tv ABC7 News Getting Answers ABC November 2, 2021 3:00pm-3:30pm PDT
announcer: building a better bay area -- moving forward for better solutions, this is abc 7 news. kristen: thank you for watching "getting answers" live on abc seven, hulu live and wherever you stream. we watch -- we get answers for you in real-time. today, we will talk to representative and chairman of the housing intelligence committee, adam schiff. we will talk about the races around the country in the continued investigation into the january 6 insurrection. first, cdc advisors are recommending pfizer's covid-19 vaccine for children ages five to 11 years old. that news coming down in just the past hour. and one local doctor has co-authored a petition urging doctors to sign it and urge the
california to part with of public health to get a clear way out of masking, quarantines and a symptomatic testing in schools. joining us now is it -- an infectious disease expert. good to see you. i feel getting that pfizer vaccine approval, i want to ask you about this because you've explained your thinking and choices as they have evolved over the course of the pandemic, making adjustments each time something meaningful happens, that dealt the surge, delta goes away -- this week, i notice you are taking a strong stand saying california health officials have to establish a way out of those mitigation measures, including masking in schools. why? >> i strongly support vaccine. i wrote a piece this morning in the chronicle explaining the
reasons why i think people should get their children vaccinated. however, bay area officials have decided to have metrics for when adults can unmask. we are going to go up and down with transmission because the way the cdc defines it, it's hard to be in the low tears, so the rule is eight weeks after the children vaccine is available, adults can stop masking inside. that got declared by san francisco health officials. that is true of adults and they are in bars and restaurants and everyone is unmasked and is going to be unmasked in eight weeks, but children, there is no offramp or metrics for when they would do that. the thing about the meeting today is there's a lot of mental illness developing in children from all the school closures and lack of normalcy. they deserve normalcy like adults do as well. kristen: you talk about the
mental health impact, but what are some of the downsides you see to not having the off ramps in school? not knowing when you can stop masking, not knowing when you can stop a symptom attic testing or quarantine? what does that do in terms of either the education standpoint or encouraging vaccinations? >> i think there are two things that it does. in terms of encouraging vaccinations, i don't think it encourages people to vaccinate their children when they get to go back to normal and their children don't. only 27% of parents around the country are saying they are going to vaccinate their child. this is called positive motivation and i think we get more people vaccinated if we say yes, your child gets to go back to normal. second, quarantines or keeping children out of school. it's the new school closure for 2021 four blue states because
they are keeping children out of quarantine longer, 10 to 14 days, if they don't do tests to stay. finally, there is an npr interview with all of these kids and they say it reminds me i'm in a pandemic and it reminds me that i'm scared. there are implications for children, these long times of not being normal. if we can define them for adults, we can define off ramps for kids. kristen: you're talking about not having off ramps undermining the vaccination effort, why is that even a concern when the vaccine will be mandated in a few months for school entry in california? >> probably it won't it won't '' until it is fully approved and that is going to take longer than a few months. if the approval authorization came today, usually it's six months between authorization and approval.
beyond that, i'm worried who will get their child vaccinated even if there is a mandate. traditionally, there have been more racial and ethnic minorities were hesitant to get the vaccine. this will keep in equitable dis-of fusion -- distribution of those who can go to school and who can't. i wrote them all down, all these reasons in the chronicle today, but there are parents who need a little more time to talk to their pediatrician and really think about it. it would be really a positive motivator. many are saying as soon as my child gets to go back to normal, i will vaccinate them. if we don't link vaccines in a country that is hesitance about vaccine to normalcy, we've just told the blue states that your life will never change. kristen: i also wonder if this means you don't agree with schools that come out and say if
you don't get the vaccine, like oakland unified has said this, then your choices are to un-enroll or go to special independent study school. what do you think of that approach? >> i think that approach is ok when the vaccine is fully approved. it's not proved fully for 12 to 15-year-olds or 5-11-year-olds. we have data on a relatively small number of children and the fda said they are going to have an army of safety experts looking at these vaccines. i'm sure they are safe, but some people need the final staff -- final stamp of approval. the only way president biden can mandate the vaccine is after august 23, when it got fully approved. that's not usually how we do mandates in this country. it's good to do positive incentivizing motivation first before you impose mandates. kristen: you also wrote as part
of that petition urging california public health officials to set metrics for when they can and masking in schools, which they have not set yet, but hopefully they will establish the metrics soon. you said high-quality experiences, you link it to being allowed to see each other's faces and return to full linguistic and emotional engagement. what does that mean? >> there's an article in the new york times this weekend about talking about off ramps for masking in schools. a number of pediatricians said we don't know the impact of language development. it's intellectually dishonest to discuss masking as if it is completely normal. it's not. we've done it for a year and a half and counting and for young children forming speech, they may need to see people's faces, and to be on that, the mental health effects have been really difficult. more on young people than u
probably because there routines are more based on socialization. socialization usually involves a full range of facial expressions. kristen: do you feel in general california has gone overboard and reaction? you tweeted we were 50 out of 50 in terms of states, in terms of kids losing classroom time over the pandemic. what do you think? >> we just are. there is a website that keeps track of school closures and we kept children out of in-person learning more days than any of the 50 states, so we are truly 50 out of 50 of keeping public school student out of in-person learning. right above us is oregon and then maryland and virginia were close. kristen: but was that necessary and worked to our good in terms of keeping kids safe and healthy or could they have accomplished the same goals without having taken that many school days away? >> they could have accomplished
those goals without taking that many school days away. there was study after study in new york, wisconsin, and georgia that showed the safety of mitigation procedures in place even at the height of the pandemic with high community transmission. many states just made it happen. they had their children back in in person learning and we didn't in california. i think we can't ever call that a success in our states pandemic response. kristen: don't go away. we have more to talk about, including why you think the cdc's definition of community transmission is outdated and why we should start thinking about cases, numbers may not necessarily mean we are in horrible
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kristen: we are back with an infectious disease experts, a lot to talk about today. pfizer's vaccine for -11-year-olds just got approved. i want to start with why cdc's definition of community transmission negatively impacting us? >> them away community transmission was defined before vaccinations made sense -- based on two parameters -- test positivity, which you can lower if you tested a lot, places like san francisco test a lot. and then, the number of cases over 100,000 people. in the case of mask systematic testing, which we did to see if we could break chains of
transmission, so we could test anyone who didn't feel well, come and test. there were a lot of testing sites. that meant we would really be able to catch people with cases and know how many cases are in the community. the cdc after vaccination is don't go in test unless you have had an exposure or don't feel well. so if you do not go and test, you are likely to have covid. so cases over 100,000 people are going to be high because we are testing the way the cdc tells us to test, which is go and test if you have been exposed to covid. it doesn't tell you the amount of spread in the community, so we are going to be in a moderate to high or substantial community transmission by that artificial definition. kristen: what metric should we use instead? >> i think hospitalizations over 100,000 people. we have three people in the
hospital of 100,000 in the city of san francisco. in a typical flu season, we will have 20-40 people in the hospital over 100,000. we've made our metrics lower because covid is much deadlier than the flu. hospitalization metrics don't distort. sometimes they do if you say someone has covid when they just swabbed positive and are therefore a broken leg. generally, we do the best we can. kristen: implied in this is cases may be ok as long as the people who have the cases don't get sick. would you say that's accurate? >> the reason we tested so much for cases before is because you could spread the virus even when you feel well. so we tested and tested to make
sure we break that chain. after vaccination, you can spread it if you are feeling ill but we don't have a lot of evidence that if you feel well you are spreading it. in fact, the cdc does not recommend if you are a septa medic and vaccinated. it's decayed on the fact that we think we are blocking the virus and killing it in our nose. we may have a tiny bit in our nose but we are not spreading it if we are vaccinated and that make sense microbiological. kristen: the cdc just approved the pfizer vaccine for 5-11-year-olds. it's a smaller dose. i want to ask if you think all parents should get it right away if they could? talk to them about how safe you think it is. >> i think it is safe for the reason it's so much less of a dose. there seems to be a dose response -- -- -- --
inflammation of the heart and the moderna vaccine has not been authorized by the fda because it's 100 micrograms and they are likely seeing more than they are comfortable with in that trial. the 30 microgram does stuff pfizer is approved for 12-15-year-olds. even in that case, we see rare but mild cases of myocarditis, but it is more common in israel. 5-11-year-olds makes a lot of sense because the fda talked to pfizer and said make it smaller. we can't have safety concerns when children are so much less at risk. they listened to them and made those much smaller. so i feel like this is going to be a safe dose. kristen: and there is nothing in
the trials with the kids have gotten the vaccine to suggest it could hurt the kids? >> right. it was 2200 kids total, but nobody got it. kristen: thank you so much. i appreciate the time you gave us for this in-depth conversation. a lot to think about at this juncture in the pandemic. thank you. coming up next, congressman adam schiff of california joining us to talk abo
kristen: welcome back. it is election day with some key races that offer a preview of next year's elections. this is the investigation into the january 6 capital insurrection continues. one man who as an integral part of this is the chairman of the intelligence can become a congress meant adam schiff of california. he has a new book out -- midnight in washington, how we almost lost our democracy and
still could. congressman schiff joins us to talk about the book of the investigation and political turmoil in our nation. thank you for joining us. good to have you back. rep. schiff: good to be with you. thank you. kristen: let's touch on today's election quickly. virginia, the coven or trays, terry mcauliffe in a tough race. glenn youngkin was not even very well-known and is now running neck and neck with the former governor in a state president biden won handily. i wonder if that worries you as a democrat. do you see it as a referendum on the president? rep. schiff: i think there's a long tradition of the president in power not doing well in the first virginia gubernatorial race. i hope we can break that president this year. terry mcauliffe is a great candidate and i'm keeping my fingers crossed. but we will find out soon enough. the polls are closing in just a little while. but i'm very optimistic.
i think we have a really important and positive program to run on that we are going to get finished in the next few days and that will be a great boost. i wish it were earlier in time for the virginia governor's race. kristen: you are talking about the build back better bills that have not gotten a vote. i know president wyden wanted that before he went off to europe and the climate summit. i wonder if you think democrats are in a weakened position in the sense that you seem divided between the progressives and moderates who even now, we don't know if joe manchin is going to sign onto the infrastructure bill, though the president seems optimistic. but the republicans are very united. how do you account for that division in the democratic party and unity in the republican party? rep. schiff: in the democratic party, we are narrowly unanimous in prescription drug prices, extending medicare to cover vision, dental and hearing, paid childhood leave and all these
things. the challenge is when you have a 50/50 divided senate, near unanimity is not enough. you have to be unanimous and i think we will get there in the next week or so, but i wish we had gotten there already. kristen: your book is titled "midnight in washington -- how we almost lost our democracy and still could." some people worry it's already been lost, looking at the polarization and demonization of one another. we see it from washington all the way to local school boards. how do we bring our nation back from the brink? rep. schiff: it's a really good question and i wanted to write about that very issue. what has so polarized us and divided us as a country? what it was like to conduct an investigation of a president and conduct one of the few impeachments in history and bring us back as a country, we are going to need continued leadership that is trying to mend the divide, as joe biden
is. as long as donald trump is on the scene and continuing to try to poison some americans against others, it's going to be very difficult. i think neighbor to neighbor, sometimes a family member, we need to have those heart to heart conversations that have so broken down over the last few years. kristen: you write about how your own life experience in eastern europe prepared you for the rise of trump in the u.s.. how so? rep. schiff: i lived in czechoslovakia and saw that country divide into because of a xenophobic populist leader who blamed the checks and hungarian speaking population and blamed the romany population for the economic woes the slovaks were feeling. when i arrived, there was no chance of the country dividing but within a matter of weeks, i saw the power of this xenophobic populism, this nativism literally tear the country apart. and what i have seen in trump and trumpism is a very similar
blamed the other, blame those who don't look like the white majority and that kind of ugly rhetoric really does tear countries apart and i think it has been enormously destructive here as well. kristen: the violence we saw on january 6 seems to have given some republican colleagues of yours pause. but since the immediate aftermath, they seemed to have changed their tunes again. i wonder how confident are you that the january 6 committee that you are part of will hold those responsible, accountable? rep. schiff: you are absolutely right. republican numbers, and i was on the house floor during that insurrection and i described in the first chapter of the book what it was like to be there when they were breaking down the doors and breaking windows to get in. the republicans were just as terrified as anyone else. i was with the republican who basically took a wooden post out of the floor to use as a club to
defend himself. but those republican members are pushing the same big lie that led to that violence on january 6, a lie about our elections, that it was written were fraudulent, and that undermines our whole democratic system. on the committee, we are working in a very bipartisan fashion and we are going to expose all the misconduct by whoever was responsible, in congress, in the white house, in the cabinet, among these white nationalist groups. we are going to hold hearings, we are doing depositions and interviews almost every day, so the truth will come out. kristen: the investigative work continues but it seems to have fallen off the radar for many americans. do you think there is some sense of responsibility to be borne by the media or social media? rep. schiff: i think the media has a responsibility not to lose sight of this incredible attack, this tragic attack on our
democracy. the fact that the same falsehoods about our election which propelled that kind of violence could lead to other violence again if you persuade people, as donald trump is trying to do, that we can't rely on our elections to decide who should govern, then what is left but violence? i think it's an obligation for those of us in elected office, those of us in media and elsewhere to make sure people understand what the stakes are and how precious and fragile our democracy really is. kristen: i think the partisanship hurts you greatly. in the 20 years in congress, it sound like you have had friends on the others of the aisle. i wonder if you still consider them friends, if you still talk with represented of nunez or mccarthy or senator mitch mcconnell on a friendly basis? are you friends still? rep. schiff: devin nunes, who is my ranking member, we continue to work together on the intelligence committee and get that work done. we really never had an uncivil
word toward each other. it doesn't mean we don't have the most vehement disagreements. we do. but we try to keep it within certain bounds and there are a great many republican members i have a good working relationship was even if it does not border on friendship. but, nonetheless, i can't help but after that insurrection, after so many people who i admired and respected because i leave that they believed what they were saying turned out not to believe it and are willing to continue pushing a big lie that undermines our democracy and it's frankly hard to have a relationship kristen:.
joining us on this interactive show. we will be here every weekday at 3:00 on tonight, breaking news as we come on the air. the vote just moments ago. the key cdc panel unanimously in favor of pfizer's vaccine for children 5 to 11. cdc director rochelle walensky expected to sign off at any moment. what parents should know tonight. also this evening, the election showdown right now in virginia. what it could say about the country, about the president's agenda. the first exit polls coming in now in that hotly contested race for governor between democrat terry mcoff life and republican glen youngkin. tonight, new signs a house could be nearing a vote on the president's house infrastructure bill. the second bill, universal pre-k, affordable child care, expanded medicare and climate.