tv Anderson Cooper 360 CNN December 23, 2021 9:00pm-10:00pm PST
the defense said a mistake is not a crime. the jury said it was manslaughter. john berman here in for anderson. when indianapolis police officer kim potter shot and killed daunte wright in april, she had 26 years on the job. six years longer than wright lived to be. she had countless hours of training as any officer does on her duties, on the law, on when to use the taser she carried on the left side of her body and when, if ever, to use her handgun on the right. on the 11th of april, in the
middle of a traffic stop, all that training broke down. this is what happened. >> taser, taser, taser. i shot him. oh, my god. >> kim, sit down. >> oh, my god. >> it was the worst mistake anyone entrusted with using deadly force can possibly make. during her cross c-examination potter admitted that wright never threatened her or the other officers. >> never saw a gun? >> no. >> he never threw a punch? >> no. >> never kicked anyone? >> no. >> never said, i'm going to kill you? >> no. >> never said, i'm going to shoot you? >> no. >> never said, there's a gun in the car and i'm coming after you? >> no.
>> yet, she fired and wright died. >> i'm sorry it happened. i'm so sorry. >> her show of remorse did not, in the end, move the jury. at least not enough to acquit. >> we, the jury, on the charge of manslaughter in the first degree while committing a misdemeanor on or about april 11, 2021, in the state of minnesota find the defendant guilty. we, the jury, on the charge of manslaughter in the second degree, culpable negligence on or about april 11, 2021, in the state of minnesota, find the defendant guilty. >> the judge then pulled the
jurors and revoked potter's bail. she was taken into custody where she will await sentencing in february. as a first-time offender, she likely faces between 6 and 8 1/2 years in prison. joining us now, jonathan masson, who was a mentor to daunte wright. jonathan, thank you for joining us. you've spoken to us over the last year and i really appreciate your insight. what's your reaction to the verdict tonight? >> i'm very pleased with the -- you know, the verdict from the jury. like the judge told them, they are heroes. but this was the verdict that i know everybody in minneapolis was hoping for. the jury did come up with the right verdict on this one. >> is it justice in your mind? >> no, it's not. it's accountability. but justice would be daunte being here with us. but this does show law enforcement and systematic --
people who are in these positions of power, when they make these mistakes or cause these ultimate deaths to our people within our society, you will be held accountable. in minnesota, with george floyd, we had that happen. now everybody was awaiting this verdict. it was the right decision. >> i understand you were in downtown minneapolis when you heard the verdict. what's the mood there now? >> you know, everybody -- there is a sigh of relief for our community. but many people are saying, you know, there's many families like this in the same position. right? kimberly potter, this is not her first time in this situation. she was involved with another shooting. we felt that that was covered up. for us, it's a sigh of relief. we got, i guess, a bad officer off the street.
moving forward, i think this will be the model. not only for minneapolis, minnesota, but hopefully for all of our society. >> one of the things that's most painful for you is you had conversations with daunte in the past about how to interact with police. what were those conversations like? what did you tell him? >> you know, working at the school with him, i would tell him and all the other kids how to behave, how to interact with police. because me being a man of color, being from minneapolis and having several encounters with the police, i know that your life can be taken from you within a second. sometimes, it won't be -- it won't be held into account. we don't see this type of accountability. i tell kids how to behave, how
to act. daunte was one of the kids. unfortunately, you know, this officer made a mistake that cost him his life. ultimately, the jury said, it's manslaughter. you know, as a mentor to these kids, this is -- on all angles, i think this will be an example for people to say, man, things could have been different on his reaction, her reaction. but ultimately, this is what happens in our society when these type of things happen. >> lastly, what do you want people to know about daunte? how do you want him to be remembered? >> well, you know, he was a father. right? he is a son. he was a part of our society. he had friends. he was a brother. so people to remember him as a human being. that we all have to guide and mentor and stand up for and ultimately we did this here. i'm just -- i hope everybody understands that his life mattered as well. >> jonathan masson, we are sorry for your loss. nice to speak to you tonight. thank you so much. >> thank you. omar jimenez has been
covering the trial. he joins us now from minneapolis. omar, talk to us about the reaction inside the courtroom when that verdict was read. >> reporter: yeah, john. so when the verdict was read daunte wright's mother burst into tears as former officer kim potter stood there emotionless. but it was an emotional moment. at one point one of the jurors appeared to be struggling and another juror had to support them. potter's husband yelled, i love you, as she yelled, i love you. daunte wright's father and crying mother were embracing in a long hug with the prosecution. wright's mother later on said today we got accountability, and that's what we've been trying to get from the very beginning. this is, of course, the second jury to convict a former minneapolis area police officer. the first was earlier this year with derek chauvin.
and minnesota attorney general keith elson who led the prosecution in both efforts said this sent a message that juries want to hold police officers to high standards. and he said for law enforcement this shouldn't be seen as a symbol of shame but instead as a moment to restore trust through accountability. he added, though, as we heard frank mason say, this isn't full justice. because at the end of the day potter still was able to correspond and speak with her family. daunte wright cannot. >> in terms of sentencing, omar, when does that happen? and any indication what the judge is going to do here? >> reporter: yeah, so sentencing is set for february 18th and potter is currently being held without bail, and she's actually been seen smiling in some of her latest mug shots that have been taken -- of course were taken after she was convicted of manslaughter on two counts for the killing of daunte wright. but in that sentencing because she has no criminal history, she'll likely be looking at a sentence range between a little over six years and a little
under nine years as part of this. and between them, though, the prosecution will argue for what's known as aggravating factors to tack onto sort of the recommended guidelines within the state of minnesota here along with we'll hear victim impact statements, people that were -- who have had their lives changed from this who will argue that the sentence should be more severe than what the guidelines show. another note i want to make known is daunte wright's mother today said that his favorite number was 23, and here comes this conviction on the 23rd of december, john. >> omar, thank you so much for being there. perspective now from two distinguished criminal defense attorneys. sarah, were you surprised by the verdict? because we were all together last night talking about this as the jury finished for the day, no questions yesterday, and there had been some notion they might be hung.
>> good to be with you. i was surprised and not surprised. i was surprised because as we spoke about this, 26 hours of deliberation, an entire day with no questions, clearly a jury that was struggling with the idea that she may be guilty under the law but they couldn't find her guilty. we thought -- my tea leaves were aligned with mark's that this was going to be a hung jury and a mistrial. in that sense, i was surprised. but i'm not surprised because this jury basically set aside bias and heart, applied the law to the facts and most definitely potter was guilty and guilty. as someone represented officers and civilians, i will tell you three to five years ago, this would be a full acquittal, not even a concern over a mistrial. the fact that we are now seeing more accountability for officers, the idea they are not above the law, if they do the crime, they do the time, it's not systemic change, but it's definitely a changing trend. this is not something that would have happened earlier.
we have to remember that intent was never an element to these crimes that were charged. mistake was never a defense. this was the just verdict and the right outcome. >> mark, what do you think did happen in that jury room now that you heard the verdict and saw the reaction from the jurors themselves? >> well, they did struggle. i really thought after -- i acknowledge i was wrong when i thought it was going to be a hung jury. there was so little anger. i understand the law. you don't have to show that. but we as people and therefore jurors look at a case like this and they want to see that feeling. they want to see the animosity
in order to convict somebody like ms. potter on this. i was very surprised that it went towards conviction on both. i understand that they wrestled with it long and hard. i guess there were a couple that were holding out for acquittal. the other -- the ten or nine or whatever it might have been were able to convince them that this should be a conviction. i have to tell you, realizing that daunte wright's family feels justified and this is the right verdict, i don't know this is a good verdict for the criminal justice system if we hold cops to this level of criminal liability with what was obviously a horrible and tragic mistake but one with absolutely no animus. >> well, but based on what the prosecution said there and the law, a mistake is not a defense here. >> it's not a defense. i really believe that when we look at -- it has to be criminal negligence. it's not -- it's gross negligence. it's that negligence where you act in such a bad way that you
should be held criminally responsible. obviously, i respect the jury's verdict. but i still don't think that grabbing a gun, believing it to be a taser, saying that it's a taser, not having any prior bad acts that you could go back and say, this is a bad seed, it's all of that that i'm concerned about that we are holding cops to that responsibility. >> do you agree with sara this would not have happened three or five years ago, this verdict? >> i do. we are finally in the days of floyd and now this case and some others that we have been involved in and have talked about. we are without question holding cops more responsible for their actions. they don't get a free pass. i do think we need to talk about where had came from. i think this is an implicit bias reaction that we now need to truly train cops and law enforcement how to rethink their
perspective of young black males. there's no question that something in kim potter's -- the back of her brain said, this is more dangerous than it actually was. >> sara, what was the one key piece of evidence or the one key moment of the trial then that you think pushed this toward conviction? >> i think -- i don't know exactly what changed the trajectory of obviously a struggling jury. i do believe that the ability to compare the weapons and just see how grossly negligent she was or criminally negligent she was given the vast differences between these two weapons. so although i see mark's point, this was just a very egregious case. it's not every day an officer with 26 years of training and certification mistakes a gun for a taser. i think that the jury's ability -- i mentioned that the
other night. that could potentially change a trajectory of this struggle that they were having and being deadlocked. >> they could hold those items in the jury room. they had access to them. they could touch them. is that something that happens? >> no. it doesn't. typically, with a case like this that turns on those pieces of evidence, of course, it would be allowed. it was safe. it was critical that this jury got to see for themselves and feel for themselves how incredibly negligent she was. >> mark, you say you were surprised by this verdict. was there something the prosecution did well you think that got the conviction here? was there something that the defense didn't do well? >> i thought the defense did a good job. the prosecution did a good job. they got their conviction because they were able to show
exactly what sara just said, that this was not an easy mistake to make. this was not you grab one gun that looks the same or feels the same but it was in the wrong holster. they did a good job of saying what they needed to to get the conviction they got, which is, it is so negligent, it is so unusual to grab a taser and think it's a gun that that act itself evidences recklessness. when you drive a car and you do 70 miles an hour through a school zone. it's so, per se, reckless that you have to be held responsible. i'm concerned but i respect the jury's verdict. i think the prosecution did a good job of separating out her behavior, her remorse and saying we have to hold people responsible when they do something tragic when it's so unbelievably negligent. they did a good job with that. >> sara, what do you think about sentencing? >> just to mark's point, i think the prosecution -- the idea that they hammered in the mistake is not a defense. the defense got to get in an expert who was talking about the reasonableness, the consciousness of potter about
the mistake. i think that was really key to remind the jury that, forget the noise about a mistake, because it's not a defense. sentencing, i think we will expect aggravating factors to be argued by the prosecution. we will expect mitigating factors in response by the defense. the idea that she has a family. she's had 26 years with law enforcement. she never had any record of discipline or criminal record. she's committed her career to protecting and serving. of course, that mistake which was not a defense could potentially be a mitigating factor for the defense in sentencing. the prosecution will argue she violated public trust in such a horrible way and that she violated department policy by not practicing with her taser. it will be interesting to see what the judge does. the judge can go from zero to max on count one. >> thanks for being with us and helping us understand the trial.
it's been really interesting over the last several days. >> have a great holiday. >> happy holidays. we do have breaking news as covid cases skyrocket as well as something almost unimaginable. doctors and nurses facing hostility, threats even outright violence from covid patients and their families. also with his old boss now touting boosters, we'll speak with president trump's surgeon general, dr. jerome adams, that and more ahead on "360." as a professional bull-rider i'm used to taking chances. but when it comes to my insurance i don't. i use liberty mutual, they customize your car insurance, so you only pay for what you need. wooo, yeaa, woooooo and, by switching you could even save 665 dollars. hey tex, can someone else get a turn?
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as we go into our second christmas with covid, there were no shortage of developments today. the fda approved a second pill for treating. the anti-viral for merk joins one from pfizer which won approval yesterday. from the fda, word that one of several antibody monoclonal treatments on the market is likely to be effective against the new omicron strain, which continues to surge. look, cases are averaging more than 180,000 a day. new york state and washington, d.c. both shattered case records. more than 70,000 hospitalized today. deaths up over 14% from last month. the cdc put out new guidance cutting quarantine time for medical professionals. think about what too many are facing. in addition to everything that
comes with fighting a pandemic. as cnn's ed lachben dara reports they're also up against an epidemic of hostility. >> my name is jack. i'm an icu doctor. >> reporter: dr. jack lions spend his days treating covid-19 patients fighting for their lives in st. cloud hospital, minnesota. like so many doctors he feels the strain. what's it been like to work in this atmosphere? >> it's exhausting. it is frequently heart breaking. it is demoralizing at times. >> reporter: dr. lions says it's also getting hostile as patients are demanding bogus medical treatments. are people treating these treatments like they're picking items off a menu at a restaurant? >> absolutely. folks act as if they can come into the hospital and request any certain therapy they want or conversely decline any therapy
that they want with the idea being that somehow they can pick and choose and direct their therapy. and it doesn't work. >> it's putting health care workers at risk. hospitals are facing a slew of lawsuits demanding risky treatments. across the country there are reports of growing hostility between medical workers and patients and their families. it's a daily dose of threats and vitrial. >> it insults your intelligence, asults your ability. and most hurtful they say by not using these therapies you are intentionally trying to harm the people we've given everything to save. >> reporter: what has been the worst experience you've had? >> the most difficult experience we've had is a patient family who under a pseudonym had made threats against the hospital. there was a reference to making sure the hospital was locked, and we've got people that are
coming for you. >> was it a death threat? >> i'm not sure how a person would take we're going to march on the hospital, we're coming for you as anything other than a death threat. >> the tensions are high. >> reporter: barbara chapman is a nurse-practitioner. last summer she started a hot line offering teachers and health care workers mental health support. >> i used to think of it as being overwhelmed. the health care workers are overwhelmed. that doesn't even address it. the way i address it now with folks when i talk to them is i refer to it as moral injury. >> reporter: what do you mean by that? >> we want to help folks. and now that folks aren't -- aren't getting vaccinated, they're not believing us, they're questioning our education and our background, it's hurtful. we're exhausted. we're tired. and so we have been morally injured. >> chapman says some nurses have endured so much abuse that even getting them to walk from their
cars into work is a challenge. >> it's like a veteran comes back from the war. he may be out of the war, but he hasn't left that war. >> reporter: i mean it's crazy to me that you're talking about a health care job as if it was walking into a battlefield. >> it's a battlefield. it is a battlefield. >> reporter: dr. jack lyons often thinks of the pandemic's early days when grateful communities banged pots and pans to honor front line health care workers. >> the vast majority of patients we take care of now come to our interactions with distrust. >> reporter: yeah, that feel of good will is gone. >> long since dissipated. >> ed, why do these doctors tell you that they're not agreeing to these alternative treatments? >> reporter: everyone we've spoken to on the medical side says they sympathize with many of these people who are seeing their loved ones in their final hours and they're desperate for
any kind of help. but they say they are relying on a wide body of information, misinformation, bad information that exists online and they're demanding all that. and they're sympathetic to all of this, but they have to follow their oath. and their oath all these medical professionals have repeatedly told us is to do no harm. they say in all these treatments ivermectin is the most popular right now. and there's no proof to this and because of that they simply can't in good conscience prescribe those types of treatments. >> we give our gratitude to those medical workers on the front lines still as frustrated as they are. thanks, ed. just ahead, the former president is singing a new tune on vaccines and boosters something a lot of people wish he'd done earlier but are glad he's doing it at all. next.
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former president appears to finally be urging people to get vaccines and boosters. listen to how he pushed back on the suggestion during an interview that vaccines may not work. >> ones that get very sick and go to the hospital are the ones that don't take the vaccine. it is still their choice. if you take the vaccine, you are protected. the results of the vaccine are very good. if you do get it, it's a very minor form. people aren't dying when they take the vaccine. >> earlier this week, he took boos from a crowd when he announced his booster shot. both are at odds with how he previously avoided talking about it. in september, he said he probably wouldn't get a booster.
back in march anthony fauci said, quote, it was a lost opportunity when the former president was quietly vaccinated away from the public eye months earlier. his public endorsements come after a new report from a house select committee hammered his administration's covid response. among the source it quotes are emails sent by a top health official and she calls the herd immunity proponents a fringe group. we want to focus tonight on the former president's most recent comments in support of vaccines and boosters. joining me is dr. adams who was u.s. surgeon general under the former president. nice to see you this evening. it wasn't that he came out in support, it's he pushed back hard during that interview saying that they are effective. what's your takeaway? >> well, absolutely.
and we've known donald trump for 75 years. we've known joe biden for 79 years. we know the president's love language is words of affirmation. to me, what was most shocking, what was most telling wasn't that donald trump came out and supported vaccines. it was that it took joe biden 11 months to finally do what he has been known to do for 79 years. that's to reach out across the aisle. once he gave president trump the words of affirmation, you heard trump say, thank you, i appreciate that. he applauded it. i hope we see more of that. i have been calling for it. i've been telling people, we can't reach the conservative parts of america if we only use and only reach out to and engage liberal voices. >> come on, dr. adams, you are telling me donald trump didn't praise vaccines or boosters until joe biden decided to thank him for the vaccines? that's what he was waiting for? >> well, john, i am a psychology
major and people have different words, love languages. that is the truth. that's when you saw donald trump change his tune. i'm not saying it's right or wrong. you can't deny that that is when he changed his tune and came out and supported vaccinations. regardless, that's a good thing. the point we should be discussing is how do we get more people out there on both sides of the aisle talking about vaccinations and boosters? too many people are unboosted. 30% boost rate, that's not good enough. we are not near herd immunity. that's why the virus continues to torment us. >> i will take anything that helps get people vaccinate and boosted. if it just took a thank you to get trump to do it several hundred thousand deaths later, it's pretty pathetic, isn't it? >> well, we can say it's pathetic. we can debate it. we can say it's pathetic it took this long for the new
administration to reach out in any way, shape or form. i talk to people in the white house. i can tell you from inside the white house, there's a political pushback at engaging anyone from the trump administration, acknowledging they can anything right. i'm hearing this from inside the white house. i have always said, democrat, republican, biden supporter, trump supporter, we need cooperation. the enemy is the virus. at the end of the day, we can make a political story about this or we can say kudos to biden and trump. >> given trump waited so long to say this, will it have an impact do you think on those holdouts? >> well, we know -- we saw he got booed by some people out there. i have to feel like if the two presidents can come together -- i talked to my fellow surgeons general. if we can come together, if people on both sides of the aisle can come together, we can break down partisan divides that are between us and make the enemy the virus and not each other.
>> there is news tonight the cdc changed guidance on how long health care workers have to isolate after getting covid from ten days to seven days. do you think that's a good decision? >> it's a decision that's been made necessary by the fact that the virus is spiraling out of control. it does follow the science. seven days but you have to test negative. we are seeing more and more that the virus -- you don't need to be isolated for a full ten days. to me, what bothers me is what you talked about earlier. we are stressing out our health care workers. look, we will have a different set of rules for you. not necessarily because of the science. because we have let the virus run rampant. we don't have enough support to let you stay out as long as we tell everyone else to stay out. there is science behind it. i think that what led us to it is the fact we don't have enough people boosted, we don't have enough testing, we don't have
enough high quality masks out there for people. we are seeing this omicron variant really rip through america. >> do you think that other industries should join suit here? the airlines, delta, has written a letter asking for guidelines to be changed to get workers who are vaccinated and testing negative even if they had omicron, if they can get them back? united had to cancel 100 flights on christmas eve. clearly, there's a need. >> again, the science suggests we can shorten that window somewhat. we need to continue to follow the science. i don't understand why you would have a different set of rules for health care workers than for other people. i think the real key is something that they missed. again, we need to be promoting better high quality masks everywhere. a single layer cloth mask isn't cutting it against omicron. we need more testing, better masking. that's how we get through this, not by cutting out guidelines and making shortcuts to get people back to work.
that's not going to get us through this. it's just a band-aid. >> thanks for joining us. have a happy holiday. >> thank you. get your booster. get your flu shot. get your vax. >> done it all. and i'm wearing the good mask. thank you so much. >> take care. the january 6th committee and the former president escalated their fight over his white house records all the way to the supreme court. details just ahead. ♪ you are my fire ♪ ♪ the one desire ♪ ♪ you are, you are, ♪ ♪ don't wanna hear you say... ♪ ♪ ♪ i want it that way ♪
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today, the january 6th committee investigating the riot asked the supreme court to decide by the middle of next month whether it will take a white house records case brought tie boo former president. the request came hours after he'd asked the court to block the committee from getting about 700 pages of records. this follows losses in two lower courts that did not agree with his claims of executive privilege. the committee is seeking activity logs, schedules, speech notes and three pages of hand written notes. from them white house chief of staff mark meadows as they look into the former president's role into trying to overturn the election results. joining us now cnn supreme court analyst, and a cnn political commentator. what's going to happen here? do you see the supreme court taking up this case? >> nice to see you, john. it might be one they can't resist. this is major constitutional battle. it's a separation of powers issue. we've never had the supreme court rule on the question of a
former president versus current president over a claim of executive privilege. so the question is huge for the justices and for the country and for future presidents. but you're right about the kind of hand that donald trump goes into this with, a losing hand. the president on this question from the 1970s when richard nixon twice had issues involving executive privilege went against him, and they would -- they led the two lower court sets of judges to go against donald trump, and i could even see under a scenario, john, if this were kind of normal times, a unanimous ruling against donald trump, but that would mean they would take it. and one last thing i would mention is that in the request you mentioned from the house select committee, it almost had the tone of accepting the fact the justices might want to weigh in, but with the caveat if you're going to weigh in do it
sooner rather than later. the clock is ticking on how long that select committee will be in power. >> very quickly, how quickly could they do it, joan, if they wanted to? >> okay, well, what both sides are saying is take it up in your january 14th conference. they could schedule it then for either the end of january or early february. the justices usually take a four-week recess in february. they can hear it early february, they could then decide it in a couple weeks. back in 1974 the justices decided the nixon tape case so they could do it. we could know about the archive being able to turn over those documents to the committee by the end of february if the court takes it, if it doesn't deny it outright, which i think is dicy here. >> so margaret, obviously the time frame here is that the democrats on the committee and riz cheney and adam kinzinger the republicans want or need this to happen when the republicans might take over next
year and make this committee go, poof, go away. the supreme court it's interesting here because there are people who say oh, it's a 6-3 conservative court, they're going to side with president trump on this. but there are actual genuine legal questions here they may want to address. >> yes. and the court isn't so crassly political. this is one of the arguments you often hear the judges making even as you listen to the most recent controversial hearing about on dobbs versus the -- this is the planned parenthood or the abortion case they most recently heard. i mean the justices to themselves and to the american public are arguing this court is bound by precedent and bound by legal rules, and the constitution had nothing to do with who appointed each justice. and i do think it's right that they very well especially in the court, a man who seeks to preserve the remaining respect the country has for its institutions thus especially the court will try to forge a
consensus and try to forge a unanimous decision on, frankly, anything that comes before him but particularly something as controversial and as political and prone to partisanship as this. >> how important do you think these records are at this point? to me especially after we've seen these mark meadows texts, ones he willingly handed over, the idea there are 700 pages of things the former white house didn't want anyone to see, there could be a lot in there, margaret. >> it's enormously important, john. it has everything to do with what was happening in those three-plus hours. what was the president of the united states thinking, doing and telling people as violence was unfolding at the capitol? we know they were trying to amount what effectively is a procedural coup. they were trying to slow down the counting of the ballots and the transition of power. but what did they think of the violence? did they think the violence was
helpful to them? was there potentially a legitimate dereliction of duty, which, by the way from the outside seems obvious. what was happening on the inside? we won't know until we see those documents. and this is a matter of maintaining our constitution, maintaining our integrity as a country. this is matter that is absolutely fundamentally important to our country, to our future, and we need to know. >> thanks to both of you for joining us tonight. have a wonderful holiday, the both of you. >> thanks, john. >> happy holidays. so millions of americans are traveling for the holidays this year in numbers not seen since before the pandemic. so as you travel and gather with loved ones a report from randy kaye how to behave as well as what masks to use and which ones to avoid. ks. they give their customers seven days. and if they don't like it, they give 'em their money back. wait, they take the car back?
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according to tsa, today is set to be one of the busiest of the holiday travel period. they're anticipating 20 million people will fly between today and january 3rd. the uptick in travel comes amid fears of the omicron variant spreading rapidly across the country. in addition to those 100 united flights canceled earlier, we just learned delta has canceled 93 christmas eve flights, due to multiple issues, including omicron. what do we really know about the virus and how it's transmitted? "360"'s randi kaye went looking for answers. >> heavy cough, sfwlee -- three, two, one. >> reporter: inside this lab at atlanta university, scientists are measuring how coronavirus can spread through the virus of a cough. they fill a mannequin's mouth with a mixture of glycerine and water, then use a pump to force it to cough. then they wait and see how far the droplets travel.
the droplets fill the air, made visible with a green laser light. holiday travelers take note. the droplets expelled advanced a distance of three feet almost immediately. within five seconds, the droplets had traveled six feet, then nine feet in just about ten seconds. remember, nine feet is three feet beyond the recommended social distancing guidelines. >> it's already reaching roughly nine feet now. it's still moving farther, slowly. >> reporter: the fog of droplets lingered in the air and can do so, the professor says, for several minutes. it took about 30 to 40 seconds to float another three feet. >> it's getting closer to 12 feet now. >> reporter: yes, he said 12 feet. over and over again, the simulated droplets blew past the six-foot mark, often doubling that distance. in fact, while the cdc says it's less likely, infections have been transmitted to people who were more than six feet away,
even in people who passed through the area after the infectious person had already left. it's all part of why the cdc still insists on keeping your distance from others while traveling and wear a high quality mask. our professors tested masks too. and it's easy to see why some experts say cloth masks and anything that's just a single layer offers so little protection. first we tested a single layer gaiter. >> it tends to let anything through without any stoppage. >> reporter: next up, a single layer bandanna made of 100% cotton. >> this is cotton, one layer. it performs a little better than the gator. you still get some leakage coming through. it filters some of the droplets but some escape through with a single layer.
they don't go very far, probably about six inches from the face when you're talking. >> reporter: this double layer mask made of quilting cotton also spread respiratory droplets when the mannequin talked and coughed but not as badly as the gaiter and the bandanna. >> it doesn't go very far, probably two to three inches from the face. significantly better than the other masks. >> reporter: what about those blue surgical masks so many people are wearing on airplanes and airports? they did well, but there's room for improvement. when the mannequin coughed, not much went through the mask but quite a bit leaked out the top. bottom line, experts suggest grabbing a kn95 or n95 mask if available before hitting the road. and keep your distance from your fellow passengers and maybe even your family. randi kaye, cnn, palm beach county, florida. >> good advice. ahead, the life and words of
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