tv Don Lemon Tonight CNN July 30, 2021 12:00am-1:00am PDT
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chickenpox. and it warns trust in the vaccine could be undermined by breakthrough cases. it's coming out just hours after president joe biden announced all federal employees need to be vaccinated or submit to regular covid testing. plus republicans on defense, trying to explain where they were, who they spoke to, and why they were wearing body armor on january 6th as a select committee prepares to subpoena key witnesses. i want to get to our breaking news now. the chair of uc san francisco's department of medicine, dr. bob wachter is here, and he has seen the cdc document. doctor, i appreciate you joining us. you got a very early look at this internal cdc presentation warning delta infections are likely more severe. you walked away from it significantly more concerned. tell me why, please. >> yeah, don. everything is a little bit worse than i had understood before i
ready the document, when "the washington post" shared it with me about six hours ago. a few things are things that we understood. the vaccinie vaccine efficacy i little bit. that we kind of knew, but the data seems to show that the virus is what they call more infectious than chickenpox. the average person will infect five to eight people versus two to three, which we were used to from the original virus. there's some evidence in the document the severity of delta is higher. that's been a debated point. but at least according to this, the cdc believes that is true. we learned the viral load of people who have been vaccinated and have a breakthrough infection seems to be as high as in people who have non-vaccine related infections, which probably means they are infectious. so it's sort of every part of it was a little bit worse than i
thought when i came in to begin reading it. >> talk to me about this arnot number in layman's terms. what does that mean? how many other people can they infect? >> yeah. the arnot is an even deemio logic term and says on average, how many people will an infected person infect? that number can be modified of course if everybody is wearing masks or keep distance, all the things we've learned to do in the past 18 months. but this is sort of in the natural state. the arnot of the original virus, the one we dealt with in 2020, was somewhere in the two to three range. and it looks like from the cdc data, the arnot of this virus is more in the five to eight range, five to nine at least on one graph that they showed. so we've been going around with kind of supposition that it's twice as infectious as the original virus. this one is saying it's even a
little bit more than that. on the graph they show, they compare it to chickenpox, sort of what we have in mind as this incredibly infectious virus. it's actually by some estimate, more infectious than chickenpox. the average case of delta may infect more people. we now know that the severity of cases may be higher which has been debated up until recently. >> people must realize getting the vaccine is even more essential because it will keep you from dying. please, how do we get that through to people, doctor? >> well, the vaccine is essential, but i read the document and became even more convinced that we have to go back to universal masking because we have to get the vaccine rate up. but this thing is so infectious that even in san francisco where i live, where we have 70% to 75% of the population fully vaccinated, it's about 20%, 25%
higher than the national average, we're still seeing a surge here. we're at a rate of vaccines that we would not have seen a surge with the old virus. but this virus is better at its job. we have to get people vaccinated. i think all of the things we've heard in the last couple of days, incentives, mandates, disincentives fastor not gettin it, i think that's very important. we have to get more people vaccinated because this virus is better at its job than the original. but it's going to take a while to do that even if we're successful. until then, we have to go back to more universal masking or else this is going to spread like wildfire. >> if you can talk more about that because i think that people are sensing my frustration tonight that, you know, everyone says, well, you have your freedom and maybe you should do this or that. we can't do that anymore. we're no longer in that place, doctor. >> yes. i'm with you, don. you know, people have the freedom to play around with
their own health, i guess. it's not a good decision. but if it was just your health, it's one thing. but the decisions that the unvaccinated are making in the face of this virus, which we now know is much more infectious and more severe and, you know, and the vaccines work incredibly well, but there's some evidence in the cdc documents that they work a little bit less well with older people and with immunocompromised people. so if you're not vaccinated, you are not only putting yourself at risk, you're putting everyone around you, unvaccinated people, people who are immunosuppressed, older folks. there was some evidence in the document that the immunity you get from a prior infection begins to wane after about six months. so the folks that say, i'm not getting vaccinated because i had covid last september, they're putting themselves at risk. they're putting other people at risk. so i think it's time to get more serious and more prescriptive about this than we've been. >> i would love for you to come back and continue to speak with
us. thank you so much. i really appreciate it. >> my pleasure. so just about -- look, the people i've loved the longest and the most in this world, besides my fiance, right, are in baton rouge, louisiana. that's my hometown. so that's why i'm so intense about this tonight, because i've seen the cdc, the document that cnn has confirmed. i'm speaking to my family there, and i'm seeing what's happening. my hometown of baton rouge, where if you want to see what delta running rampant can do, one hospital has more patients right now than at any other point in this pandemic. here's miguel marquez. >> reporter: amy matson struggles to breathe. what does it feel like to have covid? >> exhausting. extremely frustrating.
tiring. and the fact that i am here now, i am furious with myself. >> why? >> because i was not vaccinated. >> reporter: not anti-vaccine, she says she just didn't get around to it. the 44-year-old is now one of dozens of covid-19 patients in baton rouge's our lady of the lake regional medical center. her oxygen low. her doctors said she might need a ventilator. >> i just don't want anyone else wie winding up like me, especially when the vaccine is so easy to get now. >> reporter: the delta variant now prevalent in the bayou state. not only is it enormously infectious -- >> the delta variant is far more contagious, right? but that viral load doesn't mean i'm going to spread it to more people. it means when i inhale somebody else's breath, i am getting a massive amount of virus. >> reporter: it is spreading everywhere, in cities and rural areas. >> reporter: there's nowhere
safe. if you're interacting in this community, you should be vaccinated, and you should have a mask on because we are inundated with covid. >> reporter: ronnie smith, 47, says he thinks he got it from a friend outdoors. outdoors at a barbecue. he was planning to get the vaccine when covid-19 got him. >> two days after the event, it just like, i went down on the floor, and i couldn't get up. >> reporter: nurses here say they've watched the number of critically ill patients grow rapidly. some anti-vaccination patients still in denial covid-19 is real. >> some people insist that we're lying to them about their covid-positive diagnosis. >> even sick people? >> even sick people. >> who need oxygen, who might be on their way to death. >> yes. >> are still denying this he have covid? >> i have patients that deny they have covid all the way until intubation. >> what do they think they have?
>> they think they have a cold. >> reporter: carson baker, only 21, has a kidney condition. her doctor has advised against getting vaccinated for now. she thinks she picked up the coronavirus while in a screened in porch across the room from someone else who had it. what does that tell you about how easy it is to pic this variant up? >> people like myself with an autoimmune zdisease, you can't o anywhere because it doesn't matter what you do. >> reporter: lori douglas has been in nursing for 35 years. the last year her hardest. frustration with sickness, death, and the unvaccinated at boiling point. >> sometimes praying isn't enough, and yell at jesus if i need to. it's head-shaking, teeth-grinding, knees tight, standing up, just wanting to scream from the hilltops frustrating. >> reporter: a couple of things to consider. health officials say while there are a lot of people who are just
not going to get the vaccine under any circumstances, there is a broad swath of them that are persuadable and that people who love them and know them should just keep working on them. the other thing is where are they on this current surge? where are they on this wave? how much farther do they have to go? the hospitals we've spoken to in louisiana, they're not entirely sure. they're dealing with the every day so much. but other hospitals in the region have crunched the number and looking at that surge and looking at late september before they reach that crest. late september. so then just in time for the fall and then winter and then a whole other surge. don? >> miguel marquez, thank you, sir. get vaccinated, people. wear your masks. seriously. now we turn to the select committee on the january 6th attack on the capitol. it's meeting in just hours in nancy pelosi's office. they're getting ready to subpoena key witnesses as some
republicans are trying to rewrite history, the history of what they were doing that day. here's cnn's sunlen serfaty. >> reporter: six months after the insurrection, as the january 6th committee is readying subpoenas, many top republicans on capitol hill are under pressure about what they knew that day and who they talked to at the white house. >> did you talk to the former president that day? >> i've talked to the former president umpteen times since he's left office. >> i mean on january 6th, congressman. >> yes. i've talked to the president so many -- i can't remember all the days i've talked to him. >> reporter: congressman jim jordan attempting to verbal gymnastics this week about his phone call with president trump on january 6th. >> on january 6th, did you speak with him before, during, or after the capitol was attacked? >> i'd have to go -- i -- i spoke with him that day after, i think after.
i don't know if i spoke with him in the morning or not. i just don't know. i'd have to go back and -- i mean i don't -- i don't know that -- when those conversations happened. >> reporter: raising eyebrows on the committee. >> sounds like he's got something to hide, and he's trying to threaten people so he won't be called. >> reporter: as many republicans are continuing to defend their own narrative of what happened that day. congressman mo brooks defending his decision to wear body armor to the rally near the white house before the riots. quote, the only threats i was aware of that day were blm and antifa. i had no information of any threats by anybody but from socialists, generally antifa and blm in particular. it's all part of an ongoing attempt to rewrite the history of what transpired that day, when top leaders expressed shock and stated just where the responsibility lay. >> the president bears responsibility for wednesday's attack on congress by mob rioters. >> reporter: in the immediate
aftermath of the riots, many republicans showed outrage. >> what happened at the capitol on january 6th was as wrong as wrong can be. it's not what america is about, and we condemn this violence. >> reporter: and some resolve for accountability and truth. >> and the president's immediate action also deserves congressional action, which is why i think a fact-finding commission and a censure resolution would be prudent. >> reporter: but now many of those same republicans are trying to shift blame. >> why wasn't there a proper security presence that day? and frankly only the speaker can answer that question. let's see if the democrats bring that up. >> we think it's too important that those two questions, why were we ill-prepared? >> reporter: the january 6th committee is making it clear. subpoenas are coming and coming soon, likely to hit many republicans on capitol hill. >> interviewing, subpoenaing, and doing whatever is required to get to the truth. >> reporter: as they piece together every minute of the timeline before -- >> all hell is going to break
loose tomorrow. >> reporter: -- during, and after the insurrection. >> this has all the fingerprints of an antifa operation. >> reporter: every meeting and every phone call made in and out of the white house as the riots unfolded will be under scrutiny. sunlen serfaty, cnn, washington. >> subpoenas for some of the gop congressmen could be coming in a hurry. how are they going to react? i'm going to ask the former congressman charlie dent that next. ence occasional bloating, gas or abdominal discomfort? taking align every day can help. align contains a quality probiotic developed by gastroenterologists. it adds more good bacteria to your gut to naturally help soothe your occasional bloating, gas and abdominal discomfort. support your digestive health with align, the #1 doctor recommended probiotic. try align today. and try new align fast acting biotic gummies. helps soothe occasional digestive upsets in as little as 7 days. tony here from creditrepair.com taking
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charge of investigating exactly what went down in the capitol attack gets ready to subpoena key witnesses. let's discuss now. former republican congressman and cnn political commentator charlie dent joins us. charlie, thank you. i'm really, really worried. there's a lot to be worried about. all right. let's truck on here. so when you hear mo brooks, jim jordan, kevin mccarthy and you see their defensiveness now and the dodging and twisting over their actions on january 6th, you know these guys. what are they up to? >> i think it's pretty clear they don't want to have to answer questions about what conversations they may have had with the president on january 6th, on or around january 6th. i mean the call that kevin mccarthy had reportedly with the president, as mentioned by jaime herrera beutler, was one that deteriorated in almost a shouting match, where the president thought the protesters were more concerned about his election than he was. and i don't know that he wants
to talk about that, you know, in a public setting. and i suspect jim jordan might not want to talk about it either. i don't know what mo brooks was thinking that day, wearing body armor, and he was firing things up. i think it's fair to find out what the president of the united states' state of mind was on that day. >> the house slelect committee holding that strategy session. they say they will move on to subpoenas and they're going to do it quickly. how do you think your former colleagues will handle being called to ef it, maybe even subpoenaed? >> i'm curious to see if they put up a fight. ordinarily what you do is first invite them to testify voluntarily. and if they choose not to testify voluntarily, that's when you issue the subpoenas. so usually you don't start with a subpoena. you start with a request. and then we'll see. if they're subpoenaed and they fight that subpoena, that could drag on for a very long time.
on the politics if this, if you're a republican member, you don't want these hearings to extend well into 2022 during the midterms, so it might be better to get this out of the way as quickly as possible. fighting this thing, dragging it out, means it's more likely they're going to be testifying later in the election cycle. >> when it came to tuesday's hearing with the four officers on the front line on january 6th, too many republicans say they didn't even watch. you say maybe they didn't watch, but they're paying attention. >> correct. >> what do you mean by that? >> how couldn't they be paying attention? they're hearing from the men and women who defend them every day and who are trying to keep them safe. you know, that was very powerful, riveting testimony we heard from those officers, you know, who talked about what they experienced. they were using terms like terrorists to describe the people who attacked them. so i think these members, you know, look, it's true. they're busy during the day. they're not always sitting there
glued to the television. but i can assure you they are paying close attention to what's being said because they may be called in front of that same select committee to answer questions. and i think they just want to get a -- don, at the end of the day, they have to be very nervous about this. that's why they fought it so hard. they all wanted an -- most of them wanted an independent commission to find facts but that all changed when many of them realized they could be called as witnesses and there's a real legal exposure for them personally. >> always a pleasure. thank you, charlie dent. be safe out there. thank you. >> thank you. you too. so take this. a republican senator is not going along with one of the most outrageous gop attempts to spin what happened at the capitol on january 6th. and for many on the right, there has been a huge push to out the u.s. capitol police officer who shot and killed ashli babbitt, one of the rioters on that day. now they want to make her a martyr or -- i don't know -- just for the big lie.
but senator kevin cramer wants nothing to do with that. listen. >> i'm a citizen of the united states. that's why i have the right to know. why don't i have the right to know? why don't you tell me that? >> well, first of all, the person that shot her -- i don't know who it is by the way. because the person that shot her is a police officer shooting a criminal violating -- not complying with officers telling her stop, don't come through that window. we have guns drawn. don't do it. they're protecting people. and the officer was found to be innocent of any wrongdoing. and so -- >> so you do know his name? >> i'll look into it and see what the law says about the release of the name. i personally am not -- i'm just grateful for the person why honestly. >> according to the doj, capitol police officers were evacuating lawmakers from the house chamber as babbitt and others in the mob
were attempting to break into the speaker's lobby which connects directly to the chamber. several agencies investigated the shooting and the justice department cleared the officer in april. so what the senator said is right. facts first, people. up next, president biden meeting with democratic leadership tomorrow, trying to see what they can actually get done on voting rights. and my next guest has an idea for them. and ahead, the olympic moment that made this happen. adding lysol laundry sanitizer kills 99.9 %. lysol, what is takes to protect.
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so new tonight, cnn has learned majority leader chuck schumer and house speaker nancy pelosi are planning to go to the white house tomorrow to meet with president biden to discuss a path forward on voting rights legislation. cnn also reporting that senator joe manchin is involved with the talks to get a bill passed that will protect voting rights. my next guest, the former senator from alabama, doug jones, wants washington to act now on the issue, and he has a new op-ed in "usa today." and senator jones says, pass manchin plus voting and election protection with or without republicans. let me read a little more about what you wrote. you say the time for lengthy debate has passed. the clearest path for the senate begins with the manchin proposal. i'm encouraged that some senate democrats are discussing an approach that builds on it and could release their ideas this
week. among manchin's common sense measures are pro-voter policies such as no-excuse voting by mail, uniform voter i.d. standards, extended early voting and redistricting reform that prohibits partisan gerrymandering. it all sounds good, but what makes you think that senator manchin can get this done? >> well, i think it because he's working on this with folks. he said that in the article. i had heard that from other sources. i think the fact he is working on this, joe manchin wants to get something done. he sees what's going on in america and he wants to get something done. i think the point of what i was trying to say is not just about with or without republicans. but it's about the fact that what's going on in this country doesn't have anything to do with protecting the integrity of the elections. and i think democrats have not really voiced that message, that they've not really voiced the concern that limiting voting hours, limiting voting days, those kind of things, that's not going to protect from voter
fraud. but national standards, uniform standards where the same voters in alabama play by the same rules as those in wyoming, i think that helps build confidence in the election. plus it gives access to people who work at the ballot box. >> go with me here, senator jones. let's say no gop senators end up supporting the bill. do you expect senator manchin to change his mind about the filibuster buzecause he said ju today that's not going to happen. >> i wish he hadn't drew a line in the dust that way. the fact is i think we need to see what these proposals are going to do because remember h.r. 1 is a great bill but it also doesn't do some things that have become law in these states since h.r. 1 was passed. a lot of things on voter subversion. so let's see what these proposals do. see if he can get any support at all from republicans. i believe if he gets any support at all, you'll see some effort to either modify the filibuster rule or do something. you don't have to completely get
rid of the filibuster to get this passed. i think some rules can be changed. joe manchin has already talked about talking filibusters. and the fact i think if they can get some things that he's comfortable with and other democrats are comfortable with to stop these wildfires that are going on right now, i think there's a good chance we can get this done. >> we shall see, and we'll have you back to discuss. thank you very much, doug jones. appreciate it. >> my pleasure, don. the gop's got a new mantra, and it's all about denying racism exists. that's next. plus, she said she was aiming for silver but suni lee is getting gold and making history. lysol spray. it's a simple fact: it even kills the covid-19 virus. science supports these simple facts. there's only one true lysol. lysol. what it takes to protect. -hey. -hi. whoa, nice car. thanks, yeah. i actually got a great deal on it too, although my interest rate is awful. have you checked your credit? i got like a free score from some app
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january 6th and the big lie revealed just how much the republican party has become the party of racial resentment. so what message is the gop planning to fall back on to win congress back in the midterms? let's discuss. cnn political commentator bakari sellers and mark mckinnon, the former adviser to george w. bush and john mccain and the executive producer of "the circus." gents, hello. mark, politico has this report talking about the new mantra popping up in gop circles heading into 2024, and i quote here. america is not racist. is that message going to work? >> well, don, you know, i hope not. i mean i hate that that's a message that republicans are focusing on. i mean, a, because i think it's wrong. but, b, i think it's wrong politically and morally. and the fact is that the big reason joe biden was elected was because he addressed racial issues and racial unrest in this
country. by the way, it's real. i mean it was not just some perception. in fact, people in america thinks that black are discriminated almost twice as much as they did in 2008. back then 26% of americans thought blacks were discriminated against and other ethnic minorities and today that's 58%, 59%. so it's more than doubled. so it's a reality they have to deal with. but i tell my democratic friends, beware, be carefcarefu. i remember when we first heard defund police and i called my democratic friends and said get on top of this because you got to dig down beneath what the message they're really selling. the message they're selling with part of that message is to say that democrats hate america and democrats think america is wrong. so that's my signal. >> i feel you on that. i have to think about that more, if it's fair so say that can a place be racist, or is it the people who make up the place who can be racist? bakari, look, when you look at the pro-trump mob on january
6th, one of the hero officers called it a white nationalist insurrection. that was an attack on our democracy and there was a clear racial component to it. that happened at the u.s. capitol, right? >> yes. so, i mean, don, there are a couple of things. one is that republicans really don't have an agenda to run on. that's first. second and probably even more importantly, this is something democrats have to really worry about, is that joe biden and the democratic administration have not addressed, as mark may have said, these racial issues. they have not tackled these issues. look, justice was on the ballot in 2020. but voting rights, these things have still not been addressed in a way that's meaningful. until that happens, i think you're going to have a stagnant electorate. you add that to the fact that republicans have are state legislative bodies and gubernatorial mansions all
across the country. therefore they can gerrymander to all hell, which they're doing. i think republicans have a huge advantage going into 2022 and 2024 when it comes to legislative seats. regardless of the fact that every single day, matt gaetz, nancy mace, marjorie taylor greene, all of the spokesperson for the republican party try to find new culture wars every single day and they're not being successful at it. but they do have the structures of a systemically racist system in place, which are gerrymandering and other things that they can fall back on. >> how about, bakari, these attacks from the right on simone biles? she is the most decorated american gymnast ever, or the fight over confederate documents, the white power hours on fox propaganda network, the stop the steal. but the supposed steal was in black cities. how much of this is about trafficking in racism and then denying it exists? >> no, no, no.
republicans use racism as a political currency. let's never forget that. i remember being in studio with jake tapper right before we went on "state of the union," and donald trump was playing footsie with david duke. he said he did not know who he was. it was the sunday before the mississippi primary. you know, the t re out. and racism is just so pervasive, and it's weird, don, because they are so afraid of particularly black women, whether or not it's kamala harris or simone biles. you see people like charlie kirk. he can't do as many push-ups as simone biles or sit-ups. it's kind of silly. like simone biles literally would beat him up. and the fact that, you know, you have people like that who want to just -- it's not funny. it's true. she would literally beat him up.
to call her weak or anything else, it plays into this politics. and i think mark will agree we need to get to a politics of a day where all of this asinine, silly rhetoric is thrown out the window and we actually talk about policies and the difference between progressive and conservative, getting back to the root of what this country is. >> with that, you have to talk about the strategies too, bakari and mark, to win elections because, mark, republicans want to hit democrats on things like critical race theory or defund the police. do you think that's reaching beyond the base, possibly helping them with suburban women and independents? >> well, such a short-term strategy, don, and republicans are looking in the rearview mirror, which is the worst way to look toward campaigns. th donald trump just doubled down on a demographic cul-de-sac. he decided we're not going to expand the tent as george w. bush said he would do and tried to do, as the republican moratorium did in 2012 and talk
about how we need to expand the tent. trump just said, screw that. we're not going to get more. we're not going to expand the tent. we are going to double down and just say that we're going tom w that republicans now think that's the playbook to run in the future. >> this is the interesting thing because i always hear republicans talk about democrats are all about identity politics. but republicans are -- mark, aren't they playing the biggest identity politics right now? >> yes. >> well, as bakari said, it's all they've got left. they're not talking about policy. it's all become cultural, and it's become about race. i mean the whole critical race theory, i know we don't have time to talk about that, don and that's part of the problem. it's such a complex issue, but i guarantee you republicans are throwing gas on that issue. >> can i chime in real quick? >> go on. >> you remember when ted cruz was actually like a legitimate
formidable voice on the right for conservative ideology? i mean it didn't take that long, and, no, i'm not a ted cruz fan, but i do think that ted cruz was actually a brilliant legal scholar at one point in his life, and he shed that. he completely shed that to adorn himself and envelop himself in the ridiculousness that is trump's party now. there are so many people who have morphed into people that are not even imaginable anymore, and that's the problem with the republican party. >> what about where you are, bakari? what about nikki haley? >> i still like nikki haley. she's a friend of mine. but you're right. i think that nikki haley is a perfect example of it. ted cruz is a perfect example of it. lindsey graham is a perfect example of it. all of these individuals who once you could find to have some independent streak, who stood for something. listen, nikki haley went to nine funerals for the charleston massacre. she helped take down the confederate flag.
and now to see her cower to donald trump, to see her beg and plead for his support, that's not the person i know. >> i'm mad at trump, but i'm much madder at the people around him that enable him. >> mark, let me ask you, we spoke about your brother-in-law, who was sick in the hospital with covid. can you give us an update? how is he doing? >> i'm happy to say that in the last 48 hours, things have turned for the -- they're better. they're positive, headed in a better direction, and he's a very fit guy even though he's 70. and he's really fighting hard and doing everything the doctors are asking him to do. so i have great faith that he's going to turn this around and make it, but it's a good lesson for all of us that people close to us and the loved ones, the message is getting out. get the vaccine, or you're going to find your loved one in the hospital. it affects not just the people who are in the hospital but circles and ripples of loved
ones around families. >> we're glad he's better. has he spoken about getting vaccinated? >> well, we're going to leave that for discussions later on. we just want to pray for him now to get better. >> all right. bakari, i don't know if you've had an opportunity to watch on cnn. we have been featuring people who are in the hospital and have been very sick and now are regretting not getting vaccinated and have had a change of heart. let's hope more people do that. >> no, my prayers go out to mark and his family. my story is very well known of seeing audiences and you and mark and everybody lifted us up in prayer. my daughter is immunosuppressed. she's a liver transplant baby. you're not getting the vaccine for yourself. i'm a huge nfl fan and watching the ignorance of some of my friends who play in the league and some of their teammates, this is not about you.
listen, bill gates ain't putting 5g into your arm. this is about making sure that other individuals who cannot go out there and do the things they need, that they can actually live a healthy life because you did what was necessary and you were selfless. so get the vaccine. >> thank you very much. an olympic update when we come back. n, plus have high blood pressure. they may not be able to take just anything for pain. that's why doctors recommend tylenol®. it won't raise blood pressure the way that advil® aleve® or motrin® sometimes can. for trusted relief, trust tylenol®.
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absence of simone biles. american gymnast suni lee turned in the performance of a lifetime to claim the gold in the women's all-around final. cnn's will ripley has more on her remarkable story. >> reporter: from a family of southeast asian refugees to olympic gold for team usa. >> it's like it doesn't even feel like real life. >> reporter: 18-year-old sunisa lee, the first hmong-american gymnast stepping up when simone biles stepped back. taking women's individual all-around gold. win number six in the event for team usa, tying the former soviet union's record. >> this medal would not be possible without my coaches, the medical team, my parents, and it's so surreal, and i haven't even let it sink in yet. >> reporter: nearly 6,000 miles away in oak dale, minnesota, the small hmong refugee community celebrating big-time. lee's parents fled laos for the
u.s. her dad says winning gold is the greatest achievement of any hmong-american. >> all that hard work, all the broken bones, all that time you missed vacationing with us, it paid off. >> reporter: lee's road to gold tougher than most. in 2019, her father fell from a ladder, leaving him paralyzed from the chest down. in 2020, her aunt and uncle died of covid-19. >> there was a point in time where i wanted to quit, and i just didn't think i would ever get here, including injuries and stuff. so there are definitely a lot of emotions but i'm super proud of myself for sticking with it and believing in myself. >> reporter: and now suni lee making olympic history. will ripley, cnn, tokyo. >> will, thank you. congratulations suni. well done. and thank you for watching, everyone. our coverage continues. to remove the toughest stains without pre-rinsing
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the cdc now says the covid delta variant is as contagious as chickenpox. and closures are coming. plus vaccine booster shots, how israel is allocating them and how the u.s. could do the same. also one american's gold medal performance at the olympics that has her family, a refugee community and america cheering. live from cnn worl