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The Lead with Jake Tapper
Police At Insurrection Feel Little Support From Union; Bipartisan Negotiators Reach Long Awaited Infrastructure Deal; Interview With U.S. Secretary Of Transportation Pete Buttigieg; Prolonging The Pandemic; Thousands Evacuate But Brothers Stay to Battle Nearby Blaze In California. Aired 4-5p ET
Aired July 28, 2021 - 16:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN HOST: By the way, my personal bathing regimen has improved markedly since we had these hours.
VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN HOST: Oh, really?
CAMEROTA: Yeah, you're getting the benefit of whatever John Berman had to suffer through with the lack of bathing.
BLACKWELL: I appreciate it. I appreciate the personal attention.
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BLACKWELL: "THE LEAD WIITH JAKE TAPPER" starts now.
JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST: Good news from Capitol Hill because I'm out of bridge puns.
THE LEAD starts right now.
Breaking today, finally, Senate Republicans say they've reached a deal with Democrats over major issues in that trillion-dollar infrastructure bill. Now the question, do they have the votes?
It's on them. Top health officials now saying the unvaccinated in the United States are putting the whole country in danger and paving the way for new COVID mutations, and most Americans are being told they might need to mask up again.
Plus, it's bigger than going for the gold. Simone Biles says she will not defend her title in the Olympic all around to focus instead on her mental health. Why this move could for many make her an even more inspiring role model.
TAPPER: Welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.
We start with the national lead and a response to the hearing we heard yesterday, a desperate call for support from some of the law enforcement officers who were viciously attacked during the January 6th Capitol attack. They say neither the Fraternal Order of Police, the largest police union in the United States, nor politicians who regularly claimed to back the blue have been supporting them enough.
Here's D.C. Metropolitan Police Officer Michael Fanone, one of four officers who testified in yesterday's select committee hearing, talking about politicians not supporting them enough on CNN today.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OFC. MICHAEL FANONE, DC METROPOLITAN POLICE DEPARTMENT: I mean, I would challenge all police officers not to take anyone's word for whether or not they support law enforcement officers. In fact, any American that's passionate about any cause should challenge their representatives to do things and not just say them.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: Since coming forward to describe their experiences months ago and then most notably yesterday, many of the police officers who protected the Capitol on January 6th have been smeared by MAGA politicians and MAGA media.
Normally, when police are even criticized, the national Fraternal Order of Police is very vocal. That's its job. But for this, Capitol and D.C. police officers say they're disappointed that their union has been so relatively quiet about their plight for months.
We raised the issue yesterday during a discussion on this channel with former D.C. and Philadelphia Police Chief Charles Ramsey. I asked where is the FOP in defending these officers? He had no idea.
Apparently, in response to this, FOP issued a press release referring back to a statement that it had issued on January 6th. A paper statement put out more than 200 days ago.
CNN's Josh Campbell now takes a look at why in the views of many of the heroes of January 6th public support, vocal support, vociferous support for them from some quarters seems to be paper-thin.
JOSH CAMPBELL, CNN SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Traumatized by the horrific experience of January 6th, those who are on the front lines want more support from the police union, which represents 350,000 officers nationwide.
FANONE: After January 6th, neither myself nor any other officer that I spoke to that experienced that day ever had any outreach from the National Fraternal Order of Police, zero.
CAMPBELL: Officer Michael Fanone says he decided to contact the Fraternal Order of Police six months after the insurrection.
FANONE: I'll be honest with you, I wasn't particularly impressed with that conversation.
CAMPBELL: Fanone tells CNN he asked the police union to publicly denounce those who have lied about the severity of the January 6th attack.
FANONE: Some that I found specifically offensive were the former president's remarks that it was a love fest between law enforcement and the insurrectionists.
DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There was also a love fest between the police, the Capitol Police, and the people that walked down to the Capitol.
CAMPBELL: But while the nation's largest police union has shied away from publicly condemning Republicans who have downplayed the attack on the officers at the Capitol, the organization has in the past been willing to condemn some progressives who have called for significant policing reform.
PATRICK YOES, PRESIDENT, NATIONAL FRATERNAL ORDER OF POLICE: I don't think anyone should be surprised that in cities that are the loudest in trying to defund police and trying to eliminate their police departments are the ones that are having the highest crimes and struggling with coming back.
CAMPBELL: An attorney for two of the officers who testified this week, Officers Harry Dunn and Aquilino Gonell, echoed Fanone's sentiments, blasting the FOP in a statement for not adequately supporting the officers involved in the insurrection, adding: There should be nothing to debate on these points.
You either stand with the officers or you stand with the terrorists.
The organization did issue a statement on January 6th praising officers and condemning the lawlessness. In a new statement Tuesday, the FOP again reiterated its support for the officers who fought back against the Capitol rioters, adding, we will be with them as they grieve and recover however long that may take.
Other requests Fanone said he made to the fop president included denouncing Republicans who voted against giving Capitol police officers medals for their heroism on January 6th and those he believes mischaracterized the shooting of one of the insurrectionists.
FANONE: And finally, I asked him to publicly denounce any active duty or retired law enforcement officer that participated in an insurrection at the Capitol. I have received no commitment as to any of those things, none whatsoever.
CAMPBELL (on camera): Now, Jake, these police unions wield significant power, particularly in Republican circles which is why so many of the officers who were there want organizations like the FOP to expend some of their political capital to speak up, to speak out, and denounce those who have downplayed the severity of that attack. Otherwise, in the words of Michael Fanone, who was never short on words, why the hell else did I pay my dues?
TAPPER: Right. It's not just for the local activists, it's for the national FOP to support these men and women in blue.
Josh Campbell, thanks so much.
Let's bring in Patrick Yoes. He's the president of the Fraternal Order of Police. He retired last year as a deputy from the St. Charles Louisiana Sheriff's Office.
So, Mr. Yoes, thanks so much for being here.
Law enforcement officers do so much to keep us all safe. We appreciate it.
I want to ask you, the four police officers who testified yesterday, they said they cannot move on until there is an investigation and accountability, not just for the criminals who attacked the Capitol but for those who hired the hitman, as one of the officers put it.
What is the position of the FOP on a commission or committee investigating January 6th?
YOES: Well, first, let me start by saying that the officers who bravely fought off the rioters and defended the Capitol on January 6th have been through hell. And they deserve our undying gratitude.
I've had very detailed conversations, too, with Officer Fanone. And I'm available to talk with him any time he wants even if it's just to talk. But I ask you to just keep in mind, we have 362,000 members across this country. And my job is to do my absolute best every day to provide them and their local unions the help and benefits and support that they need in order to service their members.
Our structure is a little different than maybe some other organizations. And I ask you to keep in mind that we're a very democratic organization. The FOP units and over 2,200 lodges interact independently with their own local governing bodies. And I have regular contact -- have had regular contact with the U.S. Capitol Police and the D.C. Metropolitan Police and their elected labor union leaders ready to offer any assistance we can to support them and their members.
So I know that their focus is on the health and recovery of nearly 200 law enforcement officers who receive various injuries that day, some incredibly serious. And I know that these labor committees are committed to the support of Mike in any way that they can as long as necessary.
TAPPER: All right. I get to Officer Fanone in a second. But just as a general principle, I understand you say this is a democratic organization, small-D democratic. Obviously, the FOP takes positions on issues. I read your Twitter
feed. I read your press releases. You're very vocal. You're very outspoken when it comes to issues like some of the judicial temperaments in big cities and defunding the police calls, et cetera, et cetera.
Do you have a position on an investigation into what happened on January 6th and all those police officers who were injured and some of whom in the days afterwards died?
YOES: So, yes, I absolutely do. And our position is well-documented. We've always said since January 6th that those that are responsible and those who have violated the law should be held accountable. It's my understanding that under the auspices of the District of Columbia's U.S. attorney's office that they're doing an investigation, and we will support the findings of that investigation.
But we are very vocal. But at the same time, I ask you to recognize that we have individual lodges that we coordinate our responses with. And we are working in concert with the two labor committees, the D.C. Metropolitan Police and also the U.S. Capitol Police.
TAPPER: Officer Fanone says in his private meeting with you when he asked where have you been, where is the FOP, you told him that you have to represent your membership. Fanone said that you told him that he shouldn't dwell on January 6th and you could offer the wellness program going forward. Is that your recollection?
YOES: No. I will tell you that I've had two detailed conversations with Officer Fanone. I did talk to him, called him specifically to talk to him about resources we had on a national level for wellness. But my conversation with Officer Fanone is that we needed to work and I wanted to facilitate a meeting with him and his labor committee to be able to discuss what his concerns are and we're prepared to do so. He's represented by the D.C. Metro Labor Committee, and it's important that we work together in finding some resolutions to what his concerns are.
TAPPER: Fanone says that if he had waited until your offer to get him the mental health help that he needs, he would be dead by now. Fanone says that he heard nothing from FOP in the days, the weeks, the months since the insurrection until he recently reached out to you.
Why not? Your union is very aggressive when it comes to backing the men and women in blue.
YOES: Well, I heard that comment as well. I will tell you that the D.C. Metro Labor Committee, which is the FOP, has been engaged in working with Officer Fanone. And I listen to his comments and I just feel for him. A job of law enforcement is very difficult. And the challenges that law enforcement officers deal with, the emotional strain, it takes a toll on all of us.
So, we recognize the wellness. And D.C. has -- D.C. Metro Labor Committee has a very sound wellness program we support.
TAPPER: Do you feel, because FOP endorsed Donald Trump and because so many members of FOP are Trump supporters, do you feel as though you can't as publicly as vocally as you want to, as you otherwise would, express support for the officers who defended the Capitol that day for fear of running afoul of Trump supporter FOP member who actually side with the insurrectionists as opposed to the police officers who protected the Capitol that day?
YOES: Well, I guess I take issue with the way that's framed. And if you allow me to, I'll explain. Yes, we did endorse President Trump, but please know that our process is probably only one in the labor -- police labor organization that actually allowed their members to participate in that process.
So that process is the will of the members. The election was held, the election is over. And since that day, we have worked very closely with the administration and with members of Congress on both sides of the aisle and continue to do so.
We've been very much engaged in the past Congress and in the present Congress working specifically more recent with Senator Booker and Senator Scott working on police reform because we feel it is vitally important as a nation that we work together and find some real solutions so that we can move forward and regain the trust in our community.
So we're very much engaged. We're trying to stay out of the partisan politics of it and stay strictly with the issues. And that's where we want to be. We want to find real solutions to problems and stay out of the political frame.
TAPPER: Well, MAGA -- media MAGA politicians are smearing police officers who are members of your union. They're smearing Harry Dunn, the Capitol police officer. They're smearing Metropolitan Police Department Officer Mike Fanone on Fox, on conservative media, all over the place. And I just don't see FOP out there decrying it in a way I think you would be if it was, for instance, somebody on MSNBC attacking a police officer.
Do you feel that you cannot be as supportive of the Capitol Police officers, of the Metropolitan Police Department officers as you would want to be because Trump supporters make up most of your union?
YOES: I don't -- I don't recognize or accept that characterization. I can tell you and I can provide documentation if you'd like of just how involved that the labor committees and the national has been involved. I don't think there's been a week that has gone by since January 6th that we have not been engaged in meaningful discussion and actions on behalf of that incident on that day.
So, to suggest that somehow we're ignoring it is not true. We provide and the labor committees have provided and continue to provide and will continue to provide all of the services that are needed for all of these officers because that is what our responsibility is. And as a free society, they were injured and damaged in the service of our communities, and it's our moral responsibility to take care for them and we'll continue to do so.
TAPPER: I'm talking about public expressions of support for them. You seem to stop being as vocal FOP on social media and in your press releases after January. And, like I said, these officers are being smeared.
And FOP regularly defends police officers. That's your job. I don't -- it's an important job. I don't see you doing it publicly.
Yes, you might be offering support for some of these officers behind the scenes, but, I mean, Laura Ingraham last night was giving out fake academy awards accusing your police officers of acting in their testimony.
YOES: Well, I'll tell you that several months ago, probably well into last year, I stopped watching news. So I don't know what Laura Ingraham gave or not.
TAPPER: That's not news.
YOES: All I can tell you what we do in Fraternal -- well, you call it what you want. I'm saying that I don't watch news programs. I focus on what the issue is and I'm not going to get into the political side of this.
In this case, we're dealing with officers that we owe a debt of gratitude to. They've defended our nation's Capitol on January 6th, and we owe them, we owe them everything we can to protect them.
And that has been our position all along. It's been a position of the labor committee from both the D.C. Metropolitan Police and also the U.S. Capitol Police. And we'll continue to do so.
TAPPER: Well, I agree that we owe them, and I think that we owe them more than cable news anchors expressing support for them and politicians expressing support for them. I think that a lot of these Capitol and Metropolitan Police Officers want their union to be more vocally standing up and defending them and not thinking that doing so is partisan politics.
YOES: I can tell you that I have no doubt having worked closely with their two labor unions that they are very much engaged in discussions, they're very much engaged in the representation of their members and the National Fraternal Order of Police stands ready to provide them with any resources and support that they request of us.
TAPPER: Well, thank you for taking care of our men and women in blue as a general matter.
Patrick Yoes, we appreciate your time today.
YOES: Thank you.
TAPPER: Key senators say they finally, for real this time, have a deal on a trillion dollars infrastructure bill. But Speaker Pelosi is saying she'll believe it literally when she sees it.
And the new urgent warning that those choosing not to be vaccinated could cost us all.
Stay with us.
TAPPER: We have some breaking news for you in our politics lead -- a possible deal at last on infrastructure. The White House and bipartisan negotiators announcing today that they believe they've worked out the kinks on major issues and they could move forward with a test vote as soon as tonight.
The top line two sources tell CNN the bill will include $550 billion in new spending over the next five years, including huge sums for bridges, rails, clean energy, high speed Internet among other matters.
One of the key players, Democratic Senator Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona says that President Biden is on board and, quote, very excited.
Joining me live with the latest, CNN's Ryan Nobles on Capitol Hill and Phil Mattingly traveling with the president near Allentown, Pennsylvania.
Ryan, let's start with you. Does this deal have the votes in the Senate? Sixty votes.
RYAN NOBLES, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: It seems like it does, at least at this stage, Jake. Of course there's going to be a test vote on this to move the package forward before there's a final vote here in the Senate. And the Senate really may not be the problem with this package. It seems as though there are enough Republican and Democratic votes to at least get this bipartisan package through.
The bigger issue may come in the House of Representatives and that's because many house leaders including the speaker herself Nancy Pelosi have said that they are not going to pass this bipartisan infrastructure package if it's not coupled with that much broader $3.5 trillion reconciliation package.
And there was a speed bump along those lines today because Kyrsten Sinema, who you mentioned, who is one of the key negotiators, the Democrat from Arizona in the bipartisan package, said that she's not yet on board with that big $3.5 trillion package.
Now, even though these are two separate pieces of legislation, both the White House, Chuck Schumer, and Nancy Pelosi have said that they're moving along dual tracks, meaning you can't have one without the other.
Now, Sinema said she's open to the budget resolution passing, which means she appears willing to negotiate. But even though they're going to get a big victory here with this bipartisan package getting through the Senate. Jake, it is a sign that is still a long road to go before both things are passed through the Congress, and then eventually making it to President Biden's desk.
TAPPER: All right. Let's go to Phil in Pennsylvania. Phil, how does President Biden feel about this deal?
PHIL MATTINGLY, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Jake, the president told reporters earlier today he was confident in the deal. You can't really overstate how much the president wanted this deal for a number of different reasons.
But perhaps most primarily because of the investment in physical infrastructure, hundreds of billions of dollars of generational investment to some degree but also an acknowledgment that bipartisanship which the president has touted and talked about can work, just released a very lengthy statement saying, in part, of course, neither side got everything they wanted in this deal, but that's what it means to compromise and forge consensus, the heart of democracy.
As the deal goes to the entire Senate, there will still be plenty of work ahead to bring this home, noting the president does in this statement, that this is going to be a process, there will still be disagreements going ahead, but saying that the merits of the bill should get it across the finish line.
And also it's worth pointing out, and Ryan kind of hit the key dynamics here, there's the bipartisan aim which the president is certainly effusive in his support of. But there's also a simple math. They could not get that second piece of the proposal that, $3.5 trillion proposal if they did not get an infrastructure deal. That's what Joe Manchin wanted. That's what Kyrsten Sinema wanted.
They are one step closer with this agreement, but obviously, Jake, still a long road ahead.
TAPPER: All right. Phil Mattingly, Ryan Nobles, thanks to both of you.
Let's talk now to the Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg.
Mr. Secretary, thanks for joining us.
We don't know much about this deal, so tell us, walk us through the framework. What are the top line numbers and how, if at all, are you going to pay for it?
PETE BUTTIGIEG, U.S. SECRETARY OF TRANSPORTATION: So what you have in this bill is that historic generational investment that the president has been talking about. We're talking about the biggest dedicated investment in bridges since the Eisenhower administration when they set up the interstate highway system in the first place. Talking about the biggest investment in public transit that we've ever done as a country, the most for passenger rail since Amtrak was set up. It's got funding to take lead out of the pipes that take drinking
water to our kids, funding to get Americans connected to broadband, so many things that are so long overdue.
And I think it's extraordinary in today's Washington to see, frankly, Democratic and Republican senators agreeing on much of anything, let alone a major area of domestic policy. But that's what this deal represents, and this is a big step toward getting it turned into law, signed by the president, and enacted so that agencies across the administration including mine can start deploying those dollars and getting them out to the communities that need them.
TAPPER: And how are you going to pay for it? Or are we just going to send the bill to future generations?
BUTTIGIEG: No, this is paid for with a combination of several measures. This includes repurposing dollars that went unspent from some of the previous rounds of COVID relief -- although it's important to mention that we insisted that there would be no diversion of rescue plan dollars for transit or other important infrastructure uses. It includes a number of adjustments on the corporate side.
And let's remember that infrastructure is one of those things that actually pays for itself. You look at the macroeconomic growth that this is going to lead to. And that's not just us saying it. This is independent economists analyzing this, talking about how much more the economy will grow, how many more millions of jobs the economy will create if we do this and advance the president's economic vision. And this really is a winner.
TAPPER: So, theoretically, you might have a deal in the Senate. You still have the House of Representatives to deal with.
"Politico" reports that the chairman of the House Transportation Committee, Peter DeFazio, a Democrat, is angry. He says he was iced out of negotiations.
Yesterday, he called the Senate plan crap. He said, quote, I could give a damn about the White House. We're an independent branch of government. They cut this deal. I didn't sign off on it, unquote.
Is his frustration justified? Were key players iced out?
How do you get it through the House if you don't have the support of the chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee who's a Democrat?
BUTTIGIEG: Well, as the president said, nobody got everything that they wanted in this deal. That's part of the nature of compromise and, certainly, any kind of bipartisan negotiation.
Let me also tell you I have huge admiration for Chairman DeFazio. I was with him in his district just a couple of weeks ago, and the House has done extraordinary work on transportation policy. Of course, this speaks to the Senate's part of the process, and then this only moves once the House has been prepared to act on and support this too. But we're confident that we can get there. This represents priorities
that not just in both parties and both chambers but across America we want and need.
You know, we just saw another wave of endorsements and statements from business leaders, from mayors, from labor leaders. It is not that often that you have the largest business groups and labor unions across the country on the same page on an issue of economic policy. Mayors and governors from both parties saying let's get this done.
Of course, there's more to be done. There are details, there's policy issues that are very important alongside the dollar amounts. But what we have here is a major step closer to getting this done and getting this delivered.
TAPPER: But if DeFazio who's a progressive and the chairman of the relevant committee in the House calls this deal -- calls this legislation, in his words, crap, how are you going to get support from all the Democratic progressives in the Senate and the House? That's a big chunk. You're going to need every one of them.
BUTTIGIEG: Well, there are a lot of priorities that he and his House colleagues care about, good priorities, that have an opportunity to be addressed in this plan, in this deal as it moves forward. Obviously, a lot of complicated dynamics between the House and the Senate that have to be worked through in order to get this finalized onto the president's desk for his signature.
But again this represents a historic moment. Not in my entire lifetime and in my ways not in the lifetime of the United States of America have we been prepared to do something like we're about to do, if this goes through for public transit, for example.
This is a historic investment in the future, and not just making up for the failure to invest that we've inherited from the past that's been catching up to us, but doing the things we need to on our ports and airports, on our roads and bridges, on forms of infrastructure that nobody was talking about a few years ago like broadband.
And I think that the enormous momentum and support that this has among the American people, as well as from members of both parties in both chambers and, of course, the enthusiastic support of the president and this administration, I believe we're going to get this done.
TAPPER: Let me ask you a question about COVID, since, unfortunately, it's surging back across much of the country.
Mr. Secretary, I have heard progressives and others out there saying it might be time to require vaccinations in order to be able to get on an airplane in this country, for two reasons. One, it would boost vaccinations. Two, it's unfair to continue to have the vaccinated people in this country have to bend over backwards to the will of the unvaccinated people, people who are willingly unvaccinated, not those who are too young or not able to get the vaccine. What do you think of that? What do you think of this proposal to
require vaccinations to be able to get on an airplane?
BUTTIGIEG: Well, we have taken a different approach that really emphasizes measures that we know make a difference, whether we're talking about masks or things like contact tracing, that may be important for the future of international travel.
But one thing is for sure, which is that the more Americans get vaccinated, the more we can move to that normal that we're all hoping to get to, whether it's getting rid of masks, or whether it's being able to fully and safely reopen international travel, which, of course, hasn't happened yet.
The fastest way to do that and something that everybody can play a role in by either getting vaccinated yourself or encouraging loved ones who, remember, are often more likely to listen to you, a loved one, than they are to listen to me, an administration official, that's how we actually get there.
And I think there's -- obviously, there's been enormous progress, but we have clearly got a long way to go.
TAPPER: Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, thanks for your time today. We appreciate it.
BUTTIGIEG: Good being with you. Thanks.
TAPPER: Masks are back.
Could indoor dining or sports go next? How those refusing to get the vaccine are prolonging this pandemic, according to experts.
Stay with us.
TAPPER: In our health lead today: top health officials saying over and over people yet to get a vaccine have allowed COVID to spread at dangerous levels.
They are putting those who are vaccinated at a greater risk, they say. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, CHIEF MEDICAL ADVISER TO PRESIDENT BIDEN: People not getting vaccinated not only is a bad thing for them. It could actually interfere in a negative way with the rest of the country by generating variants that would elude the vaccines.
DR. ROCHELLE WALENSKY, CDC DIRECTOR: This is a situation that is created by more and more transmission of the Delta virus among people who are unvaccinated. (END VIDEO CLIP)
TAPPER: The CDC says that in the coming days new data will show just how much breakthrough cases have become a concern.
That's where fully vaccinated people contract COVID. And while their chances of severe illness remain low, the chance that they, even though they're vaccinated, could become infectious is higher than with other variants of the virus, putting children and people with compromised immune systems and those Americans refusing to get vaccinated at risk.
As CNN's Athena Jones shows us now, the highly aggressive Delta variant, combined with millions not heeding warnings from health experts, is eroding too much of the progress that has already been made.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WALENSKY: This is a situation that is created by more and more transmission of the Delta virus among people who are unvaccinated.
ATHENA JONES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As new daily coronavirus cases in the U.S. surge to levels not seen since April, government officials and health experts are increasingly pointing the finger at the unvaccinated, who are driving the need for new masks, vaccine and testing mandates.
DR. TONYA JAGNEAUX, LSU HEALTH SCIENCES CENTER: They are consuming our health care resources.
JONES: Hospitalizations nationwide up some 35 percent over the past week, new case numbers especially bad in low vaccination states in the South.
JAGNEAUX: If you have to go to the hospital for anything else, we may be at shortage of giving you the standard of care you expect.
JONES: Hospitals in Louisiana overwhelmed.
DR. CATHERINE O'NEAL, OUR LADY OF THE LAKE REGIONAL MEDICAL CENTER: The E.R. physicians coming into the meeting look a little shell- shocked. They're asking about things like, I need some more oxygen tanks.
JONES: And in Springfield, Missouri:
STEVE EDWARDS, PRESIDENT AND CEO, COXHEALTH: We have actually brought in a portable piece of technology that allows bodies to be cooled in a place outside the morgue. So we have had to expand that because the mortality has gone up so much lately.
JONES: More than two-thirds of the country lives in a high or substantial transmission county where COVID is spreading so quickly the CDC says everyone should mask up indoors in public spaces.
The surgeon general explaining that with the more contagious Delta variant dominating the country:
DR. VIVEK MURTHY, U.S. SURGEON GENERAL: For those people who have the unusual breakthrough infections that sometimes happen in a small percentage of vaccinated people, they actually are able to transmit to other people, which is different than what we saw with breakthrough infections with other versions of COVID-19.
JONES: With the CDC is new guidance, and the Biden administration set to announce a vaccine or testing mandate for all federal workers, more cities and localities are doing the same.
Los Angeles now requiring all municipal workers to get vaccinated or be tested weekly, joining the state of California and New York City, which announced similar mandates this week, state workers in New York facing the same rules starting September 6.
And New York Governor Andrew Cuomo today announcing all patient-facing health care workers in state hospitals must get vaccinated, with no testing option.
GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D-NY): I think we need dramatic action to get control of this situation.
JONES: Starting tomorrow, some 300 bars in San Francisco will require patrons to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test if they want to sit indoors.
JONES: And there's more news on mandates.
Florida's Miami-Dade County, where the mayor says the COVID test positivity rate is over 10 percent, is reinstating mask mandates inside all county facilities. There's also some welcome news on the vaccine front.
The daily pace of people getting their first shot of COVID vaccine is -- has increased 35 percent over last week's pace to the highest level in three weeks -- Jake.
TAPPER: All right, Athena Jones, thanks so much.
Let's talk about this with CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta.
Sanjay, the CDC director, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, told CNN that the new mask guidance came after a review of breakthrough cases. That's where people fully vaccinated still get COVID. We should note the vaccine reduces the risk of a severe infection.
But, more importantly, as far as the CDC is concerned now, the fact that these breakthrough cases, these individuals could become infectious, contagious and harm those who are not vaccinated. So, right now, this new guidance is for those in COVID hot spots. But let's be realistic.
It's the summer. People are around. They're traveling. They're not checking the CDC's hot spot map every day. Do you think ultimately that this mask guidance will, should go for the entire country?
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: That's a great point, Jake.
And I think that it may, because even yesterday, when we talked, you may remember I told you that D.C. was considered moderate transmission. And then, shortly thereafter, it was changed to substantial transmission in D.C.
So it's tough to keep track of, for sure. And as you point out, as we go into the cooler and drier months, places that are moderate are likely to move to substantial.
The other thing I will say is there's probably places around the country, not that many, but a few places where they have really high vaccination, very low transmission. And those are probably places where people have been very diligent about wearing masks anyway. So maybe it wouldn't matter much in those places, these new guidelines, because they are already doing it.
But I think you're right. I mean, it's a lot to ask of people to check this every day. You could think of it like the weather, like, am I going to take my umbrella, am going to I can take my mask? But maybe that's too much to ask right now.
TAPPER: I'm seeing publicly a lot of officials, responsible people, not just the quacks that we have seen, talking about how they're not sure how the CDC made this decision about this new mask guidance.
The CDC director has said we're going to see their data on breakthrough infections in the coming days. Until now, however, the CDC has only put out numbers on these severe breakthrough cases, where people who, despite being vaccinated, ended up in the hospital or even died.
From your reporting, what do we expect this new data to show?
GUPTA: Well, first of all, we really do need to see this data. I mean, you make a recommendation like this that's a significant one, affects two-thirds of the country, we deserve to see the data on this.
And I'm not sure why we haven't yet. It's not been published, but they're obviously making big decisions based on it. What -- I have talked to Dr. Walensky, and what I think it's going to show, based on what she has told me, is that the overall amount of virus that someone carries, even if they have been vaccinated and develop a breakthrough infection, is going to be very similar to an unvaccinated person who's been infected.
As you point out, the vaccinated person may not even know it because the vaccines work really well at preventing them from getting sick, but they could still transmit the virus. In addition to that, she has also talked about the fact they now have outbreak studies, so not just showing that there's the same amount of virus in the nose and mouth, but that in fact it is leading to transmission, and they're following these transmission chains.
But we have to see this data. It's really important to continuously point out that the biggest problem here is unvaccinated people transmitting to unvaccinated people. Even if this data is what Dr. Walensky talks about, that's still a small percentage of the viral transmission that's happening in this country.
Those are the -- quote, unquote -- "rare" breakthrough cases that are leading to that sort of transmission. Big problem is unvaccinated to unvaccinated.
Given the contagious Delta variant that's spreading and getting -- the fact that also that we're getting closer to the cooler months, where more people are indoors, do places around the country, cities, businesses, et cetera, need to rethink the idea of indoor dining being OK, or fans filling the stadiums at sporting events, or employers starting to bring staff back to the office?
Do we need to start going backwards in that direction as well? And let me emphasize, I don't want to do that. I'm not pushing for that. But do you think that that's going to happen?
Are we on that trajectory?
GUPTA: Yeah. I mean, I don't want that to happen either, but I think it is on that trajectory. We're already seeing it. Some of the same conversations that were taking place at this time last year are happening again.
I mean, I think the good news in this, Jake, still is that the vaccines have done such an incredible job at reducing hospitalizations and deaths overall. We could almost predict as cases went up how much hospitalizations would go up a few weeks later and how much deaths would go up. Now, the hospitalizations and deaths are going to be very blunted because of these vaccines, at least in the vaccinated population.
But, yeah, I think it's probably going to be a little bit like what the transportation secretary was telling you that it's not so much that the vaccines will be mandated in those areas, but they're going to say, hey, here's what your life is going to look like if you're vaccinated and here's what your life is going to look like if you're not in terms of the access of things you can do.
TAPPER: Dr. Sanjay Gupta, thanks so much. Appreciate it.
Coming up, man versus fire. The brothers who are planning their own last stand against California's largest wildfire.
Stay with us.
TAPPER: The latest in our "Earth Matters" series now. All the normal problems that would typically go with midsummer are being exacerbated by the disastrous effects of climate change now -- extreme record- breaking heat affecting 45 million Americans from the Northwest across the center of the nation and into the Southeast, a threat of severe storms with damaging winds in the Upper Midwest. Plus, wildfires that so far this year have burned an area bigger than Delaware and Rhode Island combined, which brings us to today's "Earth Matters" reports.
CNN's Camila Bernal found some brothers who are trying to take a do- it-yourself approach to firefighting.
CAMILA BERNAL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As the flames from the Dixie Fire burn out of control --
POLICE OFFICER: They picked up some heat signals here a few days ago.
BERNAL: -- authorities issue evacuation orders.
POLICE OFFICER: That's why they evacuated 147.
BERNAL: But while many of the more than 16,000 under these orders have left, others like Jason Ackley are choosing to stay.
JASON ACKLEY, REFUSING TO EVACUATE: And we got sprinklers.
BERNAL: His wife and son have already evacuated.
But instead, he and his brother are working on their own fire line.
ACKLEY: We're really trying to take the fuel down so we can't get it up into the crown of the trees and stuff.
BERNAL: The fire getting within about a quarter mile of the property.
ACKLEY: It was a big scare, but this is everything. This is all we have. This is what we fight for. I mean, if we don't have this, where are we going to go?
BERNAL: The almost 218,000 acre fire has already destroyed almost 40 structures and over 10,000 others are at risk.
SERENA BAKER, BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT CENTRAL CALIFORNIA: No structure is ever worth a human life.
BERNAL: People here in Indian falls had enough time to evacuate. But when they come back in a week or two, this is what they're going to find. If you look at this home here, the only thing left standing is the staircase. Two of the cars were left here in the driveway. Of course they are completely destroyed.
If you look here, it's just a piece of what used to be the rim of this car. Firefighters telling me they were here until the very end trying to save as many homes as possible, but it just became too dangerous.
The Dixie Fire is California's largest wildfire this year, and the 14th largest in state history. With severe drought conditions continuing across the Western U.S., wildfires becoming larger and more frequent.
BAKER: We are seeing that wild land fires in California are growing in size, complexity, and frequency.
BERNAL: It's something that Ackley acknowledges. He knows he's putting his life on the line. But instead points to managing the forest and says it's what he will do until the very end.
ACKLEY: When we see them red lights and them guys getting ready to go, I mean, we'll turn the sprinklers on and we'll make our last-minute prayer and see what we can do. But at that point we're going to stand here together. We've already decided that from day one.
BERNAL (on camera): And these firefighters, these brave men and women are spending about 12 hours here at base camp in the tents that you see here behind me, and then another 12 hours in the middle of the fire in the middle of the smoke doing anything they can to stop those flames.
Containment is at 23 percent, and the fire is being described to me as sleepy and as stubborn but they expect it to essentially wake up within the next couple of hours when the weather changes. All of this making it more dangerous for the firefighters and also for these people who are not leaving despite being under evacuation orders -- Jake.
TAPPER: All right. CNN's Camila Bernal, stay safe and thank you.
CNN tried to ask the governor of Florida about the state's explosion in COVID cases. What did he have to say? That's next.
TAPPER: Welcome to THE LEAD. I'm Jake Tapper.
This hour, President Biden says Russia is already interfering in the next election. So, why are officials from the Biden administration meeting with Russian officials if they continue to ignore Biden's demands? We'll talk to a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Plus, CNN live in Cuba as elite special forces seem to shut down more protests with participants swiftly jailed and charged. And leading this hour, the nation now stumbling backwards, advised by
the CDC to mask back up in most places from the casino floor in Vegas to the floor of House of Representatives, all because, officials say, about 40 percent of eligible Americans are choosing not to get vaccinated.
The state of Florida is one major hot spot of concern right now with all of its 67 counties once again considered areas of high transmission.
CNN's Rosa Flores chased down the governor literally to try to ask Governor DeSantis how Florida is planning to respond to this new surge.
AGNES VELASQUEZ, DAUGHTER HOSPITALIZED WITH COVID: I come here and ask you for the healing for my baby.
ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Agnes Velasquez has not left her 15-year-old daughter's side since she was placed on a ventilator in a Florida hospital about ten days ago.