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Don Lemon Tonight

Louisiana Overwhelmed with COVID-19 Cases; Unvaccinated People Ends Up Getting the Virus; Right Messaging Needed at the Right Time; White Population Decline 8.6 Percent; The Terminator Not Mincing Words. Aired 10-11p ET

Aired August 12, 2021 - 22:00   ET



ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Paul Simon, Journey, LL Cool J., Barry Manilow, and many more. You'll see it here only on CNN. Again, that's next Saturday, August 21st.

The news continues right now. Let's turn over to Don and Don Lemon Tonight.

DON LEMON, CNN HOST: Good evening, everyone. This is Don Lemon Tonight. Thank you for joining us.

And I really want you to pay attention tonight. This is really important to me, and for you and for your family and for the entire country to see.

Every night for the past year and a half on this program I sit here and I talk about the pandemic and I talk about the deaths and the politics and the misinformation and talk about all of it, but not tonight, not today.

Today I spent the day in the COVID ward in the hospital where I was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, except there's not really a COVID ward. It's basically become a COVID hospital since there are so many patients with the virus. They are struggling to breathe. They are struggling to live. The doctors and the nurses there, they are fighting to make it so. Even though there is a vaccine that could have avoided all of it and they have a message for all of you. Listen.


LEMON: Louisiana has the worst COVID case rates in the country. It's also near the top of the list when it comes to hospitalizations. I was born in Louisiana in Baton Rouge at this very hospital. So, I came home to see what was happening for myself.

Baton Rouge General Mid City is bursting at the seams.

You have more patients here with COVID than without.

UNKNOWN: That is correct.

LEMON: In general hospital in your lifetime, you haven't seen anything like this?

VENKAT BANDA, CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICER, BATON ROUGE GENERAL HOSPITAL MID CITY: I have never seen one illness occupy 90 percent of the resources and 90 percent of the beds.

LEMON: What's going on?

BANDA: The Delta as the new virus. It's more contagious, it's more virulent. And it's catching people that have not been vaccinated.

LEMON: Before I speak with any of the COVID patients being treated, I suit up.

UNKNOWN: Everyone does this to go into patient rooms. They have some type of covering for their clothes.

LEMON: So, every day all of you guys are doing this?

UNKNOWN: Yes, sir.

LEMON: This is a lot.

UNKNOWN: This is a lot.

LEMON: Here is 53-year-old Jim. He's unvaccinated. And so is his brother. Until yesterday, Jim and his brother were in here together. His brother got well enough to be discharged. And Jim homes he'll be as lucky.

How you doing?

JIM, COVID-19 PATIENT: Doing good.


JIM: Doing a lot better.

LEMON: You and your brother were here?

JIM: Yes, sir.

LEMON: What happened?

JIM: We just got COVID and got sick and we went to the hospital. And here you are they have no place for us, he turned us down here. He come down two days before me. He left yesterday going home. I was in ICU for three days and (Inaudible) me for a run.


JIM; So that's a good sign.

LEMON: How is your brother?

JIM: He's doing good. He actually -- I talked to him this morning. He was at home, first night at home last night. LEMON: What does it feel like?

JIM: Feels like you got your lungs clamped down. You just can't get the air.

LEMON: Why didn't you get vaccinated?

JIM: Just haven't had time. I guess just didn't do it.

LEMON: So, you're not anti-vaccine?

JIM: No, sir.

LEMON: You're just kind of ambivalent about it?

JIM: Yes. Just kind of (Inaudible).

LEMON: Do you regret it?

JIM: Yes, I do.

LEMON: Tell me why.

JIM: I don't know if the shot would have helped me. Maybe it would have helped it from getting worse.

LEMON: What do you say to folks?

JIM: Open your eyes. Open your eyes. Take heed to this. This is nothing to play with.

LEMON: He says he's not anti-vaccine. He just didn't have the time.


LEMON: Do you find --


UNKNOWN: Well, yes, a lot of people. I mean, some people are anti- vaccine. Some people just don't think it's, you know, as important, I guess, if you will. They, you know, don't think it's going to happen to them. And unfortunately, what we're seeing here is that it can happen to anybody.

LEMON: I'm aware I'm in a hospital full of patients with the Delta variant. And so is the staff. There are strict protocols to keep the deadly virus from spreading.

So, you have to change that every time you go to a different room?

UNKNOWN: So not to a different floor, to a different floor because outside is clean space. Inside is dirty space. Make sense?


UNKNOWN: So, we keep COVID behind these walls.

LEMON: Got it. That's a lot you guys have to go through.

UNKNOWN: Yes. It's time consuming. But we do, we have to do to make sure we protect everybody, the healthy and the sick.

LEMON: Let's do it. Is there some art to this? So, I'm getting my new PPE because I left a different section or different ward. Is that right?

UNKNOWN: Different unit.


LEMON: Different unit. And so now wherever I go I have to have completely new PPE because they don't want to get me or anyone contaminated or bring something from another ward, another area. OK.


LEMON: I'm ready.

LEMON: The next room I visit, I meet 40-year-old mother of four Maxine Sawyer. Eleven days ago, she came to the hospital thinking she was having a heart attack. She wasn't.

Were you freaking out?

UNKNOWN: I didn't freak out. I didn't freak out. I was shocked when they said I had COVID.


UNKNOWN: I don't go anywhere. We have been quarantining, disinfecting, doing everything that we're supposed to do. And I still ended up with the virus. My children got tested immediately. I'm the only one that ended up with it.

LEMON: Let me ask you. Why didn't you get vaccinated?

UNKNOWN: Me myself, I thought that I was being safe, because I've been quarantining since the beginning of the pandemic. The reason I didn't get vaccinated, my choice was I wanted to wait, let this first batch go through, you know, see how it worked.

But before I got sick, I was thinking about getting vaccinated and I was speaking to my children about it. I didn't make it in time. I got sick before I can get vaccinated.

LEMON: Being in the hospital is hard, but in some ways the conversation with her children is even harder.

UNKNOWN: If mommy doesn't make it home, you guys know I love you. I have raised you up the right way. I have made sure that you guys have grown up close. They're best friends. And you guys have to be strong and make mommy proud. LEMON: That could not have been easy.

UNKNOWN: No. Never. Never is.

LEMON: Was it, did you ever think you were going to die?

UNKNOWN: I knew it was a possibility. To experience death around me constantly was a huge ordeal for me.

LEMON: You've seen people dying here?

UNKNOWN: Yes. Yes. Younger than me, healthier than me, you know. And it affects -- even though I don't know these people, you experience a code blue or laughter with the staff turns to silence because they're heartbroken because they just lost somebody, you know, it does something, you know?

LEMON: What?

UNKNOWN: It's like you realize how precious life is and how we take the smallest things for granted, like a single breath, one single breath we take for granted.

LEMON: Nobody is vaccinated at home?

UNKNOWN: Nobody is vaccinated at home yet.

LEMON: How many you are?

UNKNOWN: It is five of us.

LEMON: Children?


LEMON: Ages?

UNKNOWN: Twenty, 18, 14 and one and a half.

LEMON: And you wanted to wait?

UNKNOWN: For myself.

LEMON: And what about for them?

UNKNOWN: I spoke to them about it and I honestly think that they were afraid.

LEMON: Afraid of what?

UNKNOWN: The time, how quickly the vaccine was presented. I think that was a big thing. For myself, I already had underlying health conditions, so I wanted to make sure it was safe for me. And we talked about it a lot. I didn't want to pressure them or push them into vaccinating. I wanted them to make their own decision.

LEMON: The kids can stop being afraid. If all continues to go well, Maxine is scheduled to go home tomorrow.

UNKNOWN: The good thing about me being up here is everybody has said, OK, if mom of all people got COVID, it's time for us to get vaccinated as a family.


LEMON: They say it's a small world and it really is, especially here in Baton Rouge. I actually met someone who went to my high school.

Did you go to Baker High School?

UNKNOWN: I sure did.

LEMON: Yes? What year did you graduate?

UNKNOWN: A long time before you, '68.

LEMON: My gosh. Seventy-year-old Brenda Carl says she was admitted to the hospital Saturday with double pneumonia and COVID-19.

What were your symptoms? What happened?

UNKNOWN: I just got to where I couldn't breathe. I had no oxygen. I was doing OK at home. I thought I was getting better, and then just the bottom fell out. You just don't know. It's rough stuff, it really is.

LEMON: Did you know you had COVID?

UNKNOWN: Yes. I had tested positive several days before, yes.

LEMON: Why didn't you get vaccinated?

UNKNOWN: Just apprehensive, you know? My husband got vaccinated and wanted me too. And I just thought I'll be careful. You know, but it's I guess needful, very needful.

LEMON: Are you going to?

UNKNOWN: So, I plan to get vaccinated.

LEMON: And you weren't against vaccines?

UNKNOWN: No, I've always taken vaccines. I was just, this seemed so different, you know, just informational. I just didn't, I guess, get the information that I wanted or thought, well, you know, it's so different, I'm not sure it's going to be a good vaccine. So, yes.

LEMON: Yes? What do you say to folks now?

UNKNOWN: I think everybody ought to try to get it, yes. Yes.


UNKNOWN: If it will help prevent you from getting really sick, you know, it's going to do its thing.

LEMON: At the beginning of summer, there were four patients in Baton Rouge General's two hospitals. Two weeks ago, there were 15. Now there are nearly 200 COVID patients. Ninety percent of them unvaccinated.

UNKNOWN: This was where actually we used to have our COVID patients just on this side in comparison to what it is now. Just as a --

LEMON: This was just COVID back here?

UNKNOWN: This was just COVID back here.

LEMON: Now everything is?

UNKNOWN: Now everything is, yes, sir.

LEMON: How long ago?

UNKNOWN: About a little over two weeks ago.

LEMON: Wow. Caring for wave after wave of patients since the start of the pandemic takes a toll on the hospital workers.

What have they seen over the last year and a half?

UNKNOWN: So, we opened this hospital April 3rd last year, our acute units and our ICU units to take in COVID positive patients. We did it three different times and here we are again the fourth time. It looks a little different this time. Our patients are sicker and they are a lot younger this time.

LEMON: Younger people?

UNKNOWN: Younger people than the first surge, absolutely.

LEMON: These are just everyday people that I've been speaking to through some way or another who happened to get COVID. I didn't hear as much about politics as we hear on the news every day. Most of them said, you know what, I just didn't have the time or there was some just ambivalence about getting the vaccine.

But one thing is for sure. Every single person I spoke to said they are going to get the vaccine now and they're urging everybody else to do the same.


LEMON: So that's how I spent my day in my hometown. And let me just say this. Every single person I spoke to in the hospital, patient, unvaccinated. I told them, I'm not here to judge you. I'm just here to hear your story.

And sometimes it's easy to sit behind, I don't mean a camera like me because I meet people all the time, behind your television, in front of your televisions at home and you judge people because they're not doing certain things or they don't think the way that you think or they don't have as much information or as much knowledge as you have.

Well, everyone doesn't do that. People are busy taking care of their families. Everyone doesn't have means to have televisions all over their homes or sometimes even to be able to pay to see cable news.

So, I came away with a really broadened and open and different, slightly different perspective about people who are not vaccinated. Yes, I understand there is politics in it, but there are a whole lot of people out there where politics doesn't have anything to do with it.

Here's what I will say, though. I think that because of what happened over the last couple of years, the attacks on our institutions, the attacks on the first amendment, the attacks on journalism which is covered in the first amendment, that people wrongly don't know who to trust.

They believe the propaganda on certain networks. They believe the propaganda on social media. So, it is going to be up to us here in the media to make viewers or to help viewers become more media literate.


I'm not an opinion host. I give my point of view. Everything I say every single night is based in fact. And if I screw it up, I come back and apologize and I get it right. That's what we do here at CNN. That is the big difference between us and networks that don't have to operate in that, in that realm.

So, I am committed to helping people get the vaccine, to speak to people even if they don't agree with me, even if I don't agree with them because I'm here every single night. So, let's help each other, give each other some grace and some leeway, but hold each other accountable as well. I think there is room for it all.

So, I'm not done with Baton Rouge just yet in this program. I have been speaking with the governor of Louisiana lately about what is going on in his state. So, when I said I was coming down, John Bel Edwards, the governor there met me at the hospital amid the huge influx of patients, begging people to please get the vaccine to protect themselves and their neighbors. So, stay with us.


LEMON: People don't realize when they say my liberty, my freedom, fine, all of that is true. But then there's a ripple effect.

GOV. JOHN BEL EDWARDS (D-LA): Sure. And look, a public health emergency, when you have a virus that this contagious and this deadly, it requires government to manage that. And you can only manage that by curbing what people do.


EDWARDS: And so, we are all were mindful of people's liberty interests.

LEMON: We are.

EDWARDS: There is nothing -- I don't wake up in the morning saying let me put a mandate on people.


EDWARDS: This isn't measurable for me. But the only thing worse is not doing it.

LEMON: Yes. What is your -- what's your message to everyone out there? You are in the thick of it. I mean, Louisiana is, you're number one in rate.

EDWARDS: We are.


EDWARDS: Well, first of all, for many other states their vaccination rates may be lower than ours or slightly higher. This could be your future in the very, you know, in the next week or two if you're not careful. So please get vaccinated. Wear your mask in indoor public spaces. And let's get through this together.




LEMON: We are back now talking about the explosion of COVID cases in my home state of Louisiana and the burden it is putting on the hospital system there. It is a warning of what could soon happen all across this country.

That is the message from Louisiana's Governor John Bel Edwards. I spoke with him at the hospital where I was born, Baton Rouge General Hospital Mid City, a place hit so badly by this pandemic that they have put up a wall recognizing those who have contracted COVID and survived.

Louisiana has the worse rate of new cases per day than any other state. Louisiana has the second highest rate of hospitalizations per capita after Florida. And it has the fifth worse vaccination rate in the country. Governor Edwards told me the situation is absolutely dire and he is urging people to get vaccinated immediately. Here's our conversation.


LEMON: This is all what, patients.

EDWARDS: That's right. That's the wall of heroes.

LEMON: Thank you for doing this. At one point, this wall wasn't full. EDWARDS: No, that's correct. So, this is, this is not the first time

we have used Baton Rouge General Mid City as a special hospital for COVID patients.


EDWARDS: And we've had to bring in outside staffing each time, sometimes from the Department of Defense, but we have 118 medical professionals that we brought in on a state contract to augment this hospital system so that they can take care of the patients here, 95 patients here, COVID as you know, not a single ICU room available at this hospital.

LEMON: Yes. There maybe even, I think there's 95 now. But you had 15 a month ago.


LEMON: And then all of a sudden, you're at 200 at one point or 100 something at one point.

EDWARDS: So, we had 2,901 in the hospital today across the state with COVID. That is 10 times what we had on July 1st. Ten times.

LEMON: Governor, I'm here because this is the hospital I was born in.


LEMON: And I read that this hospital was overrun, --


LEMON: -- overwhelmed with COVID patients. Louisiana has the second highest hospitalization rate in the country, second to Florida. You're not alone in this. All the states around you are beaming red. You have a mask mandate.


LEMON: But you're going to need the other governors and folks around you to cooperate. What do you need them to do to help?

EDWARDS: Well, you know, I have more than I can say grace over here in Louisiana, and I don't really comment about what other states are doing. I will tell you. We have a mask mandate in place because all of the medical professionals here in Louisiana told me it was absolutely essential to curb transmission to reduce the demand on the hospital not just for COVID patients but for all patients.

You could be a stroke victim. You could be a motor vehicle accident victim. And you need, you need hospital attention, you need a bed, you need a recovery room and an ICU and so forth. So, it's incredibly important. The mask mandate to curb transmission while we get more people vaccinated. You know, it's not one or the other. It's both.

LEMON: Everyone likes to be number one but not in this. EDWARDS: No.

LEMON: You're number one in case rates in the country.


LEMON: What do you say, that's got to frighten you.

EDWARDS: It scares me. And I know that the sad part is there's nothing in the data thus far to suggest we're at a peak and we're coming down on the other side of the surge. And we know we don't have the capacity to continue to grow our hospitalizations. You know, we announced today 54 deaths today.

LEMON: Today.

EDWARDS: That is just heartbreaking, because we know that has happened -- the Delta variant is a game changer. But quite frankly, we have enough time to get many more people vaccinated in advance of this variant becoming a problem and we didn't take advantage of that time to the degree that we should have. And that's why we're having this really nasty surge. This is the worst it's been throughout the entire pandemic. And that breaks my heart, because this was not necessary.


LEMON: Well, I just interviewed a patient upstairs who said that she -- she said, I didn't pray for myself, I pray for the people around me and I paid -- I prayed for the workers in the hospital. She said she had never heard death before.

She's heard death since she's been here. And she knows because the staff will go from laughing and whatever trying to help people out and then silence because they've lost someone and they're exhausted. She said they're miracle workers.

EDWARDS: Well, they're doing tremendous work under very difficult circumstance. And the least that the rest of us can do is try to lighten that demand on them, that burden on them by doing something like wearing a mask or making sure you're vaccinated just as soon as you can be vaccinated. That really is the way out of the pandemic.


EDWARDS: We have safe and effective vaccines. They are free. They are available at over 1,400 locations in Louisiana, Don, today.


EDWARDS: You can get vaccinated at more than 1,400 locations.

LEMON: I got off the airplane. You can get vaccinated in the airport in New Orleans.


LEMON: Amazing.

EDWARDS: Yes, sir.

LEMON: Are people taking advantage of that?

EDWARDS: There are. The good news is over the last month vaccinations are up over 400 percent. And so that's very helpful. We still have a long way to go, but that is very helpful. But if you start your vaccination today, especially if you got a two-shot regimen, you're five or six weeks before you're fully vaccinated. right?


EDWARDS: So, we're encouraging people don't wait, get vaccinated today.

LEMON: A couple of people I spoke to said they had some concerns about the vaccine. Not enough to, not make them get it, but they just wanted to wait to see what happened. Right? I experienced, and I just only interview a few patients, more ambivalence than anti-vaccination. Does that --

EDWARDS: Yes, but hopefully when people see what's happening now with the surge and they understand how many vaccines have been administered, how safe and effective they are, they're going to stop waiting. They want to get vaccinated. And we really want to reach some of the people who may have concluded previously they weren't going to get vaccinated ever, because they can change their mind too.

LEMON: That was the thing. I said, I'm on TV every night. There are people on television every day telling, you know, in the papers, on the radio, saying get vaccinated. Get vaccinated. They said, well, I just didn't have enough information, I don't know. How do you convince people that it is OK?

EDWARDS: Well, part of it is just that they don't have enough information. Many people are consuming really bad information, misinformation.

LEMON: Bad information. I was reading a story from the local WBRZ Channel 2 television station. And it said that the patients that are coming in now are younger than before and whiter. That was their headline. Talk to me about that.

EDWARDS: And not just, not just younger. I was talking to some doctors. You're going to speak to them in just a minute. You know, they believe they're sicker. The disease is actually more severe now in the people they're seeing and they're getting worse faster.

And so, it makes sense that people are going to be younger because the highest percentage of people who are vaccinated are those who are 65 and older.

LEMON: And older.

EDWARDS: So, we're well above 85 percent of those who have at least one shot.

LEMON: Well, I think, but if you honest -- quite honest, if you look at the map, the south is on fire.


LEMON: I know that you said you don't want to comment on others or whatever but you are in the south. And proximity can, you know --



LEMON: Proximity plays --

EDWARDS: This is a public health emergency.

LEMON: Yes. It plays an important role in this.

EDWARDS: And what every individual does or doesn't do doesn't just have an effect on them. It has an effect on everybody, which is -- which is the big, I think, disconnect between so many people in our country right now, is that they want to prioritize their individual right to do or not to do something.

But you cannot manage a public health emergency in that regard. You have to have certain restrictions when they're reasonably necessary to protect public health and preserve hospital capacity and so forth, which gets back to the mask mandate, for example.

LEMON: Are you hopeful?

EDWARDS: I'm very hopeful. You know, we put --


LEMON: Are you optimistic?

EDWARDS: The mask mandate has been in place for a week and a day. Typically, it takes about 10 days before you start seeing the results from that. So, yes, I am optimistic because we've done this before. Not with the Delta variant, which is much more transmissible and potentially more virulent, but we've done this before.

And I know if we can just get enough Louisianans to embrace, you don't have to have a 100 percent. I love to have 100 percent. You don't have to have 100 percent. But if we can get enough Louisianans to embrace these mitigation measures, I do believe we're going to break a peak soon. And I'm certainly praying for that.

LEMON: Thank you, Governor.

EDWARDS: Thank you, Don. God bless you.

LEMON: I really appreciate it.


LEMON: And thanks to the governor and good luck down there. We'll continue to follow.

But I want to tell you that more than 75,000 people hospitalized with coronavirus in the U.S. right now. That's how many there are. And I want to know how we can get beyond the politics, how we can beat this pandemic.

The former mayor of New Orleans and CNN political commentator Mitch Landrieu is here along with CNN medical analyst Dr. Jonathan Reiner. We're going to talk to them right after the break.



LEMON: The coronavirus surge in Louisiana putting strains on all aspects of the health care system. It could be a sign of what is to come in other parts of the country if people don't get vaccinated or take precautions like wearing masks.


So, joining me now CNN political commentator and former New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, and CNN medical analyst Dr. Jonathan Reiner.

Gentlemen, good evening. Thank you so much for joining. I really appreciate it, especially on this topic.

Doctor, you know, I've spoken to you for a year and a half about this. Right? And I have a different perspective after going there or I should say an enhanced perspective from going inside that hospital.

One of the hardest parts is knowing that these people who are so sick in this hospital with COVID, that they didn't have to be. There is a vaccine and it is available and there's information out there and that vaccine is free.

JONATHAN REINER, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: That's what's so damn frustrating for me, that for the last almost eight months we've had a get out of jail free card, literally free. No one in the United States now needs to be hospitalized for COVID-19. Our vaccines are that good.

So, it's, we have failed the public in our messaging. Our leadership has failed the public in how we have presented the vaccines to this country. You know, one of the original sins was to call the vaccine program Operation Warp Speed. You heard some of the patients that you spoke to in the hospital, Don, express concern about how rapidly the vaccine was developed.

And you know, those are legitimate concerns to people. What they should have stressed was the safety. They should have stressed the fact that these vaccines have really been in development for a decade. But yet, they stressed speed. And speed scares people. When I consent somebody for a procedure nobody ever asked me how quickly can I do it. LEMON: Right.

REINER: They want to know how safely I can do it. So, we need better messaging.

LEMON: You know what, before I move on to Mitch, I think, you know, numbers saying, you know, this many people and that and this and this, you know, these many people are dying. The numbers don't really convince people. What convinces people are the interviews like what I did.

Or, quite frankly, somebody in their family or themselves getting it. But they -- people have told me when we see people on television, when we see the interviews of people saying I have it or a loved one has it, go get it, that can make a difference. But just spouting statistics and numbers, it doesn't really break through.

REINER: Right. And I think also what really resonates with people when you go into hospitals and you talk to the heroes in the community, these are their neighbors who are putting themselves at risk trying to save these lives. When you talk to the nurses and the respiratory therapists and the E.R. docs and the environmental people who have been going into these literally burning buildings every day for the last 18 months at great personal peril, those stories really resonate.

And maybe, just maybe people in the community start to understand, you know, that if I get sick, it's not just me getting sick. I have to put all these people at risk to try and save me.


REINER: So maybe it reminds people of community. I hope so. And I think we need to talk more about that.

LEMON: Yes. That is the frustrating part because as I said there it's not just in the story, Mitch Landrieu. It is not just you when you said it's my personal liberty, it's my personal freedom. Well, 90 percent of the people in the hospital are unvaccinated people who are taxing the system.

People who come in for routine or have, you know, underlying conditions that have nothing to do with COVID, they can't get treated because the COVID patients who didn't believe in science are now in the hospital having the opportunity to have that science save their lives. And the people who believe the science can't get the services.

And so, it is, in a way, it is not fair for the people who are following the rules, Mitch. Do you understand what I'm saying? Look at all this red on this map. It doesn't need to be there. It's avoidable. So, talk to me.

MITCH LANDRIEU, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: This is a -- first of all, I've been watching this show from the top, so I was able to watch you -- excuse me -- walk around the hospital where you were born. Governor Edwards expressed frustration. The doctor expressed frustration. I've been in touch with health care workers who are just beside

themselves because they've been there for a year and a half. They're at threat. Whether it's the doctors, the nurses, the security guards, the folks that are cleaning up, it is hardly frustrating because this was avoidable.

We have to do a lot of soul searching about the messaging, that's true. But it is also true people have had a plethora of information about this. And both of Ms. Maxine and Ms. Brenda, both of them you've interviewed, you know, what a sad, sad situation. They didn't really come to realize how important it was until their family members, you know, told them what was going on.

And so, as you look at that map -- and the governor was kind enough not to comment about what other governors across the south are doing but some unelected officials are and where I can. You can look at that map and see the entire southern part of the country is on fire.


And I know that the medical expertise will tell you that this is highly likely to happen in the rest of the country if people don't get vaccinated. There are two ways out of this, wear a mask and get vaccinated. That's it. That's what the science tells us.

And so now, when people choose not to get vaccinated and express that it's part of their liberty, I would like them to think about the fact that they want to be free. Their freedom to swing their arm ends when it hits my nose. And of course, what you are beginning to see in clear terms and the governor told you this. They went from three to 30 to 200 people in the ICU. And the doctor can speak to this better than I can.

But what that means is if someone is involved in a car wreck or they have a heart attack or there's some other kind of procedure that they need and all of the medical professionals are taken up talking to folks that have COVID because they didn't get the vaccine, they can't care for those other patients.

So, from my perspective, the kindest thing we can do is to help each other out by getting vaccinated and by wearing the mask. That is the pathway out. And I think it's the only pathway out.

LEMON: Hey, Mitch, I'm in trouble here if you go really long. You're right up the road from Baton Rouge. Are you seeing this mask mandate or is anything punching through or making a difference in New Orleans?

LANDRIEU: Well, it's beginning to. The mayor today and I don't know if the governor is going to follow, basically is requiring people to have proof of vaccination before they go into public spaces. As you know, the jazz fest folded the other day, --

LEMON: Cancelled.

LANDRIEU: -- as other major events. When people start hearing that, they start waking up a little bit more, albeit a little bit too late. LEMON: Thank you, Mitch. Thank you, Dr. Reiner. I appreciate it. You

guys be safe. Be well.

LANDRIEU: For sure.

LEMON: The U.S. is getting more diverse and the white population is shrinking for the first time. The census is out and it tells us a lot about why racist voices in this country have gotten louder. That's next.



LEMON: Numbers that will impact the entire country released today. The 2020 census is out. And it shows what most Americans know and some Americans fear, quite frankly. The country is changing, a lot. The white population in the U.S. shrinking for the first time in the country's history, declining 8.6 percent from 2010, down to just 57.8 percent.

So, joining me now to discuss CNN political commentators Bakari Sellers and Ana Navarro.

Good evening to both of you. Thanks for joining.

Bakari, there's been a resurgence of this extreme white nationalist conspiracy that there is an attempt to replace white Americans. Remember this from Charlottesville.


CROWD: Jews will not replace us! Jews will not replace us! Jews will not replace us!


LEMON: Nazis and white supremacists in Charlottesville saying Jews will not replace us. Do you think these new numbers only reinforce their sense of being under attack?

BAKARI SELLERS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: No question about it. I mean, you look at that. You look at Charlottesville and you look at what happened January 6th. What you're seeing now is the browning of America bringing out a lot of the true colors of this country, whether or not it's the anti-Semitic rhetoric that you just played, whether or not it's the racism or the xenophobia.

I mean, look at this panel. It's Bakari Sellers, Don Lemon, and Ana Navarro.

Right now, Stephen Miller and Donald Trump are at Mar-a-Lago and they're throwing up because this is not the America they want to see. And so, I actually go as far as saying that a lot of the things that we see going on politically, especially when it comes to voting rights throughout the country are not because of the 2020 election. It's because of this census and what we knew is that there's no such

thing as economic anxiety. The media did a disservice calling it that. It's cultural anxiety. There are people who feel as if they're being replaced. It's not true, but that's how they feel.

And they're showing out with their violence, they're showing out with their anti-Semitism, they're showing out with their racism, xenophobia and bigotry. But we're just peeling the Band-Aid off who we really are, Don.

LEMON: And they're showing out really especially in some conservative places in media. I want you to look at this whole, Ana, this whole replacement idea. It's not just at the white nationalist rally. It's found at willing home, where else on the Fox propaganda network. Take a listen to this.


TUCKER CARLSON, HOST, FOX NEWS: The Democratic Party is trying to replace the current electorate, the voters now casting ballots with new people, more obedient voters from the third world. Demographic change is the key to the Democratic Party's political ambitions. In order to win and maintain power, Democrats plan to change the population of the country.

This is the administration bringing felons, violent criminals into our country on purpose. Why would you do something like that? What they're doing is bringing in people they think will vote for them.


LEMON: I mean, obviously this is absurd and dangerous. But still it resonates with many Americans, Ana. How do you push back on that?

ANA NAVARRO, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: By voting, by showing up, by registering to vote. Listen, some of the numbers I saw today are really encouraging when it comes to raw numbers, right? There's almost 20 percent of the population is Latino, 18.2. But those numbers don't mean as much if the black and brown communities, if minority communities don't show up and flex that political muscle, having the numbers does not mean as much.

And so, I think, you know, I think we need to be very aware of the forces in this country that are trying to divide us, that are trying to keep us down, that are trying to build fear around this, that are trying to demonize us, that are trying to portray us as other than, as if we don't belong.


And, you know, and it's just people who forget what this country was founded on. And who was here when folks came. This is the, you know, America is what we see reflected in the census.

What I'm very concerned about though, Don, is the gerrymandering and the redistricting. LEMON: Yes.

NAVARRO: Because the numbers are one thing. But then how does that translate into political power? And the folks that are in charge of legislatures are very savvy and very good at drawing districts that are not reflective of America.

LEMON: Well, you both got it often -- got everything often in one question -- in one answer. So, I thank you. Our time is a little bit short.


SELLERS: But we got to say one thing, Don, before you go.

LEMON: Yes. Yes.

SELLERS: We got to say Tucker Carlson is racist. Tucker Carlson is racist. That's all I wanted to say.

NAVARRO: Well, wait, and Bakari, let me tell you something. You talked about Stephen Miller at the beginning of the segment. You know, I don't want to name drop. Man, I was at the White House the other day and guess who got Stephen Miller's old office. Her name is Susan Rice. And she's one of us. And guess who is in Ivanka Trump's old office?


NAVARRO: Julie Rodriguez.

SELLERS: I love Julie.

NAVARRO: She is Cesar Chavez's granddaughter.

SELLERS: Yes, yes.

NAVARRO: Yes. You go -- you go around there and you go around that White House and you see what America looks like. Well, you know, listen. We're here to stay. The good news is we come in peace and we are American and we love the subject.

LEMON: Joe Biden promised that his administration and his cabinet and everyone that he hires or involved in government that reflect the diversity of this country and it looks like he is living up to that promise right now. Thank you both. I appreciate it.

SELLERS: Thank you.

LEMON: The terminator says, quote, "screw your freedom." He's got strong words for people refusing to wear a mask and take the basic precautions to protect their neighbors. You've got to see this, next.


(COMMERCIAL BREAK) LEMON: Take this. Let's now call the terminator the maskinator. Arnold Schwarzenegger, the former California governor coming out strongly on wearing masks to help stop the spread of COVID. And for those who claim wearing a mask is a question of freedom, he says, quote, "screw your freedom."


FMR. GOV. ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER (R-CA): And the only way we end this is to get vaccinated, to do wear masks, to do social distancing, washing your hands all the time and not just to think about my freedom is being kind of disturbed here. No. Screw your freedom. Because with freedom comes obligations and responsibilities. We cannot just say I have the right to do x, y and z. When you affect other people, that is when it gets serious.


LEMON: Arnold Schwarzenegger says anyone who doesn't wear a mask is a schmuck.

Next, surrounded, verbally assaulted and harassed. One father mobbed for speaking in favor of mask at a school board meeting. He speaks out right after this.