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THE LEAD WITH JAKE TAPPER

Niece Of President Trump Speaks Out; School Coronavirus Preparations; COVID Immunity? Aired 4:30-5p ET

Aired July 15, 2020 - 16:30   ET

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


[16:30:00]

DR. SEEMA YASMIN, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: And I really don't want people to have a false sense of security and think to themselves, oh, well, I had COVID-19 back in March or April. I'm good now.

We cannot say that for sure, because what we're learning, the more that we study the immune response to this infection is, as you mentioned, 60 to 90 days after people have had the illness, their antibody levels are really low, to the point that we think they won't protect them from reinfection.

So I don't want people to have that false sense of security. We don't know definitively whether reinfection can happen. And so we need to have a mind-set where it's a possibility where potentially people could become reinfected a second time.

Ideally, that doesn't happen. We would like to see this, our bodies mount an immune response that's really robust, that protects us for a long time. But, actually, in keeping with other coronaviruses that we do understand a lot more about, Jake, coronaviruses in general don't produce a very robust immune response with antibodies that linger for very long.

So this kind of just fits into that pattern.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: So, yesterday, the CDC director said that the U.S. had about 20 million coronavirus infections in the spring, even though only two million were diagnosed.

They apparently came up with that number after looking at antibody tests. Is it possible we also have no idea at all how many people right now have even had the virus?

YASMIN: I think the test, both the serologic test, which tell you about antibodies, as well as the PCR test, which tell you that someone is acutely infected, give us some indication as to how widespread this disease really is across a state.

But we always have to have that caveat that we are likely underreporting, and also that we are undertesting. We are seven months into this, and the U.S. has still not got it together to make sure that we are testing all the front-line workers, all of the people that are vulnerable and need access to tests. And, of course, as we're seeing these spikes across the U.S., now

we're seeing a backlog of tests. We're seeing labs like Quest Diagnostics say to us that, instead of an average of a few days' test turnaround time, it's upwards of a week, eight to 10 days before we're getting these COVID-19 test results back.

That really hinders our understanding of how bad the situation is in America. It could be a lot worse than even the official numbers are showing.

TAPPER: All right, Dr. Seema Yasmin, thank you so much, as always, for your expertise.

Coming up, Dr. Sanjay Gupta is coming back, taking a personal look inside one school that is preparing to reopen in the fall.

Stay with us.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[16:36:50]

TAPPER: In our national lead today: Philadelphia just announced that most kids will be back in classrooms two days a week.

The school district will use a hybrid of in-person and at-home learning. The second largest school district in Maryland, Prince George's County, announced today that no in-person learning will take place in least until 2021.

Houston schools will be virtual for at least the first six weeks of the school year.

CNN's chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, right now is taking a look at the struggles schools are facing.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: So, you looking forward to the first day of school?

KEITH EVANS, HEADMASTER, THE WESTMINSTER SCHOOLS: I am. We have a group of students out there that are eager to get back, to see one another.

GUPTA (voice-over): I don't relish the decisions that headmasters like Keith Evans have to make about his 535 faculty and staff members and nearly 1,900 students at this school, which includes my three daughters.

(on camera): The cafeteria is going to feel very different as well.

EVANS: The cafeteria is going to absolutely feel different. And this will be -- students will come in, and they will grab lunch and go and eat in their classrooms and that kind of thing, where we can maintain distance. GUPTA: (voice-over): No surprise, physical distancing a key part of the CDC guidance. Also recommended, wearing masks, teaching good hand hygiene, and not sharing supplies, like books and pencils.

(on camera): If you could have anything you wanted that you don't have right now, what would it be? What would you like to have?

EVANS: We are really blessed with some great buildings and square footage here. That is the constraining factor, I think, in every school space.

GUPTA (voice-over): Many other schools don't have that kind of space. And truth is, that problem alone in classrooms, hallways, on buses may prove too much for some schools to open this fall.

But perhaps even more vexing is that, more than six months after the first U.S. cases of coronavirus, we still can't definitively say, what role do kids play in transmission?

One study found children carry just as much virus as adults, and may be just as infectious, but others have found differently. In one French study, a 9-year-old boy with symptoms of COVID-19 exposed over 80 classmates at three schools. None of those children contracted it.

In New South Wales, nine infected students and nine staff across 15 schools exposed a total of 735 students and 128 staff to COVID-19. Only two secondary infections resulted, one possibly transmitted by an adult to a child.

DR. BENJAMIN LEE, UNIVERSITY OF VERMONT: The likelihood of children spreading the virus or transmitting it are still relatively low. However, in areas where there is a lot of transmission in the community, that could potentially increase the likelihood that an infected adult could step into the school setting.

GUPTA: Exposure from wherever is a concern for many teachers. According to a Kaiser Family Foundation analysis, nearly a quarter of all teachers in the United States have health conditions that make them more vulnerable to the coronavirus.

EVANS: We're planning for all of that, as opposed to staying focused on students, who have a more narrow band of risk in this.

[16:40:04]

LEE: We need to move the conversation not towards whether schools should open or not, but towards, how can we open the schools to ensure that they can open and remain open?

GUPTA: How to do that is a challenge.

EVANS: We are planning. And we were moving toward a particular end. But we're also eyes wide open, ears wide open, understanding how this is evolving.

And we understand the -- you know, next week, everything could change. (END VIDEOTAPE)

TAPPER: Sanjay, you and I have kids about the same age.

If your kids were supposed to go back to school tomorrow, your daughters, would you let them?

GUPTA: Well, let me preface by saying it's a tough call. I mean, I don't want to make it seem like it's an easy call.

But you got to keep in mind, here in Atlanta, where I am here in Georgia, the case counts have been going up pretty steadily. You know, they're in that red sort of patch on the map that we have been showing.

So, what the guidelines have said -- and I think they make sense -- is if you have five days in a row of increase, community increase, that now's not the time to open schools. So, I don't think, tomorrow, I would. I would like to see those numbers come down, possibly be virtual for a period of time, which they are planning in some school districts here in Georgia, and then possibly back to in-person learning later on, hopefully.

TAPPER: Nearly a quarter of all teachers in the U.S. have health conditions that could make them more vulnerable to catching and suffering from the coronavirus, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation study.

How do you protect them?

GUPTA: Yes, this is really concerning.

And there's been some remarkable sort of reporting around this. Brianna did this interview, Brianna Keilar. These teachers are talking about writing their wills this summer in preparation for going back to the school year. I mean, there's a lot of concern here.

And, obviously, we can't -- that can't be minimized. I think that's one of the big questions. We keep talking about this in the context of kids and students, which makes sense. But the idea now that, even if kids aren't major transmitters to those adults in the school, you are creating indoor settings now, where adults are likely to aggregate.

As you heard from Keith Evans there, the headmaster of Westminster, they're saying, look, we will do our best to try and keep the teachers separate, to do all the same distancing measures and mask wearing and things that we do with the kids. But it is a challenge. There are some things that are just very hard to do in a school setting that are compatible with as safe as you want to be.

So I think it's challenging. What they're doing at Westminster, people are identifying now if they have preexisting conditions. They're given options to possibly do things where they're not in direct contact with lots of other adults or lots of other students. And they're sort of -- they're trying to plan ahead.

But there's no absolutely one-size-fits-all here, Jake.

TAPPER: I also want to ask you.

Dr. Fauci yesterday compared the impact and severity of coronavirus to the 1918 influenza pandemic. You just spoke with Dr. Fauci. Tell me more about that.

GUPTA: Yes, I talked to him specifically about this. I think that people were left with this impression, if this was like 1918, 50 to 100 million people died back then 100 years ago, when the population of the world was much smaller, is that what's coming here?

And I think Dr. Fauci was very clear with me that that's not what he was trying to imply. What he was saying was that you have a novel virus that is highly contagious, is more lethal than typical flu, and it's circumnavigating the globe.

So that's the concern. That's the similarity to 1918. But he doesn't expect that you're going to have that sort of death toll. As gloomy as the numbers have been, he doesn't think it's going to be as bad as 1918. And keep in mind, Jake, I mean, 100 years later, we have critical care. We can put people on breathing machines as necessary.

We have certain therapeutics. And, obviously, there's this race that's going on for a vaccine. So, I think it's going to be a very different scenario, thankfully. The similarity is just that the virus itself is similar.

TAPPER: All right, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, thanks again. Appreciate it.

And be sure to tune in to CNN tomorrow night for a new coronavirus global town hall. CNN's Dr. Gupta will be joined by the former acting Director of the CDC Dr. Richard Besser. That's at 8:00 p.m. with Anderson Cooper as well, of course.

A staggering new statistic about coronavirus and your children out of the nation's top hot spot, Florida, that's next.

Plus: President Trump's niece says that her uncle is utterly incapable of leading this nation.

What she says motivates the entire Trump family, that's ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[16:48:42]

TAPPER: If Florida were a separate country, it would rank eighth in the world for the most number of coronavirus cases.

And that's today's national lead.

Florida reported 10,000 new cases today, surpassing the 300,000 total mark. And Jackson Health, Florida's largest hospital system, reports a 226 percent -- that's 226 percent -- rise in coronavirus patients in one month alone. CNN's Randi Kaye is in Palm Beach County, Florida, for us.

Randi, another frightening figure, one in three children tested for coronavirus in Florida tested positive, one in three. These aren't young adults we're talking about. We're talking about children.

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, Jake. The Florida Department of Health reporting that 17,000 children under the age of 18 have tested positive for coronavirus here in the state, about 8,000 of them between the ages of 5 and 14.

Yet Florida is still talking about opening those brick-and-mortar schools in just a few weeks, the governor still saying it's safe. He says that it's -- quote -- "extremely low," the risk, in terms of children getting the virus and spreading it as well, even though he's not a doctor.

Also here in Florida, another grim note. For the third time this week, deaths have topped 100 here in the state of Florida. And in terms of hospitalizations, we now have more than 8,000 people hospitalized with COVID-19 here in the state, about 8,200, in fact.

[16:50:01]

That's up 456, Jake, from just yesterday. Yet a Florida state representative on CNN earlier today tried to downplay that and downplay the virus. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ANTHONY SABATINI (R), FLORIDA STATE REPRESENTATIVE: Outside of South Florida, most of my state is doing just fine.

The two most important numbers, obviously, hospitalizations and fatalities, were in most parts of the states flatlined or gone down.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KAYE: That is just not true.

In fact, we were at about 7,000 hospitalizations, Jake, over the weekend. I watch this every day. And we're now up to more than 8,200. So it's certainly not going down or flatlining.

TAPPER: And, Randi, despite the actual numbers, not the fake ones that Congressman Sabatini was proposing, the actual numbers, Disney today is opening more of its parks in the Orlando area.

How does the company justify it?

KAYE: They're opening Epcot and Hollywood Studios.

They're justifying it by saying that they're taking extra precautions. There will be hand sanitizer. People will have to take their temperatures before going inside. They will have to wear masks. They will be handing those out if they don't have one. That's how they're justifying it. Yet, Jake, they are opening this

food and wine festival, which one -- it's one of the biggest draws at Epcot. They're opening that. They're premiering that today. So, good luck visiting that area wearing a mask as well.

TAPPER: All right, Randi Kaye in Florida, the hard-hit state of Florida, thank you so much.

Almost 137,000 Americans have died of COVID-19.

Today, we want to take time to remember one of them, 13-year-old Anna Carter, the youngest person to die of coronavirus in Oklahoma. Anna was described as outgoing and funny, a girl with big dreams. She was theatrical. She would dance more than she would walk.

She suffered from an autoimmune disease, which made Anna vulnerable to coronavirus. One of Anna's biggest dreams was to find a cure for all autoimmune diseases.

Her mom asks that the rest of us don't let that dream die with her beloved Anna.

May Anna's memory be a blessing.

We will have more news after this.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[16:56:15]

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS, ABC NEWS: And if you were in the Oval Office today, what would you say to him?

MARY TRUMP, AUTHOR, "TOO MUCH AND NEVER ENOUGH: HOW MY FAMILY CREATED THE WORLD'S MOST DANGEROUS MAN": Resign.

He is utterly incapable of leading this country. And it's dangerous to allow him to do so.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

TAPPER: President Trump's niece Mary Trump calling for her uncle's resignation, and also telling National Public Radio this afternoon that the president is emotionally and psychologically unfit for office.

Mary Trump speaking for the first time since a judge ruled that she could promote her scathing tell-all book about her uncle the president, after a legal challenge from her other uncle, the president's brother Robert.

The book is "Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World's Most Dangerous Man."

CNN's Sara Murray joins us now live to discuss it.

And, Sara, Mary Trump recounts a time in 2017 when she visited her uncle the president in the Oval Office. What did she say about it?

SARA MURRAY, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: That's right.

This book has a lot of her insights and a couple of her interactions since Donald Trump became the president. And one of them is this visit to the Oval Office soon after he won. And she describes how he already seemed overwhelmed by the job. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

TRUMP: He had never been in a situation before where he wasn't entirely protected from criticism or accountability or things like that.

And I just remember thinking, he seems tired. He seems like this is not what he signed up for, if he even knows what he signed up for.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MURRAY: She said that the president at that point went on and said, "They're not going to get me." And this was just after he had taken office, Jake.

TAPPER: Yes.

And Mary Trump has a Ph.D. She diagnosis the president and all the things that she says he has wrong with him psychologically.

Another explosive claim is her allegation that the president, way back when, paid someone to take his SATs for him. Is she able to back that up with any evidence?

MURRAY: That's right. This was a sort of wild allegation in her book, that he had paid another kid to take the SATs.

The White House said that it's absurd and that it's not true. She said in this interview with ABC that this is a story that she had been told by family members, but she wouldn't say who, and she did admit in this interview with ABC that she can't actually prove it.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

STEPHANOPOULOS: Can you prove it's true?

TRUMP: Can I prove -- no, because I'm counting on people I trust who told me the story. So, in terms of documentation, no, I can't prove it. But I can certainly say with 100 percent certainty that I was told this story by a source very close to Donald.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MURRAY: Now, despite saying that she can't prove it, she went on to say in that interview that she's absolutely confident it's true. And, Jake, as you pointed out, she does have a Ph.D. She has a

background in clinical psychology. And so she sort of brings that to the table throughout the book, throughout these various interviews, where she really describes Donald Trump throughout his life as someone who was constantly lying, constantly cheating, constantly kind of doing whatever he needed to do to get ahead.

TAPPER: Yes, the allegations she has about his mental state and psychological state are really stunning.

Sara Murray, thank you so much for that.

Our coverage on CNN continues right now. Thanks for watching. We will see you tomorrow.