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New Day Saturday

Five-Million-Plus Under Hurricane Warnings As Northeast Braces For Henri; Diplomatic Cable Warned Of Potential Afghan Catastrophe; Afghan Citizens Desperate To Leave Afghanistan; UVA Disenrolls 238 Students For Failure To Comply With Vaccine Mandate; ICUs Over 90 Percent Full In Five States, Including Florida And Texas; Bruce Springsteen, Jennifer Hudson, Kane Brown On Stage Tonight. Aired 8-9a ET

Aired August 21, 2021 - 08:00   ET




CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Listen, if you get a ride tonight, you're shining. We're glad you're doing it with us on "NEW DAY." Good morning, I'm Christi Paul.

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: Morning, Christi, I'm Boris Sanchez. We start with hurricane Henri. The National Hurricane Center issuing an update as 5 million Americans remain under hurricane warnings in southern New England.

PAUL: It's likely to make landfall on New York's Long Island midday tomorrow. We know states of emergency have been issued in Massachusetts and Connecticut, as they prep for life threatening storm surges, flooding as well.

Here's what FEMA administrator Deanne Criswell told me last hour.


DEANNE CRISWELL, FEMA ADMINISTRATOR: We need to take this storm very seriously. Even if it doesn't make landfall as a hurricane. The tropical force winds and the storm surge can cause significant damage.

So we're going to see power outages. We're going to see downed trees. And even after the storm has passed, the threat of falling trees and limbs is still out there. So I encourage everybody, make sure you're aware of your surroundings and listen to your local officials and what advice they're giving you to take.


PAUL: And Christian Colon of our affiliate WFSB has more on storms on the way to Connecticut.


CHRISTIAN COLON, WFSB CORRESPONDENT: Millions of Connecticut residents are under a hurricane warning. This storm could be historic with strong winds and dangerous. And many campers here at the state park have to leave by 4:00 pm today. All campgrounds will be shutting down, especially as Governor Ned LaMont is issuing a state of emergency.

People are rushing, buying essentials like water and batteries, especially as utility companies are warning that nearly half of their customers could lose power. In Madison, Connecticut, I'm Christian Colon -- Boris, Christi.


PAUL: Christian, thank you so much.




SANCHEZ: We want to pivot now to the chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan. The U.S. embassy is now telling Americans in Kabul not to come to the airport unless they've been instructed to by the U.S. government. They're pointing to security threats outside of Hamid Karzai International.

PAUL: Yes, thousands of Afghan citizens are so desperate to escape that country that they are making the harrowing journey to the airport. A source tells CNN, 14,000 people are now at Hamid Karzai International. Even those who make it to the perimeter are waiting for hours just to get inside.

SANCHEZ: President Joe Biden says the United States is working to get Afghans who helped American forces out of the country. He says every American who wants to leave will be evacuated.

But officials don't know how many are still until Afghanistan. We have a team of correspondents covering this story from multiple angles. Nick Paton Walsh is in Doha, Qatar, with an update. And Oren Liebermann is at the Pentagon with a diplomatic cable that warned of the chaos before the withdrawal.

Let's go to Nick Paton Walsh in Qatar.

Nick, bring us up to speed with the evacuations. There was a pause yesterday but back on today?

NICK PATON WALSH, CNN INTERNATIONAL SECURITY EDITOR: Yes, we don't have the numbers just now, we expect to get them when stateside opens up around noon. But currently there are 14,000 people on that airport, trying to get off.

Now that is an extraordinary number, 4,000 more than the 10,000 Clarissa was told by Marines yesterday. I should say these numbers do fluctuate. Some may be taken off, they may be processed but it is a staggering process ahead. I've was told by a source, for a number of days, sort of a filtration

process that the military there has, the State Department has, relaxed a little. It's more humanitarian, let more people on who were in need. That appears to be changing drastically and much more paperwork during this time.

And now it seems that the bottleneck that we're hearing about where the Qataris ran out of space, that appears to have opened up; Dubai taking 5,000, Kuwait taking some here, if they get passed through by the United States, Germany, possibly Hungary as well. The U.S. using all of its international weight to find housing for these people.

But how many will there actually be?

The U.S. doesn't know how many Americans are still left in Afghanistan. And they are expanding and sometimes it seems to be contracting. Those eligible for the SIV program could be tens of thousands and then you have the humanitarian cases. They appear to have got on in the moment of filtration lapsing.

So this could be an indefinite task to some degree. But the source I was speaking to said there's already discussion within the base amongst military officials, how long can this go on for?

About a week is what they're saying. Everything is going to work against the U.S., success bringing more people and a deadline brings more people rushing to try and beat it. This is a lose-lose, sadly, with Afghans feeling the greatest losses. Many dead.

PAUL: Nick Paton Walsh, yes, you make a good point with that deadline. We talked to Rukhsar Azamee this morning. Her family is holed up and want to get to the airport but they're in hiding. Nick Paton Walsh, thank you so much. great reporting. You're keeping us well informed. We appreciate you.

So the Biden administration officials say they had no indications that Afghanistan would fall as quickly as it did to the Taliban. But there's a memo from more than a dozen diplomats warning last month of a potential catastrophe in Afghanistan.

SANCHEZ: Let's bring in CNN Pentagon correspondent Oren Liebermann.

Oren, walk us through what these classified cables said.

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: So Boris and Christi, this was a memo sent, as you point out, by a dozen diplomats in mid- July, warning that Afghanistan could collapse, the Taliban could take over. But crucially, even they thought it was after August 31st; that is, after the withdrawal of the U.S. military forces.


LIEBERMANN: And that was some of the concern here. There had been warnings earlier. But they say too many of those were dismissed or ignored as alarmist. Now President Biden did acknowledge this when he spoke yesterday. He

said, look, the consensus was that it simply wouldn't happen that quickly. That's what we heard from the Biden administration, from the Pentagon.

But nobody believed and there wasn't intelligence to support the idea that the Afghan military would basically vanish, as the Taliban made its advances. That being said, some of the recommendations or requests, the asks in this memo were taken into account over the course of the last few days or weeks.

But as we see from the situation we're looking at now, the situation is very far from perfect.

That being said, there's a tremendous amount of work being done to move this process forward as quickly as possible for all of its challenges. That is the work of the U.S. troops on the ground.


LIEBERMANN (voice-over): Kabul has become a tale of two cities. Outside the gated walls of the airport, panic, despair. Inside the compound, there is what so many Afghans feared was lost, a measure of hope.

There are 5,800 troops at Hamid Karzai International Airport, some for security for the most important piece of real estate in the country right now. But for many others, this is a humanitarian mission.

The military has come with food, water and medical supplies. Here, something as simple as water, in large, clear plastic bottles, something that's small has an impact on those fleeing for their lives, especially after hours of waiting in the summer heat of Afghanistan.

A father passes his child to a Marine for medical help. The Marines say the infant was treated and reunited with the family at the airport.

LT. GEN. MARK HERTLING, CNN MILITARY ANALYST: Having prepared and partially executed a NEO, a non-combatant evacuation operation like what we're seeing right now, it is the toughest mission the military does.

So many challenges that require continuous adaptation to changing circumstances.

LIEBERMANN (voice-over): Here, another child passed to Marines, a picture that underscores how important Afghans feel it is to leave the country they once knew.

Powerful images like this have helped define this evacuation effort, pictures of the crowd and pictures of the people.

It is a difficult mission, one the White House acknowledged is a dangerous one, under pressure from the clock, the environment and the enemy. But it is one that presses on and brings some hope, maybe even some happiness to those who have known days of fear.


LIEBERMANN: The U.S. embassy is saying don't come to the airport, wait until you're instructed. That speaks to what we've seen, the Taliban controlling the perimeter and we'll how this plays out because there aren't that many days left to get this mission going and done.

PAUL: Very good point. Oren Liebermann, thank you..

CNN international correspondent Clarissa Ward has given us a riveting, heartbreaking look at the chaos and desperation in Afghanistan.

SANCHEZ: Yes, as she and her crew prepared to leave, she talked with Afghans about that harrowing journey to the airport. Here's Clarissa's report.


CLARISSA WARD, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): After three weeks in Afghanistan, we joined the crowds at Kabul airport. Now the only way out of the country.

(on camera): There's a huge block here, lots of cars.

(voice-over): hundreds of people wait in the blistering heat, hoping for a flight out.

(on camera): So we just managed to get into the airport compound and I have to say it was pretty intense. It was just like this crush of desperate people and screaming children and women and babies. And -- yes, it's not often you rarely see desperation like that.

(voice-over): The few people that do make it are exhausted and scared but they're the lucky ones. They've made it past the Taliban checkpoints, Afghan security guards and finally the airport gate. But they can't forget those who they left behind.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're getting out. We're happy for that. But we're heartbroken for our country. Especially for those can't get out, those who are stuck here. And we're really heartbroken. Our heart bleeds for them.

WARD (on camera): What do you feel for all the mothers with young daughters will now be growing up under Taliban rule?

The back of a pretty long line now. Transportations are just strained, they said.


WARD: And obviously, the priority is getting children and babies out as soon as possible. But I think we'll probably be here for a while.

You'd work for the U.S. military or ... ?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Not military but we are working with the Ministry of --




UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But we are also work with the foreign people, too.

WARD (on camera): And so you have visa?


WARD (voice-over): As we interview this couple, suddenly shouts behind us, a vehicle speeds through.

(on camera): That's a newborn baby that just flew past. That was a newborn.

Did you see the baby?

It was this big.

(voice-over): The baby, we find out, has heat stroke and needs treatment. A reminder for these families that they're close to safety but not there yet.

We stand in the blazing hot sun for hours. Everyone's seeking what shelter they can. Patients wearing thin. It's an agonizingly slow process but finally we're allowed inside. Out on the tarmac now safe but the chaos continues.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've been waiting for two days, yesterday since 3:00 am

WARD (on camera): Yesterday, since 3:00 am?


WARD (on camera): Tell me what the situation was like trying to get into the airport.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was really busy. And a lot of people were just fighting and trying to make way for themselves. But we push through.

WARD (on camera): We are certainly some of the very lucky ones here. Others, as you heard from that young man, have been waiting for two days. Others we saw getting turned around, sent back, told you don't have the appropriate paperwork.

And there's no question, everybody here is doing their best. But it's not clear if it's fast enough, if enough people can get out and how much longer they have to finish this massive operation -- Clarissa Ward, CNN, Kabul.


PAUL: Utmost thanks to Clarissa for all of the work she and her team are doing there.

Listen, we have to talk about COVID-19 because the cases are surging across the country. And we're talking with a physician who says, listen, this wave is completely different from what we've seen thus far in this pandemic. He's talking about younger people getting really sick and some not surviving.





SANCHEZ: We are 21 minutes past the hour.

The University of Virginia has disenrolled 238 students for not complying with the university's vaccine mandate. According to the school's updated guidelines, all students who live, learn or work in person at the university have to be fully vaccinated for the upcoming year, except for religious or medical exemptions.

Officials say only 49 were actually enrolled in classes. So it's unclear if the remaining, who are unenrolled, actually planned on returning to school in the fall.

PAUL: New this morning, full FDA approval of the Pfizer vaccine is, quote, "imminent," according to officials. Full approval could come as early as Monday, in fact. This comes as the Delta variant fuels the surge of coronavirus cases.

According to the Department of Health and Human Services, one in five ICUs now has at least 95 percent of beds occupied. The CDC says the rates of hospitalizations for children and young adults, 15 and under now, are at their highest level since the beginning of this pandemic.

Dr. Jenna Carpenter is with us, she's a pulmonary critical care physician in Alabama.

Doctor, thank you so much for being with us. I know you've had a tough time of it as of late. I was reading you lost three patients in a week from COVID-19, all of them under 40 years old. You say one of them was perfectly healthy with no underlying conditions.

How do you reconcile this virus and what it's doing to younger people now?

DR. JENNA CARPENTER, PULMONARY CRITICAL CARE PHYSICIAN: It's tough, Christi. You know, I already said earlier, this is much different than the demographic of patients that we're seeing back in the peak of December and January. The population it has affected now is much younger. Our average ICU

patient sent to us here in the past couple of weeks has ranged anywhere from age 47 to mid-50s. To me, when we hear numbers like that, it really gets, number one, the public's attention and gets our attention in the medical community.

No loss is ever any easier than any other. And the young ages that we are seeing now is very hard. It's very hard on the staff, hard on these family members. The 36-year old that I mentioned that we lost, he had no underlying known medical problems.

And I want to really emphasize that because a lot of people that have been coming out to me and talking about vaccination have said, well, you know, it's not that I was opposed to it. I was young and I was healthy. I didn't have underlying medical issues.

But you know what, the Delta variant doesn't care. It doesn't care if you're young, if you're old, male, female, Republican, Democrat. This does not -- this does not discriminate at all. And that's the key message I want to take is really targeting this young population, you know, 40 and under.


CARPENTER: We really want to encourage trying to pick up our vaccination rates in that particular group because they say, I just didn't -- I thought I could beat it. I thought I could fight it. I didn't really think at that point it was necessary for me. And that is unfortunately not what we are seeing here.

PAUL: I read that you said the worst phone call to make is that first phone call to someone, letting them know that the person they love has to be put on a ventilator.

How do you manage those phone calls?

What do you say?

And what does that mean to you when you say it's the hardest part?

CARPENTER: It is. That is the absolute hardest part of our job. At the same time, we are trying to reassure the family, reassure the patient, you know, that we are going to be there for them.

It's really gut-wrenching, is the only best term I know to describe that because you know, in your heart, you know it's going to be more than likely the last time that that loved one is able to see their family member or speak with them.

You know, there's been lots of times after we got that patient intubated that the staff really just breaks down into tears. It's very emotional. It's very personal. And we just have to, you know, deal with it the best we can and go on because, unfortunately, there is not only that patient but there are other patients.

But that is the hardest phone call you ever have to make for a family. Unfortunately, we know nationwide and as we've been going through this, once you get to the point of intubation and being on a ventilator, probably upwards of 80 percent of these patients do not come off the ventilator and that's extremely high numbers.

PAUL: We know, we've been hearing the last couple of weeks that, for your team specifically, the emotional weight of this is very real.

How are you?

Are you OK?

CARPENTER: Yes, we're doing OK. We just have to take it one day at a time. We really have to depend on the strengths of our team and our staff.

You know. I'll be honest, I have moments. Sunday evening, when I wrote that post honestly was a low moment for me. And I just want to focus on the positive a little bit here because there are hard days. There's going to be hard days to come.

You know, daily, we have our staff break down in tears. That's what I'm trying to get out there for people to see is I just want people, if they could just kind of walk 24 hours in the ICU, in the COVID units, in the hospital, to see, quite frankly, the absolute horrors and sadness that we're seeing, I hoped in my heart, in some way by hearing that personal story, that may encourage people to get vaccinated.

And really consider that, not coming at this for me to try to push this on anybody. But just from that aspect and just, you know, seeing what we're seeing now, with the younger ages. And just that patients are not doing well.

And we've got a very powerful weapon in our hands in the form of vaccination that we can utilize and use. Everyone is tired, Christi. I'm tired. The American public is tired. There is that pandemic fatigue that's there for everyone, for the health care workers, for the public, people are frustrated. We get that. I know that.

And it's just -- this is what I want to focus on. The main thing we've got in our pocket that can eventually bring this to an end.

PAUL: Right.

CARPENTER: It's like you've got your weapons choice at the table. You've got the most powerful weapon there. And we might choose to pick up the broom.

PAUL: Yes.

CARPENTER: You know, we need to move forward and I just want to really reach out and encourage people, not in your face and pushy way but just to really consider that.

PAUL: Yes, the world you're living in behind those closed doors in the hospital, I think, are different than those of us living outside. Dr. Jenna Carpenter, you and your team are doing such important work. Thank you so much for what you do.

CARPENTER: Thank you so much, Christi.

PAUL: Absolutely.

We'll be right back.





SANCHEZ: President Biden has committed to evacuating Afghans who have helped the U.S. military over the last 20 years, a mission that's proven challenging and potentially perilous as thousands of Afghans rush to the Kabul airport amid harassment and threats from the Taliban.

Many U.S. veterans who served alongside Afghan interpreters are scrambling to help their comrades. One of them is Major Thomas Schueman, who served multiple tours in Afghanistan and earned a Purple Heart.

He spent the last five years trying to help his interpreter, Zach, obtain a visa to come to the United States. Joining us now to share his story is Marine Corps Major Thomas Schueman. We should note we're actually using the name Zach. It's not his real name. It's for his safety that we're using the name Zach. He was able, fortunately, to get out of Afghanistan and make it to Qatar.

We appreciate you joining us this morning, Thomas. What can you tell us -- he's --

We lost him?

Unfortunately, we're having technical difficulties and sounds like we just lost Thomas Schueman.


SANCHEZ: Stand by for a moment, we're going to see if we can get him back.

Thomas, you can hear me?



SANCHEZ: Thankfully. So walk us through this ordeal that Zach had, trying to get to the airport in Kabul. At one point, he got a letter from the Taliban saying they had ordered his execution. SCHUEMAN: Many -- what we're talking about is the dramatic event

getting to the airport. What many Afghans are facing is getting from their province to Kabul.

Fortunately, I had a friend on the ground, ask them, what does it mean if he's not in Kabul, he said, it means they're not getting out.

So July 15th, we had the logistical event of getting his family to Kabul. That's after they'd received an updated Taliban letter that says, we're now taking over your province and if you don't turn yourselves in, we'll kill you.

That's the first step to Kabul, which is not safe in itself. And then the trips to the airport are significant events each and every time.

SANCHEZ: Major, you met Zach in 2010. You served together in one of the most dangerous parts of Afghanistan, where most interpreters simply wouldn't go. You say you have a lifelong commitment to him. Help us understand why.

Why is it that this bond is so meaningful to you?

SCHUEMAN: It's the same commitment that I make to any of my Marines, anybody that I had the privilege of serving and leading. You don't just leave them after four years in uniform. They become part of your family.

And Zach accepted and shared the same risk and the same burden as the Marines in my platoon. He was on the same firefights, we ran through the same mine fields. I mean, he at that point was much more than just an interpreter. He was part of my family. My Marines are my adopted sons and he was one of those that --


SANCHEZ: These technical difficulties are incredibly frustrating.

Major Thomas Schueman, we appreciate the time. Thank you so much in telling part of the story.

Stay with CNN. We'll be right back.





PAUL: So we have Jennifer Hudson, Barry Manilow, Bruce Springsteen, those are just a few of the music stars that are taking stage at tonight's "We Love New York: The Homecoming Concert." It's more than 20 artists, in fact, that are going to be there. This is a celebration of live music after more than a year of pandemic restrictions.

And the man who helped coordinate this special event is with us now, Live Nation's Geoff Gordon.

Geoff, thank you for being with us this morning. I think when we look at this, what we know is this concert means an awful lot for the people of New York. Help us understand the significance of it for them specifically.

GEOFF GORDON, REGIONAL PRESIDENT, LIVE NATION: Well, I think it's really important that we all get back to singing, having a good time, dancing in a safe way. Enjoying our favorite artists, live. Live is a very special, special moment for everybody. And it's a piece of art that only happens once when you watch live music.

PAUL: So we know that the people of New York, well, everybody needs this. I'm guessing that there are people who are will be traveling to New York potentially for this lineup.

You were able to secure some really talented people. I mean, Andrea Bocelli, Jennifer Hudson, LL Cool J, Carlos Santana. And the different genres are just remarkable.

What are these artists saying to you about what it means to them to be part of this?

GORDON: Well, it's reconnecting with their fan base really. We're very happy that Clive Davis and Doug Davis, those folks helped secure some of that talent. And it's an important time to reconnect with their fans.

PAUL: Did they talk about what this means to them in sense of being with -- you know, on stage or coming in and after some of these other -- these other artists that they're going to be performing with?

I mean, we haven't seen a concert like this in I don't know how long, right?

GORDON: Yes. That's correct. Yes, every artist here is very excited to be on this stage, this great stage, obviously, this beautiful park, Central Park, one and only New York City. So they're excited. I'm excited. I'm excited we won't have weather today so that's good as well.

Obviously, there's some impending weather that will come tomorrow. But today, we've got a break and I think karma is on our side.

PAUL: I'm assuming that being outside in Central Park was a very strategic move for you because there are still some pandemic restrictions in other areas. Talk to us how you're keeping people safe there.

GORDON: Well, everybody is keeping safe.


GORDON: The city has obviously mandated that we're going to have vaccine only, which is good. We just want to have a great, safe time and enjoy great music. PAUL: Alrighty. Geoff Gordon, we appreciate you taking time with us.

Best of luck to you. We'll be watching tonight.

GORDON: Best of luck to all of us and I thank CNN and Michael Rapinoe and Jason Miller and Omar and Jordan and Donna and Carlie, everybody who put their work into this and Clive Davis. And of course America. We're really excited for this show. I think it's an important time for all of us. Just get back and have some fun.

PAUL: It couldn't be easy in these circumstances, big kudos to all of you. Thank you so much.

GORDON: Thank you.

PAUL: Take good care.

Be sure to tune in tonight, 5:00 pm for this very special concert event. "We Love New York City," exclusively right here on CNN. We'll be right back.





PAUL: All right. Fried food, farm animals and carnival rides.

And you're going, where is she going right now?


PAUL: They're all staples of the Iowa State Fair that kicked off this week. And this year there's a vaccine center in the mix as well.

SANCHEZ: Yes, Republican congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene, known for pushing baseless conspiracy theories, she was among those who stopped by. As you might expect, some of the stuff she was peddling, misinformation, smelled a lot like what those animals leave behind. CNN's Donie O'Sullivan has more.


DONIE O'SULLIVAN, CNN TECH CORRESPONDENT: Yes, what did you guys have for lunch?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A lot of corn dogs.

O'SULLIVAN (voice-over): This year at the Iowa State Fair, corn dogs, cheese curds and a 1,300-pound boar named Irish Cowboy.

O'SULLIVAN: Any idea why they named this hog the Irish Cowboy? UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is it an Irish breed?

O'SULLIVAN: I hope not.

O'SULLIVAN (voice-over): And here as well this year, a vaccine center and two controversial members of Congress.

O'SULLIVAN: I don't know if you've heard of Marjorie Taylor Greene and Matt Gaetz.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, God, don't get me started on her, either.

O'SULLIVAN: They're coming here tomorrow.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, thank God, I won't be here.


O'SULLIVAN: Not a fan?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, can't stand that woman, she needs to keep her mouth shut.

O'SULLIVAN: What is it you don't like about her?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She just needs to keep her mouth shut because most of it comes out of it is stupidity, idiotic phrases that she doesn't back up.

O'SULLIVAN (voice-over): Greene brought her anti-science message to Iowa, repeating false claims about masks and vaccines.

REP. MARJORIE TAYLOR GREENE (R-GA): I'm completely against masks. They don't work. They're not stopping the spread of COVID. I'm also completely against forced vaccines. The vaccines are failing.

O'SULLIVAN: What do you think of Greene showing up here to the state fair?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think it's great. I think it's a great way to get in touch with the people of Iowa.

O'SULLIVAN: Can I ask, have you been vaccinated?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have not been vaccinated.

O'SULLIVAN: Would you consider getting the vaccine if more businesses -- there's parts of the country now where you can only go into a restaurant if you have proof of a vaccine?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, no, I'm not -- I'm not for that. This is America and we are a free country, free people. We have the right to decide what goes on with our bodies.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm not vaccinated. And I'm not going to get vaccinated. Our days are numbered. It don't matter whether it's COVID or I get in that truck and go down the highway and get hit by a semi or T-bone and killed. It don't matter, you know. Life is what it is, you know. We take it how God gives it to us.

O'SULLIVAN: But you wear a seat belt, right?



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There's a 50-50 chance that will save you or it won't save you.

O'SULLIVAN: But isn't that sort of like taking a vaccine, you take the steps to protect yourself when you can?



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. I'm not taking the jab.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What would it take to convince you to get the vaccine?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm not sure that I could be convinced. But you know, I'm open to looking at, you know, scientific evidence, real scientific evidence, not just something that they're spoon feeding everyone.

O'SULLIVAN (voice-over): He may be unable to be convinced but these men got their COVID shots at the fair.

O'SULLIVAN: Today was your first shot?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, it's my first shot.

O'SULLIVAN: And why did you decide to get it?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I thought that when I'm traveling and around other people and things like that, it would be a very good decision that I was making on that one.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We've had a lot of people stop and just talk to us. And we encouraged them and, after the conversation, they've been willing to come in and get their vaccine.

O'SULLIVAN (voice-over): Chuck Morgenstern and Vernon Hoover man the Magic Maze and Rock 'n' Roll Funhouse here. They say their decision to get the shot was because the next fair they're going to require the staff to get vaccinated and in part because they realized it was the safer thing to do.

O'SULLIVAN: Do you have concerns about the vaccine?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I heard that even though people have the vaccine they still end up getting COVID-19. So that was kind of a concern. But now that we're working the fairs and most of us don't wear masks anymore so I wanted to be better protected.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everyone should go on. And if they haven't had their vaccine, they should go and take it.

O'SULLIVAN: When I'm vaccinated I'm going to drop by The Maze. See you, guys.

O'SULLIVAN (voice-over): Donie O'Sullivan, CNN, Des Moines, Iowa.


PAUL: Be sure to watch the CNN original series, "The History of the Sitcom" tomorrow night on CNN.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The beautiful thing about the sitcom, is it has provided so much joy in times of uncertainty.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There's a lot of pressure in the 1960s.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): This notion of new products and everything being new, this kind of brave new world.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (voice-over): Everything's about the future and modernizing. Yes, it's all bright and shiny and you get cars that look like spaceships. But then it's a scary thing.

What does the future hold?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Air Force general Curtis Lemay suggested that we bomb North Vietnam back into the Stone Age.


PAUL: "History of the Sitcom" is tomorrow 9:00 pm Eastern here on CNN.

Thank you so much for sharing part of your morning with us, "SMERCONISH" is up next.

SANCHEZ: Don't go anywhere. We'll see you again in one hour.