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Early Start with John Berman and Zoraida Sambolin

U.S. Cases, Hospitalizations, And Deaths Rising Among The Unvaccinated; GOP Threatens To Block Vote On Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal; At Least 27 Killed In Baghdad Market Bombing. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired July 20, 2021 - 05:30   ET



LAURA JARRETT, CNN ANCHOR: Is making a very real comeback and it's being driven mostly by the Delta variant.

In the last two weeks alone, average case counts are up nationally by 145 percent. Hospitalizations are up 50 percent. Deaths are up 12 percent. And it's all being felt by the healthcare workers who worked through the darkest days of this pandemic.


DR. VIVEK MURTHY, U.S. SURGEON GENERAL: I am heartbroken to see just how hard they are working, how exhausted they are. How many of them are suffering with depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder.

Think about after COVID when we need those same healthcare professionals to be there to take care of all the other conditions and needs that we have as a country. If they burn out they drop out of the workforce. It will be bad for them, it will be worse for us, and we'll be worse off as a country.

So, so many reasons to get vaccinated -- for your health, to protect our children, to rescue our health workers from the difficult situation they're in.


JULIA CHATTERLEY, CNN ANCHOR: And this underscores the point. More than 97 percent of people who are entering the hospital now are unvaccinated, and 99.5 percent of deaths are among the unvaccinated. Still, the science isn't enough to motivate everyone.

In Georgia, more than 110,000 coronavirus vaccine doses have been thrown out since last December -- not because they were bad, but because they weren't used.

Now with concerns rising, about half of California's population is once again under mask mandates and recommendations.

JARRETT: Just incredible that they would have to throw out doses. Just imagine those doses being used in a place like India.

Well, a federal judge says Indiana University can require students to get vaccinated for COVID-19 before returning to campus this fall. A lawsuit had tried to challenge the school's mandate but the federal judge ruled the 14th Amendment doesn't prevent the school from requiring vaccinations in the interest of public health.

Indiana University is one of more than 100 U.S. colleges and universities requiring students to get vaccinated.

CHATTERLEY: The State Department out with a blunt new warning just a summer tourism heats up -- do not travel to the U.K. The reason is that cases of COVID are surging once again in Britain even as England has just lifted nearly all COVID restrictions, including mandatory mask-wearing.

The CDC also raised its travel notice for travelers to the U.K. Monday to a quote "very high risk," advising if they must go, to make sure they are fully vaccinated.

JARRETT: President Biden hopes to see a bipartisan infrastructure deal advance in the Senate this week, but Republican leaders are threatening to block the vote.

CNN's Jasmine Wright is live in Washington for us. Jasmine, good morning.

The Democratic Senate leader Chuck Schumer set a deadline; Republicans pushed back. Now this whole thing is on life support.

For people who maybe aren't following this minute-to-minute every day, please just break down for us where does this stand and where is it going.

JASMINE WRIGHT, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: That's right, Laura, though it feels like we experience this basically every single day.

Yesterday, Sen. Schumer leaned in on that procedural vote, having it on Wednesday, really trying to push negotiators to come to a deal on that $579 billion bipartisan framework.

But he left a little caveat. He said look, if you guys are not ready, think of this procedural vote as, really, a way to move the legislative ball forward and get the process rolling. And he says that if they don't have a bill by Thursday -- a day after that vote -- he would put in place kind of a hold -- really, encompass of former bipartisan bills that have all been really agreed upon by both sides -- until they were ready.

Now, of course, Republicans did not like that idea. They say why would we start the procedural process when we don't have a bill? Senator McConnell said he wants to read a bill before there is a vote. He said that's an easy decision. And so, now they're threatening to block it.

Republicans are so unhappy that one GOP source told CNN that they even went to the White House to ask them to have Schumer stand up and pull back on this Wednesday vote.

Now, yesterday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki tweeted in support of Schumer.

And Democratic senator and longtime Biden aide Chris Coons really tried to sum up the process, saying that they are very, very close. Take a listen.


SEN. CHRIS COONS (D-DE): The core group met for hours last night to try and resolve some still critical last questions about pay-fors, and that work is continuing tonight.

I've been a part of groups of senators in the past, Jim, who wanted a deal to fall apart -- who really didn't have their heart in it -- and I've been a part of groups of senators who were absolutely determined to get it done. This group is the latter. It's a dedicated, disciplined group of bipartisan senators trying to get this deal done. And I think we should give the core folks who are negotiating the final details the time this week to get it done.


WRIGHT: So, those finals details are really being hung up, in part, by pay-fors -- how to pay for this bill. Remember, President Biden said he wants it fully paid for.


And lawmakers have kind of put themselves in a box. Remember, Republicans say that they don't want to undo those 2017 Trump tax cuts. President Biden says that he doesn't want to do user fees, like gas tax, because it would raise taxes on the middle-class.

And over the weekend, we learned that they ruled out using IRS enforcement, which would have raised about $100 billion of that $500- plus price tag. Republicans don't want to use it.

So what can they use? Right now, lawmakers are eyeing reversing a 2020 Trump-era rule, which would change how medical drugs are paid for under Medicaid and Medicare. But one problem with that Laura is that provision is exactly what Sen. Bernie Sanders is eyeing to pay for his $3.5 trillion Democrat-only spending plan.

So really, the decisions there are kind of growing slim as they are barreling towards this deadline.

JARRETT: And we know you are staying on top of all of it for us, Jasmine. Thanks so much. See you soon.

All right, one quick programming note here for you. President Biden joins Don Lemon for an exclusive CNN presidential town hall live tomorrow night at 8:00 p.m.

CHATTERLEY: OK. Hosting the Olympics during a pandemic presents an unprecedented logistical and safety challenge for Japan, but there's also been a huge impact on the athletes themselves, some of whom suffered from COVID.

Will Ripley spoke to three of them and reports from Tokyo.


WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Even Olympians are not immune from the cruelty of COVID-19. The pandemic striking some of the world's top athletes, including a U.S. gymnast just days before the opening ceremony.

Catching COVID early this year cost Priscilla Loomis more than eight weeks of training. The American-Antiguan high jumper still has trouble breathing.

PRISCILLA FREDERICK-LOOMIS, ANTIGUAN-U.S. HIGH JUMPER: Absolutely devastated. I am heartbroken. I'm in healing right now. I'm in mourning.

RIPLEY (voice-over): Loomis says she ignored doctors' advice and kept training, but failed to qualify for Tokyo 2020.

FREDERICK-LOOMIS: This was a -- this was my final -- this was my final curtain bow.

RIPLEY (voice-over): British rower Oonagh Cousins qualified for the Olympics in March 2020. She came down with a serious case of long COVID, leaving her with chronic fatigue.

OONAGH COUSINS, BRITISH ROWER: I'm really struggling to exercise still. By comparison, I was doing like 30-35 hours in training a week when I was well, and now I can probably do like three 20-minute sessions in a week, super lightly.

RIPLEY (on camera): And this is more than a year later?

COUSINS: Yes. I just really struggled with really intense fatigue.

RIPLEY (voice-over): Cousins calls her coronavirus battle an emotional rollercoaster.

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: We are dealing with a disease that we didn't even know how to define a year ago.

RIPLEY (voice-over): CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta says researchers don't fully know why the virus hit some people harder than others.

GUPTA: So if you're an athlete you could have symptoms from COVID that last a long time and really impact your performance for a long time as well.

RIPLEY (on camera): Are these athletes putting themselves at risk if they're coming here?

GUPTA: I think it's really tough to justify bringing 206 countries, states, and territories together in the middle of a pandemic.

RIPLEY (voice-over): A risk Vinesh Phogat is willing to take. The Indian wrestler is a gold medal favorite, number one in her category. She says postponing competition by a year was an even bigger challenge than catching the coronavirus.

VINESH PHOGAT, INDIAN WRESTLER (through translator): I had to start my training again from scratch. It was very difficult.

RIPLEY (voice-over): Surging cases in Japan and the world mean Olympians won't have fans in the stands cheering them on. Nobody knows if nearly-empty venues will be enough to stop the Summer Games from becoming a superspreader event. At Tokyo 2020, not just Olympic dreams -- lives are on the line.

Will Ripley, CNN, Tokyo.


JARRETT: An Olympics like no other. Will, thank you for that.

The U.S. men's basketball team arriving in Tokyo, but without another one of its key players. Andy Scholes has this morning's Bleacher Report. Andy, another one -- oh?

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Another one, Laura. You know, they are really shorthanded right now. The U.S. men's team already had to replace Bradley Beal and Kevin Love on short notice.

And now, Bulls star Zach LaVine is in the health and safety protocols and did not get on the plane to Tokyo yesterday. USA Basketball announced that LaVine was going to stay behind for the time being. The team says the move was made out of an abundance of caution, adding that they hope LaVine is going to be able to join the team in Tokyo later this week.

Only eight players were on the plane yesterday.

The U.S. opens Olympic group play on Sunday against France. The team is hoping Suns guard Devin Booker and Bucks players Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday will be able to join the team after the NBA Finals. Game six is tonight. Bucks trying to win their first title since 1971.

All right. WNBA star Katie Lou Samuelson, meanwhile, will not be in the Olympic women's basketball three-on-three tournament in Tokyo. She revealed on Instagram that she's been diagnosed with COVID-19 and Samuelson says she's heartbroken because she is fully vaccinated.


All right. The college football season set to kick off in just about five weeks and SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey says they will not be postponing games due to COVID. He told reporters yesterday that games won't be rescheduled if a team has an outbreak. Instead, he's saying teams forced to cancel may have to forfeit the game.

And Sankey made it clear he expects everyone to get vaccinated.


GREG SANKEY, SEC COMMISSIONER: COVID-19 vaccines are widely available. They've proven to be highly effective. And when people are fully vaccinated we all have the ability to avoid serious health risks, reduce the virus' spread, and maximize our chances of returning to a normal college football experience and to normal life.


SCHOLES: Sankey also said only six of the 14 teams in the conference have reached the 80 percent vaccination threshold, adding that number needs to grow fast.

Now, the Dallas Cowboys will open training camp tomorrow in California and pro football hall of famer Michael Irvin says he's disappointed that the Cowboys have yet to reach the 85 percent COVID-19 vaccination rate ahead of camp.

Irvin telling ESPN's Todd Archer, "Nothing else is more important. And not being one of the teams says there's other things to a great number of people on this team that are more important than winning championships, and that makes me worried."

The NFL tells CNN that only 13 of the 32 teams have at least 85 percent of their players vaccinated, and two teams have less than half of their players vaccinated.

All right. Finally, Peyton Manning and his brother Eli are going to be making their booth debuts this season as they will be pairing together to call "MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL." The brothers are going to be part of an alternate broadcast on ESPN2 for 10 games in each of the next three seasons. A host has not yet been named.

But guys, I'll tell you what. I'm super pumped for this. Anytime you see Peyton and his brother Eli in a commercial or Peyton on "SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE" -- I mean, he is just excellent. And I imagine they're just going to have some comedy gold as they call these games together.

JARRETT: That will be a lot of fun, for sure.

I'm still hung up on all those football players that are not vaccinated, though. That is really troubling, Andy.


JARRETT: All right.

SCHOLES: Not a good sign. Hopefully, those numbers start going up --


SCHOLES: -- as we get closer to the season.

JARRETT: Yes, I hope so. CHATTERLEY: Fingers crossed, right?

JARRETT: All right, thanks, Andy.

SCHOLES: All right.

CHATTERLEY: You're with EARLY START. We'll be right back.



CHATTERLEY: An explosion ripped through a busy marketplace filled with families doing last-minute shopping for a Muslim holiday.

CNN international correspondent Arwa Damon is live in Istanbul for us. Arwa, just walk us through this. What do we know, so far?

ARWA DAMON, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Julia, dozens have been killed and wounded, and let's just try to think about what was happening in this marketplace in the seconds before that devastating explosion ripped through it as we look at these images.

Parents would have been carrying bags overloaded with shopping, with food to prepare for their Eid al-Adha feast, with presents for the kids. The kids would have been excited to eat all of the sticky sweets they knew that they would be getting. To get the gifts that they knew that their parents had tucked away. This is basically something of the equivalent of last-minute Christmas Eve shopping. All of that taken away in an instant.

This is not just another bombing in Iraq or another death toll, nor should it be considered as such. This is also the destruction of hope for a population that every single time seems to feel as if it might be moving on this path of stability is really reminded of just what an illusion that really is.

It is absolutely heartbreaking and gutting, not just for those who lost loved ones Julia, but across the country. Because every single person that I know in Iraq has lost someone over the last years to brutal, indescribable violence.

CHATTERLEY: To your point, Arwa -- and thank you for that report -- not just another bombing.

JARRETT: All right.

Back here in the U.S., House and minority leader Kevin McCarthy has announced his five picks for the committee that will investigate the Capitol insurrection, including Ohio Congressman Jim Jordan, one of the former president's chief defenders. Three members picked by McCarthy actually voted to overturn the 2020 election results in Arizona and Pennsylvania just before that insurrection. One did vote to form the bipartisan January six commission that Republicans blocked, however.

CHATTERLEY: McCarthy's picks still have to be approved by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. It's unclear if she will try to veto them.

Here's committee chairman Bennie Thompson.


REP. BENNIE THOMPSON (D-MS): You know, I've been here 28 years. My committee is one of the more bipartisan committees here in Washington. I anticipate this select committee in the same posture and I respect and want to be respected by the other members of the committee.


CHATTERLEY: A select committee set to have its first hearing next week. Members will hear from Capitol and D.C. Metro Police officers who were on the front lines on January sixth.

JARRETT: People in Germany are just starting to survey the damage and cleanup after those deadly floods between Belgium and Germany. Nearly 200 people have been killed, hundreds still missing. Families and businesses are deciding how to rebuild after the worst flooding in decades. Germany's government also hitting back pretty hard at criticism over its warning systems.

CNN's Fred Pleitgen is live in West Germany, south of Cologne, for us. Fred, good morning.


German Chancellor Angela Merkel will meet with local residents there in just the next few minutes. What do we expect to see?

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, one of the things that Angela Merkel -- they're going to do when she comes here, Laura, is she's going tell people, obviously, they are going to get the help that they need.

You can see some of that cleanup effort that has already been started here -- that is very much underway. And you do have a lot of the services here in Germany who obviously are contributing. The German military is here, the German police forces are here, the disaster relief agency is here. And also a lot of volunteers have come here as well. So that cleanup effort has already started.

But the big question for communities like this one -- a lot of people died in this flood. They didn't necessarily die in this place. The big effort here is now what is the rebuilding effort going to look like.

And one of the things that people here tell us is they understand that with the climate emergency the way it is, with global warming -- the way it is right now -- they believe that disasters like the one that you saw here -- the flash flooding that happened -- that could be a more frequent event.

So when they build -- rebuilding places like this one -- this is a beautiful, very historic town hundreds of years old -- they have to see how they do that to make sure that something like this, if it happens again in the future, will not destroy this town on the scale that it has this time around. So it's a big challenge but also one where long-term thinking is going to be very key after some of the work that you're seeing here right now -- the rough cleanup operation is done, guys.

JARRETT: Yes, a rough cleanup for sure. Fred, we can see it behind you. Thanks so much for being there for us, OK?

All right, from flooding to fires now. The Bootleg Fire in Oregon now the third-largest fire in the state's history. It's already burned over 364,000 acres -- about half of the area of Rhode Island.

One Oregon forest official says normally, the weather predicts what the fire will do. In this case, the fire is predicting what the weather will do. That's because it's so large and generating so much energy and extreme heat.

One couple says they plan to leave the state after losing everything.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, that was the house. There's our yard and truck.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I really don't know what else to say about this. We've lost everything.


JARRETT: So far this year, wildfires have burned five times more land than this time last year. A red flag warning is in effect for much of the northwestern U.S. because of gusty winds and dry ground conditions caused by a drought.

CHATTERLEY: And now to an invisible crisis. A new study shows one in eight children have a mental health disorder and most don't get treatment. The most common problem was anxiety, followed by attention deficit, substance use, and depressive disorders.

The study found a, quote, "unacceptable" shortfall in the number of children receive any kind of treatment, even in high-income countries. They're also saying their findings demonstrate the need for better pediatric mental health services, especially in the wake of the pandemic.

JARRETT: The Biden administration is proposing more severe penalties for hospitals that don't publish their prices. Larger hospitals would have to pay as much as $2 million a year if they fail to make their prices public. That's a sharp increase from the $109,000 maximum penalty under existing rules.

Now, this proposal would also clamp down on the use of special coding that hospitals embed in their web pages. That prevents Google and other search engines from displaying those pricing pages.

CHATTERLEY: OK, let's get a check on CNN Business this morning. First, a look at markets around the world. And as you can see, we've got a handover (ph) from Asia, which is weaker. However, the European session pretty strong there, higher by some three-tenths of one percent, so clawing back some of yesterday's losses.

Take a look at what we're seeing on Wall Street, too, also managing to claw back some of yesterday's losses, though we are weaker, as you can see, over the last 30 minutes or so.

Fears over the Delta variant led to a whopping selloff Monday. The Dow falling some 725 points -- its worst day, in fact, since late October and its biggest decline of the year. The S&P 500 ending the day down over 1 1/2 percent. The tech-heavy Nasdaq down just over one percent.

Not the only fallers, though. Bitcoin also taking a hit as the Delta variant spreads across the world, the cryptocurrency fell below $30,000. And Bitcoin -- its lowest level since last month, in fact.

Now, the coronavirus recession was the shortest on record. That's according to a new report from the National Bureau of Economic Research. Data shows that pandemic recession started in February 2020 and officially ended two months later in April.

Now, while some economists define the sessions as two consecutive quarters of decline in GDP, researchers at the private nonprofit looked at changes in income, employment, retail sales, and industrial production to decide if there had been a, quote, "significant decline in economic activity."

But the recovery is far from over. The economy is still down 6.8 million jobs since February 2020.


JARRETT: Finally this morning, a quick-thinking NYPD officer used a bag of chips and piece of tape to patch up a stabbing victim and authorities say saved his life.


OFFICE RONALD KENNEDY, NEW YORK POLICE DEPARTMENT: Go get me a bag of potato chips right now.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let me see. Let me see.


JARRETT: You could see Officer Ronald Kennedy ask two bystanders to lay the victim down there. He empties the bag and then uses it and the packing tape to slow the bleeding and cover the wound until the EMTs arrive. It's unclear if a suspect has been arrested.

Just incredible quick thinking and training there, right?

CHATTERLEY: Wow, and we wish the injured party there a speedy recovery. But I think he deserves potato chips for life at the very least. What a hero. At least, I hope you are watching.


CHATTERLEY: Thank you for joining us. I'm Julia Chatterley.

JARRETT: Thanks, everyone. I'm Laura Jarrett. "NEW DAY" is next.