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U.S. Reports 1st Case of Monkeypox as Outbreak Grows in Europe; Biden Invokes Defense Production Act to Tackle Baby Formula Shortage; Desperate Families Turn to Hospitals When Hunt for Formula Comes Up Dry; 2 Young Children Hospitalized for Dehydration Because Their Specialty Formula is Out of Stock. Aired 2:30-3p ET

Aired May 19, 2022 - 14:30   ET



DR. ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, the first thing I want to say, because we're coming off of two years of COVID, is that this virus does not spread nearly as quickly or easily as COVID.

I just want to put that out there and sort of allow people to kind of take a deep breath. The concern here really is for people who have had contact with this case in Massachusetts.

So, let's take a look at the symptoms and the transmission. The symptoms are swollen lymph nodes, fever, headache, which is common in so many different illnesses.

But there's this very distinctive rash that follows soon after those symptoms. And that's why the close contacts are being told to look out for those symptoms.

For transmission, it's by prolonged face-to-face contact, not casual, not quick, prolonged face-to-face contact or direct or indirect contact with bodily fluids.

And so that means, for example, if you're touching the lesion that's on someone's arm, something like that. That could certainly spread it.

So this is worrisome. Up to 10 percent of people who get this die. It is often younger people.

And of course, they're being very careful. But there's not a concern that we're going to have monkeypox all over the United States. That is not the concern right now.

In 2003, there were about 47 cases in the U.S. But you can see it stopped. It didn't just go on and on -- Victor, Alisyn?


OK, let's talk about the latest in the baby formula shortage. So, the Biden administration just invoked the Defense Production Act, but I thought earlier, Elizabeth, that they were reluctant to do that because it's hard to mass produce baby formula.

COHEN: It is hard to mass produce baby formula. So this is not about mass producing baby formula, per se. It's making sure that the ingredients go to the right places. Because some of the ingredients of baby formula are also ingredients in other things.

And so, let's take a look at what the Biden administration is talking about doing. So, directing ingredients to manufacturers of formula as a priority over manufacturers of other products.

Also, the FDA is making it easier to import formula into the United States. Operation Fly Formula, that's the Department of Defense, helping to expedite formula imports with their aircraft.

And the FDA and Abbott have agreed on steps to reopen that shuttered Michigan plant.

Now, Victor and Alisyn, I want to be very clear here. These are things that are going to take a while. There's nothing instantaneous here.

What I just read is not going to help us tomorrow, the next day. This could go on for weeks if not longer -- Alisyn, Victor?

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN HOST: Elizabeth, I know you've got new reporting about some families so desperate to feed their babies that they now have to take them to hospitals. Tell us about it.

COHEN: Right. These babies are quite ill. They were admitted to the hospital and some of them are in intensive care.

I want to introduce you to 3-month-old Clover Wheatley. She's in the pediatric intensive care unit in a hospital in South Carolina.

She has feeding issues. She's allergic to dairy. She's allergic to soy. There was one formula that was working great for her, but her parents couldn't find it. They kept trying others. It didn't work. She has had a failure to thrive, a failure to grow. Admitted, and now is on a feeding tube.

And 3-year-old Alexis Tyler, she's in Massachusetts. She has autism and has feeding issues. Again, like this baby we just met, she really had one formula that worked well for her. Her parents couldn't get it. She now also has been admitted to a hospital and is on a feeding tube.

So, some of these parents really are facing such difficult situations. And we can only expect this to get worse, because as we were just discussing, this shortage is not going to get better any time very soon.

BLACKWELL: Yes, long-term plans in place.

Elizabeth Cohen, thank you for the reporting.

COHEN: Thanks.

CAMEROTA: So, two young children were also recently hospitalized in Tennessee, suffering from dehydration when their specialty formula ran out. The patients were a toddler and a preschooler. And they suffer from a rare intestinal disorder and they rely on formula for nutrition.


DR. MARK CORKINS, PEDIATRIC GASTROENTEROLOGIST, LE BONHEUR CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL: We have one home and one's pretty much ready to go home now. We've gotten supplies from one of the alternate manufacturers of an amino acid-based formula, which is what these children needed.

But it's probably going to take weeks, to be honest, before we actually see some real movement and getting some formula back to the people who need it.


CAMEROTA: Joining me now is Dr. Blake Bergeron, who is a pediatrician at the hospital where those two children were being treated.

Doctor Bergeron, thank you being here.

Do you have an update?

DR. BLAKE BERGERON, PEDIATRICIAN: Alisyn, my pleasure. Thanks for having me.

Yes. One of those children have already been discharged and the other one is going home in the coming days.

So we're so thankful for all the work of our physicians and nurses here at Le Bonheur. They're doing an excellent job. And hopefully, they will be able to go home today or tomorrow.


CAMEROTA: Gosh, that's such good news.

You know, I was interested to hear, these aren't infants. These are not infants that we're talking about. This formula shortage is also affecting toddlers, preschoolers.

BERGERON: Correct. Now, those children are special needs. They have had known medical problems probably for a long time.

And so I just want to encourage parents who are listening to this to know that, yes, it's stressful. Yes, it's scary.

But the types of hospitalizations that we're talking about for most of these children are due to those underlying medical problems. Those particular kids do need that special formula that is very, very hard to find.

But the vast majority of healthy infants, we're just encouraging parents, when you go to the store, get any formula that you can find, because for the vast majority of healthy babies, that will be totally fine for your baby.

And I know we hear about these scary stories and our hearts go out to those families that are impacted. But the most -- most babies are going to be OK if you can get any of the regular formulas.

CAMEROTA: And what if you can't find any formula? Can they drink cow's milk?

BERGERON: So, the recommendation has recently been changed. So, the AAP recommends, for a healthy infant, who does not have any significant allergies or milk protein issues, that if they are 6 months and above, then you can do cow's milk for a few of days as you need to, until you can get some formula in your hands.

So, the short answer is, yes, for a short period of time, for a healthy baby, it is absolutely OK for a little bit if you really can't find any formula at all.

Part of the frustration is, there's some formula out there. Now parents are having to drive all over the city to find it. And it's very frustrating. And as everybody knows, with gas prices, it's very expensive and very stressful.

But if you keep on looking around, there are options. Online, you can find some formula. Some of the manufacturers are allowing people to order directly from them.

And go to the stores, whether it's the local mom and pop shop, whether it's the big box store, shipments come on different days and it's hard to predict when they're going to get those shipments.

But most people are able to find at least something that they can feed their baby.

And I want to remind everybody that if you can get your hands on that can, and it's produced in America, it's FDA approved. It is safe. It's effective. It has all the nutrients that your baby needs for that time. So keep searching, keep looking.

And we know it's stressful, but we're really hoping with all of these changes and now the government's getting involved that there will be a light at the end of the tunnel in the next few weeks.

CAMEROTA: You know, one of the things that the government is doing is going to begin importing foreign formula to try to supplement the supply here. Are you just as confident about the safety of that?

BERGERON: I mean, we trust our government, right? The FDA is -- they actually certify all the formulas in America.

And so I'm hopeful that, once they start importing that -- I mean, if you think of babies in Europe, have been growing healthy for decades. So I can't imagine a situation where there would be some drastic change from what we're doing here.

I think, here in America, it just has to do with the FDA approval process and why that hasn't really been done before. Because, frankly, we've never needed it until this period.

So, I'm hopeful that once it comes in, it's going to be safe and effective and those babies will get that nutrition that they need.

CAMEROTA: Dr. Blake Bergeron, really helpful information. Thank you for being with us.

BERGERON: Thank you so much. My pleasure.


CAMEROTA: So, right now, in Pennsylvania, it is still too close for call as officials continue to count the votes in the Republican Senate primary. We're going to take you there live for an update next.



BLACKWELL: There's still no winning in Pennsylvania's Republican Senate primary. Dr. Mehmet Oz is leading by roughly 1,200 votes now. David McCormick believes he can catch up.

CAMEROTA: Counties are still tallying votes. Officials in Lancaster County just finished remarking some misprinted ballots.

CNN's Athena Jones is there.

Athena, what's the latest from Lancaster?

ATHENA JONES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, hi, Alisyn. You can see behind me there's still some work going on. We had hoped by now to be able to report the final tally of at least Election Day in-person votes and mail-in votes.

But as it turns out, while they have completed remarking and scanning all of those misprinted ballots that they discovered on Election Day, there are still about 850 mail-in ballots, ballots that arrived only on Election Day, by the deadline.

Those they are now going through, separating out which ones have the wrong code and have to be remarked.

We also don't know how many of those are Democratic ballots and how many are Republican of that 850.

So this count is going to go on for a little longer. We've been listening closely and the ballots they've been calling out are Democrat. We know a lot of Democrats are attracted to mail-in voting.

So we're just going to have to wait a little longer to get that final tally of Election Day and mail-in ballots.

And keep in mind that Lancaster County is not the only country that is still county ballots. And also, there are provisional ballots. There are several hundred,

589 provisional ballots that have to be researched. And by law, they can't even begin counting those until tomorrow at 9:00 a.m.

In a close race, 589 sounds like a small number, but we're talking right now about a gap of only around 1,200. So it's really going to matter.

But as I said before, hopefully, we'll be able to report at least Election Day and mail-in ballots within the next couple of hours as they go through remarking and scanning the remaining 800 or so ballots -- Alisyn?


BLACKWELL: All right, we'll stand by for that.

Athena Jones, in Lancaster for us, thank you.

CAMEROTA: So a grand jury indicted the man suspected of carrying out that deadly racist rampage inside that Buffalo supermarket. We have a live update for you ahead.


CAMEROTA: A grand jury has indicted the suspected gunman in Saturday's racist supermarket attack in Buffalo. He briefly appeared in court this morning and was ordered to be held without bail.

BLACKWELL: SWAT teams and canines patrolled the area inside and around the courthouse.

CNN's crime and justice correspondent, Shimon Prokupecz, was in the courtroom.

So, Shimon, what's happened today and what happens next?

SHIMON PROKUPECZ, CNN CRIME AND JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Yes, so he made his appearance and then we learned shortly after that appearance that he had been indicted by the grand jury here on some of the counts that he has been charged with. He has pleading not guilty to two of those charges.

We are waiting to hear more information from the district attorney here on what exactly the indictment is. We are expecting that he will be charged with additional counts.

Additionally, we are still waiting on the U.S. attorney's office, Department of Justice to find out if federal hate crime charges will be filed against him.

Also, during this brief court appearance, there was a quick outburst from someone, a spectator in the stands, who screamed at him, calling him a coward.

He made that short appearance. He was dressed in an orange jail -- you know, what they usually wear when they are in jail. And then the sheriffs took him back into custody.

And the judge said that he would know have no bail and that he will be held until trial.

CAMEROTA: Shimon, you also spoke to a store employee who obviously survived the shooting. He is now being called a hero.

PROKUPECZ: Yes, Jerome Bridges. I mean, what a remarkable man. I got to spend some time with him yesterday after he finished a counseling session.

All of the store employees here have been getting counseling - understandably, they've been in counseling sessions, together, separately. They are going through so much.

He told me about the moments when the gunfire started and what he did. A truly heroic way, trying to get everyone into a back room for safety.

Take a listen.


JEROME BRIDES, TOPS SUPERMARKET EMPLOYEE: He was getting closer and closer to the back, to the point where he was shooting at the displays there, like the milk display.

I just wanted to make sure I kept the customers and my other three coworkers very safe. So even if I would have died, it would have been, you know, me dying protecting them.

PROKUPECZ: You were ready to take a bullet for them?

BRIDGES: Yes. Yes, I was.


PROKUPECZ: And so, Alisyn and Victor, that was his thinking. He just wanted to make sure none of his employees, none of the customers would be harmed.

He talked about what a family this is at Tops, and how they are so close. And you know, he only lives a block away from the market here.

The other thing that's going on here today is we're told that the FBI you know, Victor, you've been out here. This scene is now done. They are clearing it out. The FBI has finished their investigation, the processing of the crime scene.

So they are going to turn it back over to Tops. And then Tops is going to start the process of cleaning up, and hopefully reopening the market. As you know, it is so important to this community.

BLACKWELL: Yes. They are going to have to clean, restock.

(CROSSTALK) BLACKWELL: And it is a food desert without it. Hopefully, it will be soon.

PROKUPECZ: That's right.

CAMEROTA: Shimon, thank you very much.

BLACKWELL: All right, Tiger Woods is back in the PGA championship, continuing his comeback. We will take you there next.



BLACKWELL: Tiger Woods continues his comeback after that near-fatal car accident early last year. He just finished his first round of the PGA championship in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

CAMEROTA: The 15-time major winner got off to a solid start but ran into trouble later on.

CNN's Don Riddell joins us now with the latest.

Don, what's happened?

DON RIDDELL, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, not a great day in the end for Tiger Woods, guys. But it started off so brilliantly, birdieing the first hole, his tenth. He began on the back nine here today.

Remember, he won on this course back in 2007. That was his fourth PGA championship victory. He didn't birdie the tenth anytime that week.

So it seemed as though things were starting off really, really well. In fact, he was two under through five. He made three birdies in all today.

But that was more than canceled out by his seven bogeys, leaving him on a four over par. Not at all the start he really wanted to make.

Very, very different from the 71, the one under-par round that he opened up with at Augusta five or six weeks ago. So I think he will be very, very disappointed.

And he looked to be struggling out there are times. We, of course, know what he's been through with all his back issues, his knee issues. And then the car accident in which he could have lost his leg.

At this point, I don't quite know what is going to be hurting more, his body or his pride.

Earlier in the week, he said he thought he could definitely win here. Right now, he definitely has a lot of work to do if he is going to turn this around.

BLACKWELL: Yes, but, Don, even to see him there on the course after that accident early last year, the surgeries, the rehab, the physical therapy, the fact that he's even playing is miraculous.

I know he doesn't just want to play, of course. He's out there to win.

RIDDELL: You are absolutely right. It is miraculous to see him play. And he talked about how he finished at the Masters. Remember, he made the cut at the Masters, which is better than many of the other top golfers.


But he was kind of bummed. He was disappointed that he didn't do better that week. In the end, he finished in 47th place.

We know that he is struggling today. It seemed as though he wasn't doing great on that right leg.