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Hurricane Sally Targets Gulf Coast; Interview With Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA); California Manhunt; COVID-19 Vaccine Timeline?. Aired 4:30-5p ET

Aired September 15, 2020 - 16:30   ET



JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: All right, Nick in California, thank you so much.

Joining me now to discuss, CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

Sanjay, today, the World Economic Forum said there is a strong possibility that the current manufacturing capacity of a COVID-19 vaccine may not meet the global supply need. How might that impact the timeline for a vaccine being developed and distributed worldwide?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I think it's going to be different in different places.

I mean, it may not have that much of an impact on the timeline, for example, here in the United States, Jake. I spoke to Moncef Slaoui at the end of last week. He said probably 30 to 40 million doses available at the end of this year, 300 million doses potentially available by mid-2021, and maybe up to 800 million doses by sort of the fall of next year.

It depends on a few things. I mean, that sort of counts on several vaccine makers having approved vaccines. And also, Jake, we don't know, is this going to be one shot or two shots? If it's two shots, you're talking 700 million doses you need, roughly. If it's one, then obviously half that.

So, there's still some unanswered questions in terms of figuring out that supply.

TAPPER: Not to mention what Nick just said about the fact that there's no -- that we know of, no distribution plans here in the United States, forget globally.

Two former commissioners of the FDA said that, even if a coronavirus vaccine gets a quick approval through the emergency use authorization, the EUA, it does not mean there will be faster wide deployment. Why not?

GUPTA: Well, I mean, part of that has to do with what they can already start to manufacture and what they will have manufactured by the end of the year. And just to be clear, approval different than authorization. Emergency

use authorization is this first sort of thing that they may get maybe sometime within the next few months. Approval, they will still -- most of these vaccine makers will still try and obtain months down the line.

But let me just show you. I mean, Nick is right. There's no distribution sort of plan here. But they do have an idea of who would get vaccinated first, most likely -- excuse me -- essential workers, nine million health care workers, 15 million other essential workers.

Jake, that is sort of the supply for this year, roughly, maybe a few extra million doses beyond that. But it's going to take a while to get the rest of the country vaccinated or even to get to that 60 to 70 percent of the country that would be required for that sort of more herd immunity, Jake.

TAPPER: Bill Gates, whose foundation has done several reports on COVID's global impact, he's called the U.S. response shocking and mismanaged.

And take a listen to what he had to say about the FDA.


BILL GATES, CO-CHAIR, BILL AND MELINDA GATES FOUNDATION: We saw, with the completely bungled plasma statements, that when you start pressuring people to say optimistic things, they go completely off the rails.

And so the FDA lost a lot of credibility there. Historically, just like the CDC was viewed as the best in the world, the FDA had that same reputation as a top-notch regulator.

But there's been some cracks with some of the things they have said at the commissioner level.


TAPPER: Look, I mean, every health expert I have talked to has said that the Trump administration, the Trump White House, in its politicizing of these agencies and this pandemic, has really hurt the credibility of organizations like the CDC and the FDA, not to mention Health and Human Services.

What do you make of Gates' criticism of the FDA?

GUPTA: Yes, I mean, I think it's exactly what you said.

I mean, hydroxychloroquine got an emergency use authorization, had no data behind it. As Bill Gates was just saying, they sort of really exaggerated the data around convalescent plasma. It doesn't inspire a lot of confidence.

Jake, I will say there is a whole significant process when it goes into authorizing even a vaccine. An independent body, this Data Monitoring Safety Board, they have to sort of look at data before the FDA even looks at the data to say, yes, we think now it's OK for the FDA to sort of think about authorizing this.

So, I do think there are safeguards in place. I think, if the science goes through that normal process, I think I'd be much more comfortable with this. I understand that there's some loss of confidence.

But a vaccine is different. A vaccine is something that's given to healthy people. And, as a result, I think the safeguards and the rails are stronger here. And we got to make sure that everyone is able to look at that data and they're very transparent about it.

TAPPER: Let's talk about the AstraZeneca trial that was put on pause after one trial volunteer suffered from an unexplained illness.

British regulators resumed the trial, but the NIH and FDA are still examining that side effect. What do you make of this all?

GUPTA: Jake, I don't know what to make of it right now, because there's a enough of a concern, obviously, that the trial has not resumed here in the United States, has resumed in Britain.


I think that the NIH is concerned because they just haven't seen any data or any particular samples, blood samples, to sort of give them an idea, was this for sure something that was caused by the vaccine? Was it something else entirely? How significant was the adverse effect?

There's been a strange lack of transparency. I spent some of the weekend sort of talking to some of the sources. And I just think we don't know how concerned to be right now. Obviously, the regulators in Britain said it's not of great concern, as they have resumed the trial.

TAPPER: All right, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, thank you so much, as always.

Coming up: shot several times, covered in blood, and still rushing to save her partner's life -- the new video and story of unbelievable heroism and strength after two L.A. sheriff's deputies were ambushed. That's ahead.

Stay with us.



TAPPER: Stunning new surveillance video topping our national lead today.

A Los Angeles sheriff's deputy is being credited with saving her partner's life after they were both ambushed and shot while sitting in their car Saturday night. This video might be disturbing to watch, but in it you can see the 34-year-old female deputy sheriff covered in blood after being shot in the face. She's applying a tourniquet to her fellow deputy's injuries. Both were

shot four to five times. They are expected, thankfully, to survive.

I want to bring in CNN's Sara Sidner, live from Lynwood, California.

And, Sara, the reward is now $175,000 in the manhunt for the gunman. Do investigators have any leads?

SARA SIDNER, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We have heard nothing new from investigators.

We know there was a very, very vague description of the person responsible for this. A man who had dark skin is the only thing that they had put out there, which is too vague for anyone to go on.

But we do want to show you the surveillance video. And it is incredible that these two deputies survived this, partly because of the heroism of that 31-year-old mother of a 6-year-old who helped get her partner to safety, put a tourniquet on his arm.

But you do see the shooter coming up to their vehicle as they're sitting outside of a metro station here in Compton. And he just opens fire on them. They are hit, we're told, multiple times. And you can see the female deputy, who has a gunshot wound to the face, we also learned that the 24-year-old deputy, her male partner, had a gunshot wound to the head, also to the arm, and that they were shot maybe four or five times, according to the sheriff.

They miraculously survived this, in part because of her heroism trying to get her partner settled, trying to put him behind a pillar there, worried about further gunfire. But, yes, at this point in time, there is a $175,000 reward for anyone with information that leads to an arrest.

And the manhunt is certainly under way. This has certainly upset this whole community -- Jake.

TAPPER: And, Sara, other than evil, we don't know what the motivation was for the shooter. Obviously, evil is part of it.

But you say this happened in the context of very intense tensions between some members of the Los Angeles community and law enforcement. Tell us more.


In Compton, there have been a couple of accusations about a Los Angeles sheriff's department gang being formed in the Compton department here. And they call it the executioners, according to a deputy who has filed a deposition and a complaint, saying that they were trying to use excessive force and that they were using excessive force and getting tattooed as part of a gang made up of deputies.

That accusation has gone out there. We have talked to the union about that accusation. A union rep for the sheriff's deputies has says he believes there is no such thing as a deputy-formed gang. And the sheriff said that they are looking into it, investigating.

But, certainly, there have been tensions here. And we saw that play out with about five people who came outside of this hospital as these two deputies were trying to survive, after only being on the force for 14 months.

And you heard someone say, "We hope they die."

That gives you some sense of the anger and also the disturbing comments made while these two deputies are trying to survive, Jake.

TAPPER: All right, Sara Sidner, thanks so much for.

Joining me now, Democratic Congresswoman Karen Bass of California. She's also the chair of the Congressional Black Caucus.

Congresswoman, thanks so much for joining us.

You represent parts of Los Angeles County. You heard Sara talking about tensions between law enforcement and the community. Tell us about the bigger issues that need to be addressed here.

REP. KAREN BASS (D-CA): Oh, sure. Absolutely.

Well, historically, especially in recent history, there have been a lot of tensions with the sheriff's department.

But I have to begin by just saying that my heart goes out to those officers and to their families.

TAPPER: Absolutely.

BASS: And my prayers are absolutely with them. That was horrific that happened.

But that gang issue is one that surfaces in the sheriff department every few years. And for the union to say that they don't believe that exists, I think, is a problem.

When there are problems within law enforcement, it's really important for law enforcement officers to come forward and admit it. And so that is a documented, well-documented history with that sheriff's department. Every few years, they expose another gang.

And I think it's important. It's not like the Crips and the Bloods are infiltrating the sheriff's department. They're creating their own gangs. And this has been, as I said, documented for many years.

TAPPER: Yes. And, obviously, as you made note of, this is separate and apart from the cold-blooded attack, the ambush on these two deputies.

I do have to ask you. After the deputies were shot, there were people standing outside that hospital chanting, blocking ambulances, according to the sheriff's office, saying they hope the deputies died.


How can one even attempt to begin to bridge any chasm and repair relations if people are actually hoping that two officers that were just sitting there not doing anything wrong are shot and ambushed in cold blood, people hoping that they die?

I mean, how do you repair that?

BASS: You know what? Well, I think that is horrific as well.

But I do think it's really important. Over these last few months, when we have had protests all around the country, and the overwhelming majority of the protests have been peaceful, it's really important not to collapse it all together.

So, who knows who it was that was out there chanting that? That is despicable. That should have never happened. And, for heaven's sakes, I certainly hope that that was a random act of some people, and it was not part of any organized protest.

I will tell you, though -- and I'm sure you know this -- there have been a couple of shootings in the area, officer-involved shootings in the Compton area. And I'm sure that that added to it.

But there is no excuse for that. There is no excuse for the violence against the officers, period.

TAPPER: I want to turn to the historic deal we saw at the White House today. You're on the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

The United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, two Arab countries, agreed to normalize relations with Israel today. Administrations have been trying for decades to achieve any sort of diplomatic deals, peace deals. Do you give President Trump some credit for helping to broker these deals?

BASS: Well, I give him some credit for it, but I need to know a lot more about the deal.

So, one of the reasons why the deals have been problematic in the past and haven't happened is because they tried to bring all the parties to the table. And I don't know that all the parties were to the table with these peace agreements.

I'm not exactly sure the relationship that the Palestinians had. So, I would want to delve a little deeper into that. You can't just have an agreement and just bring one side to the table. But I give him partial credit.

TAPPER: I guess one of the theories of the case is that Jared Kushner and Avi Berkowitz and the others who have been working on this, these diplomatic deals, is even -- there wasn't the war going on between Bahrain and the UAE against Israel, but this is an acknowledgement and a normalization of relationships.

And I guess the theory of the case is, if they do it, then maybe Oman will be next, maybe Saudi Arabia at some point will come forward, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera, until the Palestinians really are pressured to come to the table, and there actually can be some sort of peace. I'm not saying I buy it or I don't buy it. But that's the theory.

What do you think?

BASS: Right.

Well, I think that's the theory, but I'm not really sure that that's what leads to peace. And so, to me, peace is about bringing all of the parties together to the table, and you know that there's a variety of other problems that are happening in that area as well, internal to Israel.

Israel is certainly grappling with COVID right now. And then there's the situation with Netanyahu. So, I think, at the end of the day, peace happens when everybody's at the table.

TAPPER: I want to ask you.

You're a prominent supporter of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.

BASS: Yes.

TAPPER: One of the frequent attacks we hear from the Trump campaign is that Biden is hiding in his basement, instead of spending time on the campaign trail.

Now, obviously, that is a huge overstatement. It's campaign rhetoric. But it is true that, since the end of the conventions, President Trump has taken at least 10 trips, while Biden has taken six.

Do you want Biden to ramp up his public schedule to get out there to win this race?

BASS: Well, let me tell you, I love seeing the vice president out there.

But what President Trump is doing, exposing his own supporters -- he's very concerned about his own health. Everybody has to be tested to be around him. He makes sure he has social spacing. But he doesn't care about his own supporters.

And, Jake, you know, before this week is over, we will have lost 200,000 Americans. He obviously doesn't care about them. But what has been shocking to me is that he doesn't care about his own supporters.

And so I don't want to see Vice President Biden or Senator Harris on the campaign trail in that manner at all. I have liked what I have seen from the vice president, because the meetings and the discussions that he's had, you can see he's always following the public health protocols.

There's always social distancing there, and there are substantive conversations. President Trump is holding rallies because he needs it for his own

psychology. He needs it. The idea that he would be so callous to his own supporters is just beyond belief to me.

TAPPER: Democratic Congresswoman Karen Bass of California, good to see you again. Thank you so much for your time today. We appreciate it.


BASS: Thanks for having me on.

TAPPER: Be sure to tune in to CNN this Thursday night for a live presidential town hall with Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden in Scranton, Pennsylvania.

It's 8:00 p.m. Eastern Thursday, only on CNN.

Double disasters. Hurricane Sally could drop months of rain in just a matter of hours across the South, as wildfires fill the air with choking smoke and kill dozens out West.

We're live on the ground in both locations. Stay with us.



TAPPER: Breaking news in our national lead.

The U.S. has two natural disasters unfolding, the wildfires out West and Hurricane Sally now hitting the Gulf Coast. Sally's slow speed is a bad sign. The Category 1 hurricane is expected to linger because of its slowness, dumping record rainfall-, upwards of two feet in some spots, while only moving at about two miles per hour, slower than an average walking pace.

CNN's Ed Lavandera is in Mobile, Alabama. This area could see the worst of Hurricane Sally.

Ed the warning there, don't compare this hurricane to prior Category 1 storms.


We have seen some of the most sustained winds we have seen throughout the day here in the last hour or so. But this is really not, at least so far, a story about the wind and the damage that those fierce winds can and will bring at some point.

It really is a storm of -- a story of just how long this entire experience is going to last. We'd originally thought that Hurricane Sally would have made landfall by earlier today, but it won't make landfall until sometime tomorrow. And it is moving at a painfully slow pace, at two miles per hour. And what that does is, it allows the storm to dump record amount of

rainfall in this part of the Gulf Coast. So, those warnings from Mississippi here in Alabama, and also into Southwest of Florida as well is the areas of greatest concern here, as Hurricane Sally continues its approach.

And it almost doesn't even matter exactly where this storm makes landfall. It is wide enough to dump an incredible amount of rain throughout three of these states -- Jake.

TAPPER: Ed, you have been traveling along the Gulf Coast in the last two days or so.

From your perspective, are people there listening to the warnings?

LAVANDERA: I think they are, for the most part. They are definitely listening to the warnings.

They aren't evacuating. Many people along here, along the Gulf Coast feel comfortable riding out a storm of this level here in this region. They don't feel the need to evacuate.

But they are paying attention. We have seen hundreds of people get -- making their own sandbags and taking all of those precautions to get ready for the storm that is coming. And they are definitely -- especially if they live inland, are very aware of those flooding possibilities that will emerge here in the next day or two.

TAPPER: All right, Ed, stay safe. We will check back with you tomorrow.

Now let's go to the West Coast, where wildfires are to blame for at least 36 deaths. There's also a desperate search for the missing, more than 20 people unaccounted for at this hour. Across the U.S., there are 87 major wildfires burning right now, 25 in California alone, burning a record, record 3.2 million acres.

CNN's Kyung Lah in Monrovia, California, near the Bobcat Fire.

Kyung, you're just back from an up-close look at what firefighters are battling. What do you see?

KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You get a sense of how granular this fight is crew by crew.

First of all, I want to show you what's at stake here. You mentioned Monrovia. This is a foothill community. You can see how close we are to this neighborhood. We're just standing right in the middle of it. And then, if you look over this way, just over my shoulder, that's the view from this house.

It is an entire canyon that is on fire. That is active fire, according to the firefighters, especially on the other side of that ridge. What we did is, we went to the front edge of the fire near the Mount Wilson Observatory. We really got a sense of the dangerous terrain, the tedious fight. The conditions here are so dry. These embers get into the air. They're

flying. They hit dead tree, and then everything goes up. The ground crews, already exhausted, are then putting out these hot spots place by place using axes, chain saws, dragging hose up there, and then climbing this mountainous terrain, fire all around them, trees that are on fire that are falling.

Here's what the fire captain told us.


CAPTAIN DAVE GILLOTTE, LOS ANGELES COUNTY FIRE DEPARTMENT: I would describe it as a concerted effort to keep the fire in areas where we want it to go, to strike containment lanes, we call it the box, and keep the fire within the box, and not let it get outside of that.

There's an outside chance we just watch this, let it burn down to the road, clean it up, and hold the edges, and move on to the next spot.


LAH: And this is the Bobcat Fire. It has grown since we spoke yesterday, Jake. It is now 41,000 acres. The firefighters say it has been now nine days on the line trying to contain it.

It is simply exhausting, given the terrain. And then you mentioned the search. They really have to wait until areas across the West have the fire move through them, and then the search and recovery can begin -- Jake.

TAPPER: All right, Kyung Lah in Monrovia, California, stay safe, my friend. I will see you tomorrow.

Follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter @JakeTapper. Tweet the show @THELEADCNN.

Our coverage on CNN continues right now. See you tomorrow.