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Sudan Military Coup; COVID Vaccine Showing Strong Immune Response in Children; Record-Breaking Rain in California. Aired 9:30- 10a ET

Aired October 25, 2021 - 09:30   ET




ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR: This morning President Biden and Democratic leaders are moving closer to an agreement somewhere in the $1.75 trillion range for this sweeping social safety net package. Now in turn that deal would unlock votes from progressives, votes that are needed, of course, to pass the separate bipartisan infrastructure package. That bill has to become law by this weekend. There's a deadline that's critical, right, for critical highway funding coming up.

Joining me now to discuss Democratic Senior Whip Congresswoman Debbie Dingell of Michigan. Good to have you with us this morning. Speaker Pelosi very optimistic. I know you're with her over the weekend. She told Jake Tapper - my colleague Jake Tapper that 90 percent of the bill has been agreed to and written. Are you confident that that final 10 percent can be hashed out in time for a potential infrastructure vote in the coming days?

REP. DEBBIE DINGELL (D-MI): So first of all failure's not an option. I've been talking to many of my colleagues. All of last week the president and my colleague - I mean we are united in our caucus that failures not an option. Lots of people have lots of different opinions, but I think with the president pushing as hard as he is we can get to the point that we vote on this by the end of the week. A lot of hard work still for the rest of this week.

HILL: So does the end of the week mean Friday or Sunday?

DINGELL: So the president leaves for Europe on Thursday. We are supposed to go out on Thursday night. I've already alerted my staff we could be around done Friday unless we rail (ph). The date we must do this by is October 31. We got to get it done, so we'll get it done. That's how we focus on the end of the week.

HILL: That is (inaudible) so we'll focus on the end of the week as you said. As we look at, you know, what is at stake here, we're looking at how it's going to be paid for. We're looking at potential as the Speaker told CNN potentially a billionaires tax, IRS tax enforcement. The Senate is supposed to introduce a tax proposal today. How much have you learned about that at this point? DINGELL: Well I think first of all let's be clear that this bill will be totally paid for once it is passed at the end of the week. When you come - go down from 3.5 to 1.75 to - as high as $2 trillion - heard a couple of digit numbers still - you need less revenue.

I think that Joe Manchin's made it clear he's not going to object to a billionaires tax, but Nancy was very pragmatic - but the Speaker was very pragmatic in discussing it over the weekend. It's just how many of the - are there? A thousand or so. But I do think that there are other sources of money that there has been agreed, too, that will be in that revenue package, but she was very clear over the weekend and I agree with her we need the Senate to (inaudible) to produce some bills to we actually know what we are dealing with and what they are supporting and what we're looking at moving.

HILL: So you have to see that first. One thing I want to - I want to get some more information on, I know that in this, you know, initially in the reconciliation package there was some $30 billion I believe for replacing lead pipes. This is a major issues obviously in your state. I know you've been in touch with a number of local officials. We had the Mayor of Benton Harbor on this show on Friday talking about their concerns. Where does that stand in the current package?

DINGELL: Well it is one of the issues and one of the highest priorities for me. I have been speaking to the Speaker, who by the way has been incredible. You know, before we even got shut down a year and a half ago I said to the Speaker, "Madam Speaker, we're turning the water off on people and we've told them the most important thing we can do is wash your hands. We have to work together to keep that from happening," and she's been a great partner.


Raised it in the White House again. People don't thank you for raising it. It isn't always one of the topline issues that everybody talks about right now, and I said to Mr. President we have to get that lead out of the pipes, and there is not enough money in the bill or the bipartisan infrastructure bill to do it. We need additional money. He totally agreed.

Nancy is very strong as supporting that. What the final amount of money is going to be I'm still working on very hard, but we need - we need the money so that we get the lead out of every pipe in America. When you get a study like we did, again, (inaudible) pediatric study 10 days ago now, two weeks ago, 50 percent of the children (inaudible) have lead in it. It's a moral issue. It's unacceptable.

HILL: So you say it's still in there, but it's not clear that it's -



HILL: -- not clear that it's the $30 billion. How much -

(CROSSTALK) DINGELL: We're fighting to get there, but we're still negotiating that one.

HILL: Are you confident that at least something will make it in?

DINGELL: I know it will be. I have the president's word. The Speaker is incredible on it. Frank Pallone, the chair of the committee, when it gets raised everybody said know (ph) we have to do it. I don't know how they didn't put enough money in the bill. This is a moral issue that we have, and we have to get this done, period. No options.

HILL: When it comes to paid family leave the reduction of, you know, an initial proposal of 12 weeks to four, would you be OK with four?

DINGELL: Look, we're disappointed, but I am one of those people that knows that progress can't - doesn't always happen overnight. And so, if that's there we take that. It's a beginning and we keep working for more. I'm somebody who's been around. I'm seasoned. I remember Medicare got passed in this country not in the form we have it now. The first universal healthcare bill was introduced in 1940. We got Medicare in 1965. We got (inaudible) the Affordable Care Act.

You educate people. You keep pushing to make progress step by step.

HILL: Really quickly before I let you go, we're tight on time. Inflation a major concern. It's growing at a rate we haven't seen in 30 years. How much of a discussion was that in your meetings at the White House and even with your - with your colleagues?

DINGELL: So actually probably wasn't as much a discussion as I had with many other people. I think when we stabilize, we get the Build Back Better bill passed, we get the bipartisan infrastructure bill passed. We're creating these jobs and we're going to create a lot of jobs. It is going to begin stabilizing. It's already starting to stabilize as people are beginning to fill the jobs that a lot of corporations and small businesses were having a hard time doing for awhile.

HILL: Congresswoman Debbie Dingell, we'll have to leave it there. Appreciate you joining us. Thank you.

DINGELL: Thank you.

HILL: Jim -

SCIUTTO: Well a military coup is underway right now in Sudan. CNN is learning that the prime minister there has been arrested. Protestors have been shot at. Details on a fast movie, dangerous situation next.



HILL: A coup in Sudan this morning. The country's prime minister has been arrested. A top general has dissolved the government and declared a state of emergency. SCIUTTO: Protests have erupted in response across the capital of Khartoum after the military takeover. You see some of them there. U.S. officials say they are keeping a close eye on all of this. CNN's Larry Madowo joins us now live. Larry, is the military now in control of the government there?

LARRY MADOWO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's exactly what happened, Jim and Erica, because this morning the very playbook you see from every coup happened here. The arrest of civilian leadership, most of them in governed, and then in military fatigues (ph) and state television. In this case, this General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan who went on television and announced the dissolution of the government, the dissolution of powers of the constitution, and essentially saying the military was now in charge of this country even though they have had this very uneasy power sharing agreement between the military and civilians.

There was already a failed coup attempt just a month ago, and at the time I spoke to the Prime Minister, Abdalla Hamdok, and asked him about the possibility of another coup. He didn't think it was possible. However, this is what he blamed that attempted coup on.


ABDALLA HAMDOK, PRIME MINISTER OF SUDAN: The more we are achieving some successes the old forces will be extremely nervous. They have always having the dream of coming back.


MADOWO: The old forces appear to have succeeded in this instance in arresting that man, the Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and most of the civilian leadership that have been part of this transitional government.

And this looks really bad for the U.S., Jim, Erica, because the U.S. Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa has just left Sudan just hours before this military takeover, and the military leadership has essentially gone against everything. They promised him their commitment to that democratic transition.

HILL: Wow. Larry Madowo with the latest for us. Larry, thank you. Still ahead, Moderna announcing big news for its coronavirus vaccine and its trials in children ages 6 to 11. Those are details ahead.



HILL: Big news this morning when it comes to COVID-19 vaccines and kids. Moderna says its vaccine for children in the 6 to 11 year range for its trial shows a robust immune response.

SCIUTTO: To company expected to submit that data to the FDA soon in hopes of getting emergency use authorization for that age group. Joining us now, Dr. Megan Ranney. She is an Emergency Medicine Physician and Associate Dean of Public Health at Brown University. Good to have you back, Dr. Ranney.

The key question on a lot of parents' minds, of course, is timeline here. You had a key FDA meeting this week. What is the most likely timeline for EAU, emergency use authorization, for at least one of the COVID-19 vaccines?

DR. MEGAN RANNEY, EMERGENCY PHYSICIAN: So most likely we are going to see CDC approval of the Pfizer vaccine for that 5 to 11 age group sometime next week after the CDC committee meets.


So I'm excepting very early November. Those of us who are parents of kids in that age group will be able to go out and finally get our younger children vaccinated.

HILL: Yes, all three of us I think since we all have kids in that age range ready to make those appointments. When we look at this information that we got from Moderna today, so again, this is their own data. It hasn't been peer reviewed. It hasn't been published, but they're saying they see this robust immune response.

What was interesting to me is that they also used a smaller dose like we saw with Pfizer. So Pfizer's request for its emergency use authorization, those doses are about a third for 5 to 11-year-olds of what adults get. When it comes to Moderna it's about half. How important is that as you think as parents are looking at this knowing that the dose their kids are getting is actually less than an adult dose?

RANNEY: It reflects what we know about kids' physiology. Our younger kids have stronger immune systems, are not going to need as big of a dose in order to drive that antibody response.

And the really exciting thing about both the Moderna data, which as you note has not yet been reviewed by independent scientists, and the Pfizer data which has been extensively reviewed by the FDA and others, is that it shows that that smaller dose is still sufficient for younger kids, that it creates just as strong if not stronger of an antibody response with potentially fewer side effects because your body is being exposed to less of that immunogenic material.

So really reassuring. I'm glad that they did the right thing and changed the dosing for those younger age groups, which P.S., I'm hearing a lot of parents ask me about well what if my kid is tall or is heavier? Should they be getting the adults dose. And the answer is no. It depends on kids' physiology and on their immune response, which is independent of their height and weight. It's really more related to age.

SCIUTTO: Understood. I should note the FDA meeting tomorrow is specific to the Pfizer which came in earlier. I do want to ask about another treatment for COVID, which is, of course, monoclonal antibodies. CNN has new reporting that suggests physicians are unaware of such treatment for patients. I guess a question I want to ask you is this. You know, among some who are reluctant to take the vaccine the antibody treatment has become sort of a plan B, right? Well I'd rather take that if I get infected than take a vaccine before I get infected. And I just want to ask you as a doctor which is better and why? To get vaccinated first and reserve the antibody treatment in the rare instances where you get severe disease, post vaccination, or just hold out and wait for those if you happen to get sick?

RANNEY: So the vaccine is clearly better than the antibody treatment for a couple of reasons. The first is when you get vaccinated those antibodies are durable. They stick around. You don't - you know, you may need a booster at some point, but they're going to be there in your body, and in fact the vaccines are more effective at preventing hospitalization, severe disease, and death than the antibody treatment.

The other reason that the vaccines are better is that you basically show up at a pharmacy, get a host, and go home. In order to get these antibody treatments it's not something you can show up in my ER and get. If I take care of someone who comes into the ER with severe COVID-19 not quite bad enough to get hospitalized but they're high risk, I have to then make them another appointment either for an ambulance to go to their house or they have to go to a clinic to get the antibodies.

That's a pain in the neck, it can delay time, and those hours or days in between when they see me and when they get the antibodies may be the difference between disease hospitalization, and death. So it's also much more inconvenient.

And finally, it's more expensive to get the antibodies than it is to get the vaccine. There are a bunch of good reasons to choose vaccines first.

HILL: And it never hurts to lay them all out. Dr. Megan Ranney, always good to have you with us. Thank you.

RANNEY: Thank you.

HILL: New details this morning in the fatal shooting on that set of an Alec Baldwin film. We're going to speak with a prop master about what went wrong.



SCIUTTO: Landslides and power outages in California right now. This after a powerful storm hit the state. Millions are still under the threat of severe weather there. Near Tobin, California a large landslide. Look at that there. Pieces of the rock face shut down both directions of highway 70 there yesterday.

HILL: It is - those pictures are just incredible. Evacuation orders understandably issued in a number of communities due to the flooding. So called atmospheric river caused record breaking rain across parts of the state. They're already scarred by drought and wildfire. That, of course, that scorched earth adding to the concerns about what these waters could do.

CNN's Chad Myers joining us now. Chad, we should also point out this is only one of the threats from mother nature right now that I know you are keeping a very close eye on at the weather center.

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes, I mean there's a potential for some tornadoes across the northeast today. Not part of this storm at all, but you know, I don't think you can really put your hand around this - your head around this. Sacramento didn't have a drop of rain for 212 days straight. I just - I can't fathom that living in the east because it just rains almost like every day in the afternoon here in Atlanta, but we've had more rainfall coming down and we're still seeing that rain, four to six inches in some spots.

Even Blue Canyon over 10. That's an all-time record for any 24-hour period in any month in any year for any storm. 10 inches of rain in just one day, and now the rain is going to move over and turn into snow. In fact, I-80 is shut down over Donner Pass because there's too much snow up there. Obviously higher elevation. It's colder. It's not going to rain. It is going to snow