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New Day Saturday

Delta Variant Fuels 65 percent Jump In New Infections Across The U.S. Communities Bring Back Safety Measures To Curb New Infections; White House Shifts Tone As U.S. Enters Dangerous Summer Surge; White House Considering New Mandates As Cases, Hospitalizations Rise; Summer Olympics Official Underway After Year-long Delay. Aired 7-8a ET

Aired July 24, 2021 - 07:00   ET



ALLISON CHINCHAR, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Most of that water just runs off which is good news. Safer things like reservoirs and lakes, those can fill back up. But for the rest of the area, you end up getting flash flooding and that flash flood threat is at a moderate level, level three out of four guys for today.

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, the western part of the country getting hammered with heat and now rain. It's been a tough year. Allison Chinchar from the weather center, thank you so much. There was still plenty more news to get to the next hour of new day starts right now.

Good morning, and welcome to your NEW DAY. I'm Boris Sanchez.

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Kaitlan Collins. Right now, COVID cases are surging across the country fueled by the Delta variant. And as vaccination rates are slowing, officials are sending blunt messages to the unvaccinated. Millions across the US still unvaccinated, and in the words of my home state governor, "You were letting us down."

SANCHEZ: Yes, plus, aiming for Gold's after a year-long delay the Tokyo Olympics are officially underway. But amid the fanfare COVID concerns remain. Another 17 athletes testing positive just today.

COLLINS: And pickings are slim with more schools fully reopening this fall, experts say the demand for supplies will be up and the number of available products will be down. Their advice is to plan now if you don't want to be stuck picking through unwanted leftovers before your child starts school.

SANCHEZ: And a warning sign from Mother Nature. From searing heat waves to fatal floods. How a changing climate is impacting America's infrastructure?

COLLINS: Good morning and Welcome to your NEW DAY. It is Saturday, July 24. Thank you so much for joining us and letting me join you, Boris, good morning to you.

SANCHEZ: Kaitlan, good morning. Great to have you our first time anchoring together. Hopefully it'll be fun.

COLLINS: It will be.

SANCHEZ: So, we begin this morning. Yes, we begin this morning 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 dwindling.

COLLINS: Yes, and the rate of new infections is now four times higher than it was just a month ago, as these infections are rising faster than in the pandemics first surge in the spring of last year before we even had vaccines. But vaccinations are still not where officials want them to be. Only about 250,000 people are now being fully vaccinated per day, which is the lowest daily average since the end of January.

SANCHEZ: Yes, in some areas, the Delta variant is leading to significant increases in breakthrough cases. People who are fully vaccinated, that are still testing positive for the virus. The difference of course, between the vaccinated and those who have not yet gotten the vaccine is more apparent than ever.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Well, 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.

First of all, the COVID, 19 deaths and hospitalizations are today among the unvaccinated people. And I know, I know this gotten a bit politicized, but I hope it's starting to change. It's not about red states or blue states or guys like that holler. It's about life and it's about death.


COLLINS: We'll have more on President Biden's message to those who are unvaccinated in a moment. But first, we go to CNN's Polo Sandoval. Polo, the country is in a dangerous position right now, and it has to do with the fact that half of the country is still not vaccinated.

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kaitlan, just consider this alone. Right now. Every state in the country has an average of COVID cases the seven-day average that either matches or exceeds where they were last week. So, that is certainly a telling number here and experts, as we've said before, continue to say that vaccination, pre- emptive vaccination is the best way of getting ahead of a new surge. But fresh CDC data out yesterday suggests that those vaccine efforts, that those vaccine numbers, you seem to be stalling.


SANDOVAL: If you happen to be among a third of the nation's population living in a community considered to have high COVID transmission, you can blame it on the unvaccinated says Alabama's Republican Governor Kaye Ivey. GOV. KAYE IVEY (R-AL): The new cases in COVID are because of

unvaccinated folks.

SANDOVAL: The U.S. now averaging more than 43,000 new COVID cases a day, that's 65 percent increase over the last week that are 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 is 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: Then there's this about eight months into U.S. vaccination efforts, and still more than half of the nation remains on vaccinated and unprotected. Friday marked one of the lowest daily vaccination averages since January, according to the CDC.


DR. WILLIAM SCHAFFNER, PROFESSOR, INFECTIOUS DISEASE DIVISION AT VANDERBILT UNIVERSITY MEDICAL CENTER: There spill over 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: 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."

Helping to curb hospitalizations, to 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 one in a thousand? Or is it one in 10? Or is it one in two? I mean, we really literally don't know what is the beta breakthrough infections and the likelihood of that breakthrough infection ending up in a chain of transmission to others.

SANDOVAL: Despite those lingering questions, Dr. Leana Wen emphasizes the vaccines do work at preventing severe illness.

(END VIDEO CLIP) SANDOVAL: Missouri's Attorney General Valley just yesterday that he

will file a lawsuit to stop St. Louis's mass mandate that we just mentioned a short while ago and that piece, certainly suggesting that that mask debate or at least that early signs of that mask debate is back. Meanwhile, the head of the CDC or Dr. Rochelle Walenski is saying that ultimately localities should make their own decision when it comes to whether or not they should call on their residents to mask up yet again, Boris and Kaitlan.

SANCHEZ: Yes, this is going to be an especially heated debate as school restarts coming up in just a couple of weeks and whether mandates are going to be enforced in schools or not. Polo Sandoval, thank you so much.


SANCHEZ: So, less than a month after celebrating the country's progress against the Coronavirus, President Biden is striking a very different tone now.

COLLINS: CNN White House Reporter Jasmine Wright is live for us in Wilmington, Delaware. Jasmine, President Biden said that ending the pandemic would be his top priority upon taking office. But what is he saying now given this sharp increase in cases that is fueled by the Delta variant and the fact that half of the United States is still not vaccinated?

JASMINE WRIGHT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Kaitlan. And officials at the White House grow more concerned by these numbers every day. That's what an official recently told me. As you know, Kaitlan, I'm here to share this hear the same things from folks over there. Because the fact of the matter is, is that every cluster, every case, every outbreak threatens to take away from the progress that President Biden and his administration have made six months in, in their final fight against COVID.

So, President Biden is now say that his COVID response team are looking at these surges, looking at these hospital hospitalizations among the unvaccinated to determine whether or not any new mask guidance, guidance needs to happen. And on testing, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, she wouldn't exactly specify whether or not the administration is looking to bring back those national testing levels as they were in the country before the vaccine, before vaccines were so widespread.

But one thing that she did touch on is responding to Alabama Governor Kaye Ivey, when she said that at this point, we need to start blaming the unvaccinated for these rise in cases. White House Press Secretary wouldn't go that far, but she did say that she heard frustration from the governor.


JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Well, I don't think our role is to place blame. But what we can do is provide accurate information to people who are not yet vaccinated about the risks they are incurring, not only on themselves, but also the people around them. And well, if you're a young person, you may think you're Superman or Superwoman and immune from the, from getting the virus that is not true. That is not accurate. You can get very sick. You can die from the virus.

WRIGHT: So, the question now Kaitlan, and Boris is what comes next? Well, we know one thing is that the administration yesterday confirmed that they bought an additional 200 million doses of that Pfizer vaccine to prepare for if and when the FDA approves use in children under 12 and also potential boosters. Kaitlan and Boris.


COLLINS: Yes, Jasmine, everyone seems to be waiting to find out what the outcome is going to be from the FDA if people do need boosters. Jasmine Wright, thank you very much. I want to turn now to Dr. Tyson Bell, Director of the Medical Intensive Care Unit at the University of Virginia, he's also an Associate Professor of Infectious diseases and Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine. Dr. Bell, thank you for being here with me today. I want to start with these new numbers from the Virginia Department of Health reporting 750 new cases in just 24 hours. So, what are you seeing in your ICU right now?

DR. TYSON BELL, DIRECTOR, MEDICAL ICU AT THE UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA: Well, thanks for having me on, Kaitlan. So, we are a tertiary referral Hospital in Central Virginia, which means that we admit people from our local community and then we also take requests for transfer from all across the state. So, we can get a sense of what's going on in Virginia, based on who's calling us.

Now, last year, we admitted patients at a steady clip from our community. And we took a lot of patients from the northern Virginia area where our population center is and then a lot of patients from Southwest Virginia, which is a more rural, more conservative part of the state. Now, thankfully, this year, we're not seeing the numbers that we saw last year. And that largely reflects high vaccination rates, both in our local community and in Northern Virginia.

So, we're not getting patients from those areas as much. But we're still getting patients and requests from Southwest Virginia, where patients are still very, very sick. So, you know, this is an area with lower rates of vaccination. And just like many of the areas across the country, it really is a pandemic that's focused on these areas where there's low protection. And now, if you talk to staff in the ICU at UVA, you see two main themes emerge.

The first is that people are tired and exhausted, these are some of the sickest patients that we've ever taken care of in our lives. And while we have a better sense of how to take care of them, it's still very physically and emotionally draining. Families are not able to visit. So, you're often the bridge between the family and the patient. Many of our patients come in regretting not having gotten vaccinated or even still thinking that it's a hoax.

So, it's very, very frustrating. That's the other layer that's there, because now as far as the ICU, this is largely preventable with vaccinations. And so, it's really hard to reconcile the devastation that you see in the hospital, paired with what you see outside the hospital where some people don't take it seriously, including a lot of our elected officials.

COLLINS: And given that, CNN is reporting that top federal health officials are considering changing the mask guidelines for those of us who are fully vaccinated, though, we should caution they have not made a final decision on that yet. And you recently were tweeting about mask, and you said, "It just makes sense to just wear the damn thing again." Why do you think so?

BELL: I think every decision that you have to make when it comes to this has to be a way of the risks versus benefits. And for me, I do live in an area that has a higher rate of vaccination. But we're surrounded by communities that have lower rates of vaccination. This is a much more transmissible virus. In fact, Dr. Walenski at the CDC said that this is the most, one of the most transmissible viruses that we've ever seen, respiratory viruses.

I have two young children at home as well, I don't want them to get sick. And while I do feel good about the protection I have from the vaccine. I also don't want to get sick. So, you know the mask is a very, it's an inconvenience for some, it's not particularly inconvenient for me. I'm used to wearing it. But it's a simple measure that I can take to just increase that level of protection in an era where we have essentially a different virus that's much more transmissible than before.

COLLINS: Well, Former U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams told Anderson Cooper last night, he does think the CDC needs to clarify its mask guidance, because he said the Delta variant is changing things. Is that something that you agree with? And would you like to see the CDC offer more clarity on what people should be doing right now, given the Delta variant?

BELL: I do agree. I think right now, the guidance is very much a blunt tool. And what we need to do is have states and localities give them the ability and the cover to make decisions like implementing mass mandates, capacity constraints and things like that, that public health mitigation measures, especially for areas that are having surges, and that we focus on getting vaccines to these areas. But when you're in the midst of a surge, which are hotspots that are in there very much are, you can't vaccinate your way out of that because it takes time for the vaccines to train your immune system. You have to be able to implement mask, universal masking and, and other mitigation measures.

COLLINS: And you noted that you are also a parent and a big concern that we are hearing on a daily basis when we're going into these White House press briefings is they want to know when children under 12 are going to be able to be vaccinated. Of course, a lot of kids are set to return to school very soon. There are questions about whether or not they should be wearing a mask. And so, do you think that kids should be wearing a mask when they're back in school? And how do you feel about this idea that your child could be in a classroom with potentially a teacher who's not vaccinated or around other educators who aren't?


BELL: That's a scary notion. And, and I fully support the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendation that children under 12 be fully masked. This is a population that does not have the ability to protect themselves with vaccination. And we have to ask ourselves, you know, what is what is it worth to protect children, we know that the rate of children having severe complication from COVID-19 is low.

But we still have had close to 500 children die from COVID-19. And then this year, where we know how public health mitigation measures work, we know that vaccination of adults to cut down on transmission to children and we know that children 12 and above have very good protection from safe and effective vaccines, we have to ask ourselves, what is it worth to go back in school, we definitely want our kids back in school, I don't want to do another year of virtual school.

But I also want to make sure that my children are protected. So, I fully support public health measures and universal masking of schools, at least until we can get vaccination in the option and now younger children.

COLLINS: And you've been clear about this. But I just want to hear your reasoning behind it and what your thinking is that the decision you've made, once children can get vaccinated, you do plan on getting your children vaccinated, is that right?

BELL: Right. That day, the day that they're eligible. My wife and I are going to make some sort of plan to try to get them in line that day to get vaccinated. We're going to make it happen.

COLLINS: Dr. Tyson Bell, thank you for sharing your thoughts on all of this with us.

BELL: Thank you, Kaitlan.

SANCHEZ: Still to come, the Tokyo Olympics officially underway, but with a sobering start. More than 120 people related to the games, testing positive for COVID, we'll have the latest from Tokyo.

COLLINS: Plus, there is a new front in the war against the Taliban with the U.S. military carrying out strikes in support of Afghan forces. Is this part of a longer-term plan and what happened about this conversation with President Biden in the Afghan President yesterday? We'll have more on that after the break.



SANCHEZ: We are 21 minutes past the hour and the wait is over. After more than a year of delays, the Tokyo Olympics officially underway now, Japan delivering a beautiful opening ceremony yesterday albeit with very little fanfare because of Coronavirus.

COLLINS: But the celebration was still dampened. Of course, with those COVID cases continuing to rise in the Olympic Village, officials announcing that 17 new cases which brings the total of games of cases related to the games to 127. CNN's Will Ripley has all the details about what's happening in Tokyo.


WILL RIPLEY, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The official opening of the Tokyo Summer Games, a ceremony that tried to look familiar, but felt so different. Hundreds of drones forming a globe over the Olympic Stadium celebrating one world, united in sport under the shadow of a pandemic. The stadium eerily empty as flag bearers proudly represented their countries, cheering them on a handful of visiting dignitaries: U.S. First Lady Jill Biden, French President Emmanuel Macron. Among the athletes, some familiar faces and well-oiled physiques. The Tongan flag bearer famous from Rio and South Korea, Team USA featuring basketball star and four-time gold medalist Sue Bird and baseball playing speed skating, silver medalist, Eddie Alvarez.

Outside the ceremony, Japanese protesters calling for the games to be canceled, fearing the Olympics will become a COVID-19 Super spreader event. Fears fueled by rising cases in the host city. Daily numbers hitting almost 2000 this week, a six-month high Olympic dreams dash for more than 20 athletes so far, testing positive or being placed in the COVID-19 protocol, including five members from Team USA, most taking the COVID protocols and lack of fans in stride.

KENDRA HAMSON, TEAM USA TRACK AND FIELD: When you're lined up with the best in the world. Like you're not worried about the standards. You're not worried about the people there. You're just worried about going out there and competing to the best of your ability.

RIPLEY: Despite the Olympic's first ever spectator band, some are making the most of it. Fans watching the opening ceremony from outside the stadium.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was so -- moved to my heart. Yes, that's --

RIPLEY: Closing out the opening ceremony, the reveal of the torchbearer to light the cauldron, four-time grand slam women's tennis champion, Naomi Osaka. In recent months facing her own very public mental health challenges. Perhaps, the perfect representative for the 32nd Olympiad overcoming postponement and a pandemic to showcase the triumph of the Olympic spirit. Will Ripley CNN, Tokyo.



SANCHEZ: Thanks to Will Ripley for that. Just ahead, despite having only weeks to go before the United States fully leaves Afghanistan, the military is conducting airstrikes against the Taliban in support of Afghan troops. Is this the new normal moving forward? We'll discuss after a quick break. Stay with news.


SANCHEZ: Officials in Afghanistan are sounding the alarm concern that some of their forces are already depleted amid intense pressure from the Taliban taking over large portions of the country and meeting very little resistance. As the Afghans seek details from the U.S. about the next phase of the withdrawal, the Pentagon has conducted several airstrikes against Taliban forces. But the pace of those strikes has waned in recent weeks.

Joining us now to discuss the situation in Afghanistan, Retired Major General James "Spider" Marks. General, always a pleasure to talk to you and get your perspective. We appreciate you joining us. Of course, the frequency of these strikes, according to defense officials is decreasing even as the Taliban is making significant gains in territory advancing through the country. From your perspective, are these airstrikes going to be enough to keep the Afghan government in power?


JAMES MARKS, RET. MAJOR GENERAL, U.S. ARMY: Sadly, to say the short answer is no. Look, the government is going to be challenged big time as we've seen so far. There are a number of districts that have already succumbed to the Taliban advances, provincial capitals have not fallen yet, thank goodness. However, that, I think, frankly, is only a matter of time.

And clearly, control is all about control on the ground, which means you have to have forces on the ground that are prepared to resist and conduct operations on their own, and to claim key terrain. And you're not going to be able to control key terrain, simply through the air.

MARKS (voice-over): You're going to be able to hit targets, you're going to be able to attract targets, you're going to cause some significant damage, but I don't think you're going to have the full of array of what's called effects-based operations, where you can establish control, and then you can establish kind of what you were trying to achieve going forward.

MARKS (on camera): Without soldiers on the ground, that becomes incredibly difficult.

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Yes, notably, three of the last four strikes have actually targeted equipment that the Taliban captured amid the U.S. withdrawal.


MARKS: Right.

SANCHEZ: How critical do you think it is to ensure the Taliban isn't using U.S. weapons against the very people they were supposed to defend? Is it even possible at this point?

MARKS: Well, it's going to be very difficult, right? We've -- the United States -- we, the United States have had this long 20-year relationship with the Afghan government. This emerging Afghan government, and going forward, this is going to be a new beginning.

We were there for 20 years, we're now in a position of essentially all stop, the government is being challenged. What we have been able to provide the government over the course of these two decades has been incredible training, certainly the moral support, and a large array of equipment and inventory to help stand up the both the government forces, the security forces, and the military forces.

That now, if those capabilities are now migrating into the hands of the Taliban, we've got to do everything that we can to continue to support the Afghan government not to walk away from it.

But this is a holding action. When you think about it, we're not gaining ground, what we're trying to do is (INAUDIBLE) the capabilities of the Taliban as their ark and their advances continue.

This is going to be a very, very difficult effort on the part of the United States. And again, it's simply to hold what exists now. And I'm not confident we'll be able to do that.

SANCHEZ: Yes, I do want to ask specifically about Kabul. There's about 650 troops that are set to remain in Afghanistan, securing a U.S. diplomatic presence there, and also securing the airport in Kabul.

How comfortable are you with that figure? Do you think that'll be enough to hold on to Afghanistan's capital?

MARKS: No, it's not. I mean, if the Afghan -- if you're asking if the United States alone with less than 1,000 soldiers can hope -- can help hold on to the Afghan capital of Kabul, the short answer is no.

What is absolutely essential is the Afghan National Security Forces, military forces have to step up and create a whole of government approach. It's all those elements of power. It's the military, it's the diplomatic, it's the economic, it's the informational. And to do that, and to build alliances in order to achieve that end state.

Well, what we've seen in Afghanistan right now is what we let's go back 20 years before 9/11. What we had was an incredible amount of ungoverned space with the Taliban in control.

That didn't work out very well because al-Qaeda came in and created this incredible infrastructure for training and preparation, and then conducted attacks against the United States. That must not happen again.

And so, what we see in Afghanistan now is this unholy trinity, of not only ISIS, not only al-Qaeda but the Taliban. And those three elements don't get along. So, you see this chaotic element on the ground. And it's necessary for the Afghan government in the midst of all of that chaos and pressure coming from these three different groups that don't get along. They're not reading from the same page in order to hold what's been in place now and emerging over the course of two decades.

That's an incredibly tall task. And there is nothing but real -- I mean, truly, it is an incredibly difficult mission for the United States to try to assist the Afghan government. And the 1,000 troops are simply there to try to execute this transition. We'll see what happens going forward, but it will decrease.

SANCHEZ: Yes, as we've heard from experts, such as yourself over and over again, it is likely a recipe for disaster in Afghanistan.

General Spider Marks, we appreciate the time. Thanks so much.

MARKS: Thanks, Boris.


KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (on camera): And back to school shopping always seems chaotic. But this season, it could be worse, with some experts warning that a possible school supply shortage is looming. We'll explain next.


COLLINS: Some parents may be used to encountering back-to-school shortages, but this year, some products are expected to start running low even earlier.

SANCHEZ: Yes, that means shoppers could find themselves at the store as early as this month, picking over leftovers and potentially missing important school supplies.

CNN business correspondent Alison Kosik has more.


ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Good morning Boris and Kaitlan.

For most parents, back-to-school shopping can be a headache and a half. But this year, expect it to be even worse.

KOSIK (voice-over): Parents are used to shortages of supplies toward the end of August. But products like sneakers, backpacks, stationery, sports equipment, laptops, and tablets are expected to be in tight supply even earlier.

With more classrooms fully reopening in the fall, the National Retail Federation predicts the demand on school merchandise will be robust, with shoppers spending an average of $850 per family. But that high demand is running up against tight inventory and shipping delays. And with supply tight, discounts will be less generous.

And if you're looking for a new pair of Nikes, you may have to act fast. A new report says Nike may run out of sneakers at sources from Vietnam as the coronavirus surges in the region.

The report says that two of Nikes suppliers in Vietnam have already halted production. In a statement to CNN, Nike said that it's confident in its ability to navigate these near-term dynamics and that it remains prudent in its planning. The pandemic's impact on supply chains is also hitting retailers like Walmart, the world's biggest retailer saying while inventories of most of its basic supplies are on track, some other categories are experiencing shortages.

All of the news about the impending shortages is getting shoppers moving earlier than usual. Deloitte's latest back-to-school survey shows 59 percent of parents said they would have their school shopping done by the end of July. That's up from 45 percent last year.

KOSIK (on camera): The biggest driver of those purchases, devices. A Deloitte official says it's the category consumers are most worried about in terms of shortages. Boris and Kaitlan.

SANCHEZ: Thanks, Alison Kosik for that report.

You may have seen the images on social media or possibly even with your own eyes. Buckling roads, flooded subways, bridges in desperate needs -- desperate need of repair.

America's infrastructure is continuing to take a beating from extreme weather and climate change.

COLLINS: And on Capitol Hill, the negotiations over a bipartisan infrastructure bill are still heating up still ongoing and the big question that remains is how to pay for it. CNN's Pete Muntean has more on the talks.

PETE MUNTEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): With roads buckling in the Pacific Northwest, a deluge drenching the New York City subway, and fatal flooding across Europe, scientists say climate change is here and it's pounding our infrastructure.



MUNTEAN: Josh DeFlorio heads climate resilience for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. It is beefing up its tunnels, airports, and train stations to handle higher temperatures and higher sea levels.

In 2012, Hurricane Sandy left this path commuter train station in New Jersey entirely underwater.

DAMIAN MCSHANE, ASSISTANT DIRECTOR, PORT AUTHORITY OF NEW YORK AND NEW JERSEY, CAPITAL PROGRAMS: We needed to realize that climate change was real, sea-level rise is real. And we didn't make sure that we were accounting for that as we move forward.

MUNTEAN: The port authority is even installing flood gates at station entrances. 7,000 pounds, they are designed to be deployed quickly, in case of an unforecasted rush of water.

The latest estimate is water levels worldwide will rise by six feet by the end of this century.

DEFLORIO: So, I think people see it. I'm not sure that they understand how much worse it's going to get and how quickly.

MUNTEAN (on camera): During Hurricane Sandy, floodwaters here entered through the elevator shaft. So, the port authority reinforced these structures with aquarium thickness glass. The concern about future floods is so real that the glass stretches nearly 20 feet up.

MUNTEAN (voice-over): On the other end of the country, the concern is over the heat that melted some of Seattle's I-5 last month.


MUNTEAN: Shane Underwood researchers asphalt at North Carolina State. He says with the world getting hotter, road crews should start laying down asphalt that is more heat resistant.

UNDERWOOD: If temperatures are greater, then, we presumed they would exist when the pavement was designed. This can happen more frequently.

MUNTEAN: All of this comes at a cost. The port authority spent $2 billion recovering from Hurricane Sandy alone. A new study says climate change intensified the storm, increasing damage costs by an extra $8 billion.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We need to have more climate-resilient infrastructure, and we need to stop climate change from getting any worse.


SANCHEZ: Thanks too much for -- to Pete Muntean for that report.


SANCHEZ: Up next, a growing number of U.S. diplomats are falling victim to Havana syndrome-like attacks. Now, the inspector general for the CIA is stepping in. Details in just a few minutes.


SANCHEZ: Some controversial headlines out of Mississippi this week. The state taking aim at the landmark Roe versus Wade decision that legalized abortion, calling it "egregiously wrong".

COLLINS: The Mississippi attorney general is also urging the justices to allow a controversial law to go into effect that would ban most abortions after 15 weeks. CNN's Supreme Court reporter Ariane de Vogue looks at the looming battle over abortion rights.


ARIANE DE VOGUE, CNN SUPREME COURT REPORTER (on camera): Boris and Kaitlin, Mississippi is asking the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade that landmark near 50-year-old opinion that established the constitutional right to abortion.

This case really thrust the justices into the middle of the political spotlight. It will be heard next term, decided by June, right before the lead-up to the midterm elections.

The law at issue bars most abortions after 15 weeks there's no exception for rape or for incest, and lower courts blocked the law, citing Roe v. Wade. That's why Mississippi has asked for it to be overturned. All eyes are going to be on the conservative wing of the Supreme Court.

Keep in mind that Justice Clarence Thomas for years has said that Roe v. Wade should be overturned. And that leaves the three liberal justices led by Justice Stephen Breyer who's under some pressure to retire, they are going to work as best they can to limit the damage from their perspective to try to preserve as much of Roe as possible.

Boris, Kaitlan?

COLLINS: Thank you, Ariane. And as she noted, there could be a decision by next June. Those oral arguments are expected to happen either early fall or this winter.

Meanwhile, though, the CIA inspector general is looking into cases of the so-called Havana syndrome, as the number of the reports of the illness continues to rise.

Hundreds of U.S. diplomats, spies, and troops around the globe have been sickened by this. Some so severe that they ended up retiring.

SANCHEZ: Yes, let's get to CNN reporter Katie Bo Williams. She's covering the story for us. Good morning, Katie Bo. What can you tell us about this CIA IG investigation? What are they hoping to find?

KATIE BO WILLIAMS, CNN INTELLIGENCE REPORTER: Yes, so what the Inspector General is looking into is how officers who have reported this kind of strange constellation of symptoms and sensory experiences were handled by the agency or have been handled by the agency when they come forward.

So, that's looking at things like health care that they received. That's looking at the kind of benefits that they received. And we do know that the inspector general is talking to two victims as part of this review.

Now, it's important to note that this is not a full-blown inspector general investigation yet. This is a review to determine if such an investigation is needed.

But it is -- it is notable, given the criticism that we've heard from some victims and former officials who say that when they came forward, particularly in the early days to report that they were sort of experiencing what we now understand to be Havana syndrome, that they were essentially gaslighted by skeptical agency leadership.

And as a result, they say didn't receive the care that they should have in a timely fashion.

COLLINS: Well, it's good that it's now being taken seriously. But these first cases were reported in Havana, Cuba. But that's not the only place that we're seeing them, Katie. Where else are they popping up?

BO WILLIAMS: Yes, so, we -- we've seen about 200 cases overall. Over the last five to six years since these were first beginning to be reported. And we do -- we do understand now from our sources that there appears to be a bit of a spike at the moment, and that it is happening worldwide. It's happening in lots and lots of different countries.

So, we've seen just most recently dozens of reported cases in Vienna, which is kind of a hotspot for spies. We've seen -- we've seen cases reported this year in Africa as well. So, this is really kind of a global -- a global phenomenon.

SANCHEZ: Yes, Katie Bo, when you listen to these symptoms, they're pretty frightening. Sudden vertigo, head pressure, the piercing directional noises.

I spoke to one victim who told me that he gets a migraine every single day. He's had one every single day since this first started years ago.

What do you know about the effort to pinpoint the exact cause of these attacks?

BO WILLIAMS: Right now, there's a task force in the CIA that is trying to determine who, and what is -- what even let's start with just what is happening to these officers, and whether or not they can definitively be termed attacks.

But right now, the intelligence that they have, very circumstantial.

SANCHEZ: All right, still very mysterious. Hopefully, we get some answers soon. Katie Bo Williams, we know you'll stay on top of it for us. Thank you so much.

BO WILLIAMS: Thanks so much.


SANCHEZ (voice-over): Still ahead -- of course, still ahead on NEW DAY, the push to vaccinate America as the fight to end the pandemic faces a setback. Why a staggering number of unvaccinated Americans say they still won't get the shot.


COLLINS: As we all get older, many people adjust their diet. In today's "FOOD IS FUEL", CNN health reporter Jacqueline Howard highlights which foods should be on our plate for each decade.

JACQUELINE HOWARD, CNN HEALTH REPORTER: A balanced diet is important at any age. But as we age, it can help to be more mindful of including certain nutrients in your diet.

By your late teens, early 20s, you have up to 90 percent of peak bone mass. And calcium can help keep your bones healthy. Good sources of calcium are low-fat yogurt, kale, and broccoli.

In your 30s and 40s, start thinking about adding more fiber to your diet. Soluble fiber helps lower cholesterol and regulates blood sugar. It's found in black beans, Brussels sprouts, avocados, and sweet potatoes.

Insoluble fiber helps regulate your bowel movements, and it's found in whole grains, wheat bran, cauliflower, and green beans.

Now, for adults 50 and older, focus on healthy fats. One study says replacing bad saturated trans fats with healthy unsaturated fats is linked with a 27 percent lower risk of dying. You can find unsaturated fats in seeds, nuts, avocados, and fatty fish like salmon.