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At This Hour

Pfizer Asks FDA To Authorize COVID-19 Vaccine For Kids Ages 5- 11; New Cases And Hospitalizations Down Sharply In U.S.; Federal Judge Blocks Enforcement Of Texas Abortion Law; Trump Defends Capitol Riot; Florida Board Of Education To Consider Punishing Schools With Mask Mandates. Aired 11-11:30a ET

Aired October 07, 2021 - 11:00   ET




UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): This is CNN breaking news.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm Kate Bolduan. Thanks so much for being here.

We begin with two breaking stories. Pfizer has just announced it has formally asked the FDA to authorize use of their coronavirus vaccine for younger children between the ages of 5 to 11 years old.

An estimated 28 million kids in the United States would be eligible if regulators give the green light. Pfizer says the research shows the dosage for these younger kids is one-third the dose given to those over the age of 12. Same vaccine, smaller dose and it's safe and effective.

Also breaking this hour, Chuck Schumer has announced he's reached a deal with Mitch McConnell to extend the debt ceiling to December, averting another crisis like this for only two months. We'll have more on that in a moment.

Let's begin with the breaking news on Pfizer. Joining me now, Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

Sanjay, we knew this was coming but what does this announcement mean from Pfizer?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: They're basically saying at this point they think they have the data to support this emergency use authorization. We have heard about this as you pointed out because of the trials.

Now Pfizer has put it all together. They submitted the application and they think that it's going to -- they're obviously hopeful. Keep in mind, 16 and older, as far as where things stands; 12 to 15 is emergency use authorization. This would now be extend this if it goes through to age 5, which I know is particularly important in your household as well, Kate. BOLDUAN: I am not joking that people in my household are doing a happy

dance. My daughter cannot wait. She doesn't even remember what normal is but she's excited to welcome it in once again.

What do you think this means for the timeline for these kids and even younger?

GUPTA: We know the FDA has scheduled a meeting to review this. Between now and then, they're looking at this data. It's about three weeks away and they're going to schedule the meeting.

It will be an open meeting. People can listen in. They'll discuss it and make a recommendation to the FDA at that point. The FDA will accept it or not and then it goes to the CDC.

So over a few days, October 26th, that's when we talked about the possibility of Halloween potentially as an authorization. We'll see. It could happen that quickly. Now keep in mind, as you know, Kate, that means it's now authorized.

People then have to get the first shot, wait three weeks, get the second shot and then it's after that, before they're considered vaccinated.

BOLDUAN: That's a great point. As you very well know, Sanjay, and we've seen the polling on this, parents of children in this age group are really split on whether they want to give their kids the shot. I made clear how I feel about it.

Why do you that is and what do you think the conversation is like now, you know -- I'm going to say I assume this gets authorization from the FDA -- between pediatricians and parents?

GUPTA: First of all, I do think the numbers will change. We've just heard from the company so far. I think people want that affirmation but I think the fundamental concern is, I think my kid's fine. I don't think my kid's going to get sick.

Why do they need the vaccine?

It's an argument we hear over and over again but particularly so with young kids. And pediatricians need to make the point it's rare for young children to get but it can happen and sometimes it can have long-term symptoms but also the value of the collective.

As more people get vaccinated, I can show you, it's another 9 percent of the country in this category, if more people get vaccinated, we could start look at this thing in the rear view mirror and I think that benefits all of society.

BOLDUAN: The statistics we keep on the side of the screen for everybody, we've all been looking at it and as you say, add it to the overall trends we see now, infections, down. Hospitalizations, down.


BOLDUAN: Deaths, trending down. And we're seeing these trends consistently.

Is United States getting control of COVID-19?

GUPTA: I think control is the right word, not ending it. I think it's probably here to stay. To be clear, there's remnants of the 1918 flu epidemic that still exists today.

Control, I think it's not audacious to say that at this point looking at the trend lines. I look at data from the rest of the countries and look historically, you saw big surges with the 2009 pandemic and with the 1918 pandemic. Right about now in the beginning of October, then the numbers came down and stayed down for a long time.

BOLDUAN: You know, we've seen these surges. We used to say we were speaking too soon. Now you add on layers of the vaccines, that's what it's talking about, getting control, as you said all along. Sanjay, thank you.

GUPTA: Thank you.

BOLDUAN: To the other story we're following, Senator Chuck Schumer announced he has reached a deal with Senator Mitch McConnell to extend the debt ceiling until December and avoid a debt default in just days. The news has the stock market rallying. The Dow up a lot, doing well at this moment. Let's go over to CNN's Manu Raju.

What are you learning?

MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, short-term deal and it's unclear how it'll be dealt with in the long term, essentially kick the can down the road. This is an extension of the national debt limit. Up until December 3rd, this would extend the borrowing limit to about $480 billion. That's how much debt will be racked up.

This sets up a larger fight come that time. We'll be right back at it. It's the same deadline that got funding needs to be extended. If they don't do that, the federal government and agencies will shut down.

It is the same situation Congress was just in over the last several weeks. They have agreed to a short-term increase of government funding and then they battled for weeks in a staring contest.

People were engaged in a procedural dispute for weeks until Mitch McConnell decided to change course, offering the short-term solution. Schumer, McConnell cut the deal. Congress averting this immediate crisis, potentially the first ever debt default.

Can they do it again come December?

That's going to be the big question as lawmakers may have their backs up against the wall.

BOLDUAN: How does it make it easier?

We'll find out in two months. Manu, thank you so much. Overnight a federal judge sided with the Justice Department blocking enforcement of a Texas law banning abortions early as six weeks. We discussed it a lot in the show. In a scathing order, U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman (ph) said this.

"From the moment S.B. 8 went into effect, women have been unlawfully prevented from exercising control over their lives in ways that are protected by the Constitution."

Texas announced it is appealing. CNN's Ariane de Vogue is live in Washington.

Tell us more.

ARIANE DE VOGUE, CNN SUPREME COURT CORRESPONDENT: What it means is this is headed back to the Supreme Court. For a month, women haven't been able to get this procedure in Texas. Most people don't know they're pregnant by six weeks. And the law has made it so hard to challenge.

These clinics tried, went to the Supreme Court, who allowed this law to go into effect. So then the Department of Justice bringing the full weight of the government filed this suit.

Last night they won. The judge basically thinks the law is unconstitutional, violates Roe v. Wade but he also went after Texas for the way they tried to avoid having federal judges review it. He called it a scheme.

Then he had a message for the courts hearing this next. It'll be appealed and then at the Supreme Court.


DE VOGUE: He said, "Other courts may find a way to avoid this conclusion. It's theirs to decide. This court will not sanction one more day of this offensive deprivation of such an important right."

So whether or not going ahead, the clinics will offer the procedure because there's still a lot of risks for doctors involved right now.

BOLDUAN: Thank you, Ariane.

Also now four aides of Donald Trump face a deadline today to comply with subpoenas in the January 6th insurrection. Former deputy chief of staff Dan Scavino still has yet to be found to be served. Whitney Wild is following this.

What's going on here?

WHITNEY WILD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's impossible to believe that Dan Scavino doesn't know he's been subpoenaed It's been all over the news. But they've unable to find him to serve him.

It's today they're supposed to comply with the subpoena by supplying the documents the committee has requested. The timeline isn't blown out of the water. While they want the documents today, they're waiting another week to conduct the depositions. However, without the documents to review, it's much more difficult to ask informed questions.

Right now, we know are others who have been subpoenaed who intend to comply. It's a congressional subpoena. It's not a choice. You can't not comply. And the committee has made very clear they're willing to explore options to include civil remedies, possible criminal remedies. It's early, only 11:00. Things could change by the end of the day.

BOLDUAN: Thank you.

Joining us now, Jeffrey Toobin.

We've seen so many Trump related subpoenas from Congress go ignored or get caught up in court.

Why do these things, subpoenas, seem like they don't have any teeth?

Do they?

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SR. LEGAL ANALYST: One of the things the Trump alumni association here has learned from the Trump administration is it is possible to get these matters tied up even if you have a losing argument.

The House Judiciary Committee subpoenaed Don McGahn. That dispute lasted two years, district court, circuit court, Supreme Court. That's the playbook being used here.

Even if the Justice Department agree to pursue criminal sanctions against any of these four witnesses for refusing to testify, that will go into the courts.

Then they move slowly and what they understand is that there is a time pressure on the January 6th committee. The midterm election is 13 months away. There is only a limited window for this committee to do their investigations. And if these witnesses can tie up the matters before the court, even if they lose and eventually have to testify, they will obstruct the investigation.

BOLDUAN: I think the time pressure and the inclination to run out the clock is being underappreciated by a lot of people.

Trump's response on this is still remarkable, slamming the committee and saying, "The real insurrection happened on November 3rd, the presidential election, not January 6th, a day of protesting the fake election results."

This is proof his effort to lie and divide is far from over.

TOOBIN: Also this is something that's going on throughout the Republican Party.

[11:15:00] TOOBIN: Which is following former president Trump in trying to normalize January 6th.

"See, it was just a protest." It wasn't the criminal enterprise --


BOLDUAN: Just a day in January.

TOOBIN: -- exactly. Mike Pence and Nikki Haley said it. And Mitch McConnell and Kevin McCarthy, at first they were outraged. Now they say, you're patriots, we love you and that's how the issue is being reframed.

BOLDUAN: Let me ask you about how Donald Trump and the DOJ worked so hard to try to overturn the election results. Of course the committee is led by Democrats. Trump asked the Justice Department nine times to undermine the election results.

Is this confirmation that this was a real attempt at a coup?

TOOBIN: It's a very chilling report, almost 400 pages. It underlines how close the country came to a genuine constitutional crisis because it wasn't just Trump trying to interfere with the electoral votes, it was his pressuring the Justice Department to stop the certification of the vote even before that.

All of this was going on at the same time and Trump loyalists were who put a stop to it. But how close the country came to an unresolved election has become clear.

BOLDUAN: What do you think the Justice Department will, can or should do? TOOBIN: Attorney general Garland has said the investigation is going to proceed, from the bottom up and there are hundreds of prosecutions underway of the actual rioters on January 6th.

But there is also an ongoing investigation of who gave the orders, who financed it, who agreed to it. That question has not been pursued in the courts so far. But certainly all the evidence suggests that the January 6th conspiracy could have gone a lot higher than breaking the windows in the Capitol.

BOLDUAN: Thank you, Jeff.

Coming up, Florida getting set to punish schools for masks. But a state official is releasing data showing what science has already proven, that the mandates are working.




(MUSIC PLAYING) BOLDUAN: Developing this morning, Florida's battle over masks. The

Board of Education will be meeting, considering punishing 11 school districts, including possibly withholding salaries from board members. There's more.

But a top state official released new data to show what we know, mask mandates are working to better protect kids against COVID. Joining me now is that state official, Nikki Fried. She's a Democrat challenging Florida's Ron DeSantis in his upcoming re-election.

Thank you for being here. You announced this morning that your survey of COVID data in Florida schools show district that started the year with mask requirements, saw infection rates three times lower than districts without mask requirements.

What do you do with this data now?

NIKKI FRIED, FLORIDA STATE OFFICIAL: This data we've been asking for since August. We put in a public records request into the governor's office and he didn't provide it. We sought the information ourselves. We compiled all the information.

Today what do we do?

We release it to the people, those who want to know this information, parents, teachers, school board administrators. And to make sure they have the correct information for the right decisions for their communities. We always knew this was the right information and now we've got data to back up our analysis.

BOLDUAN: The governor's office has not responded to several requests for comment by CNN but DeSantis has said consistently that masks shouldn't be the school's decision, it should be the parent's decision.


BOLDUAN: The state's Board of Ed is considering punishing these schools where mask mandates were put in place.

Do you have any sense that your release of information is going to impact anything?

FRIED: No. This education and our commissioner and governor has every single step along the way in COVID has lied about the data, has manipulated the data and they've been bullies along this way.

So even with this information that's so black and white, such indisputable evidence now that the masks were working and are working to decrease the number of cases, the direct impact of lowering the cases means less kids are getting sick, kids are less exposed to it and having to stay at home.

But unfortunately, they don't care about the facts and the data and the evidence. All they care about is winning political points. They're defunding our education system in the state of Florida because not only did we have to go to the White House to get support, now they're threatening to take away additional funding the White House has already providing.

BOLDUAN: Florida is the only state that has not put in with the Federal Department of Education for the available COVID relief funding left for schools that was approved by Congress, the only state, Florida is, that is leaving what appears to be $2.3 billion on the table.

The governor has said that the reason why -- and I'll read part of what he put out as a statement, which is, quote, "no district has articulated a need for funding that cannot be met with currently available resources."

Is that what you're hearing?

FRIED: Not at all. That's absolutely ludicrous. Our school boards and the schools across the state of Florida have been asking and demanding for additional resources. We're also still holding onto billions of dollars that were already allocated from last year's COVID response.

And their administration was basically saying we don't need it or they'll extend it over the next few years. Our schools need it now. The money is needed to make sure we're keeping our schools open, keeping teachers in the classroom, getting better ventilation systems in our school. And so the money is necessary.

It's $801 per student that this governor has kept away from our kids, $801. All he had to do was apply for the money. He's been very shortsighted. That's where his mission has been, is to privatize our school system and hurt the parents and teachers and the students on the right side of science, on the right side of the evidence and are doing the right thing for our communities.

BOLDUAN: If DeSantis would like to provide a statement or speak with us about this, we would be happy to have him on or put out a statement, if and when he does respond. Thank you for your time.

FRIED: Thank you.

BOLDUAN: Coming up for us, new video of a ruptured pipeline that caused that massive oil spill in Southern California. What we're learning about the cause and the environmental impact -- next.