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New COVID Boosters Targeting Omicron Rolling Out Next Month; CDC Reorganizing, Focusing On Restoring Public Trust; Florida Court: 16-Year-Old Girl Not "Mature" Enough For Abortion; Hackers Crack Open Voting Machines To Dispel Election Lies; Schools Grappling With Teacher & Bus Driver Shortages. Aired 3:30-4p ET
Aired August 17, 2022 - 15:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN HOST: A new COVID booster is one month away. The administration could release guidelines for the rollout as soon as this week. According to the White House, the updated shot will specifically target the Omicron subvariants.
CNN health reporter, Jacqueline Howard, joins me now.
So, Jacqueline, who should get this new booster?
JACQUELINE HOWARD, CNN HEALTH REPORTER: Well, Alisyn, the White House COVID-19 response coordinator, Dr. Ashish Jha, says this will be a booster available to all adults.
The plan is to have what's called a bi-valiant vaccine. So this will be a COVID-19 vaccine that still offers protection against the original strain of the virus but it's been updated to also offer protection against the circulating variants, which are the Omicron subvariants, BA.5 and BA.4.
So here's what we know. This vaccine, according to Dr. Ashish Jha, should be available in early to mid-September. And again, it could be updated to specifically target BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants.
And it will be vital to have this as we approach flu season because the hope is to make sure if we maintain protection against COVID-19, our hospitals will not be overwhelmed with both COVID and flu patients.
And here's more from what the White House COVID-19 response coordinator, Dr. Ashish Jha, had to say.
Have a listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. ASHISH JHA, WHITE HOUSE COVID-19 RESPONSE COORDINATOR: The big- picture bottom line is these are substantial upgrades in our vaccines in terms of their ability to prevent infection, to prevent transmission, to prevent serious illness. And those vaccines are coming very, very soon.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HOWARD: So we heard there these could be coming very soon -- Alisyn?
CAMEROTA: And also, we've heard that the CDC director has announced plans to reform the organization. What's that going to look like?
HOWARD: That's right. That's right. So the plan here from CDC director, Rochelle Walensky, is to modernize the agency.
And here's what we heard from Dr. Walensky. She says, quote, "on our big moment, our performance did not reliably meet expectations. As a longtime admirer of this agency, and a champion for public health, I want us all to do better and it starts with CDC leading the way."
She's speaking about criticism the agency has received regarding its COVID-19 response.
In an effort to enhance public trust, to restore public trust, and to really, again, modernize and reform the agency.
Here are new efforts, shared science findings and data much faster, and translate science into practical policy and prioritize communications.
Those are just some of the efforts that we see here on the screen that the agency has planned moving forward -- Alisyn?
CAMEROTA: OK. Jacqueline Howard, thank you very much.
Now to this story. An appeals court in Florida blocked a parentless teenager from getting an abortion because she could not provide the required consent from a guardian.
In the ruling, the judge deemed the 16-year-old not "mature enough" to make the decision to end her pregnancy.
CNN's Leyla Santiago is following this story for us.
Leyla, help us understand this. This girl is mature enough to become a parent but not mature enough to get an abortion?
LEYLA SANTIAGO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: And that's the reaction you hear from a lot of folks learning about this case.
Here's what we know about Jane Doe B22. That is how she's identified in the court records.
We know, as you mentioned, she's described as being parentless. We know she's described as being jobless, although working on a GED. She's living with relatives. And she has an appointed guardian, which means she's under the care of the state.
Here's what we know about what happened according to these court records. On Monday, a court of appeals upheld a lower court's ruling that said she was not mature enough to terminate her pregnancy without the consent of that guardian.
For reasons that remain unclear, she was trying to petition the court to go around what is the requirement of the law here in Florida for minors seeking abortions.
But ultimately, the appeals court sided with that judge, also upholding that ruling.
But I want to read to you from a portion of what one judge dissenting in part said in court records.
It says, "The minor was knowledgeable about the relevant considerations in terminating her pregnancy. She had done Google searches and reviewed a pamphlet that she and a family got from a visit to a medical clinic to gain an understanding about her medical options and consequences."
And went on to say, the trial court minor acknowledged that she is not ready for the emotional, physical, or financial responsibility of raising a child and has valid concerns about her ability to raise a child.
In these court documents, it notes that this teen acknowledged that she was mature enough but not ready.
And we should also note the timing of this. She's about eleven weeks pregnant. And I want to remind you, Alisyn, just a month ago, a new law went into effect in Florida that ban abortions after 15 weeks with only a few exceptions.
So timing is critical for this teen -- Alisyn?
CAMEROTA: Leyla, thank you for explaining the complications of all of this.
A favorite line by election deniers is falsely claiming that voting machines are hacked. Up next, we have a reality check on that by real hackers.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHRIS KREBS, FORMER DIRECTOR, DHS CYBERSECURITY & INFRASTRUCTURE SECURITY AGENCY: The biggest vulnerability in democracy is the people. It's the brain. It's the perception hack.
CAMEROTA: Hackers are warning that misinformation, not machines, is the biggest election vulnerability. Thousands of hackers attended the DEF CON convention that included conspiracy theories are the biggest threat to democracy.
CNN's Donie O'Sullivan is here.
Donie, you spoke with some of them. Tell us what the findings were.
DONIE O'SULLIVAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it's an very interesting conference because there are hackers, who, some of them doing pretty shady stuff.
But also, you have people from the government, people from the Department of Homeland Security who want to learn from hackers and also maybe recruit them.
So we went along and went to what is called the Voting Village where they're tearing apart voting machines.
Take a look.
HARRI HURSTI, ELECTION SYSTEM EXPERT: So the conspiracy claims all the time evolved. That once one head of the hydra is cut down, the second head pops up.
O'SULLIVAN: We've had two years of nonstop conspiracy theories about the 2020 election, many of which center around these, voting machines, that they were in some way hacked and used to steal votes and to steal the election.
We are here at DEF CON in Las Vegas, which some people called hacker summer camp. And hackers are doing their very best this weekend to break into these voting machines.
Isn't what you're doing here by tearing these machines apart and showing that they can be vulnerable? Is that not just going to play into more of the fears, more of the conspiracy theories about the election?
CAT TERRANOVA, DEF CON VOTING VILLAGE ORGANIZER: I think a lot of these fears and these conspiracies really thrive in darkness.
Here, we have like a clear box model where we open things up if you're able to look inside, and you're actually able to get your hands on these voting machines yourself.
It's not that there are not vulnerabilities within these machines that needs to be addressed. Just because there are vulnerabilities, doesn't mean that they were manipulated or exploited in the way that certain parties are saying that they are.
O'SULLIVAN: How are -- you've spent the weekend tearing apart voting machines? You've talked a lot about vulnerabilities. But have you ever found evidence that vulnerabilities have been used to change the results of an American election?
HURSTI: Never. Same comes with all the auto experts. We have always said that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. We have never seen that kind of evidence. KREBS: Vulnerabilities exist in in almost all software regardless of where you find it. Even in, you know, nuclear power plants, you'll find that.
There are a system of defenses and protections to ensure that a bad guy can't get to them. And those exists in voting systems as well.
O'SULLIVAN: Chris Krebs oversaw election security at DHS for the 2020 election before being fired by Trump for speaking out against conspiracy theories.
KREBS: The biggest vulnerability in democracy is the people. It's the brains. It's the perception hack.
O'SULLIVAN (voice-over): Cyber experts here say the big challenge to the 2022 midterms is not the machines. It's misinformation.
HURSTI: I'm afraid even what I know the vulnerabilities of the systems are more of right about misinformation claiming an attack, which actually didn't happen, and which will then get the holding in people's mind.
MICHAEL MOORE, INFORMATION SECURITY OFFICER, MARICOPA COUNTY RECORDER: We want to focus on pushing security forward and instead we're responding to death threats.
O'SULLIVAN: Nate Young and Michael Moore know all about conspiracy theories. They're part of the election security team for Maricopa County in Arizona, a ground zero of election lies.
They're here to work with hackers to make elections more secure by exposing vulnerabilities and getting them fixed.
NATE YOUNG, DIRECTOR OF INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY, MARICOPA COUNTY RECORDER: We have not seen a single accusation or conspiracy theory that has produced any actual tangible results.
O'SULLIVAN: Conspiracy theories like those being pushed by the likes of The My Pillow Guy who basically claims countries like China have hacked American elections and changed votes.
MIKE LINDELL, CEO, MYPILLOW: No. Just forget about the evidence. If I'm right, then China took our country right now. Do you care? Would that bother you?
O'SULLIVAN (on camera): How does it feel as a voting systems experts listening to people like Michael Lindell?
HURSTI: It makes me sad. It makes me sad from the fact that all of the resources, all of the energy, which could have been used for something beneficial, improving is now misused.
O'SULLIVAN (voice-over): Misused to perpetuate misinformation that undermines American democracy. KREBS: The further the narrative goes on, the firmer and gets set in stone. You repeat the lie long enough, and then many times it becomes kind of that reality, their reality.
Ultimately, this comes down to the voters. What do people want? Do we want to be a democracy? And if the answer is, yes, better start damn acting like it.
O'SULLIVAN: And look, Alisyn, a really important point that we were trying to get across in that piece in that piece that the hackers were says, even though they were there up to mischief, tearing apart these machines, just because they are finding these problems, that doesn't mean that problems would necessarily lead to a change of votes that could overturn an election.
What they're arguing is what they're doing there's catching, identifying vulnerabilities that can be fixed by the likes of those Maricopa County election officials.
CAMEROTA: I don't know that I feel any better having seen that segment, Donie.
CAMEROTA: I don't know that I feel better that there's a DEF CON conference where everybody is taking apart voting machines and figuring out how they work and looking inside.
O'SULLIVAN: Before you go in, you have to turn off your phone or not take your phone at all, because there's so many people around the place that could mess around with things.
CAMEROTA: They could spy on your phone.
So, look, I do these things. I go to Vegas, you know, do this for you, you know.
CAMEROTA: So I don't have to.
O'SULLIVAN: So you don't have to.
CAMEROTA: Thank you, I appreciate that.
You were trying to comfort me during that, saying it was already happening, just secretly. Out in public, we're seeing people do their jobs and try to hack into these machines.
O'SULLIVAN: Exactly. The people like the MyPillow guys of the world are trying to make all of these climbs, they have been making claims about voting machines.
What you have there is real hackers, real experts, who, by the way, people like Harry, in that piece, they want to be able to find flaws. They want to be able to poke holes in the system.
So even if they're saying that this stuff is secure enough that it's not overturning votes in an election, we could possibly take their word for it.
CAMEROTA: That actually makes me feel better. Thank you for ending on that note.
CAMEROTA: Donie O'Sullivan, great to see you.
All right, there are shortages across the country that are impacting the start of school. Not enough teachers, not enough bus drivers. The problem is not getting any better. We have that report next.
CAMEROTA: The new school year is starting as schools are facing big challenges. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, roughly 300,000 public school teachers and other staff have quit since the start of the pandemic.
There's also a severe shortage of school bus drivers. Some districts are being forced to change or even scrap bus routes that many families rely on.
CNN's Alexandra Field has more.
Alexandra, are schools even open with these staff shortages?
ALEXANDRA FIELD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, and parents want to get the kids to school. But another year and another curve ball for parents. What we're seeing is happening all across the country. It is not a new problem.
It didn't start during the pandemic but the pandemic did intensify the shortage that we're seeing. It has left districts across the country with tens of thousands of openings for teachers.
The state of Pennsylvania alone reporting that they have lost 22,000 people from the education Field since 2020.
Other states scrambling to implement stopgap measures. Florida looking at a plan to put military veterans in the classroom. They may not have the traditional teaching certification. But they say their backgrounds will lend expertise in the classroom.
Arizona changing its requirements. That means that teachers won't necessarily have had to graduate college just yet to get into the classroom.
And in rural parts of Texas, they're trying out a four-day school week that might be popular with some students. We'll see how the parents think about it.
Not just the teachers. You mentioned bus drivers also. Problems being seen from Connecticut all the way to Alaska. Connecticut down to 1,000 bus drivers to start this school year. They're down 200 drivers in Georgia.
Un St. Louis, they are over offering families $75 gift cards to offset the price of gas in order to get kids to school.
And in Alaska, parents are told only a third of students will get bus rides. They'll have to rotate that for a little while until they can bring in more resources.
In parts of Arizona, 15- to 20-minute delays as drivers pick up double routes.
All these districts scrambling to try to get kids to school. We'll start to see the long-term impact.
When it comes to teachers, we could see more virtual teacher, more substitute teachers.
CAMEROTA: I think we've taken these jobs and folks for granted for so many decades. And now we have to think about what to do.
FIELD: Systemic issues that need to be addressed. You hear from teachers in term of stress, burnout, wages, and certainly the politics of what is going on in the classroom as what is being taught.
CAMEROTA: Alexandra, thank you for all of that.
OK, next, how two parents, both news anchors, are bringing their newscasts home with them.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Good morning, Bella. It is 9:52. Hopefully, you slept well. Certainly, no one else did but we won't point any fingers.
CAMEROTA: Two Washington, D.C.,-based morning news anchors are bringing their newscasting skills to their at-home parenting.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Good morning, Bella. It is 9:52. Hopefully, you slept well. No one else did but we won't point any fingers.
Let's go over to Robert.
UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: A beautiful day outside. As you can see, temps in the mid-80s. No humidity. Will we get to enjoy it? Well, if spit ups and diaper changings don't get in the way, we might be able to get out of here before midnight.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMEROTA: Mom continues with a breaking news report about a diaper explosion and a suspect who is unfortunately not talking. Dad thanks then viewers for watching the Baby News Network.