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U.S. Donated Not Touched in Brazil; Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) is Interviewed about the Relief Bill; Gupta on Parenting Struggles During Pandemic. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired August 4, 2020 - 08:30   ET



NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR (voice over): Nobody should want. Brazil's president touting the drug he says saved him from the disease, Hydroxychloroquine, unproven, say studies, even dangerous, as he fellow disbelievers in Covid-19 chart, he's a living myth.

In May, the Trump administration sent 2 million doses of it to Brazil to help their ally. So what happened to the expensive yet useless gift? Well, CNN can reveal it did get to Brazil, but according to the health ministry it's still near the airport. Probably in this secure logistics center close by, which we weren't allowed into.

WALSH (on camera): It's a cold dose of reality that a high profile gift like this from the American people didn't get far from the airport. Perhaps that's good because study after study has shown it's ineffective in the pandemic and may even be harmful. Brazilian doctors, many of them no longer following their government's advice to prescribe it.

But Brazil is now overflowing with the drug, having also bought large amounts of ingredients for it from India.

WALSH (voice over): Former Health Minister Louis Mandeta (ph) was fired partly over the drug in April.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's just false hope. It's -- it's just something for people to believe. It's more like a placebo. Something for people to take and -- and -- and give credit to him.

I don't know why they're going to keep so many pills one year, two years. They're going to have to throw it away. They're just going to have to burn it.

WALSH: One problem is the pills came in packets of 100. They'll have to be broken down to be distributed, which, in part, will eventually happen here, we were told, at an army laboratory in Rio de Janeiro. It's unclear why that hasn't happened yet.

WALSH (on camera): The real problem is the focus on Hydroxychloroquine. It doesn't work, says study after study against coronavirus, but that hasn't stopped the Brazilian government from spending huge amounts of money on it. Yet, doctors here in Brazil's iconic city say they are lacking in other drugs that could really help in the pandemic.

WALSH (voice over): One ICU doctor and union rep tells us what they need. (INAUDIBLE) fentanyl, more adrenalin (ph), he says, public health is always running out of these so we have to make do with others. If the U.S. wants to help Brazil, send these, not Hydroxychloroquine.

That urgent plea as the numbers rise. Perhaps drowned out by the positive glow these two men seek to sell.


WALSH: Now the issue here is the distraction Hydroxychloroquine causes. It simply does not work. And we've even heard studies here in Brazil that suggested that some doctors are feeling pressure across the country, half of them, in fact, to prescribe the drug because of these presidential statements that it is, in fact, effective.

And, of course, this is a deathly serious matter here. Often every day sees a thousand people losing their lives in Brazil because of this and some may die because they lack the real drugs that they need in order to keep -- get themselves through intensive care here. We've heard that from doctors ourselves.

A deeply troubling situation here in Brazil. One which, of course, the U.S. could possibly be assisting with, except, sadly, large amounts of money were spent on this drug, which increasingly even studies here in Brazil itself shows is useless.


JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Even Admiral Giroir, on the White House Task Force, says that until and unless the studies start to show something different, it's time to move on to something else.

Nick Paton Walsh, terrific reporting. Thanks for being there for us.

With economic hardships hitting millions of Americans, so many need help. Can Congress and the White House make a deal, soon? That's next.



BERMAN: Later today, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows back on Capitol Hill for a new round of negotiations for this economic rescue plans. Monday's talks are being called productive, but the two sides are still said to be nowhere near a deal.

Joining us now to discuss, Democratic Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia.

Senator, it's a pleasure to have you with us. SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D-WV): Good to be with you, John.

BERMAN: What can you tell us about the negotiations? Where do they stand this morning?

MANCHIN: Well, we haven't heard a whole lot about anything they've agreed on. I think they said they're moving in a positive way. Just meeting together and talking seems to be positive anymore.

But we're hoping that basically they're looking at the needs that we have, and especially in rural America, rural Appalachia. We have homelessness (ph) for our children. We've got to address. And we were doing that in a bipartisan way, myself, Lisa Murkowski is working very hard. We have also the biggest challenge that we have, John, is we're talking about telehealth, telework, distance learning. If you don't have connectivity, if you don't have broadband or high-speed internet, you can't basically function in the next five or six months of this Covid until we get a pandemic. So if that's going to be the new norm, then we have a bill in, myself and Susan Collins, which is basically on -- it's rural broadband. It's basically hot spots that people can go to the local libraries, take out one of these enhanced hot spots, if you will, that will enhance your Internet connectivity so they can -- can at least function for the next five or six months until we can build out in broadband.

BERMAN: All right --

MANCHIN: The other thing is, rural hospitals, John. I've had three rural hospitals in West Virginia close recently. How in the world do you close a medical facility in the middle of a pandemic? So we've got to get assistance to the people that really need it on the frontline and I'm hoping they're listening to us because we're sure talking hard.

BERMAN: Well, look, we've heard from a lot of people that they need assistance right away.


BERMAN: We've heard from people who have been receiving the extended unemployment benefits, that they can't let it lapse. This deadline was not a mystery. Everyone knew that this was coming. Everyone knew that there was a deadline last Friday and they let it lapse anyway. And our understanding, Senator, is that the minority leader, Chuck Schumer, and the majority leader, Mitch McConnell, aren't even talking. So what does that tell you?

MANCHIN: It's a shame. It really is a real shame. And the leader, Mitch McConnell is the leader of the majority party in control of the Senate, which is Republicans. He hasn't even called us together at all for the last two or three months since the first Covid package went out knowing that we would run into this wall that we have. So what we're saying is if they're not going to talk, someone's got to start talking. And we're starting to talk. You'll see a lot of senators gathered in the back hallways trying to get ideas of what would you agree on this. [08:40:05]

How do we help people on unemployment?

I always felt the person that lost their job, that basic -- their business was shut down because of the health care crisis that we had, no fault of their own, should be kept whole. That means get your full paycheck. They're telling us they can't even -- they have no means of knowing what a person's full paycheck is. Then your better get your system up and running. So some pragmatic ways that we can address this so it doesn't reoccur.

BERMAN: So there is talk, Senator, of the Post Office being told to cut back on deliveries in some cases or change the way they operate. This in the middle of a pandemic. This with an election 90 some days away.

What does that say to you?

MANCHIN: John, that is so -- Mr. DeJoy does not seem to be wanting to work with us or understanding the lifeline that a Post Office is all across America, but especially in rural America. We have a Post Act, it's called the Post Act. It's basically protect our service today.

We had letters go out to Post Offices in West Virginia last week that they were going to be closed. There was postings up. And then I got involved and sent a letter immediately and they took those down. So what we're saying in the Post Act, you cannot close a Post Office, no way, shape or form during this pandemic. And we've got to re-evaluate the Postal Services that we have and why it's so needed. It is a lifeline. It is a lifeline for America and a lifeline for health care. Basic -- a lot of people get their medicines, their information, their checks, everything. They're not connected to the 21st century of Internet. They're basically relying on the Postal Service. And that would be a tragedy for that to go away. And we're going to protect that. And I think we have bipartisan support. Everyone's speaking out on this. And I think that we can turn this around.

We're going to get a briefing today at 5:00.

BERMAN: This --

MANCHIN: And at 5:00 we're going to find out also what's at stake, which is the election, the security of our election and having a fair and open election. How in the world can you do it with distant -- with basically the distance that we're keeping and also people that have underlying health conditions that can't even get out and let alone go to a polling place and -- if they don't have a working Post Office or a Postal Service that's operating.

BERMAN: Well, obviously, the issues of the Post Office are tied up very closely in the election right now --

MANCHIN: Absolutely.

BERMAN: With the president making a direct attack on mail-in voting. The Post Office says it can handle the ballots despite what the president says about this.

Do you think or what do you think the issues are in terms of the Post Office being able to handle what could be an increase in ballots?

MANCHIN: Well, let me tell you, the person at the top scares the living bejesus out of me because I don't think he cares about the Postal Service staying in the hands of the public. I really don't.

With that being said, then we've got to do everything we can to --

BERMAN: Are you -- are you talking about the president or the postmaster general?



MANCHIN: Yes. I think he's put there for a purpose and reason but he's basically exercising that. We can't even get a phone call returned. I have tried. I was told by one of his aides that basically he wouldn't be returning calls until September or so, until he figures out how to run the post office. You know what, we don't need on the job training here, we need someone that understands it, can get it and keep it running in a very efficient manner. And we need it now. We cannot wait. So that briefing tonight is going to be very critical for us.

BERMAN: Do you see any intentionality there, because there are some people who suggest some conspiracy here that the president maybe doesn't want the Post Office to be able to handle the ballots?

MANCHIN: John, where I come from in West Virginal, I don't believe in conspiracy theories at all. The facts are what they are. You can basically have your own opinion, you just can't create your own facts to support it. The facts are right now we're not getting the support for the Postal Services. The indications were to close. West Virginia got notices of closures. That is not acceptable in any way, shape or form. So forget about the conspiracy. I know directly they want to close some Post Offices and we're going to prevent that from happening. At least we can prevent it through the pandemic and even longer. We need to get it back on a course basically that supports the needs of Americans.

BERMAN: Senator Joe Manchin from West Virginia, we appreciate you being with us. Thanks so much.

MANCHIN: Thanks, John. It's always good to be with you. Thank you.

BERMAN: Alisyn.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN ANCHOR: John, I know I speak for you and I both when I say, parents want to know if their kids are going back into the classroom. And parents have other pressing questions as well. Our own Dr. Sanjay Gupta is also one of those parents. So he's going to join us next with some answers.


CAMEROTA: This pandemic has brought new challenges of course for all of us. It has completely interrupted our lives. It's forced us to adapt to a new normal. And now parents and teachers and students face yet another hurdle as back to school approaches. What's that going to look like?

Dr. Sanjay Gupta discusses all of this in his new Audible original series, "Childhood Interrupted." Here's a clip.


DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: I knew that this online learning couldn't possibly replace in person learning, the social interaction, the side bar conversations they have in the hallways, their surprising source of curiosity, that discovery that comes with just being in a classroom surrounded by your friends and your teachers.


CAMEROTA: Dr. Sanjay Gupta is back with us now.

Sanjay, I'm so glad that you're doing this.

First of all, I don't know how you find enough hours in the day, OK. We'll talk about this some other time. But I don't know how you have an Audible book and you do these town halls and you're on CNN 24 hours a day.

BERMAN: Brain surgery. He does brain surgery.

CAMEROTA: Right. And your day job is brain surgery. I forgot about that one. So, we'll talk about that later.

Let's talk about this "Childhood Interrupted," because that is something that all of us have wrestled with.


CAMEROTA: I mean I'm a fan of human interaction. And the idea that our kids aren't having that right now and that they're staring at a screen all day, it's just -- it's hard to get our arms around.

GUPTA: It really is. And, you know, I mean, I think if you're a parent, you spend a lot of time just thinking about this. And I've been able to talk to lots of experts over the past several months, talked to a lot of other parents. You know, it's always a big topic of conversation. And I think there was a few things that sort of really jumped out at me. I mean kids are getting so much of their lives canceled, right, the birthday parties, graduation parties, play dates, interactions with their friend, obviously school, all that sort of stuff.

[08:50:09] And it's also this idea that, you know, there's some events that happen to a child that can just be very crushing and those same events happen to another child and they can be tough but they can actually make the child even more resilient. What distinguishes these two things? And a lot of it has to do with, you know, we're all experiencing the same thing, but how we experience it can be different, wrapping a child in a lot of support, being very acknowledging that this is a problem, that there is a this is a tough time but that we're going to get through this. How you communicate with your child or your teenager, in my case, I have three teenage girls, almost, how you communicate with them on a regular basis makes such a huge difference as to whether this is going to be crushing or it's going to be something that's going to make them stronger.

So that's what I really was focused on with this -- with this project. I wanted to learn as much as I could. And that feeds into schools and behavior and what the future looks like for them.

BERMAN: I have to ask, because my wife, who, you know, Sanjay, asks me this. We talk about school and the kids three hours, four hours every day. You know, that's how concerned we are. And we're making decisions. And one of the things my wife asked me, well, is Sanjay comfortable with his kids going back to school? I don't know what the situation is in Georgia, but are you?

GUPTA: Not right now. I mean the numbers have continued to mostly go up. I mean they bounced around a little bit, you know, but they have not been in really good shape here. You know, as you know, in the south, Georgia, Florida, Texas, Arizona, they've had a little bit of a plateau recently, but it's been concerning.

I -- I think that the -- the -- the -- if we had adequate testing in place so that kids would get tested, not only if they were symptomatic, as we talked about last hour, but also just what we call assurance testing, starting to have some sort of assurance that, a, my kid is not harboring the virus and will unintentionally infect somebody else, another kid or a teacher or a faculty member or us, but also that they're not walking into an environment where there's a lot of other kids who are also harboring the virus.

You know, I -- I know teach -- the schools are going to do the best just that they can. It's tough to maintain physical distance of six feet. It's tough when you're indoors and you have the same ventilation. You know, if they were outdoors and they could maintain that distance and they had testing, I think it would be a different position.

But right now I'm worried. I mean my wife's on the phone right now with the school, part of a Zoom call, trying to figure this out. But I think, unfortunately, right now, as things stand, not just here in Georgia, but in many places around the country, I think it may be a bit of an exercise in futility. You're going to start, there will be outbreaks, and they're going to have to pull back. I mean I hate to say it, it's tough, but that's sort of the situation that we're in right now. CAMEROTA: This is a question on this very topic from a viewer named Jessica, who says, what happens if children do get Covid-19 and then what's needed to return to school when they're feeling better? Is there a certain protocol in terms of how many days they would have to be out, Sanjay?

GUPTA: Yes. So this, again, is somewhat dependent on testing. If you could have testing and it was more widespread and available, you could say you get a couple of tests that are separated by 48 hours, that they're both negative, that's a time that a kid could go back to school. They could come out of isolation.

A lot of people don't have those tests widely available, so this is what the CDC will tells you, at least ten days after the symptoms first appeared and then at least 24 hours since the last fever without using any fever reducing medication like Tylenol. So -- and then, you know, you want to be, obviously, if there are symptoms, improving in those symptoms overall.

But it's at least ten days after the symptoms first appeared and then you've got to monitor their -- their temperature if they're having symptoms to make sure that they're not continuing to develop a fever. Again, a lot of kids may not have any symptoms at all, so it can be tough to use these guidelines in the absence of adequate testing.

BERMAN: All right, Sanjay, we know you're going to go build a computer by hand and program in a robot in the next few minutes on top of everything else.

CAMEROTA: And make breakfast.

BERMAN: And make breakfast.

GUPTA: I'm going to cut my hair, John, what do you think?

BERMAN: I think your hair looks great. No joke, I think it looks great. You know, business in the front, party in the back.

GUPTA: OK. Thanks.

BERMAN: It looks fantastic, Sanjay.

All right.

GUPTA: I'm getting mercilessly teased in my house, so I appreciate that.

BERMAN: Tell them -- tell them they don't know what they're talking about.

All right, Sanjay, thank you.

All right, it's time now for "The Good Stuff."

A vibrant senior in Anchorage, Alaska, using her endless energy to help others. Jennifer McCrary is 75 years young. She serves on the board of directors of her local senior center. When the staff there needed gowns to wear, she partnered with a fellow Lions Club member to sew 250 of them out of donated sheets. McCrary says she just wishes she could do more.


JENNIFER MCCRARY, VOLUNTEER: I've gotten a little depressed because I can't help people as much as I want to. But, all in all, God has been good to me. He really has.



BERMAN: McCrary and her partner -- McCrary and her partner are now asking for more donations to make even more gowns. Two hundred and fifty, that's amazing.

CAMEROTA: I think they will get those donations, I predict.

All right, thank you for that story.

Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Isaias is racing up the East Coast. CNN's coverage of it continues, next.