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U.S. Surgeon General: Loneliness Is An Epidemic In America; JPMorgan Taking Over First Republic Renews "Too Big Too Fail" Bank Debate; Red Carpet Highlights From 2023 Met Gala. Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired May 02, 2023 - 07:30   ET





DR. VIVEK MURTHY, U.S. SURGEON GENERAL: It took me a while to realize I was actually struggling with loneliness. And loneliness I think of as a great masquerader. It can look like different things and some people -- they become withdrawn; others become irritable and angry.

I am going to be releasing this week a surgeon general's advisory on loneliness and isolation because I want to call the country's attention to this issue. And for people out there who are struggling, I want them to know that you are not alone.


POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Wow, this is really powerful. That was the U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy releasing that advisory that he mentioned, addressing what he is calling an epidemic of loneliness and isolation that is hitting this entire country.

His advisory lays out six pillars to address this problem. Strengthen social infrastructure. Establish pro-connection public policies. Address social connection through public health systems. Reform digital environments and deepen knowledge to address gaps in the data. And build a culture of connection.

This is after he wrote a really powerful and personal op-ed a few days ago in The New York Times.

So let's discuss this now with New York Times bestselling author and host of "The Mel Robbins Podcast," and a dear friend who we are so proud of all you have built and done, Mel, since you were our buddy here at CNN, Mel Robbins. Thank you, thank you, thank you for being here.

MEL ROBBINS, NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING AUTHOR, "THE 5 SECOND RULE," HOST, "THE MEL ROBBINS PODCAST" (via Skype): Oh, well thank you for asking me to come on and not only be with you but also talk about a really important topic that on its face it feels like a snooze fest or that it's going to be a really heavy topic. But this is something that despite the hour, Poppy, I want everyone to wake up, lean in, and pay attention to what we're about to say.

HARLOW: Are we in a crisis, Mel -- a loneliness crisis?

ROBBINS: We are absolutely in a loneliness crisis when you see the data that one out of every two Americans is struggling with loneliness. And I want to break down what this means, Poppy, because you may not realize that you're dealing with loneliness.

Like the surgeon general, I certainly didn't. Right in the middle of the pandemic, I started to wonder am I depressed? Is this anxiety? Am I spiraling in a mental health crisis? And I realized I'm just profoundly lonely.

And so I want to break this down for everybody so you understand what it actually means and what to do about it. Because the policies and the recommendations are fantastic but for you listening, this is something that you have to take seriously, Poppy, because it impacts every aspect of your physical and mental health.


And so let's talk about the three types of loneliness that we all face, Poppy.

The first one is emotional. And this means you feel as though you lack relationships and social connection because loneliness, Poppy, is really about the fact that you need connection, you need attachment, and you need a sense of belonging. And for so many of us that either moved during the pandemic, or changed jobs, or we are working remote, we are missing relationships in our life. And so that's one way you can be lonely.

The second way you can be lonely, everybody is social. That you just don't feel like you belong to any group at all. And now that attendance in religious organizations is down and people are working remote again -- a huge driver of this -- you just don't feel like you belong anywhere.

And then finally, the big one, existential. That's a form of loneliness where you no longer feel connected to your own values. That your life is sort of off track.

And so I think the big question, Poppy, is what do you do when you realize wow, I'm actually lonely?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: I think another question is did COVID highlight this or did it -- did it make it worse? Did it amplify it?

ROBBINS: Both. I think it amplified it but it also put a big highlighter on the fact that we really miss our friends. We miss being connected to people. We miss the rhythms. As much as we talk about the fact that hybrid work is fantastic and it allows you to be able to be more connected with your family if you're living with your family -- but I think for a lot of us what it highlighted is just that I really need this sense of connection. And there's a second problem that happened during COVID, too, which is

we -- by being in lockdown, our nervous system flipped into a fight or flight mode and we actually for a while there were scared of other people. How many of you feel as though you've become more introverted? How much harder is it for you to push yourself out of your house? Your default has become to kind of be more shut in instead of being more connected to other people.

HARLOW: I had that conversation with three different people this weekend. Kaitlan and I were at the White House Correspondents' Dinner and there were literally 2,600 people around us and I felt a little bit -- I don't know. I was like am I an introvert? Like, this is not me but maybe this is me now. And I had this conversation with three people who were feeling the same way.

Is it -- is the solution of loneliness just surrounding us -- ourselves with more people or the kind -- no, right. It's about who we surround ourselves with. You're shaking your head.

ROBBINS: Poppy, you just nailed it. You can be in a room full of people and feel deeply lonely.


ROBBINS: I mean, we've all had that experience, right, whether it was in middle school or college where you walk in the first week of school and you walk into a cafeteria and you feel like you're not really connected to anybody. You don't belong.

It's about the quality of the connection. You can feel lonely in your marriage. You can feel lonely at work.

And so I think the really important thing is to think about number one, what are you actually doing to create connection with people?

And one thing that everybody can do today is make it a habit to text somebody every single day. Just reach out. I was just thinking about you. I miss you. I'd love to see you. That is enough to get the ball rolling.

The second thing that you can do is figure out what's something that you did before the pandemic that created meaning for you, whether it was volunteering or a hobby, and simply volunteering or taking a class.

Up here, there's a ton of people that moved, Poppy, during the pandemic. I happen to be one of them. I realize I don't know anybody here. We started a walking group using a local Facebook page.

And so this is something that I want everybody to take seriously. I think most of us are struggling with a sense of loneliness. We don't see our friends as much. We're not at work with everybody. And it's something I want you to start to change. You've got to take personal responsibility. The government can make recommendations but ultimately, this is something that you need to do. And this also means check in on your family members. Just because

somebody's busy or surrounded by people, as you just said, Poppy, doesn't mean they actually feel connected to anybody.



ROBBINS: This is an important issue.

COLLINS: Yes. It's good to even just start the conversation.

Mel Robbins, thank you so much.

ROBBINS: You're welcome. You're welcome. And Poppy, I'm going to be texting you later so we can stay connected.

HARLOW: Well, I call Kaitlan every day. Because she loves the phone so much I just call her every afternoon.

COLLINS: Yes. We're not lonely over here -- don't worry.

HARLOW: Thank you, Mel.

COLLINS: Thanks, Mel.


COLLINS: JP -- go ahead.

HARLOW: No, it says Kaitlan.

COLLINS: Your interview. You know him better than me.

HARLOW: JPMorgan CEO Dimon -- Jamie Dimon says this is part of the -- this part of the crisis is over now that his bank bought First Republic, but some are saying Chase just got too big. We'll discuss.

COLLINS: Plus, backpacks now being banned at public schools in Flint, Michigan. What's behind the move and what are students supposed to do now? We'll tell you that next.



COLLINS: This morning, officials say they believe they have found two missing teenage girls, unfortunately, among the seven bodies that were discovered at a property in Oklahoma. Authorities have been searching for 14-year-old Ivy Webster and 16-year-old Brittany Brewer. They believe they found the girls among the bodies, along with the body of Jesse McFadden, who is a registered sex offender, at his residence. He was scheduled to appear in court yesterday morning but he didn't show up.

Officials are still trying to identify the remains. Now, they are not -- they say they are not looking for a suspect, though, and there is no threat to the community.

HARLOW: Well, this morning, backpacks are being banned at public schools in Flint, Michigan. The Flint Board of Education voting to enforce the policy through the rest of the school year over concerns about firearms, weapons, and other threats. They believe backpacks make it easier for students to hide weapons, and clear backpacks don't completely fix the issue, they say.


The school district superintendent says they are very sorry for any inconvenience but, quote, "When it comes to the safety of our school community we won't take any chances."

COLLINS: Also this morning, Jenny Craig now warning all of its employees to start looking for other jobs because mass layoffs may be on the way for the company.

NBC News reporting this morning that the fitness and weight loss company is winding down its weight loss center -- a drastic transition that comes as demand is skyrocketing for new prescription diabetes drugs like Ozempic, which we know some people are now using to lose weight -- though the company did not say if the move had anything to do with this new trend.

We should note Jenny Craig does have 500 weight loss centers in the U.S. and in Canada. It hasn't said exactly how many locations are set to close. But in a statement, the company did tell CNN, "Like many other companies, we are currently transitioning from a brick-and- mortar retail business to a customer-friendly, e-commerce driven model. We'll have more details to share in the coming weeks as our plans are solidified."

One of the company's competitors, which is WW, which is formerly known as Weight Watchers, is also scrambling to adjust to changes that we are seeing happening across the industry. It recently bought a telehealth company where doctors can provide patients with prescriptions, like diabetes drugs, that as we noted have been used to lose weight.

HARLOW: It's really fascinating the transition we're seeing there.

Also, JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon says the banking crisis should be pretty much -- his words -- resolved now that his bank has purchased First Republic -- most of their assets. He made that comment yesterday during a call with analysts and journalists after his bank won the bidding to buy First Republic. It means JPMorgan Chase, America's biggest bank, is now even bigger.

Senator Elizabeth Warren is not happy about that. She tweeted, "The failure of First Republic Bank shows how deregulation has made the too-big-to-fail problem even worse. A poorly supervised bank was snapped up by an even bigger bank. Ultimately, taxpayers will be on the hook. Congress needs to make major reforms to fix a broken banking system.

But listen to this. This is how Dimon defended this purchase.


JAMIE DIMON, CEO, JPMORGAN CHASE: We need large, successful banks in the largest and most prosperous economy in the world.

We have the capability to help our clients who happen to be cities, schools, states, hospitals, and governments. We bank countries. We bank the IMF. We bank the World Bank.

You need large, successful banks, and anyone who thinks that it would be good for the United States of America not to have that should call me directly.


HARLOW: So they could talk. It actually would be a fascinating joint interview, as we bring in our chief business correspondent Christine Romans, anchor of "EARLY START," to have Jamie Dimon and Elizabeth Warren talk about these things --


HARLOW: -- because there is a lot there.

What do you make of that?

ROMANS: Well look, he and that bank were able to come in and solve what could have been a chaotic problem in the American banking system because they are big and prosperous, and so that's the double-edged sword here. The big banks get bigger. JPMorgan Chase is a megabank and it is much bigger -- twice as big as it was after 2009.

And so there's this concern that you've got fewer banks today than you had 20 years ago. I think half as many FDIC-guaranteed institutions today as a decade ago. And the big -- the big remaining ones are a lot bigger. And so that's spun up a little bit of controversy from progressives, in particular, but also maybe some discomfort maybe in the White House.

This is what The Wall Street Journal, as you pointed out earlier, said. "JPMorgan's Jamie Dimon rides to Biden's rescue" -- and this is an editorial in the -- in the paper today. "Jamie Dimon must be smiling at the pollical irony. The Biden administration, which claims to hate big banks," according to the Journal editorial board, "signed off Monday on a deal to let Mr. Dimon's giant JPMorgan Chase get bigger and even more profitable."

So, in a way, a big profitable bank was able to help stem the bleeding in the American financial system because it is so big but then gets bigger in the process.

COLLINS: Well, and they do stand to profit from this.

ROMANS: Sure. COLLINS: And I think it's also how regulators view them. They see them as like the adults in the room, essentially.

And The New York Times writes today -- you know, they say whether some banks have become too big to fail partly because regulators have allowed or even encouraged them to acquire these smaller financial institutions.

Just a matter of not just what the practice happens when push comes to shove but also how progressives on Capitol Hill -- people like Ro Khanna view this.

ROMANS: And also, it shines a light back on the regulators, too, right? Because these banks -- a bank above $50 billion, right, is supposed to have what we call a living will after the 2009 financial crisis.


ROMANS: They have to have a wind-down resolution plan.

Well, First Republic had one of those at the end of last year that says yeah, we look at our business model and there won't be -- if something were to happen there would not be any kind of chaotic -- we would be able to dismantle this bank with no problem, which obviously --

COLLINS: They said that?

ROMANS: Yes, which obviously wasn't true.

So, like some of these banks -- they have these living wills but we still had three major banks go down. And look at the size of those banks. If you look at bank failures this year -- those three big bank failures -- $549 billion in total assets. All 25 of the biggest bank failures in 2008 was less than that.

So this was already --


ROMANS: -- more valuable in terms of assets in the bank failures this year than in 2008.



Come back soon. I have many more questions but we're out of time.


ROMANS: We'll talk in the break.

HARLOW: Thank you, Christine Romans. COLLINS: All right. The first Monday in May is one of fashion's biggest nights and also a big night for cat lovers everywhere, apparently. We're going to show you who made the biggest red carpet statements, who made a pregnancy announcement, and who was very late.

HARLOW: Plus, what late-night hosts are saying about the writers' strike that went into effect overnight.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If there is a strike do you go dark?

JIMMY FALLON, HOST, NBC "THE TONIGHT SHOW STARRING JIMMY FALLON": If there is a strike, yes, I think we will, yes.



HARLOW: A star-studded red carpet at fashion's biggest night, the Met Gala, right here in New York. A-list celebrities Rhianna, Kim Kardashian, and JLo hit the red carpet, just to name a few. The theme of the night, "Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty."

And even though the most anticipated guest, the designer's famous cat, Choupette -- how'd I do? Right pronunciation?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, you got it.

HARLOW: All right, good -- was a no-show.

The beloved pet was still very much represented. Take a look. This is Jared Leto dressed as Choupette. Even Jimmy Fallon got a kick out of it.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you see Jared Leto as Choupette the cat?

FALLON: I'm going to go take Zyrtec right now. I'm allergic to cats.


HARLOW: Joining us now fresh off his red carpet coverage, senior editor of culture and events at Variety, Marc Malkin. Hi.


HARLOW: What's this with the cat?

COLLINS: People didn't even know who Jared Leto was, right, when he got there. MALKIN: No. We -- I was just screaming "There's a cat! There's a cat!" I was asking Lizzo -- I'm like, "Did you meet the cat?" She's like, "I think I'm on drugs."

HARLOW: I was just asking Lizzo casually.

MALKIN: Right.

COLLINS: Yes, humble.

MALKIN: Choupette was Karl Lagerfeld's cat and Choupette was treated like his child. Choupette is still alive. We were all expecting Choupette but we got Jared Leto as Choupette. We got (INAUDIBLE) dressed as a cat. He meowed at me. Doja Cat was dressed as a cat. That's in theme.

So Choupette was literally -- I was -- I asked Salma Hayek, "Did Choupette ever scratch you?" I'm like this is where I'm going.

COLLINS: Well, I mean, Poppy said you are fresh off your red carpet coverage. You, like, truly are because you were there very late because typically, the arrivals happen pretty early. One person, though, was very late.

MALKIN: Yes. So I would have been back in my hotel by 8:30 but Rhianna did what Rhianna does -- she showed up about 10:30. By the way, guests were already leaving the gala when she showed up. They were bringing -- they gave donuts out to the guests when they were leaving. They brought the donuts out. Rhianna shows up. And literally, we waited and we -- we waited -- it's Rhianna. We're going to wait.

COLLINS: You waited.

HARLOW: That looks great.

COLLINS: There were a lot of cool moments, though, last night.

HARLOW: There were a lot of -- there was one icky moment involving a cockroach.

COLLINS: Yes, there was a cockroach.

MALKIN: Yes. So we were waiting for Rhianna. A cockroach came flying through the press area and hit my cameraman in the head. The cockroach disappears. Then cockroaches on the carpet.

HARLOW: Hey, wait. Can we just watch this?


MALKIN: He's hungry.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Go ahead. The door is over here.

MALKIN: Get a photo! Get a photo!


COLLINS: Did you ask the cockroach what they were wearing?

HARLOW: Are you yelling at your cameraman?

MALKIN: I'm yelling at a very famous --

COLLINS: He's yelling at very --

MALKIN: -- a very famous photographer, Kevin Mazur, who has shot everyone from Michael Jackson to The Beatles, to The Rolling Stones -- get a photo of the cockroach.

We were stir-crazy. We were waiting for Rhianna.

HARLOW: Look, it's New York. Of course, it is.

MALKIN: But I have -- right. We were waiting for the rat with the pizza to come on the carpet.

But I have to -- I do have sad news.


MALKIN: The cockroach was smooshed.


MALKIN: Someone killed the cockroach.

COLLINS: Yes. I'm in favor of that.

MALKIN: The literally 15 minutes of fame.

COLLINS: There were some cool moments though and one that stood out to me, Brittney Griner was there. She was there with Cherelle Griner on Saturday night at the White House Correspondents' Dinner.


COLLINS: Obviously, a big moment after President Biden negotiated her release. And then she was there last night as well.

MALKIN: She was there last night. She was wearing Calvin Klein. They sent out that press release earlier in the day. She was one of the early ones who left and everyone said "Where are you going? Aren't you going to party tonight?" She said, "No, I have to go practice."

COLLINS: That's so cool.

HARLOW: What was that?

Serene Williams announcing her second child is on the way.

MALKIN: On the carpet. Listen, this is the way to do it. You announce your pregnancies on the carpet. Beyonce has done that in the past. Blake Lively has done that. So, Serena Williams hit the carpet. People were looking at her going "We think she's pregnant. We think she's pregnant" and then she confirmed it.

HARLOW: Just one -- I mean, Karl Lagerfeld does not come without controversy --


HARLOW: -- in a number of things that he had said over his career that were incredibly offensive. Was that considered at all in this night?

MALKIN: I don't -- I don't think it was. I think it was one of these moments where people were trying to stress we're looking at his fashion. We're looking --


MALKIN: -- at his legacy. You know, this was a man, obviously, who was from a way different time but he definitely said things that were deemed offensive. And I think if he was still alive today saying those things there's no way he would have gotten away with it.

COLLINS: I do think that's important to note -- the time in which he made these comments. It's not an excuse by any means --

MALKIN: Right.

COLLINS: -- but it is -- to note what he said sweatpants are a sign of defeat. He said that models should be thin. People didn't want plus-size models. Comments like that that obviously have not aged well --


COLLINS: -- and just look differently in the way that we talk about this in 2023.

MALKIN: Yes, it's very true. I mean, I think if you look at any designer back in the day they probably said almost the same exact things. Karl Lagerfeld was a larger-than-life character. The tributes to him last night -- I have my nails -- they're black and white.

HARLOW: You do.

MALKIN: Obviously, I don't wear Chanel. I can't afford Chanel. I could do my nails.

But yes, to your point, I think he -- we can't forget what he did. We can't forget --


MALKIN: -- what he said.

HARLOW: Yes. MALKIN: And I think that makes that whole person.


HARLOW: What a night.

MALKIN: It was a night.

HARLOW: It's the ticket. It's the ticket and I'm so glad you were there.

MALKIN: It was -- it was pretty phenomenal. You know, my friend was just texting me. He said, how did last night go? And I cursed a little and I was like, it was amazing.