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Deadly Kentucky Flooding; Winning Ticket Sold At Speedway In Des Plaines, Illinois; Russia Asked For An Ex-Spy Murderer To Be Added To Prisoner Swap; Pelosi Begins Asia Trip With Taiwan Stop Still Unclear; Debris From Massive Chinese Rocket To Hit Earth In Next Few Hours; Manchin-Schumer Deal Resuscitates Biden Plans; Inside A Clinic Treating Monkeypox As Outbreak Grows. Aired 11a-12p ET
Aired July 30, 2022 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: And thanks everyone who's been watching this morning. We appreciate you making us part of your weekend.
SARA SIDNER, CNN ANCHOR: Our coverage continues right now with Fredricka Whitfield.
FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. Thank you so much for joining me this Saturday. I'm Fredricka Whitfield.
And we begin this hour with the rising death toll after that catastrophic flooding in eastern Kentucky. You just heard the governor right there reiterate -- 25 people have been killed including four children who were all siblings.
But many people remain missing at this hour. You heard the governor say they continue to be in search and rescue mode. Right now, rescues and recovery efforts are under way full throttle, days after torrential rains burst river banks. Towns are inundated. And they were cut off from resources as roads and bridges were washed away.
Rescuers are scrambling, working around the clock to find families who still may be trapped, some residents losing everything.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Animals are without people. Homes are destroyed. We need help, please. Much help, please. I'm begging anyone who sees this. Help my town, help my people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WHITFIELD: CNN's Joe Johns is live for us in Hazard, Kentucky. And I mean the debris field is tremendous, Joe. And we heard the governor there say they continue to look for people because so many remain unaccounted for. What are you finding?
JOE JOHNS, CNN SENIOR WASHINGTON CORRESPONDENT: That's right, and they say it's possible this could go on for weeks, not days. So they say a picture is worth a thousand words, Fred. And I just wanted to show you where we are. We are in Hazard, Kentucky.
You look behind me here, there's the foundation of a house. Now believe it or not, right before the flood there was a house there. There was a woman inside and we're told us she started feeling the house moving around 1:00, 2:00 in the morning. She gets out and then the rushing water essentially demolishes the house and sends debris just rolling down this creek.
As you can see, that looks like the floor of the house or at least part of the floor. On over, we see a wall here with a window, and on and on it goes all the way down this creek. A debris field, as you say, Fred, that stretches essentially as far as the eye can see.
Important to say, though, there's another pile of debris here that belongs to this building. Now, this of course is essentially an antiques store that's been here probably 50 years. And it's still standing, but as you can see, the floor was just torn out and what appears to be a lot of the inventory of the antiques store is now on the bank.
So that's what the authorities are up against as they try to figure out where people are. They have to get up in all these creeks and streams to try to look for people to check on their welfare, to find out if anybody died. They're telling us, Fred, that could be a very long process.
WHITFIELD: So devastating. Of course we heard the governor at the top, while there are 25 confirmed deaths -- it's his best guess -- as is so many others there, that the numbers are going to go higher, but of course no one knows because there are so many still missing.
Thank you so much, Joe Johns, we'll continue to check with you there in Hazard, Kentucky.
Meantime all of that and still more storms are expected to hit eastern Kentucky tomorrow.
CNN meteorologist Allison Chinchar is tracking the latest forecast. So Allison, I mean they just can't handle any more, and another front is on the way?
ALLISON CHINCHAR, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Yes. I mean we're going to have what we hope is at least full dry day but these people need weeks of dry weather to really allow for that water to recede to allow the cleanup process to begin.
This is a live look at the radar. You can see, the bulk of the rain is now making its way more into Tennessee than it is into Kentucky. That's good news for the folks in eastern Kentucky, it will give them a little bit of a break. It gives them time to try to get as much of the cleanup done as they possibly can in the short term.
Now, you do still have flood warnings in areas of eastern Kentucky and the reason for that is those are for the rivers, creeks and streams. Water recedes from the road ways very quickly but it quite a different story when you talk about the rivers, creaks and streams. That takes time.
This right here is a look at one of the gauges on the Kentucky River, we're still cresting at this location. We have yet to come back down.
CHINCHAR: Now we do anticipate that that will start to come back down later on today but until we do, it doesn't allow for folks to really get into some of these areas, to not only look for their friends and family but look for some of their belongings, try to find vehicles that may have been swept away. That takes time.
And unfortunately for some of those areas it's going to be at least until later today if not tomorrow before that water finally comes back down.
Here is a look at the flash flood threat. This is for today. So again you'll notice it's a little bit farther south than the same areas that were hit just a few days ago but all of this (INAUDIBLE) western here, that flow is pushing off to the east.
So that's where the concern goes when we talk about the second half of the weekend. This is a look at Sunday morning. Look at all of that moisture surging back into areas of Kentucky, Tennessee, southern Missouri -- all of these areas that have already had a tremendous amount of rain now expected to get even more. Sunday afternoon again, more of an influx.
The one thing to note too is it's not just eastern Kentucky. You have cities like Memphis, Nashville, even stretching over towards Charlotte, North Carolina that also have the potential for some flooding because of the amount of rain that we expect.
Most areas likely to pick up one to three inches. But there will be a couple of isolated spots here where you're talking four to six. Four to six alone can trigger flooding concerns, Fred, in addition to when you're talking about the ground already being saturated. That's why you have the flood risk for tomorrow, for basically this entire area that you see here.
WHITFIELD: Goodness. All right. Just seemingly never-ending. All right. Allison Chinchar, we'll check back with you. Thank you so much.
All right. And for more information about how you might be able to help victims of the Kentucky flooding, go to CNN.com/impact.
And this just in, quite the contrast, because someone has hit it really big and is hugely lucky. At least one winning ticket sold in Illinois, that Mega Millions huge jackpot of $1.28 billion. That is the second largest prize in Mega Millions history. And the third largest lottery prize ever won in the U.S. And just one lucky ticket matched all of the numbers.
And here are the numbers, because you've still got to know, even if it's not your ticket. 67, 45, 57, 36, 13, and the gold mega ball number is 14. All right. CNN's Omar Jimenez is tracking all the excitement. And there you are in Illinois. I know yesterday you told me you bought five tickets. Was one of your five the winning ticket? Would you tell?
OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Fred, I love you so much, but if I had won, I would not be here right now.
WHITFIELD: I know. Yes, you wouldn't tell and --
JIMENEZ: I would be on a plane somewhere.
WHITFIELD: And you wouldn't be there.
JIMENEZ: Exactly. I would be -- I'll be sick today. But this place where I am right now --
WHITFIELD: Sick with happiness.
JIMENEZ: -- we're just outside Chicago. This -- yes, sick with happiness. And this is the spot where it happened. This is the gas station where the winning ticket was sold, the Illinois lottery confirmed.
So whoever came in here, over likely this past week since the last drawing Tuesday, and picked up their ticket, walked away with a life- changing amount.
Now, we were just talking with an Illinois lottery official who told us they're still going through the verification process right now and so this person who technically has a year to come forward to claim their prize wouldn't even be able to do so until after this verification process is done.
That means things like going in and taking samples of the ticket stock that are in this gas station so that they can match it up with the winning ticket. Make sure that there isn't any funny business going on, because obviously people would be motivated to do that especially when the amount is $1.28 billion. Bottom line, this person life is now changed.
WHITFIELD: So Omar -- I hate to interrupt you --
WHITFIELD: -- are really important.
JIMENEZ: Go for it.
WHITFIELD: But guess what, there's a press conference right now involving this Mega Millions. So these words are important too. Let's listen in.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HAROLD MAYS, DIRECTOR, ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF THE LOTTERY: -- the actual amount actually grew to $1.34 billion last night based on last- minute sales. If the player elected to receive the lump sum option, they would receive $780 million.
That winning ticket was sold at a Speedway gas Station in Des Plaines, Illinois. That lucky retailer will receive a half million dollars in the selling bonus for selling the winning ticket.
As far as the winner is concerned, we have not heard from the winner yet. We don't know whether or not they even know that they won a prize, so I encourage everybody to check your ticket.
The winner has 12 months from the date of the drawing to claim their prize. However they only have 60 days from the date of the drawing to choose whether or not they want to take the cash option or not.
MAYS: There were other winners last night. We had another million dollar winner. That ticket was sold in Berkeley. That retailer will receive a $10,000 cash selling bonus for selling that ticket.
And so with that, I mean we're excited, we're happy that you all are here to join us and we would very much welcome to entertain any questions that you may have.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When was the last time that someone in Illinois has won a prize of this size, something similar to this? And what was it and how much was it?
MAYS: Well, this is the largest jackpot ever won in Illinois and the second largest ever won for the game in the U.S. The closest thing that we had here, we had in 2012 a Mega Millions win for $626 million. But we shared that jackpot with two other states, so the player actually won a third of that.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- the folks in the Speedway will get a half million dollars. Is that like a flat fee determination or is it a percentage of whatever the total prize is?
MAYS: It's based on a percentage. Retailers get a 1 percent selling bonus for the prize, up to $500,000.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is that the same way it works -- let me ask the question again. Based on the amount of prizes, the monetary amount of prizes, does that determine what they'll get? (INAUDIBLE) Is it a set fee, if it's under, let's say, a million dollars? Is it a certain amount (INAUDIBLE) --
MAYS: The percentage is set. The cap is set as well. So it's 1 percent of the prize. And the maximum is $500,000 that they would get.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE).
MAYS: We'll be processing that over the next few weeks, but it should be fairly quick.
All right. Did you hear that? The folks there at the Mega Millions, they have yet to hear from the winner or winners of that one ticket that matched and has won this $1.2 plus billion.
And we know the business is the Speedway because that's where Omar Jimenez is in Des Plaines, Illinois. And so did you see the business owner running out with arms in the air because they just got a half million dollars. That's what I would be doing.
JIMENEZ: I feel like -- I feel like I heard something back there. But honestly, that might have been it.
Oh, my gosh. I had no idea this was part of it.
JIMENEZ: But that's the interesting part about this that I'll say, is that, you know, this person might not even know that they've won. They could be waking up at some point or they should be up already at this point, or finding out later this morning, that now their life has completely changed forever as of course they continue to verify it.
So it's an unbelievable situation, I hope this person is in it for the right reasons. If not, just enjoy themselves and have a great time. The time we all wish we could be having.
WHITFIELD: I know. I mean neglected to even buy a ticket, you know, so I'm definitely not a winner but I'm smiling because I'm so happy for the person or the group of people who bought that ticket because who can imagine? That's quite the jackpot.
All right. The biggest in Illinois and the second largest in the U.S.
All right, Omar, we'll check back with you and maybe you're going to see someone running around with arms up in the air, either the owner or maybe the person coming to claim their ticket. So I know you're on it. Thanks so much, Omar Jimenez.
As the White House tries to bring Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan home from a Russian prison, a new twist. We'll hear about Russia's surprising new demands coming up.
And House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is on a trip to visit U.S. allies in Asia right now. Why Chinese officials are warning that her trip could be playing with fire.
WHITFIELD: All right. Welcome back.
CNN is learning new details about a potential prisoner swap to get both Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan out of a Russian prison. Sources say Russian government officials are now requesting that a Russian spy convicted of murder be included in the proposed swap.
CNN's Fred Pleitgen joining us now from Moscow. So Fred, what more can you tell us about the Kremlin's demands?
FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: hi there, Fredricka.
We'll we've already heard that the U.S. is willing to trade Victor Bout, the Russian arms dealer who's currently in U.S. custody for Brittney Griner and Paul Whelan. But we've now also learned that there was a Russians counter offer according to U.S. sources where they also wanted a man named Vadim Krasikov.
Now, he's currently in jail in Germany for a murder there in 2019 that the Germans say was both organized and ordered by the Russian state. The Russians continue to deny this. And you know what, the U.S. officials never really believed that that was a serious counteroffer because he's in German custody, not an American custody.
However, they did inquiry with the Germans. We have a German government source that says yes, the U.S. inquired whether something like this could be possible. It was never seriously considered though.
Meanwhile here in Russia, Brittney Griner is getting ready for a really, really important part of the trial that she faces here on drug charges. I managed to speak to her legal team. Here is what they told me.
PLEITGEN: WNBA star Brittney Griner focused on the final and decisive phase of her trial for drug charges in Russia. Speaking to CNN right after visiting her, Griner's lawyer says the athlete is keeping the faith.
MARIA BLAGOVOLINA, BRITTNEY GRINER'S LAWYER: -- to start, she is of course stressed and quite nervous and she knows that the end of the trial is approaching. But she really appreciates all the support she is getting.
PLEITGEN: Griner's legal team is building their strategy on efforts to get leniency from the court by showing remorse for trying to enter the country with vaping cartridges containing cannabis oil.
BRITTNEY GRINER, WNBA STAR IMPRISONED IN RUSSIA: I do understand what my charges are against me. And with them being accidentally in my bags, I take responsibility. But I did not intend to smuggle or plan to smuggle anything into Russia.
PLEITGEN: The legal team believes so far their approach has worked as well as possible in a Russian court.
BLAGOVOLINA: (INAUDIBLE) The court listens, the court accepted already almost all our evidence. So I think that like procedurally it is going how we planned.
PLEITGEN: Reporter: but conviction rates in Russia are well over 90 percent and Brittney Griner faces up to ten years in prison if found guilty.
The U.S. has been frustrated by a lack of progress trying to organize a prisoner swap with Moscow to get both Brittney Griner and former marine, Paul Whelan who's currently serving a 16-year sentence for alleged espionage which he denies released.
Secretary of State Blinken saying he raised the issue with the Russian foreign minister in their first phone call since Russian invaded Ukraine.
ANTONY BLINKEN, U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: I pressed the Kremlin to accept the substantial proposal that we put forth on the release of Paul Whelan and Brittney Griner.
PLEITGEN: But the Russians have made clear they don't want to speak publicly about prisoner swaps.
SERGEY LAVROV, RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTER (through translator): this topic was discussed over a year ago during the Geneva meeting between Presidents Putin and Biden. There they agreed to authorize competent people to deal with these issues. The foreign ministry is not one of them.
PLEITGEN: Brittney Griner's legal team says they have not been made aware of any negotiations and are only focused on the tough legal battle ahead.
BLAGOVOLINA: She asked to say that she loves everybody and misses her family, of course, her wife. And again she appreciates a lot the huge support she's getting from (INAUDIBLE) and the WNBA, from the sports communities in the U.S.A., in Russia, worldwide. She's very, very grateful and it really means a lot to her.
PLEITTGEN: And Fredricka, her legal team said that it was very important for Brittney Griner to get that message out there that obviously she is very focused and she does really appreciate all the support that she's getting not just from the U.S. but of course from around the world.
And speaking further to her legal team, obviously they say right now they're very much focused on the trial, very much trying to get a good outcome but they also said they would really appreciate if there was a prisoner swap to make sure that Brittney Griner gets home as fast as possible, Fredricka.
WHITFIELD: And the feeling still is, if there is to be a prisoner swap, it would be at the completion of the trial, it wouldn't shorten the trial, correct?
PLEITGEN: Yes, that's exactly correct. It's one of the things to see (ph). The legal team also said that they believe that a verdict would probably have to happen before a prisoner swap could happen.
WHITFIELD: All right. Fred Pleitgen, thank you so much, in Moscow.
All right. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on a trip to Asia right now, visiting U.S. allies including Japan. But the big question is whether shew will visit Taiwan. That prospect is stoking tensions with China. The Chinese foreign ministry says President Xi Jinping has warned the U.S. directly it's playing with fire if Pelosi makes a stop there.
CNN's Blake Essig is in Tokyo for us. So what are we learning about the details of this trip?
BLAKE ESSIG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well Fredricka, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi is planning to visit Japan, South Korea, Singapore and Malaysia on her trip to Asia but as you mentioned, one question remains unanswered. Will the self-governing island of Taiwan also be on the agenda.
Either way, the prospect of her visit alone hasn't -- excuse me -- has already created a headache for not only the White House but it's also infuriated China with Beijing vowing to respond and some Chinese analysts suggesting that that response could involve the military. It's a possibility that has raising concerns of a possible military miscalculation in the air and at sea if both the U.S. and China increase their operations.
U.S. Representative Jim Himes addressed the possibility of Pelosi visiting Taiwan recently with CNN's Wolf Blitzer. He says the speaker can travel wherever she wants and that everyone needs to just take a breath.
Take a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. JIM HIMES (D-CT): If I were in Beijing right now I would think that the last thing you would want would be to create more problems in an already friction-laden relationship by whatever. Flying military aircraft near the speaker's aircraft, wherever that might be.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ESSIG: Now if the trip does happen, Fredricka, it would be the highest level U.S. visit to the island in 25 years with Pelosi being second in line to the presidency.
WHITFIELD: All right. Blake Essig in Tokyo. Thanks so much.
And this quick programming note. Join CNN as we explore the extremes of Patagonia's far south, where the land is a wind-blasted tundra and the sea is teeming with life. "PATAGONIA: LIFE ON THE EDGE OF THE WORLD" tomorrow at 9:00 p.m. right here on CNN.
All right. 23 tons of Chinese rocket debris on its way to crash into earth but no one knows when or where it might land. We'll talk about that next.
WHITFIELD: All right. Debris from a massive Chinese booster rocket is due to land somewhere on earth in the next few hours. The 23-ton rocket is ten stories tall and launched last Sunday to deliver a module to China's space station. And with its job completed, the rocket is now in an uncontrolled descent toward earth's atmosphere and it's not yet clear where on earth it would land. Right now U.S. Space Command is tracking the debris.
And joining me right now is Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield. He is the former commander of the International Space Station and the author of the book, "The Apollo Murders". He currently sits on the space advisory board for Virgin Galactic.
Commander Hadfield, so good to see you. So help us understand this. This huge rocket is right now just in kind of a free fall descent. It's an uncontrolled descent. And how is it tracked and so that what kind of notice might we get on where on earth it might land?
COMMANDER CHRIS HADFIELD, CANADIAN ASTRONAUT: Sure. Hi, Fredricka. I built this really nice simulator for you.
WHITFIELD: Oh, thank you.
HADFIELD: This is the rocket. It got -- just on the 24th of July, it delivered that big new piece of the Chinese space station so it went up to dock with the space station.
But now you've got this sort of empty old rocket body tumbling around the world, going five miles a second. But it gets close enough to the atmosphere that it gets a tiny bit of drag slowing it down, so each orbit gets a tiny bit lower until sort of like something going down the drain. Eventually it's going to get right into the atmosphere and then most of it's going to burn up. But some of the big, heavy pieces are going to make it right down and hit the surface.
And that's what's going to happen within about the next 45 minutes.
WHITFIELD: WOW. Five miles a second, that explains why when I read it said it could circle the world in about an hour and a half before it starts to, as you say, break up.
So something like 20 percent of its totality might be, you know falling. So that's like 20,000 pounds that will end up somewhere and rather quickly. Any kind of idea where it might be?
HADFIELD: Well, the trouble is, it's actually the sun, I don't know if you ever looked into it, but the sun sort of pulses like a big bass drum every 11 years. And when it reaches its loudest max, it puts a lot more energy towards the earth every 11-year cycle and that makes our atmosphere grow a little bit, sort of like just expanding like hot air. And so it's really hard to predict, as this thing's tumbling through the air, because our atmosphere's size is growing and shrinking a tiny bit.
So the best answer to your question, Fredricka, is probably in between mainland U.S. and Hawaii, somewhere out there in the Pacific. But it could come all the way down to the Yucatan or maybe even as far down as South America. We'll know better within an hour.
WHITFIELD: Oh, my gosh. I'm sure people are, you know, leaning on the hope that somewhere in the ocean, not near any ships, and hopefully no marine life or anything like that gets disturbed or hurt through it all.
So help folks understand why in the world this is happening anyway. I mean you spent time on the International Space Station. The Chinese are building kind of its version of that, right? And this is part of the construction of this other location, this Chinese space station.
And they had to launch this rocket for what purpose before it had to come down?
HADFIELD: Well, the rocket was just to get that piece going fast enough to stay in orbit. I flew as part of the crew on the space shuttle twice. And we would really carefully predict where the pieces of our rockets were going to land to make sure they weren't a threat to anybody.
You know, one piece would land just off the coast of Florida and the other might land in the middle of the Indian Ocean. Just this past week, a piece of an old SpaceX rocket was found in a sheep paddock just near Wagga Wagga, Australia. So you know, it happens. The other thing to remember is the world gets hit by 40 tons of meteorites every day. So there's a lot of natural stuff coming out of the sky. But it's really up to each launch country to take responsibility for their vehicles when they launch them to make sure that they're not increasing the hazard to life on earth.
WHITFIELD: Yes. And I know you showed us that great model with the bottle, and you know, the piece that was going to stay up there with the, you know, space station and then the rest that comes tumbling down.
But I wonder since it does to seem to be, you know, high risk right to a certain degree because we don't know when this thing is coming down or where. Is there another way to deliver the pieces that are needed to create this space station without uncontrollable, you know, rockets descending?
HADFIELD: Sure. The newest vehicle that SpaceX is working on is probably the greatest example where it's a two-stage rocket and both stages, you know, if I can use my silly model again where --
WHITFIELD: Yes. I love that model. HADFIELD: -- both stages, the first one, once it's got everything up
to speed, it actually has a little bit of fuel left in engines. It can flip around backwards and come back and land and get used again.
And even the second stage might be able and they're working on this, this vehicle called Starship, where the second stage it can come around and land again so the vehicle becomes 100 percent reusable.
We're still sort of in the infancy of space flight and we're figuring it out. It's just a matter of common sense, regulation, and technology all coming together and doing what we collectively want people to do.
But the reality is within the next, whatever, 40 minutes, a 23-ton rocket, 200 feet long, is going to crash somewhere into the world.
WHITFIELD: Oh, my gosh. All right. Well, we'll leave it there for now. The mystery continues. You did such a great job explaining to us why in the world this is happening and what potentially to expect.
Thank you so much, Commander Chris Hadfield, good to see you.
HADFIELD: Thank you.
WHITFIELD: All right. Secret negotiations in Washington, breathing new life into President Biden's agenda. Senators Joe Manchin and Chuck Schumer reaching a breakthrough deal on energy and climate. Details on that deal and how it has shocked Washington -- some cooperation. Straight ahead.
WHITFIELD: All right. President Biden and Democrats are gearing up for a fight with Republicans to pass a major energy and health care bill. This week Democrats announced that Senator Joe Manchin and majority leader Chuck Schumer agreed on a breakthrough climate change and tax package.
Here's what's in the bill. A $369 billion investment in energy and climate change programs. Medicare would be able to negotiate the prices of certain medications. A minimum of 15 percent for corporate taxes. And extensions for subsidies for Affordable Care Act coverage for three years.
With me right now to discuss is Dr. Zeke Emanuel. He is a former Obama White House health policy adviser who helped craft the Affordable Care Act. He served on the COVID advisory board for President Biden's transition and he wrote the book "Which Country has the World's Best Health Care".
Dr. Emanuel, good to see you. All right. So let me start --
DR. ZEKE EMANUEL, FORMER OBAMA HEALTH POLICY ADVISER: Thanks for having me.
WHITFIELD: -- wonderful. So let me start by getting your reaction to this health care and energy bill. How significant do you believe this package is?
EMANUEL: Oh, I think it's very, very significant, especially on the energy side. On the health care side, the increased subsidies for the Affordable Care Act exchanges, there's at least 3 million people who will probably retain their coverage.
Many others will get enhanced coverage. They'll be able to get packages that are richer. Medicare beneficiaries will have a $2,000 cap on their out of pocket expenditure for drugs. So there's a lot of very good things in this bill.
I mean in normal times it would be a huge, huge bill. And a lot of attention on it.
WHITFIELD: Yes. We haven't had normal times in a long time. I think the abnormal is kind of our normal right now, quite frankly.
So if this bill does pass, the government would be able to also negotiate with drug makers for lower prices on certain medicines for the first time ever. And it would cap what seniors on Medicare pay for drugs each year at $2,000.
That sounds, you know, quite sizable. How big of a potential victory is that, particularly for people, you know, who have been struggling for a very long time on escalating prices of their prescriptions?
DR. EMANUEL: Well, I think for the Medicare cap, it's very important and long overdue. I think the drug price negotiation is a baby step forward. It's kind of the camel's nose under the tent, I think in and of itself, not wildly impressive.
Negotiations would start for drugs in 2026. Only ten drugs by the end of the decade, we'll get to 20 drugs. And there's a lot of restrictions on which drugs can be negotiated. There has to be no biosimilars, no generics, they have to be on the market for a very long time, i.e. Their patents are almost about to expire.
So I'm not expecting a huge amount. But I think it's a start. And in that regard, it's very, very important. And if everyone's comfortable, it hasn't torpedoed innovation as the drug companies keep claiming. Then more serious drug price regulation I think is a distinct possibility.
WHITFIELD: You're credited with being the architect -- you know, one of the architects of Obamacare and this bill also extends expiring (ph) enhanced subsidies for Affordable Care Act coverage for three years.
In your view does this kind of breathe new life into the Affordable Care Act or extend its life and viability?
DR. EMANUEL: Yes. WHITFIELD: Like that?
DR. EMANUEL: So last year -- Well I mean, it's here, it's permanent, it's shaped American health care in so many ways. To say breathe new life, it's vibrant. And if you're in the health care field, the Affordable Care Act is shaping decisions every single day. I think the real issue is these exchanges where about 14.5 to 15 million Americans get coverage and we expected more. We expected 30 million.
There are lots of reasons for that. But one of them is increasing the subsidies so that people don't have to pay as much out of pocket and that the insurance they get really covers a lot of their health care bills.
DR. EMANUEL: And this bill will help with that. It will retain 3 million people who got coverage under the enhanced subsidies due to COVID. And hopefully more will come in and realize that there are good deals for them to get health insurance. And so I think that again is very important.
The problem I have with it is that the subsidy increases are temporary. Only three years. They expire in 2025 rather than making them permanent. And I think making them permanent --
WHITFIELD: Are you worried about that, then?
DR. EMANUEL: -- is important. Yes, I'm always worried, because Congress has to come back and reapprove them.
WHITFIELD: All right. We'll leave it there for now. It's kind of, you know, it's half glass full, right? It sounds like you're very optimistic.
DR. EMANUEL: Oh, no, I think this is a big bill, and it's a good step forward.
WHITFIELD: Ok. All right. Dr. Zeke Emanuel, good to see you. Thanks so much for coming back.
DR. EMANUEL: Take care.
WHITFIELD: All right. And of course we continue to monitor the fatal flooding in Kentucky, at least 25 people dead. But the officials fear that number could rise as efforts to find people in the devastation continues. More on that and the efforts to help those impacted, next.
WHITFIELD: All right, the U.S. on high alert this morning as the monkey pox outbreak continues to grow. Right now there are nearly 5,000 recorded cases. And CNN's chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta goes inside a clinic treating the virus. And we do want to warn you some of the images are graphic.
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: What you're looking at are monkeypox lesions on 33-year-old Adam's arms, face, legs, even his eye.
ADAM, MONKEYPOX PATIENT: Right under the eyelash next to the eyeball.
DR. GUPTA: The previous week he gone to a festival. And after he returned, he received an email from festival organizers saying someone who attended had monkeypox.
ADAM: The last exposure that I could think of was on the 3rd of July. And then by the 11th, that is when I first noticed the marks on my arm.
DR. GUPTA: That is important. It is called the incubation period, the time between being exposed and first developing symptoms. It could be anywhere from 6 days to as long as 21 days in this outbreak.
ADAM: And then by the 12th, that is a full on fever.
DR. GUPTA: Within three days of getting that fever, Adam continued to break out in rashes, even in the back of his throat and those were the worst. Adam could hardly eat or even speak. The only thing that seemed to help, gargling with lidocaine solution.
Have you ever experienced anything like this?
ADAM: I would kind of liken it to a cross breed between COVID, strep throat, mono, in addition to the pox.
DR. GUPTA: Dr. Stacy Lane is founder of the Central Outreach Wellness Center in Pittsburgh. It is a center focused on LGBTQ health. She's also Adam's doctor.
DR. STACY LANE, FOUNDER, CENTRAL OUTREACH WELLNESS CENTER: He had a lesion on the inside of his lid. But if that would rupture, he would auto inoculate his eye.
DR. GUPTA: Turns out about 25 percent of people infected with monkey pox do develop lesions around their eyes and if the infection spreads to their cornea, it could cause blindness.
DR. LANE: -- (INAUDIBLE) to treat him.
DR. GUPTA: That is right. There is a treatment for monkeypox. It is an anti-viral known as Tpoxx. It's been approved since 2018 in the United States to treat smallpox. That is a virus in the same family as monkeypox. And recent studies have now shown effectiveness against monkeypox as well.
What are you seeing in terms of response to this medication?
DR. LANE: I've really only been involved with three cases now intimately to watch the progression through pictures and literally melting away within I would say three doses.
DR. GUPTA: But here is the issue. At least 4,900 people have been formally diagnosed with monkeypox and as of July 22, the CDC says just over 230 patients have actually been treated with the medication.
What is the level of awareness of Tpoxx?
DR. LANE: Yes. I think it is minimal. This is a disease that is especially (INAUDIBLE) in the gay community.
DR. GUPTA: In many ways the story of Tpoxx is a remarkable one. Years ago out of concern that smallpox could one day be weaponized, the federal government stockpiled at least 1.7 million doses.
But now even in the middle of this new outbreak, getting those doses to those in need has been a real challenge.
DR. LANE: You're talking about a five, six-day time lag to get that medication to you in a local doctor's office and the paperwork and all of the bureaucracy to make that happen is very cumbersome. Takes a few hours of your time and that is the barrier.
DR. GUPTA: I marvel sometimes at the idea that even after we had fundamentally eradicated smallpox, there was still the wherewithal to say hey let's still put close to 2 million doses of a treatment potentially, just in case -- great preparedness. But I feel like the response is lagging now.
DR. LANE: There is a ton of health disparities in the LGBTQ community.
DR. GUPTA: Even this interview. Adam did agree to speak with me but he asked that we only use his first name and keep his face hidden. The stigma is real.
ADAM: They do association it with being a gay man's disease or a bisexual man's disease which I think is not a great way to approach it. Because any disease could be anybody's disease.
DR. GUPTA: Last week the CDC did stream line the process for Tpoxx approval, reducing the amount of paperwork and follow up requirements. Dr. Lane said that helps but it's still not enough.
If this wasn't being defined or at least described as a gay, bisexual man's disease, do you think some of these barriers that you're talking about wouldn't be there or wouldn't be as big.
DR. LANE: Most likely. Right. I mean we like to think that homophobia doesn't exist any more or that racism in medicine doesn't exist any more but we have lots of evidence to say that it does. DR. GUPTA: Lane's Pittsburgh clinic is seeing such a high volume of
patients with eye lesions, she was able to get approval from federal and local health authorities to keep doses on hand in their office. But they are precious. They are kept under lock and key.
How quickly did you think it made an impact?
ADAM: Within the first couple of days.
DR. GUPTA: Really?
ADAM: Things are night and day from where they were a week, especially two weeks ago.
WHITFIELD: Wow, extraordinary.
Dr. Sanjay Gupta, thank you so much.
All right. Still ahead, we're live at the very store where one lucky person became an overnight billionaire. Lottery officials now say the jackpot grew overnight to $1.34 billion.