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New Study Finds COVID-19 Causes Widespread Blot Clotting; Robert Redfield Calls Reopening Schools a Public Health Benefit; College Football May Not Happen in Fall. Aired 10:30-11a ET

Aired July 10, 2020 - 10:30   ET



POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Well, the vaccine maker BioNTech tells "The Wall Street Journal" that a COVID-19 vaccine could be ready by the end of the year. The German company partnered with Pfizer to develop it, but the company CEO says global immunity could take a decade. Our Elizabeth Cohen, our senior medical correspondent, is with me for more.

What do they mean, could take a decade? Does that mean to get a vaccine to be more -- like, close to, you know, 99 percent effective?

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: No. What they mean by that, Poppy, is to get enough vaccine out there that we have what's called "herd immunity." And herd immunity means that enough people are immune -- either because they had COVID or because they got vaccinated for COVID, that it stops the spread of the disease.

It is really unclear how long that's going to take. I will tell you, I was sort of surprised to hear him say that because there are three numbers that you need to know -- and we don't know any of them -- in order to make those conclusions.

One, you need to know how contagious is this disease --

HARLOW: Right.

COHEN: -- and we don't exactly know that. Two, you need to know how effective the vaccine is. We're hoping for 90 percent, but we may have to settle for 50 percent. And, three, we don't know how many people are willing to get it.

So until you know those three numbers -- and we don't know any of those three numbers -- it's hard to predict when we'll reach -- or if we'll reach -- herd immunity.

HARLOW: Yes, there's just so much that's unknown and hard to predict, you're right.

One thing that was pretty shocking to hear overnight is that -- these doctors finding so many blood clots in so many of the organs of some of the patients who have died from COVID-19. I know there was concern about blood clots and heart attacks, et cetera. Does that teach us anything more about the virus?

COHEN: It teaches us that blood clots may perhaps be more of an issue than we even thought. I mean, at first, it was a complete surprise -- or not a complete surprise, but it was pretty much a surprise -- that the blood clots were causing this many problems.

Now, what this study -- this is autopsies, looking at people who died after being infected with COVID -- and they found not only clots in the large vessels -- which they expected to find -- but also clots in smaller vessels, and that there were clots in virtually every organ that they looked at.

That is really a problem because treating clots can be difficult. I mean, it's possible, but you give people drugs so that they won't clot as much, but then you worry that they're going to bleed out. So there's this delicate balance in treating this issue.

And this blood clot issue, really, Poppy, is sort of a signature of COVID. It happens in other diseases, but it really seems to happen in this infection much more.

HARLOW: It really does, Elizabeth. Thanks for the reporting, we appreciate it.

Our Dr. Sanjay Gupta joins me now to talk about all of this. Good morning, good to have you back.


HARLOW: Let's just, if we could, start on schools, Sanjay, and what -- because you guys did that great town hall last night, and we heard from Dr. Redfield, talking about schools. But the fact that he is saying now that it is to the public health benefit -- if you weigh the pros and cons, he seems to be saying, you know, the benefit outweighs the downside of having kids in school nationally, and in school physically in the fall.

GUPTA: Yes. And, you know, I mean, look, I'm a parent here, so I'll put on the parent hat -- you are as well -- for a second. I think that that -- you know that makes sense, obviously, and the American Academy of Pediatrics, a few days ago, said the same thing, that the benefit of having kids physically in school is obvious, it's important for their development. I think -- but, you know, it's got to be taken in the context of this pandemic.

If you look at the guidance that the CDC put out -- and we can put some of that up for people to see -- most people who have been following the story of coronavirus at all, these recommendations will make sense, right? You're encouraging hand-washing, masks -- cloth masks -- trying to do everything you can to not have kids congregate and stuff like that, modifying seating layouts, whatever it may be. That's the goal, is to make it harder for the virus to jump from person to person.

TEXT: CDC School Guidelines: Encouraging good hygiene like washing hands; Use of cloth face coverings; Suggests staggered scheduling; Modified seating layouts to allow social distancing; Physical barriers and closing of communal spaces.


GUPTA: I think there's a few issues here. One is that what is going to happen in these schools if you do get a significant outbreak, right? you can open the schools up, but what is the actual plan in place -- the triggers, if you will -- if you start to see significant disease, whether people are symptomatic or not?

Number two is, you know, there's a lot of data out there, Poppy -- I found this interesting, even over the last couple days, going through this data -- about how this virus transmits among adults. But if you really look at the data, there's not as much data about how it transmits among kids.

Kids do seem to be more insulated from this, they don't seem to get as sick -- we know that, that's good news -- but you know, kids have largely been home since March in this country, especially little kids. So what do we really know about their ability to transmit the virus?

The answer is, not much. I mean, some of the largest studies of, you know, tens of thousands of people will only have, you know, 20, 30 kids included in those studies. So we really don't know, and we've got to find out the answer to that.

And then I think finally, you know, this idea ultimately of what is the impact of school closures overall on a pandemic? Closing theaters does this much. If you have 100 percent, closing theaters does five percent, closing stadium events does 10 percent. Churches, 10 percent. What is schools?

They say that schools are two to four percent, roughly, of the impact of --


GUPTA: -- slowing down the trajectory of a pandemic. That's a modeling, again based on, you know the little data that we have, but I think you have to take this all in context.

HARLOW: You're right, we do. In terms of knowing what opening schools does -- again, for a pandemic -- the president, you saw his tweet earlier this week, pointing to models in Europe -- I think the Netherlands, Germany, et cetera -- for opening schools. And he says there's been no problem.

Is that true? And if it is, is that a model the U.S. should look for or is it just really not apples to apples, given what we're seeing happen right now in this country with COVID?

GUPTA: Yes. Unfortunately, Poppy, it's not apples to apples. And for a very simple reason, and that is that we have a lot more virus circulating here in the United States. So, you know, two to four percent of a very small number of, you know, 100 new infections a day, is going to be two to four infections a day.

But when you're starting to look at some of these states where you're getting, you know, thousands of new infections, newly diagnosed infections, a day. All of a sudden, this impact of schools may be much larger. Shutting down schools may have a much greater impact as a result.


GUPTA: And so every community has to sort of evaluate this side-by- side. I live here in Georgia, the numbers have been going up pretty steadily. I'm going to spend time with my kids' school administrators later today, to get a better idea: What is the plan here? Is Georgia going to be different than New York, for example -- you know, where you are?


GUPTA: So the communities are going to have to be taken separately --


GUPTA: -- and also evaluated by this total number of new infections.

HARLOW: I think every single parent in this country has to get ready for a real sort of start-stop kind of fall and winter. Your kid's in school one day, they're not in school the next day. And that's very hard to do when it comes to child care for working parents.

GUPTA: Yes, I know (ph).

HARLOW: Finally, Fourth of July. So cases went up after Memorial Day. And Fourth of July, a lot of people got together and had barbecues and went to the beach. So what are we going to see maybe a week from now?

GUPTA: Yes. You know, Chris Murray, who's, you know, sort of the architect of these models coming out of the University of Washington, one of the things they've predicated those models on is just mobility. They got anonymous cell phone data, trying to figure out how mobile the people become as you started to restrict to open up the stay-at- home orders. And are people actually moving around more.

So let's take a look at these graphs, it's very interesting to me -- and specifically looking at certain areas and comparing Memorial Day to July Fourth, for example, and looking at a few cities.

Charleston, South Carolina, it turns out, is one of the most popular cities that people visited over the weekend. And look there, Poppy, more people visited July Fourth weekend than they did Memorial Day weekend. So, you know, things are just starting to open up, Memorial Day weekend, and now by July, people are visiting, you know, basically regular rates of visitation.

This is going to be an issue because you see more exposure as a result of that, we know that. And, Poppy --


GUPTA: -- it's predictable that, a couple weeks from now, more hospitalizations. And then sadly, a couple of weeks after that, you know, more deaths. The virus hasn't changed, it's the constant in all this. So that's why that mobility data is so important.

HARLOW: It really is. Sanjay, good to have you. Thank you so much.

GUPTA: You got it, thank you.


HARLOW: The president, once again threatening to withhold funding if schools don't physically open in the fall. This, as officials are, just as you heard Sanjay say, trying to figure out how they can open safely.


HARLOW: The president is doubling down on his threat to pull federal funding from schools that don't fully reopen physically in the fall. This, as educators across the country are really scrambling to try to figure out a way to bring kids back into the classroom safely, while getting no clear answers on how to do so.

Our Bianna Golodryga reports.


ROBERT REDFIELD, DIRECTOR, CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION: I think there's commonality in the schools and the school leadership and the teachers and the administrators, that we all want to protect the safety of the children that are in schools.

BIANNA GOLODRYGA, CNN SENIOR GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST (voice-over): The CDC director on CNN's coronavirus town hall, attempting to clear up the mass confusion caused by the president's shocking threat to withhold federal funding for schools that do not fully reopen, something he does not have the legal authority to do on his own, as well as his rebuke of the CDC guidelines.


REDFIELD: We stand by our guidance, we think it's an important strategy for helping these schools reopen.

GOLODRYGA (voice-over): For months, school districts nationwide have been scrambling, trying to figure out just how to reopen safely, as the acting superintendent of the Houston Independent School District showed CNN back in May.

GRENITA LATHAN, INTERIM SUPERINTENDENT, HOUSTON INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DISTRICT: So we think about students per table, possibly two students per table or it might even turn into one student per table as we think about having just about 11 students in a classroom at a time. GOLODRYGA (voice-over): Since then, more districts have announced

similar plans. Most recently, Mayor Bill de Blasio, telling New York City's more than one million public school students they should plan to only spend one to three days a week inside a classroom. The other school days will be held online.

MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO (D), NEW YORK, NEW YORK: Some points in the week, you're learning in-person in the classroom. At other points in the week, you're learning remotely.

GOLODRYGA (voice-over): Local officials have relied on guidelines issued by state and federal health authorities as well as the CDC. One of its top recommendations has been to maintain social distancing among students.

The hybrid model, where children would be divided into smaller groups, rotating hours and days in class, seems to be among the most feasible. But after months of inaction, the Trump administration is now pushing hard for schools to reopen full-time in the fall, an endeavor made even more challenging as numerous states continue to see spikes in cases.

In Florida, the education commissioner issued an emergency order this week, requiring all schools to open at least five days per week for all students.

GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): If you can do Home Depot, if you can do Walmart, if you can do these things, we absolutely can do the schools.

GOLODRYGA (voice-over): But some educators in the state are now saying they won't follow the order if cases don't start to go down.

ALBERTO CARVALHO, SUPERINTENDENT, MIAMI-DADE COUNTY PUBLIC SCHOOLS: I think it would be counterintuitive, with positivity cases increasing, with restaurants just this week being shut down again, for us to pack up schools.

GOLODRYGA (voice-over): In Texas, Governor Greg Abbott said schools would have to offer more flexibility. In Arizona, Governor Doug Ducey announced that in-person classes will be delayed until at least August 17th. In California, Governor Gavin Newsom, saying that schools will reopen when the data says it's safe to do so.

Experts say it didn't have to be this frustrating, but there still is time to get it right.

JOSEPH ALLEN, ASSISTANT PROFESSOR, HARVARD T.H. CHAN SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH: The time to plan is absolutely right now. In particular, when we think about healthy building strategies, schools have to be paying attention to and looking at their mechanical and ventilation systems right now. This is not something that can be started in early August.


GOLODRYGA: So, Poppy, I think it's really important for parents, are they're trying to assess what's going to happen in the next coming weeks, is that the president is now going after his own CDC director's guidelines. He's obviously suggesting that all schools should reopen no matter what. He's criticizing mass testing.

And he's doing that just as Dr. Fauci, the top expert on this in this country, says that he has not briefed the president, hasn't spoken to the president in two months.

And the reason I'm saying this is because this causes a lot of confusion. I've been covering this for a couple of months now and all the school districts, all the superintendents I've talked to said they are following those CDC guidelines, so it's very important and reassuring that Dr. Redfield says they're still going to be implemented.

HARLOW: I completely agree, that they're not backtracking on this at all. Thank you, Bianna, good reporting.


Now, this, something you will want to watch this weekend. Join Michael Smerconish for an entertaining and a poignant look at his one-of-a- kind career. CNN presents the "THINGS I WISH I KNEW BEFORE I STARTED TALKING." It's tomorrow night, 10:00 Eastern, right here.


HARLOW: Hours after the Big Ten said its schools will only play a conference schedule this fall, the Big Ten commissioner suggests college sports may not happen at all this fall. Coy Wire joins us with more.

That's big, when it comes from the Big Ten, right?

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Big news out of the Big Ten, you're right, Poppy. This news comes just a day after, also, the Ivy League announced that it won't have any sports at all this fall. Big Ten, the (INAUDIBLE) Power 5 program to put this policy in place, but you get the sense that it's just the first domino to fall.

The conference says the move will allow for greater flexibility to adjust operations throughout the season, and it'll limit travel and potential exposure to COVID-19. But Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren said last night that even more drastic actions might have to be taken. Here he is.


KEVIN WARREN, BIG TEN COMMISSIONER: One thing we have to realize, this is not a fait accompli, that we're going to have sports in the fall. We may not have sports in the fall, we may not have a college football season in the Big Ten. And so we just wanted to make sure that this was the next logical step, to always to rely on our medical experts to keep our student athletes at the center of all of our decisions and make sure that they are as healthy as they possibly can be.


WIRE: Might not have a college football season, the Big Ten.

Now, the cancellations include marquis football match-ups like Michigan at Washington, Ohio State at Oregon, Wisconsin playing at Notre Dame and Lambeau Field and Green Bay, 42 games in all.

All these conferences and pro leagues are just flying into uncharted territory, trying to make lists of protocols so that their seasons can go on. Like the NFL, which sent a list of protocols to all 32 teams that coaches and players are going to have to following during games this season.

A memo obtained by CNN stated that the league is going to prohibit post-game handshakes and jersey exchanges. Now, the NFLPA agreed to the rules, but still players were baffled by all this because, Poppy, well, 60 minutes of tackling would have occurred before that.


HARLOW: Yes, it certainly would have.

It's going to be fascinating to watch what happens, Coy, with these schools, with school being in session or not and with college sports. Thanks, Coy, have a good weekend.

WIRE: You too.

HARLOW: Thanks to all of you for joining us. Have a wonderful weekend. Jim and I will see you back here on Monday. I'm Poppy Harlow. NEWSROOM with Kate Bolduan starts right after this.