBERT BEHNKEN, NASA ASTRONAUT: You know, we're kind of at the point in our experience, whether it's flying in the T-38 or executing in a SpaceX simulation or approaching a docking to the International Space Station where we, in addition to, you know, finishing each other's sentences, you know, we can predict, you know, almost by body language what the person's opinion is or what they're going to -- what their next action is going to be.

BRIDENSTINE: In theory, this is the safest spacecraft NASA has ever had. It has to be proven. We haven't proven it yet. That's why we're doing this test flight.

CRANE (voice-over): The historic flight is happening in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. NASA and SpaceX are both taking serious precautions to keep the astronauts and their staff safe. Beyond quarantine that is standard before any launch, the astronauts have been tested for the virus multiple times. The agency and SpaceX are also urging the public to watch from home. That's despite the fact that SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk has called stay-at-home orders fascist.

BRIDENSTINE: This agency has a history of doing stunning things in very difficult times. And we're going to create this moment in time where everybody can look up, see something very bright and hopeful, and say, look, the future is great.

CRANE: For NASA, the future involves putting astronauts back on the moon, Mars and even beyond. But for now, Bridenstine's focus is on the Crew Dragon launch.

BRIDENSTINE: Look, I'm very nervous. I would be -- I would be lying to you if I told you I wasn't. I'll tell you when I spend time with Bob and Doug today, they are both cool as cucumbers. They're ready to go.


CRANE: You know, Bob and Doug both flew on the shuttle, but there's something quite poetic here, because Doug Hurley, he also piloted that final flight of Shuttle Atlantis back in July of 2011. So, you know, something really special about him being in that pilot seat for the end of one era, and also for the dawn of a new one. Alisyn?

CAMEROTA: Rachel, we're monitoring this and we can see the rocket a little bit more clearly now. I mean, as you point out, anything is possible in Florida, the weather changes, you know, every 10 minutes. But how does this capsule that we're looking at differ from the, you know, now retired shuttles of the past?

CRANE: Well, the shuttle was shaped like a plane, it was designed to land on a runway. Crew Dragon is a capsule, much like the Apollo era. It's designed to land in the ocean via parachutes. You can hear the thunder above us as you said the weather. Also, there is something very special about this spacecraft. It has an end-to-end abort system, something that NASA says potentially makes this the safest spacecraft they've ever had.

Meaning that all along the assent path, they would be able to jettison the capsule away from the rocket in the unlikely event of an emergency. Alisyn? CAMEROTA: Really interesting, Rachel, thank you.


BERMAN: All right, very excited for this, we're watching it very closely. So, new this morning, President Trump is threatening to, quote, "strongly regulate or close down social media platforms after Twitter fact-checked the president really for the first time, his false claims, dishonest statements about widespread fraud with mail-in ballots. There isn't. CNN's Donie O'Sullivan joins me now. Donie, first, tell us what Twitter is doing for the first time?

DONIE O'SULLIVAN, CNN REPORTER: Sure, that's right, John. Thousands of tweets and years later -- at Twitter yesterday for the first time fact-checked its most prolific user. The president was making claims about mail-in ballots. Of course that being considered now as we prepare for an election in the age of COVID-19. And he's even falsely claiming that the governor of California is sending those ballots to undocumented immigrants.

So, last night, Twitter took action, it was a small action at least, you can see here, it placed a label, a little one on the president's tweet, didn't quite say it was false. It says "get the facts about mail-in ballots." And then if a user clicked on that label, it would bring them to a page that said Trump makes unsubstantiated claims that mail-in ballots would lead to voter fraud.

Now, unsurprisingly, and really right on cue, Trump and his supporters were outraged by this, saying it was a sign of Silicon Valley's anti- conservative bias, and Trump tweeted last night, saying that Twitter was in some way trying to stifle his free speech. And even as you mentioned, of course, this morning now, the president is tweeting that maybe it's time to regulate big tech.

BERMAN: Yes, interesting --


BERMAN: That he's threatening to shut them down or somehow regulate them. That's not generally what happens in a democracy. Twitter is not the only place though, where the president has been posting these claims or these false statements, these lies. He's also put them on Facebook. What's Facebook doing?

O'SULLIVAN: That's right. The same message has been posted to Facebook by the president, the exact same message. In fact, and I mean, Facebook and Twitter and Google too, they often go to Congress, they'll appear in front of lawmakers, and they'll present a united front to say we are all on the same page in Silicon Valley about fighting voter misinformation ahead of the 2020 election.

They've been on Capitol Hill multiple times since 2016 when obviously misinformation on social media played a very big role. But overnight, Facebook telling us that, that -- those claims by the president, they're not going to take any action on it. That it's -- the company says that they believe in robust debate and basically just saying that they're not going to take any action here. So with just a few months to go until the election, really just the most basic objective facts about voter information, these companies are not in sync at all.

BERMAN: And back to Twitter for a moment, if we could. So Twitter did put that little tiny blue fact-check on mail-in ballots but didn't do anything about the president's lies in his -- just flat-out repugnant tweets about Joe Scarborough. Why isn't Twitter doing anything about that?

O'SULLIVAN: Well, I mean, you can see there is inconsistency across the different companies in terms of how they fact-check, what they do with this president and what they do with lies more generally. But also even within the company, within Twitter, in the space of 24 hours, Twitter decided to place a label, a fact-check some might call it on voter misinformation from the president.

But on claims, false claims alleging murder by Joe Scarborough, they decided to not -- that's despite even pleas from the widower of Scarborough's staffer who had died in 2001, asking Twitter to take action. So, to sum it all up really, what Twitter is saying is voter misinformation, not OK, false claims of murder, OK.

BERMAN: Yes, I mean, look, it's repugnant. It's just shocking that Twitter is allowing it, but that's not the whole story. It's flat-out repugnant that the president's writing it to begin with. All right, Donie O'Sullivan, thank you very much for your reporting.

O'SULLIVAN: Thank you --

BERMAN: NEW DAY continues right now.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The trajectory of what's going to happen with a pandemic in each state is really very much in the hands of the people in those states.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Please wear the masks. The masks are absolutely critical.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The CDC is saying that those antibody tests are wrong, maybe half of the time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We still have a long way of going to get to where we need to be.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The man in the video pleading for his life.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This was not a sudden mistake or a procedure gone bad. This was over a period of time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We can no longer just stand idly by and think it's going to go away. Because it's not!