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tv   Eyewitness News Upclose  ABC  February 7, 2016 11:00am-11:30am EST

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they even made it easy to switch with a one-hour arrival window. why settle for less, when you can get more! get 50 meg internet for $39.99 per month. call now. you could get free installation, no data cap, and access to over 400,000 twc wifi hotspots with select plans. call now. >> this is "eyewitness news upclose with diana williams." >> worries growing now around the world about the zika virus. the world health organization declaring an international emergency, now predicting there might be up to four million cases diagnosed by the end of the year. the concern is for women who are pregnant or become pregnant after getting infected by the virus. so, exactly what is the zika virus, and how do we contain it? this morning we get some answers from new york city's health commissioner, dr. mary bassett. good morning, everyone. i'm bill ritter. at least 11 confirmed cases of
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those in new york city, and at least one confirmed in new jersey, all of them believed to have been infected when they traveled to areas that had been hit hard by the virus. the only known human-to-human case in the u.s. is in dallas, where health officials say the virus was sexually transmitted. the centers for disease control issuing traveling advisories now for puerto rico and at least 29 countries -- among them, brazil, where the carnival is underway and where the olympics start this summer. millions of tourists in rio for brazil's carnival and millions more expected this summer for the olympic games -- controlling the zika crisis is more urgent than ever. >> [ speaking spanish ] >> last week, brazil's president saying the virus has gone from a distant nightmare to a real threat. the government scrambling to start developing a vaccine, but until one is ready, president says mosquito prevention is the government's best course of action. now, some are doubting whether brazil can get zika under control by this summer, and they're calling for the rio olympics to be canceled.
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doing the olympics and epidemic control at the same time. mosquitoes are a tough opponent. >> the u.s. olympic committee says it is keeping a close eye on the situation and that team usa participants will be made aware of the cdc's recommendations regarding traveling to brazil. especially for olympic athletes like michael phelps, whose pregnant fianc\e is among the most at-risk population. zika has been linked to a severe birth defect, microcephaly, when pregnant women get infected. while the u.s. women's soccer team is focusing on qualifying for the rio olympics, head coach jill ellis tells the dallas morning news the zika outbreak is concerning. so, how to fight this virus here in the u.s. and in the tristate and in new york city. joining us this morning, new york city health commissioner dr. mary bassett. and thank you very much, doctor, for joining us. so, is this the latest outbreak du jour? how serious is this? how worried should we be? >> well, here in new york city, we know that we have no zika transmission. all three cases that you
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virus by traveling to a place where we knew that zika was ongoing. but, yes, there has been an outbreak that has affected a growing number of countries in latin america and the caribbean. that's why travel advisories have been issued. >> so, what's the city doing? what's your concern as the top doctor here in new york city? >> yes, so, the first thing is to give advice to people who travel, everyone who travels to area where we know there's zika transmission -- and the number of places keeps growing. you need to check and see what the current status is -- should take precautions against mosquito bites, but our special concern is for pregnant women or women who are trying to get pregnant, because you don't always know the instant that you get pregnant. and for those women, we're advising that they postpone travel to areas where we know zika transmission is ongoing. >> so we saw the example in our tape piece about michael phelps' pregnant fianc\e. >> yes, i'm sure he wants her there, but i would recommend that if she's pregnant, she should avoid being in a setting
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transmission. >> put yourself -- let's say you were health commissioner of rio de janeiro. >> hmm. >> what would you say about having the olympics? there is some call, at least study the question, whether they should be having the olympics. >> there are a lot of questions about how they're gonna handle the vector control and how affected rio has been. of course, it will be winter in july. you remember, it's summer there now. it's mosquito season. it's not mosquito season here in new york city. that's another reason that we're not worried here. so, i'm sure that there's gonna be a very close scrutiny about -- for most people, getting zika is a mild condition. it's really because of the apparent connection with the risk to the growing baby that we've gotten concerned. >> and the baby gets -- what's the condition? >> it's called microcephaly. it's having a small head and a small brain. >> right. so it's not good for a child. >> it is not good. >> it's a severe disability, right? >> it's not good. >> but the targeted audience here is women who are either pregnant or who are going to get pregnant, because if they get pregnant, they could carry this
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>> for those women, we're really recommending strongly that they postpone travel to areas where they might acquire zika. >> and just to put the public's perspective and fears at bay, this is not like ebola was a couple years ago, because it's not a deadly disease. and for most of us, we can have it and not even know we have that. >> there are so many ways in which this differs, and you're right. this is not something that we have the same level of concern about, certainly as a world or as a city. zika is transmitted by a mosquito. in most cases, the overwhelming number of people who get it don't know it, and they will have, if they're symptomatic, a very mild disease. >> and the symptoms -- i want to put the symptoms on the screen for you to look at, because it could be anything, really. you have a fever, rash, joint pain, conjunctivitis. any of those might be -- zika would be the last thing most people would think about having. >> well, your doctor should think about it. if you say, "i have traveled to 'x' place, you know, in the last
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and so, doctors we've advised -- and we sent out advisories to thousands of doctors, every licensed physician in the new york city area, advising them about asking about travel history. so those -- i was gonna look and see if you had the symptoms up there. >> we had them up already. >> they were all correct. >> they were all correct. it's interesting because -- the symptoms are up again right now. you can take a look at them -- fever, rash, joint pain, conjunctivitis. the -- it's germane here in the new york city area, the tristate area, because people do go to puerto rico during the winter. >> they do. >> and they could come back bitten by a mosquito and have some of those symptoms and not know that they have that. how do you treat it? >> well, the people that we're concerned about who get infected and don't know about it are mainly pregnant women, and that's why the cdc and the new york state health commissioner and now new york city have revised our advice for returning pregnant women from countries where zika transmission is ongoing. we recommend that they consult with their doctor and consider
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they haven't had symptoms. >> and new york state now has a free screening center that you can use, right? >> yes, the wadsworth laboratory is gonna be doing these tests. also the cdc lab does them. >> what if i have the zika virus? what if i go to puerto rico, get it as a man, what are my risks? >> well, the main question is, who are you potentially a risk to, and that's where we've changed some of our advice, as well. because if you think about it, it's possible when you go there that even if you follow all of our advice -- you wear long sleeves, you use an insect repellant -- you might still get infected. and if you come back and have a pregnant partner or your partner's trying to get pregnant, we want to give you advice about using condoms. >> because it is transmitted mostly through mosquitoes. however, there are cases -- there's one in dallas -- where it was sexually transmitted. >> correct. >> there have been a couple where there's been blood transfusion has transferred the disease. that's in brazil.
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health research top institute today said scientists have discovered the presence of active zika virus in urine and saliva samples. not surprising to you as a medical expert, of course, but a little freaky and can freak out people who hear that, saying, "oh, my gosh. so it could be transmitted like any other transmittable disease." >> well, it's not surprising that if you have it in your blood and stuff and other body fluids, but the main way this is transmitted is through mosquitoes. it's a mosquito-borne disease like dengue, like chikungunya. but there are cases -- there have been a couple in the past, and now one in dallas that were apparently sexually transmitted. and blood banks are giving advice to people to sort of hang back if you've traveled recently and wait awhile before you go and donate blood. >> when you see the video that we showed about the people and the officials in rio spraying for mosquitoes -- and i assume
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for mosquitoes here in new york city for west nile virus. as a medical expert, do you feel you get sort of, you know, goosebumpy when you see that? >> well, no. i know that we and new york city have a really robust infrastructure for dealing with west nile virus. we've been dealing with it for over a decade. so we know that we can build on that to increase our surveillance for mosquitoes here in new york city that might carry the zika virus. right now the main mosquito that carries zika, it's called aedes aegypti. we don't see it in new york city. we've been looking at mosquitoes in new york city carefully ever since we first encountered west nile, and we don't see that mosquito. >> but some of that spraying has its own side effects and medical implications, right? >> well, we -- we, mostly with west nile virus, engineer our screenings so that we reduce the possibility that people are exposed to it when we're spraying, and we're gonna be looking at the right way that we would spray for the aedes mosquito if we needed to.
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you saw the spraying on the streets of rio? >> well, i can see that people would feel a little unnerved by it. >> i did a little, to be honest. >> but the fact is that there are two main ways that we're gonna contain this until we have a vaccine. one is by giving people advice how to protect themselves from bites, and the other is by controlling the vector. and spraying is the key way that we have to control the vector. >> that's the bottom line. >> so i think, overall, people should feel reassured that the brazilian government is taking aggressive action to control the mosquitoes. >> there is the very high dudgeon, high drama confrontation between scientists and the olympic committee and the government saying should we cancel the olympics. what's your initial take on all of this? >> well, i think we should wait and see. there is so much about zika that we're still learning, and we have lived with it for decades. as i said before, most of the time, it's a very mild disease
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of days. there's no treatment. there's no vaccine. and people recover without any complication. the reason we're worried is the babies. >> and you don't want that. and so the pregnant women or women who want to get pregnant or think they might be getting pregnant, that's the most important thing, especially with their partners, as well. >> that's correct. they should avoid travel. >> the voice of calm and reason. and thanks for assuaging us this morning, dr. mary bassett, the new york city health commissioner. thanks for joining us. >> pleasure to be here. >> when we come back, another new york city commissioner, this time polly trottenberg. she's in charge of transportation. we're gonna talk to her about mayor de blasio's vision zero plan. it is saving lives. but can you really bring traffic deaths down to zero?
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that's next. i've been a turkey farmer my whole life... and i raise turkey for shady brook farms . we don't use growth-promoting antibiotics, that's just the way things should be done. that's important to me. my name is glenn, and i'm an independent turkey farmer. (female announcer) shady brook farms . no growth-promoting antibiotics,
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>> welcome back to "upclose." vision this -- zero traffic deaths in new york city. the mayor's vision zero plan is one day to reduce traffic deaths to zero. long way to go, of course. but look at the numbers. 231 traffic deaths last year. that compares to 297 in 2013. that's the year before mayor de blasio started his vision zero program. that means 66 fewer deaths. those traffic deaths include 134 pedestrian fatalities last year. that's down 27% over that two-year period. just this week, mayor de blasio putting more money into vision zero. $115 million in new capital funds. we put it in traffic safety improvements. close to $30 million of that will be going to long island city and queens, starting with a makeover for the intersection at jackson avenue and 11th street. i recently asked transportation
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traffic deaths in new york city -- how can they really be reduced to zero? >> look, when the mayor came into office, he set a remarkable goal. he said, "i want to get to vision zero." and i found that has been an incredible motivator and rallying cry. and look, you just reported on the results. last year in new york city in 2015, we had the lowest number of traffic fatalities in the city's -- since we've been recording it, since 1910. we're very proud of that result. but obviously we still have a lot of work to do. i mean, there's still too many tragic crashes on our streets. but the thought of trying to get to zero is something that has proved an incredibly compelling motivating factor for my department, for elected officials, for community boards, for people all over the city. >> i know that the fire department likes to say that one civilian fire death is one too many. but, in fact, it had over 59 civilian fire deaths last year. that's the second lowest in history. it's a good thing that it improves, but is it realistic in a big city like this that it would be zero, really at zero?
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about traffic fatalities, that one fatality is too many. and i guess we're focused on the goal. i do think setting a high bar for yourself really -- it calls upon you, and it certainly has called upon my department and other city agencies to every day work as hard as they can to be as creative as they can and come up with as many ways to try and drive that number down to zero. it's an incredible goal to try and reach. >> setting a high goal -- i know i try to teach that to my children and set high goals when they're growing up, and that's all well and good. but is it setting a false expectation a little bit? i mean, does part of you worry that it might be doing that? there was one report by one consumer agency of transformation alternatives, says, you know, this is all great that it's down, but the annual reduction of 45% is required to get vision zero by 2024, which the mayor self-imposed on himself. and at the current rate, it will be 31 years after that by the time you hit that. so you're open to that kind of second-guessing. >> you know, look, i don't know
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i think for us the goal has proved something powerful. and again, i think the results do speak for themselves. i mean, we've seen a tremendous reduction in fatalities. you said in the past two years it's gone from 297 to 231. i think that's real results and that's real lives saved. >> when you were last on this program a couple months ago -- more than a couple months ago -- there was a spate of pedestrian deaths. we talked about it, but you believed then that the city was on its way to a record low number of traffic fatalities and pedestrian deaths. >> well, look, you know, you always want to be careful when you look at the numbers, even as we were facing that terrible spate. and, you know, you do have these terrible spates, and it certainly motivates us and we grieve for the people who are lost on our roadways. we can see that a lot of the work we're doing is starting to have a real effect, and we talked about some of those things like lowering the speed limit, better enforcement, reengineering dangerous intersections, all the things that are part of our toolkit. >> when we talked last time -- i'll get in the weeds later a little bit, 'cause you have done
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some, add up to some big improvements here, clearly. the 25-mile-an-hour speed limit. a very big deal. it has at least caused people to think about every time that speedometer goes above 25. the ticketing has not really paid off. i think people like you and some of the staff maybe wanted it to. >> well, look, we have two types of ticketing. we have what nypd does with their enforcement. and look, nypd is called upon to do all kinds of enforcement of all kinds of things all over the city. but we also, thanks to our legislators up in albany, have the ability to deploy 140 speed cameras around schools, and we're doing that now. we got them all up and operational before the school year started. and we're seeing that the good news about the speed cameras is, very quickly in areas where we installed them, speeding drops by as much as 40% or 50%, and that's around schools where our kids are going. >> right, 'cause the money incentive of getting a ticket is very large. >> well, the tickets are only -- the tickets are only $50, but certainly that reminds you when you get that ticket that, you know, this is a place -- and by the way, these are by schools.
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>> in a big city where there's a walking city, a walking population, every 10 miles you increase that speed limit or the speed of a car dramatically increases the odds someone's gonna die. >> that is absolutely true. it's something we said at the time we lowered the speed limit, that even going from 30 to 25, it means that if there's a collision between a vehicle and a pedestrian, you're twice as likely that the pedestrian will survive. and that's one thing i think we've just seen with vision zero. you and i have talked about all the distractions and things that are happening on our streets. but if you're behind the wheel and you're going at a safe speed, if something terrible happens, the chances are you'll have more reaction time, and if there's a collision, the person will be that much more likely to survive it. >> i want to do a sort of lightning round here. the little things i've noticed just driving around or walking around, there are left-turn lanes and left-turn-only lanes with the arrow, that helps traffic, bike lanes, and then the wider crosswalks, and then the line you want cars to stop has been moved back, as well,
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>> you're absolutely right, yes. and they seem like small and subtle things, but some of those things can be very, very important. yes, we are really trying to improve pedestrian crossings. and yes, that often means widening the crosswalk, putting in countdown clocks, or leading pedestrian intervals, putting back the stop bars so vehicles slow down and stop a little closer before they get to the crosswalk. and one of the things the mayor just announced in what we're gonna be doing this year, we're gonna be looking at some new treatments to do around the issue of left-hand turns. 'cause in new york city, you're much more likely to have crashes when a car is turning left, so we're gonna be looking at ways to improve the visibility between the pedestrian and the car as the car is turning and also to try and slow those turns around. >> some of the places -- i live on broadway, right off broadway, and there's a median there that when a car makes a left turn, it's all of a sudden a red light when they're going on the smaller streets, and some cars try to go there. there's a big sign -- "stop here on the red light. don't go across." it's not a free-flowing left lane. >> yeah, no, it's one of the more challenging areas in
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something we're really gonna focus on this year. >> transportation commissioner of the city of new york, zero. just ahead, we switch to politics. all eyes now and the vision on new hampshire and the tough fight for republicans and democrats. political analyst
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take on all that next. i've been a turkey farmer my whole life... and i raise turkey for shady brook farms . we don't use growth-promoting antibiotics, that's just the way things should be done. that's important to me. my name is glenn, and i'm an independent turkey farmer. (female announcer) shady brook farms . no growth-promoting antibiotics,
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>> welcome back to "upclose." the presidential primary election season now underway and in high gear and high dudgeon. sanders vs. clinton, closer than people thought it would be, closer than clinton thought it would be. and donald trump, who gives off the attitude he doesn't even know how to spell "loser." in fact, did not win iowa. he came in second. i think that's a loss. joining us to put a microscope on all this and the new hampshire primary on tuesday, political analyst hank sheinkopf.
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>> he lost iowa. >> right. >> bernie sanders came in second, close. people say he won. what's the difference? >> well, on the show, we've said that hillary clinton would probably win by a hair, and we were right about that, and we were confused a little bit about trump and cruz, but cruz did win. why? evangelical voter turnout, over 60%, and they voted with big numbers for him, not for donald trump. donald trump's response -- well, it's not so. well, it is so. and now going to new hampshire, donald trump limps while cruz and the others -- and rubio, particularly -- may have some wind. >> the polls, though, show that trump is winning in new hampshire. >> sure, and the polls showed he was winning in iowa, too. >> exactly. so what do you predict for new hampshire? >> pollsters have a problem with predicting with some accuracy increased turnout numbers. it's not their best suit. why? because it's a very static environment. and all data taken is good at that moment. what is the prediction? trump probably looks very good going into iowa -- going to new hampshire, rather. but could rubio or someone else get close to him?
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the issue is how much does he win by, how close is anybody else, because the trump vote may, in fact, be illusory. we saw that in iowa. >> cruz in new hampshire -- not his strong suit in terms of states, either. it might be for rubio as an alternative to trump. >> rubio will probably have a chance to shine, get very close to trump would probably be likely. he is one of three people really left that have any -- actually, four -- that have any possibility getting any place on the ticket. >> and for chris christie -- and i know you've said he's not gonna last long -- but this is his last stance, maybe? >> this is probably chris christie's last stance, and he may find himself on the other side of lincoln tunnel when it's over. >> if he's got 5% -- there are some pollsters who say it's closer to 10% -- we'll see. but if he can't beat jeb bush in new hampshire, what does that do? >> this is jeb bush's last moment, and this is chris christie's last moment. if chris christie doesn't beat jeb bush, then they both need to go back to where they came from. >> before we talk about the democrats, i want to throw this stat at you. independents in new hampshire -- 44% of democratic primary voters in new hampshire are independents, more than any
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was about 19% average in democratic primary in 2008. this is bernie sanders' wheelhouse, right? >> bernie sanders -- this whole thing is so screwed up that bernie sanders looks fresh compared to everybody else, certainly compared to hillary clinton. he's got more momentum right now, he's talking about things that people want to hear about. and the operative words in that first debate this past week weren't "money." they were "wall street." and he's hung that around hillary clinton's neck. this primary process on both sides of the aisle is about people who want the system unrigged, and part of unrigging the system is to reduce wall street, wall street's activity or influence, and reduce the rich's influence and to somehow fix washington. >> and yet in the debate the other night between sanders and clinton, when international foreign affairs were brought up, clinton just looked so much on a higher plain than bernie sanders. >> no question that in the foreign-affairs area, clinton looks much better, as she should, by the way, but she really does and she shines, and no one should take that away from her. the problem is historically americans don't vote on foreign
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>> right. they vote on income inequality. >> they vote on things that matter to them at the moment. >> it's interesting, because all the polls i've seen in all the analysis about bernie sanders talks about his lack of support among african-americans. his message, though, would seem on face to resonate with african-americans, except that hillary clinton has great support among blacks. >> well, she has a history. the clinton name has history and has value among african-american voters obviously based upon the polls, but that's not a problem in new hampshire, 'cause there aren't enough african-americans in that particular electorate to make the difference here. >> allegations of some shenanigans on both sides in iowa. big deals or just the normal upheavals? >> because it was close on the democrat side, of course people complained. and because it was not so far on the republican side, people complained. so, shenanigans. well, it's hard to have shenanigans when you're haranguing people for two hours in a room and then, you know, trying to figure out how they vote. after, it's hard to make that case. >> we have a couple parallel universes it seems to me when it comes to hillary clinton. >> sure.
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news channel that caters to the republicans, you would think that hillary clinton would be indicted last night about these e-mails. and yet if you listen to everybody else, it's a non-issue. what's your take on it? >> have faith in james comey, the former u.s. attorney in the southern district, presently fbi director, who is beyond repute, reputation extraordinary. if his agents come up with something that's criminal, he will recommend whatever action to be taken. but thus far, she's not in handcuffs and it's stupid to continue that discussion. >> what's gonna happen to her? is she gonna take off once south carolina happens, do you think? >> she could, so long as the e-mail scandal, whatever it is or is not does not take legs. >> yes, but that sort of differs from what you said before about -- >> everything in the politics in the present moment. right now there is no scandal 'cause only the one that's manufactured. could there be one? there is a possibility. should people pay attention? you bet. >> but sanders no question has the mojo going on right now. >> right now sanders got the mojo. >> we have 30 seconds left. i've been meaning to ask you this for a long time. >> sure. >> you've got these people who
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running for president of the united states. a grueling, grueling exercise in democracy for them. and you've got these younger people -- marco rubio, ted cruz, some other people. it has said something about baby boomers and what they expect out of their lives, that people in their late 60s -- and bernie sanders in his 70s running for president. >> the problem here is that the republicans just look younger and the democrats look older. the republicans have new things to talk about. the democrats are talking about the same things. and nobody's tuning in. that's why bernie sanders looks fresh. >> wasn't that interesting? because it used to be the democrats had the fresh ideas, the republicans had the same old conservative ideas. >> correct. it's changed. the speaker of the house is young. the minority leader of the house, the democrat, is old. >> well, you're young thinking, hank sheinkopf. >> thank you, my brother. >> thank you for being here. that'll do it for this edition of "upclose." if by chance you missed any of today's program, catch it again at our website, abc7ny. thanks for watching. i'm bill ritter. for all of us here at channel 7,
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