tv The Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer CNN July 30, 2021 3:00pm-4:00pm PDT
of the national institutes of health, dr. francis collins. that's at 9:00 a.m. and noon eastern. you can follow me until then on facebook, on instagram, on twitter, on the tiktok. you can tweet the show. our coverage continues now with one mr. wolf blitzer next door in "the situation room." i will see you sunday morning. happening now, the war has changed. the cdc shares alarming new information about the delta variant's rapid spread of the risk for the fully vaccinated. also tonight, we'll take you inside covid hot spots in florida and louisiana as we ask two key ma yyors about the challenges as they plead with residents to mask up again. former president trump's fixation on the big lie. he fresh yushed the justice department to say the election
was corrupt. a new order for trump's taxes to be turned over to congress. we want to welcome our viewers here in the united states and around the world. i'm wolf blitzer, and you're in "the situation room." we begin with new revelations that prompted a very dramatic shift in covid policy over at the cdc and the white house. our senior white house correspondent phil mattingly has details for us. phil, the cdc went public with what it's calling a pivotal discovery. >> wolf, you said it best. we have seen over the course of the week urgent action by the biden administration underscoring how big of a threat they thought the delta variant was. now we're seeing the public data that backs up just how different and potentially dangerous this variant is from its predecessors. tonight the new data driving urgent concern and action. public health officials say the war has changed. a new cdc study showing the
delta covid-19 variant produced similar amounts of virus in vaccinated and unvaccinated people if they get infected. all as internal agency documents warned it appears to spread as easily as chickenpox. it was, cdc officials say, a central motivation behind the sudden agency shift this week to recommend fully vaccinated americans wear masks indoors in areas of substantial and high transmission. >> in those cases, those rare cases that we have breakthrough infections, we felt it important for people to understand that they have the potential to transmit virus to others. >> and it's a window into the dangerous evolution of a virus that top government officials thought was nearly under control just weeks ago. the study describing 469 massachusetts residents infected in the july outbreak in province town, massachusetts. 74% of those cases had been fully vaccinated. researchers finding the viral loads in the infected similar among the vac sincinated and
unvaccinated. but critically, the new data also underscoring the primary thrust of the administration's response. >> it's so darn important that everyone get vaccinated. >> among the participants in the study, 0 died. only 5 were hospitalized, making clear that while break-through cases are occurring and transmission is possible, it remains the unvaccinated driving the surge. >> this is a much different variant than the one we dealt with previously. it is highly transmissible and it is causing a new wave of cases. >> it is a driving force behind the sharp white house pivot this week to address the challenge, rolling out a new series of incentives and for the first time the requirement that federal workers attest to their vaccination status. >> incentives and mandates, we can make a huge difference and save a lot of lives. >> it is a message the white house saw repeated once again to
drive home on friday. >> we need more people to get vaccinated. that's the answer. we need more people to get vaccinated. >> and, wolf, the backsliding in the numbers and the progress you have seen when it comes to the covid-19 pandemic is also leading to problems downstream. in particular, one emergency eviction moratorium that had been in place now for several months is crucial to millions of people. it is expiring on july 31st. and the biden administration has made clear because of a supreme court ruling, they don't believe they have the authority, legal authority anymore to extend it. well, that expiration comes in a matter of days. the biden administration has called on congress to act. congress right now in the house trying to figure out some pathway forward. no clear one to this point. with very real questions what happens to those millions of people. president biden putting out a statement eluding to the fact it doesn't look like legislation will be passed, making clear his administration's commitment, as he says, will not rest nor should state and local
governments until the $47 billion in rental assistance is dis dispersed. real problems not just on the vaccines but also the economic effects, wolf. >> certainly all related. all connected. phil mattingly over at the white house. thanks very much. all this new information, very disturbing information. she's an emergency room physician and very important, she's the author of a brand-new incredibly significant, very timely book entitled "lifelines: a doctor's journey in the fight for public health." thank you so much for joining us. thanks for writing this important book, too. you have amazing information here. we'll discuss that in a moment. but let's talk about your biggest take-away from this new information we're getting from the cdc about this delta variant and how it impacts not only those that are unvaccinated, but those like you and me who are fully vaccinated. >> well, the biggest take-away that people should have right now is that the vaccines still
work extremely well. what we know is that the vaccines are doing exactly what they're supposed to, which is protect against severe disease. we also knew that break-through infections can happen. and it does appear that they are happening. and actually why are they happening? they are occurring because of all the unvaccinated people around us. if you are vaccinated but you are exposed to so many people unvaccinated, at some point you could have a breakthrough infection. the cdc is saying if you have a break-through infection, you could also infect other people. for example, you could go home to your family members who are not vaccinated or vulnerable. they could be in danger. that's the reason why for us if we are living at home with vulnerable people, we should still be masking in indoor public places. at the end of the day, the mask mandate the cdc is applying is about the unvaccinated. the unvaccinated are the problem. vaccines are still our best and only way out of this pandemic. >> the new delta variant is incredibly, incredibly
contagious, much more so than the original covid-19 virus. look at this. we put it up on the screen. dr. fauci just told mpr we're dealing with a different virus. if you look at these numbers put out by the cdc in the original common cold or the early covid-19 strain, a sick person could affect maybe two people. under the delta variant, a person who has the delta variant could infect 8 or 9 people. this is a major change. >> there is no doubt that we are dealing with something that is extremely contagious. look at the initial variant. we keep talking about, oh, well, this is so much more contagious. that caused a global pandemic. so we are really dealing with something that we have take additional precautions. again, we have to come back to this message, though, that it is the unvaccinated spreading it to other people who are unvaccinated and even to the vaccinated. so, yes, we should all be
masking in the meantime so that we can prevent the spread of covid-19. but at the end of the day, it is vaccination that's going to get it. >> those of us fully vaccinated over these last several weeks and even months since we have been fully vaccinated, we have been out there, hanging out at sports stadiums. doing a lot of stuff without wearing a mask. but that looks like potentially a lot of that -- those considerations have to change. >> i think that we need to calibrate based on our own level of risk. as in, if you are generally healthy, you live with other people who are healthy and vaccinated, that's one thing. on the other hand, if you have unvaccinated younger children -- >> like you do. >> like i do. or if you have parents or other people immunocompromised in your life, maybe if you go to an indoor restaurant and then go to a bar and then go to a concert or movie, maybe you should wait a few days before seeing those
relatives. in my case, i see my kids every night, so i would want to be sure that i wear a mask in grocery stores and churches so that i don't get covid-19 and transmit it to my children. >> this the book, you write this. and it is really important. you write that lifelines, public health can change these health issues can change and that does happen. that if people disagree, getting them onboard requires incredital steps. in other words, convincing half the american population right now is not vaccinated at all, even with one shot. how do you convince these people that this potentially could save their lives and safe the lives of their kids, elderly parents, grandparents and others. >> it is really hard. public health depends on public trust. we talk about our experience as a health commissioner in baltimore. understanding that public health is based on science, but it is also about values.
to be effective, you have to win over hearts and minds. and part of that is showing up for people. i actually think that what the cdc and parentally local and state health departments need to be doing right now is to tell them about the other work public health agencies are doing every day. when contact tracers are calling individuals, sometimes they find somebody needs housing assistance or food assistance. we should be uplifting those stories. we also know that public health depends on trusted credible mess messengers. so that work has to continue. although, we also have to cor recognize, you can't keep doing the same thing. you need to take dramatic action, which includes vaccine mandates. >> thank you very much. you have been joining us now over these many months. we will continue this conversation. once again, this book very popular. you have done a public service writing this book. really must write.
thank you very much. >> thank you sghr. just ahead, the messaging challenges for the white house on masks and vaccines that this coronavirus keeps changing. there he is. he's standing by live. we'll discuss with him when we come back. the “make way, coming through”... great. the storm alert... dad. and the subtle but effective ding. that's why we created low cash mode. the financial watch out that gives you the options and time needed to help you avoid overdraft fees. it's one way we're making a difference. because we believe how you handle overdrafts should be in your control, not just your banks. low cash mode on virtual wallet from pnc bank. new customers get our best deals on all smartphones. that's right. but what if i'm already a customer? oh, no problem. hey, cam...? ah, same deal! yeah, it's kind of our thing. huh, that's a great deal... what if i'm new to at&t? cam, can you...?
tonight dr. anthony fauci is driving home the significance of new data on the delta variant, saying the new strain is so transmissible that even a fully vaccinated person with a break-through infection can spread it. let's discuss this and more with the former senior adviser to the biden white house covid response team. he's also the author of an important brand-new book called
"preventable." andy, thanks very much for joining us. and as you well know, this internal cdc document just released says the war has changed in fighting the pandemic. dr. fauci just told npr the delta variant is so transmissible, it is essentially, and i'm quoting him now, a different virus. so how does the country emerge from this pandemic when vaccinated people are spreading the virus potentially as much as the unvaccinated? >> well, wolf, that cdc report had some really important information in it. it did say there are several thousand break-through cases a day of the 160 million people in the country that are fully vaccinated. but it also said if you are vaccinated, you are one-eighth as likely to get a case of covid as if you are not vaccinated and you are 1/25th as likely as not
getting hospitalized. if someone told you jump out of this airplane, but you have 1/25th the chance of getting injured when you land, we'd all put on that parachute. i think this is really good, clear information that, while it is not perfect, it will have a significant impact on your health if you get vaccinated. we now see that in starker terms. >> the white house, as you know, is strongly defending its messaging, but a lot of americans are obviously very confused right now. they're exhausted. it feels like the start of the pandemic. first you didn't need masks. then you do need masks. so how does the biden administration now cut through all this confusion that is out there? >> well, one seeming truism is that people don't like bad news. when cases are going up, people are upset. they're angry. nobody likes it. and when cases are going down, people think, you're a genius. the best thing the white house can do is what they're doing. just tell people the truth.
just get the facts as you know them. if people are upset about those facts, then, you know, then that's going to be the case. but it is much better what the cdc director did to go out in the middle of the week and say here is the recommendation. before you put all the data together, tell people as soon as you know. then come behind it as they did today with the data. it does take people a while to adjust. nobody likes the fact that cases are going up. but by doing this, i think they will turn the tide more quickly and cases will be down again. >> you served as president biden's covid adviser at the start, when there was a lot of optimism about the vaccine roll-out. how much of a surprise is it to you, andy, when you think about how the administration is seeing what's going on, how the administration is dealing with this problem right now, which seems to be going in the wrong direction? >> well, delta is worse than
anyone thought. no question about it. it's worse than i thought, no question about it. it is much more contagious. it is much more contagious among vaccinated people than we knew. look, that is new news to us. we wish that wasn't the case. but the best thing you can do when faced with bad news is share the data, show them the data and make adjustments. i'm quite confident that this white house has all the tools to adjust. seeing them respond very quickly this week, as soon as we saw these reports to get out to the public, to talk to the public is ultimately reassuring. the fact that the white house is not holding it back, it's not going to paint a glossy picture, like we experienced over the week, it is not going to pretend things are better than they are. they're going to pretend things are great and they will help manage us. so the good news is that the administration has purchased enough vaccines. if people need boosts, they're putting the data out so people
can respond to it intelligently. ultimately, that's going to be the better answer. >> think of the next few weeks. we do need a third booster shot? >> i don't know the timing. but my suggestion and i had an interview with albert borla on my podcast in the bubble this week. and, you know, he shared some of the data that he saw. and he shows -- he believes that there is significant waning at six months. and the sense that i get is that if you are over 65 or you're immunocompromised, we will probably see recommendations from the fda after they review the data that suggest that it makes sense going into the fall and winter season for those folks to have boosters. and other people who have gone six months or so, it may be optional for them as well. the fda is on the case. i think we will see what they come up with. >> i was told by one expert today, that might happen in two or three weeks, that they might recommend pfizer give us a third
shot. that that could happen for people, 60, 65 and older. andy, thanks so much for joining us. let me remind our viewers about your important and timely new book entitled "preventable: the inside story of how leadership failures, politics and selfishness doomed the u.s.' coronavirus response." andy, thanks so much for joining us. coming up, we will get an impact the delta surge is having on communities all across the country. just ahead, i'll speak with ma -- mayors from two major hot spots. stay with us. you are in "the situation room."
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tonight new data from the cdc has officials all across the united states alarmed by the rapid growth of the very dangerous and highly transmissible delta variant. dr. anthony fauci says delta is so much more contagious. and i'm quoting him now. we are dealing with a different virus. that's from dr. fauci. athena jones has more on all the late breaking covid headlines. >> reporter: a pivotal moment in the pandemic. internal cdc data warning the war against covid has changed. >> we have underestimated this. and it's time to consider this as a very long haul. >> reporter: the new data showing the delta variant appears to spread as easily as the chickenpox. with one infected person on average infecting 8 or 9 other people. as opposed to 2 or 3 others with the original covid strain. the stunning new document raising the stakes for everyone, including the fully vaccinated,
who appear to be able to spread the delta variant to others at the same rate the unvaccinated can. >> the more we learn about it, the more sobering it is, frankly. >> reporter: the cdc publishing a study that helped drive the decision to revive their mask guidance. it looks at an out break in province town, massachusetts. >> 74% of the overall cases are among fully vaccinated individuals. i think that came as a surprise to many folks. >> reporter: the latest data coming as the u.s. average is now 67,000 new cases a day. hospitalizations up in 35 states. deaths in many states rising, too. echoes of last year. >> reporter: what the hospital feels like right now is really like we're back in march of 2020 or july of 2020. >> we are looking over the
cliff. i don't see an end in sight. >> reporter: the cdc estimating there are 35,000 symptomatic infections per week among 162 million vaccinated americans. still, the vaccinated are much safer. vaccines reduce the risk of severe disease or death at least tenfold. >> you cannot avoid delta. it is not possible. so you have a decision. and the decision is get vaccinated or not. and the results are telling us, if you are not vaccinated, you have a really poor outcome. >> reporter: in the case of province town, only 4 vaccinated people required hospitalization. 2 of whom had underlying health conditions. no one died. measures like mask mandates and social distancing now more urgent than ever. and some are predicting -- >> i'm predicting closures in the future because we are not going to be able to reign this variant back in. >> reporter: some are already heeding the new warning. all 41 broadway theaters will
require vaccinations for all performances through october and proof of vaccination required for entry. masks will be required except with eating and drinks. wolf? >> thank you very much. athena jones reporting. let's bring in two mayors from communities where covid is surging right now. miami-dade mayor as well as new orleans mayor. mayor cava, as you know better than anyone, miami-dade, broward and fort lauderdale admitted the most covid patients to hospitals of any counties in the country this past week. just how bad is the situation, mayor cava, where you are? >> it is really bad, wolf. we're over 11% positivity. we got down below 3%. and, so, this is really shocking for us. our hospitals are getting overwhelmed. and this despite the fact that we have a 75% plus vaccination rate for those over 12.
>> mayor, how is this awful delta variant, the surge in the delta variant impacting new orleans? >> well, the city of new orleans is the most vaccinated in the state of louisiana at 65%. however, or leans parish, our hospitalizations are much lower than the state. but the state hospitalizations have doubled more than what they are in orleans. so that means that the transfers are coming to orleans parish. they're coming to the city. >> kids are preparing to go back to school in florida. but your governor just signed an executive order blocking mask mandates in schools. he says it is up to the parents. what does that mean with this delta variant spreading from your perspective? you are the mayor of miami-dade county. >> yeah. i am very concerned. and i know lots of parents and teachers are concerned as well. l look, we have walmart, disney,
publix all mandating masks and quite a few mandating vaccines. so i really think that the school system needs to do what they think best? >> what about new orleans? vaccinations are obviously key to getting through this pandemic. but a recent poll shows, what, that only 56% of african-americans have gotten at least one dose. how do you reach people who still have questions or concerns? how do you help them get vaccinated? >> well, in the city of new orleans, we go to the census track. so we look at our data by census track, and we do vaccination sites set up where people are. we're going to be setting up another site, a larger site, not only for testing but for vaccines next week. but it is really going to those census tracks and pushing more people to be vaccinated. our challenge, quite frankly, is with the parishes around us who
are at a dismal rate in terms of those being vaccinated. i think the mandatory mask to date, as well as mandatory vaccinations for all city employees and contractors, those who have contracts with the city. >> mayor cava, so what do you recommend? what if your constituents over there in miami-dade county need to do to protect themselves and their loved ones as well? >> we're going back to basics. we've got to take the shot. we have to wear those masks. we've got to do the social distancing and stay out of crowds. you know, it's all the disinfection and so on. we really know what to do here, and we are doubling down on -- we're doing more vaccination and testing than anyone in the state of florida and really we're working super hard. yeah. and finally the hospitals. we're supporting the hospitals, too. >> hold on for a second. the president answered some
reporters questions as he was leaving the white house. >> pardon me? >> the polish president? no, i haven't yet. >> do you expect more restrictions because of covid? >> in all probably -- by the way, we had a good day yesterday. almost a million people got vaccinated. about half a million of those people for the first time. so i'm hopeful that people are beginning to realize how essential it is. >> they're unprocessed. and i'm hopeful. thank you. >> all right. so mayors, you just heard the
president say he does expect there will be more guidelines, more restrictions coming from the biden administration in the coming days. and obviously that's not a huge surprise. but what would you like to see washington, mayor cava, first to you, what would you like to see washington do? >> i'd love to see not only doubling down on the vaccines with help to us here and promotional campaigns of every possible kind, but also support from pushing forward with requirements. >> and mayor cantrell? >> i would like to see mandatory vaccinations being called for. i know they're waiting for the fda. we cannot wait. we're seeing it on the ground. and local leaders, we really do need that federal leadership, you know? and even in the state of louisiana, i'm the first in the state to push for a mask minnesota date. it shouldn't be.
people are dying. children are dying. >> yeah. it is a serious, serious matter. and this delta variant is entirely different than the original. it is very, very highly transmissible. mayors, good luck to both of you. you've got great cities over there. we're hoping for the best. thanks to both of you for joining us. >> thank you. >> thank you. we'll have much more coming up this hour on the pandemic, the delta variant threat that's unfolding. we're also following major developments involving former president trump, his campaign to overturn the election, his taxes. stay with us. for mac. who can come to a stop with barely a bobble. lucia. who announces her intentions even if no one's there. and sgt moore. who leaves room for her room. with usaa safepilot, when you drive safe... ...you can save up to 30% on your auto insurance.
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tonight we have new details on former president trump's dangerous attempt to try to overturn the presidential election. he lost. our senior legal affairs correspondent paula reed has been tracking this story for us. the president wanted the acting attorney general of the united states to take steps to try this
process of overturning the election. >> that's right. and these new details are all coming from these contemporaneous handwritten notes that richard donahue took about this december 27th call between trump, donahue and the then acting attorney general jeffrey rosen. affording to these notes in this call, trump pressured his two top justice officials to declare the election results illegal and corrupt. according to these notes, he told them just say the election was corrupt and leave the rest to me and republican congressmen. according to these notes, rosen told him, look, that's not the way this works. i can't just snap my fingers and change the outcome here. this is a really extraordinary example of how the former president was applying pressure to an agency that was supposed to be independent of the white house as part of his wide ranging campaign to delegitimize the election results.
these will be under investigation at the hill. >> i suspect they will be called to testify before the select committee. on another legal matter, the justice department today said that trump's tax returns, which democrats in congress have been fighting to get for, what, two years or so, they can be made available. >> that's right. this has been a long-simmering legal dispute. but today the justice department ordered the treasury department to turn over trump's tax returns to congress. the house ways and means committee requested these documents over two years ago. and the trump justice department tried to cast doubt on whether they had a legitimate reason for requesting these documents. it is not clear whether he will go to court. i think that is very likely, but it is not clear at this point. we know a manhattan grand jury has already gotten some similar documents, tax returns. they have obviously not leaked. but we know sometimes things do
leak off the hill. >> certainly do. thank you very much. paula reed reporting for us. let's get some insight from elliot williams and the state attorney for palm beach county in florida, dave aronberg. how outrageous is this? these handwritten notes we have of trump trying to pressure top justice department officials to go ahead and take steps to try to overturn the election results? >> of course they're outrageous, wolf, but weeks and months of attempting to subvert the election. the january 6th call were also egregious and brazen. we shouldn't be surprised about this contact based on everything we know about the former president and his conduct. the big story today is the fact that the justice department has agreed to make these available to congress, and that's the way the government should be working, wolf, where congress has the authority to investigate wrongdoing by a president, former or sitting, and they're now going to be able to take that step. that's the big move. >> it is a very, very big move.
dave, what would have happened potentially if the then acting attorney general rosen hadn't stood up to the president of the united states? >> yeah. good evening, wolf and elliot. i think we owe jeff rosen a great deal of gratitude because with each passing day, we see he is a guard rail that saved or democracy. not only did he rebut the former president's demand that he declared the election fraudulent, but he also refused to appoint special prosecutors and seek court action to overturn election results in various states, as many in the maga world wanted to. he also fought and survived a coup attempt by a trump sycophant named jeff clark who was part of an effort to oust jeffrey rosen. and that could have been a key moment. by surviving that coup attempt, that may have saved our democracy. in the end, if you look back on this wolf and say, if only the former administration's
competence had matched their nefariousness, we would be in a lot more trouble. >> yeah. it is interesting, elliot, to see these contemporaneous notes. just say the election was corrupt and leave the rest to me and the r, the republican congressmen. it is no wonder that some gop members are worried about what is going to emerge over these january 6th investigation. >> wolf, i think it is important that you said the word contemporaneous because in the law it notes at the moment something is happening can often make it into court. obviously this isn't a trial but because they're inherently reliable. this is what he heard at that moment. anything anyone has any doubt that the president said it. and certainly this should all come out and be made available to the january 6th committee to help the american people and congress get to the bottom of it. >> i'm sure it will be made available to the committee members. dave, in that separate
investigation, the word we got, the treasury department has now been ordered by the justice department to hand over former president trump's tax returns to congress. democrats and congressmen have been trying to get their hands on these tax returns for the last couple of years. how revealing, potentially could that be? >> well, it could be very revealing. these tax returns are the subject of a criminal investigation in manhattan. they were so important that my counter part in manhattan went up to the u.s. supreme court not once but twice to get them and congress was supposed to get them. under the law, it's clear. they are entitled to these tax returns. bill barr served more as the president's personal defense lawyer than as the attorney general of the united states. so they tried to run out the clock and obstruct, and it worked for a time. but now when you have a department of justice under new management, we will finally get a chance to see these documents. >> what do you think, elliot? >> absolutely. the word of the day today is
"oversight," and congress's ability to investigate wrongdoing by a president. this is the kind of stuff they should be requesting, that the committee should be seeing. and, you know, this is all in the pursuit of truth and very important it gets out. >> he's not very happy all this is emerging right now. thank you very, very much. coming up, unvaccinated americans are bearing the brunt of the delta surge, especially in conservative corners of the country. why are conservative politicians mocking masks and vaccines?
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tonight, there is urgent danger from the delta variant and yet, we continue to see many republican officials wear masks and get vaccinated. there seems to be a disconnect since republicans around the country with low vaccination rates are getting hit the hardest. this new surge from this delta variant. >> many areas are indeed suffering and some places their leaders are simply not leading. unvaccinated americans are suffering tonight as politics again creep into the pandemic response. florida republican senator marco rubio mocking an official, tweeting our sec def is vaccinated but awe rrives in a e shield and mask. this is embarrassing. >> this is making fun of soldiers and police officers
that wear bulletproof vests and body armor in the line of fire. >> a defense spokesperson said general austin was abiding by the philippine government's health guidelines. florida republican governor ron desantis is by passing the cdc's masking guidelines signing an executive order leaving it up to parents to decide if their kids should wear masks in schools. >> these kids are in school. they have their masks on. when they go out of school and hang out, do you think they're wearing the masks at each other's house? of course not. it's terribly uncomfortable and something that a lot of parents have been frustrated about. >> all of this despite the government's push to get more americans to vaccinate and wear masks indoors. >> what these republican leaders are doing is very detrimental to people's health because they are actively discouraging them from doing things that will protect their health. >> other republican leaders like mitch mcconnell are pushing americans to get vaccinated.
mcconnell narrating this radio ad in his home state of kentucky recalling his own battle with polio. >> every american should take advantage of this miracle and get vaccinated. it's the only way to defeat covid. this is not complicated. >> alabama's republican governor kay ivy whose state has some of the lowest vaccination rates has been more blunt who is responsible for the spikes in new covid cases. >> time to start blaming the unvaccinated folks, not the regular folks. it's the unvaccinated folks letting us down. >> now some of the unvaccinated and their loved ones are saddled with crushing pain and regret. william thomas ball from mississippi and his wife alisha initially decided not to get vaccinated. alisha has since gotten the shot but her husband's case of covid has kept him in the hospital for three weeks. >> he means so much to our family. he's the world of our family. we just want him to get better and come home. >> christie carpenter and her family were he issitant to get
vaccine. off her battle with the virus, the hospital employee is telling journalists what she misses most about her 28-year-old son curt who died of covid. >> you're going to make me cry. just his infectious laugh. he would laugh from his toes. he was so sweet and loving and just really caring. >> infectious disease specialist acknowledges americans are burned out from this and the new messaging on masking is confusing for many americans but she says the public has to understand the messaging will change again as the science keeps changing. she's urging patients tonight as america's top scientists try to get ahead of this dangerous moving target, the delta variant, wolf. >> so important and getting the vaccination so, so critically important, obviously. brian, thank you. just ahead, african interpreters are beginning to arrive in the united states after nearly two decades helping the american war effort.
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beginning to make good on a promise for afghan interpreters that risk everything to help troops in the war. kylie, this has been, what, nearly two decades in the making and with the taliban advancing, u.s. and nato troops pulling out not a moment too soon. >> reporter: no, that's right, wolf. these afghans came here with their immediate family members but they left their entire lives behind in afghanistan, a decision many had to make to save their lives. it's the beginning of an effort to uphold a promise. those buses are carrying about 200 afghan interpreters and their families. pulling into u.s. army base fort lee in virginia.
now, safe on u.s. soil. >> there is a home for you in the united states, if you so chose. >> reporter: president biden welcomed the interpreters home and thanked them for putting their lives on the line alongside u.s. troops in america's longest war. those arriving today are part of a group of 700 special immigrant visa applicants that completed the majority of their background screening process. they will be at fort lee for about a week at temporary housing and hotels securing a medical clearance and getting the opportunity to receive a covid-19 vaccine. senator tim kaine of virginia talked about their arrival. >> we feel particularly supportive and even proud that we can be the initial place of touching soil in the united states as these afghan sivs and family members begin the next exciting, challenging opportunity in the country rmp th. >> reporter: these afghans were
esse essential to america's efforts. sarah payne that served described the war time comr comradery. >> i'm grateful to anyone that sat in the trenches with me fully knowing the hazards that we face that more than likely one of us would die and the interpreter was there with us and i owe them as duty as much as any soldier i was with. >> reporter: of the 20,000 afghans in the siv pipeline, about 10,000 of them have just begun the application process. according to the state department, applications can take years to process. that could be a deadly problem for some with the taliban hunting down afghans who work with the u.s. and seizing more control of the country. >> if i don't go out at all, i'm counting down my end of life. >> reporter: now, wolf, today was a step in the right d
direction but what remains unclear is exactly how many afghan interpreters the united states will be able to relocate before the u.s. completely withdrawals their troops from afghanistan in september. wol wolf? >> kylie, important story tonight our viewers, thanks for watching. "erin burnett outfront" starts now. "outfront" next, breaking news president biden singling more covid restrictions are coming as the vast majority of people were vaccinated. what should americans do now to protect themselves and others? just say the election was corrupt and leave the rest to me. that was a quote and message from then president trump to his acting attorney again real. is the justice department going to hold trump to account? my pillow ceo mike lindell versus fox news once partners in