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Dr. Sanjay Gupta Talks to Joe Rogan about COVID-19; Members of Congress Talking about Civil War; Therapy Dogs Helping Capitol Police; Kyrie Irving on Being Sidelined for Refusing Vaccine. Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired October 14, 2021 - 07:30   ET







GUPTA: But you got through it.

ROGAN: But I got through COVID pretty quickly. So that was my -- my thought was, I'm a healthy person. I exercise constantly. I'm always taking vitamins. I take care of myself. I felt like I was going to be OK and it was true. It was correct. I'm happy I got through it.

I don't wish it upon anyone. It wasn't fun. But it wasn't the worst cold I have ever had. And I got over it fairly quickly, relatively speaking.

GUPTA: Again, I am truly glad about that. All kidding aside, I don't think anybody wishes you -- everyone wants you to be well and healthy. But I think the question is, in terms of the nuance of this, it is not a strategy recommending anybody get infected.

ROGAN: I'm not recommending anybody get infected.

GUPTA: So they should get vaccinated.

ROGAN: I think a lot of people should get vaccinated.


GUPTA: You're talking to a lot of vulnerable people. If you just said vulnerable people --

ROGAN: Yes, older people, fat people. I think a lot of those folks. My real concern is this urge to vaccinate children. And I don't know what kind of data we have on the long-term effects of this.

(END VIDEO CLIP) BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: All right. With us now, Sanjay.

Sanjay, first off, I'm so glad you did this. There are so many people who can listen to the sense that you make. Tell us why you thought this was so important.

GUPTA: Yes. That's part of it. The media landscape is pretty segmented, as we know. There are a lot of people who listen on CNN, who are accepting and hearing these messages and understanding the science.

But I wanted to go to a place where clearly he has a big audience. As you mentioned, he's been a skeptic of the vaccines. I listened to his podcasts. I thought there could be some common ground and decided to lean into the nuance for three hours, which is a long time to talk to anybody.

No breaks, no distractions, no phones for three hours. But that's how you get at some of these real conversations.

JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: We would talk to you for three hours but they are always trying to wrap us.

You heard him talk about vaccines and kids there. Here's another exchange on that.


GUPTA: Myocarditis can be a really frightening thing. They can develop chest pain, shortness of breath --

ROGAN: It's inflammation of the heart.

GUPTA: That's what it is. You have to think of it like this. It can happen in anybody. But people who have robust immune response, you're basically giving the vaccine and you're counting on the immune system to really respond to that.

If it responds a lot, in someone has a healthy immune system, it can cause more widespread inflammation. People feel miserable for a day or two. And in this case it can cause inflammation around the heart.

ROGAN: Do we know what the long term consequences of myocarditis in young people that comes from the vaccine are.

GUPTA: I don't think we can -- we don't know. And I think the only way we can know long-term things, to be perfectly honest, of any of these aspects of the vaccine, is with the passage of time for certain.

ROGAN: That's terrifying for parents.

GUPTA: It is.

ROGAN: Your son could get vaccinated and most likely he would have been fine if he got COVID and your son could get myocarditis and have permanent heart problems. GUPTA: Well, I don't know that we can say a person will be fine if

they get COVID, Joe.

ROGAN: A young boy?

Most young boys with no --

GUPTA: When you say fine, you mean what, that they are not going to die?

ROGAN: Like me, I had COVID.

GUPTA: You look like you're as strong as an ox. Yes, I give you that.

But you get teenagers who will have these long COVID naps.

ROGAN: What does that mean?

ROGAN: They're tired all the time. They get these long-hauler type symptoms. Less so in kids. But when you talk about 33 percent of people having persistent symptoms that last months, I feel like we define -- I think we're allowed to have a nuanced conversation about.

We measure things in terms of life and death. I get that. It's easy. It's public health. That's the way the numbers get presented. Frankly, that's our fault as well in the media, to say this is how many people have died.

We don't know a lot about what this virus does to the body. We probably shouldn't just think of it as another type of pneumonia or cold because it is clearly doing something else. A cold wouldn't just cause isolated loss of smell. Flu wouldn't even do that. And then so many people are developing long-term symptoms.


BERMAN: That's a lot there. It's trying to herd cats, Sanjay, in a discussion like that. He shoots off in all these different tangents. And he says there's a lot we don't know about this.

Myocarditis, when you're talking about risk of myocarditis, which is inflammation around the heart, we know the risk of COVID causing that, don't we?

GUPTA: Yes, that's the thing. Therein lies the nuance again. It is a fair question to bring up the idea of the side effect of the vaccine potentially being myocarditis.


GUPTA: But you also have to compare this to the risk of myocarditis from the disease itself. Let me show you. I think this was the data that Joe was talking about, although it's tough sometimes to keep up.

But overall, if you look and say, there's a background rate of myocarditis just with the vaccines, how many more additional cases per 100,000 people, about 2.7, as you can see there.

But from the disease itself, it's around 11. To be fair, both of these are rare and almost always these cases of myocarditis resolved. People were fine. They didn't require further treatment.

But this is the whole point. The numbers on the screen is the whole point. You want to try and obviously reduce risk of any of these things while really emphasizing the benefits. The vaccines offer lots of benefits and actually have a lower risk of myocarditis versus the disease itself.

KEILAR: He seems to go back time and again to this idea that maybe getting COVID is better than getting the vaccine. I heard that repeatedly. Here's some of what he said.


GUPTA: Testing is obviously testing you to see if you have the virus.


GUPTA: The therapeutic is to treat you because you have the virus.


GUPTA: I still think it would be better to not get the virus.

ROGAN: I think it would be better to get the virus and recover and have amazing immunity to it.

Wouldn't it be?

GUPTA: Well, you could get sick.

ROGAN: I think you should get vaccinated and then get sick.

GUPTA: What?

ROGAN: This is why. The vaccine protects you from a bad infection. Then you get COVID. So then you get the robust immunity imparted from having the actual disease itself, which is far more complex and comprehensive than you getting from the vaccine that targets one specific protein, right?

GUPTA: You can make that argument, I think.

ROGAN: That's the move, get vaccinated. Let it wane and then hang around with a bunch of dirty people. Then get a lot of therapeutics on hand so you can take care of quickly.

GUPTA: I will see your recommendation and give you one --

ROGAN: You should have come out with us last night. You probably would have caught it.

(LAUGHTER) GUPTA: Now I know what your secret plan was.


GUPTA: So for you, Joe Rogan.


GUPTA: I would say you've had it.


GUPTA: Now get one shot of the vaccine.


GUPTA: Why not?

ROGAN: Because I have better immunity than I would if I were vaccinated.


KEILAR: But does he, Sanjay?

Also, he's not a doctor. He is sure talking as if he is one, though.

GUPTA: By the way, it was three hours of that, just to give you an idea. It was a lot of mental gymnastics.

So there's a nuance here. People who have been infected do have natural immunity. There was a study out of Israel, that got a lot of attention, that basically showed, at least for a period of time, their immunity was stronger than those who had received the vaccine.

There's a problem, though. One is we don't know how long that immunity lasts. People are trying to investigate that. And one of the studies that has come out showed that people who had natural immunity versus vaccinated immunity, those with natural immunity were twice as likely to get reinfected.

I mean, this is the data. We know what the vaccine now, from the clinical trials and real world data, some 6 billion shots being given out around the world, that it is a safe and effective vaccine.

So infection over vaccination should never be the message. No. People should not go out there and willingly get infected in pursuit of this natural immunity. That is a terrible strategy.

I think Joe understood that although near the end of the podcast, he was advocating that I go get COVID. So still to this point, I'm not sure if he was joking. I think he was joking. But that is a terrible strategy obviously.

BERMAN: It doesn't really matter if he's joking, does it?

If the millions of people listening to him don't know if he's joking at that point.

Sanjay, you're a prince. I don't know where you get your patience, I really don't. A remarkable display of calm and patience there. Thank you so much for that.

GUPTA: You got it. Thank you.

BERMAN: So right wing media and lawmakers talking more and more of secession, yes, really. A reality check next.

KEILAR: And high school sweethearts walk down the aisle while nearly their entire family was stuck trying to get there. Who they're blaming for raining on their wedding day.





BERMAN: This morning, secession, not just for 19th century pro- slavery Confederates anymore. John Avlon with a reality check.


JOHN AVLON, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: In the run-up to the Civil War, Southern congressman used a tactic called aggressive defensiveness; basically, threats of violence while playing the victim. It was designed to intimidate critics into silence while masking their own anxieties about declining electoral power.

When the war came, it claimed up to three-quarters of a million lives, Americans on both sides.

The Civil War not only ended slavery, it ended any idea of the legitimacy of secession, at least until now. It is stomach churning to see an uptick in talk about secession and a second civil war.

I mentioned it not because it's going to happen but because we have learned that violent political rhetoric can lead to actual political violence. The talk of a second civil war used to be isolated to self- styled militias and assorted extremists online.

But lately it has crossed over into members of Congress. This week, Marjorie Taylor Greene posted a Twitter poll, asking her followers if it was time for a, quote, "national divorce."


AVLON: And obediently, that same these was picked up by notorious tea party era troll Glenn Beck, of course blaming the Left for the threat.

Now normally this would be filed under crazy person says crazy thing and get ignored. But national divorce, which is guess is like an conscious uncoupling of the country, is now a recurring theme in MAGA land, even though it's the opposite of anything resembling making America great, unless you consider the Confederacy a high water mark for our country.

In fact, Greene is one of four prominent trumpites in Congress who've been making similar sounds in recent months. Like Alabama's Mo Brooks and Arizona's Paul Gosar, according to a member of the Oath Keepers.

Both men were was implicated in the stoking the Stop the Steal rally, which turned into the attack on our Capitol.

And then there's North Carolina congressman Madison Cawthorn.


REP. MADISON CAWTHORN (R-NC): If our election systems continue to be rigged and continue to be stolen, it's going to lead to one place and that's bloodshed. There's nothing I dread doing more than having to pick up arms against a fellow American.


AVLON: That's aggressive defensiveness in a nutshell. And these are the same themes that have been hit by former congress man Steve King, retweeted by Donald Trump before his first impeachment and echoed by some state GOP leaders.

It's even gotten the think tank treatment, courtesy of the Claremont Institute, perhaps not coincidentally, the same place currently employing John Eastman, who drew up the infamous six-point plan for how Mike Pence could overturn the election.

Then inevitably, all this talk trickles down to the crowd.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're going to be in a civil war because the militia will be taking over.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I see a civil war coming. I do. I see civil war coming.


AVLON: They're being dangerously misled by the Big Lie, which is nothing but a new form of the lost cause, which is why a new study by UVA caught my eye, detailing the correlation between the location of Confederate monuments and the location of lynchings for nearly a century after the Civil War.

So much for heritage, not hate.

This bloody past does not need to define us but it cannot be wisely ignored. Those talking about a second civil war are still outliers. But anyone who chooses to rationalize or stay silent in the face of the Big Lie is feeding this beast. That's why we need to hear more from actual constitutional

conservatives, like congressman Peter Meijer, who called out his seditionist colleagues for, quote, "waxing patriotic while salivating for civil war," claiming they need to destroy the republic in order to save it in the ultimate betrayal of oaths sworn.

Those treacherous snakes, he said, can go straight to hell. That's right.

And if you're still not convinced of the seriousness of this, consider this warning from Ulysses S. Grant back in 1875.

Quote, "If we are to have another civil war, I predict the dividing line will not be Mason-Dixon's but between patriotism and intelligence on the one side and superstition, ambition and ignorance on the other."

And that's your reality check.


BERMAN: Listen, this is no coincidence. I think they know what they're doing and it's dangerous.

AVLON: It is the most dangerous game you can play in a democracy.

BERMAN: John Avlon, thank you very much.

KEILAR: U.S. Capitol Police have had a tough year, an emotional year. Three of their officers died in the line of duty and more than 150 were injured in the January 6th insurrection. And now the department is enlisting some new team members to help brighten their days. CNN's Lauren Fox has more.


LAUREN FOX, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The newest member of the U.S. Capitol Police force is already pretty popular.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, sweetie. Aww.

FOX (voice-over): Meet Lila, a 3-year-old Black Labrador, who serves as a wellness support dog for 2,300 members of the United States Capitol Police.


FOX (voice-over): Her handler, wellness coordinator Dimitri Louis, said her temperament made her a perfect fit for her new job.

DMITRI LOUIS, WELLNESS COORDINATOR, LILA'S HANDLER: We just try to hit different divisions, different shifts to just allow anyone to kind of play with her. So anxiety gets lowered. Emotions gets managed. She puts people in a better place.

FOX (voice-over): Lila joined the force in June, following a series of tragedies within the ranks of the Capitol Police, a loss of two officers in the wake of January 6th and a third killed, when a car rammed into the barricades in April.

She is one part of a broader wellness program to address the emotional health of the force.

JEFFREY ALBANESE, U.S. CAPITOL POLICE: We have all had bad days. The minute a dog walks in the room for even a minute, you kind of forget about it all. And, you know, those bad feelings and maybe some of those thoughts go away.


FOX (voice-over): Lila didn't start out her training with law enforcement in mind.

FOX: If she had one weakness, because she looks like a perfectly behaved dog, what would it be?

LOUIS: Yes, her Kryptonite is squirrels.

Oh, there it is.

She started off as a seeing eye dog. She went through the training to be a seeing eye dog but then kryptonite, squirrels, that became an issue.

So she actually went into a different type of training to be very comfortable with groups of people, to be comfortable with crowds, training that more made her suited for what she does right now.

FOX (voice-over): And she's already getting high praise from her fellow officers, who she's helping to come to terms with their trauma.

CAROLINE EDWARDS, U.S. CAPITOL POLICE: It's so hard to see when you're in the moment, you know, it feels silly, like, all right, I've got this six feet of abrac (ph) and I'm defending this six feet of West Front and why?

FOX (voice-over): Caroline Edwards was guarding the Capitol on January 6th and suffered a traumatic brain injury when insurrectionists broke through the barricades.

EDWARDS: And the reason is, like, why we did that was because it gave time for members, for staffers, for everyone to hide, to get out, to, you know, to barricade themselves. And I think that's all what it's all about.

FOX (voice-over): Members of Congress also welcomed Lila to Capitol Hill.

REP. MARY GAY SCANLON (D-PA): There is the Truman quote, "If you want a friend in Washington, get a dog."

There are all kinds of studies of how dogs lower your blood pressure and they're lovely and warm and it seemed a great addition to the Capitol, where tensions are high under the best circumstances.

FOX (voice-over): Lila will be joined by heir fellow canine partner, Leo, a 4-year-old yellow Lab who joined the Capitol Police force last month.

EDWARDS: No one can really see Lila without getting this big old grin on their face because she's just a loveable dog. That's kind of what service dogs do, is they just relieve that tension that you've been holding in.

FOX (voice-over): Lauren Fox, CNN, on Capitol Hill.


KEILAR: Thank you to Lauren for that sweet story.

NBA all-star Kyrie Irving is making it clear that he would rather be benched than be vaccinated. What he's telling his fans about that decision.

BERMAN: And former president Trump tells Republicans, don't vote in 2022 or 2024 until the party goes all in on the Big Lie. Talking about 19-dimensional chess at work here.





BERMAN: We're now hearing from Brooklyn Nets all-star Kyrie Irving directly about his refusal to get vaccinated, even though vaccine rules in New York mean he can't play in the city without getting the shot.


KYRIE IRVING, BROOKLYN NETS: Don't believe that I'm retiring. Don't believe that, you know, I'm going to give up this game for a vaccine mandate.

What would you do?

If you felt uncomfortable going into the season, when you were promised that you would have exemptions or that you didn't have to be forced to get the vaccine?


BERMAN: Joining us now is a reporter who has been on this story from the very beginning, senior NBA insider at "Stadium" and "The Athletic," Shams Charania.

Thanks so much for being with us. I want to point out that 96 percent of the NBA is vaccinated. Kyrie Irving's teammates are vaccinated. Carl Anthony Towns of the Minnesota Timberwolves has lost family members vaccinated.

But Kyrie Irving has chosen not to get vaccinated.

Is he not playing this season at all?

SHAMS CHARANIA, SENIOR NBA INSIDER, "STADIUM" AND "THE ATHLETIC": As of right now he's not. John, I'm told that Kyrie Irving has no plans to get vaccinated.

So if that's the case, there are only three routes for him this upcoming year. He's going to get half of his game checks this season, which amounts to $16 million. But he's leaving another $16 million on the table as well as a potential $185 million extension.

So he stands to lose about $200 million by taking this stance, by not deciding to take the COVID-19 vaccine, which, again, is a New York City policy and requirement for athletes to play in indoor gyms, public gyms.

The Nets got good news last week when the league ruled that their practice facility is a private office building. But obviously Barclay Center in Brooklyn is not exempt from that.

And so Kyrie Irving will either -- if he decides not to get vaccinated will sit the entire season, ultimately wait for the mandate to get lifted, which city hall officials have told me there is no expectation of that, or get traded.

So right now Kyrie Irving is fighting a battle that, right now, there really isn't an answer, besides going and getting vaccinated if he wants a return to the floor, which clearly he does want to play again. The question is whether he will take the vaccine.

BERMAN: Again, it is his decision, right. And he knows the consequences which are at this point he can't play in New York. Shams, he says he's anti-mandate. But you know, he didn't take the vaccine before the New York City mandate went into effect.

This vaccine was available to him last April. This is clearly something he just doesn't want to take.

CHARANIA: Yes, on one side, Kyrie Irving's stance, as I reported a couple of days ago and you repeated, is he's not anti-vaccine; he's basically anti-vaccine mandates and people losing their jobs over vaccines.

And whether you agree or don't agree, listen, the consequences are the consequences. And in different local and federal governments, these are just the policies that are enacted.

Every industry in some way, shape or form has been impacted by the vaccines and different mandates. And I think, listen, basketball, the NBA is no different.

And that's --