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Don Lemon Tonight

Less and Less People Getting their Vaccine Shots; Older People May Need Booster Shots; Division Among GOP Over Vaccine Efficacy; President Biden Under Pressure to Pass Voting Rights Legislation; Vaccine Efficacy May Wane Over Time. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired July 23, 2021 - 22:00   ET




DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Thanks for joining us, everyone. This is Don Lemon Tonight.

Did you think this would happen? Did you think we'd have miracle vaccines, the envy of the entire world and so many of us would just refuse to just roll up our sleeves and get the shots? We have all vaccines that we could ever need. Some states may actually need to start getting rid of unused doses because there is just not enough interest, the waste of human life and lifesaving doses, no other way to describe it. It is really sickening, literally.

The CDC saying that the daily average of people getting fully vaccinated is hitting another low, the lowest it's been since the end of January. And this is happening as the Delta variant is fueling outbreaks all across this country, more than 43,000 new COVID cases every day, 43,000 more than 43,000 every single day. That's what vaccine he is take is doing to us.

The Biden administration health official telling CNN, quote, "we are seeing the consequences of what we have been warning about for a month. It's serious and it's spreading faster than was anticipated." That's a quote. Both Biden and Trump's surgeon's general came on CNN and said even vaccinated people might want to mask up.


VIVEK MURTHY, U.S SURGEON GENERAL: Those are all circumstances where people may make the decision to actually go the extra mile, be cautious and wear masks especially in indoor settings.

JEROME ADAMS, FORMER U.S. SURGEON GENERAL: If you're in a high prevalence area, then please listen to your health and consider masking up even if you're vaccinated. But if you're unvaccinated especially, mask it up.


LEMON: How often do you see that kind of agreement, right? The New York Times reporting senior administration officials expect people who are, listen to this closely, people who are 65 and older or who have compromised immune systems, they will likely need a booster shot from Pfizer or Moderna. Sixty-five and older if you're immune compromised, Pfizer and Moderna, you might need to get a booster shot. OK? So, pay close attention.

But that's happening as some Florida hospitals have more COVID patients than before, even with 48 percent of Florida fully vaccinated. The governor of my home state, John Bel Edwards saying that Louisiana is in its fourth surge of COVID infections with only 36 percent of the state fully vaccinated. Louisiana now has the highest growth rate in cases per capita in the entire country. And the governor is calling for new measures including mask wearing indoors for everyone.


GOV. JOHN BEL EDWARDS (D-LA): This really is the perfect storm. And the conditions are ripe for catastrophic outcomes for far too many individuals and families.


LEMON: Louisiana, a red state but not just Democrats like the governor is a Democrat. It's not just like our Democratic Governor Edwards who see the writing on the wall. Now Republicans are catching on with more and more red state governors speaking out.


GOV. JIM JUSTICE (R-WV): You've got to get vaccinated now, and so all I would say is this Delta thing is coming.

GOV. MARK PARSON (R-MO): Unvaccinated Missourians are the primary target of this new COVID-19 strain.


LEMON: You need to turn up for the volume for this one because I want you to listen to Alabama Governor Kate Ivey. Her state is only 33.9 percent vaccinated. She's very blunt about who is to blame.


GOV. KATE IVEY (R-AL): The new cases in COVID have accounts of unvaccinated folks almost 100 percent of the new hospitalizations are with unvaccinated folks and the deaths certainly occurring with unvaccinated folks.

These folks are choosing a horrible lifestyle of self-inflected pain. It is time to start blaming the unvaccinated folks, not the regular folks. It's the unvaccinated folks that are letting us down.


LEMON: Governor Kaye Ivey. But let's remember, a Republican. Red state. Let's remember, those unvaccinated people are not just the people who are vaccine hesitant or resistant who believe the misinformation. Let's remember that children under 12 cannot get vaccinated yet. And it's up to the rest of us to protect them.


And with all of this going on with that Delta variant changing everything, the GOP is split right down the middle. On one side you have governors like Kaye Ivey, lawmakers like Mitch McConnell urging people to get vaccinated. On the other side, you have people like the -- I hate talking about her but she's spreading misinformation, the QAnon congresswoman who in the face of rising COVID cases across the country still spreading lies claiming that Democrats want panic so that they can control you. OK, whatever.

This after she compared vaccination outreach efforts to Nazi era brown -- brownshirts. She's an elected official. What the -- what? First the misinformation and the division took its toll on January 6 when violent rioters stormed the United States Capitol. Now it is taking its toll on our health, everyone's health. Because when you don't get vaccinated, you're affecting other people's health.

I want you to listen to Republican Senator Tom Cotton who apparently thinks it is a bad thing for what he calls public health bureaucrats to consider what's the best interest of public health. Yes. He actually said that.


SEN. TOM COTTON (R-AK): If you just turn these decisions over to a bunch of public health bureaucrats, of course the only thing they are going to consider is what they think is in the best interest of public health.


LEMON: Duh. Yes, because that's their job. It's right there in the title. Come on, Tom Cotton. And listen to the congressional Republicans. Most of them doctors turning a discussion of the Delta variant into, wait for it, Democrat bashing.


REP. STEVE SCALISE (R-LA): This is an evil virus. It's killed over 600,000 Americans, millions worldwide and yet, Speaker Pelosi refuses to hold a hearing on how this started.

REP. ELISE STEFANIK (R-NY): Every American has been negatively impacted in some way by the COVID-19 virus. The question is, why are Democrats stonewalling our efforts to uncover the origin of the COVID virus.

UNKNOWN: How many of the Democrats are willing to say whether or not they've been vaccinated?

UNKNOWN: It our patriotic duty to care for other people but also our patriotic duty to understand that we have individual rights in this country.


LEMON: Boy. And then there's what's going on over at the Fox propaganda network where Steve Hayes led into what he called Charlatans and hucksters on the right last night.


STEVE HAYES, FOX NEWS CONTRIBUTOR: The only reason we're having this debate about potentially having to go back to masks is because you have irresponsible people who are pretending that there is no difference between vaccine -- between being vaccinated and between being unvaccinated.

Many of those are Charlatans and hucksters on the right just asking questions mode pretending that there's really not much to know about being unvaccinated versus being vaccinated or that there's not real scientific evidence that being vaccinated provides an advantage, a significant advantage to surviving to avoiding getting infected in the first place and surviving any COVID infection that you have.


LEMON: Yes, that didn't go well. That left a mark, I'm sure whoever he's talking to disagreed being not laid with the truth. So, you know, Charlatans and hucksters on the right, huh, paging the QAnon congresswoman, paging Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham.

Now the fact is that there are people over on that network in all honesty who have talked about the importance of getting vaccinated and some of them are taking COVID seriously. We told you the other night that Sean Hannity said he believes in the science of vaccination, you know the vaccinations that could save your life but apparently, for some reason, he didn't like getting credit for that because now he is saying this.


SEAN HANNITY, HOST, FOX NEWS: I never told anyone to get a vaccine. I've been very clear. I am simply not qualified. I am not a medical doctor. I know nothing about your medical history or your current medical condition. I think it inappropriate for me to do so.


LEMON: That's a cop-out, Sean. You know better than that. You know better than that. If you believe in the science, you just said it all but without saying it. It's always like a hesitation. I believe in the science but check with your doctor and all these caveats. It's shameful.

It just shows you how crazy this has gotten when Sean Hannity feels like he has to backtrack after saying that it makes sense for many people, many Americans to get vaccinated, bBacktracked from the truth that the base doesn't want to hear. [22:10:04]

The misinformation that is taking its toll on our health is just like the misinformation that took its toll on January 6th. That's when violent rioter stormed the United States Capitol when they stormed the halls of Congress, hunting for lawmakers, when they beat hero police officers trying to defend seat of our democracy to within an inch of their lives.

Now the House select committee on January 6th is set to start hearings next week. That, as Democrats are at odds over the battle for voting rights, our most sacred rights as Americans, rights generations of us have fought and died for just days ahead of a Selma style march in Texas where a restrictive bill was stalled from Democratic when Democratic lawmakers fled the state.

Civil rights leaders are urging the White House to do more to fight for black and brown voters. I'm going to talk to one of the marchers, the former Democratic Congressman and presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke, that in just a few minutes.

But I want you to listen to this exchange. This is an exchange I had with the president of the United States Joe Biden. It was at our CNN town hall.


LEMON: This is important for people who look like me. My grandmother would sit around when I was a kid, fifth grade, --


LEMON: -- had a fifth-grade education. I learned that she couldn't read when I was doing my homework. She would tell me stories about people asking her to count the number of jelly beans in the jar --


LEMON: -- or the soap and -- so why is protecting the filibuster, is that more important than protecting voting rights, especially for the people who fought and died for that?


BIDEN: No, it's not. I want to see the United States Congress, the United States Senate pass S1 and S4, The John Lewis Act and get it to my desk so I can sign it.


BIDEN: But here is the deal, what I also what to do, I want to make sure we bring along, not just all the Democrats, we bring along Republicans who I know - know better, they know better than this. And what I don't want to do is get wrapped up right now in the argument whether or not this is all about the filibuster.


LEMON: The right for your vote to be counted in a free and fair election, that's what it's about. That's what those rioters at the capitol were trying to take away. It all comes back to this. The lies and misinformation took their toll on January 6th.

Now, those lies that misinformation taking their toll on our health because you know that Delta variant, it is spreading, vaccinations plummeting, cmmunities across the country calling for vaccinated and unvaccinated people to wear masks. And you know what you wouldn't have to do this if people got vaccinated. That's the whole point. If you want freedom and liberty, get vaccinated and you have freedom and liberty and won't have to wear a mask. Where is America headed in the fight against COVID is the question?


BIDEN: The COVID-19 deaths and hospitalizations are today among the unvaccinated people. And I know -- I know this has gotten a bit politicized but I hope it started a change. It's not about red states or blue states or guys like that hollering, it's about life and it's about death.




LEMON: We're back, everyone. As the COVID pandemic worsens with the rapid spread of the Delta variant and the steep drop in vaccinations, there is growing divisions among Republicans, GOP governors, for example, are showing their frustration at the explosion of cases in their states while many of their residents who are refusing to get vaccinated are listening to misinformation from right wing media and politicians.

Let discuss now. Mark McKinnon is here. He is the former advisor to George W. Bush and John McCain and also the executive producer of The Circus on Showtime, and CNN political commentator Ana Navarro joins us, as well.

We need to center Ana up. I think you need to move your computer. Yes. OK. So here we go.

Mark, so let's talk about this before we get to, you know, what the governors are saying, you have a personal story in your own family, you want to share it to us? Do you mind? Share with us? Do you mind?

MARK MCKINNON, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Sure, no. It's unfortunate but it's the sort of thing I think we need to share because, you know, this is something that nobody escapes. I think most American families had some interception with the disease now and mine has now.

My brother-in-law who is a strong anti-vaxxer, strong anti-vaxxer, strong Fox supporter, strong Trump supporter who thought he wasn't vulnerable called us weak for getting vaccines is now spending his eighth day in the hospital with COVID and it's pretty serious and we don't know when he's getting out.

So, this is prime example. And maybe we're seeing now with some of those -- some of those governors you talked about and people who had been proactive about it at the very least are now discovering that this isn't inescapable.

I think the CDC director said with this new variant, if you're not vaccinated, it's not a matter of if, it's just a matter of when you're going to get it. So, I hope that people will wake up, Don.

LEMON: Well, the governor of Alabama, Kaye Ivey is saying similar. She's fed up. Watch this.


UNKNOWN: What is it going to take to get people shots in their arms?

IVEY: I don't know. You tell me. Folks supposed to have common sense. But it's time for them to start blaming the unvaccinated folks, not the regular folks. It's the unvaccinated folks that are letting us down.

UNKNOWN: But as the leader of the state, don't you think it's your responsibility to try and help get this situation under control?

IVEY: I've done all I know how to do. I can encourage you to do something but I can't make you take care of yourself.


LEMON: Amen, governor. Amen. Listen, Ana, you're in Florida, you have lots of vaccine resistance there. She wants people to get the vaccine. Her state is the least vaccinated in the country. Could hearing from the Republican governor, I don't know, she said I've done all I can do, you can't force people to do, but do you think hearing from her can make a difference with hesitant or people who are unwilling in Alabama?


ANA NAVARRO, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Look, I think it helps to create a momentum. I think the more they hear it from the most amount of people, the better. And this didn't happen in one day. This politization of the vaccines and of COVID has been happening for over a year now, right?

First, there was the masks, then it was demonizing Fauci, the misinformation from Fox news and other outlets, the Republican Congress people refusing to wear masks that paying the fine because they didn't comply with Nancy Pelosi Pelosi's mandate, governors banning mask mandates, governors like in my state selling campaign swag demonizing Fauci and banning cruise lines from asking for proof of vaccination. So, it's been -- it's been a steady stream of things that have

happened that have led to the politization and I don't think they were counting on the Delta variant. And they weren't counting on being as effective as they have.

And let me tell you this. I hear Republicans say it's not just Republicans. African-Americans and Latinos also have hesitancy and low vaccination rates. Let me tell you the difference. I am yet to hear one African-American elected leader or one Latino elected leader go out there and bang the drums on people not getting vaccinated.

People are doing everything they can to try to get our communities, which have their own issues to get vaccinated but instead on the Republican side, you've got people saying at CPAC that they're not going to get vaccinated and getting a round of applause. So come on, folks. Assume responsibility for what is happening and I'm glad you're changing your tune finally.

LEMON: Well, to add to that, Mark, a big part of the problem is all the noise from right wing media, you know that. I mean, Sean Hannity earlier this week told his viewers to take COVID seriously, that he believed in the science only to clarify last night that he never told anyone to get the vaccine. He doesn't want credit for that.

I mean, is the GOP divide -- all of this not hurting us and our chances of defeating this deadly virus? Answer my question yes, it's hurting us. So, what do you do?

MCKINNON: It's not hurting us, Don. It's killing us. I mean, political -- we made death political now. I mean, the virus and masking, the vaccination, they have become the ultimate political weapon and we can start with Donald Trump and take it to Fox and take it to Hannity and everybody else who promoted the notion it was no big deal, you didn't need to wear a mask, you didn't need to get vaccinated.

Well, now our loved ones are being killed. Our loved ones are sick in the hospitals. And finally, it's taken that to get some of the rest of my family to take vaccinations. So, it's only when it affects a loved one and it's really sad and unfortunate that it's gotten to that point where we're losing loved ones or loved ones are sick in hospitals across this country. And this Delta variant, I'm telling you, if it doesn't get you now, it's going to get you if you don't get vaccinated.

LEMON: Look, you're an adult, do what you want to do. I mean, that's -- look, I would encourage everyone to get vaccinated but if you're an adult that has kids in your home and you have children and you are not getting vaccinated, I don't -- I don't -- I really don't know what to say to you.

NAVARRO: But Don --


NAVARRO: I think it's important that we recognize --


MCKINNON: To see other people's health --

NAVARRO: I think it's important that we recognize the Republicans who have done this right. People like the governor of Arkansas, Asa Hutchinson. Like Governor Jim Justice in West Virginia, and Mike DeWine in Ohio. Governors who have put their constituents above politics, of course, they're not running for president. They're not seeking the Republican nomination in 2024 and they're not capitalizing and exploiting this issue for political purposes but it's enough. Instead of reach -- they aren't keeping us from reaching herd immunity and instead, we reached herd stupidity and it needs to stop.

LEMON: Mark, you were saying?

MCKINNON: Well, just that this has been so politicized now, Don, it's taken losing loved ones or loved ones getting in the hospital and getting sick. The good news is, at least from my point of view is the rest of some of my family who aren't getting vaccinated are now rushing out to get vaccinated. But it's unfortunate that's taking that, that's something that's really become a crisis in our family for this to happen but I hope that the word is getting out now and that it gets across to all these other people who are unvaccinated.

LEMON: Mark, before we go, how much -- we've been on television for almost -- well, it's a year and a half, right? A little bit longer. How much evidence do they need when they saw that hundreds of thousands of people dying from COVID in the height of it. I mean, how --

MCKINNON: Don, this is my point. This, I couldn't love my brother-in- law more than I do, but he is -- he's a smart guy but it became completely political for him. You know, he's smart enough to know about what vaccines do. He worked in science all his life but became a statement.


It's like Democrats, this is good for Democrats if, you know, COVID was bad for Donald Trump and it's good for Democrats. It got that black and white. And so that if he acknowledged that COVID was a problem and got the vaccination, he was saying maybe the Democrats are right and that's why he refused, I guess. I still haven't gotten a clear answer.

LEMON: Boy, boy, all right.

NAVARRO: Don, listen, Republicans are so good at creating issues of outrage that drive people to the poll. And they chose this as one of those issues to create full outrage and drive people to the poll under the guise that oppose about liberty.

LEMON: But Ana --

NAVARRO: But the hypocrisy is that so many of those Republicans that are banging the drums against vaccination are vaccinated themselves. LEMON: Yes, and Ana --

NAVARRO: Including Trump.

LEMON: Including Donald Trump, including, you know, now Steve Scalise and all those people. Listen, here is the thing. I've got -- I've got to run but, you know, I've heard over the last couple of days that, you know, you shouldn't be -- don't say bad things about people who don't get the vaccine because then they'll feel like you're attacking them or whatever, but how much more -- you got to call it what it is.

If behavior is idiotic and nonsensical, I think that you need to tell people that their behavior is idiotic and nonsensical. It doesn't mean that they are idiots. It's just that their behavior on this particular point that is not making sense. So, I don't understand what is taking people so long and how many people have to die for adults, for adults and why are adults believing people on the internet instead of science and experts? Why are they believing Donald Trump who has -- who lies more than he tells the truth on any given day of the week?

Thank you both. And I hope that your brother-in-law and you know how much I love your wife. I know it's her brother. Just tell Annie, we're thinking about her and we're thinking about him and I hope that he gets better.

MCKINNON: Thank you.

LEMON: Thank you, Mark. Thank you, Ana.

NAVARRO: Thank you, Don.

LEMON: I'll see you soon. Thank you very much.

NAVARRO: Good luck, Mark.

LEMON: Thank you.

MCKINNON: Thanks, Ana.

LEMON: Tension within the Democratic Party, activists pushing President Biden to take more action now on voting rights. Stay with us.



LEMON: President Biden tonight slamming Republicans accusing them of walking away from Democratic principles and minimizing what happened on January 6th.


BIDEN: As Democrats we have to show we do understand and we're delivering for them and we're keeping our promises. We just have to keep making the case just as the Republican Party today offers nothing but fear and lies and broken promises.


BIDEN: Listen. Think about it. Turn on the television every day and see a replay what happened on January 6th and saying I was told there were a lot of peaceful wonderful people. God, no, I really mean it. Think about it. It is bizarre.


LEMON: That as the president faces pressure from within his own party over the battle for voting rights and whether to ditch the filibuster. Some civil rights leaders along with former Democratic Congressman and presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke are planning to hold a Selma- style march in Texas.

Next week they are going to be marching 27 miles over four days starting Wednesday from Georgetown, Texas to the state capitol in Austin.

Beto O'Rourke joins me now, along with Reverend Frederick Haynes of Friendship-West Baptist Church.

Gentlemen, thank you so much. Important, this is very important.


LEMON: So, I'm glad you're here to discuss this. Congressman, you know, I press the president, President Biden about voting rights and the filibuster at this week's CNN town hall. Watch this and then we'll talk about it.


BIDEN: What I also want to do, I want to make sure we bring along not just all the Democrats, we bring along Republicans who I know - know better. They know better than this. And what I don't want to do is get wrapped up right now in the argument whether or not this is all about the filibuster or -- look, the American public you can't stop them from voting. You tried last time. More people voted last time than any time in American history in the middle of the worst pandemic in American history. More people did.


BIDEN: And they showed up. They're going to show up again. They're going to do it again. But what I want to do as I'm trying to bring the country together and I don't want the debate to only be about whether or not we have a filibuster or exceptions to the filibuster or going back to the way that filibuster had to be used before.

LEMON: But isn't that the only way to get it done right now?

BIDEN: No, I don't believe that. I think we can get it done.

LEMON: If you -- if you agree with the former president, he is called as you call him your old bass, that it is a relic of Jim Crow.

BIDEN: It is.

LEMON: If it's a relic of Jim Crow, it's been used to fight against civil rights legislation historically, why protect it?

BIDEN: There's no reason to protect it other than you're going to throw the entire Congress into chaos and nothing will get done.

LEMON: Right.

BIDEN: Nothing at all will get done. And there is a lot out stake.



LEMON: Congressman, what do you think about what he's saying and what he's doing?

FMR. REP. BETO O'ROURKE (D-TX): You know, I think he's been so good and so outspoken on the existential threat that our democracy faces. That speech in Philadelphia, he said this is the greatest attack on American democracy since the Civil War.

But we need him to take that next step, which I think you gave him the opportunity to take in that interview, which is to say it's going to take some political courage on the part of Democrats to change the rules of this vestige of Jim Crow. We made exceptions for the, on the filibuster fast track trade deals, for Supreme Court justices, federal judges, budget reconciliation, make a fifth exception for voting rights.

That's all we're talking about. And when he says he doesn't want this to be about Democrats or Republicans, we agree with him. We want every Democrat and every Republican who is eligible to vote to be able to register, cast out ballot, have it counted and ensure that their voice is heard. But we need his leadership on this and we need it all the way or we're not going to get it done.

LEMON: All right. One more for you, Congressman, before I get to the reverend, President Biden also told me that he believes that he can bring along Republicans who know better. You heard him there. Do you think he understands what he's dealing with in terms of the opposition and how far they've already been willing to go to suppress voting rights?

I would think that he is but maybe he is trying to bring some folks along, maybe the Sinemas and the Manchins of the world so he can't really say publicly? I don't know. But I agree that it's going to take political courage to get it done. So, what do you think?

O'ROURKE: Well, I think his desire and drive to bring this country together including our political parties is the right one and we should support him in it but we must also recognize that Senate Republicans could not even muster 10 votes to investigate the insurrection attempt on the 6th of January that killed five people including, importantly, a capitol police officer.

If you can't find 10 votes for that, I don't think you're going to find 10 votes to reauthorize the Voting Rights Act or to move forward on the For the People Act which more than anything --


LEMON: I asked that very same thing. I said that the folks in Washington can't come together to investigate the, you know, worst attack on the capitol in 200 years, what makes you think that they're going to come together to do anything?

So, let me bring in the reverend now. Reverend, you know, communities of color helped President Biden get elected and this GOP push against voting rights is going to hurt black and brown people the most. Do you think the White House is doing enough to protect our rights, their rights to vote?

HAYNES: I don't deny or doubt the heart of Joe Biden. Biden said when he was elected that the black community has always had his back. And he said he's going to have our back. I think we have to define for him what having our back looks like. And having our back in this moment looks like protecting not just black and brown communities, we're talking about democracy.

What is going on in this nation right now is no less than a war on democracy and sadly, on the front lines of that war that will serve as the initial casualties will be of course, black, brown, and poor communities. And so, we're saying, Mr. President, it's time to have our back in a way that we define and we are saying when you have our back, you have America's back.

And when you have our back, you recognize the ugly history in this country of denying access to the ballot box especially to black people and especially as we move toward August 6th where we talk about the anniversary of the passage of the Voting Rights Act. And as a consequence of that, it lets you know that we have been fighting for years to ensure the enfranchisement of black and brown people.

But sadly, since 1965 there has been a constant battle to undermine that very powerful and wonderful bill. So, Mr. President, have our back by ending the filibuster and doing everything in your power to pass both the For the People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Act.

LEMON: Listen, I haven't heard anybody put it the way that you put it. I think bravo for you. We need to define for the president what it means for having black Americans back.

Congressman, can you tell us about your march. What you're doing and what's going on, please?

O'ROURKE: I'm going to be following Dr. Frederick Haynes, Bishop William Barber and hundreds of other civil rights, voting rights, economic justice leaders from across the state of Texas from Georgetown to Austin. It's about 30 miles and it will take place over the course of a few days from the 28th to the 30th of July. [22:40:05]

The 31st, this next Saturday we will end that march at the state capitol in Austin where we hope every Texan of good conscious will come together and stand up to be counted for the right to vote, the right to ensure that this democracy does not perish from the earth and that all of us can be counted, all of our voices can be heard and all of us have a say in the course and direction our state and our country takes.

That's what America is in its essence, and we want to make sure that we preserve it, defend it, expand it and do everything within our power at this existential moment to come through.

So, that's how important this march is and we hope that the people of Texas will join us on the 31st of July at the state capitol in Austin.

LEMON: That march next week is being built as a Selma-style march. Congressman, Reverend, thank you so much. I appreciate joining us this evening.

HAYNES: Thank you.

LEMON: By the way, congressman, is he still there? I channeled your outfit today but I decided to wear a jacket instead, same shirt. I say this is my Beto outfit. Thank you very much. I appreciate both of you, gentlemen.

You know, cases up, vaccines down and there is new talk among officials about whether people need a third shot. Stay with us.



LEMON: Welcome back, everyone. Joining me now CNN medical analyst Dr. Jonathan Reiner. Doctor, good evening to you.

The New York Times tonight is reporting that Biden administration health officials are increasingly thinking people who are 65 or older who -- or who have compromised immune systems will need a third shot from Pfizer or Moderna. I mean, this is a shift from a few weeks ago. What do you think about this? What's going on?

JONATHAN REINER, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: There is data, you know, coming out of places like Israel that suggest that after a period of six to eight months, the efficacy of the mRNA vaccines, particularly the Pfizer vaccine might be starting to wane.

And it's unclear whether that's an intrinsic property of maybe fewer or lower levels of neutralizing antibodies or whether it's just that we have the prevalence of these more transmissible aggressive strains like Delta. But look, I think we've -- we've always expected that at some point we needed to boost and I expect that we'll start doing that, and we'll start doing that with the folks who are most vulnerable, you know, who are older or immune compromised in some way. But probably, eventually, everyone in this country will need another

booster at some point in the next several months. That doesn't surprise me.

LEMON: Let me give you -- let me give the numbers from what you said because you were saying this follows of what we're learning out of Israel and that the new data suggesting that the Pfizer's vaccine's effectiveness against all the coronavirus has fallen. And the numbers it says 39 percent. Last month it was 64 percent.

To be clear, doctor, right, it's still protects people, right? It protects against a severe disease of over -- by more -- over 90 percent. But does that drop concern for you?

REINER: I'm not even sure what the real number is because we have data, recent data that comes out of the United Kingdom showing a sustained efficacy of about 88 percent for the Pfizer vaccine. So, I'm not sure how to reconcile the differences between the two studies, but what is very clear is that this vaccine in particular, the Pfizer vaccine and the Moderna vaccines provide very robust protection against serious illness and death.

To give you an example, there have been about 3,700 hospitalizations in the United States of fully vaccinated people. That sounds like a big number except the denominator is 170 million. So, there been a 170 million Americans who have been vaccinated, 3,700 hospitalized and almost no deaths. So, 3,700 divided by 170 million is 0.002 percent.

LEMON: There you go, yes.

REINER: So, the risk of hospitalization is incredibly small if you've been vaccinated. These vaccines work and they still work very well.

LEMON: I want to put this up, doctor, for our viewers. I'm not sure if you can see it but I'll explain. This is a map and there are lighter green parts there. The lighter green states are the least vaccinated, OK? And then we keep hearing how it is now a pandemic of the unvaccinated but kids under 12 really don't have a choice in this.

They're at risk because the people who are choosing -- because of the people who are choosing not to get the vaccine. The president and President Biden and Trump's surgeon generals -- surgeons general, I should say, both told CNN just tonight even vaccinated people might want to start masking up indoors. Where is this headed?

REINER: I think everyone should vax up -- should excuse me, mask up now for the next few weeks for two reasons. You know, the unvaccinated are going to get sick. As you said in your two segments ago, anyone who is not vaccinated now in places where there is a Delta, they are at grave risk of becoming sick. And if you're not vaccinated, you can and may die from this infection.

For the vaccinated, the reason to mask up is, you know, you can get infected. We still think it's relatively uncommon but masks are an effective tool. So, it's belts and suspenders kind of approach. And from a societal standpoint, maybe everybody masking up for the next month is a way to get the unvaccinated to protect themselves.

We don't have a way to understand in public places who is vaccinated and who is unvaccinated not. So, as much as a frustration this may be for people who have gotten vaccinated, if everyone wears a mask, everyone is protected when out in -- when out in public.


LEMON: Dr. Reiner, thank you so much, sir. I appreciate it. Always a pleasure.

REINER: My pleasure, Don.

LEMON: So, there's no more Cleveland Indians, everyone, because the team has got a new name now. Stay with us.


LEMON: Big news tonight in the world of Major League Baseball. The Cleveland Indians are changing their name. They have been known as the Indians for more than 100 years, but team officials acknowledge it is a stereotype that offends Native Americans. As of next season the team will be known as the Cleveland Guardians.


And how do they choose that name? Clevelanders, well, they are familiar with the art deco guardian statues that line the Hope Memorial Bridge just outside the ballpark. The team surveyed 40,000 fans and considered nearly 1,200 names before deciding on the Guardians.

Up next, the vaccine is available to everyone over 12 years old here. Everyone. And that's not the case in the rest of the world. So, what are they thinking watching a surge play out right here? Fareed Zakaria weighs in after this.


LEMON: Joining me now, Fareed Zakaria, he is the host of Fareed Zakaria GPS and the author of the book "Ten Lessons for a Post- Pandemic World."

Fareed Zakaria, good evening to you.

Coronavirus hospitalizations up 60 percent just over the past 14 days while the daily pace of vaccinations just hit a new low.


Now some Republicans are beginning to see the light on vaccines. But there are plenty of others who are still pushing dangerous lies.