tv CNN Newsroom With Fredricka Whitfield CNN July 17, 2021 10:00am-11:00am PDT
d.c. are now seeing rising cases. it is the first time we have seen that since january. six states, vermont, alabama, michigan, massachusetts, kentucky, iowa report more than 100% increase in cases in just one week. vaccination rates are slowing down. now 13% from last week. the cdc director making it clear that's what's fueling this new wave. >> there's a clear message that's coming through. this is becoming a pandemic of the unvaccinated. >> in los angeles county, indoor mask mandate is being reinstated. residents there have seen a 500% rise in covid cases in the last month. we have team coverage across the country with the latest developments. let's go first to california. cnn's paul vercammen live in l.a. county. paul, this was a dramatic step to reinstitute a mask mandate.
how did people feel about it? >> reporter: no pun intended, they're digesting the new. this is patty's restaurant here. if you look, you'll see all of the employees are wearing their mask, the owner, george, said he wanted that to continue when that rule went away last month. now he says he is trying to figure out how he is going to enforce the new mask mandate. if you think about this, indoors, people will be required to wear masks inside this restaurant. outdoors, they won't have to wear a mask. we were speaking with people about this. there's some push back. some people have very mixed emotions about the new mask mandate. >> i am certainly not happy about it but we need to do what we need to do because the numbers are going up again. we definitely want to be safe. going to have to do what we have to do because it is not pleasant
to see more people in the hospitals and numbers spike up. so i'll wear it. i won't be happy about it. >> as for the numbers, 1900 new cases in l.a. county at last county, more than 400 hospitalizations. numbers indeed are rising rapidly, fred. >> paul vercammen, thank you so much. so there is an urgent effort under way in several states where vaccination rates remain low. natasha chen is in alabama, the state with the lowest percentage of vaccinations in the country. natasha, how are folks hoping to turn it around? >> fred, it is all about messaging. reaching out to certain pockets of the community. right now, the state, about one-third of people in alabama have gotten at least one dose. the problem is mostly the younger demographic, folks that
are 12 to 29. as far as 18 to 29-year-olds, under a quarter of them are getting vaccinated, getting the first dose. that's why we're at the high school gym where they had a pop up vaccine clinic today. they've had more than 80 people come through today, more than they expected, but it is a real challenge to combat a lot of myths and misinformation floating around there. we talked to the kree of alabama medical services running this clinic today. he says this touched his own family. >> yesterday got a call from my uncle who didn't get the vaccine, guess what, he is in the hospital. i asked him and my family members to take the vaccine, and he hemmed and hawed, decided not to take it now.
hopefully he comes out of this hopefully on the good end. >> we talked to a lot of students that came through today, including the band and cheerleaders. a squad came to support one of the members getting the shot today with her mom. turns out her mother had told me she waited awhile to see how the vaccine was working on other people in the last few months, decided this was a good time to do it because of the delta variant. her daughter was rather hesitant, came with mom to do it. of the rest of the cheerleaders, some said they already got the shot, but a few of them told me they still would not because they were scared. they were scared of what's in the vaccine. a lot of messaging still needs to go out there to inform and educate people, a lot of fear, hesitancy. there's also a contest to try to reach young people in alabama. state health department has launched a tiktok contest for
people under 30 to put content online, tell people why you got vaccinated for a chance to win some money, fred. >> all right. for a variety of reasons, still a lot of confusion out there. thank you so much. so with the delta variant and lack of vaccinations driving a surge in covid cases across the country, the biden administration is stepping up efforts to counter all that misinformation out there about the vaccine on social media that is contributing to a lot of vaccine hesitancy. earlier today, i spoke with u.s. senator john ossoff of georgia about the issue. i'll ask about what the president said yesterday on covid and that facebook and the misinformation on facebook and other social media outlets are killing people. this is what the president had to say. >> they're killing people. i mean, really, look, the only pandemic we have is among the
unvaccinated. and they're killing people. >> he is referring specifically to facebook. do you agree? >> look, misinformation is dangerous. there's a lot of misinformation out there. i think that politicians should be cautious about demanding certain forms of speech and expression be removed from public platforms. my principal concerns are rooted in their invasion of our privacy. one of the things i am working on now is trying to build support across the aisle in the senate for new privacy legislation to ensure that the data of american citizens is not exploited against our will. right now, using the platforms, they learn so much about us, who we are, what we like, where we go, who we spend time with, that is exploited, monetized, we lose control. we need strong privacy legislation at the federal level to protect privacy. >> you heard critics of the president's comments saying the white house should not be interfering with private
enterprise. what's your response to that? >> look, as i said, i think that politicians should be generally cautious about demanding that speech be curtailed in the public square. i also do recognize of course that misinformation, for example, about vaccines can have a serious negative impact on the public health effort. there's a balance to be struck. when it comes to my obligations as a legislator, when i consider what i believe to be the most destructive aspects of how social media platforms engage, i am focused on the privacy of the american people. >> georgia currently has a vaccination rate less than 40%. do you believe it is misinformation that's preventing people from getting vaccinated or is it something else? >> well, what i would do is call upon many of my republican colleagues in congress to be more vocal and direct urging and
encouraging every american to access the vaccine. we passed landmark legislation in response to the covid-19 pandemic that super charged production and distribution of vaccines, that ensured the vaccine was free for every american, while also providing economic relief to the people, boosting the overall public health response. we have an obligation as citizens not just to protect ourselves and our families but slow the transmission of the virus in our communities, slow emergence of dangerous new variants. i want to urge every american who hasn't yet been vaccinated to go get that vaccine. they can visit my website to get information on where and how to access the vaccine. >> it is free and it is easily accessible. >> and it is safe. >> what more can be said or conveyed to get people to get vaccinated if they haven't already, and is it the case in your view if you haven't been
vaccinated by now, it is likely you probably won't. >> no, look, i think there's still persuasion, encouragement, confidence that we can build. and the safety and efficacy of the vaccine, the argument we need to keep making is that this isn't just about protecting ourselves. if we don't slow the transmission of this virus, for example, right now dealing with emergence of the delta variant. more variants will emerge that could become more dangerous. we have an obligation to each other, to our fellow americans, to our fellow human beings around the world to get immunized. it is a safe and effective vaccine, best thing we can do as individuals to slow the spread of covid-19. >> my conversation with senator john ossoff earlier. coming up, 70 wildfires are burning across the country right now. one is destroying the equivalent of a football field every five seconds. the latest on the fire threat
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i needed him to be here. your heart isn't just yours. protect it with bayer aspirin. be sure to talk to your doctor before you begin an aspirin regimen. deeply disappointing, how president biden describes a federal ruling, declaring daca immigration program unlawful. white house says department of justice will appeal the texas court decision which blocks new applications to the program. it was established by executive order in 2012, shields undocumented immigrants who were brought to the u.s. as children from deportation. cnn's jasmine wright joins me from the white house. what more are you learning? >> reporter: that's right, fred. president biden criticized a ruling in a statement released today. said yesterday's federal court ruling is deeply disappointing, while the court's order does not effect current daca recipients,
it regular debates hundreds of thousands to uncertain future. department of justice intends to appeal the decision to preserve and fortify daca. this is the latest back and forth. the program has been debated over a decade. about a decade now. president biden has repeatedly again today said he would fortify the program, now he and vice president harris in their statements call on congress again to make a permanent pathway for young immigrants. one word that was interesting they both used in statements, fred, was the word reconciliation, what democrats and congress are eyeing to pass president biden's top priorities, budget items in a $3.5 trillion spending package. looking at reconciliation. a white house official tells me president biden is in support of their efforts to take money and put it aside in that package to
create a pathway to citizenship. president biden told democrats as much when he was on the hill over the week meeting with them. now, white house official says it will be up to the senate parliamentarian to make the decision whether it can be put in the reconciliation bill, a way the senate can bypass the 60 vote threshold, getting things passed on party lines. they said it would be up to the parliamentarian, but it is a top priority for the white house to see something on this happen. fred? >> jasmine wright at the white house. thanks so much for that. still to come. children heading back to school in a matter of weeks. but there's still a big debate on mask wearing. why are seven states banning them from the classrooms? autonomous vehicle is almost at the finish line what a ride! i invested in invesco qqq a fund that invests in the innovators of the nasdaq-100 like you become an agent of innovation with invesco qqq
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dozens of wildfires are burning across several western states right now. the bootleg fire in southern oregon is scorching about a thousand acres every hour, follows weeks of extreme drought and heat in the west. allison, how quickly are wildfires spreading? >> at a very fast rate. it may surprise you. take the bootleg fire. burned 200,000 acres so far. to put it in perspective, equivalent to a football feel, every five seconds for ten straight days. this is impressive when you talk about how rapidly fires are spreading. the bootleg fire is one of 70
large active fires across the country. truly the vast majority of them in just the western states. this is a concern because drought has been what's fueling them. 95% of the western states are in some level of drought, whether it be moderate drought up to exceptional drought. you can see the fires from space again taking a look here, you'll see flashes there. that's the lightning that clouds are able to generate on their own from the fires, basically heat lifts from fires, creating huge clouds that spread outward. the concern is then they can trigger their own weather. not only produce additional lightning to create more fires, they can produce their own winds. dry thunderstorms become a big concern. that's a concern for today for several states in the west as well as elevated fire risk for portions of oregon where the bootleg fire is and other states like nevada and california.
tomorrow, the threat exists again. it begins to spread back out. the area of concern becomes bigger as we finish out the latter half of the weekend. also smoke. look at how far a lot of smoke spreads. it is not just limited to western states, this spreads well into areas of the midwest, causing air quality concerns for people living in other states. >> that is extraordinary. allison chinchar, thanks for keeping us posted. appreciate that. bring in congressman kfrom washington state, they're at the highest levels of wildfire preparedness and fires have already burned thousands of acres. congresswoman, good to see you. what's your biggest concern now? >> my biggest concern first of all is that we are headed into the new normal. we're in the early parts of july. we usually don't see these kinds of levels until august. this we're going to see every
year, the west is on fire. i am very concerned about air quality for health and for he ises. >> what can people do to prepare for what is to be another potential wave of onslaught. >> so there's a lot of things you can do on multiple levels. for people themselves, they can protect their homes by creating defensivable face. i have a bill that will remove some debris in forests that makes these so hot. and then on a policy level as well, we need to think of climate change. we have known for 30 years this was coming, it's here. nobody should be surprised. i am relieved that now we have an administration who is working
with us on real climate action. >> washington state is under a state of emergency now for drought, that coupled with extreme heat emergency. how devastating of effects of drought in particular? >> this is devastating up and down the west coast. when you think of washington state, we think of eastern part of our state as being the dry part that's prone to fires and yet here i am in western washington where we have heightened fire risk. this is really a sea change and it is incredibly dangerous. people need to also take responsibility for their own homes and also not setting fires, not taking risky behavior, not driving cars off the road and setting brush on fire. we all have a role to play here. >> i want to also turn to covid because before entering congress, you were a pediatrician.
once a pediatrician, always a pediatrician. i want to ask you about getting kids vaccinated. we're seeing vaccine hesitancy, some cases like in tennessee, they're stopping outreach to children and families. is this an example of putting politics ahead of public health? what is at the root of this? >> i would say that on the part of say tennessee and other policy being made, i would say it is stupid, except people know the risk. i call it reckless, that we're seeing the delta variant that's so incredibly contagious, it will find you if you're not vaccinated. any attempt to roll back efforts of vaccination feed into hesitancy is endangering lives, endangering communities. at this point what we need are trusted conversations, conversations with your doctor, conversations with family members. i was delighted to get my
12-year-old vaccinated. he was delighted too. it made for an amazing summer with sleepovers, sleep away camp, i know he can go to school safely in the fall. i wish other parents would make the same decision to get back to normal. >> what about some states that are actually prohibiting mask wearing in schools. how does anyone explain that. >> well, again, incredibly reckless. there's no justification for that. by doing that, first of all, they're going against science and all medical advice, putting those kids at risk. whether that is children that are not vaccinated, children who are in some way having a medical condition that prevents them being vaccinated, imagine what they're going through. it is not just the wild west, it is really dangerous to do that right now. >> you talked about your 12-year-old that's been vaccinated, able to do sl
sleepovers. some kids go away to summer camps, overnight summer camps across several states and they're also in some outbreaks of covid. is it your concern that some places may have to close camps, change, make some big modifications because of risks involved with young people who perhaps in many cases aren't eligible to get vaccinated. >> there are ways to do sleep away camp relatively safely. you can have layers of protection. you can keep kids outside, have them masked, encourage vaccinations. you can also bring in rapid testing programs two or three times a week to check and make sure we don't have asymptomatic carriers in camp and take them from the rest of the campers. you can do it safely.
we have cdc guidance on this. you just have to implement it. >> dr. anthony fauci said there are two americas, the vaccinated and the unvaccinated. is it your feeling that at this juncture, people are eligible and choosing not to or for whatever reason something stands in the way of them getting vaccinated, it will be very difficult to make them budge, get them vaccinated. >> well, i think there's a spectrum there. there are some people who will never budge. my experience as a pediatrician, those numbers are higher with covid, but not all that high. i think there's a big group that once vaccines have full fda approval, they'll do it. once schools require it, they'll do it. there are just things that will push people on to the side of from gentle hesitancy, and i'll
just kind of wait, to yeah, it is time to do it. those are the people we need to get vaccinated. i feel terrible, by the way, for the medical professionals, doctors, nurses, respiratory therapists who are working in places with low levels of vaccination and almost every case that comes in, 97% of cases that are coming in are preventable cases of covid and they put the community at risk, put medical professionals at risk, and they're unnecessary preventable deaths. >> we'll leave it there for now. thank you so much for being with us. >> thank you, fredricka. onto utah. lack of rain and high temperatures is also having a devastating impact on the great salt lake which is at its lowest level in more than 100 years. here is cnn's lucy cavanaugh. >> reporter: this is one of utah's most unique natural treasures.
the great salt lake, also known as america's dead sea, spanning an area nearly the size of delaware, it is the biggest salt lake in the western hemisphere. >> so beautiful. >> reporter: there's a big problem with the picture perfect destination. the great salt lake could soon be no more. years of water diversions, climate change, and unprecedented drought pushed lake levels to historic lows. sailboats pulled from a dry marina, receding water leaving stretches of parched soil. >> 20 years ago this was under ten feet of water. >> reporter: today half the lake's surface, 750 square miles, roughly the size of maui is dry. that's a major worry for kevin perry, atmospheric scientist at university of utah. perry says the dry lakebed soil could send arsenic lace dust into air that millions breathe. >> one of the concerns we have is particles coming off the lake
getting in people's lungs. second degree concern is that it may contain potentially harmful arsenic. >> what is the worst case fear? >> this lake could become one of the largest dust ignition sources in north america. the ecosystem itself is on the verge of collapse. >> reporter: it is also a critically important habitat for millions of birds and happens to be one of the largest breeding grounds for pelicans in the united states. if we don't take action, what will happen to the great salt lake? >> it will be an environmental, economic and cultural catastrophe, all in one. >> reporter: jamie butler, wildlife biologist who dedicated her career to studying the great salt lake ecosystem. for her, the crisis is personal. >> i grew up here. a place becomes you. it becomes you. we are great salt lake, all of
us are. we shouldn't let it go away. >> reporter: andy wallace spent years working there as a commercial pilot. >> let's take a ride. >> reporter: have you ever seen it look like this? >> never seen it this bad, not in my lifetime. we're seeing the start of a major, major environmental catastrophe. >> reporter: from up above, the scale of the problem is obvious. >> from 6,000 feet up, no question this is a crisis. great salt lake is fannishing before our eyes. >> you can see on this side, water is purple. >> beautiful purple color means unhealthy, dying lake. >> environmental catastrophe. we're going to see so much cuss laden with heavy metals and mercury that's going to blow into salt lake valley on a regular basis and ex-as perfect ate health conditions. >> reporter: for years, people
diverting water from rivers that flow into the lake to water crops and supply homes. jamie butler argues that needs to change. >> is this a man-made problem? >> yes. this is like a human made problem. we need to change behaviors to keep incredible ecosystems that include humans like here at great salt lake. >> you can see impact. it may look like a beach, last summer this was all under water. loss of great salt lake will have devastating consequences far beyond this region. one thing nearly everyone we talked to says is it is not too late to save it. the question is whether there's a will to act. lucy cavanaugh, great salt lake, utah. >> that's extraordinary contrast we saw. all right. coming up, politics surrounding getting a covid vaccine is impacting all vaccines in one state. we'll show you why next. [♪] if you have diabetes, it's important to have confidence
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details. >> reporter: dr. jason martin doesn't need to see any covid-19 data to know his state is headed for trouble. he can read it on scared faces of the growing number of patients in the icu. >> five minutes before i came out here, i was talking to a 20 something who told me they p wished they got the vaccine. this person in tears, their life is on the line. it is so hard to watch. it is so hard to think of how preventable it is. >> reporter: according to the latest numbers, 79% of americans 69 and older are fully vaccinated, compared to 42% of 18 to 24 being fully vaccinated. for health officials in the volunteer state, it was clear with increasing threat of much more contagious delta variant, you need to try to get as many vaccinated as possible, but especially young people. >> best tool we have, most effective, safest tool, is to
get vaccinated. >> reporter: saving lives, young lives, who could be against that. >> it is not your business to target children. >> reporter: welcome to tennessee. that's republican state representative at a hearing last month. >> it is your business to inform the parent that their child is eligible for the vaccination. >> reporter: she's tearing into the head of tennessee department of health over a social media ad like this one of a smiling teen with a bandaid on her arm. >> so i would encourage you before the next meeting to get things like this off your website. >> reporter: if you thought you detected implied or else in her words, you're right. republican legislators were so angry at the youth outreach, they threatened to defund the entire tennessee department of health in the middle of a pandemic. state senator carrie roberts suggested the health department was using teachers to pressure young people at school.
>> a football coach, a band director, drama teacher, whoever it is, ought not to be telling kids hey, just come and get done so you don't have to sit out. >> reporter: the health department denies using teachers to pressure anyone. that didn't stop senator roberts suggesting the department was doing something illegal. tennessee is one of a handful of states that by law allows teens between the ages of 14 and 17 to get medical care, including vaccinations, without parental consent. given the republican outrage, you might expect hundreds of tennessee's youth rebelled against their parents' wishes. but as of last month, the department filed only 8 instances of young people receiving vaccines without parental permission. five at a health facility for something else, opted for the covid vaccine while there. >> the other three were my own children who i sent unaccompanied to get a second
dose, they're 16, and their mom works. >> reporter: the cdc recommends everyone 12 and older be vaccinated because it saves lives. >> i think there's a sense that we are hiding in dark alleys, whispering to kids, come get vaccinated. we're not doing that, we're not encouraging that. >> reporter: things have only gotten worse. daily coronavirus rate has tripled in the last three weeks. meanwhile, tennessee department of health stopped all direct outreach to teenagers to get vaccinated. dr. martin says timing couldn't be worse, he is certain, due to politics, more in the state will die from covid-19 than need to. martin savidge, cnn, nashville. still to come. inside the fight to uncover origins of covid. why the biden administration is changing its tune when it comes to the lab leak theory. two abo. and, sometimes, buying them can make you tight in the chest.
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investigators look into possible origins of the coronavirus, senior white house officials believe the lab leak theory is just as credible as the theory that it jumped from animals to humans. cnn's natasha bertran has details. >> reporter: we're learning senior biden administration officials believe the theory it escaped from the lab is as possible as the theory it
originated in the wild naturally from animals. a dramatic shift from last year when the theory it might have escaped a laboratory in wuhan was treated as conspiracy theory, unscientific. but the president ordered an intelligence review into the covid origins back in march. his intelligence community then came back to him in may saying they were still split on the issue, on the question whether covid-19 originated in a lab or in the wild. so he then ordered a redoubled effort into the question and what we're learning now is that the intelligence community being really on the fence about where this originated has already led senior biden administration officials to take that theory it escaped from a lab accidentally very seriously. it is important to note that this is not necessarily a theory that this was engineered as a bio weapon, this is not gaining credence within the biden administration. what they believe is that this could have escaped from a lab as they were conducting research on bats and therefore it's somewhat
of a natural origin theory, but right now, the two theories being treated as very credible, both of them, and the administration emphasizing to us they're reserving judgment until they complete the review in about 40 days. coming up, new york governor andrew cuomo is in the hot seat today, facing questions from the attorney general office about allegations of sexual harassment against the governor. it takes a certain kind of person to change the world. my great-great-grandmother, my great-grandfather, great-great-grandfather was that kind of person. he looked after his community. she built an empire. he protected this nation. they lived their lives in extraordinary ways.
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the u.s. navy is honoring the life of the late congressman john lewis. marking the one year anniversary of his death with a christening ceremony for the usns john lewis. >> the united states of america, i christen thee john lewis. may god bless this ship and all who sail in her. >> usns john lewis is the first ship in its class and will keep others replenished with fuel and other supplies. future john lewis class oilers will be named for other prominent civil rights leaders and activists.
3,000 years. three major faiths, one city. in order to understand the conflict in the middle east today, you have to know the complex story of jerusalem's past as we prepare to debut the new cnn original series "jerusalem: city of faith and fury." wolf blitzer takes us on a tour of one of the most coveted cities in the world. >> reporter: an ancient city at the crossroads of history, jerusalem hosts some of the most holy sites venerated by three faiths, judaism, christianity and islam as well as the seat of the israeli government. >> besides religious, national aspiration of two communities. israel and palestinian community. >> reporter: this center of power and prestige in the volatile middle east host resilient and diverse population, including after
terrorist attacks such as the bombing of 2002. >> people who live here refuse to let the terrorists win. >> reporter: the hallowed ground of the city has been the backdrop for violence and conflict andemic to the region and sadly show little signs of abating. these stories and so many others have brought me to jerusalem as a cnn reporter. i've been coming to this region for this years. so much about the people who live there and made deeply personal discoveries. >> it's part of my effort to find out more about my own personal roots. >> reporter: jerusalem extends far beyond its original boundaries, ottoman empire in the 16th century that now formed what we call the old city, a u.n. designated world heritage site. the old city is divided into four quarters. muslim, christian, jewish and ar
mea armenian where the bible king solomon built first temple around 1,000 bc. it was subsequently destroyed 400 years later by babylonian invaders and also located on the temple mount, the mosque and the dome of the rock. nearby is the western wall where jews pray, it is also commonly visited by world leaders and dignitaries. in the christian quarters, the church of the holy. where christians believe jesus was crucified and rose from the dead. the armenian quarter someone of the locations where more than a century ago, thousands of armenians from modern day turkey fled to escape but president biden this year recognized as a genocide. beyond the ancient walls is a city divided between east and west. east jerusalem came under israeli control after the six day war in 1967, though israel's
authority there is not internationally recognized and palestinians make up a majority of the east jerusalem residence. the palestinian authority would like it to be its capital in a future state. west jerusalem under israeli control since israel gained independence in 1948. it hosts the israeli parliament and where president trump moved the u.s. embassy from 2teleaviv amid sharp palestinian protests. president biden kept the u.s. embassy there. west jerusalem also the location of the world renowned holocaust memorial museum. >> this is a place where we are trying to give back the victims their names instead of numbers. >> reporter: i always knew my grandparents were killed during the holocaust, but it was in 2014 where i learned my paternal grandparents died at auschwitz.
>> it's important that the names are registered here. >> reporter: a city of memorial in a city that witnessed thousands of years of history. wolf blitzer, cnn, washington. >> don't miss the cnn original series "jerusalem: city of faith and fury" at 10:00 p.m. only on cnn. all right, hello again, everyone. thank you so much for joining. i'm fredericka whitfield. we begin with the country in crisis once again. covid cases are rising in all 50 states and while the number of cases is surging, the rate of vaccination is dropping. a recipe for disaster in america. the white house says one major reason for the problem is misinformation. and social media platforms that aren't doing enough to stop it. joe johns joining