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Dallas County Recorded 1000 Plus New Cases On Monday; Experts Say Antibodies May Be The Bridge To A Vaccine; EU Settles On $2.1 Trillion Pandemic Recovery Package; Hong Kong Tightens Restrictions As It Faces Third Wave; Former Fox News Host Accused Of Rape In New Lawsuit. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired July 21, 2020 - 08:30   ET



JOHN BERMAN, CNN HOST, NEW DAY: What do you want to see at the federal level from national leaders?

President announced that yesterday that he is going to start holding task force briefings again today, but now we're told that we don't even know that the task force doctors, the scientists will be there. What would you like to hear from them?

CLAY JENKINS, (D) DALLAS COUNTY JUDGE: You know, what we need is more testing and faster testing. We need them to listen to science, listen to Dr. Fauci. Go wherever the science leads them. Their response is just unbelievably bad, frankly. And not the career professionals, but, you know, above the politics, above them it is just unbelievably bad.

BERMAN: How is that?

JENKINS: Well, I mean, we just got rid of our federal testing because it was taking ten days to get a test result back which is useless for, you know, tracing the disease or keeping people isolated from work.

The people that were getting those tests are the people that are keeping our economy going. In Texas, we don't have Medicaid expansion so it's unrealistic to tell an uninsured person making $16 an hour to stay home for ten days while they wait on results.

We have asked the feds for two months for the raw materials to do our own testing and thus far they have given us nothing. You can't get an answer out of people at higher enough level to get anything done there and it's a huge departure from every other emergency we have worked on and we have had a lot.

BERMAN: I think this is important. And you might have a platform here because the President occasionally watches the cable news. He said the other day that the testing America is the envy of the world. What does he needs to know about testing in Dallas County, Texas?

JENKINS: We've never had enough testing. The federal testing is way too slow. That's why we had to get rid of it. If you want to live envy of the world give us the re-agents so Parkland Hospital in UT South Western can do the testing for Dallas County. We are desperate for help and we need federal leadership. It's time to follow the science.

BERMAN: Judge Clay Jenkins, I do appreciate your time this morning. We wish you the best of luck. Please let us know how we can help and come back on the show please.

JENKINS: Thank you.

BERMAN: All right. So how important are antibodies when it comes to the race for the vaccine? Dr. Sanjay Gupta investigates, next.



ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN HOST, NEW DAY: So where are we with the Coronavirus vaccine? Well, three companies show promising results from early trials in humans, but a vaccine is still months away at best. So this morning there is new hope that antibody therapy could provide a bridge until the vaccine is produced. Dr. Sanjay Gupta has more.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: If there's one thing most humans on the planet want right now its antibodies. Your body can produce them if you're infected. A vaccine can also provide you with them, but there is another way. It's called antibody therapy. That means, taking the antibodies from the blood of someone who's already been infected and recovered from COVID-19.


DR. MARSHALL LYON, DIRECTOR, TRANSPLANT INFECTIOUS DISEASES, EMORY UNIVERSITY: We have used it for rabies, for hundreds of years. More recent history in the Ebola outbreak in West Africa people tried something called convalescent plasma.


DR. GUPTA: Dr. Marshall Lyon is an Infectious Disease Expert at Emory University he also treated some of the first Ebola patients in the United States.


DR. LYON: And so plasma is the part of the blood that contains all of these antibodies.


DR. GUPTA: Within the plasma, you are likely to find antibodies which are specifically attached to this part of the virus it is called the spike protein and it is the key to entering human cells.


DR. BARNEY GRAHAM, DEPUTY DIRECTOR, VACCINE RESEARCH CENTER, NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH: If an antibody binds this little finger part, that's obviously going to block the attachment to the cell. That will neutralize the virus.


DR. GUPTA: Dr. Barney Graham is Deputy Director of the Vaccine Research Center at the National Institutes of Health.


DR. GRAHAM: There's other spots that you can bind the protein that disrupts its function.


DR. GUPTA: What's he's describing are called neutralizing antibodies. They work to block the virus from actually infecting cells in our body.


DR. GRAHAM: Having the antibody or the plasma from convalescent patients allows you to accomplish at least temporarily what we're trying to accomplish with the vaccine. You can just give the antibody - passive immunization and we can give the antibody ahead of time and create temporary immunity.

DR. GUPTA: Taking antibodies in that plasma and giving that to somebody either to help protect them against becoming infected or even possibly as a treatment, how effective should that type of antibody therapy be convalescent plasma?

DR. GRAHAM: I think it's very important that the serum therapies and plasma therapies and even hemoglobin therapies are tested both as treatments for serious disease but maybe also intervention in the early phase of infection so it doesn't progress to serious disease.


DR. GUPTA: The hope is that these antibodies can do a preemptive strike, preventing more serious disease from developing in someone who's infected or maybe even blocking infection altogether in people who are at high risk like health care workers.

Some have even called it a bridge to the vaccine. Companies like Eli Lilly and Regeneron are now trialing therapies using neutralizing antibodies found in recovered patients but then manufactured in the lab. They're known as monoclonal antibody therapies.


DR. GRAHAM: To be able to put them to good use in therapy or prevention is an exciting new technology.


DR. GUPTA: But there is an issue. Some recent research has found that COVID-19 antibodies may wane after several weeks and it was those who were sickest who tend to produce the most antibodies and keep in mind, the majority of people with COVID experience mild symptoms.



DR. GUPTA: How does that compare to how long the antibodies will last from the vaccine?

DR. GRAHAM: For antibodies the typical half life of an antibody in humans is around three to four weeks. And so those antibodies if given it a high dose could last for a couple of months.


DR. GUPTA: These are all considerations in developing a COVID-19 treatment, as well as a vaccine.

CAMEROTA: So Sanjay, that all sounds really promising. I mean, a bridge to the vaccine, obviously that's promising, but where is your optimism level in terms of the vaccine and how soon?

DR. GUPTA: Well, I do think that with regard to the vaccine itself, I mean, the drum beat of evidence continues. We won't know for sure until you have a large trial, where you actually give tens of thousands of people the vaccine, the tens of thousands who don't receive the vaccine and you compare infection rates.

That's what - those phase 3 trials are about. But Alisyn what I found so interesting here is that fundamentally we want immunity. We keep talking about the vaccine understandably, but immunity is what we want and there's different ways to at least get immunity even if it's short term.

So these antibody therapies I have talked to lots of scientists around the country, I've talked to officials at the FDA we're going to be hearing a lot more about this over the next couple of months and the idea that people could get antibody therapy, that could give you protection for a few months say is I think - it's a considerable step forward. At least until we get to the vaccine.

CAMEROTA: That was really helpful. That is a whole new way to look at it, as a bridge instead of as a solution. So thank you very much, Sanjay, for all of your reporting on that. John?

BERMAN: Yes, it answered a lot of questions I know I get every day from people about antibodies and immunity. That was really interesting. All right, breaking overnight, EU leaders agreed on a Coronavirus stimulus package worth more than $2 trillion. CNN has reporters all over the world bringing you the latest developments.

MELISSA BELL, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm Melissa Bell in Paris, here in Europe, a big step for the European Union after many days of wrangling and many fraught nights, European leaders have agreed on this 750 billion-euro rescue plan for the European Union.

A big step not only because for first time in the history of the European Union countries now become responsible for money that is spent in other countries, but also because Brussels in becoming able to go and raise capital in the markets and become responsible for debt becomes for the first time in its history much more like a sovereign state.

MATT RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm Matt Rivers in Mexico City. Further south in Brazil, health officials in that country are now saying the country's death toll as a result of this virus is now more than 80,000 for the first time.

The number of confirmed cases overall is now more than 2.1 million. Of those cases we know there are two Brazilian Ministers, both the Brazilian Minister of Citizenship and the Brazilian Minister of Education announced on Monday that they had each tested positive for the virus.

And those two of course join their boss, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who himself has tested positive for this virus. Despite that the President has been seen in recent days in front of the Presidential Palace in Brazil outside thanking supporters that gathered.

WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm Will Ripley in Hong Kong. This third wave of COVID-19 is putting a real strain on the hospital system here. The number of beds for COVID-19 patients is running low and they're trying to expand facilities right now to house some of the hundreds of people who have been testing positive just in the last two weeks.

Also we're getting word that two more people have died of the disease. Still, just 14 deaths here in this city of 7 million people, but the signs are not good public health officials say as they keep reporting new cases every day.

BERMAN: Our thanks to our reporters all around the world. So this morning, we are learning shocking and graphic allegations about sexual harassment involving some of the top hosts at Fox. We'll discuss next.



CAMEROTA: A new lawsuit claims Former Fox Anchor Ed Henry raped and systematically abused a junior Fox Staffer. Henry was fired by Fox earlier this month after the network said it received a complaint of sexual harassment. The lawsuit was brought by Former Fox Business Network Producer Jennifer Eckhart, who says this about her allegations.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Would you characterize the relationship you were in with Ed Henry as mainly abusive?

JENNIFER ECKHART, FORMER FOX BUSINESS PRODUCER: Absolutely. I felt that he had the power to derail me, to destroy me, to ruin my career. I don't know how you could continue to cultivate and foster an environment that rewards sexual predators consistently, year after year.


CAMEROTA: Ed Henry's Attorney says his relationship with Eckhart was consensual. And there's another woman, Cathy Areu, a journalist who appeared on Fox. She is also named this suit. She is accusing Ed Henry and three other high profile hosts, Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity and Howard Kurtz of sexual harassment.

In a statement Fox News calls those allegations false, frivolous and devoid of merit. CNN's Chief Media Correspondent Brian Stelter joining us with more. Here we go again, Brian. I mean, here we go again. It seems to never end in terms of the vile stuff that we hear from junior staffers.

And I could tick through the list of all of the various Fox men who have been accused of this stuff. But the Ed Henry stuff is in so dark and violent it's almost, it's in a different category, actually.

BRIAN STELTER, CNN CHIEF MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Yes, there are several different claims here all of them under the umbrella of sexual misconduct. But let's talk about the Ed Henry things first because what we see in this lawsuit overnight explains why Ed Henry was fired by Fox News several weeks ago?

Ed Henry a longtime journalist used to work for CNN many years ago and then he went to Fox News.


STELTER: He was a rising star in the Trump years because he was willing to do opinion or do news, do whatever they asked him. He was known to be a problem internally, however. And Jennifer Eckhart alleges that her complaints fell on deaf ears.

She as you mentioned describes rape and psychological manipulation by Ed Henry. Here is what the lawyer for Ed Henry Catherine Foti says in response. As you mentioned she says that this was Eckhart's initiating the relationship. She says Eckhart encouraged the relationship.

And she says that Ed Henry will speak out in the future and provide his own evidence. Eckhart in response says that its victim shaming and victim blaming and reiterates what her position is in this lawsuit.

So there's the claims from Eckhart and then there is the claims from Cathy Areu, who's another Fox News employee, she never worked for the network but she was a frequent guest on shows like Sean Hannity's and Tucker Carlson's shows.

She says that those men engaged in sexual harassment for example and these are the kinds of claims she says, asking her to come to their hotel, meet her at the hotel. She says it was clear what these men were asking for. Each claim is a little bit different but what she's alleging is a culture of sexual harassment where the men at Fox News thought they could have whatever they wanted.

BERMAN: Talk to me about the culture, Brian, that you just raised there and also the time line here, having to do with how Fox News as evolved or not over the years since Roger Ailes.

STELTER: Right, because Roger Ailes was forced out in 2016, actually right around this time four years ago, during the Republican National Convention, four years ago this week. Roger Ailes was out and Fox News swore it was going to make changes.

I think since then, we have heard continuing allegations of sexual misconduct from inside Fox News. It's like there's a permanent stain in the carpet that nobody can scrub out and the reason why it can't be removed is because the carpet was installed by a sexual predator.

Roger Ailes built Fox News and created the culture of Fox News and the Executives have done a lot in the last four years to try to make improvements, to try to make changes. There are new hot lines, there are new meetings and there have been changes at Fox.

However, Jennifer Eckhart in her complaint still describes that her complaints fell on deaf ears that is what she is alleging. Now Fox News says, hey, we took quick action. As soon as Jennifer Eckhart came to us we fired Ed Henry.

Here is the statement actually from Fox News saying there was an independent investigation, conducted by an outside law firm they say that the all of Cathy Areu's claims, the ones against Tucker and Sean Hannity and others are false paternally - and utterly devoid of any merit.

So basically, what Fox News is saying is if you have a problem with Ed Henry, go to Ed Henry and courts don't sue us we have nothing to do with this. There are somebody likes - say that her claims are not as strong and so we will see if this case moves forward.

But listen to what Cathy Areu said just a few minutes ago in an interview about the environment at Fox News, about her interactions with some of the male anchors.


CATHY AREU, FORMER FOX NEWS GUEST: I kind of got numb to it. I thought it was perfectly fine to receive pornographic images and gifts. I thought that was normal for a male anchor to do.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: To send pornographic images? They sent you pornographic images?

AREU: Yep.


CAMEROTA: Brian, I remember four years ago back in 2016 when you interviewed me about things that went on with Roger Ailes and you asked me then, God is Fox just rotten to the core? And I said something like no it's not rotten to the core. There are good people there just trying to do their jobs.

I'd like to amend my answer now if I may. Because given everything that has come out since then, I guess it is rotten to the core. I guess even though there are really good people there who are trying to do their jobs it's not enough because unless you get rid of and stamp out the predators then of course the culture is still going to be rotten.

Didn't they know this? When that outside law firm, Paul Wise, did their investigation back in 2016, didn't Ed Henry's name come up? Didn't they know things about Ed Henry and yet they promoted him and doesn't that tell us all we need to know about the culture?

STELTER: You raised the most important thing there. NPR and others outlets have reported that there were warnings about Ed Henry and yet he was promoted anyway. He was a rising start; he was a favorite of the network's President, Suzanne Scott.

So he was promoted and promoted. And then finally, when they couldn't hold on to anymore because of these complaints were made, he was fired. It is incredible to think that four years after Ailes was forced out this is still going on at Fox News and yet, the viewership doesn't change.

The viewers don't change the channel. Fox's base is so alienated from the rest of the media they don't turn anywhere else. Alisyn there's a reason why in a lot of the interviews I've been doing where a book that is coming out soon about Fox and Trump.


STELTER: The word cult came up over and over and over again. There's a reason that people describe this as a cult.

BERMAN: Alisyn does any of this surprise you which you're learning this morning?

CAMERATO: So as I said - Ed Henry, the sexual harassment doesn't surprise me said for misconduct doesn't but the violent rape, yes, I'm still surprised by things like that. I'm still surprised by reports of trying to turn somebody into a sex slave and then claiming it's consensual.

I mean, it still so - I know this is morning television but the stuff in the complaint is so dark and vile, yes, I actually can still be shocked by these things. But I mean, just as Brian said, I'm - I'm sad actually, I'm sad that four years after Roger Ailes was gone that this - that the young women there feel like they're still having to operate in this culture.

Brian, thank you and thank you very much for all of the reporting. We'll continue to cover this obviously. And CNN's coverage continues right after this.