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Ukraine: Russia Firing Missiles On Port City Of Odessa; Russia Marks Victory Day As War In Ukraine Rages On; Russian Ambassador To Poland Doused With Red Paint; Sri Lankan Prime Minister Resigns; South Korea's New President, Yoon Suk Yeol; Philippines' Election; Push for More COVID Funding; Possible COVID Infections in U.S.; COVID Boosters Could Limit Winter Surge; Interview with Cardiologist and Professor of Molecular Medicine for Scripps Research Dr. Eric Topol; Extra Protection to Families of Supreme Court Justices; Rallies Over Abortion Rights; High Winds Threaten to Spread Fire. Aired 2-3a ET

Aired May 10, 2022 - 02:00   ET




ANNOUNCER: This is CNN Breaking News.

ISA SOARES, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello and a very warm welcome to our viewers in the United States and right around the world. I'm Isa Soares coming to you live in Ukraine with the latest on the war here. Russia pounding the key port city of Odessa as Vladimir Putin spends a Victory Day defending his ruthless assault on civilians.

ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: And I'm Rosemary church at CNN world headquarters in Atlanta. Following our other top stories. After more than a week on the run a violent end the hunt for a former Alabama prison guard and escaped inmate.

SOARES: Welcome to the show, everyone. It's 9:00 a.m. here in Ukraine. And Russian President Vladimir Putin may not have given away any of his military plans during a defined Victory Day address in Moscow on Monday. But Russian forces are clearly focused on punishing the Ukrainian port of Odessa. The city has been hit by a barrage of cruise missiles in the past day fired from Russian planes, ships and submarines.

And these are brand new pictures just into CNN. Local officials report at least one person was killed in attacks in the shopping mall as well as to hotels. Ukraine's defense ministry says Russian forces are continuing their storm offensive on the other Azovstal steel works in Mariupol. The ministry posted video Monday of Ukrainian flag flying above the plant where the last remaining Ukrainian soldiers are said to be holding out.

We'll take you to the north in Kharkiv. Video posted on social media shows the aftermath of an attack on a civilian convoy trying to escape the fighting. Local officials say they lost contact with the group on Friday. Well, Ukraine says its soldiers fighting back as Russian forces cross the Siverskyi Donets River in the Luhansk region. Satellite image you're seeing there show pontoon bridges that could enable the Russians to cut off Ukrainian supply lines.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Congress is expected to take up a $40 billion aid bill for Ukraine in the coming hours. President Biden says existing funding will run out in about 10 days. While the brutality of Russia's war on Ukraine stands in really sharp contrast to the pomp as well as the circumstance on display in Moscow on Monday. The annual Victory Day parade commemorates the Soviet Union's victory in World War II.

But this year, Putin seems more focused on rewriting history than on remembering it. CNN's Sam Kiley has a story for you.


SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): One man's parade for the many. The many on parade for one man. And on the eve of Victory Day, authorities here say 60 people died in a Russian airstrike. The victory over German Nazism once united the people of Russia and Ukraine. Not anymore. This is what Putin's modern campaign to denazify Ukraine looked like on the eve of that Victory Day in the east of the country.

From Mariupol to Mykolaiv, Kherson to Kramatorsk. Russians war in the name of saving Russian-speaking people in Ukraine has focused most violence in the East, where most people speak Russian. On Victory Day, Ukrainian towns under Russian control held muted memorials to a past war. While the present rages on. This man survived the (INAUDIBLE) airstrike and his response to Putin's parade. A sarcastic, let them celebrate. We would celebrate too.

Imagine what they bombed, an ordinary village with only pensioners and children. They died in a Russian thrust into their village during an operation to throw a military bridge across the Donets River, shown here in this satellite image. The move is intended to cut this supply route to Russian-speaking Ukrainian towns now under bombardment. Ukrainian forces are counter attacking but Russian artillery is already hitting the road and the oil refinery next to it.

KILEY (on camera): With the killing of at least 60 people, civilians cowering in a school not far from here. It's clear that the Russians are continuing with their campaign to obliterate civilian life. But they It is also a sign that they're pursuing traditional tactics. Trying to break the infrastructure that could support the Ukrainian war effort.


KILEY (voice over): Putin's allegations of Nazism in Ukraine are turned back on the Russian leader by survivors of the real war against Hitler's ideology.

She says, I think victory will be ours, only hours. If I were younger, I would have written this stuck throat out with my teeth. The president is insisting Ukraine's victory is certain. The one who was repeating the horrific crimes of Hitler's regime today, following Nazi philosophy copying everything they did, he is doomed. But it will be a long hard fight to turn the lessons of history into a modern day Ukraine Victory in Europe.

Sam Kiley, CNN in Topolovka.


SOARES: Protesters in Poland made it clear how they feel about Russia's Victory Day. They confronted Russia's ambassador to Poland and asked him in blood red paint and this happened at a Soviet cemetery in Warsaw. As you can see there, Russian state media report the ambassador was trying to lay a reef. Polish and Ukrainian protesters blocked his path. And he left the cemetery with police.

The Russian Foreign Ministry blamed neo-Nazi supporters for the incident. Let's bring in CNN's Clare Sebastian live this hour for us in London. And Clare what has been the Russian reaction to its ambassador being doused with red paint?

CLARE SEBASTIAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Isa. The tone from Maria Zakharova, the Foreign Ministry spokeswoman very much in keeping with what we heard from Russia yesterday during Victory Day. The sense that they are sort of fighting the ideological successor to the Second World War. She said, followers of Neo-Nazism have once again shown their face and it's bloody.

She continued. You can't scare us, the people of Europe should be scared of their own reflections in the mirror. But it's clear that they were somewhat rattled, if nothing else by that by the optics of this because in a later telegram post, Zakharova said, sort of addressed directly to the ambassador, Sergey Andreev, that she just wanted to give him a hug. So, I think this certainly did rattle the foreign ministry.

The Russian embassy in Poland has said it will protest. They're saying that they had actually scaled down events of the day hadn't held a sort of full Victory Day celebration and saying that all that was left for the Polish authorities was just to ensure elementary order. So, it looks like they will protest this event.

SOARES: Yes. Let's turn our attention, Clare to the port city of Odessa that has been pounded quite dramatically in the last few days, particularly in the last 24 hours, Clare, this is of course a key port city for Ukraine and could crucially have a big impact on the economy here and beyond.

SEBASTIAN: Well beyond the borders of Ukraine is a Ukrainian-Russian together represent 80 percent of the world's wheat. And the majority of Ukraine's wheat is exported through its black sea ports like Odessa and Mykolaiv. Odessa has been under Russian blockade essentially for a while now. And the World Food Program has been sounding the alarm on this for a while saying, you know, 400 million people rely on Ukraine's wheat.

And it's not just about the grain that's sitting in silos waiting to be exported. It's about the next harvest as well which is -- which is under threat because of the lack of labor. You know, farmers are fighting, lack of fuel, lack of fertilizer, all of these things compounded. And President Zelenskyy actually addressed this. Take a listen.


VOLODYMY ZELENSKY, PRESIDENT OF UKRAINE (through translator): This is not just a strike at Ukraine. Without our agrarian export, dozens of countries in various regions of the world have found themselves on the brink of food deficit. With time, the situation can truly become disastrous. Politicians have already begun looking into ramifications of the price crisis and food shortage in the countries of Africa and Asia.


SEBASTIAN: A shortage potentially of grain to be exported to countries like Africa and Asia. Price rises as well. And we know that there's another problem here that is that multiple sources have told CNN that the Russian forces are actually stealing grain and farm equipment in large quantities again, compounding the situation which has major global ramifications.

SOARES: Yes. This is exactly why I heard from the deputy mayor of Lviv here as they not only attack supply lines, but also these wheats silos. Clare Sebastian in London for us. Appreciate it, Clare. Thanks very much.

Now, Ukraine's Prosecutor General says the Russian army has committed more than 9800 war crimes in just 70 days of war. And that includes the deliberate bombing of civilians, killings, torture, and the use of rape as a weapon. CNN's Sara Sidner spoke to two women who described that terrifying ordeal when their village was occupied by Russian troops. And a warning some of the language you're about to hear is graphic.



SARA SIDNER, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: In this pine forest the remnants of a nasty battle caught in the crossfire. A quiet farming village in Ukraine's Provari district.

Here, Russian soldiers are accused of doing more than destroying homes to women say, they rape them too.

MIKA, RAPE SURVIVOR (through translator): What that son of a bitch did to me was horrible. He forced me to -- I can't talk about it. I'm ashamed and scared.

SIDNER: She shows us where Russian soldiers fired a shot in her home in March. She says she heard them say their names. One was Oleg (ph), the other Danya (ph).

MIKA: Danya started to pull me by the hood. I told him, it's painful. He said, come with me.

SIDNER: She says they dragged her down the street to her neighbor's small farmhouse. There, a grandmother, her daughter, her daughter's husband and her grandson were all inside sleeping when the soldiers arrived.

SIDNER (on camera): What happened when the soldiers showed up at your house?

VALENTINA, MOTHER OF RAPE SURVIVOR (through translator): I hear them banging at the door. So hard that everything around was shaking, even though windows.

SIDNER (voice over): She says she stayed in the house. Her son-in-law went outside with the soldiers and the neighbor.

MIKA: There was a short conversation. Then there was a sound like a bang. Shot like a firework. My body was shaking.

SIDNER: They killed him, she says. They took his wife while the Russian soldiers marched the two to this empty house. She said she heard them talking.

MIKA: They were calling each other by name saying look who we are going to (BLEEP)

SIDNER: She says she tried to reason with the soldier who would hold of her.

MIKA: Danya told me he was 19. I told him I was 41. My younger son is the same age as you. I asked him if he has a girlfriend. He said yes, she's 17 but I haven't had sex with her. Then why are you doing this to me? He answered because he hadn't seen a woman in two weeks.

SIDNER (on camera): She says the soldier promise not to kill her. But when she escaped, she had to risk her life just to get home because this village was under heavy bombardment.

MIKA: There were bullets flying around from the forest. I thought, oh my god, someone will see me and kill me.

SIDNER (voice over): The two women survived the assault, but then became the target of nasty gossip by other neighbors who saw Russian soldiers roaming around one of their homes.

Grandmother Valentina explained why saying her traumatized daughter went to the Russian commander, demanding help burying her husband.

VALENTINA: You guys came at night and kill him. You have to help us bury him.

SIDNER (on camera): We're standing on the grave.

SIDNER (voice over): She takes us to her backyard and points to two patches of dirt. Her daughter couldn't bear the pain and left the country. Her neighbor decided to stay and fight back. VALENTINA: Did they see it? Did they see it? They didn't see it. I can accuse some of them too.

SIDNER (on camera): Do you feel like you've been punished twice once by the rape and then a second time by the rumors in the village?

MIKA: Yes, it's really true. But God can see everything.

SIDNER (voice over): Since the war began, the ombudsman for human rights of Ukraine says reports of rape on a new hotline have exploded.

LYUDMYLA DENISOVA, UKRAINE OMBUDSMAN FOR HUMAN RIGHTS: There are more than 700 calls since the first of April.

SIDNER: The United Nations says rape is often used as a weapon of war. But the ombudsman says tracking down evidence and identifying perpetrators of any war crime is especially daunting.

SIDNER (on camera): It sounds to me like many of these war crimes will go unpunished. How do you not lose your mind listening to these horrific stories of rape?

DENISOVA: It's very difficult, you know, someone has to do it for our fighters risking their lives on the front lines. They are in danger every minute. This is my own frontline.

SIDNER (voice over): One of Ukraine's top prosecutors is investigating this case and told us the details described by these women behind this gate very clearly constitute war crimes. This survivor says she intends to help them prove it.

SIDNER (on camera): What should happen to the soldiers?

MIKA: I want them to be punished by the court. The judges must decide what to do with them. Shoot them, kill them tear them apart. The busters?

SIDNER (voice over): Sara Sidner, CNN, Brovary District, Ukraine.


SOARES: Important piece there from us Sara Sidner. Well, a show of solidarity with Ukraine was on display in Paris. The city's famed Eiffel Tower lit up in blue and yellow as you can see there, the colors of Ukraine's flag. On Monday night the light show was held as a European Union marked Europe Day. A day that's supposed to celebrate peace and unity of course on the continent.

And you are watching CNN NEWSROOM. Still to come right here. Very dramatic and deadly end to an 11-day manhunt in the U.S. for a corrections officer and a jail escapee. How police found the pair next.


[02:18:55] CHURCH: This car crash is part of the dramatic end to an 11-day manhunt for a fugitive inmate, an Alabama corrections officer. Authorities say they were able to remove inmate Casey White from the wrecked car after a high speed police chase in southern Indiana. But they say officer Vicky White was pinned inside with a gunshot wound to her head and later died at the hospital.

A police tip led authorities to the pair who were hundreds of miles away from the jail where Casey White escaped. CNN's Nadia Romero picks up the story from here.


SHERIFF RICK SINGLETON, LAUDERDALE COUNTY, ALABAMA: It ended the way that we did it would. They are in custody.

NADIA ROMERO, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): A defiant and triumphant Lauderdale County Sheriff Rick Singleton detailing what happened when U.S. Marshals captured corrections officer Vicky White and inmate Casey White. First this F150 truck and Casey White spotted at a carwash in Evansville Indiana, reported to Alabama authorities Sunday night.

SHERRIFF DAVE WEDDING, VANDERBURGH COUNTY, INDIANA: After the vehicle was located a while back we at least knew they may have been in our area but I couldn't believe that they had remained here.


ROMERO: Monday, U.S. Marshals found them in a hotel in Evansville. That's when Marshall saved the two fled police and a great Cadillac. Casey White was driving Vicky White in the passenger seat. U.S. Marshals pinned their car. They ended up in a ditch. Casey White surrender. The U.S. Marshals say Vicki White had a self inflicted gunshot wound to the head. She died from those injuries Monday night.

Sheriff singleton says Casey White will be brought back to Alabama for his arraignment. He's expected to return to the same place from where he escaped more than 10 days ago.

SINGLETON: He's not getting out of this jail again. I'll assure you that.

ROMERO: The Lauderdale County District Attorney says he's focused on the victims of Casey White and the family of Connie Ridgeway. Casey White is set to stand trial for capital murder charges related to Ridgeway's death this summer. The Lauderdale County District Attorney says his office will be ready.

CHRIS CONNOLLY, LAUDERDALE COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY: After finally being able to indict him for her murder of having this twist and turn in that case it's got to be devastating them. So, we look forward to bringing him to justice.

RMERO: Nadia Romero, CNN, Lauderdale County, Alabama.


CHURCH: And CNN ask to law enforcement experts to provide their insight on methods used to capture people running from the law like Vicky and Casey white. Take a listen.


CHAD HUNT, U.S. MARSHAL COMMANDER, GULF COAST REGIONAL FUGITIVE TASK FORCE: No two manhunts are alike. But thankfully, for the United States Marshal Service, we have this rapidly advancing man hunt program. And we evaluate, you know, some of these past cases that we've had that presented challenges to us. And so from that, you know, we just, you know, lead on our, you know, past experiences with support from our headquarters and every personnel and tipster out there that was able to give information really kind of put all this together.

ANDREW MCCABE, FORMER DEPUTY DIRECTOR, FBI: These are always very dangerous, very -- kind of high stakes and totally unique operations. You never really know how one of these chases is going to end up. It's very, very hard for anyone to stay on the run for any significant period of time in this country now, simply because of the profusion of video surveillance and the ability of the media and social media in particular to get that intelligence out to the public in a very, very rapid fashion.

So, it's somewhat inevitable that folks get caught. You just hope that it happens in a non-violent way. That wasn't the case here.


CHURCH: Authorities say they received hundreds of tips from across the United States, including one that ultimately led to the location of Vicky and Casey White.

And still to come. Ukrainians are working tirelessly to get the wounded from the frontlines into hospitals with injuries many of the country's surgeons have never encountered before. Isa Soares has their stories when we return.



SOARES: Welcome back, everyone. I'm Isa Soares coming to you live from Ukraine. And hospitals here in western Ukraine are filling up as the wounded arrive in droves from the frontlines of increasing Russian attacks. I visited one of the hospitals here in Lviv and spoke with patients about their recovery and to their doctors some testing really their skills by performing procedures that only read about in books.


SOARES: Dmytro is in shock. His body pierced and organs punctured multiple times by shrapnel. From shelling just outside his home in Kharkiv, a battleground in eastern Ukraine. At first he was very tough, he tells me. And then I came to terms with everything that happened to me. His voice almost a whisper. He tells me he regrets not listening to his elders that fateful day.

How are you feeling after, you know, clearly some horrendous few days?

I never thought that I would say it. You have to protect yourself to the maximum and follow all the rules that are told by adults he says.

The 19-year-old who lost both his parents before the war was evacuated by train. And transferred here to Western Ukraine's biggest hospital where he's undergone multiple surgeries and spent weeks in the ICU. Dmytro's doctor tells me he too is struggling to make sense of the injuries he's been seeing.

DR. HNAT IHOROVYCH HERYCH, SURGICAL DEPARTMENT HEAD, LVIV FIRSTYMEDICAL UNION: I've done some operation that I only read from the books and my colleagues from the Austria, in Germany. They also have some experience by but they never seen such serious disease.

SOARES: Dmytro's part of a steady stream of patients who have been evacuated from the frontlines and arrived in the Lviv for medical trains like this one. An impressive wartime operation with an inbuilt ICU carriage which travels back and forth between the frontline and the east with critically injured patients.

It's a journey the little Sofia also had to make.


SOARES: When she left Mykolaiv in southern Ukraine. The nine-year-old just out of the ICU.


SOARES: He is now recovering after a piece of shrapnel measuring one --


SOARES (voiceover): It's a journey, the little Sofia also had to make. When she left Mykolaiv in Southern Ukraine. The nine-year-old just out of the ICU is now recovering after a piece of shrapnel measuring one centimeter entered her brain as she made her way home.

She's very strong. She hasn't even cried when she got wounded, her mother tells me.

Visibly exhausted, her mother shows me photos of happier times. Now relieved, her little girl is turning a corner. At first, when she started breathing independently and was still in Mykolaiv, they let me walk into the ICU. I walked in and unexpectedly she said, mommy, with tears in her eyes. I was so happy that she remembered me and that did not lose her memory, she says.

Sophie's neurosurgeon tells me he's never seen a case like this as he shows me her CT Scans.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would give chance not more than one percent.

SOARES (on camera): So, the shrapnel came through the front?


SOARES (on camera): All the way -- perforated all the way to the back of the skull?


SOARES (voiceover): Doctor Mikhailo (ph) tells me he operates on as many as five children every week. Proof perhaps that even the most innocent are not immune to the scars of Russia's war.


SOARES (on camera): Of course, we wish them both a very speedy recovery.

And just ahead right here on the show, in the Philippines, Ferdinand Marcos Jr. son of the country's former dictator is on the brink of winning the presidency. We'll have a live report for you after a very short break. You are watching CNN.


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ANNOUNCER: This is CNN. ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN INTERNATIONAL NEWS ANCHOR: Sri Lanka is under a nationwide curfew right now after clashes broke out between pro and anti-government supporters in the capital city of Colombo. The curfew was imposed shortly before the prime minister resigned on Monday. The country has been rocked by civil unrest and protest for weeks over a deepening economic crisis, the worst in seven decades. In his resignation letter, the Prime Minister said he was quitting to help form an interim unity government to help lift the country out of crisis.

South Korea has sworn in its new president. Yoon Seok-youl begins his five-year term with no foreign policy experience. And an increasingly nuclear missile threat from North Korea. But in his inaugural address, Yoon said he had an "Audacious plan to strengthen North Korea's economy in exchange for denuclearization". Yoon faces major challenges domestically as well, including an economy ravaged by COVID, high inflation, and high-interest rates. And he will need cooperation from an opposition-controlled parliament.

Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. is on the brink of accomplishing something that would have been unthinkable decades earlier. According to unofficial results, he appears to be winning the Philippine presidential election by a landslide. His father was ousted as the country's dictator 36 years ago. Unofficial projections have Marcos winning about 30 million votes compared to just 14 million for his closest challenger. And Ivan Watson has been tracking the election results and joins us now from Hong Kong.

Good to see you, Ivan. So, Fernand Marcos Jr. poised to win the presidency of a country that ousted his dictator father 36 years ago. What paved the way for this return of a notorious political dynasty and what could this mean for the country ultimately?

IVAN WATSON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think we're seeing a savvy operator, some remarkable political alliances, and a successful effort at rewriting history or some critics would argue whitewashing history. And here we have the son of an ousted dictator who had a horrific human rights record and is still being investigated for the theft of billions of dollars worth of assets from the Filipino people.

But the son, who appears poised, according to preliminary results, of winning, securing a really remarkable electoral mandate. A majority that perhaps has not been seen in generations since his father ran for office in the 1960s according to one Filipino analyst that I spoke with. Bongbong Marcos Jr., he addressed his supporters -- he's not claiming victory just yet, the official results are not out or not expected for days yet. Take a listen to an excerpt of what he had to say.


FERDINAND BONGBONG MARCOS JR., PHILIPPINES PRESIDENTIAL FRONTFUNNER: I wanted to issue a short statement. And it is essentially a statement of gratitude to all of those who have been with us in this long and sometimes very difficult journey for the last six months. I need -- I want to thank you for all that you have done for us. There are thousands of you out there --


WATSON: Bongbong Marcos' campaigned on a message of unity, on nostalgia, talking about his father's legacy in very rosy terms. But he also had a very strategic alliance with another political dynasty. And that is of the Duterte's. Sara Duterte was his running mate for the post of vice president. She also, according to preliminary results got a lot of votes. A big majority over the second-place candidate.


And she, of course, is the daughter of the outgoing, rather controversial, President Rodrigo Duterte. Who's been accused of crimes against humanity for his deadly drug war.

So, this appears to be a major success for two big political allied, political dynasties. Now, there were reports of problems with more than 1,000 of the vote-counting machines. There are some protests in Manila against that. But the apparent second-place candidate for president has issued her own appeal to her supporters. Arguing for unity and to come together in the interest of the country right now. It's not a concession speech, but it's urging Filipinos to agree with the results of this election, which again, were still several days probably from getting those final official results. Rosemary.

CHURCH: Yes. Still remarkable for those of us who covered the Marcos years. Never thinking we would see anything like this again. Ivan Watson joining us live from Hong Kong. Many thanks.

And thank you for your company. I'm Rosemary Church. For our international viewers, World Sport is next. And for those of you in North America, I'll be back with more news after a short break.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Chicago's Southside can sometimes carry a difficult, if not dangerous reputation.

MELINDA WILSON, TEACHER, CURIE HIGH SCHOO: The threat in our community is numerous. There are threats of violence with gangs, with family members. There are guns. There are inequities in the system where students can even go outside.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But in recent years, a new problem has come to light, human trafficking.

WILSON: Human trafficking is something that effects every single person no matter what age, no matter what gender, no matter what identity. It affects every single person.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But inside the brick walls of the Curie Metropolitan High School, a talented group of students has decided to do something about it. The students are part of a collective called Performers for Change. They're led by dance instructor Melinda Wilson.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For the students, it's a chance to express themselves while educating their classmates. For Wilson, it's a chance to bring what some might consider a taboo topic out of the shadows.

BRIANA SAMANO, STUDENT, CURIE HIGH SCHOOL: I hope that it gets teens to really understand the dynamic of how serious and horrific these crimes are.



CHURCH: U.S. President Joe Biden will be addressing a global COVID-19 summit on Thursday. This comes as his administration warns that if congress doesn't approve increased funding to contain the pandemic, the U.S. could see tens of millions of new cases in the coming fall and winter.

To prevent that possible surge, the White House has requested more than $22 billion for updated vaccines, testing, and treatments. And you can see from this map that new cases are trending up in much of the U.S., which means another vaccine dose might be needed. A new study finds that a fourth dose of the Moderna or Pfizer COVID vaccine is safe and provides a substantial immunity boost.

Dr. Eric Topol is a cardiologist and professor of molecular medicine for Scripps Research. He joins me now from La Jolla in California. Thank you, Doctor, for all that you do.


CHURCH: Absolutely. So, Doctor, the Biden Administration is issuing a new warning that the U.S. could potentially see 100 million COVID-19 infections this fall and winter. If Congress doesn't approve more money to fight the coronavirus, do you agree with that prediction? And what do people need to be doing right now to avoid infection, hospitalization, or perhaps worse?

DR. TOPOL: Right. Well, if we learned anything, as you know Rosemary, this virus is quite unpredictable. The 100 million cases in the late fall or winter is certainly possible. We saw almost twice as many in the worst monstrous Omicron wave that -- was really hit us in the first part of this year.

Right now, though, we're seeing a significant increase in cases and we're starting to see some substantial increase in hospitalizations. And it's because of this variant that's about to become dominant, this called -- so-called BA-2.12.1 which is a subvariant of Omicron, but it's a lot more transmissible than Omicron or the BA.2. And so, we are likely going to see a substantial number of cases, you know, recent days, today was 85,000. We had a few days last week of 100,000. And that's just the confirmed cases. And we know so many people either don't get tested or have rapid tests, so that could be half a million cases a day or even up to a million for all we know. CHURCH: Yes, it's a good point. And, Doctor, some of us have never been infected with COVID, while others appear to get infected multiple times. And some of those infections are asymptomatic, while others develop such serious symptoms they end in death. What more are we learning about that extraordinary scope of reaction to COVID? And why some people never get it at all?

DR. TOPOL: Right, well especially about getting severe COVID is where there have been some breakthroughs in genetics. An interferon, the innate immune pathway is the first line of defense, it is altered in some people making them, you know, more susceptible or less. And then there's a more mystery of why certain people can be exposed multiple times and never even get an infection, never even have an antibody response. That's likely very rare and we don't really have that case cracked yet but a lot of work is being done to unravel it.

CHURCH: Yes, it is extraordinary, isn't it? I mean, you know in certain families one person gets it and others don't. And it is a mystery at this point. But of course, further down the road, we will learn more. So, Doctor, perhaps it is the less severe subvariant of Omicron. But most people have now become more relaxed about the possibility of getting infected. No longer wearing masks and being more comfortable in crowds. Many of those perhaps because they're vaccinated. When you look at where the world is right now with this pandemic, going in and out of these cycles of infection, when do you think we'll fully emerge from this pandemic and what will it take to do that?

DR. TOPOL: Right, well, unfortunately, as the virus continues to evolve, and now it's on an accelerated phase of evolution, it's becoming more and more of a challenge.


Our vaccines, even with boosters, aren't holding up as well for providing the most protection against hospitalizations and death, and for as long. And we may see something that's beyond these Omicron variants, that is a whole other curveball Greek letter, the way Omicron came in and surprised us.

So, in the months ahead, there's many possibilities or paths to a whole new variant, such as through the millions of people who are immunocompromised that can cultivate the virus inside them unwittingly and then have that transmit to another person which is why we think Omicron had its origin. But also, we have, you know, so much potential spillover from the animal, multiple animal reservoirs, and we have a lack of containments, too, around the world. So, we face still this virus causing more trouble, even beyond the enemies that we've seen in recent months. Hopefully not. That's always what we can hope for. But we should plan much better and be very aggressive and position to deal with more variants.

CHURCH: And, Doctor, how difficult is it, from your perspective, to convince patients that they need to get all their eligible COVID shots, particularly those people over 60? DR. TOPOL: Right, well, it's really essential because the virus has evolved, it's not the failure of the vaccines from this really protection from severe COVID. But without that, basically the vaccines -- the two doses or now, your past four to six months of a third dose, you're getting back down to a low level of protection, that's just not good enough.

And so, that's why the fourth and second booster is important for people over age 50 or 60. Certainly, that's available now in the United States and also in many other countries. So, you know, this is the problem, we don't have nearly enough people who even have a third shot. And their protection has waned, no less now, additional boosters. We can't keep going on with all these boosters, of course. That's why we really would like to see a pancoronavirus vaccine and much better medications to help as a back stop.

CHURCH: Understood. Dr. Eric Toropl, always a pleasure to talk with you. Many thanks.

DR. TOPOL: Thanks so much, Rosemary.

CHURCH: The U.S. Senate has passed a bipartisan bill that would provide extra security for family members of Supreme Court justices.



CROWD: My choice.


CROWD: My choice.


CHURCH: On Monday, supporters of abortion rights rallied near the home of Justice Samuel Alito, he is the author of a leaked draft opinion that would strike down the landmark 1973 case, Roe versus Wade, that legalized abortion. Demonstrators say they were holding a vigil for all the rights that Alito is threatening to take away.

Over the weekend, protesters with signs saying, keep your rosaries off our ovaries, gathered outside the home of Chief Justice John Roberts. He angered abortion rights supporters by calling the leak absolutely appalling while showing no concern about the likely decision to eliminate a woman's right to choose. The demonstrations were peaceful. Protestors also rallied outside the home of Brett Kavanaugh. He is one of the three justices appointed by Former President Donald Trump, all of whom appear to have voted to overturn Roe.

While, meanwhile, the Senate will soon vote on federal legislation that would guarantee the right to an abortion. But the measure appears doomed because Democrats don't have the votes. They will, however, be able to get Republicans on the record opposing abortion rights, which could hurt them in the midterm elections later this year. The vote on the Women's Health Protection Act is expected on Wednesday.

Well, high wind threatened to make wildfires burning across the U.S. Southwest, even worse this week. And that includes the nation's largest active blaze, the Calf Canyon-Hermits Peak fire in New Mexico. It's burned through an area nearly the size of New York City. And those high winds meant some aircraft were grounded on Sunday. Our meteorologist, Pedram Javaheri, joins us now with more on all of this. It's just extraordinary, Pedram. What are you seeing?

PEDRAM JAVAHERI, CNN METEOROLOGIST: It is. You know, I'm also seeing the record heat that's going with this as well, Rosemary. We're talking about temperatures in some of these areas. Triple digits. It's certainly going to feel summer-like July even into August across portions of the southwest.

And look at this, we're talking 12 large acts of fires scattered about for States around the southwest. As you noted, one of them across Northern New Mexico as large as New York City approaching that value here with 197,000 acres of land have been consumed.


And containment numbers up to almost 50 percent. So, at least some better news in the last couple of days seeing that containment number go from 30 to 43 percent. But the concern is we're still watching critical levels here, for not only high winds, very low humidity that's in store there going into Tuesday. Even possibly into Wednesday across areas of Eastern Arizona into portions of New Mexico.

And the National Weather Service Offices in New Mexico have been as busy as it gets. In fact, on average, in a course of a year or so, they issue about 40 red flag weather alerts here. And you'll notice that we're now near 39 there so far in the first five months of the year, and of course, seven months left. And you'll notice the record for the entire year is about 85.

So, gusty winds remain in the forecast and that's the concern for firefighting efforts here going into Tuesday, Rosie.

CHURCH: All right. Thanks for keeping an eye on that, Pedram. Appreciate it.

And thank you for your company. I'm Rosemary Church. Our coverage continues after a quick break.