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State Sen. Roland Gutierrez (D-TX) Is Interviewed About The Postponed Decision To Fire School Police Chief Pete Arredondo, And the Demand From Uvalde Parents; White House Says Biden Symptoms "Continue To Improve"; Americans Coping With Blistering Heat Nationwide; Starbucks Shuts Down Some Stores & Bathrooms Citing Safety Issues; FCC Cracks Down On "Auto Warranty" Robocalls; President's Doctor: Biden Is "Tolerating Treatment Well". Aired 12-1p ET

Aired July 23, 2022 - 12:00   ET



ARLETTE SAENZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Dr. O'Connor said that the president's primary symptoms, he said, though less troublesome now includes sore throat, rhinorrhea, which is nose strip, as well as a loose cough and body aches.

Dr. O'Connor says that the president's voice continues to be deep, something that we heard yesterday when he appeared virtually during a meeting with his economic advisors.

Additionally, Dr. Kevin O'Connor says that the president's pulse, blood pressure, respiratory rate, and temperature remain entirely normal. He adds his oxygen saturation continues to be excellent on room air, and his lungs remained cleared.

Now, Dr. Kevin O'Connor says that the president will continue with that antiviral Paxlovid treatment. He is also doing oral hydration, as well as, Tylenol. And continues to use that Albuterol inhaler, which Dr. O'Connor says the president has been using about two to three times a day for his cough.

Now, the doctor also said that the president is not experiencing shortness of breath at this time, and he's also taking a low dose aspirin as an alternative to the blood thinner that he typically takes.

Now, additionally, Dr. Kevin O'Connor says that the sequencing of the president's results has returned and that it is most likely that he has the BA.5 variant. That is the variant that a large portion of the country is currently experiencing when they contract COVID.

So, for the time being, the White House says that the president's symptoms continue to improve. Of course, the last time we saw President Biden was yesterday, when he appeared virtually in that meeting with his economic advisors.

He was supposed to be spending the weekend at his home in Wilmington, Delaware, but instead, is here at the White House. And the message from the White House continues to be that the president continues to carry out his work as he is now in his second full day of isolation due to this COVID-19 diagnosis.

Dr. Kevin O'Connor says he will continue to isolate according to CDC guidelines.

FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN HOST (on camera): All right. And again, Arlette, while the president remains in isolation there at the White House, is it still the case that Dr. Jill Biden is in Delaware, and they also continue to monitor? Because thus far she has tested negative, right?

SAENZ: Yes, that's right. So far, we have not gotten an update this morning about First Lady Jill Biden's current state. She was considered a close contact of her husband, but she is spending the weekend at their home in Wilmington, Delaware.

As of yesterday, she was not experiencing symptoms, and she had tested negative for COVID-19, then.

WHITFIELD: All right. Thanks so much, Arlette Saenz at the White House. Keep us posted. Appreciate it.

All right, and across the country right now, more than 85 million Americans are under excessive heat warnings and advisories. And while the weather is uncomfortable, it's also potentially deadly.

CNN's Brian Todd has more.

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Residents of the Astoria neighborhood in the New York City borough of Queens, without power in the middle of a crippling heat wave.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's horrible. It's horrible. I stand outside here until 10:00 to4:00 this morning.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just too hot inside that's why I'm sitting outside.

TODD: But New York's not alone. Record breaking heat is expected throughout the Northeastern U.S. this weekend, according to the U.S. Weather Prediction Center.

ALLISON CHINCHAR, CNN METEOROLOGIST (on camera): The forecast for Boston on Sunday is 98 degrees. If they hit that mark, it will break a 90-year record for the day.

TODD: Heat waves across the U.S. are dangerous and deadly. Temperatures in the southwest, central plains, and the Mississippi River Valley, soaring past 100 degrees.

The city of Dallas has just recorded its first heat related death of the year. And in Maricopa County, Arizona, officials say at least 29 people have died from heat related issues since March.

What's the most common mistake people make in weather like this? DR. JAMES PHILLIPS, EMERGENCY PHYSICIAN, GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL: The most common mistake people make is trying to tough it out. Trying to think that it's just going to cool off, just trying to think, hey, you know, this is just a little bit of sweatiness, a little bit of nausea. This is no big deal.

You can get to a point where you start to become confused and lethargic and tired. And at that point, it might be too late for you to even have the wherewithal to call for help.

And the second most common mistake is not checking on your loved ones and your neighbors.

TODD: About 85 percent of the U.S. population, more than 270 million people, could see temperature spiking past 90 degrees over the next week. And about 55 million Americans could see temperatures at or above 100 in the same time period.

At Miami International Airport, 1000s of baby chickens were found dead from excessive heat after being left for hours in cardboard boxes on the tarmac. As grass dies off from the heat, thinning pastures, some ranchers in the plains in southwest have to send the cattle they can't feed to slaughter.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I do fear in 30 days that something doesn't change, we're going to have a lot of whole heard dispersals.


TODD (on camera): And deadly heat waves are persisting in Europe as well. This week, Britain recorded its hottest temperature ever, over 104 degrees Fahrenheit. And the World Health Organization says more than 1,700 people have died in Spain and Portugal as a result of this heat wave.

Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.

WHITFIELD: All right. Let's go to meteorologist Allison Chinchar. So, when will these temperatures give us all a break?

CHINCHAR: Right. For some folks, you may be seeing them as early as the next 24 to 48 hours. But for others, it's actually going to progressively get hotter. Take for example the northeast. Washington, D.C. Your peak is on Sunday when you top out at 99 degrees.


Both Philadelphia and Boston forecast to get to 98 degrees on Sunday. Both of those would set daily records. And there are just a few of the over 35 locations that have the potential to set some record temperatures not only today, but also potentially tomorrow.

Now, for some folks, we did say there will be at least a little bit of a break coming up. Omaha, Chicago, St. Louis. It's still very hot today, but there is light at the end of the tunnel. You will start to see those temperatures drop back in about the next 24 to 48 hours. But for other areas of the country, it's going to be the exact opposite. You anticipate seeing all of that heat remain across the Northeast and the Southeast. But now, a new heat wave is set to push into areas of the West, specifically the Pacific Northwest.

Take a look at Portland, Oregon over the next few days. Today, not so bad. High of 80 pleasant conditions. But by the time we get to the middle of the upcoming week, you're talking triple digit temperatures.

Even Seattle looking at highs in the mid to upper 90s. Keep in mind some folks in the Northwest simply do not have access to air conditioners. One of the things that we're seeing in terms of at least the temporary cool down in the Midwest is because of severe thunderstorms in the area.

We are looking at the potential for damaging winds, very large hail, perhaps the size of golf balls are even larger. And yes, even the potential for some tornadoes.

Minneapolis, Green Bay, Chicago, Detroit, even Columbus, all looking at the potential for those severe thunderstorms. So, yes, you will get at least a little bit of a cool down, which, Fredericka, on one hand is a good thing but it comes at the cost of having some of these dangerous severe thunderstorms.

WHITFIELD: All right, we'll be on the lookout, of course, and try to hydrate and stay cool. Best weekend.

Allison Chinchar, thanks so much.

All right, still ahead, a special meeting to consider the firing of Uvalde school police chief is canceled. The families of the shooting victim say even if Chief Pete Arredondo is fired, it's not enough.

I'll discuss with Texas State Senator Roland Gutierrez after this.



WHITFIELD: A special school board meeting to vote on firing Uvalde School Police Chief Pete Arredondo has been canceled today. Arredondo faces intense criticism over his handling of the Robb Elementary School massacre that killed 19 children and two teachers. He is currently on administrative leave.

I want to bring in Texas State Senator Roland Gutierrez, who represents Uvalde District. Good to see you.

So, what is your response to the canceling of this meeting? And do you have an understanding as to why?

STATE SEN. ROLAND GUTIERREZ (D-TX): Well, Fredricka, I haven't been in touch with anybody today on that other than what I've read. I understand that, you know, his lawyer has asked to be part of that process. And there is some rumblings that he might even present to the board and executive session as well.

I think that, you know, his termination is a foregone conclusion. But to your point earlier, the community itself wants to have greater accountability at every level, including the State Police.

Here we had the report of last week, indicate that each and every other law enforcement that had superior five -- firepower training and manpower should have been able to go in and make the appropriate decisions. That didn't happen here.

WHITFIELD: Yes. More than 370 law enforcement and representatives who were there at Robb Elementary, in some capacity outside or inside. So, the Texas Department of Public Safety director, you know, did call law enforcement's response to that attack as an abject failure.

And families want to see not only Arredondo gone, but the entire school police department, the school board and superintendent. What's your response?

GUTIERREZ: I think that there needs to be a revamping of the school police. I think that the city is going to have to look at restructuring their own police department. But we, at the state level, this governor needs to demand accountability of Steven McCraw and his agency.

For 77 minutes, DPS troopers, including a Texas Ranger sat outside. I want to know who that Ranger that was walking around on the phone. I want to know who he was talking to.

I want to know what McCraw knew, and when. Because we already know all of the evasive answers that he gave us weeks -- days and weeks afterwards. The false narratives, the false reports through alert.

All of this falls on Greg Abbott, these people direct report to Greg Abbott, and he has failed to ask for accountability. And he has failed to provide adequate resources to this community. People of Texas need to be very aware of that failure.

WHITFIELD: And whether it be up to that point or regardless of that point, Uvalde's district attorney said that she would not hesitate to indict anyone, including police officers under Texas law, if appropriate.

Do you think that step should be taken? And would that appease family members there?

GUTIERREZ: You know, family members are very upset. They are -- they are very disturbed about what's going on. But when she goes to indict somebody, I hope that she remembers the law of parties in Texas, which means that if you indict one, you better be ready to indict them all.

And so, I have been very dissatisfied with a lot of the work that's coming out of the District Attorney's Office, specifically with the distribution of VOCA funds, which is victims' assistance grants to families. We are working with the Attorney General's Office, trying to create some greater amount of accountability on lost wages for families that have lost their jobs.

At the end of the day, this has been a colossal failure from the law enforcement response side on the 24th. And it has been a colossal failure from the government's office and the people that work for him from the time of the 24th to present. So, we've got a lot of work to do here in Texas.

This governor has got a lot of work to do. And I suggest -- I certainly hope that he gets to the tasks and start truly going down to Uvalde and looking at what's necessary.


The mayor and I have asked him to do so. It's time that we put significant resources in Uvalde, not just depend on the likes of Bo Jackson and others to drop money in, at his behest.

WHITFIELD: Yes, and you mentioned Bo Jackson, because he very generously donated somewhat -- what he presented a check of some $170,000 for the family members of you know, who are still suffering and in pain by what took place two months ago. So, huge generosity on his part to assist.


WHITFIELD: But I wonder for you, and for these families, we're just weeks away, right? From school restarting. Are these children and the teachers a survivors of this tragedy, expected to go back to that school and feel like they can safely return, whether there is a fence? What an eight foot fence that could be erected around that school or anywhere else?

I mean, how are people to feel especially these children to go into what still could be -- right? A bullet pocked building. Whether there is new painting or not. How are people feeling about that?

GUTIERREZ: Well, you know, first off, let me address the other, the latter. Clearly, Bo Jackson knows empathy. It remains to be seen that Greg Abbott knows empathy. To your question, how do people feel? They don't feel safe. People in Texas don't feel safe. They don't feel go safe going back to school.

The folks in Uvalde have immediate and urgent matters that need to be addressed and fixed. They're not going back to Robb Elementary, but they need to focus on their police reports. The police force.

The people in Texas, the school children in Texas, they were 20 days away from school starting. And yet, Greg Abbott has failed to call a special session to raise the age limit from 18, 21 -- to 21.

70 percent of mass shootings in -- across the United States, in a high school settings are done by people lower than 21 years of age.

What are we -- what are we talking about here? We have a governor that is failing to act in our community, because he is so frozen in his ambition. Your true accountability lies with the governor's office. People need to be very aware of what's going on right now.

WHITFIELD: So, many of those kids will be relocated or will be going attending school to either to other structures -- to other school structures. Have you heard from family members about how their kids are feeling about entering any school this fall?

GUTIERREZ: They are -- they are very concerned, Fredricka. I mean, they are -- you know, one of the fundamental flaws is that there was about seven or eight campuses, and you only had six officers. And so, that I hope that the school board can address that immediately.

Certainly, there is also a state funding problem as well, so that we can make sure that we get the adequate number of officers in our schools. Families are upset, and they're very scared, and they're very concerned, again, not just in Uvalde, but across the state.

There are certainly -- when you talk about school hardening in Texas because the Republicans like to pat themselves on the back, we spent $100 million in 2019. Just last summer, we spent $4 billion on this operation. But this failed Operation Lone Star.

By the way, 91 of its officers were at this school. And so, that tells you a little bit about how they are -- they have failed in their bit of community policing.

We've gotten a lot to do with school safety, and a long way to go.

WHITFIELD: Texas State Senator Roland Gutierrez, thank you so much for your time today.

GUTIERREZ: Thank you so much, Fredricka.

WHITFIELD: All right, coming up, the U.S. Secret Service is under growing scrutiny.

Investigators have connected 10 personnel to the missing text messages sent around the day of the insurrection. Details straight ahead.



WHITFIELD: All right, welcome back. The January 6 committee says there will be more hearings in September.

WHITFIELD (voice-over): This week's primetime hearing revealed some of the most damning details and testimony yet, illustrating former President Trump's refusal to call off the attack on the Capitol.

Meantime, there is growing scrutiny surrounding missing texts from the U.S. Secret Service on and around the day of the insurrection. CNN is learning new information on the investigation. CNN's Evan Perez joining us now with more on this. What can you tell us?

EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Well, Fred, this is now a criminal investigation by the Homeland Security inspector general. And what we know, we've now learned is that there were 24 people who the inspector general had first inquired.

They wanted to get all the documents, all of the e-mails all of their communications. And of those 24, we now know that at least 10 of them, they have recovered indications metadata that indicates that there were messages that were sent and received.

The question is, what do those messages say? When were they sent? To whom were they sent? Did they have anything to do with, obviously, the events that were happening on the fifth and the sixth? And those are the big questions that we do not have answers to.

Right now. The inspector general is trying to figure out -- trying to make sure that, you know, whether there was anything, any federal law broken. This is now a criminal investigation. But for the perspective of the January 6 committee, they want to know what were -- what were going on, what was going on in those communications on those key days, because again, there are things that we still don't have answers to about what the vice president, what the security around the vice president was dealing with at the Capitol versus what the president was trying to do, trying to come to the Capitol as part of the large protest, Fred.


WHITFIELD (on camera): Evan, let's shift gears a little bit, because now we're talking about talking about Steve Bannon, former strategist for former President Trump, now found guilty of criminal contempt of Congress. That happened just yesterday.

PEREZ: Right.

WHITFIELD: Through his attorney, and he, say that they want to appeal. So, now, what?

PEREZ: Yes, they said they were going to -- they're going to appeal which means that this is a process that could take into next summer. We know that he is scheduled to be -- Bannon is scheduled to be -- to be sentenced in October, but they say this is far from over.

And, of course, you know, Fred that he has tried to make this a bit of a show, right? He says, he -- when he -- when he got arrested, he declared that this was going to be the misdemeanor from hell. And he was trying to make this about politics, which the judge denied him the permission to be able to do that.

So, now, he says that they're going to go to the appeals court to challenge his guilty -- the being found guilty by this jury. And so, that he is going to make this something that's going to stretch out into possibly into next year, Fred.

WHITFIELD: All right, Evan Perez, thank you so much. We'll check back with you.

All right, let's talk more about the U.S. Secret Service now. With me now is Jonathan Wackrow. He is a CNN law enforcement analyst and a former secret service agent. Jonathan, so good to see you.

JONATHAN WACKROW, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST (on camera): It's nice to see you, Fred.

WHITFIELD: All right. Now, this might be a little complicated for you to talk about too, because it's, you know, hits close to home. Meaning, you have been a secret service agent for what? 14 years. And now, I want to hear your reaction to what Evan is reporting that possibly 10 U.S. Secret Service personnel are linked to recovered metadata communications, on those very pertinent days. What are your thoughts?

WACKROW: Well, listen, Fred, there's a lot of turmoil around the Secret Service right now. It's been widely reported. But, you know, this most recent reporting around a criminal investigation is not good.

Anytime that you have a law enforcement entity, investigating criminal activity of another law enforcement entity, the -- that just has an order of consequences that doesn't yield any positive results.

And in this case, it complicates things further, because we have multiple investigations going on at one time. And here is what I mean by that. The inspector general has stated that they're actually investigating the Secret Service, specifically on the collection and preservation of evidence around those text messages, right?

So, we know that there is potential items of evidentiary value contained within that metadata. So, we know that that is there. That is why that's the precipitating action for this criminal investigation.

But the consequence of that criminal investigation now is that the Secret Service is no longer allowed to review internally the matters. That means that collaboration and cooperation fully in internal investigations within the Secret Service have now halted.

So, what does that mean? That means, potentially, that information that is being sought by the January 6 commission may be delayed.

All of this, at the end of the day, is further going to push out fully adjudicating this matter. What was contained in those text messages? And as Evan reported earlier, do those text messages actually contain pertinent material information to activity on January 6?

Again, we're not going to get this immediately. This is now going to be drawn out for months.

WHITFIELD: All right, generally speaking, what kind of text messaging takes place between Secret Service detail on any number of assignments?

WACKROW: Well, listen, there is -- there is multiple pathways of communication for a detail. When we're talking about the detail, let's just talk about it's the women and men that are surrounding the protectee.

In this case, we're talking about the working detail of the vice president at the Capitol, and the president's detail that was at the ellipse, and at the White House.

Their primary means of communication is the radio. Right? And that's what, you know -- you know, we see the earpieces, the microphones. That's their primary means of communication.

Things that are more administrative follow a pathway of e-mails, and in some instances, text messages.

But, you know, all of that combined, you know, we'll -- you know, we know we have the e-mail messages, we know we have the radio transmission, we know we have sworn testimony. All hope is not lost if we don't have these text messages, right?

I think that everyone is hoping for a smoking gun in the metadata that is going to point to something. But there are other aspects of investigation and an investigative techniques that can be deployed to actually fully find out what happened.

Remember, those text messages went somewhere. So, they went to somebody. You can find out through service providers who those text messages went to, and then gets sworn statements and affidavits there.


Again, directionally, we'll understand what type of information was relayed, and the investigation will progress from there. But, you know, at the end of the day, I think we're really focused on these text messages, which we should be, but I don't think it'll yield the results that most people are anticipating.

WHITFIELD: So you're saying, you find that it would be unusual that there would be a lot of information incriminating or not, that will be conveyed via text because it's not customary that while on detail, that agents would be using text.

WACKROW: I just think it's a low probability of occurrence, Fred. It's just not the way that typically the Secret Service is communicating as a working detail. Now, outside of their protective responsibilities, do people text each other? Yes, they do. But I think in the moments of actually on a protective mission, the primary means of communication are the radio transmissions. But again, you know, what I say is that there's no secrets in the Secret Service, right?

So I think that if there was something being attempted out of malice here, right, if there was a cover up, I think that that would have come to light already. What this is this is, this is sloppy governance. This is, you know, oversight that wasn't followed through in terms of, you know, the technology upgrades. But I don't -- I just find it really hard to believe that, you know, they opened up this criminal investigation, meaning that they thought they were criminal, malicious activity, engaged by a Secret Service agent, I just, you know, 14 years in the agency. I just find it very hard to believe, and I hope that it's not true.

WHITFIELD: OK. So you think it's more sloppy work versus suspicious activity that these text or messages.

WACKROW: Exactly. And I said this time and time again, this is a self- inflicted wound by the Secret Service, right? I think that the way that they -- this is a process issue. They didn't follow the guidelines that set forth by the, you know, Federal Records Act. They didn't retain critical information. Again, they should have done that. They need to be held accountable for that. But when it comes to was that activity malicious, I find that hard to believe on January 6th.

WHITFIELD: All right, Jonathan Wackrow, we'll leave it there for now. Thanks so much.

WACKROW: Thanks Fred.

WHITFIELD: All right, this Sunday, don't miss CNN State of the Union. The January 6th Committee Vice Chairwoman Liz Cheney will join Jake Tapper and Dana Bash at 9:00 a.m. right here on CNN.

Also coming up, Starbucks may close its bathroom doors to the general public. It CEO says safety concerns are making it very difficult to keep those doors open, details straight ahead.



WHITFIELD: All right, Starbucks is shutting doors to some of its stores and restrooms. CEO Howard Schultz cites safety concerns for staff and customers due to a growing mental health problem. CNN business reporter Nathaniel Meyersohn is here with more on this. Nathaniel, this decision is shining a spotlight on the lack of public restrooms overall, isn't it?

NATHANIEL MEYERSOHN, CNN BUSINESS REPORTER: That's exactly right, Fred. So the United States has a glaring lack of public restrooms. And this is a critical issue for people experiencing homelessness. For people with health issues, for the elderly, there are not enough places in the United States to go to the bathroom. And this is, you know, critical public infrastructure. It makes our cities livable, and the local and state and federal government has outsourced the responsibility of providing public restrooms to the private sector.

WHITFIELD: And so not only is Starbucks looking internally, you know, at what to do about all this, is it's also prompting a lot of cities and states to reconsider what's going on.

MEYERSOHN: Well, I think let's hope so. The United States has eight public restrooms for every 100,000 people. If you look at European cities, that number is in the 40s and 50s. Some states in the U.S. like Mississippi and Louisiana have just one public restroom for every 100,000 residents. The United Nations has looked at this issue and said that the U.S. is comparable to Botswana and other kinds of underdeveloped nations in its public bathroom access. It's a humanitarian issue that the U.S. has not addressed.

WHITFIELD: How about Starbucks is it -- are they saying anything about whether there's a correlation to union busting?

MEYERSOHN: Right So Starbucks is facing its toughest union drive, and it's history more than 130 stores have voted to unionize. This is a problem for a company that has built itself as a progressive company with good benefits to employees. But leaving, you know, these bathrooms up to the employees is creating challenges for them. Understaffed stores, overburden employees having to police who has access to these restrooms.

WHITFIELD: All right, Nathaniel Meyersohn, thanks so much. Good to see you.

All right, well, anyone with a phone has probably heard this message before.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We've been trying to reach you concerning your car's extended warranty. You should've received something in the mail about your car's extended warranty.


WHITFIELD: Boy, have we all heard that one. Well finally the FCC says it is cracking down on billions of those kinds of robocalls. CNN business correspondent Rahel Solomon has the story.

RAHEL SOLOMON, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Good morning the Federal Communications Commission cracking down on those annoying auto warranty robe calls announcing Thursday that it is ordering U.S. telecom providers to block millions of robocalls a day that advertise extended vehicle warranties.


Robocalls about an extended car warranty were the single largest source of consumer complaints to the FCC each of the past two years, the FCC identifying 13 people and six companies mostly based in Texas and California, but also Hungary, together, the group is blasting out millions of illegal calls each day, according to the FCC. The group bought access to nearly half a million phone numbers from more than 200 area codes to try to make them look more realistic and like local calls. This is the first order by the FCC to actually force carriers to stop allowing the illegal calls.

And the pass it notified company. So this is a step further, the chairwoman of the group saying in the release, we are not going to tolerate robocalls scammers or those that helped make their scams possible. Consumers are out of patience and I am right there with them. I talked to a reporter with Consumer Reports, it's a nonprofit publication that advocates for consumer rights about why this is still such a huge problem to solve. And he said that the people and companies behind these robocalls have been able to stay one step ahead of phone companies and regulators both in terms of technology and legislation.

It's also difficult for some of the phone companies to tackle because there are some robocalls that are legitimate, like your doctor's office, whether people will actually noticed a decline in calls after this announcement, well, he told me it's a step in the right direction. And overall we are seeing robocalls decline, but billions of unwanted calls are still getting through.

WHITFIELD: They are indeed, Rahel Solomon, thank you so much.

All right, this week on an all new episode of United Shades of America, W. Kamau Bell looks at the toll the constant pressure and expectations take on athletes and their mental health.


W. KAMAU BELL, CNN UNITED SHADES OF AMERICA HOST: If you're competitive, what's your daily schedule like?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They will go to school and then coming to this club practice.

BELL: What time are you leaving here for nighttime practice?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're out here in most days.

BELL: So then you go home and do homework. Wow. I mean, it is a lot. Is it too much?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Gymnasts are so discipline. If you can handle gymnastics, you can handle anything I feel.

BELL: How did I do today?


BELL: Let's talk about that. Will I ever be as good as you all.


BELL: No, I think it's fair. I appreciate your honesty. I -- and why would I ever be as good as you all?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You needed to shrink.

BELL: And so what do you want to do in gymnastics? How far do you want to go?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want to go to the Olympics.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I also want to go to the Olympics.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Probably a teacher.

BELL: A teacher who goes to deal with it.




WHITFIELD: I love the kids. Honesty and aspirations, join Kamau Bell as he heads to the legendary sports town of Boston to find out in a new episode of United Shades of America tomorrow at 10:00 p.m. right here on CNN.


WHITFIELD: All right, this just in, the World Health Organization is declaring the monkeypox outbreak a public health emergency of international concern. This is the highest alert level, the WHO can declare. And it means that bug monkeypox has spread to the point where an international response might be required. Right now there are over 1,600 cases reported in 74 countries. In the U.S. there are 2,891 and just last night two cases were identified in children.

And the White House says President Biden continues to recover from COVID with mild symptoms and is using an inhaler, as he has done with other upper respiratory infections to help with his breathing as needed. Let's bring in Dr. Esther Choo for more on this. She is a professor of Emergency Medicine at Oregon Health and Science University, so good to see you.

So President Biden appears to be recovering pretty well according to all those around him. How important was it that he had both of his vaccine boosters, especially now? Or perhaps even in light of the fact that we're hearing from the White House that it's likely that he has the BA.5 variant?

DR. ESTHER CHOO, PROFESSOR OF EMERGENCY MEDICINE, OREGON HEALTH & SCIENCE UNIV.: Good to be with you Fred. So key that President Biden has received both of his boosters, I think this is a great moment to remind people how important boosters are to prevent serious illness, hospitalizations, and death. Particularly since, you know, immunity wanes over time. And so having gotten a vaccination six months ago may not protect you as much as we'd like. So with this new extremely infectious variant coming up, hopefully people will see how much the benefit of that is realized by our President and remember to get their own vaccination, especially those over 65 are with a serious health conditions.

WHITFIELD: We also learned that President Biden received Paxlovid the antiviral treatment which combines two antiviral drugs together. Dr. Ashish Jha of the White House COVID Response Coordinator explained why this treatment is so important. Listen.


DR. ASHISH JHA, WHITE HOUSE COVID-19 RESPONSE COORDINATOR: Remember, the goal of Paxlovid is to keep people out of the hospital, to prevent serious illness. One of the reasons we have been so vocal that Americans anybody above at the age of 50, anybody with chronic diseases should seriously consider getting Paxlovid. The reason is it is reports remarkably well at keeping people from getting seriously ill.



WHITFIELD: All right, Paxlovid, that's the way to say it. All right, so what is the window in which to get it and who is eligible to get it and how?

CHOO: Yes, the thing to remember about Paxlovid is that it does need to be started early in the course in order for it to be effective. And so, you know, remember, again, the President, many people who have access to health care who have resources are the ones who are able to get Paxlovid, because it requires early testing. So having a team of White House physicians who monitor him having quick access to testing allowed him to start Paxlovid within that five day window.

He, you know, and then the other thing about Paxlovid is remember that people are experiencing rebounds symptoms, and so they do seem to improve symptomatically, but there's still a chance that after the five day course, he could get symptoms again. The other thing I want to say is that we often forget to talk about long COVID. And, you know, long COVID extended post viral, post-acute phase symptoms of COVID are extremely common.

We're learning more and more about every day, but it is certain that a certain sequelae of long COVID are more common as you get older. So these are things that the President despite having the best of care is still far more vulnerable to. We don't know anything about whether Paxlovid or other treatments help prevent long COVID. So you know, just speaking to physicians across the country, I haven't talked to anybody who doesn't feel that prevention is still very valuable worth pursuing and much preferable to having to provide even world class care.

WHITFIELD: So the White House is also warning that the U.S. could see 100 million coronavirus infections and possibly a significant wave of deaths by year's end. And this is largely because of the emerging Omicron sub variants. So in your view, is the U.S. adequately prepared for the coming seasons?

CHOO: Well, that's a challenging question. Because in terms of knowledge and resources and tools, as the White House talks about frequently, we have so much more than we used to have. I mean, we know that layered protections, for example, prevent transmission, we know exactly how it's transmitted, we have much more availability of testing and masks and treatments, things like that. But the question is, right now is we're in a total free fall of

utilizing these tools to the best of our ability, are we going to be able to as a nation ramp up those actions, things like mask mandates, things like improving our use of booster shots, increasing accessibility of treatments for the average American? Are we really going to be able to ramp these up? They're costly, they take a lot of political will, they take a lot of, you know, public community effort.

And so it's not can we but it's will we. And yes, I am worried about that. I mean, that 100 million estimate is even in the absence of a new, more virulent variants. It's with the variants that we have now. And of course, with those sheer numbers, we'll see many, many more deaths. As the White House has said, these things are preventable, the disease is preventable, series of sequelae are preventable. It's just a question of whether we will do everything we need to, to prevent them.

WHITFIELD: And then despite the fact that this latest Omicron variant is, you know, being reported, as you know, no more serious than previous variants, we are seeing the rate of hospitalization spike in parts of the country. Why do we suppose that is?

CHOO: Well, it's very frustrating to hear that it is no more serious, because you know, BA.5 has just recently become the dominant variant. And we know hospitalizations and deaths are a lagging indicator. And so it remains to be seen what BA.5 can do. I will also, you know, remind viewers that because we're doing so much at home testing, any estimate we have is likely a gross underestimate. And, you know, no matter where you're putting that infection fatality rate with sheer numbers, we're going to get many, many more deaths. And right now hospitals have very little capacity to take on more volume.

We're stretched thin. We've lost a tremendous amount of staff. Everyone that I know who works in a hospital is doing overtime and is working in extremely strained conditions, so this will no doubt be a very difficult fall and winter for those of us in the hospital.

WHITFIELD: Yes, those stressors have been in place now for three years and counting. Yes, everyone is definitely overtaxed, especially in the healthcare industry. Thank you so much, Dr. Esther Choo. Good to see you. Appreciate it.

CHOO: Thank you, Fred.

WHITFIELD: All right, the Russian invasion continues to upset lives in Ukraine. And this week's CNN Hero is doing all that she can to help Teresa Gray, a paramedic and nurse from Alaska has sent small self- sufficient medical teams to natural and humanitarian disasters for years. Well, since February, her volunteers have traveled to Romania three times where they have provided care and comfort to more than 1,000 Ukrainian refugees in need.


[12:55:07] TERESA GRAY, PARAMEDIC: What we were expecting to see was large groups of people housed in tent cities. And actually, they are housing these refugees and individual dorm rooms. They've got food. They've got shelter. But the trauma is the same. They've lost almost everything. This is filled with women, children and elderly. There is a flu outbreak currently that obviously affects the children. We also have pre-existing conditions. It isn't just about fixing the broken arm or giving you medicine, it's making that human connection. Sometimes you need to hold their hand and walk them down a hallway and listen to them. We try to meet the needs of whatever presents to us.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Smile everybody.

GRAY: Human suffering has no borders, people are people and love is love.


WHITFIELD: And to hear her full story, go to And while you're there, nominate someone you know to be a CNN hero, nominations close July 31st. We'll be right back.