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Storm Targets East Coast; Judge Speaks Out About Deadly Attack On Family; Will Trump Roll Out Unsafe Vaccine Too Early? Aired 4:30-5p ET

Aired August 3, 2020 - 16:30   ET



PAMELA BROWN, CNN HOST: And one doctor told you that hospitals are prepared for trauma, like mass shootings or hurricanes, but not a pandemic.

Why is that?

ED YONG, STAFF WRITER, "THE ATLANTIC": So, they are prepared for short-term disasters, not long-term, recurring, rolling ones, especially ones that affect all 50 states at once, and thus producing a huge amount of pressure on the system and on the supply chains that provide equipment and drugs on which the hospitals depend.

And there's also the fact that America has this weird and unique system of health insurance that ties health care to employment. And so, in a situation like this, when millions of people have lost their jobs, millions of people also have lost access to health care at a time when they need it the most.

And, finally, this country specifically has this attitude to health care where it focuses on treating people who are sick, at exorbitant cost, rather than preventing that sickness in the first place. So, that is the job of public health, the job of vaccination, the sanitation services.

And that has been chronically underfunded and undervalued for a long time, which means that people in this pandemic got sick, and then they flooded hospitals, which struggled to cope with them.

Now, if we can change the attitudes, if we can focus on systems that will stop people from getting sick in the first place, if we can value that, like we value hospital-based health care, we will be in a lot better situation, not just in this pandemic, but into future ones.

BROWN: Right, those mitigation steps of public health experts keep saying you should do.

And when you talk to the president, when you bring up missteps from the government early on, one thing that he continually points to is the China travel ban, as pointing out, hey, look, look what I did. I went against some of my advisers and put a ban on China and travel.

But you lay out why that that wasn't a panacea, writing -- quote -- "In practice, travel bans are woefully inefficient at restricting either travel or viruses."

Can you expand on that?

YONG: Yes.

I grant that travel bans seem like a very intuitive measure. Obviously, people who are traveling around the world carry and spread the virus. The problem is that travel bans are actually a really bad way of restricting either viruses or indeed travel, because people find ways of circumventing them.

If you block one country, people will go via an intermediate. If you launch a travel ban, as Trump did against Europe, a lot of people will flood to your country in anticipation in order to avoid the ban.

And, besides, Trump's travel ban against China in the initial days was incredibly porous and let tens of thousands of people in. So, it seems like a good idea, but, in practice, it just doesn't work. And it leads to a false sense of security, where someone like Trump can think, I have solved the problem. I have put a travel ban in, without doing any of the things that they actually need to do, like in-field testing, like getting hospitals ready.

BROWN: Right.

Now, really quick, before I let you go, obviously, this is a very critical look. But what have been the bright spots, in your view? The administration talks about, look, we have all the ventilators we need. We have seen Americans coming together in many ways.

What, to you, are some of those bright spots?

YONG: I think one of the bright spots is that, despite America's stereotypical hewing to individualism, this rugged individualism, so many Americans did take collective action for each other's good. They stayed at home. They are wearing masks, a lot of them.

And I think that it shows that the American public have been willing to take the actions necessary to save themselves and each other. And that is what we need. Now, if only they could do that with the support of the federal government, not in opposition to it.

BROWN: All right, Ed Yong, thank you so much for coming on.

YONG: Thank you for having me.

BROWN: And up next: They said they treated coronavirus like it was a joke, but now one couple's message has changed.


MICHAEL PATTERSON, CORONAVIRUS SURVIVOR: Keep your distance and wear a fricking mask.





DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I think we're doing a great job. I think we're doing great on vaccines. We're doing great on therapeutics.

You will be seeing that very soon.


BROWN: So, there you heard President Trump touting progress on potential COVID-19 treatments and the vaccine.

Well, every health -- public health official is eager to have a safe and effective vaccine, but some doctors and scientists are publicly expressing concern that President Trump could try to roll out a less safe vaccine by October for political gain.

Joining me now is Dr. Carlos del Rio, a professor at Emory University School of Medicine.

Thank you so much for coming on, Dr. del Rio.

When we hear the president speak, he seems very focused on treatments and a pending vaccine. Do you think, when you listen to him, he has way moved on from the possibility of containing or controlling this virus with effective mitigation?

DR. CARLOS DEL RIO, PROFESSOR OF GLOBAL HEALTH, EMORY UNIVERSITY: Well, first of all, we need to continue containing and controlling this virus, because the reality is it's going to be several months before we have a vaccine, even if everything goes perfectly well, and before we can vaccinate everybody that needs to be vaccinated.

So the reality is, we have a vaccine right now, and it's called, wear a face mask, watch your distance, wash your hands. If people did that, we can actually slow transmission of this virus and buy ourselves some time, so, when we have a vaccine, there wouldn't be as many infected individuals, and, more importantly, that wouldn't be as many dead individuals.


Currently, about 1,000 Americans are dying every day from this virus. And if we're going to wait, if everything goes well between now and the end of the year, you're talking about another 150,000 people dying from this disease.

I think that is simply something we should not accept and we should -- we should, quite frankly, try to stop.

BROWN: So you're saying, look, wear a mask, social distance. That is a vaccine we can be doing in real time. Do you think that this is a realistic concern that President Trump could rush a vaccine to market in an October surprise before the election, despite the safety assurances that we have heard from Dr. Fauci and others?

DEL RIO: Well, I think a lot of things have not worked well in the response to this pandemic.

One thing has worked incredibly well. And that is the U.S. and the international research infrastructure. We have done, as a research community, an incredible job getting a virus, isolating a virus, and getting from discovering a virus to giving a vaccine, the first shot to an individual in less than 65 days.

We are six months into this pandemic, and we already doing not one, but five phase three studies in which -- trying to find what is an effective vaccine.

We may -- Dr. Fauci sees we need a lot of shots on goal, but we also need a lot of those shots to be goals. So we may not have one vaccine. We may have three, four or five vaccines that work. Now, we may have none.

But I think it's very unlikely if out of five or six or seven vaccines being tested, none of them gives us some protection.

Now, the research community is focused on research. And as long as the research community does the research the way I know they're going to do it -- and I'm one of the investigators -- political pressure is not going to be an issue.

It's going to be really doing the study, collecting the data, and having independent data safety monitoring boards look at the data. Now, if an independent safety data monitoring board in October looks at the data and says, well, this vaccine looks great, I would be very happy for that to be released.

BROWN: That would be great, yes.


DEL RIO: That would be great.

BROWN: Right.

DEL RIO: I want a vaccine.

BROWN: But, yes, I mean, I think everyone wants a vaccine -- well, I shouldn't say everyone, but most people want a vaccine, because I know there's some people who are skeptical of the vaccine and what that may mean, which is why the data behind it and the safety information behind it is that -- is so important, to reassure people about that.

And, look, let's just look at the reality here. So, say, a vaccine -- there's one vaccine that's approved that makes it through all the trials and everything. But a vaccine that might work for a child may not work for a senior citizen. So it's not necessarily a one-size- fits-all.

So, practically, how would that work?

DEL RIO: Well, the clinical trials are enrolling people 18 and older. So, yes, we're not going to have a lot of data on children to begin with. But those data will come later.

I think the most important thing is that developing a vaccine against a respiratory virus like this one is not going to be a perfect vaccine. It's not going to be a vaccine that there's 100 percent protection. I'm almost positive that. You're going to have a vaccine that protects 40, 50 percent, maybe 60 percent, just like the flu vaccine does, and that would be good.

That would be good enough, but it's going to be very challenging, right? Because then you're not going to know who's protected, who's not. So the reality is, even with a vaccine, mitigation strategies are necessary.

We're going to have to continue social distancing. We're going to have to continue doing all sorts of things in order to decrease the risk of infection.

BROWN: Right.

DEL RIO: Eventually, the virus may indeed stop transmitting. But it's going to take some time to do that. A vaccine is not the answer.

Now, therapeutics are also so important, and treatment is critically important.

BROWN: Right. OK.


DEL RIO: And if we have vast research, treatment will improve.

BROWN: Well, and that's good. We want to move on treatment to improve.

But let me just ask you this. As you read about the coronavirus, mutating, how effective would a vaccine being created now help in the long term if the virus mutates?

DEL RIO: You know, all viruses tend to mutate. RNA viruses tend to music mutate more.

Some mutations are actually beneficial to the virus. Some mutations are actually not beneficial to the virus. A virus can mutate to make it not very infectious. So far, the mutations that have been seen of this virus are not affecting the spike protein. The spike protein is the key the virus has to enter the cells.

And that's where most of the vaccines are directed against. So, while the door may be remodeling and the house may have new paint, the door is still the same. The key is still the same. And as long as the key is the same, hasn't changed, because that's what makes the virus be able to infect human cells.

It attaches to a receptor in human cells. And the virus knows that, in order to mutate that, it may lose its ability to attach to the cell. As long as that's the case, we're going to be fine. The vaccines are going to work despite some -- quote, unquote -- "mutations."


DEL RIO: So I would tell people not to worry that much about those mutations at this point in time.

BROWN: OK. Well, that is reassuring to hear, then, on that note.

All right, Dr. Carlos del Rio, thank you so much.

DEL RIO: Delighted to be with you.

BROWN: So, she dismissed the warnings, mingled with friends, didn't wear a mask, and ended up wearing oxygen instead.

One woman from Arizona who thought COVID-19 would never touch her family is now changing her tune.


And, as CNN's Miguel Marquez reports, now she's urging others to take this virus seriously and wear a mask, even in a state where the debate is still highly polarizing.


DEBI PATTERSON, CORONAVIRUS SURVIVOR: We were totally lackadaisy about it.

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Debi and Michael Patterson didn't think the coronavirus would ever affect them.

D. PATTERSON: It was sort of almost like a joke in our group of friends.

MARQUEZ (on camera): Did you wear masks?


MARQUEZ: Did you hang out with your friends as normal?


MARQUEZ: So all the things you're told you should back off of?





D. PATTERSON: And we still...

M. PATTERSON: And we paid the price for.


MARQUEZ (voice-over): From Lake Havasu City on Arizona's border with California, the Pattersons didn't give the virus much thought, even once developing symptoms in late June.

D. PATTERSON: We just kind of carried on, went to the pool, did stuff over the rest of the weekend.

And then that Monday morning is when we both woke up and were just -- felt like a train had gone over both of us.

MARQUEZ: Michael got sick. Debi had to be hospitalized, put on oxygen, but did not need a ventilator.

(on camera): Over a month later, how are you now?

D. PATTERSON: Well, obviously still short of breath, coughing, just the fatigue and dizziness, headaches almost daily. It's almost like somebody hit you in the head.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): They once laughed about the virus. Now they say it's no joke.

(on camera): What is your message to people now?

D. PATTERSON: Be more careful.

M. PATTERSON: Keep your distance and wear a fricking mask.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): In this ultra-conservative corner of the state, masks still highly controversial.

PATRICK BAUGHMAN, ANTI-MASK: We make any member or any customer that's walking through our doors remove their face mask. Again, that's our pride. That's also the understanding that you're...

MARQUEZ (on camera): So, you make people remove the mask when they come in?

BAUGHMAN: Absolutely. You do not shop my store without with a mask on, period.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): For gun shop owner Patrick Baughman, the coronavirus itself doesn't add up.

(on camera): But 150,000 people are dead, over 150,000 dead.

BAUGHMAN: I definitely -- I definitely don't agree with that number that you just threw out there. I think that there's...

MARQUEZ: What do you not agree with?

BAUGHMAN: There's so many cases of fraudulent claims as far as how they're reporting numbers.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): Public health officials believe the number of dead from COVID-19 is probably higher than the official account, not lower.

(on camera): When the president comes out and says, wear a mask, do you think he's just playing politics?

BAUGHMAN: Unfortunately, I do, at that point, think that he's playing politics, because, originally, he did come out calling this entire thing a hoax.

MARQUEZ (voice-over): For the Pattersons, the coronavirus is no hoax and speaking out not a political act. It's a friendly warning.

D. PATTERSON: It's ridiculous not to take this seriously. I mean, I could have died just like the next person. I mean, anybody can. It could have been either one of us or both of us.


MARQUEZ: So, if you think that you can't get this because you live in a small town, look at the Pattersons. They are an example to the otherwise.

And they should also be thanked for speaking out. It's not easy, not easy being from Lake Havasu City. She's a Trump supporter. She supported him in 2016, probably will again in 2020.

All those things, their group of friends, very, very difficult for them to speak out, but they are because they had it, and they now get it. And they say, everyone should learn from their experience -- Pamela.

BROWN: Absolutely, really important story.

Miguel, thank you so much for that.

And up next: an emotional plea from the federal judge whose son was killed when a gunman knocked on their front door and opened fire.


JUDGE ESTHER SALAS, U.S. DISTRICT COURT OF NEW JERSEY: We are living every parent's worst nightmare, making preparations to bury -- bury our only child, Daniel.




BROWN: Well, for the first time, we are hearing from that federal judge whose family was attacked last month.

Judge Esther Salas, visibly emotional, in between deep breaths and long pauses, says she is living every parent's worst nightmare. She's preparing to bury her 20-year-old son, who was shot and killed by gunman at their home, with her husband still in the hospital after being seriously injured.

Here CNN's Alexandra Field with Judge Salas' emotional plea.


SALAS: Two weeks ago, my life as I knew it changed in an instant, and my family will never be the same. A madman who I believe was targeting me because of my position as a federal judge came to my house.

ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Federal Judge Esther Salas' only child, Daniel Anderl, spent his last weekend with his family at home in New Jersey celebrating his 20th birthday.

SALAS: The weekend was a glorious one. It was filled with love and laughter and smiles.

Daniel and I went downstairs to the basement. And we were chatting, as we always do. And Daniel said: "Mom, let's keep talking. I love talking to you, mom."

And it was at that exact moment that the doorbell rang. And Daniel looked at me and said: "Who is that?"


And before I could say a word, he sprinted upstairs. Within seconds, I heard the sound of bullets and someone screaming "No!"

FIELD: Daniel was shot in the chest, blocking his father Mark, who was shot three times and survived.

SALAS: We are living every parent's worst nightmare, making preparations to bury -- bury our only child, Daniel.

And I am here asking everyone to help me ensure that no one ever has to experience this kind of pain. We may not be able to stop something like this from happening again, but we can make it hard for those who target us to track us down.

FIELD: The suspected shooter, Roy Den Hollander, died by suicide, an attorney and men's rights activists who had argued the case before Judge Salas and then, in hate-filled writings on the Internet, attacked her in racist and sexist terms.

SALAS: As federal judges, we understand that our decisions will be scrutinized. And some may disagree strongly with our rulings.

But what we cannot accept is when we are forced to live in fear for our lives because personal information, like our home addresses, can easily be obtained by anyone seeking to do us or our families harm. Unfortunately for my family, the threat was real. And the free flow of

information from the Internet allowed this sick and depraved human being to find all our personal information and target us.

At the moment, there is nothing we can do to stop it. And that is unacceptable.

FIELD: Salas says the killer kept a dossier on her family. Law enforcement sources say he had a target list that included the names of several other judges and a photo of New York's top state court judge, Janet DiFiore. After the New Jersey shooting, she was given state police protection.

A mother now in the deepest kind of pain is calling for more.

SALAS: My son's death cannot be in vain, which is why I am begging those in power to do something to help my brothers and sisters on the bench.


FIELD: A truly powerful appeal from Daniel's mother.

Federal judges do receive some protection from U.S. Marshals, but, for years, there have been calls to do more. You heard the judge there saying it is time now to have a national conversation about not just how to better protect judges, but their loved ones, their families too -- Pamela.

BROWN: What a powerful, powerful video that was.

Thank you so much, Alexandra.

I want to turn now to our national lead. There's a tropical storm that's expected to strengthen to a hurricane today. And more than 100 million people from South Carolina to New York are at risk for major flooding and severe winds.

CNN Meteorologist, Tom Sater is tracking the storm.

So where exactly will it make landfall and how soon, Tom?

TOM SATER, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Well, it looks Isaias, as you mentioned, should make landfall at hurricane status right around the midnight hour, give or take an hour.

That would be east of Charleston. But take a look at this, watches and warnings from Florida to Canada. We haven't seen this since 1960, when Hurricane Donna moved into the area. I think Isaias is going to shock a lot of people tonight and through the day tomorrow into Wednesday.

We have got the hurricane watch for areas of South Carolina into North Carolina, also a tornado watch now posted just moments ago for the same area until about 2:30 in the morning, but it's increased the storm surge from two to four to three to five. That's just one element. As it moves now closer to Charleston, roads are already closed.

They're inundated with rainfall, full moon, high tide tonight at 9:00 p.m., to States of the East, but notice the flow coming in now, of course, battering the coastlines of South and North Carolina.

As the system moves up. Here's the key. We have got ourselves two frontal systems that are moving toward the region, first one from New York down to the south. See all the rain in advance of that system. But it's the second one from Detroit back in areas of the Midwest that's going to race to the east.

It's good to meet up with Isaias and intensify this storm, where it's going to unleash torrents of rainfall, areas of the Carolinas already inundated with heavy rainfall.

Then you toss in the strong winds. Get this. Philadelphia tomorrow afternoon, 60-65-mile-per-hour winds, New York City, 65 to 70. We haven't seen winds like this in New York City, Pamela, since Superstorm Sandy almost eight years ago, comes in tomorrow between 5:00 and 7:00 p.m.


It's going to be a long couple days.

BROWN: That is frightening.


BROWN: And here we are in the middle of a pandemic, and now we have this.

All right, thanks so much, Tom.

I'm Pamela Brown, in for Jake Tapper. Follow me on Twitter, @PamelaBrownCNN, or tweet the show at @THELEADCNN.

Our coverage on CNN continues right now.