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COVID Cases In Kids Rise As New School Year Gets Underway; Buckingham Palace: Queen's Doctors Are Concerned For Her Health. Aired 7:30-8a ET

Aired September 08, 2022 - 07:30   ET



SCOTT JENNINGS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Now, it was non-specific. They didn't commit to a day and the details have yet to be worked out. And it's going to happen in late October, which is after lots of people have already started voting.

And so, if I were the Oz campaign, I think I would stay on offense on this and try to push the debate up in the schedule because the argument they could make is well, we need to -- before anybody casts a ballot, people need to see both candidates here.

DAVID AXELROD, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR, CNN HOST, "THE AXE FILES": Right -- that is the argument that they're making. The fact is that the debate -- a debate in mid to late October isn't on the schedule that they've typically done this in Pennsylvania.

But you know what? People like John Fetterman and they know John Fetterman. He's been the lieutenant governor, as has been pointed out. Oz is kind of a newcomer to the state.

And so, I think it will be -- especially, a medical professional to try -- and he got in trouble when he overshot the runway when he first raised this issue. I think there will be a lot of identification with Fetterman. There are all kinds of people who have physical impairments or temporary impairments as a result of some medical issue. And if they play it wrong it could have -- it could be really negative for them.

JENNINGS: Yes, you do have to be careful. I don't think you have to be mean or flip about it --


JENNINGS: -- but you can raise it as an issue. And Oz has been needing to get on offense on something and I think they feel like they're there at this moment.

BERMAN: All right. Scott, David, great to see both of you. Thanks so much for coming in.

AXELROD: Nice to see you.

BERMAN: New this morning, we learned Secretary of State Antony Blinken has made an unannounced trip to Ukraine. We have the latest ahead.

BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: And what a new study is revealing about the possible link between depression or anxiety and long COVID. Dr. Sanjay Gupta will join us next.



KEILAR: Today is the first day of school for many kids in New York City, but elsewhere, class has been in session for weeks, and coronavirus cases among children are starting to climb.

For more now on the latest COVID trends, we have CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta with us. So, Sanjay, what sort of numbers are you seeing, and how concerning is this?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, we knew that going into the fall because kids are going back to school and the weather is starting to get cooler and drier in many parts of the country, numbers were going to up.

What is interesting if you look overall at kids versus adults last week compared to the couple of weeks before that, you see that the numbers for kids -- children have gone up 14 percent. Whereas, with adults, it's gone down 17 percent.

Now, Brianna, the big caveat here is that testing is sort of all over the map, frankly. There's a lot of people doing at-home testing and not being reported. There are some school districts that are doing testing on a regular basis, but not all of them. So, these numbers -- you have to take them a little bit with a grain of salt.

But again, it's expected, as we've seen with other respiratory viruses in the past, when kids start to come back to school the numbers do go up. They're getting together in larger groups for the first time in a period of time.

What is interesting as well is if you look at the map of the country -- just look at the community maps. This is a map that sort of reflects the number of cases but also the impact on hospitalizations. You get an idea, sort of, in the country where things are a little bit, at least in terms of measuring those two things, transmission as well as hospital impact. It -- you know, there's still lots of red spots there. There are other lighter spots, which are going to be lower-risk areas.

But this is a good thing to look at, Brianna. I think you and I have been talking about this for the last couple of years. Look at this almost as a weather map and what's going on in your particular community will give you an idea of how much risk there is.

KEILAR: You know, we're also seeing these test scores that are pretty alarming because they show how much the pandemic and remote learning is negatively impacting kids.

So, how do we prioritize keeping them in school and keeping them safely in school?

GUPTA: You know, I think since really the fall of 2020 it became clear that it was possible to have kids in school safely. There were studies that came out comparing school districts that were doing remote versus in-person, trying to look at the impact of COVID, and you found that you could keep kids in school safely with certain precautions. At that point, they were talking about masking and ventilation, and those types of things make a big difference we know. It, again, depends on the community transmission where you are.

The big thing as well is the availability of vaccines. And we know that the vaccines are available as young as six months old. The uptick in vaccines is lower the younger the children are. So, kids in their teens, for example -- they're going to have higher vaccine uptick versus younger kids. But if -- and I think we have some of those numbers to show you exactly where we are with vaccinations in kids.

But I think the other big thing here is that at this point, if you look at the modeling, about four out of five kids have probably been exposed to COVID and as a result have some degree of immunity from that. Now, how long that immunity lasts, either from the infection or from the vaccines, is still a subject of debate. It probably lasts months but not a year, for example. Six months -- five or six months perhaps, but not a year. But that is going to provide some level of protection as well.

So we're going to see. I think the priority clearly is to keep kids in school. There has been a significant toll in terms of performance academically as a -- during these last couple of years of the pandemic, so this is a priority. And given the amount of immunity, either through vaccination or through infection -- that should be helpful as well.

KEILAR: Yes, it should be helpful.

All right, Sanjay, thank you so much.

GUPTA: Thank you.

KEILAR: A U.S. soldier kicked out of the army after the FBI says he enlisted to become better at killing Black people. That is what he said online. We'll have the disturbing details ahead.

BERMAN: From an embattled plant in Ukraine to classified documents stored in Florida, talks of nuclear power have been amping up. Why it's drawing fear and optimism. A reality check, next.



ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

BERMAN: All right, breaking news from the United Kingdom. A statement just released by Buckingham Palace says that the queen's doctors are concerned -- and that's the word they used -- concerned for her health and have recommended she remain under medical supervision at Balmoral Castle.

Let's get right to Max Foster who is in London. This statement just came out and that language, Max -- I'm not sure we've seen something quite exactly like that before. What are you hearing?

MAX FOSTER, CNN ANCHOR AND CORRESPONDENT: It is quite stark language, I have to say, John -- you're right to point out. In addition to that, I've spoken to a source saying immediate family members have been informed. So, this is ominous language.


We've, obviously, seen the queen out in public very recently. We have a few stills of her appointing the new prime minister Liz Truss.

Now, last night there was meant to be a Zoom meeting of the Privy Council, which the queen oversees, and she was due to have Liz Truss swear an oath to become a member of that Privy Council and its core constitutional body, really, central to the British constitution.

So we were quite shocked that she wasn't able to swear in the prime minister into that, particularly when it was a Zoom meeting from Balmoral. She wasn't able to do that and we're told that's because she had overexerted herself, effectively, with her meetings with Liz Truss and with the outgoing prime minister Boris Johnson.

And now, we received this statement that doctors are concerned for her health and have recommended she remain under medical supervision. She does remain comfortable, though, we're told, at Balmoral.

They're not going to give us any updates until there are updates to follow, but we are being effectively -- been told to be on standby for updates. So, the family they've informed -- presumably, they will be heading towards Balmoral.

BERMAN: And she is 96 years old, Max.

You have been told the family has been notified and to stand by for more information. And just to reiterate, we don't have very many specifics at all except what we know has happened the last few days. But you have covered the queen and Buckingham Palace for some time and we don't know much but we do know that this feels different than what you have seen and heard before when she has had other health incidents.

FOSTER: Well, the way it works is the -- you know, they regard the queen's medical condition as a private matter, but they do inform us when something significant happens.

So, if I give you an example, you may remember a while ago there was a hospital visit. They didn't tell us about that and we got quite concerned that we weren't told. And the update after that really was if there had been an operation or a major sort of procedure we would have been informed, but that wasn't the case.

They are informing us about concern about her medical condition, so that is very significant. They wouldn't be informing us if there wasn't something significant to report.

There were some rumors that she had taken a fall at Balmoral. I'm told by a source that that's not correct. So that's the only added bit of context I can really offer to this.

But she is 96 years old. She's had major mobility issues. We can see this image here. There was concern, frankly. I mean, we didn't report it but there was some concern about how she looked. But incredible, at the same time, that a 96-year-old is standing up and greeting the prime minister and looking relatively well anyway, so we dismissed those concerns. But clearly, this moment overexerted her.

And the wider concern here is obviously of the doctors, really, that if she's going to be overexerted from a small meeting at home, can they promise to the prime minister that she will be available for other events? It's difficult, isn't it? And the doctors do have a say here on what she's able to do and she does take that advice. So, we need to not be so much considering what the queen would want to do in this situation but what her doctors would advise.

BERMAN: Beyond limited mobility, Max, what have been the health issues recently?

FOSTER: Well, the mobility issue -- they just haven't given us any real detail about it. She -- you saw her there with a cane. There was some concern a while ago when she got out of a car with a cane, so there's lots of speculation around that. We don't know any of the specifics of any condition she might have had. I mean, she's lost weight recently -- but again, she's 96 years old and she's still in pretty good condition for a 96-year-old.

So we're -- you know, those sort of concerns are normally pushed away. That's what's significant about the fact that they're coming to us and informing us that they are concerned about her health, basically.

She's off in Scotland. She's not in London. We're not going to see the comings and goings from her residence. But we'll wait to see any more updates. We'll obviously speak to other members of the family but there will be a lockdown in terms of information here. It will be entirely controlled by the queen's team and the queen will have a say on it as well.

But -- and there have been some comings and goings as well -- I have to tell you, John -- from Downing Street -- so senior ministers popping in and out when the political correspondents weren't expecting that. So, there are -- there's a general level of concern but we all have the same information at the moment.

BERMAN: All right, Max Foster, here's what we're going to do. We're going to give you a second to work some of your sources. Stand by for us. And we're going to go to Brianna.

KEILAR: All right, I want to bring in Dr. Sanjay Gupta for what we know here. Look, Sanjay, some we don't know but obviously, the queen has had health issues. She's had mobility issues a lot frequently.

What questions do you have?

Actually, let's go to Max Foster. He's telling us to go back to him -- Max.

FOSTER: Yes, sorry. Literally, just in that moment, I've had a message from Prince Charles' office. Their royal highnesses, the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall, have traveled to Balmoral. So that really emphasizes the concern here.


KEILAR: And just to that point, Max, she normally would have received the new prime minister at Buckingham Palace. She stayed at Balmoral. That's also where she basically said her goodbye to Boris Johnson. And that was unprecedented that she could not go back to Buckingham Palace.

FOSTER: It was. But again, our fears were allayed about that because a decision had to be made for the prime minister's diary a week ahead. And they're making decisions on the queen's diary on the day, effectively.

So what they were -- what they told us at the time was she wasn't able to come to London -- she may not be able to come to London. Therefore, the safest thing is for the prime minister to come up to Scotland. So that wasn't an immediate concern at the time.

But what we have now is a situation where the queen's doctors are concerned and her elder son -- her heir -- is heading immediately to Scotland. So there's a huge amount of concern.

KEILAR: And is --

FOSTER: And if there are major updates, it will be Prince Charles who will be told before anyone else.

KEILAR: Is that the sense then that he's going to be by her side?


KEILAR: Sanjay, let's talk about what we know -- let's talk about what we know here, obviously, and what she's been facing healthwise as she's 96 years old.

GUPTA: Yes, I mean, it's difficult to speculate, obviously. Everyone will focus on her age, 96, and some of her more recent health issues, as Max was outlining.

I think -- I think one of the big things here is when doctors say, look, we are concerned, what does that mean in the moment? Typically, that is something that is maybe related to what we call hemodynamics -- blood pressure, heart rate, something with their breathing perhaps. As Max said, was there a fall? We don't know. This is all speculative.

One thing that I think is important to note -- and I think Max, again, touched on this -- in the past, when she had gone to the hospital, we were informed she went to the hospital. We didn't know the specifics.

It doesn't sound like that is the case here as of yet, or maybe it won't be the case that she necessarily is traveling to the hospital. That could indicate that it hasn't reached that level yet where they think she needs to go to the hospital, but they think that they can observe her at home. She obviously has a very good medical team that can be with her at the residence as opposed to being in the hospital.

But there are certain things that would be necessary to travel to the hospital for. So that's something that we would keep an eye out.

But in this -- in this sort of situation, why would doctors say look, we need to closely observe? It usually has something to do with cardiovascular, breathing -- something like that that's more acute that would sort of send out a signal like that to family, to the public that there is a heightened level of concern here.

BERMAN: Stand by for a second, Sanjay. We just saw a tweet from the new prime minister of the United Kingdom, Liz Truss. Let me read this to everyone.

It reads, "The whole country will be deeply concerned by the news from Buckingham Palace this lunchtime. My thoughts and the thoughts of people across our United Kingdom are with Her Majesty the Queen and her family at this time."

Max Foster, if you are with us, again, tell us what the presence of this tweet -- the fact that the prime minister is making this statement tells you.

FOSTER: I just think it reflects the level of the concern. I mean, all the optics here -- they speak in optics. There will be announcements, I'm sure -- formal announcements. Everything, so far, is coming in terms of WhatsApp messages to me and that tweet really expressing the concern and preparing the nation, frankly, for an update on the queen who is held in such high regard -- is absolutely the head of state and regarded around the world.

And we've learned from the past. We had situations like this that when information leaks, speculation mounts. So they're trying to be as open as possible as they can here.

The two people that will be fully informed are the prime minister and the Prince of Wales. So, they have all the information and they're the two people we will be following most closely and speaking to their teams as well. But at the moment, all the optics are that this is a very serious situation.

BERMAN: Yes. And we'll note, Max, just as you said, that the two people who will have the most information and be informed of the most things are the prime minister and the Prince of Wales. We have now heard from both of them within just the last few minutes. So, significant that both those offices are making statements -- Brianna.

KEILAR: Yes. And look, the sensitivity, Max, that you're talking about to the idea that there are leaks and they do want to be clear and control the narrative here, right? But also, that, as you mentioned, they don't often put out much information. It's a very controlled situation.


How do you expect -- and, you know, this is a time that is somewhat unprecedented, but how do you expect that information is going to be coming out here in the coming hours and days?

FOSTER: Well, what we're really looking for is a formal statement from the palace to announce something. We haven't had that. So, I mean, I don't want to speculate. I mean, we do know the plan's in place. I've been a party to the plans in place but they're very much, sort of, private.

What I would say is that it would require Prince of -- the Prince of Wales to be in Scotland for any sort of major announcements to come, I think, and everything has to be lined up as well behind the scenes.

So what might be the situation here is that the queen isn't able to carry out her duties or has decided she is unable to carry out her duties and would delegate some of the duties, and those delegations would go to the Prince of Wales. Now, that does take some time to organize constitutionally. I mean, it's quite a simple process per se, but you have to have everything lined up. So there could be some organization around.

And I wonder if that is part of the debate here. If the queen can't even carry out a Zoom call for a major constitutional moment then she may not be able to carry out other events.

The other thing I would say is that normally, we get a lot more updates when she's in London or Windsor because you can see who is coming and going from the palace. Her castle in Scotland is massively private. We don't know who is going in or out.

But they decided to make this announcement anyway to try to get ahead of the curve, I think, and avoid any leaks from the household as well. So we're waiting for a formal announcement. In the meantime, I think we're going to continue getting texts and updates.

And we have to, as you say, look out for updates from politicians as well, which I don't think all the politicians are being -- going to be given all the information if I'm honest. It's a very leaky Westminster, whereas the royal world is a bit less so.

BERMAN: Let me just bring people up to speed here. There was a statement from Buckingham Palace just a few minutes ago that said "Following further evaluation this morning, the Queen's doctors are concerned for Her Majesty's health and have recommended she remain under medical supervision."

Our Max Foster is reporting the Prince of Wales now headed to Balmoral Castle in Scotland where the queen is. The U.K. prime minister with a statement saying the entire country is thinking of her and the family right now. Much more on this ahead. We're going to take a quick break. The breaking news continues right after this.


ANNOUNCER: This is CNN breaking news.

BERMAN: And welcome to our viewers in the United States and all around the world. I'm John Berman with Brianna Keilar.

And the breaking news from the United Kingdom. A statement just released by Buckingham Palace. This is how it reads. "Following further evaluation this morning, the Queen's doctors are concerned for Her Majesty's health and have recommended she remain under medical supervision."

KEILAR: CNN has just learned that Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall have traveled to be with the queen at Balmoral Castle in Scotland.

I want to get now to Max Foster. He is in London with the very latest. Max, some information has been coming in here. What can you tell us?

FOSTER: Well, I think we just have to look at the language.