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Biden Goal: 70 Percent of Adults Get a Vaccine Shot by July 4; Critics Blame Modi Government for Mishandling Crisis; Facebook to Announce Decision on Trump's Account; Lawyers for Derek Chauvin File Motion for New Trial. Aired 4-4:30a ET

Aired May 5, 2021 - 04:00   ET



ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN ANCHOR: Hello and welcome to our viewers joining us here in the United States and all around the world. You are watching CNN NEWSROOM and I'm Rosemary Church.

Just ahead, U.S. President Joe Biden sets an ambitious new target, give at least 70 percent of American adults one dose of the COVID vaccine by Independence Day, we will look at whether that can be achieved.

Plus, will former President Donald Trump be allowed to return to social media? Facebook's oversight board is set to rule on that in just a few hours.

And two Americans on trial in Italy for allegedly murdering a police officer will soon learn their fate. We're live outside the Italian prison where that trial is being held.

Good to have you with us. Well, the U.S. president who was quick to tap 200 million vaccine shots under his administration now has an even more ambitious goal. Joe Biden wants 70 percent of American adults to get at least one vaccine dose by Independence Day. The fourth of July. President Biden is also pushing to get more teenagers vaccinated. Erica Hill has the details.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I want American parents to know that if that announcement comes, we are ready to move immediately, ready to vaccinate those adolescents as soon as the FDA grants it's OK.

ERICA HILL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): That authorization for Pfizer's vaccine for 12 to 15-year-olds could come early next week.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It certainly gets us closer to herd immunity.

HILL (voice-over): The company says, its data show 100 percent efficacy in that age group. As for younger kids, Pfizer is targeting September to apply for Emergency Use Authorization for two to 11-year- olds.

DR. LYNN PAXTON, HEALTH DIRECTOR, FULTON COUNTY GEORGIA: Maybe this is our opportunity to enlist those kids to bug their parents who might not have gotten vaccinated to get vaccinated. Hey, let's work with smoking.

HILL (voice-over): Access is also key. The President touting a new website and text option to find nearby doses along with plans to shift supply to rural areas.

BIDEN: Our goal by July 4th is to have 70 percent of adult Americans, at least one shot, and 116 million Americans fully vaccinated.

HILL (voice-over): 56 percent of adults have at least one shot. But the average daily pace of vaccinations is slowing down nearly 27 percent in the last two weeks.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We know these vaccines are incredibly safe. We got to get on our toes here.

HILL (voice-over): Biden encouraging states to offer incentives to boost that number.

BIDEN: Ticket giveaways in stadium vaccination programs, discounts on merchandise and other creative ways to make it easier and more fun to get vaccinated.

HILL (voice-over): Several states and cities already on board. In Seattle, shots will be available at the Mariners home game starting tonight. And in New Jersey, free beer.

GOV. PHIL MURPHY, (D) NEW JERSEY: Any New Jerseyan who gets their first vaccine dose in the month of May and takes their vaccination card to one of the following participating breweries as proof of vaccination will receive a free beer.

HILL (voice-over): Meantime, reopening plans are in full swing.

MAYOR LORI LIGHTFOOT, (D) CHICAGO: Our goal, ladies and gentlemen is to be fully open by July 4.

HILL (voice-over): Chicago's massive Auto Show is set to return in mid-July, Pennsylvania, May 31 to drop COVID gathering restrictions. While in Oklahoma, it's returned to normal life today.

GOV. KEVIN STITT, (R) OKLAHOMA: Back in February, I cast the vision that we would get our summer back. Oklahoma, now is the time

HILL: Here in New York the city is aiming to bring students back full- time for school in the fall, but says remote learning is actually here to stay for snow days.

In New York I'm Erica Hill, CNN.

(END VIDEOTAPE) CHURCH: And Dr. Anthony Fauci appeared on CNN to discuss President Biden's new vaccination goal. He says it'll be a challenge, but one that's doable.


DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR U.S. NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: The important thing that people need to remember is that when you have a large cohort of people to vaccinate it's easier to get a larger number on a per-day vaccination. We were between 3 and 4 million per day. As the pool of people who are unvaccinated gets smaller, it gets a little bit more difficult and that's the reason why you want to do a modification of strategy.


I think we're going to be able to do it. I mean, it's a challenging goal, but I think it's a doable goal. As the president said, you want to get 100 million vaccinations in the next 60 days. I believe we can do that.


CHURCH: Joining me now from Los Angeles is CNN medical analyst Dr. Jorge Rodriguez. Thank you so much doctor for talking to us and for all that you do.


CHURCH: So facing pressure to do a better job showing the benefits of getting vaccinated and returning to some level of normalcy, President Biden announced this new goal Tuesday to get 70 percent of adults vaccinated with at least one dose of the COVID vaccine by July 4th. Right now we're around about 56 percent. But how is he going to convince those still hesitant to get the shot? What are they waiting to hear?

RODRIGUEZ: Well, I think they're waiting to hear that if we do that, and I think it's very accomplishable, that life will return to some semblance of normalcy and I think it will. And I think we need to take California and Los Angeles where I am now as the model. The state of California has reached approximately 50 percent of the people vaccinated either with a total or first dose. We're calling this the tipping point.

Our infectivity rate is .6 percent. Things are going to be opening up. It's one of the lowest, if not the lowest in the country. So when we reach that level we may not reach herd immunity, but we will reach a point where we really can start being a little more normal-ish, if you will.

CHURCH: Right, we want that of course. And the FDA is on the verge of approving the Pfizer vaccine for 12- to 15-year-olds, those kids make up about 5 percent of the U.S. population. So what's the best way to get them vaccinated and convince their parents that they need to do this? RODRIGUEZ: Well, I think the parents need to know that their children

are at risk for contracting COVID. Where a segment of the population has been vaccinated and there is a segment that has been left unvaccinated, that is the segment that the virus is going to prey upon. That's going to be the children. Therefore, if they want the children to return back to school they should be vaccinated. If they want their children to be safe and not contract COVID, they should be vaccinated. That should be enough to convince, I think, almost any parents.

CHURCH: Yes, it's so important to get that messaging right, isn't it, because for some people they understand it, others are still digging their heels in and coming up with all sorts of conspiracy theories in relation to that. So how worried are you that this pandemic could be prolonged and even return with a vengeance in the winter if not enough Americans and other global citizens get vaccinated? India of course being a stark reminder that this is not over yet.

RODRIGUEZ: Honestly speaking I'm quite concerned. And I think that people need to realize that, that unless we have a global effort to stop COVID infections, this is going to linger for years, not for months, but for years. You have to realize this is almost a year and a half since we already started, and the virus started in China. So if you have pockets of infection throughout the world, those pockets are going to create mutations, they are going to spread. We're in this together. So am I concerned? Yes. And I think the reality is that unless people really buckle up, do their bit, get vaccinated, this is going to be prolonged for years.

CHURCH: Yes, and of course we know from data that 20 percent of Americans are resistant not just hesitant, but resistant to getting this vaccine. So if we can find out some sort of message to reach those people, that's what we need. Dr. Jorge Rodriguez, thank you so much for joining us.

RODRIGUEZ: My pleasure, Rosemary.

CHURCH: And we head to India next where the COVID crisis accounts for one in every four coronavirus deaths and nearly half of all infections in the world in the past week. That is according to the World Health Organization. The government reported nearly 3,800 deaths today. Meanwhile, a court in the most populous state says patients dying due to lack of oxygen is nothing short of genocide. And many are blaming Prime Minister Nagendra Modi's government. CNN's Charissa Ward has our report.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Modi. Modi. Modi. Modi.

CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): As a raging pandemic tore across the country, thousands flocked to the streets for political rallies with hardly a mask in sight. At one gathering, India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi praised the turnout.

I've never seen such huge crowds at a rally. On that same day, more than 260,000 new cases of COVID were recorded in India. Shortly after, millions of worshippers were allowed to congregate for the end of the week's long Hindu Kumbh Mela pilgrimage.


After all Modi had already declared victory against COVID.

NARENDRA MODI, INDIAN PRIME MINISTER (through translator): In a country where 18 percent of the world population lives, we averted a major tragedy by effectively controlling the coronavirus. We saved mankind from a big disaster by saving our citizens from the pandemic.

WARD (voice-over): As the second wave of coronavirus ravages this country, those words have come back to haunt Modi. Critics accuse him of putting his political interests ahead of the health of the nation.

YAMINI AIYAR, CENTRE FOR POLICY RESEARCH: We didn't even ask the question of what we needed to do based on learning from this last year in the event that we'd have a second wave. A second wave was never off the table. You just had to look around the world. You don't have to be a scientist to say that. We did nothing. Instead, we celebrated a bit too prematurely, Indian exceptionalism.

WARD (voice-over): Now, India's health care system is on the brink of collapse, with shortages of everything from doctors and drugs to beds and oxygen after years of neglect.

WARD: It was always going to be difficult to contain the spread of COVID here in India. This is a densely populated country of nearly 1.4 billion people. The Indian government is blaming the rapid spread on this new double mutant variant. And it says that it warns states to remain vigilant.

WARD (voice-over): Still, many doctors agree that the devastating toll of this second wave could have been mitigated with better preparations and a coordinated response. Assured of victory against the virus, India began exporting the vaccines it was producing instead of inoculating its own population.

WARD: How much responsibility does Prime Minister Modi bear for this?

AIYAR: He's the prime minister of the country. He takes full responsibility for all that we do good and all that goes wrong.

WARD: Do you think this will have an impact on his popularity?

AIYAR: I think as of now, what we have seen especially over the last three weeks is complete policy abdication and certainly I hope that we hold our government accountable for what we are seeing today.

WARD: The government has announced a raft of measures to try to combat this crisis, including drafting in medical students to help doctors, getting the navy involved, getting the air force involved, but some are saying simply that it's too little too late. And while it's not clear what the political fallout might be for Prime Minister Modi, people are saying here that this problem is not going away. One state health minister warning that there could be a third wave on the horizon.

Clarissa Ward, CNN, New Delhi.


CHURCH: So let's bring in CNN's Anna Coren following developments live from Hong Kong. Good to see you, Anna. Of course, a lot of questions being asked about will the medical aid coming from overseas is being distributed and where Prime Minister Modi is right now because no one has seen him. What is going on?

ANNA COREN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: He has been MIA now, Rosemary, for more than two weeks. Yes, he is tweeting and if you go to his Twitter account you can see him tweeting about certain policies and congratulating certain ministers on political results. But really when it comes to a commander in chief, addressing his nation in a time of crisis, he is virtually absent. And people are saying it is time for him to speak up and speak to his people.

You mentioned the aid, more than 300 tons of aid has arrived in the last five days, and once again, where is this aid? Why isn't it getting to the hospitals that so desperately need it? We know there is acute shortage of everything, in particular oxygen, those acute shortages of oxygen are still being felt across the country and in the capital Delhi.

The health ministry today, Rosemary, said that it set up two oxygen plants to try to alleviate some of those shortages that the capital is facing, another five plants will follow, but it's very slow moving. And you know, we have been covering this story now for two weeks and the question is why is it taking too long when you've got 36 countries from around the world pledging aid, sending it, why are people still dying?

The high court of Allahabad in Uttar Pradesh, which is the most populous state in India, 200 million people. Also one of the hardest hit states during this second wave. The high court there has been scathing of its criticism of the state government in its mishandling of the oxygen crisis. It has described it as a criminal act and nothing short of genocide.


I mean, such strong language, unfortunately, the ramifications are not there. This is really just a slap on the wrist, but people in India are feeling it is up to them to look after one another because their government has abandoned them -- Rosemary.

CHURCH: Yes, it is unacceptable and of course a life/death situation. Anna Coren bringing us up to date from her vantage point there in Hong Kong. Many thanks.

Well, Donald Trump was suspended indefinitely from Facebook in January, but will that decision be reversed just hours from now? We will find out.


CHURCH: Welcome back, everyone. Well we could learn in a matter of hours whether former President Donald Trump will be able to reconnect on Facebook or be permanently banned. The company's oversight board is set to announce its decision four months after his account was suspended following the Capitol insurrection. CNN's Donie O'Sullivan has more now from Washington.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For the first time ever --


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: President Trump has been banned indefinitely from Facebook.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Banned from Facebook, 35 million followers.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They believe that the risks of allowing the president to continue to allow the service is too great.

DONIE O'SULLIVAN, CNN BUSINESS REPORTER (voice-over): A move that shook the political and technology world, Facebook and Twitter's decision to suspend Trump after the deadly January 6th insurrection.


BRIAN STELTER, CNN CHIEF MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Facebook one of the biggest companies in the world is afraid that the outgoing president will use its platforms to continue to incite violence and riots.

SHERYL SANDBERG, COO, FACEBOOK: The risk to our democracy was too big that we felt we had to take the unprecedented step of what is an indefinite ban and I'm glad we did.

O'SULLIVAN (voice-over): But now Trump may be allowed back on Facebook and Instagram.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I guess the request he is what's the line of how political they should be, especially as we move past his presidency.

O'SULLIVAN (voice-over): Facebook has set up an oversight board, it's a kind of supreme court for the platform. It's made up of experts in areas like free expression, human rights and journalism from all around the world. They review decisions made by Facebook to see if they were fair. The board's first big test is whether Facebook should have suspended Trump.

SUZANNE NOSSEL, FACEBOOK OVERSIGHT BOARD MEMBER: The oversight board if it takes on a case will review that and apply Facebook's own community standards and international human rights law to decide kind of thumbs up or thumbs down whether the right decision was made, whether it should be reversed.

THOMAS HUGHES, DIRECTOR, OVERSIGHT BOARD ADMINISTRATION: This case has two components to it. The first component is, did they take the right decision on the 7th of January when they prohibited now former President Trump from posting content on Facebook and Instagram. The second component is a broader question around what is the appropriate course of action when we are talking about political leaders.

O'SULLIVAN (voice-over): It's the first time a tech company has tried something like this.

HUGHES: The importance of the oversight board can't be understated and arguably from my perspective probably the most important thing for the last, you know, decade or two to emerge in terms of human rights and digital rights and freedom of expression in relation to the digital era.

O'SULLIVAN (voice-over): Critics of Facebook argue the oversight board as not truly independent of Facebook. Susan Nossel is the head of the free expression organization, Penn America. But she only recently joined the Facebook oversight board and will not be involved in the Trump decision. Nossel told CNN the board is not just about Facebook doing the right thing.

NOSSEL: You know obviously, Facebook has its own motives in this, you know, let's be clear, they're a profit-making enterprise, they wouldn't have done this if they didn't think it was good for business. They have taken some steps in putting money in a trust and creating an independent set of trustees that oversee the board itself. And so there's some efforts to make it genuinely arm's length. Whether those go far enough we will have to see. But I think it's crucial if the board is going to play any kind of useful role that that independence be absolutely respected.

O'SULLIVAN (voice-over): On Wednesday, all eyes will be watching as the board makes a decision that will send ripples through the Republican Party, Washington, D.C. and across the world.

HUGHES: This is most certainly a consequential case also, not only of course for the United States, but the world as well.

O'SULLIVAN: And what this board decides to do with Trump's account will set an important precedent possibly for other world leaders, for dictators in other parts of the world. Essentially if he is allowed back on Facebook one could argue that Facebook is saying you can use our platform as a world leader to inspire a deadly insurrection and we will not suspend you indefinitely. That you can eventually come back on our platform.

But on the flip side of this, of course, is there are many concerns about the power of Silicon Valley, the power of companies like Facebook that no company like Facebook that play such an important role in public discourse should be able to kick off a world leader as it did with the president -- the then president of the United States back in January.

Donie O'Sullivan, CNN, Washington.


CHURCH: Lawyers for Derek Chauvin have filed a motion for a new trial arguing the interests of justice and abuse of discretion that deprived Chauvin of a fair trial. It comes as one of the jurors is explaining his decision to take part in a march on Washington rally last year. CNN's Adrienne Broaddus has more.


BRANDON MITCHELL, JUROR IN TRIAL OF DEREK CHAUVIN: I'm a high school basketball coach and a podcast host.

ADRIENNE BROADDUS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Brandon Mitchell is better known as juror 52 in the Derek Chauvin murder trial that ended last month. But now the 31-year-old high school basketball coach is responding to criticism surrounding this photo. It shows Mitchell wearing a Black Lives Matter baseball cap on a T-shirt saying, quote, get your knee off our necks.

Mitchell told the "Star Tribune" this photo was posted to his uncle's Facebook account after the march on Washington last August, commemorating Martin Luther King Jr.'s I have a dream speech.


Mitchell did confirm or deny the photo's authenticity to CNN. That event also known as the "get your knee off our neck" commitment march included demanded for police reform and racial equality. Mitchell told out affiliate WCCO, he participated in a voter registration drive in Washington not a protest.

MITCHELL: It was used to get people to get voter turnout. I was being a part of that and being able to attend the same location Martin Luther King gave his speech was a historic moment.

BROADDUS (voice-over): During jury selection questioning Mitchell was specifically asked by attorneys about protests in the twin cities immediately following George Floyd's death last year. He told the "Star Tribune" he responded no to the following questions. Did you or someone close to you participate in any of the demonstrations or marches against police brutality that took place in Minneapolis after George Floyd's death? And other than what you have already described above, have you or anyone close to you participated in protests about police use of force or police brutality? Last week Mitchell talked to us about his experience.

MITCHELL: I feel like the evidence was overwhelming.

BROADDUS: Why did you want to be a member of this jury?

MITCHELL: I personally felt like it was a historic moment. By me just being on the jury alone and being a black man from Minneapolis, that alone was already a historic moment just by being on the jury regardless of what the verdict would have been. (END VIDEOTAPE)

CHURCH: CNN's Adrienne Broaddus with that report.

Time for a short break now, but when we come back, investigators are trying to figure out what caused the deadly metro collapse in Mexico City and they are calling in international experts to help.