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Early Start with John Berman and Zoraida Sambolin

Unvaccinated Americans Post Growing Risk To Unvaccinated Americans; Tokyo Residents Overwhelming Oppose Moving Forward With Olympic Games; China Eyeing Tokyo Ahead Of Hosting 2022 Winter Olympics. Aired 5:30-6a ET

Aired July 23, 2021 - 05:30   ET




JULIA CHATTERLEY, CNN ANCHOR: A very good morning to you. This is EARLY START. I'm Julia Chatterley.

LAURA JARRETT, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Laura Jarrett. It's about 31 minutes past the hour here in New York.

We begin this half-hour with, of course, the pandemic -- the pandemic of the unvaccinated taking direct aim at the most vulnerable among us. We are no longer at the stage where people don't have access to these vaccines in the United States. At this point, people who are not vaccinated are making a choice.

It's a fact not lost on Kay Ivey, the Republican governor of Alabama, the state with one of the lowest vaccination rates in the country.


GOV. KAY IVEY (R), ALABAMA: These folks are choosing a horrible lifestyle of self-inflicted pain.

REPORTER: What is it going to take to get people to get shots in arms?

IVEY: I don't know. You tell me. Folks are supposed to have common sense. But it's time to start blaming the unvaccinated folks, not the regular folks. It's the unvaccinated folks that are letting us down.


CHATTERLEY: And the White House now acknowledging the pandemic that appeared to be waning has entered a new troubling phase. Some members of President Biden's COVID team are considering whether new mask recommendations are necessary as the Delta variant spreads.

In the last few days, Philadelphia, Austin, Houston, and New Orleans are all taking steps back towards masking in public.

JARRETT: Just three states -- three -- account for 40 percent of all new cases now -- Texas, Missouri, and Florida. Still, Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis is digging in when it comes to kids masking in school.


GOV. RON DESANTIS (R), FLORIDA: We've got to start putting our kids first. We've got to look out for their education. Is it really comfortable? Is it really healthy for them to be muzzled and have their breathing obstructed all day long in school?


JARRETT: It's not about being comfortable, it's about being safe. Remember, even though children have largely been spared in this pandemic they are not immune.

A new COVID outbreak occurred at a sleepaway camp outside New York City, and similar outbreaks have already been reported in Florida, Texas, North Carolina, Utah, and Illinois.

A CNN analysis shows less than a third of U.S. teens are vaccinated, which means millions of teens will head back to school in just a matter of weeks, in some places, unvaccinated and unprotected.

CHATTERLEY: And that's why Chicago and Pittsburgh public schools will require masks for everyone inside classrooms. But, of course, exactly as we saw last year, there's a patchwork of rules.

In Arizona, the new school year is already underway and changes are still being made to masking and quarantine rules.

JARRETT: But the Delta variant, of course, is changing the game here. In Los Angeles, breakthrough cases accounted for 20 percent of new infections in June. But again, let's be clear. Vaccinated people experiencing these breakthrough cases -- they might get sick, although that's rare, but they are not dying.

William Hughes had a brush with death because he was unvaccinated. After 14 days in an Arkansas hospital, he wishes he'd done it differently.


WILLIAM HUGHES, HOSPITALIZED FOR 14 DAYS WITH COVID: Basically, it's just made me wish that I had gotten a vaccine. I mean, the vaccine may not have kept me from getting COVID but it may have decreased greatly the pain and suffering I had to go through --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: At least the hospital.

HUGHES: -- to get to the point where I am now.


CHATTERLEY: And this is such an important point.

Healthcare workers are also now speaking out about hospital patients begging for vaccines.

One doctor in Alabama writing, "One of the last things they do before they're intubated is beg me for the vaccine. I hold their hand and tell them I'm sorry, but it's too late."


And here's a nurse manager in Florida.


ALIX ZACHARSKI, NURSE MANAGER, JACKSON MEMORIAL HOSPITAL: Most of the time when we get them in the ICU they're already too sick to get vaccinated and -- but when they come up, they come into the system and they're early on and they say can I get vaccinated -- and at that point, you can't.


JARRETT: And for some, it is too late. Forty-six-year-old Brandon Hayes of Baton Rouge died of COVID in June after refusing to get vaccinated. After his death, his mother asked their friends and family to get vaccinated and even hosted a vaccination drive at her son's memorial. It's just tragic.

CHATTERLEY: It is tragic.

And it's playing in, of course, to what we're seeing in terms of the labor market as well, and we got an unpleasant jolt yesterday. Weekly unemployment claims jumping expectedly last week for 419,000 people filing for first-time benefits. That's actually the highest number of claims since mid-May.

Now, on top of those state benefits, another 110,000 people filed for special pandemic relief programs. That brings the total to 529,000 people filing for benefits in just one week.

Now, economists note the Delta variant could threaten the recovery in the labor market if businesses are forced to limit operations in some way and, of course, lay off workers once again.

I have to say, though, the economics research firm Pantheon Macroeconomics said Thursday that while the Delta variant will likely slow the pace of economic growth for a while, the national picture probably won't suffer much.

JARRETT: The Delta variant is taking aim at countries everywhere and in some places, there's a growing effort to make sure the vaccinated aren't being punished for the choices of the unvaccinated.

CNN is covering this pandemic around the world.


NINA DOS SANTOS, CNN EUROPE EDITOR (on camera): I'm Nina Dos Santos in London, where the government has taken emergency steps to try and adjust an acute labor shortage, particularly in the food processing industry here.

This, as it emerges that the so-called "Pingdemic" as it's being dubbed, is now reaching epidemic proportions with more than 600,000 Britons, as per Thursday's figures, now in isolation because they've been told they've been near somebody with COVID-19.

Well, as per this trial that the government is starting, about 10,000 workers will now be able to do daily testing of not being able to go work.

KRISTIE LU STOUT, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): I'm Kristie Lu Stout in Hong Kong.

Indonesia is moving to clamp down on COVID-19. It has tightened its borders, barring foreigners with work visas from entering the country.

Indonesia is also converting buildings into COVID-19 hospitals in cities across Java and Bali. At least 16 buildings, including an apartment complex, are being turned into emergency hospitals.

Indonesia has become Asia's new epicenter of the pandemic, reporting tens of thousands of new infections every day. On Thursday, it reported its highest number of single-day deaths on record.

BARBIE NADEAU, CNN CONTRIBUTOR (on camera): I'm Barbie Nadeau in Rome.

And here in Italy, the government has just approved a Green Pass that will reward the vaccinated and inspire the hesitant. Cases have been steadily rising in this country but to avoid further lockdowns the Green Pass should allow the economy to stay open and keep the virus in check.

From August sixth, the fully vaccinated or those who have a negative test or have recovered from COVID will be able to dine inside restaurants; go to gyms, nightclubs, and sporting events, and concerts; or anywhere people gather indoors.

The message is clear. The vaccinations are the only way out of the pandemic.


The trans-Tasman travel bubble between New Zealand and Australia has been suspended for two months. It comes following an outbreak in Sydney, New South Wales of the Delta variant last month, which has now spread to other states. New South Wales, Victoria, and South Australia are in lockdown.

And Australia's prime minister has apologized for the woeful rollout of the vaccine program. Only 11 percent of the Australian population has been fully vaccinated.

HADAS GOLD, CNN JERUSALEM CORRESPONDENT (on camera): I'm Hadas Gold in Jerusalem. The Israeli government wants to reimpose coronavirus restrictions as

the daily case rates continue to rise. The Green Pass is back in action, meaning only those who are vaccinated or have proof of recovery will be allowed into places such as restaurants and gyms.

The United Kingdom and Turkey have been added to a list of red countries that Israelis are not allowed to travel to.

And in a new development, people who are able to get the vaccine but have refused to do so will now need to pay for their own coronavirus tests out of pocket.


CHATTERLEY: Green Pass me up, baby. If you want to go into a restaurant, if you want to into a bar --


CHATTERLEY: -- if you want to go to a ballgame, maybe that's what's required. Is it possible how we do it here?

JARRETT: I think -- well, that's the thing. I think it would be a game changer in terms of making people actually see oh, something I want to do, I might actually need to get vaccinated.


JARRETT: But I don't think it would work here. This is a state -- this is a place where federal law only goes so far. States make up a vast majority of the rules here. I don't see it happening.


CHATTERLEY: I mean, in France, there have been protests --


CHATTERLEY: -- but the bookings for vaccines soared.


CHATTERLEY: They skyrocketed when people realized they needed one.


CHATTERLEY: It's an interesting prospect.

All right, let's bring it back to the Olympics. Hosting the Olympics has always been a point of pride for the people who live in the host city. Not the case in Tokyo. Residents overwhelmingly oppose going ahead with the games, as we've already discussed on the show.

Enormous stadiums are going to be vacant. Fans, of course, being kept away because of the COVID state of emergency.

Will Ripley gives us a taste with this bird's eye view from Tokyo.


WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Taking off, it really hits you. Hosting the Tokyo 2020 Summer Games is a massive logistical challenge.

RIPLEY (on camera): This is one of the biggest cities in the world. Every single direction you look in, their skyline is never-ending.

RIPLEY (voice-over): One building really stands out -- Tokyo's $1.5 billion Olympic Stadium.

RIPLEY (on camera): Right now, we're flying over the centerpiece of Tokyo 2020. All those 70,000 seats in that stadium -- nearly all of them empty.

RIPLEY (voice-over): The Olympics' first-ever spectator ban. A dramatically scaled-down opening ceremony. Organizers say only about 950 VIPs attending, including U.S. first lady Jill Biden.

We get a closer look on the ground.

RIPLEY (on camera): This is as close as most Japanese are able to get to their Olympic stadium. Police have shut down surrounding roads and even fenced off the perimeter.

RIPLEY (voice-over): For everyday folks, this is their only shot at seeing the Olympics up close.

RIPLEY (on camera): Public opinion polls show Japanese overwhelmingly don't want the games to go forward, but you wouldn't know it looking at these long lines of people who are waiting to take selfies in front of the Olympic rings.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): I'm worried about the Olympic bubble. It's not perfect but I want to cheer on the athletes.

RIPLEY (voice-over): That bubble, to protect athletes from COVID-19. A small but growing number of athletes are testing positive, even inside the Olympic Village.

POPPY STARR OLSEN, AUSTRALIAN SKATEBOARDER: I'm so excited to go to Tokyo but I'm also, like, terrified to fly all the way there and then test positive.

RIPLEY (voice-over): Athletes are tested for COVID daily, asked to arrive five days before competing, and leave two days after.

From above, you can see how packed it is.

RIPLEY (on camera): Some 18,000 athletes and officials will be staying in those buildings down there. You can see a lot of their national flags on the sides.

RIPLEY (voice-over): Most of the Olympic venues are here in Tokyo. Japan invested billions only to have fake crowd noise echoing through all those empty stands.

RIPLEY (on camera): This is going to be an Olympics like none other. And the world is watching and they want to see if Japan can pull this off in the middle of a pandemic, in the middle of a state of emergency, without the Olympics turning into a superspreader event.

Will Ripley, CNN, flying above Tokyo.


JARRETT: Will Ripley, thank you so much for that.

The fake crowd noise -- it just feels like -- they know it's fake. Does it really help? I don't know -- we'll see.

We'll be right back.



JARRETT: Welcome back.

Mississippi is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn its landmark Roe versus Wade abortion decision. The state is defending a new law that would ban most abortions after 15 weeks.

The high court will hear arguments about this in the fall. Both sides see this as a pivotal moment in determining how this six-three majority on the court might restrict abortion rights. The court has previously ruled that states may not place an undue burden on a woman's right to choose an abortion in the first 24 weeks of pregnancy.

CHATTERLEY: OK, let me give you a look at what we're seeing in terms of markets around the world. And it's a strong handover from Europe, as you can see gains there. A bit of a mixed bag in Asia. Tokyo -- ahead of the opening ceremony, of course, of the Olympic Games -- higher by six-tenths of one percent.

And let's take a look at Wall Street as well because it does seem like we're going for a four-day win streak, higher by around half a percent.

Stocks managed to close slightly higher Thursday despite that jump in first-time unemployment claims. The Dow closing up just 25 points. The S&P and the Nasdaq also eking out small gains.

The financial picture, though, finally getting better for the nation's airlines thanks to a surge in summer travel. Southwest Airlines said Thursday it made a profit in June. It's the first moneymaking month of the pandemic. American Airlines said it stopped burning through cash in the second quarter, too, and that it's expecting business travel to fully recover in 2022.

In the meantime, Intel's CEO says the global chip shortage could stretch into 2023, adding more concern it will take time to get supply chains back to normal.

The auto industry has been hit especially hard by the shortage, leading to production delays and temporary shutdowns. They're also critical, of course, to laptops and smartphones.

And the housing market still red-hot. House prices hit another record in June. The median price for an existing home was $363,300, up 23 percent over the last year. Low inventory has been pushing prices up over the past year and homes are staying on the market for just 17 days.

The National Association of Realtors expects home prices to rise more slowly towards the end of the year.

JARRETT: All right. The Olympics' opening ceremony now just a little more than an hour away. Among those watching closely will be China.

David Culver is live in Shanghai for us. David, China is set to host the Winter Olympics, of course, in just a few months, but that's not the only reason they're paying attention. Tell us more.

DAVID CULVER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Laura, I don't mean to jump ahead already to the next Olympic Games but you're right. China is paying really close attention to see what's going to play out in Japan.


And there's already talk that the border here will likely not reopen ahead of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics, which are just going to be a few months away. Really, the shortest distance in between any Olympics. And they're going to start in February.

In fact, I toured earlier this week some of the Olympic venues. You can bet they are ready. They have everything set up. The infrastructure's in place and they want to put on a show.

But they are dealing with a huge geopolitical issue. You've got questions over the origins of COVID that are continuing to raise controversy. You've got human rights allegations that are also bringing up questions of potentially boycotting it -- the 2022 Games.

And it's questions over what's happening now in Xinjiang, and what's happening with Hong Kong and the pro-democracy protests. What's happening with Taiwan.

And even today, perhaps solidifying the central government's point, President Xi making his first presidential visit to Tibet, the autonomous region that likewise has seen its share of controversy.

So all of this is factoring in to what's likely to be not only a major show here but also one that's going to spark a lot of controversy. China is in a place where they are trying to solidify their influence in the world and they're trying to move forward with that. And Beijing 2022 -- you can bet, Laura, that's going to be an opportunity for them to do just that. JARRETT: All right, David Culver. Thank you so much -- appreciate it.

Despite the growing concern over COVID-19, as we've been discussing all morning, thousands of athletes are gearing up to begin the games, bringing some light to troubled times.

Coy Wire is in Tokyo with this morning's Bleacher Report. Hey, Coy.

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Hey. Good morning to you, Laura.

The stadium is ready. I've been there Laura, and to think that this beautiful brand-new $1.4 billion venue built for this enormous moment will be nearly empty, it's a harsh reminder of the times. The only spectators at the opening ceremony will be approximately 950 VIPs.

More than 200 Team USA athletes expected to walk. And it's going to look a lot different. Empty stands, a socially distanced walk but special, regardless, for the athletes who've sacrificed years to reach this moment, including U.S. fencer Daryl Homer --turned 31 just last week -- started fencing after reading about it in the dictionary as a kid. He grew up in the Bronx and said that gave him grit and heart, as did watching his mom raise him and his siblings alone.

This is his third Olympics. And at the Rio Games, he became the first American man in 112 years to win individual silver in sabre fencing.

Daryl thinks this opening ceremony in Tokyo is going to be powerful.


DARYL HOMER, TEAM USA FENCING: It's been five years to get to this Olympic Games. It's been long, it's been arduous. I think everyone has had challenges all over the world. I just think it's going to be a really bright moment for a lot of athletes and for a lot of people in the world to kind of see the world coming together on a high level to celebrate sport and hopefully, the U.S. will win a lot of medals.


WIRE: Now, I just attended a press conference where Team USA's chief medical officer said there's an 83 percent vaccination rate of the U.S. athletes who've revealed their status. Dr. Jon Finnoff said nearly 600 of the 613 athletes have revealed that information. He said their vaccinated athletes get no special privileges. Everyone's treated the same as if they're all highly susceptible.

It's something Team USA's Ryan Crouser can appreciate. He's the current world record holder in the shotput. He told us that he has been vaccinated and he's not taking any chances here in Tokyo.


RYAN CROUSER, OLYMPIC GOLD MEDALIST: And I'm doing everything I can to minimize risk -- wearing a mask whenever possible. And so the thought that potentially getting COVID is there is slightly stressful, but I'm treating it as if I do everything I can to minimize my exposure and I do get COVID, that's extremely unfortunate. But go on with the mindset that it's beyond my control if I do get it because I'm doing everything within my control to prevent myself from getting COVID.


WIRE: Tennis star Naomi Osaka will wait an extra day to make her Olympic debut representing host nation Japan. Her opening match pushed back from Saturday to Sunday following a request from organizers. No explanation was given.

The 23-year-old four-time Grand Slam champ hasn't played a competitive match since withdrawing from the French Open in May, citing mental health concerns. There is some speculation here, Julia, that it's because of she may be playing some sort of role in the opening ceremony.

Now, speaking of that, I am rocking one of Team USA's blazers. Not sure if you can it or not.


WIRE: But it is literally cool. They have it wired all the way into my back. You can see a cooling system -- a vent -- air conditioning, if you will, for their attire. So I'm very fortunate to be standing out here in the hot weather nice and cool.

CHATTERLEY: Wow, bring it back. We could use that here in the states -- as well, in New York.

Great to have you with us and we'll see how it goes. And good luck to Naomi, of course, as well. Thank you for that.

All right, now we gave you a bird's eye view from the Olympics. Here's a different kind of bird's eye view.

Thirteen-year-old Kylie Holman got smacked in the face by a seagull on a ride at a New Jersey amusement park, moving at 75 miles an hour. She was able to swipe the bird off and it flew away, minus a few ruffled feathers.

Now, if you can read the lips of the girl on the left, we'll leave that to your imagination, and the blood-curdling scream as well. It's worth watching that video offline -- yes -- wow.


No birds were harmed in the production of this either, whether you believe nothing in the bone (ph) was OK.

Thank you for joining us. Have a great weekend. I'm Julia Chatterley with Laura Jarrett. "NEW DAY" is next.


BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN ANCHOR: Hello, I'm Brianna Keilar alongside John Avlon.


KEILAR: Good morning to you.

AVLON: Happy Friday.

KEILAR: Happy Friday, indeed. And good morning to our viewers here in the United States and around the world.