tv Anderson Cooper 360 CNN January 4, 2022 9:00pm-10:00pm PST
good evening a lot of breaking news to cover this evening, including new guidance from the cdc on when and how to isolate, and mask use, and the tragedy unfolding on interstate 95 outside the nalgtion's capit. we start with what we learned about the insurrection. two days before the anniversary, the security ramps up in anticipation, the committee has sent a letter to sean hannity asking for his voluntary cooperation in the investigation, and they released more text messages. now, many of these to former chief of staff mark meadows from hannity that were written in the days before and after the attack, according to the committee's letter, they have quote dozens of these texts. many appearing to show that the fox news host was worried about the former president's attempts to overturn the election results
on january 6th, also that he appeared to have a familiarity with what was going on behind the scenes in the days leading up to the certification. we're going to show you those texts in just a moment. the committee previously released the text from hannity to meadows that asked him to contact the president, can he make a statement, ask people to leave the capitol, demonstrating an awareness of who was attacking the capitol that day, at the least, an awareness he didn't broadcast to viewers on tv or radio, instead blaming outside actors. >> we also knew there's bad actors that will infiltrate large crowds. those that truly support president trump, those that believe they are part of the conservative movement in this country, we do not support those that commit acts of violence. >> that peacefully protest, and we had the reports that groups like antifa, other radical groups, i don't know the names of all of them, that they were there to cause trouble.
>> i'm joined by jamie, who has the details of the scene hannity texts. what have we learned from the new text messages? >> whether or not sean hannity cooperates with the committee, this is bad news for donald trump. these texts show sean hannity, mark meadows having exchanges that are in effect a betrayal. they are talking behind his back. and just for context, i want to point out what the committee's letter says at the top. they say that to hannity, quote, you clearly seem to have advanced knowledge regarding president trump and his legal team's planning that he was quote providing advice and that he had relevant communications while the riot was underway, that these communications make you hannity quote a fact witness. so let me just go through a couple of the texts, this first
one is from december 31st, and this is sean hannity, the former chief of staff mark meadows. we can't lose the entire white house counsel's office. i do not see january 6th happening the way he is being told. he being trump. after the 6th, he should announce he will lead a nationwide effort to reform voting integrity, go to florida and watch joe, that would be president biden mess up daily, stay engaged when he speaks people will listen. then on january 5th, so this is the night before the riot. a text from sean hannity to unknown recipient, quote i'm very worried about the next 48 hours, and another one that same night to mark meadows, pence pressure, white house counsel will leave. it appears that hannity may be talking to the white house counsel, anderson, but in any case, he understands and he's
saying to meadows that the pressure we know that trump was putting on mike pence not to do the right thing on january 6th, this is evidence that the white house counsels were threatening to quit. >> i want to play what hannity was saying on his program on january 5th, the same day as the last two text messages, the former president's son eric trump, and then to ted cruz. >> we have ted cruz coming on later in the program. we know that he wants this commission to look into this for ten days. we're going to have about 150 house members supporting this as well, a big rally, i believe your dad will be addressing that rally tomorrow. senator, i'm looking at the support you're getting in the senate and i'm looking at the support in the house. maybe 150 members in the end, it's looking like realistically, can this really happen. i don't like to give this audience false hope. i want to, you know, would we have an audit.
is that real, is that a possibility? do you see, for example, do you see any -- after tomorrow, is there a path for the president constitutionally. >> so, i mean, clearly two very different narratives from sean hannity the day before the insurrection, what was he texting the day after the text. >> this is from january 10th, that text from sean hannity to both then chief of staff mark meadows, and congressman jim jordan, quote, guys, we have a clear path to land the plane in nine days. he can't mention the election again ever. i did not have a good call with him today and worse, i'm not sure what is left to do or say, and i don't like not knowing if it's truly understood. ideas? just for some context, anderson, later on in the committee's letter, they also -- there's
mention of the 25th amendment, which would be the amendment to remove the president, and the committee says to sean hannity that they would like to talk to him about any conversations with mr. meadows or others about any effort to remove the president under the 25th amendment. so it appears, anderson, the committee may have some more information about that, but there's a lot in here that speaks to sean hannity being concerned, no question, about trump's state of mind. >> and what's hannity's response to all of this? >> so i believe that we just heard back from jay sekulow who's his lawyer. he spoke to our colleague gloria borger and said quote we are reviewing the committee's letter, and will respond as appropriate. >> so i understand the committee chairman also wants to speak directly with the former vice
president. >> that's true. so bennie thompson told our colleague ryan nobles today that the committee would like to speak to mike sepence, so the question is will mike pence cooperate. we don't know the answer yet but i think it's important to point to the following. there are three people very close to mike pence who are cooperating, his former chief of staff mark short, his former counsel greg jacob, and his former national security adviser keith kellogg. those three people are very close to mike pence. they would not be cooperating with the committee without his blessing. so if i had to guess, i think mike pence will cooperate in some way with the committee. >> appreciate it. thank you. >> perspective now from white house chief correspondent kaitlan collins, and andrew mccabe, senior law enforcement analyst, and senior media analyst as well, bill carter. kaitlan, i understand you have a news statement from the former
president, what's he saying about this? >> he responded for the first time after the committee released these texts. these do not appear to be texts that the former president was aware of at the time, that sean hannity was sending to his chief of staff and that he was having with other allies. trump said i disagree with the response on the statement. the text he's referring to that hannity sent to jim jordan, and mark meadows, referring to him at the time, he can't mention the election again, and worse i'm not sure what is left to do or say and i don't like not knowing if it's truly understood, ideas, question mark, the reference that he should stop talking about the election, the former president saying he doesn't agree with that sentiment. clearly he doesn't. he has been talking about the election almost nonstop since he left office and left the white house almost a year ago now, and so it is notable, though, to see this divide between the former president and one of his closest allies in the media because he
and sean hannity were very close. they spoke not only on a daily basis but several times a day. i'm told they are still pretty close but clearly, the former president is not happy with this advice that sean hannity was sending to his chief of staff at the time. >> and kaitlan, hannity's attorney said they're reviewing the letter, and will respond as appropriate. do we know if hannity, the former president, do you know if they still communicated a lot? >> they do still communicate. i'm not sure if it's as much as it was when former president trump was in the white house. he used to call hannity to talk about the show once it was over. we were told by multiple sources, hannity acted as the informal adviser to the president, and to show the level of access that hannity had to him. people inside the white house would call hannity and talk about the show. they knew it was a way to effectively get through to the former president, he would respond and see what was on television. that speaks to a level of closeness. we don't have any notion that
that has changed. clearly it does show how people even publicly it seems, so close, they have this relationship. they disagreed on what was happening at the time, they disagreed on how trump should be handling that, and trump is saying he disagrees what hannity's advice was to mark meadows. >> bill, i don't normally focus on fox much because i don't think it's like naval gazing, i'm interested in covering news not what some other network is doing but it does stun me the extent to what sean hannity is a mouthpiece, asking jim jordan for pointers he should say on air. it's extraordinary to me. it shouldn't be, but it is. >> it's always been extraordinary with him. remember, he campaigned for trump. he was out publicly campaigning for trump. this is a guy allegedly on a news network, and i think that's going to be interesting, isn't it, because he probably will try to come back with some sort of first amendment protections as a journalist, and really he's never been a journalist.
he's a performer, a guy who, you know, comes on the air, and basically spouts an opinion and interestingly, you know who doesn't think that sean hannity is a journalist, sean hannity because he said on his radio show in 2016, he said, literally, i am not a journalist. i am a talk show host, and i don't think dr. phil would be saying he's a journalist and deserves the protections of a journalist. it's interesting to see how they counter this. i don't think they can claim he's a journalist now. >> the committee is asking for volu voluntary cooperation. it's not a subpoena. if hannity doesn't cooperate, though, and i'm not sure why he would for a whole bunch of just public relations issues and it appeals to his audience that it doesn't, do you think they would subpoena him? >> that's a good question, anderson, and i don't think we know the answer to that yet. it's incredibly important the committee start in this way. they have to start with the least inclusive method which is
to request cooperation. of course hannity has an opportunity to respond now. i thought it was interesting as well that the letter very directly requests to be connected with hannity's counsel so that the committee can continue to undertake in these sort of negotiations over what that cooperation would look like, would documents be produced, that sort of thing. you can imagine those discussions going on for some weeks, but ultimately if he refuses to, i think the committee has to subpoena him. i think they have made it very clear that they are taking the position that no one is above the law with respect to this area. they are not conducting a criminal inquiry. it's simply a fact finding mission, and you're not immune from congressional service, simply because you are a member of the media, and i think particularly that's true in these circumstances. >> kaitlan, we learned tonight that the former president has now cancelled his previously scheduled january 6th press conference from the swamp and
mar-a-lago, do we know why he's done this? >> the president said in a statement it was because he wants to instead talk about what he was going to talk about then at a rally he's having in arizona later on. gabby orr, our colleague is reporting that it had to do with urging of advisers, they did not think it was a good idea to hold that rally, and what kind of attention it would get, it is a full schedule on capitol hill. there's a prayer vigil scheduled i believe that evening, and so that would have been around the time that he was scheduled to speak, so obviously that is something that the former president wants is it to be carried live tor get coverage, and if it wasn't going to get that, i think that probably played a factor into this as well. it surprised me that the former president cancel that had. for a year now he has talked about how differently he views what happened that day than even clearly his own allies in the media, and so the fact that he cancelled it, and is not going to have a microphone that day does say something. of course there's a chance we could hear from the former
president in another form that day. >> the idea that the former president would choose not to speak in front of cameras i guess to kaitlan's point, the visuals of him ranting about ridiculous conspiracy theories from mar-a-lago while there's a prayer service going on maybe is not the greatest juxtaposition, what do you make of him cancelling? >> it isn't, but that's unusual for him because he doesn't usually mind that kind of juxtaposition. i think he's worried anderson, i think the stuff is coming out that the committee has learned is starting to really worry him, and these things that sean hannity clearly was himself very very worried about was clearly pushing back on, all of these things about the white house counsel et cetera tell you that there are witnesses that are going to testify to that. that is going to look really bad for him. i don't think he wants to be out front right now trying to make his case especially in a press conference. i assume someone would ask him some tough questions, so i guess
he wants to back off right now, and i think he's worried. that's what i think. >> yeah, i mean, i guess it's the hypocrisy, bill, of sean hannity saying one thing on air and having this direct channel to actual decision makers, and trying to, you know, manipulate events behind the scenes and, you know, saying something differently behind the scenes. >> it's extraordinary. obviously fox is an organization that doesn't function as a news organization. and really, you know, hannity is in an interesting position. he could come forward, speak to the committee, and be honest and direct about what his concerns were. if he did that, his audience would rebel against him. i don't think he's going to do it. i think he'll run and hide behind whatever this first amendment claims he's going to make because he can't afford to risk his own reputation with people who only believe trump lies, and he basically was saying trump was making a mistake in challenging the election, and now i don't think he would be able to say that. >> it's just sad, a crisis in
the country he was willing to say one thing privately, i mean, the way he personally felt, and yet publicly really at a time of crisis was saying something different. andrew mccabe. >> says a lot about his character, anderson. >> bill carter, appreciate it. ahead, more on our breaking news, the investigation into the capitol riot in just a moment, joined by a professor from yale who's written extensively from authoritarian regimes. keeping him honest, confusing guidance from the cdc on masks and testing, assuming you can even get an at-home test. my eyes feel like a combo of stressed, dry and sandpaper. strypaper? why do we all put up with this? when there's biotrue hydration boost eye drops. biotrue uses naturally inspired ingredients like an electrolyte, antioxidant, even your tears' own moisturizer. and no preservatives. these ingredients are true to your eyes' biology. see? bio.true.
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way tyrants and dictators twist the truth. and the author of "on tyranny," thank you for joining us. you said the most distressing thing about american news coverage is we don't treat the end of democracy as the story. which is an incredibly alarming statement. why do you believe about the -- what do you believe about the end of democracy? >> well, i guess anderson, we should probably get the alarm part out of the way so we can move on to the serious analysis and the repair because i think what we mean is we're not prepared to face the things the way we are. democracies fall all the time. most democracies fail. the patterns we have seen are typical of backsliding democracies. i think it's very important for us to face that reality, to write about it as journalists, to treat it as the mainstream because we don't treat it as the
mainstream, what we end up doing is saying democrats say this, and republicans say that. who knows, if we do that long enough, we keep our eye off the ball long enough, there's no longer a democracy to cover. >> what do you compare the situation, i mean, is there a country you compare what's happening in the u.s. right now to in terms of a country that became autocratic that fell or where democracy died. >> what's happening in the u.s. now is quite typical. it's very typical that you would have some kind of mixture of vio violent coup attempts and legal attempts, using the law to overthrow the regime. what's happening in the u.s. now with the biden, is most similar to hungary, where you have a step by step, salami slicing approach, you can never say at what moment the system has changed but at some moment, the system definitely has changed and so if we don't start talking about the right to vote as
opposed to all of these little laws. if we don't start insisting on the directability of americans to choose their representatives, then we're going to find ourselves in the same place as these legalistic autocratic regimes that have emerged. >> the media plays a role in the spread of tyranny, i have been in countries where radio stations have been integral in rwanda in encouraging genocide, i was in bos nia, that is part of the process as well. what do you see happening here that are red flags or markers of destruction of a democracy? >> yeah, i mean, you mentioned the media. it's not just the media. it's the kind of media. so a good example is russia. if you let your media centralize into just a few outlets, and if you let local news die, then it becomes much harder for democracy to thrive. democracy depends on people being able to inform themselves
about the home truths, about the things that matter in their lives. we in the u.s. have let local news die in the last ten or fifteen years, and it's largely been replaced by facebook and very centralized forms of basically psychological manipulation, and we see around the world in the near east, in asia and also in the united states how facebook tends to make things worse, including on january 6th. one long-term thing we need to be doing is thinking about resuscitating investigative journalism. when mr. trump talks about, you know, reporters being the enemies of the people, reporters are the friends of the people, and when mr. trump said reporters are enemies of the people, he certainly didn't mean sean hannity going back to your earlier point. >> it's a year later and many are still dismissing the insurrection. one of the things that has surprised me and shouldn't surprise me but is, you know, we look at other countries and we think, well, if i was in that
situation, you know, the leaders here wouldn't be so craven, they wouldn't do what they did in lebanon before the civil war. they wouldn't do what they did in bosnia, and yet, we see people here who clearly have a moral compass that is very different, and are very willing to say something, you know, on camera, the one thing that they are saying privately, something different that they're willing to go along with a lot more things and a lot of americans are willing to go along with it. there was a bowl about the number of americans who think political violence is acceptable. >> yeah, i mean, i think basically american exceptionalism is an instrument of suicide. we can't be exceptionalistic about ourselves, we have to look at other countries and say that's how people behave, and if the founders had wisdom, it's that they understood that's how people behaved and they set up checks and balances to prevent that. the founders didn't think we would be wonderful.
they thought we would be check bid institutions, including journalism. the pattern i see which is striking and so very familiar is if a leader tells a very big lie, like for example somebody who's lost by 7 million votes claims to have won a landslide victory it's not just a falsehood, it becomes a kind of alternative reality that people live inside, and that's what's dangerous, and that's why the work of the january 6th exhi commission is so important. if you can slowly build up fact by boring fact, another story which a person with common sense can believe in, you can start to reign inthat big lie. >> it's been revealed how much rely on norms as opposed to things codified in law. our democracy functions in norms, in many cases, and that's certainly been a surprise to me. >> norms mean values. democracy is not a machine.
democracy is not delivered by capitalism, it's about people wanting to rule. democracy has to become a kind of value, which means that politicians we respect have to lean forward to protect it, and citizens can imagine it's going to be delivered because it's not. we have to make positive commitments to things like the right to vote. we have to treat it as a value. we ourselves have to affirm those norms. >> the book is "on tyranny," timothy snyder, thank you so much, really appreciate it. >> up next, new cdc guidelines on testing that could end up discouraging potentially contagious people from finding out they're contagious, confusing, and dr. sanjay gupta, and admiral brett giroir.
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the country crossed another covid milestone tonight. according to data from johns hopkins university, we are now averaging more than 500,000 new cases a day. half a million more people getting infected every single day. and while deaths, thankfully, are actually down somewhat, the number of people hospitalized with covid is soaring. or anecdotally, so is the number of people who are frustrated, confused, and uncertain about what they should do about this latest surge. the latest guidelines out from the cdc add to the confusion. for starters, they estimate that the omicron variant, now 95% of
cases in the country, is up to three times more infectious than delta. yet, in the face of that, the new guidelines still do not specifically recommend n95 or kn95 masks and say that cloth masks are still okay, despite what many experts have said on this program and others. so, that's confusing, to say the least. so is the new word on testing for people who are isolating, but symptom free five days after testing positive. simply put, they don't advise taking a home test. according to the new guidelines, if an individual has access to a test and wants to test, then go -- go for it. so, it's purely optional. then, the guidelines go on to say that if you do happen to test and if you happen to test positive, then you should stay isolated for another five days. in other words, take it very seriously. something dr. rochelle walensky fore -- something the cdc director foreshadowed during an
appearance on cbs last night. >> so, if you have access to a test and if you want to do a test to day five and if your symptoms are gone and you are feeling well, then go ahead and do that test. but here's what -- how i would interpret that test. if it's positive, stay home for another five days. if it's negative, i would say ya still really need to wear a mask. you still may have some transmissibility ahead of you. you still should probably not visit grandma. you shouldn't get on an airplane and you should still be pretty careful when you're with other people by wearing your mask all the time. >> now, whether dr. walensky or other officials are aware or not, the new policy amounts to disincentive for home testing. as you can see the usefulness of it, telling people in so many words that a positive antigen test is serious but there is no need to take one. in fact, if you are feeling okay and just want to get out of the house already, don't go looking for answers you might not like. that's essentially what they are saying. now perhaps, some of this has to do with legitimate scientific concerns about false negatives and not wanting to give infected people a false sense of security. something dr. walensky spoke about last night. or perhaps, it is the simple fact that, useful or not, good luck even finding a home test.
as cnn's kaitlan collins also asked her about. >> did the shortage of rapid tests that we are seeing play a role in this decision? >> this decision really from the isolation standpoint had everything to do with the fact that we wouldn't change our guidance based on the result of that rapid test. and you know that it didn't have anything to do with the -- any shortage at all because we recommend rapid tests for those in quarantine. >> now, to be fair, public health always involves a balancing act between what the science says, what resources permit, what millions of exhausted and battered people will tolerate and what society can bear. but this is just plain confusing. today, the president spoke briefly about the virus. he announced he is doubling the order for pfizer's new antiviral pill. he promised greater availability of testing in the coming weeks, and continued to push people to get vaccinated and boosted. he pledged to keep schools open and safe, and said he knows people are tired and frustrated with all of it, to which we
might also is a bit bewildered. joining us now is coronavirus task force member and assistant hhs secretary for health in the last administration, also cnn chief medical correspondent dr. sanjay gupta. admiral giroir, i am wondering what your reaction is to the new guidelines from the cdc? >> well, thanks for having me on. i am certainly supportive that they are taking into factors about what people can do and the societal impact. i think they should be congratulated but i agree with you, anderson, they are confusing and they're really lacking in content. what they did today was not really a recommendation at all. it said if you can find a test and you want to get one, get one. i think it's pretty clear that a person who is infected with the omicron can be highly infectious to other people. that, if they are involved in any kind of activity that's high risk, if they are a nursing-home attendant, if they are in healthcare, if they are working at, you know, chick-fil-a with a lot of people, they really ought to test at day five to make sure they are not infectious. still wear mask whether you are negative or not.
and the government can do this. and remember, all those 500,000 -- they are known who they are at the state level. the state could literally ship them one of those 500 million new home tests when they test positive so that they can test themselves out of isolation. so, you know, i think you can improve on that and i hope they modify that. yes, take a test to get out of isolation if you are at any risk of other people and have the government send you those tests right to your home. >> yeah. i mean, sanjay, it seems like -- i mean, if i had it and i was isolated for five days, i would want to test just so that i know that i am not going to go out and infect somebody else if, after five days, i'm okay. do you think, sanjay, this decision was made because it's impossible for or really difficult to get a test? i have gone to cvs -- i don't know how many cvss i have gone looking for them. >> yeah sadly and the admiral and i have talked about this issue of testing. we're still not testing enough. there are still not enough tests
available so in some ways this is a form of triage. let me show you the guidelines just to be clear what they are now telling people who are testing positive for covid. stay -- stay home for at least five days. your isolation can end if symptoms are gone or resolving. wear a mask around others for five more days but the new things they added to that, again, as you mentioned. optional antigen test around day five and if positive, isolate for -- for a full-ten days. that -- that -- it may not be disincentivizing testing but it's not really incentivizing it, either, um, which i think is an issue for people who would rather not have to isolate for five more days for various reasons. they are not at all incentivized to take this test. i think there is something else, as well, anderson. this -- this day five number. i don't know if we have this graph to basically look at contagiousness. how contagious are you at various points? and what they find there if this graph makes sense, look in the middle. day five. um, this is the number of days
after testing positive for covid-19. there are still 31% of people, roughly, that are still contagious on day five. it goes down to 5% by day ten. point is that this is confusing. um, that is -- there's quite possibly going to be a lot of people -- up to a third of people who are still contagious, and many of them may not test. and to give you a little bit of context, in the uk, for example, they looked at the same data and said people should isolate for at least seven days and have two negative antigen tests before they come out of isolation. we're -- we're far more liberal than that here. >> admiral, do you think -- i mean, is omicron -- you know, obviously, it's -- it's very easily transmissible. if it's somewhat weaker than -- than delta, which, you know, i guess it doesn't get into the lungs in -- in adults in that way. i mean, do you see any signs of the virus, overall, is getting -- is -- is getting weaker? >> well, first of all, um, i don't want anyone to have a date with omicron. get your vaccines and get your
booster because that will protect you. even a weakened virus can still put you in the hospital and kill you if you are unprotected so i want to make sure people get vaccinated and the booster. but yes, um, this virus -- this strain of the virus, this variant of the virus is less serious to most people than the delta virus or the native strains. but it's still a very serious condition, and we can't take it lightly. and i want to emphasize that vaccination has to be the basis, the foundation of the strategy. you layer testing, oral antivirals, monoclonals, and masks on top of that but we need to do all of it. this is not a joke. omicron is still dangerous, and we have to employ all those strategies and techniques. >> i mean, sanjay, i guess my question is and -- and it was partly asked. but i mean, just overall, one day -- i mean, is that what happens to viruses? that they -- they gradually weaken over time, and is omicron a sign of that weakening? or is it just a -- this one happens to be a weaker variant and there's -- could be another
variant that's way stronger than delta coming down the pike? >> well, i think the second part of your sentence is -- is still true. we don't know that if there is potentially another variant which could be more problematic than omicron down the pike. but, you know, if you look sort of historically at viruses do tend to become, at the same time they become more transmissible, oftentimes, become less lethal. sort of trading off lethality for transmissibility. and, you know, we are seeing that with omicron. um, and -- and if you look overall, we are 90% of the case peak that we had last year but hospitalizations are -- are much lower. there is a decoupling, as people will say, between hospitalizations and this, which is an indication, for whatever reason, that this appears to be less virulent. maybe, the immunity that's already existing out there. maybe something inherent about the virus that's different. but, yeah, i think it's -- it's generally true that it becomes less lethal as it becomes more transmissible. but this virus has surprised us over and over, again, anderson. i mean, i will say that. it's -- it's very humbling to
sort of try and make any predictions here. >> just quickly, cloth masks? yes? no? obviously, n95, kn95 is better but i mean what about cloth masks? >> well, i'm -- >> i'm really concerned about cloth masks with -- >> oh, sorry. it was for sanjay. admiral, go ahead. >> i am really concerned about cloth masks with the omicron, particularly the single -- single-layer cloth masks. um, the -- that kind of masking .was probably, you know, relatively effective with other variants but with this one, i think it is pretty clear that you need a surgical mask or n95. and regarding those isolation guidelines, if you are going out after five days, you absolutely should be in an n95 so you don't transmit it to others. a simple cloth mask or bandana is just not going to be protective. >> good advice. concrete. appreciate it. admiral, appreciate it. sanjay as well of thanks so much. quick reminder sanjay's book keep sharp, build a better brain
at any age is out in paperback tonight. congratulations. we will dig more deeply in testing and speak with one doctor who says some people should be worrying less about it. we will ask him who and why, when we continue. it's where your whole team is in one place so everyone can stay up to date. slack. where the future works.
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if the new cdc guidelines tonight don't leave you puzzled, then there is always just the simple shortage of adequate testing. the debate over testing and whom. joining us now, dr. benjamin, specialist in laboratory medicine who wrote an article in the atlantic. "stop wasting covid tests people." also with us, dr. peter hotez, co-director of the center for vaccine development at texas children's hospital in houston and author of "preventing the next pandemic, vaccine diplomacy in a time of anti-science." you write of the current situation on testing, you say quote it's possible to feel outraged at this state of affairs while behaving as responsibly as possible given the circumstances. this is the testing version of vaccine equity. the effort to ensure lifesaving inoculations don't disproportionately benefit the healthiest and wealthiest people. when the same principle applied to diagnostics it means that people at the lowest risk from covid shouldn't buy up large stocks of at home tests when
they are not experiencing symptoms. so who do you think should be getting tested right now? as you know, many people including students and people returning to offices are required to show proof of a negative test. >> yeah, thanks so much for having me. um, i think it's a challenge because we have been told, you know, test, test, test over the last couple years. i think we all see widespread testing as good thing. and so, to sort of back off from that recommendation is a struggle for a lot of people. because, of course, we don't have as many tests as we need and we do have widespread vaccination. and so, i think, um, the focus needs to be on a few different groups. um, one is people who are symptomatic. people who have developed symptoms and may be at high risk of complications from the virus because there are now new treatments becoming available. antiviral pills you can take that can significantly reduce your chance of hospitalization or death.
um, and you want to be able to get a diagnosis so you can receive those. and then, other people are, you know, high-risk people that may still be vulnerable despite vaccination. so, people who are elderly. you know, 65, 70, or older who can still be hospitalized or die just by vaccination. and people with severe immune deficiencies. they -- they don't respond as well to the vaccine, and so they still are quite vulnerable and so having people around them test, asymptomatic caregivers, friends, family, social contacts, kind of helps keep the virus away from those people. so those -- that can be really beneficial. you know, effective use of testing. >> dr. hotez, do you agree with that? >> yeah, ab -- absolutely. i mean, i think the -- the bigger -- well, there's two big concerns. one, it's ridiculous year three in this pandemic and now we are rationing testing. we shouldn't have to be in that place but unfortunately that is the reality. but here's -- here is the -- the other issue is the fact that as much as we're rationing testing,
we really have to ration now treatments because paxlovid is not going to be here in abundance in time for this omicron wave. and now, we have got two of our most important monoclonal antibodies knocked out, the lily and regeneron monoclonal antibodies do not work against omicron. all we have is the gsk monoclonal antibody and that is not available. so how do you ration paxlovid? how do you ration limited quantities of the gsk monoclonal antibody? and the answer is you want to make certain that person is actually infected and -- and have that test so i think that makes a lot of sense. and then, as dr. mazer points out, if we have to ration testing we want to protect our most vulnerable. but i think the most demoralizing part of this is the fact that we even have to have this discussion about rational -- rationing testing at this point. >> yeah. i mean, dr. hotez, i mean, i know it doesn't make any sense to you. why -- why are we in this situation? i mean, obviously, you know, i mean, it -- it's -- there's been two administrations now in which testing has not been adequate.
>> it's -- it is never gotten off the ground and -- and from the very beginning, we have had -- we have struggled with this. and now -- of course, now we have some guidelines that are -- add some confusion. and actually, now send a mixed we made a big announcement or the president made a big announcement, about purchasing 500,000 diagnostic tests. and the cdc says, well, use it if you feel it's important. if it's negative, it doesn't mean very much because you still have to wear a mask. so, that also adds to the confusion, as well. we really have to define our algorithms around testing. define our algorithms how we will ration these very limited therapeutics, on top of all of the vaccined edd attdvadvocacy. >> do you see omicron being
controlled without testing? without enough tests, it seems unlikely that can happen. >> i think it would be very challenging to have enough tests to control the spread at a population level. we see in places like england and germany that have really abundant testing. they're unable to control the spread completely, even if the testing is providing some benefit, and even now the u.k., you know, there's reports that they're having shortages of tests even though they have an enormous and free supply of tests. omicron is blowing through, you know, any testing supply. >> dr. mazer, what do you think they should be doing with tests, to help the greater good? >> i think, you know, a lot of universities and schools, i should say i'm speaking my own opinion, and you know, a lot of universities and schools have done a lot of surveillance testing of symptomatic, asymptomatic populations to try to keep people safe in some of these dorm settings and close knit quarters, and now the
universities and a lot of workplaces have mandatory vaccination which is great, and they're getting nearly everyone vaccinated. i think given the scenario of relatively healthy young people, who are entirely vaccinated, it's not the most effective use of testing, you can help them out in the community, nursing homes struggle with testing. high risk people who live at home, who may want people around them who have tested struggle, and so we could be diverting the pcr capacity. that's very limited. we can't easily expand our pcr lab based testing. >> benjamin mazer, dr. hotez, appreciate it. severe weather trapping hundreds of people on a major interstate. imagine being stuck on that. the race to clear the highway after some people spent more than 24 hours in icy gridlock.yw l as gum issues. does it worry me? absolutely. sensodyne sensitivity & gum gives us the dual action effect that really takes care
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breaking news, the governor announces crews have pulled the last of abandoned cars and trucks off interstate 95 after a day of frozen gridlock from a fierce winter storm. hundreds of drivers, including virginia senator tim kaine were stuck in their vehicles up to 27 hours along a 50-mile stretch halfway between richmond and washington, d.c. drivers had to keep their engines off for long stretches in the cold to conserve fuel. the governor blames a perfect storm. governor's words. first rain that kept the roads from being treated then slushy snow. no deaths or injuries reported, but it was hazardous. up next, the breaking news from the january 6th committee. they've asked sean hannity to cooperate in the investigation. they're looking to speak with the former vice president mike pence, what information they're seeking,whhead.co en he was 17. with ancestry, being able to put the pieces of the puzzle together...
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