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San Francisco And New York Declare Monkeypox Emergencies; Will Smith Apologizes To Chris Rock For Oscars Slap In New Video; Mega Millions Soar To $1.1 Billion, Second Largest Ever. Aired 11:30a-12p ET

Aired July 29, 2022 - 11:30   ET



REP. STENY HOYER (D-MD): Are trying to blow this out of proportion for their own purposes, and unjustifiably so in my opinion.

ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR: There's a lot happening in Washington these days so I do want to get into fewer quick points of view this morning. First of all, what is your read this morning in terms of support for the Manchin blessed spending package?

HOYER: Well, I think I'm pleased to see them moving forward on that. I think the Infrastructure Reduction Act is a very good piece of legislation, and it's not all that we would want to see in reconciliation. However, what is in there is good stuff. And it will help bring prices down, bring costs for health care down for people, bring costs of prescription drugs down for people, deal with our own environment, a 40 percent reduction in carbon emissions. So it is a very good piece of legislation, we're waiting for the Senate to pass it and when they do on, in my opinion, we'll pass it.

HILL: So the impact -- one of the concerns, obviously, the impact of that package won't be felt for some time. A key inflation measure this morning showed the biggest increase in four decades. We know there's a lot of back and forth about the word recession, and whether it's official or not but the reality for many Americans is they are still paying a lot more for everything. And it's that daily reality that matters. So can you talk to us more about the plan in the short term to help lower prices and costs for Americans?

HOYER: Yes. We -- well, I just talked about what this reconciliation in every sort you do --- we're passing -- we're passing --

HILL: Right. But I mean, in the short term, right? We're seeing a drop in gas prices, but in the immediate for the Americans, that's what they look at.

HOYER: What -- your -- gas prices have come down approximately 20 percent over the last 40 days? That's good news. Let's hope it continues because inflation is a real problem. There's no doubt about that. But a lot of focus on the fact that this is a worldwide phenomenon caused by the pandemic and caused by the war in Ukraine that Putin has started and is pursuing so that the United States is about in the middle in terms of how much inflation we have of the developed countries in the world. So it's a worldwide phenomenon. Do we need to get a handle on it? Are people having trouble at the grocery store and at the gas pump? They are.

We passed a bill it's on gouging that our Republican friends did not support, we passed a bill on infrastructure, we passed a bill on fuel and food to try to bring food prices and fuel prices down and protect supply chains, so we've taken a lot of actions to try to address this. It's a real -- but it's a real problem. And the Federal Reserve, of course, again, acted yesterday.

What the trick is, is to bring prices down without creating a recession. And, of course, this definition of recession goes back and forth. But we have 3.6 percent unemployment, that's very low unemployment. It was 10.8 percent in the unemployment in the second year of the Reagan administration, and we have 8.7 million new jobs over the last 50 months. So that's some good news.

HILL: Yes.

HOYER: But recession is a real challenge. We've got to address it. And we are.

HILL: Really quickly because we are out of time, so if I could get a yes or no on this next one. I'm just seeing a Dear Colleague letter from the speaker that there will be a vote on the assault weapons ban today.


HILL: Do you see any Republicans joining Democrats?

HOYER: I certainly hope so. I voted for the assault ban in 1994, unfortunately, the Republicans let it lapse to the detriment I think of an awful lot of people in this country. Assault weapons, in my view, are designed for one purpose, their weapons of war to kill a lot of people quickly. There's -- they're not hunting rifles. We're not going to take hunting rifles or handguns away. The Constitution says we have a right to have those and we honor that. But the fact of the matter is I think we're going to pass the assault weapon bill. I'm sorry that I would hope that we're going to get some Republican votes, but I'm not optimistic that that will be the case.

HILL: Congressman Steny Hoyer, we will be watching that. Appreciate your time this morning, sir. Thank you.

HOYER: You bet. Thank you very much.

HILL: Coming up. San Francisco declares a public health emergency for monkeypox, the first city to do so. The latest on a growing outbreak is next.



HILL: San Francisco and New York State now declaring a monkeypox emergency, sounding the alarm clearly. Nearly 5000 confirmed cases of monkeypox now across the United States but there is no federal health emergency declaration. Officials in New York call monkeypox an imminent threat to public health, San Francisco declaring a local public health emergency. It's the first city to do so. CNN's Camila Bernal is live in San Francisco for us this morning with more, good morning.

CAMILA BERNAL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hey, Erica. Good morning. Look, both San Francisco and New York saying that because they've seen such an increase in cases, they also want to see more resources. It's helpful when it comes to outreach when it comes to testing, vaccination, and even treatment. In New York, what the declaration means is more money specifically from the state, and more funding. In San Francisco, it's about logistics. The state of emergency makes it a little bit easier to get those resources without some of the roadblocks. But beyond that, what San Francisco is really trying to do is get the attention of the federal government.


They say they want resources from the federal government. Mayor London Breed saying that she reached out to the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, Xavier Becerra. She said she sent a letter expressing her concerns and asking for more vaccines. She says they just do not have enough vaccines.

They say they need about 70,000 doses. They say they asked for at least 35,000 of them. But as of now, they've only received about 12,000 doses. So they really say that they are in desperate need and they've been trying to ask the administration and still have not gotten what they want, Erica.

HILL: Camila Bernal with the latest for us from San Francisco, thank you. Also joining me, CNN medical analyst, Dr. Leana Wen. Good to see you this morning, Dr. Wen. So when we look at where we stand now, these emergencies declared in San Francisco, in New York State, is it time for the federal government to declare a public health emergency? And if so, what would that change?

DR. LEANA WEN, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: Well, the World Health Organization has already declared a public health emergency. The U.S. is leading the world when it comes to the number of monkeypox cases and we haven't had enough testing. So the more we test, the more cases we're finding. So the actual number of cases will exceed the number that's reported.

I think it is time for the federal government to declare a state of emergency as well so that a lot more resources can go towards this issue. I think a lot of people are tired of public health emergencies after COVID, but this is an outbreak that we need to try to contain. And I think it would be a profound failure of our public health system if we're unable to contain a disease that's been around for decades for which we have testing and an effective vaccine.

HILL: Yes. And it would also, as I understand it too, declaring it a public health emergency would also open up better data flow, right? We would learn more about vaccination rates, for example. The messaging overall in this country has been confusing. And you mentioned that WHO declaring this a global health emergency earlier this week, and also this week, urged people and communities with high case numbers to avoid sex. That is, you know, a point of conflict, especially here in New York City, there was reporting in the New York Times about that, how to put out the proper messaging. As a former health commissioner, what do you think could be done better in terms of messaging to make sure that accurate info is being put out?

WEN: Well, that's exactly it. We don't want to perpetuate stigma against populations that are already stigmatized in some way and marginalized in some way. But at the same time, we have to put out truthful information. So monkeypox, we know, is not a sexually transmitted infection per se, it's transmitted through direct prolonged intimate contact with someone. However, most of the cases, something like 95 percent plus of cases reported thus far, are transmitted through sexual activity. And so it's important to let the groups that are predominantly affected.

Right now, in the U.S., the CDC is saying that 99 percent of cases are in men who have sex with men. It's important to let these populations know that having multiple anonymous sex partners is something that dramatically increases risk. And I think it is important to say that until somebody is vaccinated, they really should try to reduce their risk, including through reducing these high-risk encounters.

HILL: When it comes to COVID, I do want to get your take on this quickly. The New York Times reporting the Biden administration is not going to wait until September to expand eligibility for that fourth shot, a second booster to people under 50 because the administration is waiting for a new vaccine, it's going to target some of the current variants, Omicron variants. Is that the right decision in your view?

WEN: I understand the rationale. Perhaps it's to reduce confusion and to say, hey, let's get one broad vaccination campaign come this fall, let's not do some people now, some people on the fall. Also, I think they're banking on the fact that Omicron is still going to be around come this fall, and so the new vaccine, the new booster is going to better target the Omicron sub-variants.

The only problem is I really hope that the administration puts out two other messages. One is that we still have a lot of people eligible for first boosters, including 30 percent of people 65 and older, who have not even gotten their first booster. That needs to be the top priority. Those people should really not wait until the fall to get boosted.

But the other thing is we have gotten to a point in the pandemic where people need to choose their own level of risk. And there are some people under the age of 50 who are really anxious about getting a booster, allowing those people to get their booster now and then get another booster to come the far winter, I think would also be reasonable. And so I would rather see the federal government give a permissive recommendation allowing people who want to, to get a booster now while not excluding them from the possibility of a booster later on. HILL: Dr. Leana Wen, always good to see you. Thank you.

Coming up, Will Smith apologizing on camera for slapping Chris Rock at the Oscars, so why now? We discussed next. But first, reflecting on what you're grateful for can really boost your well-being. Dr. Sanjay Gupta explains in today's "CHASING LIFE."



DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm Dr. Sanjay Gupta, host of CNN's "CHASING LIFE" podcast. You know I've always been interested by this idea that our thoughts and our emotions can tangibly impact our health and vice versa. It's a reciprocal relationship. This is certainly true for the case of gratitude. Reflecting on what you're grateful for can objectively change the way your brain works. It does this by increasing serotonin and dopamine. These are hormones that make us feel good. It also does this by regulating stress hormones, and over time, this forges and strengthens pathways in our brains as well.

Anyone can do this. You can try the three good things to practice. That means take some time at the beginning or the end of the day to think of three things you're grateful for, and why you're grateful for them. You can keep these in a journal, or better yet, share them with someone you love. The more you activate these brain connections, the stronger they become. As the saying goes, neurons that fire together, wire together.

You can hear more about how to optimize your health and chase life wherever you get your podcast.




HILL: All right, this just in. Actor Will Smith now apologizing to Chris Rock again, but this time on video, for the now infamous slap at the Academy Awards back in March. Smith posting that new apology on YouTube just moments ago, here's a clip.


WILL SMITH, ACTOR: Why didn't you apologize to Chris in your acceptance speech? I was fogged out by that point. It's all fuzzy. I've reached out to Chris, and the mesh -- the message that came back is that he's not ready to talk. And when he is, he will reach out. So I will -- I will say to you, Chris, I apologize to you. My behavior was unacceptable. And I'm here whenever you're ready to talk.


HILL: CNN's Chloe Melas joins me now. So, Chloe, this took a lot of people by surprise this morning, at least here in the newsroom. Why -- is there any sense of why Will Smith has decided to put out this apology now?

CHLOE MELAS, CNN ENTERTAINMENT REPORTER: Hey, Erica. No idea why Will Smith chose Friday morning to sit down and post this. You know, it's been several months. We haven't heard much of anything since he was banned from attending the Oscars for the next 10 years. You know, he put out you know those apologies, those statements like you said.

I think what's really interesting, Erica is the fact that he chose to do this on his YouTube channel. He didn't go and sit down on a primetime interview, he didn't go sit down with his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith on her red table talk, and he's also talking directly to fans, answering their question. I think it's really interesting, though, that he's putting out there into the universe you know, look, I reached out to Chris and I haven't heard back from him. Because Chris, you know, he's sort of made subtle jabs during his standup comedy tour so far and it's very clear that Chris Rock is still processing this and processing what happened. We, at CNN, we've reached out to Chris Rock for comment on this apology.

I also thought it was interesting that you know, Will did this on its own without his wife sitting next to him or his family. You know, he did this on his own terms by himself. It'll be interesting to see how this apology is received.

HILL: Yes, absolutely. And to see if we -- if we hear anything, any commentary on it from Chris Rock as well. Chloe, appreciate it. Thank you.

MELAS: Thank you.

HILL: Let's turn out to the other story that everyone is talking about because there's a chance for you people, $1.1 billion in Mega Millions money, that jackpot is up for grabs. It is the game's second-largest jackpot ever, excitement building ahead of tonight's big drawing. CNN's Omar Jimenez is live in Chicago. Did you buy a ticket, my friend?

OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Of course, I bought five tickets.

HILL: OK, good.

JIMENEZ: Because look --

HILL: Well done.

JIMENEZ: Yes. I mean, it's over a billion. You might as well. And that's part of the story that we've been seeing from people, right? I was just talking to a woman earlier where kind of the same deal, she was saying she doesn't usually buy lottery tickets, but it's over a billion dollars with a B, so you can't win if you don't try.


This is only the third time the Mega Millions jackpot has gotten over a billion dollars. And even though, of course, we're all playing, the chances are pretty small, I have to say. One in over 300 million chance to win. But again, you can't win if you don't try it. The major question though is if we eventually get a winner here, this would be the second-biggest jackpot of all time, $1.1 billion, only behind $1.5 billion from a South Carolina, still anonymous winner back in 2018. But the question is do you take the lump sum or do you take the annual payments that go over the next 29 years? So I'll pose that question to you, Erica. If you happen to be the one, which one do you take in?

HILL: I think I would take the lump sum, right?

JIMENEZ: Of course. All right, that's the right answer. All right, well, we're on the same page.

HILL: Or is it that --

JIMENEZ: We're on the same page.

HILL: I'm glad I got that one right.


HILL: OK. And so when you take that lump sum, I just want to remind you that I answered your question correctly.


HILL: And you know, you know how to get in touch with me in case you want to share.

JIMENEZ: No, exactly.

HILL: Good luck.

JIMENEZ: Exactly. Yes. On the same page, I expect the same from you too so.

HILL: It is a deal. It is a deal, we made that deal right here. Omar, thank you.

Thanks to all of you for watching today. "INSIDE POLITICS" is next after this quick break.