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At This Hour

UN: 250 Killed Or Injured In Afghanistan In Recent Weeks; Dr. Sanjay Gupta On The Art Of Conversation; Deshaun Watson Suspended 11 Games, Fined $5 Million. Aired 11:30a-12p ET

Aired August 19, 2022 - 11:30   ET



DR. DEMETRE DASKALAKIS, DEPUTY COORDINATOR, WHITE HOUSE MONKEYPOX RESPONSE TEAM: Which populations we need to focus on? So I think really, it's more about the right time as opposed to there being a delay. The outbreak has told us by its epidemiology and the interventions, what needs to happen at this time.

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: Doctor, respectfully, there are a lot of people out there that are very frustrated and feel that this could have been launched sooner and could have prevented this. There were a lot of people that felt that this was coming and they don't see the administration having been responsive quickly enough. What do you say to them?

DASKALAKIS: Having been -- you know, having been in the response since before the first case in the United States, I can say that it was really approached with great urgency. And this outbreak, as I said, is really unprecedented and has really been characterized by a lot of pivots. So I think that early on in the outbreak, there was epidemiology that had one vaccine strategy.

When it became clear that that vaccine strategy wasn't adequate because we didn't have the same level of awareness around people's contacts, there was a quick pivot to another strategy. And as that strategy was unfolding, it became clear that we had to upscale testing and at the same time, testing was upscaling in a way, way quicker than expected for moving tests from a non-commercial venue to commercial venues.

Subsequently, we had some real limits in terms of what we had from the perspective of vaccination. And so again, more pivots and identifying strategies to really increase production. But when it's also clear that that's not enough to match supply, really then the emergency declaration setting the stage for really some -- really important and innovative considerations of how to extend our vaccine supply currently with our intradermal approach to vaccination, potentially increasing vaccine supply by fivefold.

I think that it's really the epidemiology that has shown us what our interventions have been -- had been unfolding appropriately based on what we're seeing with the outbreak. And now we're at the place where we've actually addressed one of the major issues, which is how to actually extend the supply of vaccines so that we can take a more broad-based approach for gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men were overrepresented in the -- in the outbreak.

SANCHEZ: Sure. I do want to ask you about that new approach. It's the new protocol that's been issued by the FDA. It uses one-fifth of the dosage, it's administered at a more shallow portion of the skin, essentially, but from what I understand, there are a lot of folks administering this vaccine that haven't been trained to administer it that way. Isn't that going to cause a further delay?

DASKALAKIS: Well, first, I'll start by saying it's actually not a lower dose, it's the right dose for the -- for the route of administration. So it's the intradermal dose for the vaccine, which is lower volume than the subcutaneous dose.


DASKALAKIS: But based on the studies, the immune response and the safety are equivalent. So I'll say that though a lot of what could have been done today --

SANCHEZ: But even though a manufacturer of the vaccine -- even -- forgive me, sir. Even the manufacturer of the vaccine has expressed doubts about this process. Does that concern you? I mean, it seems very late in the game to try this new approach.

DASKALAKIS: So I think, no. I'll say -- I'll say that No, doesn't it -- we've done a really clear review of the data, both from the perspective of immunogenicity, so ability to mount an immune response, as well as safety, including data that included 7000 people who had been administered the vaccine in the 70s, in this exact same route with a great amount of safety.

So looking at their initial concerns, it focused on safety, I think, reminding them about the data about this platform with over 7000 administrations showing very safe vaccination, I think is reassuring from my perspective. And I think really continues to move us forward in this really important strategy to increase the number of actual shots to get in arms.

Your other question that was about training, and so I think, on CDC has worked really closely with jurisdictions, both directly as well as providing some video support to be able to train folks. And I've spoken to folks on the ground in Atlanta, and also I think we've spoken to folks in LA, and definitely there's a learning curve. But what's exciting is that because of the sort of new intervention of increasing the number of doses we have, they're able to give more vaccines to people and have more vaccine events.

And so, really, at the end of the day, the training, it's hard to learn something new, although it's not really new, it's just sort of refreshing that knowledge. But I think that we're seeing that the training is working and the folks are implementing on the ground in a way that is I think, really going to help us move toward more shots in arms and more people protected from the immunological perspective.

SANCHEZ: Sure. So, Bavarian Nordic, the manufacturer of the vaccine has expressed concern that they cannot keep up with demand. And there have been several lawmakers from New York calling on the administration to invoke the DPA, the Defense Production Act to speed up the production of the monkeypox vaccine. Should that be done immediately? How long? What would it take for the administration to invoke the DPA?

DASKALAKIS: I think a lot of other strategies are currently being looked at that will accelerate vaccine supply so including ideas of domestic felons finished with a vaccine, so that's really a space to watch closely.


I think you're going to hear on news as we go forward, but I think at this point, I think we have strategies that will actually increase production using mechanisms that we already -- will be able to get in place without invoking DPA at this time.

SANCHEZ: Sure. Dr. Demetre Daskalakis, we appreciate you sharing part of your morning with us. Thank you for what you're doing.

DASKALAKIS: Thank you so much for having me. Have a great day.

SANCHEZ: You too.

Coming up, one year after the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, some Afghans say life is actually better for them without American soldiers. We have a report for you from Kabul next.



SANCHEZ: It has been a deadly month in Afghanistan. The U.N. mission there is reporting the highest number of civilian casualties this year. At least 250 people have been killed or injured in recent weeks. Most recently at a mosque in Kabul where on Wednesday an explosion killed 21 and injured dozens. Despite the rising violence, some Afghans are telling CNN's Clarissa Ward, they are relieved that U.S. troops are gone.


CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voiceover): There were no tears in the Tangi Valley when U.S. forces left Afghanistan. The landscape is awash with white flags, marking the graves of Taliban fighters killed in battle. Among them is the son of Nabi Mubaraz (PH). This is your son?


WARD (voiceover): He tells us he was killed during a U.S.-supported Afghan Special Forces night raid on the family home in 2019. Video of the aftermath shows the scale of the destruction. After a protracted gun battle, the house was leveled, killing the second son of Mubarazis as well as his niece and her daughter. There was a lot of blood spilled, the voice says off camera. The rebuilt living room is now a shrine to the dead.

What was your reaction when American forces left a year ago?

MUBARAZ: Speaking in a foreign language.

WARD (voiceover): I said the peace has come to Afghanistan. He says. There will be no more mothers becoming widows like our mothers and sisters who were widowed and our children killed. Across this rural Taliban stronghold, American forces were seen as invaders that brought death and destruction with their night raids and drone strikes. Peace has brought a chance to air long-held grievances. At the local market, we're immediately surrounded.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Speaking in a foreign language.

WARD: Every household had at least one fighter. This man tells us. And every house had people who were killed by the Americans and their drones. And we are proud of that. Sher Muhammad Hamas is treated like royalty here. His brother is believed to be responsible for downing a helicopter full of U.S. Special Forces.

So he's taking me to the spot where he says his brother shot down a Chinook.

It was August 6, 2011.

SHER MUHAMMAD HAMAS, ROYALTY: Speaking in a foreign language.

WARD: Hamas says his brother was hiding behind the trees and shot the Chinook down with an RPG as it prepared to land by the river. 30 Americans were killed, the single greatest loss of American life in the entire Afghan war. There were a lot of celebrations and not just here. He tells us. It was a big party.

I'm sure you can understand that it's hard to hear that people were celebrating about the deaths of dozens of Americans.

HAMAS: Speaking in a foreign language.

WARD (voiceover): This was a heroic achievement because the people who were killed on this plane, they were the killers of Osama bin Laden, he says. And Sheikh Osama is someone who is the crown on the head of Muslims, so definitely the people were happy about this. Days later, the U.S. says it responded with a strike that killed Hamas's brother, another white flag raised in a valley where martyrs were made and views hardened.

Clarissa Ward, CNN, Tangi Valley, Afghanistan.


SANCHEZ: Our thanks to Clarissa for that report. Coming up, the NFL handed down a new revised punishment for quarterback Deshaun Watson after dozens of sexual misconduct allegations. But do these penalties go far enough? Are they appropriate? Before we get to that important conversation, Dr. Sanjay Gupta has some tips on how we can all get better at expressing our thoughts and listening in today's "CHASING LIFE."


DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm Dr. Sanjay Gupta, host of CNN's "CHASING LIFE" podcast. The art of conversation, actually, a lot harder than most people realized even though we do it our entire lives. Part of the problem, most people are thinking about what they are going to say rather than listening to what the other person is actually saying.


Simply resisting that urge can lead to better conversations and in turn deeper connections. Another thing, ask questions, the classic ones who, what, where, when, why, and how. They're used for a reason, open-ended questions. It gives the other person more freedom to tell their story. Also, very importantly, don't assume you know the answer.

Finally, try to learn something. Shift your goal from trying to convince someone of something to seeing what you might learn from them. Professional Speaker Celeste Headlee says this technique has completely changed her ability to talk to people.

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




SANCHEZ: As the NFL season gets underway, one player is drawing intense scrutiny. The NFL and the league's Players Association have agreed to suspend the Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson for 11 games without pay and to fine him some $5 million. Watson, of course, faces sexual misconduct accusations for more than two dozen women.

Joining me is CNN's sports analyst Christine Brennan and former NFL wide receiver Donte Stallworth. We're grateful to have you both. Christine, 11 games, $5 million, what message is the NFL sending to women here?

CHRISTINE BRENNAN, CNN SPORTS ANALYST: You know, Boris, it's not the message that they could be sending. The NFL Roger Goodell -- the commissioner wanted at least a year suspension. And that would have been, I think, a statement about how serious this is. Unfortunately, the union fought that -- the players union and didn't want any suspension, which is kind of unbelievable. And, of course, now the -- we know, it's 11 games and a $5 million fine. He'll be back in December.

I think the message for parents who have their kids looking at these heroes, it's terrible. I also think that he did great harm Watson did yesterday, when after a statement came out saying basically that he understood and was relatively contrite. He then came out in front of the media and said he stands on his innocence. In other words, awful, just an awful, awful beginning to the next chapter of Deshaun Watson's life and career.

SANCHEZ: I want to play for you both some sound from the owner of the Cleveland Browns, Jimmy Haslam, defending Watson, Listen to this.


JIMMY HASLAM, CLEVELAND BROWNS OWNER: People deserve second chances, OK? I really think that and I struggle a little bit. Is he never supposed to play again? Is he never supposed to be part of society? Does he get no chance to rehabilitate himself? And that's what we're going to do, OK? And you could say, well, that's because he's a star quarterback. Well, of course. But if it was Joe Smith, he wouldn't be in the -- on the headlands every day. So we think people deserve a second chance.


SANCHEZ: How is Watson going to rehabilitate himself if, as Christine said, he stands by his innocence, he hasn't really acknowledged what happened?

DONTE STALLWORTH, FORMER NFL WIDE RECEIVER: Yes, I think when you look at what Judge Sue L. Robinson said, she called Deshaun Watson's behavior egregious and she called his conduct predatory. And when she was speaking to these -- to these women about what happened, and gathered all the evidence -- got all the evidence from the NFL that the NFL had acquired over time, it really spoke to what she said that, you know, determined that it would be a six-game suspension, but that she had no more power really, to exceed that punishment because of past precedent of what the NFL had already made it out previously, and NFL bylaws.

But when you're talking about second chances, you're talking about someone taking accountability, you're talking about someone showing attrition. I think we haven't really seen that from Deshaun Watson. He released a statement through the team that said he was going to take accountability or that he has been taking accountability for his -- decisions that he made throughout this entire process. But then, when he -- when he spoke to reporters after the discipline was given out, then he went back and said that he stands on his innocence.

So I think when you're asking for second chances that there has to be some form of -- some level of accountability that you're -- that you understand what happened, you apologize, and you should -- and you're showing contrition. And I don't think from public -- a public perspective that Deshaun Watson has shown that and I definitely don't think that these over two dozen women feel that he has shown contrition in this situation.

SANCHEZ: One of those women actually refused to settle with Watson, and this is what she told The Daily Beast. "I have rejected all settlement offers, in part because they've not included any sincere acknowledgment of remorse and wrongdoings, nor have they included any promises of rehabilitative treatment. Watson still refuses to admit that he harassed and committed indecent assault against me. Any settlement offer he has made has been a dismissal of his evil actions. And I know that unless there is an authoritative intervention, he will continue his destructive behavior."


Donte, if he really wants to move forward, what advice would you give him?

STALLWORTH: You know what? I would give him -- he just has to take accountability. I mean, this -- I think he wants this to go away. I know he wants this to go away. For better or for worse, he wants to resume his NFL career and move on as if this, the situation will be behind him. And that's not going to happen. That's not going to happen until you -- until you show accountability until you show extreme contrition. And, you know, he started off OK with that statement that he -- that he recently released through the team but then when he spoke to reporters, he just kind of washed it all down the toilet.


STALLWORTH: So I think that he's got to show suspicion, he's got to prove accountability.

SANCHEZ: Christine, we're very tight on time but I do want to give you the last word.

BRENNAN: Yes. I'm thinking of the courage of the women, the 24 -- 25 women who came forward and let's celebrate them. I guess the good news, if there is good news here, is that we will continue to talk about them because this story, of course, as Donte was saying is not going away. And when he comes back -- when Watson comes back on December 4 to play in that first game, I imagine the stories will be -- the lines will be huge. And again, I certainly hope all of us reporters and everyone focuses on the women who were sexually assaulted and abused by this man.

SANCHEZ: Right. Christine Brennan, Donte Stallworth, we appreciate you both. Thanks so much.

And thank you so much for being with us today. Kate is back on Monday. 'INSIDE POLITICS" with John King is up after a quick break. Next.