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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees

Biden Meets With Democrats, Vows "We're Going To Get This Done"; CA Will Require COVID Vaccine For K-12 Students To Attend School Once Shots Granted Full Federal Approval; Possible Sightings Of Gabby Petito Fiance In North Carolina. Aired 9-10p ET

Aired October 04, 2021 - 21:00   ET




ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening. Chris is off tonight.

Topping this special late edition of 360, with Democratic lawmakers still struggling to bridge their divide, over two huge pieces, of their domestic agenda, President Biden went to the Hill, telling lawmakers, today, "Take all the time you need."


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: I'm telling you, we're going to get this done.


BIDEN: It doesn't matter when. It doesn't matter whether it's in six minutes, six days, or six weeks. We're going to get it done.


COOPER: His visit and those words now give House and Senate Democrats time to agree on the size and scope of new social spending, and then vote in the House, on the bipartisan infrastructure bill, which was being held up by the negotiations.

And just a short time ago, House Speaker Pelosi, who's been pushing to get this done, this week, sent a so-called "Dear Colleague" letter, to members, agreeing that more time was needed.

Now, in our last hour, I spoke with the Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, who was pleased by tonight's outcome.


REP. PRAMILA JAYAPAL (D-WA): We are doing the, you know, the work, we need to do, to go back, and look at our priorities, and make sure that we are really thinking through, what we need, to have in this bill, and how we can come to agreement. Those - that is the negotiating process. And I'm thrilled that it is really happening.

You know, look, I think that we will do the work we need to do. And I am confident that we are going to get there.


COOPER: So, in the meantime, the House, tonight, passed 30 days, of stopgap money, for the Highway Trust Fund, which lapsed overnight.

Now, that said, the focus tonight is on the big stuffs. CNN's Jeremy Diamond, with the President's role, in it, tonight, and in the days ahead, and CNN's Lauren Fox, at the Capitol, with more, on how Democrats bridge that divide. She also got breaking news, as well, on a change in the Republican ranks.

But first, the White House, and Jeremy Diamond, so, how's the White House feeling tonight, about this meeting, between the President and Democrats, on the Hill?

Clearly, it seems, from Congresswoman Jayapal, the progressives are at least now going to be looking - are going to be going back, looking at where, she said, their priorities, and perhaps coming down from that number, of $3.5 trillion.


And that's one of the reasons, why, White House officials, who, I've spoken with tonight, feel pretty good, about how the President's visit, to Capitol Hill, Wednesday. They feel like the President accomplished what he went there to do. And that was a few things.

First of all, it was to remind all of these members, of what is at stake, to try and bridge those divisions, between the progressive and moderate factions, of the Democratic Party.

But more importantly, it was really to try and relieve some of the pressure that has been building up, on Capitol Hill, over the last several days.

Now, what's interesting about that is the White House and the President have very much been a part of that build-up, that pressure that was building up, over the last several days, very much pushing, yesterday, for example, for that, a vote, on the infrastructure bill, to actually happen.

But since that collapsed, the President, today, went in very much with this mindset, of trying to release some of the pressure.

And they believe - the White House believes that that's going to give some space now, for those negotiations, to go more in-depth, and to happen now in a way that both sides have kind of crystallized their positions, publicly, and are also more committed, to actually getting to a deal.

COOPER: Is there any timeline, from the White House? I mean, I know the President made a point of saying, you know, it could be as long as whatever.

But obviously, there is - Speaker Pelosi, whether you think she should have set a deadline or not, she did bring this to a head. If there's no urgency, this could just drag on.

DIAMOND: Yes, that is also one of the risks here. And so, it's interesting, we've heard the White House focus, on this deadline, on these self-imposed deadlines.

Even earlier today, the White House Press Secretary, Jen Psaki told me that she believes that some of these artificial deadlines actually are helpful. Now, today, we hear the President talking about six days, six weeks.

Look, ultimately, this Surface Transportation bill was reauthorized, for another 30 days. I think that's going to be part of the timeline here that the White House is looking at. But look, there's no question that the White House is not going to take a pause here. They are going to remain involved.

But perhaps there's a new mindset here. One thing to be clear, the President returned from Capitol Hill. He went right into the Oval Office, and he sat down with some of his senior aides, to debrief, and to talk about the steps ahead.

One of those steps ahead, next week, not only is going to be involved - being involved with these negotiations, but also traveling, across the country, to try and use the presidential bully pulpit, and try and bring up some pressure, from that side of things, rather than just here, in Washington.

COOPER: Jeremy Diamond, thanks.


Now, let's go to the Capitol, and the work still to be done, for Democrats. CNN's Lauren Fox is there.

So, Lauren, what is the sense, behind-the-scenes, of how far moderates and progressives are willing to bend, to get a compromise?

LAUREN FOX, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, some moderates are really frustrated tonight, Anderson, because remember, they had been promised this vote, on Monday. Then that promise got shifted to Thursday, then today.

And, of course, we end the night, knowing that there will not be a vote on the floor of the House of Representatives, on that bipartisan infrastructure bill. So, the frustration is very much a part of how moderates are feeling tonight.

But progressives, I think, making clear that they want to have more conversations. What they had wanted all along was clarity, from Manchin and from Sinema, two moderates in the Senate, who they believed had not been forthcoming, about what they wanted. What has this week brought them? Well, it brought them, Manchin saying, out loud, "$1.5 trillion" was his number. And he didn't just say it once. He said it repeatedly. And I think that that was a big moment, for progressives, feeling like this negotiation is now really going to take off, but there's a lot of work still to do.

And in her "Dear Colleagues" letter, the Speaker really got into how much more work there is.

She said, "More time is needed to complete the task. Our priority is to create jobs on the health care, family and climate agenda. That's a shared value. Our Chairs are still working for clarity and consensus. Clearly, the Bipartisan Infrastructure bill will pass once we have agreement on the reconciliation bill."

Once again, Anderson, moderates saying that was not the deal. The deal was to bring a bipartisan infrastructure bill to the floor. They're expressing frustration. But that's where things land tonight.

And hopefully, over the weekend, as members go home, and they have some time apart, perhaps they'll come back, next week, ready to dig back in.

COOPER: What about House Republicans? There's some new reporting tonight that they may be rethinking their support for the infrastructure bill.

FOX: Well, we always expected there was going to be a handful of Republicans, many aides that I was talking to, were saying that number was probably around 12 to 20, who might vote for the bipartisan infrastructure bill.

Remember, it passed in the Senate with 19 Republican votes. And some of those senators, who were supportive, were working their colleagues, in the House of Representatives, trying to get their Republicans, across the Capitol, to vote in support of that bill, because Republican leaders were whipping against it.

Now we're learning that some of those Republican members, who had been thinking about voting, for the bipartisan infrastructure bill, may not do that now.

Because they feel like this announcement tonight, by Pelosi that she was not going to bring the bill to the floor means that this bigger $3.5 trillion, or smaller package, however large it turns out to be, social safety net bill, is so tied inextricably to the bipartisan infrastructure bill, Anderson.

And they're concerned, because the argument behind-the-scenes that leadership has been making, according to aides, I've been talking to, is that bipartisan infrastructure bill is a gateway drug to the bigger Democratic socialist package. That's what Republicans are calling it.

So that means that if you vote for the bipartisan bill, you're helping bring that bigger bill along, some Republican senators trying to say that that's not the case. But now that Pelosi is saying these two bills are so linked, that really gives Republicans, who are thinking about helping pass that bipartisan bills, some pause.

COOPER: All right. Lauren Fox, appreciate it.

FOX: Anderson?

COOPER: Thank you.

Joining us now, one, of the recipients, of Speaker Pelosi's "Dear Colleague" letter, Congressman Ro Khanna, member, of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, and the Deputy Whip, in it.

Congressman, thanks for being with us.

You heard Congresswoman Jayapal suggest that progressives are now going to go back, look at priorities, may be willing to negotiate a lower-dollar figure, for the, as it stands, $3.5 trillion social safety net.

Do you agree with that? And how tough do you expect these negotiations to be?

REP. RO KHANNA (D-CA): I do. The progressives have always said we will negotiate.

The President was inspiring today. He said, "Look, I'm a moderate Democrat. I ran as a moderate Democrat. But I believe that we need to have a consensus, on the bigger bill, to pass infrastructure." And that has been the progressive position.

And the other thing he said that is so important, Anderson is he said, "Tell me what you're for.

We are for childcare for everyone. We are for making sure people get to go to community college without debt. We're for seniors getting dental and vision. We are for bold policies on the climate crisis.

And those, who are opposed to that, tell me what policies you're not for."

And I think that will help us get to consensus.

COOPER: Can you explain, I mean, just what in your view, what has changed from just a day ago? I mean, aside from President Biden, coming to the Hill, and telling the Democratic caucus, to take some more time on this?

KHANNA: Well, presidents matter. I mean, the President coming to the Hill is a big deal.

And a lot of people, frankly, were looking for direction, from the President. I mean, it was sort of like reading tea leaves. Everyone wanted to interpret the President, to conveniently fit their vision.


And today, the President said, "Here's what I think." To the moderates, he said, "Look, we have to do both bills."

And frankly, to the progressives, he said, "You're not going to get $3.5 trillion." He was pretty clear. He said, "I've been spending hours with the two senators. I want the $3.5 trillion. It was - I wrote the bill. But we're not going to get it. That's reality. So, compromise. Come down. Tell me what you really need."

And I just think he was such a straight-shooter. And he's going to get a response from the caucus that is going to be more unified today than we were 24 hours ago.

COOPER: The figure of $2 billion is now seems to be kind of on a lot of people's lips. What do you - what do you think when you hear that?

KHANNA: Well, I think we should do what the President suggested, which is to first say, what are the priorities, add that up, and see where it totals, and then see where Senator Manchin, Senator Sinema disagree.

So, what is it that they don't want to fund? They don't want to fund the vision, and dental, visits for seniors? Is it that they don't want to fund free community college? Is it that they don't want to fund paid family leave? And then we can have the conversation.

But I don't think we should start with a topline. We should start with what are the programs. They may have programs, they just don't want. And we do have to compromise.

COOPER: And, at this point, you're not - you're not clear on that? You don't know where they stand, on those specifics?

KHANNA: I'm not clear. I don't think the President is clear. I don't - I don't think, at least, with Senator Sinema, I think we don't have those specifics.

There has been progress. I think Senator Manchin has put out a fairly detailed proposal.

COOPER: Right.

KHANNA: And having further conversations. And Senator Sinema has started to engage. So, we're moving in the right direction.

COOPER: Just finally? One of your Democratic colleague, Congressman Stephanie Murphy, who's part of the more moderate Blue Dog Coalition, released a statement tonight, saying in part, "I'm profoundly disappointed and disillusioned by this process."

She went on to criticize the Speaker's decision to delay the infrastructure vote, again, as well as Democratic colleagues, who Congresswoman Murphy says, made a, quote, "Misguided attempt," to exert leverage, over the reconciliation bill.

How do you respond?

KHANNA: No one's going to exert leverage over President Biden. I mean, he's been a senator for 36 years, two-term vice president, he beat Donald Trump. This is what he wants. And that's what we were always saying.

I mean, the idea that a few progressives, in the House, are going to exert leverage, over the Speaker, or the President, is just not true. This is his bill. He wants both of them, because he wants to help people.

And Stephanie Murphy has been a constructive voice. I hope she will get behind the President's vision.

COOPER: Congressman Khanna, appreciate it. Thank you.

KHANNA: Thank you.

COOPER: Next, two political professionals, with years of experience, in the kind of moments that make or break presidencies, their take on the President's decision, to call a timeout.

And later, new developments, in the manhunt, for Brian Laundrie, and possible sightings in this search, we'll hear how realistic those might actually be.

We'll be right back.



COOPER: Talking tonight, about President Biden's attempt, to get Democratic lawmakers, back from the brink, and onto the same page, on legislation, vital to his political future, their political future, and, they would argue, a better future for millions of Americans.

Now, joining us now, two veteran Democrats, and CNN political commentators, who have seen a lot of moments, like this, unfold, from inside the West Wing, specifically the Clinton West Wing, Paul Begala, and Joe Lockhart.

Good to see you both.

So Paul, so the President's visit to the Capitol, I mean, seem to have certainly helped tamp down some tensions, between the progressives and moderates. The ideological divide, that's not going anywhere.

What do you make of how split the party has become, and where it goes from here?

PAUL BEGALA, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I do think he did a good job, tamping things down.

When he went up there, I thought it meant that the deal was done, because usually you don't deploy the big gun there, until the, you know, just to seal the deal. That wasn't the case. But he needed to go. He did something very artful. I listened carefully to Ro Khanna, Congressman from California, you just interviewed, one of the ablest smartest members of the progressive wing, or the whole Congress, if you ask me. He's happy.

Now listen to what Biden did. He said, "I've got to have both, the roads and bridges infrastructure package, and the health and education and childcare package." That made Khanna and the liberals very happy.

Then, he said, "But we're going to have to come down, from $3.5 trillion, to maybe $2 trillion." That's about a 40 percent cut. And it's still the liberals are happy about that. That's a pretty artful thing.

Now, I talked to some moderates, who are still pretty crabby. They're pretty unhappy. But yes, they go home for the weekend. My guess is, in those moderate districts, they're going to hear, "You guys better get something done, or we're going to fire you." And so, that's why, I think, the pause was really very, very wise.

Biden knows what he's doing. Look, he's been a senator, since, I think, since they shot Alexander Hamilton. So, he knows what he's doing.

COOPER: Joe, how do you see it?

JOE LOCKHART, FORMER CLINTON WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Yes, I think Paul's right. I think what the President did is he went up there, and he split the baby. He gave both sides a reason to move forward, broke the logjam. And he needed to do it.

I think the more broad question, though, is on where the party is, is I think what's getting lost here is what's actually in the bill. It is a shift. It's a shift, I think, that is long overdue, that really reinforces the safety net that's been under attack, since the 1980s.

And I think everyone is going to have to look at the benefits of universal pre-K, community college, paid family leave, expanding Medicare, and also a lot of stuff on climate.

And I think it does reflect, the bill itself, from an ideological point of view, reflects a shift in the Democratic Party. It has moved from the party, Paul and I, I think, worked hard on, bringing it to a more centrist party, to a party that's reflecting, I think, where the country is, which has become more progressive, over the last two decades.

COOPER: So Paul, does that mean then, I mean, Republicans are enjoying this, and enjoying running on, socialism taking over America?

BEGALA: Yes, they probably will. But I'd be really careful.

Because, Joe's right, if they get to the specifics, right, if they say, "I think your childcare should cost less. I think your health insurance premium should come down. I think your prescription drug should cost less. I think your grandma should be able to get help with her dental, and vision, and hearing," those are really popular things.

They got to move away from the price tag. And when they do, that's fine. That's going to be good for the Democrats.


I am struck, by Lauren's reporting, earlier in this hour, when she said, the 19 senators, in the Republican Party, 38 percent, of their Conference, voted for this.

So if you do the same math in the House, there should be about 80 House Republicans, for this. And it looks like it's dwindling down to a handful, or maybe even zero. I'm not really sure that's good politics.

They can sloganeer about socialism. But heck, they did that about Bill Clinton, who was the moderate. So, they're always going to do that.

If you get to the specifics, do you think your kid should be able to go to community college, if she wants to, without having to run up a bunch of debt? That's a pretty good hand, for the Democrats.

COOPER: Joe, but the Republicans can basically do what some of them were already doing, which was, criticize it, don't vote for it.


COOPER: But then, when it passes, claim credit on some specific things that are popular in their districts?

LOCKHART: Well, they can, but they haven't had their opponents, run against them.

I think you're going to see a lot of ads, in the midterms, about Republicans talking out of both sides of their mouth. I think Elise Stefanik, today, put out a press release, about a grant to her district, on a bill she voted against. That's an ad person's dream.

Again, I want to end - picking up on what Paul said, what the Republican Party is revealing itself is a party that once again, and we've seen this over the last five years, puts politics ahead of the country.

They are basically saying, "I would rather hurt Joe Biden, than help people." And I don't think, in the-long term, that's a very good strategy.

COOPER: It is interesting, Paul, though, how over time, people's perspective changes.


COOPER: There's a lot of people who say, "Well, look, this is socialism. This is far too much." But they also like Medicare, Social Security, which, a few years ago, or when it started, was viewed in the same way. BEGALA: Yes, I think a lot of the voters that Democrats are talking to are theoretical conservatives, but operational liberals, right?

So theoretically, if they say "Is government too big? Does it spend too much? They're big. Heck yes. Heck, yes." "Do you think your grandma should be able to get a hearing aid under Medicare?" "Well, of course, she has to hear."

I mean, the fact that Medicare doesn't cover hearing, and dental, and vision, I don't know. I mean, I'm pretty old. Lockhart's, I think, even older than I am. We need that stuff. It's the first thing to go, as you can't see, you can't hear, you can't eat. So yes, that's a practical thing.

People become very liberal, when it's practical and operational. And that's what the Democrats have to take this.

COOPER: And Joe, that's where you see them taking this, in terms of the midterm?


And Paul, I did hear that. I can still hear!

But I do. And I think the one thing that I would add to this is the other piece of this is that this is paid for.


LOCKHART: And it's paid for by something very popular, which is the rich have gotten away with everything. Look at the, you know, during the pandemic, the billionaires have flourished, while we - while the rest of the people have suffered.

So, I think when you add that, in, that, somehow we're shifting the burden, to where it belongs, while providing services, to the people, who need it, that's a pretty powerful combination.

COOPER: Yes. Joe Lockhart, Paul Begala, thanks. Have a good weekend.

BEGALA: Thanks, Anderson.

COOPER: Both seemed like to bring check-ins (ph) to me.

Up next, breaking news, the U.S. COVID - there's good news on COVID, today, I should point out. And the U.S. COVID death toll crosses, though a somber threshold. And California becomes the first state, in the country, to mandate vaccines, for students, to be in the classroom.

We'll discuss both, with Dr. Sanjay Gupta, in a moment.


(COMMERCIAL BREAK) COOPER: There's more breaking news, a somber milestone, the U.S. death toll, from COVID, has now crossed 700,000 people. That's 700,000 families mourning the loss of a loved one.

Meanwhile, California has become the first state, in the country, to mandate a COVID vaccine, for K through 12 students, to be in the classroom. The mandate will be phased in, obviously, as the vaccine gets full federal approval, for the different age groups, which currently some of that age groups doesn't have.

There's good news about a drug, taken orally that could, could make a big dent, in how the virus is fought.

I'll talk about all this, to Dr. Sanjay Gupta, in a moment.

But first, CNN's Dan Simon joins us with more of the action, taken today, in California.

So, why did the governor say, he wanted to announce this mandate, before children, a 11-years-old and under, even eligible for the vaccine?

DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, first of all, Anderson, if all goes well, the vaccine, for younger children, will be approved relatively soon, the FDA advisory committee meeting, later in the month.

But the bottom line is the governor wanted to - wanted to create the expectation right away that if you are a young child, or an older child, in California, K through 12, that you're going to need to be vaccinated, for COVID-19, if you want to attend in-person classes.

And the governor making the argument, and it's a good argument that you're already required to be vaccinated, against a whole host of diseases, like chicken pox, and polio, and measles and mumps.

And the governor invoked his own children, when talking about this, two of whom, recently tested positive for COVID-19. Take a look.


GOV. GAVIN NEWSOM (D-CA): I have four young kids. I can't take this anymore. I'm like most parents. I want to get this behind us, get this economy moving again, make sure our kids never have to worry about getting a call, saying they can't go to school, the next day, because, one of the kids, or a staff member, were tested positive.


COOPER: And how and when does this--

SIMON: And so - sorry.

COOPER: --mandate, go into effect?

SIMON: Well, first of all, there will be a medical and religious exemption. And if students continue to opt out, or their parents do, then they'll be able to pursue an independent study with their various schools.

But, in terms of when this goes into effect, it's going to be rolled in, in terms of phases. For 12 years of age to 17 years of age, it'll happen once the FDA grants full approval. And that'll happen, either in, I guess, in the next couple of months.

But in terms of when it'll be rolled into California, January or July, whichever comes first, and then, of course, later for younger children.

And Anderson, I should mention that reaction that we're seeing online has been entirely predictable, basically the same positions that people had, for wearing masks, and other vaccine mandates. The same position applies here.

COOPER: Right. Dan Simon, appreciate it.

SIMON: Anderson?

COOPER: Thanks.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta joins us now. His upcoming book is titled, "World War C: Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic and How to Prepare for the Next One," coming out soon.


So Sanjay, before we get to the news, out of California, I mentioned the U.S. just passed 700,000 deaths from COVID. When we first started covering COVID, I mean we shuddered at the thought of 50,000 deaths, then a 100,000. Now, there have been 700,000 lives lost.

You never - I mean, did you ever think you'd see this?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: No, I definitely did not, Anderson. I mean, I know that there were models and projections that were all over the place. But you kept thinking that here in the United States, with all the resources, we have, the public health infrastructure, we wouldn't see this.

I remember talking to Deborah Birx, last year, sometime. And she basically suggested that after the first 100,000, when we really grappled sort of figuring things out, that almost every death, after that, was preventable, which I know is very hard for people to hear, who've lost loved ones, but, so many of these deaths were preventable.

It was inaction, early on, Anderson. It was ineptitude. It was a fact that we don't really have a true health care system as much as a sick care system, in this country. It's the racial inequities in health care that were really unmasked by all this. It was this sort of fealty to individual liberties instead of the collective good.

I thought about this a lot, Anderson. I mean, as a doctor, you - we work in a system. We dedicate our whole lives, to trying to save, and help lives. And it's just very hard to believe that this many people have died, and so many of those deaths were preventable.

COOPER: Yes, it did not have to happen. And that is especially true.

Now, I want to talk about this pill that that's being reported a lot about today. Last hour, former FDA Commissioner, Scott Gottlieb, told me, he thinks this antiviral pill, from Merck would be a game-changer.

It's when I'd first heard about it, I don't know, maybe I wasn't reading it closely enough, I kind of thought it was a vaccine in a pill form. But it's not that at all. It's for anybody, even it's for people, who've been vaccinated. Anybody who was sick with COVID could potentially take this.

And how effective would it be?

GUPTA: Well we do have to get some clarity, on exactly who would be the most likely to benefit from this.

I think you're right, that even for people, who have these breakthrough infections that are symptomatic, who are sick, they could benefit from this. They weren't part of the initial trial. But there's no reason to suggest that they wouldn't potentially be beneficiaries of this.

I think - I think - let me show you the data on this. I mean, this is the trial. It was, you've split the two groups.

385, were given the drug, 28 of them are hospitalized. That's around 7 percent. In the placebo group, 377, 45 are hospitalized, eight died. So, between hospitalization and death, that's about 14 percent to 15 percent. So, that's where the 50 percent benefit comes from. That's how they calculate that.

I think it is a treatment, as opposed to a preventative, to your earlier point. These are people, who still have COVID. And while it seems to be a pretty effective treatment, as I've shown you, there's still a lot that we don't know about this virus.

COOPER: Right.

GUPTA: And I just bring this up to say, Anderson, that, people are going to say, "Hey, well, now that this exists, and if it does get authorized, should it make the vaccine even less important?" No, I mean, you still don't want this disease.

We still don't know what it does to the body. I still, even as a brain guy, I don't understand how a respiratory pathogen can cause isolated loss of smell. How does it do this to the brain?

My point is you don't want this disease. And that's what you should still strive for. If you get it, this may be of tremendous benefit, if the data pans out, and the safety data pans out, and the FDA authorizes it.

COOPER: I mean, one of the things that Gottlieb had said, in the last hour, was that he thinks it can have a big effect on sort of consumer confidence that somebody who's been vaccinated if they do get a breakthrough infection, knowing that they could take a pill that would greatly reduce even more their risk of dying, or being hospitalized, certainly, or even getting really, feeling really bad, it would encourage them to engage in the public. It would encourage them.

But you're saying actually the flip side of that is people taking risks.

GUPTA: Yes, I don't know. I mean, human behavior has been pretty unpredictable here, and surprising, at times.

I just I don't think that this should, in some way, dissuade people from getting the vaccine. I think that's the most important message. They think, "Well, now that this exists, I really don't need to get the vaccine." I hope that that's not the message. But yes, you want more tools, certainly, in the tool belt.

Anderson, I remember talking with you, even pre-pandemic, reminding that about half the country only gets a flu shot every year. And when things like Tamiflu came about, people kept Tamiflu, in their medicine cabinets, and thought "If I get sick, I'll just take the Tamiflu."

We have the technology, and the wherewithal, to be able to prevent these diseases, in the first place. And I still very much--


GUPTA: --even, as a surgeon, someone, who treats people, sort of end stage of disease, often, I still would think prevention's got to be a much better alternative, cheaper as well.



GUPTA: It's about 700 bucks, for a course of this, the flu - I mean, the COVID vaccine, about $20.

COOPER: Yes. Sanjay, appreciate it.

Again, Sanjay's book, "World War C: Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic and How to Prepare for the Next One," coming up soon, can be ordered now.

Just ahead, an update on the investigation to the death of Gabby Petito, possible sightings of Brian Laundrie, her fiance, now wanted by federal investigators. We'll try to take a look at how real those sightings are, if, in fact they are real.

Also, a report on the days, weeks, even years, similar high-profile manhunts have lasted, how long they've lasted.


COOPER: As you heard, our Randi Kaye, report, last hour, authorities in North Carolina are telling her that they are now fielding tips, about possible, and we want to stress, "Possible," sightings of Brian Laundrie, whose fiancee, Gabby Petito, was found dead, in Wyoming.

These manhunts can require an incredible amount of manpower as well as time and patience. Randi Kaye, tonight, has more details.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We won't stop until we have these convicts captured.

RANDI KAYE, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It was one of the biggest man hunts in U.S. history.


It was in June, of 2015, after Richard Matt and David Sweat pulled off an elaborate escape, from a maximum security prison, in Dannemora, New York. The convicted killers used drill bits, to chisel their way, out of their cells, and escaped through this manhole.

More than a 1,000 federal, state, and local law enforcement searched through the neighboring towns, fields and forests, surrounding the prison. They also received more than 1,400 tips.

One of those tips led authorities, first, to Richard Matt, who was shot and killed, and then to David Sweat, who was also shot, but survived. They were on the run for a little more than three weeks, and made it more than 30 miles, from the prison, before they were found.

In 2013, ex-cop Christopher Dorner went on a shooting spree. He was looking for revenge, after the Los Angeles Police Department fired him. He ended up, allegedly killing four people.

Police pursued him, deep in the San Bernardino Mountains, in the middle of the winter, with knee-high snow. Authorities used snowcats and armored vehicles, to search the area, for Dorner, a trained sharpshooter, who was still armed.

California Fish and Wildlife wardens called in a sighting, of Dorner, in his car.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have shots fired, four to five shots fired.

KAYE (voice-over): Which, led to a standoff, in this cabin. Police hoped to drive him out, by setting a fire. But Dorner's remains were later found, among the ashes. Police believe he took his own life. He was on the run for only nine days.

In 1996, Eric Rudolph set off a bomb, at Atlanta's Centennial Olympic Park, killing two, and wounding dozens. He would go on to carry out three more bombings, before he was identified by police, two years later. They picked up his trail, in North Carolina.

Hundreds of law enforcement officers searched through the dense forests, but Rudolph had advantages over authorities. He had a military background. He was very familiar with the deep woods of North Carolina. And he may have had people helping him along the way. Rudolph was only caught after a rookie police officer found him rummaging through the trash, behind a building, in Murphy, North Carolina. He was on the run for five years before he was caught. He's serving a life sentence in a maximum security prison.

And then there was the case of Whitey Bulger, the notorious crime boss, from Massachusetts. In 1994, he got a tip, he was about to be indicted, and quickly went into hiding. He assumed a new identity, along with his girlfriend, Catherine Greig.

The FBI put him, on their "10 Most Wanted" list, along with Osama bin Laden. He was finally apprehended, in California, after a tip was called into authorities.

Whitey Bulger was on the run for 16 years. He was later beaten to death, inside his prison cell.


COOPER: And Randi joins us now, from outside the Laundrie family home, in Florida.

So Brian Laundrie's family told police they have not seen him since September 14th. What's the latest on the search for him?

KAYE: Well, Anderson, the days in this manhunt are certainly adding up.

They reported him missing, on September 17th, just a few days after they say they had last seen him. And then, the very next day, authorities started searching the Carlton Reserves, so that would be on September 18th. So now, today, October 1st marks the 14th day, of the search, for Brian Laundrie.

The FBI is still leading the charge. They say that it's a very targeted search, based on Intelligence. But, as you know, we're getting those tips, from around the country, and alleged sightings, around the country, Anderson, and still no sign of Brian Laundrie.

COOPER: Yes, we should point out "Alleged sightings."

Randi Kaye, thanks very much.

Lenny DePaul joins us now. He's the former commander, of the U.S. Marshals Service Regional Fugitive Task Force, from New York and New Jersey.

So, Lenny, I mean, people must have sight - I mean, authorities must get alleged sightings all the time. How did they, especially when something is as watched, and as there's so much interest in this, what do you do, from a law enforcement standpoint, with all these alleged sightings?

LENNY DEPAUL, FORMER COMMANDER, U.S. MARSHALS SERVICE REGIONAL FUGITIVE TASK FORCE FOR NY AND NJ: Well, you're correct. And, good evening, Anderson. Thanks, again, for having me on. Right now, Brian Laundrie is getting a whole lot of attention. I mean, it's a full-court press, on behalf of law enforcement. It's a force multiplier. There's a lot of dedicated resources, state-of-the-art equipment, manpower, money, going after this guy.

And they have to. They have to stay ahead of the curve. There's tips that are coming in all the time. They got to vet these tips out, knowing the case, knowing the players that are involved, their trusted circle of friends.

As you put that puzzle together, as a fugitive investigator, you're going to know what tips are good, which ones are valid, which ones you need to, to take a hard look at. And others, you got to just exhaust all these leads.

But yes, the public has to remain vigilant. And they see something? Say something.

COOPER: And you say they exhaust these leads. I mean, they have to keep searching these areas, even though they've been doing now, for a while, and no sign?

DEPAUL: Oh, yes, absolutely. I mean, Randi mentioned those four cases, and I'm well aware, all four of them.


But Laundrie is no Whitey Bulger. I mean, he's not a career criminal. I compare him more to a Sweat and Matt. I mean they escaped from the Dannemora prison. They popped up out of a sewer top.

The woman, who was supposed to pick them up that they were working with inside the jail, she doesn't show. She has a panic attack. They run into the woods. They don't have a clue what they're doing.

I don't think he pre-planned any of this stuff. I think he hit the ground running. He's scared. He's dark right now. He's off the grid. He's not communicating. But he's going to make a mistake. And, as I told you, earlier, he's sleeping with one eye open, right now.


DEPAUL: So hopefully, law enforcement closes in on this guy, tightens the noose up, and they bring this thing home.

COOPER: It seems like authorities, in Boone, North Carolina, have been downplaying these alleged, or possible, sightings of Laundrie.

How do investigators usually go through all of the fit? I mean, you said they have to, kind of, vet them. How do you vet, people say, "Oh, yes. I saw him on this trail, in Boone, North Carolina."

DEPAUL: Well, they come in, in a variety of ways, whether they either saw him, or they had a friend, and saw a friend, in a bar. There was one guy, I think, they identified, could have been his twin brother, and they got video, on the cell phones, are all over the place. CCTV, security cameras, they're picking up photos and pictures. And there was a guy, I think, and I forget where he was, in a bar, and somebody took a shot at him with their cell phone. He looked just like him.

So yes, sure, these tips are going to come in. And, like I said, you got to - you can't ignore them. I mean, Whitey Bulger, perfect example. I know the Deputy U.S. Marshal that actually found him.

And what he did is he went back, at the chokepoints. He blew the dust off those files. He looked at the tips that came in. He saw a couple of good ones. He spoke to this woman. She was overseas. She finally got back to him. And she said, "Yes, I'm telling you, he's my neighbor." And we all know how that case ended.

So, very important that you pay attention.

COOPER: Amazing. Lenny DePaul, it's always good to talk to you. Thanks so much. Appreciate it, Lenny.

DEPAUL: Thank you.

COOPER: Next, did YouTube's ban on COVID misinformation come too late?

Donie O'Sullivan talks to the former Google engineer, who worked on the YouTube algorithm.



COOPER: Days after YouTube banned disinformation, about COVID, and other vaccines, on its site, there remains the question of what effect that can have, this far, into the pandemic, and with misinformation, already deeply entrenched, in so many segments of society.

Donie O'Sullivan spoke to an engineer, a former Google employee, who worked on the YouTube algorithm, about how this happened.


GUILLAUME CHASLOT, WORKED WITH YOUTUBE: Our main goal was to keep the user watching YouTube as long as possible, because the longer they watch YouTube, the more ads we can show them.

DONIE O'SULLIVAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): And that didn't matter, if it was BS videos, about vaccines, didn't matter if it was misinformation, as long as people were watching videos?

CHASLOT: Exactly. We didn't care about if information was true or not.

O'SULLIVAN (voice-over): YouTube announced this week that it would crack down more on vaccine misinformation. But almost two years into the pandemic, the news left many people asking?

O'SULLIVAN (on camera): What took them so long? CHASLOT: Well that should have been done like 10 years ago. I mean, by the design of the algorithm, you could have guessed 10 years ago that anti-vax content was generating a lot of watch time.

O'SULLIVAN (voice-over): The company saying it will now ban well-known false claims about approved vaccines, including that they will cause autism, cancer, or infertility, or that substances in vaccines can track those, who receive them.

DR. SHERRI TENPENNY, SUSPENDED BY YOUTUBE: I'm sure you've seen the pictures, all over the internet, of people who've had these shots, and now they're magnetized. And put a key on their forehead, it sticks. They can put spoons and forks all over them, and they can stick.

O'SULLIVAN (voice-over): That's anti-vax conspiracy theorist, Sherri Tenpenny, who despite a history of making unhinged claims, like that, was only recently suspended, by YouTube.

RENEE DIRESTA, RESEARCH MANAGER, STANFORD INTERNET OBSERVATORY: This is not content without consequences. These, you know, this misinformation, when it takes hold in communities, it can have a profound impact.

O'SULLIVAN (voice-over): And taken hold, it has. Sherri Tenpenny's conspiracy theories have spread far and wide.

VICKEY SIMS, ALABAMA RESIDENT: My own doctor tried to get me to get the shot. And I told him to go watch Dr. Tenpenny.

O'SULLIVAN (on camera): So, you trust this woman, on the internet, more than your own doctor?

SIMS: Uh-huh, I do.

O'SULLIVAN (voice-over): Another super-spreader of COVID misinformation, only, banned by YouTube, this week, Joseph Mercola, who had almost half a million followers, on the platform.

DR. JOSEPH MERCOLA, SUSPENDED BY YOUTUBE: It's an unproven vaccine. It's just being accelerated, eliminated virtually every safety study.

O'SULLIVAN (voice-over): Mercola still has almost 2 million followers, on Facebook, and more than 300,000 on Twitter. Reacting to his YouTube ban, he said in a statement, he was being censored, an attack on his freedom of speech.

But the conspiracy theorist had little to say, when confronted by CNN's Randi Kaye, in August.

KAYE: Do you feel responsible, for people, who didn't get vaccinated, possibly got sick and died, because of what you told them, about the vaccines? What do you say to families, who lost loved ones?

O'SULLIVAN (voice-over): Companies like YouTube have spent too much time, focusing on growth, and not enough, on safety, says this former Google engineer, who worked with YouTube. CHASLOT: When you start on one anti-vax video, for instance, the algorithm is designed to recognize like similar videos that share the same interest, it will propose more and more anti-vax videos.

When I started to work on YouTube, I thought I would help make the world a better place with you get people to learn more information. But by doing an algorithm that doesn't take into account truth, realize that sometimes it took people down this rabbit hole of misinformation.


COOPER: Donie O'Sullivan joins us now.

How wide-ranging could the effects of this new rule be, considering how often other websites link back to YouTube?

O'SULLIVAN: That's right, Anderson. Yes, I mean, the effects of this go well beyond YouTube. And the effects of YouTube's inaction on this go well beyond YouTube.


As you say, videos from YouTube get shared all over the place, on Facebook, on websites. I mean, the big question is how effective will they actually follow through, with this policy? Will YouTube actually live up to their word?

I should mention, a spokesperson, for the company told us that since that employee, we spoke to there, in that piece, since they worked, for the company, a few years ago, that YouTube says it's sort of gotten its act together, a bit more, on vaccine misinformation. They brought in new rules, new changes to their algorithms.

But all that being said, I mean, it is pretty stunning, Anderson that we're almost two years into this pandemic. And it's only now, the company is putting in a widespread ban, on the ridiculous claim that the vaccines have microchips, in them, that they are tracking devices, in some way.

COOPER: Yes. Donie O'Sullivan, appreciate it. Thanks.

We'll be right back.


COOPER: News continues. Let's turn things over to Don and "DON LEMON TONIGHT."

DON LEMON, CNN HOST: This is "DON LEMON TONIGHT." Thanks for joining us, everyone.

And so, here's the question on - that everyone on Capitol Hill, is asking right now, everyone. "So, now what?