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THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER
W.H.O. Says 18 Vaccines Are in Human Trials Globally; HHS Official Says More Than One Vaccine Could Be Ready Next Year; United Airlines Says Very Difficult to Social Distance on Plane; Miami-Dade Officer Relieved of Duty After Seen in Video Striking Woman; Epstein's Ex-Girl Friend Charged with Enticement of Minors; Defiance and Fear in Hong Kong as China Backed Law Cracks Down on Protestors; U.S. Hits Record High Number of Cases in One Day. Aired 3:30-4p ET
Aired July 2, 2020 - 15:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: With what Dr. Fauci's saying, what are your thoughts on the timeline?
DR. SEEMA YASMIN, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: This is unprecedented, Jake, and I think we have to offer a real reality check to our viewers here that even though we are seeing this rate of innovation that we've never seen before, there's still no guarantee any vaccine will work. That's just the way that science is. Historically it's taken decades for some vaccines, for HIV, malaria, we still don't have any. The fastest we have ever done this is with the mumps vaccine and even than took four years.
But I think there is some optimism now, because as you said, we have at least 18 vaccine candidates being tested in people. And then yesterday we got some very early but some positive data from Pfizer. That's the drug company that's working with German manufacturer BioNTech. They're actually developing four candidate vaccines for COVID-19, but they said yesterday that for one of these they tested it in about three dozen people and those people did develop neutralizing antibodies to SARS Co-V-2.
Those are the proteins that we think might the infection. And what's interesting about that is the levels of antibodies in those people that got the experimental vaccine were about two to three times higher than the amount of antibodies you see in people who are naturally infected with SARS Co-V-2. and who then recovered.
So, it is still early days and with this date Pfizer cannot prove to us that the vaccine confers immunity to COVID-19. To do that still need to institute a much larger clinical trial. And prove to us that the vaccine is at least 50 percent effective. So early days, but it is some promising data.
TAPPER: And U.S. government, the NIH and Fauci, they're making all of these pharmaceutical companies share information, which I think is unprecedented, because obviously these companies want to make money and they want to have the only cure, but they're being forced to share information, share what they learn so that we all can benefit from that. Right?
YASMIN: That's right. And I think -- we do see some data sharing happening in science. We've seen that previously, but not on a scale like this, but this is a global pandemic. We need a completely collectivistic not individualistic approach to this to make sure there's transparency. We saw that early on as Chinese scientists shared the genome of SARS Co-V-2.
And I interviewed CEOs of some drug companies including Moderna, they said to me that Chinese scientists sharing that data early on, Jake, in January that's what led them to being able to progress with vaccine development at this rate. So, we need transparency, we need sharing, we need collaboration. And we have to make sure the U.S. continues that.
TAPPER: So, scientists leading the Oxford vaccine seem to be making progress. Researchers are in phase three of that study already. So far 8,000 people in the U.K. have been vaccinated. Thousands more are going to be vaccinated in Brazil and South Africa. What do you know about this particular trial?
YASMIN: So, with this, Oxford University vaccine, it uses a really different technology to what Pfizer's doing. Pfizer's doing something fascinating, something that's never been approved before. Instead of giving us a dose of weakened version of the virus or some small segment of it, what Pfizer's doing is us some of the giving genetic code of the virus. So, our own cells then start spewing out some of the SARS Co-V-2 proteins and that's how our immune system knows what to fight.
Oxford University is using a more old-school technology. They're using a weakened version of the common cold virus adding into that the spike protein for SARS Co-V-2 and using that to hopefully develop an immune response. Now with the Oxford University vaccine a chief U.K. scientist yesterday told Parliament that she believes it's the furthest, the most advanced vaccine currently in development in the world. And she didn't say exactly when it would be available, but she did tell British politicians that it would be early next year.
So, again, I don't want to offer any guarantees. People need to know that it take as long time to develop vaccines and even when you have something that works, Jake, it can be years just to scale it up, to make sure you have the millions of doses that are needed to protect people.
TAPPER: All right, Dr. Seema Yasmin, we always appreciate it, thank you so much for your time today.
The stunning admission from one American airline about keeping middle seats empty during coronavirus. Stay with us.
(COMMERCIAL BREAK) TAPPER: Our money LEAD today with the airline industry bleeding cash during this pandemic. One of the nation's largest, United Airlines, now says social distancing isn't possible on airplanes even with if that middle seat remains empty.
Let's go to CNN aviation correspondent Pete Muntean. Pete, why is United making this rather startling admission?
PETE MUNTEAN, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: Well, United is really pulling back the curtain on social distancing while onboard a commercial airliner, Jake. What's so Interesting here is this big admission from one of nation's biggest airline, essentially saying that the whole concept of blocking middle seats while onboard was really more of a public relations move by airlines rather than a vital public health move. I spoke to United's Josh Earnest who insists to me that flying is still safe. Here's what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOSH EARNEST, CCO, UNITED AIRLINES: It's very, very difficult, if not impossible, to socially distance onboard an aircraft. Keeping the seat next to you open is not going to make a material difference. What is going to make a material difference is wearing a mask, having a high- quality air filter and thoroughly cleaning the plane before you get onboard.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MUNTEAN: Now United is and always has been selling middle seats. American Airlines has now joined along with that move as well, meaning that you have a higher chance of being on a completely full flight.
That whole idea drew ire from public health officials on Capitol Hill this week. Head of the CDC demanding a review into American Airlines latest move calling it troubling and disturbing.
TAPPER: And Pete, American Airlines is the largest American airliner today they announced they're taking another government bailout. Is that basically an admission that American Airlines is on life support?
MUNTEAN: Well, really all airlines are hurting for cash and passengers. We do have a bit of a deeper picture into what American Airlines is going through because of this letter from American CEO Doug Parker sent to all of American's employees saying that the financial situation is improving, doing everything that the airline can do, to avoid layoffs and furloughs.
A new $4.7 billion loan is coming from the federal government. American says flights are now about 63 percent full compared to only 15 percent back in April. Even in spite of all of this, American says that it will have 20,000, too many employees, come this fall. It cannot furlough anyone, it cannot lay anybody off, because of restrictions tacked on to a federal bailout, but those restrictions expire October 1st -- Jake.
TAPPER: All right, Pete Muntean, thank you so much.
Looking for a safe way to celebrate the Fourth of July this Saturday night? Stay with us CNN, CNN's Don Lemon and Dana Bash, will host a night of fireworks and performances by all-star musical guests. Stay in your living room. Turn of the TV, don't get COVID. Saturday night, 8 p.m. Eastern.
Coming up a police officer and a woman get into a confrontation at an airport and the women ends up getting punched in the face. What happened next? Stay with us.
TAPPER: In the national LEAD today, way too excessive use of force, that's how the mayor of Miami-Dade County described a police officer's actions who hit a woman hard at Miami International Airport. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You act like a -- you act like you -- you bring me back. Don't walk up -- for real. What are you going to do?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: That officer has been relieved of duty, but will the officer face charges? CNN's Diane Gallagher joins us now, the police union says the woman was the aggressor. How does the union justify the officer's actions here?
DIANE GALLAGHER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And so, Jake, when they watched that video the Police Benevolent Association told the "Miami Herald" that, and as you're seeing this video here, that, yes, they say the woman was the aggressor. And they claim that the way the officer hit the woman was something called a diversionary strike. They described it as an open-handed slap. That he was trying to control the situation. You heard the officer at the end of that say that she head butted me. They claim he was handling the situation as he was supposed to.
However, again, he was relieved of duty and the mayor of Miami-Dade County went even further today describing what describing what he felt since seeing that video.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAYOR CARLOS GIMENEZ, MIAMI-DADE COUNTY: Obviously, it was uncalled for. And, you know, I need to apologize, we need to apologize to the lady that was struck by the officer. The excessive use of force cannot be condoned, and action will be taken, and swift action will be taken, you know, against this officer.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GALLAGHER: Now, the State Attorneys' office is investigating now, Jake. They say that they are in the process of obtaining all of the body camara video as well as interviewing witnesses, and the victim herself.
TAPPER: How did this confrontation begin?
GALLAGHER: So according to the mayor, and he was on Don Lemon -- or he was on "CNN TONIGHT" last night, and he said that she was upset because she missed a flight and she took it out on the gate ticketing individuals.
According to the police report, she threatened the flight attendant and the gate ticketing individual there for American Airlines. They were trying to remove her from the airport. They then said that she started spitting, because you can see she's not wearing a mask, at the officers as well, and that's what led up to this situation.
TAPPER: All right. Diane Gallagher, thank you so much.
Jeffrey Epstein's ex-girlfriend, an alleged accomplice, Ghislaine Maxwell, arrested today in connection with her former friend's pedophile ring. Maxwell charged with six counts including enticement and conspiracy to entice minors to travel to engage in illegal sex acts, according to the federal indictment. Maxwell knowingly recruited and groomed underaged girls for Epstein to eventually sexually abuse. One of the youngest victims was only 14 at the time. Listen to one of the alleged victims talking about how the couple gaslighted her.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VIRGINIA GIUFFRE, VICTIM OF JEFFREY EPSTEIN AND GHISLAINE MAXWELL: Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell had a great way normalizing the abuse that was going on. They kind of made it feel like we were in this really deranged family.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: Maxwell is expected to make her first court appearance later today.
Turning to our world LEAD, the criticism of China for the past few months has surrounded its role in the coronavirus outbreak, but now China is ramping up efforts to systematically chip away at the rights of the individuals in semi-autonomous Hong Kong.
The result, protesters back on the streets and being arrested for demonstrations which were just -- which were legal just a few days ago. CNN's Ivan Watson reports for us now from Hong Kong.
IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): While other parts of the world are occupied with the coronavirus pandemic, this may be the week Hong Kong's bubble of autonomy finally burst. A controversial new law dramatically expanding the Chinese central government's powers to crush dissent now imposed on Hong Kong by Beijing. The timing hardly a coincidence.
The law revealed to the public on the eve of the 23rd anniversary of Hong Kong's handover from British to Chinese rule. The new law threatens critics of the Chinese government with possible life imprisonment and has been criticized by the international community including the U.K. and U.S.
MIKE PENCE, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It's a betrayal of the international agreement that they signed.
WATSON: Hong Kong's top officials argue the law would be good for the city's long-term stability.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You have repeatedly said it will be a tiny minority of people who could be prosecuted and targeted by this law? Are you anticipating dozens of people being prosecuted? Hundreds? Thousands?
CARRIE LAM, HONG KONG CHIEF EXECUTIVE: I would rather not to arrest or anybody if everybody asides by the law. The purpose of this piece of legislation is not just to punish, it is also to deter, to deter people from committing such serious offenses as cessation, subverting a state power, terrorist activities.
WATSON: In past years on July 1st, Hong Kong authorities allowed huge pro-democracy marches where activists often criticized Beijing. This year police banned the annual protest march before it even began.
(on camera): This new national security law arguably formalizes charges that have already been taking place in Hong Kong over the last year. I mean, look at the fortifications around the government's headquarters. The riot police presence, the wire mesh defending the pedestrian overpasses. All of these are new measures responding to a portion of the population that's deeply unhappy with its own government.
(voice-over): China's power play has had an immediate chilling effect with some opposition activists disbanding their political party offices this week.
AVERY NG, HONG KONG ACTIVIST: Probably in the future we may never see a million people on the street again. Not because we are satisfied with the government but just because we are now living in fear.
WATSON: Beijing's message is unmistakable. Hong Kong's culture of protest will no longer be tolerated.
WATSON: Now, Jake, within hours of this law being imposed the Hong Kong police were arresting people and accusing them of breaking the national security law. A total of 10 people accused of that that, at least 370 people arrested in all on Wednesday, including a man who was accused of stabbing a police officer and was plucked off of a plane that was about to fly to the U.K.
Now, one thing about this law. The Chinese authorities wrote it in Beijing. They bypassed Hong Kong's elected legislature to put it into force here in Hong Kong. And there was no attempt at getting a referendum or getting any popular support from Hong Kongers.
(on camera): Recent polls show that only 34 percent of Hong Kongers surveyed are proud to be Chinese citizens. The local administration only has 22 percent support. Part of this law calls for fixing these public opinions by imposing more patriotic teaching in the curriculum for education and also for more government supervision of foreign nongovernmental organizations working in Hong Kong as well as foreign media based here -- Jake.
TAPPER: All right. Ivan Watson, thank you so much. Appreciate it.
The new study revealing key differences about the coronavirus in the United States and why it may be spreading so much. Stay with us.
TAPPER: Welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.
And we begin this hour with the health LEAD. An alarming new record. In just one day the United States saw more new coronavirus cases than in the first two months of the pandemic. More than 50,000 people in the U.S. are confirmed to be infected with coronavirus yesterday.
The peak in April, well, that we once thought would be the high point, it's now been dwarfed as the United States alone among wealthy and Western nations, we should note, the United States seeing the curve trending in the wrong direction.
Dr. Anthony Fauci today saying that only about half the country really locked down when it was asked to, meaning the outbreak continued to grow and the virus continued to spread.