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At This Hour

Allyson Felix Reunited with Her Daughter after Tokyo Games; 14- Year-Old Girl Spends Five Days on Oxygen after Getting COVID; Soon, Biden to Lay Out Plan to Lower Prescription Drug Prices. Aired 11:30- 12p ET

Aired August 12, 2021 - 11:30   ET




M.J. what is -- how is this looking right now? Where is this going to head when it comes to Andrew Cuomo and this question of impeachment? What are you hearing?

M.J. LEE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kate, first of all, there are still 12 days until Kathy Hochul officially becomes governor, but as you saw, she is trying to demonstrate in a number of different ways that, as far as she is concerned, the Cuomo administration is already behind her. In a number of different ways, she has been communicating over the last 36 hours or so that her administration is going to be very, very different.

She said that she was not aware of the various allegations that were in the A.G. report that came out last week, this report that ultimately led to Governor Cuomo's downfall.

And she has also talked about building out her own administration, essentially that she wants to clean house, that she is going to be bringing in her own people and that she has no interest in keeping anybody in her administration if there have been questions raised about their ethics and in terms of the various allegations that have been put forth, so, again, making very clear that she is her own person despite the fact that she has been Cuomo's lieutenant governor since 2015. She also told CNN yesterday that she fully intends to run for a full term next year.

Now, as far as the sitting governor is concerned, there are a number of ongoing investigations, including an impeachment investigation in Albany here in New York. There is also, of course, the criminal investigation that is being conducted by the sheriff's office in Albany. So even though this announcement has happened, that he is going to be resigning in a matter of days, these are some of the troubles that are not going away for the outgoing governor, Andrew Cuomo. Kate?

BOLDUAN: M.J., thank you so much for that.

Still ahead for us, one in four Americans struggle to pay for their prescription drugs. President Biden says that he wants to change that. But how? We're going to bring you his remarks live.



BOLDUAN: The most decorated U.S. track and field Olympian ever, Allyson Felix secured that title at the Tokyo Summer Games, part of the American team to win gold in the women's 4 by 400-meter relay, and just the day before she won bronze in the individual 400. That mean Felix now has 11 medals under her belt across five Olympics.

And if you could believe it, this Olympics was about more than just medals. I mean, watch this moment when Felix arrives home to be reunited with her two-year-old daughter.




FELIX: Hi, everybody.


BOLDUAN: Her heart -- her voice just makes me melt, Allyson. The legend herself, Allyson Felix, is with me now. I said in the break, it is a real pleasure to meet you. I mean, what was that homecoming like? What did your sweet daughter say about this whole thing?

FELIX: It's so nice to be with you. It was just such an amazing moment. That was the longest I have been apart from her, so it was just good to be reunited and, yes, she missed me and she loved me and that is all I needed.

BOLDUAN: Really, all of it matters. And then this, the moment decorated track Olympian in history. I hope do you not mind but I love saying that. Has it sunken in yet for you?

FELIX: I don't know if it is completely hit. I mean, it is just such an honor. I love the sport and been competing in it so long, so I definitely feel the love and just feel really appreciated.

BOLDUAN: This Olympics was like no other, right? I mean, how do you describe what this Olympic experience was like?

FELIX: Yes, you said it perfectly. It was so different. I've been fortunate to compete in a lot of games. And, of course, with the pandemic, there were so many restrictions. But I also felt like there was just a different sense with the athletes. I think we felt like we needed to come together and we were inspired by each other's performances and just really wanting to, you know, do the best to represent our country knowing that so many people were watching.

BOLDUAN: Yes, and we really needed it. We always need it but we really needed it this time. At least that is how I felt.

You have said, though, that this is your last Olympics, that Tokyo was. So what is next for you? I mean, where do you turn your focus now?

FELIX: Yes. You know, this was the last games for me, which I feel so grateful to have competed in. I have a lot of stuff on the horizon that I'm really excited about. I competed in my own shoes in these Olympic Games, my brand, Saysh. And so I'm excited to continue to work with that. We have a lifestyle sneaker that we have on the market.

And then I'm really proud to be a team Bridgestone athlete. Bridgestone is donating $125,000 towards adaptive athletes. And this is really in the spirit of the Paralympic Games, helping the athletes have access, local programs, equipment, and training. And so I'm so excited to watch these inspirational athletes in the coming weeks and really cheer them on.


BOLDUAN: That is really nice, and that is a lot of money, and that is awesome.

Your career -- you mentioned your footwear line. Your career has been so much more than just about track, though. When you spoke up and took on -- I mean, you spoke up and you took on one of the biggest names in sports back in 2019, your own sponsor, Nike, over how they were paying female athletes differently after childbirth. You brought about real change when you stood up and you spoke out.

I re-read through your op-ed this morning and I was just sitting there being struck with, yes, you created change, you had real impact afterward, but you didn't necessarily know going in that that -- it was going to end up this way. Were you scared to do that?

FELIX: I was terrified. For so long, I had really just focused on performance and focused on what I was supposed to do. And when it wasn't aligning with what I felt was right and what I had seen marketed, I felt like I had to speak up and to share my story. But it was absolutely so scary and also I didn't know what was going to come from it. And I knew that there were going to be real consequences, you know, for speaking out.

BOLDUAN: Yes. And you are a champion and you're an awesome mom. You can't see it, but we're showing some pictures with you and your daughter, just throughout time and, I mean, dang, she is adorable, not that she wouldn't be because her mom is a rock star, but I'm just saying, she's adorable.

FELIX: Thank you.

BOLDUAN: What do you hope your daughter takes from this wild ride that you have had in your career as she gets older? FELIX: Yes, there is so much I want to explain to her and tell her about the past couple of years of overcoming all of this adversity. But I think the biggest thing is, really, standing up when something is not right. Know your worth. Know your value. Do things with character and integrity. And I hope that she can see that through my life and I can kind of give her those tools to navigate the world. But that is the biggest lesson I really want her to learn.

BOLDUAN: Well, thank you for being a wonderful example of just American greatness. Not only does your performance speak for itself but you are also so humble and appreciative, and thank you.

FELIX: Thank you so much. That means a lot.

BOLDUAN: Thank you so much. It is really great to meet you.

Any minute now, President Biden is going to be unveiling his plan to tackle the cost of prescription drugs. We're going to bring that to you live from the White House. Stay with us.



BOLDUAN: Imagine this, your 14-year-old daughter, vibrant and living life one day, and struggling and gasping for breath the next. That is what happened to one family in Missouri. Gary Tuchman has this story and the message that her mother wants to share.


GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): A children's hospital in Missouri, and sitting on the couch is Angel Baker, a mother who has gone through a horrifying week. Her 14 year old daughter, Marionna, tested positive for COVID, got very sick and was put on oxygen for five days, and just as her daughter has seen excellent treatment here, at the Cardinal Glennon Hospital in St. Louis.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It might make you cough but that's what we want. That was a good one. Oh, I warned you. Good job, sis.

TUCHMAN: Marionna and her mother live about 150 miles away in Southern Missouri. She started feeling ill at home. It quickly got worse.

ANGEL BAKER, MARIONNA'S MOTHER: I was scared. I was panicking. Monday, August the 2nd, I decided to take her to urgent care because she told me she couldn't breathe.

TUCHMAN: The decision was made for Marionna to be transported by ambulance to this renowned children's hospital. For Marionna, it was like a nightmare.


TUCHMAN: When you saw her struggling to breathe with the oxygen, what was going through your mind?

A. BAKER: Just praying, asking God to bring her back, keep her safe.

TUCHMAN: Were you afraid she wasn't going to make it?

A. BAKER: Yes sir.

TUCHMAN: The 40-year-old mother says she received the vaccine but says her daughter did not.

Why didn't she get vaccinated.

A. BAKER: I don't know. I left it up to her. And she decided she didn't want to get vaccinated.

TUCHMAN: I don't mean to make you feel badly, because you've gone through so much. My guess is, and I'm making an educated guess, that you wish you insisted on her getting vaccinated.

A. BAKER: Yes.

TUCHMAN: There are currently children as young as two years old in the pediatric intensive care unit and the regular patient rooms at this hospital. Of course, children under 12 cannot yet get the vaccine.

Last year at this time, doctors here say the typical numbers of children with COVID coming into the emergency room on a daily basis were zero, or one or two. Now, they say that daily number is usually 11, 12 or 13.

Dr. Wail Hayajneh is a pediatric infectious disease specialist at the hospital.

DR. WAIL HAYAJNEH, CARDINAL GLENNON CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL: We are seeing more severe cases, we're seeing more cases in the ICU and I'm seeing more cases that require longer durations of treatment in the hospital.


TUCHMAN: Dr. Aline Tanios is the surgical unit medical director here.

DR. ALINE TANIOS, CARDINAL GLENNON CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL: It's agonizing sometimes, especially when you see some of these kids spiraling down before they head to the ICU.

TUCHMAN: How many children who are ill with COVID in this hospital have gotten a vaccine also?


TUCHMAN: Marionna has turned the corner and is looking forward to recuperating at home and then being well enough to start your life as a high school freshman. She left us with this message.

M. BAKER: Get a vaccine so you won't have to be in the hospital and can't breathe.

TUCHMAN: And her mother had one too.

A. BAKER: Please, parents, get vaccinated and get your kids vaccinated. It's real. Don't let no school, no governor, none, it's real.


TUCHMAN (on camera): There are certainly wonderful people who work in this hospital but it's a sad and solemn place to be. And that's why the news I'm about to tell you is very nice. Marionna has been released from the hospital. She is back home recuperating with her mother by her side. She was supposed to start high school a week from Monday. She won't be able to go to school just yet. But her mother says she's hoping she will be able to attend school perhaps before the end of September.

One more interesting note, Marionna has a 12-year-old sister who also had not gotten her vaccine. Her mother, Angel, was here by Marionna's side at this hospital. They drove this past Friday more than two hours to their hometown Southern Missouri and took her younger daughter to get her vaccination.

This is Gary Tuchman, CNN in St. Louis, Missouri.

BOLDUAN: Gary, thank you so much for that report. That sweet girl, I wish her the best and a speedy recovery.

We'll be right back.



BOLDUAN: Welcome back. Very soon, President Biden will be speaking and he will be making a speech because he wants to tackle prescription drug prices in America, which have become unaffordable for so many American families.

Let me get over to the White House right now. CNN's John Harwood is standing by.

John, drug prices, a major problem across the country, but is it clear what the president plans to do about it?

JOHN HARWOOD, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, he's got a plan and it is embodied in this big reconciliation bill, $3.5 trillion that he's now turning to having gotten that physical infrastructure bill in place passed through the Senate.

And what he's got is a three-part approach to this. One is to allow Medicare to negotiate with drug companies over the cost of prescription drugs, which many people, as you indicated, think are too high. It is been a top priority of the American people. Secondly, provide a mechanism to limit the out-of-pocket costs for

Medicare beneficiaries for prescription drugs. That would deal with a major cost concern for them. And also for others, people who are not on Medicare, facilitate the importation of less expensive drugs from other countries, in particular, Canada. That has been done to a limited degree so far but it hasn't been done on a wide scale.

These are all major priorities of the Democratic Party. They are bitterly opposed by pharmaceutical companies who see a big threat to their bottom line. But if the Democrats can get this through, this is something that would save both the government billions of dollars and save individual consumers on Medicare and off Medicare billions of dollars as well.

BOLDUAN: And, John, if the president gets these prescription drug savings that he's going for, and that is a big if, right, I mean, how does this fit and help in the larger context of the infrastructure package and his agenda that is moving its way through Congress right now?

HARWOOD: Well, there are multiple ways, Kate, that the administration is looking to pay for all of these big social benefits it wants to enact. Some are raising taxes on corporations, some are raising taxes on wealthy people. This particular financing method would help pay for an expansion of Medicare benefits.

Right now, Medicare beneficiaries do not have very good coverage for vision, for hearing and for dental care. The savings that would be implemented here, if the president can make them happen, would help pay for those benefits, which are also very popular.

The toughest part of getting Democrats to vote for the reconciliation package is getting them to vote for the tax increases. But getting them to vote for steps that would take on the drug companies and reduce the cost of prescription drugs, that is something that is pretty popular and it would pay for other benefits that are also popular. So there is no surprise that the Biden White House wants to emphasize this element of the plan as they begin this sales job (ph).

BOLDUAN: Yes, first step. Let's hear what the president lays out.

Any minute now, President Biden about to speak in the east room to deliver his plan, release his plan and announce what steps he wants to take. John, great to see you, thank you for that. I'm Kate Bolduan.

Inside Politics with John King begins right now.

JOHN KING, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everybody, and welcome to Inside Politics. I'm John King in Washington. Thanks for sharing your day with us today.

A new federal COVID mandate for 25,000 the staff and volunteers who work at Department of Health and Human Services will now be required to get a COVID shot.

[12:00:01] Dr. Fauci today says more vaccinations now would slow the delta surge and that the long-term pandemic plan likely includes booster shots.