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CDC Report Underscores Urgent Need to Vaccinate Adolescents; U.S. Observes National Gun Violence Awareness Day; Fred Guttenberg, Whose Daughter Was Killed in the Parkland Shooting, Has a Message on National Gun Violence Awareness Day; Capitol Police Officers "Insulted" After GOP Block Jan. 6 Commission; Facebook Will Ban Trump for Another Two Years. Aired 2:30-3p ET

Aired June 4, 2021 - 14:30   ET



VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN HOST: An alarming new CDC report underscores the urgent need to vaccinate adolescents.

The finding shows that, of the 12 to 17-year-old infected patients hospitalized in the first quarter of 2021, more than 31 percent admitted to on the ICU. Nearly, 5 percent required ventilators.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN HOST: The CDC director, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, says these rising numbers prove that teenagers are far from immune from the deadly virus.


DR. ROCHELLE WALENSKY, CDC DIRECTOR: The level of severe disease, even among youth, that are preventable, that force us to redouble our motivation to get our adolescents and young adults vaccinated.

I strongly encourage parents to get teens vaccinated, as I did mine.


CAMEROTA: Joining us now is Dr. Richina Bicette. She's an emergency medicine physician and medical director at Baylor College of Medicine.

Doctor, thanks so much for being here.

Just help us understand what the CDC is seeing in their data about adolescents. Are adolescents getting sicker, are they being admitted to the ICU more often than they were a year ago, or are we focused on it now more.

DR. RICHINA BICETTE, EMERGENCY MEDICINE PHYSICIAN & MEDICAL DIRECTOR, BAYLOR COLLEGE OF MEDICINE: I think what the CDC is really trying to illustrate is, although it still remains true that children and adolescents have a lower risk of hospitalization complications and death from COVID, low risk does not mean no risk.

Since the start of this pandemic, cases started for 13 to 14 percent of cases. However, if you look at that number over the last week, that number has jumped up significantly. Now pediatric cases account for about 25 percent of total COVID cases.

As adults get vaccinated and become more protected and immune to the virus, the virus is still in the community looking for a vulnerable host. And pediatric patients fit that disruption.

BLACKWELL: Dr. Walensky has used this new study to encouraged parents to get teens vaccinated.

If we see a pike in cases in the adolescent group, what's the impact on the broader goal of getting to herd immunity or bringing down the case number across the country?

BICETTE: Well, there are a significant amount of adults protected. When you look at the numbers and break it down by age range, for those over 65, 86 percent of them have gotten one shot and 75 percent fully vaccinated. They're well protected.

For adults over 18, 63 percent of us have gotten one shot and 52 percent fully vaccinated.

But it's those under 18 that we have the biggest opportunity for improvement.

Now pediatric patients, while they may not get as sick, they are important vectors for disease.

So for those people who have not vaccinated and may still be vulnerable, having a child around with COVID-19 could put those adults with them at risk.

CAMEROTA: Dr. Bicette, I want to ask you about this new study published in the journal, "Lancet, Health Longevity," about natural immunity.

It's interesting what they find about the immunity after somebody has caught COVID. Not someone immunized, someone who suffered through COVID.

You know, in the next hour, I'm sitting down with a group of vaccine hesitant people. And one of their big rationales for not getting vaccinated is that they believe that if they had it, they still have immunity.

Now we find out the immunity, natural immunity does last longer than previous studies suggested.

This one suggests it lasts at least nine months. That's not forever. But it's longer than the three months that we previously knew about.

BICETTE: Alisyn, I'm so glad you brought that up. Let's break down the study just a little bit more.

So, what lab 4 did is looked at samples from 39,000 patients. And this is probably one of the biggest studies of active COVID cases since the pandemic has begun.

And they took a look to see how many patients have antibodies. And 87 percent had antibodies. That's a positive finding.

However, there are nuances to that. Having antibodies alone is not protecting you from reinfection.

We don't know what level of antibody you have to have in your system in order to prevent from you contracting COVID again.

And at this point in the pandemic, I'm sure we all know at least one person who said they had COVID more than one time.

And that is likely the reason, because you may have antibodies, but they may not be at high enough, what we call titer, in order to prevent you from getting reinfected.


What we also don't know is if the antibodies protect from the new variants emerging, the U.K. variant, the Brazilian variant, the South African variant. But we know that vaccines prevent and protect us from those variants.

So even though you had COVID, I would still recommend getting vaccinated.

CAMEROTA: Dr. Richina Bicette, thank you for explaining those nuances. These new studies can't come soon enough for everyone.

Thank you so much.

BICETTE: Absolutely.

BLACKWELL: Banned until 2023. Former President Donald Trump is firing back at Facebook's decision to extend his suspension. Why he won't be able to just log back on when that time is up.


CAMEROTA: Today is National Gun Violence Awareness Day. And for far too many American families, it's a day to mourn their loved ones taken by guns.


Since just the beginning of the year, the U.S. has seen 244 mass shootings and more than 8,000 deaths. This is according to the Gun Violence Archive.

As the deaths count -- as the death count grows, Americans plead with lawmakers to do something to end this epidemic.

Today, the Newtown Action Alliance, which formed after the Sandy Hook shootings, released a PSA. It's devastating. Its shows the impact of gun violence.




CAMEROTA: Joining us now is Fred Guttenberg. His daughter, Jaime, was killed in the Parkland school shooting in 2018.

Fred, always great to see you, despite the circumstances.


CAMEROTA: That PSA is gut wrenching and haunting.


CAMEROTA: The whole point is that it's a man returning from military service. And you think it's about to be a happy reunion and, of course, it's a devastating reunion.

What message were you all trying to get across?

GUTTENBERG: So there's a variety of things. And I'll start with people always saying I can't imagine how you feel. But what people need to know about the minute you just showed is it takes me back to the minute where I had to tell my wife.

I can't stop crying over what happens in that video.

The message is this. More people have died in America because of gun violence than have died in America because of war. And America right now is a war zone on our streets.

We see the gun violence. We see people in the streets in the communities, in the malls, in the churches, in the temples, in the schools, getting shot and killed. And it's preventable.

And we know it's going to continue because nobody is taking the measures necessary to do anything about it.

But we can. And it is not OK.

And it was time for a video like this to happen. Because the truth is, the majority of gun owners -- and that includes those in the military who have used these weapons -- support gun safety. They're just as likely to be victims of gun violence.

CAMEROTA: Fred, you are so right, because any time there's a mass shooting or school shooting, we all imagine that moment when the families first get the horrifying news.

But we haven't seen it, most of us. You've lived it. But most of us haven't seen it in that vivid depiction. It's so haunting. I, too, tear up just watching that and knowing you had to live through that.

And then, Fred, of course, it's continuing when I pull up the numbers here of gun violence so far just this year. Mass shootings, 244. Deaths, 8292. Injuries, more than 15,000.

So, Fred, you fight the good fight every day. Does it feel hopeless? Is there any glimmer of hope? Is anything changing since the Parkland school shooting?

GUTTENBERG: No, not hopeless. I'll say this. I actually have tremendous hope. We are closer than we've ever been to passing gun safety legislation on a national level.

The House is actually passing bills. The president is ready to sign them.

We are also closer than we've ever been to not ever being able to get it done. Because of the way the Senate functions, OK. The Senate has become a roadblock to saving lives.

I am horrified by the fact that you have a -- you generally -- listen you have a non-governing party in government. I won't even call them the GOP or Republicans. They are a non-governing party.

But the Democrats can do this. We do not need the Republicans to deliver on the will of the voters in the past two elections.

It is time to break the filibuster.

Senator Manchin, I've heard your comments of the past day or two. You are dead wrong. And people are dying because you are dead wrong. OK.

The reality is you have done everything you could to engage the other side. You've done everything you could to engage the non-governing party. And they've given you the finger. They have no interest.

It is time you step up and you do what the voters sent you to Washington, D.C., to do.

We're seeing people die every day. And this is now in your hands. We've got to get this done.

CAMEROTA: Fred Guttenberg, we appreciate your words. We appreciate you coming on. And we're thinking of you today.


GUTTENBERG: Thank you so much, Alisyn. I appreciate you more than you know.

CAMEROTA: Thank you, Fred.

BLACKWELL: That ad, I mean, hearing her exhaust her lungs crying there in those arms.

CAMEROTA: It's devastating.

BLACKWELL: It's haunting.

CAMEROTA: It's devastating. I saw it one time and still can't get it out of my head now.

BLACKWELL: You think about how many families every day or now having that moment. It's obscene.

More capitol officers are speaking out after Republicans blocked a bipartisan committee to investigate the insurrection. Next, we'll hear from a sergeant who had his hand sliced open in the attack and later needed foot and shoulder surgery.


SGT. AQUILINO GONELL, U.S. CAPITOL POLICE OFFICER: All the people you see or the people there, they were saying, President Trump sent me here. He's our president. He sent us here.




BLACKWELL: We know Democrats are strategizing and planning their next move after Republicans blocked the bipartisan commission on the January 6th riots.

But now more capitol officers are speaking out, saying the attack needs to be investigated.


CONELL: At the end of the day, we want to go home to our family. And we feel like right now, we are being a pawn.

It's insulting, it's disgusting, and we put our lives to get them a chance to run away to safety. I almost lost my life, many -- multiple times.

And for them to whitewash this, like I'm making it up, like somebody told me, oh, this is why Black Lives Matter or Antifa. There was no Antifa there.

All the people, all the sea of people that were there, they were saying President Trump sent me here. He's our president. He sent us here and we won't listen to anything you say.


CAMEROTA: OK. That's called a first-person account. That's somebody who was in hand-to-hand combat with that violent mob.

Congressman Andrew Clyde, who was barricading the door and then later said it was tourists.

He needs to listen to that officer that saved his life that day.

BLACKWELL: What's remarkable, Republicans, many of them act as if this was something that was encapsulated, one moment in time, and then any of the variables that were the collective catalyst for what we saw on January 6th aren't present today.

That you don't have the president saying the election was stolen, that there isn't the social media element from these small groups, but you don't have people in Congress egging them on.

All the elements that led to January 6th are in place today.

CAMEROTA: Such a great point.

This just into CNN. Facebook says former President Donald Trump will not be allowed back on its platforms until January 27, 2023. That's two years from the date he was suspended following the January 6th capitol riot.

BLACKWELL: Let's bring in CNN chief media correspondent, Brian Stelter.

Stelter, explain how they're explaining this decision.

BRIAN STELTER, CNN CHIEF MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: They say, OK, we heard the oversight board, we want rules and now we're putting rules in place.

They say President Trump's conduct up to January 6th was so irresponsible that a two-year ban is appropriate.

Then the window opens, and he could be back again, with plenty of time to 2024, by the way.

Here's part of the Facebook statement. This is talking about a former president of the United States and the fear of violence.

Facebook says, "At the end of two-year period, we'll look to experts to the risk public safety has receded. We'll look at incidence of violence, other markers of civil unrest. And if we determine there's still a serious risk to public safety, we will extend the restrictions."

They say they could eventually ban him for life, but it all depends on what's happening in the United States, what the public safety situation is in 2023 when this suspension will end.

This is being written this way because it's also going to apply to other world leaders, other elected officials.

But this today is about Donald Trump. Facebook trying to make sure there's no more violence, trying to protect its users from the former president.

CAMEROTA: What more do we need to see? We've already seen a violent mob storm the capitol, having been egged on by Donald Trump. What more --

(CROSSTALK) STELTER: I suppose they're thinking, he can change, it will change over time.


CAMEROTA: Donald Trump?

STELTER: We just heard from the White House press secretary about this. Jen Psaki addressed that very idea. Here's what she said.


JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: We learned a lot from President Trump, the former president, about his behavior and how he uses these platforms. Feel pretty unlikely that the zebra is going to change its stripes over the next two years. We'll see.


STELTER: We'll see, she says.

BLACKWELL: People waited five years for people to pivot from through the entire term. It did not happen.


BLACKWELL: The former president has responded. He says, quote, "Next time I'm in the White House, there will be no more dinners at his request" -- speaking of Mark Zuckerberg -- "for Mark and his wife. It will be all business."

STELTER: Let's unpack that. So, he's saying, he'll still hang out with Mark Zuckerberg.

BLACKWELL: He'll invite him to the White House.

STELTER: But he won't feed him when he's there.

CAMEROTA: That will hurt.

STELTER: And I think he said he's running for president. Because he just said, the next time, I'll be --


CAMEROTA: No, no, no, he's not running for president. He thinks he's going to be reinstated.

BLACKWELL: In August, yes, yes.

CAMEROTA: Oh, right.


Speaking of possible violence, upcoming, he's telling people he's going to be reinstated. STELTER: This is how sane people end up feeling crazy. When there's

enough crazy all around you, you think you're not sane. Don't worry, folks, you're sane. But this is crazy. And it's also scary.

And it's no wonder why these platforms have to look around and say, we need new rules to protect the public from the former president.

BLACKWELL: All right. Thanks, Brian Stelter.

STELTER: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: Still ahead, my conversation with four people who are skeptical of getting the COVID vaccine. They're the vaccine hesitate that you keep hearing about. How they came to their position, why they don't want to get it, and how they respond to a doctor who tells them what he's seen with his own eyes.


CAMEROTA: Do any of you worry about getting COVID?

No, you don't.