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The Lead with Jake Tapper

At Least 11 Dead, 150 Missing As Search Enters Day 6; House To Vote As Soon As Tomorrow On Jan. 6 Committee; Interview With Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN); Biden Defends Decision To Launch Airstrikes In Syria, Iraq; Biden Touts Multi-Trillion Dollar Plan To Upgrade Roads, Bridges; Record High Temps In Pacific Northwest As Heat Wave Grips Region; CDC: Delta Variant Now Accounts For One In Four Cases Nationwide; W.H. Expecting Thousands For July 4 Event, Vaccines Not Required; NYC Mayoral Primary Tightens In Newly-Released Results. Aired 5-6p ET

Aired June 29, 2021 - 17:00   ET




GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL): Trying to find anybody they can. And they are going to continue to do that.

RYAN YOUNG, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Families visiting the site of the debris pile again today, looking for any way to quell their anxiety. At the community center where families are gathered to wait for news, dozens of resources have been set up for them. Even therapy dogs are on site to comfort families.

DEBBIE TAYLOR, THERAPY DOG HANDLER: And he's just provided a soft coat to cry into or to hug. Or to say nothing at all, which is really what's best about them is that they just sit there and you don't need a conversation.

YOUNG (voice-over): Families trying to remain strong as another day passes without news of their loved ones. Rachel Spiegel's mother Judy Spiegel is among the missing. She says it's been difficult explain to her four-year-old daughter where her grandmother is.

RACHEL SPIEGEL, MOTHER IS MISSING: We told her that there was an accident in the building, we didn't get into it. And we told her that grandma's missing. And she told me, she said, I can go get her and I want to go to her house because I know where she hides. I'm really good at finding her. And so, like when she's telling me that I'm like, crying even more, but at the same time trying to keep my composure because I don't want my four-year-old to worry too much.

YOUNG (voice-over): For those that have received the final news that their loved ones bodies have been found, heartache.

SERGIO LOZANO, PARENTS KILLED IN BUILDING COLLAPSE: I told my wife, oh my God. She goes, what do you mean? Well, the bodies are there (ph). What do you mean? My parents' apartment is not there. YOUNG (voice-over): A new class action lawsuit has been filed on behalf of Raysa Rodriguez and other survivors. The suit includes her account of the sheer devastation she witnessed when she realized the building had collapsed, saying she screamed in horror. And "A lady from the rubble heard my voice. She said, please help me. Please help me. Don't leave me here. I couldn't see her. There were no lights. I was still in my pajamas. I ran inside and got dressed."


YOUNG: And Jake, we're seeing a lot less family members over the last 24 hours or so. But we just talked to Nicole Ortiz (ph), and she came by to just talk about the pain that she's experiencing with this great loss that she's dealing within her family. But she's actually praying not only for the other families because she wants them to find out about their loved ones. She even prayed for us.

And as someone who grew up in South Florida, his entire life, the pain here is unimaginable. And it seems like every hour someone else is sort of breaking down. We've even seen some of the first responders having a tough time dealing with this as they walk away from the scene. And it's just unbelievable to watch happening over and over again. Jake.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: It's an overwhelming power of grief and loss is really rough. Ryan, thank you so much for that report.

Let's discuss with Joe Hernandez, former Chief of Medical operations for FEMA, as well as Dave Downey, former Chief of Miami-Dade Fire rescue.

Joe, first responders are working around the clock and have been since Thursday. Florida Governor DeSantis just said this morning that those responders are not going to stop until everyone is found. How much longer do you expect it's going to go on?

JOE HERNANDEZ, FORMER MEDICAL OPERATIONS CHIEF FEMA URBAM SEARCH & RESCUE: As they mentioned earlier, it'll just keep and continue going on until they're able to recover all of the victims. Whether they're able to find any alive and or deceased, they will continue working without tire until that mission is completed. Even going from a rescue into a recovery mode, which is we're not there yet. We are definitely still in that rescue mode at this time.

TAPPER: Dave, you've been on site every day, you helped after 9/11. As this search and rescue bleeds into day six, day seven, day eight, are you still hopeful that survivors might be found?

DAVE DOWNEY, FIRE CHIEF MIAMI-DADE COUNTY (RET.): We're continuing to maintain our hope, the rescuers are working with the hope that we can find survivors. That's our goal. That's what we're trying to accomplish.

But our -- the main goal is to bring closure to these families. We hope that it's alive survivor, but the main goal is to bring the closure and they're going to continue to work until that's accomplished.

TAPPER: Joe it's supposed to rain every day for the next several days. How will weather play into the search and rescue efforts?

HERNANDEZ: It's just another little curveball that they were met with the largest curveball when the building came down and they were sent to that building and decided to go in while people were still leaving that building. And so, the rain is just another small hamper.

But it could be a welcome relief to some and just think of those that may be still in trapped. That rain may be a sign of some type of rescue, small drop of water. We're always hopeful that there are some victims still alive within that pile and that rain could be a welcome drink of water for somebody and that's what we're perfect for.

I left that site this morning and there were a lot of pockets to be searched by our canines and by our rescue team members and the medical team members.

TAPPER: Joe, does it make it more dangerous for the search and rescue teams?


HERNANDEZ: Not necessarily. Absolutely not. They'll just work around it just like they have done on multiple incidences and other disasters that, for some reason, rain is there. And you know that when these Florida teams are so used to working in hurricane and tornado areas that rain is just another part of their mission, just working around.

TAPPER: So, Dave, there are more than 800 responders from 60 agencies on the ground, what dangers are they facing?

DOWNEY: Well, the number one danger is they're working in a collapse environment, you have an unstable environment, the ground they're working on is constantly shifting, the heavy equipment that they're working around is constantly moving. And then, you have an unsupported structure remaining, that has a whole face, that has what we call widow makers, and large slabs of concrete and debris hanging off that have the potential when these winds pick up from the weather to come loose and endanger the rescuers.

So, all of these risks are being measured by these first responders, highly experienced, highly trained, they're securing these widow makers, and they're trying to limit the risk to these rescuers.

TAPPER: Joe, official say that more than 3 million pounds of concrete have already been removed. That that seems like a lot, but clearly, much more is needed.

HERNANDEZ: Absolutely, that'll double and triple in figures. As Chief Downey explained to you that those big pieces have to be broken down into smaller pieces. And the members are actually carrying those pieces out, small pieces at a time along with the dirt. You've seen the bucket brigade. It's very common. We're talking about individuals and possible survivors and closure to families in there. So, digging with machinery isn't always the first thing, digging by hand accomplishes a lot.

TAPPER: And Dave, reporters on the ground have told us that there are a lot of families, they're frustrated, they're not getting information about their missing loved ones quickly enough. What do you think is going on?

DOWNEY: Well, what's going on is a very deliberate, very methodical, very precise search operation. And unfortunately, this takes time. And nobody more than the rescuers, except the family want to bring closure, but it does take time.

As my colleague, Joe, was saying, we have to carefully remove the debris. After 30 years in search and rescue, I've come to learn that a lot of times the only way to move big pieces of concrete is make it small pieces of concrete.

And so, they're continuing to work. We cannot bring in heavy grapplers to pull rubble apart because we still are expecting to find void spaces and survivors. So, I want to tell the families, they're working around the clock. These teams are on the pile, six to seven squads of responders, every minute of the day.

They work for 45 minutes. They come off, they rehab for 45 minutes, they're back onto the pile. And there's a constant rotation.

Four teams are on from 12:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. And four teams are working from 12:00 p.m. to 12:00 a.m.


DOWNEY: So, they've been working over 100 hours and they're going to continue.

TAPPER: All right, Dave Downey and Joe Hernandez, thanks to both of you. Really appreciate your time and expertise today.

HERNANDEZ: Thank you.

TAPPER: Coming up, a select committee to investigate the insurrection. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi might appoint a Republican for a Democratic spot. We're going to talk to progressive Democrat Congresswoman Ilhan Omar next.

Plus, the country's most populous county wants everyone to go back to masking up even if vaccinated. What they fear about the Delta variant, that's ahead.



TAPPER: In our politics lead, the team will be bipartisan but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says she has the power to veto any Republican that the House Minority Leader picks to serve on the committee, the select special committee investigating the Capitol insurrection. A resolution creating this committee is expected to come before the House of Representatives tomorrow. It will include 13 members, five chosen by Republican leaders and eight selected by Pelosi.

CNN's Manu Raju is live for us on Capitol Hill.

Manu, new House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy won't even say if he will appoint any members to join it.

MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, I asked him directly if he would do that. And he said the Speaker has never spoken to me about the select committee and he would not comment any further.

And I'm told behind closed doors earlier today, he also did not tip his hand. He told his Republican colleagues that the issue will be discussed further, as such, he told them to stay tuned as he criticized this makeup of this committee.

It will be 13 members, eight of whom will be selected by Speaker Pelosi. And one of those eight will almost certainly be a Republican member as well, potentially in some of those who called out Donald Trump for his lie that he won the election. All eyes are on Liz Cheney, Adam Kinzinger, both of whom have suggested they're open to serving on this committee, would have said that he had not spoken to the Speaker about this yet.

Now, the other question too, Jake, is what will happen to those five members who McCarthy should be able to appoint here because the legislation allows the Speaker essentially to have veto power over McCarthy's ultimate pick here.

And when I asked the Speaker earlier today, whether or not she would -- could veto those picks, she said yes. And she also would not say, Jake, whether she would allow those Republicans who voted to overturn the total results to serve on the committee and the committee, Jake.

TAPPER: Manu, how many Republicans do we expect will vote in favor of creating this committee tomorrow?

RAJU: We expect very few. And some of those who voted to impeach Donald Trump told me that they are unlikely to support this measure tomorrow, people like John Katko, Congressman Gonzalez from Ohio, both of them signaling that they are likely to oppose this. They supported an independent outside commission, not a partisan select committee that would be led by Democrats.

Of course, that outside commission bill though, Jake, blocked by Republicans in the Senate, seven supported it, they needed 10 to break or to move it forward. And as a result, Pelosi is moving ahead herself.


TAPPER: All right Manu Raju, thanks so much.

Joining me now to discuss, Democratic Congresswoman Ilhan Omar of Minnesota.

Congresswoman, good to see you as always. House Speaker Pelosi gets to appoint eight people to the committee. A senior Democratic aide says that Pelosi is considering including a Republican within her eight appointees. Are you OK with that? And do you want to be on the committee?

REP. ILHAN OMAR (D-MN): I mean, I certainly believe that the goal was always to make sure that this was a bipartisan effort. You know, the American people are interested in finding out, as much as we are, what the truth is, what led to the insurrection, and what took place as part of that interaction on January 6. And so, if the Speaker believes that she can find Republicans that are reality based, that will engage in fact finding, that can be trusted by the American people, then I support it.

TAPPER: Would you want to be on the committee?

OMAR: I certainly could serve if the Speaker asks. I think right now, I am quite busy in the work that I am doing on my other committee. So, that's not something that I'm pursuing.

TAPPER: Let's talk about infrastructure, because you made it very clear earlier today that you want this infrastructure deal linked with the larger budget reconciliation deal that Democrats are working on. I understand you want them linked, but would you be OK if the smaller bipartisan infrastructure deal were to be signed into law on its own by President Biden, while Democrats are still working on the reconciliation bill, the budget bill?

OMAR: I think it's really important for these bills to move simultaneously together, because there are so many people will feel like the bipartisan piece of legislation does not accomplish what the American people entrusted us to do, which is to deliver on health care, on climate, on housing, and on immigration. And so, we have to be able to do that in the reconciliation bill.

And I don't think that we will be able to keep the Progressive Caucus together in supporting one legislation while the other one is still being worked on.

TAPPER: I guess, I don't understand why, fully, if infrastructure is so important, and it is, why would Democrats not want a bipartisan bill that could be passed for weeks or even months while the larger bill is being written?

OMAR: Well, we seem to think that infrastructure isn't just roads and bridges that our care, system is also part of infrastructure, and we want to make sure that we are delivering on a 21st century infrastructure package. And that can only be accomplished if we do both the reconciliation and the bipartisan bill together.

TAPPER: Senator Bernie Sanders, he's the chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, he suggested he's looking at a price tag for that big budget reconciliation bill of around $6 trillion. West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin says 2 trillion is about where he is. Where do you think this should end up?

OMAR: So, we've been in conversations with Speaker Pelosi, Majority Leader Schumer, Chairman Sanders, and Chairman Yarmouth, we haven't really set our sights on a particular number. What we have been talking at a great length is what the details look like, and whether the priorities, the five priorities that the Progressive Caucus has laid out will be included in that package.

TAPPER: I want to turn to the airstrikes that President Biden just ordered launched a few days ago. He just sent a letter, the President, to House and Senate leaders defending his decision to launch those airstrikes against what the government describes as Iranian backed militias in Iraq and Syria. Do you think the strikes were justified?

OMAR: I don't. And you know, we are yet to clearly hear what those justifications are. We have asked for a classified briefing. We are told that the Foreign Affairs Committee will get one, no date has been set on when that classified hearing will take place.

Look, I think it is really important for us to realize that this cycle of violence and retribution does not make anyone safe. We've heard from the Iraqi government in their rebuke and in their condemnation, they've talked about how we have violated their sovereignty.

This is an administration that has said they want to lead the international world as an administration that believes in, you know, the rule of law and respects international law. And we find ourselves where we are being rebuked by a country that we say has invited us and is been asking us repeatedly to leave.


And so, the question that should be asked is why are we still there? Is it OK for us to continue to engage in proxy war with Iran and Syria while our troops are in in Iraq? And is it time for this administration to come before Congress to ask for authorization?

And I know that in many cases, you know, we've seen this administration and other administration's talk about the powers that they have in Article 2 in defense.

TAPPER: Right.

OMAR: But what should be considered defense is a question that we need to talk about. If you are in someone's backyard, can you say you are defending yourself?

TAPPER: It's a good question.

On the subject of the Middle East, you're upset (ph), as you know, many of your fellow House Democrats after comments you made earlier this month about the U.S. and Israel. You were questioning Secretary of State Blinken about where victims of war crimes could get justice. You made comments to him.

And also you tweeted, quote, "We must have the same level of accountability and justice for all victims of crimes against humanity. We have seen unthinkable atrocities committed by the U.S., Hamas, Israel, Afghanistan, and the Taliban," unquote.

Ultimately, Democratic leaders said that equating the U.S. and Israel with Hamas and the Taliban, quote, "foments prejudice." And as you know, a group of Jewish House Democrats wrote a letter to President Biden saying that accusing Israel of acts of terror as you and other members of the squad have done is anti-Semitic. Do you regret these comments?

OMAR: I don't, I think it's really important to think back to the point that I was trying to make. Obviously, I was addressing Secretary of State Blinken.

The cases are put together in front of the ICC. ICC has been investigating. I know that, you know, some of my colleagues don't lend legitimacy to the ICC. But I tend to think that people around the world who have experience injustice need to be able to have a place where they can go and as a country that helped found the ICC and supported it. I think that it is really important for us to continue to find ways in which people can find justice around the world.

TAPPER: Some of your fellow House Democrats have been frustrated, as you know, they've told you this publicly, and I'm sure possibly privately, because they want to join you in your fight for justice. But sometimes you've made comments that make them -- that offend them.

In 2019, you said lawmakers support Israel, because it's quote, "all about the Benjamins," which implies that politicians only support Israel because of money. There was a tweet from 2012 when you say Israel had hypnotized the world. Do you understand why some of your fellow House Democrats, especially Jews, find that language anti- Semitic?

OMAR: I have welcomed anytime, you know, my colleagues have asked to have a conversation to learn from them, for them to learn from me. I think it's really important for these members to realize that they haven't been partners in injustice. They haven't been, you know, equally engaging in seeking justice around the world.

And I think, you know, I will continue to do that. It is important for me as someone who knows what it feels like to experience injustice in ways that many of my colleagues don't to be a voice in finding accountability, asking for mechanisms for justice for those who are maligned, oppressed, and who have had injustice than to them.

TAPPER: But what do you say to them? I hear everything you're saying about your fight for justice, but what do you say to them when they say, I hear what you're saying, but the terms you're using, the language you're using is anti-Semitic.

OMAR: No, and I hear that. I have obviously clarified and, you know, apologize when I have felt that my words have offended. And it's really important, right?

As I've explained to my colleagues, they have engaged in Islamophobic tropes. I have yet to receive an apology. I think, you know, when we are engaging in a space where we don't know how our language will be received, it is important for us to be open minded.

And I think I have always been someone who is humbled, someone who understands how words can be harmful and hurtful to people. And I've always listened and learned and behaved accordingly and showed up with compassion and care.


TAPPER: And I certainly hope that the threats that you experienced in the past have gone away because that was horrific.

OMAR: Thank you.

TAPPER: Democratic Congresswoman Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, thanks so much for taking our questions. We appreciate it.

President Biden hitting the road after he nearly blew a tire on his new infrastructure deal. Can he sell the plan to the people and to Republicans? Stay with us.


TAPPER: In our politics lead, a live look now at Joint Base Andrews where President Biden is just getting back to Washington after pitching the deal to spend trillions of dollars upgrading the country's roads, bridges and more. His trip involve political Maintenance as well. Visiting Wisconsin today and scheduling a weekend trip to Michigan to crucial states and the blue wall Democrats need to win presidential elections.


As CNN's Phil Mattingly reports, there's lots of politics and action here.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a big deal.

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): President Biden on the road and looking to turn the page.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: This is a generational investment, a generational investment to modernize our infrastructure.

MATTINGLY (voice-over): Biden hitting the swing state of Wisconsin to tout what will be the largest infrastructure package in decades.

BIDEN: This is a blue collar blueprint to rebuild America.

MATTINGLY (voice-over): And staying as far away as possible from the melee, almost derail the nearly $1 trillion bipartisan agreement, less than 48 hours after it was reached. The roller coaster from the White House's dream bipartisan photo op to this comment, which threw everything in doubt.

BIDEN: But if only one comes to me, I'm not -- this is the only one that comes to me, I'm not signing it.

MATTINGLY (voice-over): To a full scale, 600 word presidential mea culpa, the work of Biden's cadre of longtime advisors. No shortage of experience on cleaning up after their boss over the years, snapping into gear to get things back on track. Biden with the clearest demonstration yet of what White House officials say will be their strategy going forward, leave the process to Capitol Hill as they go all in to sell the policy nationwide, and the bipartisanship.

BIDEN: This deal isn't just the sum of its parts, it's a signal to ourselves and to the world, that American democracy can come through and deliver for all our people.

MATTINGLY (voice-over): But as Biden was speaking, his top aides were back on Capitol Hill meeting with House Democrats, sources say, as the daily exercise of what one democratic aide called whack a mole continued, with Moderate House Democrats wary of Speaker Nancy Pelosi's pledged to only move the bipartisan proposal in tandem with a sweeping multi-trillion-dollar Democrat-only package.

Democratic Representative Abigail Spanberger, saying it would be quote, incredibly disappointing, if the House didn't move on a Senate passed deal. A clear window into the high-wire act, Biden and his team have to navigate between Republicans and the two poles inside their own party.

Still, House Democrats with the blessing of the White House pressing forward on their dual track plan, making a calculated bet that the policy not the politics will win the day.

REP. JOHN YARMUTH (D-KY): There not many Democrats who will want to vote against childcare, early childhood education, extended child tax credit, climate change, jobs.


MATTINGLY: And Jake, President Biden will be back on the road on Thursday for an entirely different reason. He will be visiting Surfside, Florida, the site of that condominium collapse where he's expected to meet with first responders search and rescue teams, but also White House officials make clear, the families of those who have loved ones that are either missing or have died at this point we've all seen the President as consoler in chief, it's a role that he embraces and certainly will be doing so again in just a couple of days, Jake.

TAPPER: All right, Phil Mattingly, thanks so much. Appreciate it.

Unprecedented feat causing unprecedented demand for emergency services. We're going live with the record-breaking heat across the Northwest, from the northwest next. Stay with us.


TAPPER: Following (ph) the scorching heat in the Pacific Northwest right now unprecedented, it's really an understatement. That's our Earth matter series today. Temperatures are inching up again today. Yesterday was Portland's hottest day ever. 116 degrees, 1 degree shy of the hottest day on record in Las Vegas, Nevada. Las Vegas, in the middle of the desert.

At one point, Portland Parks and Rec closed all city pools because so many lifeguards were getting sick from the heat. Scientists blame climate change and worry that future heat waves will be even more intense as CNN's Camila Bernal reports.


CAMILA BERNAL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's the kind of heat you cannot escape.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's like a lockdown but, you know, we're not going to solve it by putting on a mask or getting a vaccine. It's just sort of perpetual. It's scary.

BERNAL (voice-over): Record breaking temperatures. In Portland, three of the hottest days ever recorded three days in a row. The all-time high Monday, 116 degrees. In Seattle, 108.

BREE OSWILL, PORTLAND RESIDENT: We saw the forecast and started mobilizing immediately, realizing that this was going to be a life- threatening heat event.

BERNAL (voice-over): In Multnomah County, Oregon alone, 97 people take into the emergency room or a clinic with heat-related illnesses since Friday, with an all-time high of 491 EMS calls.

OSWILL: That's a total for a typical entire summer for Portland.

BERNAL (voice-over): Numbers the county says are unheard of and a burden on local hospitals.

OSWILL: They are very, very full, many at capacity with conversations ongoing starting late last night and early this morning about how to free up more space.

BERNAL (voice-over): Power outages making the situation even worse. Streetcar services in Portland suspended Monday because of a system wide power outage and a power cable melting in triple-digit temperatures

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That being down, it's kind of unfortunate in this warning (ph).

BERNAL (voice-over): Hundreds trying to escape the heat and cooling centers in Oregon and Washington State.

DALE KUNCE, CASCADES REGION CEO, AMERICAN RED CROSS: The Red Cross traditionally doesn't support cooling centers. This is represents again that new normal of -- this is the first time it was 116 degrees, it won't be the last time.

BERNAL (voice-over): Washington Governor Jay Inslee says climate change cannot be fixed with air conditioning.

GOV. JAY INSLEE (D), WASHINGTON: We have to attack the source of this problem because this climate is changing so fast in my state, it is hurting the fundamental aspects of our culture and our economy.

BERNAL (voice-over): The Governor believes the impact of this will be seen far beyond the Pacific Northwest.

INSLEE: Everyone's going to get hit by this climate catastrophe.



BERNAL: And, Jake, the county's health official telling me that at the moment, they're moving patients. They're trying to make more space in the emergency rooms that are at capacity. She also told me that the number of people being taken to the hospital with heat-related illnesses, which is about 100 at the moment is likely going to increase. She says it's going to take days, maybe even weeks to really understand the effects of this heat wave. Jake?

TAPPER: And scientists have been working -- worrying about -- warning about for decades. Camila Bernal in Portland, thank you so much. Appreciate it.

A major city now on lockdown sparked by fears of the more severe coronavirus Delta variant. We're live in Sydney with a potential warning for the rest of the world. That's next.



TAPPER: Just in to CNN, more than a quarter of new coronavirus cases in the United States are due to that spreading Delta variant. The CDC just announced the 26 percent of cases are tied to the variant. As we learned that the biggest country in America -- biggest county in America, Los Angeles County is now asking its residents to mask up again even if they are fully vaccinated. CNN's Lucy Kafanov has the latest.


LUCY KAFANOV, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Across the nation, a growing threat. The more transmissible Delta COVID-19 variant has spread to nearly every state.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Delta variant is here, it is going to be the dominant variant across America in the next few weeks. KAFANOV (voice-over): Los Angeles County taking no chances, health officials urging everyone to wear masks indoors, even if they've been fully vaccinated. In four states, Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and Wyoming, less than half of adults have had at least one vaccination dose, the most at risk communities with low vaccination rates. With more than half of the U.S. population still not fully vaccinated, health experts worry about another surge fueled by the Delta variant.

DR. SCOTT GOTTLIEB, FORMER FDA COMMISSIONER: We have parts of the United States where we don't have a lot of vaccination, and we also don't have a lot of prior infection. Those are going to be the more vulnerable parts of this country.

KAFANOV (voice-over): The World Health Organization urging vigilance.

DR. SOUMYA SWAMINATHAN, WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION: Everyone should recognize this pandemic is not over. This is really not the time for us to encourage a lot of social mixing to encourage mass events, especially without precautions.

KAFANOV (voice-over): But across the nation, a summer of normal activities back in full swing. The number of people traveling by air hit a new pandemic error record Sunday. The TSA says its screen (ph) 2.1 million people at airports, a number likely to be dwarfed this Fourth of July weekend.

And a cautionary tale out of Illinois where health officials say a COVID outbreak at a summer camp where there were no masks required or vaccination checks has been linked to at least 85 cases.

TARA BEALOR, ADAMS COUNTY HEALTH DEPT., PUBLIC HEALTH NURSE: The people that were there, we can -- it can be stopped if they would quarantine like we've requested that they do.

KAFANOV (voice-over): Meanwhile, the COVID surge leading to new lockdowns around the globe, including areas in Australia and Bangkok, Thailand.


KAFANOV: And that Delta variant is also a major concern here in Colorado first identified in April. Health officials in the state now say it accounts for an estimated 40 percent of all new infections in Colorado. Jake?

TAPPER: All right, Lucy Kafanov, thank you so much.

You just heard CNN's Lucy Kafanov's report on new lockdowns around the globe. Ten million Australians, and four of the country's biggest cities Perth, Darwin, Brisbane and Sydney, are being told to stay home. CNN's Angus Watson is in Sydney where the lockdown will last at least two weeks. Angus, tell us more about how Australians are feeling about being locked down again.

ANGUS WATSON, CNN PRODUCER: Well, Jake, people could be forgiven here for feeling like they've been transported back to the beginning of the pandemic. People glued to their television sets, listening to the daily case counts and learning whether they're going to be locked down. That's what happened this week as cities across the country went into lockdown. Some of them had never been in lockdown before.

Here in Sydney, there hasn't been a full citywide lockdown in over a year until now. It's this Delta variant that's creeping through Australia's defenses, defenses that have kept the virus out of the country so far. Just 910 people have died of COVID-19 since the pandemic began here in Australia, Jake, just one (ph) this year. So Australia has been doing very well. But this Delta variant is now a serious threat.

TAPPER: Angus, what is the government doing to get this under control?

WATSON: The crucial thing now, Jake, is to get those vaccination rates up. Australia's vaccination rates are dangerously low just this week, as this Delta variant was tearing through communities under 5 percent of people had been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus. So, the government is trying to ramp those numbers up. Last night, the Health Minister Greg Hunt said that he hopes to get that over 7 percent now that number of people fully vaccinated.

I've been speaking to people in lines, a word that they've been using is grateful. They feel privileged that they're being helped to get the shot to protect them against the virus. We know, Jake, that's the only way out of lockdowns like these and the pandemic more broadly.

TAPPER: All right, Angus, thanks so much. Appreciate it.

Joining us now to discuss, Dr. Richard Besser, the former acting CDC Director and the President and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Dr. Besser, good to see you as always. The Delta variant now accounts for one in five cases in the United States. Obviously, U.S. vaccination rates are much higher than Australia's, but do you think it's possible that we will, at some point or at least parts of the U.S., might have to go into lockdown again?

DR. RICHARD BESSER, FORMER ACTING CDC DIRECTOR: You know, Jake, I think it's highly unlikely. Australia is a very different situation with vaccination rates under 5 percent. And it's winter in Australia and we are seeing some seasonality to this virus.


In the United States, while the overall vaccination rate is about 50 percent, when you look at the highest risk groups, the older you get in America, the more likely you are to be vaccinated. So, I would see focused kinds of shutdowns in places where things might take off, but I do not think we're going to see the kinds of large scale lock downs that we saw early in this pandemic.

TAPPER: Dr. Besser, the Biden White House is planning a July 4th celebration with thousands of essential workers and military families. They are asking people to get tested before the event, but proof of vaccination is not required. Are you concerned that this could at the very least set (ph), a bad example and at the very worst be a super spreader event perhaps for the Delta variant?

BESSER: Well, you know, I think it's a done deal that the Delta variant is going to become the dominant strain in the United States. And so that's more reason for people who have been hesitant to get vaccinated to go ahead and do so because clearly the vaccines are quite effective. It's another reason why we have to double down our efforts to get vaccines to communities that have been harder to reach, where people may have been skeptical or may have more barriers to vaccination.

In terms of the gathering, I think it's a good thing. I think that emerging from this pandemic in terms of emotional health coming together as a good thing, it's an outdoor event, the vaccination rate in D.C. is very high. Encouraging people who are not vaccinated to not come or to wear masks, I think is really important. But I do think, given the trajectory in the United States right now, with low cases and increasing vaccination, it is a time to let loose and enjoy a little bit. Doing so safely, outdoors is, I think, a perfectly acceptable thing to do.

TAPPER: You used to run the CDC, how bad would the Delta variant spread have to get for new CDC guidance to be issued as it -- is that a certain number or percentage of deaths or hospitalizations?

BESSER: Yes. So, you know, it's really important that people continue to look very closely at the cases, because that will increase before hospitalizations and that will increase before deaths. But I would expect that if we're seeing an increase in hospitalizations, and we're seeing an increase in deaths, that you would see tailored community guidance recommendations, not broad scale national guidance, because there's some areas where vaccination coverage is very high. And the data are not convincing that Delta is more serious. It's just that it spreads easier.

So people who haven't been able to get vaccinated or people who've been vaccinated, who may have an immune condition that prevents them from being protected, are at risk. It's again, another reason why people, you know, need to get their questions answered. And then when those questions are answered, line up and get vaccinated.

TAPPER: Los Angeles's Department of Public Health just issued new voluntary mass guidance asking L.A. residents to wear a mask in public spaces, even if they are fully vaccinated. This is due to the Delta variant. What do you think?

BESSER: Well, you know, this is a period of uncertainty and we're going to see different approaches in different places. I think if you're fully vaccinated, wearing a mask isn't really necessary in terms of your protection, in terms of people feeling comfortable to you, it may be. You know, when I walk around and I go into a store, I have a mask in my pocket. And people are wearing masks, I put it on so people will feel more comfortable.

But when I look at the data in Los Angeles, they're seeing a slight increase in cases. And they're taking an approach of, let's be cautious, let's encourage masks. TAPPER: All right, Dr. Richard Besser, thank you so much. Good to see you as always.

Breaking news, we just got updated results from the New York City mayoral election. We'll bring that to you right after this quick break.



TAPPER: Breaking news in our politics lead and the race for New York City's next mayor, the Board of Elections just released updated voting results shown to the democratic mayoral primary is extremely close between two candidates. CNN's Athena Jones is live in New York for us. And Athena, tell us more.

ATHENA JONES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Jake. Well, this race is very close. According to the first now round of ranked choice tabulation, this is, of course, a new system that New York City is choosing the mayor using. The first round shows that Eric Adams, a Brooklyn Borough president, ekes out a lead after several rounds. Kathryn Garcia who was the former Sanitation Commissioner coming in behind, that's a 2.2 percentage points there.

It's also only -- it's not even 16,000 votes out of hundreds of thousands of votes cast and that is what's so important to stress here. This is, by no means, final, by no means, official. This is the first step of a multistep process. Those numbers we're seeing today that were released today by the Board of Elections only include early votes and votes in-person on election day. They do not include absentee ballots, and we know that there were more than 124,000 Democrats returned absentee ballots. Today is the deadline for those ballots to arrive.

Yesterday was the first day that Board of Elections officials could even begin opening those ballots. So that is why these numbers are so preliminary. Next week, next Tuesday, we'll begin to see some of the absentee ballots counted and those results released. But we don't expect to see a final total until mid-July. So those numbers there, that could change quite a bit more. Jake?

TAPPER: All right, Athena Jones, thanks so much. Appreciate it.

You can follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, the TikTok, at JakeTapper. You can tweet the show at TheLeadCNN. Our coverage continues now with Wolf Blitzer who is live from Surfside, Florida. I'll see you tomorrow.