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tv   ABC7 News Getting Answers  ABC  July 27, 2021 3:00pm-3:30pm PDT

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building a better bay area, moving forward, finding solutions. this is abc7 news. hi, there. i am kristen see. you are watching "getting answers." we asked expertked ex questions every day at 3:00 to get answers for you in real time. today, we will talk about what it is like traveling in spot hots, bans, and where you can get there's a lot to cover when it comes to masking and vaccines you can ask your questions on facebook life. i bet you have a lot of them. joining us now to answer those questions, dr. monica gandhi. thank you for joining us today. >> thank you. >> the new cdc in the mask recommendation, that was big.
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it is causing some confusion, so tell us which groups of vaccinated people does it apply to. >> yes, so i actually think this is prudent of the cdc to do this because what they did is they said that you are still safe as a vaccinated person, but your likelihood of getting even a mild breakthrough infection depends on how much virus is circulating, so really, what they are saying is in areas of substantial transmission of the virus they have specific definitions for that, that is one vaccinated people should mask indoors. it's not because they think it protects you from the delta variant. vaccines do, but you can get a mild breakthrough if there's a lot of virus around, and that is what we've been seeing with the delta variant. >> you think it makes sense, but you said recently as last week that vaccinated people don't need to wear masks indoors with a lot of people,
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vaccination status unknown. is this something about the delta variant that we now know that we did not know before that is causing this change in thinking? >> yes. it is something that i have changed about, something the cdc has changed about. what is it about the delta variant? the delta variant is very transmissible, it is really hurt and, unfortunately, our unvaccinated, eligible adults who are going into the hospital because 99.96 hospitalizations are in unvaccinated, eligible adults. however, what is it doing for us who are vaccinated? there is so much more virus around, so much higher viral load, that we're seeing more symptomatic breakthrough infections with variant then we saw with the alpha variant, and what that means is we don't want you to get a cold from sars cov2, and because there is so much more circulating virus now, the change, this is a change in my thinking, the cdcs thinking, that we want to put masking
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back in the face of delta only in areas with high transmission. once they come down, those masks can come off. >> i'm glad you mentioned that because i want to show a cdc map they put out. it is color-coded, and this is what you can look at the cdc site to determine if you are in one of those high transmissible areas that dr. gandhi was talking about, in which case, you are asked to mask indoors. can you walk us through what this means for the bay area, looking like our counties are either in red or orange? >> yes, so what the cdc recommended is again substantial or high. what does that mean? the areas in orange are substantial. that's basically new cases over 100,000 people in the past several days of 50 to 100, or an 18% test positivity rate, and high is greater than 100 cases
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positivity rate, so that will tell you orange is substantial, the high is red, and those are the areas we are seeing increased case rates. >> electric contra costa and alameda are red, so or high, you're supposed to mask indoors. this is telling me we in the bay area should mask up indoors, even if vaccinated. is that right? >> yes, and this was recommended for the bay area even before, but i think it's going to be changed now to a mandate. i have been in favor of a hospitalization metric instead of a case metric because cases can go up with your testing rates in town with places in the country that are not testing as much as we are, so that's a little comment i would've made. i would've gone with hospitalization rates. >> what about the vaccination rate. that play into it and factor into this because we have a high vaccination rate in this area? >> i think this is a great question. i wrote an article in "the washington post" april 4th that
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maybe anticipated this, but it said essentially that our restriction should come off and we're at a certain hospitalization rate, and, plus adding the vaccination rate, that there should be a vaccination rate that is put into the equation when you think about restrictions. for example, vermont's is 80% vaccination rate, and their case rates are staying low and they're probably not going to be masking, so i do think putting in vaccination rates is important because the difference is going on between the last surges is the cases and hospitalizations are becoming quote, uncoupled. so, as we get to higher and higher vaccination rates, they will become most completely uncoupled like they did in the uk, so i think it would've been better to have that with the 70% vaccination rate or full vaccination rate or 80%, but they did not do it that way, and
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in a way, they tracked, so that is one issue. we can look at vermont. they are tracking. higher vaccination rates, lower case rates, so i think what they did today is still going to track, but i would put vaccination rate in there. >> with the way the delta variant is going and the cases, and you are referred to the fact that mask mandates may be coming back to the bay area, and that is what dr. walker believes i've got to ask you. a lot of people are frustrated. i'm not saying what my position is or that i feel that way, but there are people saying, "this is basically vaccinated people paying the price for people who are unvaccinated and won't vaccinate and won't put on their mask." are vaccinated people losing their patience, and is this cdc move today sending the right message about that? >> well, i will say i really understand why people feel that way, and i feel that way as
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well, and this is a backtrack. this is a step back. this is disappointing. i think there are two things that happened that made this disappointment happen. one is the delta variant happened, and it is real, more transmissible, and doing this in so many countries. second is that, frankly, we did not have the vaccination rates that we had hoped for, and we have vaccine hesitancy more than the uk and israel, our counterparts, which are going faster with the vaccinations, and we are at a more disappointing part of the pandemic we would would vaccination rates be that is why governor newsom said state a place have to get vaccinated or get tested. the more we can push vaccination rates, the less the battery has to happen. the reason for this is not because they don't think vaccinated people are protected. the chance is even a chance of a mild breakthrough infections can increase if there's a lot more transmission, and people don't want to allow breakthrough infection,
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understandably. >> you mentioned the state. governor newsom a nothing state employees have to be vaccinated essentially to the california state university system, which is a houston them with a lot of students and employees, are going to have to do the same. they made that announcement today. and president biden and the last couple of hours said he's considering mandating it for federal employees, and there are some, cnn included, saying that announcement will come thursday, that federal workers will have to be vaccinated. do you think all of this is going to have the effect of encouraging a lot more employer mandates, and is that what's going to drive the numbers and work at this point? >> i do think that is true, so remember that in this country, in 1905, the supreme court put in a ruling that we're allowed to mandate vaccines in this country. this was for smallpox at the time. there is a precedent for mandating vaccines. i think there are some exceptions that should be made, which is of course for someone who has had prior infection here that needs to be debated still. how many doses they need good i also think medical and
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religious reasons, but you will see more and more employers putting in vaccine mandates, and i think this is paving the way for that. i agree. >> dr. monica gandhi, don't go away because when we come back, we're going talk about about hey, i just got a text from my sister. you remember rick, her neighbor? sure, he's the 76-year-old guy who still runs marathons, right? sadly, not anymore. -what, you mean-- -mhm. -just like that. -wow. so sudden. um, we're not about to have the "we need life insurance" conversation again, are we? no, we're having the "we're getting coverage so we don't have to worry about it" conversation. so you're calling about the $9.95 a month plan -from colonial penn? -i am. we put it off long enough. we are getting that $9.95 plan, today. (jonathan) is it time for you to call about the $9.95 plan?
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♪ ♪ hello, colonial penn? we're back with interest six disease specialist, dr. monica gandhi, who was answering your questions over on facebook live during the break. dee mckinney want to know what about those who cannot get the second vaccine because of a very bad vaccine reaction to the first shot? we know if you
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only get one shot, you're not nearly as protected against the delta variant. >> that is true, that it is not as effective is different, and if you had a really bad reaction to the first one, you may have been that person who had really high antibodies, so high t cells. remember, this is a population level, and is an individual level. if you had a bad reaction and your doctor recommended do not get the second shot, you don't get the second shot. we hope you're on a bell curve and we are hoping you are over here and got a high response. >> dr. monica, why is it taking so long for, you know, the fda to give full authorization be on emergency use on because a lot more people might be able to do it if they felt the full alteration because people think of emergency as something riskier or less
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proven. >> i could not agree more. i would say you actually have to sign a consent when you get your vaccine because it's under the emergency use authorization format right now, and i can be the tearing. it is experimental. we've had a lot of experience with these, but they do need to approve it. cannot answer that question? i don't know if they have approved it yet. one idea is that we don't have a da director. we have an acting director, and a lot of pressure is being put on president biden that we need these vaccines approved, fully approved for some people still waiting for that to get the vaccine. >> one more question about the delta variant. i read an mit medical blog that said delta is more likely to evade the protection conferred by prior infection or vaccination. can you clarify that because we do here are the vaccines are effective, even against the delta variant, but are they little less ineffective? >> so, with prior infection, there's prior ways to think of it. there are b cells and t cells,
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and what happens is that your t cells that you generate from prior infection which prevents you from getting severe disease are probably still very active against the delta variant, but when a virus is still circulating a lot, what a boost does, what a first dose of the vaccine does is it increases your antibodies, and because this virus is still very much in circulation, if you've had natural infection, i would recommend you get a single shot , and so does france and so does germany and a lot of other countries that are recommending that one shot to give you higher antibodies into what is maturing your t cell response so you could fight off the delta variant. >> your thoughts on the booster have been changing and evolving as well, as the delta takes hole. i want to ask about schools the because the cdc did say today they would like, and a school setting, all staff, visitors, students to be massed and, you know, that is different from what they were saying just a few weeks ago.
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talk about what you think would be a safe return to school because kids are going to do that next week and in a couple of weeks. >> and we need to go back to school. i would say that, essentially, i think that the cdc, by putting in a metric, this was the right thing to do, and i was commenting on this for a while. the reason is vermont, if you have a metric, and i know they said this about schools, but if you had a metric and you have very low community transmission and hospital rates, i would not think that children needs to mask in those schools, so even though they said the city and they are making an exception for schools, i think they have shown that they're going to change with the times, and a lot of people are urging that we should start out with masks and schools he would absolutely. i think we should also be masking vaccinated people because a lot of us are in high transmission areas, but there is not a reason to think that a school is different than in other inside settings, and i am almost sure the school guidance will update as we go along with
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the delta variant. everyone wants schools to open, and they are basically saying mask everyone. i think that's appropriate. that is fine. but it will have to change with the times. >> do you think there should be a mask mandate for public schools in california as well? my kid's vaccine rate at 80% 80 this point, but they are urging kids for not requiring they get the shot before they come back. what do you think? >> i think this is a little more complicated with covid than with measles, mumps, pertussis, and rubella which are more childhood diseases. it is a little more complicated to mandate a vaccine when a child is most likely to be at risk. on the other hand, these variants are happening, and these variants are increasing transmissibility, which can threaten others in the household, so i cannot tell the future
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mandate, but public schools can still open without vaccination. we all know that. we all know mitigation procedures are in there. it worked before. it worked in the uk and europe, and whether there will be mandates for children, i cannot tell. >> i think the difference between now, though, and this spring when some kids went back in a hybrid situation mostly is there won't be social distancing because the fact that 100% of kids are back means you cannot space the desk out like to six feet or whatever, so, given that, would you feel safe sending your kid back to school and, you know, knowing they are massed while indoors? what do you think? >> yes, so what the cdc and that i would feel safe with my child going back, and i hope they do. with the cdc says there are layers of mitigation strategy. if distancing cannot be accomplished, which it really can't in public schools, then you have the two other layers of ventilation and masking. ventilation, north america is
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in the summer and fall season. we can open our windows. that is amazing ventilation capacity. seven, masking in schools until these cases, hospitalization rates go down, and those other layers of protection, even if distancing is not there, it's always been a complementary three layers of mitigation, masking, distancing, ventilation, and masking and ventilation are better than distance. >> could the delta variant to blow through quickly? you know, how long do you think it can hold on and hold its grip on us? >> i think it will blow through more quickly than the other variants, and how do we know that? if you look at the uk, they're about six weeks ahead of us, and their cases started plummeting this past week. over the last six days, it is as if they reached the peak, and they started coming down because it is like a hurricane. it comes in fast and leaves faster. so they are six weeks ahead of us. then, we have to think that once we reach our peak, it's going to take us -- i'm sorry,
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we still probably have not reached our peak, but after that, it will come down fast. so yes, i think it is a hurricane. >> do you think another lockdown in the bay area is coming? >> i don't think so because our hospitalizations don't merit that, even if we still do have higher rates of vaccination. luckily, the many other areas, and our hospitalizations are still staying within hospital capacity, meaning we can maintain the capacity, so with masking , this is called soft suppression strategy. they're not going to lockdown, closed on businesses, reduce capacity. they are doing masks indoors like we are doing, and they are keeping things open as they are watching the hospitalizations. i don't think the bay area is going to lockdown. >> i have a couple my second for viewer questions. corey wants to know do you think it is safe to fly domestically if you are vaccinated? >> yes, i think it is safe to
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fly domestically, but i would of course ask everyone have to mask in the plane, and i would mask my unvaccinated children, and i will be flying, and i will mask my unvaccinated child , and for those who are vulnerable or immunocompromised, i would actually think of a stronger mask. what i mean is the double mask which is the surgical plus cloth mass, the n95 which i think is uncomfortable, or ache cloth mask with a filter inside it that is a stronger mask, and keep that mask on. >> dr. monica gandhi, i want to share there are a lot of viewers commenting. love dr. gandhi. thank you, dr. gandhi, and they echo my sentiments absolutely. appreciate your time and insight as always. >> thank you so much. we're going to talk more about traveling. buddy brought that up
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with another covid surge driven largely by the delta variant, travel is coming under the microscope again. today, the biden administration says it will continue travel restrictions, and it does not.
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masking on flights rule is lifting anytime soon. joining us to discuss all things related to travel is scott kies. scott, good to see you again. >> thanks for having me. >> before we get to the good stuff, i would like to know which countries are we currently being told to avoid and which countries are we banning entry from? >> look, in terms of folks coming to the u.s., there still large swaths of the world that are not currently allowed to visit the u.s., most of europe, china, and elsewhere, but the good news for american travelers is that most of the world, especially in europe and latin america and the caribbean is now open for american travelers. most of europe is now welcomingn american travelers who might need to show either proof of vaccination or recent negative test, but there are a very small and dwindling number of countries where you cannot visit as an american today. >> what about mexico or canada?
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>> mexico, you been able to visit this entire time without even showing recent negative test for proof of vaccination. you do have to show a recent negative test taken within three days of your return to the u.s., no matter where you go internationally, even if you're a vaccinated american. for canada, good news is the actually announced just last week that, coming on august 9th, vaccinated americans will be welcomed back in canada, so if you've had plans to go visit vancouver or jasper national park, you can go beginning august 9th. you will need proof of vaccination. you won't need to bring a recent negative test, but you will need that, again, in order to come back into the u.s. >> hawaii. do visitors from the mainland still need do take a test or show vaccination group? >> the good news is that if you have been vaccinated, that requirement is gone by the wayside. it was a requirement for a while until they got there
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vaccination rate high enough to where they were able to strip out many of those restrictions, so travel to hawaii really started to kind of normalize and get back to having far fewer sort of, you know, bureaucratic papers and tests that you had to do before travel. now, it's a lot easier to go visit the islands, which is good news for bargain hunters, considering we seen deals as low as 198 bucks round trip just in the past week. >> this is what is interesting though, scott. even if you get cheap flights, like you cited to hawaii, what about the hotels? i have a friend who's going in the fall to hawaii who said the flight was no problem, but the hotel capacity is not there, and it's like $1000 a night. crazy. tell us why that mismatch? >> there is two funny things happening. you know, there's almost a sort of bizarro world travel right now, where the
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flights are actually quite cheap, especially in places like hawaii, alaska, or even to europe, but the hotels, and especially the car rentals are exceedingly expensive. now, there is some complicated reasons why that is, especially with hotels, but the good news is for travelers who have at least a little bit of flexibility in the plan, i would expect that those prices will subside significantly once the summer travel season to wane. you know, there are a lot of families, folks with kids, teachers, students, who can only travel in the summer, to increase demand leads to higher prices, the once we hit september and beyond, i think you can expect to see a lot of great deals on hotels and car rentals again just like we are seeing with flights. >> most of asia is still closed to americans, but are there some exceptions you can tell us about? >> that is true. so the vast majority of asia is the big sort of area of the world right now where americans still cannot travel, even if you have been fully vaccinated.
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there are a couple of exceptions. the maldives is open for vaccinated americans. crew cat, you know, the beachy island paradise in thailand, is open, but you cannot go visit the rest of thailand here with you have to stay in phuket. singapore is making waves that they hope to reopen by september for vaccinated travelers. still, a lot of detail, tbd, on that he had but the asia-pacific region has the asia-pacific region has been a lot after my car accident, the asii wondered what myas been a lcase was worth. so i called the barnes firm. when that car hit my motorcycle, insurance wasn't fair. so i called the barnes firm. it was the best call i could've made. atat t bararnefirmrm, our r inry a attneysys wk hahard i could've made. atat t bararnefirmrm, to get you the best result possible. call us now and find out what your case could be worth. you u mit bebe sprisised ♪ the barnes firm injury attorneys ♪ ♪ call one eight hundred, eight million ♪
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thank you so much for joining us on this interactive show, "getting answers." we talked about the new cdc
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recommendations when it comes to masking indoors for vaccinated people here you can find more information on abc7news.com , and we will have more on the tonight, breaking news from the cdc. the new guidance tonight for vaccinated americans when it comes to wearing masks again. the cdc director dr. rochelle walensky with updated guy dance late today, saying new and worrisome data on the delta variant, tonight saying the new data shows that vaccinated people with those rare breakthrough cases, may be contagious and able to spread the virus to others. so,s now recommending vaccinated americans wear masks indoors again in areas with high transmission of covid cases.roc from transmitting the virus to others. also tonight, the cdc saying with millions of children heading back to school, all students, t

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