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At This Hour

12 Million+ Passengers Plant To Fly This Labor Day Weekend; Americans Begin Receiving Updated COVID Booster Shots; National Guard Distributes Water In Jackson, Mississippi. Aired 11:30a-12p ET

Aired September 02, 2022 - 11:30   ET




JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: $1 billion, a total of three, but $1 billion to create jobs and opportunities for people in places where they live and where they've worked their entire career so they don't have to leave. I know when folks hear such big numbers, they don't think it's for them but this is for them. It's for them. Over 500 coalitions applied for these grants from community organizations to philanthropies to labor unions, to colleges, and universities, all working together from every part of America. That kind of interest is a testament to the need and enthusiasm for this type of investment. It took -- I take a look at this as a transition investment.

I'm so proud to announce 21 awardees up on the screen here who each received between 25 million and 65 million jobs to turn their plans into action. Now Secretary Raimondo just said -- and I guess I wasn't supposed to start this off was I? I come to think about it. All of a sudden it dawned on me. I suppose to let her speak first. But estimate these projects are going to result in 100,000 jobs created or saved over 7 billion in additional private sector investment in these 21 communities.

We want you to continue having good jobs in your communities so you don't have to leave, so your people in your communities are displaced -- aren't displaced. The winners are all here up on the screen and they're going to empower communities in Pennsylvania, West Virginia. Joe, is that you? Is that Joe Manchin I see?

SEN. JOE MANCHIN (D-WV): I'm right here with you.

BIDEN: Hey, Joe. Joe, good to see you, man. Thanks for what you're doing. Not a fact --


ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR: Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo there with him. So the president -- this is an event that had been scheduled for him to talk about what was called the regional challenge where they are giving out grant money to help work on rebuilding the economy, transitional moves in local economies, which the president says will either create or save an estimated 100,000 jobs. But before he got to that part of it, you heard remarks from the president on this morning's job report and on the economy itself.

The president noting the growth of 315,000 jobs added in August. He said the great American job machine continues touting the gains in jobs since he took office. Also talking about improvements in the labor participant -- labor force participation rate and increase in wages, touting the decrease in gas prices over the last 80 days, and talking about how strong he feels the economy is, so those remarks coming from the president there.

Stay with us much more to come this hour including the holiday rush. Perhaps you are one of the millions of travelers getting away for Labor Day weekend, so what could you expect on the roads, in the skies? We'll take a look.



HILL: A heavy holiday weekend, millions of Americans planning to hit the roads take to the skies for one last summer hurrah, but will it include the summer travel chaos? We've come to see. CNN's Pete Muntean is live at Reagan National Airport with the answer to that burning question, Pete, right?

PETE MUNTEAN, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: Yes, that's right, Erica. You know 12 million people are expected to travel domestically this weekend according to a travel site, Hopper. But the big question is whether or not airlines are up to the task after this bad summer of flight cancellations. 45,000 flights canceled in the U.S. this summer since June 1, according to FlightAware. Tuesday was bad. We saw about 800 flight cancellations nationwide, mostly because of bad weather. So far, so good today, though, we've seen about 1300 flight delays. We've seen about 118 flight cancellations at the latest check of FlightAware.

But remember that airlines got a lot smaller over the pandemic. That is the central issue here. The staffing shortages that airlines have been dealing with and they've been -- really been pushed to the limit. I want you to listen now to passengers who say lately, they've been pretty lucky but when you've had one of those cancellations happen, it's really hard to shake that frustration. It lingers.


MELISSA HABEDANK, TRAVELER: It's staggeringly frustrating because you can be there about ready to board and it's like God, not again. Really? Can't just something -- can something be on time?


MUNTEAN: Airline pilots say they live it every day. And they held picket protests at airports across the country just yesterday. They're members of the Airline Pilots Association. That's the union that represents pilots from Delta, United, Spirit, about a dozen other carriers. They say that this is all on the airlines. They created it themselves. But airlines are rushing to hire, about 1500 new pilots at United Airlines alone since the beginning of the year. 2.6 million passengers are expected on United Airlines this weekend alone, Erica.

HILL: All right. Well, here we go. We will see what happens over the weekend. Pete, thank you.


Extreme weather, also a factor this Labor Day weekend. Within 45 million Americans are now under heat alerts across the West, and some parts of California could see temperatures as high as 115 degrees. CNN's Natasha Chen is live in Los Angeles with more.

NATASHA CHEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Erica, this is the third day in a row that California residents have been asked to voluntarily conserve energy between the peak hours of four and 9 p.m. I personally turned up my thermostat all the way to try and help not stress out the electric grid while everyone is so dependent on air conditioning. And this applies to people who own electric cars. They've been asked not to charge them during these peak times.

This is the longest and most intense heat streak so far this calendar year, affecting 45 million people in the west across seven states, including 20 of the most populous cities along the west coast. And that includes coastal San Francisco. You may have heard the phrase before the coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco because of how chilly it normally is, but not this weekend.

Across the area, we're going to see 15 to 20 degrees higher temperatures than normal. A lot of cooling centers open, a couple of beaches, even warning people not to go in the water because of higher than -- higher bacteria levels exceeding health standards and of course, wildfires throughout the area as well, firefighters being treated for heat-related injuries. So a lot of potential danger because of those weather conditions this weekend, Erica.

HILL: Yes, that is a lot. Having spent a number of cold summers in San Francisco, that is a big deal. Natasha, thank you.

For more on the extreme heat and the potential for trouble in the tropics, let's turn on CNN meteorologist Chad Myers for that forecast. Hi, Chad.

CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Erica, it is just going to be maybe the hottest air of the year so far. And that's saying a lot because we had some very hot days in June, July, and even in August, and now we're moving into September, and temperatures are going to be hotter than ever, 124 yesterday in Death Valley. Now that breaks the record. If you break a record in Death Valley, you've really accomplished something. And it's going to be hot all across the Southwest and eventually, that's going to get up into Wyoming, Dakotas, and even into the plains, temperatures for Death Valley for tomorrow, 122.

You talked about the tropics, getting active hurricane Danielle. That happened at 11 o'clock, about 40 minutes ago, issued by the hurricane center. We also have a few more storms in the Atlantic, although we don't expect them to approach the U.S. And that's good news because we're trying to shoot a rocket off tomorrow and so far, right now, the people down there saying about a 60 percent chance of good weather at the beginning of the window but 80 percent by the end, so maybe we shoot a rocket if it works.

HILL: Those odds look not so shabby. Chad, thank you.

MYERS: That's right. There you go.

HILL: Coming up here, Americans now offers to get that updated COVID booster shot. Dr. Anthony Fauci joins me next.



HILL: When it comes to the Coronavirus pandemic, Americans just began receiving those newly authorized updated covered -- COVID booster shots. They're made to specifically target Omicron variants. And there are a lot of questions out there about the reformulated boosters. Joining me now, Dr. Anthony Fauci. He's the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and of course, chief medical adviser to President Biden.

Dr. Fauci, good to see you this morning. There have been a -- there have been a number of questions, right, about these new boosters. Dr. Paul Offit, who is -- you know, is a member of the FDA's vaccine Advisory Committee told me yesterday that he's not convinced that these reformulated boosters set to target Omicron really offer a clear benefit when compared to the existing vaccine boosters. Take a listen.


DR. PAUL OFFIT, MEMBER, FDA VACCINE ADVISORY COMMITTEE: What I fear is that they're going to say everybody should get it when in fact, a healthy young person really is unlikely to benefit from a booster dose. And so I hope they targeted more specifically to those really, who are most likely to benefit from this additional dose.


HILL: So they are now authorized for everyone 12 and up. To his concerns, Dr. Fauci, does everyone 12 and up need this new booster?

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY & INFECTIOUS DISEASES: Well, it depends, Erica, what you mean by need. I mean, when you talk about the fact that the protection that you get from infection and/or vaccination wanes over time, there's no doubt about that. Clearly, when you have elderly individuals who are more susceptible to the severe effects of getting infected or individuals who have a compromised immune system, they would get the greater benefit from an updated vaccine. But that doesn't mean that those who were younger are not going to get some benefit.

So, the only way I would differ, and Paul is a good friend of mine and a colleague for decades, is that I differ with the emphasis. I think if you look at wanting to get as a society, the ultimate strategy is going to be that for the most part, most Americans would need a re- boosting of their immunity on a yearly basis, we'll say. Very similar to what we see with influenza.


Now, when you do that, you want to match what you're giving the person to what the circulating strain of the virus will be. And what we see as the potential, if the not real advantage of having a booster or an updated vaccine that is more closely matched to the circulating, in this case, there's no doubt with that is that's BA.4 or 5 to the tune of greater than 92 percent, mostly BA.5. So I can understand what Paul is saying, but I have somewhat of a minor disagreement with him on that. I do believe there will be a benefit, essentially, for everyone. Would clearly have more benefits for the elderly and those who have underlying conditions. Myself, Erica --

HILL: So then, what --

FAUCI: No, I was saying myself as an example. I was vaccinated, doubly boosted, and infected. And I will be getting the updated BA.4, 5 bi- valence vaccine within three months of my -- haven't gotten infected. Exactly the way the FDA has authorized and the CDC has recommended.

HILL: So to your point, then, if you do see the benefit in there, essentially for everyone, what about children under the age of 12? This vaccine, which has now been changed, as you point out to target the dominant strain out there of the virus, they're not authorized for that. So what does it mean for those things?

FAUCI: Right. Well, as the FDA has said, and the CDC, also, they are now looking at the possibility of this being within a reasonable period of time having these updated vaccines matched to the BA.4, 5, available for these children less than 12 within a reasonable period of time. They want to accumulate more information and more data before they do that.

HILL: Federal funding, as we know is running out when it comes to COVID. Are you concerned about vaccine access in relation to that? Because someone's got to pay for it, right? And we saw such an effort in the early days when vaccines were available to go and meet the need where it is. That's going to be harder to do.

FAUCI: Yes. Well, for these, they're -- the government has ordered 171 million doses of this and this will be free. Now, what happens after that? That's the reason why you hear us, myself and my colleagues at the White House, at the Department of Health and Human Services, saying why it is so important to get funding from Congress for what we need to do to address the inevitable future challenge that we're going to be facing with this virus, and with future threats of viruses.

HILL: I do want to get your take before I let you go. You told Bloomberg this week, that the U.S. should be prepared for a "pretty bad flu season." So based on that, there's always a discussion of when should I get my flu shot. What is the right time to get a flu shot this year?

FAUCI: Yes. Well, that's a very good question, Erica. The fact is, if you look historically, the CDC tells you, and I agree with them, to get it as early as you possibly can when they're available, and preferably no later than the end of October. However, it is never too late to get a flu shot. So you want people to get it as soon as they can but don't think as you go into the fall in the winter if you haven't gotten it, it's too late. It's never too late, but preferably, the sooner the better.

HILL: Dr. Anthony Fauci, good to see you. Thank you.

FAUCI: Thank you, Erica. Thank you for having me.

HILL: Coming up. A gunman within inches of killing Argentina's vice president, how she survived an assassination attempt next.



HILL: A truly shocking assassination attempt caught on camera. Take a look.



HILL: Look how close that gun was, aimed directly in the face of Argentina's Vice President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner. The gun, you see it again there, misfired. The attack happened just outside her home in Buenos Aires. Police say the gun was loaded with five bullets -- another angle here. none of the shots went off despite the trigger being pulled. The suspect was arrested seconds later, and thankfully, the vice president was not hurt.

Well, the National Guard is now distributing water to thousands of desperate residents in Jackson, Mississippi. It's now been five days since the water treatment plant there failed due to flooding, and years of systemic problems. The head of FEMA, on the way there today. CNN's Ryan Young is on the ground at a mass distribution site in Jackson and joins us now this hour. So I'm sure this is a welcome sight for folks there but this is obviously not a long-term solution, Ryan.

RYAN YOUNG, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, absolutely. But what a difference a few hours makes with the National Guard here on the ground, that's a really big difference. You can see with all the water that's being brought in here, this is something that's completely different. We saw people running out of water in the first few days. Sergeant Freeman is here. Look, you guys have got here, people seem very happy that you're able to deliver water to them. How much have you given so far, and what has been the response to them?

SGT. FIRST CLASS BRADLEY FREEMAN, U.S. ARMY: Yes, sir. So, so far, we've actually distributed around 6500 cases of water yesterday, we're expecting to see upwards of 10,000 today. The volume of traffic is increasing. We understand coming into the weekend, with the workload of people getting off, we're going to have a lot more personnel on site. We do have 51 people here. It's a large collaborative effort. Everybody was trained and ready, and we're prepared. We have a lot of support. It's been a big collective effort. So we're happy to be here.

YOUNG: In terms of your heart, how does this feel to be able to give back to the community in the way you guys able to because some folks are desperate for water?

FREEMAN: Absolutely. And just like anybody else, I'm honored to be here with -- it's a pleasure. It's a blessing to be able to serve and give back to the community and the citizens. This is why we serve in the first place. But everybody here is nothing but a pleasure and a blessing to be able to give back. You can see it on the faces of the people that everyone needs help and sometimes just a smile on the face. And to give back such things as water, as simple as that, it makes a world of difference.

YOUNG: Perfect. Sergeant Freeman, thank you so much as we went through this. Look, one of the things that you see here, all the water that stacked up, they have forklifts that are bringing the water in, people are lining up all around the fairgrounds, and they're getting at least two of these cases. A lot of times, Erica, we've seen some of these sites run out, that's not the case with the National Guard in place right now. We do believe some of the federal administrators have shown up on the other side here. So we understand things are changing, but people are still desperate for water, especially businesses and those schools so having reopened, Erica.

HILL: Yes, absolutely. Ryan, appreciate it. It is good to see all of that help and aid arriving there. Thank you. Thanks to all of you for joining us today, I'm Erica Hill. Stay tuned. "INSIDE POLITICS" with John King starts right now.