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Unvaccinated Americans Fuel Surge in Cases & Hospitalizations; NYC to Mandate Vaccination for Its Entire Workforce By September 13; Source: GOP Rejects Latest Dems Offer on Infrastructure. Aired 11- 11:30a ET

Aired July 26, 2021 - 11:00   ET



KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. I'm Kate Bolduan.

Here is what you're watching AT THIS HOUR:

Spiraling out of control. Unvaccinated Americans are causing a pandemic boomerang right now. Health officials are now considering changing mask guidance again because of it.

Health pass. Several European countries moved to limit access to restaurants and other venues only to those who can prove they are vaccinated.

Incredible rescue. Police officers and bystanders jump into action to save a trapped mother and her baby. That dramatic video coming up. That is ahead.

We do begin this hour, though, with the pandemic, spiraling out of control in America. That is how former Surgeon General Jerome Adams is describing it right now.

Forty-nine states are reporting increases in new coronavirus cases in the last week. The average number of daily cases has more than quadrupled in the last month. Now, over 50,000 cases a day.

The number of people hospitalized have doubled if the last month and Dr. Fauci is sounding the alarm as the surges are completely fueled by people who are still unvaccinated.



DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: We're going in the wrong direction. It's really an outbreak among the unvaccinated. So this is an issue predominantly among the unvaccinated, which is the reason why we're out there practically pleading with the unvaccinated people to go out and get vaccinated.


BOLDUAN: The CDC is now considering changing its mask guidelines for vaccinated people in light of these surges.

And we also have now breaking news just coming in on this front. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio just announced that he is requiring that the city's entire workforce be vaccinated by September 13th.

Let's bring in CNN's Brynn Gingras. She is live in New York.

Brynn, he just announced this. What exactly does this mean?

BRYNN GINGRAS, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, Kate, I mean, the mayor essentially said, we've tried to give incentives. We tried to give people time and it's just not working.

Now everyone in the city if you are a city employee, a city contactors, you must be vaccinated and he set certain timelines of when this needs to happen. Now, this does come a week after the mayor announced that all city hospital workers would have to be vaccinated or they would have to take a weekly COVID test. But now again, he is upping the ante.

Now, all the city employees, including the NYPD, which we've reported only 43 percent of the department has been vaccinated so far, members of the department of education as well.

So, this means that by August 16th, the mayor said congregate setting workers like people who work in nursing homes, they will have to be vaccinated. And then by September 13th, the entire city workforce would need to be vaccinated. That runs, of course, with the timing of when school starts here in New York City.

So, of course, this is something that the mayor said he kind of hinted that this might need to happen. Again because people were not getting vaccinated and we're seeing the numbers go up because of that delta variant. But now, he's making it official.

As far as what we've seen in other cities of wearing a mask indoors again, even if you are vaccinated, the mayor said he isn't going to make that step just yet, but he's hoping this will help and also encouraging privately owned companies to encourage their workers as well to get vaccinated to hopefully curb the numbers that we're seeing here in New York City.

BOLDUAN: So, now, every city employee required to provide proof of vaccination or go along that path of the weekly COVID tests that he talked about.

It's good to see you. Thank you so much, Brynn. I really appreciate it.

So, meantime, the city of St. Louis and St. Louis County, they are imposing their own indoor mask requirements once again. CNN's Suzanne Malveaux is live in St. Louis with much more on what is

happening there.

I believe officials there spoke in this morning, Suzanne. What are you hearing?

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kate, they just wrapped up their press conference here at city hall, both the St. Louis mayor, as well as the executive of St. Louis County. They made it very clear. They said masks save lives and they're looking at the numbers, Kate, and they say that they rival the ones back in the winter when they were at the peak, the height of the COVID surge. They're experiencing another one.

They also said that the delta variant really just spread like wildfire and so, they are trying to get this under control. What will happen, it is already gone into effect here is that all people, whether you are vaccinated or unvaccinated inside of public spaces and on public transportation will have to wear a mask. That is 5-year-olds all the way up.


The only exception is if you are eating or drinking at a restaurant or a bar. But then you've got to put your mask on right away or if you have some sort of disability where you're not able to put a mask on or take it off, that is the only exception here. They say this mask mandate will do a number of things, it will give time for people to be vaccinated, that is the critical element here. It will allow kids to go back to school and businesses to stay open.

Take a listen, Kate.


MAYOR TISHAURA O. JONES, ST. LOUIS: Vaccines help keep us safe, healthy and out of the ICU. Masks help stop the spread of disease.

DR. SAM PAGE, ST. LOUIS COUNTY EXECUTIVE: Masks will allow businesses to remain open. Masks will allow our economy to continue growing and will keep people employed. Masks will allow us to keep doing what we're doing while we get more people vaccinated.


MALVEAUX: There is a big pushback here, Kate. The attorney general of the state said that he will sue to try to stop the mask mandate. You have several mayors saying they will not use resources to enforce the mask mandate but city officials and health officials are dismissing those as just political moves at this point because they say that the goal is to give them the time to vaccinate the population.

One quick figure here that is critical. You have 75 percent of the new cases are African-Americans who are COVID positive and the vaccination rate among that group is 23 percent in St. Louis.

It is a dire situation, Kate.

BOLDUAN: Yeah. Suzanne, thank you so much for that reporting.

So as vaccine hesitancy is driving the surge, as Suzanne is laying, driving the surge here in the United States, the British government is considering requiring a vaccine pass for large events after France, Italy and Israel are also making moves to limit access to restaurants and other venues to only those who are vaccinated or who could prove a recent negative test.

CNN's Salma Abdelaziz is live in London with more on this aspect of it.

A very different approach going over, Salma. What is happening there and how is it going over?

SALMA ABDELAZIZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Absolutely, Kate. Forget the free beers, forget the incentives, now is time for this strict approach. That's what you're hearing from governments here in the U.K. and across Europe.

Let's look at what's happening here first. The British government is considering potentially imposing a requirement to show that you are vaccinated if you want to enter an event of 20,000 people or more. This could be ruled out in approved in a few weeks of time at soccer stadiums, English premier league events, and it continues a policy that we've already seen from the British government, which is that starting September, if you want to go into a nightclub, you're going to have to prove that you are vaccinated.

So why do this now. First and foremost, the U.K. and across Europe, there is concern about the delta variant. So this adds to the layer of protection, adds to the concern that the variant might spread, be able to limit it in some way.

And secondly, as you mentioned, the U.K. is, of course, following the suit of other European countries. France and Italy, actually the rules there are more strict, starting next month, you're going to have to prove that you have some level of immunization just to go to a restaurant or a bar or a cinema.

So, it's going to become pretty critical to social life. And, of course, there has been backlash against this, Kate. We saw tens of thousands of protesters in France over the weekend against this new rules opposing these measures going into place here in the U.K., the opposition Labour Party has also voiced concern about imposing some form of vaccine passports.

But let me give you an example of why it does work. In France, after those rules were announced a few days ago, in just a 24-hour period, Kate, just 24 hours after that announcement, across France, 1.7 million people signed up to get vaccinated, almost 800,000 went out and got their dose, record-breaking numbers for France.

So, this tells the authorities this is working.

BOLDUAN: That is very interesting.

Salma, thank you very much for that.

Joining me now for more on this is Dr. William Schaffner. He's a professor in the division of infectious diseases at Vanderbilt University medical center. It's good to see you again, Doctor.

Let's start with the breaking news that we just learned of it out of New York City. So, you've got New York City, the Mayor Bill de Blasio now announcing that all city employees are going to be required to offer proof of vaccination or submit to weekly COVID testing. That's the approach in New York. In St. Louis, you have them reinstituting an indoor mask requirement because of what they're seeing with the delta variant there.

What do you think about these approaches?

DR. WILLIAM SCHAFFNER, PROFESSOR, DIVISION OF INFECTIOUS DISEASES, VANDERBILT UNIVERSITY MEDICAL CENTER: Well, Kate, it was kind of inevitable. Here we had reaching out hands asking people to come in and be vaccinated. Along came delta which changed everything. This delta virus is spreading fiercely among unvaccinated people.


And now, governments are asking people to do this by requirement, by compulsion. We're going to have to do this. And if you start with municipal employees, they can provide an example to everyone else in the city also.

This could be done at every level. Federal, state, city, county level, and that would move us ahead. It wouldn't be accepted everywhere equally across the country. But these are first steps and if we could show that this expanded the vaccination program really reduces cases and hospitalizations, then even some of the reluctant areas I think can be persuaded to join in.

BOLDUAN: Yeah, and if you take it then, I don't know if you call it just a step further like we're seeing overseas, where you have countries either implementing or considering implementing these health passes if you will overseas, requiring a vaccine or a recent negative test to go to restaurants or to go into large venues for events.

Do you think that would work here? I mean, would that push more people to get more shots?

SCHAFFNER: Well, I think it would push people to get more shots but it would also stimulate opposition. I think that may be a step too far for us. This independent group of U.S. citizens that we are, you know, we value our independence so fiercely. We have to do this a step at a time.

We, in health care, we're already starting to mandate vaccinations for all of us in my medical center and other medical centers. So we're seeing more requirements start to feed into the system. Delta has changed everything. That gives even those who are in

opposition an opportunity to save face. They could say, that was then but this is now. Delta changes the equations. We all have to get on board.

I would like to see our leaders all provide the kind of directive insistence on that vaccination rather than soft suggestions.

BOLDUAN: And as you look at kind of the current trends where things are, how much worse do you think that with the delta variant these surges, this boomerang if you will, is going to get before peaks among the unvaccinated.

SCHAFFNER: Well, Kate, it won't happen universal -- uniformly across the country. But we are already seeing some areas such as in Missouri for example where really the local hospitals are stressed already. And this could happen here there and everywhere. It's not predictable but I would think we could have localized outbreaks in different parts of the country at different times.

All of this very much more hazardous as we are trying to open up our schools and the best thing we can all do to make schools as low risk as possible is to reduce the transmission of this virus in our communities. And how do we do that? All of us have to get vaccinated.

BOLDUAN: One thing you're getting at is just how the delta variant has changed the games, changed the game. I don't think people appreciate that enough. I mean understanding how much more contagious if you will the delta variant is. I think has been hard for some.

I saw one doctor and another doctor say this week that close contact as we all know at the beginning of this pandemic was considered, if you're indoors, unmasked and around someone in their zone, if you will, for 15 minutes or more, that the equivalent, this doctor said of that with the delta variant is not 15 minutes. It's one second.

Do you think that is the case?

SCHAFFNER: Well, I think he was exaggerating a bit to make a point. But these delta variants produce so much more virus in the body. A thousand times more than the parent strain. So when you exhale, you exhale a large amount of virus. That actually can expose everybody close in, but also people at a farther distance from you.

So that is why this virus spreads so very readily. It can be exposed. You could expose a vast number of people much more quickly.

BOLDUAN: Dr. Schaffner, thank you very much.

SCHAFFNER: Thank you.

BOLDUAN: Coming up for us, deal or totally falling apart. President Biden said that there would be expected an infrastructure agreement by today. But things have taken a sudden turn from the worse. A live report from Capitol Hill is next.

And another big day, though, for Team USA at the Olympics. The big moments, the latest medal counts, next, ahead.



BOLDUAN: Developing right now. A source tells CNN that Senate Republicans have rejected the latest offer from Democrats on an infrastructure deal. It really comes as the clock ticks to President Biden's self imposed deadline when he spelled out at CNN's town hall last week.


DON LEMON, CNN HOST: They expect a vote again on Monday, but how much time do you think they need to get this done?

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Until Monday. Look, no, I'm not being facetious.

LEMON: You think it's going to move forward in the Senate on Monday.

BIDEN: I do.


BOLDUAN: CNN's Manu Raju and Melanie Zanona are joining me now from Capitol Hill for more on this.


There is a lot going on, guys. So let's start with this one.

Manu, with -- on infrastructure, where are things right now? Because there was optimism yesterday and it seems it has evaporated overnight.

MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, no question about it. In fact, you could probably say it is more likely that the talks will collapse and they will come together and it is unclear how they could come together at this point. After they've been talking for several weeks, remember last month they announced a deal on a bare bones outline of ten Republican and Democrat senators along with Joe Biden.

But they've had a hard time turning that outline into detailed legislative text that could be $1.2 trillion over the next eight years, including $600 billion of new money that they can't figure out how to pay for it and disagreement and funding levels for transit and how to deal with enacted COVID relief money and redirect this to pay for this.

So, it's just a wide range of sticking points here, means that the talks here could very well collapse forcing Democrats to make a decision whether to abandon the talks altogether and try to move everything on their own but to get all of their ducks in a row in the Senate to do that. Unclear, if they'll be able to do just that, though, Kate. BOLDUAN: And, Melanie, I heard Senator Portman say, I believe it was yesterday, that they're 90 percent there, which means -- which it really just feel like they've come in stuck at 90 percent for quite a while now. And it's always the last 10 percent that makes or breaks deals on the Hill. I mean, like, obviously.

So what do you think -- what do you think is -- what happened overnight? I don't actually get it. Manu laid out the sticking points --


BOLDUAN: But I'm still confused why they profess optimism but they've got this global offer that Democrats offered and then it was rejected. I don't even know what a global offer is.

ZANONA: So the infrastructure talks found like Groundhog Day. I can't tell you how many times we're almost done writing the Hill or this is a make or break week for infrastructure. But I think to your point, the reason things fell apart is because of the last things left are always the most challenging. The easiest things and the low hanging fruit tends to get picked up first.

So, that's why they're at the sticking points and it is hard to resolve. I think the question now becomes, at what point do Democratic leaders decide to pull the plug and move on. I think the latest breakdown is certainly going to fuel calls among progressives to move on, and they're starting to feel antsy. They want to get to the massive spending program on social programs and they feel like Republicans are just running out of the clock and playing them here.

So that is the question right now. But until Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema are on board, the strategy of pulling the plug, I don't see Democratic leaders going there quite yet.

BOLDUAN: We're back to the beginning every time, no matter what, we're still back in the same place.

Manu, then tomorrow, let's go from the Senate side to the House side right now, the first hearing of the select committee investigating the January 6 insurrection. Some of the police officers attacked that day will be testifying.

What are you hearing about what this is going to look like?

RAJU: They're going to detail their personal experiences and in defending this Capitol. We've heard from a number of the officers there are four of them, two metro and two D.C. police officers, they have spoken publicly, but they have not spoken under oath and they have not answered questions from lawmakers.

And, of course, Kevin McCarthy, the Republican leader, has pulled away from his selections. But there are two Republicans that were selected by Nancy Pelosi, those two very outspoken Trump critics, Adam Kinzinger and Liz Cheney. Cheney notably will giving the Republican -- will be giving the

opening statement after the Chairman Bennie Thompson does. That is unusual typically for an event like this. But everything about this investigation or this effort to put together this committee has been rather unusual after Republicans blocked any sort of -- trying to block any investigation from going forward.

But this will be the first step before they get into more of the detailed investigative efforts, subpoenaing, and looking into exactly what happened here. But expect some testimony and new video footage from body cam video about what they experienced.

BOLDUAN: Melanie, you and Manu together have some really interesting reporting on the tension behind the scenes and has kind of erupted publicly between Speaker Pelosi and Kevin McCarthy including your description of a private phone call between the two last week.

How bad is this relationship now?

ZANONA: Well, to be clear, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy never had a great relationship but now, it's in the down right gutter.

Manu and I reported that on that phone call, McCarthy essentially hinted that her decision to veto the two are going to come back to haunt her. He said, what you're doing is unprecedented.

And sources also told Manu and I that Republicans are now privately plotting ways to get revenge if they win back the House majority, namely they want to come after Democrat committee assignments. Top of the target list is Eric Swalwell, who sits on House Intelligence Committee and Ilhan Omar who serves on the House Foreign Affairs committee.

So, it's really just a sign of how these tensions after January 6 are still sky high in the Capitol, with no signs of cooling and it's probably only going to get worse as this select committee investigation heats up in the weeks and months ahead.


BOLDUAN: Yeah. Guys, great reporting and good to see you. Thank you.

Coming up for us, Team USA and China battling it out for the top spot in the medal count. The latest from the Summer Olympic Games coming up.


BOLDUAN: All right. President Biden speaking right now at White House Rose Garden marking the 31st anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Let's listen.

BIDEN: President George H.W. Bush signed the American Disabilities Act. He was surrounded by disability advocates and bipartisan members of the United States Congress, just as we are today.

Speaker Pelosi, welcome by the way, Madam Speaker.

Chairman Leahy, Leader McCarthy, Senator Casey, Congressman Scott, congressman -- where is he, there you are Paul. You understand this better than anybody does. I want to thank you, Congressman, for all of your work.

And I want to thank you all for being here.

Second, by the way, where is mom? Mom, is she here? Oh, she's watching. I thought she looked. They said, mom was out there. I was going to ask her to stand up but you can't stand up and if you're at home.

But folks, give -- thank you for what you've done.


The second gentleman is here as well. I thank him for being with us as well.

And some of the same folks who fought so hard for this landmark legislation are with us today.