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New and Dangerous Hurricane Strikes the Caribbean; U.S. Officials Prepare for Flu Season; New Technology to Make Football Safer

Aired September 19, 2017 - 04:00   ET


CARL AZUZ, CNN 10 ANCHOR: Thank you for taking 10 for CNN 10. I`m Carl Azuz at the CNN Center.

Tuesday night, the Leeward Islands in the eastern Caribbean took another hit from an Atlantic Hurricane. This one is named Maria and it`s powerful.

And the 24 hours before it started lashing the islands of Martinique and Dominica, this hurricane had doubled in strength.

Forecasters expected Maria to be a category four storm with wind speeds of at least 135 miles per hour when it made its first landfall. But there was

some uncertainty about that because Maria was expected to keep growing.

Several Caribbean islands were devastated by hurricane Irma, less than two weeks ago. Communication lines are still down in the British Virgin

Islands and they could now get hit by Maria.

As of last night, the storm was spinning northwest toward the U.S. Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. The governor there declared a state of

emergency to free up government funds to help with disaster recovery. If Maria makes landfall there, that`s likely to happen on Wednesday.

And if it does so as a category four hurricane, it would be the first one that strong to hit Puerto Rico in 85 years.

The National Hurricane Center predicted rainfall of six to 12 inches on the island, with some areas possibly getting more than two feet of rain. That

could lead to flooding and mudslides.


AZUZ (voice-over): Ten-second trivia:

Which of the following pathogens is a virus?

Salmonella, typhoid, E. coli or influenza?

All of these options are bacteria, except for influenza -- otherwise known as the flu virus.


AZUZ: Anyone can catch the flu at anytime. But there is a flu season in the U.S. when epidemics are more likely to happen. It often starts in

October, hits its peak in midwinter and can stick around as late as May.

Scientists don`t know exactly why the flu flourishes and fall on winter months. But they think because people spend more time in doors in groups,

because they get less vitamin D from the sun, which improves the immune system and because the air is colder and drier in the winter, these factors

could all help the virus spread from one person to another.

Most people survive most flue strains, getting sick for a week or two when they catch the flu. But because the disease can be deadly, and because it

infects so many people, it`s closely tracked by health officials every year.


MIKE ROGERS, NATIONA SECURITY EXPERT: Influenza, better known as the flu, is a respiratory infection that typically lives in birds, such as chickens

and ducks. It`s a very impressive virus that can exchange parts of its genome, which are like its internal instructions with other influenza

viruses and even take on their traits.

A major outbreak of the flu typically occurs every two to three years. In 1918, the Spanish flu killed nearly 3 percent of the human population. In

2009, the swine flu reached an international headlines as it circled the globe, infecting millions.

Today, what would a large scale flu pandemic look like? Well, it could get very bad very quickly. You could expect basic services to break down

because of people staying home from work. Hospitals to be overwhelmed with sick patients and other supplies such as food and other items to become


International trade and travel could also become disruptive or severely delayed. Basically, our way of life could grind to a halt.

Here`s the good news. The government has a well-developed pandemic response around the flu. It`s modeled after what they`re calling a zombie

response. Bio surveillance programs that try to predict which strains of the virus will become the most prominent during a given flu season run year


Vaccines against the flu also prevent over 5 million cases annually. The flu maybe an every day threat, but it`s one you can prevent and prefer for.


AZUZ: From the Pop Warner league to the NFL, football season is in full swing in America, so are concerns about concussions. While football isn`t

the only sport that regularly sees these brain injuries, they often occur in soccer too, football accounts for the most concussions per year. So, a

lot of research has gone into deciding helmets that better protect the brain.

VICIS is one company doing this. Its Zero1 helmets sell for about $1,500 each. The average helmet from a college team can go for 400 bucks or less.


AHIZA GARCIA, CNNMONEY REPORTER: By now, you`ve heard the familiar story. Football has a concussion problem.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The head is a weapon on every single play, of every single game, of every single practice.

GARCIA: Today`s football helmets are effective at doing what they were invented to do, prevent skull fractures and brain bleeds. But they don`t

do much to decrease the force placed on a player`s brain in a collusion.

(on camera): Have you yourself ever had a concussion?

DOUG BALDWIN, WIDE RECEIVER, SEATTLE SEAHAWKS: Yes, ma`am, multiple concussions. There are some that are just a little stingers that you can

feel a slight headache and then it goes away. There are some that I`ve had that you don`t recognize where you are.

The product that we have now, it`s the same product we`ve had for, you know, the entirety of our careers and childhood growing up. So, there`s

not really much available in terms of the innovation for safety. Literally, there`s not much you can be concerned about because of the fact

that`s either you play or you don`t play.

GARCIA (voice-over): That`s where VICIS comes in. A startup that`s turning helmet design on its head.

DR. SAM BROWD, VICIS CO-FOUNDER, NEUROSURGEON: We`ve completely redesigned the helmet from scratch. Linear forces are less likely to cause a

concussion than rotational forces. When what we wanted to do is trying to address rotational force and reduce the energy that came to the outside of

the head. Current helmets on the market have two layers -- a hard outer shell and an inner lining of foam padding.

The VICIS helmet has four layers. The helmet works much like a car bumper, crumpling to absorb force before it can reach a player`s brain.

DAVE MARVER, VICIS CO-FOUNDER/CEO: We wanted to employ some of those principles that have been used in automotive safety, the idea of a crumple

zone or bumper, a helmet that yielded and therefore slowed impact forces before they reach the head and brain. It`s not as soft as you might think

because it has to withstand the impact forces that you see on the football field on Sunday.

GARCIA (on camera): Why columns?

BROWD: The columns are able to buckle when there`s force applied, but they can also move what we call un-directionally (ph). So, if you get one of

these side impacts or shearing type impacts that columns can actually move back and forth. And so, by doing that, they can absorb these rotational

type forces that occur.

GARCIA (voice-over): VICIS won half a million dollars as part of the NFL`s head health challenge, with General Electric and Under Armour. And the

company has a rooster of current and former players supporting its efforts.

(on camera): Why invest? Why not just say, oh, wear the helmet?

BALDWIN: You got to put your money where your mouth is, right?

We`re dealing with something right now that is threatening the future of our sport, and the only way that we can attack that and solve the issue is

by making innovative technology available for the athletes that are playing the game.

GARCIA (voice-over): VICIS is careful to say that no helmet, including its own, can prevent concussions. In fact, experts don`t fully understand if

there`s any way to prevent concussions, period.

DR. BARRY KOSOFSKY, CONCUSSION EXPERT, WEILL CORNELL MEDICINE, NEW YORK- PRESBYTERIAN: The best treatment for concussion is prevention. Linemen in football who have sub-concussive blows, they get hit on every play, is it

possible that their brains are being injured, not big injuries once, but multiple injuries every play.

Now, will improved technology partially prevent? One can only hope so. But that`s necessary but not sufficient.

GARCIA (on camera): How do we know that your helmet will actually be effective?

MARVER: Currently, helmets are accessed based on their ability to reduce impact forces. Our job is to create a helmet that mitigates those impact

forces more effectively than others. How that translates to concussion risk? We don`t know. Right now, we can demonstrate and prove that we can

reduce impact forces, that we can do that better than any helmet on the market.


AZUZ: There`s the White House and the little White House and then there`s the Snow White house. Yes, it`s real, for real people to really live in

and it`s on the market. It`s 2,800 square feet, sits on five acres in Washington state. It has four bedrooms, five baths, seven dwarfs -- OK,

not them. But it is a relatively faithful replica of the Disney cartoon house. Just don`t trust any neighbors who offer you an apple.

Now, if you`re thinking, I`m wishing I could have that, you`ll need more than a smile and a song. Magic mirror on the wall says it goes for

$775,000, which even some Disney fans would say it`s too high hoo!

But the owner is not bashful about putting a price on a fairy tale.

I`m Carl Azuz and CNN 10 hopes you live happily ever after.