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Hole in Plane Caused by Bullet; Tylenol Bottles Recalled; Actor George Clooney to Testify in Berlusconi Trial?; Is Your TV Watching You?
Aired March 30, 2011 - 07:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ALI VELSHI, CNN ANCHOR: A fatal error at the hospital, nine patients are dead, more may be in danger. All took an I.V. treatment that was infected. What went wrong and did they have to die on this AMERICAN MORNING.
KIRAN CHETRY, CNN ANCHOR: Such a scary story. And good morning. It's Wednesday. It's March 30th. Glad you're with us on this AMERICAN MORNING.
To know that you're basically defenseless in a hospital, and you have no control over what happens to your I.V. bag.
VELSHI: There's nothing that those patients could have done about this.
CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN ANCHOR: Right. We're going to have latest on that story.
Also, breaking new this hour, Gadhafi's forces right now pushing the opposition rebels back east. The Libyan leader reportedly on his way to claiming complete control of a key oil city once in the hands of the rebels. Our reporters on the ground just confirming with the rebels, quote, "The front line is fluid."
VELSHI: Plus, an alarming development at the nuclear plant in Japan. New radiation numbers coming back 3,000 times the legal limit. We're live in Tokyo with the latest.
CHETRY: Also, your TV will soon watch what you watch. Your interest and the types of shows you watch the most. Is this the case of technology being too intrusive or more targeted so you'll stick around?
ROMANS: But we begin this hour with breaking news from Libya and a brutal new offensive by Gadhafi forces against the rebels. Right now, there's a fierce battle raging for control of the key oil town of Ras Lanuf that's in eastern Libya. There are new pictures just into CNN showing rebels retreating about 40 miles outside that city.
Rebel reports from the front line say they were bombarded by huge rockets. One fighter telling Reuters Gadhafi has entered Ras Lanuf. Out manned and out gunned by government forces, rebel fighters are now being pushed out of towns they once controlled. Meantime, President Obama said arming the rebels is on the table, but no decision has been made yet.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, (D) PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm not ruling it out, but I'm also not ruling it in. We're still making an assessment, partly about what Gadhafi's forces are going to be doing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROMANS: Let's go to Nic Robertson for more about the fighting in Ras Lanuf. Trying to find out just how fluid this front line is, Nic is in Tripoli watching these developments and also watching the Gadhafi reaction from the initial offensive and now Gadhafi's latest pushback. We're told we don't have Nic Robertson right now, but we will check in with him in just a moment. Again, Nic Robertson in Tripoli, and we're watching a very fluid front line situation in Ras Lanuf. Some of the territory that the rebels have managed to get control of, now they're being pushed back.
We do have Nic. Nic, let me ask, what is the situation in Ras Lanuf? What is the situation with the front-line rebels being pounded back by serious ammunition from the Gadhafi forces?
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, from what we can hear at the moment, the situation is very fluid, that the government forces have been pushing through Ras Lanuf. The rebels have been pushed back, made this advance forward over the past few days, then they've been pushed back again. This was their problem before that they rushed forward, weren't able to sort of maintain and hold a front line when they came under sustained attack.
And what we're seeing from Moammar Gadhafi's forces now is really sustained attacks in the face of the coalition bombing, sustained attacks, not just in Ras Lanuf, but also in Misrata, and reports from southwestern Tripoli here not far from Tripoli, but there have been an increase in Gadhafi's forces around that town where there's been a small opposition element holding out against the government here.
So it seems that despite what Moammar Gadhafi has heard at the conference in London yesterday, from President Obama speaking yesterday about the possibility of arming rebels, that he's trying to take advantage of the situation now and continue to push the rebels while they're still weak despite the fact that the coalition air force is still targeting his troops on the ground.
ROMANS: Nic Robertson in Tripoli for us, the latest on a fluid front line situation with Ras Lanuf.
VELSHI: As we talk about these different cities, Ras Lanuf is this key port in which all of these oil pipelines lead. So much of Libya's oil goes through Ras Lanuf. Who controls --
ROMANS: Controls the money.
VELSHI: Exactly right. New developments this morning out of Syria. The president is expected to address the nation very soon. Bashar Al-Assad accepted the resignation of his entire cabinet yesterday, a move that other nations recently made in an attempt to cool things down.
People gathered in Damascus in support of the president yesterday. State-run media claims the crowd was in the millions. As we discussed, however, this was a totalitarian state where it might be in people's interest to show up at a rally in favor of the government. Trying to get out images showing people are on its side. But the U.N. says 37 people have died in deadly crackdowns.
CHETRY: Here at home a big scare at several Alabama hospitals, a deadly bacteria infecting 19 patients in recent weeks. Officials say it came from contaminated IV bags that were supposed to be feeding these patients used at six different hospitals. Well, now nine of the infected patients have died. The CDC is stepping in to investigate whether the bacteria caused those deaths.
Our Elizabeth Cohen joins us not from Atlanta with more on this. First of all, explain what happened here.
ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: What seems to have happened here is these IV bags you've mentioned, the bags feeding the patients were contaminated with a bacteria, and so that bacteria was coursing through their veins. As you mentioned, nine people have died, and Kiran, we're told that the other ten are not doing well at all.
CHETRY: As we said later today they're going to be doing more, I guess, testing and investigation to see if there is a direct link. But they have since pulled all of these -- all of the food IV bags that were manufactured by this particular company, correct?
COHEN: That's right. So I don't want anyone to get the feeling this is coming to an IV bag near them. This company has pulled all of these. They were never distributed outside of Alabama, anyhow. So the outbreak is contained.
But still these questions linger. How in the world did it happen? Did someone not wash their hands who worked at the plant? Were the raw materials contaminated? Were they using equipment or some kind of other thing in the plant that was contaminated? We just don't know.
CHETRY: And the scary thing about this, how can you prevent this? How can you guard against this when you're using so many bags of saline? You're using so many of these things that come pre- manufactured, pre-wrapped. Does the hospital have any ability to stop this?
COHEN: They really don't. When hospitals are given saline bags or IV bags, they don't test each individual one to see if they have a fungus, bacteria, or virus. They're supposed to be sterile. And they're not going to go testing every single bag. They can't do that. So usually, almost always it works fine. And sometimes like in this case, it doesn't. And the scary thing, Kiran, as a patient, there is really nothing you can do. I'm all about being the empowered patient. But at this point, if someone sticks a needle in your vein, you're in trouble.
CHETRY: Elizabeth, thanks so much. A little bit later, we're going to be talking to Alabama state health officer Donald Williamson. He'll be joining us in about 25 minutes.
VELSHI: To Japan now and the latest tests on the ocean water near the crippled Fukushima Daiichi power plant have turned up very troubling results. Radioactive iodine readings have spiked to levels 3,300 times higher than normal. Martin Savidge is following the latest developments from Tokyo this morning.
Martin, what does this mean? Our viewers continue to get bombarded with numbers and information and radiation levels. What are the implications of these readings?
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Clearly, it's not good news, Ali. It's the trend really we've been following. When you see the radiation levels tested in the ocean water off of that plant say Saturday, they were at a level of 1,600 times the legal limit. The trend was they were going down. Now you get a reading from Tuesday, you say it's more than doubled up to 3,300.
The concern as far as health impact on human beings is not high. Number one because we're talking about radioiodine. The government says it dissipates quickly and in an area where there are no people. It doesn't take into account the sea life. So they're not overly concerned about the levels.
What they're concerned about is where in the world is it coming from? They thought they identified various electrical tunnels. They sandbagged them and put all sorts of stuff on them to seal them. Clearly there's some other source they are not aware of. And that's the most troubling aspect there.
How about a little bit of good news? There is some of that. TEPCO has found a way to drain highly active water on land in some of the basements and electrical shafts. They can't get people in, people need to get in to hook up the power to get the pumps on and we begin to stabilize things there. So that is at least some positive news. But otherwise it's just a seesaw of good and bad news almost every single day, Ali.
VELSHI: Martin, thank you so much from Tokyo for us.
ROMANS: OK. This woman faced off with a 300-pound sea animal and she lived to tell the tale. Jenny Hausch and her family were boating in the Florida Keys yesterday when an unwelcome visitor jumped onboard. A spotted eagle ray hit Hausch in the chest, knocked her to the deck, landed on top of her, pinned her down for minutes while her family watched shocked.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JENNY HAUSCH, HIT BY EAGLE RAY: It jumped up, they say it was probably 200 to 300 pounds, hit me in the chest, and I fell backwards. I remember pushing it away with my hands and scooting backwards.
DELANEY HAUSCH: I was freaked out. Like, how would that happen without something really, really, really bad happening?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROMANS: Yes, it was big. She's doing OK. We're going to have a live interview with Jenny in the 9:00 a.m. hour of CNN Newsroom.
VELSHI: You don't feel we're misrepresenting this eagle ray a little bit.
ROMANS: As if it's nefarious.
VELSHI: It was looking for her, found her, pinned her down. It's an eagle ray.
And they were photographing them leaping into the air. This one just leaped the wrong way.
CHETRY: Still to come on "American Morning," a small plane making a big splash. The pilot loses control. Everyone's all right, just an amazing picture of this thing missing the runway.
VELSHI: If you notice a musty smell comes from a bottle of Tylenol in your home, it could be part of a new recall. We'll tell you about that, as well.
ROMANS: And the next time you sit down to watch TV, your TV might be watching you. It's 11 minutes after the hour.
VELSHI: All right, a small plane falls a little short of the runway, an attempted landing gone wrong in St. Petersburg, Florida, on Sunday. The aircraft crashed into the water. It's only a few feet from the runway in this video we're going to show you.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Dude, I just got it on film, bro.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELSHI: Here's the thing, the pilot did report some mechanical problems. They just short of that runway, you can see the runway on the right there. They managed to pull them out to safety, the pilot and passenger. They've got minor injuries and looking into what went wrong. ROMANS: Did you hear the guy said it looked like he was on fire. I wonder if he intentionally went down.
VELSHI: I think it's easier to get on the ground where you can get help.
ROMANS: Let's stick with another plane story. A hole found in the fuselage of a U.S. Airways jet was caused by a bullet. Government investigators say they're going to figure out what happened here. But they tell CNN the bullet penetrated the passenger cabin and has now been recovered. It's believed the bullet was fired in Charlotte on Monday after passengers had exited the plane.
VELSHI: Who's close enough to a plane than an airport to shoot a bullet?
ROMANS: No, a bullet can go really far.
ROMANS: Maybe they were just doing some -- they're camped way out in the hills --
VELSHI: Really far to penetrate and then get into the plane because they found the bullet inside the plane.
CHETRY: Right. But I mean, it could have been a stray. I mean, shooting practice, it could have been a stray bullet.
VELSHI: I mean, there's a range around, that's interesting -- very interesting.
CHETRY: We'll see what happens. They shouldn't.
VELSHI: And you're working like this --
CHETRY: Well, they shouldn't have a range by a place where you're waiting planes.
VELSHI: That's true. Yes.
CHETRY: Well, Sea World says that killer pup, you may remember the killer whale, will resume public appearances today. This will be the first time he's been out in the public after the fatal accident involving his trainer over a year ago. Officials say that including Tilikum in Sea World's main killer whale exhibit is important for the animal's health. They've also made some changes. He's not going to have interaction with humans in the show.
ROMANS: Which is probably a good idea.
VELSHI: You know yesterday this time, Rob was warning us there were going to be some storms in southern Louisiana. And they did come to pass. Major storms slammed southern Louisiana. Powerful rains ripping through the region. Several areas saw chunks of hail, 100- mile-per-hour winds -- 100 mile-per-hour winds. Some even spotted a funnel cloud. The storm left plenty of damage behind. There were power lines down, roads flooded out. But thankfully, no reports of any injuries.
ROMANS: All right. So let's go back to the oracle who forecast this correctly, anyway.
ROMANS: Rob Marciano. OK. So put that one in the book, you were right.
ROB MARCIANO, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yes. What he's trying to say? OK. I'll put that one in the book. But -- yes, I didn't expect 100-mile- an-hour winds. My goodness, guys.
MARCIANO: 111 actively, measured in Belle Chasse. You guys know that if you know the road from New Orleans down to Venice. Most of us do and there was significant damage along that stretch of roadway in Plaquemines Parish. And there was one report of tornado in St. John the Baptist.
All right. We have tornado watch out right now for parts of the Florida panhandle. It is still raining across southern Louisiana, so they've still got some flooding issues. But most of the wind energy has moved off to the east, although Lake Charles in the last hour and a half has reported a severe thunderstorm rolling through southwest Louisiana.
There is your tornado watch. It includes Mobile. Actually now it's sliding into parts of the Florida panhandle including Pensacola, Panama City, Destin, that area. And boy, did it rain to beat the band last night and early this morning across Atlanta. As a matter of fact, here's some lightning shots of what it looked like from our tower camera here atop the CNN studios.
A lot of rain and frequent lightning. This isn't sped up. It's just, you know, lightning every four to five seconds and we had rainfall rates coming in at one to two inches per hour and now starting to wind down. This whole storm, guys, is getting its act together to make a bit of an onslaught into the northeast over the next 48 hours. So we'll be talking more about that later in the hour.
VELSHI: All right. Thanks, Rob.
Still to come this morning, the A-list witness, actor George Clooney, has reportedly been tapped to testify in the sex trial involving Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. Huh?
CHETRY: Prosecutors just wanted to see Clooney.
VELSHI: We'll tell you about that when we come back.
ROMANS: And he says America is tap dancing around the threat of radical Islam. CNN political contributor Bill Bennett is going to stop by to talk about the Senate hearing on Muslim bias in the U.S. and what Americans are so afraid of.
It's 18 minutes past the hour.
VELSHI: It's not the kind of thing you necessarily do in the morning unless you need it. But if you are reaching into your medicine cabinet, you may want to check something a little more specifically this morning.
CHETRY: Yes. Tylenol announcing yet another recall.
ROMANS: Stephanie Elam is here with more on this, "Minding Your Business." The first one was last April. It's been recall after recall after recall for this company.
STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: It's been a nightmare for them. And, you know, you hear people talk about this and they talk about the children's products for Tylenol for all the parents here and Ali.
ELAM: It's just really hard to just understand how hard it is when you can't find this product for a lot of people.
ELAM: Well, it has caused Johnson & Johnson a lot of headache and a lot of people out there too. Let's just tell you what this new recall is.
We've got Tylenol eight-hour extended release caplets, 150 caplets they're talking about here. They're recalling 34,000 bottles of that. And take a look at this, 50-plus million bottles were recalled last year. And that cost the company $900 million in sales last year. So it shows you just how big of a deal this is.
ELAM: To say that this one has to be recalled because consumers are saying that there was a musty, moldy smell with their Tylenol, which is not exactly what you want. And so because of that, they're saying that this is why they're taking it back. They say the odor probably came from a chemical on those wooden pallets. You know that -- in warehouses that they ship things around. Well, they were stacked on top of that and they think some of it seeped into the bottles and that's probably the issue there. But taking a look at this issue overall, they were made at the Ft. Washington plant in Pennsylvania before it was closed in April of last year.
CHETRY: So it's not dangerous, it's just they need to recall it?
VELSHI: It's stinky.
CHETRY: It just doesn't smell right?
ELAM: There are problems and they're still trying to figure out. They've had so many problems.
ELAM: They're really trying to figure it out.
VELSHI: But at some point, you stop -- you can stop trusting whether or not they've got a handle on the issue. That's the problem.
ELAM: It's taken so long. They clearly do not have a handle on the issue.
ROMANS: Their production -- they have a problem with control of their production. And whether it's at their Puerto Rico plant, whether it's this other plant --
VELSHI: Yes, that's exactly right.
ROMANS: -- whether it's this, it's not all the same kind of medicines. There's different kind of medicines.
ELAM: Right. Tylenol brands -- yes.
ROMANS: It clearly shows a parent company that has lost control of its production chain.
CHETRY: I mean, if you're giving your child a medicine, that's something you want to get that right.
VELSHI: Well, that's exactly right. You'll get parents panicked.
ELAM: And because of that, that's why a lot of people saying I'll never go back to it. It's damaged the brand.
Anyway, let me just give you a quick market check. Yesterday the markets closed near session high. So another good day for you. The Dow up 81 points. Nasdaq better by 26, and the S&P 500 up about nine. Telecommunication and retail stocks looking good yesterday.
ROMANS: All right, Stephanie Elam. Thanks, Stephanie.
CHETRY: Actor George Clooney has been reportedly been called by Italian leader Silvio Berlusconi's defense team to testify at his upcoming trial. Berlusconi is scheduled to go before a court next week on allegations that he had sex with an underage prostitute at these parties that he was known for having. Well, that prostitute according to Berlusconi's lawyer says that she remembered seeing Clooney and his girlfriend at the party. But Clooney reportedly says he's only met Berlusconi once and that was on an attempt to get aid into Darfur.
VELSHI: That will be interesting. Do we know yet whether Clooney is going to be testifying?
CHETRY: Again, it seems as though they just want to see Clooney.
VELSHI: Yes, I think you're right. You're right.
ROMANS: All right.
Top stories up right after a quick break. It's 24 minutes past the hour.
The world's biggest retail company could be facing one of the biggest ever class action lawsuits. Six women taking on Wal-Mart in a sex discrimination case now before the Supreme Court.
VELSHI: Right now, you're watching TV, by the way, but your TV as Christine has been warning us could be watching you. I'm going to tell you about that when we come back.
It's 25 minutes after the hour.
VELSHI: It may not be long before the TV you watch begins to watch you.
CHETRY: A sci-fi movie that you guys were talking about.
ROMANS: It does. It sounds like something from a futuristic movie, but the future may be closer at hand than you think. Deb Feyerick here this morning with a story you'll only see on CNN and maybe it will see you back.
DEBORAH FEYERICK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: They're all around. But you know, you've probably seen it on the Internet. Let's be frank.
You know, the web, ads that seem to follow you, seem to know exactly what you want or at least what you think you want. Well, it's happening because of something called behavioral targeting. Companies tracking your likes and dislikes just by the Web sites you visit. Well, now, that same thing is being applied to television with astonishing accuracy.
FEYERICK (voice-over): Every time you watch TV, your TV is likely watching you through that box which collects information on show after show after show. All that data sent anonymously, ultimately to advertisers, focused on reaching people likely to buy certain products or watch certain shows.
(on camera): What is the benefit to people like me? To consumers?
JON WERTHER, PRES. SIMULMEDIA INC.: The benefit to consumers is that you get more relevant ads and you have fewer ads that are irrelevant to you that are cluttering up your TV experience.
FEYERICK (voice-over): John Werther of Simulmedia successfully helped pioneer targeted advertising on the Internet. Now, he's doing it with TV.
(on camera): If this is done right, how much money is this worth to advertisers?
WERTHER: We think billions. Billions of dollars.
FEYERICK (voice-over): Why? Because what you watch tells a lot about you sometimes unexpectedly.
WERTHER: A rerun of "Saved by the Bell "at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday morning has been one of the most highly effective spots in driving audiences to a crime drama several days later.
FEYERICK: It's not just set box data, but your other personal data collected when you ask for credit reports or use retail discount cards. Tech companies like Visible World use this data like direct mail and can now deliver different ads to different households watching the same program.
(on camera): How does the box know which of these four different ads to get to you?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So we've built a database that talks to Cablevision and sends out these little messages so the set top boxes switch at the right time to show the right ads in your household.
FEYERICK (voice-over): As for privacy, Ad Age writer Brian Steinberg says it's a tradeoff.
BRIAN STEINBERG, ADVERTISING AGE: That's becoming, you know, kind of the new tipping point of how much information we want to give out there and how much will advertisers use to kind of know where we are, where we're walking, what we like, what we don't like, what our preferences are in exchange for more relevant, more interesting advertising.
FEYERICK: Now there is a way to opt out in most cases simply by calling your cable company. But it's really fascinating. That last company that you saw, they can actually take an ad and target it direct mail. So, for example, Christine and Kiran, you guys would get an ad basically for a hotel with children, golf. Ali may get the exact same ad for the same hotel, but his is going to be more romantic, maybe scuba diving. And they can do that, well, you know --
VELSHI: Because the TV can tell I'm a romantic --
FEYERICK: I'm going to throw you a bone on that one, Ali. But that's what I'm saying. So that's precision that they're looking at.
ROMANS: That's amazing. And, you know, that guy in your piece was sort of saying this is going to mean that ads you see are more targeted. It's not to be nice to you, of course, because it's a better way to get money out of your pocket.
VELSHI: I actually think that's helpful. I actually think it's helpful. I like (INAUDIBLE)
ROMANS: You and I disagree on that.
CHETRY: What about if you don't want people to know what you're watching?
FEYERICK: Well -
CHETRY: Let's say you don't want people to know what you're watching.
FEYERICK: Well, that's exactly -
VELSHI: that's the elephant in the room. You're talking about porn.
FEYERICK: They may not have to bring -
ROMANS: Deb's -
CHETRY: Thanks, Ali.
ROMANS: We'll leave it there, Deb. Thanks so much, Deb Feyerick.
VELSHI: You're welcome on any time you'd like for as much time as you'd like.
ROMANS: I want to bring you some pictures out of Syria right now. We are waiting for Bashar Al Assad, the president of Syria to arrive to give an address to Parliament. I'm not sure who this is, but we're watching Syrian state TV. We're waiting in the wind up. I'm going to tell you this is a speech we've been waiting for since 5:00 this morning. We were told he was going to speak 11:00 local time, 5:00 this morning on the east and he's now been delayed for two and a half hours. It was billed as a speech about unity and the future of the country, et cetera, et cetera. But as you know, the entire cabinet was sacked yesterday, sacked or resigned, I think it's the same thing.
VELSHI: I think they were told that they were going to resign and their resignations are going to be accepted.
ROMANS: That's right. So you've got the president of this country, who is 45 years old. He's a western trained optometrist. VELSHI: Not him. Not the man you're looking at.
ROMANS: No, no. We're waiting for him to come and give his speech. But here's somebody who is sort of fighting for his political life, I think you can say, because of public demonstrations for his ouster. At the same time, there have been huge public demonstrations in the streets the last couple of days in support of him. We've seen a lot of those pro-government rallies over the past couple of days. Waiting to hear what the president of the country has to say. This is not the president of the country.
CHETRY: Also in human rights watch is coming out with new numbers, as well, about the number of dead people that they say have been killed in fighting, 73 now. But these numbers could be a lot higher. They just have not been able to verify them. But this is why he's coming out to speak. I mean, there have been allegations of a shooting of unarmed protesters that are really fueling a lot of the problems in this country right now.
VELSHI: All right. We'll continue to follow that when - oh, there he goes. That's Bashar Al Assad, he is the president of Syria being introduced right now coming out to address the nation. A clear show of support around him, probably well-orchestrated to show that after days of Syrian TV showing massive, massive demonstrations in support of Syrian President Bashar Al Assad who is the son of the former long- time president of Syria.
ROMANS: He was actually never tapped to be the - his brother was supposed to run the country. He was at school becoming an eye doctor and then he ended up becoming the president of the country after his father died. So they called him sort of the accidental autocrat, if you will.
VELSHI: We have our translators listening in to this for you. We will monitor it for what he says and bring that to you as soon as he starts speaking and we have translations for you. We'll stay on this for you.
CHETRY: In the meantime, move on to a story out of Alabama today, a very frightening story and a sad one at that. Nine patients in hospitals, six different hospitals now dead after a deadly bacteria, perhaps contaminated the I.V. bags in which they were receiving food. It caused an outbreak of an infection in 19 patients in recent weeks. And again, as we said nine of them have died. All the bags have now been recalled.
VELSHI: There are still plenty of questions left unanswered. And in fact, the 10 remaining patients, we understand, are not in great condition. We're joined now by Dr. Donald Williamson from Montgomery. He's the director of the Alabama Department of Public Health. Dr. Williamson, thank you for joining us.
First of all, can you give us any sense of other patients who are suffering from this who have not died? We believed there are 10 of them? Is that number correct? And what condition are they in? Do you know? DR. DONALD WILLIAMSON, DIRECTOR, ALABAMA DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH: Your numbers are correct. We did have 19 patients who had Serratia marcescens bacterimia. Of those 19, nine did die, 10 of them did not. As to the individual clinical condition of each patient, that's part of the ongoing investigation.
I would make the point that while nine patients did die, it is not possible at this time to identify whether or not Serratia marcescens was simply associated with their death or was the cause of death. If you're getting TPN, total parental nutrition, which these patients were, you have some serious underlying health conditions or else you wouldn't be getting TPN. So one of the things that we're working through now in the ongoing investigation is to try to ascertain how many of the nine deaths were probably attributable to the infection versus how many of them were simply coincidental infections.
ROMANS: You know, this is a tragedy for Alabama, no question. There are patients there who are still very concerned about this story. Can you tell us that this product is not going to show up anywhere else? And you know that these are the only cases we have seen and will see?
WILLIAMSON: Well, I think from this facility, what we know is that we had a couple of hospitals that were very observant and on the 16th of March notified us and CDC that they were seeing an increase of Serratia marcescens infections in patients getting TPN. They also notified the pharmacy. We also know that the pharmacy notified their customers immediately that there was this potential problem.
We know that the pharmacy took their product out of use that the hospitals didn't use any additional product that they had received from the pharmacy. We know that there was a recall of all the product on March 24th. And we know that the pharmacy is not now producing any TPN.
WILLIAMSON: So for this pharmacy and these patients, this is now, if you will, a closed loop. I think the bigger challenge, the bigger question is how did this happen? And what can be done both in Alabama and around the country to minimize this risk of contamination going forward? This is not the only incident where we've had contaminated I.V. fluids and contaminated medical products ending up causing infections.
CHETRY: So that is a big question. Because regardless of whether or not these bags are pre-mixed, they're made at a different location. The bottom line is, it's the hospitals that are administering them. I mean, what type of monitoring is in place to protect against this?
WILLIAMSON: Well, I think that's the question. I mean the hospitals are getting a product that is supposed to be sterile. And they have every reason to believe that it is sterile. And these hospitals actually undertook some screening once they began to see this problem to identify what the problem might be. We've been able to confirm out of the TPN that we're growing the same organism. I think the question is what sort of front-end prescreening needs to be in place for product before it leaves the compounding pharmacy? And that's one of the things that hopefully out of this investigation we'll be able to identify the exact side in the manufacturing process where the contamination occurred. And then how can you put a barrier not only in Alabama compounding pharmacies, but across the country? Is there a need for another staff to ensure sterility?
ROMANS: All right. Donald Williamson, Dr. Williamson, thank you so much for joining us and giving us a little more on this story in Alabama. Alabama State Health Officer, the director of the Alabama Public Health. Thank you so much, sir.
VELSHI: It does underscore the problem that there's not much you if you're receiving an I.V. can do. The point that he makes is if you're receiving what they were giving patients in that I.V., you're in bad shape to start with, so it's not like you have an option (INAUDIBLE) I don't want the I.V..
CHETRY: Right. And the other scary thing he said is they have to be able to trust that if it says sterile, it's sterile. And so it seems if this happens, there really isn't that much the hospital can do, except as he said monitor and notice some changes.
VELSHI: It does give one pause.
All right. Still to come, he says America is tap dancing around the threat of radical Islam. CNN political contributor Bill Bennett joins us to talk about the Senate hearing on U.S.-Muslim bias.
It is 38 minutes after the hour.
ROMANS: The Senate judiciary committee kicking off hearings on protecting the civil rights of Muslims in the U.S., they come less than three weeks after hearings in the House led by Congressman Peter King that looked at the radicalization of Muslims in America.
So are we looking for real solutions here? Are we playing politics? Or are we just tap dancing around, tip toeing and tap dancing around a very difficult issue of radical Islam? That's what my next guest says, he's CNN political contributor Bill Bennett, author of the new book "The Fight of Our Lives." What is the fight of our lives?
BILL BENNETT, AUTHOR "FIGHT OF OUR LIVES": Well, the "Fight of our Lives" right now is a fight against radical Islam. This is not all of Islam, it's not most Muslims, certainly, but with 1.2 billion Muslims in the world, maybe 10 percent or 15 percent subscribe to what they call Wahabi Islam. That's a lot of people, that's 125 to 100 million people, of them maybe 10 percent would seek to do violence or support violence, jihad against the United States. We know that from our studies, from the scholarship. And that's a serious fight.
But if you don't like that evidence, you can take the evidence of 9/11, attempted attacks on Times Square, Detroit, on and on it goes. ROMANS: American Muslims look at hearings and think, I'm just trying to work my job. I mean, what is this? I feel like this is - I mean, have we - are we addressing this the right way? Is there a national conversation about radicalization and radical Islam that is too shrill?
BENNETT: I don't think it's too shrill, I don't think it's accurate enough. And I think it makes a lot of American-Muslims who are loyal to this country uncomfortable. Because I think they feel they're being painted with a broad brush. One of the reasons they're being painted with a broad brush perhaps or feel that way is that we're not identifying where the problem is and who the problem is, it's not most American Muslims but it is people who say that this country deserves to die, to perish, and that the infidels must be punished and so on and do everything in their power to do that.
When they do, and have these odd doctrines about subjugation of women, death to homosexuals, the Muslim community, the Islamic community in the United States and everywhere else, I believe, needs to speak out, speak out more loudly against this. Because it's so important.
VELSHI: Here's the thing, I'm Muslim. I don't know any terrorists. I wouldn't even know as Peter King says, "mainstream Muslims or Muslims in America should go and do what they can do to tell on people." I wouldn't know where to find one to tell on one. So what do I do? I live a productive life, I pay my taxes. I work. What is the call of action for those who you say don't want harm to Americans who want to live their lives?
BENNETT: Do your job, live your life, fine. You don't know anything that the government needs to know, that's perfectly fine. But the first call in the book, Ali, is leadership, is to identify the problem. Look at what happened at Ft. Hood. We had Major Hasan. Major Hasan was not just somebody giving off bad signals. This was a guy with blaring alarms. He was talking about the need to kill infidels, pouring oil down people's throats, doing all, saying all sorts of things, walking around with a business card that said the soldier of Allah.
VELSHI: There's a clear indication there -
BENNETT: (INAUDIBLE) nothing happened. Nobody did anything because people were afraid that if they said something they would be accused of -
VELSHI: Because of political correctness?
BENNETT: Because of any Muslim bigotry. You read the Pentagon report and it's shocking. Eric Holder goes before a House committee - again, this isn't politics, this is the real world. Goes for a House committee and is asked, "Do you think with the Times Square bomber, with the Detroit guy, the guy in the airplane, this has anything to do with radical Islam?" After all every time someone blows us into smithereens we hear the same thing. Islam is invoked. Does it have anything to do with Islam or an interpretation of Islam? Holder says I don't know. That's a cop out. That's just a cop out. Now, the positive things that can be done are for members of the Muslim community to say that's not us, that's not what we believe. In my church, Catholic Church, we've had a lot of problems. When those things came up with the priest, it's our obligation, absolutely, to condemn it and say this is not what we believe. And that, I think, is a burden on, you asked on what you can do. That I think is a burden on every Muslim. If someone is violating what your faith is. Some people say it's religion of peace, some say it isn't, then you have to speak out. That's my view.
CHETRY: How do you go - not to fall down the slippery slope of a small group of - you know, a small but vocal group of people who believe truly that the goal of many Muslims in this country is to put forth some sort of Sharia law. I mean, do you believe that, really, in a group of people there is a push underway to come to America and eventually turn our country into -
BENNETT: It's not what I believe, it's a fact. Christiane Amanpour, formally of CNN --
CHETRY: That's right. Now at ABC.
BENNETT: -- had a show and she talked to a guy from London, a kid, a chaudry (ph). And he was a big, important cleric in London. He said this whole debate, modern Islam and people saying should we encourage radicalism, he said it's all nonsense. He said there's only one Islam and Sharia should rule and the flag of Islam should fly over the White House.
CHETRY: So do you think that many Muslims want Sharia law in America?
BENNETT: I don't think so. I don't think many do. But there is a significant number of people who do. A significant number of people can make a lot of trouble as we know what 19 did. So when you have people saying this and you don't get the outcry, that's the problem.
Look, if somebody says something about the Koran, if there's a rumor about burning the Koran, you know, (INAUDIBLE) Guantanamo, or we have a cartoonist, Muslims all over the world go crazy and say this is terrible, this is an offensive, this is heretical. Fine, people object. I don't think they should call for beheading as they did, beheading of cartoonists. But people get upset about the defamation of their religion.
Where is the same distress about Ft. Hood? Where is the same distress about Times Square, about Detroit? That's what one wants to see.
BENNETT: I want to hear from our leaders.
VELSHI: I think -- but I think it's out there in the community. I think Muslims get distressed when these associations are made. I mean, I think we're all on the same side of wanting less of this. BENNETT: I think so. I think so.
VELSHI: But Muslims are distressed when they hear somebody else --
ROMANS: It's not a monolific (ph) group.
VELSHI: It's not one community, yes.
CHETRY: We'll leave it there.
The book's called "The Fight of our Lives." Bill Bennett, always good to see you. Thanks for coming in.
BENNETT: Thank you very much. Thank you.
ROMANS: All right, still to come, a very stormy start to your day in the south. Severe winter weather marching through Georgia, Alabama. Rob's going to drop by with a forecast for you right after the break.
Forty-seven minutes past the hour.
CHETRY: All right. Well, there's a modern twist on an old stereotype that men don't ask for directions.
Do you ask for directions?
VELSHI: No. I've not asked for directions in 57 years and I'm not even 45.
CHETRY: You're not even 57. You don't -- you seem to know where you're going most of the times.
VELSHI: Even if I don't, I'm not asking for -- there's no chance.
VELSHI: I'll find it.
CHETRY: Yes, you walk with determination in the wrong direction.
VELSHI: That's right.
CHETRY: Well, a new study from a car insurance company says that men are more likely than women to ignore the GPS.
VELSHI: That's right.
CHETRY: I love this. You've outsmarted the GPS.
ROMANS: A third of all drivers said theirs sat navs had led them the wrong way, sometimes as far as five miles out of the way and half of them said the GPS had triggered an argument in the car.
CHETRY: If I didn't have GPS I would literally just drive in circles. I've gotten so used to it now, I turn it on just to go to the drug store.
VELSHI: My wife describes me when it comes to directions and pretty much everything else in life as being often wrong but never in doubt.
ROMANS: Look, whatever you do, where you lack information, continue with great confidence.
VELSHI: That's exactly how we do it.
CHETRY: Meanwhile this morning's top stories are just a few moments away. Are you looking for a new job, anyone?
VELSHI: Should I be?
CHETRY: This is not a hint or a suggestion. I'm just saying. Apparently, one industry is begging for new blood right now. It may be the time to strike if you're looking to move up in the world.
VELSHI: Fifty-three minutes after the hour.
CHETRY: How do you like that? That is our new intro for the royal wedding. Get used to it. You're going to hear it a lot.
VELSHI: I guess I better like it.
CHETRY: You better learn the violin.
VELSHI: That took me a long time to get that right.
CHETRY: Well, special royal wedding commemorative stamps are now going on sale, that's right, in England next month. You can preorder them. There are two versions. The first one features the prince and Kate Middleton's official engagement portrait, the one that was taken by the Royal Council Chamber. And the second is the less formal one where they really look like they're in love.
No, that's the more formal one, right? The one where they really look like they're in love. Very cute. That's both of them. That was snapped in the palace's Cornwall Room. These stamps officially go on sale April 21st, which is the Queen's birthday.
ROMANS: If your invitation to the royal wedding got lost in the mail, have no fear. AMERICAN MORNING will be there led by the astute coverage of Kiran Chetry who will be there with every critical detail of the dress, the cake, the champagne, the carriage.
CHETRY: It'll be fun.
VELSHI: Now, we'll have more on that and top stories coming your way in two minutes.