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HHS Announces 786K Additional Doses of Monkeypox Vaccine; Biden Voters Hope for Democratic Alternative on 2024 Ticket; This Week on "UNITED SHADES OF AMERICA" California is Burning; Chris Rock Talks About Will Smith Attack, Says I'm Not a Victim. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired July 28, 2022 - 15:30   ET



ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN HOST: Today the Department of Health and Human Services announced an additional almost 800,000 doses of the monkeypox vaccine.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN HOST: Now the number of reported cases has jumped to more than 4,600 across 46 states. Now testing of course is crucial to getting monkeypox under control, but experts say there is a shocking lack of demand for testing. CNN's Elizabeth Cohen joins us now. Elizabeth, it's so rare, I don't even know how one is tested for monkeypox. What does it entail?

ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Of course, Victor, you might think it's a blood test or nasal swab. It is neither of those. It is swabbing a lesion. So, the doctor finds two lesions on the body, two of these blisters that we've seen in so many pictures, and they swab them and then they send the swab into a lab.

And I remember in the beginning with COVID the problem was there wasn't enough lab capacity. Now there's plenty of capacity, but doctors aren't sending specimens in. So, let's take a look at some of those numbers.

At the Mayo Clinic, which is one of five private labs that's doing this monkeypox testing, they can do a thousand swabs of specimens a week, they can handle that. But instead, they've gotten 45 over the past two weeks, 45, not per week but over the past two weeks they've gotten 45.

At Aegis, which is another lab, they can do 5,000 a week. They've gotten zero. No one has sent anything in. Now there's a variety of reasons for, that but what experts tell me is one of the reasons that this is a virus that spreads mostly, almost exclusively among men who have sex with men. A lot of those men go to sexual health clinics. About half of those sexual health clinics, they don't send swabs to private labs. You have all these private labs waiting for swabs, they don't send them there because they don't have enough money. It costs money to send swabs to private labs. So, they're asking for more money.

But there seems to be some disconnect.


The people who are serving the patients aren't or many of them can't send to the private labs that have all this capacity, 70,000 specimens a week, all this capacity sitting around but they're not getting the specimens -- Victor, Alisyn.

BLACKWELL: And the number of cases every day that total is climbing. Elizabeth Cohen for us, thank you.

COHEN: Thanks.

CAMEROTA: Now to this -- many Democrats say they are not happy with President Biden's performance and would like for someone else to run in 2024. But who? The Pulse and the People is next.


CAMEROTA: A new CNN poll found that a majority of Democratic voters want someone other than President Biden to run in the 2024 presidential election. But who would that be? And what would it take for President Biden to regain the support of his voters? We talked with a group of Biden voters from across the country to find out. Here is part two of our "PULSE OF THE PEOPLE."


CAMEROTA: Show of hands. For 2024 presidential election, how many of you wish there was another Democratic alternative in addition to Joe Biden? So, one, two, three, four, five, six. How many of you say that because you're concerned about his age?

MATT LEE, BIDEN VOTER FROM TEXAS: Whether he was 80 or he was 50 or he was 35, my opinion wouldn't change. It's all in the ability and the way he's handling the presidency currently.

JEREMY FRYBERGER, BIDEN VOTER FROM IDAHO: Yes. But I agree that I only saw Joe as a one-term transitional figure, and I'm hopeful that the Democrats can field another nominee who is even stronger than Joe.


ANGIE JONES, BIDEN VOTER FROM GEORGIA: The career politician aspect of his persona has hindered him from being able to make some of the real progress, not using his bully pulpit the way he could, not being forceful enough to really get things done that we critically need to get done. And so, yes, I enthusiastically supported him as a one-term president.

CAMEROTA: Who would you like to see run on the Democratic side in the primary if not Joe Biden?

JONES: Definitely Pete Buttigieg. He was my choice in the primary. I would love to see a Buttigieg/Harris ticket.

FRYBERGER: Mark Kelly. He's an astronaut. He's been in the military. He's married to Gabby Giffords. They can speak very well to the gun regulation issue. He lives on the board.

HELENA KUMMINGS, BIDEN VOTER FROM GEORGIA: Definitely Pete Buttigieg is up there. Both my parents were in the Navy so it's incredibly important to have served in the military to be the commander in chief of the military. But being a Georgia voter, I think Stacey Abrams has the fire that I think a lot of Democrats are looking for.

VANESSA SPENCER, BIDEN VOTER FROM CALIFORNIA: Yes, I think she's absolutely somebody that should drop her hat in the arena. It's a primary, Joe. I think it's a little bit early, but my two tops would be Pete and Stacy.

LEE: Number one is Pete Buttigieg. I supported him in the past, and I think that he has the diplomacy, the assertiveness, the policy, the ability to reach across the aisle and ultimately can get the respect.

CAMEROTA: How many of you would like to see Kamala Harris do it? I mean, why isn't she the first name?

DENANGE SANCHEZ, BIDEN VOTER FROM FLORIDA: I'm just sort of disappointed, you know, in her. So, I haven't really seen her do much.

SPENCER: She's a brilliant leader and she is an incredibly brilliant woman. She should be in a better position than what she's in, and unfortunately, she just hasn't been given that opportunity to do so.

CAMEROTA: I just also want to point out the people you say you'd like to see run for president did run for president and Joe Biden beat them. I mean, Joe Biden beat Pete Buttigieg. He beat Kamala Harris.

KUMMINGS: There is a different time.

CAMEROTA: Was it a different time?

KUMMINGS: I feel like a lot of those people that we're talking about now didn't have the same steam that Joe Biden had going into the 2020 election. I think Democrats were looking for the most reliable candidate to beat Donald Trump. And so, it was a white male who was the vice president and who has a lot of experience in the Senate that the Democrats are familiar with and comfortable voting for, so that's what we did. And now I feel like we're at a time where we can look for a little bit more.

CAMEROTA: How many of you believe Donald Trump will run again in the next presidential race?

KUMMINGS: I wouldn't be surprised.

LEE: If he's healthy, if Donald Trump is still healthy and If Donald Trump not in prison, Donald Trump will run I guess for re-election in 2024. I have no doubt that will happen.

CAMEROTA: How many of you believe that Joe Biden could beat him again?

JONES: I would say President Biden, you don't have two years, three years. You have three months before the midterms. We need to see progress. We need to see movement and action on these things that are important to the American people so that you can keep your Senate and keep House majority. Hopefully expand them and then be in a stronger place moving ahead to 2024.

SPENCER: I will say this, if we are successful by picking up more seats in the House and picking up two more seats in the Senate, maybe even three, which would be ideal, I think Joe could absolutely run again in 2024.

LEE: I think Joe Biden has an immense opportunity over the next two years as we see all of the midterm elections, hopefully he allows that change to be someone else running, he puts his support behind, and we can continue the progress that we should be on.

KUMMINGS: I think he needs to work hard on capturing the middle so the alt-right agenda doesn't get pushed all the way to the presidency.


FRYBERGER: The Republicans have handed us an incredible environment and if Democrats are willing to pick up the mantel and make Republicans own what they've become and pay for what they've become, it's going to require Harris and Biden to be much more forceful. But if they can do that, then the next two years are going to be a lot better than the first two years.

SANCHEZ: I just wanted to add a little more to what they said. You know, you have three more months to sort of show some more progress, you know, that aggressiveness. Can he do it? We don't know, but that's all we're asking for.


BLACKWELL: That they all want an alternative in 2024. As you pointed out, with the exception of Stacey Abrams, Joe Biden has beat these people. And if they think Donald Trump is going to run again, why wouldn't Joe Biden be the best option, especially if age is not a consideration for them?

CAMEROTA (on camera): Exactly, that was my logic. And what they all said in yesterday's "PULSE OF THE PEOPLE" as well as today, it's basically a messaging thing or maybe it's a communication thing.


They want to see more passion. They want to see more fire in the belly. Because when you ask them about certain policies, they like what he's done, though they don't think sometimes it's gone far enough. But they just want the messaging to be different. So that's how they're feeling right now. We'll keep checking back with them.

BLACKWELL: Always valuable. I enjoy these every time you bring them.

CAMEROTA: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: All right. In California, thousands of firefighters are battling the Oak Fire. When we come back, how the state is impacted by the bigger, deadlier, more destructive fires we've seen in the last two years.



BLACKWELL: Cal Fire reports the percentage of containment of California's raging Oak Fire is now up to about 36 percent. Still, though, it has burned through more than 18,000 acres, destroyed dozens of structures since it ignited near Yosemite National Park last Friday.

This Sunday, the CNN original series "UNITED SHADES OF AMERICA" with W. Kamau Bell, heads to California to discover how communities are co- existing with this destruction, including the firefighters who stay on the job, even as they lose their own homes.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think the campfire is really a story of stories. And so, there's two words that are interchangeable and that's bravery and heroism. But they're different. In bravery, in our job, is an expectation, right. But you're looking at two people who stayed in the fight that day, even though they lost everything they owned. And these two are in that rare of being a hero because of that.

W. KAMAU BELL, HOST UNITED SHADES OF AMERICA: I would imagine that no one would have blamed you both to say I've got to go to with my family. What made you stay and do the work?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: When I saw that house was gone, I took a moment and said all right, well, go back to work.

BELL: Oh, my gosh.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think I just kind of shut that part of it off, like there's nothing I can do about that. But here's what I can do. You know, you go back to your training.


CAMEROTA: Joining us now is the host of "UNITED SHADES OF AMERICA," Kamel Bell. He is also the director of the Emmy nominated series "We Need to Talk about Cosby." And the co-author of "The New York Times" best seller "Do The Work, An Antiracist Activity Book." Now that was intense hearing those firefighters. So, tell us what else people told you about the impact of these fires on their lives.

BELL (on camera): I mean, you know, you talk about people who are working in that area and working to fight those fires on multiple levels and are losing their homes and possessions. And you know, earlier you said "UNITED SHADES" is going to California, well this is not far from where I live here in California. So, is this really affects me personally, too. Not that I've been threatened by the fire but the toxic air is another thing that people who live in California have to deal with. And I think nothing proves climate change more than the California wildfire season getting longer and more destructive.

BLACKWELL: Obviously, climate change is a huge contributor. Are there other elements that are contributing to the fires we're seeing there?

BELL: Yes. I mean, if you live in Northern California and your electric company or power company is PG&E, then you know PG&E has been responsible for multiple fires because of faulty equipment. So, you know, we also live in a capitalistic society and corporate greed comes in. And so, there are ways in which these fires are not always -- they feel even worse because they're started by a corporation that you depend on for your electricity and your power.

CAMEROTA: We've seen the example of sometimes them fighting fire with fire, which of course is totally counterintuitive when it comes to looking at wildfires. But what did you find out about how they're trying to prevent these?

BELL: Well, you know, it certainly goes back to Smoky the Bear. Smoky the Bear did too good of a job of telling us to put out forest fires. I learned that in California the land just scape actually needs the fire, but we just have to tend to the landscape and care take the landscape in such a way that there's not fuel there that it gets out of control.

So, some of that is control burns. And some indigenous people who do burns, and so I got to actually set some trees and -- not trees, but I got to set some land on fire surrounded by the Cal Fire people and other experts.

BLACKWELL: Not the trees. Please, not the trees.

BELL: Not the trees. Not the trees.

BLACKWELL: W. Kamel Bell always good to see you. Thank you, sir. Looking forward to the new episode. And tune in to the new episode of "UNITED SHADES" airing this Sunday at 10:00 right here on CNN.

CAMEROTA: OK, so President Biden insists the U.S. is not in a recession, as he urges Congress to pass a spending bill that he believes could help ease inflation.



CAMEROTA: Comedian Chris Rock is finally talking about that slap from Will Smith live on the air at this year's Oscars telecast. Us weekly reports that Rock told a sold out crowd this past weekend in

New Jersey that he just shook that shit off and went back to work because is not a victim.

CAMEROTA: I see you're not editing.

BLACKWELL: It's a quote. And he also joked that anyone who says words hurt have never been punched in the face. As Smith resigned from the academy after apologizing to Rock, he's now banned from participating in all Oscar related events for the next ten years.

CAMEROTA: I mean, if you're going to quote him verbatim, he says some other things too, but I see you stopped a little short of that.

BLACKWELL: That was the only line I had from it, you know. I actually saw this show when they were at Madison Square Garden and Dave Chappell came out as the surprise opener.

CAMEROTA: That is a big surprise.

BLACKWELL: It was amazing, it was amazing.

CAMEROTA: Well, I'm glad that it's given him fodder and material and I continue to be so astounded by how he responded in the moment. Because just reflexively I would have hit back or I would have screamed an expletive. And the fact that he was so cool in the moment and handled it, I just continue to be really impressed by him.

BLACKWELL: It takes a lot of self-control. A lot of self-control.

CAMEROTA: OK, meanwhile, it is National Intern Day, and we here at NEWSROOM are celebrating it. So, let's take a shot if we could of our intern, Dawn Sawyer. She is a rising junior at the University of Georgia, where she is an editor for the student newspaper.


BLACKWELL: Dawn says she's enjoyed learning about the broadcast side of journalism but at her heart, she is still a fan of print journalism. She says her dream job would be to work as the editor of "The New York Times" or "The Washington Post."

CAMEROTA: That's awesome. I hope we have gotten Dawn a cupcake or margarita or whatever she wants today right now, and the world needs good journalists, so print or broadcast, fantastic.

BLACKWELL: A cupcake or margarita.

CAMEROTA: Or a cupcake margarita.

BLACKWELL: "THE LEAD" with Jake Tapper starts right now.