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Interview with Governor Asa Hutchinson (R-AR); Interview with National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director and Chief Medical Adviser to President Biden Dr. Anthony Fauci, Interview with "All That She Carried" Author Tiya Miles. Aired 1-2p ET
Aired December 02, 2022 - 13:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANNOUNCER: This is CNN.
SARA SIDNER, CNN HOST: Hello. And welcome to "Amanpour." Here's what's coming up.
A moment of truth for Republicans as early voting ends in Georgia. But what comes next for the GOP? I asked Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson.
Then, melancholy in Moscow. A special report on sinking Russian morale as the war in Ukraine drags on. Plus.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES AND CHIEF MEDICAL ADVISER TO PRESIDENT BIDEN: It is unacceptable
and maybe unconscionable that we have a lifesaving vaccine that is readily available, and we have such a poor uptake.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SIDNER: Dr. Anthony Fauci shares some parting wisdom with Walter Isaacson as he retires after a lifetime battling infectious diseases.
Also ahead, author Tiya Miles tells me how this simple cotton bag connected generations of one black family and uncovered a heartbreaking piece of
Welcome to the program, everyone, I'm Sara Sidner in New York. Sitting in for Christiane Amanpour.
The Republican party is laser focused on Georgia's Senate election next week. Early voting in the rematch ends today. And the latest CNN polls show
a slim lead for democrat Raphael Warnock over Republican Herschel Walker. Either way, the Democrats will hold the Senate in the next Congress after
an expected red wave at the midterms turned out to be more of a light splash.
Even though the GOP did take the House, the repercussions of that vote is spelling trouble for Kevin McCarthy as fringe members of his party pushed
back against his candidacy for House Speaker. Adding to this drama, former Donald Trump's legal woes continue to mount as he campaigns to lead the
party into the 2024 election. A federal appeals cult -- court halting a third-party review of documents seized from his Mar-a-Lago estate.
So, where does the grand old party go from here? And what does that mean for America as a whole? What is happening in each state may reveal some of
those answers. Republicans have maintained a strong grip on State houses nationwide, and my next guest leads with one of them.
Asa Hutchinson has been Arkansas governor since 2015. He is now leaving his post after the maximum two-year terms in the job. Welcome to the program.
GOV. ASA HUTCHINSON (R-AR): Thank you, Sara. Good to be with you.
SIDNER: I want to talk to you about your life a bit and what you are seeing in your party. Your time -- you were termed out. So, you will be leaving
your position. Is it true you are going to potentially be a candidate coming up in 2024?
HUTCHINSON: That is an option on the table. I am actually very concerned about the future of our country and its leadership. And as a Republican, I
look back at the midterm elections and there wasn't a national red wave, but we did well in Arkansas. We picked up seats at the legislature, our
constitutional officer's one. Our -- we're going to have a Republican governor succeed me.
And so, if you look at it state-by-state and the last midterm elections did not reject Republican ideas. They just rejected certain candidates. And the
fact that we did win the House, we won all -- the incumbent Republic governors won.
And so, it was -- you look forward to 2024 and we have to be able to provide good leadership based upon Republican principles. And Donald Trump
has announced, he is the only one to announce, and I fully expect that there is going to be multiple options that we are going to offer the voters
then that's what I've got to focus on and think about over the holidays. I want to be in the mix. I want to have a message, that is important for
America, reflecting common sense and conservative values.
SIDNER: Look, if you look at some of the people that Donald Trump backed, quite a few of them lost in their races which has created this situation,
particularly in the Senate. And so, for a lot of people, they look and say, well, is -- does Trump really have the grip on the party that he did at one
time? But there does still seem to be a huge appetite for culture wars, pitting one group against another.
You have folks like another governor, Ron DeSantis, who has been pretty divisive in his language and his actions. I mean, you have come out very
strongly against some of the things that Donald Trump has said, DeSantis seems to be leaning into that. I mean, does your brand of conservatism have
a home in the grand old party?
HUTCHINSON: Well, my brand of conservatism, which is really the conservatism of Ronald Reagan, who led America through a time of increased
strength, of defeating and bringing down the iron curtain. He restored our economy and believed in individual responsibility and liberty. These are
the things that I hold dear as a Republican. Does that resonate? I think so.
And I think we are tired of the chaos. We are tired of fighting about the last election. We want to move forward and problem solve it, that's what
governors do. And that's what conservatives do. And when you talk about the cultural issues, we're all concerned about our culture. And it's worth
fighting for, but how do you do that? And you do that through your individual life, through your community, through your schools, through
choice and education.
And so, it's how you deal with the challenges that we face as a country. And I think that what we've done in Arkansas, sort of, sets it apart as
creating jobs, relying upon the private sector. We're pro-life. And this is a message that, I think, resonates and we will see what my decision will be
early next year.
SIDNER: Now, Governor Hutchinson, I got to tell you, that sounds very much like a stance that a presidential candidate would be taking right now. It
does sound like you really are going to put your hat in.
HUTCHINSON: Well, I'm concerned. And, you know, I thought that this was going to be a little bit slower development next year in terms of 2024.
Everybody is finished with the election. We're looking for the holidays. But the fact that President Trump went ahead and announced his candidacy
early, you know, speeds up everybody's thinking.
And I'm fully convinced that we have to have options there on the table for Republican voters to look at. Whenever I look at a historic Republican
party, it's about equal rights. It's about not dividing our country. We're bringing our country together. And so, I want to make sure we have that
option in leadership alternative for 2024. We will see how it develops.
SIDNER: You were recently praised by several people from both sides of the aisle for taking a really strong stance against what we saw which was --
now-presidential candidate Donald Trump meeting with Kanye, who's now known as Ye West, who said and posted some extremely antisemitic things. And Nick
Fuentes who is a bigoted, neo-Nazi holocaust denying person.
Can I just ask you, again, for our viewers, what you thought of that meeting? Knowing the background of these two people who are quite famous,
and it is quite hard not to know where they stand.
HUTCHINSON: Well, of course, he knew Kanye West. And that was the invited guest. And that's not someone that looks at where we are in America. He has
a divisive message. And then he bought a guest who was even worse. And then Kanye West doubles down and now kicked off of Twitter before his comments
that he made about Nazis and about the holocaust.
And so, this is not good. And we want to repudiate that kind of attitude, that kind of talk and not to empower it by meeting with somebody. That's
the main point. In the 1980s I put on a flak jacket, I helped negotiate the surrender of white supremacists that fought law enforcement, that murdered
people, and we put them in jail.
And that's important that we take a stand and say, we are a people of equal opportunity. Where everybody is at the table and not be a message of
empowering those that engage in hate. And so, that's my simple message. And I hope that former President Trump expresses regret about that,
particularly disavows what Kanye has most recently said.
SIDNER: I want to ask you, at this point, knowing what you know now about president -- then-President Donald Trump during January 6th and knowing
about these meetings and some of the language he has used in recent times.
In your opinion, is Donald Trump fit to be the president of the United States at this point?
HUTCHINSON: Well, he's not the leader that I want. Fit can be interpreted in a lot of different ways from mentally to socially to experientially.
And, you know, that's what people make a judgment on. But I do not believe he is a leader of the Republican Party. I think his voice needs to diminish
and not strengthen. And we just need to go different directions.
That's despite the fact that I supported him for re-election. I believe that he accomplished a great deal. He brought the Republican team together.
But notwithstanding that, we need a different option for the future.
SIDNER: He bought the Republican team together, but he did further divide this nation. Would you vote for him again if he becomes the presidential
candidate for 2024 for the Republicans?
HUTCHINSON: I'm not going to address that. I want to have somebody else that leads our party and leads our nation. And whether it's my voice or
somebody else's, we want to make sure that the voters have options as we look to the future of our country.
SIDNER: With all due respect though, can you say that, you know, if he is the leader of the party, if he is chosen, will you put down your vote for
HUTCHINSON: Well, with all due respect, I'm not going to speculate on the future. We don't know who is going to be in there. Let's wait and see.
Well, let me just tell you that I have said it very clearly that Donald Trump is not the nominee that I support. And I want to make sure that there
is alternatives to his leadership in the future.
SIDNER: Let me move on to Georgia. All eyes are on Georgia, especially in the Republican Party, but in the country as well. There is a runoff that
everyone knows about, which includes Herschel Walker and Mr. Warnock.
What do you make of this battle? You have heard some strange things coming out of Mr. Walker's mouth. There have been lots of allegations from women
against him. What do you think about the candidate, that is the Republican candidate, for governor in Georgia?
HUTCHINSON: Well, whenever he states his view, you have to give him the benefit of the doubt. Most of the accusations made have been anonymous, and
I'm not discounting those necessarily. But I think the voters of Georgia look at this as, do we want to have a closer margin in the Senate? Do we
want to have one more Republican there that will be a counterbalance to the direction that President Biden is taking the country in terms of excessive
spending, lack of border security in our country, addressing violent crime?
And so, I think that is the deciding point for the Georgia voters. It is very close. And from my standpoint, I would like to see us have one more
Republican United States senator to be that counterbalance. And I think that's what most people in Georgia will be looking at.
SIDNER: But it sounds like -- and this term is used a lot and was used back when Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump were running. That some people held
their nose and voted for Donald Trump. Is that going to be what you do when it comes to whether or not you would, if you have the chance, vote for Mr.
HUTCHINSON: Well, I don't live in Georgia. But I support Herschel Walker. I think he is important for the United States Senate and the direction that
we want to take our country. I think we know that no candidate is perfect, including myself. All of his foibles have been exposed. The people will
make a decision. He got a very strong vote in the regular election. And I expect those are going to come out. And I think he's got a good chance of
winning in the runoff election as well.
SIDNER: Yes, and I should mention that the Georgia Republican lieutenant governor, Jeff Duncan, did show up to vote. He waited a bit in line, and
then decided he could not bring himself to vote for Mr. Walker. So, we should put that out there as well.
I do want to talk to you, because we talked a little bit earlier about state power. And the Republicans do hold a trifecta in some of the states,
more states than the Democrats hold where they have the legislature and the governorship. What does this tell you about the kind of power this party
yields and what the issues that voters want this -- want these governments to tackle.
HUTCHINSON: Well, most importantly, the voters want us to tackle problems. And that's why governors have a great deal of respect and every Republican
governor, as I said, won re-election this last time.
If you look at Iowa, for example, we not only won the governorship, but the attorney general and the treasurer's office, Republicans beat Democrat
incumbents and we won a congressional seat there. So, while it wasn't a national red wave, whenever we have candidates that talk about the problems
that people are concerned about at the kitchen table, they talk about border security and violent crime. Whenever you have candidates focused on
that and not the last election, they win.
And so, the last midterm election was really a reaffirmation, I think, of a lot of Republican ideas. But it's also a rejection of those that said, you
know, we need to worry about the last election. Let's look to the future.
And that's what Republican governors are doing in Arkansas, lowering taxes, creating jobs, improving education, addressing public safety issues. That's
the kind of problem solving that leaders do and that the public expects, and they'll hold you accountable for it as well.
SIDNER: There are some other issues, ones that you could say are part of what we have encountered in this country, which a culture war which has
been revved up by several media outlets but it's also been revved up candidates. And in your own legislature, it was more to the right of you by
the LGBTQ issues, particularly talking about gender affirming care for minors.
What happened there and what do you think about your own legislature basically overriding decision to veto that?
HUTCHINSON: Well, they're reflecting the views of many of their constituents, and they cast their vote on that. It's actually, in court
right now that determined whether that band is constitutional or not. And we'll see how that comes out.
I vetoed it because I thought it went too far. It was the most extreme law like that that in the country. And it interrupted the decision-making
process between a parent and a physician over the care of a minor child. And so, I think you have to hesitate to say the states are going to come in
there and interfere with that relationship. I would've signed the bill had it simply prohibited reassignment surgeries for minors, absolutely. I
would've signed that. This bill went too far and that's the reason why vetoed.
These are difficult issues that we face in our society. And there are legitimate issues of culture that we are concerned about. And sometimes,
people arrive at conclusions in different way. For me, I did not want to interfere with that relationship that went that far and that extreme.
SIDNER: Just one last question, a yes or no answer will suffice as we run out of time. Sarah Huckabee Sanders is going to be filling your shoes in
just a bit. Do you think she is the right person for that job?
HUTCHINSON: Yes, absolutely. I think she is going to do a good job. I'm happy to turn over the reins to her.
SIDNER: All right. Governor, thank you so much for joining us on the program. I appreciate your time and candor.
HUTCHINSON: All right. Thank you. Good to be with you.
SIDNER: Well, next to the latest from Ukraine. The country is ramping up security after a series of incidents involving letter bombs and threatening
packages. The Ukrainian foreign ministry saying their embassies across Europe have received suspicious mail. Some bloody and containing things
like animal eyes. It is a bizarre turn as the war continues to drag on, demoralizing so many, but particularly, people within Russia, as our Fred
Pleitgen reports now from Moscow.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voiceover): As Moscow lights up for the holiday season, the festive mood is dampened by a
dose of melancholy. As there seems no end in sight to what the Kremlin calls its special military operation in Ukraine.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): I think the operation is not going to well to put it mildly because there are many losses on our side.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I don't know what the goal of the operation is, but it's not reaching it.
PLEITGEN (voiceover): After Russian forces were forced to retreat from large parts of northeastern and southern Ukraine, many here don't even want
to talk about what's happening on the battlefield.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): To this question, I don't know what to say.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): This is a provocative question. I don't want to answer it.
PLEITGEN (voiceover): Even after the Kremlin ordered a partial mobilization, drafting around 300,000 Russians between September and early
November, gains have been hard to come by for Moscow's forces in Ukraine. Still, many Russians say that they trust their leadership's decision-
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): As far as the military operation goes, I can only say one thing, that it is underway and that I should not
comment on it. Because we all support our president of the Russian Federation.
PLEITGEN (voiceover): And Russian Vladimir Putin, is asking for more support and patience. Promising things will turn around.
VLADIMIR PUTIN, RUSSIAN PRESIDENT (through translator): We, as all of you here are rightfully said, we must achieve our goals and we will achieve
them in the end.
PLEITGEN (voiceover): But increasing numbers have boarded up shops show Russian economy is running out of steam as sanctions bite and some goods
are becoming scarce.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): Of course, many things we've grown used to buying have disappeared, but life goes on. We have to adjust
PLEITGEN (voiceover): Economic expert, Sergey Zhavoronkov tells me he fears the economic woes could lead to wider discontent.
SERGEY ZHAVORONKOV, SENIOR RESEARCHER, GAIDAR INSTITUTE FOR ECONOMIC POLICY (through translator): It is a known a fact, a short victorious war may
provoke enthusiasm. But if the war lasts endlessly, it does not lead to the desired outcome comes disappointment.
PLEITGEN (voiceover): For now, the lights remain bright in Moscow, even as the dark clouds of economic uncertainty loom over the Russian capital.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SIDNER: Fred Pleitgen reporting for us there.
Turning now to an individual who has dedicated his life to public service. Dr. Anthony Fauci has been at the helm of the National Institute of Allergy
and Infectious Diseases since the '80s. Guiding the United States through AIDS, SARS, H1N1, and, of course, COVID. Ahead of his retirement, he joined
Walter Isaacson to reflect on his storied career.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WALTER ISAACSON, CNN HOST: Dr. Anthony Fauci, welcome back to the show.
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES AND CHIEF MEDICAL ADVISER TO PRESIDENT BIDEN: Thank you very much,
Walter. It's good to be back with you.
ISAACSON: So, it's been 54 years since you became, sort of, in the public service on infectious diseases, and now, you are retiring at the end of
December. When you got into this field, more than half a century ago, I think one of your mentors said, it's heading for oblivion. Infectious
diseases, that's a backwater. And then since you went into it, we've had SARS, and MERS, and coronavirus, and of course, the AIDS epidemic, and
PEPFAR that you did.
If I could ask the young Tony Fauci, would you be surprised at how much infectious diseases have kept plaguing us?
FAUCI: Very much so, Walter, because our generation really had not seen the evolution of a new infection that had profound, global impact. And when I
came into the field, a long time ago, I felt that there was more dynamic nature to the field of infectious diseases than some of my senior mentors
who are making that comment that you correctly said, where they thought that the field of infectious disease was on the downslide because there is
nothing really that important that was happening.
But that all changed in a dramatic way in the very early 1980s, in fact, the summer of 1981 when we were confronted with the first cases of what
turned out to be HIV. And from that point on, for the next 41 plus years, in a really sequential fashion, we were confronted with a variety of new
diseases that we had not experienced before, as you mentioned correctly.
We had HIV that came upon us in 1981, at least recognized in 1981. And then we had pandemic flu, and Ebola, and zika. And now, at the end of my career,
which was bookended by HIV early on, now, with COVID-19, it's been mostly extraordinary how our planet, as it were, has been confronted with really
transforming infectious diseases. From HIV --
ISAACSON: So, why is that? I mean, I read your "New England Journal of Medicine" piece this week, which is very interesting, but viruses, what's
happened? Why are we plagued by viruses now?
FAUCI: Well, when you look at the new infections that have confronted us over decades, about 75 to 80 percent of them are what we call zoonotic.
They emerge from an animal reservoir, and one way or the other, adapt themselves to the human species.
Many viruses that jump species are really one offs. They make one or two people sick but they don't develop the capability of easily transmitting
from person to person. But then every once in a while, like HIV and COVID, the pandemic flu, you get a very easy adaptability.
And what I think one of the important elements of that, Walter, is the encroachment of the human civilization on the animal human interface on the
environment. And that is, you know, enhanced by travel, by encroaching, for example, in rainforests, in areas like South America and Brazil, and
Southern Africa where you get Ebola emerging.
And then when people get sick, it isn't like 100 years ago where it takes months, if not longer for an infection to go from one region of the world
to the other. When you can get on a plane and 18 hours later, be halfway around the world, then you get the spread of these infections. That's
what's really changed over the last quarter to half century.
ISAACSON: Tell me what you think about China's handling of its current shutdowns.
FAUCI: Well, you know as I've said many times, it is their choice. They make their decisions for their own country. But when you shut down as
strictly, and in such, I described it as a draconian method, where they essentially lock people in their own homes. When you are going to shut down
a society, you've got to do it with a purpose in mind. You've got to say, this is a very temporary mechanism to slow down or stop the spread so that
we can do something so that when we open up we won't be overwhelmed with infection.
That something could be getting better PPE, making sure you have enough hospital beds, or most importantly, that something should be let's get the
population vaccinated so that when we open up, we don't have a tsunami of infections.
ISAACSON: But by that standard, didn't we take a little too long to open up? I mean, we had the vaccines. We said we were going to flatten the
curve, the curve got flattened. And then, for a year or two, we shut down schools. It was pretty disastrous.
FAUCI: Well, that was local decisions, Walter. Those decisions about whether to shut things down locally, were local decisions.
ISAACSON: Well, do you think they were right?
FAUCI: Well, I think at the end you're going to have to evaluate, there are negative offshoot consequences of interrupting the normal flow and society.
But remember, Walter, our country lost one million people, more per capita than any other country.
So, you know, you can argue back and forth whether restrictions carried on too long, did some well -- and again, we have a very large country, 50
states and several territories. They all did it a little bit differently. It isn't like we did it in a unidimensional way.
ISAACSON: But we have good evidence that stringent shut downs in states where it happened were better than less stringent shut downs.
FAUCI: Well, the answer is, there are so many confounding issues to it, Walter, that it's impossible to isolate one factor and say, this is
associated with more or less economic decline or impact on the kids. It's very difficult to unpack that.
ISAACSON: What about herd immunity. We talked about that a couple of years ago. Has there been some herd immunity, especially both with vaccinations
and people who've had the disease?
FAUCI: Has there been some protection against severe disease? Yes, of course. When you look at people who have been vaccinated, and those who
have been infected and recovered, and then, perhaps, vaccinated, no doubt. If you look at deaths and hospitalizations among the unvaccinated compared
to the vaccinated and boosted, the curbs are pronounced the different. Deaths in unvaccinated like this, deaths in vaccinated and boosted here.
The difficulty with the concept of herd immunity is that the parameters that would lead to a realization of heard immunity are not presents with
COVID. Let me explain. Let's take measles. Measles is an infection that does not change. The measles that I got infected with when I was a child,
since I'm old enough not to have gotten the vaccine, is the same measles that is circulating in the developing world. There is no variants of
measles. It's the same. Point number one.
Point number two, the immunity that's conferred upon you when you either get infected with measles or vaccinated with measles, is measured minimally
by decades and optimally for a lifetime. So, if you get most of the population vaccinated or infected, and you get that kind of durable
immunity, then you can get classical herd immunity where the population is protected.
But when you get a virus like SARS-CoV-2, which since the beginning three years ago, we've had five or six variants. And the durability of immunity
from infection and from vaccines is measured in several months versus decades and a lifetime. The whole idea of classical heard immunity is just
ISAACSON: But wait, does that mean we can't really just get back to normal?
FAUCI: No, you can. You can get back to normal. And it likely -- we don't know for sure, but it likely would entail. Like right now there's an
estimate that over 90 percent of the population has already been infected. That does confer certainly some degree of protection. Maybe not completely
against infection, but certainly against some degree of severity of disease.
So, what the thinking that as a population, it is likely that similar to influenza, we will require an intermittent updating of a booster vaccine,
perhaps once a year. Maybe with immune compromised people or people with underlying conditions, possibly more often. But likely for the broad scope
of the population, once a year, as the virus, perhaps, continues to vary over a period of time.
ISAACSON: Well, let me ask a complex question on that. If you do have those vaccines, and you're looking to have a broader immunity, isn't it kind of
good to have some exposure to the virus to keep your immune system strong?
FAUCI: Provided it didn't kill you, of course. That's the point. I mean, that's the argument. Again, so let the virus just rip through the
population. That's when you really get into trouble. You've got to have some degree of protection, which is the reason why it's very important to
get vaccinated first. If you get vaccinated, and then get infected, the way I did, I got vaccinated, doubly boosted, then I got infected.
At my age, Walter, it is likely I would've had a severe outcome. I had a very mild infection that lasted symptomatically for a couple of days and
then I was done. It was the vaccine that gave me that fundamental background of protection that I believe protected me from going on to
ISAACSON: Well, like, you my wife and I both had COVID last week, we both tested positive, and we've had it before. Generally, it was pretty mild.
Not symptomatic. But my wife, actually, even though she's had two booster shots, was pretty sick this past week. Why is that? Why are some people
getting sick, and some dying now when they're vaccinated?
FAUCI: Well, it's called polymorphism, Walter. Which means that our human species has a great degree of variability, probably largely genetically
programmed of the ability or not to respond to different types of infections. The strength of your immune system, the durability of an immune
response, it is like a big bell-shaped curve.
I mean, there are some people who never gets sick, and just never -- their immune system or their natural innate immunity is so strong. Then there are
some people who are very susceptible, and get seriously ill. And then the big hump of the bell-shaped curve is the people in the middle who do
reasonably well, occasionally get sick for these things, but it doesn't become a very severe issue.
ISAACSON: Should we make a distinction between being infected, and actually having the disease? And if we occasionally get infected, and don't have any
symptoms, are we pretty safe to go around in public?
FAUCI: Well, that's -- you know, you bring up a great point, Walter, because there is something there that is important. Because one of the real
confounding issues that we learned only months into COVID, back in early 2020, is that unlike other infectious diseases, where a symptomatic person
is the one most likely to transmit it to another, so you stay away from someone who's sneezing or coughing but with a fever.
With COVID, it's not that way. 50 to 60 percent of all of the transmissions occur from someone who has no symptoms at all. So, you may get infected,
and feel nothing, no symptoms, but you may transmit it to someone, and the infection may kill that person.
ISAACSON: How do we know? I feel our statistics aren't very good these days.
FAUCI: No, it's pretty good. If you look at the epidemiology of the spread, there's no doubt that this virus can be spread from someone with no
symptoms at all. And there are very good epidemiological case studies of that.
ISAACSON: Coronavirus is circulating around the world now, are there any on your radar screen you're worried about?
FAUCI: Well, there are so many variants out there and that gets back to a prior question that you asked me. Is that, we don't have a single immutable
coronavirus that is causing COVID. I mean, we went various variants from the original ancestral strain, to Alpha, Beta, Delta, Omicron, last winter.
And now, we have circulating BA.4, 5, BQ1.1, and XBB. They were all different variants that are concerning, Walter, because as they get
transmission capabilities, and dominants, they evade the immune protection that you and I got from our infection.
ISAACSON: Well, wait. Why can't we get a vaccine that's, sort of, pan- coronavirus that goes out --
FAUCI: There you go. That's exactly what the major, major effort that's going on right now is to develop a vaccine that has universality to it that
can get all versions of the coronavirus. And we're working very hard on that. We have some pretty promising leads that have been looking good in an
animal model, we're going to try and translate or we will translate it --
ISAACSON: And how do they work? Do they not go up to the spike protein, which is what changes a lot?
FAUCI: Well, they do two -- there's two approaches. There is getting a vaccine, for example, a nanoparticle that you put all different variants of
it and you essentially cover the waterfront or you vaccinate someone against the common part of all of the viruses. Because the viruses that are
coronaviruses, have a lot of things about them that differ by mutational differences.
But some are core immutable parts of the virus. If you can induce a potent immune response against that common part of all of those viruses, you can
protect against them all.
ISAACSON: Only 12 percent of people in the U.S. over the age of five have been booster shotted. Is that politics that's causing that problem or what?
FAUCI: It's a complex situation. First of all, it is unacceptable, and maybe unconscionable that we have a lifesaving vaccine that's readily
available, and we have such a poor uptake of the vaccine. I think it's a number of factors.
One, I think, is the dominant one because even people who got the original vaccine to begin with are slow to get the boost. I think it has to do with
COVID fatigue, Walter. I think people want so badly to put this behind us that they don't want to hear any more about COVID.
I got vaccinated, I got boosted, I don't want to be bothered. That's a mistake. Because these updated vaccines do a really good job in being
matched to what we're seeing outside in the environment. And even with the new variants, there are going to be enough cross reactivity.
Some of it has to do with ideological differences. You know that if you look at the vaccine uptake in red states versus blue states, it's very,
very different with much less vaccine uptake in red states. And then there's the anti-science, anti-vax feelings. All of those things conflate
to get their two account for the low uptake of the booster.
ISAACSON: So, it's been 54 years since you've been in this battle against infectious diseases. Tell us, what great lessons do you have? When you look
back, do you say, hey, how could we have made it so people trust science a little bit more than they do now?
FAUCI: Well, that's a difficult question. I mean, one of the lessons that you alluded to in the article that I just recently wrote in the "New
England Journal of Medicine", is that we really need to always be alert to the emergence and reemergence of new infections because that, historically,
has been the case. We're experiencing it now and we will experience in the future.
And we've got to always remember that we need to be perpetually prepared, because emerging infections will always be a perpetual challenge. To me,
that's the big lesson that we've learned of -- that I have learned over 54 years.
ISAACSON: Dr. Anthony Fauci, thank you so much. And have a happy retirement.
FAUCI: Thank you very much, Walter. It's always good to be with you.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SIDNER: What a career. Fascinating insight there.
Next, I want you to take a look at an image. What do you see? To the eye, it's an old cotton sack. But this object holds an intensely sorrow filled
American story. It captures a moment of separation between enslaved mother and daughter. When it was displayed in the Smithsonian, its story so often
move people to tears that staff had to leave out a box of tissues for them.
Well, joining me now is Tiya Miles, who is telling the whole story of Ashley Sack, in "All That She Carried." A book, which just last night, won
the prestigious Cundill Prize for history writing. And Tiya Miles joins me now.
Thank you so much for joining the program, Tiya.
TIYA MILES, AUTHOR, "ALL THAT SHE CARRIED": Thank you for having me.
SIDNER: I want to first congratulate you on the Cundill History Prize for your book, "All That She Carried." I want to talk to you about by do you
think people have been moved so deeply to tears seeing this in the Smithsonian?
MILES: They've been moved to tears because this is a unique artifact, an incredibly beautiful textile that was carried by one family over the
decades that shows the scars and the wear and tear of its history. And that is embroidered with that families very moving story.
SIDNER: So, we talked about that the sack was really a relic from a really -- a moment of great sorrow, between a mother and daughter, both of them
enslaved and been separated. Would you mind reading the quote that has been embroidered on Ashley's Sack?
MILES: The embroidery reads, my great grandmother Rose, mother of Ashley, gave her the sack, when she was sold at age nine in South Carolina. It held
a tattered dress, three handfuls of pecans, a braid of Roses hair. Told her, it be filled with my Love always. She never saw her again. Ashley is
my grandmother. Ruth Middleton, 1921.
SIDNER: What does that tell us, the significance of the items that were placed into the sack? They seem very simple, but they all have a story
behind them and the reason they were there.
MILES: They do. And nothing about the sack is simple. Although, it's story may seem to be simplistic on the surface. Each item that Rose selected to
pack for her daughter Ashley was a genius choice. She included a dress for her daughter, which was very important to slave girls and women who were
often exposed, not only to the environment, but also to roving (ph) eyes, in a climate of egregious sexual exploitation.
She included pecans, which were actually a luxury item in South Carolina in the 1850s. Because pecans were not native to the southeast. They were
native to places like Texas. And pecans were, not only very nutritious, but also sought after. So, Ashley could've used the pecans for food or to trade
them for other items.
Rose included a braid of her own hair which was incredibly meaningful in so many ways. The braid was an actual piece of the mother's body, so that
Ashley would always have her mother with her even after separation. The braid represented continuity, lineage, and connection.
And African Americans spiritual practice, pieces of the body, especially things like hair, could be used to create protective talismans that
enslaved people would wear this to ward off the punishments or the violence of their enslavers.
SIDNER: It seems that this piece of hair also -- I mean, she was an own person. And that hair, technically, was owned by someone, and she took it
upon herself to give that away. Reclaiming something that was rightfully hers. I do want to ask you about Ruth Middleton, she is the one who
embroidered the text that we saw that you read there. Why do you think that she decided to do that? Do we know anything about her?
MILES: We know much more about Ruth than we do about Rose and Ashley. The woman and the girl whose lives Ruth entered into the historical record when
she sawed the story onto the sack. Because Ruth was born in the late 19th century. She was born after emancipation. She was born free. She made the
choice to move north to Philadelphia with their husband, and she started a family there in the 20th century in Philadelphia.
She gave birth to a daughter. And soon after having her first daughter, Ruth decided to embroider this story. So, she seems to have wanted to
preserve this story for her own mother, at a time when she was trying to understand what it meant to be a parent, to be a mother. Just reflecting
back on Rose, this valiant poor mother in her own family line.
SIDNER: And I know you know this because of this incredible research that you did hear, bringing the story to life. But so often, enslaved people, in
this and in any country, their histories are not written or told by them to the outside world. It is their enslavers that get almost the final word.
And this seems like a very different way to tell a story. But you talk about archival deficiency. Describe what you mean about that?
MILES: You've just said it, Sara, in the way that you phrased the question. The records that scholars and geologist and family historians have to work
with when it comes to slavery and the experiences of enslaved people are sparse, thin, stingy, cold, distance, few and far between.
Instead of having the stories of the people themselves, what we get are a list of enslaved people, created by those who owned them, or sold them, or
sought to exploit their labor, their knowledge, their creativity, their bodies, their emotions with the purposes of gaining wealth. Those kinds of
records don't tell us about the motivations, the aims, the desires, the imagination, the thought processes of enslaved people. Instead, they tell
us about the intentions of the enslavers and the system of enslavement.
And so, an object like this bag, which is known as Ashley Sack, is extremely precious. It's a story told by a line of women who experienced
enslavement, and fought it in the best way they could.
SIDNER: I want to read something from your book because I think this is -- it puts it in such a stark and beautiful terms. You talked about the
documents that shed light on slavery, are usually the ones produced by the enslavers. And you wrote, it is madness, if not an irony, that unlocking
the history of unfree people depends on the materials of their legal owners.
How did you go about trying to dig into the story, and unearth who Ashley and Rose were?
MILES: It is indeed an irony and it is quite a frustrating irony that the enslaved people that we tend to know the most about from the past are
people who were owned by famous enslavers. Like Thomas Jefferson, or like George Washington. People who are enslaved by, let's say, a lesser-known
enslavers, didn't have as many records produced about them.
And yet for any history of enslaved people, we really do need to turn to the archival material, which is a mostly going to include the records of
enslavers, that's where we have the documents. That's where we have the data. That's where we have the names. That's where we have, as difficult as
it is, the evaluations that enslavers put next to the names of enslaved people.
But these records are not enough. We really need to look to enslaved people's experiences as they told them, sometimes through oral history or
as they were remembered through imaginative works produced by African Americans in subsequent periods of time. As they experience their lives in
ways that we can access by investigating material culture, as they went about their days and moving through built environments, and living in
environmental context. We have to bring all these different kinds of sources in as a way to really try to reconstruct this experience and this
SIDNER: And want to talk you -- talk to you about history and there is this -- for lack of a better word, phrase, culture war, going on right now. On
what people should be taught, what children should be taught, about American history. I remember visiting Monticello to see -- where Thomas
Jefferson and the enslaved people there lived. And they were just now creating space and creating the stories of those who were enslaved there
and taking people into there.
And there was major pushback for doing that. And also, there is pushback in schools for American history, and what's taught, including, whether or not,
to teach slavery. What do you think is happening in this country where we're trying to undo some of the realities, the stark realities and harsh
realities, of how people were treated in this country by its leadership?
MILES: Well fortunately, our polarization right now, are extremely divisive politics has led to a confrontation in which some people seem to feel that
straightforward, forthright, serious historical investigation is somehow anathema to the shared aims of the American populists. But I think that is
exactly the opposite of what is the case.
Instead, rigorous, careful, sensitive historical research is what can yield the stories. And yield the interpretations that can bring us together and
help us to see what we have in common. Even if what we have in common are challenging at times in our past.
SIDNER: Does it surprise you -- I mean, three states in this past election banned slavery. That that was still on the books so long after the
emancipation proclamation, I think it's been 160 years. Do you think that this is going to be a real problem if schools across the nation start doing
these things where things are cut -- I mean, what do you see the problem with teaching something like slavery or, you know, some of the things that
are not good that happened in this country?
MILES: Yes, I think it will be a real problem if we teach generation, and then the next generation of our children that American history is all
sunshine and roses. I mean, yes, some positive things have happened in the past on these lands, which were originally indigenous lands. And in my
view, still should be. But we also have atrocious histories that we need to face up to you because these histories have defined who we are in many
SIDNER: I want to --
MILES: We have to look at the --
SIDNER: Go ahead. Go ahead.
MILES: We have to look at the material that we're not so comfortable with, as well as the material that makes us feel inspired and proud.
SIDNER: I want to ask you, going back to your book. You write about the theft of the maternal. What do you mean by that? And what is the impact of
MILES: On Ashley's Sack about the separation of a mother and daughter. About the sale of a nine-year-old girl who would never see her mother again
encapsulates a broader experience of African Americans. A broader experience of the people who have been put through the wringer of
severance. This experience is one of separation and division, and having to make lives and to survive within the breach.
And that, of course, started with the transatlantic slave trade. It continued on these lands that we now call the United States. As children
were being sold to make a profit for their enslavers and for slave trainers. Mothers were lost. They were lost to their children. And that
means that we had hundreds, thousands of children who did not know what motherly care would have felt like. Who lived lives longing, who lived
lives disorientation. And this is one of the deepest traumas that we have to face as African Americans. The loss of the mother, historically, and
SIDNER: Tiya Miles, thank you so much for bringing this to us into the world. She is out with her book, "All That She Carried", that detailed the
story of Ashley's Sack. We thank you for coming on the program.
And finally, women make history this week at the men's World Cup. Stephanie Frappart became the first woman ever to referee there. Leading an all-
female trio of officials in Thursday's match between Germany and Costa Rica. Frappart has wrapped up a series of historic first, navigating
intense pressure at the higher echelons of the game. So, a historic moment in Qatar.
That is it for us for now. Thank you so much for watching. Goodbye from New York.