Return to Transcripts main page

Don Lemon Tonight

Couple Begs to People to Get the Vaccine; Delta Variant Fueling the Spike in Cases; Pressure Mounting on Governor Andrew Cuomo; People Are Divided Over Vaccine Issues; Louisiana's Hospitals Full with COVID Patients. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired August 05, 2021 - 22:00   ET




CHRIS CUOMO, CNN HOST: Thank you for being with us. The big show, Don lemon Tonight, with its big star, D. Lemon now.

DON LEMON, CNN HOST: So, Chris, good evening. You know how, you know, we sit here and we tell people about the variant and COVID-19 and getting the vaccine and many people don't listen, many people do, but the best way to show is the example.

You should see this interview that I have coming up of this entire family who got COVID, and now he's in his hospital bed, and he's saying, if these are my last words, then I want to spend it this way, by talking to you, and getting people to hear my voice and hear this message. It's really quite incredible.

CUOMO: All you can do is tell people the truth.


CUOMO: You can't make them believe. And the hope is, in telling stories like the one you are going to tell tonight, that people will see themselves and not just the people who are sick, but the people who are struggling with losing them around them.


CUOMO: That's the part that we often don't often emphasize enough, that, you know, you wear a mask, you take care of yourself, because why you may do to others, and if you don't take care of yourself, what about the people who you are supposed to care of?

LEMON: Yes. Our time is short because I want to get to it. I really want people to see this.

CUOMO: I'll be watching, I love you, D. Lemon.

LEMON: More than you know. Thank you, brother. I'll see you soon.

This is Done Lemon Tonight. We've got a lot to get to tonight and I'm going to give you my take in

just a moment. I usually start with my take but I'm going to give you that later because I thought this is so important. I taped it just before the broadcast. We moved a lot of things around so that we can show you this.

You know how bad Delta is. New daily cases topping 100,000. Dr. Anthony Fauci predicting that number one, that number, excuse me, could double to 200,000 new cases per day. So, I just want you to hear from two people who contracted COVID. A husband and a wife, both unvaccinated. Here it is.


So, joining me now to talk about their experience, Travis and Kelly Campbell. As you can see, Travis is still in the hospital, and Kellie is with him. Travis, Kellie, thank you so much. I really appreciate you joining us.

TRAVIS CAMPBELL, CONTRACTED COVID AFTER NOT GETTING VACCINATED: Don, thank you. Thank you for taking the time to hear our story to try to get the message out. Please, please don't wait. Don't (Inaudible) stronger and pass it and it attacks those who are not vaccinated or have more medical conditions. (Inaudible) will be attacked 10 times faster and harder. And it's not working. We've got to (Inaudible) if you prepare, not to take a vaccination, then your friends will carry your body at your funeral.

LEMON: Travis, this, it's tough to hear you, because you are still on oxygen, but I think your message is loud and clear. You know, you've got a mask on. I just want to know, I heard your message, about how are you doing? How are you feeling, sir?

CAMPBELL: I feel like (Inaudible) the support, the friends and messages has given me energy. But I also feel like any second it could be my time, and it's over. And I can't go back and change it. If I could, I'd go get the vaccination and take my family with me.

LEMON: What are -- what are your symptoms right now? Tell me about the symptoms you had.

CAMPBELL: I can't breathe. I'm drowned and I feel like I'm a fish out of water. I have fever, partial (Inaudible) all the elements, the dehydration. It's very, very difficult. And you know, Don, the scary part, the easiest part about COVID, is getting it. They can get to the hospital and there is no beds. There's nothing they could do. And you are just drowned.


LEMON: You said you feel like any moment can be your last, Travis?

CAMPBELL: Absolutely. Absolutely. It's that tough. I can't extend my arms. I just pray I can continue to gain the energy. It's so aggressive. Never had COVID before. But I can only imagine and this strain, I can't -- I can't understand why a single parent or single grandparent would not get vaccinated and take that chance, COVID is so aggressive, it's so scary. And it happened so fast.

LEMON: Well, Travis, I'm so sorry. Kellie, I want to bring you in. You were hospitalized with COVID, and two of your children were also infected. How are you doing right now?

KELLIE CAMPBELL, CONTRACTED COVID AFTER NOT GETTING VACCINATED: I'm good. We're all (Inaudible). We are all (Inaudible). We didn't have the severe symptoms as Travis. So, we were looking at (Inaudible) but we had all a symptom. The cough, the fever, the headaches, the diarrhea. We all had symptoms. And one child (Inaudible) so you never know (Inaudible) to all of us. We keep Travis in all our heart.

LEMON: Why didn't you guys get vaccinated?

K. CAMPBELL: We don't really have a reason. We were just, you know, (Inaudible) we don't go to the doctor a lot. We are not sick. We are not around a lot of people.

T. CAMPBELL: And only 2020 my daughter basketball team. They all got sick. They had the same symptoms as COVID, so when COVID came out, (Inaudible) we assume that we had already had the COVID. (Inaudible) stomachache, once you've got it you kind of feel like you're not going to get it again. But that's not true. Our antibodies are only good for about 90 days.

And so, when COVID started (Inaudible) so we just thought that we would beat the odds. We live in the country, so we don't have a lot of interaction. It was my fault, Don. I was (Inaudible) as negligent. I should have taken my kids and wife and we would've gotten vaccinated anyway, but I've paid I'm paying the price. And I'm just (Inaudible) than everybody. If you're on the fence, I want you to take your child for evaluation (Inaudible) and go get vaccinated, please. Please.

LEMON: Well, Travis, you know, I've got to ask you. Because you know, people think it's not real, and they'll say, you know, the best immunity I have is a natural immunity. I've got the antibodies. If I get it, I can survive it and so on. You know the story, you know the score, I don't have to tell you.

You know, I've heard your message loud and clear. But what do you say to people who don't believe it's real, or that this is something that you can develop a natural immunity to or they can survive it, and they don't need to get the vaccine?

T. CAMPBELL: I'm in room number 28. They can (Inaudible) with me, it's real data, it's as real as it's ever going to be. And it's only going to get (Inaudible) and I'm just asking, if they can't make it, if they are not comfortable making the decision, reach out to your doctor. Reach out to your mom. Ask your mother, mom, you think I should get vaccinated? Or should I just take my chances? I think you will get your answer.

Don't (Inaudible) your own daughter. Ask her. You know want to go with daddy? To get our vaccination? I hope Santa Claus comes this year because if you don't get your vaccination, you can't go back and try it again. [22:10:04]

And you don't have a second chance. You got to live with what you got.

LEMON: Kellie, can you just tell me what the prognosis is?

K. CAMPBELL: Well, we just take it day by day. It just got a whole lot worse. It hasn't gotten a whole lot better either. So, it's (Inaudible) with oxygen. They got his fever under control. Lots of (Inaudible), lots of breathing treatments to try to get his strength back up and keep him going.

LEMON: Yes. Well, I got to tell you, Kellie and Travis, you guys are so brave, and to tell your story, and to admit that you feel that you made a mistake, your words not mine, and I think you are brave to do this. And we wish you the absolute best of health, and luck, and we are thinking about you. You get well. And I hope your message resonates to the rest of the world. Thank you so much.

T. CAMPBELL: Hey, Don, one more thing. Don?

LEMON: Yes, sir.

T. CAMPBELL: If people would open their hearts with love and consider being organ donors, and helping someone else's life, it is the greatest gift you can ever give (Inaudible). This is the hardest thing I get to do with my heart.

LEMON: Yes. Thank you, Travis. Thank you, Kellie. Be well.

K. CAMPBELL: Thank you.

LEMON: Thank you. So. There you go. That says it all right there. Get vaccinated. We'll be right back.



LEMON: We're back now. And I hope you watch that compelling interview and I hope you share it. And we put it on social media because it is really important. Get vaccinated.

We have a lot of news to cover. Big news, multiple stories. From the pandemic that is threatening American lives to the attempted coup that still threatening American democracy. And there is news tonight on the impeachment investigation of the New York Governor, Andrew Cuomo. The governor defiant. Digging in his heels, and resisting growing calls to resign, in spite of the state attorney general's bombshell report on sexual assault allegations by 11 women.

The impeachment investigation moving quickly with the governor asked to submit any evidence no later than August 13th. His attorney says the A.G.'s report, which allege the governor's office retaliated against one woman was, quote, "legally and factually wrong." The New York Attorney General's office responding, quote, "the report

speaks for itself and we stand by it." That, as there are now a total of at least six district attorneys requesting information from the state attorney general's office on the allegations of sexual harassment.

We've got a lot more to come on the story just a little bit later on in the show, so stay tuned.

But now I want to turn to the ongoing threat to democracy in this country. It's a nice democracy if you can keep it, the question is, can we keep it? What we have seen in this country was nothing less than an attempted coup. And the warning signs are still flashing red tonight, and right now, as well. If that doesn't scare you, it should. Just think about it.

We saw the insurrection happen in real-time. We saw it with our own eyes. But we didn't know until now what the then president of the United States had done behind closed doors to try to overturn the democracy that he swore to protect.

Just think what we have learned in just the past few days. The then president in late December, pressuring DOJ officials, including the attracting attorney general to, quote, "just say the election was corrupt, and leave the rest to me and the R," meaning Republican congressmen.

That, according to handwritten notes from the acting deputy attorney general notes shared with House investigators. A day later, another DOJ official drafting a letter suggesting that there were irregularities in the election. There weren't. Other top officials refuse to sign it. Days after that, another former DOJ official drafted but never sent a letter of resignation in case the acting A.G. was pushed out for refusing to promote the big lie of bogus election fraud.

And let's not forget the then president pressuring Georgia secretary of state to, quote, "find the exact number of votes needed to overturn Joe Biden's victory.


DONALD TRUMP, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: So, look, all I want to do is this. I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have, because we won the state.


LEMON: Well, all of that just days before the violent insurrection of the nation's capital. Are we pulling close enough attention? Is the DOJ looking closely at what we had learned? Are Democrats prepared to stave off another coup attempt? Because the big lie is alive and well, and the big liar is still out there pushing it. It's all related. All part of the big picture.

The assault on voting rights is nothing less than a plan to give the GOP the power to overturn the next election if they don't like the results. I hope you heard that last line. It gives him the power to overturn the election if they don't like the result. And it is happening right now. Texas Governor Greg Abbott calling for a second special session of the state legislature this weekend to push voting restrictions that Democrats blocked by fleeing the state.


JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Our fundamental view is that if you are pushing for legislation that makes it harder and not easier to vote, that makes it less accessible, that limits the ability of people to get to the polls to take time off to do that, then our question is, what are you afraid of here? Are you afraid of more people going to vote? Or what's the concern?



LEMON: It is all related. The January 6th deniers and their nothing to see here and insurrection, what insurrection? That's their message. What insurrection? They are all part of it, too.

Their lies about tourists, peaceful patriots, Black Lives Matter, and antifa. They are lies. It's all part of the big picture. Part of the big lie. The DOJ has charged more than 550 people in connection with the insurrection. A federal judge telling one, you called yourself and everyone else patriots, but that's not patriotism. Patriotism is loyalty to country, loyalty to the Constitution, not loyalty to a head of a head of state. That is the tyranny we rejected on July 4.

President Joe Biden surrounded by lawmakers, members of law enforcement and their families, signing a law to award Congressional Gold Medal to the brave police officers who risked their lives to depend the capitol from bloodthirsty rioters. And then going on to say this.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: Because let's remember what this was all about. It was a violent attempt to overturn the will of the American people, to seek power at all costs, to replace the ballot with brute force, to destroy, not to build. Without democracy, nothing is possible. With it, everything is.

So, my fellow Americans, we must all do our part to perfect and to preserve our democracy. It requires people of goodwill and courage to stand up to the hate and the lies and the extremism that led to this vicious attack.


LEMON: We need to see the big picture. We need to heed the warning signs. We need to take action to protect our democracy from the threat that is still looming tonight. And speaking of threats, there's the pandemic that is threatening

American lives. New daily cases of COVID topping 100,000. You just heard that powerful message from that Virginia man and his wife, both have COVID, he's still in the hospital, on oxygen. They're begging everybody to take this seriously and to get vaccinated.

But GOP governors of states like Texas and Florida, states with one- third of the country's total COVID cases last week putting their own constituents at risk by banning mask mandates, especially in schools. The education secretary, Miguel Cardona, saying this.


MIGUEL CARDONA, UNITED STATES SECRETARY OF EDUCATION: Don't be the reason why schools are disrupted because of the politicization of this effort to reopen schools. We know what works. We have to keep our students safe. We have to keep our educators safe.


LEMON: Governors making it all about politics instead of the health and safety of kids too young to get vaccinated. President Biden with a two-word response to criticism from Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.


UNKNOWN: DeSantis who was using your words about don't be in the way, and he said, I am in the way to block too much interference from the federal government. Your response, Mr. President?

BIDEN: Governor who?

UNKNOWN: DeSantis.


LEMON: It should be persona non-grata. Non-grata. Like I said, COVID is still threatening our lives. And the attempted coup is still threatening our democracy. It's a nice democracy, if you can keep it. The question is, can we keep it?

Hospitals are overwhelmed right now. Younger and younger people coming in with worse and worse cases. And it's happening right in my hometown. Louisiana governor is here. We are going to talk with him, next.



LEMON: So new daily cases of COVID topping 100,000 in this country. But tens of millions of eligible adults in the U.S. has still not gotten their shots. Even though the vaccines are safe, they're free and they've been available for months. So why not?

Let's talk to pollster Frank Luntz. He is here with me now and he spoke to 21 unvaccinated people from 14 states all across the country with the help of the De Beaumont Foundation to ask why they are still saying no to the vaccine.

Just a reminder, we saw someone in the top block of this show. Didn't get the vaccine. Very sick in the hospital now. Now regretting it and telling people to get their vaccine.

Frank, good evening. Hello to you. Thank you for joining. I appreciate you.

FRANK LUNTZ, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST AND POLLSTER: Thank you for having me. It's the most important thing I've done this year. And maybe it's the most important thing I've done in my entire career.

LEMON: Why do you say that?

LUNTZ: Because as a pollster, you get a chance to measure public opinion. But rarely do you get a chance to make a difference. To actually try to help people. And I got to admit, Don, it's been very difficult for me. Because my job is to keep my cool. To listen, to ask questions, and then supply the information and the advice to people like you.

But I'm getting so frustrated now. Because I know personally the consequences of making bad decisions and I don't want people to do that. And there's so much blame to go around that we need to avoid the partisanship, the politics COVID. At least for now. There's plenty of time to hold people accountable.


And perhaps most importantly, if we don't get people vaccinated in the next three or four weeks, we've got all these kids coming back to school. We've got schools opening up again. And the danger of Delta and the other variants, combine that with the schools opening up and this is a serious if not crisis situation and I want the public to know this. To embrace it and not look at it as someone else's problem, but to accept it as their own problem, their own challenge and do something about it.

LEMON: So, tell me then, why are these people still unvaccinated, Frank? What are they telling you?

LUNTZ: Number one, they've gone from not now to no. And I want to be clear about that. Initially, it was, I'll make the decision in good time. I'll do it on my own time. Not on the government's time. But too many people are telling me that they are possibly going to get the vaccine. And then when I approach them directly, in these focus groups. They actually say, well, no, the truth is I'm not going to get it.

Second is that you got to keep the politics out of this. And I know that the temptation, particularly in the people who do the job that you do, is to be on those who aren't vaccinated, to hold them accountable, responsible for what's happening in the spread of the virus. The problem is you demonize them, if you insult them, they will surely not listen to you and they will not be educated by you. And that's my second fear.

And the third thing is that frankly they feel pressured rather than educated. And so we have to use language and statistics and facts that will bring them in, rather than pushing them away.

LEMON: Yes. Listen, I -- it's so -- it's so interesting that you say that. Because I hear people saying, listen, I'm so tired of trying to convince people who don't want to be convinced and why is it my fault that they're not getting vaccinated? It's their fault. And how much more, if they want to get sick, let them get sick and whatever comes with that. I'm just being honest. That's why I'm here.

There is a frustration from people who are educated and informed about these issues and who are vaccinated. So, then, what will motivate them to get the vaccine, what move the needle for some of these people?

LUNTZ: Two things. Number one is to know that 95 percent. It's 95 percent of doctors now vaccinated. So, the people who know the most have done this. What do 95 percent of doctors know that the unvaccinated don't? That's a real powerful statistic.

And second is the fact, now when you get COVID, it could actually be and is more dangerous to you. More -- you have a long-term consequence that lasts far greater than whatever the vaccine could do, whatever side-effects you could have. And in the end, we need doctors directly involved.

We need doctors answering the misinformation that your show has done a very good job of pointing out. We need doctors to open up their offices to give people vaccines because that's where they feel the most comfortable. And we need doctors to embrace the next generation. We need them to be talking to the kids.

LEMON: In fact, I'm going to ask through your show for doctors to put together a video. Not for the parents but for the children of the parents. To tell the parents, get your kids vaccinated before they go back to class. Then you'll feel safe, then you'll feel secure.

Your child, if those children are not vaccinated, then your child is in jeopardy. And your child is threatened. We all need -- you know what? What I don't understand, is we used the work together as a country. In times of great trial and tribulation, we would pull together. In 2021, we seem to be pulling apart. And that's not the America that I grew up in. It's not the America that I know.

LEMON: Yes. It's not. But listen, over -- but over the past few years, there have been people who have been promoting and really relishing in the misinformation, and people and organizations.

I want to hear from some of the people you spoke to, Frank. I got to get a break in. Because I think it is important. You don't want to miss this. Frank spoke with some people and they talked to us about getting vaccinated. If they're going to do it, if they are not going to do it. Why they aren't, and so on, right after this break. Don't go anywhere.



LEMON: So, I'm back with pollster Frank Luntz. So Frank, let's listen to one teacher -- what one teacher said about getting the vaccine. Just to say it again, this is a teacher.


UNKNOWN: To me, personally, there's nothing you can say or do to get me to get vaccinated. There is nothing that can be done. So, I think that everybody needs to be responsible for themselves, and for their children and do not send your kid with a cold to school. We've done that for many, many years. I think it's time to just be cleaner. To stop that and be responsible for yourself. And that's what I truly believe.


LEMON: Well, I mean, look. That's -- you would know, but how is that woman a teacher? But look. Do others share her feelings? And how much trouble are we really in right now with that? These are kids who are going to be in confined spaces on school buses. Some of them unable to get vaccinated because they are too -- go on, Frank. Sorry.

LUNTZ: Yes. But Don, this is part of our job is to keep cool when things around us are going to hell. And it is our responsibility. It why I'm up this morning at my time, 4.30 a.m. The challenge now is not the parents. The challenge right now are the kids that we have in some cases, only two weeks left before kids go back to school. And everyone is going to be going back within a month of today.

Our challenge is to get as many parents to give their kids the gift of life, to give the gift of safety, of security. Parents are trying to think what can they do for their kids? Can they buy them a new outfit? Can they get them a car? Can they do something special for them?


The most important thing a parent can do for a child is get them vaccinated. It's that --


LEMON: But Frank, that's a -- if they're of age. I mean, if they're -- it's almost too late for them to get shot and be fully vaccinated by the time that they have to go back to school. And I mean, I'm just wondering like, did you -- I think you said you spoke with some of these people afterwards. But do they understand -- there's no other way to put it -- do they understand their own ignorance when it comes to this?

And why is that woman a teacher? I wouldn't want anybody like that teaching my kids. That's my responsibility. And if my child's teacher isn't vaccinated, I don't want them to go into a classroom with her. It should not be that I have to hold my kid out of school because a

teacher doesn't want to get vaccinated. Do you understand what I'm saying?

LUNTZ: Yes. I absolutely do. And Don, you know what, we're in an impossible situation where people don't want to listen to each other, they don't want to learn from each other. We used to be a community that respected the wishes of others. That we would compromise on our own to make life better for others. That's the way we used to be.

Right now, the goal, the mission is to get as many needles into as many -- I can't believe I'm saying this. But to get as many needles into as many arms as possible. And if we get the first vaccine right now, if we can even influence a thousand of your viewers, 10,000 of your viewers, which is a tiny fraction, to get them to get vaccinated, to get them to get the first shot. That in itself saves lives.


LUNTZ: So, I'm looking at this incrementally. And one last thing. That we need to get President Biden and President Trump in the same damn room. I would use tougher language but I don't want to you get an FCC fine.

LEMON: But why -- why is that? Why would you get the -- he's not the president anymore?

LUNTZ: Because --


LEMON: Why would Joe Biden call Donald Trump or get Donald Trump, the person who has been the number one spreader of misinformation in the same room? Frank, that doesn't make sense.

LUNTZ: Don, it --


LEMON: Help me, help me, help me understand why it makes sense. Sorry. That's the way it wrong for me.

LUNTZ: It makes sense. It's cool. It makes sense because we're trying to get every spokesperson, every political person, every press person, every community and spiritual person engaged in this effort because we know that it saves lives. And so, we try to be nonpartisan. Not bipartisan. Nonpartisan. Nonpolitical. Nonjudgmental.

There is plenty of time for your anger and for my outrage. We can all do that on New Year's Eve. I want to make sure we get to New Year's Eve. And whatever it takes, even if I have to be extra patient, extra kind, extra decent to people I disagree with, I'm going to do it. And you need to as well.

Every news network needs to do so as well. Because there are people watching you right now that are making the decision. I want them to make the right choice. And by the way, it's not just Republicans. You have African-American Democrats, you got some Latinos, you got people who live in rural areas of the country, we need to reach out to everyone who isn't vaccinated and to everyone to get their kids vaccinated and do it right now so at least they have the first shot in their arms before they go to school.


LEMON: But when do you get to the point to, my grandmother used to say, a hard head makes a soft behind. So, at some point, there is no convincing. And it seems to me that we're at that point. I know you keep saying that Joe Biden needs to reach out to the former president. The former president is still out there spreading misinformation.

That is a pipe dream, Frank. That is never, ever, ever, ever going to happen. These two men will never get into a room. Look. It's a good thing for you, I'm sure, to want to it happen. And then on the other front, you know, you say in 2021, we've gotten to this place where people, you know, that we don't -- well, that's been building for a long time.

And that's been happening quite frankly, with the Republican Party who became the Trump party and who became the party of misinformation and the big lie and politicizing the pandemic and then politicizing the vaccine.

So, you know, it's hard to quite honestly, I understand what some of those people are coming from. And I understand you say, well, we need to have some compassion. It's hard to be compassionate sometimes for people who don't want to listen, who want to remain ignorant. Do you understand what I'm saying?

LUNTZ: Not only do I understand that. I empathize with it. But I say to you that if you are genuine in your heart and in your head and now, I'm going to sound somewhat spiritual. I'm going to channel Tim Scott. But if you're genuine in your commitment to save lives, then you accept people's foibles, you accept their weaknesses you accept, and you don't get angry about it. And I'm trying to teach myself that as I try to do my craft, as I try to do my trade.


And I say to people, again, I want to deliver a message right through the camera to doctors, the best way for to you communicate is through a Q&A. To ask the questions that your patients are asking in the words that they are using, and then to deliver them answers. That Q&A on video is the most likely way to make a difference.

Don, I get it. I empathize with you. But until the end of this year, I'm not giving in and I'm not giving up and I'm not going to be partisan and I'm not going to be political and I'm going to do my best to try to give your viewers and any viewers I can get in front of, the best possible information so they can convince their friends, their family, maybe even themselves to get vaccinated.

LEMON: Well, as you know, the truth is not partisan, right? And everything that I said here tonight is truthful about the people who are hesitant to getting it. And look. I hope what you're saying is right. You should continue to fight for it. When I see people now. I hear people saying, doctors are paid actors.

They're being paid by the left. That's politicizing it. Or that the folks that I had on earlier, the Campbells. They are paid actors. Don Lemon has paid actors on television right now.

There's nothing paid about actors. These are people who live and they said we are country folk. We don't have a lot of interaction with people. We made a mistake. We should have gotten the vaccine because everyone in our family has gotten it. This could be my last breath.

And you know what the anti-vaxxers say or the Trumpers? These are actors. No one should be watching this. Why do you have people on who have been affected that poorly by the vaccine? At some point, Frank Luntz, people cannot be converted. They cannot be spoken to and they will not get it through their thick skulls that what they're doing is not only harmful to them but it's harmful for their fellowmen.

And if they can't get it through their heads, at some point you got to say, I'm done. And you have to move on and take care of the people who are actually doing the right thing and focus on the people who are doing the right thing. And how you keep them safe and not the people who don't want to be kept safe.

LUNTZ: But there's a way to handle this. Which is, in the end, if you want to get on a plane, you have to be vaccinated.

LEMON: Yes, I agree.

LUNTZ: If you want to go to a concert or a sporting event, you have to be vaccinated.


LUNTZ: If you want to eat in a restaurant, if you want to stay in a hotel. We are going to reach that point and there are some businesses who are doing it right now. So, make the right decision on your own and there are no mandates.


LUNTZ: At some point they have to do that. So again, Don, I hear you. But for now, you and I need to do the best that we can. At least through the end of this year.

LEMON: I got you.

LUNTZ: And then as your grandmother would say, at that point, that's when I say, OK, you have to start swatting.

LEMON: All right. All right, Frank. Thank you. I appreciate you coming. I hope you come back. I love the information. Thank you so much. Frank Luntz.

LUNTZ: Thank you.

LEMON: OK. A lot more news. We'll be right back. [22:50:00]


LEMON: So please sit down and watch this especially, everyone, but especially my southern viewers, Louisiana folks. My home state of Louisiana is one of the hardest hit by the surge in coronavirus cases across the country fueled by the Delta variant.

Today, there are more than 2,300 people hospitalized with COVID, an all-time record. Ninety-one percent, 91 of current COVID hospitalizations in the state are from people who are not fully vaccinated, with 258 currently on ventilators. And the surge is specially impacting children.

There's lot to get to with Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards. Governor, thank you so much. I really appreciate it.

Straight to the information, OK? You know it's my home state.

GOV. JOHN BEL EDWARDS (D-LA): Yes. Thank you, Don.

LEMON: It really hurts to hear what is happening there. The Delta variant, is it totally out of control?

EDWARDS: Well, it's certainly surging. And we have the highest case growth in the country. We know that well over 90 percent of our cases are attributable to the Delta variant which is more transmissible. And we know we don't have enough people vaccinated.

Today we have 37.2 percent of the state's population fully vaccinated. That's not enough. And then you throw in the August weather where everybody goes indoors to escape the heat and humidity, and it is the perfect trifecta. And that's why we have the highest case growth in the country right now.

Tomorrow we'll report more than 2,400 hospitalizations. And what's different about this one, when 20 percent of our cases, Don, are in people below the age of 18. And that is very different than previous surges. And we have a lot of young people who are in the hospital now. And, you know, it's a very challenging situation.

LEMON: You said tomorrow you're going to report 2,400 plus hospitalizations?

EDWARDS: Yes, it will be -- it will be more than 2,400 hospitalizations. That's all across the state. I will tell you that we have a number of hospitals without any additional capacity today. Their own diversion, they are already delaying things like, for example, organ transplant when you have a living donor. I know they have to delay cancer surgeries and that sort of thing. And the column non-emergency surgical and medical procedures that you know, but they can be delayed for a few days but we're in a difficult spot right now in Louisiana.

LEMON: I think it's important that you say that because people think about it in terms of themselves, usually selfishly, you know, this is my body, I get to do what I want, it's my freedom, what have you. But it's more than just you, Governor. You know, you're affecting if you don't choose to get vaccinated, there's a ripple effect to it.


EDWARDS: Sure. That's the nature of a pandemic. When you have a highly transmissible virus that is this deadly, you know, what you do or what you don't do has an effect on your family, on your community, on your neighbors. And that's why we call it public health. And that's why we have mitigation measures like the mask mandate that we reinstated earlier this week to go through September 1st, because we have to slow transmission.

And we know masks work and that should buy us a little more time hopefully to get people vaccinated. But we've got to take the demand off of our hospitals. Our health care workers have been slammed now for a year and a half. And I can tell you, they're exhausted, mentally, emotionally exhausted. And we need to cut them a break. We do what's required. Folks need to be vaccinated.

LEMON: I just want to put up some of this information because you know what was frightening to me, because children, you know, the children are really important in this, right? Because they weren't being affected. You said that 20 percent of the people now coming in are below 18. I saw the report from --


EDWARDS: Twenty percent of cases.

LEMON: Of cases.

EDWARDS: Twenty percent of cases.

LEMON: Yes, cases. OK. Oxnard Hospital for children is reporting 23.6 percent positivity rate. You have new information you can correct if that may not be the latest, that's the latest we have, it may not be what you have, 23.6 positivity among children under 19. Up from 10.8 at the start of July. More kids are getting sick and getting hospitalized from these variants. And do the kids start back? When do they start back? If not, they haven't started, they start soon.

EDWARDS: Some schools started this week. And that's one of the reasons why we put the mask mandate in schools as well. So, this is for five years old and older and all indoor public settings to include our schools, because we want people to be in school but we want it to be safe.

And so, we're going to follow the CDC recommendations on that, and American Academy of Pediatrics as well. So, we've got that mandate in our schools, to try to make sure we have a safe environment, and that we don't continue to generate the kind of transmission that we've seen recently.

LEMON: OK. Thirteen percent of adolescents fully vaccinated in Louisiana. But what about teachers, should teachers be required to be vaccinated?

EDWARDS: Well, we're going to require -- we're going to add it to the mandated list of vaccinations as soon as the FDA gives full approval, the licensure, which hopefully will come in the next several weeks based on reporting that we've been seeing over the last couple of days.

But I'm asking teachers, I'm asking everybody, don't wait 'til then. We have three safe and effective vaccines today. This is critically important if we're going to end this pandemic. And stop people from needlessly becoming sick, going to the hospital, and yes, dying.

You know, we have reported a number of deaths just over the last three days. 136 in Louisiana in just the last three days. So, Don, we all -- we all have to do better and acknowledge that we have a role to play. And it affects our neighbors and our -- and by the way, not just on COVID patients.

But if the hospitals are full, you can have a heart attack, a motor vehicle accident, or a stroke, and you're still going to have problems accessing the type of care that you need. And we're seeing that play out now around the state of Louisiana.

LEMON: Governor John Bel Edwards, I really appreciate you joining. Come back as often as possible, OK? Thank you, and best of luck down there, be safe. Thanks.

EDWARDS: Thank you. God bless.

LEMON: Thank you. You, as well.

Next, President Biden warning that we can't rewrite history, laying out exactly what January 6 was -- an insurrection.