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CNN This Morning

Netanyahu: War Against Hamas Will Continue With "Full Force"; IDF Offers To Help Evacuate Infants, Patients Today; Diplomatic Cable From U.S. Embassy In Oman: "We Are Losing Badly On The Messaging Battlespace"; President Honors Veterans At Arlington National Cemetery; House Republicans Pursuing 2-Step Plan To Fund Government; Texas Brothers Arrested But Never Charged In Migrant Shooting; Bedouins In Israel Helped By Cooperation Of Jews And Arabs; Weight Loss Medication Wegovy's Heart Benefits Confirmed By Clinical Study; Interview With Obesity Medicine Specialist And Primary Care Physician Dr. Alicia Shelly; Drought May End Thanks To Heavy Rains Along The Gulf Coast. Aired 7-8a ET

Aired November 12, 2023 - 07:00   ET



VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN HOST: Psychology, researchers believe that an early display of holiday spirit might actually bring you more happiness.

AMARA WALKER, CNN HOST: The study also found the use of holiday decorations on your home conveys friendliness and a sense of unity among neighbors. Participants in the study rated residents based only on photographs of their home and front yard. Why do we need studies for this? I think it make sense.

BLACKWELL: I don't know. I put my tree up November 7th.

WALKER: Is that why you've been in such a good mood lately?

BLACKWELL: Yes, that's why.

WALKER: You've been nice to me.

BLACKWELL: I put the tree up, but I didn't put a single -- I put one ornament on it and said I don't feel like doing this tonight. And now they're like 10 on it. So I'll get it done eventually.

WALKER: OK. So by December 25th, you'll have your last ornament?

BLACKWELL: All ready. All done.

WALKER: The next hour of CNN This Morning starts now.

Good morning, everyone. Welcome to CNN This Morning. It is Sunday, November 12. I'm Admiral Walker.

BLACKWELL: I'm Victor Blackwell. Thank you for joining us. Here's what we're watching for you this morning. An evacuation corridor is open near Al-Shifa Hospital as intense fighting continues in that area. And Israeli Prime Minister -- the Israeli Prime Minister vows the war with Hamas will continue full force.

WALKER: House Speaker Mike Johnson unveiled his plan to keep the government open. But will they get enough support to avoid a shutdown in just days from now? The next critical step in the process and why some Republicans are saying they won't support the plan.

BLACKWELL: Two brothers in Texas claim they were duck hunting when they shot two migrants who had just crossed the border. One of those migrants says that's not true. And she's sharing her story with CNN.

WALKER: And we're learning more about the weight loss drug Wegovy following the release of a major study yesterday, the potential benefits and what it means for patients coming up.

BLACKWELL: We begin in Gaza this morning where hospitals are facing a dire situation.

WALKER: The Hamas controlled health ministry in Gaza said three newborn babies have died at Al-Shifa hospital since Friday night when nearby shelling knocked out a generator. The IDF says it's been engaged in heavy fighting with Hamas nearby but denies that the hospital is under siege.

The Palestinian Red Crescent Society says Al-Quds Hospital, the second largest in Gaza, is no longer operational because of fuel shortages. Also, more foreign nationals have been allowed to leave Gaza through the Rafah crossing.

A journalist working for CNN saw several evacuees arrive in Egypt just a short time ago. Officials say more than 6,000 foreign nationals were in Gaza at the start of the month. And since then, as many as 2,000 have since left.

Meanwhile, where Israeli forces continue their ground assault against Hamas targets, the IDF says much of the fighting has been focused on locating and destroying the tunnels that were built beneath Gaza.

BLACKWELL: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has rejected international calls for a ceasefire in Gaza. In a televised speech Netanyahu doubled down and he said that the battle against Hamas will continue with all our force, with all our might.

CNN's Jeremy Diamond joins us now from Israel. This morning, the Israeli military is offered to evacuate infants and other patients from Gaza's largest hospital. Do we know if that has happened or if not when it will happen?

JEREMY DIAMOND, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: We don't know as it relates to the infant specifically, Victor, but what we do know is that Israel has offered a seven hour evacuation window in order to evacuate Palestinians from Northern Gaza, including specifically from Al-Shifa Hospital, which is the hospital in question here.

What we do know is that yesterday, three babies in that neonatal unit died as the hospital ran out of fuel and to power a generator for that specific unit. We are told that the other babies in that unit were moved outside of their incubators to a different part of the hospital in order for them to move to a unit that does have oxygen.

The Israeli military says that it will offer any assistance needed in order to evacuate those babies. And as I said, they have offered this seven hour evacuation window. But it is clear that the situation is growing increasingly dire not only at Al-Shifa hospital where they are running out of medical supplies and fuel to keep their generators running, but also at Al-Quds hospital, the second largest hospital in Gaza, now says that it is no longer operational according to the Palestinian Red Crescent Society, due to a lack of fuel and running out of power.

Medical staff are making every effort to provide care to patients, according to the Palestinian Red Crescent Society. But at this hour, that hospital is no longer fully operational and they are pleading with the international community to find a solution for them to evacuate their patients.

They say that they are surrounded under siege by Israel forces. The Israeli military denies that there is any kind of siege but it does acknowledge that there is very active fighting around several of these hospitals in Gaza.


As you know, the Israeli military has previously accused Hamas of operating one of its largest command and control centers below Al- Shifa Hospital. We have yet to actually confirm the authenticity of that claim but we are seeing heavy fighting between Israeli forces and Hamas militants around Al-Shifa Hospital in particular.

Hundreds of thousands of people we know in recent days have taken advantage of that evacuation corridor provided by the Israeli military in recent days to head to southern Gaza. But we know that hundreds of thousands of people still remain in northern Gaza as well.

And international organizations and aid groups are warning that people who remain in northern Gaza are running out of essential services and having trouble accessing basic needs, such as safe drinking water. Victor, Amara?

WALKER: Jeremy Diamond, thank you very much.

And coming up on State of the Union, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu joins Dana Bash for his first CNN interview since the Hamas attacks. And then as the U.S. says far too many Gazans have been killed, Dana talks to National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan live this morning at 9:00.

BLACKWELL: Joining me now is CNN Global Affairs Analyst Kimberly Dozier. Kimberly, good morning to you. I want to pick up on that point, we now heard from Blinken, who says that far too many civilians have been killed. You say that it's clear that Netanyahu is not following the U.S. model in Afghanistan and Iraq. At least what the U.S. attempted to do, separating the civilians from the terrorists, insurgents, we call them back then. And people remember that term during the Iraq War. Is it clear why this is happening?

KIMBERLY DOZIER, CNN GLOBAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: Well, by watching what they're doing in Gaza, it is different even than what they do in the West Bank. They've only used an airstrike so far, once in the West Bank over the past several months to take out a facility underneath the mosque.

Now, you could say it's because Hamas is so entrenched within the population in Gaza, that they've had to obviously undertake this kind of operation of this so sweeping, but it feels like they have done this faster with more firepower and heedless of the time it takes to evacuate a civilian population.

Now, of course, the Israelis share with reporters the number of times that they have texted and called residents throughout the Gaza Strip because they can figure out who's in a specific location and find their phone number and call them directly and ask them to leave. But that hasn't gotten enough things out of the way.

And what the Prime Minister has said and some members of his Cabinet have said is, therefore, we simply need to press ahead because Hamas is using these people as human shields. And we have military objectives to carry out.

BLACKWELL: The Hamas run Palestinian health ministry says more than 11,000 people have been killed in Gaza. Let's turn now to these cables that have been coming from U.S. diplomats in the Arab world to the State Department saying that -- this from Oman, the embassy there -- we are losing badly on the message battlespace. Wide range of trusted sober-minded contacts say that losing -- this is losing us Arab publics for a generation.

Beyond the protests which we're seeing really beyond the Arab world, we saw a huge one, 300,000 in London yesterday, what is the diplomatic cost do you believe of that losing the Arab public for the U.S.?

DOZIER: You have split screen of reactions from the Israeli public and the Arab public. What the Arab world is seeing on their television screens every day and most of us are seeing is the might of Israel's firepower slamming into civilian areas.

Yes, the reason is given that fighters are within these areas and they're there on purpose. From the Arab world's point of view, that doesn't matter. And it doesn't help when one Israeli Minister called this a -- the Palestinian Gaza 2023 Nakba. Nakba is a word referring to when Palestinians were forced out of areas that Israel seized back in 1967. In other words, that they're trying to flush all of the Palestinians out of Gaza permanently.

And another minister said that, yes, he would recommend using a nuclear weapon against Gaza. Now, he was disciplined, though, he's still in government, but narrow perspective, that's what they're seizing on seeing, believing. And the U.S. by aligning themselves strongly with Israel will suffer the fallout in the near term.


And in terms of safety of U.S. diplomats and then U.S. strategy and reputation overall, it's really going to take a beating whatever happened on the ground.

BLACKWELL: President Biden and Secretary Blinken have warned Netanyahu against reoccupying Gaza. During this speech that we mentioned yesterday from the Prime Minister, he was asked about -- or after the speech -- he was asked about the Palestinian Authority and -- which has some control over the West Bank. What about their taking political control in Gaza?

And here's what he said. He said, "Israel will be in full security control of Gaza with IDF's ability to enter whenever we want to kill terrorists who could reappear." Then he went on to say, "There will not be a civilian authority there that educates its children to hate Israel, kill Israelis, eliminate the State of Israel".

What does that mean practically? I mean, what -- does that suggest reoccupying? And what would that force that meets these or this political infrastructure that meets these criteria? What would that be?

DOZIER: It sounds like he's describing something that exists in parts of the West Bank. There's a section A and a section B where the Palestinian Authority has control over civilian issues like water, municipal issues, water electricity, local elections, which haven't been held for a very long time. But Israel reserves the right to go in militarily to go after suspects, to handle the security of the areas.

It sounds like that's what he's describing will take place in Gaza, because his own ministers in his very extreme government have said they don't want an international force keeping the peace inside Gaza, which some U.S. officials have accepted or have suggested. And he's facing a lot of pressure to maintain his government so -- and to maintain security after Israelis have gone through what for them is a waking living nightmare. While all of us are seeing this -- the videos daily of destruction in Gaza, they are reliving the terror of that October 7th Shabbat.

BLACKWELL: Yes. Kim Dozier, thank you.

WALKER: Coming up, newly-minted Speaker of the House, Mike Johnson, is pitching his plan to keep the government from running out of money. The attacks he's facing though from his fellow Republican Party members.

BLACKWELL: Plus, CNN talks to a mother after she was allegedly shot at while crossing the U.S. southern border. The suspected gunman claimed they were hunting wild animals.

WALKER: Plus, the drug that doctors are celebrating because it's doing more according to a landmark trial than just helping patients lose weight. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)


WALKER: This weekend, people gathered nationwide to honor veterans.

BLACKWELL: President Joe Biden spent Veterans Day at Arlington National Cemetery. He thanked veterans and their families for their service.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're the only nation built on the idea that we're all, all created equal, endowed by our creator with certain inalienable rights. We haven't always lived up to it but because of our veterans, because of you, we've never walked away from it. For throughout the annals of history, whenever and wherever the force of darkness is sought to extinguish the light of liberty, American veterans have been holding the ladder high as it can for all of us.


BLACKWELL: The President also honored his late son Beau, who was exposed to toxic burn pits while serving in Iraq and later developed cancer.

WALKER: This morning, the U.S.-European command is not revealing many details about a U.S. military aircraft crash. The aircraft was carrying out a training exercise on Friday when it plunged into the Mediterranean Sea. Officials said the crash wasn't related to the ongoing fighting in the Middle East but they haven't revealed a cause or if anyone was hurt.

BLACKWELL: Pope Francis removed the leader of the Diocese of Tyler, Texas. The Vatican says conservative Bishop Joseph E. Strickland accused the pope of undermining the Catholic faith. According to the National Catholic Reporter, Strickland challenged the Pope's leadership over social media and even dared Francis to fire him during an interview in 2020. Strickland was reportedly asked to resign on Thursday but declined.

Friday, we're coming up on another deadline to avoid another government shutdown. But newly elected Speaker Mike Johnson announced a two-step plan to fund the government. Bill number one would extend funding through January 19 for specific programs. Second bill would extend funding through February 2, including money for the rest of the government.

WALKER: OK, but not everyone is on board. It doesn't include deep spending cuts pushed by some Republicans. And White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre called it a recipe for more shutdowns. It also doesn't include funding for Israel and Ukraine.

We're joined now by CNN's Kevin Liptak. Hi there, Kevin, tell us more about this bill because it is facing obviously opposition from the White House, for the Senate, but also from within the Republican Conference.

KEVIN LIPTAK, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Yes, that's right. And the new House Speaker Mike Johnson pitched this to Republicans yesterday and it is somewhat convoluted. So it would fund some agencies until late January. And then another set of agencies a few weeks later to early February and Johnson's objective in putting this forward was to ease concerns among some conservatives who have railed against these massive government funding bills that fund the entire government.

But the fate of this bill is very unclear. Already, you hear some hard right Republicans who say they oppose it because it doesn't include the state deep cuts that they have been pushing for.


And on the other side, you have Democrats and even some Senate Republicans who say this two-tiered system is just untenable. And as you mentioned, it also doesn't include that funding for Israel and Ukraine that President Biden has been pushing for.

And so yesterday, the White House did pan this idea. In a statement, the Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, saying that "This proposal is just a recipe for more Republican chaos and more shutdowns, full stop. With just days left before an extreme Republican shutdown, and after shutting down Congress for three weeks after they ousted their own leader, House Republicans are wasting precious time with an unserious proposal that has been panned by members of both parties".

So certainly the White House not mincing its words there. What is unclear is whether any Democrats can get behind this bill. Because while it is unorthodox in its structure, it does not include spending cuts or any major conservative priorities. And the bottom line is that Mike Johnson will need some Democrats if he doesn't get enough Republican support for this bill.

Because the clock is ticking the government would shut down on Saturday morning if nothing is passed. This bill could come up for a vote as early as Tuesday.

WALKER: All right. Kevin Liptak, we all sound like a broken recorder, don't we? Thank you so much.

BLACKWELL: Coming up, two Texas brothers allegedly shot at a group of migrants injuring one and killing another more than a year ago. Well, now the injured migrant is talking about her ordeal. What she told CNN, next.



WALKER: A migrant mother of three is breaking her silence after she was allegedly shot last year by two Texas brothers, who claimed they were out hunting for wildlife. Another man died in the incident that some lawmakers are describing as a hate crime. BLACKWELL: The brothers Mark and Michael Sheppard were arrested but so far no charges had been filed and key details in the case like what time of day the shooting happened seemed to be in dispute. CNN's Rosa Flores has some details.


BRENDA CASIAS CARRILLO, SHOOTING VICTIM (through translator): Aunt, I am dying. They shot me.

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Mark and Michael Sheppard were arrested on manslaughter and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon charges but have not been indicted after allegedly shooting at a group of migrants killing one and wounding another in West Texas over a year ago.

The twin brothers told investigators they were hunting ducks, then change their story to birds, then to Javelinas or wild pigs, according to probable cause documents.

(on-camera): The brothers do admit to firing the shots.


FLORES (on-camera): They admit to firing at animals?

MAYR: Mike was the one who took the shot. He believed that he was shooting at a Javelina.

FLORES (voice-over): Jesus Sepulveda, a Mexican father of two died from a shotgun blast to the head. His family believes he was targeted because of his race. Brenda Casias, a Mexican mother of three was shot in the stomach.

CASIAS CARRILLO (through translator): I looked up at the sky and said, "God just give me strength to go on."

FLORES (voice-over): Casias says she and a group of migrants rushed towards this reservoir desperate for drinking water when the two men drove up in a truck and parked here.

The migrants tried to hide. Casias says she hid here. This is where her account and the Sheppard brothers' story diverge.

Casias (ph) says the brothers knew the migrants were human, screamed expletives in Spanish, come out f-ing asses (ph) and fired twice.

MAYR: We just disagree with her version of the events.

FLORES (voice-over): Defense Attorney Brent Mayr says Michael Sheppard fired the shots from 150 to 200 yards away, that the brothers don't speak Spanish fluently. And that the shooting happened at about 6:45 in the evening.

MAYR: At that time of night, there is no way that, at that distance, you would be able to see and recognize that those were humans. FLORES (voice-over): Mayr's timing doesn't match Casias' account.

(on-camera): What time of day was it?

(voice-over): 5 or 5:30 p.m. She says this photo of her wound taken moments after the shooting shows daylight.

CASIAS CARRILLO (through translator): Oh, God.

FLORES (voice-over): Casias says she recorded these voice messages.

CASIAS CARRILLO (through translator): I don't know what to do.

FLORES (voice-over): And walked for about an hour before calling 911.

CASIAS CARRILLO (through translator): I felt sick. I thought this is where my life ends.

FLORES (voice-over): Investigative reports usually close the gap between dueling accounts and the truth. But the probable cause documents say the shooting occurred at 7:00 p.m. Sepulveda's death records say he died at the scene at 9:39 p.m. And while the FBI and the Texas Rangers are investigating --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It is a hate crime.


FLORES (voice-over): -- and lawmakers have called for a Justice Department investigation, law enforcement agencies would not discuss the case and prosecutors have not filed formal charges against anyone.

(on-camera): Do you think it was racism?

CASIAS CARRILLO (through translator): I don't know why they did it.

FLORES (voice-over): Sepulveda's father says the brothers are racists and points to a 2018 report alleging Michael Sheppard use racial slurs while he was the warden at a migrant detention center. The DHS inspector general investigated and found no wrongdoing clearing him.

(on-camera): Did your clients fire the shots with racism or hatred?

MAYR: Absolutely not. I mean, again, how can you be a -- how can you be racist or have hatred when you're out there thinking that you're just shooting at some wildlife?

FLORES (voice-over): Casias says she's learning to live in constant pain.

CASIAS CARRILLO (Speaking Foreign Language).

FLORES (voice-over): She says that she's asked God why her. She says it's simple. The migrant who was killed, Jesus Sepulveda was her rock during the journey.

CASIAS CARRILLO (through translator): How is he going to defend himself?

FLORES (voice-over): And she's his only voice and chance at justice.


FLORES: I talked to one other migrant victim who says that this shooting happened during the day, which begs the question how did these brothers confused humans for animals. And if they were indeed hunting, did they go out and check what they had hunted?


FLORES: I asked their attorney these questions and he maintains that the brothers did not know that the migrants were humans. And he says that after firing the shots, the brothers didn't go and check on what they had allegedly hunted, and so they didn't report the case to the police.

Rosa Flores, CNN, Houston.


BLACKWELL: Still ahead, in the spirit of unity, Jews and Arabs are working together to provide aid to a community in Israel that feels like they've been forgotten.


BLACKWELL: We want to show you this. Arabs and Jews working hand in hand to help an outlying group in Israel. This is the Bedouin community, a Nomadic-Arabic tribal culture who lived mostly in the Negev desert.


WALKER: In the spirit of unity, Jews and Muslims are now working to bring much needed aid and food supplies to villages in the desert. CNN's Ed Lavandora -- Ed Lavandera joining us now from Tel Aviv. Tell us more about their story, Ed.

ED LAVANDERA, CNN SENIOR CORRESPONDENT: Well, we're going to take you on a journey to a unique place here in Israel that really serves as a reminder that not everyone who was attacked on October 7th was Jewish.


LAVANDERA (voiceover): In a community center 25 miles from the Gaza Strip, a remarkable sight has played out almost every day since the October 7th attack. Arab and Jewish hands together, packing relief and food supplies. Many of these boxes will be delivered to residents of Israel's Bedouin society. The Bedouin are a traditionally nomadic Arabic speaking community. They're Israeli citizens here, and many live in the Negev Desert in Southern Israel.

Shir Nosatzki is the director of an organization called "Have You Seen the Horizon Lately?" which organizes this relief effort. SHIR NOSATZKI, "HAVE YOU SEEN THE HORIZON LATELY?": When Hamas attacked us on October 7th, he didn't only murder Jews, he also murdered Muslims, the Bedouins, Arabs, citizens of Israel.

LAVANDERA (voiceover): Bushro El Vosges is the principal of a Bedouin school. She's here volunteering with her students.

BUSHRO EL VOSGES, BEDOUIN SCHOOL PRINCIPAL: We come here to teach them that living together is a good thing.


EL VOSGES: This is the most important to help. Teach them values of life.

LAVANDERA (voiceover): On the morning of October 7th, Bushro woke up to the sound of rockets striking her village. A moment she calls a black nightmare. Community leaders here say Hamas fighters killed 17 Bedouin civilians, as well as two Bedouins serving in the Israeli military. There are also six Bedouin civilians and one soldier still missing.

LAVANDERA: So, Talal says here in this village, about 40 kilometers east of Gaza, this was where the first rocket landed on October 7th.

LAVANDERA (voiceover): Talal Al Koran showed us the shrapnel from the Hamas rocket as he told us of the moment when four of his family members were killed. About 50 of Talal's family members live in this village surrounding an olive tree grove. As rockets fell from the sky, the family scattered to find protection.

LAVANDERA: Talal says, he was standing here on the phone when the rocket strike hit his family members where that white structure is down there at the bottom of the hill.

LAVANDERA (voiceover): I saw it. I heard a boom, he tells me, and suddenly there was no building, like it was never there. This is what the wreckage of the aftermath looked like. Inside, his four young cousins were killed.

I really missed them, he says. They were really like my brothers. It's difficult to accept, but there is nothing I can do. I must accept it.

Bedouin Israelis mostly live scattered across what are known as unrecognized villages. They're not allowed to build permanent structures, so they don't have bomb shelters like many Israelis. Talal says in many ways he does feel like a part of Israeli society. He works in the health ministry, but when it comes to security, there's a long-standing issue that makes his family feel isolated.

LAVANDERA: He says that because this area and this unrecognized Bedouin village is not protected by the Iron Dome and the sirens, the warning sirens, that it makes them feel abandoned and like they're not part of Israel.

LAVANDERA (voiceover): Which is the goal of delivering these relief supplies to Bedouin families who've been deeply traumatized by the October 7th attack.

NOSATZKI: We're packaging not just rice and pasta, but we're packaging trust and hope.

LAVANDERA: You have Arabs and Jews working together.


LAVANDERA: It must make you smile in this difficult time.

NOSATZKI: It's -- it is. It's the only thing that makes me smile these days. And it's a really rare light in a terrible, terrible darkness.


LAVANDERA (on camera): The Bedouin here in Israel make up a small percentage of the overall population, but a number of them do serve in the Israeli military. And as we pointed out, many of them still missing, taken hostage, and clearly suffered casualties on that October 7th morning.

And many of the people we spoke with say they woke up to that attack the same way many other Israelis did, completely shocked and stunned. And then add on top of that, that inability to have the security and the protection and the feeling of protection that the Iron Dome provides over so much of this country. And it really changes the dynamic for them in the villages that they live in in that desert just east of Gaza. Victor.

BLACKWELL: We certainly understand that. Ed Lavandera, thank you for that story.

Antisemitism is rising sharply in America and around the world. Tonight, on CNN's "The Whole Story with Anderson Cooper," our Dana Bash takes an in depth look at the disturbing trend. Here's a part of her story where she spoke with a special envoy to monitor and combat antisemitism.



DEBORAH LIPSTADT, U.S. SPECIAL ENVOY TO MONITOR AND COMBAT ANTISEMITISM: Jew hatred, antisemitism, is deeply baked into -- not just Western society, but much of the world. It's very hard to eradicate. The antisemitism has been called the longest or the oldest hatred with good reason.

So, this sort of let the lid off for many antisemites for quite a few decades. It hasn't been taken seriously. People have said, well, it's not as serious as racism. It's not as serious as homophobia. It's not as serious as misogyny, et cetera. Or what you'll often find is amongst university administrators, at least Jewish kids, they come from well-heeled families. It's almost falling into the antisemitic trope. Jews are powerful, so why are they complaining? Jews are successful, so why are they complaining? So, it's using the antisemitism against them.

When you encounter an act of prejudice, call it out for what it is. When George Floyd was murdered, it would have been so inappropriate to say, we condemn the racism that was behind this and the homophobia and the antisemitism. But somehow when it comes to antisemitism, it couldn't be called out on its own. It couldn't stand on its own.


LIPSTADT: It dilutes. It -- and it's -- to a certain degree, rationalizes and/or justifies. I want to be -- also be exactly clear. Criticism of Israeli policy is not antisemitism. But when you question the right of Jews to a national identity, when you question the existence of a Jewish state, you've moved beyond the political.


BLACKWELL: An all-new episode of "The Whole Story with Anderson Cooper," one whole story, one whole hour, airs tonight at 9:00 p.m. Eastern and Pacific, only on CNN.

WALKER: All right. Up next, popular weight loss drug Wegovy can cut the risk of heart attack and much more. We're going to talk about it -- that with a doctor and see how her patients are seeing the benefits.



WALKER: Popular diabetes drugs like Wegovy, Ozempic, Mounjaro, they've all become even more in demand as people use them for weight loss.

BLACKWELL: And now a new clinical trial shows how the weight loss drug Wegovy can also reduce the risk of cardiovascular issues. CNN Medical Correspondent Meg Tirrell has more.


MEG TIRRELL, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: We hear a lot about these new medicines, Ozempic and Wegovy, because of the large amounts of weight loss they seem to produce. Now, Ozempic specifically is approved for type II diabetes. Wegovy is approved for obesity. And one of the key questions is, in addition to weight loss, does that actually translate into a benefit for preventing things like heart attacks and strokes and heart related death?

Now, in a landmark clinical trial, we are learning that indeed there is a benefit there. We saw the top line results from this study over the summer. We learned that Wegovy reduces the risk of heart attack, stroke and heart related death by 20 percent compared with placebo. But we didn't know a lot more of the details of that trial. And those are getting reported this weekend at the American Heart Association conference in Philadelphia. Now, the results are essentially supportive of what we already knew, but we are learning more details, mainly that the biggest benefit was seen in preventing heart attack. Also, that no new safety signals about these medicines emerged. Although we did see that more people stopped taking the drug Wegovy versus placebo because of things like gastrointestinal issues, those are really the main side effects associated with these medicines.

Now, that question about weight loss and heart benefit, one of the key questions is, is that benefit because of the weight loss or because of other things that this medicine does? And these results don't answer that question super clearly. In fact, experts told us that perhaps it was some mixture of both.

In the study, we saw weight loss of about 9.4 percent among patients taking Wegovy. And now that's a little bit less than we've seen in other trials of this drug where weight loss was closer to 15 percent. We also saw that the drug had benefits on other things like blood sugar, blood pressure, lowering a marker of inflammation, and also lowering triglycerides.

So, there was this whole constellation of benefits of this medicine, in addition to weight loss, that may then be translating into this heart benefit we're seeing. Now, experts do expect that these results will increase demand for the medicine and may also increase insurance coverage which would be a welcome thing for many patients. This medicine costs $1,300 per month before insurance, and coverage hasn't been great for all patients.

But in terms of supply, if the demand really is increased here, that could be problematic as well because it has been in shortage. But doctors are very excited at this conference about potentially having this new tool to not just help with weight loss, but also to prevent heart attacks, strokes and heart related death.


BLACKWELL: Meg Tirrell, thank you.


WALKER: All right. Here with me now is weight loss -- well, Dr. Alicia Shelly, a primary care physician and obesity medicine specialist. Great to have you here in studio, doctor.


WALKER: OK. So, I'm curious to know, when you saw this landmark trial, what was the reaction by you and, of course, your colleagues? What were you saying to each other?

DR. SHELLY: Oh, we were so excited because this is what we've been looking for. We've been really trying to find out just the health benefits, the cardiovascular benefits of this medication. So, we were just so happy when the results came out. [07:50:00]

WALKER: How significant is 20 percent reduction in people's risk of cardiovascular events?

DR. SHELLY: Extremely significant.


DR. SHELLY: So, we see this when we add on a cholesterol medication called a statin, where it reduces their risk. And so, now this is on the same playing field.

WALKER: So, we heard Meg Tirrell mention that key question about the initial results of the study, whether or not the lowering of the risk of heart attack and stroke, if it's directly tied to the medication itself or if it's tied to the fact that you're losing weight, and hence, of course, you know, you reap the benefits of that.

DR. SHELLY: At this point, we're not quite sure whether that's the case. But for the -- but if you look at for the patient, the common patient, they just want to feel better.


DR. SHELLY: So, it doesn't really matter right at the moment.

WALKER: Are they looking at that though to potentially use this as a standalone drug to treat heart attacks or heart disease?



DR. SHELLY: So, this could be -- I think this is where more research needs to be done because this could actually be seen for somebody who has heart failure and is a normal weight. The question is, could this medication be used to help improve their heart failure or -- and reduce their risk of heart attack?

WALKER: So, you're an obesity specialist. So, like, how does this impact you and your practice and when you see patients?

DR. SHELLY: I already have calls.

WALKER: Yes, that.

DR. SHELLY: People are calling me and saying, listen, I want to get on this medication. But it helps because I see patients who have like chronic heart failure, who've had cardiovascular disease, and there's certain medications on the market where they just can't actually take. And so, this just gives me another option to help them to, first of all, that's going to help their heart. And then secondly, allow them to lose weight and have a better quality of life.

WALKER: There's a lot of drugs that are out there now, right, related to specifically weight loss? And that would be -- so Ozempic and Wegovy.


WALKER: But you also have another class of drugs, Zepbound and Mounjaro.


WALKER: How are they different? Do we know like how they work differently?

DR. SHELLY: Well, they target different hormones in the body. So, Wegovy targets the one gut hormone, whereas the Mounjaro and Zepbound targets two hormones, two gut hormones. So, it just covers a little bit more, but they're in the same class -- similar class.

WALKER: OK. So, when a patient comes to you and says, well, which one should I take? Is it just whichever --


WALKER: -- is available to them?

DR. SHELLY: -- so -- it is.


DR. SHELLY: It's which one insurance covers. Eventually, we're going to -- we're doing studies to look at them head-to-head, which one will be better. But it's just, what can they afford?

WALKER: Lastly, importantly, there are risks involved, however. There are some side effects to this. And so, who are the patients that should not be taking these drugs?

DR. SHELLY: Definitely patients who have a prehistory of, like, GI issues, gastroparesis, they should not be on this medication. If you've had a history of acute pancreatitis, it really -- it's not contraindicated, but it really needs to be monitored closely. And if you have a family history of medullary thyroid carcinoma or MEN2, you should not be on this medication.

WALKER: Wow. So, I would imagine that -- has your prescription writing for Wegovy or --

DR. SHELLY: Oh, it's off the roof.

WALKER: Is it really?

DR. SHELLY: Yes. So, people come in and like, I want this shot. And I'm like, well, let's talk about the pros and cons of all the medications.

WALKER: I mean -- and it's too early to tell now but the overall impact on the health of our society, I mean, it could have profound impacts on that -- DR. SHELLY: Definitely.

WALKER: down the line, right?

DR. SHELLY: Definitely. As the years have gone on, obesity has increased. And so, if we can be able to stop -- well, not even stop, but just reduce obesity, we can be able to reduce somebody's risk of mortality and improve someone's quality of life.

WALKER: Dr. Alicia Shelly, great to see you.

DR. SHELLY: Great to see you.

WALKER: Thanks for coming in.

DR. SHELLY: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: Right now, there is intense fighting in Gaza. Hospitals full of people are caught in the middle here with no water, no fuel, no food. Evacuations are continuing. We'll take you there next.



BLACKWELL: Well, heavy rain is turning the Gulf Coast, the region that's experienced significant drought this fall and to -- a little damper spot.

WALKER: Yes, a little bit. The area could see up to six inches of rain over the next five days with flooding the biggest concern in the area.

Meteorologist Allison Chinchar joining us. We haven't seen you in a while. Good to see you, Allison. So --


WALKER: -- Texas has already reported rainfall totals of over four inches in the last two days. How's it going?

CHINCHAR: Yes, and there's more rain on the way. You've got two separate clusters right now that we're watching. The first is over the Carolinas, that's going to be moving out over the water here pretty soon. But that next cluster of rain just now starting to slide into South Texas. And there is the area where we had numerous reports of three and even four inches of rain just in the last 48 hours.

And it's all thanks to this front. It's stationary, so it's not going to move all that much the next few days. So, that rain is going to eventually spread all along the Gulf Coast. So, just in the next few days, you're looking at widespread rainfall totals of three to five inches. But some of these areas could pick up six, seven, even as much as eight inches of rain just in the next few days.

Now, on one hand, this is actually good news. A lot of this area, especially Louisiana and Mississippi, have been under drought conditions for the last two months. Those two states specifically are looking at over 80 percent of their area under extreme drought conditions.

So, they need the rain. The problem is you just don't want too much in a short period of time, because this is very slow moving, it's got a lot of time to dump a tremendous amount of rain over a lot of these areas. Not just today, but Monday, Tuesday, and even into Wednesday of the upcoming week. And a lot of available moisture here.

The concern though, is when we talk about these amounts of five, six or even eight inches, you also can deal with flooding, and that's going to be a big concern all along the Gulf Coast region.