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North Carolina Sheriff Will Ask Court To Make Shooting Video Public; Interview With Rep. Madeleine Dean (D-PA); Los Angeles Dodgers Open "Fully-Vaccinated Fan Section"; What The U.S. Can Learn From Australia's Gun Reforms; CDC Recommends That Pregnant People Get A COVID-19 Vaccine; India Breaks Global Daily Case Record For Third Day In A Row. Aired 8-9p ET
Aired April 24, 2021 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're saying enough is enough. We have to learn how to deescalate. We have systemic racists. We have differences in how communities of color are treated.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Three strikes and you're out, but get a vaccine shot or two, and you can sit at a special section at a California baseball game.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Baseball is a community event.
It's a communal thing. Let's get back to the full ball park before the end of the season.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It makes me feel safe and I think the people here feel safe because they actually can sit together and they don't have to socially distant.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A big day in space. Crew-2 successfully and safely docking to the International Space Station.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You could really see all the excitement, just by the looks on their faces, the hugs that they are giving.
PAMELA BROWN, CNN HOST: I'm Pamela Brown in Washington. Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. You are in the CNN NEWSROOM. It's great to have you along on this Saturday night.
And tonight, we're talking about the state of policing in America. In some communities tonight, people fear the men and women sworn to protect and defend them does everyone all races really get equal treatment? And if not, where do changes have to be made?
People in North Carolina tonight and for many days are demanding to know what happened when a deputy killed a black man this week at his home. The man reportedly was shot in the back.
The sheriff says he is working to get the body camera footage released. People in his county want to see it now.
With me tonight, Democratic Congressman Madeline Dean of Pennsylvania. She is the deputy whip on the Gun Violence Prevention Task Force.
Thank you so much for coming on to talk about this.
There is so much to discuss. I want to talk about the larger picture of guns in just a moment. But first, I'm sure you have been following these deadly police shootings around the country, in some cases police bodycam video comes out quickly. But as we see in places like North Carolina, there is a law blocking the public from seeing it without a court order.
Should the public see what happens sooner than later no matter what we have there is a question about the police response?
REP. MADELEINE DEAN (D-PA): Always, every single time. Transparency and accountability are of the utmost importance for confidence in the community and justice to be had. So, absolutely, the delay in showing the footage is very puzzling and, of course, troubling to me. But imagine how troubling it is to the family and to the community.
BROWN: So as we know, Senators Booker and Scott, the Democrat and Republican, they're trying to get talks moving on police reform in Congress. How do you accomplish legislation that properly balances the civil rights of all Americans with the safety of police officers who behave professionally?
DEAN: What Congress has to do and really what I mean by that is the Senate has to do is to take up what we pass, the George Floyd Justice In Policing Act.
And I know the Senate is working on it. And I know that Karen Bass, Representative Karen Bass, who's the author of this extraordinary bill, is working with the Senate in order to try to get this passed. It is a combination of bills that will do so many smart things. But the country has been hungering for, for so long.
Imagine, we have not yet made lynching a federal crime. The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act would make lynching a federal crime. It would ban chokeholds. It would ban the no-knock warrant. It would keep a database, a required database of bad actors among police, so that that a police officer couldn't jump one jurisdiction one state to another without telling anybody what had happened in his or her past.
There is so much within the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act. I am a member of the Judiciary Committee. And so we passed it last time. George Floyd's brother was there with us and so gracefully and elegantly talked with us and hoped one day we will make progress to reform policing in America, to deal with systemic racism, and to deal with just reforming -- transforming policing.
Think of Daunte Wright, pulled over for we're not sure whether it was registration or an air freshener hanging and he winds up dead, a 20- year-old father, dead. We have to rethink what we're doing about policing in America.
BROWN: Yeah, and in that case, we know the officer said she meant to reach for her Taser. She reached for her gun instead.
One of the big sticking points in the negotiations over the legislation that you were talking about is the issue of qualified immunity. Senator Scott is suggesting a compromise, allowing litigation against the police departments rather than individual officers who are shielded unless there is a proven pattern of unconstitutional misconduct.
Would you be open to that kind of deal if it could get passed if that means it could pass in the Senate?
DEAN: To be very honest, I'm not in the mood to negotiate against the very good legislation we sent over. I do trust that the negotiations of Representative Karen Bass.
What we want to make sure is that police officers and the departments are not shielded from wrongful acts. You know that qualified immunity requires a very high standard, showing willfulness of behavior. So I -- I will do the negotiating on that.
Let's talk too about the greater issue, important are, of course, police shootings and the deaths too often of people of color who are in the presence of police officers. But the larger issue, the reason I'm wearing this orange jacket tonight, is that I have cared about the issue of gun violence my entire adult life. Each year, more than 40,000 people die of gun violence in this country. More than half that number is gun violence suicide. We need to talk about that.
Homicides, of course, are very high. In the pandemic, the numbers are worse. In my area of suburban Philadelphia, Philadelphia has suffered a tremendous number of gun violence.
In preparation, Pamela, for being with you tonight I thought I'll do my homework, take a look at the terrible number of mass shootings in this country, which is a shooting episode where four or more people are shot. Here is what happened. I want to show you this.
I was printing the listing off for three months. And I stopped the printer I thought there must be a mistake. There was no mistake. In this country, in addition to individual homicides, accidental deaths, suicides which are so grievous, we've had more than 130 mass shootings in the first quarter of this year. We have to do something about it.
BROWN: That is certainly a lot. And we have covered this issue extensively on this show. As you well know, often there is a mass shooting a lot of media attention, a lot of talk and then it goes away.
And I think it's important to keep the discussion going, because clearly gun violence is not going away in this country. Just last month, you reintroduced your bill banning firearms that can slip by airport metal detectors like those made of plastic.
Right now, in the Senate, there aren't enough votes to get background checks passed. Right now, Punchbowl News says there's a lot of attention being given to red flag laws to keep guns away from the mentally I feel.
What does your party need to do better to make Republicans more open to compromise?
DEAN: Well, I do want to thank you for covering this. We have to cover it until we stop it. This is a moral issue in this country. This is a public health crisis when we have more than 100,000 people every year killed or wounded.
I call it a jetliner a day, souls that either die or are injured as a result of gun violence. And that doesn't even begin to touch the hundreds of thousands who are traumatized.
I'm proud of the president, President Biden, for his executive orders. But we know they are limited. He is dealing with ghost guns. I -- my first bill I introduced as a member of Congress back in 2019 was to update the Undetectable Firearms Act. We have to do so much more.
To your question, you remember we passed both HR-8 and closing the Charleston loophole last Congress and this Congress. What do we have to do? We have to get the Senate to take it up. I guess what seems to be blocking us is the filibuster. We need to have a majority of senators recognize this public health crisis.
And so, what I hope is that senators like senator -- my own Senator Toomey, you recall that he and Senator Manchin back after Sandy Hook tried to pass background checks. I hope that every single senator will say, this is up to every single one of us. We have to stop the slaughter in this country. And the way to do it is through policies that will change it.
BROWN: And you say it's the filibuster blocking it. But beyond that, it's Republicans that that are blocking that legislation. The Biden administration has rolled out its gun control plan.
Do you think it goes far enough?
DEAN: Oh, I think we have so much work to do. As I said, when you have more than 100,000 people a year dying, dying or wounded from gun violence, of course, we have to do more about it. But the very first step is background checks.
You know, there is a group called 97 Percent. And it is an approach to say that 97 percent of Americans believe that background checks are important for the transfer of any gun, for the sale or transfer of any gun. And that is gun owners and NRA members and non-gun owners.
And so, we have to actually listen to public sentiment. We want to make sure that our children are safe. I have children -- more importantly, I have grandchildren. I can't
imagine I have to worry about them as my granddaughter is in school and my other young grandchildren will get into school, or if they would be at church, a theater, a park, or if any of us is at a supermarket.
Imagine any of one of us is at risk.
So, Republican senators, Democratic senators have to step up and say, I'm here to save lives.
BROWN: All right. Thank you so much, Congresswoman Dean. We appreciate you coming on the show and sharing your views and perspective on this.
DEAN: Thank you for covering this.
BROWN: A former police officer found guilty of murdering George Floyd now knows when he will learn his fate. Derek Chauvin set to be sentenced June 16th after his trial was closely watched across the United States and around the world. Legal analysts say the case again Chauvin was helped tremendously by the video that clearly showed his brutal treatment of George Floyd. It's a video that many people still find impossible just too hard to watch.
CNN's Adrienne Broaddus has more.
MAURI FRIESTLEBEN, MINNEAPOLIS SCHOOL PRINCIPAL:
ADRIENNE BROADDUS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Mauri Friestleben won't watch the video of George Floyd's final moments. She leans on her husband to view viral videos of police killings. She trusts his perspective.
MAURI FRIESTLEBEN: He will tell me honestly that it might be hard to watch that one. But as a police officer I don't have a problem with that shooting.
BROADDUS: But this time, the officer in the video was wearing the same uniform her husband, former Minneapolis Police Lieutenant Mike Friestleben wore before he retired.
FRIESTLEBEN: So, he watches it. Comes back in, gives me the phone and says, I think I just watched a murder.
MIKE FRIESTLEBEN, FORMER MINNEAPOLIS POLICE LIEUTENANT: The optics are no different than slave optics 200 years ago with hangings and burnings, and things like that. It's just -- it's just different technology, different weapons.
BROADDUS: Mauri is the daughter of a white mother and black father. She was working at as an elementary school principal when she met Mike in 2016. He called the school to told them to lock down a gunman was in the area. He came by in person and made sure everyone was safe.
There was chemistry between Mike and Mauri. They married the next year.
MAURI FRIESTLEBEN: This is our little family room area.
BROADDUS: These veterans of law enforcement and education say both systems are rooted in racism but can work together to become better.
I don't feel like schools plan a seed of racism but I feel we water and fertilize it. And it grows, in our midst.
MIKE FRIESTLEBEN: I don't think you can even out racism or get rid of it if we're not willing to give up power and understand other cultures, other things, other opinions.
MAURI FRIESTLEBEN: Being married to Mike, during these difficult times, makes me believe that there is hope and there can be hope. I'm not hopeless.
MIKE FRIESTLEBEN: It opened up my eyes wider and it's been helpful.
BROADDUS: About one mile from their home, protests between the community and law enforcement kept them awake at night.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We don't need you.
BROADDUS: And less than 24 hours after Derek Chauvin's murder conviction, the Department of Justice launched a full investigation into the Minneapolis Police Department's practices. The Friestlebens embraced the investigation.
MIKE FRIESTLEBEN: Can it be fixed? Absolutely. But you've got to start changing the way you police. You do have to know your community.
MAURI FRIESTLEBEN: I think to myself there have to be more Mikes around. And if there's more Mikes around and we can do this.
MIKE FRIESTLEBEN: We all swore -- we swore to protect other people before ourselves.
BROWN: Well, 25 years ago, a horrific massacre in Australia was the tipping point for major gun law changes. As America grapples with its own gun violence epidemic, I'm going to ask the former Australia Prime Minister Kevin Rudd what we can learn from their tragedy.
Also, tonight, a fertility doctor, Natalie Crawford, answers your questions about pregnancy and the coronavirus.
And how nice is it to have friends in high places? Look at this. No social distancing required as trailblazing astronauts arrive at the International Space Station.
But, first, baseball rolling out special seats for fans who have been fully vaccinated. Our Paul Vercammen is live at the home of the Los Angeles Dodgers when we come back.
BROWN: Well, nine million doses of the Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccine are ready to go now with the new safety warning, telling women under 50 that they should be aware of the risk of a rare blood clotting syndrome associated with the shot. Now this comes as the daily vaccination rate is tapering off.
Today, a CDC official confirmed that J&J vaccine pause contributed to the decline. But the trend may be here to stay.
A top coronavirus modeler predicts U.S. vaccine supply could outstrip demand in just a few weeks.
Well, tonight, a new fan section is opening at Dodgers Stadium in Los Angeles. You might catch a home-run ball there but you probably won't catch COVID. That's because everyone in the section will be fully vaccinated.
Paul Vercammen joins me now from Dodgers Stadium.
So, Paul, tell us how this new section works.
PAUL VERCAMMEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'll tell you, they're going to be able to stand shoulder to shoulder or sit, everybody in the section will prove that they have been vaccinated or if they're between 2 and 15 years old, they will show they recently had a negative COVID-19 test. If you look the padres are on the field taking batting practice opinion the fans whooping it up because they want the players throwing a ball.
But look across the way, you can see in the two sections in the second deck, those will be the vaccine sections. You can high five each other. You can hug. You can do whatever you want.
You're supposed to wear your mask except when you're eating. But there is about 500 fans who will sit there tonight. And the idea is that they will be safe among each other, no staggering of the seats.
We talked to the Dodgers president how this is sort of a landmark case here as California only has a 1 percent positivity rate.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STAN KASTEN, PRESIDENT & CEO, LOS ANGELES DODGERS: I haven't imagined anything that's happened in the last year. But today, this is really good news. This is an experiment with opening up the stadium a little more, and every experiment gets us a little closer to a return to normal.
So, for today, we're going to have two sections about 500 seats. If you're fully vaccinated, you'll be allowed in the stadium and should start making people feel more comfortable here.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VERCAMMEN: And so, for those fans not an inexpensive ticket, a little more than $100. And we are seeing the wave throughout California. The Giants, the Padres, other professional sports team are testing the waters with these fully vaccinated sections. And we expect this to be a trend that may spread throughout the country.
Reporting from Los Angeles, I'm Paul Vercammen. Back to you now, Pam.
BROWN: And we'll see how much incentive it is for the sports fans to get fully vaccinated so that they can go and sit in the stadium while they play. Thanks so much, Paul Vercammen. Much appreciated.
Despite the push to get people vaccinated, there is still reluctance to get the shot especially among rural Americans and Republican voters.
CNN's Martin Savidge went to Mississippi to see how officials there are working to battle conspiracy theirs.
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): At COVID-19 vaccination sites in Mississippi, they are something new -- boredom. By Friday, the state had more than 74,000 opening slots in the scheduling website through the middle of May.
This is the drive-up lane of a mass vaccination site in Jackson. They say they can handle 1,200 appointments a day. So far, they've got 275 scheduled. Well, they admit some people just don't show.
It's not that everyone 16 and older has got the shot. Far from it. Thirty percent of Mississippians have had their first vaccine dose. The national average is closer to 40 percent.
It's pretty quiet.
DR. NELSON ATEHORTUA, SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH, JACKSON STATE UNIVERSITY: Yes, I mean, today is quiet. But it hasn't been like that all the time.
SAVIDGE: So what's going on?
Experts worry the drop-off suggests a lot of people don't want the vaccine and fear what's happening here could jeopardize reaching herd immunity, which doctors say wouldn't be achieved until at least 70 percent of the population is vaccinated.
Besides Mississippi, other states significantly lacking when it comes to percent of adult population fully vaccinated, include Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee, states that are more rural and more Republican, a population more skeptical of the vaccine.
Do you continue to fight misinformation?
SAVIDGE: Even now.
ATEHORTUA: Every day, yes, every day.
SAVIDGE: Public service campaigns encouraging vaccination are overwhelmed by a flood of false information on social media.
It's what caused Halle Coleman to delay getting her vaccine.
HALLE COLEMAN, STUDENT: It just felt like everywhere I looked, I was seeing somebody with a new conspiracy theory or just a reason not to get the vaccine.
SAVIDGE: Those false fears were only fuelled when the Johnson & Johnson vaccine distribution was paused due to concerns over a rare type of blood clot. In Mississippi, since that happened, health officials say projected vaccination numbers have fallen off a cliff.
That incident fed in the fears of those who are hesitant.
FELICIA KENT, JACKSON-HINDS COMPREHENSIVE HEALTH CENTER: Yes, it did.
SAVIDGE: It was, I told you so.
KENT: Yes, yes. It was like, okay, see.
SAVIDGE (voice-over): When it comes to getting people vaccinated, Mississippi has a number of challenges. Not the least of which is one of the poorest if not the poorest states in the country.
As a result, there are a lot of people who don't have access to the Internet which you need to get information or to even make a vaccination appointment. A lot of people can't afford transportation to a vaccination site or can't afford to take time off to be vaccinated.
As America closes in on nearly half of all adults getting vaccinated, medical experts are beginning to realize that just may have been the easy part. Getting the other half vaccinated could be a lot more difficult.
Martin Savidge, CNN, Jackson, Mississippi.
BROWN: And our thanks to Martin for that.
In just a few minutes, I'm talking to a fertility doctor, Natalie Crawford, about COVID, fertility, pregnancy. What questions do you have? You can send them to me on Twitter @PamelBrownCNN or in Instagram. We already have a great list going, but send them my way. But, first, how an Australian massacre led to gun reform that saved countless lives.
Former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd joins me next to discuss.
BROWN: Well, now, to America's other pandemic, that would be the never-ending cycle of gun violence. There have been 157 mass shootings in the U.S. just this year. Just in 2021. And with congressional action on gun reform seemingly at a stand still, some Americans are asking if other countries can serve as an example.
Next week marks 25 years since Australia's Port Arthur massacre, a mass shooting that killed 35 people.
Afterwards automatic and semi-automatic rifles were banned. In Australia, they enacted a national registry and a 28-day waiting period for all gun purchases. And 653,000 firearms were taken out of circulation in a national buyback program. Gun deaths in the country plummeted.
And today, mass shootings there are nearly non-existent. Compare that to America, the gun capital of the world where last year, there were nearly 12 gun deaths per 100,000 people, more than 14 times that of Australia.
But there are some differences. Of course, Australia doesn't have a right to bear arms in their constitution. They also don't have a powerful gun lobby like the NRA. Still, could Australia's model have some lessons for the United States?
Joining me now to discuss is former Prime Minister of Australia, Kevin Rudd. He is now president of the Asia Society Policy Institute. Prime Minister Rudd, thank you for coming on the show to discuss this.
Obviously, as I pointed out, there are some key reasons Australia's reforms can be replicated exactly here on the U.S. The main one being, of course, the Constitution here. Australia doesn't have a right to bear arms. We do. But what do you believe is transferable from what Australia went through to what we're experiencing in the U.S.?
KEVIN RUDD, FORMER PRIME MINISTER OF AUSTRALIA: Well, I think there's two or three commonalities between the United States experience in Australia and having lived in America the last five or six years. I fully understand the differences, including the Second Amendment.
But here are two or three common factors. One, we Australians are freedom loving people. And people have had the right to own firearms for a long, long period of time in our history.
And because Australia is a rural country with large, open spaces like in America. It's kind of been part of our upbringing to have firearms on farms, for example, I grew up on a farm in rural Queensland, where my father had a shotgun, which he used to suppress feral animals.
So, it's, there's that similarity. The second thing I think is this, all of us as, as Americans today and as Australians today are horrified by the specter of mass shootings. And when we saw this in Australia, big time, 25 years ago, with a mass shooting at a place called Port Arthur in Tasmania.
The then conservative Prime Minister of Australia, my predecessor in office, he initiated this National Firearms Agreement, which had bipartisan support in both the center right and the center left. And thirdly, the results are kind of in, 25 years later, the numbers are like this.
In the previous quarter of a century, we had 14 mass shootings, one every year or two. In the last 25 years, since the National Firearms Agreement, we've had one, a family violence event involving six members.
And secondly, in the overall firearms, homicide rate, and suicide rate is cut in half as well. That is aside from mass shootings. So, I think the writing of the report card is in. It does work. And frankly, there is no great reaction and demand from gun owners for any more liberal laws. It's working, frankly, just fine.
BROWN: I have so many questions for you from what you just said. One is gun rights activists in the U.S. are concerned, one of their big concerns with more laws on guns would be it becomes a slippery slope, that will then lead to them not being able to -- you know, legal citizens been able to get their guns that they feel like they have -- they do have the right to have under the Constitution, their concern that it will infringe upon their Second Amendment rights. What do you say to the slippery slope argument?
RUDD: The laws are robust. You see, under the U.S. Constitution, the right to bear arms is part of an organized militia. And remember, this was framed in the days of the period immediately following the Revolutionary War against the British. And the concern that the British would come back and you need an organized militia again to defend the republic against the British.
By the way, back in the 1780s, and '90s, I would have utterly sympathized with that posture towards the British. Last time I look, the likelihood of the British coming back and suppressing the American Revolution are fairly remote. So that's actually the black and white letter of the law context of where we saw the First Amendment frame.
But the second point is probably more important, which is the right to bear arms is one thing, but it doesn't mean you have the right to bear any form of arms. If you take it literally does that mean the right to bear arms says that you should be able to have your own field howitzer in the backyard, that you should have the ability to have an anti-tank weapon to run your own drones which are armed, of course, not.
[20:35:57] So, having a single action shotgun is one thing. Having a semi- automatic or fully automatic weapon which can kill dozens of people in seconds, that's something else. So, you can have the right to bear arms if it's single action. The judgment in this country Australia is, doesn't entitle you to bear any category of arms. Hence, they ban on semi-automatic weapons in this country.
BROWN: And we already having one of the big questions is there are so many -- there's more guns than people in this country. We know in Australia there was the gun buyback. So, you know, there is that big question.
But I wonder as someone who was a world leader, as you -- as you see these mass shootings, again, nearly 150, just this year in America, as you see that play out, what is your reaction? What are you thinking? What do you think the world is thinking as they watch this play out in this country?
RUDD: I think what the world is thinking that it's time for America to act like. Look, I've lived among you in the United States last five or six years. I'm just back here temporarily in Australia at the moment.
And I feel that as someone who lives and works in New York, that there is a feeling of anxiety that there could be a mass shooting today, tomorrow, when will the next one unfolding on a school campus or a university campus or in a shopping center mall. The terrible history of these things.
And that's why, frankly, I applaud the leadership of President Biden in taking this first major step towards National Firearms legislation regulation, which he is foreshadowed. I know what the political reaction will be. I know that a whole bunch of states will say it impinges on their constitutional rights and the usual list of arguments. But I think if you polled average Americans, they want something done to reduce the risk of mass shootings.
BROWN: Right, and they just want solutions. They want solutions.
All right. Former Australian Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, thank you for coming on and sharing that perspective and interesting discussion with you about this.
RUDD: Good to be with you.
BROWN: Well, as more Americans get vaccinated, there is growing vaccine hesitancy among young Americans due in part to misinformation about side effects affecting fertility. I'm going to be joined by fertility doctor, Natalie Crawford, who will answer your questions and tell facts from fiction, up next.
BROWN: Great news for those expecting to become or hoping to become a parent. The CDC is recommending that pregnant people get a COVID-19 vaccine. No safety concerns for pregnant people or their babies were found among a large group of people who received the vaccine during the third trimester.
This on the heels of a study published in the Journal of JAMA pediatrics Thursday saying that COVID during pregnancy increases the risk of poor outcomes and death. COVID making fertility issues so much more complicated and stressful.
And that's why I have a doctor, Natalie Crawford, here to answer your questions. She is a fertility physician and board-certified OB/GYN. Great to see you Dr. Crawford. Let's jump right into it.
Before we get to those viewer questions, I do have this one to ask you about the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. It has resumed after being linked to 15 cases of a rare blood clotting condition in women, most of them under age 50. Dr. Lena Wen tweeted this in response, "I'm a physician and women -- and a woman who is in the underage -- under 50 age group. I'd chosen to receive the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. If I knew then what I know now about the risk of a rare but serious blood clotting disorder, I would have chosen another vaccine."
Dr. Crawford, what would your message be to women in this age group -- age group, especially pregnant women who are now skeptical about getting any vaccine because of this?
DR. NATALIE CRAWFORD, FERTILITY PHYSICIAN: Overall, I like to say that the vaccine that's available to you is the best vaccine to get. However, if you have a choice, the CDC does have that caveat on their recommendations that the Johnson & Johnson vaccine may increase the risk of blood clots and low platelets. And so, you may want to consider an mRNA vaccine if you get the choice.
BROWN: OK. So, let's go to our first viewer question. This viewer asks, "Curious on an OB/GYN's thoughts and if you've already had COVID and hoping to be pregnant in the next year, which vaccine they recommend, or if they think the antibodies would cover you if you're nervous about taking the vaccine and getting pregnant so close together?
CRAWFORD: We definitely still recommend that you get vaccinated. That is because the COVID vaccine is the best thing you can do to prevent your risk of a severe disease. And as you said in the intro, getting a COVID infection when you're pregnant, can have significant maternal and fetal mortality so risks to both mom and baby. Which vaccines to get is a choice up to you.
But we are recommending all of our patients at for fertility or fertility clinic here in Austin, women who are trying to get pregnant, women who are doing fertility treatments, that they get vaccinated as soon as they can.
BROWN: But what about if you've had COVID and you have those antibodies and you want to get pregnant or you've already been pregnant, and you're nervous, you're on the fence? I mean, what would you say to those patients who already have those COVID antibodies? CRAWFORD: The interesting thing about when the body makes natural antibodies is that they're at various levels. What we're seeing in scientific studies is that the rate of protection from the COVID vaccine is extremely high. And so even people who've had a prior COVID infection, it is the recommendation that they get a vaccination as well to fully protect themselves.
BROWN: OK. Another viewer asks this on my Facebook, I just got my second shot of Pfizer and I'm currently breastfeeding. My doctor said this is good for my baby because it passes to her my COVID antibodies. Is this true? How long should a vaccinated mother continue to breastfeed in order to pass along this benefit?
CRAWFORD: This is a great question. So, number one, it is true. We do have studies showing that if you are currently breastfeeding and you've gotten the vaccine that your body is going to make antibodies starting about two weeks after that first shot and peaking around four to six weeks from there.
How long you should do this to give best protection to your baby? We don't have that answer yet, because the vaccine rollout is still rather new. But you should breastfeed as long as it feels comfortable for you. That's a personal choice, but you should know that you are giving your child those protective antibodies in that process.
BROWN: All right. Another question from Facebook. If someone is fully vaccinated and trying to conceive, could they possibly have issues trying to do so? If not, why?
CRAWFORD: OK. This is where all this misinformation that we see about fertility. We've seen viral posts about the COVID vaccine causing female infertility or sterilization and they're absolutely not true. What we know is that women who are trying to get pregnant or want to be pregnant in the future, they should not have any concern that they've gotten the vaccine and that's going to have long-term reproductive outcomes.
And now we have studies showing us that between women who've been vaccinated, women who've had a COVID infection, and people who have not been infected or vaccinated, that there's no change in ovarian reserve or how many eggs you have. And there's no change in ovarian function like ovulation.
BROWN: That is the answer so many women have been wanting to hear or needing to hear to give them the confidence about getting the vaccine if they want to get pregnant.
Dr. Natalie Crawford great interview. Thank you so much for giving us all of your wisdom and shedding light on this important topic. We appreciate it.
CRAWFORD: Thank you so much, Pamela.
BROWN: And tomorrow on the show, I'm going to talk to Dr. Megan Ranney, an emergency physician at Brown University and I would love to ask her your questions. I already have some that I haven't gotten a chance to ask today, but tweet them to me @PamelaBrownCNN or send it to me on Instagram.
Also, tomorrow night, I'll talk with senior advisor to the White House COVID-19 Response Team, Andy Slavitt. And I'll ask him about the race to vaccinate Americans fighting vaccine hesitancy and about new travel guidance now that more people have gotten their shots.
And we have essential reporting for you tonight on the unspeakable tragedy unfolding right now in India, patients dying in their beds as hospitals run out of oxygen. The Biden administration is now under pressure to ship millions of vaccine doses, that's next.
BROWN: Well, for the third day in a row, India has set a record for the number of new coronavirus cases reported in a single day. On Saturday, health officials reported 346,000 new infections and more than 2,600 people died from the virus on Saturday alone.
The country is also dealing with shortages of oxygen. Twenty critically ill patients in one hospital died after oxygen supplies were exhausted.
And as CNN's Anna Coren reports, the crematoriums and morgues are so overwhelmed that last rites are being performed in parking lots.
ANNA COREN, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The rituals of death light up the sky across India. A second wave of the coronavirus, which began mid-March is spreading through the country, leaving grief- stricken families desperate for ways to perform the last rites for their loved ones.
The country's crematoriums have pushed beyond capacity, some facilities using their parking lots and piles of wooden planks to meet the demand.
JITENDER SINGH SHUNTY, HEAD OF NON-PROFIT MEDICAL SERVICE CENTER (through translator): There are so many bodies coming, we are running out of wood. If it continuous like this, then in four to five days, we will have to cremate bodies on the road.
COREN: One man was forced to keep the body of his mother at home for nearly two days before coming here.
NITISH KUMAR, SON OF COVID-19 VICTIM (through translator): Nobody helped in time. We were running here and there for a ventilator. She died after the oxygen ran out.
COREN: Volunteer groups are working morning to night to receive the bodies of those who died from the virus whose families are unable or unwilling to take them.
JAVED KHAN MEMBER, UMMAT FOUNDATION (through translator): When the bodies come to us, we inquire about the person's religion. And if the person is a Hindu, we perform the funeral as per Hindu customs. But if the person is a Muslim, we do the funeral accordingly.
COREN: Grave diggers in this cemetery in New Delhi say they too are struggling to bury the dead with 15 to 20 bodies arriving daily over the past few weeks. They say it's overwhelming and can't be sustained for long.
MOHAMMED SHAMEEM, GRAVE DIGGER (through translator): Now, condition of our graveyard is that if the death toll keep rising, then in the next two, three days, we'll have to close it down. There will be no space left here.
COREN: For many of these victims, the virus taking not only their lives, but also the dignity they deserved in death.
Anna Coren, CNN, Hong Kong.
BROWN: The International Space Station welcome some new residents today a SpaceX capsule carrying four astronauts from the U.S., Japan, and France docked there early this morning. We'll take a look at that welcome party right there. The mission marks the third ever crewed flight for Elon Musk's company, and the first to use hardware that had already flown in space.
Both the spacecraft known as Dragon and the Falcon 9 rocket that launched it into orbit have been flown in space before. And it's part of Musk's vision to drive down the cost of space travel. Pretty cool, huh? Nice to end on a positive note there.
Well, thank you so much for joining us tonight to be a part of your night with us. Tomorrow, I'm going to speak to an 18-year-old who believes in the fight against climate change so much that after 58 weeks of protesting outside the White House, they invite him inside to do something about it. My conversation with Jerome Foster tomorrow on CNN NEWSROOM starting at 6:00 p.m. Eastern. And I'll see you then, I hope you have a great night.