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New Day

Vice President Tests Positive for COVID-19. Russia Shuts of Gas Supplies to Poland and Bulgaria. American Trevor Reed to be Released in Prisoner Swap. Aired 7:30a-8a ET

Aired April 27, 2022 - 07:30   ET





JOHN BERMAN, CNN NEW DAY HOST: Vice President Kamala Harris has tested positive for coronavirus although she currently has no symptoms and is isolating at the Vice Presidential Residence. It does raise concerns about President Biden's potential exposure.


DR. ASHISH JHA, WHITE HOUSE COVID-19 RESPONSE COORDINATOR: Of course, it is possible that the president like any other American could get COVID. The bottom line is he is vaccinated and boosted. He is very well protected. He's got very good protocols around him to protect him from getting infected, but there is no 100 percent anything, and I think the key focus has got to be we got to continue protecting the president. That's what the protocols around him are designed to do.


BERMAN: Here with me, CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta. So Sanjay, the vice president's on Paxlovid. She is isolating, but what's going on inside the White House right now? I mean, what should be the concern?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: I mean, as Dr. Jha was just saying, you know, protecting the president, making sure people around the president are wearing masks, high-filtration masks, that they're being tested. Frankly all of the things that we've been talking about for a couple of years.

Now I realize that some of those things have become lax at certain times and because the president is vaccinated and boosted and all that it does offer a lot of protection against severe illness, but we do know people who still get severely ill. The vice president is taking Paxlovid, which is typically reserved for people are at high risk of developing severe illness. So you know, I think there's a - there's a level of concern about this, although they've said they're not going to change any of the protocols at this point.

I do think it's interesting. You know, the - being very stringent about the testing protocols and masking protocols. That needs to be in place, and sometimes it feels like sometimes it's getting a little lax.

BERMAN: So a new study out that found among children and younger people, 75 percent of them have antibodies for coronavirus. 75 percent. You know, that's three-quarters by my math, Sanjay. There are two ways of looking at this that are interesting to me. What does that tell us about how many people have had this, maybe how many more than we realize, and also what does it mean for all these people? Does it mean they have more protection?

GUPTA: What is interesting here is that if you - if you add everything up in terms of immunity and just paint a heat map of the United States and say how much of the United States has some form of immunity, it's probably close to 95 percent.

Here's the issue, though. A couple of issues with regard to antibodies alone. First of all, you could have antibodies to a previous variant, and what is becoming increasingly clear is that if you had an exposure to a previous variant that protection from those antibodies not necessarily as good as to a current variant.

And also the type - let me show you this graph, which I think is really interesting, John. If you look at the type of immunity overall from - this is a complicated graph here, but -


BERMAN: That looks like my brain by the way.


GUPTA: Right. But I'm glad you're doing better.

BERMAN: Thank you.


GUPTA: And good math earlier. The blue lines, the sort of the scattered immune response that you get from infection acquired immunity all over the map essentially. It's inconsistent. That's the issue with infection-acquired immunity. It can be very good, but it's scattered. Now take a look at what you get with vaccine-acquired immunity. It's going to be a much more sort of straight line, a much more clustered line. If we have that you see that with the - I don't -- maybe we don't have it. There it is. That's going to look much more consistent from the vaccine, so that's the issue. You may have great immunity from a infection-acquired immunity, but it may not be that good and it may not be that protective against this particular variant depending on when you were exposed.

BERMAN: It doesn't necessarily mean perfect armor if you're one of those people.

GUPTA: That's right. That's right.

BERMAN: So in a world where coronavirus didn't exist there was a medical headline yesterday that I think it would have blown the minds of some people who've been alive for the last 20 years, and it has to do with aspirin.

GUPTA: It is a huge headline, and frankly something that I think about personally all the time, I have a very strong family history of heart disease. For a long time the conventional wisdom was take a low- dose aspirin. Why? It things the blood a little bit and it prevents platelets from aggregating. Those platelets can cause a blood clot. That could cause a heart attack or a stroke. That was the bottom sort of line thinking.

Over the past several years, John, you've started to see a shift away from that, this balancing of risk-reward. How much of the risk of bleeding is worth it in terms of the getting the benefit against heart disease and stroke? And what now this task force has basically said is that if you look at people over the age of 60 the risk is too high. The risk of bleeding goes up as you get older, and they pick 60 as the number. It's too high to start and aspirin to try and prevent a first heart attack and stroke.

Now people between the ages of 40 and 59, they're basically saying, look, even for you you may have some benefit because the risk of bleeding is lower, so overall the risk-reward relationship may be better, but still talk to your doctor about this because you have to be really high risk to really justify even taking a low-dose aspirin.

People think low-dose aspirin, what's the big deal? It can cause bleeding. It can cause bleeding in your gastrointestinal track. It can have significant bleeding if you have a trauma, you fall, you're in a car accident or something like that. And there's also a risk calculator. People always ask the next question. It's like how do I know if I'm at high risk?

We put this up, American College of Cardiology. I think this is a pretty good risk calculator. There are several of them out there. Put in your information, and it'll tell you what is your risk of having a heart attack or stroke over the next 10 years, which is the real question they're trying to answer in determining whether or not you should take aspirin.

BERMAN: I don't want to violate the HIPPA oath here, but how about you? I mean, you said you have - you're at a high risk?

GUPTA: So this - I may actually be affected by these recommendations because I was recommended to take a low-dose aspirin because of family history, and I'm going to actually talk to my doctor about this now. By the way, 30 million people do this in the United States, take low- dose aspirin to prevent a first heart attack or stroke. About 25 percent of them are doing it just on their own, no doctor's recommendation. So I will talk to my own doctor about this and everyone else should do the same.

BERMAN: Dr. Sanjay Gupta, as I was saying when you were walking in, you were the doctor I've been most excited to see the last two weeks.


GUPTA: I'm glad you're well, John.


BERMAN: This is the first time (inaudbile). Thank you.

GUPTA: You look healthy. I was following you closely.

BERMAN: Appreciate it. Nice to see you. More on our breaking news. Overnight blasts reported in three Russian regions. These are explosions inside Russia, including this fire at an ammunition depot near Belgorod.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN NEW DAY HOST: Plus Russia cutting off gas supplies to Poland and Bulgaria in its most dramatic escalation toward the west yet.

BERMAN: And a major recession is coming. That's according to Deutsche Bank. What is driving these concerns over a downturn.

KEILAR: And we do have a programming note. Stanley Tucci is back with new food and new discoveries. The new season of "Stanley Tucci Searching for Italy" premieres this Sunday night at 9 Eastern on CNN.



BERMAN: All right, this just in. Demonstration on the streets of Kyiv in support for Ukrainians still trapped in Mariupol. You can see the signs there in both Ukrainian and English. People clothed there in red paint in what appears to symbolize blood.

KEILAR: A wide-ranging security pact signed between China and the Solomon Islands is raising alarms in the west. The U.S. fears a Chinese military base deep in the Pacific may come next. CNN's reporters are covering the latest around the world.


SELINA WANG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Selina Wang in Kunming, China. Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, said the U.S. is concerned about a recent security agreement between China and the Solomon Islands. The deal sparked strong backlash from the U.S. and its allies who see it as Beijing's latest power play for influence in the Pacific. Blinken said a recent U.S. delegation to the Solomon Islands was reassured by the Prime Minister who said there will be no Chinese military base on the island. Blinken added that the U.S. will be moving ahead with plans to open an embassy on the Solomon Islands capital city.

LARRY MADOWO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Larry Madowo in Nairobi. The Horn of Africa is facing one of its most severe droughts in recent history, and the U.N. Aid Chief is now warning that nearly two million children could starve to death. Martin Griffiths is calling it a once in a generation tragedy and fears that if this season's rains fail as projected then the Horn of Africa could have one of its worst climate- induced emergencies in history.

About $1.4 billion is needed to address the drought in Somalia, Ethiopia, and here in Kenya, but only tiny percentage of that has been secured. And insufficient funding means insufficient help for people that badly need it.


CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Clare Sebastian in London. Russia is cutting off natural gas supplies to Poland and Bulgaria starting today. This comes as most European countries refuse Russia's demand that natural gas delivered to what it calls unfriendly countries should be paid for in rubles. The E.U. has warned that doing so could violate sanctions on Russia.

Well Poland's state-run gas firm says it has enough gas in storage and can source it from other places as well. The move is being seen as a potential warning shot to the rest of Europe which relies on Russia for about 40 percent of its gas supplies.


BERMAN: All right, here with me, CNN Economics Commentator and "Washington Post" Opinion Columnist, Catherine Rampell. I want to start where we just finished there. Poland and Bulgaria, Russia cutting off natural gas supplies to them overnight. This is a major escalation from Russia. What's the potential impact of this going forward?

CATHERINE RAMPELL, CNN ECONOMICS COMMENTATOR: It's going to be very painful for those two countries who had been very reliant on Russia for energy supplies. I mean, as we've all known energy costs have skyrocketed since this war began, but they have been most painful in the neighboring countries of Russia that are most dependent on Russia to source those materials.

So it'll be painful for those countries, but you will see some knock on effects throughout global markets as well.

BERMAN: All right, another major economic development overnight, which is that Deutsche Bank, which it previously forecasted a minor recession beginning next year, now says it worries about a major recession. What's going on? RAMPELL: Deutsche Bank is still an outlier. They're still by far the most pessimistic among all of the forecasters on Wall Street. That doesn't mean what they're saying is crazy or implausible. If you look at a lot of other forecasters they are also saying the risk of recession has been rising in recent months, and that's for a few different reasons.

The primary one, of course, is the Fed, the fact that the Fed has to raise interest rates to deal with inflation, and the others have to do with the reasons why the Fed might have to act more aggressively, things like the war in Ukraine and Russia disrupting food and energy markets, things like the lockdowns in China disrupting global supply chains, which at some point looked like they were normalizing, as well as a series of other kind of unrelated shocks, things like the bird flu and the drought in California also driving up food prices.

BERMAN: Is a recession inevitable?

RAMPELL: It's not inevitable, but I do think it's more likely than people thought a couple of months ago. Basically it was always going to be difficult for the Fed to get things just right to raise interest rates just enough to tamp down demand and get inflation under control, but not too much so that it tipped us into recession. That was always going to be really challenging. Historically it has been if not impossible, close to impossible. Everything had to go right in order for that Goldilocks path to emerge.

Instead we're getting extremely unlucky with shock after shock after shock. Inflation has been persistently higher than has been forecasted, which means the Fed probably has to raise rates more aggressively, which in turn means we're more likely to end up a recession.

BERMAN: It slows things down is just the effect of it all by design, perversely in a strange way.

RAMPELL: Yes, yes.

BERMAN: All right, Catherine Rampell, great to have you. Thank you so much. We're getting big breaking news, oh, word that Russia is releasing American Trevor Reed. Stay with us.




BERMAN: OK, we do have major breaking news. Word that Russia is releasing American Trevor Reed, the Marine veteran who has been imprisoned there since 2020. He was convicted of charges, frankly, that his family has always denied in 2019, in prison since 2020.

We have spoken regularly with his parents who have been very concerned about his condition, suffering from tuberculosis they say, internal bleeding, and solitary confinement for months on end and they had been begging, begging for his release. And in contact with the Biden administration pushing for some kind of prisoner exchange.

And the word that is coming out now from a Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman via a telegram channel and also on Russian state media is that there has been some kind of agreement on an exchange.

Brianna, again, and you have spoken so regularly to Trevor Reed's parents, they have been asking for just this type of thing. We are waiting for confirmation or from the U.S. response to this, but this would be a very big deal.

KEILAR: Yes, if this is what is actually going to happen, this was their great hope that there would be some kind of prisoner swap in order to get their son, and it's something that couldn't come at a sooner moment because they've been so incredibly worried about his health. They believe that he had been exposed to tuberculosis and was exhibiting the signs of it. They've been able to talk to him on occasion, and Berman, we'd seen these moments where it seemed like the administration was giving indications that they were really trying to do something, right?

The Reeds stood there with a sign as President Biden came to Texas I believe it was, and they saw the president make eye contact and he ended up calling Paula and Joey Reed, Trevor's parents, later to talk to them about this. So they've had this interaction with the White House. They have been hopeful, but they'd also been so incredibly worried because they were concerned that with this elevation, this war with Ukraine and the elevation of Trevor's case that it could be good in some regard and it might be - it might be bad in others.

I'm actually texting with his mother right now. Let me see. It's still going to be some time before they will be able to see him she's telling me right now. She says obviously we are elated.


I can't even imagine. I'm sure that's an understatement, too.


BERMAN: Obviously we are elated must be the understatement of the century. Brianna, if you want to text back let me - I can talk here for a second -


BERMAN: -- if you want to respond to that for a second here, but part of this that fascinates me is the diplomatic process that must have taken place to secure this exchange in the middle of this war in Ukraine where the relationship between the United States and Russia has all but broken down. This does indicate a level of diplomatic contact perhaps at the consulate (ph) level, perhaps inside Moscow with the U.S. embassy officials that do remain there. The fact that these discussions were allowed to take place or able to get to the point where they are now despite the conflict is fascinating, and I am very interested to learn the details there if we are. Is it true? Do we have Nada Bashir in London with more on this? Let's go to Nada Bashir in London with much more on this. Nada, what have you learned?

NADA BASHIR, CNN INTERNATIONAL REPORTER: John, yes. Absolutely. We have heard from the Russian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson, Maria Zakharova. We do know now that there has been intense negotiations, and as you mentioned that is interesting given the timing, given the fact that relations have all but broken down, the fact that we are in the middle of a war, the U.S. backing Ukraine in this war against Russia.

So clearly there have been talks ongoing, but as you and Brianna have mentioned the real elation really from the U.S. side at least that he is now being released. We do understand that this was part of a swap, and that has long been the concern of Trevor Reed's family. They have long expressed that they believed that this was the key here. There was potentially a swap on the cards, and that is what we have heard now from the Foreign Ministry Spokesman. That has been announced by Russia state media as well, but that will, of course, come with much of a relief.

Earlier this month we had heard that Trevor Reed's case had been remanded to a lower court. There was concern from the U.S. officials taking part in those talks that this could prove to be a lengthy process, that there may still be weeks, if not months on the cards for Trevor Reed, but clearly now we are hearing that good news, that positive news that there has been a swap according to Russian state media, according to Russian officials. Now we wait to hear from the U.S. side as to the details around these negotiations that clearly have been ongoing for quite sometime now.

BERMAN: All right, Nada Bashir in London, thank you. We did just get a statement from Joey, Paula, and Trevor Reed. This is the family, OK. And it says, quote, "Nelson Mandela once said it always seems impossible until it's done. Trevor has been wrongfully detained for a crime." That's in quotation marks. "The U.S. Ambassador to Russia has said obviously did not occur, and our family has been living a nightmare. Today our prayers have been answered and Trevor is safely on his way back to the United States.

For much of this ordeal, Jonathan Franks has been at our side every step of the way and would not be here without today without his help. Aside from our own family, no one has worked harder or contributed more than Jon to bring Trevor home. We're also grateful to Montel Williams for his support and for allowing Jon to spend so much time on Trevor's case. First and foremost, we'd like to thank President Biden for his kindness, his consideration, and for making the decision to bring Trevor home. The president's actions may have saved Trevor's life. We'd also like to thank Ambassador John Sullivan and the Moscow embassy staff for believing in Trevor's innocence and for their zealous advocacy. Similarly, we'd like to thank NSA's Jake Sullivan, Alexander Miller, and Victoria Bonasera. In particular we want to thank Roger Carson, Sef Atim (ph), including Fletcher Sho (ph) and Stephen Gillum (ph) and others. We can't say enough about the importance of the work they do every day for hostages and wrongful detainees.

We'd like to thank our wonderful Congressman August Pfluger for his unwavering support, Congressman McCaul, Senator Cornyn, Congresswoman Jackson Lee, Leader McCarthy, Congressman Castro, and so many others who worked together in bipartisan member to bring Trevor home.

Finally, we stand proudly with the Whelan family and all the other families of wrongfully detained Americans who are still waiting for their own release moment. We will continue to advocate for the rapid release of hostages and detainees using all tools available to the United States government."

Again, I'm reading that statement for the very first time, seeing it along with all of you. The Reed family thanking leaders of both parties, especially President Biden, for the release of their son. Let's go to CNN Chief National Security Correspondent, Jim Sciutto, who is in Ukraine. Jim, this has got to be such a relief for the Reed family.

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: No question. Listen, start with the family, right. Here's someone who's been in Russia for some three years now. This altercation which led to his imprisonment in 2019, his imprisonment in 2020, and his parents as you and I have covered going to Washington, right to the White House pleading for help, in fact, pleading for a prisoner swap like we've seen take place here. Trevor Reed in exchange for Konstantin Yaroshenko. He was sentenced to 20