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The Lead with Jake Tapper

White House Rebuts Pfizer On Need for Booster Shots Soon; White House: Biden, Putin Spoke for an Hour on Hacks by Russian Criminals; Crisis in Haiti: Manhunt Underway for Final 8 Suspected Assassins; 78 People Confirmed Dead in Surfside, 62 Unaccounted For; Study: Child Care Costs Nearly Double During Pandemic. Aired 4-5p ET

Aired July 09, 2021 - 16:00   ET



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The largest is 18'9" and a quarter inch.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So, that's -- they're monsters. They're monsters. We need help. Come down and help us catch them.

BLACKWELL: Good luck out there, Donna Calio (ph).

Thank you so much for being with us.

THE LEAD starts right now.

PAMELA BROWN, CNN HOST: A shot of confusion.

THE LEAD starts right now.

Pfizer sparks a battle over boosters, pitting big pharma against big government, and leaving millions asking, do I need another shot?

Plus, could you pack up your life in 15 minutes? Imagine that. That's what some Florida residents face today after being forced to evacuate their condo in the wake of the Surfside collapse.

And the cost of childcare nearly doubled over the pandemic, why those soaring costs may be here to stay.


BROWN: Welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Pamela Brown in for Jake Tapper on this Friday.

And we start this hour with the health lead and the White House today insisting those who are fully vaccinated don't need a booster shot, at least not right now. That in rebuttal to Pfizer which last night prompted a mass scramble when it issued a statement saying its vaccine can wear off and people may need a third dose. Within hours, the FDA and CDC trying to tamp that down, saying they don't rely only on data from big pharma.

The White House underscored that message this afternoon.


JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Well, they are a private sector company. I can't speak to the origin or the motivation of their announcement. You have to ask them that.


BROWN: The back and forth comes as the CDC issues new back-to-school guidance which may make some parents happy.

CNN's Athena Jones starts us off.


ATHENA JONES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Confusion and concern as Pfizer announces it's seeing waning immunity from its vaccine and plans to seek emergency use authorization for a booster shot next month. The company citing a statement from the Israeli government to back up its claims, but not releasing any new data of its own. Within hours the CDC and the FDA saying in a rare joint statement, fully vaccinated people do not need a booster shot at this time, adding, FDA, CDC and the National Institutes of Help are engaged in a science-based rigorous process to consider whether or when a booster might be necessary.

DR. JEROME ADAMS, FORMER U.S. SURGEON GENERAL: It's troubling there's a lack of coordination on communication between the companies and the federal government.

JONES: The World Health Organization also saying there's not yet enough data to say if boosters will be needed.

DR. LEANA WEN, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: The Israel conflicts with some of the other data that actually show that immunity may last for years.

JONES: All this amid new warning signs that America's battle against COVID-19.

DR. ERIC TOPOL, CARDIOLOGIST: This is a defuse beginning of a wave.

JONES: Twenty-nine states now seeing rising case numbers. New infections per capita, particularly high in states where fewer people are vaccinated like Arkansas, Missouri, Louisiana, Nevada, Utah and Wyoming. The seven-day average of new cases per day up 11 percent nationwide. Hospitalization up 7 percent.

Los Angeles County, the most populous county in the nation, now seeing exponential growth in COVID cases, up 165 percent over the past week, as the more contagious delta variant becomes the dominant strain.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A couple of weeks, we started to see a trickling in of coronavirus patients, but in the last week, I've seen a significant rise. JONES: The surging case numbers also come as the CDC releases updated

guidance for schools, emphasizing in-person learning as a priority, while also promoting masking, physical distancing and vaccinations for those available. Still California, which has seen a 50 percent jump in COVID cases week over week, passed a bill requiring public schools to offer remote learning options this fall.


JONES: And despite concerns about COVID cases rising in New York and many other states, we're here outside the Javits Convention Center, one of three sites that is shutting down today. It's part of the state's plan to allow greater focus on local vaccination efforts, in areas where the vaccination rate is behind or below the state average -- Pamela.

BROWN: OK. Athena Jones, thanks so much.

Now I want to bring in Dr. Peter Hotez, he's a co-director of the Center for Vaccine Development at Texas Children's Hospital.

Nice to see you, Dr. Hotez.

You have been watching the science and you're among health professionals against the booster shot, at least right now. What brings you to that conclusion?

DR. PETER HOTEZ, CO-DIRECTOR, CENTER FOR VACCINE DEVELOPMENT, TEXAS CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL: Well, you know, Pamela, I think we ultimately will need to give a third immunization, I've been pretty much saying that all along. We will need to give that booster. And what that booster will do was really jack up virus neutralizing antibodies to a very high level, will help with T-cell and B-cell memory, and create more durability and more resilience against the variants.


And that's important because we've done such a terrible job at vaccinating the African continent and Latin America and Southeast Asia. So, a third immunization will probably be warranted, but the way this press release was done, I don't think we need this third immunization for the delta variant, and I don't think we necessarily need it now.

So that's what's so confusing and what the basis for it is, they cited some Israel data showing low levels of protection against symptomatic illness, 64 percent. But protected well from serious illness and the numbers were much better coming out of England, coming out of Scotland and coming out of Canada.

I think that's the basis for the -- I don't want to call it a rebuke but the counter by the FDA and CDC. So, bottom line is we will need a third immunization. At some point, I don't think we necessarily need it now and I don't think we necessarily need it for the delta variant. The problem seems to be holding up. The big problem now is we have too many unvaccinated people in the south and other parts of the country. BROWN: That's right. All of this with Pfizer and the Biden

administration raised questions about communication. The surgeon general who served under President Trump believes Pfizer and the Biden administration need to be more aligned especially on something like this.


ADAMS: It's troubling there's lack of communication between the companies and the federal government. The whiplash is troubling to the American people. But understand, vaccinations are your best bet right now. They're still incredibly effective. If we have to get a booster, we just have to get a booster.


BROWN: Does he have a point?

HOTEZ: Yeah. But actually, it's not just Pfizer. This has been a problem that we've been dealing with since the beginning of 2020, dealing with company press releases. It was a problem with Moderna, it was a problem with really all the companies trying to do science via press release.

And there was a structural flaw in Operation Warp Speed in 2020, it's a good program but there was never any communication strategy out of operation warp speed. It was left to the companies.

And the problem is when the CEO of a company sends out a press release, Pamela, it's not meant for you. It's not meant for me. It's meant for their shareholders, and it's meant to maintain stock prices.

And in different times that's probably okay, but when people are so worried about their health in this COVID pandemic, it doesn't work anymore. And there was never any effort to curtail or limit communications directly from the company. And so, we're still dealing with the fallout from that.

BROWN: Right. Especially when there's a lot of unvaccinated people and trust is such a big issue.

Let's talk about what studies have shown. There have been extensive studies that continue to show children are at a very low risk of severe illness from COVID. You can see it on the screen, and numbers also show the overwhelming number of deaths have been adults, 606,000 compared to only 391 children 18 years old and younger.

Given those numbers, what do you think? Is it safe to say children should be able to live their lives freely without restrictions or should there'd be some restrictions should be put in place?

HOTEZ: There's no question, Pamela, that children do better than adolescents, and young children, than they do than adults. The problem is this, the way the numbers are presented purely in terms of deaths, in some cases hospitalizations, those numbers are relatively low. But what's not being said is we still see long-haul debilitating COVID and what's called long haul COVID syndrome. And that's where we need clarification on the percentage of children who has debilitating effects from COVID, especially neurologic effects in the developing brain.

And there we need some clarity. We need the pediatric neurologic societies to look at this in more depth. So, it's -- you know, I think we use blunt instruments when talking about adolescents and children's death and only hospitalizations. There are so many more dimensions to COVID than that.

BROWN: So, as we're trying to get clarity on that, you study vaccine development at a children's hospital. As parents prepare to send their kids back to see, do you see a vaccine being authorized for those 12 and under before returning to school in the coming weeks?

HOTEZ: It's hard to imagine how we're going to have all the safety and efficacy data in time for the start of the fall school year, possibly by the end of the year. But I don't see a path by which it happens sooner, although, sometimes I get surprised.

And for the reasons you mentioned before, the multisystem inflammatory syndrome which is a rare but serious syndrome in kids. We'll want to make certain that the vaccine doesn't increase the risk of that.


I don't think it will. But these are all sort of immune enhancement phenomenon that we're going to have to look at. And that's going to take time.

So I don't see a super quick path to vaccinating the younger kids. For adolescents, I think it's really important. We're seeing a lot of adolescents get sick. We're seeing them also with COVID-induced myocarditis now from the vaccine, but the virus itself, long-hauled effects. And the problem that we face right now, Pamela, is in the south, the level of vaccination among adolescents is low, some cases under 10 percent. And it's going to be difficult to say we'll be opening up middle schools and high schools until we fix that.

BROWN: And you have the perspective because you're in Houston, which researchers say is one of the clusters, considered one of the clusters, considered a breeding ground for more variants and so forth, and you probably see the adolescents coming in that are sick with COVID, those who aren't vaccinated yet.

So, great to have your perspective, Dr. Peter Hotez. Thank you so much.

HOTEZ: Thanks, Pamela, I appreciate it.

BROWN: And coming up, an hour long talk between President Biden and Russia's Vladimir Putin that came with a Biden warning.

Plus, as if suffering through the deadly insurrection wasn't enough, Capitol Police say there's a new, looming problem threatening officers. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)


BROWN: Turning to our tech lead now as the U.S. continues to get bombarded by hackers with Russian ties. President Biden today spoke with Russian president, Vladimir Putin. The White House says the two leaders had an hour long conversation where Biden insisted he'd take any action necessary to defend the U.S.

CNN's Jeff Zeleny is at the White House.

And, Jeff, you talked to the president about this, what did he say?

JEFF ZELENY, CNN CHIEF NATIONAL AFFAIRS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Pamela, President Biden said he did issue a new warning to Russian President Vladimir Putin only three weeks after their summit in Geneva where, of course, these cyber attacks were front and center in the conversations. And the president said the Russian president listened to his complaint here, but, of course, the question is, what will be done about it?

But after the president signed an executive order on competitiveness in business early this afternoon, we asked him if Putin is taking him serious in his complaint?

Let's watch.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The United States expects when a ransomware operation is coming from his soil, even though it is not, not sponsored by the state, we expect them to act if we give them enough information to act on who that is. And secondly, that we have set up communications now on a regular basis to be able to communicate to one another when each of us thinks something is happening in the other country that affects the home country. So it went well, I'm optimistic.

ZELENY: You said previously there will be consequences, will there be, sir?



ZELENY: So, we asked the president will there be consequences, he answered a simple word yes, you could see him walk out of the door there in the state dining room.

But then a short time later after he was leaving the White House here to fly for a weekend at his home in Wilmington, Delaware, he made a little more clear and look at the expression on his face when asked what the consequences would be.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) REPORTER: Does it make sense for the U.S. to take it up a notch and attack the actual servers that are used?



ZELENY: So does it make sense to kick it up a notch, he said yes. So after all of this, we know a couple things, one there is an open line of communication between President Biden and Vladimir Putin. That is one of the reasons he wanted to meet with him at that summit in Geneva. Less clear is what the president will do about it.

He did extend a threat three weeks ago in Geneva, you know, that the U.S. could launch cyber attacks of its own. No sign of that happen yet. But, Pamela, after this hour-long conversation, the fact of the matter they talked again after meeting three weeks ago shows this is front and center on the mind of this White House -- Pamela.

BROWN: It certainly does. Jeff Zeleny live for us from the White House, thanks so much.

And we have some breaking news to get to. Moments ago, the fencing around the Capitol started coming down, a symbolic moment in the six months since the deadly insurrection. But as these physical barriers fall, the Capitol police department still faces a major roadblock, no money. Officials say funding is drying up and recruitment efforts are falling short, as Congress debates a giant budget bill designed to inject cash into the department.

CNN's Jessica Dean is outside the Capitol.

So, Jessica, how close are they to running out of money?

JESSICA DEAN, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, we're told they're very close, Pamela, that it could be August. That's not that far away when all the salary funding for the Capitol Police dries up, they've already gone through their over time and the National Guard could have to pull back on some of its training.

I want to get to that, but first, you see this fencing behind me, it's the last remaining barricade put up after January 6th. As we speak, crews are to my left taking it down. We just got video to show you that happening.

As you mentioned, that is quite symbolic. It's the last remaining barricade up from the January 6th insurrection. So, we see it coming down, we expect it to be totally down when lawmakers return from their recess on Monday. And as all of this is happening, there is this funding issue for the Capitol police who are saying they're almost dry in terms of salary.

We heard from Senator Pat Leahy, he is the chairman of the Appropriations Committee. He said he wants to talk about the security supplemental. It has already passed the House. It's languished in the senate. He said he could not find a willing partner. But, Pam, we saw signs of movement. Senator Richard Shelby, the top

Republican on the committee, is calling for full funding for Capitol Police and the National Guard, and then working through the other stuff at getting that done immediately.


We'll see what happens when they get back here on Monday -- Pam.

BROWN: Yeah, we sure will. Thanks so much, Jessica Dean.

More than two dozen suspects and a massive manhunt is under way for who assassinated Haiti's president. I'll talk to a top Haitian official up next. Stay with us.



BROWN: In our world lead, a nationwide manhunt is under way for the foreign hit squad behind the assassination of Haiti's president. Authorities say more than two dozen people were involved in the murder, including Haitian Americans and Colombian ex-military.

Now as Haitians take to the streets, the White House is sending FBI and homeland security officials to Haiti to assist in the investigation.

CNN's Matt Rivers reports from Port-au-Prince.


MATT RIVERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Haitian police wasting no time as the countrywide manhunt for the final suspects in the assassination of President Jovenel Moise intensifies. Less than 48 hours after his murder, authorities released details about the suspect, some of whom they came are in this video. Police say there are a total of 28 people involved in the attack. Three have been killed, 17 are in custody, and now they're looking for the final eight.

Authorities also say 26 of them are Colombians and two are Haiti- Americans.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: DEA operation, everybody stand down.

RIVERS: This audio recording that CNN has not been able to independently verify allegedly captures the moment the assassins gained access to the private presidential residence the night of the attack. Officials say the men posed as U.S. Drug Enforcement agents to get in.

As police cleaned up the scene of the shootout they had with some of the assassins, all that remains, burned out cars, bullet holes, and bloodstains. So this is all that's left of one of the cars that officials say

suspects in this assassination were using when they engaged in a shootout with police. This car as well was involved, and you can see a bullet hole here that was left over as a result of that shootout. The aftermath of that night shaking the country's already fragile political state. Confusion abounds over who is actually in charge.

In the hours after Moise's murder, Haiti's interim prime minster, Claude Joseph, assumed power and took command of the police and military, declaring a, quote, state of siege, temporarily putting the country under martial law. Experts say it's not clear if he can do that.

But Moise appointed a new prime minster just days before he died, Ariel Henry, who was supposed to be sworn in this week. Henry says he should be the one leading the mourning nation right now, though it looks unlikely Joseph will step aside.

CLAUDE JOSEPH, ACTING HAITIAN PRIME MINISTER: The constitution is clear -- I have to organize elections and actually pass the power to someone else who is elected.


RIVERS (on camera): And as each hour goes by, seems like we're getting new information because this is such an evolving situation. For example, we've now learned that some 13 members or at least former member of Colombia's military actually are thought to have been taking part in all this, according to the Colombian government. Many of them traveling here to Haiti recently, some through Panama, almost all through the Dominican Republican, going from Santo Domingo to here in Port-au-Prince, and that's just some of the information we're getting.

There still remain so many more questions, like what was the motivation behind this killing in the first place?

BROWN: All right. Matt Rivers from Port-au-Prince Haiti, thank you so much, Matt.

Let's discuss with Haiti's elections minister, Matisse Pierre.

Thank you for joining us.

Right now, there are two men both claiming to be Haiti's rightful prime minster. Who should the Haitian people be listening to in your view?

MATHIAS PIERRE, HAITI'S MINISTER OF ELECTIONS: Well, we are -- I'm part of the government and according to our constitution, article 149, when there's a vacancy for any reason, as in the case of the assassination and the president was killed, the prime minster, which is Dr. Claude Joseph, will be considered (INAUDIBLE) is in charge of the country, with the sole mandate to do election in 120 (ph) days. So that's what we start to do as government, and that's we'll continue and that's what we are going to do. BROWN: So, you think Claude Joseph is the rightful prime minster.

Ariel Henry who was appointed prime minster on July 5th before the assassination, of course, believes he is the rightful prime minster. Haiti's president of the Supreme Court would normally be next in line, but he recently died of COVID-19. Explain the current state of affairs in Haiti.

PIERRE: No, actually, this is not the case. This is not the first time prime minster has been designated as the case for Henry. But if you're not part (ph) of the government, if you are not installed, technically, you're not prime minster. So that's the situation, and we have had the same situation in the past.

In the case of justices, in the actual constitution, there is no provision for justices to become president. The constitution is pretty clear, 120 days, organize elections and this is exactly why after meeting with the prime minister, composition of the prime minister and the secretary (INAUDIBLE), and the composition with the U.N. representative, here in Haiti, you have engaged to do three things.

First, we need to find who assassinated the president. That's what we requested FBI support, and which are going to help have the truth and the light for the Haitian people and the world. The second is to create more stability for the country to move on while the Haitian people are mourning the death of the president. And third, organize an election in the next 120 days.

BROWN: Well, I've been to Haiti and you are seeing years and years of protest, political gridlock, gas shortages. Hopefully, once things calm down and a new president is in line there or in the position, things will get better.

Elections Minister Mathias Pierre, thank you so much for coming on the show.

PIERRE: Glad to be with you.

BROWN: IDs, personal papers, maybe some clothes, that's what some Florida residents hope to grab from their homes in had just 15 minutes today. Find out why, up next.



BROWN: Turning to the national league now. More remains found, more concrete removed as the urgency doesn't let up in Surfside, Florida. The Miami-Dade fire department is telling families they will not stop working until they get to the bottom of the pile and recover every single one of the missing bodies in the horrible condo collapse. Authorities say 14 more bodies have been found, the confirmed death toll now 78 with 62 still unaccounted for.

And CNN is getting an up close look at the race to make sure other buildings aren't going down the same deadly path as CNN's Randi Kaye reports. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Today, major progress in the recovery mission at the debris pile of Champlain Tower South and it continues around the clock.

MAYOR CHARLES BURKETT, SURFSIDE, FLORIDA: The pile that was originally approximately four or five stories is now almost at ground level.

KAYE: The death toll rising to 78.

MAYOR DANIELLA LEVINE CAVA, MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA: This is a staggering and heartbreaking number.

KAYE: Meanwhile, a new effort is under way at the sister tower a few blocks away. A detailed inspection of Champlain Towers North to make sure it won't suffer the same fate.

CNN got a look at the process as inspection teams went under ground today, using X-rays and testing concrete for salts are due.

ALLYN KILSHEIMER, STRUCTURAL ENGINEER: We also did a scan for the thickness of the slab here. We'll be doing that again today with a different device that can go deeper in measuring the thickness of the floor.

KAYE: Just a few miles away in North Miami Beach, residents at Crestview Towers who were hastily evacuated a week ago based on a delinquent certification report that showed the building to be structurally and electrically unsafe were allowed back in. They went with a police escort today for just 15 minutes to grab any personal belongings they could carry out by hand.

GUSTAVO MATA, RESIDENT EVACUATED FROM CRESTVIEW TOWERS: They called us yesterday and they told us that we have just 15 minutes today to take some stuff -- personal stuff.

KAYE: Back at the pile at Champlain Towers South where the rescue mission has officially become a recovery mission. First responders aren't giving up despite the personal toll it takes on them.

CHIEF NICHOLE NOTTE, FLORIDA TASK FORCE 2 K-9 UNIT: I'm physically digging but I'm also emotionally digging for more strength to continue.

KAYE: Amid all the sadness one small piece of good news to come out of Surfside today, rescue workers found Binx the cat alive today near the pile. Binx belongs to the Gonzalez family that lived in apartment 904, mother and daughter are in the hospital and the father is still missing. Binx has been reunited with the family.


KAYE (on camera): And first responders are finding victims it seems at a faster pace. The fire chief saying they're working with floor plans looking for the master bedrooms because they believe most victims were asleep at this time given that this happened at 1:30 in the morning. Also, they're making progress digging deeper in the pile. The victims they're finding now are on the second and fifth floor. So they're getting to the lower floors and, working through the pile, Pamela.

BROWN: Randi Kaye, thank you so much for bringing us the latest there.

And joining me is Anthony DeFillipo, the mayor of North Miami Beach where the building was evacuated due to safety concerns.

Mr. Mayor, thanks for joining us.

As we just heard there in Randi's piece, today, residents were allowed back in their home very briefly for essential belongings. And I want to play a little bit more of what one resident had to say.


MATA: You have 15 minutes for personal items and that's it. So more people from my family comes and they help me. So they let us just four people inside the building. So we take all that you see over there. So, you know, it's not enough but we have something. I have my car.


So I don't have too much space for all that stuff. This is our home right now. We have a lot of stuff over there in that car too and also in this car.


BROWN: Just 15 minutes. How dangerous is this building right now in your view?

MAYOR ANTHONY DEFILLIPO, NORTH MIAMI BEACH, FLORIDA: Well, right now, at this point, the documents that had to be submitted haven't been submitted correctly yet. The inspections that have been to be done, haven't been done yet.

At this time, we let families go in and get their valuables, any medication, anything that they may need that's inside the apartment that they may need, those that have been displaced we have worked with the homeless trust in making sure we have them in a hotel. And those that have family members, they're going to their family members.

However, I have spoken to the city manager and we're making plans, hopefully next week for those families that want to get out of the building completely and just be done with it to get their personal belongings, anything that belongs to them, and just get out of the apartment, which is what eight or nine of them told me at the scene yesterday when we had our press conference.

BROWN: I want to follow-up on something you said earlier, that the necessary paperwork and assessments haven't been done. Why haven't they been done? I mean, isn't this urgent? At least one of the residents told CNN that they're sleeping in their car right now. DEFILLIPO: That's correct. And the association has failed to fulfill

its obligation and they have not turned in the proper paperwork. We have over 18 violations with Miami-Dade County Fire and Rescue. And until those proper procedures are fulfilled and their obligations are met, it would be a -- it would be a terrible move to let anybody back into that building when you have electrical issues, when you have an elevator that's not working and you have several hundred people living in that building.

BROWN: With all due respect, mayor, you're the mayor of the town. An engineer inspection deemed Crestview safe, again, this is according to the condo associations attorney. But it sounds like you're passing the buck to the association.

DEFILLIPO: The association's attorney may say one thing, our building department that has gone out there and has physical evidence of things that have not been taken care of are totally different. You know, that's their attorney. We also have engineers that have gone out there and done an assessment as well, and it doesn't seem that they have followed through with what they have committed to say that they're going to do.

And until that is done properly, it is a life and safety issue to let anybody back in that building under those circumstances.

BROWN: How many other buildings in your city could be a danger and what are you doing about it?

DEFILLIPO: We are going with a fine-tooth comb just like every other municipality is, making sure any building of a multi-structural erection that goes up is followed through and is inspected. If it does have its 45, 50-year inspection and they met the criteria, great. We're still checking them to make sure that there's no further problems with the structures. I mean, look, this has really opened our eyes, the whole world, to what can really happen.

I was listening to the news yesterday and when this happened, you know, 50 years ago, the man who put the 40 year inspection in place said maybe 40 is not enough. Maybe it needs to be done at a 20 year or 30.

So you know what, it really puts everybody into check and brings into perspective the fact that these inspections are very important. They're a matter of life and death, and we got to make sure that everybody's safety comes first and is not compromised by this.

BROWN: All right. North Miami Beach Mayor Anthony DeFillipo, thank you for joining us on the show.

DEFILLIPO: Thank you so much.

BROWN: Well, more than your rent or mortgage, the soaring cost for parents that's not expected to get any cheaper any time soon. That's next.


BROWN: Back now with the buried lead. With COVID cases down, child care centers are beginning to reopen. And many parents are having to open their wallets wide. The mounting costs of child care have become so unaffordable that many are forced to take drastic measures.



BROWN: Tomia Mitchell-Haas is dealing with a growing problem for millions of parents -- child care costs.

MITCHELL-HAAS: Which is actually not the same price as my rent, but more than my rent.

BROWN: A problem made much worse by the pandemic. A model developed by the Center for American Progress estimates average day care costs for a toddler in the U.S. pre-COVID was just under $9,000.


But during the pandemic, it almost doubled to $18,000. And experts say relief may not be in sight for families any too many soon.

CARRIE CRONKEY, CHIEF MARKETING OFFICER, CARE.COM: We do think the costs will continue to remain high until these centers are able to operate again.

BROWN: Which is especially a problem for lower income earners, who experts say have had to resort to more drastic measures to find affordable care for their kids, including sometimes leaving work altogether and taking a massive financial hit.

CRONKEY: We saw over 3 million women leave the work force over the course of the pandemic, and it's not hard to draw that line between the lack of affordable child care and, you know, their ability to work.

BROWN: So, what's behind the surge in tuition costs? Experts say it's out of necessity.

CRONKEY: There are a variety of factors in play there.

BROWN: Child care centers have increased expenses due to COVID related protections, like hygiene products, while also losing workers, forcing many to decrease class sizes according to experts. And now Washington is trying to help.

SEN. PATTY MURRAY (D-WA): I can't tell you how many people have said to me in the last year plus that child care is the one issue that is keeping their family from being stable.

BROWN: Under this year's COVID relief package, families could get up to $3,600 for each child under the age of 6 in their household and up to $3,000 for any others up to the age of 18. It also gives $39 billion to child care providers, and some of that must be used to help struggling families. Help, experts say, is key to truly getting America back to normal.

CRONKEY: In order to really fuel our economic growth, care is an imperative.


BROWN: And one final tip from experts on how to save money -- continue your COVID pods with neighbors if it works for all involved.

Well, he played lovable dad Danny Tanner on "Full House." Actor and comedian bob Saget explains how that iconic role was an accident, up next.



BROWN: In our pop lead, CNN's brand new series, "THE HISTORY OF THE SITCOM", premiers this Sunday night at 9:00 p.m. Eastern, and here's a sneak peek.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Television has changed with the times, but it was a lot more comedy than just genie and her master. There's a lot more going on.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We demand freely available child care facilities that will give women an alternative to confinement in the home.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's an interesting moment because in the real world, the women's liberation movement is pushing female equality further than its ever been.


BROWN: CNN's Jake Tapper sat down with Bob Saget who played squeaky clean single dad Danny Tanner on "Full House."


JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST, THE LEAD: "Full House" has become synonymous with sitcoms, especially in the '90s. Which sitcoms do you think defined the modern American sitcom before "Full House"?

BOB SAGET, ACTOR, "FULL HOUSE": The shows I watched as a kid had been done and passed decades before. It was "The Honeymooners," it was "I love Lucy", then I watched Dick Van Dyke shows as a kid. Then I moved to L.A. because my dad's business. When I was like 14, I would sneak into the Bob Newhart show and sneak into the Mary Tyler Moore show, and was mesmerized watching James Brooks or watching Bob Newhart. I wasn't going to be in show business. It's still subjected. But I

would watch Sanford and Son. I would watch Red Fox going nutty, and next thing you knew I was doing audience warm-up for "Bosom Buddies" as a comedian when I lived in L.A. trying to get my job going. "Full House" was an accident. I got fired on CBS and was asked to be in "Full House".

TAPPER: What's it been like to watch all these kids grow up on screen and off, some of them on "Full House", and some of them not?

SAGET: Well, I'm close with all the kids. It doesn't happen a lot in the world where you stay close with all the people. I'm close with Mary-Kate and Ashley who are amazing fashionistas. Their clothes are great, I would wear them, but they're not really made for me. The tube top does not fit.

TAPPER: You could sew a few together.

SAGET: I'll stitch them around me like a quilt. But Candace Cameron Bure, Jodie Sweetin, just had Andrea Barber on my podcast and Jodi and Candace. I love them all. And John and Dave are like brothers to me, you know?

So, we're an unusual cast in that way that I have been able to remain close with everybody, because I don't take eight years of my life lightly and then the other five or six years, six seasons.

So it's important, I think, that you don't have kids feel like you were there friends just for a little white, just when you were working together. That's kind of how I was. They played with my kids and stuff.

TAPPER: Bob, thanks so much for joining us.

Be sure to tune in to all new CNN original series "THE HISTORY OF THE SITCOM" premieres with back-to-back episodes Sunday at 9:00 p.m. Eastern and Pacific, only on CNN.


BROWN: And you can watch the entire interview with Bob Saget on THE LEAD's Twitter page.

And be sure to tune in to "STATE OF THE UNION" Sunday. Jake Tapper will talk to Dr. Anthony Fauci, Eric Adams and members of Congress, Adam Kinzinger and Chrissy Houlahan.

Our coverage continues now.