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More Than 5,000 Unaccompanied Migrant Children In Custody; White House Says On Pace For 200 Million Vaccines In First 100 Days; NYT: Reports Current Aide Accusing Governor Cuomo Of Sexual Harassment; Asian-Americans Share Personal Experiences With Bias, Hate; WH Shifts Messaging Over Concern About GOP Vaccine Hesitancy; Trump's Gold-Filled Personal Jet Now Out Of Commission; ER Doc Reunites With Her Family After A Year Of Isolating In An RV. Aired 6- 7p ET

Aired March 20, 2021 - 18:00   ET




UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The administration is racing to get these kids out of Border Patrol facilities. Now, we are learning that there are up to 1,200 children expected to come to the Dallas Convention Center.

JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY Office of Refugee Resettlement has not been hosting, as you've noted, media tours of unaccompanied children facilities, but we remain committed to transparency.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice over): More vaccines go out and concerns grow about a potential new surge.

JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We have nearly doubled the amount of vaccine doses that we distribute to states, tribes and territories each week.

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: We can just hang on a bit longer. The more people get vaccinated, the less likelihood that there is going to be a surge.

AMARA WALKER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This really is a moment for Asian- Americans in America. We are a community that has felt invisible for so long, and for the President to come and say, "I see you. I hear you," is just a cathartic moment.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is an Asian issue. But on top of that this is more than that. This is a human issue.


PAMELA BROWN, CNN HOST: I'm Pamela Brown in Washington. Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. You are in the CNN NEWSROOM and it's great to have you along.

And we begin this Saturday night with what appears to be a crisis at the border, even if the Biden administration doesn't want to call it that.

These are the families making their way to the U.S. from Mexico and Central America racing to escape the dangers in their homelands, while testing the limits of the U.S. government in a post Trump era.

Well, CNN is learning tonight that more than 5,000 unaccompanied children are in Customs and Border Protection custody. That number jumped from the 4,500 that officials reported on Thursday. More than 600 kids have been in custody for more than 10 days. That is well over the 72-hour limit.

And take a look at this: the three biggest spikes in unaccompanied kids over the last decade, just like in the Obama and Trump years, the warming temperatures are making it more tempting for families to send their kids here now, to leave the extraordinary poverty and violence behind.

But this time, the surge is also fueled by the aftermath of two big hurricanes last year and the toll from the coronavirus pandemic.

We are covering the story from the White House with Arlette Saenz to the Dallas Convention Center and CNN's Priscilla Alvarez and that is where the Biden administration is moving some of the young people to help ease the strain.

So Priscilla, I want to go to you first on this, 1,200 migrant kids are either inside that Convention Center now or soon will be. What are you seeing there? How is it handling this wave of young migrants?

PRISCILLA ALVAREZ, CNN REPORTER: Pam, this is a measure the administration is taking as they scramble to start to address the number of children crossing the U.S.-Mexico border alone.

Here at the Convention Center, we've seen some activity. They are outfitting this center to start to put showers in, medical services, games and entertainment for children, cots for them to sleep in.

We know that we're expecting up to 1,200 children to come here at the center. The center itself can accommodate around 2,300. But again, Pam, this is the administration's measures to start to alleviate overcrowding in Border Patrol facilities.

As you mentioned, we know now there are more than 5.000 children in Border Patrol custody that is children in facilities that are like jail like cells, and is not a place for them. It's where adults are supposed to be processed. But that is where they're spending their time for prolonged periods of time until the administration can get them out.

So this center right behind me transforms to an emergency intake site for that purpose -- Pam.

BROWN: And to think that 600 kids are spending more than 10 days there according to your reporting in those jail-like conditions.

I want to bring in Arlette Saenz. Arlette, the Homeland Security Secretary led a group of senators on a trip to the border yesterday. Tell us why we're not seeing or hearing much about that. Reporters aren't even allowed in with them.

ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Pamela. Reporters were not allowed on that trip that Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas made to the border with those senators.

The Department of Homeland Security has cited privacy concerns and the COVID-19 pandemic as the reason that reporters were not allowed on that trip, but this follows a pattern that we've seen as this border crisis is brewing and the media and reporters have not been allowed into these facilities where unaccompanied children have been housed, facilities that are not meant to hold these children long term.

Now, the White House has said that they are committed to transparency in this process and are working on ways for reporters to get in there. But we got a little bit of a snapshot of what the conditions were like there from one of the senators on that trip.

Democratic Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut, he tweeted: "Just left the border processing facility. Hundreds of kids packed into big open rooms. In a corner, I fought back tears as a 13-year-old girl sobbed uncontrollably, explaining through a translator how terrified she was."

And this is certainly one of countless scenes that is playing out in these facilities as thousands of children have gone through these facilities and staying often much longer than they are supposed to.

But so far, the media has not been allowed access to those. The White House saying that they will be transparent and are working on ways for access to be provided. But that is still yet to be seen -- Pamela.


BROWN: And of course, we will hold them to account on that promise that they will be transparent. Thanks so much, Arlette Saenz and Priscilla Alvarez, really appreciate your reporting.

And coming up at 8:00 Eastern, former H.U.D. Secretary and San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro joins me live to talk about the situation along the border. Don't miss it.

Meantime, the City of Miami Beach has declared a state of emergency amid a crush of spring breakers there. Mayor Dan Gelber announced an 8:00 p.m. curfew and road closures for the next 72 hours. The city will hold an emergency special meeting tomorrow.

Look at these pictures right here. It's not clear if coronavirus is a specific reason for these actions, but at least one South Beach Hotel has suspended its food and beverage operations over health concerns for employees and customers.

CNN's Jason Carroll joins me with more on the ongoing battles to get ahead of COVID across the country. So Jason, the good news is that we've surpassed President Biden's goal of 100 million shots in his first 100 days.

JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that is true, Pamela and also some encouraging news here in the State of New York. New York's Governor says at this point, one in every four people in the state has received at least one dose of the vaccine that adds up to about five million people here in the State of New York.

And even with that encouraging news that the nation's leading health experts saying it is too early for anyone to be celebrating.


FAUCI: Vaccines are coming on really well between two and three million doses per day going into people. If we can just hang on a bit longer. The more people get vaccinated, the less likelihood that there is going to be a surge.

CARROLL (voice over): Dr. Anthony Fauci, urging Americans eager to ease restrictions to be patient, or else.

FAUCI: What's happened in the past and history has shown us that when you have that plateauing, that's usually the forerunner of another surge.

CARROLL (voice over): Despite the warnings, several states moving ahead and relaxing restrictions. In Connecticut as of Friday, restaurants, gyms and houses of worship can now open at 100 percent capacity, with some COVID restrictions still in place.

On Monday, Massachusetts will partially open stadiums to fans and let more people attend indoor events. Parties are still on at former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort. The dining room there is now closed and beach service suspended due to a COVID outbreak amongst some staff according to an e-mail sent to members and shared with CNN.

Meanwhile, AMC the world's largest theater chain says 98 percent of its U.S. theaters are now open.

JANET JACOBS, MOVIEGOER: Yes, we're glad to be back. This feels so good and it's a spring day. It feels like we're turning the corner on COVID.

CARROLL (voice over): Those in favor of more in-person learning getting a boost from the C.D.C. Friday, which issued new guidelines saying most K through 12 students can now sit three feet apart in classrooms instead of six feet, as long as they wear masks and community transmission is low.

The C.D.C. still recommending six feet while at lunch assemblies or sporting events. This, as more states now ramping up vaccinations. The country seeing a seven-day average 2.4 million shots administered every day.

Today, the parking lot at Nashville's Nissan Stadium, home of the Tennessee Titans turned into a mass vaccination site. RACHEL FRANKLIN, METRO NASHVILLE PUBLIC HEALTH DEPARTMENT: There's

approximately 200 appointments per 15 minutes slots. And so we're -- you know, that's 800 cars an hour.


CARROLL (on camera): And another sign that some people are feeling more confident, more people are traveling, Pamela according to the T.S.A., they set a pandemic record on Friday screening 1.4 a million fliers. That was on Friday.

And you know, if any of those people just happened to be heading to New York City while they're traveling, they're going to find that there's more space for dining, especially if you're dining indoors. That's because indoor capacity has just been increased in the city from 35 percent for indoor dining now to 50 percent -- Pamela.

BROWN: All right, Jason Carroll, thanks for bringing us the latest from New York.

And joining me with more is Dr. Peter Hotez from the Baylor College of Medicine. Dr. Hotez, nice to see you as always. So there are lockdown protests in Europe and vaccine hesitancy here. Are you concerned that this pandemic will never end?


DR. PETER HOTEZ, DEAN OF THE SCHOOL OF TROPICAL MEDICINE, BAYLOR COLLEGE OF MEDICINE: Well, I think it has the potential to end at least through vaccinations if we can really ramp up the level of coverage and we have different sets of barriers in the United States versus globally.

In the U.S., you know, we're now learning that we've got a substantial segment of the U.S. population refusing vaccines, there were several new polls showing that white Republicans, that's how they describe it are refusing vaccines in large numbers.

And we know the origins of this, this has been the building situation of rising anti-science among the Republican Party. It's become mainstream. So we're going to have to try to defeat that. Because the good news is, we have the vaccines now in terms of supplies from Moderna, from Pfizer, from J&J and soon we'll have the Novavax vaccine in addition to AstraZeneca.

And we now know that this is not only stopping symptomatic illness, but asymptomatic transmission. So in theory, we can vaccinate our way out of this if we can find a way to combat the vaccine hesitancy.

BROWN: And you can vaccinate your way out of it by reaching herd immunity. But if herd immunity is in a race with COVID variants, which one is winning right now?

HOTEZ: Well, right now, it is neck and neck, unfortunately, because we have that b.1.1.7 variant that arose first in the United Kingdom, it's aggressively accelerating here in Texas, but also in Georgia and Florida. It's becoming dominant in New York and New Jersey.

And now you're starting to see the numbers go back up in New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island and Michigan. So this is crunch time. This is going to be our most difficult period right now in terms of seeing who wins out and that's why it's really important to talk to the governors and persuade them to hang on with releasing restrictions.

This is not the time to do it, because we only have about 24 percent of the U.S. population that's even gotten a single dose. So if we can hang on another month, another six weeks, that's going to make a huge difference.

BROWN: And yet the reality is, right now, Dr. Hotez, is you have spring break, increasing travel, states scaling back mask mandates. How much does all of that concern you in this moment?

HOTEZ: Well, that concerns me a lot because the numbers are showing the b.1.1.7 variant is the highest possibly in Texas, Georgia and Florida, and that's where the spring breakers are: Texas, Georgia in Florida. So that's a disaster waiting to happen as all these young 20- year-olds after they leave those three states spread around the country.

So it's only going to facilitate the transmission of that b.1.1.7 variant.

BROWN: In your view, are there any good reasons to avoid taking a vaccine? Say pregnancy fears, for example, and what do you say to people who are still resistant getting inoculated just because they don't -- they just don't trust it.

HOTEZ: You know, anyone who is eligible to get vaccinated, should get vaccinated. We know how terribly pregnant women do with COVID-19, sixty percent higher rates of hospital admissions, ICU admissions, we've seen terrible fatalities.

That population needs to get vaccinated and what I'm doing right now with all of the new numbers showing high rates of vaccine hesitancy and refusal among conservative groups, I've been trying to go on conservative news outlets, but this has been brewing since 2015.

We first saw it down here in Texas where it first accelerated and connected where the anti-vaccine movement really gained ascendancy down here.

So this is a natural extension, but -- and I've been trying to confront it down here as much as we can, but now we've got to work on this at the national level.

BROWN: All right, Dr. Peter Hotez, thank you for bringing your analysis and expertise as always.

HOTEZ: Thank you so much.

BROWN: And we have a packed hour of news ahead, including this: an incredible sacrifice by an ER doctor who lived for a year in an RV to protect her family from the coronavirus, reuniting at last with her loved ones.

And then, I'll ask actor, BD Wong how the U.S. needs to reckon with its racist attitudes towards Asian-Americans.

And if you're in the market for a used private jet, now might be the time to make former President Donald Trump an offer.

But first, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is facing new accusations of sexual harassment. Our Dan Merica is live with new developments when we come back. Stay with us.



BROWN: Prosecutors working the Capitol Hill insurrection just asked a Federal Judge to send two Proud Boy leaders back to jail.

Ethan Nordean and Joseph Biggs are facing new charges of conspiracy. Both have been arrested on right related charges and released while they wait for trial. The judge has not yet replied to the prosecutor's request. More than a dozen Proud Boys have been charged in the January 6th insurrection.

Meantime, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is facing yet another claim of sexual harassment. According to "The New York Times" the latest accusation is coming from a current aide.

Let's bring in CNNs Dan Merica. So tell us more about these new allegations -- Dan.

DAN MERICA, CNN POLITICS REPORTER: Yes, the woman's name is Alyssa McGrath, according to "The New York Times" and you're right what sets her allegation apart is the fact that she currently works for the New York Governor. She is part of a group of executive assistants that's works for the executive office.

Now her allegations are part of a pattern now. Similar accusations that have been made by other women, including Ana Liss who is a woman who met with the New York Attorney General's office just this week.

Now, the allegations do not allege sexual contact, but they do allege a list of -- a litany of things that go towards sexual harassment.

I want to read you a quote that she told "The New York Times."


MERICA: She said: "He has a way of making you feel very comfortable around him almost like you're his friend, but then you walk away from the encounter or conversation in your head going, quote, 'I can't believe I just had that interaction with the Governor of New York.'"

Now, Cuomo himself has not responded to this specific allegation. In fact, he spent much of the week dodging or ignoring questions about the allegations against him largely citing the ongoing investigations into the allegations.

But a Cuomo attorney did respond to the allegations in "The New York Times" and here's what they said, quote: "The Governor has greeted men and women with hugs and a kiss on the cheek, forehead or hand. Yes, he has posed for photographs with his arm around them. Yes, he uses Italian phrases like 'ciao bella.' None of this is remarkable, although it may be old-fashioned, he has made clear that he has never made inappropriate advances or inappropriately touched anyone." -- Pamela.

BROWN: So now, we're at a place where lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are calling on Governor Cuomo to resign. There is this new poll from Quinnipiac that found the Governor's approval rating has fallen to a record low as 43 percent of New Yorkers think that he should resign.

With the people you're talking to there, Dan, is there a point where they think the Governor will cave to these demands?

MERICA: Right now, after being here for about a week, it looks like the Governor is pretty locked in. You have to remember that all those calls for resignation happened over a week ago. So that was the bulk of the New York delegation, including the two senators from the State all called on Cuomo to go and he obviously has not gone.

At some point, this becomes a political issue for Cuomo. You note that the polls that have shown that his approval rating has really plummeted since last year when he was so popular during the coronavirus pandemic.

But the question for Cuomo now is: can he survive this crisis? Can he put the time in between the allegations and the calls for resignation? Until these reports -- these investigations are done by the body behind me, this New York assembly and the New York Attorney General's office, can he do that? Or does this drumbeat of news continue to weigh on him?

He has said he won't resign and there's a lot of Democrats here in Albany who don't think he will. They think he's in a pretty intractable place. So the question really, for Cuomo is -- is that approval rating cratering fast enough that he may not run for a fourth term? Something we know that he wants to run for -- Pamela.

BROWN: All right, Dan Merica, thank you so much for bringing us the latest there.

And all across the country, we are seeing rallies of support for Asian-Americans, but what needs to change for Asian-Americans to feel safe in their own communities. I'll talk to movie and TV star, BD Wong about that, up next.



BROWN: This weekend, there is a loud demand for justice and a huge show of support for Asian-American communities in this country.

The pain and the shock is still raw from this week's deadly shooting spree in the Atlanta area. Eight people were shot dead, most of them women of Asian descent. The places where they died, now memorials filled with flowers as you see in this video.

And one of the victim's families spoke to CNN a short time ago.


MICHAEL WEBB, XIAOJIE TAN's FORMER HUSBAND: She was determined not only to have a career, but own a business and she became a nail technician in Florida and worked every day and what I'd like for everybody to know is -- how hard she worked.


BROWN: Crowds rally today in Atlanta with similar events planned for Houston and New York City. People there are protesting the rise in anti-Asian sentiment and demanding the Atlanta killings be treated as a hate crime.

And this weekend, surveillance footage emerging from the day of that mass shooting. Police say this is the man right here pulling up to an Asian spa outside Atlanta before killing four people inside.

He would go on to two other locations and kill four more people.

Well CNN asked Asian-Americans about their experiences with hate that stemmed from this pandemic and here's what they had to say.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It must have been a month after lockdowns in New York City.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I was going to my car with my cart --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A lady started following us --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And this guy in this big giant Suburban almost ran me over. He didn't yield to me.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She started screaming things directed at me.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: About all kinds of terrible things.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Go back to China. You're so dirty.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You effing [bleep].

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There was a period of time where I didn't want to be Asian at all. I wish I was like some other race. Because it's like it's just so -- I feel so sick of being like, oh, sorry, my gosh, discriminated against. And back in school actually when I got bullied that, too, like the

whole like Asian fever. It made me feel gross. Like I couldn't be comfortable in my skin.


BROWN: So sad. Well, my next guest is Tony Award winning actor a BD Wong, who you may know from his role on "Law and Order SVU."

BD, thank you for coming on. You just heard some people from your own community talking about the abuses they've received. What is your reaction to that?

BD WONG, ACTOR: You know, my first reaction is that we even have to have this conversation about people expressing these things. These things have been -- ever since I've been a little child, I have heard of these stories and this is an ongoing part of the experience of being Asian-American in this country.


And unfortunately, these kind of big events happened that forced the conversation to happen.

So there's something good about that, that conversation actually happening that can somehow bring about change. But it is just something that is part and parcel of being a minority in this country and we all experience our minority experience in different ways. But all of these things are things that I have heard or seen throughout my life.

BROWN: Tell us more about your personal experience then, what you have experienced and whether that has ratcheted up during the pandemic. Tell us a little bit more about that.

WONG: Well, it has absolutely ratcheted up during the pandemic. That's kind of the main point of this whole wave of consciousness raising that's happening now with the Asian-American community. Asian-American community is kind of famous for not going overboard expressing itself and demanding change and all of that.

There's a cultural reasons for that and history has shown that. But now is the time for us to be kind of taking more of a stand and kind of demanding that people pay attention to this. Certainly, the fact that we have a vice president of Asian descent is incredibly crucial in this conversation. We've never had a president and a vice president talk about these issues the way that they're talking about them now.

So the time is really ripe for absolute change. I have seen in my own life, to answer your question, a lot of this. I had experienced racism in many different manifestations over the years as an actor in the media and all of that stuff.

And even to attach those two ideas, the idea of representation and how we are perceived by people in general, because their only exposure to us sometimes is through the media is really a big part of this discussion. And so all of this change in conversation is really a good thing, I think it's really important for us to kind of get right to it and for people to understand that these movements, MeToo and Black Lives Matter, these are people now forcing an understanding for the people who are not - basically, for the white people, to understand something that's not their own experience.

And to force us to kind of open our vision to the experiences of other people of various different kinds. And to understand through empathy, that's a buzzword that we hear all the time now, through that empathy, how to proceed forward so that we can live together in harmony or just in tolerance even and it comes from leadership.

But a big part of this is the fact that our leadership has created a climate in the past, for people to act out on their racism or their prejudice in a way that they feel completely comfortable doing so. And so it's lucky that we have an administration now that is able to kind of try to reverse some of that trend.

That trend being given permission to act a certain way and then doing it and then not having repercussions or consequences is a huge part of why this is happening.

BROWN: Right. And we heard President Biden speak out about it yesterday and the Vice President Harris also speak out about it, but what can be done realistically to help Asian Americans feel safe in this country and to change - go ahead.

WONG: Well, the first thing I was going to say is that there are these organizations that look after the Asian-American community, the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund and the Asian Americans Advancing Justice organizations are organizations that you can turn to if you're a person in the Asian-American community who has witnessed, perceived, knows about or experienced violence or discrimination or any of the things that we're talking about today.

These organizations are there to help and I think it's really important for - especially older people and the generation in our community to know that these resources are there. They're not used to kind of complaining or speaking out and they often just take these things on the chin and change doesn't come and they don't do anything about it.

And so these organizations are there to help us and there are many, many more of them. Help is there if you need it and that help can kind of actually be surprised, lead to change. If you think I'm not going to say anything, because nothing is going to happen.

Really, it is the mounting voices of this conversation that are creating the conversation that can actually bring change.

BROWN: And as you said, there is no shame in reaching out asking for help, because the help is there through these organizations. BD Wong, thank you so much for joining us tonight.

WONG: Thank you for having me, sincerely.


BROWN: And be sure to join Anderson Cooper, Amara Walker, Victor Blackwell and Ana Cabrera for our CNN Special Afraid Fear in America's Communities of Color, Monday night at 9 pm.

And up next, how getting vaccinated became so bitterly divisive and why both parties are guilty of playing politics during the pandemic.



BROWN: The White House is shifting its messaging on the COVID vaccine due to growing concern over vaccine hesitancy among Republicans. CNN has learned that a massive new PR campaign could launch as early as next week with conservatives, one of the primary target audiences.

To see how this partisan divide is playing out, CNN surveyed House lawmakers and we confirmed 189 of 219 Democrats have been vaccinated. But just 53 republicans out of 211 confirmed getting vaccinated, 145 Republicans did not respond.


The latest CNN poll found a similar divide, 92 percent of Democrats say they have gotten a dose of the vaccine or plan to get one, while only half of Republicans say the same. So what's driving Republican reluctance?

CNN's Gary Tuchman visited an Oklahoma town that overwhelmingly voted for Trump and asked residents why they were adamant about not getting the vaccine.


GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): It's breakfast time in Boise City, Oklahoma, and I have this question.


TUCHMAN (on camera): Does anybody in this restaurant think it's a good idea to take the vaccine?


TUCHMAN: Raise your hand if you think it's a good idea. Anyone here, it's a good idea to take the vaccine, raise your hand if you think it's a good idea.

Not one person here thinks it's a good idea? Complete quiet.


TUCHMAN (voice over): Boise City is the county seat of sparsely populated Cimarron County, Oklahoma, where 92 percent of the voters chose Donald Trump on Election Day, the highest percentage in a state where all 77 counties went for Trump.


TUCHMAN (on camera): What do you think about the vaccine? Are you going to take the vaccine?


TUCHMAN: Tell me why.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I don't trust the government and I don't trust Biden.


TUCHMAN (voice over): Chad (ph) and Misty Hughes (ph) are husband and wife, neither of them plan to get the vaccine.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just don't want to.

TUCHMAN (on camera): Why don't you want to, if you don't mind me asking?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Because when I take the flu shot, I usually get the flu, so there's no reason to take it.

TUCHMAN: So are you saying you think you'll get COVID by taking the COVID vaccine?


TUCHMAN: Why are you thinking that? The research doesn't show that at all. It shows it keeps people safe.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's just my choice.


TUCHMAN (voice over): These women are sisters and they too are doubters.


TUCHMAN (off camera): Why are you doubtful?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They just started rolling them out.

TUCHMAN: Well, yes, but they - I mean, this has been a worldwide effort by great doctors.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. They claim that the flu can be cured, but still hundreds of thousands of people die from the flu.

TUCHMAN: Well, yes, a lot of people die from the flu but not nearly as much as COVID. This is a horrible pandemic and this is like an amazing vaccine. These vaccines have come out, they're saving lives. Do you believe?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No. I would just agree to disagree on this subject, I guess.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm just not. I'm not going to take it.

TUCHMAN: What if President Trump came out and was very robust and said take the vaccine. I took it even though I didn't tell anybody about it was kind of done secretly, but I think you should take it. He's said it a little bit but he hasn't been robust about it. If he was robust and said take it, would you?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Trump is a liberal New Yorker. Why would we listen to him either?

TUCHMAN: Did you vote for him?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He was the best option.


TUCHMAN (voice over): No matter where we went, enthusiasm for the vaccine wasn't easy to find, despite this front-page pronouncement.


TUCHMAN (on camera): Yes. So this is the Boise City News, your newspaper, and here's an article, COVID vaccines are available in your hospital. They want people to get them. Are you going to get one?


TUCHMAN: How come?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I really don't ever get vaccines.


TUCHMAN (voice over): We did find the boss in the grocery store though who gave us a different answer but with a caveat.


TUCHMAN (off camera): Are you going to take the vaccine?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have taken it.

TUCHMAN: And what made you decide to take it?


(END VIDEO CLIP) TUCHMAN: Gary Tuchman, CNN, Boise City, Oklahoma.


BROWN: Great reporting by Gary Tuchman there. So how did taking a vaccine to end a pandemic become so partisan? Both parties have been guilty of politicizing the pandemic at times.

Well, there is some research that suggests Democrats tend to overestimate the risks of COVID, on the right we saw a much more centralized effort to politicize the science and data in the opposite direction. It came from the top with Donald Trump, because when you're president, your words matter, so it mattered that then President Trump repeatedly downplayed the virus at the beginning of the pandemic and it mattered when he politicize the simplest tool to combat it, masks.

At the end of his term, Trump had a chance to break this cycle. He could have gotten the vaccine on camera, proving to his supporters, it was safe. Instead, he got the vaccine in secret and the world didn't find out until weeks later until it was reported in The New York Times.

Well, for the record, Trump eventually meekly urged his supporters to get the vaccine.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I would. I would recommend it and I would recommend it to a lot of people that don't want to get it and a lot of those people voted for me, frankly. But, again, we have our freedoms and we have to live by that and I agree with that also. But it's a great vaccine. It's a safe vaccine and it's something that works.


BROWN: But is this too little too late? In those weeks and weeks of silence, the anti-vaccine contingent of the GOP festered and filled the void. Fox News host Tucker Carlson under the guise of just asking questions stoke fear and uncertainty about the vaccines.


TUCKER CARLSON, FOX NEWS HOST: What about this vaccine? Why are Americans being discouraged from asking simple, straightforward questions about it.


Questions like how effective are these drugs? Are they safe? What's the miscarriage risk for pregnant women, for example? Is there a study on that? May we see it? If the vaccine was so great, why were all these people lying about it?

The media rollout for the vaccine came off like a Diet Pepsi commercial at the Super Bowl. Tons of celebrity endorsements, not a lot of science. Bill Gates has gained extraordinary powers over what you can and cannot do to your own body.


BROWN: Well, nobody is discouraging asking questions, but what about the answers? He asks how effective are the vaccines and trials of Johnson & Johnson vaccine was 85 percent effective against severe COVID and 100 percent effective at preventing death from COVID. In real world data from Israel, the Pfizer vaccine is 97 percent effective at preventing hospitalization and death.

Why wouldn't Tucker share those answers? Why was Trump so eager to go on camera when he was suffering from the coronavirus to show he was doing okay from COVID even when we later learned there were serious concerns about his oxygen levels, but then not go on camera to show the vaccine was safe. Is it because he was worried about his supporters are skeptical of the vaccine and wouldn't like that?

Is it because the more people who get vaccinated, the faster America will recover and that recovery will happen under Biden? If Trump had won, would the right wing have been so eager to reject the vaccine or would they have championed it as patriotic and praise Trump? I'm just asking questions.

Well, if you are in the market for a private plane, now might be the time to make the former president an offer. Our Kate Bennett is up next with a closer look at Trump's unloved jet.



BROWN: A jumbo jet that used to be one of Donald Trump's flashiest showpieces has seen better days. CNN White House Correspondent Kate Bennett is here. So Kate, obviously, I'm talking about that Boeing 757 with a gold plated seat belt buckles that Trump used to crisscross the country when he ran for president. What's going on with it now?

KATE BENNETT, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: While it was the ubiquitous presence in the campaign, it was the ultimate symbol of wealth for Donald Trump for many years and now it is sitting idle, hasn't been touched in months and months hasn't moved in an airport about two hours outside of New York City.

One engine has been almost fully removed, the other is wrapped. It is certainly not in flying condition by any stretch. Aviation experts do tell us that repairing a plane of this size, this is a 1991 Boeing 757 considered vintage at this point, it would be a very expensive endeavor and replacing an entire engine could be up towards million dollars.

So certainly, this isn't something that seems to be a priority for Donald Trump right now, but this was the plane that he bought back in 2010 from Paul Allen, the Microsoft executive. And as you said, really tricked it out on the inside it had the gold plated metal as well as fabrics flown in from Paris. Lots of sort of Donald Trump touches. And it really was the showpiece that he used. He bought it during the

height of his apprentice fame and carried it on through - until he could use Air Force One. And of course now that he can't use Air Force One, here's this plane sitting by itself.

BROWN: So what is he flying on nowadays?

BENNETT: So now he's on his smaller eight seater Cessna. I know it's a tough first world problem to have to choose between your two jets, but it's this much smaller plane. It doesn't have the big Trump on the side. It does have a small Trump family crest on it, but it's much smaller and it costs a lot less to fly per hour in terms of fuel and obviously crew. But it's certainly for a man who values branding may feel like a gigantic step down from the 757.

BROWN: All right. Kate Bennett, thanks so much.

BENNETT: Thank you.

BROWN: An incredible sacrifice by an ER doctor who lived for a year in an RV to protect her family from the coronavirus. Her story up next.



BROWN: Last March, an ER doctor in St. Louis took extreme measures to keep her family safe.


DR. TIFFANY OSBORN, WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY ER DOCTOR: I had the same concerns every health care provider had which was, one, am I going to infect myself, but more importantly, am I going to potentially infect my family.


BROWN: So to keep our family safe, Dr. Tiffany Osborn bought an RV. Parked it outside of her home and isolated from her loved ones. Last week Tiffany finally got her coronavirus vaccination and that allowed her to make a small move and a big change.


OSBORN: Once I got back in, we just - it was fantastic. I mean it has been wonderful having the opportunity to really experience being together again on a consistent basis.


BROWN: Talk about a sacrifice. Amazing, after a year of isolation, Tiffany is now back living at home with her family once again.

I'm Pamela Brown in Washington. Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. You are in the CNN NEWSROOM on this Saturday.

In cities across the United States tonight, people are gathering in sadness for the victims of a mass killing and frustration at the climate of hate. They blame for it. This is Atlanta where people rallied at the state capitol and demanded justice for the eight people shot dead this week in and just outside the city.


Authorities say a Georgia man has confessed to opening fire inside three separate Asian spas. Most of the victims were women of Asian descent.