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The Lead with Jake Tapper

COVID Hospitalizations & Deaths Rising, Nearly All Unvaccinated; Growing Number Of Athletes Test Positive For COVID-19; Biden Rejects Claims His Agenda Would Accelerate Inflation; Interview With Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH); Olympic COVID Fears; Gun Violence Plague; Almost 200 Dead In Western Europe Flooding, Hundreds Still Missing; U.S. Allies Blame China For Hacks, Opening New Front In Cyberwar. Aired 4-5p ET

Aired July 19, 2021 - 16:00   ET


JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Instead of a medal count, we're already tracking the COVID count at the Tokyo Olympics.

THE LEAD starts right now.

New concerns for kids still fully exposed and not yet allowed to get vaccinated as back-to-school day approaches, the new guidance parents need to fear hear as fears about the Delta variant and vaccination rates infect Wall Street and the Dow.


Before the torch is lit, a U.S. women's gymnast tests positive for COVID with dozens of cases already linked to the games, and athletes from 200 countries still on their way.

And another weekend of carnage in the U.S. Four hundred shootings, eight children wounded in just one city, and a scary scene at a Major League ballgame that sent fans diving under their seats.


TAPPER: Welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.

And we begin with breaking news that impacts your money, perhaps your retirement. The Dow dropping today closing down around 725 points. It started slipping at the opening bell and never looked back, at one point hovering around 1,000 points in the red. Today marks the biggest drop so far this year. The sell-off fueled by growing fear of the COVID-19 delta variant, and the alarming rise in cases everywhere in the U.S. due to so many millions of Americans not getting vaccinated.

Investors are afraid the surge in the virus will hurt the U.S. economic recovery. Airlines such as United, Delta, and American were hit especially hard today what else other companies tied to the economic recovery such as General Motors and Caterpillar. This brings us to our health lead and the dire warnings from public health officials, cases, hospitalizations, and deaths all up in the United States, 99.5 percent of the deaths are among people who are not fully vaccinated -- 99.5 percent of them. The U.S. surgeon general says he's still worried about what's to come.

As well as lagging vaccination rates and misinformation, lies about the vaccine running rampant. And now, we're learning American athletes are among those testing positive in connection with the Olympic Games in Tokyo, including a member of the U.S. women's gymnastics team just four days before the opening ceremonies.

Now, we should note, this athlete is fully vaccinated and her father says thankfully she has no symptoms. But the case does highlight the perniciousness of the delta strain and the need to get vaccination rates higher.

We're covering this story from both sides of the world. Will Ripley is on the ground in Tokyo for us.

Let's start with Erica Hill right here in the States.

And, Erica, you have details about new mask guidance for kids returning to school. What is it?

ERICA HILL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yeah, that's right. New guidance for schools just out today from the American Academy of Pediatrics which recommends that all students ages 2 and over and staff continue to mask up in schools regardless of vaccination status. And one of the reasons they cite is the large number of the student population all those under 12 who are not yet eligible for the vaccine.

It's important to note, though, Jake, this is where you see it differ with the CDC. Its school guidance recommended that fully vaccinated students and staff didn't need to continue masking up, and it's just the latest example of where there are new questions about some of that CDC guidance.


HILL (voice-over): On the street, it's impossible to see the difference. But in the hospital, it's clear.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Those that are hospitalized are those who are unvaccinated.

HILL: Nationwide, 97 percent of COVID patients in the hospital right now are not vaccinated. Nearly every COVID death also unvaccinated.

DR. SCOTT GOTTLIEB, FORMER FDA COMMISSIONER: Most people will either get vaccinated or have been previously infected. Or they will get this delta variant. And for most people who get this delta variant, it's going to be the most serious virus that they get in their lifetime.

HILL: The delta-fueled spikes getting worse. Average new cases topping 32,000, up 145 percent in just the last two weeks. In that same period, hospitalizations rising 50 percent, deaths 12 percent.

DR. VIVEK MURTHY, SURGEON GENERAL: I am worried about what is to come. HILL: Less than half the country is fully vaccinated. And the

president's goal of one shot for at least 70 percent of adults still not met more than two weeks after the July 4th deadline. In fact, 15 states have yet to hit 60 percent. In Mississippi, it's less than half.

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: If we don't get a significant proportion of these recalcitrant people vaccinated, you're going to be seeing a smoldering of this outbreak in our country for a considerable period of time.

HILL: With kids under 12 still not eligible for the vaccine, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommending Monday all students 2 and older and staff should continue to wear masks at school. The former surgeon general urging the CDC to hit the reset button on its guidance, tweeting the agency should advise Americans to, quote, vax it and mask it in areas with rising cases.

And President Joe Biden Monday seeking to clarify his view on Facebook's role in the spread of misinformation.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Mr. President, you said last week that companies and platforms like Facebook are killing people.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Facebook isn't killing people, these 12 people are out there giving misinformation. Anyone listening to it is getting hurt by it. It's killing people.


It's bad information.

My hope is that Facebook, instead of taking it personally that somehow I'm saying Facebook is killing people, that they would do something about the misinformation.

HILL: But with so much misinformation, concern growing that hope may be too little, too late.


HILL (on camera): One more note on masks here. In New York City, City Mayor Bill De Blasio was asked again today about the possibility of a mask mandate returning to the city. He said the focus right now, Jake, is on vaccinations, noting that masks do work but in his words they don't get to the root of the problem.

As of today, according to the city, just over 53 percent of the total population of New York City is now fully vaccinated -- Jake.

TAPPER: All right. Erica Hill, thanks so much.

In Tokyo, the number of COVID-19 cases linked to the Olympic Games is now 61, including some athletes who were already living in the Olympic Village. Let's bring in CNN's Will Ripley live for us from Tokyo.

Will, the games are set to start Friday. What are officials saying about the growing number of COVID cases?

WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: They're downplaying it, Jake. They are pointing out that more than 22,000 people have arrived here in Japan, and that number, 61, is actually even smaller in their view because more than half of those 61 are residents of Japan working on the games. Now, the other 28 or so cases were either caught at the airport or in COVID testing like that U.S. gymnast Kara Eaker from Kansas City, the Kansas City area, whose father says she was fully vaccinated when she tested positive at her pre-training camp outside of Tokyo.

Here's what he said she's going through right now.


MARK EAKER, KARA EAKER'S FATHER: I know she's disappointed, but at this point she said she's kind of bored because she's stuck in her room not able to do anything. She can't practice or anything like that. So she says she's bored and just looking forward to coming home. I don't think -- like I said, the biggest disappointment is that this takes her out of it completely.


RIPLEY: Several high-profile athletes have had to drop out of the games now after testing positive or due to COVID protocols including 17-year-old American tennis star Cori "Coco" Gauff. She didn't arrive here in Japan when she got that positive test.

But the concern is that this densely packed athletes' village where sometimes there are eight people sharing a small apartment with four people to a bathroom could be a breeding ground for a COVID outbreak. And that's why athletes are being tested every day. They're told they have to wear masks at all times except when they're training and competing and eating and drinking. So obviously there is still a chance for things to be spread in that stage.

One health expert was saying that Japan's plan is based on what we knew about COVID a year ago, but the delta variant has really changed the game. And that is raising fears of a super-spreader event here.

TAPPER: All right. Will Ripley, thank you so much, live for us from Tokyo.

Let's discuss all this with Dr. Ashish Jha. He's the dean of Brown University School of Public Health.

Dr. Jha, let's start in Tokyo. More than 60 people -- 61 is our latest number of tested positive in connection to the Olympics. We should note, we do not know of the 61 people, whether they have symptoms, whether they're sick, just that they have tested positive. Is this better, worse, or about what you expected when it comes to caseloads at the Olympics? DR. ASHISH JHA, DEAN, BROWN UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH: Yeah,

Jake. So thanks for having me back. It was about what I was expecting. I was hoping it would be better. We still have four days to go before the games begin.

And I think a lot of us are worried, given how many unvaccinated people there are at Olympic stadium or Olympic village that you are going to see more spread of this virus in the days and week as head.

TAPPER: And there's no requirement that athletes get vaccinated.

First Lady Jill Biden is headed to Tokyo on Wednesday. Would you advise her not to go, given what we're seeing?

JHA: No. She is vaccinated and everybody around her is vaccinated and they practice some basic public health measures and avoid large crowds. She'll be fine.

What I'm really worried about is all those unvaccinated athletes and others who really are at risk being in that place.

TAPPER: Here in the States, nearly all of the COVID cases, hospitalizations, and deaths we're seeing are from unvaccinated people. I think it's like 97 percent of hospitalizations, 99.5 percent of COVID deaths. We're hearing about more breakthrough cases, the U.S. gymnast just one example. Should vaccinated people be concerned?

JHA: So, largely no. I mean, look, largely, if you're a vaccinated person, you may get a breakthrough infection, you may feel lousy for a couple of days. But the concern comes from that hospitalization and death that we've all feared from this virus. And you are protected from that from the vaccine.

So I think you should not be concerned. And we've really got to put all of our efforts on getting more people vaccinated.

TAPPRE: Biden has been singling Facebook's role in how COVID misinformation is spreading. Today, he clarified to say to say it's he looked at this one study from this digital group that noted that a majority of the misinformation on the vaccines come from 12 people, including Robert Kennedy Jr., who continues spreading lies about vaccines.


What do you think is the best way to combat misinformation?

JHA: Yeah. This is -- this is the plague of our times. I do think Facebook has a much bigger responsibility. Look, if this group knows that it's the 12, Facebook has known for a long time it's these 12.

They don't have to give them a platform. You don't have to give a platform to people who spread lies in the middle of a global pandemic. Facebook could just do that. They have chosen not to.

So I think Facebook could do that. I think other social media platforms should be doing more deplatforming people who are actively trying to get people killed seems to me to be a pretty reasonable strategy at this moment.

TAPPER: The American Academy of Pediatrics is recommending universal masking in school for everyone over the age of 2. That includes school staff. What do you think about that?

JHA: You know, I have enormous respect for the AAP, great organization. I think I, for me at this point I look at the CDC guidance and I think that's closer to where the science is. Vaccinated kids, vaccinated adults I don't think need to be masked.

Look, if there is an area with a very large outbreak happening, I think you can imagine arguing for masking everybody up for a short period of time. But the idea that a fully vaccinated person in a low- risk community with lots of people vaccinated very few infections should be masking up, probably not necessary.

TAPPER: I have an 11-year-old. When do you think kids under 12 are going to be cleared for the vaccine?

JHA: Yeah, I've got a kid under 12 as well. I think it's the big question. I'm hoping it will be sometime early this fall -- early to mid-fall. It's just that we've got to wait for the data to make sure these things are safe and effective in younger kids. I hope that data's coming sooner rather than later. But we're going to -- it's probably a couple of months away, I think that.

TAPPER: Dr. Ashish Jha, thanks so much. Good to see you as always.

So how is Japan going to protect 11,000 athletes coming from every corner of the world? Dr. Sanjay Gupta talks to the man in charge of keeping everyone healthy.

Also, the U.S. blaming a group of hackers for a sweeping run of cyberattacks, and it isn't Russia this time.

Stay with us.



TAPPER: In our politics lead, Democrats are on the clock, and President Biden's key domestic priorities are hanging in the balance. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Democrat of New York, is eyeing a Wednesday vote on the bipartisan infrastructure deal, which would force members of both parties to go on the record, one glaring problem with the Schumer plan, of course, is that the bipartisan group working on the proposal, they haven't even finished negotiations.

President Biden is also balancing key global priorities today. He's hosting the Jordanian king at the White House to discuss a number of pressing issues in the Middle East as CNN's Phil Mattingly reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) BIDEN: Look, we brought this economy back from the brink.

PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): President Biden now firmly in the midst of a high-stakes critical week of his presidency.

BIDEN: It turns out capitalism is alive and very well. We're making serious progress to ensure that it works the way it's supposed to work.

MATTINGLY: With Biden's sweeping $4 trillion legislative agenda facing dual deadlines set by Democrats on Capitol Hill and no shortage of hurdles, the president moving Monday to flip a key attack line on his agenda, a persistent tangible rise in inflation on its head.

BIDEN: Some folks have raised worries that this could be a sign of persistent inflation. But that's not our view.

MATTINGLY: Seeking to counter the GOP push to sink his trillions in new spending on fears that have resonated nationwide.

BIDEN: If your primary concern right now is inflation, you should be even more enthusiastic about this plan.

MATTINGLY: All as bipartisan negotiators continue to press for a final agreement on an infrastructure deal that serves as the lynchpin to his agenda.

SEN. ROB PORTMAN (R-OH): We don't have a product yet and we won't have a product until we can finish the negotiations properly. Again, this is a complex bill. It involves several committees. It involves a lot of very tough issues because we've got to resolve them between us first.

MATTINGLY: And Democrats face their own deadline to coalesce around a $3.5 trillion budget proposal, which would massively increase the government's role in education, home-care, and paid leave, all as his administration continues to grapple with concerns about the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan with diplomatic missions releasing an urgent call to halt the Taliban's ongoing offensive which, quote, thwarts efforts to arrive at a negotiated solution to the conflict.

With the top U.S. official in Afghanistan Ross Wilson tweeting that the Taliban, quote, committed possible war crimes with the murder of 22 surrendering members of the Afghan Special Forces. CNN the first to broadcast the video of what Wilson called a savage crime, all underscoring the urgency to evacuate Afghans who have worked for the U.S. The administration informing Congress it plans to relocate a small group of Afghans who have applied for special immigrant visas to Fort Lee, the U.S. Army post in Virginia.


MATTINGLY (on camera): And, Jake, that small group is part of the individuals that have moved pretty far along in the extensive vetting process for those looking for those SIV opportunities, and the reality is just a small group out of a total of about 20,000 that have applied up to this point, there is very real recognition that while some are now moving to the U.S., others are being considered to move towards a third party. There is real work that needs to be done, and it needs to be done fast to get those who helped U.S. soldiers and helped U.S. personnel out of Afghanistan -- Jake.

TAPPER: That's right. Some have already been killed by the Taliban.

Phil Mattingly, thank you so much.

Joining us now to discuss the withdrawal from Afghanistan and more, Republican Congressman Mike Turner of Ohio. He's on the House Armed Services and Intelligence Committees.

Congressman, thanks so much for being with us.

So, you supported President Trump's decision to withdraw American troops from Afghanistan by May 1st of this year when he announced it. But you also say now that President Biden has abandoned Afghan forces.


How so?

REP. MIKE TURNER (R-OH): Well, you have a very big difference between what the Trump administration was doing and what the Biden administration was doing. The Trump administration was in active negotiations. The anticipation was with -- you know, the offering that a pullout was going to be -- to occur, that there could be negotiations where the Taliban could come to the table and a settlement could be reached.

The Biden administration where the president has said, we're not going to run for the exits, actually ran for the exits in the middle of the night. I mean, what has happened here is a real travesty. It's almost like a surrender as opposed to a withdrawal.

The Afghan military and the United States military were working hand in hand. And then when we abruptly leave, they're not given the baton fully. There's no real transition, there's no plan executable that was given to them.

Even the Afghan soldiers that you just played the video of them being murdered --


TURNER: -- it reportedly was that they ran out of bullets. Clearly, the plan wasn't in place for success, and that's what we really needed.

TAPPER: Yeah. I mean, the only thing I will say, I'm not taking issue with what you're saying, but the peace talks that were going on that Zalmay Khalilzad was leading, they didn't include the Afghan government. It was just between the U.S. and the Taliban. So I think a lot of people in the Afghan government felt like that was a recipe for disaster, too, in a way.

TURNER: Right. Well, you don't know what the outcome of those negotiations would've been. Would they have been successful, would they not have been successful? But the one thing that we do know, abruptly pulling out is not going to be successful. And it's going to put at risk not only United States but also Afghans.

The military is not prepared. We didn't help prepared them. We didn't give them a plan and now, we're in a situation where it's going to be more unsafe for Afghanistan and probably more unsafe for the United States.

TAPPER: Well, let's talk about what Phil was just reporting on, the Biden administration saying that it's going to relocate some of the Afghan allies who worked with our military and push them to a base in Fort Lee in Virginia, U.S. Army base. This is part of the larger effort to remove thousands of Afghan allies from the country before they get slaughtered by the Taliban.

TURNER: Right.

TAPPER: Do you support this?

TURNER: For sure.

TAPPER: I sense one of the hesitance -- hesitancies of the Biden administration is what you might expect, you bring 100,000 Afghans or however many ultimately are asking for safe harbor, and who knows what you have in that group of 100,000.

TURNER: Right, there's no question there has to be a vetting process. And even on the House this week, there's going to be a bill that's going to expand the eligibility for people for the special immigrant visas. But we have here is individuals not just that are risk because the United States has left and at risk because the Taliban might be seeking them. But they're at risk because they helped the United States.

TAPPER: Right, yeah.

TURNER: They were those who assisted us, and because of that, they placed their lives at risk and we need to help them.

TAPPER: And so, how many do you think should get visa? I think right now about 9,000 have completed the process. There are about 19,000, you know, with -- in various stages of the process applying for the pipeline. Do you think all of them should be approved, assuming they've asked some vetting or --

TURNER: Obviously, there's got to be a process. Not all of them need to come to the United States.

But the bill that's coming to the House floor does increase by thousands the number that are currently eligible. But I think the issue that we probably need to look to more with the administration is what are we going to do not just to make certain these individuals are safe, but what are we going to do to make sure that this transition results in the Afghan people and the United States being safe?

TAPPER: Would you be okay with these individuals coming to your district in Ohio? I mean, these are people who risked everything for us, but I -- you know, there's a degree of concern obviously.

TURNER: Well, I'm very comfortable with the vetting process and the special immigrant visa process, that's going to be in place, and the fact that these people are individuals already by their assistance to the United States have certainly pledged their loyalty, which is what is threatening their lives.

TAPPER: Today, the United States along with allies in Europe and Asia blame China for a series of ransomware attacks, including the massive hack of Microsoft. You're on the House Intelligence Committee. China's not facing any punishments from the United States as of right now, not even sanctions.

Is that a mistake? What do you think the U.S. should do?

TURNER: Well, definitely, this is an area that is going to be the challenge for the Biden administration. And right now, they don't have a coherent policy and they're going to need to come to a clear policy where there is a deterrent factor. Where in other words, people will have, you know, penalties and actions against them based upon hacking that occurs here.

Of course, it's Russia and China are both the nations of which the president has identified are sources of hacking in the United States and asking for, as you said, ransomware. This is going to be a difficult one because it's not just that these are private actors. These are state actors that are supporting these private actors and making certain that we hold those states accountable in ways that make a difference so that they will prevent this is what is going to be most important.

TAPPER: But how do you do that? Obviously, people talk about sanctions. I mean, I'm not suggesting this, but one proposal is the United States needs to be more aggressive with cyber hacking. I mean, do the lights need to go out in St. Petersburg for an hour to show Russia, hey, we're serious?

Again, I'm not proposing that. But what do you think works?

TURNER: Well, you know, even if that was the solution, we certainly wouldn't be able to discuss it on CNN.


TAPPER: Right.

TURNER: The president's going to have a smorgasbord of options in front of him which are going to include, as you just indicated, offensive measures. There's defensive measures also. There is also the world opinion in which we can operate and educate people as to what they're having. Bringing these things out into the public is probably one of the most

important aspects because as they try to operate where, you know, they have the cover of the Internet or anonymity, then there is some doubt. But bringing forth the information so it's clear that they're undertaking these actions, that also has a big impact.

TAPPER: I want to ask you about the current levels of inflation. You've criticized the Biden administration for the inflation is that currently it's at its highest point in 12 years. The White House says it's just temporary. It's just temporary.

President Biden said he's calling on Congress to pass the spending deal, infrastructure, the budget proposal because the president says those two plans will keep prices low and stable.

What do you think?

TURNER: The government spending never decreases prices. I mean, it obviously has an inflationary impact. And you just have to balance that to what's going on in the economy at the time.

Now, so far, we have some inflation that's happening in the economy as a result of the hangover, if you will, of the effects of what COVID did in our economy. You know, the trucking industry, other delivery, supply chains in which we see inflationary impacts.

But the infrastructure bill is important to do. Everyone sitting at home knows the conditions of the roads and bridges and highways that need to be done.

TAPPER: Yeah, it's embarrassing.

TURNER: But at the same time, these extra trillions and trillions of dollars that are not necessarily infrastructure, we've heard wild numbers between $3 trillion and $6 trillion additional, those do have an inflationary impact. You can't continue to spend and not have inflation. And the president needs to rein in some of this unnecessary spending.

TAPPER: It sounds like your mind is open to the bipartisan infrastructure bill. Is that fair?

TURNER: We need to do it, absolutely.

TAPPER: Oh, okay, great.

Congressman -- it's just interesting. I didn't know you had that position. Congressman Mike Turner, Republican of Ohio, thanks so much for being here today.

TURNER: Thank you.

TAPPER: I really appreciate it.

Be sure to tune in to CNN this Wednesday night for an exclusive presidential town hall. President Joe Biden joins us CNN's Don Lemon live. That's Wednesday at 8:00 p.m.

Coming up, America's pastime and America's epidemic. A shooting outside the Nationals' game in D.C. is just one of hundreds across the U.S. over the weekend. That's next.



TAPPER: America's plague of gun violence is regrettably our national lead today.

At least 150 people were shot and killed over the weekend, with 380 others wounded. This map only shows mass shootings, where four or more people either were shot or killed in a single incident on Saturday or Sunday, so it does not include Saturday's shoot-out outside Nats Park here in Washington, D.C., which forced the suspension of the baseball game.

Everyone in the stadium had to leave.

CNN's Omar Jimenez has new details on who the shooters were targeting.


ANNOUNCER: Ladies and gentlemen, your attention, please.

OMAR JIMENEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In the nation's capital, local police are searching for one of the cars involved in the shooting right outside the Nationals baseball game, Chicago's Police Department announcing a gun trafficking team to curb violence.

DAVID BROWN, CHICAGO, ILLINOIS, POLICE SUPERINTENDENT: The new gun investigation team will conduct mid-level and upper-level investigations into illegal gun sellers, straw purchasers and others responsible for firearm trafficking in Chicago.

JIMENEZ: And Philadelphia hitting a grim milestone, its 300th murder this year, something that hasn't happened by July since 1989, according to police.

It's all part of a surge in violence this year. Across the country, at least 150 people were killed in nearly 400 shootings in the last 72 hours, according to the National Gun Violence Archive.

Now the Biden Justice Department is sending firearms trafficking strike force teams to five cities in an effort to stop the rise in shootings across the country this year, D.C. one of those cities. Three people were injured in the shooting outside the stadium Saturday night.

ANNOUNCER: The action is outside of the stadium.

JIMENEZ: Inside the stadium, video showing fans and players scrambling for safety, including running into a dugout, mirroring the panic many experience in some neighborhoods every day. MURIEL BOWSER (D), MAYOR OF WASHINGTON, D.C.: Unfortunately, it looks

like two vehicles engaged in a -- some kind of gunplay. And, unfortunately, when people wantonly use guns, innocent people can get hurt.

PROTESTER: Say her name!


JIMENEZ: Less than 24 hours earlier, 6-year-old Nyiah Courtney was shot and killed in a drive-by shooting.

ANDREA COURTNEY, GRANDMOTHER OF NYIAH COURTNEY: And I pray that another child don't suffer in the way my granddaughter had to suffer.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's bad. It's really bad.

JIMENEZ: In Chicago, 11 people were killed, 56 people shot over the weekend. Eight of those victims were children, including an 8-year-old hitting the leg while riding in a car. So far this year in the city, murders are roughly even with the spike of 2020, but shootings remain over 10 percent higher.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I feel bad for the kids. I feel bad for the teenagers. I feel bad for the neighborhood in that sense. But it's happening all over.

JIMENEZ: In Philadelphia, a shooting on Saturday left a 1-year-old boy injured. There have been almost 1, 200 shootings so far this year, up from 938 through the same time last year in that city, according to police reports.



JIMENEZ: Now, from 2019 into last year, the murder rate jumped 25 percent, according to FBI data.

And we have seen some of that trend continue into this year. And, by the way, that's the biggest jump we have ever seen since the bureau began taking those statistics back in the '60s, Jake.

TAPPER: So, Omar, the murder rate is obviously just one part of the overall crime rate. But what can it tell us when it comes to crime?

JIMENEZ: Yes, Jake, so the murder rate alone can be a tricky indicator when it comes to judging trends in violence, since that classification depends on a number of factors, like access to health care, the type of weapons that are actually used.

So the more plain indicator of trends in violence comes from shootings and number of victim shots, since, at the very least, you have an indication that someone wanted to harm someone else. And you keep that caveat in mind when you look at the fact that, as high as the numbers were in 2020, we are way below what the peaks were for the United States in the '80s and '90s.

And that is still cold comfort to the people here that are still losing loved ones and to the cities seeing record numbers in that category. So, again, just a piece of a grim pie that we have seen develop very strongly over the course of last year and as we are seeing into this one as well.

TAPPER: Yes, people don't care that it was worse 30 years ago. They want to be safe and they don't want to lose their loved ones.

Omar Jimenez, thanks so much. Appreciate it.

An American gymnast testing positive for COVID, as 11,000 athletes from all over the world head to Japan.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta is in Tokyo looking at the effort to keep all of the athletes safe.

That's next.



TAPPER: In our sports lead: Kara Eaker, a member of the U.S. women's gymnastics team, tested positive for COVID while in Tokyo for the Olympics. She is one of four athletes who have tested positive so far. Her father says, thankfully, she has no symptoms.

The job of keeping the more than 11,000 athletes safe is an Olympic- sized endeavor.

CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta is in Tokyo and spoke with the man in charge of COVID control.


DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Last year, these stadiums sat empty, as Tokyo 2020 was officially postponed.

Many people assumed the Games simply wouldn't happen.

(on camera): But now they are happening. So I have made my way here to Tokyo to try and figure out exactly how they're going to pull this off.


GUPTA (voice-over): Postponing the Olympics again was no longer an option, due to international sports schedules.

So it was up to Dr. Bryan McCloskey, chair of an independent panel advising the International Olympic Committee on COVID-19 countermeasures, to figure out how to hold the Games in 2021. (on camera): Was it just going to be inevitable that the Games would

happen; you just had to figure out how to do it as safely as possible?

MCCLOSKEY: It was possible they could be canceled completely. And that was always part of our thinking, that we can only do this if we are satisfied that we can do it safely and securely.

GUPTA (voice-over): While we have seen other sports make it through seasons or tournament safely with little interruption, the Olympics bring a unique challenge. More than 11,000 athletes representing 206 different countries, states and territories will descend on an island nation that is currently fighting to keep the virus at bay.

(on camera): What is the risk of doing an event like this in the middle of a pandemic to the citizens of Japan, citizens that live in that area?

MCCLOSKEY: Since we first realized that coronavirus was going to be an issue for the Games, we're trying to maximize the separation between the international visitors coming in, the athletes and team officials, and the local population.

GUPTA (voice-over): This is why all spectators, both local and from abroad, have already been banned in Tokyo, and athletes' movements will mostly be confined here to the Olympic Village.

Beyond that strategy, McCloskey says the rest comes down to the pillars of public health.

MCCLOSKEY: Social distancing, physical distancing, wearing the mask, and their (INAUDIBLE) and hand hygiene.

They were always the fundamental core of what we knew would reduce the risk of COVID during the Games. And then we started to layer on top of that the testing strategy that we might have.

GUPTA: But that has not stopped the concern from both locals and other health experts, like epidemiologist Michael Osterholm.

DR. MICHAEL OSTERHOLM, DIRECTOR, UNIVERSITY OF MINNESOTA CENTER FOR INFECTIOUS DISEASE RESEARCH: One of the things that has been a concern is that they really planned this Olympics around the concept of hygiene theater.

GUPTA: To him, the organizers are missing a fundamental point.

OSTERHOLM: Originally, the plans were set up counting on this being largely a respiratory droplet, i.e., it falling within three to six feet of the individual who might be infected, when, in fact, as we now know, the primary means for transmission is actually through airborne transmission, aerosols, things that float in the air, like cigarette smoke.

GUPTA: So he thinks things like Plexiglas completely miss the mark, but makes masks even more important. Right now, the IOC playbook states that a face mask must be worn at

all times except when training, competing, eating, drinking, sleeping, or during interviews. But there is no specification for what type of mask should be worn.

OSTERHOLM: We already know the limited protection cloth masks play vs. N95s. They have provided no clear directions. They should be recommending N95 respirators.


GUPTA: Vaccines are also another crucial tool, but they are not required. Why? Well, requiring them could create an uneven playing field.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We were fairly confident that we would have vaccine by now, but we also knew if we had one, it wouldn't be equally available around the world, it wouldn't necessarily be in good supply.

GUPTA: Still, the IOC estimates more than 80 percent of residents of the Olympic village will be vaccinated. But that is still not clear the metaphorical cloud continuing to hang over the city as the world waits to see how this global event will fare in the face of a pandemic.


GUPTA (on camera): Now, Jake, I should tell you, Jake, that in order for us to be here, we had to get tested 96 hours before we took off from the States, 72 hours once we arrived here in Japan. All that in an effort to try and obviously find people who are infected, people who may potentially be contagious and have isolation and quarantine protocols in place.

It's challenging for sure. You got people coming from 200 different countries, states, and territories all over the world. No surprise I think, Jake, given that they're trying to do the Olympics in the middle of a pandemic in Japan where vaccination rate's around 12 percent now, and the numbers have been going up, no surprise that about 80 percent of people polled here in Japan would've preferred that the Olympics not happen here this year. Obviously in addition to people watching the games, there's going to be a lot of focus on the public health -- Jake.

TAPPER: All right, Sanjay Gupta in Tokyo, thank you so much for that report.

A close ally dealing with its, quote, worst natural disaster in a century, according to one official. The horrible aftermath and why it's a warning for here at home, next.



TAPPER: You're watching the aftermath of the deadly flooding across western Europe, the worst natural disaster in a century in that region, according to a German official, with almost 200 people dead and hundreds still missing. The catastrophe raising questions about missed early warning signs. The German environmental minister put it simply, quote, climate change has arrived in Germany.

Frederik Pleitgen is live in hard-hit city Ahrweiler, Germany, where German Chancellor Angela Merkel surveyed the damage earlier.

And, Fred, the Netherlands also had extreme rainfall but avoided deaths. What went wrong in Germany?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think one of the things that really happened is that the early warning signs were there, but they weren't necessarily translated, at least in this part of Germany into actually keeping people safe and keeping people out of harm's way.

It's one of the big things that folks are telling, is that the German weather service, they did say that there was going to be torrential rain. They said that there was going to be severe weather.

However, the authorities didn't necessarily -- and the folks here believe act on that the way that they probably should have. There were no evacuation orders. People were not told to perhaps go on the second story of their building.

So a lot of people, they were seeing all this rain come out but they really weren't bringing themselves into a safe place. There was one gentleman I spoke to today whose entire house was essentially completely destroyed. He was trying to clean up there today, and he said, yes, someone from the city came over and said to park the car somewhere else but didn't tell people to go into a different location.

I think a lot of people believe that that's something where the German authorities really need to up their game, and certainly with the climate emergency the way that it is, I think it really is donning on a lot of folks in this consider eye that this severe weather is a lot more dangerous than it has been in the past.

I'm from this part of Germany. This part of Germany has a lot of rain. It has not seen torrential rain like what we saw last Wednesday in a very, very long time. It's certainly something that caused the kind of damage you're seeing behind me and also the kind of carnage as well with more than a hundred people dead in this town alone, Jake.

TAPPER: Fred, what are officials saying about the search for survivors?

PLEITGEN: Well, that's still very much ongoing. And there are still hundreds of people who are missing. There was one number I think today that put it around 700 people who are still unaccounted for. That doesn't necessarily mean that those people will never be found again. That means they might be somewhere that they're out of reach.

But when you're in this town here, you can see helicopters overhead the entire time. They are still searching in the area. And, Jake, unfortunately, they also believe that the death toll could still rise significantly.

TAPPER: All right. Frederik Pleitgen in Ahrweiler, Germany, thank you so much for that report.

A Capitol rioter who breached the Senate has been sentenced. He'll be out in less than a year.

Stay with us.



TAPPER: Welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.

This hour, a Capitol rioter who was pictured inside the Senate pleading guilty to a felony and getting prison time, what that sentence could mean for the hundreds of other suspected domestic terrorists awaiting trial.

Amazon's founder about to be delivered to the edge of space, the second billionaire to blast off this month. We're live at the launch pad.

And leading this hour, another front opening up in the cyber wars. The U.S. and allies now blaming the government of China for a massive cyberattack on Microsoft and other ransomware attacks. The official announcement says that China's spy agency recruited criminals for a global hacking campaign and hid some of their stolen data inside digital photos, including one of former President Trump, to digitally smuggle the stolen info back to China.

And while the allegations are damning, the announcement today does not include any new proposed punishments on China or the hackers responsible, although President Biden says he's not ruled out further sanctions once the full investigation is complete.

CNN's senior national security correspondent Alex Marquardt kicks off our coverage this hour.