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New Antibody Drug To Fight COVID-19 Now In Phase 3 Of Testing; At Least Five Children Killed In Weekend Wave Of Violence; Brazil's Infection Rate Climbs As Cities Reopen. Aired 12:30-1p ET

Aired July 6, 2020 - 12:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


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[12:31:04]

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN HOST: A New antibody treatment that could prevent coronavirus infections has now entered phase three trials. The drug maker says the drug cocktail could stop the spread of the virus and also potentially treat patients that are already infected.

CNN senior medical correspondent, Elizabeth Cohen, she's been following all of this. Elizabeth, tell us more about this potential treatment.

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: So when one of us, when someone gets infected with coronavirus, you produce antibodies. But not all of the antibodies are created equal. So what Regeneron and other companies are trying to do is identify the most powerful antibodies, clone those, and turn those into a drug.

And so Regeneron is starting phase three trials with three different approaches. So the first approach they're looking at is as a treatment for patients who are so sick that they're in the hospital, a treatment for patients who are not so sick, those patients who are at home, also as a prevention for people who are living at home with someone who has coronavirus so therefore they're at high risk of getting it, will taking this drug help stave off the infection all together.

Now, when you look at these three different groups, that's 4,900 study subjects, there are high hopes, Kate, that this antibody approach whether by Regeneron or someone else will yield results and hopefully be a bridge to a vaccine because these clinical trials should be quicker than the clinical trials involved in getting a vaccine.

BOLDUAN: Well, that is interesting. And so there's also kind of a new aspect of how the world talks about the virus that I find really interesting. There's over 200 scientists from all over the world are speaking out and telling the World Health Organization and essentially everyone really, that we're not taking the airborne threat of the virus seriously enough, what are they saying?

COHEN: What they're saying, Kate is that they want the World Health Organization and I assume probably the CDC as well to be open that airborne transmission is a real thing. There are studies that show that it's real. And let me explain the difference between airborne and other types of transmission. It has been known, and you'll see it on the CDC and the WHO website, that it's spread by droplets. So sometimes even when you're talking, you can see these droplets, you can certainly see them when someone coughs or sneezes. And that's been thought to be the main driver of COVID infection.

You're near someone who coughs or sneezes, it lands on you. And that's true. But those droplets are heavy, they fall to the ground. The WHO scientists are talking about much smaller particles that can come out just by breathing, and they kind of float around in the air and can linger in someone who walks by sometime later can actually run into those particles. That's called airborne transmission. Airborne is a scary word.

I think that health authorities don't love to use it. You don't really see health authorities at WHO or the CDC using it. The scientists are saying it's real. Let's just use the word. Now, I will say this is not new.

The National Academy of Sciences told the White House more than three months ago, that airborne transmission was a real thing. It could be spread by just breathing. But you'll notice the White House doesn't really emphasize that. Kate?

BOLDUAN: Well, that's absolutely correct. And should or would -- should completely change the conversation about whether or not we should all be wearing masks. Thank you so much, great to see you.

[12:34:13]

Coming up for us, at least five children are dead after a wave of gun violence across several states over the holiday weekend. We'll be right back.

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BOLDUAN: Cities across the country are still reeling this morning after what became a violent July 4th weekend, dozens of shooting victims in multiple states. In New York City according to the NYPD, there were at least 60 people shot this weekend. But New York is not alone, Chicago, Atlanta, Washington also spikes in shootings and homicides this weekend as well.

At least five children were shot and killed, the children between the ages of six and 11 years old. You can see them right there. CNN's Shimon Prokupecz is here in New York. Joining me now with more on what this really is, what really is happening here, Shimon, what are you hearing?

SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Yes. For New York City, it was a very violent and bloody weekend, Kate. Police officials I've been talking to, so they have not seen a weekend like this since 1995, decades ago.

And the reason the police commissioner gives is that it's because so many of the people who should be in jail, whether awaiting trial or for whatever reason they should be in jail, they're not. He's saying that half the population at the jail at Rikers Island here in New York is empty and instead of being occupied by criminals, there are people on the street here who are committing these crimes.

[12:40:05]

The governor, Governor Cuomo just moments ago addressing the violence specifically in terms of in the communities, the communities in which we are seeing the violence. And here's what he said.

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GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): The communities that in many ways need the most, pay the highest price, many of these shootings, Brooklyn, Bronx, communities that are suffering, suffering from COVID, suffering inequality all across the board. So it is a in and of itself, it's frightening and it's tragic. And it's unnecessary.

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PROKUPECZ: And that is exactly also, Kate, what NYPD officials are seeing in the communities in which a lot of these shootings have occurred. We're talking about 63 victims just in New York City over the weekend, 44 shooting incidents and 12 victims.

The NYPD acknowledging they need more resources, saying they need to do more. And they also need the community's help here. Kate?

BOLDUAN: What are you hearing from rank and file about all this right now?

PROKUPECZ: Yes. So I actually spent some time last night speaking to some of the police officers, rank and file, that are on the street every day last night. And really for them, they are afraid to do their jobs. There are laws now here in New York State in New York City, which make it much more difficult they say to do their jobs.

They feel that if they do something wrong, they will be arrested. And the police commissioner addressed this today. He said that a lot of the cops are feeling that perhaps more afraid that they're going to get arrested than the people that are actually trying to arrest. They are frustrated. No doubt they feel beat up. They feel that politicians here locally have been beating them up for weeks now.

And now as a result of what we're seeing here, they acknowledged they need help. They need more resources. And they need to look at these laws again to see whether or not they're appropriate and whether or not by changing some of these laws, maybe perhaps they can stop some of this violence.

BOLDUAN: Shimon, thank you.

Coming up next, new worries and whiplash in the restaurant industry as reopening plans are delayed and rolled back.

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[12:47:10]

BOLDUAN: New York City restaurants were slated to be able to open their doors to indoor dining once again today but with the resurgence of coronavirus across the country in many places, those plans have been put on indefinite hold.

Nationwide, the numbers tell the story why, according to OpenTable restaurants were beginning to show some recovery right around Father's Day recovering but still obviously reservations were down about 40 percent. But now take a look, you can see it is getting worse once again.

And in the states seeing surges and COVID cases they're seeing huge declines in dining. Here's the change from mid June to this past weekend. Florida 50 percent decline, Texas is even worse down 66 percent. What does this mean so many months in and how do restaurants continue to try to survive?

Joining me right now is Marc Murphy, chef and restauranteur and host of the podcast Food 360. It's good to see you, Marc. I wish upon wish we were talking about something other than what you -- what everyone is facing in the restaurant industry right now but important, nonetheless. What is it meant -- what does it mean, for an independent restaurant, let's just say in New York City, to be told that indoor dining is now postponed indefinitely?

MARC MURPHY, CHEF AND RESTAURANTEUR: Well, you know, it's good to see you, Kate. You know, it's -- this has been an industry that's been hit very, very hard, and who knows when we're going to come out of it. But all of a sudden to start and stop, I mean, if you're in the restaurant business, you understand. If you're going to start up a business, it's there's a lot of economics involved.

You've got to purchase all that food. You've got to train all that staff. You've got to get all of them. You got to get the word out that you're going to open up. So, all those things cost a lot of money. You know, that food goes to waste if you don't open up. So you've got a lot of dollars being wasted by saying, oh, we're opening, we're not opening.

We need to clear direction. And I think there's also needs to be a clear direction on how this is going to work. I think there's still a lot of, you know, this is new to everybody from, you know, the people that are in charge telling us what to do. They're not 100 percent sure. And it's just a lot of start and stop is not a good thing.

BOLDUAN: Yes. It seems that the start and stops has to be even worse, right, than being told it's slow and it's going to take much longer. It's almost like a horrific roller coaster for restaurant owners. I mean, how do they weather -- how do folks weather that? How do you ride that roller coaster?

MURPHY: I mean, I honestly don't know. I mean, it's going to be very difficult. I think a lot of restaurants are going to take a big, big hit here. And, you know, yes, we have the outdoor dining now, which is sort of taking a little bit of air out of the tires for them a little bit. It's helping somewhat, but it's going to be a long road to recovery.

I think there's going to have to be a lot of, I mean, we're going to have to look at everything they can do. I mean, dealing with -- I look at the landlords and everything. Oh, the landlords, you know, cut the rent, but they've got bills to pay as well. So it's sort of, it trickles down, everybody sort of suffering.

[12:50:00]

BOLDUAN: You know, one like data point that is stuck with me is I spoke with the CEO of OpenTable, it feels like a million years ago but it was just in May and I remember him telling me that one in four restaurants in the country were not going to be able to reopen by his estimation, which then sounded terrifying. And now I'm wondering if the outlook is potentially even worse because it -- there is no end in sight right now to a lot of this.

MURPHY: No. There is no end. And I think if there's not a federal -- if there's not going to be more federal bailout for small restaurants and small businesses like this, I think they're going to suffer. I mean, I've heard some people talking about a payroll tax cut which would put more money. Once the engine starts going again it would put more money in the employers pocket and employees pocket which then maybe everybody can start helping or start recovering a little bit.

But it's just yes, it's devastating. I think our industry is just a -- is going to suffer very much. And I think there's -- at the end of this, 50 percent in the restaurants is the, you know, from OpenTable what they're saying, I think it's probably pretty likely that people are going to be closing up shop.

BOLDUAN: You know, another aspect of this is, is consumer confidence, right? The industry isn't going to be truly back until they can fill the tables again, until people feel comfortable to go back inside a restaurant and sit down once again. Have you thought about that? Like, what is it going to take to get people there?

MURPHY: I mean, I think truly, to get people to be comfortable to go, you know, get together like that and feel comfortable, there's got to be a vaccine. Before that, it's going to be very different. You can see that.

I mean or a very good cure. I think it's going to -- I mean, how do you go out and try to -- the whole point of going out and gathering and socializing is to relax. You have this burden over your head, you're thinking, well, I'm relaxing. But if the guy over there is not wearing a mask, and this guy is and, you know, it's just it's so -- it's there's so much tension involved.

I don't know how you get past that. And so it's difficult psychologically, I think as well just to go out and relax. If you can't feel like you can relax. BOLDUAN: I know. You've put it so well. It is great to see you, Marc. I'm sorry, it's under these circumstances. I would love to see you. And see you for a drink sometime soon in another world, hopefully not too many months from now.

MURPHY: Absolutely. Cheers. Take care, nice to see you.

BOLDUAN: Thanks, man.

Coming up for us, bars, restaurants, beauty salons in Sao Paulo, now open for business even as coronavirus cases are climbing very fast in Brazil.

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[12:57:10]

BOLDUAN: When it comes to the coronavirus, Brazil is one of the country's hardest hit in the world, second only to the United States. The country has more than 1.5 million cases and climbing. But that isn't stopping businesses from reopening including in the country's largest city, Sao Paulo. CNN's Bill Weir is there on the ground for us, joining me now. Bill, what are you seeing there?

BILL WEIR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kate, I'm seeing a lot of people in the center of the old town, a place that has been host to trades of goods and services for hundreds of years and now that the city is officially back opening up, you can see it's ripping, not exactly universal mask where it's going on here.

Certainly not six foot social distancing going on here. And a lot of these stores are really tight. And you've got hawkers with laminated cards or their wares coming up and getting in your face to try to lure you into some of these stores here. Restaurants and bars open six hours today. They said no more than 40 percent occupancy. But there's no real enforcement, Kate.

And the attitude from the president down has been really, that this is nothing more than a minor flu and a lot of hype. And you can see it borne out now in the statistics, as other countries are flattening the curve. Brazil seems to be in a morbid race with the United States when it comes to infections and mortality.

BOLDUAN: And you hit on it, Bill. But Brazil's President has played a big role in the country's response. I mean publicly downplaying the threat. What do you think his impact has been on what you're seeing and who you're talking to?

WEIR: Well, it's really fascinating. It's a lot like the United States. There are 27 different states in Brazil, 20 of those governors are opposed to the President's policies. They say that shouldn't be open this fast this soon. And so you've got a sort of regionalism and individualism that's clashing. At the same time in the United States when people bang pots and pans to celebrate heroes on the front lines.

Here, it is a protest against President Bolsonaro. Every time he comes on T.V., they bang their pots and pans as a shine of disgust after he fired essentially the Dr. Fauci of Brazil, the top health minister. His replacement quit after a month. Now the man in charge of the pandemic here in this country of 212 million, is an army general loyal to the President, but has zero health or policy experience.

And this is a country that has a fairly sophisticated healthcare system, because they've been through Zika. And they've been through HIV crisis. So the people here can do the right things if they all pull together in the same way. But it is -- I'm sure most doctors would not argue that the two countries that have politicized the pandemic more than any other, the United States and Brazil are number one and two in infections and deaths. Kate?

[13:00:06]

BOLDUAN: Thank you, Bill for being there.