tv Hallie Jackson Reports MSNBC July 30, 2021 7:00am-8:01am PDT
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internal document now obtained by nbc news. the new warnings about the delta variant, the new data on just how contagious it is, even for people who have the shot, and the call for the biden administration to revamp the public messaging. our reporters and medical experts are standing by live. here in washington, a mad dash before august recess. nbc news has exclusive reporting this morning on that new push for a voting rights bill. chuck schumer and nancy pelosi meeting with president biden about it soon. the bipartisan infrastructure deal facing the next legislative hurdle next hour. the question still, where is the actual bill? seconds ago in tokyo, the u.s. women's soccer team, spoiler alert, pulled off a big, big win against the netherlands. all coming down to nail-biting penalty kicks. team usa heading to the semifinals thanks to meghan are a -- rapinoe. and sitting down with suni lee.
>> you have your gold medal around your neck! how is it feeling? how does the medal feel on you these days? >> heavy. >> is it heavy? >> yeah. it's amazing. >> we are your home for all things olympics coming up later in the show. we start in washington with nbc at the white house. gabe gutierrez is in new york city. shannon, let me start with you here on this new cdc internal document that we have now obtained, talk through the key take aways and what the white house is saying this morning, if anything, about it. >> reporter: it's the cdc sounding the alarm here about the risk of this new variant and some of the data backs up the recommendation. we heard from the cdc earlier this week that even vaccinated
people should wear masks. people who are vaccinated can transmit the virus as easily, in some instances, as people who are unvaccinated. we were also told about the challenges around the messaging here. it says there are going to be more breakthrough cases with this delta variant that they are seeing a growing percentage of people who are hospitalized being vaccinated. it's still a small percentage. but with more of these breakthrough cases, it's going to hurt the messaging and the publics' confidence in the vaccine. they're concerned the public will think the vaccines won't work anymore and everyone will need to get a booster and talking about the need to push back against that emphasizing that the vaccines are still very effective at prevents severe illness. that should be the end goal here and the solution to this problem longer term is more vaccines and trying to do what they can to drive up confidence in the vaccines and get more americans
vaccinated. >> doctor, let me jump to you. there's one doctor 0 quoted in the "washington post" saying he finished reading the document significantly more concern than when he started. i want your expert opinion on this. help us put it in context and perspective. has anything you read changed your approach or messaging here? >> yes. i feel the same way. i was on a telephone call with the cdc and had early preview of the data. the part that is concerned about the revised guidelines is fully vaccinated individuals with the breakthrough infections can transmit those infections to unvaccinated people. so the fact that fully vaccinated people can be key drivers of transmission of this virus is what is very, very concerning. the reason why it wasn't -- it was just a change in evidence. a change in guidance. that universal masking is now indicated indoors. we know about two-thirds of counties now have high
transmission levels. so that means those carriers, if you're indoors, you should be masking. i think it calls for, you know, the new guidance about universal masking in k through 12 schools. the delta variant, obviously, is a game-changer. i think many parents are concerned about the fall. what we know is these vaccinations they work. in the meantime, until we get more people vaccinated, we need masking and even other strategies and we'll probably see restrictions on indoor capacity, as well, in order to address the delta variant. >> what you're talking about here is not just sort of the facts on the ground but also, i think, some of it involves the messaging. that's the other big take away from this. it's a huge challenge, as shannon knows, facing the biden administration. i want to quote from what a communication expert told the post. we've probably fallen a little into a trap of over reassurance. do you agree?
do you think we need to shift our expectations of what the vaccine is to stress a breakthrough infection doesn't mean the vaccine, you know, didn't work here. >> no. i agree. and it might be also, i think the public needs to understand it's a dynamic situation that we're getting new evidence every day and that we have new variants. new variants for different properties and the particular variant is highly transmissible and even in people who are fully vaccinated, they can transmit infections. i think that the public needs the flex to the evidence that is, you know, is discovered as we go along in this pandemic and realize that nothing is fixed. we're learning together. i agree the cdc communications teams need to be clearer and more concise to the public. >> you're making an important point. the science is evolving so the messages are evolving, as well. gabe, one of the things it lead to, i think, is people who are already maybe perhaps
mistrustful of the government pointing to some of the evolving guidance based on the science and raising questions about it. i know you're reporting on a chunk of health care workers who are still, themselves resisting some of the vaccine mandates. >> reporter: yeah. that's exactly right. it isn't just some -- about one in four health care workers across the country are still not vaccinated. i'm in front of the bellevue hospital here in new york. it's one of the hospitals where workers rallied against vaccine mandates. we spoke with a group of health care workers, three nurses and one respiratory therapist who told me they had not been vaccinated. they said they weren't necessarily anti-vax but anti-mandate. take a listen. >> why now? >> we don't know if the long-term side effects are. >> also hasn't been proven to be effective. >> reporter: the cdc and public health experts said it's more than 90% effective. they say that.
it hasn't proven to be true. >> you don't trust the cdc if. >> i do not. absolutely not. >> reporter: and so i pushed back on several of the claims they made but the fact is, hallie jackson, they are not convinced. despite the fact more than 40,000 people participated in the pfizer clinical trial alone, it really shows the challenges that the biden administration and public health officials have with a significant chunk of the population. some unions have been opposed to these vaccine mandates, which we're seeing more and more of. it's a significant issue as the delta variant continues to spread across the country. and as you heard the report from the cdc. >> gabe, as you were giving us that information, new information is coming into us and it relates to where you're standing in new york city. broadway announcing just moments ago that audiences will need proof of vaccinations and masks. that is the new requirement coming in from broadway theaters
in new york. that's interesting, gabe, it does say, i think, give a glimpse at insight into the direction that things seem to be moving, which in the eyes of many is backwards. we're not unmasking. we're remasking here. gabe, go ahead and jump in. and i want to hear from the dr. blackstone. >> reporter: yeah. and that's something we're expecting here in new york. perhaps even as early as next week nbc reporting that, you know, perhaps as early as monday there may be some updated mask guidance here in new york city. they have widely anticipated the reopening of broadway. there was so much excitement about that. hearing that news, that's significant, as well. and, also, some restaurant groups, a restaurant group here in new york, not just in new york but across the country now they're starting to have vaccine requirements, as well, for potentially some of their restaurants. certainly it seems that, you know, this could be considered a step backwards in terms of the pandemic.
>> i also wonder, though, doctor, talk about the incentives here. we saw private industries nfl and broadway. i want to read because under the new policy, people want to see a show need to be fully vaccinated with an fda or w.h.o. vaccine and must show proof of vaccination with their valid ticket. masks will be required for audiences inside the theater except while eating or drinking. i wonder from a symbolic perspective, if you will, how you think it will play out >>well, you know, we're at the stage in the pandemic because we still have a large number of people who have not been vaccinated. many of them because they are refusing to be vaccinated. unfortunately, because of that, we're seeing these variants and each variant is going to get worse and worse. so i think that these vaccines,
mandates, and requirements are necessary. of course, we would hope we wouldn't have gotten to this place. we need to create a safe environment and i think that we're seeing the vaccine momentum happen with a different businesses and establishments and governments, you know, putting forth the vaccine mandates, which i think are critical to creating safe environments and preventing the proceed of -- spread of the virus even further. >> you're in a place where people are getting vaccinated. a mobile vaccination site in newark. i'm wondering what you're hearing about why they waited and what urged them to get the shot now. >> reporter: that's right. so i am in front of a mobile vaccine clinic that got underway about an hour ago. the initiative has been going on for the past several weeks now. really the goal is to make it assessable and convenient for the community to get a shot. i was told that where we are standing now here in lincoln park in newark, new jersey there is a high homeless population.
there are some drug rehab clinics. obviously, it's more challenging for certain people to get on a bus, find time to get vaccinated. so here is this clinic. no appointment necessary. all three vaccines are available for anyone who wants to get one. we spoke with one woman who lives in the community who said essentially what held her back until now were responsibilities with work and family. she couldn't find the time but it was so convenient because you live just a few minutes away. she hopped on a bus and didn't have to wait in line. didn't have to make an appointment. here is a little bit more about why she decided to get the shot today. take a listen. what brought you out here today to get your vaccine? >> the vaccine i needed because it's for me and it took a long time. i know i did, you know. i usually tend to do things at the last minute. >> reporter: it was more about convenience and finding time to fit it in your schedule.
>> uh-huh. >> reporter: that was norma. she wasn't hesitant about getting the vaccine. she wanted to get one but once again it was the convenience and finding the time to actually get the shot. she decided to go ahead and get the j & j one-shot vaccine. she didn't want to have to come back and set up an appointment several weeks later. we should note that here we're seeing a substantial rise in covid cases. so this is just one of many initiatives here getting more people vaccinated. we're told -- my producer is telling me, they're offering free lunches for folks who come by and clearly by looking at the crowd here, it's still pretty small. we've seen a slow steady number of people getting vaccinated today. >> cathy park and gabe gutierrez -- thank you for being with us this morning. a lot of developments on the pandemic front. we'll talk about that later in the show. there's a lot going on this hour, though, including the texas state democrats about to hold a news conference an voting rights. we'll keep an eye on that live.
bring you any news when it happens. plus, a group of house democrats here in washington out with the new strategy to try to get through some kind of voting rights bill. we're live on the hill with new exclusive nbc news reporting you won't want to miss. before the federal eviction moratorium is set to expire this weekend. nancy pelosi calls on congress to extend it. next up congresswoman kori bush joining us lye. bush joining us lye to protect people. to help them save. with a home and auto bundle from progressive. ahh. i was born for this. and now it's prime time. cut. jamie, what are you doing? you're not even in this one. i thought it was thursday. sorry. -it is. -i thought -- i thought it was last thursday. (school bell rings) okay, you're the new kid. first impressions are everything. luckily, you brought extra crayons in case anyone needs one.
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nbc news confirming president biden will meet with democratic leaders schumer and pelosi today to talk about the stalled voting rights legislation. our capitol hill team was first to report for leaders to vote on a slimmed down bill focussing on a key few elements. melissa is talking about the new effort she's leading here on msnbc this morning. watch. >> pushing for a clear strategy.
i feel like people are asking me all the time what is the plan. like, we're watching this happen in slow motion and i don't a year from now for us to be saying what more can we do? >> the new push comes as democrats in texas, looking at it live, holding a news conference to talk about their fight about a bill under consideration there. i want to bring in lee ann caldwell on the hill. it's coinciding with the similar effort for a narrower bill on the senate side. >> reporter: it is. this is just more pressure on leadership to do something about voting rights. the letter sent to speaker pelosi and schumer last night by the house democrats was signed by democrats who are elected in 2018. progressives and a lot of moderates. they call themselves the majority maker because they gave speaker pelosi the gavel once again to be speaker of the house. and a lot of them have tough
re-elections coming up and are facing really tough redistricting challenges, as well. and the redistricting process will start in the next few weeks in some states. they think that for the people hr 1 is something that is not going able to pass the senate. they've already tried that in the senate. it was blocked by republicans. so their idea is to do a scaled back voting rights legislation that focuses specifically on the voting access portions of the bill. such as things like same-day voter registration, 15 days of early voting, and taking out the other aspects of the bill like campaign finance and ethics reform. now this push, as you mentioned, is coming the same time that the senate democrats could unveil a new, once again, slimmed down tailored voting rights bill in the next week or so. this is happening as there are just, you know, getting much more pressure from democrats not to let this go by the wayside
and, in fact, keep it in the focus and try to get more support. as you know very well, the question is how many republicans can it get? it needs 10 republicans in the senate and that path is still very unclear. i'm joined by congresswoman cori bush from missouri. thank you for being on the show. >> thank you for having me. >> let me pick up where my colleague left off. where are you to focus on a more for a narrow version of voting reform? i know you support voting reform more broadly. would you back the more slimmed down plan? >> you know, i can't say i don't know because i haven't seen it yet. there are some things i have to have, you know. we need campaign finance reform. we need the ethics reform. you know, i want to make sure that we are expanding voter registration and access and making sure that we're limiting
how people are able to be removed. some of us live in these states where so many detrimental things are happening as it relates to voting rights. we have to be strong in that area. so i have to see it first. >> okay. we'll come back on that one once you get a chance to look at whatever the plan is. i want to ask you about something else that is important to you. the renter eviction moratorium. set to expire tomorrow. the house speaker sent out the dear colleague squloefrt night about trying to extend it. a couple of questions for you. number one, is there going to be a vote today? what have you heard? what can you share with us? >> we're definitely hoping there's a vote on that today! i know i am. we can't wait any longer. you know, i've called for the white house to extend the moratorium as recently as this week. >> right. are you surprised that -- are you surprised that the white house didn't do that? >> umm, you know, yes. i mean, we knew it was coming but, you know, right now is the
time we have to get it done today. people are looking at us like what are you going to do. like, i know what it's like to give -- to be evicted and you don't have a place to go. what happens now in the pandemic? we are the richest country in the world. why can't we make sure our people have a place to sleep and a place to go to the bathroom, have a place to stay safe from covid-19 as best they can. >> do you think you have the votes for that? >> i believe this will happen. i believe this will happen. >> okay. >> how do you go back to your constituents and say i voted it against it. especially democrats. how do we go back and say we voted against people staying in their homes during a pandemic. >> yeah. you mentioned the pandemic. you mentioned covid. viewers of our show will know in the next couple of weeks i'll being having stories from the reporting trip we did in missouri. we were there for several days. we did the show from there. it's a state dealing with a surge in the virus. infections are up something like 67% in the last couple of weeks.
now the republican attorney general of your state is suing st. louis after st. louis put back in place this mask mandate. so a couple of questions here. do you support this mask -- excuse me the vaccine mandate the president has put in place for federal workers as the conversation happens nationally about what should be required and what shouldn't. do you think private employers should do it, too? >> you know, i think that president biden is trying to make the decision that they want to make sure that every single person is safe because we're not only talking about ourselves but our neighbors. people who work and their children who aren't able to get vaccinated because they're too young. those imyou know compromised. i understand why he's making the decision. as far as my community in st. louis, i stand with our mayor. i feel like it's our duty to make sure we're taking care of our communities.
what happens, you know, we have so many people who have died. if something -- if somebody else -- our people we would be like that would be a whole thing. we would be ready to fight. we would be fighting. but instead we're doing it to ourselves. we're allowing governors to do this to their own people they're supposed to be protecting. so no longer. i stand with our people in st. louis saying we need to have the mask mandate. we maybe should have the vaccination centers. our mayor dedicated money to have pop up centers. that's what we have to do. because what happens in another year? do we look back and say i let your family member die because we didn't do the work? no we're doing the work. we want to keep your people safe. let's stand together as one community. >> i want to get to an infrastructure quickly here. kevin mccarthy said something like 80 republicans aren't vaccinated or haven't said. do your think your members of colleague should have a vaccine mandate for themselves? >> a mandate -- well, let me say
this. if they don't want to get a vaccination, that is, umm, you know, that just shows how much they represent -- and what they represent. but they should have to wear a mask. if they're not going to get vaccinated, they should have to wear a mask. these representatives. they should care enough to get the vaccine. i did and as a black woman it was difficult for me but i went ahead and did it because i understand it's what our communities need and leaders lead in the front. >> let me ask you quickly about infrastructure. it may be headed for a vote shortly. we couldn't help but notice the tweet you sent about the negotiating bipartisan team on this. is this the bipartisan infrastructure group or the audience at a kid rock concert with the #negotiationssowhite. >> when an negotiation bill is entirely white people.
it matters who is in the room. so i'll go now there are no black women in the senate and we understand that. there are black people, brown people, asian people. so right now there's nobody in the room making it clear -- reach out and talk about what it looks like. it's not good enough. >> congresswoman cori bush. we're glad to have you on the show. and this is something i think we're going to be talking about more. thank you very much for coming on. we hope to have you back again soon. >> thank you. the first group of evacuated afghan interpreters who helped u.s. troops during the war, this morning -- literally in the last three hours arriving back in the u.s. our new nbc news reporting on what happens to them now. next. c news reporting on what happens to them now next
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came in on. you're looking at them. the white buses there. they landed at dulles airport in the early morning hours. among the thousands being evacuated as the u.s. moves out the remaining troops in that country in about a month. the interpreters a top target for the taliban. in a statement, president biden said i want to thank these brave afghans for standing with the united states and today i am proud to say to them welcome home. i've been reporting out pieces of the story and a couple of weeks ago, i spoke with one of the interpreters who had been evacuated a few years ago. watch. >> they really deserve it to be moved out of the country otherwise they would lose their lives. >> i talked with dan crenshaw leading the charge to authorization 800 additional visas. >> i think they deserve a shot to be a part of their country. they won't get that shot if they're left behind. >> nbc is following this from the pentagon. talk about what is next for the interpreters and families at fort lee. what about the rest?
there are thousands in afghanistan looking to get out. >> that's right. there are thousands of them. the first group, as you mentioned, about 200 that arrived earlier this morning. that's a combination of some people who worked for the u.s. as interpreters and other things and their family members. so far about 700 afghans have actually gone through the vast majority of the special immigrant visa process. they have been approved. those are the first ones that will be brought here to fort lee. when you count the 700 plus their families, that is a total of about 2500 total people that will be brought here to fort lee in the coming days. there are thousands more who are back in afghanistan who are still trying to get through the process. we know of about least 4,000 others early on in the process. they will be brought to places overseas most likely u.s. military facilities where they'll be held and cared for for a matter of weeks or months while they go through the siv process. as you well know from your
reporting on the issue, this is a months long process for these people. many of them just don't have that long. the taliban have been pushing forward on the offensive. they began it in may but they've accelerated throughout the months of june and july. they are threatening some capitals. they have pushed through many of more rural areas and the individuals who worked for the u.s. they are, in many cases, they are under real threat of their lives and their families. we heard just this morning, though -- and i should say the process has been shrouded in secrecy to protect them as they were moving throughout afghanistan and brought to be the airport. we heard overnight early this morning from the president, as you mentioned. we heard from secretary blinken and secretary of defense to be involved in the process. secretary blinken with the process of trying to help these sivs get their visas and out of the country safely and sk tear austin, of course, the u.s. military has been an enormous beneficiary of the individuals while they've been in
afghanistan. >> great reporting. i know you had an early morning damon -- morning day. coming up on the show, as it relates to mask mandates. one florida school board defying the governor there. requiring masks for all students and staff when indoors. we're talking with one of the school board members about the fight that has broken out from their decision and the governor's threat to stop them. their decision and the governor's threat to stop them l something different. oh, we can help with that. okay, imagine this... your mover, rob, he's on the scene and needs a plan with a mobile hotspot. we cut to downtown, your sales rep lisa has to send some files, asap! so basically i can pick the right plan for each employee... yeah i should've just led with that... with at&t business... you can pick the best plan for each employee and only pay for the features they need. my auntie called me. she said uncle's had a heart attack. i needed him to be here. your heart isn't just yours.
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it's comfortable and lasts a long time. dove men, 48h freshness with triple action moisturizers. on the politics of the pandemic, you're seeing more and more fighting happening in different parts of the country over the cdc's updated mask guidelines for schools. you've got leaders up against leaders or school boards or parents including in arizona where the governor is not backing down from his ban on mask mandates. in texas governor abbott is threatening fines against places that try to require them. in florida where covid cases are getting close to the highest levels seen since the start of the pandemic, you have one
school board defying the governor's opposition to mandates. broward county school's board voting to require masks for all students, staff, and more. the governor could respond with a special legislative session or an executive order and "tampa bay times" reported the issue will be addressed. with me now is broward county school board debby hixon. >> good morning. >> there are high tensions around this. you've seen it, i know, playing out at board meetings with protests. here is some of what you've been hearing this week. >> my daughter didn't get to see her teacher smile. my daughter didn't get to see her friends' faces unless they were sitting at lunch. we, the parents, the taxpayers, have the authority to decide for
our children. not you. not the cdc. >> i don't want to wear it because i can't breathe. >> the ap described the screaming match at one meeting. protesters burning masks outside. i wonder if you and your fellow school board members feel ready to force compliance, if need be. >> you know, we made the decision because it was in the best interest of our students and our staff. we have skyrocketing numbers. we went -- all this time we've gone with the cdc guidelines and our local health officials and with the american pediatric association. all of those partners are telling us that at this time it's really important that we continue to require the masks. we definitely will continue to look at it on a regular basis. our next time we're going to look at it is right after labor day to see if we can make the masks optional. because that was originally
what, i think, most of our plans were based on what my colleagues said at the meeting. >> right. >> but with that information in hand, i think it's irresponsible of us as elected officials and employers to not do what is in the best interests of everyone that is in our district. you heard from some of the parents there, but if you saw all the e-mails that we received, i would say majority of them are asking for the mask mandate at this time. >> okay. >> just because of the rise in numbers. >> you've got some people, as you know, interpreting this mask mandate where you are saz being political maybe or about challenging the governor. how did or how did that not factor into the board's thinking or vote. >> it didn't factor into the vote for me. i'm trying to make the decision best for my employees and students based on the factual
information i've been given. we did say in the meeting if the governor comes out with a mandate that said we can't require masks, then we're going follow what the law is. so we're not looking to be in a fight with the governor or try to defy him in any way. it's not a law. he has shared his own feelings about it, but it's not, you know, at this time it's not a law. so we are willing to look at that when it comes about. at this time, we just think this is the best for our particular district facing the issues that we're facing right now. >> there's something interesting happening in iowa city. there's a ban on mask mandates there but the "washington post" is reporting that parents there asked the school district to educate masked and unmasked students separately. has your school board considered maybe alternate approaches like that? >> i can't say that we have. so, you know, the students don't have to wear them outside.
someone did ask was it a possibility we could host some classes outside for those students that didn't want to wear a mask. we're not looking to put kids, you know, get kids in trouble for not wearing masks. we're not looking for it to be a fight. we want our students back in our schools. we want to be able to educate them. we want to keep them safe. so we're trying to do that in the best way that we can as elected officials in a responsible way. we're not saying that masks will be worn for the entire school year. we're just in such an uptick at the moment that it seems irresponsible of us to not take that into consideration. as those numbers go down, as we find ourselves in a place where it is safe for us to leave it as an option, then we're going to do that as soon as we possibly can. >> debbi hixon. thank you so much for sharing your time with us this morning. wreeched out to the governor's office for an interview or some
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just in from the olympics, the u.s. women's soccer team winning their game against the netherlands after, let me tell you, a nail biter of a match spilled into a penalty shootout! it happened right as we were coming on the air. so it's a good thing the show went off on time. the winning kick coming from meghan rapinoe. the team heading to the semifinals. as we hear more from another star olympian about her incredible victory. new gold medal all around gymnastics champ suni lee talking about her nerves and how she overcame them to achieve the near-perfect performance. >> how were you trying to calm yourself down? >> i was telling myself to do nothing more and nothing less. >> what do you mean? why was that your mantra? >> my normal is good enough. >> there's a lot of stuff going on in tokyo including on the simone biles front. nbc is there.
>> reporter: hey we're following breaking news out of the tennis world. novak djokovic is out. more on that in a moment. track and field is underway in tokyo. as we are still talking about suni lee. we cannot get enough. she had an amazing night winning the gold medal in the all around. she's back in is back in action as the future of simone biles is still very much in doubt. she shared some videos on social media that we're going to show you. she looks like an athlete that wants to come back but is still struggling. >> the olympics all around gold medal. >> when team usa needed it the most, suni lee delivered the performance of a life time. the 18-year-old showing the world what it takes to be an olympic champion. >> i have been working towards this my whole life and it feels amazing. >> her loved ones back home in minnesota cheering.
while teammates shouting from the stands. american jade carey stepping in after booils crew from the competition. also making her country proud. in the end the night belonged to lee. celebrating later on tik tok. catching up with hoda after her life changing day. >> it doesn't even feel like real life. >> biles olympic status still unknown. the videos showing her practicing that have since been deleted. novak djokovic losing in the semi finals ending his bid for a
grand slam. tsarev still pushing. >> getting the bronze. >> the two americans finishing behind south africa's spoonwalk who are set a jaw dropping world record. the competitors celebrating the historic moment together. in men's bmx, a scary scene. defending gold medalist connor fields crashing, he was put on a stretcher. he is awake and awaiting further medical evaluation. >> tough to watch there for connor fields. we'll bring you updates on how he is doing. we'll have more on his county throughout the day as we learn about it from tokyo. breaking news just in now. as we were in that reporting i
want to bring in scott mcfarland, investigative reporter. now just seven months after that insurrection we're learning that ten u.s. capitol police officers are still off of the job because of injuries that happened from the january 6th riot. what are you learning and what are you hearing? >> these are physical injuries. the police union saying we're at 10 right now as we near the seven month mark since the insurrection. we heard in the week that the severity of the attacks. the visceral attacks against police. to a degree, injuries languishing this long is not terribly surprising. one with a severe eye injury and vertebrae injuries. we have a number of plea agreements scheduled for the coming days. these are individuals not charged with those assaults
against those police. >> you said these are physical injuries, right? i know, and you know based on our reporting on this there are some significant mental health struggles for some of these officers and that's not counted in this group, right? >> yeah, the drama, the significant trauma, mental health issues are lingering, but these are ten people with injuries that remain off of the job. >> scott, thank you for bringing that to us here. breaking news on this friday morning. hundreds of covid infections, false hopes of reuniting family members, lice outbreaks. those are the conditions facing kids at fort bliss. until recently we had not heard about any of it publicly until two whistle-blowers game forward this week after they were told to down play those conditions
and hundreds of covid cases. hhs said when asked to make everything sound positive about the fort bliss experience and to play down anything negative. in a response, the department says "the well-being of children in our custody continues to be a top priority and it is their policy to swiftly report any alleged instances of wrong doing to the appropriate authorities. this is exclusive reporting and i want to bring in julia ainsley who sat down with one of the whistle belowers. >> i sat down with arthur bernstein, hitting with him and hearing from him really brought the emotion out beyond what we snau this report. he spent two months there. he was incredibly frustrated to see what he saw. he said it was chaos, people were not caring for the children medically, and when he tried to
raise concerns he was met with obstinence. the children felt lie they were in prison. so many complained they had no underwear, or one pair. and it discouraged them from taking showers. >> what did you do with that information? >> i began to ask some of the management officials why can't a federal employee that has a purchase card just go go to walmart or you know, some costco or some discount store, there was plenty of underwear there in el paso, and they said the contractor needs to wait for it.
>> you can see there how frustrated he was as he tried to bring forward what he thought would be a simple fix to get clean clothes and underwear for these children. >> i want to hear more about this on some of the covid precautions as well at fort bliss. >> yeah, one thing that told me a big picture for the mental health of the children and the prevention of covid. they had to take n-95 masks away because staff there were worried that the children were starting to take the metal pieces off of the masks and using them to harm themselves. they were left with flimsy masks. he said there was times, hallie where some of the children wanted to test positive so they could get to the covid tent because there was more space. >> it is so difficult to hear you talk about this. it is a gut punch, right? to hear what some of these kids
reportedly had to go through. what is hhs saying about this? we read the short statement they gave to nbc news. are you hearing more from your sources on this that might provide more context here? >> that is the extent of all they said about these allegations, but these are the fourth whistle-blowers that have put their names on this and there has been a number of other complaints. each time hhs says we address each allegation individually. but what advocates are calling for is an investigation of how that could have happened. and they are v drawn down the numbers, there was 4,000 children in fort bliss. people like arthur said they're still concerned about how children are being treated, whether or not they're getting clean clothes, and what the government might not be showing the american public. no press has been allowed inside of ft. bliss. >> julia. i want to know viewers here that
you can catch more of that exclusive interview with julia tonight. lester, of course, live from tokyo where you can watch prime time coverage tonight on nbc. lots going on as we keep an eye with gymnastics, track and field, thank you for watching this hour of hallie jackson reports. you can find us on twitter on hallieonmsnbc. we're also looking ahead to next week's coverage including what will happen with that eviction moratorium. will that vote go down today. will they mess that dead line? we're going to talk more about that next week along with where things stand on the bipartisan infrastructure deal. that does it for us. i'll see you back here on monday. for now over to our pal jose diaz bilart picking up coverage
right now. good morning to you. i'm in for craig melvin. it is 11:00 a.m. on the east coast and we start with an urgent new call to action. in the fight against the highly contagious delta variant. "the war has changed." that is from an internal cdc document obtained. it says we're dealing with a virus equally as contagious as chickenpox. and even more contagious than the flu or even ebola. right now we're also watching the white house closely. the president will play host today. first speaker nancy pelosi and majority leader chuck schumer to talk voting rights. then to cuban americans. the protests in cuba a loud cry for freedom from the communist regime. plus, time is running out for families behind on rent. the federal ban on