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Soon: CDC Vaccine Advisers Vote On COVID Vaccines For Kids Under Five; Yellowstone Remains Closed, Intends To Reopen South Loop Next Week; N.Y. Times: Uvalde Officer Passed Up A Shot School Gunman For Fear Of Hitting Children. Aired 1-2p ET

Aired June 18, 2022 - 13:00   ET




FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Hello again, everyone. Thank you so much for joining me. I'm Fredricka Whitfield. At any moment, the CDC's vaccine advisors will announce its decision on COVID-19 vaccines for children between six months and five years old. Pfizer and Moderna are both seeking authorization for their vaccines. If approved, young children could begin getting vaccinated as soon as next week.

CNN's Miguel Marquez is tracking today's decision. Are we hearing anything more about how close they're getting?

MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: They are getting closer. They -- they've been taking questions for about an hour now. And it sounds like several more questions just came up. They were supposed to start voting about a half hour ago. But it looks like they're going to take as many questions and take as much time as you need me to get through everything.

Look, after two and a half years of all of us dealing with COVID, this is the last sort of big piece, you know, the last tool in the toolbox to get all Americans covered by vaccines. And hopefully, we've squelched this pandemic to something near and end. Several questions that they had been centering on and discussed is that -- is that the effectiveness of getting vaccinated is much greater at preventing severe illness in children.

They don't have a ton of data. But these are the sort of the general themes that they've been discussing today that getting vaccinated is better than relying on your child had a previous infection. Vaccination is still better. The side effects, well, there are some just like we all had when we got our vaccines, they are manageable. And then they're going through a lot of the practicality of actually getting all of those shots out there, getting the information out there to all of the Walgreens and the pharmacies and the doctors and everybody because these are different, you know, the different regime, it's different amounts of the actual vaccine that goes into these little arms.

Two different vaccines we're talking about Moderna and Pfizer. The Moderna, slightly different regimes. Moderna is a two-shot sequence over several weeks. Pfizer is a three-shot sequence over several weeks. And look, this covers about 20 million Americans or so. Once they take that vote, seemingly in the next maybe 15, 20 minutes, they're going to start -- and start moving toward that vote.

It'll go to the CDC director who has to approve it. She is expected to do that. And then cities like New York already lining up. A lot of those doses already going out. They expect to start putting them into arms next week. Back to you.

WHITFIELD: All right. Miguel Marquez, thank you so much. Let's talk more about all of this. Dr. Jennifer Shu is with us. She is a pediatrician and edited the book, Baby and Child Health for the American Academy of Pediatrics. Doctor, so good to see you. Welcome.

JENNIFER SHU, PEDIATRICIAN: Thank you so much for having me.

WHITFIELD: All right. So, let me get your reaction is are you anticipating that an approval will come today from the CDC?

SHU: Yes, I've been listening to the webinar, the live stream that they've been giving. And it does sound like they are leaning towards also approving it. In addition to all the rest of the age groups. So I'm very hopeful that that vote will come very soon. And then that the CDC director, hopefully will also make the recommendation to give a vaccine and young children.

WHITFIELD: The White House is hoping to have these vaccines available as early as next week. Do you see that as realistic?

SHU: I sure hope so. The families in my practice are very eager to start making those appointments so their kids can get vaccinated. My practice -- our state was told to expect the delivery to happen on Monday. So that's two days from now. So, I'm really hoping that's still going to be in place.

WHITFIELD: So how difficult might it be for parents who do want to get their children vaccinated? If indeed, it's approved and, you know, there might be some doctors offices, I guess, and hospitals that will get it right away or do you feel like there's going to be quite the wait for a lot of families who may want it as early as this week coming?

SHU: You know, I think it remains to be seen. I'm really hopeful that distribution would be good. This is the last age group waiting to be vaccinated.


SHU: So, there is already a track record of delivering vaccines to practices, to pharmacies, to hospitals. I think the challenge in this age group is that some places such as pharmacies may not feel as comfortable vaccinating smaller children. They may not have the equipment are set up to do that. And so, from that perspective, there may be some limitations on where these children can get the vaccine. WHITFIELD: So kids ages five to 11 were the previous group to become eligible for these vaccines back in November. But according to the CDC, only about 29 percent of those children are fully vaccinated. The percentage of vaccinations goes down among younger children. Are you worried that parents are taking too much of a wait and see approach?

SHU: I think it's a little bit tough because we've been seeing that this variant, maybe not quite as severe in children than the other variants. But what we do know is that the peak of Omicron in January, the bulk of hospitalizations in children was in kids under the age of four. And one-fourth of those hospitalized children ended up needing to be in ICU. So this age group is something that we really need to take seriously, even if the older age group was not vaccinated in the numbers that we are healthy.

WHITFIELD: So what do you say or what will you be saying to parents of your little patients who might be, you know, still a bit reticent and, you know, they're worried about their six-month-old, eight-month-old. And by the way, that age group, they'd be getting their shots in their thighs, right? Isn't that usually where it goes?

SHU: Right, right.

WHITFIELD: When you're that small, but what will you say to them if they're hesitant about a COVID vaccine where as they may have welcomed all of the other shots that they got, you know, in the early stages of their lives.

SHU: So, just like any other vaccine that we give in early childhood, this vaccine would prevent serious complications in this young age group whose immune systems may not be as strong as older children. Under the age of five, many of these kids who are particularly below age two can't even wear a mask. So, any layer of protection we can give them is going to be extremely helpful in preventing COVID.

And getting the vaccine is the best way of preventing serious illness, hospitalization, and even death in children. And we know that since the pandemic started, 442 kids under the age of five have died from COVID, unfortunately. And so, this is another step in the right direction of preventing these deaths and serious illness.

WHITFIELD: Many of the country's leading health experts are also warning of another potential COVID surge later on this year with kids out of school for the summer break with cases relatively low right now. Is it your feeling that now is the best time to get vaccinated ahead of returning back to school in August in some places, September and others?

SHU: And that's an excellent point, Fredricka. You want to get vaccinated before you become exposed to the virus, right, to infection. And so, in anticipation of kids going back to school and mixing germs now it'd be the time to do it because it does take several weeks for the immunity to kick in fully.

WHITFIELD: All right, Dr. Jennifer Shu, so good to see you. Thank you so much. SHU: Thank you for having me.

WHITFIELD: All right. Straight ahead. New revelations from Uvalde, Texas as the investigation into what unfolded at Robb Elementary continues. With CNN has just learned about the scene from a neighboring county sheriff.

Plus, catastrophic flooding in and around Yellowstone National Park has forced many people to cancel their summer visits. A local business owner joins me live next.



WHITFIELD: All right. Welcome back. New revelations now about last month's mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas. The New York Times is reporting that an officer armed with an A.R.-15 had the opportunity to shoot the gunman as he approached the school but didn't take the shot. An A.R.-15 was the same type of weapon the 18- year-old gunman used to kill 19 children and two teachers.

Here's more now from the reporter who broke that story speaking last night to CNN's Anderson Cooper.


J. DAVID GOODMAN, HOUSTON BUREAU CHIEF, NEW YORK TIMES: This is a situation where officers were arriving really minutes after the first 911 call came in of a gunman at the school. And a lot of focus of the investigation into the police response has been on what happened inside the school and why it took so long for those officers to go into the room and actually confront and kill the gunman.

But what it turns out to happen outside the school before the gunman even went in was that one of the Uvalde police officers who arrived within minutes at the scene actually had a opportunity to take a shot at this gunman. And what he told a deputy sheriff from a neighboring county who I spoke to was that they were under fire at that time and he passed up the opportunity to take that shot because he feared that that shot might go awry and hit one of the children that he said he could see behind the gunman.

And so, in that split second moment where he made that decision and hesitated, the gunman went inside the school.


WHITFIELD: A Texas House committee investigating the shooting continues to talk to first responders to sort out exactly what happened at that school amid criticism of the police response. We're learning new details about who will testify before the House. The Texas House committee investigating the Uvalde shooting. The panel announced Friday that the Uvalde Police Department will voluntarily speak with them next week saying it took a little bit longer than originally expected. CNN's Rosa Flores is following this story for us from Houston. Rosa, do we know whether the Uvalde police chief will testify Monday?


ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, Fred, we don't know if the chief will testify. Like you said, the committee chair on Thursday said that they were still working on Uvalde P.D. That there were still a question mark if they would testify voluntarily. Now this Texas House investigative committee does have subpoena power. So, whether some of these individuals want to provide their testimony voluntarily or not, then we'll determine if this committee issues subpoenas.

It's also unclear if the school police chief Pete Arredondo will be testifying. I have not received the witness list for Monday's testimony yet. I'm expecting that from the Committee on Monday morning. But that is the other big question. Will he -- will the police chief for -- from the school district testify voluntarily? And again, this committee has subpoena power so they could -- if he is not compelled to do it, to do so voluntarily, they could issue a subpoena.

Now on Monday is going to be the fourth day of testimony that this Texas House Investigative Committee receives. Now all of the testimony is behind closed doors in executive session. So we don't know the content of the testimony. I've been at every single hearing and I can tell you that none of the individuals who have testified whether it's Texas DPS, members of the school district police department or other individuals have not said anything as they exit except for a fourth grade teacher. And here's what she had to say briefly. Take a listen.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm just concerned for my family and my kids.


FLORES: Now on Monday is the next hearing. I do not have a witness list, Fred, yet. But as you said, we are expecting for Uvalde P.D. to testify voluntarily.

WHITFIELD: All right. Rosa Flores in Houston. Thanks so much. All right. Coming up. Stunning scenes from Yellowstone National Park where floodwaters are so fierce. They've literally changed the landscape. How did this happen? Live to the CNN Weather Center next.



WHITFIELD: All right. You could feel it out there, right? Much of the U.S. sweltering under this relentless heatwave. Hot temperatures around Yellowstone National Park in Montana could also lead to a more snow melt and run off in areas already flooded. I mean, water levels peaking Sunday into Monday. Officials closed all five park entrances as heavy rain and melting snow washed out roads and damaged bridges. I mean, the pictures are simply extraordinary. Our meteorologist Allison Chinchar is live for us in the CNN weather center. I mean, it is just hard to believe what we're seeing but -- I mean, this is ravaging -- this ravaging rivers has simply decimated and changed the entire landscape in so many areas there. How did this happen?



WHITFIELD: How did this happen?

CHINCHAR: -- so many areas.


CHINCHAR: Right. It's not just one spot. This was widespread damage throughout the parks. So, it's not easy to fick when you -- fix when you have so many locations that you have to attend to. Look at this, you can see this one road broken up or washed out in numerous areas. So, it's not just one part that they have to fix, they have to fix several spots to even make it usable. Another area. This is a bridge where you can see it washed out effectively splitting the river going to the right where it's supposed to go.

And the other going basically right down the main street through the town flowing under streets, homes, businesses where the water is not intended to go. So you also have the cleanup from that that you've got to wait for that water to recede and come back down. Because it was a tremendous amount of water. On June 13, they picked up 2.18 inches of rain in West Yellowstone. That's basically what they would get in the entire month of June, getting it in just 24 hours.

Not to mention they also had that excessive heat melting a ton of the snowpack. So it's the combination of all of those events. Now with that said just as quickly as the water rises, it does come back down. And the good news is we are noticing that the river gauges along the Yellowstone River have come back down below flood stage, not just at one location, but multiple. This is the Yellowstone River billings peeking out at 16-1/2 feet.

That's an entire foot above major flood stage. We are currently sitting right around that 10-foot mark now. We do expect it to get back up to around 11-1/2 half, maybe as much as 12 feet in the coming days as more rain is expected, but not necessarily into flood stage. And that's good news. But you've also got the snowpack. Look at all of these areas where you see pink and purple, that snow that's on the ground that has the potential to melt.

Temperatures in this area are expected to get into the 70s today, which in turn will melt some of the snow that's already there. In addition to that, we are expecting rain, albeit very light. Most of these areas expecting at the absolute most about one inch, most areas likely less than a half of an inch. But again, it's the cumulative effect. When you put all of that stuff together, it triggers all of that melting and all of that runoff that for these areas. And one thing to note. We do expect the temperatures to finally start to come back down not be nearly as warm in this area. So for Gardiner, for example, highs tomorrow back down into the mid 60s and by Monday we're looking at highs topping out, Fred, into the low 50. So that's good. But again, it's the cleanup phase. It's yes, the weather is improving, but it's going to take a long time for them to clean up a lot of these areas.

WHITFIELD: I mean, a long time.


WHITFIELD: That is just devastating. I mean, trying to rebuild those roads, I mean, that's just not going to happen. I mean, that's the non-engineer in me speaking it just seems like it's going to be a colossal task to recover. All right. Allison Chinchar, thank you so much.

All right. So I will bring in now Sean Darr for more on the community impact. I mean, she's the owner of Little Trail Creek Cabins, a vacation rental located north of the park. Shawn, so good to see you. Oh my gosh, these pictures are just extraordinary. But you are living it. So, what does this mean for all of your bookings? What has happened with other people who said they want to stay in your cabin for any number of weeks this summer? What's happened now?

SHAWN DARR, OWNER, LITTLE TRAIL CREEK CABINS: Fred, I'll tell you, they are just calling left and right. It's impossible to even keep up with the volume of cancellations that we've had in the past few days. And we, along with the governor and senator, just really need everyone to know that Gardiner is still open. It's not just a drive through space. It is actually a destination. We do have a lot of things to offer here right in the Gardiner area for guests who still want to come.

WHITFIELD: Oh my goodness. So, trying to put out that appeal to folks because when they see these images, they're thinking, oh my gosh, there goes my vacation. There's no way, we're going to cancel our flights, cancel our reservations with cabins such as yours. How devastating is this for you and your husband? Your husband's retired, right? You run these cabins full time. What's the financial impact now for you?

DARR: We are looking at a 85 to 90 percent loss of income for the year. We are open year round, but we are truly a seasonal cabin for the most part.

WHITFIELD: Is there any way, you know, that you or anyone who lives in that region to anticipate something like this? This kind of natural catastrophe, there might be some things you anticipate but something on this scale? I mean, is this just a completely foreign thought that anything like this could have happened?

DARR: It's -- I mean, truly devastating. Many of us in the town have hoped for years to have alternate ways in and out of Gardiner to the north and to the south to the park. We -- there are old roads there that have been abandoned for decades. They have not been maintained because they -- of course, are not high priority. But being a nurse for over 20 years, redundancy and backup plans are very necessary.

We really dropped the ball on this one and I hope going forward once we recover from this disaster that we will look at maintaining alternate routes out of here. So, we are not stranded and cut off to the Yellowstone National Park which is our lifeline and to the north to Livingston and Bozeman and the rest of Montana where we get all our supplies and visitors trickling through.

SHU: So, I wonder now, I mean, when you just look at what this recovery might be like and I know what you're feeling immediately with people, you know, canceling their reservations. You just mentioned those words being a fear of being cut off, you know, completely from the park. Do you worry about, you know, Mother Nature sending yet another signal and even those of you there in Gardiner being potentially cut off from everything you know in which to continue to operate and live and survive?

DARR: Currently, the road to the north is open we are able to get supplies. They reopened Highway 89 to the north to Livingston within a day after the water receded. That is not a worry at this time. They do strongly feel that that road is safe and will hold regardless of what other minor types of flooding we may have in the next few days.

WHITFIELD: Shawn, I know you mentioned that, you know, you're looking at an 85 to 90 percent now income loss as a result of all this. And we also understand that you have a GoFundMe that has been started in what ways you know might people be able to help you out help support you at least temporarily if not long term.

DARR: We are open. Nothing here is changed we are on very safe-tested well water. We are high up on the east end of the river here in Gardiner. We are only four miles from Gardiner at the north entrance.


We are completely open. Ready for business. Our cabins are gorgeous. They are just waiting for people to come.

The way to help, make reservations, not through third parties that most people are probably familiar with, because they keep that money until the moment our guests arrive.

But if you can make a reservation in the future, later this year, next year, and the years to come, if you're waiting on that bucket trip list for that vacation, make it now.

And make it directly with the people in Gardner so that they can receive that relief immediately instead of waiting for years. They need the money now.

WHITFIELD: Well, Shawn Darr, I hope many of your vacancies get rebooked now. You're the owner of Little Trail Creek Cabins, located right north of the park.

We wish you the best. Shawn Darr, thank you so much.

DARR: Visit Gardner --

WHITFIELD: So sorry, we just actually cut off part of her audio.

Sorry about that, Shawn. I hope you get the business you are needing to stay afloat.

All right, as these devastating floods struck the state of Montana this week, and images of destruction jammed social media feeds and news programs, Republican Governor Greg Gianforte was MIA. His office refused to disclose his location.

And now, as CNN's Nick Watt reports, we're getting a clear picture of exactly where he was.


GOV. GREG GIANFORTE (R-MT): We're open for business. We want you to come.

NICK WATT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Finally, the governor is here.

GIANFORTE: We have basements filled with mud. We had homes washed away. We had bridges that have been washed away. But we're committed to rebuild this.

WATT: He's here days after the flood waters that slammed the state have, well, they've already left. No one knew where the governor was all week while his people wrestled with the aftermath.

T.J. Britton's house sailed away.

T.J. BRITTON, MONTANA RESIDENT: I spent 16 years of my life there in that place.

WATT: Governor Greg Gianforte wouldn't say where he was. He was all over social media during the destructive historic high waters along the Yellowstone River that closed the national park.

"We are closely monitoring the flooding in south central Montana," he tweeted Monday.

Didn't say where he was monitoring the flooding from. Turns out, it wasn't anywhere inside Montana.

Questions started Tuesday morning when the lieutenant governor, not the governor, signed the state's disaster declaration.

Gianforte's office told local media he left the country Saturday with his wife on a personal trip. So the day before the waters rose. And he'd be back ASAP. They wouldn't say where he was, citing security protocols.

The federal disaster declaration came Thursday, but still no sign of the governor in the flesh.

These floods are a big deal for Montana. Millions of dollars-worth of damage, the state's north entrance to the national park will be closed for months leaving residents of the gateway town of Gardiner fearing for their future.

KARI HUESING, YELLOWSTONE GATEWAY INN: It became this ghost town. I mean, there's nobody here.

WATT: The last time the national spotlight was so on the Treasure State might have been in 2017 when Gianforte body slammed a reporter during his congressional campaign.

GIANFORTE: I'm sick and tired of you guys.

WATT: This week's game of the governor's "Where's Waldo" has echoes of Senator Ted Cruz heading to Cancun last year during a cold snap and power outages in his home state of Texas. Cruz caught heat.

Today, in Montana, the postdiluvian governor is now back in the saddle.

GIANFORTE: Montanans are resilient. We're going to get this rebuilt.

WATT (on camera): So the governor was in Italy on vacation. Now his office says that he handed over his authority to the lieutenant governor, quote, "with whom he worked closely over the last four days to take swift, decisive action."

I will just note there is an eight-hour time difference between Montana and Italy.

Listen, many people have been caught on vacation when something big happens. But maybe just be a bit more honest about it. Maybe come home a little sooner.

And full disclosure, I am reporting tonight on Montana politics from California. I flew out of Montana this morning, not long after the governor flew back in.

Nick Watt, CNN, Los Angeles.


WHITFIELD: Nick, thanks for that clarity.


And now a decision just moments ago, the CDC vaccine advisers voted to recommend both the Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines for children six months through five years. Details straight ahead.


WHITFIELD: In this breaking news, CDC now vaccine advisers have voted to recommend that the FDA authorize both Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines for children 6 months through 5 years.

That vote coming just moments ago. And it now has to be signed off on by the head of the CDC, Rochelle Walensky.


The vaccine received emergency use authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration earlier this week. Moderna is a two-dose vaccine series. Pfizer is a three-dose vaccine series.

It is hoped that the CDC director will sign off on the recommendation as early as next week.

So as U.S. Congress continues to debate new gun restrictions, three more people have died in a mass shooting. This time, at an Alabama church.

The latest to succumb to her injuries, an 84-year-old woman who was also attending the potluck dinner that came under attack Thursday night.

Here now is CNN's Nadia Romero.


DISPATCH: We are getting reports of a possible active shooter.

NADIA ROMERO, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Three people are dead after a shooting Thursday night at a church in Vestavia Hills, Alabama, a suburb of Birmingham.

DISPATCH: Active shooter incident with injuries. Scene is not secure. At least three patients.

ROMERO: Police say St. Stephens Episcopal Church was hosting a potluck dinner when the suspect, 70-year-old Robert Smith, who was attending the event, opened fire.

CAPT. SHANE WARE, VESTAVIA HILLS POLICE: At some point, he produced a handgun and began shooting, striking three victims.

DISPATCH: Best estimate we have at this time for patients is going to be in the parish hall. The shooter has been held down at this time, but the scene is not secure.

ROMERO: Investigators say, after opening fire, the suspect was held down by another person at the event.

DISPATCH: We can't get radio reception. Multiple people down. Subject in custody.

ROMERO: Police identifying the victims as 84-year-old Walter Rainey, who died on the scene, and 75-year-old Sarah Yeager, who died at the hospital. The third victim, 84-year-old Jane Pounds, died at the hospital Friday.

The ordeal leaving the community in disbelief.

HUDSON BROWN, LIVES NEARBY: You see it in places you have never been to. People you don't know. And then now you're thinking, that could have been one of my friends down there.

ROMERO: Former U.S. Senator Doug Jones has lived in the neighborhood for nearly three decades.

DOUG JONES, (D), FORMER U.S. SENATOR FOR ALABAMA: I think it just goes to show that no community is immune from this kind of gun violence that we see playing out across the country. No one is immune.

ROMERO: So far, investigators have not released a motive but say the suspect, who is in custody, acted alone.

Police praising the bravery of the person who held down the suspect until they arrive.

WARE: The person who subdued the suspect, in my opinion, is a hero.


ROMERO: Earlier today, parishioners packed a prayer vigil at St. Luke's Episcopal Church about six miles away.

BISHOP GLENDA CURRY, EPISCOPAL DIOCESE OF ALABAMA: I think the church has got a lot to mourn.

ROMERO (on camera): When this place of worship turned into a crime scene, the church leaders here tell me they immediately received calls and e-mails of support from people from around the world.

Hundreds of people came out to the prayer vigil to mourn the lives lost.

The bishop says two of the people who were killed, Charles Rainey and Sarah Yeager, were active in their church communities and that their fellow parishioners and their families are in mourning.

Nadia Romero, CNN, Vestavia Hills, Alabama.


WHITFIELD: All right, more than $28,000, that is the current average price for a used car in America right now. How sticker shock is making car ownership simply unattainable for many.



WHITFIELD: All right. Right now, rising interest rates and soaring prices are two of the biggest roadblocks for people wanting to buy a car. Combine that with fewer cars on the lot, and rising gas prices and drivers are now paying so much more to get around.

Well, for more now, let's bring in Camila Bernal.

Camila, tell us more about how this rate hike and inflation, all of it combined, affects, you know, people's abilities to buy a car, used even?

CAMILA BERNAL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, no matter if it's used or new, everything is getting harder. Because, look, if you're trying to buy a car, you're going to need on average $47,000. If you want a used one, you're going to need about $28,000.

Whether you're looking for affordable or for luxury or really anything in between, demand is high and prices are high. So even if you consider yourself a good negotiator, you're likely not going to get a discount.


ROLAND PAHUD, CAR BUYER: This here is the Wrangler, four-wheel drive.

BERNAL (voice-over): This is Roland Pahud's new Jeep. It was a necessity, he says, and a quick decision.

PAHUD: I had another car. It was out of mileage, and I needed a bigger one.

BERNAL: The Jeep was about $50,000, leaving his monthly payment at about $800. Higher than the most recent Kelley Blue Book monthly payment average at $712.

MATT DEGEN, SENIOR EDITOR, KELLEY BLUE BOOK: This is a new record for that monthly payment. This is a new record, and then the new car prices are actually near records.

BERNAL: In the last year, new car prices have gone up 12.6 percent. Used cars up 16.1 percent. Food, 10.1 percent, and gas, up 48.7 percent.

But gas prices not necessarily deterring potential buyers at this southern California car dealership.

RAED MALAEB, GENERAL MANAGER, RUSSELL WESTBROOK CHRYSLER DODGE JEEP RAM: Demand is high, supply is still low, and we're still in ship shortage era.

BERNAL: This, paired with the high interest rates making it difficult for buyers.

DEGAN: You don't see prices decreasing much. And even if they do, just keep in mind that interest rates are rising. So the costs of borrowing money is going up. So that just means you're still going to be paying as much or nearly as much as you were even if even if those prices go down.

[13:50:04] BERNAL: Car, home and student loans all higher. Interest rates on a 30-year fixed mortgage have jumped from 2.93 percent to 5.78 percent in the last year.

PAHUD: This is how it looks.

BERNAL: Pahud says his interest would have been lower but says it was his need and want that motivated his new car purchase.


BERNAL: And Roland Pahud also told me that he did consider an electric vehicle. But he said he wants to wait until more charging stations are available.

A lot of people, though, are not waiting, and turning to those electric vehicles. They are also in high demand. Their prices are also high.

And on top of that, you also have to consider the fact that energy is also rising. When you compare it to last year, it's gone up by 12 percent -- Fred?

WHITFIELD: Oh, gosh. All right, all of that pretty depressing. Camila Bernal. All right, hopefully, there's a little light at the end of this tunnel.

All right. Right now, let's enjoy the scenes there in Buffalo, New York, where celebrations are under way all weekend long across the country in honor of the Juneteenth federal holiday. This parade and festival under way right now.

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: Officials at the southern border say they're on high alert as crossings reach record levels.

Sweltering desert heat and roaring canal waters are making a dangerous journey even more treacherous. Authorities say there have been eight deaths in just a week.

CNN's Priscilla Alvarez shows us how officials are responding.


PRISCILLA ALVAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In these roaring waters, first responders train for the worst -- migrants who have been swept away while trying to cross the U.S.-Mexico border.

KRIS MENENDEZ, CAPTAIN, EL PASO FIRE DEPARTMENT WATER RESCUE TEAM: Get pushed underneath, you get pushed out, so, you know, it can mean life or death.

ALVAREZ: Already, authorities say they there have been eight deaths here in the span of a week, signaling a grim outlook for the summer as migrants' journey to the border in extreme conditions.

The canal here, intended to get water to farmers, poses a unique danger with higher water levels and a fast-moving current.

Kris Menendez, captain of the El Paso Fire Department Water Rescue Team, is bracing for more rescues and potential drownings.

MENENDEZ: We can throw a rope, throw the marine, and they can rescue themselves off that device. But a lot of times that's not the case. We come in when it's too late, they're deceased.

ALVAREZ: Rescues already outpaced last fiscal year. Since October, there have been more than 14,000 searches and rescues along the southwest border, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection. That's compared to over 12,800 in fiscal year 2021.


ALVAREZ: Border officials are on high alert, issuing warnings about the sweltering desert heat and crossing dangerous waters.

(on camera): Migrants will also try to cross over the border wall and fall in the process. In the El Paso sector, there have been over 229 injuries since October from those falls.

Agents will try to render aid or take migrants to the hospital if necessary.

DYLAN CORBETT, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, HOPE BORDER INSTITUTE: A lot of people at the shelter have been deported.

ALVAREZ (voice-over): Dylan Corbett, head of the Hope Border Institute in El Paso, says built-up pressure and insecurity has driven migrants to make risky decisions.

CORBETT: It's an index really of desperation, an index of pain. An index of frustration, of not being able to access asylum at our border.

ALVAREZ: A Trump-era pandemic restriction is still in effect on the border, allowing officials to turn away migrants. That hasn't dissuaded people, and thousands continue to wait in Mexico.

RUBEN GARCIA, DIRECTOR, ANNUNCIATION HOUSE: Had you come last week, the whole place was full.

ALVAREZ: Ruben Garcia runs a network of shelters here taking in migrants.

GARCIA: Over the last several months, the numbers have consistently been at 3,000 per week, 3,000 per week. So there were nights where we had close to 400 people sleeping here. ALVAREZ: Southern border cities are adjusting to the reality that

migration flows won't slow down. El Paso is now considering a processing center to alleviate stress shelters.

(on camera): So what does this say about where we're going?

RICARDO SAMANIEGO, JUDGE, EL PASO COUNTY: I really believe that this is the new world that we're going to be experiencing, and it's not going to be a temporary situation.

ALVAREZ: U.S. Customs and Border Protection stopped migrants nearly 240,000 times last month. That number has gone up month by month. And it raises serious concerns among authorities as the temperatures climb into the triple digits.

Priscilla Alvarez, CNN, El Paso, Texas.


WHITFIELD: At Arlington National Cemetery, a hero's sendoff for a military trailblazer.




WHITFIELD: Four military planes flying over Arlington National Cemetery as a final goodbye to Brigadier General Charles McGee, a true national hero.


He was one of the last members of the Tuskegee Airmen, a group of black pilots who brook racial barriers in the U.S. military during the Second World War.