tv ABC7 News Getting Answers ABC February 28, 2022 3:00pm-3:30pm PST
this is abc7news. kristen: you are watching getting answers. we're asking experts your questions everyday to get answers for. today, the russian attack continues despite the first diplomatic talks in belarus. meantime, democratic nations take action to squeeze russia financially. major news on covid restrictions in california schools. the governor said march 11 as the final date masks will be required in schools. this follows the cdc's move on friday, no longer suggesting indoor masking for 70% of americans living in areas with
low or medium covid community level. that would include most bay area counties. dr. mark galli explained the change this afternoon, and joining us now is the director of covid response. thank you for your time. >> thanks for having me. kristen: let's make clear to our viewers the main components of making masking optional. there are different dates, one for schools and one for general indoor public spaces. walk us through that. >> kids are going to have the longest period of masking. they will be masked through midnight of march 11. it is a little bit hard to see what the reasoning is behind it, just because the unvaccinated child the still lower risk than the average vaccinated 50-year-old. but, the end is in sight.
kids after two weeks from will no longer be mandated to wear masks in school. totally out of the woods, but it's a welcome step. kristen: i will sum it up quickly. the other component is that unvaccinated people can go on masked as of tomorrow. you mentioned that local schoodc districts and counties could still do their thing. sounded like he was encouraging locals to have their own rules.
mandate in the coming days. give me your thoughts on how the local should approach it. >> i think it is past time to let our kids unmask, from a public health standpoint, as i alluded to, vaccinated adults are at a higher risk than the unvaccinated child. as of tomorrow, even the unvaccinated adult can move freely about in california without showing the vaccine and wearing a mask. to put kids last in line is troublesome. but, the end is in sight. leadership from our county health officers to highlight that it is safe, now it is time to let our kids get back to
normal and hopefully we will not see too many districts get in the way of that. i think the decision is disappointing. kids have not been having a normal school environment for two full years. we have heard from oakland and berkeley indicating that they will allow their kids to unmask, along as the health officer gives the green light. we are waiting on the edge of our seats for that. kristen: how much do you think the teacher concerns should play into that decision? the california teachers association put out a statement urging caution, although they did not define it, they said and hinted there should be local discussions. do you think that should be a factor? >> i think the reasonable answer to that question is viable option for nervous
teachers, severely immunocompromised. they may want to get an n95. four, teachers who are nervous can wear kn95's for as long as they feel comfortable. for kids who are ready to drop the masks, i do not think the anxiety among teachers should get in the way. kristen: here's a question from a viewer that perhaps you can address. what a mess, the unvaccinated have a free ride, they should keep the masks for them. referring to the other part, tomorrow it is optional. do you have anything you can add that would reassure her? >> i think the protective, and the message got a bit muddled the year ago when we decided vaccinated folks
needed to mask up. our vaccines are an incredible success story. as a vaccinated and boosted adults, you don't need to be worried about the threat of an unvaccinated adult for you. you are protected against serious illness and death. i think now is the time, with omicron behind us. kristen: one thing, argument you can still catch it, and as such, your university says you're going to miss lectures and you don't want that? you're suggesting it needs to go hand-in-hand with other revisions coming on the university or school level area.
>> for better or worse, the vaccines themselves are not as effective in preventing transmission in this post omicron phase as they were before. the vaccines themselves have not the great power they did to prevent transmission, and that brings us to the endemic. it is not possible for all of us to say we are never going to get covid as long as we are careful enough. that seems to be out of our reach. the best we can do is say we will be protected against serious outcomes, and a lot of us will get covid but we no longer need to get so afraid of that. the sooner we get back to normal, 2019 living, the better we will be. for people who are nervous, remember that for the vaccinated adults, vast majority, covid
does not represent increased risk as compared to a regular influenza season. the risk is not zero, and that is unfortunate, but it is what it is and we no longer need to have this outsized fear of a bad outcome. kristen: even amongst this is somewhat controversial. today, the former surgeon general retweeted the story about a 12-year-old boy who has lung issues, asking not to sit next to mask with students. he added that he was caleb and wished one day his fellow citizens would care for him the way mine cared for me. that seems to be in line with others with health or community challenges, and they ask how is it public health the ship the burden. how did he respond to that? >> i would say the focused
protection is better protection for kids and adults who are immunocompromised. itititit mask mandates. they are probably not highly effective. that mean the immunocompromised do not have additional tools in their toolkit. getting an n95, focusing on resources on that 1% or less than the population who the vaccine does not have high efficacy will leave them more protected. instead of broad resources for the general population encompassing millions of people, if we focus resources on great access to testing, covid for those people who need the best of the best, they will come
resemble his communities that have low vaccination rates tend to have high levels of natural immunity. omicron has been so infectious that low vaccination communities got much higher rates of covid infection during omicron. we now know that maximum -- natural immunity is on par in terms of protection with vaccinated immunity. low vaccination rates often mean there is higher natural immunity out there, and that is how we are moving forward with this endemic consideration. kristen: what about the folks who are concerned in short supply.
safe as possible? >> of these treatments, monoclonal antibodies, antiviral, though supplies have become robust. we are heading in the right direction. the other part population-based mandates have downsides to them. if they did not have downsides, we could continue them together without looking back. kids who are english language the
those who have never gotten vaccinated, a lot of the now have natural immunity. getting back to pre-pandemic living as a goal we can embrace, and it seems like if not now, then when? kristen: thank you for joining us today. we know you had to get back to your duties. coming up ukraine. we are talking with an expert about today's peace
political science professor. welcome back to the show. the first round of talks russia and ukraine we don't have a lot of details. what if anything came out of them? >> it's pretty obvious ukrainian side did not the attacks are still going on. it's hard to get a country to demilitarized in the middle of fighting. denazification is largely a ruse. the whole idea that the ukrainian government is controlled by nazis doesn't
really make sense given the fact it's a multi-partisan government and has pro-russian a card -- parties along with several others. this was an attempt to feel out whether or not ukraine was going to make concessions, but it's clear they are willing to dig in. kristen: some people are wondering why russia is wondering there is a nazi problem in ukraine anyway. what is the genesis? >> the idea that there is a nazi faction in the ukrainian government comes from the fact there have been right parties in ukraine. there were a couple of them in the coalition that existed in 2014. however, those parties have faded out into obscurity. parties don't tend to lost along -- last a long time in ukraine. as a result, the russian government has tried to spin any
pro you're a party as right wing extremist. they tend to focus on the idea. as extensive anti-russian sentiment in ukraine. there is a distinction. there is a large ethnic russiann minority, and they have largely not been part of this. kristen: ukraine is surprising the world with how long it has been able to hold off, hold onto major cities. did the russian military underestimate the ukrainian military or is it the spirit of the people they underestimated, the response of the world, is there some dynamic we did not understand going in? >> i think putin decided this would be much like crime area -- crimea. he would be able to slip in and
get enough support from the local population that he could use the public to support him in taking over sections of ukraine. but ukraine has had eight years of this civil war. they have the aftermath of crimea. they are not interested in losing more territory, especially we get closer to the western half of the country. the direct assault on kiyv was a mistake, it was meant to create concessions, but it's only encouraged people to dig in. kristen: today, president zelensky asked for ukraine's immediate admission into the european union. explain what membership would do and why the eu seems to be taking a slow approach. >> the interesting thing is, ukraine already has an association with the eu. this was one of the reasons why you had the invasion of crimea in 2014, putin was concerned
ukraine was getting too close to the west. ukraine actually has trade privileges with the eu and a number of agreements in place. but, this would get a closer to full membership. not necessarily in the eurozone, but this would definitely get a lot more social and political support from other members. this is not the same as nato, but it would definitely help ukraine get closer to europe. kristen: is this having a surprising effect an unintended consequence of strengthening nato? >> i think it is, to the point that even finland and sweden who have traditionally been neutral are now considering it. finland may be having a referendum on this. as you know, finland was trying to maintain a posture of neutrality with russia for decades. this is causing some changes. kristen: speaking of finland,
this gets into the airspace question that i hope you can address. i think airlines and can no longer go through russian airspace along with carriers around the world, and of course countries around the world are banning russian air carriers. what does this mean and do to global travel, and why is russian airspace so important? >> it's important to note that this is an evolving situation. we have blocked russian planes from european airspace, europe has put up the barriers. russia is now refusing to amass airplanes from europe and the u.s.. it means planes will probably have to go through asia and other parts of the world that will clearly make travel more difficult. it is not just an airspace issue. they're closing down access to airports as well, which means it
may be impossible to travel to certain places in the world. this is an evolving issue. i can't say where this is going to go, but this is one of the things hurting russia right now. kristen: heightened alerts. what does that mean? people have visions, does that mean nuclear warheads? i know that president biden did not respond in kind ms. and trying to de-escalate. tell us what is happening. >> i am not a nuclear forces expert. if it's on high alert, that means there are people in the silos, but that does not necessarily mean they are firing up the warheads. it means we are at a heightened alert.
kristen: what do you think president biden's strategies by not responding in kind? >> i think the biden administration is interpreting this as a threat, not a promises this is another thing to shake up the people on the others of this conflict, in this case largely in the background, but pruden is also thinking about us, not just ukraine, not just your. the response has been ok, we have heard you, that does not mean we are expecting him to act that way. kristen: some are quite afraid because he is deemed much less stable. the threat has to be taken seriously. i want to ask you about the help ukraine has been getting around the world. president biden approved $400
million just in military aid, is hoping congress will step up with $6 billion. germany reversed its policy to never send weapons to conflict zones. canada announced it is sending supplies. talk about if you think democratic nations are doing enough and pulling all the levels they have. >> what individual countries will do. in the last five days, we have had tremendous changes in policy. in the case of germany, this is not just sending arms, they are revising their defense policy and start increasing their military resources as well. these are major strides. sending weapons to ukraine is what they consider to be a reasonable measure right now. it's notable they are not sending troops, not having a nato intervention. this is a matter of giving the
tonight, breaking news as we come on the air. reports russian forces are closing in on ukraine's capital city, kyiv. how close is this convoy? and after vladimir putin put his nuclear forces on heightened alert, president biden is asked, should americans be concerned about nuclear war? tonight, video showing explosions across ukraine's second-largest city, kharkiv. dozens of civilians feared dead. the russian military allegedly shelling a residential neighborhood. ukraine's president zelenskyy calling the attack on civilians a war crime. a convoy of russian forces stretching 17on now headed for kyiv and closing in. the russians meeting fierce resistance from ukrainian fighters. vladimir putin escalating tensions by ordering russian nuclear forces