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tv   CNN Newsroom With Alisyn Camerota and Victor Blackwell  CNN  July 27, 2021 11:00am-12:00pm PDT

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. >> we are following breaking news on covid. one hour from now we expect the cdc to issue new mask guidelines for vaccinated americans. let me repeat, we expect --
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vaccinated people, like so many of you watching, like us, to start wearing masks again if we live in communities where the virus transmission rate is high. the cdc is also expected to recommend that students and teachers wear masks again in k-12 schools regardless of vaccination status. we will bring you the cdc announcement as soon as it happens. according to the cdc, close to two-thirds of counties in the u.s. have high or substantial transmission of covid-19. it is every place you see on the screen. dr. sanjay gupta is here ahead of the announcement. sanjay, let's start with your reaction of what we are expected to hear from the cdc. >> well, you know, i mean this is obviously not the news people want to hear right now because it is going to appear like we're going backwards. i think if we rewind back to may 13th when i think it was on your program talking about -- >> you were.
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>> -- the fact that the mask guidance -- yep -- was changing at that time, it was a cause for celebration certainly but i will tell you there were public health officials even at that time who said is this the wisest decision at this time given the potential transmissibility of the delta variant. what is driving this decision today, and i think this is really important, is new data that has not yet even been published, that has been reviewed by this team that's been looking at this guidance that basically says this. if you are a vaccinated infected, breakthrough infection individual, you probably could carry around the same viral load as an unvaccinated infected individual. that's what the new data shows. i want to be clear. it doesn't mean you are likely to get sick. the vaccines work really, really well at preventing you from getting sick, but you could still carry a substantial amount
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of virus and potentially transmit to somebody else. i think that's the biggest new thing that is driving what is likely to be these changes. as you mentioned, recommending masks for everyone indoors. >> sanjay, that's really important new information because we didn't know if vaccinated people were carrying around the same amount of virus. >> that's right. >> but it does feel like a setback. >> yes, it does. >> i remember that we were celebrating, sanjay, you and i were emotional, the idea that we could peel off our masks, that we had gotten to that point. on may 13th, it really felt special so it feels like a setback. i have so many questions. how do you know if you are in a high transmission area? is it the same as the positivity rate of your town? >> well, positivity rate is part of that, but this with transmission, they're actually looking at numbers. so usually it is some, you know, number of infections were 100,000 people, per some predefined amount. so, you know, that map that i think you showed in the beginning, we can show it again, that's sort of how that map comes into place.
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the positivity rate sort of gives you an idea of just how doing enough testing overall. but these are -- you know, they're not exact numbers, but i can tell you where i live in atlanta, it is considered high transmission. in new york, substantial, you know. i'm sorry, here in atlanta, substantial. l.a. has high transmission, so it is different. but you can find this information, you know, on your own public health site. >> do you think this is enough to at least slow this surge that we're seeing? >> you know, i think it could. you know, i really do. i want to be clear again on something that i think is really important. this is going to seem like a setback, but overall because the vaccines have been so effective and because the people who are most vulnerable to this disease are the largest recipients of these vaccines, people who are above 65, you know, the death rate and the hospitalization rate, even if there is a surge, victor, i don't think will correspond to the surge like we saw last year, right. we saw the numbers go up, we saw the hospitalizations go right up
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after that and then death rates. even if numbers go up, i think hospitalizations and deaths, while they will go up, i think will be flatter. it is not great news, don't get me wrong. i'm not trying to sugar coat this, but the idea that the vaccines are effective is still a truth in all of this. >> how about the news coming out of the cdc for school children. >> of course, they will be disappointed if they have to wear masks this september. i mean they will get over it. it is not that big of a hardship, but that's not what they were hoping for this september. so even in schools where all of the kids have been vaccinated, they still have to wear masks sanjay? >> well, i think that, you know, in those types of school districts where everyone has been vaccinated, you may be in communities where you have lower than substantial spread as well. so, you know, the guidelines strictly interpreted at that point, you might not need to wear masks. although i think what the -- you know, we will see what they say here at 3:00, but they may just say, you know, to be as clear as possible that they're going to
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recommend all school-age children wear masks because, alisyn, even though there may be some school districts as you describe across the country, i think it is about 30%, about a third roughly of 12 to 17 year olds, 12 to 16 year olds have now been vaccinated. the vaccine has been at a long time but that's the numbers they're sort of at around the country. >> you know, i remember when the vaccinated could take the mask off indoors, and there was a lag time that we were actually talking about that week that i went to the grocery store, i went to a mall and they had not changed their guidance. there was a lag time there. do you expect there will be a lag time now with getting the masks back on and what does that mean for public health, for the spread, for this variant that's hitting so many people? >> that's a really interesting question, you know, victor. you're right, i think there are some people who are going -- even when the mask guidance was lifted or came off back in may, there were people who still wore their masks. i think you still had your mask, victor, if i remember correctly,
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and there are people who won't wear the mask despite the fact that the guidance is going to be changed it looks like at 3:00. these are recommendations. these are guidance. so, you know, whether large institutions like large workplaces, schools as we were talking about, universities, they implement these things, that's different. but from the cdc itself, it is not a mandate because they don't really have that power to mandate, but a lot of people will take their cue on this. >> i remember you were getting the hairy eyeball. you had gone shopping, you had gone into a big department store. >> yes. >> and you were getting the hairy eyeball because you weren't wearing the mask. >> i was not wearing the mask anymore. >> you were like, cdc guidance, people. >> and the store guidance was still wearing mask. i wonder how long it will take to get to the other side. >> the other thing is the transmission rates fluctuate. >> yes. >> is this going to be a situation where you are in a town and your mayor the governor of your state every week tells you what the mask guidance is? >> yeah, i don't know. i think different communities are going to handle it differently, but the idea that
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metaphorically this could feel more like the weather as opposed to this sort of, you know, linear sort of story, that the weather changes and that you check it on a regular basis is, i think, possible. people have referred to it this way, and the fact if you want to take the metaphor even further, that when you have a vaccine it is like wearing a rain coat. you have the rain coat on all the time, but there are some days when you will have a bad shower, there's a lot of viral spread in the area, and you carry the mask on those days. i don't know. everyone is going to handle it differently. seasonally, as we talked about, in warmer weather like this people are largely outside, the virus doesn't like to be outside. this is some of the lower viral transmission times. sort of universally as you go into the fall, the viral transmission does tend to increase. so places that, you know -- and i don't relish saying this at all, but some places that had lower viral transmission, they may increase to substantial and so on. >> so the local governments will
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make the decision if they return to mandates, the stores, the corporations will make the decision. >> right. >> but what should this mean if i'm going to a friend's house? should i take my mask if i'm going over to watch a movie? does the new cdc guidance speak to that, do we know? >> i think if you are going to a place where everyone around you is vaccinated, you are probably okay. if you are outside, you are probably okay. i don't think it is really -- we will see, again, at 3:00. i'm previewing here a bit, but at 3:00 we will see if they say anything about outdoors, but my guess is they will say it is not any different. it depends. what i would say is if you are going to a big event, a big party, something with a lot of people, and the community has a lot of viral spread and their vaccination rates are low, in those situations i probably would wear a mask if i'm indoors. >> i mean one silver lining, if that's the right word, of the delta variant is that we have seen vaccination rates tick up a little bit this week.
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people are scared. >> yes. >> people are scared. they are getting the word that the delta variant is super serious and we are seeing a bit of a tick-up in vaccination rate again. >> yeah. i mean i just hope this message doesn't get lost in all of this because, again, people will see today as a little bit of a setback, but that doesn't mean anything about the vaccines in terms of preventing illness has changed. they're still super effective vaccines. you may have a higher viral load because of this delta variant. it doesn't necessarily correspond to your severity of illness if that makes sense. you could have a high viral load and be minimally symptomatic, you know, very few symptoms but you could still potentially spread it. that's the concern. some of this is based on really early data that's not yet been published. ultimately you would look at large populations of people and say, oh, yeah, that is happening, vaccinated people are spreading it to others and you would see it over a period of time.
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but there's enough evidence now just measuring the amount of virus people are carrying, even vaccinated people who have these rare, you know, but breakthrough infections that that's what is driving their concern today. >> the goal is to stay out of the hospital and to stay alive. >> yes. >> and the vaccines have delivered on those promises. >> certainly have. >> the vaccines work to do those things. dr. sanjay gupta, as always, thank you very much. >> you got it also, other big news, capitol police officers testifying about being tortured, being beaten, being subjected to racial slurs, all during the insurrection. they had no doubt about who inspired it that day. >> all of them, all of them were telling us, trump sent us. nobody else, it was nobody else, it was not antifa, it was not black lives matter. it was not the fbi. it was his supporter that he sent them over to the capitol that day. >> more on their powerful testimony next.
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riveting testimony on capitol hill during the first hearing on the house select committee investigating the january 6th insurrection. >> the committee played new video of the siege, and members listened to four officers, two from the capitol police, two from the d.c. metro police, and each told the details and the personal impact of the violence that they survived during the insurrection. under oath, the officers spoke of the physical and the verbal attacks. >> on january 6th for the first time i was more afraid to work at the capitol than in my entire deployment to iraq. the rioter it called me traitor,
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a disgrace and shouted that i, i, an army veteran and a police officer, should be executed. >> the man sees the opportunity of my vulnerability, grabbed the front of my gas mask and used it to beat my head against the door. he switched pulling it off my head, the straps stretching against my skull and straining my neck. he never uttered words i recognized but instead guttural screams. i remember him foaming at the mouth. >> as i was swarmed by a violent mob, they grabbed and stripped me of my radio. they seized ammunition that was secured to my body. they began to beat me with their fists and with what felt like hard, metal objects. i had been beaten unconscious and remained so for more than four minutes. at the hospital doctors told me that i had suffered a heart attack and i was later diagnosed with a concussion, a traumatic
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brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder. >> officer harry dunn, also described the racial hatred from the rioters after he told them that he voted for joe biden. we will play some of his testimony and we have to warn you this language is disturbing. >> that prompted a torrent of racial epithets. one woman in a pink maga shirt yesterday, you hear that, guys, this -- voted for joe biden. then the crowd, perhaps around 20 people, joined in screaming, boo -- -- -- no one had ever, ever called me a -- while wearing the uniform of a capitol police officer. in the days following the attempted insurrection other black officers shared with me their own stories of racial abuse on january 6th. one officer told me he had never
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in his entire 40 years of life been called a -- to his face, and that streak ended on january 6th. >> the four survivors also implored the committee to continue to follow the facts despite the trump-supporting members of congress trying to down play the attack on democracy that day. >> there's a continued shocking attempt to ignore or try to destroy the truth of what truly happened that day and to white wash the facts. >> i feel like i went to hell and back to protect them and the people in this room, but too many are now telling me that hell doesn't exist or that hell actually wasn't that bad. the indifference shown to my colleagues is disgraceful! truly nothing has prepared me to address those elected members of our government who continue to deny the events of that day.
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>> republican congresswoman liz cheney embraced the officers before their testimony. later she asked sergeant ginnell what he thought of donald trump describing the mob as loving and offering officers, quote, hugs and kisses. >> it is upsetting. it is a pathetic excuse for his behavior, for something that he himself helped to create, this monstrosity. i'm still recovering from those hugs and kisses that day that he claimed that so many rioters, terrorists were assaulting us that day. all of them, all of them were telling us trump sent us. nobody else, it was nobody else. it was not antifa. it was not black lives matter. it was not the fbi. it was his supporter, that he sent them over to the capitol that day, and he could have done a lot of things. one of them was to tell them to
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stop. >> here to discuss everything that we heard today, cnn's evan perez and manu raju. all cnn legal analyst rash a gannapa. we're just getting an alert that kevin mccarthy said he did not watch the hearing today. he said he was in back-to-back hearings, and jim jordan said he was only able to watch part of it. that was so telling, manu. it was the most riveting testimony. it is about democracy. you know, republicans keep claiming, well, we are never going to get to the bottom of it, this democratic committee is never going to get to the bottom of it. we need to know what happened that day. we need to know where the capitol police weren't prepared. why couldn't they tune in, manu? >> this is going to be the challenge for the republicans going forward here because they want to try to undercut the legitimacy of this investigation and try to make it about nancy
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pelosi, try to make it about everything that they believe should be the focus here. why wasn't the capitol prepared? but not make it about what we heard today. it was riveting testimony, that these officers heard and that they dealt with that day, and the fact that what these officers said, that this was a mob that was inspired by donald trump, that came to the capitol, that viciously attacked them, that they survived this near death experience, and that they want to get to the bottom of exactly what happened here. all of the circumstances around this. you have heard the republican members of congress not want to move forward on an investigation because of their concerns that it will focus on donald trump, it will focus on republicans including the conversations that occurred with the white house that day including with kevin mccarthy, the republican leader. now, i asked liz cheney after the hearing whether or not they want to go down this route because she had alluded to the
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fact that they should get every communication that happened with the white house that day, and she made very clear that that needs to be central to the investigation going forward as well as the chairman, bennie thompson, made that clear as well. then after the hearing, thompson told me that they will issue subpoenas soon to get information. they're not going to write letters and ask for voluntary information. they will simply go to the compulsory side. they will see if they get cooperation. but this investigation, they want to layout this roadmap going forward, exactly how to dive, how deep to dive, but undoubtedly they will look at donald trump's role. the question will be will they get any cooperation if they issue those subpoenas to trump's associates and potentially to trump himself. >> commissioner barksdale, we have watched the clips of that day for months now, new video that comes out. i have seen the video of officer hodges crammed into that door i can't tell you how many times, but hearing him describe it and what he was feeling and why he did it, there was a member --
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congresswoman murphy said, what were you fighting for? he said, democracy. you were 40 feet away. your reaction to what you heard from those law enforcement officers today? >> i thought their testimony was so powerful. a lot of emotion, a lot of pain in what they had to say. i salute all of them. based on what we all saw, i am worried about their mental health, and they appear to be still suffering clearly to this day. i couldn't even imagine what they went through, but they went through it and they're there to tell their story, and everyone needs to listen, democrat, republican, independent. we need to hear their voices as to what they suffered on that day protecting america.
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>> asha, i mean it was so gripping to hear these police officers. they are just the best and the bravest among us. they were so injured, they were so traumatized, and they would go back for more. i mean you kept hearing about how they would go out and try to, you know, regain some strength or take a breath, and then they knew that there weren't enough of them and they would have to go back to the fight and go back to risk their lives. they said repeatedly they thought they were going to lose their lives that day, and also, interestingly, they knew what they saw and every single one of them described the blood thirsty, violent mob as terrorists, domestic terrorists. they saw it that day. this was from eyewitnesses that were on the receiving end of the terrorism. >> yes. for purposes of this investigation, alisyn, it was really important to start with these officers. we've seen clips of these
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videos, but what we heard today was the lived experience, not just isolated clips and, you know, the human experience of having to go through this. they were testifying not just as law enforcement officers but as victims and as humans, and so they -- while they were protecting the capitol and members of congress, they were also protecting their own lives and, in some cases as we heard, begging for their own lives. so this is the starting point. this is what they saw, what they -- you know, what they all witnessed, which was all consistent. there are two threads here that i think where the investigation goes. the first is that several of them testified that they had no idea that this was going to unfold that day. this brings up the intelligence question which the committee will hopefully investigate on why was this not known, why was this so unexpected to the people that were on the ground. and then the other is, you know, how did this come about. we heard several officers say
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they had marching orders. they said that they were sent by trump, you know, they were sent by a hit man. so the question of who knew what and when in the oval office, in the trump administration is important, and on this front, alisyn, the doj has just issued a letter staying that they will not be exerting executive privilege for people who had communications with the president. so the committee should be able to subpoena those people to testify to the conversations or anything that happened on january 6th or before that. >> so let's take that to evan perez there who is covering, of course, the justice department. we know that subpoenas are coming. we heard that from the chair of this committee, bennie thompson. tell us about that -- actually, that is your reporting. >> reporter: well, yeah, victor. i mean, look, asha brings up an important point that was brought up in the hearing. at the end of the hearing you heard these officers being asked what they want from this committee. i think it is an important thing that this committee has the
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ability to go places that perhaps the justice department will not go in its criminal investigation. you know, we have over 550 people already charged with crimes related to january 6th, but there's no sign that the justice department is going to try to interview president trump, mark meadows, kevin mccarthy, at least at this point there's no indication of that. so if this committee can do that, they certainly have the power to do that because, you know, those are not criminal matters. so that's one of the things that i think as asha just made reference to, the justice department has now notified some of the witnesses, some potential witnesses who have been called and asked for testimony by some of the committees on capitol hill that they're free to talk, that they are not encumbered by executive privilege. matter of fact, it says unrestricted testimony irrespective of potential privilege. i will read you just a part of the letter that asha was referring to. it says, the extraordinary
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events in this matter constitute exceptional circumstances warranting an accommodation to congress in this case. again, at this point there's a couple of committees, the oversight, the senate judiciary committee that asked for testimony from people like jeffrey rosen, the former acting attorney general who was there right up until january 20th. he saw a lot of the stuff that the president and the white house were doing to push this idea that there was fraud and that the election was stolen, the things that led to january 6th. so now rosen can speak, and we'll see who else these committees call, whether this committee in particular asks for rosen and other people's testimony because those will be illuminating as to what was going on between the white house and some of the people who were involved in this. >> commissioner barksdale, i want to get back to the police work and what these guys were up against. we had heard this before, but to hear it from their mouths was chilling. the litany of weapons that they had to defend themselves
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against. there were rebar, flag poles, trump flag poles, there was the stolen shields from other police officers, bear spray, insecticide like wasp spray that they kept getting face full of. frankly, one of them talked about the possibility of gunfire. i can't believe there wasn't more gunfire that day because what happened was one of them said that they -- he could hear the crowd saying, let's take his gun, let's take his gun, and one of them also threatened him and said if you use your gun on us we all have guns and we're going to fire back. it is astounding that there wasn't more gun violence actually that day. >> they were professional throughout this incident, well, this terrorist attack because that's what it was. their professionalism is just amazing, but at the same time when they did not take those actions, they were willing to
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basically die right there because, sure, they could have opened fire but they were thinking, this won't work, this isn't the route. unfortunately, they suffered for it. but i want to go really quickly to the intelligence factor of this. those officers depend on the top to pass down preparation, intelligence to them to prepare for what they may face. this was a huge letdown for those officers, and they must move this investigation to the top. they must get information and figure out who had any intelligence on chatter for that day where they did not pass that information down and leave those officers vulnerable to this domestic act of terrorism. it has got to be done. >> very important question, of course. this committee is going to try to get an answer to. anthony barksdale, asha
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rangappa. thank you all. >> we are waiting for an address from president biden. it is the first time he is addressing the intelligence community following the turbulence of the trump administration. we will bring it to you live. plus a shocker at the olympics. simone biles withdraws from the women's gymnastics team in the final event to focus on her mental health. >> it has been stressful this olympic games, i think just as a whole, not having an audience, a lot of different variables going into it. has been a long week, it has been a long olympic process, it has been a long year. >> it is just part of her answer there. we will have more on what she says was behind this decision. is mealtime a struggle? introducing ore-ida potato pay. where ore-ida golden crinkles are your crispy currency to pay for bites of this... ...with this. when kids won't eat dinner, potato pay them to. ore-ida. win at mealtime.
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this was a stunning announcement at the tokyo olympics. american superstar gymnastics simone biles withdrew from the women's team final competition today, and afterwards she explained she wasn't dealing with a physical injury but instead she needed to focus on her mental health. >> i just felt like it would be a little bit better to take a backseat, work on my mindfulness, and i knew that the girls would do an absolutely great job and i didn't want to risk the team a medal for kind of my screw-ups because they've worked way too hard for that. >> cnn's coy wire in tokyo with more. biles had struggled on the vault before she withdrew, so was it a physical issue, a mental health
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issue or can you just not divorce the two? >> reporter: yeah, alisyn, she said afterwards that she felt off and she wasn't going to let her poor performance hurt the team and cost them a medal, so she pulled herself out of that women's team gymnastics' competition. as you mentioned, she later con firl confirmed that she withdrew due to mental issues. she said usually she perseveres, but this time was different. here is how she described what happened before the competition. >> i was just shaking, could barely nap. i never felt like this before a competition before. i tried to go out in the back and have fun, warm up a little bit, but when i came out there i was like, no, mental is not there so i just need to let the girls do it and focus on myself. >> reporter: so the big question now, alisyn, victor, is will the mentals, as biles phrased it, return. she said she has been fighting demons, she has to focus on her
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mental health. biles said the team is planning to have a mental rest day, a half day wednesday here. she has one team silver already, individual competitions start thursday. so she could still win six medals overall, that's if she chooses to compete. the world is waiting to see if she's going to be okay and if she can continue, alisyn and victor, here in tokyo. >> gosh, it has been just so fascinating to hear some of the athletes begin talking this openly and candidly about mental health struggles through all of this. >> yes, naomi osaka pulled out of the french open, she lost her match and is out as well. we will have more conversations about mental health as the athletes are having them. >> thank you for the update. have you had a doubt about the long-term effects of covid? you will meet a 24-year-old man who is now a double-lung transplant recipient and still battling for his health.
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find out if you policy qualifies. or call the number on your screen. coventry direct, redefining insurance. we're following breaking news. in the next few minutes the cdc is expected to issue new mask guidelines for vaccinated americans. so we will bring you that live as soon as it starts. the current spikes of covid are being fuelled by unvaccinated americans. the cdc now says nearly half of u.s. counties have high covid transmission rates. the u.s. is averaging more than 57,000 cases every day. joining us now someone who knows all too well the devastating effects of this virus.
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blake bargotsi spent more than three months in a hospital icu after contracting covid-19. he needed --a double-lung transplant to survive, and he's only 24 years old. he's joined by his mother, cheryl. blake and cheryl, we are so happy to have you. blake, we are happy to see how well you are doing. i mean you -- as we just said, you are just 24 years old and you almost died from covid. how are you doing today? >> i'm doing a lot better now. in fact, i am actually close to being discharged from the hospital to go to an in-patient physical rehabilitation center. i'm getting stronger day by day. i can't walk just yet, but
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that's the goal and, you know, i'm going to spend some time at that center just to get strong and back on my own two feet again. >> well, we know it is going to be a really long road. just tell people of what the ordeal is that you have already been through, just to recap a little bit of the history. on march 27th you went to an indoor concert. that was weeks before you were even eligible to get the vaccine, so you were not yet vaccinated. i know that you think -- >> that's right. >> -- that you caught covid at that concert and you regret going to that concert. two days later you felt sick. within a few days of that you were in the hospital with bilateral covid pneumonia, meaning in both lungs. i know you have been honest that you were a vapor, you vaped before that. but, again, you are 24 years old. is that why doctors think you got so ill? >> no, actually that was a
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question that i approached his doctor with yesterday, and dr. reed said it wasn't only the vaping. he thinks he just got a full viral load, that somebody probably just coughed directly in his face, particles went up his nose, in his eyes, in his mouth. so the vaping doesn't help, but for the way that blake responded he just got a full direct contact with it. >> yeah. cheryl, obviously as his mom this has been terrifying for you. it only got worse. i mean after he was hospitalized, it only got worse. within two weeks -- >> yes. >> -- he was on a ventilator. two weeks after that his heart stop, i think three separate times, one of them on mother's day. i can imagine how helpless you must have felt. did you think he was going to make it? >> actually, no. you kind of go numb, you know. i never gave up hope. initially the problem was trying
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to find an bed for him. we had him flown to atlanta. actually dr. barrett flew down and got him and put him on ecmo. >> and that's a super charged ventilator? >> like a lung machine. he would still be on the ventilator, kind of letting his lungs rest, but the blood would be taken out of his body going through an oxygeniator, going good, rich, oxygenated blood to his organs. he was on that nine weeks. >> nine weeks. >> and at some point you got the news he was going to need a double-lung transplant. blake, were you conscious during this? were you aware that you were going to need a lung transplant? >> i was -- i was asleep for most of my hospitalization, but i do recall when they said that
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i needed a pair of new lungs and my mom talked to me about the pros and cons, and obviously if i chose to decline it i would have died. so i took the chance. i took the operation and it went well, and i'm happy to be alive. obviously i have a second chance. >> blake, i know that you are weak right now. you are coming to us from your hospital bed, but you feel so strongly about getting a message out to all of our viewers. so what is your message today to young people like yourself? >> well, i've got a few. number one, get vaccinated. originally i was skeptical of the vaccine just because of how politicized it became. but it is very important to get that out there. you know, i don't want people to make the same mistake that i did
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because too many people are losing their lives to this virus. there's something out there that can help. number two, obviously i was a vapor. it definitely doesn't help. so the people my age, it is not worth it. become short of breath, it is hard to breathe, and obviously the long-term effects on your body definitely won't help and ultimately it can shorten your life span. last thing is organ donation. obviously i wouldn't be here today if it weren't for the fact that someone was selfless enough to donate their organs after they passed. i just think it is important that everyone signs up as a donor because obviously, you know, you're not around anymore, someone else could benefit from it. you can save plenty of lives. >> those are such valuable messages, blake.
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i mean, again, your strength of being willing to from your -- we can tell how weak you are and being willing to come from your hospital bed to get the word out. >> cheryl, i see you, of course, wearing your mask. you are in the hospital there. what do you say to people who don't want to wear masks in public? >> i've been vaccinated since january. i will continue to wear a mask especially because my son will have to wear one. i definitely don't want to bring anything around him. i would say wear the mask. be careful, watch your hands. don't take unnecessary precautions. what we have been through, not even a nightmare. the things that have happened and it's just been horrific.
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he looks great. >> he's alive. probably because he's 24 years old and the kindness of a stranger. organ donation as blake just said. to be realistic, he is going to have years, probably of a tough road ahead. i know you have a go fund me page. tell us where people can find that for all of his medical bills and rehab. >> oh, honestly. go fund me and it's under blake. >> got it. we're showing it right now on our screen. thank you. thank you for the message. thank you for taking the time. i know that this is not easy to talk about particularly when you're so sick. we're really happy that you seem to have turned a corner. best of luck. >> thank you. >> thank you. appreciate it. 24 years old. you know how many times we have the conversation about young
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people who are staying away from the vaccine because they think they're invincible. we don't know. there's so much we don't know about the virus. when you see him after double lung transplant, it just reaffirms that. >> he didn't have to come on today. you can hear how weak his voice is. he wanted to to tell young people the hell that he has livered through and get that message out. >> people that were listening on the radio, you can support him and the go fund me account. coming up soon, former president trump's influence on the republican party will be put to the test in texas. we'll talk about a special election run off happening there right now and what it could mean for gop races across the country. we want to tell you about a very special upcoming event. we love new york city. the homecoming concert announced by new york mayor. it's way to celebrate new york city's comeback.
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it will take place in new york central park. star studded lineup. you can watch on saturday, august 21st. you can watch it on cnn, cnn international. we'll be right back. mm. [ clicks tongue ] i don't know. i think they look good, man. mm, smooth.
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the potency of former president trump's political is being put to the test. a special election run off has come down duelling endorsements. >> he's giving his support to
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the widow of ron wright who died in covid in february. her opponent is state represent jake elsey who has the backing of high profile texans including trump energy secretary rick perry. cnn political director joins us to talk about this. who has the midas touch? >> reporter: this is the test. his super pac has put money in here. this is a district outside of dallas. it's a special election. the two republicans in this runoff, this is the question of american politics right now. does donald trump still dictate the state of play inside the republican party? seeing a contest like this where he's all in for one candidate and yet it's a close contest is going to go some way to answer that question. >> let's talk about george p.
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bush. son of jeb bush. s he's done everything possible to get the endorsement from president trump. former president trump backed ken paxton in the ag raise. it has to be humiliating considering all bush did to try to get his support. >> you think it would be humiliating enough to fly across the country to go to new jersey, go to bedminister and ask for his endorsement after he treated your father so terribly and disrespectfully the way he did during that 2015, '16 campaign. it's now doubly humiliating because it didn't work. he didn't get the endorsement. donald trump has a pretty decent track record inside republican primaries. if he can keep that up, this can be a potential fatal blow to george p. bush. we'll see how he moves on from
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here. it was an endorsement he worked hard to get despite all the storied history of the trump-bush relationship. >> i keep hearing it being likened to charlie brown and lup lucy with the football. it was more like the humiliating fraternity hazing and then it didn't pay off. >> not at all. >> okay. thank you very much. top of the hour and at any moment we are expecting the cdc to issue new mask guidelines for fully vaccinated americans. we expect the new guidance will be that fully vaccinated people living in high or substantial transmission areas should now go back to wearing masks. according to the cdc close to two-thirds of the counties in the u.s. have high or substantial transmission o

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