PBS NewsHour full episode, Nov. 2, 2021

PBS NewsHour full episode, Nov. 2, 2021

Show Video

JUDY WOODRUFF: Good evening. I'm Judy Woodruff. On the "NewsHour" tonight: Election Day. Voters head to the polls in crucial off-year contests that may hold clues for next year's nationwide congressional and Senate races. Then: getting the vaccine. A CDC advisory committee votes to recommend Pfizer shots

for children as young as 5, but many American parents remain skeptical. And the tipping point. World leaders convene to address the increasingly urgent threat of climate change, but China's absence looms large. JOANNA LEWIS, Georgetown University: We cannot achieve these global climate goals unless China is able to reverse its emissions trends. JUDY WOODRUFF: All that and more on tonight's "PBS NewsHour."

(BREAK) Judy Woodruff: Voters went to the polls today to cast ballots in contests across the country. Two of them governors’ races in New Jersey and especially closely watched Virginia, where former governor Terry McAuliffe faces Republican Glenn Youngkin. At this hour, with 70 percent of precincts reporting, Youngkin is leading with 55.1 percent of the vote, while McAuliffe has 44.3 percent. And in the contest for governor of New Jersey, with only five percent of the

vote in, incumbent Democrat Phil Murphy is ahead of Republican Jack Ciattarelli with 58 to 41 percent of the vote. Over to Ohio, where Democrats Shontel Brown has defeated Republican Laverne Gore in the special election to fill Democrat Marcia Fudge's old seat in the 11th Congressional District. Fudge stepped down in March to become President Biden's housing secretary. To explore all of this and more, I am joined by Jessica Taylor of the Cook Political Report. So hello, Jessica, thank you for being here. At this stage, let's talk about Virginia first. What are you seeing 70 percent of the vote in? That's a significant

lead for Glenn Youngkin. What are you seeing? Jessica Taylor: It is a lot of northern Virginia, which is heavy. McAuliffe Territory has yet to report, but based on our projections at the Cook political report, Youngkin is exceeding targets that he needs there. He doesn't need to. We never expected him to win in those areas, but he's exceeding the benchmarks that we had where he needed to be. He's outrunning Donald Trump. 2020 results in very red counties, you know, further down south in the state.

And so this is looks like a very good night for Republicans. And it might not just be Youngkin, but they are leading in the race for lieutenant governor, the race for attorney general, the State House of Delegates could flip as well. This would be the best night they've had in 12 years, the Republicans. Judy Woodruff: And again, this is a state that that President Biden won by, what, 10 percent points just last December. So a change in political flavor. So we have what we're

calling exit polls. These are interviews done with voters as they were leaving the polling place. And Jessica, let's look first at suburban the suburban vote and compare it to what we saw in just last November. Terry McAuliffe 47 percent of the suburban vote to Youngkin’s Fifty three percent.

Jessica Taylor: This is almost reversed from just a year ago, when Biden got 53 percent of the vote and Trump got forty five in the suburbs. We're seeing a higher percentage there of suburban voters turning out. This is where Republicans and Democrats told me the race was going to be won or lost, and it really looks like it has been. Youngkin

was really campaigning heavily in some of these suburban counties exurban counties, Loudoun County. It was sort of the critical county, perhaps with a lot of tensions over the school board and what's being taught in schools there. Judy Woodruff: And I wanted to ask you about that because education and we're not showing the numbers here. But but we saw throughout the afternoon in watching Moore exit polls

a number of what is it? Education came in second as or maybe it ended up being first as the issue people put as as a something that was important to them in casting their vote. Jessica Taylor: Yeah, it was right up there with the economy and COVID that, you know, I think a month or two ago would have been the number one in voters minds and education again, an issue that Democrats usually run very well on, but one that young man had driven home as such a key issue for him. And again, I think it all goes back to that final debate where Terry McAuliffe made what was maybe, you know, the fatal error, perhaps saying that parents shouldn't be telling schools what to teach. He waited to walk that, but

he never really walked back. He waited to release a response ad. Republicans were very quick to the drawing. You know, here in northern Virginia and the D.C. media market, you couldn't watch television for more than 10 minutes without seeing that on air. Judy Woodruff: There was a lot of there was a lot of reporting around young kids use of this critical race theory, which is something's taught in colleges and universities. He was

saying he never would want to see it taught in the Virginia Public Schools K through 12. It's not taught there now. But he made it an issue, and he made it one successfully, even though it's not in the schools. Jessica Taylor: And I think it was sort of a perfect storm of things because you had parents that had been struggling with their kids, being at virtual school and wanting to go back and falling behind. So I think it was sort of, you know, again, parents wanted

saw what their kids were doing. They worried about them falling behind. And so it really I think COVID really did play into it in that way and it played into it. Advantage for Republicans on education.

Judy Woodruff: It certainly appears to be doing that. Let's look now, Jessica, at the voters were asked their view of both candidates, and this is interesting. Their view of Terry McAuliffe, former governor just left office four years ago, favorable 45 unfavorable 52. Jessica Taylor: I mean. Well, there's never an incumbent running for reelection in Virginia

because the only state here that limits them to one consecutive term. He's a he was essentially the incumbent. The de facto incumbent said he'd been governor just four years ago and left office pretty popular, too. So, I mean, if you're underwater like that versus Youngkin above water by 10 points, right? Judy Woodruff: And let's show, let's show our viewers here again. Voters ask view of Glenn Youngkin favorable 53. It's it's the mirror opposite. Jessica Taylor: And I think another key point happened right after the Democratic primary ended. 10 again. He put millions of dollars of his own money into the race, and he was

able to air about six weeks or so of positive ads, defining himself early, talking about his business background, working as a dishwasher in high school. And those went unanswered. So young Cohen got to define himself before Democrats, could he? Judy Woodruff: The former, a very successful private equity executive and, as you say, put what, $20 million of his own money, at least that we know of right into the campaign. Then the last exit poll I want to share with our viewers, Jessica voters asked what what your view is of Donald Trump? And that was 53 percent of them said they had an unfavorable view of Donald Trump. But among those 18, 18 percent of them still voted for Glenn Youngkin, who had been endorsed by Trump. Jessica Taylor: This says to me that McAuliffe's doubling down in the final weeks of the race of just trying to paint Youngkin as a Donald Trump clone did not work. Also remember, voters are are more likely to to be willing to split their ticket when it comes to governor than for Senate, for instance. So here there is a silver lining here for Democrats. I think

that because when we look back at the past presidential elections, the past two cycles, the Senate races have gone almost exactly the same as the presidential results say for Susan Collins in 2020. But remember, Vermont, Maryland, Massachusetts have Republican governors. Kansas has a Democratic governor. Kentucky, Louisiana have Democratic governors. So they're not voting for a party to control Washington. They really are voting for who you want to see in charge. And so voters don't think of those in the same way as they do federal races. Judy Woodruff: Less than a minute left. But Jessica, I have to ask you, you study these Senate races and governors races all the time. Everybody wants to read the tea leaves and

and know what's going to happen next year when when we have so many Senate seats up in all the House seats up, what should we read from this with this very early results so far? Jessica Taylor: Democrats need a message. You can't just be anti-Trump right now. And I think that people came out to vote against Donald Trump. Democrats don't have them in their pocket. I can think back to last year, when I was talking with a Democratic strategist in the suburban vote, they said, Have we do we own those voters now or have we rented them? They're not in their pocket. They're going to have to do something. And that means congressional action pointing to something that a Democratic majority in Congress has been able to do. I mean, Virginia could just be the first earthquake. Judy Woodruff: Again and the two governors races tonight. Phil Murphy seems to be holding

on at this point very early in the count. But Terry McAuliffe, running behind with 70 percent of the vote in the former Democratic governor of Virginia running behind in Virginia. We're waiting, of course, to see more results. We'll be back later. Thank you, Jessica. Jessica Taylor: Thank you. JUDY WOODRUFF:In the day's other news: Pfizer's COVID vaccine for young children won approval from a CDC advisory panel. The group endorsed a low-dose version for kids 5 to 11 years old. That sent the issue to CDC Director Rochelle Walensky for final approval.

We will return to this later in the program. World leaders at the U.N. climate summit pledged today to cut methane emissions and to conserve forests. President Biden wound up his two days at the Glasgow gathering focusing on America's role in the new initiatives. William Brangham reports.

JOE BIDEN, President of the United States: It's one of the most potent greenhouse gases there is. It amounts to about half, half the warming we're experiencing today. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Hoping to solidify America's role as a leader in the fight against climate change, President Biden joined the European Union today to announce a proposed 30 percent reduction in methane emissions worldwide by 2030. Methane, which can come from agricultural production, doesn't last in the atmosphere as long as carbon dioxide, but it traps far more heat than CO2. Controlling its release is considered one of the quickest ways to slow the pace of climate change. The president also formally announced a plan to cut back on U.S. methane emissions by targeting the oil and gas industries, which are a major source. His proposal includes two new rules

to be enforced by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Transportation. Another new global commitment made today was on deforestation. These forests, sometimes described as the lungs of the planet, serve as enormous reservoirs for carbon. Over 100

countries, including the U.S., China, and Russia, pledged to stop cutting them down by 2030. Promises like this have been made before, but often not kept. This initiative covers about 85 percent of the world's forests, and would provide financial support for conservation and restoration, as well as aid for indigenous peoples who rely on them. Meanwhile, amidst the pledges and promises from world leaders, legendary documentary filmmaker Sir David Attenborough hoped that the current impacts of a warming world would stir even greater action.

SIR DAVID ATTENBOROUGH, Naturalist: Perhaps the fact that the people most affected by climate change are no longer some imagined future generation, but young people alive today, perhaps that will give us the impetus we need to rewrite our story. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: For the "PBS NewsHour," I'm William Brangham. JUDY WOODRUFF: And, in Ethiopia today, the government declared a six-month state of emergency. Rebels from Tigray Province have captured key towns and are now threatening Addis Ababa, the country's capital. The U.S. is warning the rebels not to besiege the city. Facebook has announced that it's shutting down its facial recognition system over growing privacy concerns. The system automatically identifies users in photos and videos. The

company says that it will delete the faceprints of more than one billion people by December. Yahoo is the latest tech company to leave China, citing growing restrictions. Government censors had already blocked many of Yahoo's services. The professional networking site

LinkedIn shut down its operations in China last month. Lawyers in Kenosha, Wisconsin, began making their cases today in the trial of Kyle Rittenhouse. He is charged with killing two men and wounding a third amid protests and violence after police shot a Black man in 2020. Prosecution and defense depicted Rittenhouse as either acting

to protect himself, or looking for trouble, as they made opening statements. THOMAS BINGER, Kenosha County Assistant District Attorney: The evidence will show that hundreds of people were out on the street experiencing chaos and violence, and the only person who killed anyone was the defendant, Kyle Rittenhouse. MARK RICHARDS, Attorney For Kyle Rittenhouse: It isn't a whodunit, when did it happen, or anything like that. It is, was Kyle Rittenhouse's actions privileged under the law of self-defense?

JUDY WOODRUFF: Rittenhouse is now 18. If convicted, he could face life in prison. The U.S. Justice Department sued today to block a giant merger in book publishing. Penguin Random House, the nation's largest publisher, wants to buy Simon & Schuster for $2.2 billion. The suit says the new company would have too much power, hurting authors and readers.

And on Wall Street, all three major indexes set records again. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 138 points to close above 36000 for the first time. The Nasdaq rose 53. The S&P 500 added 17. Still to come on the "NewsHour": election workers from across the country discuss the threats they face for doing their jobs; why some parents remain resistant to getting their children the COVID vaccine; the pandemic's effect on the mental health of millions of college students; plus much more. Democrats in Congress have spent the past several days working towards passing the Build Back Better and infrastructure packages.

Lisa Desjardins joins me now for an update on these negotiations. So, hello again, Lisa. LISA DESJARDINS: Hi. JUDY WOODRUFF: Back at it again. LISA DESJARDINS: Yes. JUDY WOODRUFF: So, give us what the latest is. Does it look as if there's going to be

action this week? LISA DESJARDINS: This is an important day. I'm going to say something I haven't been able to say in these many months of covering these two bills. I think it is possible, maybe even likely, that we will see a final vote on the infrastructure bill this week and a House vote on the Build Back Better bill first draft also this week. I'm going to get to why, but let me remind people what's at stake here in these two bills. First of all, the Build Back Better bill, as we have been describing it, includes universal pre-K, child care, housing, also includes major climate legislation, health provisions. The infrastructure bill -- that's the bipartisan bill -- has money for roads, bridges, replacing lead pipes around the country, and broadband. All right, so why now? This has been hung

up for so long. There has been a shift in particular among House progressives, who wanted to wait for the Senate to take a full vote on Build Back Better before passing the infrastructure bill. Let me try and tick off what's happened here a little bit more clearly. Now, House progressives now say they are on board the current framework -- it's not a full bill yet, but the framework -- and, as a minimum starting point for this bill. They

think anything the Senate adds will expand it. Previously, they wanted a guarantee that Senators Sinema and Manchin, the conservative moderate Democrats, would get on board. There's not that guarantee. Instead, they're saying they're trusting President Biden that he will get those votes. Other turning point happened late last week, Judy. I can report there was a meeting between Kyrsten

Sinema of Arizona and the progressive leader of the House, Pramila Jayapal. That was brokered by two other people who haven't heard a lot about, Joe Neguse, and also Brian Schatz, the senator. So, a lot of behind-the-scene motions. Basically, it's now moving ahead. JUDY WOODRUFF: And it's -- I mean, we're all kind of sitting back watching. LISA DESJARDINS: Yes.

JUDY WOODRUFF: But, Lisa, one piece of this that is now having an interesting set of developments, and that's prescription drug prices. Tell us what's going on there. LISA DESJARDINS: We will talk a lot more about this in the days ahead, but I want to report on a deal that emerged today on prescription drug prices. First, they have agreed now, Democrats amongst themselves, a $35-a-month cap on insulin, very significant. Also, future drug prices for everyone would be capped to inflation. Medicare would be able to start negotiating just on 10 drugs to start, but that would include some of the most expensive ones. A lot of fine print in this deal. A lot of other issues still open, immigration, climate.

We're going to be talking about this more, but things are starting to happen, it seems like. JUDY WOODRUFF: So much to follow, but maybe this is a turning point. LISA DESJARDINS: Yes. We will see. JUDY WOODRUFF: Lisa Desjardins, thank you. LISA DESJARDINS: You're welcome. JUDY WOODRUFF: The ripple effects from President Trump's accusations of voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election are still being felt today.

Our "PBS NewsHour"/NPR/Marist poll this week found that more than four in five American adults believe that the future of American democracy is under serious threat. And several local and state workers who administer elections throughout the country continue to receive threats. Stephanie Sy will have our look at what consequences may result from that. But, first, we hear from election officials who shared with us what they have been experiencing.

JOSEPH KIRK, Election Supervisor, Bartow County, Georgia: I am Joseph Kirk, election supervisor in Bartow County, Georgia. NATALIE ADONA, Assistant Registrar of Voters, Nevada, California: I'm Natalie Adona. I'm the assistant county clerk recorder for the county of Nevada, California. CLAIRE WOODALL-VOGG, Executive Director, City of Milwaukee Election Commission: I'm Claire Woodall-Vogg, the executive director of the City of Milwaukee Election Commission.

MICHELE CAREW, Elections Administrator, Hood County, Texas: My name is Michele Carew. I'm the outgoing elections administrator for Hood County, Texas. I have been working in elections for 14-plus years. While attending the Election Commission meeting back in July, it was a two-hour-long meeting. The public was allowed to come in and speak and talk about things that they felt like I was not doing correctly as an elections administrator. They questioned my integrity as an elections administrator.

MAN: There is no election integrity because she hasn't done her due diligence to make sue she has a good working relationship with the Republican Party. JOSEPH KIRK: I had a phone call after the 2020 presidential election before the January run-off from someone from a different state, who called to inform me how horrible of a person I was, how I was letting the country down, because she wasn't happy with the results of the election in a county that her candidate won by a large margin. CLAIRE WOODALL-VOGG: In the course of several days, I ended up receiving over 150 threats, many of which were death threats, many of which called me some pretty heinous words, and also had voice-mails telling me I deserved to go before a firing squad. NATALIE ADONA: I also had some voters on the phone who were not so kind. One that sort stands out in my mind in particular had been upset because California's identification law does not require us to ask voters for photo I.D. all of the time. He was upset that

I followed the law. And when I told him that my job is to follow the laws, and here are all the safeguards that are in place for us to identify any voter fraud, he lost his temper with me. He told me that the Nazis also followed the laws blindly and how could I live with myself. That was really hard to hear. MICHELE CAREW: So, I had a lot of people ask me, like, Michele, why are you leaving? Why now? And my is answer is, I just don't want to do this anymore. I don't want to be a part

of these unfounded truths, these constant lies, the constant scrutiny. CLAIRE WOODALL-VOGG: I'm a mother of two small children. It definitely scared my husband. It scares my parents. But I truly love my job, and I have to just push forward, because

it is a field that I love. And I -- some part of me thinks the intention of these threats is to get election officials to leave their jobs. JOSEPH KIRK: After the January election, I was having panic attacks in the morning, maybe not for months, but they were definitely for a couple of months, because I had been under such pressure for such a long time that coming out the other side of it almost didn't feel real. And then going back to this election cycle, I was nervous. NATALIE ADONA: We want to be able to give voters the information that they need and also to give our staff maybe a little bit more assurance that we are doing everything that we can to help protect them.

CLAIRE WOODALL-VOGG: We have improved security in our office so that all our staff feel safe coming to work, myself included. JOSEPH KIRK: For the first time, I'm including things like poll worker safety in training sessions or reaching out in a different way to local law enforcement to make sure that we have the resources we need and protection we need if we need it. MICHELE CAREW: We don't want any type of applause. We are not looking for that. We just want people to know, your vote counted. It was counted fairly. Your vote was cast. And you were represented well.

STEPHANIE SY: Those are just a few of the election officials around the country facing verbal attacks and even death threats from fellow Americans either unhappy with election results, claiming fraud, in all cases questioning the integrity of these public servants. Joining me now to discuss this more is Tammy Patrick, senior adviser the Democracy Fund's Elections Program. She is also a former official in the Elections Department of Maricopa, County, Arizona.

Ms. Patrick, thank you so much, as always, for joining the "NewsHour." You heard it, voice-mails, text messages where people are threatening election officials' lives, even their children's lives. It seems beyond the pale. Is this something you ever experienced as an election official? TAMMY PATRICK, Democracy Fund: Well, happy Election Day.

And, thankfully, it wasn't something that I experienced in my more than a decade of being a local election official. But I will tell you that this is something I have been hearing more and more frequently in the last six, seven, eight, nine months. And far too often, we're getting targeted, the election officials that conducted that election freely and fairly. And this is absolutely exemplary of what I'm hearing from all across

the country in places where the former president won, in places where the current president won. STEPHANIE SY: You're hearing about election officials of all levels either quitting or retiring out of just these threats worrying them and their families. What do you worry will be the consequence of that? TAMMY PATRICK: So vacancies, in and of themselves, are pretty common. However, we're seeing a systemic rise in the number of vacancies because people are retiring early, they are leaving the job that they love because of the pressure and the mental toll that it's taking on them. This can cause a problem because of a loss of both institutional knowledge for professionals.

And then we also have the double problem in this moment of election professionals being replaced by partisan actors, so individuals that will be filling those vacancies with ulterior motives in mind. STEPHANIE SY: And the subtext of what you're saying there, Tammy, is those partisan actors may actually have integrity issues. So what are the solutions? There have been attempts by Democratic lawmakers in particular to pass legislation that would increase protections for election workers. The Department of Justice has formed a task force. Is any of that going to work to stop these threats?

TAMMY PATRICK: It's going to take all of us. It's going to take accountability all throughout the system. So whether it's the federal government having task forces to hold people accountable in this moment or bar associations holding lawyers accountable or voters holding their own elected representatives accountable at the ballot box, it's going to take all of us to make sure that we get our democracy back on track. As we go into today's election, we know that there are many local races that are up for grabs today, as it were. And as we move into 2022, there are even more local elections that will be held. So secretaries of state that are running on platforms that the 2020

election was illegitimate or stolen need to be held accountable. STEPHANIE SY: Well, it is Election Day, Tammy, as you mentioned. And there's this close governor's race in Virginia where the Republican candidate there has brought up election integrity, so to speak. Do you see today and that race a test or harbinger of what may be coming in the midterms next year or even the presidential election after that in 2024? TAMMY PATRICK: All the elections we have seen so far this year, including the California recall election, have -- are all giving us an indication of what to expect in the future. So, we have seen candidates both in California and in Virginia calling into question the legitimacy of an election if they were to lose. Now, that is not only playing out at the state level statewide, but we're seeing that narrative also be used by candidates in local races, so calling into question the ability for anyone to fairly lose an election.

STEPHANIE SY: Tammy Patrick with the Democracy Fund, thank you so much. TAMMY PATRICK: Thank you for having me. JUDY WOODRUFF: With the CDC approval of a children's COVID vaccine expected shortly, parents will be able to get first doses for their children in the next few days. But a Kaiser Family Foundation survey found only 27 percent of parents say they are eager to get the shot. One-third say they will wait for now, and another 30 percent say they definitely will not get it for their children.

We wanted to hear more about how parents see this, and what they need to know. William Brangham is back with the perspective of a top pediatrician. But, first, here's what parents told us. JESSIE LACKEY, Parent: For us, the whole time, vaccines have been the key to being able to get back to some sense of normalcy And especially with her being an only child, it's been really hard to not be around other people. We're at that point where it's like, OK, as soon as she can get vaccinated, we're going. Like, she's going to be the first in line.

I just don't think it's a choice I would make. I just don't think it's within their self-interests. MARK DONNER, Parent: We have gone a bit too far as a society because of the pandemic and setting precedents to take away personal liberties. I heard Dr. Fauci said TV: DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, Chief Medical Adviser to President Biden: Put aside all of these issues of concern about liberties and personal liberties and realize we have a common enemy. And that common enemy is the virus.

MARK DONNER: The atmosphere that people are coming from that liberties are not as important when it's one of our unalienable rights per the Declaration of Independence. ONAWA DUFRESNE-BARGER, Parent: There's a lot that's unknown with long COVID. And I know even some kids have been affected by it. Obviously, I don't want that for my child, so I want to get her vaccinated as quickly as possible.

KATHY, Parent: I would say I'm a vaccine-hesitant parent. I'm concerned about myocarditis in young children, especially having a boy, and I also think the risk to children is low if they do get COVID. So I'm just very cautious, and it's not something I'm going to jump into. JAMIE PHELAN, Parent: I'm still on the fence. I probably will end up doing it, but I'm worried about the small group of kids, the kids in the trial.

And they're kind of just guessing based on what happened with the older group with the myocarditis and whatnot. So that kind of worries me, just because it is such a small group, and they're just kind of guessing at what's going to happen. My husband's family has heart issues. So, worried that's going to pass on to my kids.

But, then again, if they got COVID, there's a really big chance that they could also have heart issues. So, it's -- I don't know. DR. ELIZABETH COTE, Parent: I actually can't wait for them to get vaccinated. I tried to get them in trials to get vaccinated, and we already are on the wait-list at the pediatrician's office.

CHILD: These are the people that we will be having today. DR. ELIZABETH COTE: The kids play COVID. They're playing a COVID testing clinic, which they do every week in school now. And I know that, with getting the COVID vaccination, they won't get as sick if they get COVID or one of the variants, and they are much less likely to die. MICHAEL CHEN, Parent: So, we plan to vaccinate our 7-year-old, because he has several life-threatening food allergies, which means that he is more likely to have to visit the emergency department whenever he has the anaphylaxis reaction.

Having him vaccinated means that, when he does have to go to the hospital, that's taking one of two major concerns off the table for us. Is he going to come home potentially with COVID? He could potentially react to the vaccine as an allergic reaction. I guess the other potential concern that I think about is, we really don't know the long-term effects or side effects of this vaccine, because we don't have that longitudinal data quite yet. JENNIFER, Parent: I think I'm going to postpone just for a little bit, and not do it right away, just so I know what numbers are coming in and what's happening in the now. Me and my husband had no hesitation about getting vaccinated. But for them, I mean, like, of course, I want to protect them. I need to know more.

LAUREN ROWLETT, Parent: Because my daughter has a complex medical history, she's very small, and she's also at high risk. And so one of our concerns is whether her small size, being more like the size of a 3-year-old, would impact in any way the safety or her eligibility even to get the vaccine. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: So, these kind of concerns and questions are what pediatricians and other medical professionals will likely hear about in the days ahead. So, we are going to try to answer some of them now. Dr. Yvonne Maldonado is chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics' Committee on Infectious

Diseases. And she has been a principal investigator in the Pfizer vaccine trials. She gets no payments from Pfizer. Dr. Maldonado, very good to have you on the "NewsHour." I loved hearing from all those different parents. And I want to just sort of dive right into some of their questions, a combination of questions here. One parent expressed a concern

that there were too few kids in the trials and that then, when you start vaccinating potentially tens of millions of kids, that new problems could crop up. Another parent expressed the concern that, well, we haven't been vaccinating for that long, so what happens if, a year from now, two years from now could a problem come up? What about those concerns? DR. YVONNE MALDONADO, Committee on Infectious Diseases Chair, American Academy Of Pediatrics: Well, thank you for those questions. And it's natural for a brand-new virus and a new vaccine, that people will have questions.

And I think the first thing I would like to say is that the American Academy of Pediatrics, which represents 67,000 pediatricians around the country, has been really keeping up to date around the facts about COVID, about COVID vaccines. And pediatricians around the country are waiting anxiously to answer questions for parents. So, I think, for vaccine-hesitant families, it's really important to contact your providers. If you don't have a private provider, your public health provider will be happy to answer questions for you. So this is a natural fear of a new disease that we're seeing.

But regarding the clinical trials, the number of people enrolled, the number of children enrolled is about the same and sometimes a little higher than other vaccines for children. And in context of the other age groups that have been studied, we have already seen hundreds of millions of doses given to older children and adults. So, we have a very good sense of how these vaccines work, what the safety is like, and what the effectiveness is.

And in particular now, what this particular set of studies did is really put a fine point on what happens specifically with this age group. And what we saw was that the side effects, the effectiveness, all of that is very similar, if not better in some cases, than what we saw in older children and adults. And so, regarding the vaccine itself, the platform itself has been around for decades. So we know that this vaccine itself will disintegrate as soon as the immune response is elicited. It is gone, eliminated from the body, and there really is no risk at this point that we can see for side effects long-term. However, we will need to study this vaccine, like we study any other vaccine, for long-term impacts. And to date, with all of our safety systems in the U.S., we have not seen long-term

impacts from vaccines that we have used in children before. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: So that's certainly good news for parents who are listening to this. What about the issue of myocarditis? This is the inflammation of the muscle in the heart. We had seen it in some rare instances with younger males who had been vaccinated. Any data that that's a problem for this younger group of kids? DR. YVONNE MALDONADO: Well, we really don't have that data because, as you probably know,

the risk is highest in boys and in young adult men, and the risk is really highest in about 16-to-17-year-old boys, at the rate of about 70 per million doses given in that age group. It's much lower in all other age groups. So, even in that age groups, it's about one in 10,000 boys in that group. In other age groups, the risk is exceedingly low, and we're not seeing -- and we couldn't obviously see any signals in the children who were studied here, because this was well under a million children who have been studied.

But the risk seems to mirror what we see for natural myocarditis, which is caused by viruses and bacteria and parasites in all age groups. And it mirrors the same incidence that we see, the same curve that we see in natural myocarditis. And this age group, at least for background myocarditis from other causes, is actually quite low. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: And what about the concern that some parents have expressed that, one, I don't want my children to get long COVID? What do we know about that? On the flip side of that, though, you also do hear parents say, well, it sounds like kids don't generally get that sick from COVID, so why do I need to vaccinate them? What would you say to parents who expressed that? DR. YVONNE MALDONADO: Yes, let me start with that first, because we have -- since last year, we heard a lot of misinformation spread nationally that, A, kids didn't get infected, B, they didn't spread disease, and, C, they didn't get sick if they did get infected.

That's absolutely false. In our children's hospital and children's hospital around the country, children have been admitted to the hospital, put on ventilators, they have died. It is not something that you want to happen, especially if you have a safe and preventable approach to this disease.

Now, so far, we have seen almost two million children infected in this alien group of 5 to 11, with thousands, 8, 300 hospitalizations in this age group, and very severe cases in at least 2, 500, with 94 deaths. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: All right, Dr. Yvonne Maldonado... DR. YVONNE MALDONADO: Yes, so it is really -- it has been quite a severe disease. And I would say that the risks of immediate impact are much more important. And that was

expressed today at the meeting. Every single person who spoke said, A, that they would vaccinate or have vaccinated their own kids, and, B, that the risks of this disease -- and we have all seen it -- far outweigh any potential short-term problems. The long-term issues, we will continue to follow for long COVID, but it looks like the risk of long COVID is subtle, and we won't really know for some time. WILLIAM BRANGHAM: All right, Dr. Yvonne Maldonado, thank you so much for being here.

DR. YVONNE MALDONADO: It's a pleasure. Thank you. JUDY WOODRUFF: Despite world leaders from more than 100 countries being in attendance at the U.N. climate conference, one significant figure is absent, China's Xi Jinping, president of the globe's largest polluting nation. Without China, efforts to fight China's reliance on coal is key. We have two looks now. In a moment, we will hear from special correspondent Patrick Fok

in Northern China. But, first, here's Nick Schifrin. NICK SCHIFRIN: In China, it is the best of times, and it is the worst of times. Beijing produces more solar power, more wind power, and more electric cars than any country in the world. But China also produces more greenhouse gases than the rest of the industrialized world combined.

PETE OGDEN, United Nations Foundation: There's schizophrenia there that there is both an investment in the future in exactly the kind of technologies that are going to be needed to build a sustainable economic engine for their country, at the same time, clinging to some of the vestiges of the past. NICK SCHIFRIN: Pete Ogden is the vice president for energy and climate for the U.N. Foundation. He was President Obama's climate director when Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping, representing the world's two largest emitters, agreed to climate collaboration. That produced the 2015 Paris climate accords' pledge to reduce emissions enough to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius. Climate experts say Beijing has met its Paris promises. Beijing's poured billions into electric cars and the world's largest network of electric buses. By 2060, it hopes renewable energy provides 80 percent of the country's power. Beijing wanted to clean up notorious air pollution. But that wasn't the only motivation.

JOANNA LEWIS, Georgetown University: I think clean energy is not just about the environment. Clean energy is an economic strategy for the country, and we really see the government prioritizing clean energy industries as strategic to China's economy, to its overall economic transition. NICK SCHIFRIN: Joanna Lewis directs Georgetown's Science, Technology and International Affairs Program and has studied China's climate policies for decades. She says Beijing believed green technology could help achieve long-term growth. And Xi Jinping wanted to be seen as a green leader. China pledges to achieve carbon neutrality

by 2060 and peak all emissions before 2030. But U.S. Special Envoy for Climate John Kerry said this summer that 2030 is too late. JOHN KERRY, U.S. Special Envoy For Climate Change: If China sticks with its current plan and does not peak its emissions until 2030, then the entire rest of the world would have to go to zero, zero by 2040 or even 2035. It knocks at least a decade off the timeline for the rest of the world to decarbonize.

And that, my friends, sets a goal that currently is impossible to achieve. NICK SCHIFRIN: This week in Glasgow, Xi Jinping is a no-show, as are any new Chinese pledges or details on how it will achieve previous pledges, says Ogden. PETE OGDEN: The Chinese announcement failed to include much that was really new. We just really need to see much more information about what they're going to take, how those steps are going to be taken in the near term. NICK SCHIFRIN: Back at home, Beijing is taking backward steps by increasing, not decreasing, its reliance on coal. Greenpeace says, this year, provincial governments approved at least

two dozen new coal plants. Coal still provides more than half the country's power. JOANNA LEWIS: The reason why we do see China sticking with coal and just having a difficult time moving away from coal is because it is such a fundamental part of the economy. There are just very complex politics. It's a huge labor source for the country. These are obviously powerful companies in terms of setting policy. NICK SCHIFRIN: Climate activists hailed Xi Jinping's September pledge not to fund new overseas coal plants. And Chinese domestic reliance on coal has dropped from a peak of 72 percent.

But Beijing still requires coal to fuel its short-term growth. And that means Beijing's emissions could get worse before they get better. JOANNA LEWIS: We cannot achieve these global climate goals unless China is able to reverse its emissions trends. NICK SCHIFRIN: Chinese officials say their transition from coal will not be rushed. As one put it: You cannot ask a person to go on a climate diet while he is still starving. And Chinese coal has a legacy that goes back centuries even in the places going green.

PATRICK FOK: This is Patrick Fok 150 miles west of Beijing in Northern China. As you approach by train, wind turbines stretch along the dry terrain for as far as the eye can see. But this is Datong, also known as China's coal capital. Coal mining here dates back around 1, 500 years. And as the country's economy opened up in the late 1970s, industrial

mining took off, fueling China's boom. WANG HONGWEI, Former Coal Miner (through translator): Conditions for workers today are much more comfortable than before. The work is not so tiring after mechanization. The underground environment is not so bad. PATRICK FOK: Wang Hongwei is a retired mine worker in his 60s, and part of several generations from Datong that have lived off the coal produced here. His son's followed in his footsteps. Shanxi province, where Datong is, has a total of around 950 mines, and, according to 2018 figures from the World Bank, employed close 900,000 people. As part of efforts to tackle climate change, China has taken offline some of its dirtiest coal-powered plants and sent workers to newer renewable energy efforts.

WANG HONGWEI (through translator): The mountains and fields are covered with solar power. It will definitely be better in the near future than it is now. The state will surely send its employees to other projects or factories. For those of us who are retired, it doesn't matter. We will just stay at home and get a state pension.

PATRICK FOK: Still, those working the mines today aren't exactly fretting. As China struggles to shake off its coal addiction, there's no sign of the jobs drying up just yet. All over Datong, you can see China's massive efforts to switch to renewable energy. There are solar farms and wind turbines dotted all over the landscape here. And yet, at the same time, it is furiously ramping up coal production. In 2020 alone, the country brought 38.4 gigawatts of new coal-fired capacity into operation.

That's more than three times the amount built in the rest of the world over the same period, and enough to power about a fifth of the whole country. Environmentalists like Li Shuo, who's a carbon emissions and energy specialist for Greenpeace, say China's insatiable demand for nonrenewable energy will make it difficult for it to meet its goal of net zero emissions by 2060. LI SHUO, Greenpeace: If you really end up peaking, let's say, in 2030, the curve in between 2030 and 2060 is very steep, to the extent that many people will just think this is science fiction.

PATRICK FOK: Last month, authorities also called on mines to boost coal production by nearly 100 million tons, as it battles a power crunch that's threatened to derail China's recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. President Xi Jinping pledged earlier this year that coal consumption would peak by 2025. But drastic reliance on the fuel source to meet energy demands has raised questions over whether he can stick to that promise. LI SHUO: What will happen after the peak is as important as when the peak will happen. Are we going to see a long plateau? And, if so, that's probably not great news for climate change. Or are we seeing a steady decline or a drastic decline? I think the post-peaking period, either for coal consumption or for China's emissions, are also very important. There

hasn't been a lot of discussion on that front. PATRICK FOK: And for the people of Datong, there's another discussion to be had about their livelihoods when the coal industry does one day crumble. For now, that day is nowhere near, as China's coal reliance continues. For the "PBS NewsHour," I'm Patrick Fok in Datong. NICK SCHIFRIN: And I'm Nick Schifrin in Washington.

JUDY WOODRUFF: College is a time of major transition and of stress. Add in the pandemic, and colleges are left struggling to cope with ever-increasing levels of mental distress among students. John Yang looks at the problem and what can done on and off campus for our series Rethinking College. JOHN YANG: Judy, a study this year by the American College Health Association found that 48 percent of college students reported moderate or severe psychological stress, 53 percent reported being lonely, and one in four had considered suicide. Many college campuses are scrambling to expand and rethink the ways they help students cope with mental health concerns.

Riana Elyse Anderson is an assistant professor of health behavior and health education at the University of Michigan. Thanks for being with us. This issue, I think, really got a lot of attention nationally when the University of North Carolina had sort of a mental health break for students after there were two apparent suicides. But you study this issue. You teach young people on a college campus. What do you see? Talk

about your personal experience to sort of give our viewers a sense of this issue. RIANA ELYSE ANDERSON, University of Michigan: Sure. So, we know, over the past year, we have watched stress, anxiety and depression go up about fourfold for everyone. And that absolutely includes our young folks. So, whether these are pediatric populations or the collegiate population, we're watching this number just balloon, and that's on top of what we saw even as a pattern before COVID. So we're watching college students really get impacted by the comparison that they're seeing in their classmates online, in social media. They're using comparison and they're

feeling particularly anxious about it for themselves. JOHN YANG: What were the factors before the pandemic? RIANA ELYSE ANDERSON: Social media is one thing that has really ballooned in this past decade, where children and adolescents are now college students who have been utilizing those strategies for the past several years now are starting to see, oh, that person got into college, this person scored this on this exam, whereas before you could only look as far as the cafeteria, right? You didn't know what was happening nationwide. But now you have this greater comparison, and it's really impacting one's well-being. JOHN YANG: Is there a sense of the -- of a generational difference, that young people now are perhaps more concerned about mental health issues? RIANA ELYSE ANDERSON: A wonderful article just came out looking at even the generation like myself, which is just one above the millennials, who really started thinking about mental health a bit differently than our generation before us.

We're starting to see now that generational divide in the Gen Z'ers, who are really staking a claim and saying, not only am I noticing it, but I want to take those days like the UNC students demanded, or I have to see a counselor, rather than go to class, rather than go to work. And that's something our generation or those above never thought to do, never thought possible. So, on the one hand, what a wonderful thing to do and have that autonomy to say. It's

another thing, though, when collegiate professors like myself are now saying, what do we do? How do we contend with teaching, with meeting, with doing the things we have to do for school to continue and meeting the needs of our students? So, it's just challenging now for us to contend with that. JOHN YANG: Are there differences along sort of racial, ethnic, socioeconomic lines? Thinking particularly first-generation college students whose families may not be prepared to help them through this. RIANA ELYSE ANDERSON: Certainly, COVID has impacted that. So we're seeing this dual impact of not only the resources that have been impacted by COVID, but the socioeconomic and racial disparities. So you're watching folks who perhaps didn't have the access or the tablets, the technology to do the work from home, or perhaps they didn't want to show their screens. And so that's lessening the amount of time that they're on screen. They're feeling less

connected to folks. And now that they're back into a college setting, that year has really impacted them. And they're trying to understand, how do they find community? How are they now exposed to some of the things that they weren't exposed to last year, including discrimination or rejection? So they're contending with a lot of things that are unique for them relative to their classmates. JOHN YANG: Talk about how colleges and universities can address this. How can they help students deal with this? And, also, you talk about students being more willing to seek help. Are they finding -- or are they being a little overwhelmed or finding greater demand than they have the supply for? RIANA ELYSE ANDERSON: Absolutely. So, you said it well.

And the ways that we can combat that are prevention and intervention strategies. So, with respect to what you just said, the CAP services, or counseling and psych services, that most universities have, if we know what these numbers are, we can plan accordingly. We can make sure that we have referrals in the community. We can expand the number of people on staff. So intervention strategies, once we know that

mental health problems are bubbling over, can be something that we can do. But we can also engage in prevention strategies. That is, can we reduce the amount of assignments that we're giving? Can we take more days, like UNC did, as a community, so that no one's e-mailing, no one -- it's not just who is saying, I'm going to take an individual day. Your professors, your administration, no one is e-mailing or expecting anything of you, so that we can prevent some of those problems that we're seeing in the first place. JOHN YANG: Riana Elyse Anderson from the University of Michigan, thank you very much. RIANA ELYSE ANDERSON: Thank you.

Judy Woodruff: And an update on tonight's elections in the Virginia governor's race, now with 88 percent of precincts reporting, Republican Glenn Youngkin leads Democrat Terry McAuliffe with 53/2 percent to 46.1 Percent of the vote. And in New Jersey, incumbent Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy is in a tighter reelection race than expected, with 33 percent of precincts reporting he has. 49 percent of the vote to Republican Jack Ciattarelli's 50 percent, and in New York City, Democrat Eric Adams is easily defeated Republican Curtis Sliwa. And that is the news

hour for tonight. I'm Judy Woodruff. Follow the latest election results on our website and join us again here tomorrow evening for all of us at the PBS NewsHour. Thank you. Please stay safe and we'll see you soon.

2021-11-03 22:47

Show Video

Other news