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The Lead with Jake Tapper

Whistleblower: Facebook Knows Instagram Is Harming Teenagers; Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) Is Interviewed About Facebook Revelations; Congress Feuds While U.S. Government Runs Out Of Money; Probe Reveals Money Moves Of World Leaders & The Super-Rich; COVID Cases, Hospitalizations, Deaths Trending Down In The U.S.; 126,000 Gallons Of Crude Oil Leaked Off California Coast. Aired 4-5p ET

Aired October 04, 2021 - 16:00   ET




PAMELA BROWN, CNN HOST: A little ironic. Facebook was down all day today, right?

THE LEAD starts right now.

Facebook and Instagram, WhatsApp mysteriously go dark after a former employee blows the whistle on the biggest social network in the world, accusing Facebook of profiting off hate and division and the exploitation of teens.

Well, President Biden is telling Republicans to get out of the way with America on the brink of running out of money to pay its bills which could trigger a financial Armageddon.

Plus, 126,000 gallons of oil massacring the environment off the coast of California right now. The race to clean it up and find the source.

Welcome to THE LEAD on this Monday. I'm Pamela Brown, in for Jake Tapper.

And we begin today with breaking news in our tech lead. A worldwide outage for Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp, the longest in company history. All of this coming on the heels of damning allegations about the social media empire. The company's stock plummeted today, down about 5 percent.

And Mark Zuckerberg's personal wealth fell by more than $6 billion. And now the White House is weighing in calling for, quote, fundamental reforms.


JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: This is just the latest in a series of revelations about social media platforms. They make clear that self-regulation is not working. That's long been the president's view. Been the view of this administration.


BROWN: All of this is the result of a whistleblower who released thousands of documents showing the inner workings of the social media empire, speaking to "60 Minutes" saying the company puts profits over public safety, including the mental health of children and teenagers.

CNN's chief media correspondent Brian Stelter joins me now.

So, let's start with this worldwide outage, the longest in Facebook history. What is going on there, Brian?

BRIAN STELTER, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Facebook doesn't seem to know. Or if they do know, they aren't revealing it to anybody. This has been going on more than 4 1/2 hours. Instagram, WhatsApp, Facebook all stopped scrolling. Maybe it's a wake-up call for the hundreds of millions of users that rely on these platforms every day all around the world.

There's no reason to think it's related to this incredible whistleblower and the leaks coming out, but Facebook is in damage control mode right now. They're having a harder time defending themselves because they can't even log in to their own email accounts. But they are saying, many of the Facebook whistleblower's claims are misleading.

So, decide for yourself. Here's what she said.


FRANCES HAUGEN, FACEBOOK WHISTLEBLOWER: It is subsidizing. It's paying for its profits with our safety.

STELTER (voice-over): Frances Haugen telling "60 Minutes" that she doesn't want to destroy Facebook. She wants to save it.

Haugen preparing to testify before the Senate on Tuesday.

SEN. RICHARD BLUMENTHAL (D-CT): A whistleblower approached my office, to provide information about Facebook and Instagram.

STELTER: That whistleblower was Haugen and she said she had to speak out because Facebook puts lives at risk.

HAUGEN: Facebook's own research says it's not just that Instagram is dangerous for teenagers, that it harms teenagers, is that it is distinctly worse than other forms of social media.

STELTER: Haugen providing internal research to back up her claims and lodging complaints with the SEC.

JOHN TYE, HAUGEN'S ATTORNEY: Lying to investors.

STELTER: Her attorney suggesting Facebook could be legally vulnerable. TYE: Everything from how much hate speech is removed from the

platform to some of the very serious problems that they've had expanding user demographics. STELTER: All of this putting Facebook on defense. With Haugen making

the site sound like a toxic swamp.

HAUGEN: People enjoy engaging with things that elicit emotional reaction. And the more anger they get exposed to, the more they interact and more they consume.

STELTER: A global problem causing a vicious cycle of poisonous politics. Facebook VP Nick Clegg however saying advertisers don't want anything to do with that.

NICK CLEGG, VICE PRESIDENT, FACEBOOK: We absolutely have no commercial incentive, no moral incentive, no companywide incentive to do anything than give the maximum number of people as much of a positive experience as possible. That is what we do, day in, day out.

STELTER: Today, Facebook's global head of safety Antigone Davis calling into CNBC, trying to reassure investors, saying Facebook wants to be regulated.

ANTIGONE DAVIS, GLOBAL HEAD OF SAFETY, FACEBOOK: Some of the things we've been pushing for.

STELTER: But regulated how exactly? Amid the firestorm, CEO Mark Zuckerberg is staying silent while Haugen is calling him out.

HAUGEN: I have a lot of empathy for Mark. And Mark has never set out to make a hateful platform. But he's allowed choices to be made where the side effects of those choices are that hateful, polarizing content gets more distribution, more reach.



STELTER (on camera): More polarizing content, more polarizing politics and now, these problems are visible on a global stage because of this whistleblower. She will testify in a matter of hours, and a lot of people have a lot of questions for her.

BROWN: Including our guest coming up.

All right. Thanks so much, Brian Stelter.

So, let's discuss this with Democratic Senator Ed Markey of Massachusetts. He is a member of the Senate Commerce Committee.

Senator, nice to see you.

SEN. ED MARKEY (D-MA): Thank you.

BROWN: So, let's start with the fact that what we just heard, right? Everyone who uses Instagram knows if you like certain content you'll keep getting served that content. And last night we heard Frances Haugen talk about how toxic that model is for kids.


HAUGEN: Facebook's own research says, it is not just that Instagram is dangerous for teenagers. That it harms teenagers. It's that it is distinctly worse than other forms of social media.


BROWN: Senator, what do you make of Haugen's allegations?

MARKEY: Well, I think that it only reinforces what I have known and many people have known for a decade. That Facebook knows that their products are dangerous for teenage girls. It leads to higher rates of suicide. It leads to intensificational bulimia, anorexia, depression among young people but especially young girls.

I asked about them 12 years ago in their offices in Palo Alto. So I know it's not a secret to them because I asked them that question. And so, now, the day of reckoning has arrived because we can see, because of this courageous whistleblower, that we have the internal documentation from Facebook that they know that it causes harm. In the same way we know the fossil fuel companies knew they were creating climate problems. The tobacco industry that they were leading to millions of people getting cancer.

We now have the Facebook documentation that they know and have known for some time that children are very vulnerable.

BROWN: And you know, Facebook has come out to defend in a very strong way a top executive actually who was -- who you were able to question recently said that the research actually shows that teens actually benefited more than it actually causing harm to them. This was the Facebook head of global safety and you compared Instagram to addiction essentially. To that first childhood cigarette meant to get teens hooked early. You introduced legislation that would protect kids from manipulative marketing, but that was a year ago. You had to reintroduce the bill this past week. Why hasn't there been more movement on this?

MARKEY: Because ultimately, the business model of Facebook is making money off of kids. In the same way that the tobacco industry knows that you have to hook a kid early, even though it's dangerous for them over their lifetime, Facebook knows the very same thing.

And so, I think my legislation that I've been introducing for years, its time has come. We need a -- we need a child privacy bill of rights in our country for everyone under the age of 16. It's got to be tough. It's got to be strong and the Federal Trade Commission has to be able to enforce it and punish companies that violate it. We also need laws that are basically passed to prevent against manipulative marketing towards children in our society. And I have legislation to deal with that as well.

The time is now. All the talking should end. Facebook always says the right thing but I'll tell you this. Yes, there is a Dickensian quality to Instagram and all these online technologies. They are the best of technologies and the worst simultaneously. They can enable. They can ennoble, but they can also degrade or debase.

We want the good parts of it but we do not want the bad parts of it. They brag about all the good parts. It's time for them to be made accountable for all the pernicious, negative impacts that their technology is having upon our society and the whole world.

BROWN: And one of the biggest revelations coming out of that interview speaking of what you just said was about how Haugen believes that Facebook influenced January 6's insurrection. They say it paved the way for the insurrection.

Here's what Nick Clegg, the vice president of internal affairs at Facebook, had to say.


NICK CLEGG, VICE PRESIDENT OF GLOBAL AFFAIRS, FACEBOOK: I think it would be too easy, surely, to suggest that with a tweak to an algorithm, somehow all the disfiguring polarizing in U.S. politics would suddenly evaporate. I think it absolves people of asking themselves the harder questions about the historical, cultural, social and economic reasons that have led to the politics that we have in the U.S. today.



BROWN: What do you make of that?

MARKEY: Listen, no one debates that we have problems in our society. No one debates that there's hate in our society. We stipulate that. Facebook is right about that.

What they want to deny is that Facebook's technologies exacerbate, make it more possible for the dissemination of this hateful language that turns into hateful conduct. It's not just true here in the United States. It's also true as far away as Burma, Myanmar, where Facebook is being used by generals in order to foment hatred against the Rohingya and others.

This is a problem that Facebook just has had difficulty dealing with because they make money off of this kind of business model. And it just has to come to an end. Yes, these problems existed before Facebook. Facebook makes them worse. And it's time for them to admit it.

BROWN: What is the one question? What is the one question you want to ask tomorrow?

MARKEY: I want to know from this really courageous woman, you know, what were those conversations she had inside of Facebook with her superiors. What did they say to her? Why were they able to avoid having to come to grips with this negative impact which Facebook technologies, Instagram especially has upon young girls, teenagers in general but our society writ large. What were the conversations she had with her superiors and in a way, that will lift the cover off this Pandora's box of Facebook and we'll finally be able to see what goes on on a daily basis inside that company.

I raised these issues of teenage girls with them 12 years ago in their office with Mark Zuckerberg. This is not a mystery to them. What did they say? When did they know it? And what did they do in order to solve these problems.

BROWN: All right. Senator Ed Markey, thank you so much.

MARKEY: Thank you.

BROWN: President Biden today giving a warning as the U.S. faces a deadline that really could cost all of us.

And a massive data leak revealing where the richest people in the world put their wealth.

We'll be right back.



BROWN: In our politics lead, critical, dangerous, disgraceful. Those words from President Biden today aimed at Republican lawmakers who he says are standing in the way of America paying its bills.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The meteor is headed to crash into our economy. Democrats are willing to do all the work stopping it. Republicans just have to let us do our job. Just get out of the way. If you don't want to help save the country, get out of the way so you don't destroy it.


BROWN: Biden is speaking about the debt ceiling which Congress has to raise or suspend by October 18th, according to the Treasury Department, in order to prevent the United States from defaulting on its debt for the first time in history.

Now if they don't, it could mean delays in paychecks for federal workers and service members. Social Security checks, Medicare benefits and more. Analysts predict millions could lose their jobs and the stock market could also tank. The U.S. could be in a recession. Basically, it would be horrible for the United States.

So why hasn't Congress already acted if the consequences could be so catastrophic?

CNN's Kaitlan Collins digs into the partisan politics at play.


BIDEN: The United States is a nation that pays its bills and always has.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The country's credit now hanging in the balance.

BIDEN: It's called full faith and credit of the United States. It's rock solid. It's the best in the world.

COLLINS: That reputation in doubt as a standoff between Democrats and Republicans over raising the nation's borrowing limit intensifies.

BIDEN: There's nothing to do with any new spending being considered. It has nothing to do with my plan for infrastructure or building back better. Zero.

COLLINS: If the U.S. doesn't raise the limit known as the debt ceiling in the next two weeks, economists say the country is headed for an unprecedented crisis with global implications.

BIDEN: Good morning.

COLLINS: President Biden says Republicans who are refusing to vote with Democrats to increase the limit are being reckless.

BIDEN: Republicans in Congress raised the debt three times when Donald Trump was president. But now they won't raise it.

COLLINS: GOP Senator Mitch McConnell says no Republicans will vote to raise the nation's borrowing limit as his party blocks Democrats from doing so.

SEN. DICK DURBIN (D-IL): Mitch McConnell is playing games with a loaded weapon here.

COLLINS: Democrats could still raise the debt limit using the lengthy process known as reconciliation, but party leaders have warned it's too complicated. If the debt ceiling isn't raised, which has never happened before in the history of the United States, the federal government could default on its financial obligations.

BIDEN: Social Security benefits, salaries for service members, benefits for veterans and so much more.

COLLINS: The Senate's top Democrat, Chuck Schumer, says they must get a bill to the president's desk by the end of the week, period.

The president is also trying to secure enough support to pass its domestic agenda. Moderates and progressives in his party are still feuding over the price tag for a social spending and climate change bill.

DANA BASH, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: What about 1.5? Like what Senator Manchin --

REP. PRAMILA JAYAPAL (D-WA): Well, that's not going to happen. So it's going to be somewhere --

BASH: Why won't it add up to that number?

JAYAPAL: Because that's too small to get our priorities in.

COLLINS: The president declined to say whether he supports a smaller price tag but pointed to negotiations with the two Democratic senators who have yet to sign on -- Senator Joe Manchin and Senator Kyrsten Sinema.

BIDEN: Able to close the deal at 99 percent of my party.


Two. Two people. It's still under way. I need 50 votes in the Senate. I have 48.


COLLINS (on camera): And, Pam, right now, the president is meeting virtually with progressive Democrats as they try to hash out an agreement to try to get closer to consensus with the two Democratic holdouts in the Senate. Of course, the more immediate issue right now is this debt limit. And the president said today he cannot guarantee that two weeks from today, the U.S. is not going to breach that debt limit. Of course, he says that is something he believes is up to Mitch McConnell.

BROWN: All right. Thank you so much, Kaitlan Collins, live for us from the White House.

Let's discuss with our panel.

Laura, first to you. Look, we just broke down some of the ways this could affect Americans in very real ways, from job losses, to no paychecks, to delayed Social Security checks. The stakes are so high.

Why has -- is this a partisan -- why has this become a partisan battle when so much is at stake for millions of Americans right now on this?

LAURA BARRON-LOPEZ, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yeah, it's important to get to the context here which is that -- how did the country get to this point? It got to this point because about ten years ago under the Obama administration, Mitch McConnell decided that he wanted to take the debt limit hostage and use it then to score political points against Obama. Republicans have decided it's a good political tactic for them to take the debt limit, which a lot of voters don't totally understand what the ramifications are hostage in order to weaken Biden, weaken his agenda, make Democrats look like they're inept.

But this is a basic level of governing. It's a routine step and previously both parties had voted routinely to suspend or increase the debt limit. It's not to be this big brinksmanship war. It's about basic governance and so right now the administration really wants to pressure Republicans to come and vote with him because Democrats did vote three times with Republicans under the Trump administration to either suspend or increase this as well.

MICHAEL STARR HOPKINS, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Let's remember. This debt was acquired under Donald Trump. under the Trump administration. So the fact that Senator McConnell would play games with the faith and credit of the U.S. government, that's partisan hackery at its best.

This is something that doesn't have to actually happen. We don't have to walk to the cliff. And so the fact that he'd be willing to punish Democrats and settle a score is exactly why people hate government.

RAMESH PONNURU, SENIOR EDITOR, "NATIONAL REVIEW": This is a message that President Biden is uniquely ill-equipped to deliver because when he was a senator, he voted against raising the debt limit in order to score partisan points against Republican presidents. There's a long bipartisan tradition, unfortunately, of playing a dangerous game on the debt limit. Minority parties either vote against it or vote for it in return for a deal the way Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi did in 2019.

What's different this time is the Democrats want an all partisan set of budget initiatives and the Republicans to work with them on a debt limit increase. It's not surprising it's not working.

BROWN: President Biden was asked about that today and he said, look, back then, what he said, you're right. He did vote against it. It was an up and down vote. Now Republicans are playing these games with procedural tricks and with the filibuster with the 60 votes.

PONNURU: The Democrats had totally within their power in August to put a debt limit increase in the reconciliation bill which they're planning to pass by simple majorities. The reason they didn't do it, they want to spread the blame around. They don't want the Republicans to play a political game. Totally fair. They want to play their own.

TIA MITCHELL, WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT, ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION: Yeah, it's a difference to say Democrats can pass the debt limit, by themselves, if Republicans couldn't use the filibuster to keep it from coming to a vote. So that's something a little bit different. And reconciliation is not as easy, I think sometimes as Republicans are making it out to be like just put it in the reconciliation bill. That has its own procedures and hurdles and vote-a-ramas.

And we're talking about two weeks and perhaps, yes, Democrats could have done reconciliation earlier but they're also concerned about being told by the parliamentarian that they cannot continue to keep using reconciliation and that takes a tool out of their toolbox for the future. So again what Democrats are saying is let's do it the regular way and Republicans who don't have to vote for it, just quit filibustering the bills so we can pass it.

PONNURU: So, then that, of course, changes the argument to saying there's some sort of a national priority that Democrats have to have this toolbox complete, right? I understand they don't want to eat up legislative time raising the debt limit, but it's not really a matter of national urgency that the Republicans help them save their time in the legislature. HOPKINS: Tell that to the people who want a child tax credit or want

expanded health care.

PONNURU: Hey, if they want to negotiate it with Republicans on what the spending priorities are, you know, then we'll have at it.


But they have made it crystal clear they want to get something -- Biden today, I need 50 votes. That's fine. That's totally within his purview but he can also do other things with those 50 votes if he's willing to entail the political cost.

BROWN: He's got the debt ceiling debt, he's got two bills that are Democrats are sort of infighting over. What are they going to do there? There's this October 31st deadline for getting infrastructure passed.

Michael, the last self-imposed deadline didn't work out. So why make another deadline? Why did Speaker Pelosi say, okay, we're going to shift it to October 31st? I just spoke to a Democratic lawmaker yesterday who didn't have much confidence they were going to work it out before this.

HOPKINS: Look, I think we all know that deadlines put a sense of urgency in place. Right now we know that Senator Manchin is at least working with the White House and hopefully, Senator Sinema will join with Senator Manchin and show some good-faith effort. But, really right now, progressives are the ones that are stepping up and working with the White House to put forth a legislative agenda that we can actually help middle class, lower class and the working poor.

BROWN: I want to go, you mentioned Senator Sinema. Let's ask you, Laura, about this social media video. It is on Twitter. I know the other social media platforms are shut down right now, but on social media, you have protesters going into the bathroom. We just see the video here on the screen where they're walking out.

Kyrsten Sinema is walking out of the bathroom. They were protesting what she's doing in regards to the spending bill. Where are the Democrats in terms of condemning this type of behavior?

BARRON-LOPEZ: The White House, Biden and Jen Psaki said it was unacceptable, that that's not where you're supposed to be protesting and not to be impeding on students and Sinema's ability to teach. So, they responded to it in that way. Biden also did say that, you know, people do have a right to protest in a setting outside of where they are going through, you know, school security.

PONNURU: He did say it happens to everyone, which, of course, is not true.

HOPKINS: Well, importantly, they turned her into a victim. Someone who was being criticized by progressives for not actually being forthright and showing clarity. Now as a victim and it backfired.

BROWN: All right. Thank you all for being here. We can always go on and on.

HOPKINS: All day.

BROWN: We'll leave it there for now. Thank you so much.

Well, from Shakira to world leaders, the new revelations in a massive leak of financial documents showing where the world's rich put their wealth.



BROWN: In our money lead, an eye-opening look at how some world leaders, celebrities and billionaires move their money around taking advantage of offshore companies, bank accounts and trust to park money and assets and in some cases, allegedly evade taxes.

As CNN senior international correspondent Matthew Chance explains, it's all being exposed thanks to an investigation by an international group of journalists and what's called the Pandora Papers.


GERARD RYLE, DIRECTOR, INTERNATIONAL CONSORTIUM OF INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISTS: This is the Pandora Papers because we think we're opening a box on a lot of things.

MATTHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's one of the biggest ever leaks of financial documents, nearly 12 million private files exposing the secret wealth of world leaders, billionaires and celebrities, crucially, where it's stashed.

RYLE: These documents for the first time it's showing the U.S. as a tax haven itself.

CHANCE: Among the most high-profile is King Abdullah of Jordan, whose nation benefits from hundreds of millions of dollars every year in international aid, including from the United States. The Pandora Papers allege the king funneled more than $100 million into 14 luxury homes in Britain and the U.S., including three mansions in Malibu overlooking the Pacific coast. In a written statement, the Jordanian royal court said the allegations included inaccuracies and distorted the facts saying these properties are not publicized out of security and privacy concerns and not out of secrecy or an attempt to hide them.

Other leaders like the Czech prime minister facing elections this week are under more immediate pressure. He says allegations he secretly bought a lavish estate on the French Riviera by moving $22 million to offshore shell companies were timed to damage his campaign.

I've never done anything unlawful or bad, he tweeted in response. But that does not prevent them from trying to slander me again and to influence the Czech parliamentary elections, he added.

RYLE: We're talking about some of the most famous people in the world that are in these documents, presidents, prime ministers.

CHANCE: Most of the transactions detailed in the papers are not illegal. But some of the figures named are no strangers to allegations of corruption. For instance, the Pandora Papers contains documents linking the Russian President Vladimir Putin to a multimillion-dollar property in Monaco, the lobby pictured here, bought for a woman with whom he's alleged to have had an affair and a child.

The Kremlin refuses to comment on Putin's private life saying it's never heard of the woman concerned. And on the Pandora allegations, Putin's spokesperson said they were unsubstantiated and would not be investigated further.


LAKSHMI KUMAR, POLICY DIRECTOR, GLOBAL FINANCIAL INTEGRITY: The financial centers of the world, like the U.S., Europe, leaders are able to funnel and siphon money away and hide it in these jurisdictions through the use of anonymous companies.

CHANCE: Of course, it's not just politicians implicated in the Pandora Papers. Top business figures, even music icons like Shakira who denies any wrongdoing have also had private financial dealings exposed in the data release, shedding light on the secret assets of the super-rich.


CHANCE (on camera): Pam, the impact of this broad report which has taken a couple of years to compile and has involved hundreds of journalists is likely to be significant. At least eight countries have announced investigations into what it reveals. And, of course, it also puts the spotlight yet again on the issue of tax avoidance, money laundering and that very secretive financial web that is used by the world's rich and powerful to shield their wealth -- Pamela.

BROWN: Right. This practice is ongoing, clearly, even after the Panama Papers.

Matthew Chance in Moscow for us, thank you so much.

So, will it be another COVID Christmas? Dr. Fauci is weighing in. And that's next.

Stay with us.



BROWN: Turning to our health lead now. The U.S. is turning the corner in the fight against COVID. Average daily cases have fallen more than 34 percent from a month ago. Hospitalizations also trending down.

Look at the numbers on your screen. Deaths have fallen over the last week but typically lag behind case rates. Joining me to discuss, CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay

Gupta. He is the author of the book "World War C: Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic and How to Prepare for the Next One," which comes out tomorrow.

Sanjay, incredible about your new book. Here you are doing brain surgery, showing up on CNN all the time and writing yet another book. Incredible. We're going to talk about that in just a moment. But congratulations on that.


BROWN: I first want to get your thoughts on what Dr. Anthony Fauci has said. He initially said, right, that it was too soon to know whether you can get with your family for Christmas. And now he's kind of backtracking on that and saying that he will be spending time with his family over Christmas. What should we be thinking as we look ahead to the holiday?

GUPTA: I think if you are vaccinated, you should absolutely spend time with your family and even other people that may be inside your bubble, people who are also vaccinated. That's sort of the benefit of vaccines, you know? So, it's a very different position this year as compared to last year. Last year, just around this time, around that time, the holidays when the vaccines were first getting authorized. We're in a very different position. And that's good. In addition to the numbers that you showed, all trending downward, that's important to keep an eye on as well.

Big question, Pamela, is, are the numbers going to bounce back up as we go into the cooler and drier weather? It's a possibility.

Let me show you the two last pandemics and show you what happened there. What you do see is a surge in the fall. We saw that in 1918 and in 2009 which is on your screen there. But then by the later part of the year, the numbers came down dramatically and they stayed down in part probably because there was a lot of immunity out there by that point.

Going back to 1918, you see a similar sort of pattern. It was a big fall surge and then the numbers came down. You had another spike as you got into February. We've got to watch out for that.

Pamela, yeah, people should spend time with their family members this holiday if they are vaccinated. They can have a lot of comfort in that.

BROWN: Yeah, I don't know if I should say backtracked. He maybe clarified what he meant when talking to CBS yesterday.

But I want to ask you about this new analysis showing when the Pfizer vaccine got full FDA approval, the vaccination rate did not surge, as many had hoped. What is behind that?

GUPTA: Well, you know, I think there was a lot of people who were already going to get vaccinated that got vaccinated. When you saw the actual approval for some people, that was sort of an indicator that, OK, now, I'm convinced that this isn't just an emergency thing, that this has gone through the entire FDA process.

So when you look at Pfizer, I think, went up 16 percent or 15 percent after that approval happened and you can compare that to Moderna which also went up a little bit. Went up 5 percent but they had not yet been approved. So there was a difference, obviously, in the two vaccines.

I think that for the most part, what the impact of the approval was, was more that organizations that, you know, wanted to mandate these or really encourage them for their workers. They needed to have this cover of the approval in order to get that down. That's where it's had its greatest impact.

BROWN: I'm going to ask you about your new book "World War C." You write about what must be done to prepare for the next pandemic. Much of that needs to happen at a governmental level.

But what are practical steps we can all take to make ourselves more pandemic-proof, if you want to call it that?

GUPTA: Well, you know, I talk to scientists all over the world. And the idea you can create, you know, a situation where you are pandemic- proof sounded audacious to me. But very possible as I talk to people and looked at what would be necessary to insulate ourselves from a pandemic. There's a lot of things that go into it in terms of virus hunters, making universal vaccines, really tracking viruses early. How we evaluate risk, deal with new things.

One of the things that's not gotten enough attention is just our own personal health. We talk about this a little bit, but Robert Redfield said to me, you know, we did not show up to this battle prepared.

If you take a look at the different sort of risk factors for this disease, for having a bad outcome from this disease, these are things that are oftentimes diseases of wealth, of prosperity. You see these in wealthier countries. Severe obesity was a significant risk factor for this -- hypertension, asthma. If you have lots of risk factors, your risk of having a significant severe illness was up to five times higher. We oftentimes had these moments in time where we say, okay, we're going to get healthy because, you know, in the past, maybe it was to prevent heart disease or certain types of cancer.

We now know better than ever how immunity works, what the risk factors are and what we can do about it in terms of making ourselves more battle ready as the CDC director said. I did a deep dive into this. So much of your immunity for example, Pamela, is in your gut. How you eat in the morning could influence how the disease would affect you that night. It's really fascinating. And there's a lot within your own power.

BROWN: That is so fascinating. And we're out of time but I want to leave our viewers with a tease of your book about -- you dive into the history of vaccine hesitancy and it's so fascinating that it's changed over time depending on what demographic you're in and what the politics are of the day. So you'll have to read Sanjay's book to find out more about that. Your

book "World War C: Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic and How to Prepare for the Next One" comes out tomorrow. Thank you so much, Sanjay.

GUPTA: Thank you, Pamela. Appreciate it. Thank you.

BROWN: Well, dead wildlife washing ashore and people along the coast at risk. We are live with the massive oil spill in California, up next.



BROWN: In today's "Earth Matters" series, right now, oil slicks cloud what should be pristine California coastline. One hundred twenty-six thousand gallons of crude oil leaked into the ocean.

As CNN's Camila Bernal reports, a relatively small energy company fears it may be the source of this major disaster.


CAMILA BERNAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Warnings of an environmental catastrophe, and the impact far worse than what's seen on this aerial video.

REBECCA ORR, CAPTAIN OF THE PORT AND COMMANDING OFFICER, U.S. COAST GUARD LONG BEACH: We know that there is oil ranging from Huntington Beach and now we know as far down as Laguna and likely moving -- continuing to move in a southerly direction based on the wind and the weather and the currents.

BERNAL: A 17-mile pipeline off the coast of southern California spewing more than 100,000 gallons of crude oil into the Pacific Ocean. And while the leak appears to have stopped, the damage is done.

MAYOR KIM CARR, HUNTINGTO BEACH, CA: For me personally, this is a really rough one. I am a beach person. Grew up on the beach. I'm from this area. It's devastating.

BERNAL: The cause of the leak remains unknown. The pipeline is owned by the Houston-based oil and gas company Amplify Energy. Its subsidiary Beta Operating Company, was cited with more than 100 violations in the last 11 years. And while the parent company is investigating, the question of how this happened remains.

MARTYN WILLSHER, AMPLIFY ENERGY, PRESIDENT AND CHIEF EXECUTIVE: There's more information to come, but I think we're moving very closely to a source and a cause of this incident.

BERNAL: The spill larger than Santa Monica and the cleanup just beginning. The Coast Guard said of the estimated 126,000 gallons of oil, more than 3,000 have been recovered. The cleanup still minimal in comparison to its size. MAYOR BRAD AVERY, NEWPORT BEACH, CA: It's a big ask, it's a huge area

and it moves around. So it's just continuous work.

BERNAL: The oil coating local wildlife habitats, already dead birds and fish washing up. And this could just be the beginning.

MICHAEL ZICCARDI, DIRECTOR, OILED WILDLIFE CARE NETWORK: We have collected three live oiled birds. One brown pelican, one American coot, and one ruddy duck. Unfortunately, the brown pelican had chronic injuries that required us to humanely euthanize it.

BERNAL: A swath of popular beaches closed. The county saying that excessive exposure to oil could cause problems for people, too, from skin irritation to headaches, dizziness, vomiting or shortness of breath.

DR. CLAYTON CHAU, ORANGE COUNTY, CA HEALTH OFFICER: We strongly, strongly are advising all the residents to refrain from any activity on the beach like swimming, surfing, biking, walking, as well as gathering at this time. And we will keep you updated because we know that oil spill affects humans' health directly as well as indirectly.


BERNAL (on camera): And, Pam, just moments ago, Amplify Energy saying it's possible the anchor of a passing ship hit that pipeline causing it to leak. But the district attorney here in Orange County saying they should not be investigating their own oil spill. He says it's biased. Says independent divers should be the ones going out there. Someone needs to be held accountable -- Pam.

BROWN: All right. Camila Bernal, thank you.


And coming up, a CNN exclusive. A former Chinese security officer opens up about the torture of Chinese Uighurs.


BROWN: Sad news from Florida today. Casey DeSantis, wife of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, has been diagnosed with breast cancer. The news comes as the U.S. marks National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, raising attention to the second most common cancer for women. And we wish her the very best.

Our coverage continues right now.