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New Day Saturday

COVID-19 Infection Surge As U.S. Fights Over Masks And Vaccines; Florida Lead U.S. In Most New Cases In A Week, Reporting 134K-plus. ICU Spare Runs Low In Lower-Vaccinated States; Trump Loyalist Pushed Election Lies At Top Levels Of DOJ; United States Health Officials Push COVID-19 Vaccination For Pregnant Women; California's Dixie Fire Now Third Largest In State History; Seafood Industry Struggling To Find Workers As Demand Rises. Aired 7-8a ET

Aired August 07, 2021 - 07:00   ET




CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: We're so happy to say. Welcome to your NEW DAY here and to have your company. It is Saturday, August 7th. I'm Christi Paul.

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Boris Sanchez. Thank you so much for spending part of your morning with us. Christi, as always, a pleasure to be with you.

PAUL: You too, Boris. So, we want to talk about the health officials who are saying this morning that the U.S. is at a crucial moment in the coronavirus pandemic, infections are rising hospitals are overrun with unvaccinated patients as this delta variant is spreading. But the country does have tools they say to get the virus under control.

SANCHEZ: Yes, and that's the most tragic aspect of all of this. It is preventable. Yet for the first time since February, the United States is averaging more than 100,000 new infections a day and deaths are also on the rise. The virus spreading quickly through unvaccinated communities. And as we look at this map, you can see all the red in the south east, where vaccination rates lag behind the rest of the country. And states with the highest infection rates, people are getting vaccinated at a pace not seen since April. And that's good news. But hospitals are still struggling to keep up with new cases.

PAUL: In Mississippi, just 35 percent of the state's eligible population is vaccinated and ICU beds are running low across the state. The message is clear, they say, the only way to get things under control is to get vaccinated.


GOV. LARRY HOGAN (R-MD): Those of you who refuse to get vaccinated at this point are willfully and unnecessarily putting yourself and others at risk of hospitalization and death. You are the ones threatening the freedoms of all the rest of us. So, please just get the damn vaccine.


SANCHEZ: It appears that people are starting to get that message this weekend. The United States hitting a key vaccination milestone.

PAUL: Here's CNN's Natasha Chen.


NATASHA CHEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Half of the U.S. population is now fully vaccinated against COVID-19. In the past week, more than 3.2 million Americans were newly vaccinated, a pace not seen since late June. And in states with the highest case rates people are getting vaccinated at a level not seen since April. But Travis Campbell in Virginia was not among them. He did not get vaccinated and got sick, fearing he wouldn't make it home from the hospital. Campbell told CNN, he asked his son to walk his daughter down the aisle at her upcoming wedding.

TRAVIS CAMPBELL, COVID PATIENT: I've never been more humbled in my life for all people across the world for praying for me and respected by the mistake that I made. And I'm just so thankful and I pray that people will just really stop and evaluate what is the value of your decisions on your life. Can we make it now?

CHEN: Public health officials are urging people to make the right decision.

DR. THOMAS DOBBS, MISSISSIPPI HEALTH OFFICER: This is entirely attributable to the Delta variant which is sweeping over Mississippi, you know, like a tsunami.

CHEN: The Mississippi health officer says 89 percent of hospitalized people and 85 percent of deaths there are among the unvaccinated.

Hospitals are becoming inundated with patients again. In Houston, an 11-month-old who tested positive for COVID-19 had to be airlifted 150 miles away because no pediatric hospital in the area could take her. The response to these troubling trends vary greatly. Many private companies are now requiring employee vaccinations, including United Airlines imposing this requirement on its 80,000 employees by the end of September. California is the first state in the nation to require health care workers to be fully vaccinated.

JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: Our message is simple. We support these vaccination requirements to protect workers, communities and our country.

CHEN: But in Florida, President Biden is sparring with Governor Ron DeSantis, who has threatened to withhold funding from school districts that implement masked mandates.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If you're not going to help, at least get out of the way.

[07:06:03] GOV. RON DESANTIS (D-FL): If you're coming after the rights of parents in Florida, I'm standing in your way. I'm not surprised that Biden doesn't remember me. I guess the question is, is what else has he forgotten?

CHEN: Florida has reported an average of about 19,000 new cases per day in the past week, more than any other seven day period in the entire pandemic. Health officials hope people see beyond the politics to the human toll.

Dr. RAUL PINO, DIRECTOR, FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH IN ORANGE COUNTY: I have taken a few calls on these is the the type of guilt and remorse that comes with having transmitted these to a member of your family that may die from it, because he's older, because he's fragile, because of pre-existing conditions and that had happened. And that's that regret that we all can avoid by being vaccinated. Natasha Chen, CNN, Orlando, Florida.


PAUL: E.R. Doctor, Raj Kelsey is with us now. Dr. Kelsey, it's so good to have you with us. I know that last year at this time, there was an argument made that the ICU beds were full, that because of that, it interferes with people who may be going to ICU for other emergencies. If somebody had a heart attack if there was an accident. Is this something that you're experiencing right now in the ER there in Illinois?

DR. RAJ KELSEY, E.R. DOCTOR: Oh, yes, on several levels. Christine, first of all, thank you for having me, Boers. I work in eight different hospitals, one of which is a small rural community hospital, which is what's called a critical access hospital. That's most of America. I have six beds in my E.R., I have 20 beds in the hospital. I'm the only doctor in town. When I have COVID patients that fill up my ER and sometimes fill up the waiting room. I have no tertiary care hospitals to send them to because they're full and their ICU is full.

And yes, people are having heart attacks, open heart surgery, major abdominal surgeries, massive trauma surgeries, and then they sit in the recovery room because they're waiting for an ICU bed. Because some of those beds are occupied by COVID patients. So and now that the uptick is happening, we're back to I feel like we're back to square one in many ways. However, I would say that people vaccinated are less sick when they do get COVID.

PAUL: That's what I was just going to ask you about the unvaccinated versus, versus the vaccinated. We've seen some people who have been unvaccinated, have gotten COVID and who have come out and said please do not make the same mistake I made. What are you hearing from people that are sick that are unvaccinated?

KELSEY: You know, this is a great question. So, the first thing I have to do as a doctor when I assess somebody to E.R. with COVID, who has not gotten vaccinated is ask the question simply, have you been vaccinated? A lot of people receive this with judgment. They feel like I'm judging them, criticize them scrutinize them, because I think the whole political layout in the country.

And I'm simply just being a doctor asking a fundamental question, if you are vaccinated, I can counsel you in one way, if you're not vaccinated, I have to be much more cautious and get you to the hospital give you certain medications, antibodies, steroids, put you on your belly if you're breathing poorly put you on a ventilator. And so this is important if people are receiving this with a lot of judgment, because I think people are very conflicted.

They're conflicted by all the messages on TV and from politicians, and the thought that they think that this is infringing on their freedoms in the world. And fundamentally, I think there's so many more risky things a human being could do in America, like just go and drive your car and cross an intersection, then get a vaccine that might save you and your family's life.

PAUL: So how are you in the team holding up? Because like you said, you feel like you're back to square one, which has to be a really hard place to be because you remember what it was like to be there a year ago. But with the inundation that you're seeing, help us understand what you and your teams are going through.

KELSEY: So, one of the one of the hidden undercurrents of emergency medicine healthcare is how humans treat us in healthcare. Initially, Christi, when pandemic started, people were dripping with compassion and kindness. We were heroes on the frontlines you remember all the commercials that demonstrated health care workers with a masks embedded in their face that's gone now. We are, just in the way, we are critics of patients.

According to them, many are still very kind and compassionate, but many are looking at us like, we are the problem. We are mandating things that are infringing on their freedoms. And we're simply there to just take care of them. They made the decision to come to us in the emergency department, the hospital, we will always be there for you, America, we will always be there for you, regardless of your choices in life, good choices, bad choices. But we're tired. We're so incredibly tired.

We're strung, thin supplies run out. And we never get a break right? After I put somebody on a ventilator, or take care of a younger person, older person with COVID I have to go to the next room and so to my nurses and technicians, we just don't get a break. The break we're looking for is the break of we need your compassion. We need your understanding. We need your empathy, America to understand what we're going through so that you can help us help you.


PAUL: Dr. Raj, you have that you have that from us and you have that from an awful lot of people. And I know some days it doesn't feel like it. But we appreciate so much everything that you do. And we can't imagine being in your shoes, Dr. Raj Kelsey, to you and your team, thank you so, so much. We're with you here.

KELSEY: Thank you. I appreciate it. Thank you so much. PAUL: Always. Thank you. So, you heard him there saying look, the big

message is please get vaccinated.

SANCHEZ: And that goes for pregnant women as well. We have new details on why doctors are strongly encouraging them to get a COVID vaccine. Plus Donald Trump's big lie mounting evidence that there was an attempted coup, and at the Justice Department, a Trump appointed official pushing his lies as well. We'll tell you how the Former President used the department to promote claims of fraud. Stay with us.



SANCHEZ: This morning, as President Biden is keeping a close eye on that key procedural vote for the $1.2 trillion infrastructure deal, he's also touting the country's economic recovery from the pandemic.

PAUL: The U.S. added 943,000 jobs in July. That's the biggest single monthly gain since August of last year. Now, the unemployment rate also dropped to 5.4 percent. That is the lowest level of the COVID- era. CNN's Jasmine Wright is live for us from Wilmington, Delaware. Jasmine, always good to have you. So, this obviously a big win for President Biden, what's he saying about it?

JASMINE WRIGHT, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, this is a big win. And he's saying part of that more to do is going to be this infrastructure bill. Remember, it will be President Biden's first major bipartisan legends piece of legislation, something that he campaigned on. So, in those marches today, after touting this economic numbers, he turned to infrastructure bill, and he really made the case for encouraging senators to move ahead because it would provide the country with jobs and more resources.

And this is one of the reasons why President Biden is, is paying so close attention to it this weekend while he is here in Wilmington. Remember, as senators come back to the Senate today really to start to try to move along, they're expected to move the bill along, doing a procedural vote to get it kind of closer towards that finish line, which would be a crucial, crucial step for the President. Now, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki yesterday, she said that look, even though President Biden is here in Delaware, that does not mean that he is not following a long conversation and learned that the President postponed his vacation plans to really monitor the step, step by step, this infrastructure process.

The official told CNN. So, White House Press Secretary says that he is following along, but also just kind of listen to her answer Boris and Christi because it really shows just how fluid his plans are, as they are so wrapped around this infrastructure process.


PSAKI: Every president is always working no matter where they are, right? That's always how it works. But I was referring to the fact that we know the Senate is going to be here early next week. That wasn't always the intention. We expect him to be here early days next week, even as he goes to Delaware or Camp David, he will of course, still be working. But we will of course provide finalized details to you as soon as they're, they're made available.


WRIGHT: So Boris and Christi, even as a senate comes back and they start that the vote that they're expected to move along. If there still are some outlying issues when we don't know when a final vote could take place, and even if the senate does pass this infrastructure bill, it has kind of an uncertain future in the house as Pelosi has said, House Speaker Pelosi has said that she will not put up for vote until Senate Democrats also pass that $3.5 trillion spending package that has a lot of President Biden's other major, major priorities. Boris and Christie.

PAUL: All right, Jasmine Wright, we appreciate it so much. Thank you.

SANCHEZ: Thanks, Jasmine.

PAUL: So, do you have some good news for those of you who may be struggling with a student loan debts? Well, the Biden administration is extending the pause on federal student loan payments one last time until January 31st. The pandemic relief benefit was set to expire next month after an unprecedented 19 months suspension with no payments required and no interest accrued. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona says this final extension will give people the time they need to plan and ensure a smooth pathway back to repayment.

SANCHEZ: Nine months after Election Day, we are learning new details about just how far former President Trump and his allies went to overturn President Joe Biden's victory. CNN is reporting that a Trump loyalist at the Justice Department received a high level intelligence briefing early this year, dispelling the notion that there was widespread election fraud, but it did little to deter him from pushing the government to act on baseless election lies, including his belief that the Chinese used special thermometers to change votes.

The Department of Homeland Security meantime is warning state and local authorities about an increase in calls for violence tied to election related conspiracy theories. Joining us now to discuss CNN Political Analyst Margaret Talev, she's the managing editor at Axios. We also have with us CNN Legal Analyst, Elliot Williams. Good morning to you both, we appreciate you joining us. I want to read you a portion of a letter that was drafted by that Trump loyalists Jeffrey Clark at DOJ, he'd been planning to send this to officials in Georgia.

So here's a portion of the letter, quote, the Department of Justice is investigating various irregularities and a 2020 election for President of the United States. The department will update you as we are able on investigatory progress. But at this time, we've identified significant concerns that may have impacted the outcome of the election in multiple states, including the state of Georgia. There's a lot in that that is factually wrong, and also goes against precedent. But essentially what Clark was trying to do here was push officials in

Georgia to have a special legislative session and potentially say that the results of their election were invalid. It makes clear this letter and the other efforts that we've seen the documentation of other efforts that we've seen, Elliot that the course of history could have gone a very different direction.


ELLIOT WILLIAMS, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Absolutely, Boris. And a few things, one, you use the term Trump loyalists to describe Geoffrey Clark. He's writing the letter to other Trump loyalists, but they pushed back because of how absurd the letter is. And one of the things that Richard Donahue, one of the recipients of the letter writes in his e-mail in response to this is that we as the Justice Department don't advise states as to how to handle their election certification processes. This is simply a misunderstanding and an abuse of the power of the Justice Department.

And Clark clearly didn't understand that and did not have the Justice Department's interests at heart. So you know, I think we should also, yes, there are reasons to criticize both Jeffrey Rosen and Richard Donahue, the two people to whom this was sent, because they were complicit in any number of, let's say, untoward actions of the Justice Department. But they knew enough to know that this was nonsense, and it was not rooted in law, and should never have happened, and they put the brakes on it.

SANCHEZ: And there's reporting out there that indicates that Clark was eager to get them out of the way to write Trump's bidding to Margaret, the House Oversight Committee reportedly had this and some other DOJ documents that were then turned over to the January 6th Committee so that they can continue their work. What's your sense of how this evidence might be used in a hearing? Do you think, for example, that Jeffrey Clark may get called to testify?

MARGARET TALEV, CNN POLITICAL ANALYST: Boris, I certainly think there's an interest in that happening. It's not yet clear whether the former president's lawyers or Mr. Clark lawyers will allow that or seek to put constraints on that. I think like, we know that this first batch of testimony may be different than subsequent requests.

And, look, this is all kind of exists in this political cauldron. There's a lot of pressure on Merrick Garland to do more, but the fact is that Biden's attorney general has and his team have allowed sort of assisted all this to all work through the committee process. And what you have now is a public accounting laying down for the public and for history of what happened in those final weeks before the end of the administration. I think the feeling is that no matter what happens after that there is just value in the in the public accounting of that.

SANCHEZ: Yes, and preserving documents and a narrative for history to remember objectively, right. So, the Senate Judiciary Committee, has the same documents Chairman Dick Durbin told CNN he wants to hear from Jeffrey Clark. The panel is already going to speak with the former acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen. They already heard testimony from Rosen's former deputy as well. How do you think the findings of that investigation are going to stack up compared to the findings of the January 6th Select Committee and I asked because there are three Republican senators who objected to the election results on that panel, Margaret.

TALEV: Well, that's right, I think look, but fundamentally, what's happening with this investigation and what's happening with January is things are different because January 6th are clear cut predicates for criminal prosecution. And I think that's less clear in this case. This is at this point, political and I don't mean that it's political, that it's not worthy. It is it's, it's worthy, facts are coming to light. But it's not clear what charges, if any, can be attached to memos encouraging the Justice Department to do something that ultimately it said, no way we're not doing this.

Whereas I think in the January 6 case, the investigations into the president or former president and his supporters' role existed in this parallel plane to what ended up being, you know, deadly attacks that rock the nation and tested the pillars of democracy. So, but I think, again, we're going to see former President Trump, reigniting his rallies. We are already looking for and about 2022, at the early terminations of what a 2024 Republican field looks like. There is, again, a value in laying down and illuminating precisely what happened in those closing months, for political reasons and for historical reasons.


SANCHEZ: Yes. Elliot, I want to touch on something that Margaret just mentioned, specifically, the potential for criminal charges. Are there any potential legal consequences down the road for some of these folks, where there's documentation, there are tweets, there are contemporaneous notes that prove that there was an effort to undo the will of voters? Why do you think that Department of Justice hasn't acted yet on this?

WILLIAMS: Well, you know, there's a couple of ways to think about it like, well, what haven't they acted on? This is sort of the point that Margaret was making, which is that not all conduct that is objectionable, immoral, disgraceful, or a violation of the public trust is going to be criminal conduct. It's just, it's just not, and there's very little, at least based on what we're seeing now that you could charge these folks with criminally.

Now, there are a few different things that can happen. Number one, there are a number of committees in Congress, including the January 6th committee, but the House Judiciary Committee, the Senate Judiciary Committee can and should investigate the operation of the Justice Department, and they can refer charges if they're there. But more also, at the same time, the independent inspector general, the justice department can investigate current employees who might have aided in this conduct and past employees and their role in it.

And they can take action against any of these people, bring them in for testimony. And but sort of, as Margaret said, a little bit early in the interview, the biggest value here is it's public exposure of this conduct, because for instance, these are all elite attorneys sort of at the top of the profession, if you are a law firm, a major law firm seeking to hire one of these folks, for the rest of your partnership with this person. Do you really want to have to answer questions to future clients about Hey, aren't you the firm that has the insurrection guy on staff, it's just bad business.

And, and it's just not good for the careers of these people or their law licenses. And that is, frankly, quite significant for attorneys. But it's just hard to see how I know many people want to see criminal accountability or civil, but it's just, there's I just don't see any crimes here that you could charge for these folks, for these folks. And again, we're not talking about the January 6, protests, rioters big difference.

SANCHEZ: Yes, certainly. And also, one of the hopes that you would have is that putting together all these facts would change the public perception among some of the former president's supporters and perhaps get them to see his authoritarian streak? Margaret and Elliot, we have to leave the conversation there. Thank you both so much. Stay with CNN, we'll be right back.



CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR (on camera): 32 minutes past the hour right now. Health officials ramping up calls for pregnant women to get vaccinated. Two leading organizations, in fact, that represent obstetricians and gynecologists.

PAUL (voice-over): The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine both say anyone who's pregnant should be vaccinated against COVID-19.

In fact, in the United Kingdom, obstetric surveillance system reports that 98 percent of pregnant women hospitalized in England since May were unvaccinated.

But, as nearly all major physician groups urge women to get the shot, other pregnant women are feeling uncertain and hesitant about what they need to do.

PAUL (on camera): So, let's talk to the professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Duke University Dr. Geeta Swamy. Dr. Swamy, we appreciate so much you being here because there are so many questions people have about this.

So, first and foremost, as we get into this, talk to us about the risk of getting vaccinated versus the risk of getting COVID particularly for women who are pregnant.

DR. GEETA KRISHNA SWAMY, PROFESSOR OF OBSTETRICS AND GYNECOLOGY, DUKE UNIVERSITY: Sure. Thanks so much, and thanks for having me this morning. So, as you just quoted, pregnant women, are -- we're seeing many of them being admitted to the hospital for COVID infection. What we know about COVID illness and pregnancy is that it's a higher incidence of being admitted to the hospital getting admitted to the intensive care unit requiring other measures.

The problem with the data about vaccination is that there's been a lot of confusing messages. What we know though, based on hundreds of thousands of pregnant women have gotten vaccinated so far, is that it is safe. It's safe for mothers and safe for their unborn fetuses and babies.

PAUL: How detrimental is it for the babies of women who get COVID and who did not get vaccinated.

SWAMY: So, we do know that mothers don't transmit the infection say during the course of pregnancy, but when a -- when a woman gets the illness or gets the infection, often that ends up having issues of preterm labor, preterm birth of the baby being born early.

We often because of the mother's health may have to do urgent deliveries or emergency C-sections. And when babies are born early, as you know, they often are in the neonatal intensive care unit.

And even though our pediatric colleagues do an amazing job, we always worry about babies that are born too early having long-term impact, and how their health will be overall.


PAUL: Absolutely. And you mentioned that it's safe. But I really want to clarify a rumor that's proliferated for weeks now that the vaccine causes infertility. Can you give us clarity on that, please?

SWAMY: Yes. Absolutely. So, this is -- this is 100 percent a myth that has come up out in social media in the anti-vaxxer movement. There is nothing about the vaccine itself that causes any medical condition or impairment of fertility, both for women or for men as well.

There's been a lot of laboratory analysis looking at this already and demonstrates there is no impact whatsoever on this vaccine or any vaccines, quite frankly, so that would impair fertility.

PAUL: I know you've made the point that social media is not the place for us to get our information about what is right and what is wrong when it comes to this situation. So, please give us some options, some resources as to where we should be going to look for accurate information.

SWAMY: Sure, absolutely. So, you mentioned at the start the American College of (INAUDIBLE), the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine. There is also the American Society for Reproductive Medicine who helps to manage fertility issues with patients. The American society for related to breastfeeding and lactating women, and also any of our colleagues, as you mentioned, in the U.K., the Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology as well, as lots of information out there. And I think looking to trusted media sources such as we're talking today, and also talking to your doctor. You know, talk to your provider, talk to your pediatrician that you may be looking to -- for when you have your baby, and ask them their opinions. Because those are obviously people you've been trusted with your health already to talk to them and get their input as well.

PAUL: Dr. Geeta Swamy, we so appreciate you helping us kind of walk through what is correct and what is -- what is inaccurate here. Thank you for taking time for us this morning. Best of luck to you.

SWAMY: Thanks so much. Have a great day.

PAUL: You as well, be well.

So, listen, coming up, the images -- I mean, take a look at this. They are apocalyptic, aren't they?

You're looking at parts of entire towns that were burned to the ground by these wildfires out west. One California sheriff telling residents, you are in imminent danger, and you must leave now.



PAUL: Well, the California Dixie Fire is hitting a really troublesome number right now. It is the third largest fire in state history.

PAUL (on camera): Take a look at these pictures here. Over 400,000 acres have burned. That's 3-1/2 times the size of Lake Tahoe and it's currently the largest fire anywhere in the U.S. On top of that, it is still growing rapidly.

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Yes, and some towns have essentially been wiped off the map. Let's get to meteorologist Alison Chinchar for the very latest. She joins us now live from the CNN Weather Center. Alison, what are you seeing out west?

ALLISON CHINCHAR, CNN METEOROLOGIST (on camera): A lot of smoke, a lot of it. And it's not just in and around the exact vicinity of the fires, it's spreading in very far distances.

So, here you can take a look. This is the area around the Dixie Fire. And all of this white that you see on the satellite imagery, it looks like it should be clouds. It's actually smoke, and it's so thick. It's actually very hard to see the clouds on the same satellite.

The vast majority of that coming from the Dixie Fire, which yes, over 430,000 acres has burned right now. And it's only about 21 percent contained. And part of that problem is the winds. When they shift directions rapidly or they increase rapidly, it makes it very difficult for the firefighters to really make good gains in those containment numbers. It is the third-largest fire in California history. But it has the potential to become the second-largest in California history. The second-largest, that's the Mendocino Complex at 459,000. So, really not that far off from where the current fire is.

Now, again, we also talk about California as a whole. When you look at where we were at this same time last year, which 2020 was a horrible year for fires in California. We are far out -- is far exceeding that pace.

At this point, last year, we had about 260,000 acres burned. We are more than three times that this time of year. And again the concern is what the next couple of months will bring in terms of fires.

Again, the winds are going to be a big concern, especially across California. But Boris and Christi, one of the other concerns is just the air quality. Because for several these areas around Reno, Redding, and even Sacramento, you have the very unhealthy and even hazardous air quality that can really impact a tremendous amount of people.

SANCHEZ: And Allison, as you pointed out, that smoke now floating states away from that area. Important to keep an eye on it. Allison Chinchar, thank you so much.

So, as the economy revs back up, there are still a lot of inefficiencies. Some businesses are booming, but yet finding it hard to keep up with demand.


PAUL: Yes, particularly, Boris, the seafood industry. People there say it desperately needs more workers.


SANCHEZ: Business for the seafood industry is great right now. But many company owners are frustrated because they can't find enough workers to meet an increase in customer demand.

CNN's Vanessa Yurkevich has the story.

VANESSA YURKEVICH, CNN DIGITAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's impossible to be in three places at once. But Nate Phillips is trying to do just that. Fishing on his family's boat, running his new clam shack, and cutting the day's catch in his fish market.


NATE PHILLIPS, OWNER, GREENPORT SEAFOOD INCORPORATED: I've got two guys here besides myself. Normally I have seven.

YURKEVICH: It's the same in all three locations.

YURKEVICH (on camera): How many people's jobs do you think you're actually doing right now?


PHILLIPS: I don't even know if I could put a number on it, but for just the sake of saying, probably five.

YURKEVICH (voice over): The seafood industry, like so many others, is experiencing a labor shortage. And it's currently high season in Greenport, Long Island, where seafood is in demand.

YURKEVICH (on camera): How would you say business is going?

PHILLIPS: It's insane.

YURKEVICH (voice over): U.S. seafood prices are up 2-1/2 percent since last year, the fastest pace in years. This should be good news for Phillips, but he says customers often leave frustrated and without making a purchase. With little staff, people are forced to wait.

YURKEVICH (on camera): Are you missing out on potential business because of it?

PHILLIPS: Absolutely. I feel every day we are. Every day.

YURKEVICH (voice over): The U.S. imports up to 85 percent of the seafood we eat. But with slowdowns and international trade, there is even more pressure on U.S. operations to make up the loss.

In Louisiana, it's the tail end of the brown shrimp season. But a lousy harvest and fewer workers means less business for places like Louisiana Newpack Shrimp Company.

KARL TURNER, CO-OWNER, LOUISIANA NEWPACK SHRIMP COMPANY: We have to use temporary agencies to get people to come in. And it's hard to get them even today.

YURKEVICH: Karl Turner runs the plant and says many workers are either collecting unemployment or left the industry for good.

TURNER: People want to work in different industries, cleaner industries, and it's a challenge to attract people to work in the shrimp processing plant.

YURKEVICH: In the Gulf Coast bayous, Faith Family Shrimp Company owns this dock and five boats. But the family sold two because they couldn't find anyone to run them.

ANGELA PORTIER, OWNER, FAITH FAMILY SHRIMP COMPANY: If I would have known what I know now, five shrimp boats, a big shrimp dock facility, I would have had five sons.

YURKEVICH: It's a grueling, messy, monotonous business but one that takes skill.

PORTIER: We'll start people out at a really good pay, a really good hourly pay. And in a week or two they quit. And we're like, what's going on? And it's very hard to replace them.

YURKEVICH: This is where Phillips says he needs to be. But the lack of workers leaves him to choose between working on land or at sea.

YURKEVICH (on camera): How often are you able to get out on the boat these days?

PHILLIPS: Myself, not that much anymore. This is the most important part to all of it. Without this, we wouldn't have anything else.


SANCHEZ: Terrific report from Vanessa Yurkevich, thank you so much for that.

PAUL: So, it's been a week of chaos for Spirit Airlines, as I'm sure you have seen the lines and the frustrated passengers.

SANCHEZ: Yes, it's been a nightmare, but things could be looking up after bad weather and computer glitches cancelled hundreds of flights.

PAUL: First though in today's "FOOD AS FUEL", we explore a popular food that can have some surprising benefits for your body.

JACQUELINE HOWARD, CNN HEALTH REPORTER: Ginger is often used to dress up a dish or add spice to a meal. But a growing body of research shows that this root can have big benefits for overall health.

Studies suggest that ginger can help calm an upset stomach often caused by nausea related to pregnancy or chemotherapy. One easy way to get ginger into your diet is with the breakfast smoothie. Blend one carrot, three apples, and a one-inch piece of ginger root with a squeeze of lemon. Then stir and sip.

Another easy way to add ginger to your diet is to puree it into a ginger pumpkin soup or add it to your favorite meal as a sauce.

Another plus, ginger can help you unwind after you hit the gym. According to a University of Georgia study, when ginger is consumed either raw or heated, it helps ease muscle pain after working out by as much as 25 percent.


HOWARD: Ginger helps improve blood circulation and relax muscles surrounding blood vessels. It can have the same pain-relieving effect for women suffering menstrual cramps.

ANNOUNCER: "FOOCD AS FUEL" is brought to you by noom. Noom is based in psychology, for lasting health and weight loss results.


SANCHEZ: Long lines, canceled flights, stranded travelers with tensions boiling over at the airport. It's been a nightmare for Spirit Airlines passengers over the last week.

PAUL: Yes, the airline blames the disruptions on operational issues such as weather and flight crew problems. A CNN aviation correspondent Pete Muntean has the details for us.

PETE MUNTEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Spirit Airlines hopes this is the beginning of the end of serious issues that have dogged its operation for days.

MUNTEAN (voice-over): Spirit canceled more than 250 flights on Friday, a third of its total flight schedule for the day. More than 450 flights on Thursday, more than half of its total schedule on that day.

Spirit says there have been overlapping operational issues and attributes these problems to weather issues, crew shortage issues, and a crash of the computer system that deals with crew scheduling.

Now, Spirit says it's getting crews back into position and that these cancellations should subside in the coming days. But even still, there are a lot of angry passengers who have been stranded at airports across the country.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Very angry. This is the worst airline that I ever saw in my life.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I just want to get to my destination and never have to deal with Spirit Airlines again.

MUNTEAN (on camera): Have you ever had an airline experience this bad before?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. This is actually the first time in all of my years that I've encountered something like this.

MUNTEAN (voice-over): A tap Industry analyst tells me this could hurt Spirits reputation in the short term.

MUNTEAN (on camera): But in the long term, it really will not have much of a business impact