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Republicans Positive About Senate Seats; Sarah Ash Combs is Interviewed about Surge in RSV Cases; East Coast Braes for Rain. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired October 31, 2022 - 08:30   ET



JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Monday. And this is one of those cases -


BERMAN: Where you need to get that Monday in there. The 8th is the latest day it can be.

BASH: It's the latest day it can be, which people may be listening to me saying, I mean, so what, it's like 24, 48 hours later. But you've seen this. You've both seen this being on the ground as political reporters. It can make a difference.

And the momentum right now is with Republicans because of what we've talked about every single day for many, many weeks now, because of inflation.

BERMAN: I asked this to Michael Smerconish earlier. If Democrats are able to hang on to the Senate, OK, what is it that they'll point to, do you think? What is it they'll look back on and say, OK, this was the reason we were able to cling on, maybe with our fingernails, but we were able to cling on?

BASH: Very, very focused messaging on three things. And this is what McConnell tells his Senate Republicans privately and the candidates as well. Inflation/economy, crime and immigration. Now, immigration, if you look at the national numbers, it might not be that much of a factor generally speaking, especially when you have the economy and even abortion sort of superseding that. But because they have been able to focus kind of like Democrats in 2018, yes, the Trump factor was a big factor, but their focus, their singular focus, issue wise, was on health care. They, the Republicans, are going to take Obamacare away from you.

There's a similar regimen in what Republicans are doing. And I think, at the end of the day, that plus the economic realities and the fact that it is so personal, people are feeling it so much every time they go to the grocery store, every time they try to pay a bill, to see how much more everything costs. That is obviously in Republicans' favor. Whether that really is Joe Biden's problem or whether - it's his problem. Whether it is his fault or the Democrats in Congress' fault, that's just the way it works. They tend to get the blame. BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: On the issue of abortion, I've heard some

Democrats say they think that this is going to impact results more. They've spoken to a lot of women who say -- Republican women who say -- and you've interviewed some who say this is going to be a determining factor in their vote, and they're not telling their husbands about it. The idea being is there's sort of this like silent vote around it. What do you think about - about that idea?

BASH: There could be. There absolutely could be. Look, if not for the economic situation that this country is in right now, abortion would -- there's no question it would be much, much more of a driver. And I think it still will be a driver. I mean the fact that we're seeing such high turnout numbers across the board in early voting means that we could see another phenomenon similar to what we saw in 2020, which is that voting is up in all parties for various reasons, for different reasons. And that could still be the case. The question is whether the issue of abortion as a vote driver for Democrats will be enough to counteract the very real vote driver which is economic pain that people are feeling.

BERMAN: Dana Bash, great to see you today. Thank you very much.

BASH: Nice to see you, too.

BERMAN: All right, the recent surge of respiratory viruses, particularly among children, is overwhelming hospitals. We'll speak to a doctor on the front lines, ahead.

KEILAR: And the death toll rising after a bridge collapsed in India just a week after it reopened after repairs. We have an update ahead.



BERMAN: The recent surge in respiratory infections is overwhelming children's hospitals across the country. Many of them have either reached or they are near capacity. And RSV is partly to blame.

With us now is Dr. Sarah Ash Combs. She's an emergency medicine physician at Children's National Hospital here in Washington, D.C.

Just tell me what you're seeing in your hospital.

DR. SARAH ASH COMBS, EMERGENCY MEDICINE PHYSICIAN, CHILDREN'S NATIONAL HOSPITAL: So we're seeing exactly as you said, very high numbers of children coming through our doors with respiratory illnesses. So, you mentioned RSV. That's one of the viruses. Also other viruses. We're starting to see flu. We've been seeing rhinovirus.

And what's happening is that the children are coming in, in higher numbers, and they're sicker than we would expect them to be.

BERMAN: Well, talk to me more about that.

COMBS: Yes. BERMAN: So it's not just higher numbers, it's also severity of cases?

COMBS: Yes. Absolutely, 100 percent. So, we're seeing higher numbers. We're seeing early in the season. But what's happening is the typical RSV, most kids are going to have an RSV infection at some point. Many will get a sniffle. Just brush it off. We're seeing children, school age children, not even just the teeny tiny babies, getting really sick and need breathing support to help get through the RSV.

BERMAN: Why is it more severe?

COMBS: We don't 100 percent know. So, one of the leading theories is, we gave our immune systems a bit of a rest over the height of the pandemic, right? We were under precautions, under a lockdown, we were doing masking, social distancing, so we didn't have the viral exposure that we usually do, especially for children, right? So, children are usually mingling with other children. They're all little germ harbingers. They were kept away from each other.

BERMAN: So I'm told.

COMBS: They are. They are.

BERMAN: Believe me, I know.

COMBS: I have some of my own. Believe me. Germ harbingers.

BERMAN: Yes, me too.

So, can you -- how easy is it to distinguish between RSV and flu and Covid?

COMBS: It's not. Even for us. So even for us in the medical profession, distinguishing between them is actually almost impossible without doing a test.

And what I will say, though, is distinguishing between them actually isn't that necessary. So, the issue is, how is the child doing with the virus, not which virus is it.

So, is your child is having a sniffle, maybe even a fever but doing OK, eating, drinking, playing, they're OK to stay at home. If your child is having trouble breathing, regardless f which virus it is, if it's Covid, if it's the flu, if it's RSV, if it's something completely different, that's the child we need to see in the emergency room.

BERMAN: Trouble breathing. Explain that more.

COMBS: Trouble breathing. Absolutely. So what I like to say to parents is, go up to your child, remove all those winter bundled-up layers that they're in and look at them.


Look at their belly and their ribs, their bare ribs and belly. You want to see, are they sucking in to breathe. So, between the ribs, is it sucking down to the rib cage, is the belly going in and out, in and out, basically a sign that they are using muscles to breathe, they are forcing air in and out and having to work really hard.

BERMAN: And if they are, that's when, bring them to you, take them into the hospital, take them in to a medical professional?

COMBS: One hundred percent. That difficulty breathing, that's what we need to see in the emergency department.

BERMAN: We had a report earlier in the show that there are some promising signs about developing an RSV vaccine, although apparently this would be for next fall and mostly for adults.

COMBS: Absolutely. So, RSV is one of those things that we don't have a vaccine, per se, for. There is medication called Havisumab (ph), which is for the very young and vulnerable infants, but that is a preseason thing. So, we're a little out of the season for that already. Vaccine development that's in the pipeline, but it certainly would not be for this year.

BERMAN: So it will be for next year.


BERMAN: And, again, we've been talking all about kids and RSV.

COMBS: Right.

BERMAN: Is there a risk among the older population for RSV?

COMBS: We think there is. And I'll say it's a little out of my wheelhouse because I'm a peds emergency doctor here at Children's National in D.C.

BERMAN: Right.

COMBS: But we do know that often the very young and the very old are the vulnerable groups with respiratory illnesses. So, we do assume, if RSV is getting very bad all over the map, older people could be vulnerable as well.

BERMAN: Dr. Sarah Ash Combs, I have to thank you so much. You really explained that in a way that I think helps parents know exactly what to look for in this case. And that makes a huge difference. Thank you.

COMBS: Absolutely. Happy to do it.

BERMAN: So, it could be a blow to diversity at college. Today the Supreme Court considers ending affirmative action.

KEILAR: And another Powerball drawing this weekend. And there is still no winner. So, just how much is tonight's jackpot? A lot. We'll tell you, next.



KEILAR: Time now for "5 Things to Know for Your New Day.

A Halloween celebration turning disastrous in South Korea. A crowd surge killing at least 154 people, including two Americans, in one of the country's worst-ever disasters. South Korean officials declaring a week-long mourning period as investigators try to determine what triggered the crush.

BERMAN: Sources say the suspect who violently attacked Paul Pelosi in his home had a bag containing zip ties and duct tape. San Francisco police say he faces multiple felony charges. This is the man who broke into the house. Federal officials are still weighing whether to charge him with federal crimes.

KEILAR: The Supreme Court meeting today to consider whether colleges can continue to use race as a factor in admissions. Challengers in the case are targeting Harvard and the University of North Carolina, arguing their programs violate equal protection principles.

BERMAN: The death toll in the suspension bridge collapse in India now stands at 134. Authorities revealing the structure had recently reopened following repairs. Officials say an estimated 200 people were on the bridge when it collapsed after a cable snapped at one end.

KEILAR: And the Powerball jackpot growing to an estimated $1 billion. If someone wins tonight's drawing, it will be the second largest jackpot in Powerball history. The cash value is estimated at more than $497 million.

That is "5 Things to Know for Your New Day." More on these stories all day on CNN and And don't forget to download the "5 Things" podcast every morning.

BERMAN: So, this morning, rain showers set to drench the East Coast just in time for Halloween. Joining us now, the scariest meteorologist in America, Chad Myers.


CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: And dressing up as a weatherman today.


MYERS: And tomorrow a retired - a retired weatherman tomorrow if I win that Powerball.

Happy rainfall across parts of the area. D.C., Baltimore, you're not in really good shape. It's going to be raining a lot, so make sure you're prepared for that.

Philadelphia, you get in on the rain later in the afternoon into the evening, maybe almost 8:00. So, get the trick-or-treating done early.

There are just scattered showers out there. It isn't going to rain everywhere, but it will likely at least pass through your area even on up toward the northeast by the time we work our way into the dark of the night.

Temperatures today are going to be fairly mild, especially across the southeast. Warmer than you should be. Cooler than you should be in the pacific northwest. And that's where it's actually going to be raining the heaviest.

Seattle, bad news for you. Bellingham, all the way over toward Portland, that's where the heaviest rain will be and your temperatures will only be in the 50s. Mild across the Midwest. You can't argue with 56 and cloudy in Chicago. It's a lot better than it's been in some years, John.

BERMAN: Chad, what is that dancing like vampire weatherman? Oh, and then there's - there's like -

MYERS: There's a little bit there.

BERMAN: Yes, but then there's the naked guy behind you. Like, what's going on there?

MYERS: No, no, no, he's a -- he's a mummy.

BERMAN: Oh, OK. When you look closely -

KEILAR: It's just nude color.

BERMAN: Few (ph). Thank goodness. Thank goodness.

KEILAR: The trouble with wearing pants that color, too, though, you have to be careful, you know?

BERMAN: That's a different kind of party altogether.

All right, Chad Myers, appreciate it. Thank you very much.

MYERS: We'll see you.

KEILAR: Learning life skills through creating a haunted house. That is exactly what these adults with developmental disabilities did. We have "The Good Stuff," next.



BERMAN: It is time now for "The Good Stuff."

There is a special haunted house in St. Petersburg, Florida, that will scare you and bring a smile to your face. Yes, there are zombies and witches and killer clowns, and the entire attraction is operated by adults with developmental disabilities.


(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED MALE: An awesome team building experience. It's -- it has a social component to it. There's a lot of organizing that's going on. There's a lot of planning that has to happen. There's a lot of inventory lists that we have to make. And our participants are taking an active role.


BERMAN: Looks amazing. A dozen members of the Park Center for Disabilities helped design, create and act in this ghostly walk- through building five on their campus, which they transformed into a very, very scary cemetery.

So, as some of you might know, this is our last show. And we just wanted to thank all of you for spending your mornings with us this last year and a half.

KEILAR: And with Berman for almost five years.

It has been an honor to do this show with you. It's been an honor to share this time with all of you.

Starting tomorrow you'll see Don, Poppy and Kaitlan here. And you couldn't be in better company.

BERMAN: You can see Brianna here at 4:00 p.m. today, and I'll be on tonight at 8:00.

"NEWSROOM" is next.