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Flu Season in 47 States; Obama's Take on Troop Withdrawal; Gun Control Debate

Aired January 12, 2013 - 16:00   ET


MARTIN SAVIDGE: It's 4:00 p.m. on the east coast, 1:00 p.m. on the west coast. I'm Martin Savidge. If you're just tuning in, thank you very much for joining us. I'm here, by the way, on behalf of Fredricka Whitfield.

Here are the top stories we're following right now in the CNN NEWSROOM.

The CDC has some brand new information about the flu epidemic indicating that there is a slowdown of the flu virus in some areas. That's good news, definitely. It is, though, still a dangerous situation. Twenty young people under the age of 18 have now died from flu related symptoms.

Our Athena Jones is live in a flu clinic in False Church, Virginia. She has been there all day for us.

And Athena, do you get the feeling that there are enough vaccinations available for people who need or want them?

ATHENA JONES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I do. Hi, Martin. Doctors say that there are plenty of vaccinations still available. Millions, in fact. According to the CDC, some 135 million vaccinations were manufactured. But only about 112 million people have actually received them. So that leaves many millions left.

I'm here at a clinic, as you mentioned, in Falls Church, Virginia, just outside of Washington, D.C.. Virginia is one of the states where the flu is widespread, and we spoke with a doctor here on staff about what they've seen here at this clinic. Let's listen to that.

So we talked to Dr. Greenburg. I'm sorry about that. I thought you - who said that they have seen a big influx, a big jump in people who are coming in just in the last 12 days of January. They got in a shipment of vaccine in December. But they've really seen the influx, including on days like today when we saw several people coming in to get the shot. There has been a lot of discussion about whether, you know, getting the flu shot means that you'll get the flu. That's a myth. That's not going to happen, doctors say.

But they do advise that if you're ill, you should not get the shot, if you already have a fever. If you're allergic to chicken eggs, which is the medium that is used to make the shots. If you've had a previous reaction to a flu shot or if you are a child under six months of age. Pretty much everyone else should be getting the shot, especially pregnant women, the young, two-year-olds and under, the elderly, 65 and over, and also people who have their immune systems suppressed or who have previous medical conditions, like asthma. Those are the people who should especially try to get the flu - but doctors say everyone still has time to go out and get it and should do so. Martin?

SAVIDGE: Yes, some good advice. Because I think people often think the flu shot is for everybody. It's not. Why is the flu a particular concern this year?

JONES: Well, it's interesting. You know, according to the CDC and doctors around the country, last year's flu season was mild. This flu season got off to an early start, and it's a particularly tough strain this year. It's influenza A or H3-N2. Doctors say that this strain can lead to more complications. It can make people sick for longer. And so that's why it's such a concern. We already know that the flu kills about 36,000 people about each year. So people want to make sure that everyone is extra vigilant this time around, because you've got such a tough strain out there. Martin?

SAVIDGE: And this kind of a two-parter. What should you do if you do get sick, and what should you do to try to avoid getting sick in the first place?

JONES: Well, it's interesting. We had a chance, as I told you, to speak to the doctor here. He said that if you're able to come in and see the doctor within the first 48 hours of the onset of symptoms, sometimes they can give you an anti-viral like Tamiflu or Relenza that can help shorten the illness.

Otherwise though, most people, if you just have a lot of rest and fluids, the symptoms should improve in five to seven days. And you should be OK. Now, of course, to avoid getting sick, you hear talk of washing your hands a lot. What doctors call social distancing, which would be staying away from crowds. Staying away from people who you know are sick. That's - those sort of things are the things people you can do to make sure they can avoid getting sick.

But, again, getting that flu shot, it's 62 percent effective, which means for more than half the people, it's going to help them not get the flu, and if they do get the flu, it will shorten the symptoms, make them a lot less severe. Martin?

SAVIDGE: Athena Jones, where the needle hits the arm, so to speak, at a clinic there in Virginia. Thank you very much for that.

Meanwhile, parents of children diagnosed with the flu might have another problem on their hands. A shortage of the drug prescribed to children with the flu. Tamiflu OS is the liquid version of Tamiflu and it's commonly given to children 13 years and younger because it's easier to swallow. Genentech, the company that makes Tamiflu OS says there have been temporary delays in new shipments its. Pharmacists can make a child's dose, though, using a diluted version of regular Tamiflu. If you are wondering where to go, by the way, for a vaccine, go to, and you can find a location. Well, after more than 11 years of combat operations, the end of the war in Afghanistan could be in sight. President Obama met with the Afghan president, that's Hamid Karzai yesterday at the White House to discuss withdrawing all 66,000 U.S. troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2014. In an exclusive interview with CNN's Christiane Amanpour, Mr. Karzai said the end of the war does not necessarily mean the end of the U.S. presence in his country.


CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN ANCHOR: Do you envision after 2014 there being no troops, no U.S. troops in Afghanistan?

PRES. HAMID KARZAI, AFGHANISTAN: No, I don't envision that. The United States would need to have a limited number of forces in Afghanistan.

AMANPOUR: How many is limited, in your mind?

KARZAI: Well, we - it's not for us to decide. It's for the United States to decide what number of troops they would be keeping in Afghanistan, what strength of equipment those troops will have in Afghanistan.


SAVIDGE: U.S. officials foresee keeping up to 9,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan beyond 2014 for counter terrorism and for training.

Lance Armstrong will speak with Oprah Winfrey this week, reportedly to come clean about doping during his cycling career. As CNN's Nick Valencia tells us, the confession was, well, a long time coming.


LANCE ARMSTRONG, CYCLIST: I have said it for seven years, I've said it for longer than seven years. I have never doped. I can say it again. I've said it for seven years. It doesn't help.

NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Help may be something Lance Armstrong will need a lot of to redeem his reputation after the "USA Today" reports Armstrong will, "admit to doping throughout his career." The newspaper does not name their source. But says it's a person with knowledge of the situation. "USA Today" says the former seven-time Tour de France champion's admission which had been widely rumored for weeks is expected to come in a Monday interview with Oprah Winfrey that will be taped for air Thursday.

As for why he's doing this now, the journalist who broke the story says Armstrong had no choice.

BRENT SCHROTENBOER, "USA TODAY": With all the evidence that's come out against him, it's hard to deny it anymore. And he's making a calculated decision. For himself, personally, it's also, I think, a business decision for him. Because it's affecting his charity, LiveStrong, all of his sponsors have fired him. VALENCIA: Armstrong has kept a low profile at his Austin home since the u.s. anti-doping agency released thousands of pages of evidence of what it said was a sophisticated and brazen doping program. But it's Armstrong's repeated denials over the years to protect his name that has angered so many, including former teammates found guilty of doping themselves.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you see Lance Armstrong using other performance-enhancing drugs?

FLOYD LANDIS, FORMER TEAMMATE: At times, yes. At different training camps.

TYLER HAMILTON, FORMER TEAMMATE: He took, what we all took. Really no difference between Lance Armstrong and I'd say the majority of the (INAUDIBLE).

VALENCIA: The difference may be that few from his former entourage have fallen from grace as hard. Already without tens of millions of dollars in endorsements, late last year, Armstrong, a cancer survivor, was forced out from LiveStrong, the cancer charity he founded. And now if he comes clean, Armstrong could face some legal repercussions.

In the interview with Winfrey, Armstrong is not expected to give great detail, but the confession could give him a shot at resuming his competitive racing career.

SCHROTENBOER: If he wanted to get his ban reduced, the rule book says no less than eight years. Right now he's 41. So eight years from now, he would be 49. And I don't know how interested he would be in competing at that age.

VALENCIA (on camera): CNN's calls to Armstrong's attorneys for response to the "USA Today" report have gone unanswered.

Nick Valencia, CNN, Atlanta.


SAVIDGE: And coming up next on the CNN "Newsroom," what happened when the vice president met with video game makers as part of his gun violence task force?

And country star Naomi Judd talks guns. As in her own guns. Find out what she thinks about the right to bear arms. Here's a hint.


NAOMI JUDD, ACTOR: I'm a registered vetted gun owner. But that's because I live way out in the country.



SAVIDGE: Welcome back to the CNN "Newsroom." People have been arguing about the second amendment and the right to bear arms for years. And that debate has only intensified since the shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.

And, of course, the president's promise to crack down on assault weapons, which he refers to as weapons of war. Piers Morgan sat down with country music legend, Naomi Judd, and got her take on gun ownership.


PIERS MORGAN, CNN ANCHOR: You live in Tennessee, I know that you're a registered nurse. I know you're a gun owner.

JUDD: I'm a registered, vetted gun owner. But that's because I live way out in the country. Like way out in the middle of nowhere.

MORGAN: What guns do you own?

JUDD: Actually, they're my husband's. You know, we have - we just had a rabid skunk. We have coyotes that get to the chicken and the sheep. We have -

MORGAN: And is that why you keep guns?

JUDD: Wild boars. Of course.

MORGAN: To protect yourself against animals, maybe.

JUDD: Yes, I would never do an AR-15.

MORGAN: It's a huge issue.

JUDD: OK. I'm glad. Well, actually I was wanting to see him in the green room. I wanted to ask him in if he thinks the world was flat and the holocaust never happened.

MORGAN: He believes as all the sort of very vocal gun rights people believe that the more guns you have, the safer for everybody. That is everyone is armed, then everyone in the movie theater would have a gun and could pull out and shoot -

JUDD: And the bars.

MORGAN: Exactly. And the hospitals and the schools and everything. That's their belief.

JUDD: Ignorance is my least favorite thing. I really think it's at the core of all our problems. I really feel - and you probably thought of this too. He has become so territorial that it's like his identity in life and it's sort of like the old country song, "That's my story and I'm sticking to it." I really think that after you've educated him, when he goes home, he goes -. AR-15s. Hmmm.

MORGAN: I wish he did. I don't think he does. What do you think of your country in relation to this whole gun debate? What does it say about America? I mean, an American believes, essentially, in the right to bear arms.

JUDD: Yes, so I was talking to Tom Selleck the other day and of course, he's a second amendment kind of guy. OK, here's the deal. I was very happy to see a black American in the White House. I just look forward to the day we have a woman in there also. But, and, you know, you've got to cut him some slack, President Obama, because all he had ever done was community organizer. And then he started making mistakes and I really felt like it was because of - lack of experience.

But now I think it's getting real dangerous. I think it's really dangerous. Because standard issue folks, we call our workers were my main concern. My daddy owned a gas station, my mom lives in the same house I was born and raised in, in Appalachia. But I do absolutely support him on this.

MORGAN: You've got two famous daughters. I interviewed one of them. She was delightful.

JUDD: Which one?

MORGAN: I interviewed Ashley. She was very nice.

JUDD: Yes, she's smart - not as smart as she acts.

MORGAN: She could run for senator, isn't she.

JUDD: I don't know. She promised me - I will be the first to know. I will say this. If it should happen, man, I'll campaign with her.

MORGAN: You play a mother-in-law in her new movie.

JUDD: Oh, that. Yes, let's talk about the movie.

MORGAN: Let's watch a clip from "Newlyweds."


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Think about what you are doing.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm sorry, mom. There is nothing that you can say to stop me from marrying Erin right this minute.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My heart! My heart!






MORGAN: Did you have fun making the movie? JUDD: Yes. If it isn't fun, it isn't done. I was like Betty White, I'm a bad drunk.


SAVIDGE: By the way, you can catch "Piers Morgan" at 9:00 p.m. tonight, and as you heard, he's taking on the gun issue that has gripped this country.

And then there's this programming note. Coming up at the bottom of the hour, "Sanjay Gupta MD." Sanjay, what have you got on tap?

SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Martin, I'm going to be busting some of the biggest myths about the flu. Also telling you what you need to do to protect yourself. And we had the surgeon, Dr. James Andrews, who has worked probably on more top athletes than anyone, including the recent operation on Redskins' quarterback RG3. We'll talk to him. All of it's coming up at 4:30 p.m. Eastern.

SAVIDGE: A lot of controversy on that. Thank you very much, Sanjay. Sounds great. We'll be watching.

Ahead, from inside the CNN "Newsroom," hey, the hottest tech gadgets. They went on display in Las Vegas this week. We'll tell you about the new items you'll want to get your hands on as soon as they hit the market.

Plus, find out why this well-coiffed pooch had people heading to the hills. His story and so many others, still ahead.


SAVIDGE: Driverless cars, a dead bolt lock with wi-fi and a TV that is the four times the resolution of an HD set? Those are all the things that are featured at the Consumer electronics show this year.

And joining me now is Brett Larson. He is the host of "Tech Bytes" and Brett, you were at the consumer electronics show. Thanks for joining us, by the way.

BRETT LARSON, HOST "TECH BYTES": Thanks for having me, Martin.

SAVIDGE: One thing you noticed is that wi-fi seems to be just about everywhere in some very kind of unusual objects, like the dead bolt. So what's the purpose of putting wi-fi in all of these things?

LARSON: Well, you know, I think the big talk at the show this year was convergence and wi-fi helps us do that. Because more of our devices now want to talk to the internet so that we can talk to them. When your dead bolt is on a wi-fi network, you can unlock it from your smartphone, your computer at home.

There's also - Phillips has a line of light bulbs that are wi-fi- capable so you can literally be sitting in your living room or I guess you could be at your office, as well, and you can adjust the lighting in your house, including the color of the light. So wi-fi - I think it's amazing that it's finding itself into other stuff.

But also what's interesting to note is, especially this year, it's less about our laptops and our computers logging in to the internet and more about our tablet computers, our smartphones and our devices.

I mean, I'm certain we'll have refrigerators and micro waves and ovens that can download recipes or what have you so you when you go to cook a roast or something that you're not familiar with, it will know exactly what you're supposed to do.

SAVIDGE: Yes, I mean, I do see a lot of fascinating possibilities. I also wonder about hackers, but that's a whole different subject.

LARSON: Yes. But that's a good point. You would not want a hacker getting into your lighting.

SAVIDGE: No, I wouldn't. Or dead bolt or into my oven, for that matter.

LARSON: Right, exactly.

SAVIDGE: This new TV that was unveiled, and it frustrates me to no end because I just bought HD and now I realized I should have waited maybe. So how much of an improvement is it?

LARSON: It is four times better than HD is right now. They took the wraps off. They're called 4k TVs. The Consumer Electronics Association wants to call them ultra HD. So they're four times more resolution than your standard high definition set. The thing about this is though before everyone says I just bought a TV, I just put one under the Christmas tree!

This is still in the pre-roll stage. We talked about HD for probably 10 or 15 years before it became sort of the standard that we all know and love. It also took that long for content to get there. So these ultra HD TVs, I will say, when you stand in front of them, they are stunning. One of them I was looking at, they were showing this aerial view of flying over the Grand Canyon and I had to sit down because it made you a little nauseous, because the picture is so clear. It really feels you're there. But I still think that becoming the standard, we're probably still five to 10 years away from it. If you want to drop 20 grand on a six-foot-wide television, by all means. Go out and get it.

SAVIDGE: There are some who will do that.

LARSON: Oh, absolutely.

SAVIDGE: Mobile technology. What's the trend at the show? What's going mobile?

LARSON: I mean everything is going mobile. It's interesting. A couple years ago, the big spot to get into for entertainment was the set top box. You wanted to be inside the consumers' entertainment center, you wanted to be on top of their TV. Now the big thing with mobile is you want to be on the dashboard. It's sort of the last mile, where we need to take the internet. And all of the car manufacturers were there, showing off everything from apps that let you connect your smartphone to the dashboard to literally dashboards that can connect to the internet, so that you can access your Google maps, you can access your internet radio stations, you can get Yelp right in your dashboard so that you can hit a button and know that there's a great restaurant right around the corner. And, of course, then there was the driverless car that Google is very happy to show off. I'm all in favor of that.

SAVIDGE: Yes, I can see a great need for that. I would love to have one. All right, Brett, you are the host of "Tech Bytes." Brett Larson, thanks very much for sort of telling us everything tech. We appreciate it very much.

LARSON: Absolutely. Thanks for having me, Martin.

SAVIDGE: Still a lot more ahead in the "Newsroom." What do Facebook, basketball great Kobe Bryant and then this animal have in common? Well, you'll find that out when we bring you back into the CNN "Newsroom."


SAVIDGE: Good time to check what's trending right now. Have you ever been so frustrated with Facebook that you wanted to send founder, Mark Zuckerberg a personal message? Well, now you can. It will only cost you 100 bucks. But maybe he needs the money. If it weren't for social media, how would we find out that Kobe Bryant and his wife, Vanessa, are not getting divorced.

She broke the news on Instagram that they've reconciled. Didn't see it coming. And then there is this.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And there is a lion that ran across the street. A baby lion.


SAVIDGE: See what mayhem you can create with a pair of scissors and some hair dye. CNN's Jeanne Moos introduced us to the labra lion.


JEANNE MOOS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): We have seen a dog at a pet show in China made to look like a panda and a horse made to resemble a poodle. But this is the tale of a dog with such a convincing haircut that people thought he was a lion and called 911.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And there is a lion that ran across the street, a baby lion.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, OK. Where - what kind of animal?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Lion. A baby lion. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Had the mane and everything.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was about the size of a Labrador retriever.

MOOS: Actually, he's a labra doodle named Charlie, says his owner.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But I tell people he's a labalion.

MOOS: A labalion shaved like this so he can play the part of an unofficial mascot for old Dominion University. In the wake of the 911 calls.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're not going anywhere.

MOOS: Charlie has become famous. On his Facebook page, he's getting a lion's share of likes.

(on camera): We would be lying if we said the color of Charlie's mane is natural.

(voice-over): He gets his man and the tip of his tail dyed at a groomer's called Doggie Style.

(on camera): How often does he needs maintenance to look like a lion?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: About once every four months.

MOOS (voice-over): At least he's no cowardly lion, even if he does resemble the one in "Te Wizard of Oz."

It's enough to give a dog a split personality. No wonder folks are in an uproar. Charlie may not be an MGM trademark. He's already made his mark, and he's only three.

Jeanne Moos, CNN.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He's the most friendliest labra-lion you will find.

MOOS: New York.


SAVIDGE: Well, that's it for me. I'm Martin Savidge. Remember, you can see me on Facebook all the time.

CNN "Newsroom" continues at the top of the hour, but first the very latest on the flu epidemic, what you need to know and how to protect your family. "SANJAY GUPTA MD" starts right now.