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AstraZeneca Touts 79 Percent Efficacy Rate of Its Vaccine; Miami Beach Extends Emergency Curfew to Control Spring Break Chaos; Former Top Prosecutor Says Trump May Be "Culpable" for Insurrection; Biden Pledges to Take New Steps to Ease Surge of Child Migrants; Nasdaq Futures Higher After Weeks of Losses. Aired 9-9:30a ET

Aired March 22, 2021 - 09:00   ET



POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Good Monday morning, everyone. I hope you had a nice weekend. I'm Poppy Harlow. Jim Sciutto has a well-deserved week off. And we do begin this Monday morning with breaking news.

AstraZeneca says that its COVID vaccine is 79 percent effective against symptomatic disease and 100 percent effective against severe COVID cases. These findings come from their U.S.-based clinical trial. The company also says an independent committee finds their vaccine does not cause any serious side effects and it says it found no increased risk of blood clotting among more than 21,000 participants receiving at least one dose.

That's important because you'll remember more than a dozen countries have just recently halted the use of AstraZeneca's COVID vaccine after a small number of people developed blood clots after taking it. But that does not mean causality. It does not mean the vaccine caused those blood clots.

We'll have more on what this all means for you and potential Emergency Use Authorization from the FDA here in the United States in just a moment.

Take a look also at Miami Beach. In a moment, we will show you where an emergency curfew of 8:00 p.m. was just extended. This is why. Spring break chaos.

That's spring break in Miami Beach this weekend. Police cracking down, firing pepper balls, trying to disperse overwhelming crowds of mostly maskless partiers. Wow.

Let's begin, though, with these new developments overnight and the information that we're are getting on AstraZeneca's vaccine. Our Kristen Holmes joins me now.

Good morning, Kristen. What's the bottom line on this for the U.S.? KRISTEN HOLMES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Poppy. Well,

look, this is good news, this is big news and this is a strong showing for AstraZeneca. So let's look at the numbers you just mentioned. We're talking about 79 percent efficacy here, against severe -- excuse me, against symptomatic disease and 100 percent efficacy against severe disease and hospitalization.

And I want to point out that that 100 percent number, that's the number when I talk to health officials that they look at the most closely because that's what they want to stop here in the country. That severe hospitalization and ultimately the deaths.

Now, these numbers are important for two major reasons. The first is the obvious. This is the beginning of that FDA Emergency Use Authorization process. We heard from the president of AstraZeneca today, who said they plan to file for that EUA at the beginning of April and that they have 30 million doses ready to go out as soon as they are authorized, if, of course, they are authorized.

This is a big deal. If they are approved, that will mean that there are four effective vaccines on the market at a time when we were already expecting a big ramp-up in those numbers. Look at where the distribution is right this second in the country. We have 156.7 million vaccines that have been distributed and about 124.4 million vaccines that have been administered.

We are expecting this to ramp up hugely at this time because, remember, we've heard from Johnson & Johnson saying that by the end of the month, they're going to have 20 million more doses back on the market.

Now the other reason this is big is because of what you mentioned. This will hopefully calm those fears over the fact that there were these reports over blood clotting. You have now had this study which says that the vaccine is safe and effective as well as an investigation in Europe that found that this vaccine was safe and effective. So, hopefully, this will lead people to want to take the vaccine, to see this and get rid of some that vaccine hesitancy -- Poppy.

HARLOW: Kristen, thank you very much. We'll talk to Dr. del Rio in just a moment about all those headlines.

After issuing a state of emergency and extending the city's 8:00 p.m. curfew, the mayor of Miami Beach on CNN this morning warning spring breakers who plan to defy guidelines and party all night, they have to stay home. Watch.


MAYOR DAN GELBER (D), MIAMI BEACH, FLORIDA: Right now, we are being asked to take all people who are coming, the governor has said, you know, everything is opened, come on down, Sort of a triple threat of too many crowds, too many people acting out and the pandemic. And those three together just create a very challenging moment.


HARLOW: Let's go to our colleague Randi Kaye. She is in Miami Beach.

I -- I mean, I just -- my jaw is on the floor seeing those images, seeing the total --

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it's pretty surprising.

HARLOW: The total defiance, Randi.

KAYE: Yes, absolutely. I mean, it was a wild, rowdy weekend yet again, Poppy, here in Miami beach. It's quieter now. The overnight curfew was lifted at 6:00 a.m. so just a few hours ago.


But it was quite a scene. At one point there were more than 1,000 people in the street. And as you mentioned earlier, they had to use those pepper balls to try and clear the streets, because they were defying the order of the curfew. The mayor has said there were stampedes. Somebody fired a weapon into the air. There was some rioting. There were spring breakers jumping and dancing on a car and destroying that car overnight after the 8:00 p.m. curfew went into effect.

So spring breakers certainly not very happy about the curfew, those who traveled here to let their -- to let loose a little bit. But the curfew is pretty strict. The city closes down at 8:00 p.m. to spring breakers. The causeways from the mainland to here on ocean drive where we are to the entertainment district, those closed now at 10:00 p.m.

And the local streets are closed here except to residents. Some people going to their hotels and some businesses. And people who need to get to those businesses. That's going to be at least until March 30th, possibly as long until April 13th when spring break officially ends and that's Thursday to Sunday evenings. So -- from 8:00 p.m. until 6:00 a.m. in the morning. So I did speak to some spring breakers and as I said some of them not so happy about it. Here's what one told me.


TAHJAI BACOTT, SPRING BREAKER FROM NEW YORK: I can't believe, I came here from New York to be out here to have fun. Like 8:00 is OD. Maybe like 10:30 would have been OK with that. Or even 10:00. But 8:00? That's so bad.


KAYE: And I spoke to one spring breaker who's actually from Florida but from Fort Lauderdale, about 45 minute or so an hour north. And she said she's concerned that this curfew is then just going to send all these spring breakers up to Fort Lauderdale and then they're going to have a situation there. But I did speak to some of the folks there. And we understand that more than 1,000 people have actually been arrested since February 3rd and more than half of them, Poppy, coming from out of state. HARLOW: Wow. They have to think about everyone else around them and

anyone else they see after acting like that, without a mask in the street. It's not just about them.

Thank you, Randi, for that reporting from Miami for us.

KAYE: Sure.

HARLOW: Let's bring in Dr. Carlos del Rio, executive associate dean of Emory University School of Medicine.

Good morning, Doctor. What do you think?

Good morning, Poppy.

HARLOW: What do you think as someone who has been on the frontlines informing all of us about this for the better -- you know, for more than a year when you see what just happened in Miami?

DR. CARLOS DEL RIO, EXECUTIVE ASSOCIATE DEAN OF EMORY UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF MEDICINE: It's very frustrating. And, you know, we're so close to actually -- what I would say is the end game and this could potentially all be thrown in disarray as a result of many of this like this. I know people are tired and I know people want to party. But this is not the time to do it. I think, you know, we could potentially be facing a significant issue.

It is not just what's happening there. But you know the students, the spring breakers will then carry their infection to other places. Florida is where we have more cases of the U.K. variants, the b.1.1.7 variant, which is highly transmissible. And I really think this could change dramatically what we're seeing our country.

You know, we're still seeing 60,000 new infections per day, that's lot. So we're not where we need to be. And I just -- you know, I'm just worried and I'm also disappointing and, quite frankly, very upset.

HARLOW: Yes. OK. On the plus side, there is another vaccine, AstraZeneca, that may be close to getting the green light from the FDA. We'll see. What is the biggest take-away for Americans across the board this morning about the AstraZeneca COVID vaccine from this data that Kristen just reported on?

DEL RIO: Well, first of all, I would say that what I am seeing right now is just a press release from AstraZeneca. I'm looking forward to look at the entire FDA package.

HARLOW: Yes. Yes.

DEL RIO: Because then I'll really look at all the data. But what I'm seeing on the press release makes me incredibly hopeful. They are reporting in a very well conducted trial, large trial, over 31,000 people. They are reporting a 79 percent efficacy to prevent any cases of symptomatic COVID and a 100 percent efficacy in preventing severe COVID, i.e. hospitalizations or death. So, you know, basically that will leave us with four vaccines that

have a 100 percent efficacy in preventing severe disease. And we're seeing nationwide a drop in hospitalizations and a drop in deaths, and that is because we're vaccinating people. The U.S. right now has given this one shot to close to 30 percent of the population so we need to continue vaccinating. This is a race right now between vaccines and variants.

HARLOW: But, Dr. del Rio, this is the same exact vaccine that I think a number -- I think 12 European nations have halted. And I wonder what you say to anyone who might be concerned. Do they have any reason to be? Because what this data appears to show is that perhaps those nations that halted the use made a mistake between causality, causing blood clots and coincidence? People getting blood clots, who had gotten the vaccine? And just a few, a very small number in.


DEL RIO: And that's actually what the European Medicines Agency, with is the European equivalent of the FDA, actually said last week. They've reviewed the data and they reviewed it very carefully and they are very good regulatory agency and they concluded that the vaccine is safe and there was actually no evidence that the vaccine was causing blood clots. You know, again, it's very hard to delink association with causation, especially when you are vaccinating millions of people.

Things are going to happen to people. People are going to have things happening to them. But that doesn't mean that the vaccine is causing those things. And the European Medicines Agency conclude there was no causation and the vaccine was safe and it can continue to be administered.

HARLOW: Do you agree with some of your colleagues, Dr. Jha, for example, who's on this New York a lot, who tweeted, "This may be the vaccine that essentially saves the world." I mean, look in terms of the ability to spread it widely, look at what's happening in Brazil right now. There is no relief in sight. There are overcrowded ICUs. So many people dying and not enough vaccines.

DEL RIO: Well, it is. It's still a two-dose vaccine. I also have a lot of confidence in the Johnson & Johnson, the Janssen vaccine, which is a one-dose vaccine. A lot easier to administer. But without doubt, this adenovirus vector vaccine, whether it's the Johnson or the AstraZeneca are much easier to produce and a lot cheaper than the MRNA vaccines and if they are just as effective, they can be scaled up and they could produce not in the millions, but in the billions.

AstraZeneca has already licensed the vaccine production to Serum Institute of India, that has already licensed to a group in Argentina and Mexico. They're going to start producing the vaccine. So I agree with Dr. Jha that, you know, that having this vaccine and being able to scale it up and really redistribute it widely may actually be the vaccine that vaccinates the world.

HARLOW: OK. Thank you, Dr. del Rio, so much, good to have you. DEL RIO: Delighted to be here.

HARLOW: Still to come, a former top prosecutor for the Capitol riots says federal investigators are, in his word, looking at everything, including charges of sedition for some of those arrested after the insurrection.

Also, we'll show you exclusive photographs from inside a temporary Border Patrol facility that show extremely crowded conditions of undocumented and unaccompanied minors in U.S. custody as the U.S. surges past 15,000 of them. We'll take you live to Texas.

And protests across the United States call for an end to anti-Asian violence after shootings at those spas across George that left eight people dead. We are hearing now from family members of the victims.



HARLOW: Welcome back. The former top prosecutor for the U.S. Capitol insurrection says that he believes that there is enough evidence to charge some suspects with sedition, and he said that former President Trump may be quote, "culpable" for part of it. Listen to this.


MICHAEL SHERWIN, FORMER ACTING D.C. U.S. ATTORNEY: But we have soccer moms from Ohio that were arrested, saying well, I did this because my president said I had to take back our house. That moves the needle towards that direction. Maybe the president is culpable for those actions. But also, you see in the public records, too, militia members saying, you know what? We did this because Trump just talks a big game. He's just all talk. We did what he wouldn't do.

SCOTT PELLEY, MODERATOR, 60 MINUTES: In short, you have investigators looking into the president's role?

SHERWIN: We have people looking at everything. Correct.


HARLOW: That was Mike Sherwin, until just days ago, he was the top federal prosecutor leading what has become the largest criminal investigation in U.S. history of all of those who participated in the insurrection. Let me bring in Jennifer Rodgers; former federal prosecutor. Good morning Jennifer, it's good to have you.


HARLOW: So, when you hear Mike Sherwin say that everything is on the table when it comes to the former president. Where is the bar on that? Because you've got so many people involved. They're going to say they were motivated by different people and different factors.

RODGERS: Well, it's a high bar, Poppy. I mean, seditious conspiracy is difficult to charge, it requires first a conspiracy, so prosecutors would have to show that the president actually reached a meeting of the minds with another person, that this group of people would go in and try to stop Congress from what they were doing.

So, that's challenging to do. I mean, I think it's going to take a lot of proof. That's why I think they've been looking for evidence of coordination with some of these groups who were armed to the teeth and planning to go there on January 6th and do what they did.

HARLOW: So far the most serious charge that has been brought forward is obstruction. That's a felony charge with up to 20 years in prison. You've also got what I thought was interesting is the potential for murder charges, because you've got the 139 officers, police officers who were attacked and then Brian Sicknick, the officer who was killed, and what was interesting that Sherwin said is, if they can prove causality from the autopsy of officer Sicknick between -- with the bear spray that prosecutors say was sprayed by individuals at him, then that would bring about murder cases.

RODGERS: Yes, that also is hard to do for the reason that you suggest, the causation. You know, does someone know that what they're doing is potentially deadly, but did this bear spray actually cause him to die? We don't know enough from what's in the public record about what happened to him after the events that we were able to see on the video that we've seen.


So we would need to know more. Certainly, the grand jury will have to know more before they vote about actually what happened to him in terms of the medical cause of his death.

HARLOW: A charge that has not been brought forward yet, but may is sedition. I want you to listen to the exchange on that.


SHERWIN: I personally believe the evidence is trending towards that, and probably meets those elements.

PELLEY: Do you anticipate sedition charges against some of these suspects?

SHERWIN: I believe the facts do support those charges, and I think that as we go forward, more facts will support that, Scott.


HARLOW: Here's the definition of sedition for anyone not familiar with the incitement or resistance to or insurrection against lawful authority. I think Scott Pelley rightly pointed out, that bar given what we saw take place on the 6th of January doesn't seem that high. Do you see sedition charges coming?

RODGERS: I think we will see those. I mean, I will say -- I think it was completely inappropriate for Mr. Sherwin to talk about that, given that he knows things, secret grand jury evidence that we don't know. But putting that aside, I do, as we're not now talking about the former president, necessarily, and the notion of people who together agreed to go and stop what was happening, which was Congress in the midst of executing a law is clearly happened here. So I do think we will see some of those charges, the really big question, of course, is whether that charge can be applied to former President --

HARLOW: Right --

RODGERS: Trump --

HARLOW: Right. Jennifer, thank you very much.

RODGERS: Thanks.

HARLOW: We have a lot ahead. Now more than 15,000 children are in U.S. custody at the southern border and we've just got astonishing new images from inside some of these facilities where many of these unaccompanied migrant children are being held.

We'll take you live to Texas for that. We're also moments away from the opening bell on Wall Street, take a look at futures this morning, pretty mixed. The Nasdaq pointing higher this morning after several weeks of losses, suggesting the tech sector likely getting a boost to start the week. Investors also monitoring the bond market very closely, we're keeping an eye out on all of it.



HARLOW: There are stunning new images this morning shedding light on what is a crisis unfolding at the southern border. Texas Democratic Congressman Henry Cuellar providing these images to CNN, showing conditions inside a border patrol facility in Donna, Texas over the weekend. You can see migrant adults and children crowded into these tents. This is the number of unaccompanied migrant children in U.S. custody, swells to more than 15,000. The Biden administration is still struggling to figure out what to do here.


ALEJANDRO MAYORKAS, SECRETARY OF HOMELAND SECURITY: We are dealing with the needs of the children now. We are rebuilding orderly ways in which the children can make their claims without having to take the perilous journey to the border, and we are elevating our messaging so that the individuals do know that they cannot come to the border. The border is closed.


HARLOW: Let's go to our colleague, Priscilla Alvarez, she joins us in Dallas this morning. I mean, he said the border is closed. But the border is not closed. I mean, there is a flood that continues. Does the administration have a handle on this? PRISCILLA ALVAREZ, CNN REPORTER: Poppy, the administration is dealing

with an influx of children crossing the U.S.-Mexico border alone. Well, they're also encountering single adults and families, they can turn them away because of a public health order put in place under Trump during the pandemic. But that does not apply to unaccompanied children.

So, we are now seeing images of the crowded conditions that some of these children and families are finding themselves in a CBP facility. This is an overflow facility. It's slightly different from other border patrol stations along the border. But this is the reality for the administration.

There is an increasing number of children crossing U.S.-Mexico border, and just not enough shelter space to accommodate them. So, I am here in Dallas, at a massive convention center, part of which has been turned into an emergency site for the administration to transfer children here. Now, this would be a separate site that they can receive medical services, meals, contact families and work with case managers to relocate with relatives in the United States.

So, this is where the administration wants to transfer kids as well as some other influx sites. But in the interim, they are being kept up in border patrol facilities. We are learning now that there are around 4,900 children in border patrol facilities, that is just under 5,000 over the weekend. But again, this is a problem for the administration, Poppy.

HARLOW: Yes, it is, and for all of those children and what happens from here. Priscilla, thanks very much for your reporting. Let's talk about how the White House needs to handle this. With me now is former Obama campaign manager and CEO of Messina Group Jim Messina. Good morning, Jim.


HARLOW: I wish it were on better -- you know, we were talking about something more positive, but we're not. I mean, you've got 15,000 unaccompanied children between HHS and CBP.