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CDC Vaccine Advisers Vote on COVID Vaccines for Kids under 5; One Firefighter Killed after Building Collapse; Biden Warns Americans not to Join fight in Ukraine; Biden Says Recession is not Inevitable; Senators Race Against the Clock to Finish Writing Gun Legislation; Western Drought Creating Fierce competition for Scarce Resource. Aired 11a-12p ET

Aired June 18, 2022 - 11:00   ET




FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, everyone. Thank you so much for joining me. I'm Fredricka Whitfield.

All right. Happening right now, a major moment many parents are anxiously awaiting -- they've been waiting since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, in fact. Right now, the CDC's vaccine advisers are meeting on whether to recommend the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines for kids between 6 months and 5 years old.

A decision expected in just about an hour. And if approved, the White House says vaccinations could begin for young children as early as next week. And many states are already preordering doses.

CNN's Miguel Marquez is following the developments. So Miguel, what is happening right now?

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, they are meeting. They're about half way through today's presentation. They've been going through sort of the product, trying to figure out exactly discussing how this would actually happen, what providers would be putting these shots into arms, how they deal with the ten-dose vile and how they'll actually roll out these vaccinations.

Also going through all the data with the two vaccines in question here. This is a population of about 20 million Americans -- the youngest, most vulnerable Americans, the latest and biggest last tranche of Americans to be eligible for the vaccine.

Two different vaccines, they're looking at Moderna and Pfizer, slightly different regimes for both. The Moderna vaccine is a two-shot regimen. The Pfizer vaccine is a three-shot regimen over several weeks, both of those.

So all of that has to be considered in how it will actually move forward. Once this advisory panel agrees to everything and they take their vote, coming up in about an hour, maybe a little over an hour from now. Then that will go to the CDC director who is expected to agree with their findings and then it would be game on.

You can start getting those shots into arms across the country. Many of those shots are already being shipped to various places. In New York City for instance, they're already preparing to put it up on their vaccine finders so parents can find it as early as Tuesday and then by Wednesday, kids here between 6 months and 5 years old can start getting those shots, Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: That could be extraordinary. All right. Thank you so much. Miguel Marquez --

MARQUEZ: You got it.

WHITFIELD: -- we'll check back with you.

All right. Let's talk more about all of this right now. Joining us right now, Dr. Thresia Gambon. She's a pediatrician and the vice president of the Florida chapter of the American Academy of Pediatricians.

Dr. Gambon, so good to see you. So first off, your reaction to this meeting, this voting of this vaccine for young people.

DR. THRESIA GAMBON, VP-FLORIDA CHAPTER, AMERICAN ACADEMY OF PEDIATRICIANS: Well, I have to say, we've been waiting a long time for this vaccine. And pediatricians and providers and parents who have been waiting for over 18 months for this vaccine are ecstatic that it will soon be coming out and being provided in all of the states.

WHITFIELD: So today's meeting comes, you know, after delays last month over what an FDA official called incomplete applications from the companies behind the vaccine. Should that delay -- give any parents or even pediatricians such as yourself any pause?

DR. GAMBON: Actually not. I think I'm very happy and I know that my colleagues are also very happy that the FDA has done their due diligence. The studies did take a little longer time to make sure that these vaccines are going to be safe but not only safe but efficacious.

We want to make sure that we can get these to all the kids and that the vaccines are actually going to help protect them against severe illness and hospitalization. And I feel very reassured now that with all of the information and FDA approving and hopefully soon the CDC in the next hour that these are the best things that we can do for the young kids right now.

Get them vaccinated and give them those shots and give them protection.

WHITFIELD: According to a Kaiser Family Foundation survey published in May, only 18 percent of parents of children under 5 said they would vaccinate their child as soon as the vaccine becomes available. What are your concerns about hearing that?

[11:04:55] DR. GAMBON: Well, those numbers are quite low. It does concern me that those numbers are low and it's only about one in five parents want to vaccinate their child. I know that there are people who will be late adopters that once more people get vaccinated and they see that the children do well and don't have large side effects, that more people will pick that up and will want to vaccinate their kids.

I'm hoping that all families will vaccinate their kids. I know the number of vaccination also for the 5 to 11 years group also is low but we would like and recommend and the Academy of Pediatrics and as a pediatrician, I recommend that all children get vaccinated, especially the younger ones.

WHITFIELD: So your state Florida just started ordering doses from the Federal government for young children on Friday, the last state to do so. But Florida also allowed doctors to order vaccines on Friday. And then the Governor Ron DeSantis has been less than enthusiastic himself about encouraging families to vaccinate their children in that age group between 6 months and 5 years.

How do you navigate what has also become the politics of encouraging parents to take advantage of these vaccines?

I think it's very difficult. I would wish that politics would not interfere in the patient-physician relationship or the parent- physician relationship. For every child, it's an individual decision that should be made with the provider, the parents and the child if the child is old enough.

So I would say that we universally recommend the vaccination 6 months and up for everybody. So hopefully the politics is the politics but the recommendation is based on science.

And I can fully endorse the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendations and the Florida chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

WHITFIELD: What's the conversation that you're going to have with families whether they come in for the regular checkups. What's the conversation as it pertains to encouraging vaccines? How do you embark on that?

DR. GAMBON: Well, we've been discussing -- we've been discussing with all of the older age groups and started with the younger kids discussing in general the benefits of the vaccine. We know that the vaccine decreases hospitalizations, it decreases the risk of death and it helps protect the children and it also helps protect all the other members in the family.

So we will continue to have that discussion. I tend to layout the science. I give them the information. I give them the -- what COVID causes, the potential consequence of long COVID and of course, many parents don't want their children to even have high fevers and cough and congestion and really just feel badly for several days.

It affects their enrollment in school and daycare, parents' work schedule but also, you know, the risk of being sick itself.

So we will continue to have those conversations and we'll continue to encourage the parents to get their kids vaccinated.

WHITFIELD: And while so many other states have been ordering vaccines for weeks in preparation for today's anticipated decision, do you worry that Florida's decision not to order those vaccines earlier will indeed affect or impact families' ability or even decision making on getting these vaccines?

DR. GAMBON: Well, I'm concerned that the vaccines since our order was the only state that wasn't placed in a preorder, we might have some delay in getting the vaccine available in the state. The pediatrician office and other vaccine providers have now been able to place orders. We don't know when the vaccine will be available but we're hoping it will be available soon.

I'm also concerned that since it will be given in the community health centers, the Federally-qualified health care centers and also the private offices, I'm concerned about the uninsured children and I know local areas are looking at vehicles to provide more vaccine to the children uninsured or don't have primary care providers.

WHITFIELD: Right. You're under scoring the possible obstacle of access.

DR. GAMBON: Yes. That concerns me.

WHITFIELD: All right. Dr. Thresia Gambon, thank you so much.

DR. GAMBON: You're welcome.

WHITFIELD: All right.

And this just in to CNN. In Philadelphia a firefighter was killed and several others injured when a building collapsed during a fire. Officials have not released the name of the firefighter killed but say it is a 27-year veteran of the department.

Four other firefighters and one license and inspection official had to be rescued. The firefighters remain hospitalized in stable condition.



CRAIG MURPHY, PHILADELPHIA DEPUTY FIRE COMMISSIONER: People are just starting to decompress because we just finished up pulling our brother out of this place -- and our brothers out of this place. And you know, it's going to be a rough few weeks coming up.


WHITFIELD: The mayor tweeted his condolences saying in part, "grieving with the members of the Philadelphia Fire Department and all of Philadelphia who lost one of our own in the line of duty today". Reporter Rebecca Hendrickson with CNN affiliate WPVI shared this

report from the scene.


BECCAH HENDRICKSON, WPVI REPORTER: We just spoke with the deputy fire commissioner who described this as a catastrophic accident and now the fire department is mourning one of its veteran firefighter who became trapped in the rubble who they were unable to save.

We know that this fire originally started just before 2:00 this morning. Take a look at this video from the 300 block of Indiana Avenue where the fire started just before 2:00 this morning. It seemed like a routine fire and then around 3:24 it turned to tragedy when there was a collapse.

We know that several floors in the building collapsed. They described it as a pancake collapse meaning that there voids that were created during this and several people became trapped under the rubble. Five firefighters, one LNI inspector, the other five people who were injured in this were taken to the hospital and we're told that they are recovering. We're working to learn more but again, devastating news this morning from the Fairhill section. One firefighter is dead after this catastrophic collapse.

Live from Fairhill, Beccah Hendrickson Channel 6 Action News.


WHITFIELD: All right. Thanks so much to Beccah Hendrickson with CNN affiliate WPVI.

All right. After at least two American fighters appear to be captured in Ukraine, President Biden issued a stern warning for anyone thinking of joining the fight.

Plus home prices, gas prices, interest rates climbing. It's tough financial times for Americans right now so where does it go from here? I'll talk to a top economist coming up.

And later.

Boos for Texas Republican Senator John Cornyn at a GOP convention in his own state because of his work on the bipartisan gun safety package. How the senator is responding.



WHITFIELD: President Biden says he has been briefed on three American fighters who have gone missing in Ukraine. And as he left the White House Friday, the president gave this warning to Americans who are thinking of joining the fight in Ukraine.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I want to reiterate, Americans should not be going to Ukraine now.


This image appears to show the capture of two of the fighters, American fighters while a third American listed as missing in Ukraine has been identified as U.S. Marine veteran Grady Kurpasi.

CNN's Sam Kiley, joining us now from Kharkiv, Ukraine. Sam, what more are we learning about these missing Americans and how many more Americans might there be that joined the fight?

SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Grady Kurpasi has been missing since April. We know from comrades who've fought alongside him that he went missing during an operation against Russian forces when he went forward in order to accomplish the route of some incoming fire. He radioed back for artillery and that was the last that was heard from him.

There is no evidence that he -- where he is, what condition he might be in or even whether he is alive or dead. He's genuinely a missing in action casualty of the Ukrainian armed forces, something that these foreign fighters are keen to stress. They are all badged and sworn members of the Ukrainian armed forces, not mercenaries.

But the other two individuals appear -- do appear to have been captured by Russian forces or Russian allied forces. There is no official confirmation though from the Russian side as to their whereabouts but the have been appearing on Russian TV under duress which we are not showing.

But yesterday, I spoke at length with a comrade who was with them right up until the point of capture and this is that interview.


KILEY (voice over): These two American fighters have their hands bound behind them. They're dressed in uniforms not their own and they may well have been captured by the very Russians that they have been fighting.

This as far as it goes is good news for the comrade who last saw a T72 tank open fire on his two friends.

(on camera): Does that give you any kind of cause for hope?

PIP, U.S. VETERAN: Absolutely. Absolutely. I wish I could say with 100 percent certainty that it's not a fake but I'm -- I have a lot of hope that it's them.

KILEY (voice over): A former U.S. serviceman, he was in the same battle as Alex Drueke (ph) and Andy Huynh (ph) when they went missing in action. He fears Russian reprisals in Ukraine and beyond and wants his identity and voice hidden. He uses the code name "Pip".

But for the first time on TV he described what happened on June the 9th about 20 miles northeast of Kharkiv.

PIP: The team was sent out on a mission on the 9th and they showed up in the area of operations. And a full scale Russian armored assault was underway.

A hasty defense was set up, two anti tank teams were set up. Alex and Andy fired an RPG at a BMP that was coming through the woods and destroyed it. A T72 then turned its (INAUDIBLE) and fired upon them, drove a few more meters forward and hit the antitank mine at our Ukrainian officer in place.

We suspect they were knocked out by either the T72 tank shooting at them or the blast of the mine.

KILEY: So far, Russian officials have denied any knowledge of the missing Americans. Two Britons, both with U.K. and Ukrainian citizenship were recently sentenced to death on charges of being mercenaries by a so-called court in the Russian backed rebel area of Ukraine, that calls itself the Donetsk People's Republic.


KILEY: They were long standing members of the Ukrainian Armed Forces. Huynh and Drueke had served alongside Pip in a three-man team since April.

PIP: As far as I'm aware, we're paid about the same, if not exactly the same as the Ukrainian soldier who's on the front and money is certainly not my motivation for being here. And I know it's not Andy's and it's not Alex's either.

KILEY: Ukraine has been appealing for urgent supplies of ammunition and heavy weapons. It's also recruited large numbers, the details are kept secret, of foreign volunteers into its international legion.

(on camera): So what advice would you give finally for anybody thinking of wanting to join the legion?

PIP: Oh, wow. Well, if you have no military background, if you don't have any combat experience, if you expect to come here with air support, intense helicopter support -- then stay home. Because that is not the case.

It is the Russian army. And they have massive amounts of artillery. They have massive amounts of armor and the Ukrainians are giving it their damnedest.

KILEY: Did you make the right call?

PIP: I'll admit to questioning it once in a while but I think yes.

KILEY (voice over): For those captured by Russia, that answer may no longer be quite so positive.

(END VIDEOTAPE) KILEY: And that's particularly the case I think in the eastern front particularly around cities like Severodonetsk where I've been speaking to comrades of foreign fighters who volunteered.

A lot of these people are combat veterans. They're very welcome to the Ukrainian armed forces. They bring a lot of skills. They would prefer to be in the fast-moving maneuver sort of warfare that characterize the Ukrainian fight at the beginning of this.

But as the front lines have settled into these the artillery duels (ph), they're now describing it as something of a meat grinder, an ugly term for what is becoming a very ugly war and the Ukrainians are having a great deal of difficulty in even holding those lines as this goes more towards a conventional fight.

That's why they're asking the international community for extra ammunition and long-range weapons but that doesn't play to the Ukrainian strength, which is effectively fast-moving almost guerilla warfare that has kept the Russians off balance up until now.

WHITFIELD: Yes. The war itself ugly and getting uglier.

Sam Kiley in Ukraine, thank you so much.

Still ahead, where this week's interest rate hike may hurt Americans' pocketbooks the hardest.



WHITFIELD: All right. It can happen to anyone but when it happens to the U.S. president, well, it's a bigger deal. President Biden at his weekend getaway of Delaware taking a bit of a tumble while riding his bike in the state park. It happened just a short time ago.

The video shows about how it happened with the president and first lady Jill Biden on bikes approaching a crowd of people and as the president disappears behind the crowd, well, you can hear several people gasp. Take a watch and listen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Back up, back up.



WHITFIELD: Oh my gosh. That could have been terrible but thankfully, as you see, he gets up and he's wearing a helmet. The crowd, of course, clapped when the 79-year-old president got back onto his feet and then appeared in pretty good spirits there, shaking it all off as he talked with people who witnessed that moment. We're glad he's all right.

All right. The White House says the president is quote fine and didn't need any medical attention after that moment.

All right. Another troubling week on Wall Street after the Fed implemented its biggest rate hike in decades. The S&P 500 closed out its worst week since March of 2020 when the pandemic hit. And the Dow closed below 30,000 for a second straight day.

Meantime, President Biden is trying to reassure the American people that a recession is not inevitable.

CNN's Kaitlan Collins has more.


KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Higher prices are plaguing President Biden as he promises the nation he's working on bringing them down.

Biden: I'm using every lever available to me to bring down prices for the American people.

COLLINS: The White House only growing more concerned after mortgage rates surged over half a percentage point this week amid rising inflation and a big interest rate hike from the Federal Reserve.

Biden defending his record and highlighting how the U.S. is not the only nation battling inflation.

BIDEN: With Russia's war driving up inflation worldwide, threatening vulnerable countries with severe food shortages, we have to work together to mitigate the immediate fallout of this crisis.

COLLINS: But it may get worse before it gets better. Former treasury secretary Larry Summers who was criticized by the Biden administration for saying inflation would rise is now predicting a recession in the next two years.

LARRY SUMMERS, FORMER U.S. TREASURY SECRETARY OF We are likely to have a recession. I think we have over heated the economy and gotten some bad luck and when the pendulum swings too far one way, it tends to swing back the other way.

COLLINS: Biden disagrees telling the Associated Press a recession is not inevitable and declaring the U.S. is in a stronger position than any nation to overcome this inflation.

Still, the White House is scrambling for solutions.


CECILIA ROUSE, CHAIR, WHITE HOUSE COUNCIL OF ECONOMIC ADVISERS: We understand the anxiety. The president understands the anxiety, is focused on what he can do to lower costs for families, to address the price of gasoline although that is set on the world market.

COLLINS: Biden's economic team debated sending rebate cards to millions to help pay at gas stations but one official told CNN today that option is unlikely due to the complicated logistics.

ROUSE: All options are on the table because he understands the pain that this is causing for families.

COLLINS: As the president's poll numbers on the economy have continued to slide, Biden telling the Associated Press that people are quote really, really down following two years of COVID, a volatile economy and soaring gas prices.

Biden saying quote, "they're really down. Their need for mental health in America skyrocketed because people have seen everything upset."

(on camera): And also, in this interview, President Biden argued that the idea that the American Rescue Plan, which he got passed through Congress caused inflation and led to higher prices, he said is bizarre.

Of course, you've seen that argument being made by Republicans that it at least contributed to it. We should not this is a rare interview for President Biden to do which does go to speak to the concerns the White House has about the messaging when it comes to the economy.

Kaitlan Collins, CNN -- the White House.


WHITFIELD: All right. Joining me now to talk more about all of this, John Leer. He is the chief economist for Morning Consult and specifically leads research on consumer preferences and buying patterns.

John, so good to see you.

So the White House is saying a recession can still be avoided. Do you agree?


I think there is sort of technically a way that the economy could navigate these really, really unprecedented, tumultuous times while avoiding recession but if I had to bet on things, I wouldn't bet on the U.S. economy avoiding recession right now. I think the odds are increasingly likely that we're going to go into recession.

For what it's worth however, I do think that that recession is going to be fairly short in duration and not particularly severe. And so, you know, I think it's important for folks to acknowledge that not all recessions inflict the same level of pain on folks.

WHITFIELD: What are the indicators as to why you feel pretty certain that it will be heading into a recession?

LEER: There are a couple of things to watch. The first and foremost, we've seen, you know, we've got elevated inflation right now. We've got the Federal Reserve coming out committing to do everything it can to try to tackle inflation. And there is -- at this point I think there's just no way of the Federal Reserve getting inflation under control without significantly bringing down consumer demand.

And in order for that to happen, I think you're going to see a contraction in consumer spending and that's likely to prompt a recession.

WHITFIELD: Is it your feeling that or are you anticipating yet another, you know, interest rate hike? I mean already we're talking about an increase of interest rates by three-quarters of a percent. Do you see it going even higher?

LEER: Yes, the Fed thus far has committed essentially to continuing to raise interest rates. We saw this last week that a majority of members of the FOMC expect interest rates to be significantly higher by the end of the year. I think that's one of the reasons we've seen so much market volatility recently.

And even though -- even though interest rates are starting to increase, by historical standards, they still remain fairly low and so that's why I think the Federal Reserve has got to continue to be aggressive for the next few months to get things back to so-called neutral or even beyond neutral to start sort of restricting the economy.

I think the other thing to note, of course, is the Fed, you know, the Fed's credibility is at stake here. And so on that front, I think they've got to come out and really be particularly aggressive to make sure that markets and consumers continue to trust them going forward.

WHITFIELD: And where do you see the interest rate hike hurting people the most? Is it in their car buying, home buying, credit card debt? What?

LEER: I think rising interest rates will play a profound effect throughout the economy. That's one of the challenges actually of having the Federal Reserve sort of control the economy. It's a pretty blunt tool that affects really all swaths of the economy.

I will expect to see and we've seen this already mortgage rates increase fairly dramatically. The flip side of that, of course, is that house prices are starting to moderate. So for folks who are going to go out and look at buying houses, they might be able to get a better deal than they were before.

But anyone who's got a variable or adjustable interest rates, those are the folks I think who are most likely to be affected.

WHITFIELD: Everything is so much more expensive these days. Everyone is feeling it. But so far despite consumer confidence, a drop in consumer spending has not fallen nearly as sharply. Why is that?

LEER: Consumers have entered this phase of the economic cycle in pretty good standing. They had those direct stimulus payments that the prior segment discussed. On top of that, folks who are unemployed had those additional federal insurance payments. And so savings, household savings was really, really strong heading into the year.


LEER: What we're starting to see is slowly but surely households are dipping into that savings to pay for their -- to pay for their goods and services. I think over time, we're going to see very, very surely some of these cracks in the consumer turn into a downright recession.

We are starting to see that movement in May. We saw a pretty negative May retail sales report and I think we're going to continue to see that over the course of the third quarter.

WHITFIELD: All right. John Leer, thanks so much. Hopefully we'll have you back and maybe next time there'll be a little bit more good news.

LEER: I'm an optimistic person. So I hope so.

WHITFIELD: Ok. All right. Good. I like it, too. I'm optimistic.

All right. Thanks so much, John. Appreciate it.

All right. On shaky ground. Will the U.S. Senate be able to come to any agreement on gun legislation? We'll take a closer look at why it's looking less and less likely -- not so optimistic.



WHITFIELD: All right. Just days after announcing a tentative bipartisan agreement on new gun legislation, serious doubts are emerging about whether the U.S. Senate will pass a new gun safety package any time soon.

And while lawmakers haggle over specific language, an Alabama community joins the list of cities and towns mourning the impact of a mass shooting.

Three people in their 70s and 80s were killed when a man opened fire on a church pot luck dinner. The 71-year-old suspect now in custody facing capitol murder charges.

CNN's Daniella Diaz is tracking those gun negotiations in Washington. Daniella, I mean what is keeping U.S. Senate negotiators from a deal on this very important legislation?

DANIELLA DIAZ, CNN CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Fred, there are two sticks points that negotiators still can't agree on. Remember a frame work came out over a week ago and now they're writing through that legislation. So that is why the sticking points matter.

The first being, of course, that so-called boyfriend loophole which is -- they're having a disagreement over people who are prohibited from owning or purchasing guns because of a domestic violence conviction, currently that ban only applies to spouses, couples who share a child and co-habitants, not just someone -- people that are dating. So they're trying to define what that so-called "boyfriend" means, how that could apply to people. So that is one sticking point that Democrats and Republicans are working through.

The other being funding that would be used to incentivize states to implement red flag laws. Republicans want some of that funding to go towards creating quote "crisis intervention" programs instead of just red flag laws in certain states.

For example, Senator John Cornyn is from Texas. He's the key Republican in these negotiations and Texas does not have red flag laws currently so that's why he wants that funding to go toward other provisions.

So those are the two sticking points that Republicans and Democrats are still trying to figure out. Of course, they're currently in their home states. We'll see how they proceed with these talks over the weekend.

WHITFIELD: And so what happens next potentially?

DIAZ: Well, Fred, they recognize that they have momentum right now. Of course, after that horrific shooting in Uvalde, horrific shooting in Buffalo, there are mass shootings every single day like the one you just mentioned in Alabama. They want to capitalize on that momentum and try to move legislation as soon as possible. The hope of that being this week.

They are gone for a summer recess after this next week. So we'll see how they proceed with these negotiations. They don't want senators to shift their attention toward another issue should there for example be a decision from the Supreme Court that shifts attention and news.

So that is why they're working over the weekend and they do come back next week to continue these negotiations in person, Fred.

WHITFIELD: All right. Daniella Diaz, thank you so much.

And so speaking of Senator John Cornyn, the lead Republican negotiator on the bipartisan gun safety package, he told a home state crowd at the Texas GOP convention that he had quote "fought and kept President Biden's gun grabbing wish list off the table". He received boos from the crowd as he talked about what the bill might include.


SEN. JOHN CORNYN (R-TX): That's what I try to do every day on your behalf in Washington D.C.


CORNYN: Sometimes -- sometimes my job is pretty simple.


WHITFIELD: And despite Cornyn reassuring supporters there are certain lines he will not cross including an assault weapons ban and new restrictions on law-abiding gun owners. Lawmakers from both parties have faced pressure to act on gun safety legislation in the wake of more mass shootings.

All right. It is the American west's worst drought in 1,200 years. Coming up, why demand for water from the Colorado River could prove devastating if left unchecked.



WHITFIELD: All right. Americans who live along the Green River in Utah may have more water than most but they say the drought gripping the west and south west threatens not just their lifestyles but their livelihoods.

CNN's Bill Weir shows us how one region's unchecked thirst for water could prove devastating for others.


BILL WEIR, CNN CHIEF CLIMATE, CORRESPONDENT (voice over) : For those who love to chase trout, this stretch of the Green River provides some of the best fly fishing on the planet.

STEPHEN LYTLE, GREEN RIVER FISHING GUIDE: It's phenomenal. I mean you get people from all over the world coming to fish this. There is guides from New Zealand, people come from South America, Eric Clapton has been up here.

WEIR (on camera): is that right?

LYTLE: Tiger Woods. I mean if you're a fly fisherman, this is one of the places to hit.

It's a rainbow. There we go. Chunker.

WEIR: Oh, yes, that's pretty.

(voice over): A big reason why is Utah's Flaming Gorge Dam because it one of the few dams able to control the temperature of the gin clear water flowing downstream.


(on camera): Wow, these guys are longer.

(voice over): Not too hot, not too cold creating a Goldilocks zone for bugs, trout and people who also flock to the reservoir behind the dam and keep the economy alive. So you would understand if locals get upset at the sight of this.

The Federal Bureau of Reclamation released enough raging water this spring to drop Flaming Gorge Reservoir by up to 12 feet, a desperate move to help things downstream on the Colorado Lake Powell is down 170 feet and could evaporate into a dead pool with not enough water for hydro power or the 40 million people who drink, farm and ranch this system from Denver to L.A.

LYTLE: There's a lot of people who just get angry, and it's their water, it's their kind of geographic possession. And so they don't like it going down to desert cities that also need it.

WEIR: Because the lower Flaming Gorge gets, the warmer it gets, and no more Goldilocks trout.

LYTLE: And then any effect on the fishery, especially up here and that's people's livelihoods, and so people get pretty upset, at least heated.

WEIR (on camera): Yes. I can imagine.

Whiskey is for drinking, water is for fighting right.

LYTLE: Yes. That's the phrase.

WEIR: The phrase.

(voice over): Long considered rivals of the fishing guides are the rafting guides who love high flow for more exciting rides and more customers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sometimes we're on the side of the fishermen, sometimes we're not.

WEIR: But everyone agrees that for the west to survive, the most important two words today are water conservation.

WEIR: I mean I always try to remind myself that these water molecules are going to end up in a hot tub in Hollywood or watering a putting green in Palm Springs, and we're all part of this system. How do you think people understand that these days?

BRUCE LAVOIE, OARS RAFTING: Yes, that's great. I don't think we do. I come from Connecticut. I grew up on the East Coast where water law is totally different. Here it's first in line, first in right, it's treated like a mineral.

WEIR: Some farmers in Arizona are some of the last in line, forced to let fields go fallow as allocations are cut. And this week, the Bureau of Reclamation warned members of the Senate the need to cut up to 4 million acre-feet in 2023, that's more than 1.3 trillion gallons, or almost as much as California is allotted in a year.

LAVOIE: John Wesley Powell who ran this river in 1869, he stated it to the Federal government. There's not enough water to support the way we have developed.

WEIR: The first guy down the Colorado tried to warn us that this would happen right now.

LAVOIE: Absolutely. And now it is. Like there's this assumption that it's always going to be there. And I

don't think people will change until it changes.

WEIR: Until it's not there.

(voice over): but as long as there's fun to be had and water to drink, it's easy to ignore the villain's warning in "Mad Max: Fury Road". "Do not become addicted to water, it will take hold of you and you will resent its absence."

Bill weir, CNN -- Vernal, Utah.


WHITFIELD: All right.

Right now, CDC advisers are meeting to discuss whether to recommend COVID vaccines for children as young as six months old. Details on the vote scheduled for next hour.

And this quick programming note, join some of the biggest stars as they lift their voices for Juneteenth, a global celebration for freedom. Live tomorrow night at 8:00 Eastern right here on CNN.



WHITFIELD: On Friday, the TSA saw its highest volume of travelers since Thanksgiving with more than 2.4 million people screened at airports across the country. At the same time, flight cancellations continue to be a problem. Staffing shortages from the pandemic and bad weather are to blame.

There were more than 670 flight cancellations across the U.S. already this morning and more than 1,400 cancellations yesterday according to the flight tracking Web site, Flight Aware.

Meanwhile, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg is urging airlines CEOs to review flight schedules to soften the impact of cancellations.

All right. Florida jail inmates come to the rescue of a deputy who was being attacked. Video from the Hillsboro County Sheriff's Office shows an inmate trying to choke the deputy with a pillow case. Other inmates immediately came to help her. The deputy had minor injuries to her neck and throat. The sheriff's office says the attacker, Brigitte Harvey (ph) was charged with battery and admitted to planning the assault. Officials say she was carrying a comb she had sharpened on both ends with her teeth.

All right. Hello again, everyone. Thank you so much for joining me. I'm Fredricka Whitfield.


WHITFIELD: At any moment now, the CDC's vaccine advisers will announce their decision on COVID-19 vaccines for children between the ages of 6 months old and 5 years old. Pfizer and Moderna are both seeking authorization for their vaccines, and if approved, young children could begin getting vaccinated as soon as this week.