Return to Transcripts main page

At This Hour

Stricter Testing Rules for Travelers Coming to U.S. Begin Monday; Prosecutors Consider Charging Parents of School Shooting Suspect. Aired 11:30a-12p ET

Aired December 03, 2021 - 11:30   ET




KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Strict new testing rules for travelers coming into the United States take effect Monday. All travelers coming into the country will now be required to test negative for coronavirus, one day before their departure. This change includes American citizens and its regardless of vaccination status.

Joining me now for more on this is Dr. Ashish Jha, Dean of the Brown University School of Public Health.

Dr. Jha, requiring all travelers to test negative one day versus three days which has been before entering the United States, how well do you think this is going to work? Is there any downside?


DR. ASHISH JHA, BROWN UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH: Kate, thanks for having me on. I think this is a great move. It's going to help, it's not obviously a panacea but it will help. The downside is it's going to get harder for travelers should always be able to find high quality PCR that they can get a result from within a day. But I do think making sure that that test is as close to travel date as possible, will help catch more infections before they come to the U.S.

BOLDUAN: And another change that the White House announced to battle the potential winter surge is making at home testing more affordable and accessible, they say that rapid at home testing is going to be free of reimbursement through insurance now. I mean, you and I have been talking about the need for more testing since the beginning of this pandemic, is this the fix?

JHA: This is again, it's going to help. The issue is we need a lot more rapid tests widely available, it just we need to get to a situation where people can easily get them. One of the problems right now is they're still way too expensive. So, I appreciate the administration trying to make it more affordable to people. One of the best ways of making it affordable is, we should have a lot more available, more supply will drive down prices. So, there's a lot more we can be doing. But this is -- I would say a step forward in the right direction. BOLDUAN: Why is testing still such a challenge in the United States? I mean, have you been able to put your finger on it?

JHA: Yeah, in some ways, I think we just haven't understood how powerful a tool it is for controlling the virus. We always think of it as a diagnostic thing that somebody gets sick, they should be able to get a test. But what we know is if we hadn't widely available, it would actually bring infection numbers down. I think neither administration has put enough emphasis, the Trump administration totally undermined testing. I think the Biden administration has done a better job, but I don't think they've done enough to really make these tests as widely available as they should be.

BOLDUAN: And where we are right now with the virus? Some of the -- I mean, I'm now mostly focusing when I'm trying to look at it on hospitalizations and hospitalizations are up 22% in the past month, the seven-day average is near 60,000 people in the hospital with COVID. Is this a warning sign that people should be paying attention to now?

JHA: It is. And we are unfortunately going through a winter surge. We are seeing large increases infections. And this is by the way, not the new variant. This is Delta. This is the Delta variant that's been with us for many, many months. And it is filling up hospitals more than 1000 Americans are dying every day. And the sad part is, this is not last winter, we have so many more tools now. We know how to get out of this people, need to be vaccinated, need to be boosted. If more Americans did that, we would not be in the position we are in.

BOLDUAN: And that's why it's so frustrating, right? It's not -- we're not talking about December of 2020. In the new CNN analysis, it also kind of puts a finer point on it, it says -- it finds that since vaccines become widely available, the average risk of dying from COVID is more than 50% higher in states that voted for Donald Trump in 2020, than states that voted for Joe Biden. What does that say to you?

JHA: Yeah, look at vaccinations and the public health crisis is not a political issue, certainly should not be. But there are people who have politicized it. I think that's unhelpful. What we know is that -- work if you're a Democrat or a Republican or anything in between, and we should be getting more people vaccinated, and we should see all political leaders advocating for vaccinations. I wish we were able to do that.

BOLDUAN: Absolutely. Even at this point. It's good to see Dr. Jha. Thank you so much.

JHA: Thank you, Kate.

BOLDUAN: So, it's been just a week since the South African scientists discovered the Omicron variant and reported it to the World Health Organization. The WHO's Chief Scientist this morning, says that the new variant appears to -- in their words, be very transmissible.

Joining me right now is the WHO spokesperson, Dr. Margaret Harris, back with us. Dr. Harris, thank you for being here. So, hearing that from your chief scientist today. I -- you know, we obviously listened very closely with a lot of interest in hearing that is very transmissible that had me thinking it's been one week since this was labeled a variant of concern by the World Health Organization. What else do you think you have learned, I guess concretely about this variant in the past week?

DR. MARGARET HARRIS, SPOKESWOMAN, WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION: Well, we've suddenly seen that it's effectively spreading itself in South Africa. So, we've seen -- and this is one of the reasons why we characterized it as a variant of concern so quickly, and so early, because it was already associated with a very big rise in cases. South Africa had a flat curve, and then it really won't straight up.

The other thing that's becoming clearer is that people who are infected with other versions of the SARS-CoV-2 virus can be reinfected with this one. So, we're seeing that previous natural infection isn't protecting people against get being reinfected with this one. And we've also seen, of course, that it is -- it has now spread to more than 38 countries. So, we are certainly seeing that it has moved within the human movements very effectively.


BOLDUAN: Yeah. And it also reinforces an important thing I've been wanting to talk to you about, which is no one is safe unless everyone is safe, which has become the mantra on the global effort with vaccines. The World Health Organization has been very clear that wealthier nations need to do more to get the rest of the world vaccinated. And the Biden administration just announced that it's shipping 9 million vaccine doses to Africa today, 2 million to other countries. And I'm curious, what is the real impact of that amount of vaccines compared to the need right now?

HARRIS: Well, it's certainly a big help. And I think it's also symbolic that countries like the U.S. and others are now seeing and acting on the need. We did hear a lot of talk earlier. But now we're actually seeing action being taken. And that is great, because it's -- I'm sorry, that it took Omicron to make people understand how serious this is, because we have been saying, and you've been saying that we need to vaccinate the whole world so that we don't give the virus a chance to turn itself into a more effective version.

BOLDUAN: The President of the United States also just said that that's -- I think the way he put it is that Southern Africa has all the vaccines that they need. And the CEO of Moderna actually told the Financial Times that they have a surplus of doses earmarked for Africa that are sitting in warehouses, either because he says COVAX, that U.N. back body tasked with global distribution, or individual countries haven't taken delivery. And Moderna CEO says we're running out of space, is what he said, is this custom? Is this fridge space? Is this hesitancy? What is holding this up when we know the need to get people in poor countries is so great?

HARRIS: So, we've been hearing this kind of narrative, this kind of story. I would say it's a bit of a convenient myths. What we've struggled with and it's with the various developers and is being provided with clear visibility on what's available. I mean, what type of vaccines available? What's the expiry date on those vaccines, what volumes are coming through and when they're coming through? Because any country, a country's advanced as the United States or a country that's got a much weaker health system needs to know what kind of vaccine they've got? So, is it one that needs an ultra-cold chain, for example? How much of it you're going to get? When you're going to get it? So that you can plan exactly how you deliver it. But what we are seeing in countries is not any difficulty actually, with getting people to be vaccinated, the struggle is making sure that it's available in the right place at the right time so that people can get to it, so that it can get into people's arms.

BOLDUAN: This seems like something that has to be fixable when you've got the smartest minds in the world on this. Thank you so much, Dr. Harris, I appreciate your time.

Coming up, will the parents face charges? That is a real question right now about the parents of the 15-year-old suspect in the Michigan school shooting. What the lead prosecutor revealed to CNN, that's next.



BOLDUAN: Moments from now, prosecutors are expected to announce whether or not there will be charges brought against the parents of the 15-year-old suspect in the Michigan school shooting. Four students were killed, seven others injured.

Let's go there right now. CNN's Shimon Prokupecz is live, standing by for this press conference to begin. Shimon, what are you expecting to hear?

SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, certainly a significant announcement and new information the prosecutor is hinting at, certainly she suggested so much so last night, when she spoke with Anderson Cooper. Take a listen to what she said.


KAREN MCDONALD, OAKLAND COUNTY PROSECUTOR: The information that will be announced tomorrow will also disclose that it probably could have been prevented. And that is unconscionable. We're going to hold him accountable. But we're also going to make sure that the person or the individuals that gave him access to that weapon and did so and not just a negligible way far beyond negligence are held accountable. And, you know, I spoke to the -- to these parents, the day after this happened.


PROKUPECZ: And Kate, one of the things that we have learned obviously from the investigators here is that the weapon that was used by the alleged shooter was bought by his parents, that nine-millimeter weapon that is something that the sheriff revealed early on after the shooting occurred and that is something that prosecutors have been focusing on, the fact that the family provided this weapon to this 15- year-old.

The other thing, of course, is the school and their responsibility after teachers came forward saying that they suspected something suspicious was going on and the big question is why didn't the school do more? Perhaps, we will learn more of that today as well from the prosecutor.


BOLDUAN: All right, we're standing by, we'll bring you that press conference when it begins, Shimon, thank you so much.

Coming up for us, exclusive CNN reporting on how Facebook is profiting off ads promoting clear disinformation and anti-vaccine rhetoric. Ads, that exclusive report is next.

But first, we all have bad habits, of course, and they can be hard to break. Dr. Sanjay Gupta explores how to break the cycle in today's chasing life.


DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm Dr. Sanjay Gupta, host of CNN's Chasing Life podcast. Let's face it, we all have bad habits, and the holidays or even a pandemic can make it easier to get into them. Understanding how to break them requires knowing how a bad habit is even formed. It starts with a trigger. Maybe you're bored, maybe you're stressed, then comes to behavior, like eating junk food or smoking. And finally, the reward that feeling of satisfaction.

Dr. Judson Brewer says the key is to break this loop. And that happens at the reward phase. When you get to that part of the cycle, focus on the way this habit makes you really feel. Take smoking for instance, a study done by Brewer actually showed that when smokers focused on the way their cigarettes taste, and the way it made them feel, those people had a higher success rate of curbing the habit. So, the next time you reach for your smartphone, that extra piece of pizza, that glass of wine, ask yourself, how does it really make you feel? And is it worth it? You can hear more about how to optimize your health and chase life wherever you get your podcasts.




BOLDUAN: And we all are following breaking news right now. CNN has just confirmed a Michigan prosecutor overseeing the investigation into that shooting at Oxford High School this week. The prosecutor has just filed charges against the parents of the 15-year-old suspect, the shooter here. Let me bring in right now, Elie Honig, for much more on this. I'm looking at the paperwork, Elie, and what this says is both parents charged with four counts each of homicide, involuntary manslaughter, tell me what this means?

ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Yeah, Kate. So involuntary manslaughter means that the defendants here, the two parents does not mean necessarily that they intended to kill anybody, it means that they engage in what we call criminal negligence, meaning they had a duty of care. And they created a situation or helped create a situation that was so dangerous, that it caused a risk of death or great bodily injury to others. So, if knowing what we know about the facts of the case, I'd imagine that relates to the way they obtained this firearm, the way they gave their son who was a teenager access to it. Also potentially, what did they know about their son's state of mind? He was reportedly in trouble with the school. They were having interventions. And so, if they provided the firearm to a person who they knew was being erratic, or behaving in a dangerous, unpredictable way, that could go to that charge, Kate.

BOLDUAN: Elie, plane and simply, we don't see this happen. We don't often see this happen that parents are charged in this way. Talk to me about how unusual this is and what this means?

HONIG: Yeah, it's very unusual, Kate. It may even be unprecedented. I can't think of a case off the top of my head. Unfortunately, we've seen all too many of this mass shooter, school shooter scenarios. And a question that people ask naturally is, what about the parents? Where are the parents and all of this? And I think there could be an interesting precedent set here. If you're talking about parents who behaved in a way that was criminally negligent, I don't think it's enough for parents to just say, well, that wasn't me, that was my child. And I think what the prosecutor is saying with these charges is, let's look at the parents responsibility in getting that gun, in letting their child have that gun, or giving the gun to that child. And again, given what they knew about their child, and who would know the child better than the parents. So, this is really a new frontier in terms of imposing responsibility on people for these kinds of mass shootings.

BOLDUAN: What kind of a challenges proving this -- you know, proving these charges? I mean, this is -- I mean, we've got a lot more to learn here now.

HONIG: Yeah, it's difficult for prosecutors, you always have to prove your case beyond a reasonable doubt. But again, important to keep in mind, the prosecutor does not have to prove that the parents knew or intended, OK, he's going to go out and kill people or harmed people. It's a lower bar than that, you have to prove that what the parents did was inexcusably reckless, again, what we call criminal negligence, meaning they created or contributed to a situation which they should have foreseen could have been dangerous to somebody's life or to someone's great bodily harm. So that's a lower bar than what you think of as your traditional intentional murder. But yes, prosecutors are going to have to prove this case beyond a reasonable doubt. BOLDUAN: The way the prosecutor said it last night to Anderson Cooper is what they -- she believes she's seen from the story so far from the parent -- from what the parents did was beyond negligence is how the prosecutor set it on CNN. Elie, thank you very much.


As you can see in the side of your screen, we're waiting right now to hear from the prosecutor in this case, an update on this, and formal announcement of this breaking news and voluntary manslaughter charges against the parents of the boy charged in the shooting death for students, injuring several more at his high school this week. Much more of this breaking news with Inside Politics right now.