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CNN This Morning

China's New Foreign Minister Warns of "Conflict And Confrontation" With The U.S.; Jennifer McClellan (D-VA) Set To Be Sworn In As Virginia's First Black Congresswoman; NYT: Technology Is Aiding In Breast Cancer Detection. Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired March 07, 2023 - 07:30   ET



SELINA WANG, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And I want to point out, Don, that this press conference happened during China's biggest annual legislative session. This is a rare opportunity for media to actually attend. I just came back from a session myself.

But in order to attend any singular session -- which we have to get approval to, by the way, Don, and we don't get approval to all of them -- I actually had to enter the quarantine hotel last night, get a PCR test, and get bussed over to the venue and then bussed back to the quarantine hotel. So is it really because of COVID rules or an excuse to control press access, Don?

DON LEMON, CNN ANCHOR: Interesting. Selina Wang, thank you.


Ahead, we're going to tell you how an animal tranquilizer is changing the drug epidemic across the country. Our Elle Reeve went to Philadelphia. She got a firsthand look at the effects of what is being called tranq. What she saw -- that's next.


HARLOW: Welcome back.

We don't have to tell you -- you know this. It's everywhere. The fentanyl crisis in America is destroying communities everywhere. But in the city of Philadelphia, the solution may be even more dire. A powerful animal sedative called xylazine, known as tranq, has quickly found its way into the vast majority of the city's drug supply. Watch this.



ELLE REEVE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I heard that, like, people don't really want the tranq, but they can't avoid it now because it's in everything. Is that true?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, just like (INAUDIBLE) is just about in everything, tranq is almost in everything now.

SARAH LAUREL, FOUNDER, SAVAGE SISTERS: In Philadelphia, it took a couple of years to dominate the supply. We now are at 91 percent. And we are seeing in other major cities where xylazine was not present that it is dominating the supply in less than six months.

REEVE: And tell me what you think about this term "zombie drug."

LAUREL: It's stigmatizing. Don't say it. Why would you say that about my friends? Why would you say that about a human? It's already hard enough trying to get people to care about us.


HARLOW: Joining us now is CNN correspondent Elle Reeve. That is her reporting. She went to Philadelphia for this. She'll be reporting in full on it tonight before CNN's town hall on fentanyl addiction. So people can see her full report on "AC 360" tonight.

What is this, and what is it doing to these communities?

REEVE: Well, it's a really powerful sedative so it's different than an opioid. And one of the problems is Narcan, which can help people overcome an overdose, works on the fentanyl if someone has taken a combination of these two drugs, but it doesn't work on the xylazine. So people have started to carry oxygen to rescue people who aren't breathing.

It's -- you know, in talking to the people out there, I was afraid they wouldn't want to talk to me, but they did. They wanted other people outside to know what was happening to them.

And multiple people said to me things like I'm human, you know. I'm a person. Like, I have -- I'm a mother. I have children. Like, I'm a real person.

HARLOW: And it's mixed in with some of the opioids that they're taking? That's what it sounded like.

REEVE: Yes, because fentanyl doesn't last as long as heroin. The idea is that drug dealers put xylazine in to give it legs -- to make it last longer. But it didn't quite work the way people anticipated and so people start going into withdrawal from xylazine within just a few hours.

LEMON: I have been just obsessed watching these videos and the coverage around the country because Philadelphia -- I'm a former Philadelphian. Philadelphia is on the front lines.

But it's happening in Boston, it's happening in the Pacific Northwest, it's happening all over the country with this xylazine or tranq as they call it. And it basically -- it's every different -- it's every different demographic. It's not just one demographic. It's not just poor people. It is every different demographic of people who get, sadly, hooked on drugs. And it turns people into zombies. They stand there on the street and

they can't move. And you can go right in front of their face and they can't move.

So -- but what is -- what is the solution? What are people doing in order to fix this? That's the point. I don't know --


LEMON: -- what the fix is because it is awful. It's an awful, awful epidemic that's making its way all across the country.

REEVE: So a lot of people I talked to got there because they were prescribed pain pills --

LEMON: Right.

REEVE: -- for cancer, carpel tunnel syndrome, and now with heroin, with fentanyl, and with xylazine.

Another thing that experts told us is that mental health care is a big part of this. That a lot of people are trying to drown out their thoughts about their trauma. I mean, people who were addicted there told us that same thing. That tranq meant that you don't have to think, you don't have to see, you don't have to know.

One person said if I could sleep all day I would take it, and that woman was 66 years old.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: And the woman you spoke to there at the end is really notable, Sarah. She runs what is known as Savage Sisters and essentially, she's a former heroin addict. She was also once homeless. So she can empathize with them and knows kind of what they're going through in a way that is really remarkable.

REEVE: Yes. So the people we spoke to said they really liked going to this place because she understands them. She makes them feel they care about them. And she also knows what they need, right?

So people might donate canned foods to people without homes. Well, where are they going to cook that -- or shampoo. Where are they going to wash their hair if they don't have showers, right?

So she understands how to take care of their needs, which is showers, clean clothes, and nurses to take care of their wounds.

LEMON: We didn't talk about the other big part of this is it also causes a flesh-eating disease. I mean, it literally eats away at flesh in many of the people because they're addicted. They're on the streets and they can't get medical care, right?

REEVE: Yes, and doctors aren't sure why it causes these large wounds on the skin. They understand why they won't heal because it's an evasive constrictor, right, so the blood is not going to these wounds. But they don't know why they appear in the first place. But they become necrotic, meaning the flesh is dying. There can even be maggots in there. It is really rough. It's really rough.


And the doctors said, like, the nurses who take care of people who come to the hospital say, like, there's some secondary trauma there from seeing so many people who are in such a difficult situation.

HARLOW: Elle, we can't wait to see the full reporting tonight, again, on "AC 360" and then ahead of our hourlong town hall -- CNN's town hall tonight on fentanyl. Anderson Cooper will be joined by the head of the DEA, Anne Milgram. That's tonight.

LEMON: All right.

So we're just hours away from history being made on Capitol Hill. The first Black woman to represent Virginia in Congress will be sworn in. But first, she's going to be with us live right here on CNN THIS MORNING. We're going to speak with Congresswoman-elect Jennifer McClellan. That is next.




JENNIFER MCCLELLAN (D-VA), CONGRESSWOMAN-ELECT: And there are moments when I realize that I'm fighting the same fights as my parents, my grandparents, and my great-grandparents. But you know what keeps me going? I fight those fights so that they don't have to. So that my children and your children don't have to.


LEMON: Oh. In just a couple of hours we will witness history. Jennifer McClellan will be sworn in as Virginia's first Black congresswoman. McClellan won a special election last month for the vacant Fourth Congressional District after Congressman Donald McEachin died of complications from cancer soon after he was reelected in November in the midterm elections.

So, Congresswoman-elect from Virginia, Jennifer McClellan joins us now. Good morning. It looks good on you, I have to tell you.

MCCLELLAN: Good morning. Thank you. I'm very excited.

LEMON: How are you doing? This is a milestone. How does it feel?

MCCLELLAN: It -- you know, I have to pinch myself every now and then to remind myself it's real. It's not something I ever thought would happen but I am so thrilled.

LEMON: You are -- let's just be real. It's not -- it hasn't been that long since we had poll taxes, right, and considering our history of slavery it's not that far in the rearview mirror. You are the great- great-grandchild of slaves. You are a working mom. You're an African American woman.

How do your experiences shape the perspectives that you're going to bring to the table of the people's house?

MCCLELLAN: Well, being a Black woman shapes everything that I know. The -- you know, I will bring the stories my parents told me of their lives growing up during the Depression under Jim Crow. I'm the daughter, granddaughter, great-granddaughter, and niece of domestic workers so I understand the importance of that work and how domestic workers have been denied rights that many of us take for granted.

My mom was the first member of her family to go to high school, let alone college, because in her town the only school that taught Black children was the Catholic Church and it only went to eighth grade. So it tells me the importance of education.

And so everything is shaped by my life experiences in those stories.

LEMON: Yes. So many people can relate to that.

You're going to be sworn in -- it's amazing -- 58 years -- exactly 58 years after Bloody Sunday in Selma. You will be sworn in on your father's old Bible where you found a copy of your father's poll tax that he paid to vote in the 1940s. And yet, voters' rights still remain under assault today.

How do you plan to fight for voting rights and changes in a divided Congress because you know we're very divided right now?

MCCLELLAN: I know, but I learned in the General Assembly here in Virginia -- I was in the minority for 14 years and I learned just be persistent. And that's how I was able to make Virginia the first state in the south to pass its own voting rights act, again telling those stories of my dad's poll tax, my great-grandfather's literacy test. And I'll keep telling those stories and I'll keep fighting that fight in Congress until we succeed.


I was surprised when I saw it's not that far behind. I was telling you in the commercial break about my very own story of reading as a child with my grandmother and her telling me about the poll tax and getting tested, and the jelly beans in the jar and that sort of thing.

Can you relay to Americans how people think that this fight is over and this was just a generation ago? It wasn't that far -- it wasn't that long ago.

MCCLELLAN: It wasn't that long ago. My own -- my own father paid poll taxes, and his father paid poll taxes. My mom didn't vote until after 1965. And when I think about my great-grandfather telling his story about having to not only take a literacy test but find three white men to vouch for him to be able to register to vote, that's not that long ago.

And people need to remember that even when we have success -- the Voting Rights Act of 1965 -- there's always a backlash and we have to work constantly to protect voting rights in our democracy.


I have got to ask you about this because while in the Senate you championed abortion rights, most recently introducing an amendment to the Virginia Constitution that if adopted would guarantee a woman's right to have an abortion.

How are you going to continue this fight for abortion rights when you're in Congress?

MCCLELLAN: I mean, again, the decisions -- health care decisions, including abortion care, should be between patients and their providers. And again, I will tell the stories of people who have had to have abortions and how restrictions and bans impact their health.

And that's how I was able to make Virginia the first state in the south to proactively expand access to abortion. And again, it took me a decade to do that. Hopefully, it won't take that long in Congress but again, you've got to be persistent.


LEMON: Congresswoman, thank you for what you do. Thank you for appearing. Congratulations to you. And I do have to say again it looks good on you.

MCCLELLAN: Thank you -- looking forward to it.

LEMON: Thank you very much.

COLLINS: All right. Also this morning, there is a potential game changer when it comes to detecting breast cancer. How artificial intelligence could actually spot signs that your doctor might miss. We're going to discuss that and the concerns that are being raised about this new technology with the medical director of the Lauder Breast Center, Dr. Larry Norton. That's next.



So next time you go for a mammogram, artificial intelligence -- A.I. -- could help double-check your radiologist's work. The new technology could be a potential advancement in breast cancer screening and detection, picking up signs maybe a doctor might miss.


The New York Times has an interesting piece about the impacts of A.I. in Hungary where they're using this in five hospitals and clinics. One of the doctors there says that A.I. spotted a tiny tumor that doctor admits she missed.

What does this really mean, right? We don't want to blow it out of proportion. We want to get an honest analysis of what this means. So joining us to do that --


HARLOW: -- is the medical director of the Lauder Breast Center at Memorial Sloan Kettering, Dr. Larry Norton. Doctor, thank you very, very much.

NORTON: A great pleasure to be here. Thank you.

HARLOW: I sent this to our team over the weekend because I was fascinated by it.


HARLOW: I think we all have victims of cancer in our families and people we love. Can you explain how this A.I. works?

NORTON: Well, A.I. is a tool that machines use for looking at images and coming up with -- or comparing those images to images that have already been recorded in the machine for being -- identify abnormalities. And it's been used very widely in many, many areas of science and business, and many other things.

So here the application is this A.I. technology to look at mammograms and identify areas that a human radiologist may want to look at more carefully.


NORTON: It's called computer-assisted detection. It's actually been around since the late 1990s but the technology is always improving.

HARLOW: It's getting better.

NORTON: It's always getting better.

HARLOW: Can -- I want your read on this image. Here are some side-by- side images of what MIT did. They used artificial intelligence to predict breast cancer.

On the left side of your screen you see an area in a woman's breast identified as high risk. Four years later, Doctor, that is cancer developed, right? And the point is a doctor of human eyes might miss that?

NORTON: Well, there's lots of abnormalities that you -- that you -- that you see. They're not really abnormalities; they're changes that are not really cancer. And you can't call everything cancer because then anybody going for a mammogram is going to need a biopsy and that's --


NORTON: -- not very practical. What this work at MIT and the Massachusetts General Hospital -- and we're collaborating with them at Memorial Sloan Kettering -- does is it identifies risks. It can tell a woman that you're at high risk for developing breast cancer before you develop a breast cancer.

See, one of the things that humans can do that machines can't do is order special tests. Things like contrast-enhanced mammograms and --

HARLOW: Right.

NORTON: -- MRIs, and other specialized tests that can be used.

The other thing that humans can do that machines can't do is look at previous mammograms and see if there's any changes.

And so -- and so --

HARLOW: Better than a human eye can compare two images.

NORTON: Well, it -- we've got to think of A.I. as a tool for getting -- for helping the radiologist look at the images better, but it's not a standalone test. In other words, it's not going to replace a radiologist.

HARLOW: So what do I do, or anyone watching? What do they do if they get this and they're told they're at a higher risk for breast cancer? We obviously all think about that gene --

NORTON: Right.

HARLOW: -- where some people get elective mastectomies to prevent against --

NORTON: Right --

HARLOW: -- potential.

NORTON: -- BSA 1 and BSA 1, yes. It -- well --

HARLOW: So what would this tell someone to do? How do you act on that? Do you just get more mammograms?

NORTON: See, it's medicine. You have to make individual judgments about individual people. And often, we do other tests such as contrast-enhanced mammograms, MRIs, and other tests. People sometimes should go for testing to see if they carry an abnormal gene to see if they're at high risk.

And all of those things become a very important part of the consultation so you can't give a blanket recommendation to everybody.


NORTON: It has to be individualized.

HARLOW: You also have a warning for people. So, for example, I just called to make my mammogram --

NORTON: Right.

HARLOW: -- appointment for this summer. I do it every June. You have a warning for people not to walk in to get their mammogram and say something, right?

NORTON: Well, yes. I think that some people can say listen, I'm only here to get a mammogram in a place that's using A.I. to help the radiologist.

It's not standard of care. It's continually improving. We're using it. We're studying it. We're trying to get better at it.

But, indeed, a skillful radiologist is still your best protection. And the biggest protection is to make sure you get your imaging. About half of the people who should be getting annual mammography are not getting it right now, which is really an awful thing. And we had a big slowdown because of the pandemic, too.

So the most important thing is get a mammogram -- that's number one -- and also, go to a good radiologist.

HARLOW: Anyone over 40 is the advice now?

NORTON: Right now the advice is annual starting at age 40.


NORTON: Right.

HARLOW: Doctor, thank you --

NORTON: My pleasure.

HARLOW: -- very, very much, Dr. Larry Norton.

NORTON: Thank you very much. Thank you.

HARLOW: We appreciate it.

CNN THIS MORNING continues right now.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm telling you right now --


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm telling you right now you can't get by that door.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I need you to grab him down.


COLLINS: It is the moment that we have not stopped talking about all morning --

HARLOW: All morning.

COLLINS: -- here. That terrifying scene playing out on a United Airlines flight -- all of it caught on camera -- as a passenger is now accused of trying to stab a flight attendant and open the emergency exit door.

In a moment we're actually going to speak with the witness who watched it all unfold.

LEMON: I can't wait to hear from her -- my goodness.