tv ABC7 News Getting Answers ABC April 28, 2022 3:00pm-3:30pm PDT
>> moving forward, finding solutions. this is abc7news. >> we always ask questions everyday to get answers for you in real time. moderna asked the fda to authorize the vaccine for kids under six. what is the dosage? how effective is it? and when will it be approved? we are joined with the latest on covid news. assaults are way up even though ridership is down. as part of building a better bay area, our partner will be here to share its investigative report. but first, pull your masks back out. you will need them on bart.
the bart board voted to reinstate the mask mandate effective immediately. joining us to discuss the policy is the vice president janice lee. thank you for joining us today. i know this is big news. i want to confirm that this is effective immediately, right? >> that is correct. the bart board passed unanimously an extension of the mask mandate through a change of the customer code of conduct. it is temporary so the date is set through july 18, per nash for a couple of months. >> people are pretty divided on mask mandates but this board bill was unanimous. are you surprised by that? >> i have to say that i'm a bit surprised because we were watching the state department, what the department of health was doing. what these different public
transit agencies across the state would be. bart is not the first agency to move forward with this. l.a. metro, the county department has continued the mask mandate. bart is definitely taking a leadership role in the bay area and i'm really proud of that. i'm glad this is the direction we are moving forward. >> we will see if other transit agencies join you. what was the reason you voted yes? why did you think it was necessary? >> president rebecca salzman and i put forward this action for the board today. and the reason is, we were not prepared and we were not expecting the federal judge out of florida to make the ruling that was made. and there was no planning that we could've expected to be able to respond to that ruling. and the ripple effects were
really significant at a time we are seeing an increase in cases. we could spend hours and hours reading news articles, watching news pieces, and looking at the science of this, but first, i will say that this is really about making the system safe, convenient, and welcoming for all riders. we heard overwhelmingly from people with disabilities and seniors that they would not ride bart if there was no mask mandate. keeping a mask mandate is going to be more welcoming for a broader number of writers. we're still trying to see what the swell or surge of cases means for our region. the best case scenario is that we are on the right side of science in the worst-case scenario is that we are extending temporarily a mask mandate. it might be something that people don't love doing but this
is a temporary measure that will keep all of us safe. >> i think i heard you say that many people express that they did not want to ride bart without a mask mandate. i was wondering about whether ridership was a factor. i know you're trying to build it back up after the pandemic caused the ridership levels to plunge and some are saying this is a bad move by bart. they want customers because people aren't going to want to take it but you think it is the other way? >> the data shows it. >> even before the mask mandate occurred a few weeks ago, every day, we were seeing increased ridership during the mask mandate that was across the country, across the state, and for bart. we know that it is in no way the mask mandate keeping people from writing bart. and despite the federal ruling
and despite the change that occurred for a couple weeks, we're still seeing increased ridership. we are seeing really good mask requirements for a lot of the writers. our region gets it and our writers get it, that people are coming back to bart in droves. >> you saw an increase in ridership when it was optional? >> a significant increase. ridership has grown everyday. it is not the mandate that is affecting other ridership. >> and it is back to what percentage? >> we broke records yesterday. that is in part due to the giants and a's game. >> that definitely helps. real quickly because i want to get back to the specifics in regard to where you need to mask
on bart. there were worries about art off the fiscal cliff. are you looking at service cuts, layoffs, or anything this year? >> absolutely not. it's not a direction i would support it all. we received a budget presentation today. thanks to our tireless federal advocacy and our rate campaigns we have in d.c., bart received 280 million dollars in additional federal assistance. this is not only allowing us to continue our service levels which at this point is 100% pre-pandemic service, we are about to increase even further. weekend ridership is recovering at a faster rate. >> that makes sense. >> they want to get out on
weekends and go to the golden gate park. real quickly, what are the areas where you are enforcing that mask mandate? platform, train? where? >> how it will work is within the paid areas. so once you pass the fare gates and pay to get into the system, you have to have a face covering. if you do not, don't worry. we will have plenty of bart staff available whether it is station agents, bart ambassadors, we all have masks available for our writers. we totally understand for people with disabilities or medical conditions, it make it not possible. there are exemptions for those folks as well as riders under the age of two. >> so it will be enforced? >> our plan for enforcement does not look different than what it did before the federal ruling? we are focused on compliance
through education and providing people masks. we got an update from the bart police chief today that those efforts are extremely successful and lead to high levels of compliance. throughout the entire pandemic with a mask mandate in place, they only issued a total of seven citations. these are around the mask mandate. what we see and what we know is that education, signage, passing out masks actually works. we are confident that will continue to be the case. >> janice lee discussing the reinstatement of the mask mandate at least through july 18. thank you for your time. coming up next, 18 million more americans consume be eligible to get the covid vaccine. an infectious disease
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>> today, vaccine maker moderna requested emergency use authorization for children under six. that would be 18 million people. joining us is dr. peter hong. thank you for joining us. >> thanks for having me on. >> what is the latest dosage of this modernity at -- vaccine for kids under six. >> it is looking at one quarter of the dose of the adults. 25 micrograms instead of 100. and if you want to compare it to pfizer, it was 1/10, 10% of the
adult dose. 10 micro -- sorry -- three micrograms. a big qualitative difference. that is why they have to study three shots now and modernity is sticking to to for the time being. >> is it a three week wait in between? >> for weeks. -- four weeks. >> let's look at efficacy. a 37% among kids two to five. that doesn't sound great, does it? >> it is comparable to a lot of other vaccines and how they perform. and was not reported as the sample size wasn't big enough
and the impact on hospitalization and death which was pretty big. if we change our guidepost for how we evaluate it, it's going to look very comparable to what we think as normal. in omicron, a lot of people got breakthrough infections. in the other issue with the modernity shot is that the antibody levels when you compare 18 to 25-year-olds, they are pretty much the same with one quarter of the dose in that age group. >> how quickly do you expect the fda to move on this? >> nobody really knows what the truth is. but one is pfizer a front-runner, but they have to go back to the drawing board. so they are saying that we can get the data hopefully this month.
submitted today, as he said. they say we will look at modernity first, maybe through that and some people are predicting, releasing the data and review moderna and pfizer at the same time. >> look, what would you do? i heard that part of it was they don't want confusion if both were greenlighted at the same time. but as a parent -- my kids are older and eligible, but if i had a kid under five, i would be thinking, just put one out. why wait? >> we are still in a pandemic. we are not in an endemic. if i had a five-year-old, i would want to have the vaccine asap. i know -- i just hope they would
approve them in sequence because again, the data isn't going to change for moderna. >> if both are approved, which one would you recommend at this point? >> it is hard to say because we haven't seen the updated pfizer data yet. but the modernity data looks extremely comparable in terms of efficacy. and what we have not talked about is in terms of safety. fewer fevers and other things that kids get. no myocarditis. we wouldn't expect it in this age group anyway because it tracks with testosterone and puberty. that is why we see it in the young adult male population. >> will boosters be necessary?
>> yes. i would not be surprised. they are going to do a great job of reminding the mean system by giving an interval of three weeks or four weeks. the immune system works best with a 1-2 punch. wait a few months and remind the immune system again. that is the formula for many childhood vaccines. so i think, over time, i would imagine that this would end up being an initial two-dose that would be very safe and equally effective as when we take for granted in adults. >>'s look at the bigger picture now. how are covid case and hospitalization numbers trending right now? >> right now, we are seeing diametrically opposite patterns.
nationally, 50% more and many cases on the east coast and puerto rico. but a decrease in recent hospitalizations, may be a slight uptick in some areas, but nothing to write home about. this has been going up for some time now. and there hasn't been a dent in hospitalizations. very cautiously optimistic that things will remain ok. >> it is interesting how people look at it. right now, some people are going, look at the hospitalization. especially when you consider the true number of cases that speaks well of not a lot of severe cases because the percentage of severe cases are going down. i know so many people with covid right now. and even if they have light
fevers, it's terrible. should i put on my rose colored lenses or my super dark scary lenses? >> the answer is all of the above, unfortunately. what do i mean by that? don't be afraid of covid, but respect it. i'm going to keep my mask on in crowded indoor areas. i'm going to keep my mask on in public transit. do i worry that i'm going to get covid? much less risk as one of the good predictors for long covid is whether or not you can find it. i know that boosts antibodies and t cells will pounce on the virus so that it doesn't have that chance.
to get past covid if you are eligible, it will also decrease the amount of virus in your blood. as we look at the big picture, do you think the mask mandate that bart brought back today should be making a comeback? >> i think in specific locations but not as a generalized mask mandate. it depends on the rules. and as long as there is an exit strategy, for a short time, it's ok. for a hospital, it makes sense to walk around with masks. there is a sign in the elevator to not even think about operating without a mask. but you want to protect community.
and you're getting all people from all walks of life and that public transit setting. schools might be different. you will probably not see it come back as a general recommendation. >> we have time for one quick question. when in the fall will the covid vaccine be available that may cover more variants? >> moderna is looking at a hybrid. we are not sure exactly when it will be recommended. it's just getting the rest as a booster or second booster. by wintertime, the flu or covid shot together.
>> let's see if you can do this in 10 seconds. is it young that trudy -- is it true that young teenage athletes should be checked for heart conditions after a covid-19 vaccine? >> i would not recommend checking for heart conditions. but get medical attention if there is chest pain, shortness of breath. >> thank you so much for your time. >> the number of assaults on uni-is rising in ridership is actually down. our media partner from the san
francisco standard is doing a deep dive into how uni-is handling the problem. just moments ago, the standard spoke with sf mta about this. joining us live to talk about what they've learned is news editor for the standard annie gauss. welcome back to the show. >> thanks for having me. >> what is the upshot, the main headline for assaults on uni-? >> reports of assaults jumped considerably throughout the pandemic. sf mta maintains a dashboard on their website in the hopes of educating the public about how safe it is to ride. and the public dashboard indicates that assaults spiked considerably between 2020 and 2021. an increase of 74 to 186. there was a reporting change that included battery as well as aggravated assault. so there is some new wants to
the data. put reports of aggravated assault and battery assault increased even as ridership was diminished. >> so they did put a couple of new things into the bucket that they consider assault. but even when you take those out and account for those, assaults are still running higher. any idea why? are there motives that they looked at? and who is being attacked? drivers, passengers? >> they did a breakdown of drivers versus passengers. and i spoke to someone who offered thoughts about it. there are a couple of factors that may be at play for this kind of uptick, even with a decreased ridership throughout the pandemic. he said that mask mandates may actually have an unintended consequence where they sort of rile up certain passengers that are more liable to engage in
aberrant behavior because they are reacting against the masking mandate. and the other factors we are seeing is increase instability. they are seeing the same thing on muni. >> can we talk about this happening while ridership is down? i'm wondering if there is a correlation. a fear of being assaulted driving down ridership? >> i don't know about that specifically, but it certainly lead to increased concerns. this is something we have seen nationwide where people are finding themselves more alone and feel more vulnerable, even if, you know, the actual number of certain types of incidents may have been unchanged.
you still feel a bit more vulnerable when you are alone. >> what are they doing about it? >> muni is asking for more money from more ambassadors that are uniformed folks to make sure all is well. they are also educating drivers on how to de-escalate situations, when to intervene, and when to call police. in these types of crimes have very high successful prosecution rates. >> we will take the rest of this on facebook live check out more of the reporting on abc7news.com.
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tonight, president biden calling on congress for $33 billion to keep ukraine funded for several months. verified video showing new missile strikes in kyiv tonight, hitting while the u.n. secretary-general is in the capital city. at least one residential building hit. russia's war in ukraine entering a new phase, attacks intensifying in the eastern region. president biden pushing back against the kremlin's claim that the u.s. and nato are fighting is a proxy war. and the president pressed on russia saying the threat of nuclear war is real. our team with the ukrainian military collecting unexmroekded mines from liberated villages near kyiv. ian pannell back in ukraine's capital tonight. mary bruce at the white house. back her