Return to Transcripts main page

CNN Newsroom

Hotel Explosion In Cuba; Supreme Court Security; FDA Puts New Restrictions On J&J Vaccine; Unexplained Hepatitis In Children; Interview With Co-Director Of Center For Vaccine Development At Texas Children's Hospital Dr. Peter Hotez; Limited Roles For Harry, Meghan, And Andrew; Manhunt For Alabama Fugitives; New Photos Released For Alabama Fugitives. Aired 1:30-2p ET

Aired May 06, 2022 - 13:30:00   ET




ANA CABRERA, CNN NEWSROOM ANCHOR: We are following breaking news out of Havana, Cuba. And explosion at a hotel in the city center has left at least eight people dead right now. Rescue efforts are still underway. And CNN's Patrick Oppmann arrived on the scene shortly after this blast.

Patrick, any information on what caused this explosion?

PATRICK OPPMANN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Cuban officials, including the Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel, who has been on the scene say a preliminary investigation show that it was some kind of terrible massive gas leak. And when you look at the damage, you know, when I arrived, the smoke still hadn't settled. We were walking through a cloud of smoke. And I got to this hotel, an iconic hotel that I know very, very well where celebrities have stayed, officials have stayed, my family has stayed, and it was just gutted.

And it's hard to believe that that's what caused it but that is what they think could have caused it. That some kind of gas leak, some sort of -- or perhaps a truck carrying liquid gas caused an explosion that absolutely ripped through this hotel. It's caused at least eight deaths. We are told to expect that number to go up as they go through the rubble. When we arrived at the scene, we saw a woman being carried out quite bloodied and obviously very, very injured. My cameraman, Ray Diaz (ph), managed to get this video of this woman being pulled from the rubble. Literally, firemen using their bare hands to pull up pieces of granite and stone to get people out from underneath these chunks of rubble.

When we walked in close to the hotel, you know, 100 yards away, 50 yards away, there were shrapnel. There were pieces of metal awnings and balconies and large chunks of stone. Anybody who was in the area could have been injured. We don't know if the hotel was open right now. All the same, though, that has caused a significant number of deaths and injuries. And Cuban officials are still working on clearing that rubble and seeing who is underneath.

CABRERA: Stunning pictures. Patrick, we know you're going to stay on top of this. Thank you. Live for us in Havana, Cuba.

Protests in the U.S. Capitol, security fencing around a seat of American government. And capitol police warning, a potential far-right violence. Sadly, we have seen this before. This time as abortion rights protesters plan to demonstrate in front of the Supreme Court. Officials say they are tracking extremist calls for violence. CNN's Whitney Wild is live at the Supreme Court.

Whitney, first of all, what's the scene like right now?

WHITNEY WILD, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT CORRESPONDENT: Well, right now it is extremely calm. There are only a few people out here. Mostly, people just taking a look at the scene here which is this eight-foot fence you just mentioned. This nonscaleable fence. If you take a look, just a little bit -- a couple of feet above me, and it just gives you a sense of how seriously law enforcement here in Washington is taking this.

This has become somewhat of muscle memory here in D.C. because, as you mentioned, this went up after January 6th. It is the go-to move for law enforcement here when they're concerned there's any chance that first amendment activity could erupt into potential violence.

And it's not just here that law enforcement is taking the uptick in social media chatter very, very seriously. Earlier this week, federal officials hosted a call with around 150 participants from all across the country, State and local law enforcement, to warn them that there were confrontations at protests throughout the country. That there's the possibility there will be more demonstrations.


And then further, again, about this uptick in social media chatter, one law enforcement source told me the reality here is that there's a chance that violent extremists could use the Roe V. Wade opinion to justify acts of violence. And that could be against abortion providers, it could be against members of the judiciary, it could be against the nine justices that sit here at the Supreme Court. So just one example of the way law enforcement here is taking this seriously is this fence. In addition, there is a heightened police presence here that should last at least through Sunday. Ana.

CABRERA: And there's a new bipartisan bill being proposed that would be thought Supreme Court security. Tell us more about that.

WILD: Right. So, what it would do is give the Supreme Court Police authority to -- it's really specific, it would give the Supreme Court Police the authority to protect the justice's immediate family and other members of the court staff. And anybody, basically, that the Supreme Court Marshall deems as needing this heightened security. It's -- the intention here is to ensure that there's a streamlined approach to adding security. The justices already get Supreme Court security here within the confines. The idea of this bill which is a bipartisan bill introduced by John Cornyn is just to make sure everybody knows Supreme Court Police also have the authority to do that. So, a necessary step in light of what we've seen recently. CABRERA: Whitney Wild, thank you for that reporting.

Coming up, the FDA is putting strict new limits on who can get the Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccine. What it means for millions of people who have already gotten that shot. That's next.



There are new restrictions today on who should get the Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccine. The FDA is making the authorization change because of a rare and dangerous clotting condition called TTS. The vaccine is now being limited to people 18 years or older and people who don't have access to other mRNA COVID vaccines. Dr. Peter Hotez is now with us. He's the co-director of the Center for Vaccine Development at Texas Children's Hospital and a dean at Baylor College of Medicine.

Doctor, first just the basics on J&J here. What is TTS? And how concerned should people be if they already got the J&J vaccine?

DR. PETER HOTEZ, CENTER FOR VACCINE DEVELOPMENT, TEXAS CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL: Well, it's a condition with a concern known as thrombotic thrombocytopenia or thrombosis with thrombocytopenia. And the concern is that there's a rare complication of that known as cerebral thrombosis which could be life-threatening. Fortunately, it is extremely rare, about one in 400,000 instances where you get TTS. But there's also been about nine deaths with those 18 million people who have gotten the J&J vaccine. So roughly one in two million. So, an extremely rare event.

But it looks like the FDA and CDC have decided that given the fact that in the U.S. we have other options, such as the two mRNA vaccines that this vaccine could be sidelined. I think the careful thing is to be very careful about the language because there are many countries where the adenovirus vector vaccines which is what the J&J is, what the AstraZeneca vaccine is, those are the only options.

CABRERA: Just quickly to follow up on that though, if somebody got the J&J vaccine, do they need to continue to be on the lookout for potential complications, or is it a limited window in which those side effects, that very rare type of clotting condition would occur?

DR. HOTEZ: Ye, that's right, Ana. It's days to weeks. So, if you were one of the early adopters of the J&J vaccine, this probably is nothing to be concerned about.


DR. HOTEZ: It's something that happens possibly through an immune response to the virus -- to the virus agent.

CABRERA: I do want to ask you about another big development. We just learned from the CDC that it is investigating 109 cases now of severe and unexplained hepatitis in children that may be linked to a worldwide outbreak, we are told. So, out of these 109 kids here in the U.S., nearly all needed to be hospitalized. Eight have needed transplants and five have died. How concerned should we be and what should parents be looking for?

DR. HOTEZ: Well, it's certainly a concern. Again, it's still a rare occurrence. You know, back when I was attending in pediatric infectious diseases, we would see the peak adenovirus season in the spring, right about now. And those kids would have either respiratory symptoms, upper respiratory symptoms, sometimes GI symptoms but not typically hepatitis. So, this is likely a specific strain of adenovirus that's causing hepatitis, maybe adenovirus41.

What parents need to look out for is prolonged fever, abdominal pain, and yellowing of the eyes. Also, dark-colored urine or light-colored stools which would indicate the formation of jaundice. And you want to bring that -- your child to pediatric attention right away -- pediatric medical attention. But keep in mind that this is extremely rare. Although 109 sounds like a lot, we're talking a handful of cases in any State.

CABRERA: But five deaths out of that 109, does that alarm you?

DR. HOTEZ: Yes, the severity of the illness when it requires hospitalization is pretty significant. Also, a number of kids have required liver transplantation which, of course, is extremely serious.


My hope is that given that adenovirus is in the U.S. and Northern hemisphere typically show a pretty sharp seasonality around the springtime, that as we head into the warmer weather for reasons we never quite understand, the adenovirus incidents will go down and therefore these cases will go down as well.

CABRERA: Dr. Peter Hotez, you're such a wealth of information. We're so lucky to have you as a resource. You look very dapper as I know you're getting ready to receive an award today. Congratulations on that honorary degree that you're receiving and an honorary doctorate. As well as, belated happy birthday because I know you celebrated a birthday this week. Have a great --

DR. HOTEZ: Thank you, Ana. I deeply -- I deeply appreciate it. Thank you.

CABRERA: Thank you.

Coming up, the stage is set for Queen Elizabeth's platinum jubilee celebration next month. And, yes, Meghan and Harry will be there, sort of. We'll explain.



We have breaking news and new information right now in that hunt for a missing murder suspect and the corrections officer who allegedly helped him escape. The U.S. Marshalls think they have found the car Vicky White and inmate Casey White used in their getaway, it turned up just South of Nashville, Tennessee.

And the meantime, authorities say they have these photos. They want you to look at how the corrections officer Vicky White's appearance may have changed. This is, again, Alabama correctional officer Vicky White with brown hair on the right there. Authorities believe White could have darkened her hair to alter her appearance. We also have new photos showing some of inmate Casey White's tattoos and we can show that picture, guys. There's, again, what he looks like on the right and here are his tattoos. You can see they are distinct. Authorities are now on day eight of trying to find the two. Officials will hold a press conference just over an hour from now and we will bring you the latest from that update. Stay with CNN.

Let's head overseas. Time for tea in the UK. After months of anticipation and speculation, CNN has learned Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will attend the Queen's platinum jubilee next month. But they are not invited to stand on the balcony with the rest of the royal family. It's the same treatment the Queen's disgraced son, Prince Andrew, is getting. CNN's Nada Bashir is in London. Nada, help read the tea leaves for us. Prince Harry and Meghan invited to the jubilee but not the balcony. Is that a snub?

NADA BASHIR, CNN REPORTER: Well, look Ana, there's been a lot of speculation around Harry and Meghan's relationship with the royal family, what -- and to what extent they would be involved in royal affairs and events going forward. Now we know that they won't be invited onto that famous Buckingham Palace balcony along with other members of the royal family. That certainly raised some eyebrows.

But we've heard from the palace, they have said that they are only inviting working members of the royal family onto that balcony. So, we can expect to see, for example, Prince William and his wife, Kate the Duchess of Cambridge, and their children on that balcony. And it will come as a disappointment to fans of Harry and Meghan who may have been hoping to catch a glimpse of them on that balcony.

Of course, they did step back as senior members of the royal family back in 2020. They relocated their family to California and no longer take part in royal duties. And that is the reason that's been put forward by the palace. But as you mentioned there, it's raised eyebrows because, of course, Prince Andrew also won't be invited onto that balcony. He was, of course, recently and famously stripped of his royal title and royal duties after the sexual assault allegations around the case of Virginia Giuffre.

This is coming as the information we're learning about the upcoming jubilee next month. And what is important, also, to note about this celebration is that the Queen herself isn't actually confirmed to be in attendance just yet. We've heard from a royal source who said that while the Queen is looking forward to the events around the jubilee, her attendance won't be confirmed until much closer to those events or even on the day. And of course, we do know that the Queen has been suffering some health concerns.


BASHIR: We've seen her struggling with mobility issues. We've seen her take a step back from some royal engagements, too. Her royal fans will still be hoping to catch a glimpse of her on that balcony. Ana.

CABRERA: So, Harry and Meghan will be there but not on the balcony. Will they be taking part in other jubilee events? And what about their children, Archie and Lilibet?

BASHIR: Look, Ana, this is going to be a huge celebration for the Queen and we can expect to see Harry and Meghan at other events. Traditionally, the wider members of the royal family would attend a church service. We know that there's going to be a concert outside of Buckingham Palace. So, we may still see them at other events.

We've heard from their spokesperson who said that they are excited and honored to be taking part in those festivities. And we do know that they will be traveling to the UK with both of their children, Archie and Lilibet. This will come as a welcome reunion for the family. And, of course, this is the first time that the Queen will get to meet her great-granddaughter, Lilibet. She was, of course, named after the Queen. So, this will be very much welcomed for the family.

CABRERA: All right. Thanks for that update. Nada Bashir live in London for us.

And now to stunning new claims that President Trump, during his time in office, suggested firing missiles into Mexico to destroy drug labs and kill Cartels. This revelation is in former defense secretary Mark Esper's upcoming memoir.


And according to "The New York Times," Trump is quoted as saying, "We could just shoot some patriot missiles and take out the labs quietly. No one would know it was us." In his book, Esper also confirms that Trump suggested shooting demonstrators protesting the 2020 police killing of George Floyd.

Well, that does it for us today. Thank you for being here. I hope you have a safe weekend and don't forget to celebrate the moms in your life. I'll see you back here on Monday, same time and same place. Until then, you can join me on Twitter @AnaCabrera. Have a great weekend. The news continues with Victor Blackwell after a quick break.