Return to Transcripts main page

THE SITUATION ROOM

New Study: Moderna Vaccine Induced Immune Responses In All Participants, No Safety Concerns Identified; Fauci: You Can Trust Me On Coronavirus; Trump Speaking To Reporters At The White House; U.S. Deaths Surpass 136,000 As New Cases Rise In 37 States. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired July 14, 2020 - 17:00   ET

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


[17:00:00]

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Our coverage on CNN continues right now. Thanks for watching.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Welcome to our viewers here in the United States and around the world. I'm Wolf Blitzer in THE SITUATION ROOM.

We're following breaking news. We're standing by to hear from President Trump about to speak in the White House Rose Garden as a major development into the search for a coronavirus vaccine is announced. The study just released by the New England Journal of Medicine says a vaccine developed by the drug maker, Moderna, induced immune responses and everyone taking part in its trial with no identifiable safety concerns.

Moderna says it expects to start the next phase study of the vaccine on July 27, involving some 30,000 adults in 87 locations around the United States. That news comes as the country's death toll has just dropped as just top they should say 136,000 people with a number of new cases on the rise right now in 37 states.

As we wait to hear directly from the President that's expected momentarily, let's get some more on the breaking news involving a vaccine. Our Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta is with us.

Sanjay, so what's your analysis based on everything we know? Could the vaccine now that all of us have been waiting for, could it be possible that it will come over the next several months?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Wolf. I think that there's nothing in this first peer reviewed study now, the U.S. vaccine candidate, there's nothing in the study to suggest that anything has derailed. But it's still very early days, Wolf, very early days.

Let me just tell you a couple things about this. They basically gave a dose of the vaccine to 45 healthy individuals between the ages of 18 and 55. And then they gave a second dose about a month later, about 28 days later. So remember that this is a two dose vaccine that they're looking at here to try and get the response that they're hoping for.

It seemed relatively safe, meaning that there were no significant side effects that actually stopped the trial. But let me show you if I can just some of the side effects that they did see. And they gave this medication at different dosing.

At the sort of middle dose and the higher dose, basically, everybody who got the vaccine did have some sort of side effects. Some people had more than one side effect. They appeared to be transients, they went away.

But again, Wolf, these side effects are something that are going to be paying attention to and this was in 45, healthy people between the ages of 18 and 55.

The whole process, Wolf, is going fast. They're through phase one, they're going to be starting phase three at the end of this month, typically, that takes years to get to that point, and they've obviously done that in months.

The big question, Wolf, does it work, right? Is it actually going to provide protection so that people don't get infected with this virus? And we don't know the answer to that yet. This vaccine did appear to make antibodies in the people that it was given to. But how well those antibodies will work, we have to wait and see by these other trials.

There's the thing, Wolf, you know, you'd love to have some sort of correlate measure when you do these trials, like I'd love to measure something in inches or pounds or meters. Unfortunately, we don't have that.

So I can't tell you this has works X amount well yet, the only way to really know that is to study this in larger and larger groups of people and see if in fact it protects them. So, that's basically what they're going to be doing now over the next several months, Wolf, again starting at the end of this month to really find out, a, it looks like it seems to be generally safe. Let's make sure it stays safe in older people and people who have preexisting conditions. And let's also make sure it works.

BLITZER: Yes.

GUPTA: Actually protects people against the infection, Wolf.

BLITZER: Yes, they're pretty encouraged. I spoke to someone who has been well briefed on this earlier in the day, Sanjay, they're going to start the next phase with about 30,000 participants, July 27. And there'll be two phases. They'll get a shot on July 27. And four weeks later, another shot.

What I was told, Sanjay, and you can correct me if I'm wrong that, you're right, 45 people were involved in this first phase, 15 of them got a low dose of about 25 micrograms, 15 got a medium dose of 100 micrograms, and 15 got a high dose of 250 micrograms. And they discovered those who got the high dose 250 micrograms, they are the ones who had some potentially significant side effects.

The low dose really wasn't apparently all that effective. But that middle dose of 100 micrograms, the side effects were very marginal, they say. And the next phase, the 30,000 or so individuals will get the hundred micrograms. They're not going to go with the 250 micrograms. So potentially, that's significant, right?

GUPTA: Yes. I think they really are zeroing in on the right dose here. When the trial first started, they were just using the lowest dose that 25 micro gram dose again twice getting that two shots one month apart.

[17:05:05]

And they were told at that point as part of the trial, you need to figure out some various doses regimens. And that's what then started the hundred microgram dosing and the 250 microgram.

You're absolutely right, Wolf, at the highest dose, the 250 micrograms, those were the -- that's where they saw the most serious adverse effects. We can show again, what some of those side effects were at the highest dose. There were people who had more than one of these serious sort of systemic effects.

Again, they were transient, they didn't last very long. But that was concerning. And again, these are healthy individuals. So, we want to make sure as you have people who are older, who are more vulnerable, that these side effects don't pose a bigger problem.

But that hundred microgram dose does seem to be where they're going to be focusing their attention. People in that dosing group, Wolf, I will say, did have side effects as well. They seem to not be as severe as the highest group, but that's going to be something they got to keep an eye on.

The whole goal of this phase, one study, the real goal is to test safety more than anything else. And again, there wasn't anything in this trial that said, OK, we need to stop the trial that there were side effects that were so concerning. But there were side effects.

BLITZER: Yes.

GUPTA: And again, in healthy individuals, let's see how this plays out as you incorporate more and more people.

BLITZER: As they go to the next, a large group of 30,000 individuals are about to be tested.

It's one of several studies, vaccine studies underway. There's the Moderna study we're talking about now, the Oxford University study in England that we know about. Johnson and Johnson has a vaccine study that's underway, two other studies, a German firm BioNTech, and there's a Novavax right now. So there's a lot of these vaccine studies underway.

Apparently, the Moderna study in the Oxford study seemed to be the most promising. Is that what you're hearing as well?

GUPTA: I think they're, they're the ones that are moving along the quickest right now. And you know, now we've actually seen some peer reviewed data on this U.S. vaccine candidate.

You know, I think it's going to be a little bit of a question mark, Wolf, does being first necessarily equate with being the ideal candidate ultimately? There's a couple things, we are going to see data from these other -- some of these other vaccine candidates.

And Wolf, you know, we're seeing something unusual here and that so many different platforms of vaccines are being tried. Typically, when you think of a vaccine, you think I'm going to give a little bit of the virus to the person, and their body is going to make the antibodies in response to that. There's other ones where you're giving sort of a dead virus or with attenuated virus, and see how the body responds to this.

The Moderna one that we're talking about is a sort of genetic vaccine. You're giving a little blueprint of a part of the of the virus, and you're letting the body make antibodies in response to that. So these are all these different mechanisms.

Ultimately, the real key is going to be which one works the best and has the lowest side effect profile. And, again, we're getting data here and the data does look, I would say promising, certainly nothing to say that it -- the trial shouldn't continue. But you know, I'm really anxious to see this other data.

Wolf, you got to remember as much as we've been talking about this over the last several months, this is the first data that we've seen in a peer review journal out of any of these U.S. vaccine candidates. So, that's significant in and of itself. But it's early data. We'll see how the next few months really will play out.

BLITZER: Yes. And let's not forget, these were 45 individuals involved in this phase. They're about to start the next phase with some 30,000 Americans all over the country.

Sanjay, stay with us. I also want to bring in Dr. Leana Wen who's joining us, the former Health Commissioner of Baltimore. Also our Chief White House Correspondent Jim Acosta is there in the Rose Garden. He's waiting for the President to walk down. He's going to be making a statement. We'll see if he answers reporters' questions.

Doctor Wen, you just heard Sanjay reported the results of this phase of the Moderna vaccine, that one candidate. How promising of a development do you see it as potentially? What questions do you have?

DR. LEANA WEN, FORMER BALTIMORE CITY HEALTH COMMISSIONER: Well, it's promising, although we do need to see what happens next. The next phase, phase three, is going to be the most critical because as Sanjay was describing, that's when we can really prove that there is actually immunity, there is protection for those individuals who get this vaccine.

I think there are still going to be other questions too. I do agree that maybe there will be even multiple vaccine candidates that end up getting approved. But it's also possible that none of them will be even close to 100 percent effective. In fact, I would be very happy if they could be even at the level of a flu vaccine, which is 40 percent to 60 percent effective.

And then there's the question too of how long is that immunity going to last? Do you need to get booster shots? Do you need to get it every year or even more often as we do with the flu vaccine?

And also I worry about the vaccine denial movement, the anti vaxxer science denial movement. In order for us to get to herd immunity, we need about 60 percent to 80 percent of people to be able to get the vaccine. And I hope that we'll do a lot of public education between now and then about the importance of safe, effective vaccines and how that is going to be one answer for us, a key for us to move forward through this pandemic.

[17:10:10]

BLITZER: Dr. Wen, I want to bring in Jim Acosta, our Chief White House Correspondent. He's there in the Rose Garden right now.

Jim, Dr. Fauci has been speaking with students over at Georgetown University here in Washington. At one point, he said, I was listening to what he said, this is a pandemic of historic proportions. Only yesterday, he said, we haven't even begun to see the end of it yet.

And he's saying more also about trusting the scientists involved. What else are you hearing?

JIM ACOSTA, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Oh, that's right, Wolf. Dr. Anthony Fauci is making some comments right now in a Zoom session with students over at Georgetown. And in just the last several minutes, he was asked to respond to a number of questions that are lingering over this administration's response to the pandemic.

One of those questions is whether or not we're actually seeing a rise in infections, he said in unequivocally, yes, we're seeing a rise in factions and that deaths, more deaths are likely to come as a result of that rise.

He was also asked about who Americans should trust. And at one point, during this session with those students at Georgetown, he suggested that Americans put their trust in what he described as trusted medical authorities. And he said, he's one of those medical authorities. And he said that that would be a safe bet.

And so, it's not really a shot at the White House. But it's certainly I think, a response of sorts to what has been said over here at the White House over the last several days, White House officials trying to undermine the credibility of Dr. Anthony Fauci and so on.

Perhaps the President will be asked about this in a few moments when he comes out here for this news conference here in the Rose Garden. The White House has described it as a press conference we've seen in recent weeks, where they'll schedule the press conference and then the President doesn't take questions from reporters and leaves after making remarks.

But one of the things we should also point out, Wolf, earlier this afternoon, the President is also making waves on the subject of race.

In an interview with CBS News, he was asking about the -- what has been happening in the news over the last several months, what has been inspiring these Black Lives Matter protests around the country, and that is African-Americans dying at the hands of white police officers and the President snapped at the reporter for CBS, Catherine Herridge, and said that white people are dying as well. Here's more of what he had to say.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CATHERINE HERRIDGE, CBS NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Why are African Americans still dying at the hands of law enforcement in this country?

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And so are white people, similar white people. What a terrible question to ask. So are white people. More white people, by the way, more white people.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ACOSTA: Now, one thing we should point out, studies have shown that African-Americans are more likely to die at the hands of white police officers, at the hands of law enforcement than white Americans. And so that has to be put out there for the record.

The other thing the President was asked about is this urgency he has to have American schoolchildren go back to schools when schools return, classes return in the fall, the President weighed in on that. And essentially said that if kids don't go back to school in the next couple of months that parents will die.

And here's what he had to say about that.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: It's a terrible decision, because children and parents are dying from that trauma too. They're dying, because they can't do what they're doing. Mothers can't go to work because all of a sudden they have to stay home and watch their child and fathers. What's happening? You know, there's a tremendous strain on that whole side of the equation.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

ACOSTA: Now, we understand the President is calling this press conference because he wants to talk about the subject of China. So, one of the things we should be looking for the next several minutes is for the President to once again blame China for this pandemic, for the coronavirus pandemic. That's something he's done in the past referring to COVID-19 as the Chinese virus.

But it should also be pointed out and our viewers should know going into this when the President makes those kinds of remarks, he has praised China, he has praised Xi Jinping, the leader of China for his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic in the past, Wolf. And so we don't know, Jim, what his opening statement is going to be. And we're not even sure he's going to take reporters' questions. He's done that before. He makes a statement could go on and then he leaves. But they are calling it a press conference or a news conference, which means that there will be at least the traditional definition of that term, a news conference, the person answers reporters' questions.

Do we know what he's going to say in his opening statement? At least the subject?

ACOSTA: We don't. We are getting some hints from the administration that perhaps the President will want to talk about the situation in Hong Kong and China's crackdown on protesters in Hong Kong. But until the President comes out, we don't know for certain.

But we do know if past is prologue, Wolf, that he has gone after Beijing for its handling of the coronavirus pandemic tried to blame, attach all responsibility for this pandemic, to leaders like Xi Jinping in China, when of course, the President is also responsible for his track record here in the United States and how the pandemic has spread in this country.

[17:15:06]

One thing that we should point out about this idea of a press conference, it is something that we've seen the President do in recent weeks where the White House will announce a news conference, the President will come out and not take questions and then leave, that has been happening primarily Wolf, as the President shirttails have been on fire, with his handling of this pandemic.

When the news cycle hasn't been too smooth, we've seen him come out here and make a statement that he wants to get out to the public sort of pull a bait and switch where they'll call a press conference, the President will get what he wants to say out there, the network's will cover it because they're anticipating reporters having the chance to ask questions. And then the President hightailed it out of here without taking any questions from reporters.

And so, we're just going to have to wait and see whether or not that is what happens. We've been told by White House officials that perhaps the President will take questions, but knowing what we know about President Trump, we can't make any hard bets on that, Wolf.

BLITZER: All right. We'll stand by. We'll get an indication from the White House when he will walk out of the Oval Office and walk -- step on those stairs to the podium over there the lectern. All right, standby Jim Acosta.

Let's go back to Sanjay Gupta. You know, Sanjay, we were talking about the Moderna study, which is showing some significant progress right now, still, relatively early, take a lot of work. That still remains to be done.

But a study out of the U.K., the Oxford University study, I guess that's it, maybe it's a different study says people who start to get the virus often will lose their immunity relatively quickly within a few months. So what does that mean for vaccine development right now?

GUPTA: Yes, and to be clear, Wolf, I think what the study said is that the amount of antibodies that they were measuring in these people, this study you're referencing did start to dissipate, go down after a period of time.

I think the question about immunity though, is still an open question.

A couple things, Wolf, this is -- we've been sort of reporting on this and sort of trying to figure this out for some time. If you're exposed to the virus, you develop antibodies, and these antibodies should protect you. The question has been how long do those antibodies last? How strong is that protection?

One thing that we haven't seen, Wolf, if you think about this in the United States, however many months we're into this now, we haven't really seen reports of people getting reinfected, right? There were some anecdotal reports you'll remember out of South Korea initially, but that wasn't clear that that was actually reinfection.

I bring this up, Wolf, to say that look, if it's true that within a couple of months that people were losing their actual immunity, I think we would have started to see re infections, we haven't. That's just more anecdotal. We're obviously going to continue to follow that along.

I think we can safely say that at least for a period of time after you are exposed to the virus, you do develop this immunity. Now, even if somebody has antibody levels that sort of drop off, one thing that happens, Wolf, is that the body is sort of taught how to quickly make antibodies again after it's been exposed to the virus.

So that's to say, let's say you had an infection, a few months later you check, you don't have antibodies. And the question is, are you immune? What is possible that even though you don't have antibodies, as soon as your body was exposed to the virus, it would quickly ramp up antibody protection, again, because of the way that the body remembers certain things?

So, these are open questions, Wolf. And this is absolutely right. You're absolutely right to say this is something that the vaccine makers are going to take into account. When making these antibodies how long do they last? How long is someone actually protected? As Leana Wen mentioned, does someone need to get a booster shot as a result? These are all questions that need to be answered.

BLITZER: Yes. And Dr. Wen, the President we're told, is about to walk out and head over to the podium over there. But look, as far as flu shots are concerned, I got one every year, I assume you do as well. You can't just get one and assume that's going to take care of you and even those flu shots are not 100 percent perfect, right?

WEN: That's right. And I would absolutely encourage for everyone this year even more important than ever to get a flu shot because we will almost certainly face the double whammy of flu season coinciding the same time as surging cases of COVID-19. Flu shot is 40 percent to 60 percent effective, but that still

protects you, that still reduces your chance of having severe effects from the flu. And so I am optimistic about a vaccine for COVID-19. But until then, we all really have to do our best with the public health measures that we have.

We can't rely on the vaccine as the silver bullet. We don't know when exactly it's going to be developed. It's not going to be 100 percent effective, most likely. And in the meantime, we have to focus on that physical distancing, wearing masks, washing hands and doing our best to protect ourselves, one another in our communities.

BLITZER: As you know, Dr. Wen, the President of momentarily is about to make a statement and he's got a huge audience out there. Is there one or two things you would specifically like to hear from the President of the United States right now?

[17:20:02]

WEN: I want him first and foremost to affirm the importance of science and public health. This is a public health crisis that should be led by public health experts. And the voice of public health should be the voice that President Trump also relies on as well.

And then also I want the President to address what is exactly is happening. Where is the national strategy that we've been waiting for all these months, national strategy around testing, national strategy around PPE?

It was a national disgrace last time that we did not have masks and gowns and other protective equipment for our frontline health care workers. I cannot believe that we're in the same position again.

We need to hear from him and more is not a quantity, hope is not a strategy. And we really need to hear what exactly this administration is doing that recognizes the severity of this crisis. The fact that hundreds more than 100,000 people have died and even more will die if they do not take prompt action.

BLITZER: You know, Dr. Wen, standby. I want to bring in Gloria Borger, our Chief Political Analyst who's standing by. We're all standing by, getting ready to hear from the President.

Gloria, you heard Jim Acosta report what Dr. Fauci is just saying, you can trust the scientists, you can trust the doctors, they know what's going on. And he referred to himself as well. This is a sensitive moment right now in this relationship, for example, between the President and Dr. Fauci.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Right. And we just learned that Tony Fauci and the President's new Chief of Staff, former Congressman Meadows, had a face to face meeting and I'm sure it was discussed how Fauci handles the situation with the President.

I mean, they're all aware at the White House, the two thirds of the American public already trust Dr. Fauci when it comes to the coronavirus and only a quarter of the people in the country trust the President. So, when Fauci tells American student at Georgetown, look, you can trust me, I think the answer is we already do. And so the White House has kind of stuck with Tony Fauci from their point of view, for better or worse.

And I think that you have to believe that the reason that there was this sort of subterranean attack on Fauci, which I might add was not very well hidden, was because the President was upset with Fauci because he kept on disagreeing with him. On the issue of testing, for example, the President has said to us, I know more than the scientists. Well, the answer is of course, he does not.

BLITZER: Yes. And let's not forget, Gloria, and of course, you and I, and a lot of our viewers can't forget, we're like less than four months between now and the presidential election, and clearly the way the President has been handling the coronavirus crisis is going to be a huge issue going forward.

BORGER: Right, it's a huge issue. You see that in the polling, you see that in polling particularly in states which are having some issues right now. Look at the state of Arizona, for example, and this is a different enemy for Donald Trump.

It's clear to me that he has no idea how to handle this. Everywhere he turns, trying to get kids back to school, for example, he's hit with the virus. And it was easier for him to deal with Hillary Clinton, for example. And even perhaps Joe Biden himself if he wants to attack Joe Biden.

But the real enemy here for Donald Trump is something he just doesn't really understand how to handle and that's COVID. It's different for him. He can't rerun the playbook of 2016 because we're living in a very different world. So, while he wants to make everything a culture war, even the wearing of masks, the world has changed since 2016.

You look at NASCAR saying we're not going to have the confederate flag anymore. Tonight the President told CBS that confederate flag was a symbol of freedom. And I -- you know, he's not -- it's almost as if you have a president trying to lead a country that has changed on his watch, and he doesn't seem to understand exactly how it's changed.

BLITZER: Yes, it's really, really a worrisome development right now what's going on with the coronavirus pandemic and a lot of voters are certainly you'll be looking at that when making decisions after November.

David Chalian, our political director is with us as well.

And David, that poll, that ABC News poll with the other day said only 33 percent of the American public right now approves of the way the President is handling this coronavirus pandemic.

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: And it is those numbers that he has to improve as Gloria is saying. So, think back to the spring, right, the President was urging the economies to get reopened and leaned on some of his Republican allied governors in some states to do so. In advance of them actually meeting the CDC guidelines that his own administration put out.

[17:25:02]

Think about his own political rehabilitation. He said let's do the rally. Let's go to Tulsa. Let's try to steer this back on course, if I could get the economy open, if I can get my rallies going. Now, send kids to school if I could -- I just -- everybody needs to go to school.

We'll figure out the safe part later or the flip side of staying home could be terrible for mothers and fathers, as he said tonight, in an interview, just get the schools open, except that each one of these turns getting, the economy open to a fast, starting up rallies for his political purposes. And now, rushing headfirst into schools. He heads right into the virus.

And this notion that he can turn around his political fortune through any avenue without actually grabbing hold of and managing the country through this COVID crisis, it's just a dream a vision. This -- every poll suggests, this is the issue and Donald Trump's path on any one of these avenues to success, to turning things around for where he is right now is through actually dealing with the underlying public health crisis of the pandemic.

BLITZER: All right, everybody standby. We're told the President still a few minutes away. He's going to be walking out of the Oval Office shortly. We'll have live coverage of a statement right after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

BLITZER: All right, the President of United States walking into the White House Rose Garden right now. Got a little booklet with him.

[17:30:00]

Let's hear what he has to say.

TRUMP: I hope it's not too hot, but it's pretty warm. Thank you.

So, we've had a big day in the stock market. Things are coming back and they're coming back very rapidly. A lot sooner than people thought. People are feeling good about our country. People are feeling good about therapeutics and possible vaccines, but we're going to go over quite a bit and maybe at the end, we'll take some questions if we have time. It's not too hot.

Today, I signed legislation and an executive order to hold China accountable for its oppressive actions against the people of Hong Kong. The Hong Kong Autonomy Act, which I signed this afternoon, passed unanimously through Congress.

This law gives my administration powerful new tools to hold responsible the individuals and the entities involved in extinguishing Hong Kong's freedom. We've all watched what happened, not a good situation. Their freedom has been taken away. Their rights have been taken away and with it goes Hong Kong, in my opinion, because it will no longer be able to compete with free markets. A lot of people will be leaving Hong Kong, I suspect.

And we're going to do a lot more business because of it because we just lost one competitor. It's the way it is. We lost a very, very serious competitor. A competitor that we incentivized to take a lot of business and do well and we gave them a lot of business by doing what we did.

We gave them things that nobody else had the right to do, and that gave them a big edge over other markets. And because of that edge, they've done really historic business, tremendous business, far bigger than anybody would have thought years ago when we did this gift. It was really a gift to freedom.

Today, I also signed an executive order ending U.S. preferential treatment for Hong Kong. Hong Kong will now be treated the same as Mainland China, no special privileges, no special economic treatment and no export of sensitive technologies.

In addition to that, as you know, we're placing massive tariffs and have placed very large tariffs on China. First time that's ever happened to China. Billions of dollars have been paid to the United States of which I've given quite a bit to the farmers and ranchers of our country because they were targeted.

And that's been going on for three years. It's the first time anybody's ever done anything like that. And prior to the plague pouring in from China, they were having the worst year as you know, in 67 years. And I don't want them to have a bad year. I want them to have a good year, but they were taking advantage of the United States for many, many years, and that's stopping.

But then the virus came in and the world is a different place, but we're now getting back. And one of the reasons the market's doing -- so it's almost at the point that it was at prior to the plague. Almost, we're getting very close. It's a great thing. It's an amazing thing what our people have done and what they've endured. No administration has been tougher on China then this administration.

We imposed historic tariffs. We stood up to China's intellectual property theft at a level that nobody's ever come close. We confronted untrustworthy Chinese technology and telecom providers. We convinced many countries, many countries, and I did this myself for the most part, not to use Huawei because we think it's an unsafe security risk. It's a big security risk.

I talked many countries out of using it. If they want to do business with us, they can't use it. Just today, I believe that U.K. announced that they're not going to be using it. And that was up in the air for a long time but they've decided. And you look at Italy, you look at many other countries.

We withdrew from the Chinese dominated, WHO and we fully rebuilt the United States military. The WHO, World Health Organization, we were paying close to $500 million a year. China was paying $39 million a year. And China had too much say, they worked it very hard, which is a bad

thing done by our past administrations. But we were tough and we were saying, I was asking, I said, "Why are we paying so much more than China?"

China has 1.4 billion people. We have 325, probably 325 million approximately, nobody can give the exact count.

[17:35:04]

We're trying to get an exact count, but you have over the years, many illegals who have come into the country. So it depends on how you want to count it. But you could say 325 to 350 million people, as opposed to 1.4 billion people. And the World Trade is terrible, that deal is terrible. The World Health is terrible deal. We've been very tough on the World Trade Organization and we've been, I guess, as tough as you can get on World Health.

We withdrew our money. We told them we're getting out. It doesn't mean that someday we won't go back in. Maybe we will when it's correctly run, but they made a lot of bad predictions and they said a lot of bad things about what to do and how to do it and they turned out to be wrong. And they were really a puppet of China.

And make no mistake, we hold China fully responsible for concealing the virus and unleashing it upon the world. They could have stopped it, they should have stopped. It would have been very easy to do at the source when it happened.

In contrast, Joe Biden's entire career has been a gift to the Chinese Communist Party and to the calamity of errors that they've made. They made so many errors and it's been devastating for the American worker. China has taken out hundreds of billions of dollars a year from our country.

And we rebuilt China. I give them all the credit in the world. I don't give the credit for the people that used to stand here because they allowed this to happen where hundreds of billions of dollars were taken out of the United States Treasury in order to rebuild China.

There's no company and no country in the world, no country in the world has ever ripped off the United States like the incredible job that they did on this country and the people that ran it. Possibly, it's one of the reasons, certainly it's one of the very big reasons trade and things related to trade that I got elected in the first place. I've been talking about it for a long time, along with many other subjects, frankly.

Joe Biden supported China's entry into the World Trade Organization. One of the greatest geopolitical and economic disasters in world history. If you look at China, you look at the moment they joined the World Trade, they were flatlining for years and years and years and decades. And then all of a sudden they joined the World Trade Organization and they went like a rocket ship.

They were given all sorts of advantages. They were considered a developing country. As a developing country, they got tremendous advantages over the United States and other countries, and they took advantage of those advantages and then some.

Biden personally led the effort to give China permanent, most favored nation status, which is a tremendous advantage for a country to have. Few countries have it. But the United States doesn't have it. Never did, probably never even asked for it because they didn't know what they were doing.

As Vice President Biden was a leading advocate of the Paris Climate Accord, which was unbelievably expensive to our country, would have crushed American manufacturers while allowing China to pollute the atmosphere with impunity yet one more gift from Biden to the Chinese Communist Party. They took all of the advantage away from us. They took everything away.

They don't have oil. We would have had to close up a tremendous amounts of our energy to qualify, eventually, not too far into the future. We would have had to do things that would have been unbelievably destructive to our country, including the possible closing of 25 percent of our businesses, think of that. And it was going to cost us hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars for the privilege of being involved in the Paris Climate Accord.

And you just have to look at what took place this year in Paris and France, where money was being sent to countries all over the world and the people of France didn't want to take it. And they didn't. And they did a lot of rioting. They had their taxes raised. We would have had to raise our taxes and it was a disaster.

I've been given a lot of credit for what I did there. Took a certain amount of courage, I guess, because it sounds so nice, the Paris Climate Accord. But it wasn't good for us at all.

[17:40:01]

America lost nearly 10,000 factories while Joe Biden was Vice President. Think of that, 10,000 factories. He wrote something today and he made a statement today that I wrote down. It's pretty accurate.

So Biden was here for 47 years. Eight years, the last eight years, not long ago as Vice President he said, one in five miles of our highways are still in poor condition. Well, we're doing a good job on highways, but why didn't he fix them three years ago? Why didn't he fix them?

Tens of thousands of bridges are in disrepair and on the verge of collapse. Well, that's probably not a right number, but we have bridges that should have been fixed. Why didn't he fix them? He was here for eight years with President Obama. Why didn't they fix them?

Tens of thousands of bridges. This is what he wrote. High speed broadband. We want high speed -- well, why didn't they get it? Three years ago is not a long time and he didn't do any of the things, but now he says he's going to be president and as president, he's going to do all the things that he didn't do. He never did, never did anything except make very bad decisions, especially on foreign policy. So Joe Biden and President Obama freely allowed China to pillage our factories, plunder our communities and steal our most precious secrets.

BLITZER: All right, we're going to continue to monitor the President of the United States. He's clearly deteriorating into a campaign type speech going after the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden. We're going to continue to monitor what the President's been saying. Once he gets to the questions and answers, assuming he takes reporters' questions, we'll get back to that speech.

But Gloria, the President came out right away talking about the stock market, doing well today, we're coming back. He spoke about some possible therapeutics and vaccines. He really didn't get into the major issue facing the country right now, namely, this coronavirus pandemic.

He's talking about China, his policy now, an important decision to take Hong Kong away from the rest of China, bring Hong Kong into Mainland China and to punish the Chinese for what's going on as far as Hong Kong is concerned. That's insignificant development right now, but you hear him now railing against Joe Biden.

BORGER: Yes. I mean, this was started out where he signed his executive order ending preferential treatment for Hong Kong, signing legislation to that effect and then deteriorated into what he really wanted to do was get up there and deliver a campaign speech from the Rose Garden. And talking about Joe Biden's foreign policy, talking about Joe Biden giving preferential treatment to China, talking about how Joe Biden and Barack Obama didn't accomplish anything during their term in office.

And refusing yet again, to discuss what is on the minds of the American people, which is, what is your plan to improve testing in this country so the states can get a handle on COVID. And rather than acknowledging that there is a problem, he talked about his, as you mentioned, the possibility of therapeutics and vaccines. And the fact that the stock market, he says, is roaring back and there's going to be a turnaround that's going to be faster than anybody had predicted.

So what he wants to do is deliver good news about what a great job he's doing. Talk about Joe Biden, in a campaign statement, and refusing to acknowledge the elephant in the room, which is that there are many states in this country which are considering pulling back from reopening who are about to have shortages and hospitals of PPE and doctors who are worried about how they are going to handle this increase in COVID in their states.

BLITZER: 136,000 Americans now have died over these past four or five months. Gloria, standby.

I want to bring David Chalian, our political director into this as well. David, hundreds of Americans are dying every single day right now. We see a surge in cases in a lot of the states in the south especially were at Florida, Arizona, Texas, out in California. A whole bunch of schools are not going to have in class school

starting next month and September. And the President instead of discussing this issue, he's talking about China, which is very important, but he's clearly, he's clearly railing, he's clearly blasting Joe Biden right now.

[17:45:02]

And as I say, it's become for all practical purposes a campaign type of speech in the White House Rose Garden. It's one thing to go to Michigan, to Alabama to California or Georgia or someplace and deliver a campaign speech. It's another thing to do so in the Rose Garden.

DAVID CHALIAN, CNN POLITICAL DIRECTOR: Yes. Well, you know, look at the calendar, Wolf, for the three and a half months or so away from an election. And clearly the President is aware of that. We know he wants to pursue this avenue as part of the overall mission of taking Joe Biden down a notch who's obviously right now beating the President in the presidential election, in today's snapshot of the polls. And trying to use China as a way to do that.

In fact, I am sure when we get to the fall debates between Trump and Biden, one whole foreign policy section of that will be about watching the two of them try to talk tough on China and who can outdo talking tough on China while also dealing with their own records of working with China and trying to court China at times. There's no doubt about that.

But your point is the correct one, which is that when the President comes out to the Rose Garden and says, I have a lot to talk about, we're going to get through a lot of things. And if I have time, I'll take your questions. And that we don't get to the pandemic that is roiling the nation, other than for a line about blaming China for concealing the virus, he said. And you'll recall back at the time, he wasn't doing a ton of blame on China.

He was trying to temper his words at the time while he was still trying to work out a trade deal. But now he wants to put the blame on China and that's all we got on coronavirus. As you noted, as the death toll rises, as cases go up, this President wants to focus on trying to take Joe Biden down a peg.

That's a higher priority for him clearly in what he's doing in the Rose Garden than addressing Americans concerned about the growing peril that the virus is presenting to the American public.

BLITZER: But don't you think, David, he has every right to go after Joe Biden as the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee? And this will be a lively campaign over the next four months to be sure.

But shouldn't he be doing that kind of a campaign speech, traveling to various, you know, hotspots around the country, political hotspots we're talking about? He can do that. But it's a little awkward to be doing that in the middle of this pandemic.

CHALIAN: Yes. I mean, this is -- as we were saying before he spoke, this is the problem for Donald Trump is that -- of course you're right. He has every right to campaign for re-election and its election season. He's certainly not the first President to mention his opponent in the Rose Garden, running for re-election. He certainly has the right to lay out the arguments and draw the contrast for the Americans people.

But the willful ignoring and wanting to wish away the pandemic, that is the issue of the presidential election is not serving him well. And he just doesn't seem to want to grasp that or alter in some way to deal with that. He thinks he can go around the pandemic, somehow. He cannot.

At least, we have not seen any ability for him to try and steer around the pandemic, because it is something that is touching every American's life in some fashion. And so he has to go through managing the pandemic, but that's the last thing he seems to want to do, Wolf.

BLITZER: Yes, he doesn't -- he didn't want to talk about the pandemic at all. At least we're not hearing it yet.

We're going to continue to monitor what the President is saying. We'll see if he answers reporters' questions. If he starts to answer reporters' questions, we'll go back to the Rose Garden and hear what he has to say. The Q&A. Let's take another quick break. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[17:53:53]

BLITZER: It's amazing what's going on right now. So, so sad. Coronavirus cases are surging right now in 37 of the 50 states here in the United States. More than 136,000, more than 136,000 Americans have already died over these past four months or so from the coronavirus. Almost 3.5 million confirmed cases in the U.S. Worldwide more than 13 million, 13 million cases, more than half a million deaths. 575,000 confirmed deaths worldwide.

We're watching all of this, even as there is some upbeat news about a possible, a possible vaccine emerging over the next several months. We got some encouraging word about Moderna coming up with a possible vaccine.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta is still with us. Sanjay, we're waiting for the Q&A if it does happen with the President over in the White House Rose Garden. He still railing against the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden. Really not focusing in hardly at all on this coronavirus pandemic, that's affecting not only so many people here in the United States but worldwide.

[17:55:04]

But update our viewers, first of all, on this Moderna vaccine, the latest development. It seems to be encouraging the next phase that's about to begin. GUPTA: Yes, I think that's true, Wolf. We're cautiously optimistic, which is how you hear this being described quite a bit, it's very early data. But it's some of the first data that we've actually seen from a U.S. vaccine candidate that's actually been peer reviewed. I mean, so much of the reporting that we've been doing lately, Wolf, has been based on press releases and pre-print.

So, you know, we've been wanting some real data and we have some, but it is early. They looked at 45 people, healthy volunteers for this particular vaccine trial between the ages of 18 and 55. And these participants got two doses of the vaccine separated by about a month by 28 days or so. And what they found, they had different dosing that they gave these participants.

And what they found was that they had evidence of antibodies being produced, what are called neutralizing antibodies and binding antibodies. Important to see those types of antibodies. What we can't tell from that alone, Wolf, is the most critical question, which is, will this actually protect people from getting the infection if they're exposed to the coronavirus? The answer is presumably yes, but you can't tell from these early studies alone.

Again, it was 45 people. They tested them over a period of time. They found that the vaccine was had some adverse effects, we can show you what some of those adverse effects were not significant enough to stop the trial.

Although I should point out at the dosing of 100 micrograms, which is the dose that they think that they're probably going to be using for this particular vaccine. Everybody did get some sort of side effect, you know, myalgias which are muscle aches, fever, headache, things like that.

So that's something they're going to have to keep an eye on, especially given that so far the participants were all again, healthy volunteers between the ages of 18 and 55. So, Wolf, it's encouraging, but it's still early. We still don't know the critical question of whether it works. But there's nothing to derail this vaccine trial so far.

And I should point out, Wolf, I mean, what's happened in a few months, six months or so with this particular trial, typically takes years to get to this point. So they are moving at a very rapid pace. And these trials will continue over the next several months, Wolf.

BLITZER: Yes, it's interesting because, Sanjay, the next phase is going to involve some 30,000 Americans all over the country. They're going to get this medium dosage of 100 micrograms of this vaccine and they'll get one dose and then a second shot, what four weeks later, that should give us a much better idea how effective it is and what kind of side effects -- negative side effects there might be.

GUPTA: Yes, absolutely, Wolf. I mean, when you have such a small trial, just 45 people and they're all healthy people, that's good data to have. But, you know, we know that there's going to be older people who are taking this vaccine. Are they going to generate the same sort of immune response, people who have pre-existing conditions, younger people? Are their bodies all going to make antibodies the same way?

And, you know, the big question is, are those antibodies going to be protective enough so that the people who get this vaccine are protected against this virus? It is worth pointing out again, Wolf, as you mentioned that this is a two-shot vaccination schedules. So one shot, they realized during this trial, didn't seem alone to produce enough antibodies. It was the second shot that got the antibody production to where these researchers wanted it.

But it's hard to measure the effectiveness of this, right? You see the antibodies in a test tube, but it's hard to know how much protection it's actually going to offer people who are receiving the vaccine. There's no way to measure that right now like inches or pounds or whatever. That's going to be critical in this next phase of the trial. Does it actually protect people?

BLITZER: Yes. We should find out the next few months. In fact, this is critically, critically important. Sanjay, standby.

Randi Kaye is down in Florida for us right now. Record numbers once again, sadly, in Florida, of all places right now. Randi, set the scene for us on what's going on in Florida as far as the coronavirus pandemic is concerned.

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Wolf, the Governor Ron DeSantis was in Miami-Dade County today that is the hardest hit county today. He was holding a roundtable with mayors there because they are having such a difficult time there. The hospitalizations there as of just a moment ago, 68 percent increase with those 69 percent increase in ICU beds and the ventilator use in Miami-Dade is up 109 percent.

That county also looking at a 28 percent positivity rate. They would like that to be a 10 percent or below, so he held this roundtable. And the mayors were very outspoken. They said to the Governor that they need about 800 contact tracers. They also said that there needs to be some type of long-term strategy here.