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New Day Saturday

Delta Variant Fuels 65 percent Jump in New Infections Across the U.S. as Vaccinations Lag; COVID Concerns Remain High as Summer Games Get Underway; Panel Probing January 6th Attack Holds First Hearing Tuesday; Firefighters End Recovery Operations at Surfside Condo Collapse Site. Aired 6-7a ET

Aired July 24, 2021 - 06:00   ET





KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning and welcome to NEW DAY. I'm Kaitlan Collins in for Christi Paul.

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning, Kaitlan. I'm Boris Sanchez. COVID cases are surging across the country, largely because of the Delta variant and as vaccination rates are slowing, officials are sending blunt messages to the unvaccinated. In the words of one governor, you are letting us down.

COLLINS: And aiming for gold after a year-long delay, the Tokyo Olympics are officially underway. Amid the fanfare of the games, though, COVID concerns remain with another 17 athletes testing positive today.

SANCHEZ: Plus, the worst kind of match. Yet another Capitol rioter turned in by someone he met on a dating app. He's now facing several felonies.

COLLINS: And the cost of doing business. How price increases on business owners are driving up the cost that we pay for everything from gas to food.

SANCHEZ: Thank you so much for waking up bright and early with us this Saturday, July 24th. We have a special guest this morning, Kaitlan Collins. Let's extend some southern hospitality. As fine people in the south say, roll tide roll, Kaitlan.

COLLINS: Wow. That really means something coming from you. I love that and I'm happy to be here ...

SANCHEZ: Of course.

COLLINS: ... so thank you for having me.

SANCHEZ: Great. I wish we had better news to start with this morning, but we begin with more evidence that the United States is in the middle of a dangerous summer surge of COVID-19 fueled by the spread of the Delta variant. Case rates are climbing while the rate of people getting fully vaccinated is now falling.

COLLINS: And the rate of new infections is now four times higher than what it was just a month ago. Infections are rising faster than in the pandemic's first surge in spring of last year, but vaccinations are still not where they need to be. Only about 250,000 people are being fully vaccinated per day, which is the lowest daily average since the rate at the end -- at the end of January when these vaccinations were really just getting started, Boris.

SANCHEZ: Yes. In some areas, the Delta variant is leading to significant increases in breakthrough cases. Those are people who are fully vaccinated that have still tested positive for coronavirus. The difference between the vaccinated and those who are not is seriously more apparent than ever. Listen to this.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Here's the truth. If you're fully vaccinated, you're safer with a higher degree of protection, but if you're not vaccinated, you are not protected. And now What we have now is a pandemic of the unvaccinated.


SANCHEZ: That message from the White House being pushed over and over again. We'll discuss efforts by the White House in just a moment, but first, here's CNN's Polo Sandoval with more.


POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): If you happen to be among the third of the nation's population now living in a community considered to have high COVID transmission, you can blame it on the unvaccinated, says Alabama's Republican governor Kay Ivey.

GOV. KAY IVEY (R-AL): The new cases in COVID are because of unvaccinated folks.

SANDOVAL (voice-over): The U.S. now averaging more than 43,000 new COVID cases a day, a 65 percent increase over the last week. The dark colored regions on the map showing the highest concentration of cases.

DR. PETER HOTEZ, DEAN, NATIONAL SCHOOL OF TROPICAL MEDICINE AT BAYLOR COLLEGE OF MEDICINE: You're just watching this freight train coming that Delta's going to sweep across the south and so many people are going to get infected with this fake narrative out there that if you're young and healthy and take care of yourself, you're not going to get sick. It's simply not true and so seeing all of these young people become hospitalized, knowing it's preventable, it's just absolutely heartbreaking.

SANDOVAL (voice-over): Then there's this. About eight months into U.S. vaccination efforts and still more than half of the nation remains unvaccinated and unprotected. Friday marked one of the lowest daily vaccination averages since January according to the CDC.

DR. WILLIAM SCHAFFNER, PROFESSOR, INFECTIOUS DISEASES DIV. AT VANDERBILT UNIV. MEDICAL CENTER: There's spillover into vaccinated people. We could all bring this to a close if everyone who were unvaccinated would just come in, get vaccinated tomorrow. Within two weeks to a month, COVID would go way, way down.

SANDOVAL (voice-over): In Tennessee, Phil Valentine, a conservative radio host, is hospitalized in serious condition with COVID after telling his followers they did not need to get vaccinated.


In a Friday statement, his family wrote, "He regrets not being more vehemently pro-vaccine and looks forward to being able to more vigorously advocate that position as soon as he's back on the air." Hoping to curb hospitalizations, the city of St. Louis will soon be requiring masks again in indoor public spaces and on public transportation starting Monday. It's the latest community to revert back to safety measures reminiscent of previous COVID surges.

Health experts warning that breakthrough infections among people who are fully vaccinated can and do happen, especially with the Delta variant spreading.

DR. LEANA WEN, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: What the CDC really needs to do is to start giving us the answers to what is the rate of breakthrough infections? Is it 1 in 1,000 or is it 1 in 10 or is it 1 in 2? I mean, we really literally don't know what is the rate of breakthrough infections and the likelihood of that breakthrough infection ending up in a chain of transmission to others.

SANDOVAL (voice-over): Despite those lingering questions, Dr. Leana Wen emphasizes the vaccines do work at preventing severe illness. Polo Sandoval, CNN, New York.


SANCHEZ: Thanks to Polo Sandoval for that report. Let's dig deeper and discuss with an expert. Joining us now is CNN contributor and epidemiologist Dr. Abdul El-Sayed. He's also a public health expert. Doctor, always great to see you bright and early. We appreciate you sharing part of your weekend with us. So as COVID cases continue to surge and vaccination rates are slowing down, some places are telling people to mask up again regardless of vaccination status. I want you to listen to what the surgeon general had to say about masking just last night.


DR. VIVEK MURHTY, UNITED STATES SURGEON GENERAL: If you are living in an area where there's a lot of virus circulating, if you happen to have somebody at home who's unvaccinated like you and I do, Erin, young kids who are too young to get vaccinated, or if you yourself are immunocompromised, which means that you may be at greater risk, those are all circumstances where people may make the decision to actually go the extra mile, be precautious and wear masks, especially in indoor settings.


SANCHEZ: So, Doctor, you've called renewed universal mask mandates a misstep. You've argued that health officials might be undermining their own authority with the back-and-forth messaging. My question is what other options are there for them out there right now?

DR. ABDUL EL-SAYED, CNN CONTRIBUTOR & EPIDEMIOLOGIST: Let me first step back and explain what the surgeon general was intending there. The fact is is that we know that this is a numbers game. The higher the probability of transmission around you, the higher the probability that you could be exposed and therefore, a mask is a meaningful approach to try and protect yourself.

But as a matter of policy, we have to be asking the bigger question which is whether or not universal mask mandates may be doing exactly what you pointed out, Boris, which is potentially undercutting the fact that we tell people to get vaccinated because it protects them and because they then can walk freely in the world.

The question then is what can we do instead? And to me, vaccine verification was always the missing piece in the plan around trying to move our principal approach of protecting people from COVID-19 from universal masking to vaccines and so in order to do that, you have to make being vaccinated easier and you have to make not being vaccinated a bit harder.

And a vaccine verification system which says, look, if you're vaccinated, you can go without a mask, you can have entrance into you name the institution, but if you don't have a vaccine yet, if you haven't chosen to get vaccinated yet, you need to wear a mask because you need to protect everyone else and yourself from this terrible disease that is spreading because not enough people are vaccinated.

SANCHEZ: Yes. It seems like the honor system hasn't quite worked out as well as some had hoped. I want to ask you about the response from the Biden administration. The U.S. government purchasing an additional 200 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine this week and they're going to continue to be delivered all the way through April of 2022, a reminder that the pandemic isn't over, especially because in that announcement, it states that the United States has the option to acquire an updated version of the vaccine, potentially to address new variants.

What message are you taking from that news?

EL-SAYED: Well, we know that there's a shelf life for these vaccines and the longer they sit on the shelf without being taken, the more the need is to update and to get more vaccine in their stead. The big picture here, though, is that what this virus is telling us it can do is it's telling us that it can change, it can evolve.

We're dealing with the worst strain yet in terms of transmissibility, the Delta variant. It's the reason why cases are spreading, of course alongside the fact that people are choosing not to get vaccinated and what that tells us is that Delta may not be the end of it and there is a world where, if we do not vaccinate enough people, in our country or abroad, that this virus could continue to mutate and could evolve a variant that is, in fact, resistant to our vaccine-mediated immunity.


That is the sort of never event. That's the moment that all of us, I think, are fearing right now and so I think it is smart of the Biden administration to purchase more vaccine and at the same time, I think they should be redoubling the efforts to get those vaccines that we have in the arms of people who will take them, whether they're here in the United States of course, but also abroad to make sure that we don't see that new variant that could evade vaccine-mediated immunity come sooner rather than later.

SANCHEZ: Yes. Important to remember that the Delta variant that we're dealing with now originated in India and so what happens on the other side of the world has an immediate impact here in the United States when it comes to this virus.

I want to ask you about the messaging coming from the governor of Alabama, Kay Ivey. Alabama has the lowest vaccination rate in the country, less than 34 percent as of yesterday. She is making clear -- she said, quote, "It's time to start blaming the unvaccinated folks." Shouldn't some of the blame also be on people spreading misinformation? Because notably, there are more than a handful of lawmakers in the governor's own party who still play coy about the vaccine.

EL-SAYED: No, Boris. You're absolutely right. Thank you, Governor Ivey. I wish I would have seen this earlier. I wish I would have seen this among governors in most or all Republican-led states. I wish there wasn't a concerted effort to blockade a conversation about this virus and blockade a conversation about the safety and efficacy of these vaccines, but, look, I'll take it, I'll take it coming now, I'll take it coming tomorrow.

The critical point here is that the people in states where people are unvaccinated are far more likely to be infected, far more likely to be hospitalized and far more likely to die. We need this. This is what leadership looks like in 2021 and I'm grateful to see it even if it's a little bit late.

SANCHEZ: Yes. And hopefully we see more of it soon, especially from those that have been hesitant to come out and be vocal about getting their folks to get their vaccine. Dr. Abdul El-Sayed, always a pleasure to have you. Thank you.

EL-SAYED: Boris, thank you.

SANCHEZ: Of course. So, despite concerns about COVID-19, the Olympic cauldron is burning bright in Tokyo today as the games finally get underway. Up next, we're going to take you to one of the few locations that's allowing spectators to actually cheer on the athletes.

COLLINS: And officers who protected the U.S. Capitol from a violent mob on January the 6th will appear before a select committee on Tuesday for the first time in the first hearing. What we can expect to hear from them is coming up.




COLLINS: After being delayed for a year, the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games are officially underway. Tokyo kicked off the games in grand fashion during the opening ceremony, but it looked a whole lot different than it has in years past with no fans in attendance.

SANCHEZ: It was an impressive and yet somber opening ceremony with Japanese tennis star Naomi Osaka receiving the honor of lighting the cauldron. While the games have begun, COVID concerns do remain high in Tokyo. Let's get straight over to CNN's Blake Essig who joins us now from Oyama City, one of the few places where spectators are actually being allowed and, Blake, because of COVID, these spectators aren't actually being allowed to cheer on their athletes, but they've found other creative ways to support some their favorite athletes.

BLAKE ESSIG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes. Boris, Kaitlan, we'll talk about that in just a moment, but it's not what anyone was hoping for, but there are some people who are really excited to experience the Olympic atmosphere in any way they possibly can and for the hundreds of people that I spent the day with, it meant sitting in an auditorium for more than seven hours on a beautiful day here in Oyama City to watch the cycling road race on a big screen and experience that Olympic spirit as a community.

And while they weren't allowed to vocalize their excitement, they did use these wood clappers to create a festival-like atmosphere and cheer on competitors. Boris, Kaitlan, I know you are feeling the wood clapper.

While this was happening inside the building behind me, people lined up outside of the course to watch the race with about 10,000 people there to see it finish at nearby Fuji Speedway Track. Now, this was one of the few public viewing sites in the country. Two-thousand people applied, but given social distancing requirements, only 500 received tickets to be here.

With COVID-19 cases surging in Tokyo and rising nationwide, public viewings like this are incredibly rare and it's for that reason and the ban on spectators at 97 percent of events that many people I've spoke with say that even though Japan is hosting these games, it's hard to feel the connection. But with the flame lit and competition now underway, that perception is starting to change. Take a listen.

COLLINS: Yes, Blake. What we're seeing in this, it's just -- it's nothing like you ever thought an Olympics would look like and it's still just in-person watching it with a few of you who are there on the ground. It is still so strange. Blake Essig, thank you so much for that.

Sometimes ... SANCHEZ: Thanks, Blake.

COLLINS: ... when you are online dating, there is a risk of oversharing, like admitting that you participated in the January 6th insurrection. Up next, another Capitol Hill rioter misses his love connection and ends up turned into the authorities.




COLLINS: Another suspect in the January 6th attack on the Capitol has been tripped up by a dating app. Prosecutors say that Andrew Takke of Texas used the dating app Bumble while he was in Washington that day and the person he matched with asked him if he had been near the Capitol. He said he had been there, quote, "from the beginning" and sent selfies to prove it. Within days, his match had turned him into the FBI, making him the second suspect, Boris, who has now been identified through a dating app.

SANCHEZ: There are plenty of jokes to be made about the dating pool in D.C., but this is really serious and the committee investigating the January 6th riot is set to hold its first hearing on Tuesday, following an explosive showdown over who actually will be part of the panel. Let's get up to speed with senior congressional correspondent Manu Raju.


MANU RAJU, CNN CHIEF CONGRESSIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The January 6th Select Committee is plowing ahead despite the blow up and the back and forth between the Republican leader Kevin McCarthy and Nancy Pelosi, the House Speaker, who rejected two of McCarthy's picks, something that both agree was an unprecedented move.

Pelosi says she did that because two of the picks, Jim Jordan and Jim Banks, she believed would have undercut the investigation based on their comments that they had made in the past and their skepticism about this probe going forward.


But nevertheless, McCarthy pulled out, says he's not going to have any of his five selections as part of this committee. Pelosi does have eight selections herself, one of whom is a Republican, Liz Cheney, and she says, very clearly, she has a bipartisan quorum to go forward and that is exactly what the committee is doing.

Come Tuesday, that's when there will be an actual first hearing, public hearing, for police officers, two metro police in Washington D.C., two police in the U.S. Capitol. All of whom defended the Capitol on that day will give their testimony, firsthand experience about exactly what happened that day. Two of these police officers did meet with Kevin McCarthy in the weeks prior to this hearing and urged him to publicly denounce the conspiracy theories that we've heard from a number of Republicans and people who have downplayed what happened. McCarthy has yet to do that, but nevertheless, this will -- after this public hearing, then things will happen privately. The members will start to map out their investigative road map for the months ahead.

They have already hired senior staff members as well to determine exactly what to look at and they plan to look at everything, not just Donald Trump's role in inciting this attack, the way he promoted this attack, the supporters of his who came into this building, but also all the breakdowns that happened around it, the communications breakdown that happened between intelligence officials and agencies, why the National Guard took so long to come to the Capitol and secure it that day.

All of which will be explored as Democrats plan to press ahead with the support of at least one Republican, potentially another if Nancy Pelosi decides to add one, Adam Kinzinger, who is viewed as a potential add by Pelosi here. So we'll see where this ultimately does, but Democrats say this investigation will be a deep dive, a thorough dive, and it will go into 2022, an election year where control of Congress is at stake. Manu Raju, CNN, Capitol Hill.


COLLINS: So for more on what we can expect from that first hearing on Tuesday by the January 6th committee, let's bring in CNN political commentator Errol Louis. Errol, the hearing begins with what could be some emotional testimony from these police officers. There are a lot of questions about the security on that day on January the 6th. What are you going to be watching for on Tuesday?

ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: I'm going to be watching, Kaitlan, for what the testimony says about how it really felt to be on the other side of those battering rams and the terroristic attacks and people marching with nooses and people picking up shields and other material, using bear spray and going after public servants who were really just there to protect of Capitol and protect democracy.

That's the heart of the question that the commission is going to start with and it's going to be gripping, it's going to be graphic, it's going to be very emotional, but it's got to get on the record and that's really the point of the commission.

COLLINS: Yes. And House Speaker Nancy Pelosi may add another Republican, Congressman Adam Kinzinger, to the committee. He'd be the second one besides Liz Cheney. What message do you think she's trying to send with adding another Republican to this given she had rejected some of Kevin McCarthy's picks earlier this week and why do you think it has taken us six months just to even get to this point of having this first hearing?

LOUIS: Nancy Pelosi is doing what the Republican leadership itself should be doing, which is showing that there actually are differences of opinion within the Republican Party and that it's not the extremists and it's not the deniers of fact and it's not the people following instructions from Mar-a-Lago who control the party, that there are others out there who are duly elected who represent constituencies and who represent different points of view.

So if it takes Nancy Pelosi to make that clear, then so be it, but it's a -- it's a real shame. There should have been others who wanted to raise their hands, step forward, maybe break with the party leadership and say that when it comes to this attack, this insurrection, this really vital moment that everybody saw on camera -- it's not like you can cover this up, you can't wish it away, you can't just joke about it on right wing media.

This is something that really the country already knows happened. We're just now going to formally, I guess, put in place all of the additional information, lay it out for the record and then send it for the history books for full consideration. But the fact that it takes Nancy Pelosi to do that, it's really an indictment of Republican leadership.

COLLINS: Yes. And, Errol, President Biden even weighed in on that this week, saying that you just -- you can't have people there who don't believe what happened that day was an attack, was an insurrection.


And at least, an attempted one because there are some Republicans who say it was just a peaceful march by protesters. But Errol, all this is going on at the White House, they're focusing on other dressing priorities, Vice President Harris is trying to more clearly define her role when it comes to voting rights, but we both know that it's likely to be uphill battle, especially given President Biden defended the filibuster this week during a town hall that he had with Don Lemon.


DON LEMON, CNN HOST: If it's a relic of Jim Crow, it's been used to fight against civil rights legislation historically. Why protect it?

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There's no reason to protect it other than you're going to throw the entire Congress into chaos and nothing will get done.

LEMON: All right --

BIDEN: Nothing at all will get done. And there's a lot at stake. Most important win is the right to vote.


COLLINS: Errol, I think there are some progressives who would argue nothing would get done if they don't try to change the filibuster for certain things. So, what do you think progressives made of that response by the president?

ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I mean, the -- you're already starting to see some blow-back, some civil rights leaders of just a pretty sharply worded letter to the president. These are allies from the base of the party, who are telling him he's got to take a different approach to this. I have to say though, the president may have -- not only does he get the last word because he's the president and the leader of the party, but substantively, he has a real point here.

If you look at the For the People Act of the John Lewis legislation, it's what they used to call Christmas tree legislation. It's got a lot of stuff in it. It's got campaign finance in it. It's got rules about early voting and about voter ID. It's really the kind of bill that throws so much stuff together, it's very unlikely that you can get it all passed at once with or without a filibuster. It would really, probably, be a good idea for Democratic leaders from whatever wing of the party, the progressives, the moderates, the president's staff to figure out the must-have pieces of that legislation and fight like heck for those.

But not imagine and not deceive themselves or the public into thinking that there's any chance with or without a filibuster of passing all of this enormous change all at once. It's a wish-list right now, it's not really legislation that's ready for a vote under filibuster rules or any other.

COLLINS: And what do you make of Vice President Harris and her role in all of this, and trying to more clearly define it, given it is such an expansive, tough portfolio?

LOUIS: Well, you know, as a former senator, I think she understands that you can in fact and you're going to have to start counting heads, start counting votes, start looking at the rules that you have, not the rules that you wish you had, and figure out what they can pass in order to sort of put preservers much of the voting rights essence of the bills as you can. That's going to be a tough assignment. And it's look -- it's going to be her chance to sort of make her bones. I mean, we're only 6 months into this administration and her clearly defined role has yet to emerge.

This is going to be something though that gets her on the road. She's already been visiting a lot of key states. She's been to Michigan, she's been to South Carolina, she's been talking with the Texas delegation. So, she's going to, I think, have a chance to not only advance her own personal political standing, but also show the party, show the country what she's capable of. It's going to be a real pivotal moment for Kamala Harris.

COLLINS: Sure will. Errol Louis, thank you for joining us.

LOUIS: Thanks, Kaitlan.

COLLINS: And be sure to watch CNN's full coverage of the select committee hearing on Tuesday. You will not want to miss it. It starts at 9:00 a.m.

SANCHEZ: Yes, all eyes are going to be on Capitol Hill on Tuesday. By the way, up next, we have a report on soaring prices for everything, from gas to groceries, lumber, is it going to get worse before it gets better? Don't go anywhere, we're back after a quick break.



COLLINS: About 37 minutes past the hour. Here are some of the top stories that we are following this morning. Firefighters have officially ended their recovery efforts at the site of the Surfside condo building collapse. After 29 grueling days, first responders from Florida taskforce one and two received a heroes' send-off much deserved as they left to return to their home stations. They were then greeted by their loved ones. The tragic June 24th collapse killed at least 97 people, and at least one person believed to be missing has yet to be identified.

SANCHEZ: Meantime, in northern California, four counties now in a state of emergency as wildfires burn across the region. The order is going to help free up resources and funding to deploy more firefighters and aircraft. Listen to this, so far, these fires have destroyed hundreds of thousands of acres. They've prompted evacuations, and overall, 83 large fires are burning across the United States, that climate crisis making these wildfires deadlier and more destructive.

COLLINS: They already pinned on their own company set of wings, but a new FAA directive may keep billionaire Jeff Bezos and other space tourists from getting their official government-sanctioned astronaut wings. On the same day the Blue Origin launched their flight, the FAA issued this statement about what it takes to earn the formal wings, saying commercial launch crew members must also demonstrate, quote, "activities during flight that are essential to public safety or contributed to human space flight safety."


The FAA order says that an honorary award can be considered for those who contribute to commercial human space flight. Meanwhile, the U.S. economy is making a come-back after reopening since the pandemic forced businesses to close, but there is a new problem that you've probably noticed, rising inflation.

SANCHEZ: Yes, at the grocery store, at the gas pump. It is costing more to buy just about anything you need right now. CNN business correspondent Vanessa Yurkevich takes a look at why?


VANESSA YURKEVICH, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The price of just about everything is going up. From used cars, to gas, to food.

PETER VENTURA, CO-OWNER, CONEY ISLAND LUNCH: Oh, boy, when things go up, it hits immediately.

YURKEVICH: Consumer prices are up 5.4 percent since last June, the biggest jump in annual inflation in nearly 13 years, and in President Biden's hometown of Scranton, Pennsylvania, which he often uses to take the temperature, they're feeling it firsthand.

MIKE MOLETSKY, OWNER, MOLETSKY'S AUTO SALES: This is probably the worst it's been in a long time.

YURKEVICH: Mike Moletsky is at the Northeast Pennsylvania Auto Auction where he's having to pay more per vehicle to replenish his used car lot.

MOLETSKY: So, we have more guys at the auction bidding against you and driving the prices up.

YURKEVICH: The price of a used car will cost you 27 percent more.

(on camera): Are you seeing prices that you have never seen before for vehicles?


YURKEVICH (voice-over): And that's because the economy's engine is roaring again, but supply chains across industries are slower to start. Add labor shortages, and it simply costs more to do business. At the pump, gas is up about $1 since last year.

KEVIN SANTIAGO, PENNSYLVANIA RESIDENT: My car usually takes around $25 to fill up. It's just $10 more.

YURKEVICH: In the grocery store, the price of milk up 5.6 percent, fruits and vegetables, 3.2 percent.

JOE FASULA, CO-OWNER, GERRITY'S SUPERMARKETS: We're seeing again 10 percent, 15 percent increases, things like flour, mayonnaise. A lot of oils -- everything that we're experiencing now is unprecedented.

KATHY OPSHINSKY, PENNSYLVANIA RESIDENT: I might not buy as much as something like for two weeks, I might just buy it like a week at a time instead of buying in bulk.

YURKEVICH: And the price of beef is rising to 4.5 percent in June. That's a problem for Coney Island's Lunch, known for its hot dogs and downtown Scranton for nearly 100 years.

VENTURA: Like hot dogs, they've gone up, our hamburgers, our chilli sauce because that's made with ground beef.

YURKEVICH: Just about every single item on Peter Ventura's menu cost him more to make, but he hasn't raised prices just yet.

VENTURA: Once again, I deal with, are they going to stop? Then I'll know where my baseline is.

YURKEVICH: So, inevitably, you will have to?

VENTURA: Oh, yes, I'm going to have to raise prices. It just -- there's no way to get around it.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Take care now, we'll see you.


YURKEVICH: Vanessa Yurkevich, CNN, Scranton, Pennsylvania.


SANCHEZ: Thanks to Vanessa for that report. Now, that the flashy opening ceremonies are in the books, it is the athletes who are taking center stage at the Olympic games. Up next, we'll take you to Tokyo for an update. And here's a quick programming note for you. Be sure to catch a new CNN original series, "JERUSALEM: CITY OF FAITH & FURY". You'll learn how the city's people pay the ultimate price when three empires collide. It airs tomorrow night at 10:00 p.m. Eastern only right here on CNN.



COLLINS: The White House has been illuminated this weekend in red, white and blue in support of team USA and those representing the U.S. in Tokyo.

SANCHEZ: Yes, first lady Jill Biden is on the ground, she actually hosted a watch party for the U.S.A. versus Mexico women's softball game, and she was joined by foreign service members and their families at the U.S. Embassy there.

COLLINS: And the first lady also attended the women's three on three basketball match between team U.S.A. and France. The first Saturday of competition --


COLLINS: Is underway at the Tokyo Olympics after an opening ceremony which was held without fans.

SANCHEZ: Yes, let's get straight to Coy Wire. He is in Tokyo with this morning's "BLEACHER REPORT". Coy, good morning. It was a beautiful and yet somber opening ceremony.

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it was, good morning to you and Kaitlan. You know, it was a powerful opening ceremony. Yes, there were protesters outside the new Tokyo Olympic Stadium as many Japanese people are opposed to these games amid the pandemic. But the ceremony put the focus back on the positive aspects of Japan, paying homage to this nation's rich history, traditions and its vibrant and creative cutting edge now, 1,800 drones hovering, mesmerizing, moving art, it was morphing the messages of unity and equality.

Japan's talented people were highlighted as well, including Japanese tennis superstar Naomi Osaka lighting the Olympic flame. The four- times tennis Grand Slam champ hasn't played competitively since withdrawing from the French Open in May, citing mental health concerns, but she makes her debut here in Tokyo, Sunday. [06:50:00]

She tweeted, "greatest athletic achievement and honor I will ever have in my life." Now, Tonga's Pita Taufatofua was glistening in a gird. The flag-bearer bearing it almost all, this is his third Olympics, competing in Taekwondo here in Tokyo. Team USA has its second largest delegation ever, 613 athletes, 329 women. One of the best of them, Keni Harrison, world record holder in the 100-meter hurdles, 12.2 seconds. Boris, could get a 20-meter head-start without hurdles and still get smoked. This is Keni's first games, she's wishing her family could be here too though.


KENI HARRISON, 100-METER HURDLE WORLD RECORD HOLDER: When you're lined up with the best in the world, like you're not worried about the stands, you're not worried about the people there, you're just worried about going out there and competing to the best of your ability. And I think it's more so probably going to be fun when you're done competing, and you want to celebrate with your family and friends. And I think that's probably going to be the most hardest part.


WIRE: All right, now, each Olympics, we hear that term Olympic spirit, right? Never giving up, no matter what. Well, our difference maker today embodies that to the fullest. High jumper Chaunte Lowe, Olympic medalist, breast cancer survivor.


CHAUNTE LOWE, 2008 OLYMPIC BRONZE MEDALIST, HIGH JUMP: I am a four- time Olympian, the American record holder in the women's high jump. And I think one of the things I'm the most proud about is doing all of that while simultaneously being a mother of three. So, becoming an Olympian at the age of 4 was something that I wanted to do. Every step that I was taking in my life was towards that goal. In 2019, I was diagnosed with breast cancer, and it was a terrifying experience. It's not something that I ever thought I would experience, especially being the epitome of health.

It was definitely a huge blow to my ego and to the security of what I felt my health could be. And I think that now on the other side of it, having had a double mastectomy, going through the hair loss, eye-lash loss and eye-brow loss, and you know, now being almost back to peak shape is something that is extremely exciting for me, and as somebody who's experienced living through a breast cancer diagnosis, I'm grateful that Lilly is dedicated to helping more people reach their potential by discovering and developing medicines that address some of these significant health challenges.

And so, I think that, you know, just being able to be part of something greater has been a huge motivation for me and it's allowed me to stay positive through what could seem like a very bleak experience. And now, having gone to the Olympics already four times, having, you know, competed in finals and obtaining an American record and Olympic medal, I feel like there's so much to my personal legacy that have already been built.


WIRE: Now, that legacy still being built. While training to make these games, Chaunte and her entire family got COVID, plans were derailed, but that fighting spirit in her has her training already for next world championships. She's an advocate for early detention, speaks to our youth on the importance of education. And you know, Boris, Kaitlan, she says that when people look at her, she wants them to see hope, I think it's safe to say that that's all we see when we see Chaunte.

SANCHEZ: Yes, incredible message, not only overcoming all the challenges that she's faced, but then also turning around and giving back and trying to help others. Coy Wire from Tokyo, thank you so much.

COLLINS: Meanwhile, a monsoon could hit the southwest this weekend, bringing more rain to already soaked areas.



SANCHEZ: More than 8 million people are currently under flash flood watches in parts of Arizona and New Mexico as the region braces for heavy monsoon rains this weekend.

COLLINS: CNN's Allison Chinchar joins us from the CNN Weather Center. Allison, it is rare to see this type of rainfall in the desert. How long is it expected to last?


ALLISON CHINCHAR, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Right, yes, when you're talking some of these amounts, we've had several records broken in the past few days, and potentially even more records as we go through today as well as tomorrow. Here's a look at the flash flood watches across several states here, Arizona, New Mexico, portions of Utah as well as Colorado. Part of that is because of already how much rain has fallen. Look at this, again, just in the last 48 hours, you can see a lot of these yellow and orange patches, you're talking 2, 4, even 6 inches of rain.

Now, I know for folks maybe living in northeast or the southeast, 2 to 4 inches may not sound like that much, but for these areas it is. It makes a huge difference especially knowing that there's more that's expected today and tomorrow. Early, you can see the swirl from that system as it continues to push that moisture into a lot of the desert southwest. An additional 2 to 4 inches widespread, especially around communities like Phoenix and even Tucson likely to get that amount today and tomorrow.

Now, the good news is, it will end up helping to mitigate some of the drought that we have ongoing across many of these states including Arizona, 99 percent of Arizona is in some type of drought. Those numbers will likely improve a little bit next week, but not by a lot. And part of the problem is the type of ground that's there, the desert acts differently than wetlands do. The water table acts more like a sponge for wetlands whereas deserts, most of that water just runs off, which is good news, say, for things like reservoirs and lakes.