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New Government Ad Campaign Features Unvaccinated People Suffering; Canada Issues Vaccine Mandate for Anyone 12-Plus on Trains, Planes; Study: Substance Abusers at Higher Risk of Breakthrough Cases; Biden Administration to Boost At-Home Rapid Testing with $1 Billion Investment; Gabby Petito's Family Frustrated by Laundrie's Parents' Silence; New Police Activity in Search for Brian Laundrie. Aired 1:30- 2p ET

Aired October 06, 2021 - 13:30   ET



ANA CABRERA, CNN HOST: OK, we'll watch again October 14, October 15 that are two key dates, deadlines for these subpoenas.

Carrie Cordero, I always appreciate your expertise and insight. Thanks for being here.


CABRERA: Unvaccinated Americans now telling their COVID horror stories. It's all part of a new ad campaign from the federal government. Will this new tactic have an impact? That's next.



CABRERA: The federal government today with a new ad campaign. Real people, real COVID-19 consequences.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've been in the hospital for 76 days now. And by the grace of God, I'm still here. It was a lot of dark times. I died three times. They gave me a 5 percent chance of living.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I got COVID. I was intubated and in a coma for 11 days.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Two months ago, I contracted the Delta variant of COVID-19. I haven't been the same man since. I went from being a man who loved to play outside with his children and exercise to a man who barely has enough energy to make through the day.


CABRERA: All three of those people were not vaccinated.

Joining us now, Dr. Leana Wen, emergency physician and author of "Lifelines, A Doctor's Journey in the Fight for Public Health."

Dr. Wen, this new HHS tactic is to motivate through fear. The goal is obviously more vaccinations. Do you think this is the way to go? Will it work?

DR. LEANA WEN, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: I think it will work on some people.

At this point, Ana, I think we need to accept that there are some people who are just not going to get vaccinated. That group, though, I want to believe is still in the minority.

We know about half of those who are remaining unvaccinated are the unvaccinated but willing. Maybe they still need questions to be answered, or maybe requirements are going to work for some of these individuals.

And I think that also hearing the stories of people like them who, for whatever reason, made the choice to stay unvaccinated, that could help them to be pushed over the edge.

So I do think the stories of people who change their minds about vaccination because they got ill, it's important to tell these stories.

CABRERA: Canada just issued a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for anyone over the age of 12 traveling on a train or plane. We've spoken about this before.

I wonder, what is the best strategy -- playing to someone's fear, using that kind of marketing campaign we just showed, or making the vaccine a requirement for more things, like traveling.

Should the U.S. be more like Canada?

WEN: Yes, we should. We really need every tool at our disposal at this point. We've already tried incentives. We tried outreach and education. We should continue doing that.

But at this point, vaccine requirements are the way go. Vaccine requirements in workplaces, that we have seen, have been very effective.

And I also think, for domestic travel, for interstates travel, for planes, trains, interstate buses, things that are within the jurisdiction of President Biden, of the federal government,

I really do think that it's time to put those requirements in, too. First, it's going to make plane and train travel a lot safer.

But also, especially with the holidays coming, it will be a powerful incentive for people so to say, look, you can stay unvaccinated if you want, but you won't be able to travel to see your family.

CABRERA: And we showed a clip yesterday with Andrew Wiggins, the NBA superstar who didn't want to get the vaccine but he had to, to play. And he wanted to play, so he got the vaccine.

That's another example of those mandates, those requirements actually moving the needle.

I want to ask you about a new study that finds people with substance use disorders, smokers, drinkers, marijuana users, are all at higher risk of breakthrough infections, even if fully vaccinated.

Why is that?

WEN: I'm not surprised at all by this finding.

So I chair the advisory group for an opioid treatment center. And when I was the health commissioner for Baltimore, I also worked closely with the people with substance abuse disorders.

This is a group that is medically fragile. This is a group that has often undiagnosed and untreated other medical conditions that predispose them to severe outcomes for COVID-19 already.

Also individuals with the disease of addiction also tend to have unstable housing and lack of access to food and health care.

So these are people who have a higher rate of exposure also to COVID- 19, too.

This is just another reminder about the intersection of COVID with so many other medical illnesses and with health disparities.

It's also a reminder that public health is not just infection control. That we cannot forget that there are still many other public health issues that were crises before the pandemic, like the opioid epidemic, like overdoses.

They were a problem before the pandemic and, if anything, they've only gotten worse.

CABRERA: I do want to ask you about testing as well. Just this morning, the White House announced a $1 billion investment to improve production for rapid at-home tests. But the major change in availability doesn't come until December.

It's worth noting Europe seems to be way out in front here. I just don't understand why testing is still a major thing for people here in the U.S. It doesn't make it easy for people to do the right thing.


WEN: Right. And we've been talking about this since the very beginning of the pandemic that, from the very beginning, testing was our Achille's heel. That we fell behind. And that's why the pandemic spiraled out of control.

We still seemed to have not learned this lesson versus other countries have. Singapore and Japan, they have ubiquitous vending machines to give

tests. You can go to the U.K. and you can get testing any time you want. And enough to get tested twice a week if you want for every family.

That's what we need to have here in the U.S., too. And I think that if we have frequent testing that's widespread, combined also with vaccination and with early treatment, that is how we can get COVID under control.

And turn it from the potential of a deadly disease into something that actually is manageable.

But we really need scaled-up testing. So I commend the Biden administration for this step.

But what I really want to see them do is to say, we're going to put as much effort into testing as we did around vaccines so that every American is going to be able to get tested at least twice a week and those tests will be free.

CABRERA: Dr. Leana Wen, it's good to have you here. Thank you so much for being with us and for all you do.

We have more breaking news today. This time, in the search for Gabby Petito's fiance, Brian Laundrie.

There's new police activity in this reserve they've been searching in Florida near Laundrie's home. These are live aerials right now. You see police vehicles on scene. We'll get details just ahead.



CABRERA: We're following new developments in the search for Brian Laundrie, the fiance of Gabby Petito.

I want to get to Jean Casarez who is in Florida -- or in New York covering the story that is obviously unfolding in Floria.

And we understand, Jean, that the parents of Gabby Petito are now speaking out. What's the latest there?

JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, we're learning this through the attorney of the parents.

And what he is telling CNN is that although the parents of Brian Laundrie told law enforcement that it was September 14th the last time they saw their son, when he went to the Carlton Nature Preserve not too far from the house to go hiking, and never came back home.

After talking with the FBI, they're now saying, no, we think it's the 13th of September was the last day that we saw him when he went to go hiking. Now, what's the difference between one day? Well, factually, if we

look at the facts, we do know that on the 11th, it became public that Gabby Petito was missing.

That's when the missing-persons report was filed. That's when law enforcement was informed. They started looking for her two days later.

Now the family says they believe that he left the home. And they say they haven't seen him since.

So while law enforcement continues to try to find Brian Laundrie -- and of course, they want to find him alive because everyone has questions -- they just want to ask him questions at this point.

The family of Gabby Petito, they went on Dr. Phil yesterday -- again today they'll be doing it -- and they not only want to find Brian. They say somebody needs to talk, we need answers, but they really poured out their heart and said things that they have never publicly said.

One being, her stepfather was in Wyoming, the search was going on for Gabby, and suddenly, he gets a call from the FBI saying, we need to talk to you immediately.

Listen to what he said.


DR. PHIL MCGRAW, HOST, "DR. PHIL": Do you think they know where he is now? If they do, do you believe they should pick up the phone and tell you?

NICOLE SCHMIDT, MOTHER OF GABBY PETITO: Somebody needs to start talking.


CASAREZ: And what they actually said was that the FBI took them into a conference room, and there was a conference call with the rest of the family and said, we found clothing.

And they described a sweatshirt. They all knew that it was Gabby's, one of her favorite sweatshirts.

And that's when the realizations were that there were remains, there was a sweatshirt, and that Gabby was no longer with us -- Ana?

CABRERA: Oh, I can't imagine, as a parent, how horrific that would be.

Thank you so much, Jean Casarez, for your reporting.

In other breaking news, in Arlington, Texas, a manhunt underway for a gunman who opened fire inside a high school. Police gave the all-clear at the school but the shooter is on the run. CNN is live on scene. Stay with us.



CABRERA: Welcome back. A quick programming note for you. On an all-new season of "THIS IS LIFE," Lisa Ling explores historical events that changed America but rarely appear in history books. It's a hard truth the country still confronts today.

Catch the season premiere of "THIS IS LIFE WITH LISA LING," Sunday at 10:00 p.m. Eastern and Pacific, only on CNN.

I do want to squeeze in this little bit of breaking news. It is the best kind of news. We have a new member of the CNN family. And he's probably, the tiniest, too.

Take a look.

Congratulations to our fearless leader, our executive producer, Michelle Moryc (ph), on the newest addition to her family.

Welcome to the world, Jay George, who weighed in at a healthy nine pounds. Hopefully, that means he'll be a good sleeper.

Michelle, we miss you. We'll see you soon.

But no breaking news can replace the precious moments you're going to have with this little bundle of joy. So soak up the moment. We're sending you lot of love. And again, huge congratulations.


Thank you so much for being with us today. I'll see you back here tomorrow at 1:00 Eastern. In the meantime, join me on Twitter, @AnaCabrera.

The news continues next with Alisyn and Victor.