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Pentagon Deploys Military Doctors for COVID Help; Newsom Enters Last Stretch of Recall Election; Expanded Jobless Benefits Expire. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired September 06, 2021 - 08:30   ET



CAPT. DR. JOSHUA LOWE, EMERGENCY MEDICINE PHYSICIAN, 81ST MEDICAL GROUP, TASK FORCE BATON ROUGE: What we've seen is a lot of very sick people with COVID and -- as opposed to the first couple waves, these are younger, healthier people. It's not just the old and infirmed.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Younger, healthier people. I know a lot of unvaccinated people, too, 90 percent plus of the people you're seeing in the ICUs and the emergency rooms are unvaccinated.

Dr. Moosa, I don't want to get over excited now, but there are some signs that hospitalizations are starting to go down in Louisiana. What are you seeing in terms of that?

DR. ABDULLA MOOSA, PULMONARY CRITICAL CARE PHYSICIAN, OUR LADY OF THE LAKE HOSPITAL: Yes. We certainly don't want to overstate the fact about hospitalizations going down, but it does look like, over the last few days, at least in our ICUs, that there's a downward trend in terms of the number of people needing ICU care.

We want to be cautious, projecting that there is improvement just because schools are supposed to reopen and that can come with its own set of challenges. So -- but we're cautiously optimistic.

BERMAN: You know, look, you don't want anyone to let their guard down. You want people to go out and get those vaccine doses.

Dr. Moosa, how stretched were you at its worst before you got this extra help from the military?

MOOSA: Yes, you know, we simply just didn't have the manpower to see -- or womanpower to see the number of patients we had in the ICUs. And so we were fortunate that we were able to get some help from the FEMA disaster relief team just before the DOD stepped in as well. And we're incredibly grateful for the help that we have from the DOD.

I want to acknowledge Dr. Zac Eagle (ph), Dr. Rachael Reader (ph), Dr. Ronald Jones (ph), all of whom I've worked with personally, in addition to Dr. Lowe. They've been very humble, very helpful, and -- and we are very grateful for them.

BERMAN: Dr. Lowe, you, you know, again, a military physician here. Talk to me about COVID as an enemy. What kind of an enemy is COVID? LOWE: COVID is an enemy that is ever-changing. And I think that's one

of the things that the DOD is able to bring to the table. We're used to leveraging our previous lessons learned for our ever-changing enemy. And that's what this has been. We've got the delta variant out now. There's a new variant coming out in South Africa and I know that we're watching that very closely.

BERMAN: In terms of being able to help so much on U.S. ground right here, what's that been like for you, Dr. Lowe?

LOWE: It's been thrilling. It's very humbling. You know, I -- I joined the military because I love America,. Ad to be able to help my fellow Americans here at home has been the chance of a lifetime.

BERMAN: Well, Dr. Joshua Lowe, Dr. Abdulla Moosa, as far as I'm concerned, you're both heroes. Thank you so much for the work you're doing. I wish you the best of luck. And I hope -- I hope that some of these trends we're starting to see in Louisiana continue.

LOWE: Thank you.

MOOSA: Thank you.

BERMAN: Up next, just one week away from the final day of voting in the California recall election. Governor Gavin Newsom fighting to keep his job, but will support from Democratic heavy hitters save him?



BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: California Governor Gavin Newsom enlisting some Democratic heavy hitters for the last stretch of the California recall election. Democrats are stressing the national implications that this recall election could have if a Trump-supporting Republican like Larry Elder, who is currently leading, should win.


SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D-MN): This is the day where the citizens of California stand up and say, no, we own (ph) this democracy. And that is why you will vote no on the recall.

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D-MA): Larry Elder dreams of being California's own Donald Trump. And I don't know about you, but I will fight with everything I've got to keep from putting one more Donald Trump Republican in office.


KEILAR: And joining us now to talk about this race, "Los Angeles Times" political reporter. Phil Willon.

You know, Phil, you can't help but notice, you see who these big names are, Senator Klobuchar, Senator Warren. You have the vice president coming on Wednesday. They're clearly targeting women. Tell us about this strategy.

PHIL WILLON, POLITICAL REPORTER, "THE LOS ANGELES TIMES": Oh, yes. I mean, well, first of all, women are -- are major supporters of Gavin Newsom and it's been apparent in all the recent polls. I mean that's one of his biggest bases of support.

Then you have Larry Elder, his biggest GOP opponent, who has been subject to all these allegations of, I guess, misogyny and accusations of mistreating his former fiance. He wrote a column back in -- I guess 20 years ago saying women weren't as smart in politics and economics. So they're doing everything they can to turn out the women vote.

And, to be honest, in California, the biggest threat to Gavin Newsom right now is apathy or indifference among his bases of support.

KEILAR: Yes, so they're really trying to bring out people who support him, but are they going to go through the effort to, you know, really move forward with their support in a very real way in this election?

When you see these national Democrats wading into this race, you know, what are they seeing in California that has them getting involved?

WILLON: Well, I mean, they're afraid of what would happen if the largest state in the union loses its Democratic governor. I mean if a Republican can win in California, where else can a Republican win? I mean this is one of the bluest states in the nation and they kind of see the writing on the wall.


They're afraid of contested congressional seats. They're afraid of the impact if Larry Elder or another Republican is elected of appointments, especially of someone like Senator Feinstein retires. Basically that would flip the Senate back to Republican control. There's all these concerns kind of lingering out in the ether and they're all focusing on him.

So we had -- we had Elizabeth Warren here. That, you know, clip showed we had Senator Klobuchar here. We have Kamala Harris coming on Wednesday. And the closer is going to be President Biden. We don't know when he's going to be out, but we expect right before the last day to vote, which is a week from Tuesday.

KEILAR: OK, so you're expecting that he is going to be coming out.

And, you know, when you mentioned Larry Elder, who right now is leading as far as the potential replacements go, I mean, California, you -- as you point out, this is a very blue state. It has had a Republican governor before, but Larry Elder, you know, that would be a very different dynamic, right?

WILLON: Yes. I mean, in the past, California's Republican governors have been -- I mean what I would term in my -- my years, just kind of a California Republican, in many ways conservative on economic issues, on defense, kind of more moderate or liberal on a lot of social issues. We have someone that fits that bill in the race now, which is Kevin Faulkner, the former mayor of San Diego. I mean he's -- he's pro-choice, he's pro-immigrant, he worked with the Democratic city council. He's more in the mold of the historic Republicans that have done well in California.

Larry Elder is more in terms of the -- kind of the Trump wing of the Republican Party. And, I mean, even though Democrats dominate among voters in elected office in California, we still have 5 million Republicans in the state that account for about 25 percent of the electorate. I mean Trump, I think, got 6 million votes in California in the 2020 presidential election.

So there is a solid base of support for Trump. But it has a ceiling. And the question is whether Newsom support will fall below that ceiling, or vote -- or vote, I should say.

KEILAR: Yes. And if -- you know, the support of Republicans, if it's -- if it's more energetic than the support for Newsom, which is why he's got all these big guns coming out.

Phil, you've been -- you've been all over the state. You've been at rallies. You've been at events. What's your read on where the energy is for Newsom, or maybe where it is not for Newsom?

WILLON: I'm seeing a lot from -- a lot of basic historic backers of Democrats, a lot of union support. They're kind of the ground troops of the Democratic Party. They're the ones knocking on doors, putting out door hangers, making -- sending texts, doing phone banks. You have a lot of women's groups and women's rights groups, a lot of LGBTQ groups that are supporting him. We have the Latino and black leadership, political leadership, in the state rallying.

I guess one of the main concerns is whether Latinos will come out and vote. I mean, historically, they've done -- they've done that in presidential elections, but their voting has, I guess, fallen below in off-year elections like this one. And so there's a lot of Spanish language ads out there. They're doing everything they can to get all aspects of the party. It's a -- kind of a multi-facetted base of support for Newsom and the Democrats. So they're trying to hit all cylinders -- hit on all cylinders that way.

KEILAR: Yes, well, look, dramatic times in California. We'll be watching.

And, Phil, we really thank you for sharing your reporting on this.

WILLON: Thank you.

KEILAR: Expanded jobless benefits set to expire today. What this means for millions of Americans who desperately need help.



BERMAN: Disappointing job numbers on Friday. And, today, millions of Americans are set to lose their expanded jobless benefits.

Joining us now is CNN economics commentator and columnist for "The Washington Post," Catherine Rampell.

Catherine, you've got a new op-ed which looks at these disappointing job numbers on Friday. And they are.


BERMAN: They're just, period, disappointing. I think everyone was disappointed with them. And you say there's really, at this point, one thing and one thing only that might make this better.

RAMPELL: Yes, it's getting people vaccinated. Delta's fingerprints were all over this report. If you look at where jobs were lost or where at least there was stagnation in hiring, it was places like restaurants and bars. They lost jobs after having gained about 2,000 jobs per month over the previous -- each month over the previous six months. It was in retail. Even health care is doing badly, presumably because people are putting off elective procedures.

The areas where there is higher COVID risk are the places where the businesses are being held back, people are not willing to take those jobs or there aren't jobs on offer. And the only thing you can do is control the virus, right? The virus is still in charge of the economy. If you want the economy to be humming again, you want people to get jobs again, you need people to get shots because it needs to be safer for people to return to work, to return to shopping and dining out and socializing with their friends and all of that. It needs to be possible for kids to go to school without having to land in quarantine for long periods of time, messing up both their academic progress and their parents' work schedules. You need to get the virus under control and the main way to do that is to get people vaccinated.

BERMAN: And from a politically practical standpoint, it may be the only way at this point because it's not like -- and I don't like to use this word, lockdown, because we're never really on lockdown, but it's not like further restrictions are politically palatable almost anywhere.

RAMPELL: And it does also appear that this slowdown in hiring is not a result of further restrictions, right: I mean we don't know exactly the geographic patterns yet. We will have to wait a couple of months before we see what happens state by state in August. But it does appear that these slowdowns are happening despite the fact that the economy has officially reopened, that there are fewer restrictions on what consumers and workers can do. And schools are reopening if theory.


So what's happening is the virus is obstructing people's ability to engage in the economy, to go to school, to lead their normal lives. It's not because big, bad government is telling people that they can't do these things, despite the rhetoric that you hear in many cases from, for example, you know, the Republican governors of Texas and Florida.

BERMAN: Well, to that point, these expanded unemployment benefits, which expire today, 7 million people are going to lose all of it, about 3 million people lose part of it, there were some states, largely led by Republicans, that felt that these benefits were keeping people from going back to work. The evidence shows?

RAMPELL: So the evidence right now is inconclusive I guess.

BERMAN: Right.

RAMPELL: If you look at what's happened in the states that ended benefits and the states that didn't end benefits early, there's not appreciably different job hiring numbers.


RAMPELL: So maybe it's too soon. Maybe there are too many differences between these states that we can't account for just by looking at that one policy difference, but it doesn't seem like we've had, so far, that major boom in hiring as a result of people losing their more generous benefits.

And, in fact, I think there is also a risk that at least in some parts of the country ending these benefits now could actually drag on the economy.


RAMPELL: Because if people aren't returning to work for reasons other than the size of their unemployment check, for example, they don't have reliable child care, they don't have reliable public transit, it's unsafe for them to go back to work, et cetera, if there are other reasons why they can't go back, the benefits were keeping up their spending power. They were able to buy groceries and, you know, patronize their local businesses. They can't do that anymore. Then those local businesses will suffer and may have difficulty hiring.

BERMAN: There just aren't a lot of tools left for the government or the Fed here at this point. I mean the Fed's not going to jump in.

RAMPELL: The Fed is in a really tricky situation because normally when you think that the economy is sputtering, you would say, OK, Fed should step on the gas, they should ease monetary policy or at the very least that they would push back when they start pumping the brakes, to extend the metaphor. But right now, prices are high, right? And if they start easing on monetary policy, then that puts their -- the other half of their dual mandate, which is keeping inflation low, at risk.

So the Fed is in a really tricky situation. Monetary policy has kind of limited options here. What you really need is people to get, you know, to get vaccinated so that it's safer -- again, I'm repeating myself --

BERMAN: No, no, it's -- yes. RAMPELL: But -- but that's the solution here. There are limited other tools.

I mean there are other kinds of mitigation strategies like you could allow kids to wear masks in schools or allow schools to mandate mask wearing so that schools are less likely to shut down when there's an outbreak. That would help, again, parents reliably go back to work, but the main thing is the shots.

BERMAN: It all gets back to the vaccinations at this point, which is why I think you will see a renewed -- not that the White House has ever ally backed off this, but it's what they have at this point, and I'm sure they're going to push it hard.

Catherine Rampell, thanks so much for being with us today.

RAMPELL: Thank you.

BERMAN: Brianna.

KEILAR: Four Olympic golds, four World Cup championships, but now they may be facing their biggest challenge ever. That is the fight for equal pay. The U.S. Women's National Soccer Team is undisputed. They are undisputed global superstars of the sport. But in a lawsuit filed against the U.S. Soccer Federation in 2019, the players allege they're not receiving pay that is equal to what the men's team makes.

A federal court disagreed last year. They threw out the players equal pay claim. The judge found that the women's team negotiated a different pay structure than the men's team and that the women's team were already paid more than the men's team.

Now, the players are now appealing this. As the legal battle enters its next chapter, the all new CNN film "LFG" brings you a behind the scenes look at the grit and determination that these women bring to their game both on the field and off.




UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I watch you on TV all the time.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Like probably every woman, we're getting go, go, go from, you know, every woman I think is watching this.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This book, my students wrote it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Amazing. To see like it go through all generations is kind of incredible. You

can -- you know, and to see the different emotion and all the different ages of eyes is really cool. You know, older women being like, I know I'm never going to see it but like I hope you guys get it, you know? And then little kids saying it to me.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Tell Megan we want equal pay for her (INAUDIBLE).

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I know, right? I probably won't get it, but you might.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, maybe I'll get it like one or two years in my career. Hopefully. But, you know, really it's going to be like for all these little kids that are coming up now.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That's exactly what we're fighting for. We're fighting for that change. And literally like people have stopped me in my tracks just to say thank you, and that's because of this fight.


KEILAR: "LFG" airs tonight at 9:00 Eastern on CNN.

And we'll be right back.



KEILAR: Time now for "The Good Stuff."




KEILAR: Sarah Hinde just made the cheerleading squad at Winnebago High School in Illinois. And that may not sound like such a big deal until you consider that Sarah weighed barely a pound at birth and was given a one in ten chance of survival. She also has cerebral palsy and learned how to walk with a walker. But her bones and tendons didn't grow together, so then she needed surgery to reposition her muscles and her tendons and kneecap and to reshape her femurs.


SARAH HINDE, STUDENT GIVEN ONLY A SMALL CHANCE OF SURVIVAL AT BIRTH: My legs continued to get worse, and I thought that at some point I wasn't going to be able to walk.


My goal throughout that whole time when I was learning how to walk was to be a cheerleader.