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Biden Says He Needs 50 Votes for Senate Bill But Only Has 48; Pfizer May Soon File for Emergency Use Authorization Vaccine for Kids Under 12; Journal Says Cases of Heart Inflammation Rare Following COVID Vaccination; ISIS-K Claims Responsibility for Kabul Mosque Attack; Captain Kirk Is Headed to Space. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired October 04, 2021 - 15:30   ET



VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN HOST: Senator Manchin is going to go beyond the $1.5 trillion, the number that he pointed out or made clear to Senator Schumer weeks ago?

RACHEL BADE, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, it's a good question, I mean Jayapal, the leader of the progressives was on television earlier yesterday, I believe it was, and also said 1.5 is quote, not going to happen. So, while she's clearly coming down from 3.5, she's definitely pushing way past 1.5.

And as for Manchin, you know, he has said 1.5 is his top line number, but honestly that's sort of like, you know, an opening bid. I wouldn't be surprised if he ends up going a little bit above that, what we can say is the number's probably going to be around the $2 trillion range. It is just unclear exactly what it is at this point.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN HOST: Well, Senator Sinema, Kyrsten Sinema got the SNL treatment this weekend where they sort of made fun of how enigmatic her messaging can be. Here it is.


CECILY STRONG, SNL CAST, PORTRAYING SENATOR SINEMA: What do I want from this bill, I'll never tell because I didn't come to Congress to make friends and so far, mission accomplished.

JAMES AUSTIN JOHNSON, SNL CAST, PORTRAYING JOE BIDEN: All right, fine, let's focus on the two things that have polled best with all Americans, lowering the price of prescription drugs.


JOHNSON: And raising taxes on billionaires. All right, then, just tell us, Kyrsten, what do you like? What is good to you?

STRONG: Yellow Starbursts, the film "The Polar Express" and when someone eats fish on an airplane.


BLACKWELL: OK, first of all, nobody likes the yellow Starbursts. OK, nobody likes the yellow Starbursts.

BADE: And who wants anyone to eat fish on an airplane, that would be awful.

CAMEROTA: In terms of the humor, I don't know where they were going with it, but in terms of the point that she's not making friends on Capitol Hill, I think that might be valid at the moment.

BADE: Absolutely. I think we've pretty much learned from Sinema over her few years in the Senate now that she doesn't care. She's not there to make friends. In fact, our sources tell us she has more Republican friends than Democratic friends. So, it's interesting. I do think what this skits tells us is a couple of things, that the infighting in the Democratic caucus is really starting to bleed into the mainstream, people who perhaps don't follow the news as often.

And the other thing I would say is that progressives seem to be winning the narrative when it comes to shaping who is to blame here. Technically, Kyrsten Sinema has been very active in terms of negotiating. She has her own charts of things she likes, things she doesn't like, but, you know, the progressives have tried to say that she is not being specific about what she wants and sort of trying to paint her as someone being very stubborn and clearly that is winning out when it comes to the public narrative.

BLACKWELL: Rachael Bade, thanks for the insight.

BADE: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: So, the FDA advisory board is announcing new meetings expected to cover everything from COVID booster shots to vaccines for kids. What to expect, next



BLACKWELL: Well, the CDC has now removed their updated holiday guidance. A CDC spokesperson says the page had a technical update on Friday but does not reflect the CDC's guidance ahead of this upcoming holiday season. And they will share additional guidance soon.

CAMEROTA: I'm really trying to follow along. But let's bring in CNN's senior medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen with us now. Do we know what the CDC guidance for the holidays is?

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Alisyn, we don't know. I mean, look, guys, it's early October. It's not shocking that they haven't put out holiday guidance yet. It's, you know, Thanksgiving is at the end of November and December at the end of -- Christmas, rather, at the end of December, but let's take -- let's think a bit about what Tony Fauci said.

What Dr. Fauci said was, look, if you are vaccinated you can have -- I want to make sure I get the words exactly right -- a good, normal Christmas. You can have a good, normal Christmas if you're vaccinated. That sound pretty good to me. The word normal, I think, you know, says a lot, but that's if you're vaccinated.

Frankly, if I weren't vaccinated, I would not want to be getting on, you know, train or a plane or traveling. I mean, that would be -- we see how hospitals are filling up with unvaccinated people. I certainly wouldn't want to take that risk during the holidays to be traveling, but if you're unvaccinated it's a whole different deal.

Now I will add a caveat here, we can remember the three of us talking back in June when it felt like maybe things were getting back to normal, and then Delta happened. So, who knows what will happen between now and Thanksgiving. But as it stands now, as Dr. Fauci said, we can have a good, normal Christmas -- Victor, Alisyn

CAMEROTA: OK, on that note, that is very helpful. Thank you very much, Elizabeth Cohen.

OK, the FDA is going to have a busy week. Johnson & Johnson is expected to seek Emergency Use Authorization for its booster. Pfizer may file for Emergency Use Authorization for its vaccine for children aged 5 to 11, and Merck could look for that authorization for its antiviral pill that says that it can reduce the risk of death and hospitalization from COVID by half.

Dr. Ofer Levy is a voting member of the FDA's vaccine advisory committee, an infectious disease physician, and director of the Precision Vaccine Program at Boston Children's Hospital. Dr. Levy, thank you very much for being here.


What will you and/or the FDA committee be looking for in terms of these three EAU asks?

DR. OFER LEVY, PRECISION VACCINES PROGRAM, BOSTON CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL: Thank you for that, Alisyn. It is indeed a very busy month of October at FDA. We look forward to a number of meetings. I'm aware of no fewer than three meetings coming up this month on the 14th, 15th of October, and then again on the 26th. I believe topics will include potential booster doses for Moderna, potential booster dose for Johnson & Johnson, and then of course considering the Pfizer vaccine for 5 to 11-year-old children.

I'll point out the Merck drug, the potential Merck drug sounds very exciting. That's a different committee that meets. That's not the vaccine committee, and but also obviously a very important story.

So, a very busy month of October, and I think Americans can be happy and welcome the news that FDA is on it, and all of these interventions may be poised to benefit us. But we don't want to pre-judge the data. We have to look at the data. Safety comes first. Safety and efficacy are the two aspects we always consider. And we take our task seriously.

BLACKWELL: So of course, there are steps between the submission of the data from Pfizer for children under 12 for vaccines and getting that EUA. But I wonder when you look at the polling of parents who say, the majority of them, that they're not going to immediately get their young children vaccinated. You're a pediatrician, also focused on vaccinology, what is the work that has to be done? How do you inform or get those parents to want to get their children vaccinated?

DR. LEVY: Thank you for that, Victor, and that's really a critical question. I think it starts with trusting our process. We have a good process here in the United States and the FDA. Not a perfect process because we're all human beings, and humans are not perfect, but a very good process that compares very favorably with other countries.

It's transparent. The briefing documents are posted publicly. We will look at safety and efficacy. I don't pre-judge these data. I'm going to take it as it comes.

Remember, at the last meeting we had for FDA, the advisory committee decided not to advise authorization of boosters for everybody 16 and up, rather at this stage to recommend Pfizer booster for 65 years and up and those with medical conditions, so we're going to call it as we see it. I have not seen the data yet. In the coming days we will, typically at least two days before the meeting we are provided the data, and it's posted publicly as well.

And then we'll look at safety first and then efficacy, and we will deliberate publicly on this. All of our deliberations are public, nothing behind closed doors, it's all on the record. And I believe that that process will give parents some confidence in what we're doing.

In addition, if we do decide to recommend it and FDA moves forward on it, there will be safety surveillance, very careful safety surveillance, even after any potential authorization.

CAMEROTA: Yes and Dr. Levy, very quickly, I think we have talked before about that myocarditis possibility in young men and boys. Now there has been a study, the results of which have been released. It's been a huge study, 2.4 million people, and what they have found is that myocarditis is rare. That's the good news.

Is it fair to say that catching COVID-19 is worse, is a bigger threat to the heart than the idea that some people, some boys, primarily, would get myocarditis, which is easily treatable?

DR. LEVY: Absolutely, Alisyn. Thank you for that. Your line of thinking is perfect. We have to balance the benefits and the risks and we have to do that in an age-specific way. This infection has manifested in an age specific way, and the vaccines can operate in an age specific way. So, we have to look at age-specific data, that's what the Pfizer meeting will be about on the 26th of October, and those are exactly the kind of parameters we'll balance. What is the net benefit, potential benefit to a child of receiving this vaccine, versus what are any risks?

CAMEROTA: OK. Dr. Ofer Levy, thank you, we really appreciate you coming on with a preview for us.

BLACKWELL: Thank you, doctor. DR. LEVY: Always a pleasure.

CAMEROTA: OK, now to this, there's new violence at a Mosque in Afghanistan and has left a number of people dead. ISIS-K is claiming responsibility for that attack. So, we'll take you live to Kabul next.



BLACKWELL: The terror group affiliate known as ISIS-K is claiming responsibility for yesterday's deadly explosion outside a Mosque in the Afghan capital. The Taliban are not revealing many details but they're saying a number of people, that's a specific as they are right now, were killed in Sunday's blast. It happened during the funeral service for the mother of a Taliban spokesman.

CAMEROTA: CNN chief international correspondent Clarissa Ward is in Kabul for us. So, Clarissa, I assume this is a test of the Taliban's ability to keep control. What are you seeing, and what are they saying?

CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Alisyn, this is definitely significant. It's the largest attack that we've seen here in the capital since that horrific bombing at the airport. Ministry of Interior sources telling CNN that seven people were killed. Five civilians and two members of the Taliban as Victor mentioned.

The Taliban leadership had been gathering at the Mosque for the funeral prayers of the spokesperson's mother, Zabihullah Mujahid.


Mujahid today announced that essentially the Taliban has been carrying out a series of raids in the northern part of the city in an area called Khair Khana and that they have effectively neutralized a number of ISIS-K insurgents and that they were able to destroy an ISIS-K cell.

As you mentioned also ISIS-K claiming responsibility for this. And this isn't the first time that ISIS-K has been attacking the Taliban. We've seen this again and again, albeit on a much smaller scale in the city of Jalalabad and in some of their strongholds in the eastern parts of the country.

So certainly, this is a concerning development for the Taliban. They are keen to try to show people that they can provide security, but groups like ISIS-K certainly seem intent on making that difficult for them.

BLACKWELL: All right, Clarissa Ward for us in Kabul, thank you.

CAMEROTA: OK, now to something much lighter. William Shatner, aka, Captain Kirk, is going into space. Yes, he's being beamed up, for real this time. BLACKWELL: Oh, did you really do that?

CAMEROTA: Oh, I have so much more, Victor. Stick around. I have so much more. We'll tell you about the mission, next.



CAMEROTA: OK, Trekkies, listen up. William Shatner may be a little late to claim he's boldly going where no man has ever gone before. As promised in the opening lines of the Star Trek TV series. However, the 90-year-old actor, best known for playing Captain Kirk, will finally catch a ride into space for real. And that's thanks to Jeff Bezos and his Blue Origin Space Company -- Victor.

BLACKWELL: All right, I can live with just one pun. CNN space and defense correspondent Kristin Fisher joins us now with details. Kristin, tell us about the trip.

KRISTIN FISHER, CNN SPACE AND DEFENSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, William Shatner will be launching from a remote stretch of West Texas in about one-week, next Tuesday, on October 12th. And at 90 years old, he'll be the oldest person to ever fly into space. And he's going to be joined on this mission by a -- with a Blue Origin employee, a former NASA engineer. And the vice chairman of a life sciences company. So, it's a four-person crew.

And this is going to be the second time that Blue Origin has sent people into space. Of course, you remember back in July, with their first crew launch sending founder Jeff Bezos into space.

And so, this is a really exciting time for the company. I mean they've been working towards this moment for more than two decades. But it's also a time of intense scrutiny. Just last week a group of 21 current and former employees signed on to an essay detailing what they describe as a hostile work environment. These are claims and charges that Blue Origin strongly denies.

They clearly would like to keep the focus on this big launch next Tuesday. Where they are going to be beaming Scotty up. But Alisyn and Victor, do you know what I found out today? Not once in the Star Trek franchise does Captain Kirk ever say, "beam me up, Scotty." He says "Scotty, beam me up." But not "beam me up, Scotty."

We've gotten it wrong this whole time.

CAMEROTA: Who knew?

FISHER: I know.

CAMEROTA: That is crazy.

BLACKWELL: Wow, so does he have to go through any training or is he just going to sit in a seat?

CAMEROTA: Or just by being on the show, was that good enough?

FISHER: Well, if you look at what happened with the first crew flight of Blue Origin, Jeff Bezos' flight, the astronauts only had to go for like two or three days of astronaut training. I mean this is a quick trip, about 11 minutes in total, only three or four minutes of weightlessness. So, you don't need the kind of training that formal NASA astronauts have had to have traditionally over years.



BLACKWELL: Kristin Fisher, thank you.

CAMEROTA: Thank you very much.

FISHER: You bet.

CAMEROTA: OK, let's talk about tonight's Powerball.

BLACKWELL: Let's do it.

CAMEROTA: The jackpot is up to $685 million.


CAMEROTA: That's the eighth largest in U.S. lottery history. Are you going to be getting a ticket?

BLACKWELL: Sure. I mean what is it, $1? $2?

CAMEROTA: It's two bucks.

BLACKWELL: All right, I'm in.

CAMEROTA: OK, that was easy.

BLACKWELL: But I will be part of a pool. Like if there's a pool, always get into that.

CAMEROTA: You do want to get into that?

BLACKWELL: Well, because you don't want be the one person who has to show up the next day. I mean if everybody else wins.

CAMEROTA: Yes, but I mean if you win, you get to keep it all yourself.

BLACKWELL: Oh, I play my own numbers, too.


BLACKWELL: And then I play the pool.

CAMEROTA: You're playing both, I see. I got it.

BLACKWELL: Before you think that you're going to just walk away with all the money, let's talk about the odds here. 1 in 292 million.

CAMEROTA: OK, so there's a chance.

BLACKWELL: There is a chance. You are more likely to be struck by lightning, 1 in 500,000 for that, attacked by a shark, 1 in 4 million. Lump sum, 474 million in cash.

CAMEROTA: I can't tell if it would enhance my life or ruin my life to win because I do need a reason to, you know, haul myself off the couch every day.


CAMEROTA: Which is work.

BLACKWELL: I would find things to do.

CAMEROTA: You would?

BLACKWELL: It wouldn't be this.

CAMEROTA: Do you fantasize about what you'll do with all the money?

BLACKWELL: No, I don't think about it. When it comes you know --?

CAMEROTA: You're just happy to have it.

BLACKWELL: Yes, I'll certainly find something to do with it. Have you fantasized about what you're going to do with it?

CAMEROTA: All the time. All the time.

BLACKWELL: All right. "THE LEAD" with Jake Tapper starts right now.