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President Biden Speaks As COVID Cases Rise In 27 States; Chauvin Trial Restarts After Recess. Aired 2:30-3p ET

Aired March 29, 2021 - 14:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[14:30:50]

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Good afternoon.

Last week, we set a goal of 200 million shots by day 100 of our administration. Double the original goal that I had set.

And to make that progress over the last three days we have had a record number of shots in arms with over 10 million shots recorded in the weekend. Over 10 million shots in three days.

That would have been inconceivable in January. The progress we have made on vaccinating this country is a great American story. The federal government has stepped up, taken responsibility and launched a massive federal vaccination program.

Governors and mayors of both political parties, Republicans and Democrats stepped up as well.

Our military, National Guard, FEMA, they have all been incredible. Health care providers, community leaders from all walks of life. So many volunteers of all ages and backgrounds stepped up as well.

My fellow Americans, look at what we have done in the past ten weeks. No other country has come close, 100 million shots in less than 60 days. And now we are moving to the next 100 million shots in just 40 days.

You heard me say many times before, our progress on vaccination is a stunning example that there's nothing, nothing this country cannot do if we put our minds to it and we do it together.

But as I've also said I will always give you it straight, straight from the shoulder. Our work is far from over. The war against COVID-19 is far from won. This is deadly serious.

We share the sentiment of Dr. Walensky, the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC expressed earlier today this is not a time to lessen our efforts. That's what she said.

We could still see a setback in the vaccination program. And most importantly, if we let our guard down now we could see a virus getting worse, not better. You know, as many people as we vaccinated, we still have more

Americans left to go. You know, we will administer more shots in March than any country on earth.

But even so, we have to give more shots in April than we did in March. Because we're in the life-and-death race for the virus that is spreading quickly, with cases rising again, new variants are spreading.

And sadly some of the reckless behavior we have seen on television over the past few weeks means that more new cases are to come in the weeks ahead.

With vaccines there's hope. Which is -- which is a very good thing to state the obvious. But people are letting up on precautions, which is a very bad thing.

Look, to this point, cases have fallen two thirds since I took office. Deaths have also fallen two thirds. But now cases are going back up. Some states deaths are as well.

You know, we're giving a hard fought, hard-won gains. As much as we are doing, America, it's time to do even more. All of us have to do our part. Every one of us.

So let me start here first. This week, thanks to my administration's intensive work with vaccine manufacturers and distribution efforts, the amount of vaccines that are going to be available for vaccinated -- vaccination sites will be a new record, 33 million doses vaccine this week.

By getting more vaccine supply to states, community health centers and pharmacies, we can vaccinate the highest-risk Americans even more quickly than we already are.

And then -- and then we make it possible to open up supplies for all adults and try to beat the renewed spread of this virus.

[14:34:59]

As a result. I'm also pleased to announce that we are on track this week, just 10 weeks after I became president, to achieve nearly 75 percent of Americans over the age of 65 can get at least one vaccination shot.

When I took office on January 20th, that number was 8 percent. It's going to 75 percent. That's a lot of grandparents now able to safely hug their grandchildren. And they couldn't do so just a short time ago.

And with the supply we are releasing this week, just this week alone, there are more -- there are more doses of vaccine available for seniors this week than any week thus far. So seniors, please if you have not gotten your shot yet, get it this week. Get it.

Second, I'm reiterating my call for every governor, mayor and local leader to maintain and reinstate the mask mandate. Please, this is not politics. Reinstate the mandate if you let it down. And businesses should require masks as well.

The failure to take this virus seriously, precisely what got us in this mess in the first place, risks more cases and more deaths.

Look, as I do my part to accelerate the vaccine distribution and vaccinations, I need the American people to do their part as well. Mask up. Mask up. It's a patriotic duty.

It's the only way we ever get back to normal. To cheer together in stadiums full of fans, to gather together on holidays again safely. Go to graduations, weddings.

Third, I announced on March 11th, I direct every state, territory and tribe to open up their vaccinations to all adults no later than May 1.

I issued that order because moving beyond priority groups to enable all adults to get vaccinated is critical to having a July 4th that's closer to normal. I want this to come as quickly as possible.

And I want to thank the governors, Democrats and Republicans, who have responded to this directive. In fact, the vast majority of governors have set open access dates even earlier than the deadline of May 1st.

But in this race against the rapidly spreading virus, as fast as we are going, we need to go faster.

To make it easier for Americans to get vaccinated as the supply grows and vaccination eligibility expands, I'm directing my COVID team to ensure there's a vaccine site within five miles of 90 percent of all Americans by April 19th, three weeks from today.

Look, we're going to do this by growing from having 17,000 pharmacies giving out vaccination shots to nearly 40,000 pharmacies doing it within the next three weeks. That will more than double the number of pharmacies where you can go get vaccinated.

But we aren't stopping there. In the next three weeks, we'll add 12 more federally run mass vaccination sites. Every day, at these sites, tens of thousands of people are able to drive up, get a vaccine shot in their car and leave in less than an hour.

And over 60 percent of the shots given at these sites goes to minority communities, because they're in minority communities.

We have to reach out. They're the ones affected by both the vaccine but also the pandemic.

We're also going to send more aid to expand the states more community vaccination sites, more vaccine, more sites, vaccinators, all designed to speed our critical work.

We also need to make it easier for knows who want shots but cannot access sites to get vaccinated. This is also where we're focused on the seniors most immediately. While we have made incredible progress and now starting to vaccinate

nearly three-quarters of our seniors and now putting vaccination sites within five miles of 90 percent of all Americans, that still isn't enough as far as we're concerned.

We know that there are a number of seniors and people with disabilities who may be isolated and have lack of access to transportation. And there are community groups that can help, that are trying to help now.

So our fourth announcement today is that I'm sending out millions of dollars through the Department of Health and Human Services to provide assistance, including transportation so more vulnerable seniors and people with disabilities can get their shots. Because they'll get help to physically get there to get the shot.

[14:40:07]

Neighbors helping neighbors. What a truly American effort. We cannot let transportation be a barrier to any senior getting a vaccination.

And so where does this put us? We're making progress on vaccinations. But cases are rising. And the virus is spreading in too many places still.

That's why today I'm taking these steps to make our American turn- around story, our vaccination program to move faster.

Thanks to all the work we have done these past 10 weeks, the added steps I'm announcing today, with them, I'm pleased to announce that at least 90 percent of all adults in this country will be eligible to be vaccinated by April the 19th, just three weeks from now, as we have the vaccines.

For the vast, vast majority of adults, you won't have to wait until May 1. You'll be eligible for your shot on April 19th.

Finally, 10 percent will be eligible no later -- the final 10 percent will be eligible no later than May 1.

And as I just said, due to the steps we are taking today, 90 percent of Americans will be within five miles of a location where they can get a shot as of April the 19th.

So we're moving toward 90/90 by April 19th. That is by April 19th, three weeks from today, 90 percent of adults, people 18 and over will be eligible to get vaccinated.

So 90 percent of all Americans will be living within five miles of a place they can get a shot.

And, of course, it will take time for everyone to get their appointment. It's a big country. And as fast as we're going, we still have a long way to go to finish this vaccination effort.

In fact, we aren't even halfway yet. But being at 90/90 three weeks today should give hope to the country.

Let me close with this. The progress we're making is a significant testament to what we can do when we work together as Americans. But as I've always said, we still need everyone to do their part.

We still are in a war within deadly virus. And we're bolstering our defenses. But this war is far from won.

Together, we have so much to be proud of in the past three weeks, past more than three weeks, past 10 weeks.

But we also have so much to be sorrowful about. Nearly 1,000 Americans a day are still dying from COVID-19, as we approach 550,000 deaths in a single year.

Until this country is vaccinated, each of us has to do our part. We have an obligation, A patriotic obligation.

Wash your hands. Stay socially distanced. Wear a mask as recommended by the CDC. And get vaccinated. Get your friends and family vaccinated when you can help.

Now is not the time to let down. Now is not the time to celebrate. It is time to do what we do best as a country. Our duty, our jobs. Take care of one another. And fight this to the finish.

We can and will do this. But don't let up now. Don't let up now.

Thank you. And may God protect our troops. Thank you very much.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Mr. President, Dr. Walensky said she is scared of impending doom with COVID cases on the rise. Are you?

BIDEN: I just explained it thoroughly. I hope I did. Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Mr. President, do you believe some states should pause or stop reopening efforts.

BIDEN: Yes.

(LAUGHTER)

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: We always want to hang in there because sometimes, as he walks off, he answers some of those reporters' questions.

Bottom line, it seems to me this White House is trying to make it difficult for any American not to get vaccinated, moving the goalposts in the right direction. They're besting their own vaccination timeline and their own goals.

You heard it multiple times from President Biden, 90 percent of adults will be eligible to be vaccinated in the next three weeks. Moving it up to April 19th.

He said any of the sites should be within five miles of the 90 percent of Americans. And they're also doubling the number of pharmacies where people can get your COVID-19 vaccinations.

So that just in from the president.

I want to take us back to Minneapolis, the murder trial for former police officer, Derek Chauvin, has picked up after recess. He is the one charged with multiple counts, including murder of George Floyd from last May.

[14:45:12]

This is the 911 operator. She is now being cross-examined by the defense. So let's listen in.

ERIC NELSON, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: The suspect is a black male, 6000-plus -- I mean six foot or higher.

JENA SCURRY, 911 DISPATCHER: Yes.

NELSON: OK. Sitting on top of a blue Mercedes-Benzes M.L. 320 with a particular license plate. And also noted that it appears that person is under the influence, right?

SCURRY: Correct.

NELSON: So at the time that the call came in, you would have seen that this person was suspected to be under the influence by the caller, right, as would the officers in their cars.

SCURRY: Correct.

NELSON: You indicated you had initially radio -- did you say you radioed dispatch squad 330 to this call.

SCURRY: Initially, yes.

NELSON: Right. And that was because -- do you recall where they were at the time you dispatched them?

SCURRY: No.

NELSON: Excuse me. Back on June 9th, when you spoke with Officer Pederson of BCA would you dispute me if you told they were at the precinct at the time of the call.

SCURRY: I would not dispute you.

NELSON: So at that time, you believed that squad 320, which was the sector car, was tied up but they had not cleared something from the impurity. Is that right?

SCURRY: Right. They were still on the call that they had been working on.

NELSON: Let's talk about when an officer finishes a call. Is there something an officer is supposed to do, to say, hey, I'm done with this call, I'm onto the next one? SCURRY: They can either clear over the radio with us, clear me,

whichever reported -- there's a multitude of things. Or they can clear themselves.

On my screen I have a status screen that shows me when a car is cleared, when a car is en route, when they're on scene and when they're code 4.

NELSON: OK, on one of these screens right in front of you, you have some sort of representation of each of the sector cars that you're responsible for dispatching.

So if, for example, you have a call in sector 310, and 310 is already occupied by some other call, you can send 320 or 330 or 340, or even somebody from a different precinct or sector, correct.

SCURRY: From a different precinct, it requires more conversations with a sergeant to pull response cars. It's -- the policy of calling people and getting their permission to use their cars.

But, yes, if someone is busy and I don't have a 360 or whichever precinct 60 car to use, then I have to go to the closest available. Or if there's no one close, now we have one slot available, that's the person that has to go.

NELSON: OK so when you are looking at your computer screen, do you see all of the precinct's cars and their availability? Or do you only see the second and the third precinct.

SCURRY: I only see the second and the third.

NELSON: OK. Now, so you indicated that ultimately squad 320 kind of took the call back, right?

SCURRY: Correct.

NELSON: They said, hey, we're clear we're going to go handle this call at the cup foods.

SCURRY: Correct.

NELSON: You're familiar with the -- you said you were familiar with the 38th appear Chicago intersection.

SCURRY: Um-hum, correct.

NELSON: And does it get a fair number of police calls to that area?

SCURRY: That I don't have the statistics for.

NELSON: OK.

SCURRY: And I wouldn't be able to rattle off a yes or a no. In the last year, yes. Before that I wouldn't be able to tell you.

NELSON: OK. Now, squad -- so, again, squad 30 was automatically -- excuse me quad 320 was ultimately backed up with squad 830, the park police and squad 330, Officer Chauvin's squad car, right.

SCURRY: Correct.

NELSON: And again, you -- do you recall why you backed these officers up?

SCURRY: Initially, I believe I heard a loud -- something in the background. I couldn't -- did I would have to be reminded of what exactly I heard.

NELSON: OK.

SCURRY: But it was loud. And so until they were code 4, I started a squad to back them.

NELSON: OK. So correct me if I'm wrong. You can't just hear what an officer is doing at any given time, listen in on their -- on their calls, right?

SCURRY: No, they have to radio us to let.

[14:49:58]

NELSON: All right. So when an officer pushes his button on his radio, or however they do it, it opens up the air or the microphone, so to speak, and that's what you're talking about, you're trained to listen, right?

SCURRY: Correct.

NELSON: When you spoke with Agent Peterson, do you recall telling him you heard lots of yelling and things of that nature at one point when squad 320 said they were taking one out?

SCURRY: I don't remember specifically. I believe I told him that because that was the reason why I asked for assistance.

NELSON: Right. Squad 320 didn't call in and say, hey, we need help. You heard something that was concerning to you and you sent help?

SCURRY: Correct. Then when they said they were taking one out, had they said that first, I also would have been done.

NELSON: So squad 830 was the first to respond?

SCURRY: Yes.

NELSON: And I believe that they responded -- let's see. At 8:10.38, right?

SCURRY: These actions with the ones with my numbers says backed up with 320 with 330 and 830, that is me using my tools at dispatch to just back them up. I don't see the arrival times on here.

NELSON: OK. So, this, you see here, 525 at 20:12.21, code 4, meaning all clear, right? SCURRY: To my understanding, yes.

NELSON: And then 8:30 out with 320 at 2012:55. So roughly 34 seconds later, squad 320 -- excuse me, squad 830 is out with 320?

SCURRY: Correct.

NELSON: And then you got -- there was an inquiry to get some information.

SCURRY: Uh-huh.

NELSON: And ultimately, then, at 8:20.11 there was a code 2 call for a mouth injury, right?

SCURRY: Correct.

NELSON: Meaning code 2, again, meaning just come in the matter of due course, no need to rush?

SCURRY: Routine.

NELSON: Routine, right. And then at 20:21:35, so about 1:30 later, squad 330 EMS code 3.

SCURRY: Correct.

NELSON: So someone assigned to squad 320, either Officer Chauvin or Thao called EMS and stepped them up to code 3.

SCURRY: Squad 330.

NELSON: Squad 330.

SCURRY: Right.

NELSON: Which would be Officer Chauvin or Officer Thao.

SCURRY: Correct.

NELSON: And code 3 means, get here as soon as you possibly can, correct?

SCURRY: Correct.

NELSON: Lights and sirens?

SCURRY: Correct.

NELSON: At -- now, this particular -- this particular document, exhibit 151, does not have the arrival times, correct?

SCURRY: Not printed on it, no.

NELSON: Are you familiar with other documents or other printouts that would show various arrival times? SCURRY: Yes.

NELSON: And would show other people who are associated with the case, like what -- like who is assigned to which particular squad car?

SCURRY: Yes.

NELSON: OK. If I may have just a minute, if we can take this down, Your Honor.

Mr. Frank, I'd be referencing date stamp 7438, for your information.

Would it refresh your recollection or would it help you to identify arrival times if you were to look at what's called an incident detail report?

SCURRY: Yes.

NELSON: I'll ask you if you can show this screen to the witness. This hasn't been offered, Your Honor.

UNIDENTIFIED JUDGE: (INAUDIBLE)

NELSON: I'm sorry?

UNIDENTIFIED JUDGE: (INAUDIBLE)

[14:55:03]

NELSON: (INAUDIBLE)

BALDWIN: Quick break. We'll be right back.

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NELSON: 320 took the call at 8:05.11, so very short time, right?

SCURRY: Very short time.

NELSON: Would you agree that if I told you that squad 320 arrived at cup foods at 8:08.10?

SCURRY: Correct.

NELSON: Squad 330 being assigned to Derek Chauvin, Tou Thao, squad 830 being assigned to Peter Chang, of the Minneapolis Park Police, and 320 assigned to Officers Kueng and Lane?

SCURRY: Correct.

NELSON: In terms of -- in terms of --

BALDWIN: They're in a quick sidebar. Here's the judge. They turned on the white noise machine.

You've been listening to Jena Scurry, this 911 dispatcher. We were listening to her first question by the prosecutor.

And the prosecutor essentially summed up what she did when she was watching this whole thing with Officer Chauvin's knee on George Floyd's neck and the way the prosecutor put it, like she was calling the police on the police. And now she's being cross-examined by the defense.

Elie, let me bring you in as we're a little back and forth here as they're having a little confab with the judge.

What do you make of what the defense attorney, what eric nelson is doing wither?

ELIE HONIG, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I see a couple things happening on the cross-examination.

Like you said, the point of the direct examination, the prosecutor's questioning, this is a dispatcher. She has seen and heard it all. And what she heard alarmed her enough, she tried to call it in.

One, the defense argued she had a lot going on. She was focusing on a lot of different things at once.

Two, she the ability to see and hear everything. You couldn't hear what the officers were saying to one another. She agreed, that's right, I'm a dispatcher, I could not hear that. That's a classic exchange.

The prosecutor has their point. The defense is slowly going at that and undermining the witness.

BALDWIN: She said she felt like the officer's knee was on the neck so long she felt the video froze. The prosecutor is making a significant point in that exchange.

But you're saying the defense is really trying to dilute, show she was busy, am I hearing you correctly?

HONIG: Exactly. The defense is trying to show her attention was maybe on various things at once. That's the nature of being a dispatcher. I think people can understand that.

Two, you had only a limited view, literally speaking, and big picture into what was going on.

So this judgment she made, which I think is very helpful for the prosecution, this is dangerous, this is unusual enough that I have to call it in.

The defense is saying, yes, but you weren't able to see the whole picture.

One piece of her testimony that I think is really interesting is, when you listen to that call, the dispatcher says, at the time this was happening, back on May 25th, she says something along the lines of, I don't mean to be a snitch. [15:00:06]

BALDWIN: Right.

HONIG: And I think that's helpful to the prosecution. Because it shows that she is reluctant. There's a natural reluctance in any police culture.