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North Korea Fires 2 Suspected Ballistic Missiles from Airport; Israeli Study Suggests Fourth Dose of Vaccine Boosts Antibodies; Mom of 1-Year-Old Talks About Son's hard Battle with COVID; Prince Andrew's Lawyers Want to Depose Accuser's Psychologist & Husband; Prince Harry Wants to Pay for Police Protection When in U.K. Aired 1:30-2p ET

Aired January 17, 2022 - 13:30   ET



GORDON CHANG, COLUMNIST & AUTHOR: Kim Jong-Un wants sanctions released. And so he's testing the Biden administration.

Just like he tested the Trump administration and other administrations before that in their early phases to see how far the North Koreans could push the U.S.

So in general, I think that Kim Jong-Un's policies and the policies of his father are relatively consistent.

ANA CABRERA, CNN HOST: In terms of taking actions to deter North Korea, the U.S. did just announce new sanctions against eight North Korean and Russian individuals last week.

You say sanctions aren't enough. So what more can the U.S. do about this?

CHANG: Well, those sanctions aren't enough because those six Korean individuals and the Russians, they were actually proliferating Chinese technology and materials.

So China runs a near total surveillance state. Beijing knows what's going on because North Korea is a very sensitive issue as is nuclear proliferation.

So what we need to do is to show China we're not afraid of it by actually starting to impose sanctions on China.

And since May 2018, Trump did not impose sanctions on China. And of course, the Biden administration hasn't either.

I think Beijing says to North Korea, look, you can do what you want.

And by the way, Ana, today is the first day that we see a train leaving China for North Korea with all sorts of stuff on board. We don't know exactly what.

CABRERA: So you think the U.S. has to do something to basically send a message to China in order to change the behavior of North Korea? CHANG: Yes, because North Korea, especially these days with a COVID

lockdown economy, with all sorts of internal problems, especially needs China's support.

So North Korea is not going to do anything these days that it believes is going to anger Beijing. So all of these tests have approval on the Chinese capitol.

Which means that if we really want to do something about this, yes, we've got to impose sanctions on North Korea, but we have to go after its sponsors, which is China and Russia, but especially China.

CABRERA: Very interesting.

Gordon Chang, appreciate your expertise. Thanks for being here.

CHANG: Thank you, Ana.

CABRERA: They are the only group ineligible right now for a COVID vaccine making the youngest among us, 1 to 4-year-olds, the most vulnerable right now.

Coming up, I'm going to be joined by a mom whose 1-year-old son spent the last month on a ventilator with COVID. He is still in the hospital today. What she wants you to know.



CABRERA: Just into CNN, new data out of Israel, which is already administering a fourth dose of the COVID vaccine for certain groups, this study shows a fourth shot of either the Pfizer or Moderna mRNA vaccines boosts antibodies even more than a third dose.

But the effects still may not be enough to protect against breakthrough Omicron infections, according to the preliminary data.

Here to discuss, epidemiologist and former Detroit health commissioner, Dr. Abdul El-Sayed.

Doctor, thanks for being here.

Based on this data, does a fourth dose seem warranted or should we focus on an Omicron-specific vaccine that Pfizer says will be ready as early as March?

DR. ABDUL EL-SAYED, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Given how fast Omicron has surged and how fast it seems to be abating in the places that it is affected, I don't know that either of these is going to be timely in order to able to take on Omicron.

Think about it. When it comes to third doses, only 38 percent of Americans have availed themselves of that.

And then you think about how fast it might -- how quickly we might be able to get an Omicron-specific booster and March seems to have missed the boat entirely.

And when it comes to a fourth vaccine, perhaps for folks who are immunocompromised or are seniors, that may be a helpful approach here.

But even if it's not going to protect against breakthrough cases, we know that a third dose in and of itself protects against serious illness.

So given what we know about Omicron, I don't know that this data suggests we should be doing anything more than what we're doing right now.

And for those have not gotten the third dose, please do so. That's probably the most important intervention you can do to protect yourself and your loved ones.

CABRERA: The third dose is what the U.S. is focused on. But the former FDA chief, Dr. Scott Gottlieb, says he thinks we may need annual COVID boosters, at least for a while.

Do you agree with that? And a lot of people are thinking, when does this end, when does it stop?

EL-SAYED: On the one hand, Dr. Scott Gottlieb is the former FDA chief, and on the other, he's also a board member of Pfizer.

The other point I'll make about this, we don't know what endemic COVID looks like. We are still in pandemic COVID.

So I think there's a lot to learn about the evolution of this virus under endemic conditions when, of course, we're not gripped by this, but it's something more akin to the flu and cold.

Something seasonal that some group of people will get but it's not taking over the society the way that Omicron is right now.

And we have a lot more to learn about where research on vaccines goes from here.

I would really like to see a pan COVID vaccine and that's a potential scientific possibility. We're not there yet.

I do think it's a little early to talk about annual shots. That might be the case, of course. But we just don't know conditions endemic COVID right now. We don't know where vaccine research is going.


So I think we get through this moment and then look up and say, OK, what is and how is this virus behaving? How is it shaping our illness patterns in this country and beyond? And what do we do to protect ourselves from there?

CABRERA: New York has been hit very hard by Omicron. It seems like everybody knows someone at least who has been infected if their family wasn't directly impacted. But the good news, the positivity rate for this state just dropped by

a full 10 percent, from 23 percent a couple weeks ago to around 13 percent positivity now.

That brings a lot of silver lining and at least a glimmer of hope for people here.

But the surgeon general is still warning that we shouldn't expect to see similar trends in other places just yet.

Let's watch.


DR. VIVEK MURTHY, U.S. SURGEON GENERAL: There are parts of the country, New York in particular and other parts of the northeast where were starting to see a plateau, and in some cases, in early declining cases.

The challenge is that the entire country is not moving at the same pace.

The Omicron wave started later in other part of the country, so we shouldn't expect a national peak in the next coming days. The next few weeks will be tough.


CABRERA: Given that, when do you expect the country will be past this Omicron surge?

EL-SAYED: Well, you know, in the part of the country where I am, here in Michigan, we've always been hit by surges about a month after the largest cities in the country, places like New York or Seattle or Boston.

And so what you're seeing here is that though larger cities who are hit first may be beyond their Omicron peak, a lot of rest of the parts of the county, where, by the way, fewer people tend to be vaccinated or boosted if they are vaccinated, in those parts of the country, the worst may be yet to come.

And so there's a prolonged American experience, even if the larger cities may be over it.

So, you know, when are we going to be over with? When are we going to start seeing that end of the upside down "V" in communities like Michigan or in the south? Probably in the next three to four weeks.

And until then, it really is critical for folks who haven't gotten their booster -- I'm going say this again, please do. It's the best thing can you do to protect yourself.

We've got to batten down the hatches and do what we can to protect ourselves and our loved ones and hope that we can get through this together. CABRERA: Yes. Full disclosure. I got COVID a couple weeks ago, and I

was boosted. I didn't even realize I had it until I got tested because I had a slight runny nose and was with somebody -- in close contact with somebody who had already tested positive.

I credit that to the booster and, you know, hardly feel the impact. I was so grateful. Feel very fortunate. That that was my COVID experience.

Dr. Abdul El-Sayed, thank you for your time and your expertise. Appreciate it.

EL-SAYED: Ana, as always, thank you. And thank you for sharing that.

CABRERA: "I wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy" -- those words of a South Dakota mom speaking about her 1-year-old's battle with COVID.

Baby Crue, who has Down's Syndrome, making him even more vulnerable, was diagnosed back in December and spent a month on a ventilator leaving his vaccinated parents with heartache and, of course, lots of questions, and a desire to help other parents.

His mom, Amy Crosby, is joining us now.

Amy, wow, you've gone through so much. I can only imagine.

How are you and how is your son? How is Crue doing?


We're actually doing very well. Our son was able to be extubated on Thursday. And that's continuing to progress. And he's on a single canula. And he's really made a lot of strides the last couple of days.

CABRERA: He's such a cutie as we look at pictures of him here in the hospital. It's heartbreaking and heartwarming at the same time because he's just so precious.

I know you've been through a lot. He's been through so much. You're still at the hospital.

You've said you wouldn't wish this on your worst enemy. Walk us through what his COVID battle has been like.

CROSBY: So at the beginning, it was pretty basic, a little cough, a little mild, you know, not even a fever. He did really well.

And then, all of a sudden, just one night he, all of a sudden, was having more issues to breathe. And I knew it was time to talk to our pediatrician.

And then things just very vastly progressed until we ended up having to be transferred down for a possible backup of something where he might need be to be on a heart and lung machine. So Omaha had a bed for us. We were able to come down here. And they truly have saved our son's life.

CABRERA: I can't believe he was on a ventilator. Somebody so tiny having to experience that for nearly a month, is my understanding.

And I know you were taking so many precautions, given he couldn't be vaccinated and because of his pre-existing conditions.


Do you know where he may have gotten COVID?

CROSBY: Yes. We do have a decent idea where he maybe had and it was honestly kind of a fluke thing. Possibly a family member who wasn't sure they were symptomatic, previously vaccinated.

We mask with everybody, but we had maybe lessened that for a little bit, for a short period of time, a 15-minute window possible. We really aren't sure. We can't really say that that was who it was. That's the only thing we can think of.

But I just think it's so hard to know sometimes, too. But he hasn't been out in public or anything like that.

CABRERA: So for parents to understand, you know, what to look for, I ask this question, how did you, you know, figure out that he wasn't just, you know, battling a cold or something but it was -- he was sick enough and needed to go to the hospital?

CROSBY: So for Crue, and with just some knowledge that I have, too, just his breathing was more work. I can tell he was more fussy, not able to be held.

And normally for him, I can get him calmed down and you can just see in his respirations it was becoming harder to breathe. And we do have the means of oxygen and monitoring at home.

And we saw his needs going up, his oxygen needs going up as we were turning it up higher and higher in order to have him oxygenated at an adequate level.

CABRERA: And you saw firsthand how hospitals are really struggling with staffing, right? What did you experience?

CROSBY: I think it just kind of happening everywhere right now that nurses are struggling to kind of come to work when this is kind of we're burdening them with this sometimes at times.

And sometimes, with kid, you can't always help it. So we have seen it.

And they have made it not known here by any means, you know, that staffing has been an issue.

And I work within the field and I understand that that has been an issue to find staff to continue to just stick it out. CABRERA: Yes.

Crue is so young, obviously, ineligible for the vaccine. Plus. he has Down's Syndrome so that makes him more vulnerable.

What is your message to people who refuse to get vaccinated, who are saying, you know, this is an individual's choice?

CROSBY: It's really hard for me. I think, personally, and then, you know, just how it's all gotten turned a little bit different.

But for us to know that there's so many people out there who are trying their hardest and still have done everything right and it still wasn't enough for us.

I'm sure there's a lot of people are shocked when they found out Crue had it, because we weren't out and about. And our family continues to still mask when they are with us, just different things like that.

I want people to know that it is real serious. And some kid can have a runny nose or cough, and for like me and you who are vaccinate, it might not seem like anything more than had a common cold.

But for kids like Crue, with a history Down's Syndrome and a heart defect and things like that, it can be deadly and fatal to these sweet kids who can't do anything about it.

CABRERA: Amy Crosby, thank you so much for sharing your family's story with us. I'm so happy to hear that Crue is recovering. And we continue to wish you all well and send you lots of love and strength.

CROSBY: Thank you.

CABRERA: We'll be right back.



CABRERA: Welcome back. We're getting our first look at Prince Andrew's defense strategy ahead of his sex abuse trial here in the U.S.

His attorneys have now asked for permission to depose his accuser's psychologist and husband, suggesting that Virginia Guiffre may be suffering from, quote, "false memories."

Royal correspondent, Max Foster, is joining us now from England.

Max, the prince is being accused of victim blaming.

MAX FOSTER, CNN LONDON CORRESPONDENT & INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Absolutely. There has been a huge controversy in this country about the strategy, as you say.

So we're at stage where they're asking for -- inviting people to depose during this case. And Prince Andrew has asked or the legal team has asked to supreme to

her husband but also her psychologist on the basis that she may suffer from false memories.

And this allegedly is because her story in relation to a time with Epstein but also the circumstances over these alleged rapes, the story keeps changing. That is what Prince Andrew's side is changing.

And that hasn't gone down very well, particularly with women's groups in this country.

Giuffre has also asked to depose people as well. Her team have asked to speak to former assistant of Prince Andrew.

But also a woman who is reported in the U.K. media to have seen Prince Andrew in a nightclub with a young woman. And this is the same nightclub where Guiffre said she was with Prince Andrew.

So we're into that stage of the case at the moment -- Ana?

CABRERA: Quickly, if you will, Max, in other royal news, Prince Harry says he wants to visit the U.K. with his family. And he's asking to be able to pay for his own security.

Why is this an issue?

FOSTER: Well, it is an issue because Prince Harry says he doesn't feel safe enough to come back to the U.K. without police support.

He said the threat here is particularly dangerous. There are extremist groups out to get him and his family, for example.

So he has asked to pay for the police. But the British authorities have denied him that.


So he's basically going for a judicial appeal and hoping the Home Office will change its mind.

CABRERA: Max Foster, thank you. Keep us posted.

And as the U.S. remembers the life and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr today, I would be remiss not to take a moment to share his message and to ask you to think about what his words mean in your life today.

There are so many profound and so many meaningful quotes, it is hard to pick just one. But I know we all have our struggles.

So whatever your struggle is, I'll leave you with these words from Dr. King:

"If you can't fly, then run. If you can't run, then walk. If you can't walk, then crawl. But whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward."

Thank you for joining us today.

The news continues with Victor Blackwell right after this.