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CNN This Morning

20M-Plus Under Threat For Severe Storms Across The Southeast; Seven Reported Tornadoes Hit South, Destroy Homes In Florida; Texas Hit By Golfball-sized Hail, Hurricane Force Gusts; GOP Lawmakers Help Block Abortion Bans In Red States. Aired 7-8a ET

Aired April 29, 2023 - 07:00   ET




JEANNE MOOS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The cat weighs five times more than tased Yorkshire Terrier. When it comes to weight loss goals, let's say a year from now, someone says to you, what's new pussycat? What do you hope to be able to say?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What's new pussycat? Whoa-whoa.

MOOS: For Patches.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A 20-pound weight loss, and I would certainly like to say the same.

MOOS: Which would make her a copycat.


MOOS: Funny, Kate said the same thing the first moment she laid eyes on Patches. Jeanne Moos, CNN, New York.

AMARA WALKER, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, everyone. Welcome to CNN THIS MORNING. It is Saturday, April 29th. I'm Amara Walker.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Victor Blackwell. Thank you for joining us. I think that little sound we heard at the end of the Patches story was the grunt that patches makes getting up.

WALKER: It doesn't meow, because it's so big. Can you take a cat for a walk? I mean, how do you help this 40-pound cat lose weight?

BLACKWELL: I don't know. You take small steps, short walks? Here's what we're watching for you this hour. More than 20 million people are facing the threat of severe storms again today after parts of the South were pelted with baseball-sized hail this week. Where we could see those storms fire up today and the main threats we're watching out for.

WALKER: Plus, the blame game. Federal regulators laid out in stark detail what led to the recent collapse of two banks. The concerns now over a third and why the White House says it will not step in to rescue it.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We will stand up again and again and our language will get tougher and we will get madder.


BLACKWELL: Anti-abortion bills face an uphill battle; they fail in Republican-led legislature. Thanks, in part, to Republican women, how they're going against their own parties to protect abortion rights and why they say they'll keep doing it?

WALKER: Plus, a surprising benefit of a diabetes drug that has its manufacturers racing to get FDA approval.

BLACKWELL: Off the top those 20 million people waking up to another severe weather threat in the southeast. Parts of Georgia and Florida are expected to take the brunt of today's storms. People there are facing two rounds of thunderstorms, one this afternoon, the second one tonight.

WALKER: This comes after a week of bad weather in Florida. Tornadoes ripped through several homes near Tallahassee leaving a splintered mess in its wake.

In Texas, strong winds and golf ball sized hail pelted the central part of the state. And take a look at this, a bowl got caught in the storm. That Sears owner says the entire herd made it through the storm safely.


GARY CLAYTON, TEXAS RESIDENT: You could hear the hail hitting trees and buildings, you know, off of our property. And then that just began to get closer and closer. And I told my wife that we're fixing, we're fixed to see something.


BLACKWELL: In the Midwest, the threat today is continued flooding. After all that snowpack melted, rivers are cresting.

WALKER: The Governor of Iowa has declared a disaster for two counties that border the Mississippi River as water has turned streets into rivers. CNN Adrienne Broaddus shows us just how much water is inundating these Riverside towns.

ADRIENNE BROADDUS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Victor and Amara, good morning, I'm in Downtown Davenport and as the river continues to rise, anxiety levels for local business owners are also going up. I'm standing in the middle of Main Street. Normally, around this time of day, cars are traveling through here but no car can get through because the area is flooded. Just over beyond the railroad crossing is where the embankment of the Mississippi River is and as you can see, the water has overflowed, the park benches submerged. And around town people are taking steps to mitigate the damage. One local business owner is worried.


CLAUDIA ANDERSON, BUSINESS OWNER: We've got 22 employees, very hard working. A lot, a lot of them get here since we opened, so it's hard and hopefully we don't lose anybody, but you never know.


BROADDUS: And that was Claudia Anderson who manages the Phoenix as you could see her sump pump is working overtime, removing water from the backup sewage system. Meanwhile, the river is expected to crest here until Sunday night or early Monday, Victor and Amara.

BLACKWELL: All right, thank you so much for that report. Meteorologist Allison Chinchar is here with us. Allison, let's, let's start on the flooding that Adrienne just showed us. What are those rivers looking like now?


ALLISON CHINCHAR, CNN METEOROLOGIST (on camera): Right. So, they really look very similar to what they looked like yesterday when she shot that particular thing, because that's the thing about river flooding -- it's very slow to come up, and it's also very slow to go back down. And especially, some of these aren't expected to crest until tomorrow, or Monday, or even Tuesday, it's going to be a delayed effect. And here you have all of these dots represent the river gauges here along this system.

And notice of dozens of dots here that are at either moderate or already at major flood stage and likely will continue over the next couple of days. One thing that's working against them today is that we do actually have rain in the forecast across the Midwest, some of those same areas that are already dealing with the swollen rivers, creeks and streams. It's not a lot of rain, but really at this point, nothing can really help in terms of trying to get those water levels back down.

Heavier rain actually exists in two other areas of the country -- we're talking the northeast and in the southeast. The Southeast, in addition to flooding, also has the potential for some severe storms. We're talking from New Orleans over to Charleston and then back down and down to West Palm Beach, Florida. Damaging winds, large hail again, and yes, the potential for some tornadoes does exist today. So, if you have a beach day planned today, you may want to find something else to do, at least maybe indoors today, because it's not one but two separate waves of systems that are coming in when we talk about the rain.

The first one is going to move through this afternoon, then you get just a very brief break before that secondary line begins to move in late this evening and into the overnight timeline. Off to the north, again, also looking at the potential for some very heavy rain, especially across areas of what Pennsylvania and also portions of New York and even Maine. Their bigger threat, however, we'll be on Sunday. WALKER: All right. Got it. Allison Chinchar, thank you very much.

Let's turn now to a new development on the infamous leak of the Supreme Court opinion that overturned Roe v. Wade. Justice Samuel Alito says, he has a "pretty good idea who did it."

BLACKWELL: In an interview with the Wall Street Journal published in its opinion page, Alito dismissed the notion that one of his fellow conservative justices was responsible. He suggested instead, it was someone who wanted to protect abortion rights. The Justice said, he didn't have the necessary proof to name who he thought was responsible.

Two significance setbacks in red states for Republicans hoping to restrict or outright ban abortion access.

WALKER: This week, it was conservatives in Nebraska and South Carolina who helped block new restrictions in those states GOP-controlled legislators, legislatures, I should say. CNN's Dianne Gallagher has more now on this.


SEN. PENNY GUSTAFSON (R-SC): There millions of women who feel like they had not been heard and that's why I'm standing up here this long. And I've never done this before.

DIANNE GALLAGHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voiceover): Lawmakers in two conservative states, South Carolina, and Nebraska, rejecting extreme abortion restrictions Thursday by the slimmest of margins -- just one vote.

SEN. KATRINA FRYE SHEALY (R-SC): Doctors and women know better about their bodies than 170 legislators in the state of South Carolina.

GALLAGHER: For the third time since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe vs. Wade last summer, the South Carolina State Senate where Republicans outnumber Democrats nearly two to one blocked a ban on abortion in the state with limited exceptions for rape and incest. The five women senators, three of whom are Republicans led a filibuster where they spoke for days about biology, backlash, and the concept of control.

SHEALEY: Once a woman became pregnant for any reason. She would now become property of the state of South Carolina.

SEN. SANDY SENN (R-SC): The abortion laws have always been each and every one of them about control.

GALLAGHER: In Nebraska, Thursday, tears and cheers after lawmakers killed the bill that would ban abortion around the sixth week of pregnancy, often before someone knows they are pregnant, a vote to break a filibuster failed by just one vote when two senators abstain. One of them, the bill's co-sponsor: 80-year-old, Merv Reipe, who said he'd done more research and offered an amendment moving the deadline to 12 weeks that never got a vote. SEN. MERV REIPE (R-NE): The six-week ban appears to be a winner take

all position. Ban the pushback will be strong. It will be immediate, and it will be funded heavily as now seen in other states.

GALLAGHER: His warning on the pushback felt nationally. In the first real test after the Supreme Court's Dobbs ruling gave states the final decision on abortion. Kansas voters shocked Republicans with a resounding rejection of restrictions at the polls. But since then, several states have enacted new laws severely limiting abortion access, especially in the South. Though, some states remain tied up in the courts. South Carolina did pass a six-week abortion ban but the state Supreme Court struck it down. So, as neighboring states shut down access, South Carolina has seen a sharp increase in out of state patients seeking abortion care.

SENN: We will stand up again and again, and our language will get tougher. And we will get madder. They don't have the votes to pass this and they won't until they try to get us kicked off with the out of the Senate.



GALLAGHER (on camera): Right now, abortion is currently legal in both South Carolina and Nebraska until about 20 weeks or so. But look, further restrictions are not necessarily off the table, especially in South Carolina right now, where they're still about a week left of the session. The state senate did pass a bill that they say addresses the issues that the state Supreme Court had with that original six-week abortion ban, with some exceptions. But according to those three senators, the Republican women, the House will not entertain anything that is not a total ban on abortion. Amara, Victor, they told us they believe the two chambers are at an impasse.

WALKER: All right, Dan Gallagher, thank you. And still ahead, big changes are coming to some mortgage fees next month, we'll tell you who could see their fees go down and who might have to pay more.

BLACKWELL: And the diabetes drug that new data shows could lead to weight loss and it's not Ozempic.



WALKER: Regulators have released the findings of their investigation into the failure of Silicon Valley Bank.

BLACKWELL: The Federal Reserve says poor management is part of the reason why SVB collapsed. Now, the report pointed to management shortcomings and to some shortcomings from the Fed itself. Here's CNN's Rahel Solomon.

RAHEL SOLOMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Victor, Amara, good morning to you. The report was thorough. More than 100 pages its findings, damning -- a textbook case of bank mismanagement, it reads. The Federal Reserve releasing its highly anticipated self-assessment, a post-mortem if you will, on the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank on March 10th.


SOLOMON (voiceover): Michael Barr, the Fed's Vice Chair of Supervision, writing in a letter that accompany the report, bank senior leadership failed to manage basic interest rate and liquidity risk. its board of directors failed to oversee senior leadership and hold them accountable, and Federal Reserve supervisors failed to take forceful enough action.

In other words, this was a failure at every level. But we already knew that the Fed was aware of some of SVB's problems. According to recent testimony from Barr, more than a year before the bank fell, Fed supervisors began raising red flags. So, why can't they prevent SVB's demise?

Well, the report says that supervisors' delayed action to gather more evidence, even as weaknesses were clear and growing. And this meant that supervisors did not force SVB to fix its problems, even as those problems were sent.


SOLOMON (on camera): The report also acknowledging that it's time for the Fed to reconsider how it evaluates some banks saying, "We need to evaluate how to ensure that supervision intensifies at the right pace as a firm grows in size or complexity." So, what now?

Well, Derek Tang, the CEO and Co-Founder of Monetary Policy Analytics tells me: "I think I got to be a little bit more holistic as to looking at broadening the scope of what they look at from financial metrics such as cash levels and the composition of their deposits, to more qualitative metrics about the character of the banks."

As for the larger banking system, Barr wrote that SVB was an outlier, and "our banking system is sound and resilient." Victor, Amara.

BLACKWELL: Rahel, thank you. You remember the government stepped in to help Silicon Valley Bank in a big way. Government officials say though there will be no such rescue for First Republic.

WALKER: And the bank stock plummeted about 75 percent this week. That follows a disappointing first quarter earnings report on Monday, which in turn fanned Wall Street's fears of a banking crisis. CNN's White House Reporter Jasmine Wright joining us now. Jasmine, what else you're hearing from the White House?

JASMINE WRIGHT, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER (on camera): Yes, look, Amara, the White House was clear that there will be no coordinated effort by the White House or the federal government to come in and rescue First Republic Bank as its stocks continue to crumble. Instead, though, what we're seeing is the FDIC, that agency in charge of supervising banks step in and hold private discussions, really trying to get some sort of potential sale of a healthy bank for First Republic or another solution.

You're right, though, it is a far cry from the efforts that we saw in March, with federal regulators stepping in to save depositors when Silicon Valley Bank failed or when senior officials led by Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen coordinated that massive 11 major bank rescue of First Republic Bank the first time, $30 million in that case. So, now, the White House says that they will not be stepping in at this moment that there's no new plan for the fact that back then they were trying to stabilize the banking market.

At this moment, they don't see the risk of contagion if First Republic Bank were to fail or were to falter or needed to be saved by another bank. Instead, sources say, that the officials view that the banking system right now is healthy. Interestingly, though, this position from the White House came out the same day where that Federal Reserve, that highly anticipated Federal Reserve, post-mortem review that we just heard Rahel talking about came out where in part it faulted Federal Reserve regulators for not doing enough, not providing enough forceful action.

So, in light of that the White House says that they are continuously monitoring the situation. But as of right now, no coordinated rescue.

BLACKWELL: Jasmine Wright for us there at the White House. Thank you so much. Fees on me mortgages backed by Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae are set to change next month. By the way, next month is just a few days from now, May is creeping up on us. But not everyone is pleased with that move. Under the new structure, homebuyers with lower credit scores would see their fees decreased. And some buyers with stronger credit would pay a higher fee. But that does not mean that people with lower credit scores will pay less overall than those with higher credit scores.


Joining us now is Bob Broeksmit, CEO of the Mortgage Bankers Association. And that's an important place to start, Bob, as we thank you for joining the show, that some people hear this and think, well, the people who did not pay their bills or for some reason have a lower credit score are going to pay less than I will and that's not true.

ROBERT BROEKSMIT, CEO, MORTGAGE BANKERS ASSOCIATION: Good morning, Victor, and thanks for having me on. And that's exactly correct. The thing that I think has gotten some people confused, is that the previous pricing from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will of course, guarantee a lot of the mortgages in this country have some anomalies in it. And in order to correct the anomalies, a few borrowers, as you said, are going to pay a little more who have good credit, and some of the borrowers who have less good credit are going to pay a little less.

I think the thing to focus on though, is the result of the changes. So, now, for a given downpayment, let's say you put 10 percent down, a lower credit score borrower pays more in every case, and a higher credit score borrower pays less in every case, and that's the thing I think it's important to focus on. BLACKWELL: Let's put this into some real numbers here for people just here based on $400,000 home. Let's start with the people with, let's say a 640-credit score. Before the rate was three percent, that would have been $12,000 over the life of the loan with 20 percent down. Now, that's down to 2.25 percent $9,000. So, you see that $3,000 difference, but even after this change, they're paying $9,000 on this $400,000 home.

Now, let's look at someone with a 740-credit rating: 20 percent down, $400,000 home. Before they were paying 0.5 percent at $2,000 over the life. Now, that's up to $3,500 with a rate of point 0.875 percent. So, still a much lower rate overall. Thousands of dollars less. What's the point of this though? The press release explanation is to "facilitate equitable and sustainable access to home ownership." Is that the sole reason or is there more?

BROEKSMIT: Well, frankly, the point of it is to make the pricing fair, there -- under the old grid, which was in effect until recently, there were times when if your credit score went from 680 to 679, a one-point difference that I think most people would say is, is not consequential. You could pay a point in a quarter more than you did if you have a 680, and that just made no sense.

So, in order to smooth out the pricing, and have it be sensible, some of those changes that you mentioned were necessary. But again, if we focus on what the pricing looks like today, it is never the case that if you make a smaller down payment, you'll pay less. And it's never the case that if you have a lower credit score, you will pay less.

So, these steps were necessary to make the pricing logical and facilitate homeownership for everyone who can afford it and to have Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac get the returns that they require no matter what downpayment or credit score combination of borrower has.

BLACKWELL: So, Robert, so the people, who, over the last year, purchased a home, they have a mortgage loan, and part of the plan over the next year or two or three is that once mortgage rates come back down, they plan to refinance. Does this new structure impact their, their strategy financially? Will they pay a higher rate potentially than they would have before this?

BROEKSMIT: Well, I think in terms of refinances, it's always a good idea to do the analysis and see how much you would save per month versus how much the closing costs are and how long it would take you to recoup those closing costs with a refinance. So, those analyses are always at the individual level. I suppose it may be true that for a few borrowers, this price change would make it a little more difficult to refinance. But in the, on the whole, it will not have much effect.

And the other thing I should mention is that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are not the only game in town. The FHA program in many cases may be a better bet for borrowers. So, we're at the Mortgage Bankers Association urge borrowers to talk to their loan officer's comparison price between Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and FHA and other options that are out there and make sure you're getting the best deal.

BLACKWELL: Any impact on home equity loans?

BROEKSMIT: No, there's no, there's no impact on home equity loans, which typically have a floating interest rate and are not generally bought by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. So, no income -- no impact on home equity loans.

BLACKWELL: All right. Bob Broeksmit, thanks so much for clearing up what has been the discussion leading up to this change of people saying, oh, people with lower credit ratings are getting a better deal. We put the numbers out here for you. Some things have changed, but as you say, those who put more down and have better credit or credit ratings will pay less than those who do not. Bob, thanks.


WALKER: Dozens of army pilots are speaking out on what they call gross mismanagement of their contracts. The error that could force some pilots to serve years longer than they expected.


WALKER: All right. Time now to take a look at some of the other top stories this hour: President Joe Biden has issued 31 commutations for Americans serving sentences for non-violent offenses. The White House says, it's part of its Second-Chance Month. The commutations will go to those who have been successfully service sentences in home confinement and have demonstrated a commitment to rehabilitation.

BLACKWELL: One of the surviving roommates in a stabbing attack that left four University of Idaho students dead has agreed to speak to the suspect's attorney. Her lawyers says, she will be available for an interview with suspect Bryan Kohberger's attorney after she initially resisted efforts by his legal team to compel her to testify. Kohberger has been charged with four counts of first-degree murder. If found guilty, he could face the death penalty.


WALKER: The CDC is easing some COVID-19 vaccine requirements for international travelers. They will still have to be vaccinated. Anyone who has received a single dose of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine on or after August 16th, will be allowed to board a plane to the U.S.

The move comes as the national health emergency for COVID is set to expire next month.

WALKER: Well, the chief of staff of the U.S. Army has grounded all Army aviators not involved in critical missions. Now, this move comes after two recent helicopter crashes left 12 soldiers dead.

BLACKWELL: General James McConville says the stand down is important to prevent more accidents, and the order will remain in place until aviators complete required training.

Well, they serve their country and fulfill their obligations to the military, or so they thought. Now, as many as 600 Army pilots are learning they may have to serve more time than they planned.

WALKER: The Army admits an error could mean that they signed up for an additional three years of service.

CNN Pentagon correspondent Oren Liebermann explains.

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT (on camera): This all stems from a misunderstanding about army service obligations and how you count the time that you still have to serve.

The Army found out about this when several service members, army pilots, who had commissioned in about 2015 came to the army and said our service time is effectively up.

But their response was that they still had three more years to serve. So, that's where the confusion sets in. And it stems from something called BRADSO, which stands for the Branch of Choice, Active Duty Service Obligation.

Essentially, if you opt for that, it gives you a leg up on what you want to do in the army. But it comes with a three-year service obligation.

The confusion was how you count that, whether that could be counted concurrently, with the time you have to serve as an army pilot, or whether it was counted after that.

The Army believed and still believes it's counted after that, while this group of Army pilots believed because of a date in their army record, essentially, that it was counted during their time as an army pilot.

Believing they'd be able to get out earlier. So, that's where this confusion come in. The Army effectively did an audit and found that it could affect up to 600 different pilots. A significant number and this has real world effects. Right?

These Army pilots, several of them who spoke with CNN say they had plans on what to do when they believed they were getting out. Including plans which involve 1000s, if not more of dollars. So, this has real world effects.

Senior army officers in army human resources command say they're dealing with this on a case-by-case basis, and looking at the error in the record that led to this.

This has certainly angered some of these Army pilots, dozens of which have written a letter to Congress to get this sorted out. Victor and Amara?

WALKER: All right. Oren, thank you.

New data shows a drug used to treat diabetes could lead to weight loss and it is not Ozempic. What that means? Next.


BLACKWELL (on camera): Jenny Craig is shutting down some of its weight loss centers and warning employees of mass layoffs. That's according to NBC News.

The company told CNN it's planning to transition from a brick-and- mortar business model to an e-commerce driven model.

A Jenny Craig's program provides menus designed to help people lose weight. Bloomberg reported this week the company has roughly $250 million of debt and is considering a bankruptcy filing if it cannot find a buyer for its assets.

WALKER: Well, a new study shows that blood sugar tirzepatide can also help people with diabetes lose weight. That is according to the drug's manufacturer Eli Lilly.

More than 900 adults with obesity and diabetes took the injectable drug for more than a year, and the drug helped control their blood sugar.

But the company says those on the highest dose lost an average of 34 pounds or nearly 60 percent of their weight. The data has not yet been peer reviewed or published in a medical journal.

All right. Dr. Alicia Shelly, lead physician at Wellstar Medical Center in Douglasville, Georgia and an obesity specialist joining me now.

Good morning to you, Dr. Shelly and thank you so much for being here.


WALKER: So, tell me about this drug, as I know, as people are thinking. What does an Ozempic do this? I'm sure it's ringing a bell.

This is a different kind of drug, but it works the same? How does it work?

SHELLY: Exactly. So, it works by decreasing your appetite, allowing you to be more satisfied, and then also, it helps with reducing your gut motility. So, you're not as hungry throughout the day.

WALKER: So, do you see this being a game changer when it comes to at least tackling obesity?

SHELLY: It is definitely a game changer. When we look at the average weight loss for bariatric surgery, it's usually 20 to 30 percent.

But with this medication getting so close to that 20 percent, it gives people options for losing weight.

WALKER: Wow. OK. So, how does this drug, tirzepatide, differ from Ozempic, which is the brand name for Semaglutide? SHELLY: The differences, is that with the tirzepatide, it actually increases what we call the GIP hormone, which is not seen and Wegovy or Semaglutide.

And so, it gives people extra increases -- decreases their appetite a little bit more.

WALKER: I see. And so, do you expect if the FDA does move too? Because this is, tirzepatide, is a drug that's been approved by the FDA to help people with type 2 diabetes control their blood sugar.


But if the FDA moves -- do you expect the FDA to move to approve it's simply for weight loss?

SHELLY: That's my expectation.


SHELLY: Hopefully, within the next year, we should be able to see an approval. They're still doing studies to look at weight management with the tirzepatide versus placebo.

So, hopefully, once those studies come to completion, we should see that being approved.

WALKER: And do you expect that for Ozempic, as well?

SHELLY: Well, I actually with the Wegovy, the Semaglutide.


SHELLY: That probably will not -- it's already approved with the Wegovy, because it is the same medication.

WALKER: Got it.

SHELLY: But it will be interesting to see. They are doing studies to actually compare the two. So, we'll see what happens in the future.

WALKER: Right now, those tirzepatide being used off label for weight loss, at least, for your clinical practice?

SHELLY: We do. I do use it off label. Right now, they do have to have type 2 diabetes. But initially, I was able to use it for patients who were just had obesity, and it was a game changer. They really saw results.


WALKER: You -- I mean, your story is a super interesting and inspiring. So, you have -- you have obesity running through your family. In fact, you were obese.

SHELLY: Yes. WALKER: So, tell me about your story and how you were able to get to this?

SHELLY: Yes. So, I actually struggled with obesity since childhood. In my family, obesity was very common. And so, it was something that I battled with. For a long time.

In 2015, I underwent bariatric surgery, I was at my highest weight of 285 pounds. And with the surgery, I was able to lose 80 pounds of it.

But after several years, I started seeing that weight come back. And that's when I started using this class. Initially, Saxenda, liraglutide, then, Semaglutide.

And I've been able to with the combination of diet and exercise, not only lose what be -- weight, but able to maintain it as well.

WALKER: You know, for those who are hungry, you know, and their -- you know, their light bulbs are going off.


WALKER: Like, wow, this is something that I can use to help control my obesity.

What would your advice be, if they are thinking, well, you know, that be great to just get the injections and hang out at home and not have to exercise? Because you can still lose weight by not exercising.

SHELLY: You can. But the goal is to be able to maintain the weight once you lose it. So, it's so important to implement healthy habits, making sure that not only are you eating properly, healthy, getting good physical activity, making sure you reduce your stress, and drinking water. They all play a role with weight loss.

And even though, let's say, if you were to lose the weight and get down to your weight goal, you want to be able to maintain it, and you maintain it with your healthy habit.

WALKER: Do you maintain it by staying on this drug?

SHELLY: No, not necessarily.

WALKER: No. Do you do get weaned off at some point?

SHELLY: You can't get weaned of at some point.

WALKER: Got it. And lastly, are there people who should not take this drug? And also, for those who may not be obese, but looking to use a few pounds, would they be eligible?

SHELLY: So, definitely, there are some people that have some side effects with this particular medication, such as nausea, diarrhea, constipation.

It's not recommended for patients who have the type one diabetes or who have pancreatitis, or have a family history of medullary thyroid cancer. So, for those people, they -- was not recommended.

As far as whether you should be taking it, if you don't necessarily meet the criteria for overweight or obesity, it's not recommended.

The FDA wants to make sure that you have a Body Mass Index of at least greater than 27.

WALKER: Got it. Lastly, how has you losing all this weight? How has it changed your life?

SHELLY: Oh, it's changed my life phenomenally. I'm able to do things that I've never been able to do before.


SHELLY: I actually just completed the London Marathon.

WALKER: Oh, my goodness. Congratulations. Yes.

SHELLY: An Ironman half is 70.3. So, these were things I couldn't even imagine doing when I was 285 pounds.

WALKER: Ironman half?


WALKER: Well, all right. You are incredible.

Well, it was so great to have you in here at the studio. Dr. Alicia Shelly. Thank you very much.

SHELLY: thank you.

WALKER: Appreciate it.

BLACKWELL: Still ahead, Ya Ya, the giant panda is back in China after 20 years at the Memphis Zoo.


BLACKWELL: Now, this is not just another animal story. We'll talk about the role, the propaganda, and politics played in the decision to bring her back home. That's next.


BLACKWELL: After 20 years in the United States at the Memphis Zoo, Ya Ya, the giant panda is back home in China.

WALKER: CNN's Will Ripley shows us now how the bears return is not so much a homecoming, but a symbol of the deteriorating relationship between the U.S. and China.


WILL RIPLEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): In China, a hero's welcome for Ya Ya, the panda at the end of a 16-hour flight from Memphis to Shanghai.


RIPLEY: Crowds gathered outside the airport, trying to catch just a glimpse of Ya Ya's crate. Her first moments back on Chinese soil.

She'll spend the next month in quarantine at the Shanghai Zoo, where a media feeding frenzy is in full swing.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And many Chinese have been working closely and looking forward to Ya Ya's return.

RIPLEY: This geriatric giant panda is a household name in China for all the wrong reasons. When Ya Ya's panda playmate died of heart disease in February, pictures of Ya Ya with scraggly fur and sagging skin sparked online pandemonium, a Chinese social media frenzy fueled by false claims.

Rampant rumors denied by the zoo of panda abuse and neglect in the U.S. Outrage amplified by anti-American sentiment.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ya Ya, come back home.

RIPLEY: Bring Ya Ya home, became a rallying cry for millions of Chinese. The pandas picture plastered on billboards from Beijing to the Big Apple.

It's true, Ya Ya was young and fluffy when she arrived at the Memphis Zoo 20 years ago.


On a long-term multimillion-dollar lease from China. U.S. and Chinese scientists say she has a genetic condition affecting her skin and fur. A condition that worsens with old age. No impact on her quality of life, just her looks.

They even issued a joint statement, saying, the fact is Ya Ya had excellent care.

But facts don't always matter in a world full of fake news.

Anti American panda propaganda is filling the feeds of Chinese social media users. No mention of the healthy pandas at two other American zoos, but plenty of pictures of an active and playful panda in Russia.

A panda, Chinese state media praises for improving bilateral ties. Ya Ya saga will end where it began, the Beijing Zoo, where she'll live out her final years.

She just might be the world's most politicized Panda, a beloved bear that brought the U.S. and China closer, now, being used to divide.


RIPLEY: China has been using pandas as a political tool for decades. They are national treasures and China's very selective about which countries get these million-dollar a year panda loans. The U.S. has not won in two decades. Ya Ya was the last one.

But they also heavily censored social media and allowed this online backlash to grow to the point that people were calling for all pandas to be pulled out of the U.S. and panda diplomacy to end all together.

And only on Wednesday, did the Foreign Ministry of China say that, in fact, the pandas at the Memphis Zoo were well taken care of and actually loved by the American people.

Half-hearted attempt perhaps to dial back some of this controversy. Victor and Amara.

BLACKWELL: Yes. Will Ripley with that story for us. Thank you, Will.

WALKER: For many people, healthy eating can be a challenge. In today's "STAYING WELL", we sit in on a healthy cooking class co taught by a chef and the nutritionist who has been nagging that chef to finish his veggies since he was born.


ANDREW SCHMIDT, CHEF, CLASSIC COOKING ACADEMY: A cooking class is a great way to learn how to cook healthier.

We co-host and we co teach a six-week nutritional series.

Doing this class, working with my mom, I didn't realize how I took it for granted these concepts, and then, how much people value them.

KARLA SCHMIDT, NUTRITIONIST AND CHEF, ANDREW'S MOM: Work the outside aisle of the supermarket, that's where you're going to have your lean proteins, fish, fruits, vegetables. That's really where we'd love for people to shop.

I had spent years helping people understand how to eat healthfully. But the biggest missing link was once I had in the kitchen, I don't know what to do.

A. SCHMIDT: I think the pandemic was a bit of a wake-up call for people to realize, hey, I don't have a lot of skills in the kitchen.

K. SCHMIDT: When individuals consume a large portion of processed foods, they lose a natural understanding of what food should taste like, when they start removing those and they come back and say, oh, I had no idea how good food could taste.

A. SCHMIDT: Although, I might on occasion, throw an extra pad of butter into something and, you know, don't tell him, everybody, keep that one on the on the deal.


ANNOUNCER: "STAYING WELL", is brought to you by Rinvoq.



BLACKWELL: The coronation of a new British monarch has been televised only once before. That's when Queen Elizabeth II was crowned 70 years ago.

Well now, one week until the coronation of King Charles III, some are asking what this moment and this man mean in a modern world?

WALKER: This week on "THE WHOLE STORY", CNN's Erica Hill, travels to London in search of those answers, meeting with leading British scholars, journalists, and some of those closest to Queen Elizabeth and King Charles himself. Here's a preview.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The King is acutely aware like his late mother was that they're only there for as long as the public wants them to be there.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In Britain, among 18 to 24-year-old, specifically, were now, more than 50 percent would support abolishing the monarchy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The way I understand it, there's no real rule about how the U.K. would go about abolishing the monarchy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have no constitution. This is one of our questions and like so many of the countries that have their monarchy, head of state, they are -- have constitutions.

So, their political world has to be there to abolish the monarchy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The monarchy does depend on taxpayers' money. It receives 80 to 90 million pounds of taxpayers money every year. Every year that goes through the parliamentary process.

ERICA HILL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Last year, the Royal Family cost each U.K. taxpayer roughly $1.60. And while that number is admittedly low, amid rising inflation, it's the optics that really add up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The current generation are about to go through a cost-of-living crisis. It's his problem right now, in the future, it might actually be William's problem.


BLACKWELL (voice over): Watch "THE REIGN BEGINS: CHARLES AND CAMILLA". One whole story, one whole hour, tomorrow at 8:00 p.m. Eastern.

WALKER: And, of course, the coronation of King Charles III will also be televised with all of its pomp and pageantry right here on CNN next weekend.

And the next hour of CNN this morning starts now.


BLACKWELL: Good morning to you. It's Saturday, April 29th. I'm Victor Blackwell. Welcome to CNN THIS MORNING.