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Moderna Boosts Vaccine Production, Aims for One Billion Doses This Year; Children as Young as Six Months in Stanford Vaccine Trial; Police Troubled by Video of Man Who Died in Custody; White House Weighs in on Unexplained Health Incidents; Biden at 100 Days Sees Strongest Stock Market Since JFK in 1961. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired April 29, 2021 - 15:30   ET



ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN HOST: Moderna announcing a big boost in its vaccine production. They plan to increase supply up to 1 billion doses globally by the end of the year. By 2022 they expect to produce up to 3 billion, doses.

This as we learn of a disturbing national trend taking effect in Philadelphia, with supply outpacing demand citywide, officials there warn that 4,000 doses are set to expire today. Fortunately, enough people heard that call and they have come up with a plan to get all of them administered.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN HOST: So that's good. But the widespread vaccine hesitancy as the former U.S. Surgeon General calling on the former President Trump to step up and encourage his supporters to get vaccinated.

In a new Washington Post op-ed Dr. Jerome Adams argues that to reach herd immunity we need trusted voices like former President Trump to push everyone to get their shot. Now that's something we saw Vice President Kamala Harris doing, and that was today at vaccination site in Baltimore.


KAMALA HARRIS, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: And so I am here on behalf of the president and myself to say thank you, please get the word out, ask everyone in town to roll up your sleeves, get that shot and let's keep moving.


BLACKWELL: So let's talk about children as young as six months old who are part of a COVID vaccine trial happening at Stanford University.

Dr. Zinaida Good is a postdoctoral fellow in cancer immunotherapy at Stanford, and she also signed up her two young sons to be part of the trial. Dr. Goode, thank you for being with us. One of your sons is just seven months old, and he's part of the trial. Why did you make this decision and what were your concerns as you joined this trial?

DR. ZINAIDA GOOD, STANFORD POSTDOCTORAL FELL, CANCER IMMUNOTHERAPY: Thank you for covering this trial, Victor. Of course, I wanted to protect our little kids and the only way to end this pandemic is by vaccinating kids.

I became a bit concerned that kids are now infected just as much as adults, and there's an emerging issue over long COVID in kids which is a host of virus symptoms. And I of course, wanted to protect my little ones from COVID given that it will be really tough for them to avoid exposure now that the world is opening up.

BLACKWELL: Yes, now first, let me check on the boys. Are they OK? I mean, how are they feeling after joining the trial?

GOOD: Yes, little kids get a lot of vaccines these days, and it's just another vaccine. The little baby Soren, who was 7 months and now he's just at 8 months, and he's fine. He didn't have any symptoms after the first shot, and that his brother Andel who got first shot just two weeks ago had a sore arm for a day and was a bit low on energy the day after the shot but after that everything was perfectly fine.

BLACKWELL: So let's broaden the conversation a bit. We know from a recent poll that about a third of adults under 35 have said that they are not going to get vaccinated. But to reach herd immunity, I mean, will we have to vaccinate children as young as your sons?

GOOD: We believe so, me and, I think, other -- our scientific community. Kids again are getting infected with coronavirus, and the CDC has been tracking this from the beginning.

The virus, it will not be eliminated if it circulates among our children, and of course, now that they are going to school and day cares, as the distancing and mask wearing decreases, as they go out and to do their things, the virus will keep circulating among them. And it could lead to development of variants that we really don't want to have, that may potentially be resistant to our vaccines.

BLACKWELL: Yes, absolutely. Listen, check back with us, we want to know more about how the boys are doing as this trial continues. Dr. Zinaida Good, thank you so much.

GOOD: Yes. All the best.

BLACKWELL: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: All right. Still ahead, yet another community grappling with the death of a man in police custody, this time it's in Alameda, California. So what about the body cam video in this case?



BLACKWELL: The Interim Police Chief in Alameda, California, says that he's troubled after a man died in the custody of his officers. 26- year-old Mario Arenales Gonzalez died April 19th after a struggle where he spent more than five minutes on his stomach.

CAMEROTA: The incident started when officers got two separate 911 calls, one reporting a man under the influence in a residential area, and another about a suspect in a possible theft. And when they arrived, they asked Arenales they say to give them ID. We do have parts of their body cam video to play for you, with this warning that it is disturbing.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE OFFICER: I got to identify you, so I know who I'm talking to, make sure you don't have any warrants or anything like that. OK?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE OFFICER: You come up with a plan and let me know you that you're not going to be drinking in our parks over here.

GONZALEZ: Like not this. You know, stuff like that.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE OFFICER: And then we can be on our merry way, OK. You have an I.D. on you?

GONZALEZ: Merry-go-round?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE OFFICER: Yes, like that. You have any I.D. on you?

GONZALEZ: Like this, sir?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE OFFICER: If you can't do that, then I'm going to have to take you, OK?



BLACKWELL (on camera): So the officers talk to him for at least ten minutes and then moved into detain him and that's when the struggle started.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE OFFICER: Please put your hand behind your back. OK. Please top resisting us, OK? Don't fight us.

GONZALEZ: Stop, stop, stop. No.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE OFFICER: Put your hands behind your back.


CAMEROTA (on camera): So Arenales remained pinned for more than five minutes as officers asked him to stop resisting, it is not clear what level of pressure they used.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE OFFICER: We have no weight on his chest.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE OFFICER: Can you go around there.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE OFFICER: No, no, no, no weight. No weight. No weight.


CAMEROTA (on camera): OK, so seconds later, one officer says that Arenales is unresponsive, and they begin at administering CPR. He was pronounced dead at the hospital. But autopsy and toxicology reports have yet to be released.

BLACKWELL: All right, with us now is CNN's security correspondent Josh Campbell. Josh, the officers involved we know are now on paid administrative leave, the Sheriff's office, the District Attorney's office they are conducting separate investigations. You spoke with that interim chief that we mentioned at the top, what did the Interim Chief say?

JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, he has serious questions, and in his words, he is troubled by what he saw at the end of the video, the way that this encounter ended. And just to kind of set the scene for our viewers, you know, I watched over an hour of video compilation that was released by the department, different vantage points from the officers.

You see them arrive on the scene and they are talking to him for about ten minutes, and it's clear that Arenales is either incoherent or possibly intoxicated based on those responses, and what the chief said is that in those two baskets that you saw down near Arenales' feet there were bottles of alcohol that still had the security caps on that the clerk, you know, takes off whenever you complete your purchase.

And so there was thought based on the initial police report and what the officers saw that perhaps these were stolen goods. And so the officers were trying to identify him, trying to identify him, it was actually when he tried to stand up on a stump that the officers eventually made the move to actually detain him.

One of the officers actually says we're worried about you, and that was clear throughout that encounter. They keep talking about being worried about his safety, but when they take him to the ground, obviously, that becomes a very controversial moment, you actually see the officers holding him down for over five minutes.

One of the officers actually says should we turn him on his side, the officer who had him down on the ground said, no, I don't want to lose the leverage that I had and obviously he lost consciousness. We know that he later died after that encounter.

I talked to the chief who said that he's very troubled by the way that ended, said that this remains under investigation, take a listen to what he said.


INTERIM POLICE CHIEF RANDY FENN, ALAMEDA, CALIFORNIA: I have questions on how this happened, how did we end up -- how did this transpire. And so while the videos give us a lot of information, it's not the entire story. Nobody wants to see somebody on the ground faced down any longer than is absolutely necessary, but I don't know why the officers made the decisions that they made.

We certainly train to get somebody in what's called a recovery position as soon as we possibly can, which means putting them on their side, but it has to be at a time that is safe to do so. So the investigation I am hoping will bear out what the decision points were for the officers, what was going through their mind and why they did the things that they decided to do.


CAMPBELL (voice over): So both the local county Sheriff's Department is conducting investigation as well as the District Attorney. The city is also hiring an outside investigator to look at that.

But of course the family of Arenales, they remain traumatized by this, obviously a tragedy, they've lost a loved one, one of their relatives. Arenale's brother actually spoke out saying that his brother was deprived of his humanity on that day. Take a listen to his comments.


GERARDO ARENALES GONZALEZ, BROTHER OF MAN WHO DIED IN POLICE CUSTODY: My family and I saw the footage and we know what really happened. It's painful to watch the violence and disregard for his humanity.


CAMPBELL (on camera): So this investigation remains ongoing, the community obviously asking for answers. Finally, I think it's important to note that we covered so many of these incidents where we have controversial police use-of-force, it is hard to compare different incidents. One thing that is notable though from this in watching that body camera, from the very beginning they keep talking about being concerned about him and wanting to ensure that he was OK.


But obviously that's not going to comfort obviously the family or community that is demanding answers with yet another death in custody by police.

BLACKWELL: Certainly will not, Josh Campbell for us there from Los Angeles, thank you.

CAMEROTA: Still ahead, the White House is weighing in now on these unexplained health incidents, these were first reported by CNN. So what we have just learned about these mysterious energy attacks in the nation's Capitol.


BLACKWELL: So now to that mystery that has puzzled and really concerned U.S. intelligence for the last five years.


Federal investigators are looking into at least two incidents in the U.S. that appear similar to those invisible attacks that made dozens of U.S. personnel stationed abroad sick. One of these new attacks happened near the White House.

CNN's Katie Bo Williams is covering the story for us. Katie Bo, we first started hearing about this mystery illness after U.S. workers in Cuba started experiencing symptoms. First cases date back to 2016. What do you know about the recent investigation?

KATIE BO WILLIAMS, CNN INTELLIGENCE AND NATIONAL SECURITY REPORTER: Well, the bottom line is that the intelligence community still isn't completely sure that these are even attacks at all, as opposed to some other kind of unexplained phenomena.

So what you're seeing right now is intelligence -- the intelligence community, the Department of Defense, the State Department really tracking and trying to investigate these incidents to sort of try to determine what is actually happening. They know something is happening. They know they have personnel who are experiencing these symptoms. They just don't know what or who would be behind it if it is an attack.

BLACKWELL: So, how certain are they about all of this?

WILLIAMS: As I indicated, not very certain at all. You know, at this point, you have intelligence officials that are openly saying, you know, we just don't quite understand these attacks. We don't know whether they are attacks. We don't know whether they are some other kind of incident to the point where you even have some people that still believe that they might, in fact, be psychosomatic episodes or potentially stress-related episodes. So this is really a murky space where there's a lot of uncertainty.

BLACKWELL: All right, Katie Bo Williams there with that report. Really concerning, thank you much.

CAMEROTA: So mysterious. What is it? I don't like when I hear unexplained phenomena.

BLACKWELL. Yes, that's never a good start to anything.


BLACKWELL: Unexplained phenomena.

CAMEROTA: It's really strange. BLACKWELL: So right now, the Dow is up as we near the end of the

trading day. That fits the trend so far in Biden's presidency. Stocks have been surging in these first 100 days. We'll take a look at what's behind the so-called Biden boom and who is being left out.



CAMEROTA: We are minutes away from the closing bell. The U.S. stock market has seen a major boom in President Biden's first 100 days. This is the hottest start to a new presidency since JFK in 1961. You may recall former President Donald Trump claimed the markets would, quote, implode under Biden, but the opposite has happened.

Let's bring in CNN's business lead writer, Matt Egan. So Matt, how do these gains stack up from a historical perspective?

MATT EGAN, CNN BUSINESS LEAD WRITER: Yes, Alisyn, former President Trump he didn't just say that the markets would stumble if Biden became president. He said they would outright crash, using a word that presidents typically don't use for obvious reasons.

But in any case, that rumored Biden bust has turned into a Biden boom. We have a graphic putting these gains into context. Now the S&P 500 is up about 8.6 percent from the closing bell on Inauguration Day till now. That is the best for any new president's first 100 days since JFK in 1961. It's narrowly ahead of gains under former President Obama. Almost double what we saw during the beginning of the Trump rally.

Now of course we know that the stock market is not the economy and presidents do tend to get more credit and more blame than they deserve for the stock market. But I do think that this is all significant. Because one, the doomsday warning that we heard from Trump obviously hasn't been born out but also all this really does symbolize a lot of optimism about the economy and the end of the pandemic.

In any case, Alisyn, I don't think we should expect to see President Biden in all caps tweeting about the Dow any time soon.

CAMEROTA: That's a safe bet. And what about recovering from the pandemic, how close are we?

EGAN: Well, we got more good news this morning. The U.S. economy expanded an annualize pace of 6.4 percent during the first three months of this year. That is the best first quarter since 1984 under Ronald Reagan. And this is not a one-time thing. You know, some economists are actually saying that the U.S. economy could grow at the fastest pace since 1951. I talked to one Wall Street executive this morning who said that he's the most optimistic on the U.S. economy in his whole entire lifetime.

And I think all this is for a number of reasons. Number one, of course, is the rollout of the vaccines. The fact that New York City is saying that it could reopen fully in two months is a big deal. People are going out to eat, they're going to ball games, they're going flying. You know, this is all really, really helpful.

We also have the Federal Reserve still has rock bottom interest rates. And the big thing is all the aid that Congress has pumped in, stimulus checks, forgivable loans, aid to local governments.

So, the good news is that the U.S. economy could actually be back at the pre-pandemic levels later this summer. That's a big milestone.

The bad news, though, is that the U.S. is still down almost 8 million jobs relative to before the pandemic. Women have been hit really hard by the health crisis. More than 2.5 million women have dropped out of the workforce, minorities and low-income workers are also struggling. So that's why we heard President Biden last night make a case for further investments in the economy.

CAMEROTA: Now, Matt, thank you very much. And we really appreciate knowing that the stock market is not always an accurate reflection of the job market.

BLACKWELL: That's true. There are a lot of people who are still struggling out there. Although some people have made a lot of money over this last year or so.

CAMEROTA: That is true as well.

BLACKWELL: All right, The Lead with Jake Tapper starts right now.