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Early Start with John Berman and Zoraida Sambolin

Doctors Struggle To Convince Some Pregnant Women To Get COVID Vaccine; UNC Cancels Classes Today For "Wellness Day" After Suicides; WHO Advises Additional Vaccine Dose For Immunocompromised. Aired 5:30- 6a ET

Aired October 12, 2021 - 05:30   ET




LAURA JARRETT, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, everyone, this is EARLY START. I'm Laura Jarrett.

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Christine Romans. It's 30 minutes past the hour this morning -- time for our top stories to keep an eye on today.

Jon Gruden resigning as head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders for using homophobic, racist, and misogynistic language in emails while he worked for ESPN. "The New York Times" revealing emails from Gruden denouncing women being hired as on-field officials, and teams drafting openly gay players.

JARRETT: North Carolina Lt. Gov. Mark Robinson is doubling down on his anti-gay and anti-transgender comments.


LT. GOV. MARK ROBINSON (R), NORTH CAROLINA: There's no reason anybody anywhere in America should be telling any child about transgenderism, homosexuality -- any of that filth.


JARRETT: Asked by a reporter if he would use a different word -- a different word other than filth, he said absolutely not. The remarks have prompted calls for him to resign.

ROMANS: Miami police chief Art Acevedo suspended by the city manager with the ultimate goal of firing him. A memo cites Acevedo's apparent support of a COVID vaccine mandate for police officers and a recent no-confidence vote by the police union.

JARRETT: Microsoft says suspected Iranian hackers have targeted dozens of U.S. and Israeli defense firms since July. Many of the companies make satellite systems, drone technology, and military-grade radar systems. Microsoft says a small number of them were breached and others are now vulnerable to follow-up attacks.

ROMANS: Netflix is standing by comedian Dave Chappelle.


DAVE CHAPPELLE, COMEDIAN: Gender is a fact -- this is a fact. Every human being in this room, every human being on earth had to pass through the legs of a woman to be on earth. That is a fact.


ROMANS: Chappelle's new standup special has drawn strong criticism for ridiculing gay and transgender people. Netflix chief Ted Sarandos told company staff that artistic freedom is different when it comes to standup.

JARRETT: The new Superman is coming out as bisexual in an upcoming issue of the comic series "Superman: Son of Kal-El." Jon Kent, the son of Clark Kent and Lois Lane, will begin a relationship with a male reporter. The comic series follows Kent as he becomes earth's new Superman.

ROMANS: All right, 32 minutes past the hour.

While COVID figures are finally trending in the right direction, one group still has a stubbornly low vaccination rate. Only a third of pregnant women are fully vaccinated. Studies show COVID-19 worsens pregnancy complications. And this new data shows that almost one in five of England's most critically ill COVID-19 patients -- one in five of them are unvaccinated pregnant women.

Let's bring in Dr. Tamika Auguste. She is an OBGYN in the -- and on the board of directors of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Thank you so much for joining us this morning.

Laura and I have been looking at these numbers for some time and they've been stubbornly low -- the vaccination rates of women. And quite honestly, there wasn't clear guidance for women until maybe July, earlier in the summer. Is that why too few pregnant women have the shot? And what's your message for pregnant women right now?


Yes, I think that the reason is there wasn't very clear data in the beginning. But since we've had the studies done and we are learning more, the message has changed. And we know now that pregnant women should be vaccinated against COVID-19 at any stage in pregnancy or when lactating.

JARRETT: What are you hearing in your practice from women? What is the concern? Women get flu shots. Women get all kinds of things. Obviously, pregnancy is terrifying even on a good day, but what are you hearing is the concern?

AUGUSTE: So, women are just concerned, and rightfully so, about the impact of the vaccine on their unborn child and themselves during pregnancy.

So, here's the thing. We now know -- we have hundreds and thousands of women who have -- who were pregnant and received the vaccine at all different stages during pregnancy, so it's now up to us to share that information. We have good outcomes and that is what the messaging needs to be and what we need to share with all of our pregnant women.

ROMANS: Yes. So much of the conversation among pregnant women, though, is the flipside of that. They're worried about getting their nails and the chemicals in the nail polish, and getting their hair dyed and the chemicals in the hair dye, and whatever is in the vaccine. They're not worried about the virus; they're worried about the vaccine.


How do we change that narrative?

AUGUSTE: So, first thing is listen to them. Let's listen to the concerns that they have. Have a conversation with your healthcare provider, with your obstetrical provider. Talk to them about what are your concerns.

Let's review what the studies show. Let's review what we've seen. And through that, hopefully, we'll be able to turn it around.

Also, one of the biggest things is that we know that the vaccine does not reach the unborn child. The vaccine reaches -- the vaccine causes antibodies and those antibodies cross the placenta to the fetus and to the unborn child. So, that's what we need to focus on. By getting the vaccine, pregnant women are protecting their child against COVID-19.

ROMANS: Again, this data out of the U.K. is really scary.

JARRETT: It's really scary.

ROMANS: I mean, one in five of the most critically ill patients -- I mean, these are --


ROMANS: -- really, really ill people -- are pregnant women. I mean, that is a -- that should be a wake-up call, right?

AUGUSTE: It should, and we need to let everyone know what we're seeing. We are definitely seeing that pregnant women who are -- who are getting symptomatic COVID are becoming very, very sick. We are seeing those patients end up in the ICU on advanced life support, and some of them dying. We need to -- we see that. We have to talk about that and we need to let people know that's what we're seeing now.

So, I think it's very important messaging to give the entire picture of what's going on.

JARRETT: Yes, that is the reality of what is going on. Thank you so much for all of your work, Dr. Tamika Auguste, board

member of the American College of Obstetrics -- Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Thank you so much. We appreciate it, Doctor.

ROMANS: Thank you for your time this morning.

AUGUSTE: Thank you.

JARRETT: All right.

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill canceling classes today to observe what it is calling a "Wellness Day." The school is reeling from two students who died by suicide in just the past month.

CNN's Jacqueline Howard has more on this.


JACQUELINE HOWARD, CNN HEALTH REPORTER (on camera): Christine and Laura, the university's chancellor, Kevin Guskiewicz, a neuroscientist, says that there is a mental health crisis both on the school's campus and across the entire United States.

In making his announcement about the university's "Wellness Day," he writes this. Quote, "As chancellor, a professor, and a parent, my heart breaks for all those whose suffering goes unnoticed."

Now, the chancellor made this announcement on Sunday. Here's how students responded.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think it's good that they're recognizing that some -- like, something's going on if there have been two suicides in two days.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Initially, all of us were a bit confused why is our "Wellness Day" on Tuesday as opposed to tomorrow. Why are we waiting?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And I just don't think it's a coincidence that the "Wellness Day" is the same day as "University Day," where the second half of the day was supposed to not have classes anyway.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I have just had so many conversations with people that I'm not even that close with, and it's just come up that like -- they're like yes -- like, I've just -- you know, it was a phase. Like, it was something that I had to go through.

ANNALISE ZOLA, SOPHOMORE STUDENT: I think that they're trying, but it kind of seems like a bare minimum response to me.

HOWARD (on camera): And, you know, several studies have found links between the COVID-19 pandemic and mental health challenges. One report last year from the CDC finds that almost 41 percent of adults report mental health challenges stemming from the pandemic -- Christine and Laura.


JARRETT: It's so important there, Jacqueline. Thank you so much.

If you or anyone you know needs help, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK. That's 1-800-273-8255.

ROMANS: All right, 38 minutes past the hour.

You may think you can't get a good job without a four-year degree, but more employers than ever are saying they just don't care about that college degree. A growing number of apprentice programs now lead to jobs at big-tech companies like Google and Amazon, and Salesforce.

For years, companies have been trying to solve a few problems here -- hiring skilled workers in a very tight labor market, especially in tech, and addressing systemic inequities and unconscious bias when hiring and promoting employees.

One organization, Year Up, provides tuition-free college credit- eligible job training across the country. And the organization said requiring a four-year college degree excludes 70 percent of Black Americans and 80 percent of Latinos. So, there's been this gradual shift toward skills-based hiring.

IBM was one of the first tech companies to create an apprenticeship program back in 2017. Now, up to 20 percent of its jobs no longer require a four-year degree.

JARRETT: Two election workers in Georgia's heavily Democratic Fulton County fired for shredding voter registration forms. The forms were awaiting processing before next month's local elections.

The Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger is demanding the Justice Department investigate what he calls incompetence and malfeasance at the Fulton County Elections Office. You'll remember Raffensperger gained national attention for rejecting former President Trump's request to quote "find enough ballots to overturn President Biden's win in the state.


That is very disturbing for sure.

We'll be right back.


JARRETT: Welcome back.

A significant shift for the World Health Organization now. Its vaccine advisers are recommending an additional dose of COVID vaccine for people who are immunocompromised, and they are careful to characterize it as an extra dose and not a booster shot.

David McKenzie joins us live from Johannesburg with the latest on this. So, David, this is something of a change. Why the shift?

DAVID MCKENZIE, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Laura, it's really semantics, but it is important. In one case, they say no booster shots. But in another case, an advisory panel to the WHO is saying that immunocompromised people should get a third shot for well- known vaccines in the U.S. or a second shot for a Johnson & Johnson. And specifically for the Chinese manufactured vaccines, anyone over 60, they're saying, should get a third shot.


And it's really not about what the booster or the third shot does, it's both to get boosting immunity in people -- it's who it's for. So, they're suggesting for people who might have HIV/AIDS or Type 1 diabetes, or Lupus, immune -- autoimmune diseases as well that kind of limit the body's ability to create a long-term immune response to COVID-19 when they get vaccinations.

But they do say that booster shots, which are just generally more available to the population, are a big no-no. Here's one of the leaders of the WHO.


DR. KATE O'BRIEN, IMMUNIZATION DIRECTOR, WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION: At this time and as the director-general has called for a moratorium on booster doses for the general population because giving those booster doses to individuals who already have had the benefit of a primary response is, as has been explained before, like putting two life jackets on somebody and leaving other people without any life jacket.


MCKENZIE: Well, the U.S. is obviously one of those countries giving booster shots.

Very fascinating -- this as well. A coalition that is working to solve these issues is giving $25 million to research whether less vaccine can be used for those booster shots. They call it fractionization. That is a real word -- I promise. And that is to try and see if less dosage can be used to give an effective booster shot to allow more vaccines to come to places like here in Africa, which is desperately needed vaccines.

JARRETT: Yes, that would be a huge boost for sure, David. Thank you so much for your reporting this morning.

ROMANS: All right.

Police in Georgia arresting a man accused of fatally shooting an officer -- an officer who was working his very first shift. Authorities say Damien Ferguson was taken into custody without incident a day after the shooting of Officer Dylan Harrison.

Fallen Officer Harrison was escorted from the Georgia Bureau of Investigations crime lab in Atlanta to his hometown of Dublin.


KATHY HARRISON, MOTHER OF OFFICER DYLAN HARRISON: I wish you all could have known him. He was the kindest and sweetest soul you would ever meet. Every time an officer would lose his life, he would make sure to suit up and go and be a part of the processional. But today, sadly, it was for him.


JARRETT: A number of police officers have been killed in recent days. In Louisiana, a Master Trooper was sitting in his patrol car completing a crash report when he was ambushed and killed. In Arizona, a Maricopa County deputy who was beaten unconscious over the weekend while transporting a wanted suspect to jail has died.

ROMANS: Another Facebook whistleblower is offering to testify before Congress. Data scientist Sophie Zhang says she felt like she had blood on her hands after working at Facebook. She was fired by Facebook last year.

And after testifying on Capitol Hill, whistleblower Frances Haugen will meet with Facebook's independent oversight board in the coming weeks to discuss her claims about the company prioritizing profit over public good.

JARRETT: All right.

Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson rallies his team to an epic comeback against the Colts on "MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL."

Coy Wire is back here with this morning's Bleacher Report. Hey, Coy.


Lamar Jackson making a huge statement in primetime -- no deficit is too great. He refused to give up and that just rallied everyone around him.

Baltimore digging themselves into a 19-point hole against the Colt late in the third quarter. Jonathan Taylor putting the Colts up big right here. And that woke up the sleeping giant. Jackson, the 2019 league MVP, went on a tear. He threw for a career-high 442 yards -- four touchdowns, including a pair of short T.D. passes to Mark Andrews, his big tight end, in the fourth quarter. Andrews also caught two two-point conversions during the furious comeback to tie the game.

Indianapolis had a chance to win on the final play of regulation, but Rodrigo Blankenship misses a 47-yard field goal attempt. We go to overtime. Jackson ending it on the very first possession, hitting Hollywood Brown from five yards out for the game-winning touchdown. Baltimore wins 31-25 in the biggest comeback of Jackson's career.

The Red Sox trying to close out the Rays last night. Rafael Devers getting Boston on the board with a three-run boom shot to center, part of a five-run third inning. The Rays rallied to tie it. But with two on and one out in the bottom of the ninth, Kike Hernandez flies one to left. The throw home is going to be a little late and a little off target, and Fenway is sent into a frenzy.

Red Sox win it 6-5, sending the 100-win Rays home for the winter and sending the Red Sox players into another clubhouse party that just never gets old.


All right, Santa Ana winds gusting up to 45 miles per hour had a big impact. Dodgers and Giants in L.A. They were so strong that Max Scherzer couldn't even complete his pitch in the first inning. Evan Longoria didn't have a problem with it, though. Fifth inning -- blasts this homer to left-center, giving the Giants a 1-0 lead. Gavin Lux thought he had a chance to tie in in the ninth but watch the wind knock it down.

Giants win 1-0 to take a 2-1 series lead over the defending champs.

All right, it's not October, it's Joctober in Atlanta. Joc Pederson with a string of pearls -- lucky pearls around his neck -- is proving to be the lucky charm the Braves need. Be launches an Adrian Houser pitch deep into the Chop House restaurant in right field. A three-run homer. That's his second home run in three pinch-hit appearances in the series and it's the 11th in his post-season career.

Braves beat the Brewers 3-0 to take a 2-1 series lead.

The Braves and Giants can move to the NLCS with wins today. See both of those on our sister network TBS. The Astros and White Sox were rained out in Chicago yesterday. They'll play game four at 2:00 eastern today, Christine and Laura, with Houston up two games to one.


MLB ANNOUNCER: It popped off, foul ground as Anderson --


WIRE: One more thing from the Braves game you have to see. A pop foul into the stands and the fan in the fourth row. But it's not an ordinary fan -- that's Hall of Famer Chipper Jones. The sure-handed third baseman got a lot of grief from the people around him -- even the Braves in the dugout. Come on, man. You're a Hall of Famer. You should be able to catch that.

We've seen mothers with baby in arms catching balls one-handed. We've seen men holding a beer and catching it in the beer.


WIRE: But Chipper just missed that one. He's not going to live that one down.

JARRETT: That's embarrassing. ROMANS: That's funny.

JARRETT: Thank you, Coy.

ROMANS: Thanks, Coy.

JARRETT: Appreciate it.

OK. Amazon now the latest corporate employer to add a little bit more flexibility to its return-to-office plans. The company will now allow each time to decide for itself which policy works, ranging from full- time in-person work at the office to remaining mostly remote online. But here's the catch. Employees won't be able to just live anywhere. Amazon wants most employees close enough that they can travel to the office for a meeting on a moment's notice.

ROMANS: All right.

Looking at markets around the world on this Tuesday edition of EARLY START, you can see declines in Asia. Those markets are now closed. And Europe has opened lower this morning. Stock index futures at this hour also mixed here -- barely mixed.

There are big concerns about surging oil prices here. That is a big problem -- inflation and a global energy crunch. The Dow, yesterday, fell 250 points. The S&P and the Nasdaq also lower.

U.S. oil prices above $80.00 a barrel for the first time in, what, seven years Monday. Higher prices, of course, equal sticker shock for drivers. The average price of a gallon of gas, $3.27. That's also a seven-year high.

And more trouble for Southwest. The airline's stock fell four percent after it canceled more than 2,000 flights over the weekend.

All right, want to cross everything off your holiday shopping list? You've got to start shopping right now. Shipping containers full of electronics, home goods, toys -- they are stuck at the ports of Los Angeles. Some companies are even chartering their own cargo ships to get goods to their stores faster.

All of this means delays and higher prices for you. Hasbro has warned about disruptions. The price of artificial Christmas trees skyrocketing. Even some Ben & Jerry's flavors becoming hard to find.

Some retailers are saying they aren't going to have promotions or are going to move them a little bit earlier. L.L. Bean is telling shoppers their worker safety is most important and the supply chain is a wreck, so be patient -- even sending people how to navigate holiday shopping. Your choice for a gift might not be available -- your first choice -- so be flexible.

One survey shows one in six Americans have already started Christmas shopping.

Elon Musk is still the richest man on the planet. The Tesla CEO widening that gap as the world's richest person. His net worth now $222 billion. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos sits at number two with $196 billion. This is the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

Musk bragged about the news like this, tweeting a second-place medal to Bezos yesterday. It's not the first time Musk has trolled Bezos. The two billionaires, of course, have been in a space race for years now. Musk often teasing Bezos also about the shape of the Blue Origin rocket. Real, real like junior high -- boy locker-room humor.

The next Blue Origin mission heads to space tomorrow, and 90-year-old actor William Shatner onboard there.

JARRETT: Yes. I can't believe he's 90 years old.

ROMANS: So, these are -- Musk, $52 billion is how much richer he is just this year -- 52 in one year.

JARRETT: His numbers just don't even feel real --


JARRETT: -- at this point.

ROMANS: All right.

One of the most prominent coaches in the NFL out of a job because of racist and homophobic emails. What shoe could drop next?


JARRETT: And the governor of Texas bans vaccine mandates for all employers in the state. What it means for private businesses just trying to keep people safe.

Thanks so much for joining us today. I'm Laura Jarrett.

ROMANS: I'm Christine Romans. "NEW DAY" is next.


BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning to our viewers here in the United States and around the world. It is Tuesday, October 12th. I am Brianna Keilar with John Berman.