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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees
Zelenskyy Claims Nearly 27,000 Russian Soldiers Killed In War; Pence To Appear At Georgia Rally For Governor Opposed To Trump; Bill Gates On Testing Positive For COVID; Bill Gates On Battling Covid Misinformation; Bill Gates On WH Projection Of 100 Million Covid Cases This Fall & Winter; Deaths Of 3 Americans At Sandals Resort In The Bahamas Under Investigation. Aired 8-9p ET
Aired May 13, 2022 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KATE BOLDUAN, CNN HOST: And now if Musk were to simply walk away, he'd be hit with a $1 billion breakup fee. But he could also be hit with a lawsuit from Twitter, which could cost the world's wealthiest person, many more billions of dollars potentially. So stay tuned.
Thanks for joining us. AC 360 starts now.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Good evening.
Today, Ukraine's President Zelenskyy said that nearly 27,000 Russian soldiers have been killed so far in their invasion of Ukraine. And we can independently verify those numbers and he gave no number of Ukrainian true fatalities, but if in fact he is correct and 27,000 Russian troops have been killed, that's a stunning number. In all the years Soviet troops fought in Afghanistan, they lost an estimated 15,000 soldiers.
In the same address which Zelenskyy gives nightly, he said another six settlements had been retaken from the Russians in the past 24 hours. Overall, he said 1,105 had been in his words de-occupied since the war began, and as we'll discuss in a moment with our Nick Paton Walsh in Kharkiv, the Ukrainians have successfully pushed Russian forces back from around that city.
Ukrainians also say there is a lot of fighting going on between two other cities you see on the map there, Izyum and Slavyansk and that the Russians have not been able to make much progress.
What they have been able to do, as you can see here is blow up bridges. This is actually one of the three they've recently blown up. Also, they can kind of hold what appears to be a counteroffensive by the Ukrainians.
Today, we also saw Russia plans to cut electricity to Finland. They say it's because of a lack of payments. However, it comes after the Scandinavian country, along with Sweden appear to be on the verge of joining NATO, which exactly what Vladimir Putin did not want to happen. Russia has warned both countries about repercussions if they did join NATO. Today, Putin's spokesman said that Putin discussed the situation with his national security leaders and that quote, "an exchange of views took place."
There was also an exchange of views to use their words between Russia and the United States came in the form of a phone call between the top military leaders from both countries, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, and Russia's Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, which should count -- could be significant because despite repeated requests, the top U.S. military brass has not been able to speak with their Russian counterparts since almost a week before the war began. That's 84 days in all, no response until today and the two men spoke for almost an hour.
We'll get into what we know about what was discussed and what wasn't later tonight with former Director of National Security, James Clapper, and while all of that was happening, the assault on the steel plant in the southern city of Mariupol continues.
I want to show you some video now that was released yesterday provides for the first time, a ground level view of fighting at the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol, and we don't know when the footage was actually recorded.
[VIDEO CLIP PLAYS]
COOPER: In just a moment, we'll hear more about the fighting from the CEO of that plant.
Joining us now from Kharkiv, Ukraine, Nick Paton Walsh.
So what did you find out? You traveled to the northeast outskirts of Kharkiv. What did you see?
NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR: Yes, I mean, well, still Kharkiv feels like it has an intermittent threat on the areas around it and you are hearing an air raid siren that has just started going off behind us here, it is quite clear that there is certainly less pressure, less shelling on its outer city limits since we've seen over the past weeks or so and that is because of a successful Ukrainian counteroffensive to push the Russians back towards their own border.
A couple of days ago, we were within nine miles of the Russian border. It's that deep that Ukraine has managed to push back and what has been startling, too, is both the devastation that they have revealed as Russia pulls back, but also as we saw today, quite how close Russian troops were encamped from the city limits here for those two months they held those positions.
Charred, chewed, and mold, northern Kharkiv scars seem infinite putting troops breathing artillery fire down the neck of this city of a million for two months. But even still, it is a shock to see just how close the Russians got on the other side of this road.
We are told this is from the mining, a controlled blast. Yet, here everything is fluid. Ukraine stopped Russia's advance here on the first day of the war, killing two soldiers by this armor. Three civilians shot dead in this car then, and their bodies recovered only two days ago.
You can see the colossal force used against the armor here. A tank turret literally that full distance thrown of the tank body.
The village of Sirkuni lies ahead liberated days earlier.
(UNIDENTIFIED MALE speaking in foreign language.)
PATON WALSH (voice over): "People are starting to go back," he said, "But they are still shelling it."
To women died two days ago when they walked onto a trip wire traps set in the village, and even around these factories, Special Forces here warn us a soldier was wounded by a booby trap three days ago.
The "Z" markings of Russia's invasion, still a deranged sign of their collective insanity even two months on.
"Why do they do this?"
They say they reclaimed this area about a week ago, but they are now in the difficult task of de-mining what they can, but look around here. There is really not much left to make safe.
These civilians evacuated from the next village Rusky Tishki, just two kilometers away.
(UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE speaking in foreign language.)
PATON WALSH (voice over): "It's a nightmare," she says. "The shooting is heavy," the driver ads and we let them race on.
Desperation takes different forms here, and caught by another kind of survival is Dmitri whose wife moved away a while ago, wheeling back food he has got for his six dogs.
(DMITRI speaking in foreign language.)
PATON WALSH (voice over): "I haven't really left my home for two months," he said. "I cross the fields past the bomb fragments to get the food." His gentle stroll in the open a sign of how long the violence has swelled here, not that it is slowing.
COOPER: Are the Russians able to protect their supply lines?
PATON WALSH: Yes, Anderson, I don't really know the answer to that question. It does appear that they are possibly facing some severe issues there. We were, a couple of days ago hit close to a place called Rubizhne, up near one of the main rivers that heads down from the Russian border sort of providing a natural boundary, from what we know, Ukraine is retaking at the moment, and what Russia definitely considers its clear supply lines down from Vovchansk all the way down to one of its main efforts here in Izyum towards the Donbas sort of central area in Eastern Ukraine.
And it's quite clear that Ukrainians have got quite close to that supply line, if not are beginning to push towards it with artillery also increasing their range there, I'm sure.
And we're seeing here, I think on this sort of western side of that river, which runs down Ukraine, establishing a lot more control, pushing a lot deeper towards the Russian border, I'm sure is comfortable for Moscow's forces.
Yes, granted as in Sirkuni as we heard tonight, they shell the areas they have retreated from, and that makes life exceptionally difficult for Ukraine to try and return people to there. But there is no doubt that the momentum is on Ukraine's side to the north of Kharkiv here, and there is no doubt, too frankly, that if Russia is not going to threaten Kharkiv in the long run, there is no point having forces necessarily in the northern countryside above from it.
The question really to be asked is exactly how far can Ukraine push east? If they can disrupt that supply line, that would be a phenomenal blow, potentially to Russia's bid just in the Donbas, and again, Anderson, it goes back, frankly, to the broader question. Here we are three weeks into this reset of Russia's unprovoked invasion here, the next part of their offensive, the south has seen very little change. The east incremental moves forwards perhaps and here, frankly, a Russian retreat.
So you do have to ask yourself, when is Russia going to begin to get some control of its narrative again here or is it facing a stalemate or frankly a collapse of the positions it perilously initially held -- Anderson.
COOPER: Yes. What are they doing? Nick Paton Walsh, appreciate it. Thank you.
Now, that intense fighting I mentioned at that massive steel plant in Mariupol. Yuriy Ryzhenkov is the CEO of the company that owns the plant, joins me now.
Yuriy, what is your understanding of the situation in the steel plant right now?
YURIY RYZHENKOV, CEO, AZOVSTAL STEEL PLANT: Well, the last civilians that left the plant was a few days ago now, so the only information we have from them or from the fighters publishing in the public, what is happening there, as far as we understand, there is still bombing and the Russian troops are still trying to attack the fighters, now the defenders, but they're still there. They're still in the plant, and they're still fighting.
COOPER: The living conditions in the plant right now, are you aware of what the food and water situation is like?
RYZHENKOV: Well, unfortunately, no. The food and water that was prepared by us in the shelters, that was enough for around maybe three weeks, but even with the sort of rationing, it could be longer. Also people got the food from meal canteens.
But now, we are more than two months into this fighting, so I would imagine that the supplies are running out.
COOPER: I mean, just from the photos that have been released that we are showing right now, there's a lot of clearly very wounded soldiers there, a lot of injuries that look very, very severe. Is there actual medical care there? I mean, there are clearly some medics there who are treating people, I guess.
RYZHENKOV: Well, from what we heard from our employees that left the shelters, there was a military hospital there, which was bombed at one point in time, but the medics are still there, and the medics are still providing help. That's is our understanding.
COOPER: The bunkers were that had existed there before that you had talked about had food and water for three weeks or so. What were those like?
RYZHENKOV: Well, it's just normal bomb shelters that were built in the 70s -- 60s and 70s, last century at the moment when the plant was rebuilt after the Second World War. So it wasn't like a normal Cold War type industrial bomb shelters.
COOPER: So there is what we see above ground and then underneath the ground, how extensive a network is it underground?
RYZHENKOV: Well, there is no exactly a network there. You have isolated bomb shelters because it was never meant to be a fortress, right? It was meant to be a steel plant, and then the bomb shelters were prepared for the workers in case of some either technological disaster or indeed, an attack from the air. They would go into the shelters for a short period of time, so they are not connected. They're isolated.
But at the same time, there is a tunneling system under the plant, may be sewage and cabling.
COOPER: I want to show our viewers some video of fighting that took place inside the steel plant. This video is from on the ground, the point of view angle. It was posted yesterday by the Azov Battalion who we know have been fighting there.
Now when you see this video, I don't know if you've seen it before, is it clear to you where this is?
RYZHENKOV: Well, I've seen the video before. It seems like an area of some auxiliary shops at the mill, but it is difficult to pinpoint the exact location.
COOPER: And in terms of civilians that have been evacuated from the plant, I know you've been trying to help them as much as possible. How are they doing given what they've been through?
RYZHENKOV: Well, as you can imagine, sitting on the ground for more than two months with limited food and water, with the women and children, theirs is a very difficult experience, so they have to have both medical problems and the psychological problems.
That's why our humanitarian center in Zaporizhzhia is trying to help them as much as possible.
As I said before, we have the psychiatrists there. We have the medics. Plus, there is obviously the governmental hospitals that are also taking care of them.
COOPER: How long do you think this may go on still at the steel plant? How long do you think they can hold out?
RYZHENKOV: Well, to be honest, I didn't know it was possible to hold on for that long. So the fighters up there are definitely heroes, and I mean, we still believe they can win. I understand that it is difficult. I understand it's under siege, but they've shown that they can hold on.
COOPER: Yuriy Ryzhenkov, I really appreciate you being with us. Thank you.
RYZHENKOV: Thank you.
COOPER: Still to come tonight, Republican proxy wars heating up. Former Vice President Pence making a very public move in support of a Republican candidate opposed by the former President, "The New York Times" Maggie Haberman is going to join us to discuss the contest in Georgia to be the Republican nominee for Governor, why it's a microcosm for the fight inside the party as a whole.
And later Bill Gates joins us live in an extended conversation about the future of the fight against COVID, trust in the medical community, and his own personal fight over COVID and conspiracy theories, ahead.
COOPER: An interesting new development in the proxy fight between two wings of the Republican Party. We learned today, former Vice President Mike Pence will appear with Georgia Governor Brian Kemp at a rally on Monday. Now, that's the day before the Republican primary election for governor in the state.
It pits the candidate of Pence and the Republican establishment against the one endorsed by the former President, former Georgia Senator David Perdue. I am joined now by Maggie Haberman, Washington correspondent for "The New York Times" and a CNN political analyst. Maggie, do you have a sense of how President Trump feels about his former Vice President campaigning for one of his top G.O.P. targets, Governor Kemp.
MAGGIE HABERMAN, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: He is not happy about it, Anderson. You know, it's been heading this way for a while we've heard in recent weeks that Mike Pence's top aide, Marc Short was with Brian Kemp. We know that, you know Pence has been looking for ways to separate out from Trump and also, I think to highlight really that he does not support Trump's false claims about the 2020 election.
Remember it was those claims that helped lead to "Hang Mike Pence" chants on January 6, 2021 at the Capitol. So I don't think Trump is happy about this. How he chooses to vent that or make it public, if he does at all, remains to be seen.
But look, Mike Pence is coming in at a time when it is clear that Brian Kemp is in a pretty good position. It's not as if Pence is going to put him over the top. Pence is making a statement.
COOPER: We should also point out that President Trump used to be apparently a big fan earlier, or said he was, a big fan of Governor Kemp. I mean, during the early days with COVID, I remember him at press conferences talking about how great the Governor was in how he was handling it so well. Was it only that Kemp wasn't touting the Big Lie that turned him against him?
HABERMAN: No, Anderson, actually he has been unhappy with Kemp for a while going back to the choice of Kelly Loeffler to take the open Senate seat in Georgia a couple of years ago. That was really the source of the rift between the two of them. Trump credited himself with getting Kemp elected and what was a very close race in 2018 in Georgia.
You know, Trump always credits himself for anybody else's win, but in that case, Trump did make trips to the state and they were at key times. That rift came long before what we saw, I think his praise of Kemp during COVID was really to contrast with other Governors.
COOPER: Interesting. If the former President's candidate, David Perdue loses, then what does that mean for Trump in the longer term?
HABERMAN: I think it's hard to, you know, see a long term end in terms of what this means for Trump right now, Anderson. I think it's very possible that Trump could have a very bad rest of May with these primaries that are upcoming next week and the week after, and it still doesn't necessarily mean anything for him for 2024, but what it does mean is that his king making abilities are limited.
And it does mean, Anderson, that he has sort of unleashed something that he can't really contain anymore within the Republican Party, because all of these primary fields look a lot like pro-Trump Republicans. In the case of this endorsement, you know, Kemp on policy, most Republicans in the state feel as if he is pretty good.
There was this one issue, which is the election, and a lot of these voters are not voting on that. Perdue has had a candidacy that has had really no message. You know, they shifted a little bit in the last couple of weeks.
But in general, for the most part in the beginning, his race was all about 2020, and that's just not what primary voters want to vote on.
COOPER: It's also not just Pence, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo broke with the former President in the Pennsylvania Senate race endorsing someone else instead of the Trump endorsed candidate, Mehmet Oz.
HABERMAN: That's exactly right. Look, Mike Pompeo is very old friends, as I understand it with Dave McCormick, the candidate he backed. That goes back a long way, Pompeo was used as a cudgel against Mehmet Oz, trying to raise questions about his Turkish citizenship.
That was unsurprising again, just given that relationship, but you're absolutely right that it put him at odds with former President Trump. And I think the question, Anderson, is do we keep seeing people creeping away from Trump? And does that create an opening where people feel as if they can challenge him for 2024? And I think we will know much more at the end of May.
COOPER: And just lastly, AXIOS is reporting that the Trump is leaning strongly toward endorsing Pennsylvania State Senator Doug Mastriano for Governor, according to three sources familiar with his private deliberations. Is that race like others, a referendum on the Big Lie? Mastriano is all in on that.
HABERMAN: I don't know about a referendum, but it is certainly showing that there is some energy for it in certain places. You know, I think there are other factors at work in that primary, but Trump is looking, I think less about, you know, his lies about the election in that case, as you know, why he would support Mastriano and more about the fact that Trump is potentially facing a loss with Mehmet Oz.
So I think he is looking to balance things out. So, these things are all pretty complicated in a number of these primaries.
COOPER: Maggie Haberman, appreciate it. Thank you.
Coming up, Bill Gates joins me live. His new book explores how COVID exploded out of control and the questions that grew out of the tragedy, why he believes they'd give a give us a path to stopping the next pandemic, plus debunking misinformation, putting more lives at risk. Bill Gates, next.
We'll be right back.
[20:28:01] COOPER: A new report finds one half of COVID deaths among adults Americans could have been prevented since early last year if the vaccination rate had reached a hundred percent. That's about 319,000 lives lost.
The findings come from researchers at Brown University, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard, and Microsoft AI for Health. Microsoft cofounder, Bill Gates warned of the threat from large epidemics more than seven years ago during the Ebola outbreak.
In his new book, "How to Prevent the Next Pandemic," he looks at what went wrong in the COVID response and the lessons that can be applied going forward. I am pleased to welcome Bill Gates back to the program tonight.
Bill, thanks so much for being with us.
BILL GATES, FOUNDER, MICROSOFT: Great to talk to you.
COOPER: So first of all, I should mention that something we both have in common, we both managed to go for more than two years of this pandemic, COVID free before catching it. I got it about three weeks ago.
On Tuesday, you tweeted you tested positive and you were experiencing mild symptoms, how are you doing?
GATES: Now, I'm very lucky I caught it early. I had access to Paxlovid that I recommend, and so I haven't had serious symptoms at all.
COOPER: As you know, the White House mourned or marked the milestone yesterday of a million COVID deaths in this country. Back when this started, I mean, when you when I first started speaking about this, did you think it would come to this? A million deaths?
GATES: You know, we knew that there was a lot we didn't know, but a million would have been at the very high end. We underestimated that these new variants would be so transmissive. You know, omicron, is you know very hard to block the transmission.
The vaccines have been the miracle, but even there, they don't block some amount of infection. You know, I had four vaccines, the last one just a few weeks ago, so you get these breakthrough infections that means we still have a lot of transmission, but you know, a million is quite horrific.
COOPER: So you had had -- your what your two -- you've had two vaccinations and then two booster shots, is that right?
GATES: That's right and you know, for people over you know 50 or 60, they will probably have to be boosted every six months until we get even better vaccines.
[20:30:10] COOPER: So I've been trying to figure this out for myself, I assume you know the answer to that. So I'll just ask you. When do you get boosted again? I mean, now that you've had it, you know, I've had around the same time, I've only gotten three shots total only been boosted once. I guess we have immunity for a little while, or, but when do you decide to get boosted again?
GATES: Yes, so an infection, we'll get a high viral load would be like vaccination. But, you know, to be safe every six months, you're probably going to be vaccinated as we get more data, they might even make that shorter for people or, or, you know, say 60, or over 70, where they duration seems to be a bit lower. So we're in for ongoing vaccination to stay absolutely safe.
COOPER: So, this is what -- I mean, you and I have tried to kind of where I tried to ask you about what the future looks like, every time I've talked to you. And obviously, it's a hard thing to know. But given what we know, now, with all these variants that just seem to emerge every, you know, pretty regularly is the future for much of the rest of our lives. Just this is this thing that exists and like a flu vaccine, who you -- are going to get something every year or every six months and we just have to deal with it. Is that what the future coronavirus is?
GATES: For the next several years, we probably won't have better vaccines. But one of the R&D things that we should invest in to really finish this off is longer duration, lifelong duration vaccines, and vaccines that prevent you from even getting infected. So you can start to get that herd immunity we talked about that, that's sort of assumed that people are vaccinated are infected, were part of transmission chains, and we don't have that yet.
And so, we're going to have slight outbreaks. But if then tufting variant came along which we don't know the odds of that we could have, have a big wave. So people are tired of hearing about this pandemic and sadly, we need to keep reminding them particularly about staying up to date on vaccinations.
COOPER: So how real is that idea of a vaccine that vaccinates you from any future coronavirus? I mean, what needs to happen -- is the technology there is just a question of investment? What?
GATES: Well, the breadth of protection, you know, the -- we need to work on that the duration and that blocking the infection. And we have three constructs at an early stage that have promised there. But, you know, unfortunately, the current vaccines are good enough that if we just keep taking those, then at least in terms of severe disease and death, you have very good protection, I'd hoped the duration would be longer, but the data coming out, says that if you're older, it's not good enough. You need to keep re-vaccinating.
COOPER: Given -- I mean you had Paxlovid, you've had the vaccines, do you worry about the long COVID with the affection that you got?
GATES: One COVID scenario that there's a lot of research on, you know, there's a ton of things about heart or diabetes that people are worried about there, I'd say, we really don't know much. But it does look like if you have a mild case, which I'm lucky enough to be having that the likelihood of long COVID is very low.
And so again, it's a strong thing that if you do get infected, getting access to the Paxlovid or other antivirals or antibodies as fast as you can, is well worth it because your risk of long COVID It looks like is dramatically lower.
COOPER: Are you still positive now do you?
GATES: No, today I had a number of negative tests. I got to the most sensitive PCR tests that I'll get later tonight. So, it looks like I've been very lucky with a mild case.
COOPER: That's great. In your book, you know, you cite the incredible speed with which COVID-19 vaccine was created rolled out 50% of the global population is compared to other diseases like polio and measles, you rightly champion it, obviously, it's a wonder of modern science. But there is this paradox that the speed at which it was created also increased perhaps some hesitancy and I guess and has fueled these conspiracy theories.
Is it possible to get past that at this point? I mean, do you think people's ideas about the vaccine have already been baked in?
GATES: Well, the hesitancy did go down somewhat. You know, initially, it was like at 60% of the population but as they saw their friends getting vaccinated and very rare side effects, as they saw their friends being protected and the people with severe disease were overwhelmingly the unvaccinated, most people came around.
Now the U.S. still has a lower full vaccination rate than many other countries. So we still need to figure out who did the those people trust? Are they open minded? Because it's to their benefit, and to the people around them. So, I'm surprised that the U.S. it's been this tough. And even, you know, somewhat a political thing. But, you know, we need to be creative at how we get people to see it, you know, and hear about people they know, that suffered from not fully protecting themselves.
COOPER: How do you deal with conspiracy theories? You know, they're people believe you're tracking people through microchips inserted into the vaccine. I mean, given what you and the Gates Foundation, and your former wife, Melinda have done to help, you know, deal. I mean just saved millions of people's lives around the world through vaccinations for polio, with nearly wiping out polio. I mean, how do you deal with it when people have these ideas about you?
GATES: Well, I'm not sure I know how to get rid of it. You know, simple explanations are kind of fun to click on. And they seem to spread and you know, fill some, OK, there must be, you know, rather than this complex biology, maybe there's just some bad person behind this. You know, we've given billions for vaccines and saved millions of lives. If you just kind of invert that and say, no, we're, you know, trying to make money from vaccines and, you know, not trying to save lives. That's, you know, a popular conspiracy theory.
The one about tracking people. I don't know why they think I'm interested in knowing, you know, people's locations, that one I still have to laugh at. But if it's holding people back from getting vaccinated, then that's tragic.
COOPER: Yes. Stick around Bill, I want to talk to you more about COVID in the future. We'll talk about the -- his thoughts -- Bill's thoughts on the White House COVID response as well, how this administration has been doing. Plus how the way we get vaccines that might change, that's next.
Later, we'll take you to the Bahamas as the mystery goes one week after three Americans were found dead at a luxury resort. Jason Carroll talks to a former housekeeper and will show us what may be most surprising with the investigation is still underway, next.
COOPER: And we are back with Bill Gates. His new book is called How To Prevent The Next Pandemic.
So Bill, I want to ask you about something that I heard you say to Fareed Zakaria in an interview at the 92nd Street Y it's been seized on by the COVID denier crowd, you were an anti-Vaxx crowd, you were talking about a meeting you had in February of 2020 with health experts in your foundation. I want to play what you said to Fareed on stage at the Y and then have you address it?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GATES: At that point, we didn't really understand the fatality rate, you know, we didn't understand that it's a fairly low fatality rate. And that it's a disease mainly of the elderly, kind of like flu and although a bit different than that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: So now, some of your critics posted this as evidence that they were right all along, COVID is just like the flu.
GATES: Well, with flu we have -- we've had vaccines for a long time, and we have pre-existing immunity. COVID has killed a million Americans and flu hasn't done anything like that. So, you had a completely naive population. And fortunately, you know, the measurements we took limited it to a million if you just continued to go out and behave normally, the number would be dramatically higher than that.
COOPER: If there hadn't been a vaccine if -- I mean, do you have a sense of what the numbers would have been now that we know how quickly it can spread in some forms?
GATES: Yes, at this point in the U.S., you'd be closer to 1.5, 1.6 if you didn't have the vaccines, the vaccines have saved a lot of lives. And, you know, we can make even better vaccines, but wow, the speed with which they were developed there's a lot of heroes in that story.
COOPER: The White House's COVID Response Coordinator, Dr. Ashish Jha said that in the fall and winter, the U.S. could potentially see 100 million new COVID 19 infections. He's not provided the data to back that up publicly. Plenty of respected health professionals are calling it into question and some are saying, well, is he playing politics with data while the administration is fighting for more COVID funding? Do you agree with that projection?
GATES: That sounds on the high end to me, but, you know, we need to be wary. Just because people are tired of this thing doesn't mean it's tired of us. And so there will be cases where we have somewhat more transmissive variants. And the easiest thing to do would be to get the vaccination boosting up to very high numbers, and the test and treat where you get the Paxlovid or other therapeutics. And so that, you know, the death rate gets way down. And we don't have to do more than that. So, the fact people are, you know, and want to forget this thing. Sadly, it's not time for that.
COOPER: Are enough people. I mean, Paxlovid its pretty widely available, isn't it, or enough people who test positive getting Paxlovid?
GATES: You have to be testing enough that you see it early. Paxlovid and the Merck drug are very beneficial early in the disease. And so, if you feel symptoms at all, you know, you definitely need to get tested and then immediately it is available in the United States. Our Foundation is doing a lot of work to try to get it into all countries but here it's in quite available.
COOPER: You have to take within like the first 48 hours. Something like that?
GATES: If you test -- depends on when you catch your infection. If you catch your infection super early, you're actually -- you should take it right away, but you probably have a few days, but if you don't catch your infection until you're symptomatic then you got to get it right away or else the benefit starts to diminish as the virus is already going up to high levels.
COOPER: So just how optimistic are you about and what else needs to be done for moving forward.
GATES: But we need to bring this pandemic to an end, you know, using the tools we have today. We need to look at trying to stop future outbreaks from going global like this and build a team that's well funded and well trained to do that. And we need a lot of R&D to have better tools, you know, it took a year to get a vaccine, you know, next time let's in six months get one for the whole world and that blocks infection. Let's have better diagnostic tools and better therapeutics quickly.
So, you know, it's been such a gigantic tragedy. I think we will make some investments to avoid it happening again.
COOPER: Bill Gates, I appreciate the new book and I appreciate you joining us tonight. I hope your PCR test is negative.
COOPER: OK, see you later. Once again, the book is called How To Prevent The Next Pandemic.
Coming up, in serious deaths of three Americans at the Sandals Resort in the Bahamas, we'll take you there next.
COOPER: Tonight the investigation to mysterious deaths of three Americans at the Sandals Resort in the Bahamas is still ongoing. The fourth American is hospitalized. This week, the Bahamian Police Commissioner said that officials are conducting autopsies and further information will be provided when it's available.
Our Jason Carroll went to the resort to investigate. Here's his report.
JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): These two picturesque beachfront villas in the Bahamas likely hold answers as to what killed three vacationers last week and nearly took the life of another. Michael and his wife Robbie Phillips were from Tennessee and own travel agency. Robbie's travel blog says their agency was preferred by Sandals Resorts, and she appeared to actively promote their properties. Vincent Chiarella and his wife Donnis were from Florida. The two couples were not vacationing together. The Phillips were staying in one villa at Sandals Emerald Bay, the Chiarellas in the neighboring one. Both villas share a common wall and have separate entrances.
Last Thursday, police say the couples ate at separate restaurants at the resort and settled in for the evening.
(on-camera): That night, police say both couples were not feeling well. In fact, they felt so sick, they had to be treated at a local medical facility. Their symptoms included nausea, and vomiting. At one point, they felt well enough that they could return here at the resort.
The next morning, police got an emergency call from the staff here at Sandals, saying that they had found an unresponsive male in one of these villas. Then another call saying the staff had also found an additional unresponsive male and female in a second villa located right next door.
(voice-over): In the first Villa police found Vincent Chiarella lying on the floor and he was pronounced dead. His wife Donnis was alive and transported to a hospital in Miami where as of Monday, she was in fair condition. Her son said this, she woke up and my dad was laying there on the floor. Her legs and arms was swollen and she couldn't move and she screamed to get someone to come in the door.
In the neighboring villa police found Michael Phillips slumped against a bathroom wall. His wife Robbie Phillips was found still in bed, both were pronounced dead.
(on-camera): So the question is what happened? Police a foul play is not suspected. And they say the deceased showed no signs of trauma. But they say two of them did show signs of convulsions.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's sad and it's still a mystery. A scary mystery.
CARROLL (voice-over): This woman says she used to work at Sandals as a housekeeper for five years. She did not want us to use her name or show her face because she says she still has family and friends who work there.
(on-camera): What do you think happened?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, I don't think its food poisoning or anything like that. Because like I said, if it was food poisoning, the whole assignments would have been sick. Not just those four guests. They're side to side. So whatever happened in their room, they use in one water heater, one AC.
CARROLL (voice-over): Investigators say they have collected several samples from the premises to try to determine if any chemicals were present.
(on-camera): When asked if poisoning could have been a factor from say a faulty air unit or one of these villas or pesticides could have played a role. The Royal Bahamas Police Force spokesperson referred us to comments that the commissioner had made at a press conference earlier this week.
PAUL ROLLE, COMMISSIONER, ROYAL BAHAMAS POLICE OFFICER: We have collected several samples from the premises there. And the forensic examination should be able to help us to determine what type of whether or not there was a chemical or whatever it was. We're hoping that that will be able to answer for us.
CARROLL (voice-over): The former Sandals housekeeper we spoke to says she was surprised Sandals has continued to stay open while an investigation into the cause is still ongoing. While we were there resort guests appeared to be staying at a villa near where the Chiarellas and the Phillips had stayed.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, I pray and hope that they get to the bottom line and find out exactly what happened.
CARROLL (voice-over): Sandals released a statement saying the resort is working to support both the investigation as well as the guests families in every way possible, but could not disclose further information. Information to families are now waiting on.
Michael and Robbie Phillips daughter said this, our hearts are grieving and broken but full of hope. We know our mom and dad are experiencing the fullness of joy in our Heavenly Father presence.
COOPER: Jason Carroll joins us now from the Bahamas. It's so strange Jason, I mean given everything we just saw, what are police saying about when they might have answers about what happened?
CARROLL: Well, that's a good question since really, because there's been a lot of publicity surrounding all of this Anderson that could apply some pressure. So that might speed some things up here. I mean, again, there was the autopsies, those were performed on Monday. Bahamian officials are still waiting for toxicology and pathology reports to come back. But when all is said and done, they're saying it could be weeks before they have an official cause. Anderson.
COOPER: Jason Carroll, appreciate it. Thank you.
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