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New Day Saturday
Cities From Gulf To Northeast Reeling From Storm's Destruction; Osaka Eyes Another "Break" After Shocking U.S. Open Upset; Interview With Mayor Ben Zahn (R), Kenner, LA; Texas Medical Association: Abortion Law "Criminalizes" Practice Of Medicine. Aired 8-9a ET
Aired September 04, 2021 - 08:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning and welcome to your "NEW DAY." I'm Boris Sanchez.
CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Hi, Boris. I'm Christi Paul.
Listen, people from the Gulf Coast to the Northeast are cleaning up this morning after the destruction left by Hurricane Ida. And in Louisiana specifically, millions still don't have power or running water. And the heat index is soaring into the triple digits.
SANCHEZ: Plus, booster confusion. Just one day after Dr. Fauci suggested that three shots may be the norm to fight COVID, top health officials are now saying not so fast. We'll break down what's behind the mixed messages.
PAUL: And growing backlash over restrictive new Texas law banning abortions after six weeks. Why the state's largest medical association is saying enough is enough.
SANCHEZ: And a U.S. Open stunner. Tennis star Naomi Osaka losing her match and her cool on the court. What she's now saying about her future in tennis.
PAUL: We always are so grateful to have your company. It is Saturday, September 4th. Thank you for waking up with us.
SANCHEZ: Good morning, Christi. We appreciate you sharing part of your Labor Day weekend with us. From the Gulf Coast region to the Northeast, cities across the country are reeling from the aftermath of Hurricane Ida.
In Louisiana, residents are dealing with fuel shortages, power outages, and now, sweltering heat. They're facing long lines to buy food at grocery stores. And Hurricane Ida is being blamed for at least 13 deaths in Louisiana and Mississippi. And still, more than 700,000 customers remain without power in Louisiana.
PAUL: Now, President Joe Biden did get a firsthand look at the destruction during a visit to the area. He promised federal help for people who are struggling to recover.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're in this together. And so, we're not going to leave any community behind. Rural, city, coastal, inland, and I promise, we're going to have your backs until this thing gets done.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: Everything Ida left behind stretches into the Northeast. At least 50 people there have died. The storm triggered flash flooding. It swept away homes and cars, spawned tornadoes across that region.
We do want to get an update on developments in Louisiana first in the aftermath of the hurricane.
CNN correspondent Adrienne Broaddus is with us from New Orleans. So, Adrienne, I'm assuming that is as you're talking earlier, the line of cars waiting for gas because of the triple digits coming and their cars are where they're finding their relief, is that right?
ADRIENNE BROADDUS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You are right. People started lining up here two hours ago. This is the first person in line. The man that is second in line came straight from the hospital here to the gas station and he says he just wants to go home. And he's praying that his power is on. But all of these folks are lined up to get gas at this station. It should open within the hour or so, but yesterday, they were delayed in opening. We don't know if that will happen today.
Nevertheless, there's a system once they do open. Vehicles will pull into these first three pumps to get their gas. And then on the other side, you see folks already standing in line. They have physically walked to the station with their gas cans. And the gas that they use in those cans is used to fuel the generators that they have at home.
Nevertheless, some power here in Louisiana has been restored, but across the state, still, more than 700,000 people do not have power. That means no lights, no AC, and it's really hot here, folks. And no refrigeration.
We also noticed this portable light. We've seen some of these lights scattered across the city. And this helps, especially in the overnight hours, because it's really dark. Listen in to what some people have told us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ERIC MERTZ, ST. ROSE, LUOISIANA RESIDENT: Realized that the basic necessities that you have is so hard to get, but our electricity is just, it's just amazing how a storm can change your whole daily activities.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The biggest challenge is that in trying to move around in the dark. You know, you can only get so much light from candles and kerosene lamps and stuff like that.
(END VIDEO CLIP) BROADDUS: So, as you can see, people who remain here in New Orleans, and quite frankly, across the state, are struggling. I spoke with an employee who works at this gas station. He carries a handgun with him every day as he helps people fill up their tanks and it's visible.
Less than 10 miles away from here, police say a man who was trying to get gasoline was killed. And still this morning, investigators are looking for the suspect who took off. Christi and Boris?
SANCHEZ: Yeah, when there is tremendous need, sometimes desperation creates very difficult situations and that begets crime. So, Adrienne Broaddus, thank you so much for that report. Stay safe out there.
PAUL: Thanks Adrienne.
Listen, just west of New Orleans is the City of Kenner, Louisiana. And the city's mayor sent us this video. Take a look here.
Look at the roots that are uprooted on that tree. The power lines that are just mangled. That entire area has lost power. The mayor says progress is being made, though. He has graciously agreed to join us live on the phone with an update. Mayor Ben Zahn is who we're talking to.
Mayor, thank you so much for being with us. First of all, tell us -- we're seeing these pictures. Help us understand the breadth of the problems there and what is your most urgent need this morning?
MAYOR BEN ZAHN (R), KENNER, LA(via telephone): Power. It's epic wind damage. We've suffered a lot. Power is being restored slowly in some areas. When you don't have power, though, you need ice. So, we have been trying to get as much ice out as we can, because people need to keep things as cold as possible. But getting our electricity restored would be, you know, something that would be great for the residents here in the City of Kenner and the surrounding area.
Mr. Mayor, I know that September 8th is when most of the metropolitan areas, Baton Rouge, New Orleans, are said to have the expectation of getting power back. Are you in that same time frame?
ZAHN: Lucky, we are. It is the finish date that they are giving us. We did have some power restored in a very few neighborhoods here in the City of Kenner on yesterday, about 2:00 in the morning yesterday. So, they have given us drop dead date here, of around September 8th, to get all the rest of that power restored.
PAUL: What kind of help are you getting from state and federal agencies?
ZAHN: They've been fantastic. I mean, you know, the president did not come here, because we just have wind damage, which I'm not making light of, but there's other areas that have been worse. So, he has responded very quickly. Our governor responded very, very quickly. FEMA and task forces from all -- from some areas of the country were here on actually Monday or Tuesday morning. So, very quick response.
Actually, as I got to city hall -- city hall has been destroyed, too. Extensive roof damage. And when I got to city hall, probably 8:00 that morning, 7:30, 8:00 that morning, the National Guard was waiting for me. So, the response from the federal government and the state government has been fantastic. No complaints there at all.
PAUL: So, Mr. Mayor, what are you hearing from the people of your community?
ZAHN: They're scared. They need some hope. And we have been giving them hope. My message is then, we're going to get through this. We've been through Katrina before. We will definitely get through this one.
This one is probably, without the water, without the water, it is probably worse wind damage than Katrina. But we've come back from that. That was 16 years ago. We're going to come back from this.
I have a counsel that works very, very close with my administration, our police department, our fire department, we're out there. We've been given -- we have a mall that kind of went down, so we have been using that area to do massive giveaways every day since this thing started. Water, food. We also had lost water pressure, too. So that is a very big problem when you don't have water or, you know, running water or electricity.
PAUL: Did you say, you lost the water pressure. Is the water back on for some folks?
ZAHN: Water came back on, pressure started coming back around Wednesday. We are under Jefferson Parish's Water, it's like a county. Jefferson Parish's Water. So, the parish restored our water, at least by Wednesday. Some areas still have low pressure, but it's not like it was at all. It's much, much better. But that's a dangerous situation. We had two fires and we lost two apartment complexes on Sunday night because of no water.
PAUL: Wow. I mean, the pictures that you've sent us are just extraordinary when you look at that and think, this is strictly wind. This is not water damage, by any means. But when you walk around your city and you see what has happened, and how you've all responded, what have you learned from this that you think might serve you in the future?
ZAHN: You know, you can only be prepared for the event.
We were prepared to get out early Monday morning, once it passed. We could not get out, because we couldn't see to cut our way out of the neighborhoods. The trees were blocking the roadways. But we immediately had our contractors and also our internal teams ready to go out and push everything to the side, debris collection is happening now.
The only thing we can learn is that we now know, we can't respond immediately. We have to wait for daylight, when you lose electricity. But this city has been prepared, this administration has been prepared to make sure that we're out and ready to go.
We already have debris collection happening in the City of Kenner. That's something you're not seeing in other areas around here, because we're jumping back quick. We have our own MERT team, Municipal Emergency Response Team, that's ready to go right here in the City of Kenner. I think this is one of the best prepared cities in this region.
So, the only thing that we can learn is that we need to stick together more. I've seen things I've never seen before. People from all walks of life only coming together, only worried about each other. Not worried about themselves.
PAUL: And you know what, we need that in today's day and age.
PAUL: Mayor Ben Zahn, thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us. We know that your schedule is so full right now. Best of luck to all of you there and thank you again.
ZAHN: I appreciate it. Thank you.
PAUL: Thank you, Mr. Mayor.
SANCHEZ: We want to turn our focus to the Northeast now, which is also recovering after the remnants of Ida slammed into that region. And some roads there are still underwater.
PAUL: The remnants of the storm triggered historic flash flooding, several tornadoes. CNN's Pete Muntean has more.
PETE MUNTEAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Boris, Christi, until now, with flooding was the major concern associated with this storm, but we're just now getting a fuller picture of all of the damage. One of eight tornadoes touched down here in Fort Washington, Pennsylvania. It hit the township building behind me and peeled its roof off like a tuna can.
MUNTEAN (voice-over): Cleanup across the East Coast is just beginning in cities and towns large and small. In Center City, Philadelphia, crews are racing to clear the Vine Street Expressway. Deep water is being diverted into the slowly receding Schuylkill River, which swelled Thursday into levels not seen in two centuries.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The recovery process for this is going to take months.
MUNTEAN: The EF-2 tornado that swirled through Fort Washington, Pennsylvania, killed one woman when a tree fell on her house. The twister then targeted the high school, township building, police department, and Ron Copeland's neighborhood. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's devastating. It really is devastating to see all of this. You never think it can happen to you. You never think it's going to happen in your neighborhood. But unfortunately, there's the proof. It did.
MUNTEAN: The new numbers are becoming more gruesome. Across New York, authorities say 11 people were killed when their basement apartments turned into death traps.
MAYOR SEAN SPILLER (D-NJ), TOWNSHIP OF MONTCLAIR: These were people's lives. These were people's homes. These were people's vehicles. These were people that had been traumatized with car rescues and we're literally getting people out of their homes and apartments.
MUNTEAN: Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf toured the damage in the Philadelphia suburbs of Montgomery County, where officials counted 467 calls for water rescues on Wednesday night alone. More than twice the previous countywide record.
(on camera): How much of this damage do you attribute to climate change?
GOV. TOM WOLF (D-PA): Most of it. I think fewer and fewer people are climate deniers these days. I think the more you see this kind of thing, the indiscriminate and intense nature of the storms, I'm not sure how you can sit on the sidelines and say, you know, we don't need to do anything.
MUNTEAN (voice-over): Fort Washington Fire Chief Andrew Rathfon says his childhood neighborhood was crushed by this storm of unprecedented power, now leaving an unimaginable toll.
ANDREW RATHFON, FORT WASHINGTON, PENNSYLVANIA FIRE CHIEF: Just be patient. You know check on your neighbors and you know we're going to get through this. We're going to clean it up. We're going to rebuild and we're going to be stronger than we were before as a result of this.
MUNTEAN (on camera): Beyond the mortal cost of the dozens of deaths associated with this storm, there will also be a massive monetary cost, as well. Governor Tom Wolf of Pennsylvania told me live on the air that it's just too soon to say officially just how much all of this cleanup will cost. Boris, Christi?
SANCHEZ: Pete Muntean, thank you so much for that report.
Listen, there are a lot of people that need a helping hand right now. And you can find out more on what you can contribute to the cause by going to CNN.com/specials/impactyourworld.
PAUL: And thank you for doing so.
So, the president's plan to roll out vaccine boosters may have hit a snag. Why everyone may not be eligible for a third dose. SANCHEZ: Plus, the president ramping up his criticism of that new Texas law that bans most abortions. What can his Justice Department do about it? That's coming up this hour.
PAUL: 18 minutes past the hour right now. The White House may have to scale back its plans to roll out COVID-19 booster shots later this month, limiting the booster only to people who have received the Pfizer vaccine.
SANCHEZ: Yeah, according to officials familiar with internal discussions, the FDA is concerned about overall approval of a third dose for all adults at this point. CNN's Athena Jones has more.
ATHENA JONES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Confusion and possible scaling back of the White House's COVID-19 booster plan for September less than a day after Dr. Anthony Fauci said --
DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, DIRECTOR, NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF ALLERGY AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES: I would not at all be surprised that the adequate, full regimen for vaccination will likely be three doses.
JONES: As the Delta variant drives new COVID cases in the United States to nearly 170,000 a day on average, new data shows a third so- called booster dose of the COVID mRNA vaccine provides more protection against the virus.
FAUCI: There is no doubt from the dramatic data from the Israeli study that the boosts that are being now done there and contemplated here support very strongly the rational for such an approach.
JONES: In making the case for boosters, Fauci explaining Israeli data shows they reduce the risk of infection by 11-fold and of severe illness by 10-fold in more than 1 million people over the age of 60.
Another study showed the risk of infection fell to 68 percent seven to 13 days after a third dose, and by as much as 84 percent after 14 to 20 days. President Joe Biden announced in late August --
BIDEN: This booster program is going to start here in September the 20th, pending approval of the FDA and the CDC committee, outside experts.
JONES: But federal health officials now warning the White House they may not have enough data on the Moderna vaccine by then to recommend boosters for anyone other than Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine recipients.
DR. PAUL OFFIT, FDA VACCINES ADVISORY COMMITTEE: You can't make an announcement and then say we'll wait to see what the FDA and CDC says. That's just really not the right way to do it.
JONES: The acting FDA commissioner explaining why the booster announcement was made before all the data came in.
DR. JANEY WOODCOCK, FDA ACTING COMMISSIONER: When it happens, we don't want to have a couple more months where we have to get ready and make a plan and then execute against the plan.
JONES (on camera): And Moderna announced Friday it finished submitting its data on booster doses to the FDA, so it's unclear if that data will be sufficient enough to allow the FDA to reach a decision as to whether to OK Moderna's vaccine boosters by September 20th.
Athena Jones, CNN, New York.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
SANCHEZ: Athena, thank you so much.
Joining us now is Dr. Jeremy Faust. He's an emergency physician at the Brigham and Women's Hospital.
Dr. Faust, thank you so much for sharing your expertise with us this morning. I'm curious to get your reaction about the White House possibly delaying this initial day for the booster rollout of September 20th. The president there had made clear that this was pending FDA approval, CDC approval. But doesn't this back and forth create confusion that then gets exploited by those pushing nonsense about vaccines and then create vaccine hesitancy?
DR. JEREMY FAUST, EMERGENCY PHYSICIAN, BRIGHAM AND WOMEN'S HOSPITAL: Good to see you, Boris, and thanks for having me.
Yes, it absolutely can have that effect. And that's been the concern of getting ahead of the science. Dr. Fauci chose his words very carefully. He said the data provides the rationale for such an approach, but not compelling enough to actually roll it out.
We actually need to have time to study this. I think there's a difference between having a head start and having a false start. A head start would be to say, we are hearing signals from around the world and even here that some people may need a boost at some time, and we're going to find out who that is and when that is, and whether it's safe. And the minute we know that information, we will be ready to roll it out. And that would be a running start.
But I think instead of that, we have kind of gotten in a situation where it seemed like the administration thought the case was stronger than it really was, and then regulators had to say, hold it, we actually need to do our normal scientific processes, so people are correct to feel whiplash, which is too bad, because the vaccine is remarkably safe, remarkably effective and now we just need to learn a little bit more about it.
SANCHEZ: And I'm curious to get the specifics on that from you. Because you've made clear in some of your writing that the rush to the rollout was based on summaries of Israeli data, but that the raw data may reveal something a little bit more complex. What is it in the raw data that regulators are going to be looking for?
FAUST: Well, the studies in Israel did not really compare directly people who got boosted to those who did not. It compared people who got boosted to themselves. So how did they do before and after they were boosted?
And that study design is kind of weak. You always want to do something in parallel and real-time, because then you really know that the exposures were the same. And the other thing that we don't really have yet from the Israeli data is a full readout on the ultimate outcomes. Because we saw from previous data, both in Israel and here, that you need a longer tail to see how many critical illnesses there are.
The study that came out last week that Dr. Fauci was relying on mostly really only covered a few days, a couple of weeks, and Israeli has shown us before that you need to go out a little bit farther than that. That's the first thing.
The second part is how much of this is decreased infections versus decreased illness once infected. And if it's really the first one, if it's decreasing infections, which it very much seems to be in the initial signal, the question is how long does that protection really last? Because if it's a very short-term effect, essentially, we just bought a few weeks of time or a few months, but if it's a long-term effect, then they're on to something, especially in that 60-plus subset that has been studied. So, there's a lot to tease out, that I fear has not yet been.
SANCHEZ: And Doctor, in some parts of the country, new cases are continuing to climb. You see it on your screen there, of the Delta variant obviously a huge issue, and we're still in the middle of a wave of new cases. I'm curious as to what you're seeing in your emergency room, in your hospital.
FAUST: Well, here in the state and where I work, we are seeing some breakthrough cases, but most of the hospitalizations remain in the unvaccinated. Our state is now tracking breakthrough infections and breakthrough hospitalizations and breakthrough deaths. And I had a chance to really get into that data the past couple of days.
And what I found was highly reassuring for the vaccinated and really made me feel like maybe boosting is not necessary just yet, because we see for example that a vast, vast majority of the hospitalizations are in the unvaccinated, even though in Massachusetts, most people are vaccinated. So, it's really a good sign.
We're seeing the vaccine efficacy, the effectiveness, hold with respect to whether you get hospitalized or not, so what I'm seeing on the ground matches that. Which is for the most part, when I see somebody who's sick enough to be hospitalized for COVID, it is a person who was not vaccinated. The people who are having breakthrough infections, whether it's people in my life that I know who have had that or people I see in the hospital, those folks are doing well. A lot of them aren't feeling great for a few days, but the vaccine has given them so much protection that it's not really a medical emergency for those people. They can go home and then they can resume their lives.
So, what I'm seeing is that, yes, Delta breaks through and causes infection in a lot of cases, but even in the nursing home breakthroughs, there have been very few hospitalizations and really very few deaths so far from that in Massachusetts, which is a big, huge deal. It tells us that these vaccines continue to perform beyond initial expectations.
SANCHEZ: An important message to get out there, especially for those that are still hesitant to get the vaccine. Dr. Jeremy Faust, we appreciate you sharing that message this morning. Thanks.
FAUST: Thank you.
PAUL: So, companies are taking a stand on the new strict abortion law in Texas. Why they felt compelled to get involved. That's next. Stay close.
PAUL: Not only has Texas recently enacted the most restrictive abortion bill in the country. There's another bill on Texas Governor Greg Abbott's desk right now that would reduce access to abortion- inducing medication. And that's led the Texas Medical Association, which represents more than 55,000 doctors and medical students in the state to issue a scathing statement condemning the recent legislative actions.
They write this. "Enough. This law could normalize vigilante interference in the patient-physician relationship in other complex, controversial medical or ethical situations. Clearly these provisions are unconstitutional."
With us now, Dr. John Carlo who chairs the Texas Medical Association Council on Legislation. Dr. Carlo, we appreciate you taking the time to be with us. So, we know in this statement when you mention, "normalizing vigilante interference." What is your greatest fear in that regard? And do you expect that that kind of vigilante might bleed into other areas, outside of abortion?
DR. JOHN CARLO, CHAIR, TEXAS MEDICAL ASSOCIATION COUNCIL ON LEGISLATION: Well, good morning. Thank you for having me on this morning.
That's exactly right. We're worried that this idea, this strategy, if you will, could really go into other things. You know, doctors do many things for patients that could be you know deemed controversial or, you know, like that. So, we're really worried that this is a slippery slope that ultimately could really threaten overall the doctor/patient relationship. Which we feel is really the most important thing we're trying to address here.
PAUL: I want to make sure that our audience understands that you are not taking a political stance on this. This is the -- this politically is not the issue that you want to talk about. But obviously, you've talked to, I would think, with as many physicians that you represent, you've talked to some of them. What did they tell you about this?
CARLO: Well, you're right. You know Texas Medical Association does not weigh in on the moral, ethical, or legal issue of abortion itself. You know with our membership we have physicians on both side of this argument. But what we're worried about is really threatening that again, a doctor/patient relationship. And when we talk to our doctors that take care of women during pregnancy, you know they feel the most threatened by this new law.
And you know really, it shouldn't be about putting the doctors in the courts. You know this is a different issue and we really urge them to look at it from a legal standpoint and not put the doctors right in the middle of you know frivolous lawsuits. You know we have a tough job to do. Keep us with our patients and really, this is just not the right strategy.
PAUL: So, Brent Annear, the spokesman for the Texas Medical Association told the "Austin American-Statesman," that the TMA, yeah, they did not testify or advocate for or against this bill when they had the chance to do so.
He did say the TMA doesn't always do so publicly. Were there private conversations between the organization, the Texas Medical Association and lawmakers?
CARLO: There were. There were absolutely. You know, a lot of times, we do a lot of our work, both in the process of the legislation, both in giving testimony publicly, but we also do a lot of work in conversations with our legislatures in their offices.
You know we really try to work with everybody in trying to come up with the best solution with what our legislators are trying to do. And in this particular situation, I will say, we did have very limited opportunity to engage in things where we could have changed parts of the law, where we're most concerned about.
And I do think that it is important to know that we really worked hard to make sure that our physician/patient relationship was not threatened by either of these pieces of legislation. And unfortunately, we were not successful in getting those key elements addressed as part of the legislation overall.
PAUL: What stood in your way?
CARLO: I think there was many things that stood in our way, particularly in this special session that we had here in Texas, there was a very, very short timeline. As you know, the House did not have quorum for quite a bit amount of time. There was very limited hearings on the current bill that is now on the governor's desk, which is pertaining to some of the very severe penalties that the physicians might be facing.
And so, I think it's a lot of things that sort of added up together, unfortunately. And again, where we are right now is a real concern about how this affects doctors and patients and really understanding that we don't want to put doctors at the front line of this, putting us in the middle of a bunch of lawsuits and really distracting what we're trying to do, which is take care of our patients.
PAUL: Dr. John Carlo, thank you for taking time to be with us. We appreciate it today.
CARLO: Thank you.
PAUL: Of course. We'll be right back.
SANCHEZ: Is tennis star Naomi Osaka headed for another mental health break. The reigning U.S. Open champion let emotions get the best of her during her third-round match last night. She slammed her racket into the ground and as you saw there, she sent the ball flying into the crowd at Arthur Ashe Stadium.
PAUL: She did lose the match to 18-year-old Canadian Leylah Fernandez. Now the 23-year-old missed two major tournaments this year to work on her anxiety and depression. She returned for the Tokyo Olympics in July. After this loss, she said, she might have to step away from the game again.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NAOMI OSAKA, TENNIS PLAYER: I honestly don't know when I'm going to play my next tennis match. Sorry. But --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thank you, everyone.
OSAKA: OK. Yeah. But I think I'm going to take a break from playing for a while.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PAUL: Certainly, hoping that she's OK. Just hoping that she's OK. And we'll keep you posted as we learn more.
Now, four Olympic golds, four World Cup championships, and now they may be facing their biggest challenge ever. And that is the fight for equal pay. We're talking about the U.S. women's national soccer team, undisputed global superstars of the sport.
SANCHEZ: No question about that. But the players, as you may recall, sued the U.S. Soccer Federation in 2019, saying they didn't get paid equally with the men's team and the U.S. women's soccer players are hardly alone, as we approach the premiere of the CNN film "LFG," which chronicles the female player's battles both on and off the field. Our own Carolyn Manno takes a look at what women across the sports world are doing to get the equal pay and respect they deserve.
BILLIE JEAN KING, FORMER NO. 1 WORLD TENNIS PLAYER: As a girl growing up, I was always taught to be so grateful for the crumbs. And women are taught that.
CAROLYN MANNO, CNN SPORTS (voice-over): When it comes to gender equity in sports, images like those from the weight rooms at this year's NCAA tournament underscore a heavy truth for female athletes.
MEGHAN DUGGAN, U.S. ICE HOCKEY OLYMPIC MEDALIST: Women professional and national team ice hockey players have to battle and fight every single day. The resources that the National Hockey League players have access to are unbelievable. And, you know, they've earned them. But so, have the women.
MANNO (voice-over): The U.S. women's national teams in both hockey and soccer have fought for increases in wages and equitable treatment, arguing the value they bring to global events like the Olympics and world championships isn't being compensated fairly.
In 2017, members of the U.S. hockey team reached a landmark four-year deal with USA hockey, after threatening a boycott. This past April, the soccer team reached a partial settlement with U.S. Soccer on better working conditions. The team is still appealing the dismissal of an equal pay lawsuit filed against the federation in 2020.
The USSF provided a statement in August. Saying, "U.S. Soccer is committed to equal pay and is proud to support these pieces of legislation which seek to ensure that all national governing bodies offer equal opportunity, including investment, promotional support, working conditions and compensation for their athletes, staff, and other senior officials."
ALEX MORGAN, PROFESSIONAL SOCCER PLAYER: We will continue to fight. We did file an appeal and as many people know, that takes many, many months. So, we're in the thick of it right now and we're really optimistic for the outcome. But we know that we have to be patient along the way.
MANNO (voice-over): In professional leagues, women's average salaries are making small-scale gains over time. The leagues were established later than the ones belonging to their male counterparts, but the pay gap remains alarmingly wide.
MUFFET MCGRAW, FORMER WOMEN'S COLLEGE BASKETBALL COACH: If you look at the WNBA, they're not trying to get the same salary as the NBA. They just want a little bit more. They want to be able to live without having to go to Europe and play. They want to have a salary that will accommodate them for the entire year. I don't think that's too much to ask.
CANDACE PARKER, WNBA PLAYER: You know I realize that the WNBA is 25 years young. The NBA has been around for 75 years. I understand that just because LeBron makes $90 million, it doesn't make me that way. But it's the perception of what women athletes are in the sense that they cannot sell. And that goes with marketing.
MANNO (on camera): The athletes and executives that I spoke with point towards corporate investment as an area that can have a tangible effect on closing the pay gap and we're seeing a little bit of that.
Last week, Michelob ULTRA invested $100 million in marketing women's sports over the next five years. And AIG set a new benchmark in the LPGA at the AIG Women's Open. Their payout is now set at $5.8 million. That's the largest in the sport's history. Lucrative opportunity at the U.S. Open here as well. And of course, this event set at a venue bearing a name of one of the titans of gender equity.
CATHY ENGELBERT, WNBA COMMISSIONER: We're so thankful for athletes like Billie Jean King, who have stepped up, have used her voice, and continued to use it over decades.
PARKER: Now I'm looking in this generation and I'm seeing now my daughter is going to have far more doors opened for her. So, it's our responsibility continue to push this forward.
KING: We're only going to be happy with the cake, the icing and the cherry on top. We deserve it. And we're going to go for it. No more being happy with the crumbs.
Carolyn Manno, CNN, New York.
PAUL: A cake isn't that good without frosting. She is right. Be sure to tune in. The all-new CNN film "LFG" premieres Monday, 9:00 p.m. Eastern, right here on CNN.
PEDRO ANDRADE, JOURNALIST AND EXECUTIVE PRODUCER, "UNKNOWN AMAZON WITH PEDRO ANDRADE": Should I keep going?
(voice-over) I've always dreamed of visiting the Amazon. So, I've come back to find out what's going on and arguably the most environmentally important place on earth.
PAUL: So, Pedro Andrade experienced COVID in a very different way than the rest of us. He's based in New York. He traveled to Brazil shooting the show, "Unknown Amazon with Pedro Andrade" and meeting indigenous people who live in the most remote part of the world.
ANDRADE: Going into these communities, God forbid, you take any kind of virus or illness to them, it can destroy an entire ethnicity.
PAUL: He was tested for COVID 76 times. And he and his team were evacuated twice. At one point, held hostage by 250-armed, indigenous people.
ANDRADE: The Amazon is an uncomfortable place, with a pandemic or not. One of the most terrifying moments of my life was when I saw you know spears and a bow and arrow like pointed at my forehead, because there is this animalistic aspect to that confrontation that I had never faced before.
I'm not resentful towards the people that did this to us. It wouldn't be fair for me to not acknowledge the injustice they've gone through, the trauma they've gone through. These people that live in the Amazon, these indigenous communities, these descendants of slaves, they've been forgotten, they've been destroyed, they've been ignored. But that made me think, and it made me try to see their side.
I feel like we live in such a polarized moment, not just in America, not just in Brazil, but in the world. That like sort of trying to understand the other side and trying to actually listen more than we talk. I think it's a big lesson. You have some indigenous communities that have been exposed to the Internet and they're more urban. You have indigenous communities that have never seen a plane. That don't even understand what a cell phone does.
I cook with them. I dance with them. I pray with them. I connect with them in a way that's not just verbal, because quite often, they didn't speak Spanish, Portuguese or English, but on a human level. You know, we found humanity in each other. We found kindness. We found altruism. We found generosity. I wanted this humanity to be the -- the main aspect of this show, because I wanted people to relate to them.
PAUL: He says this experience set up his reset, you know, how he changed and grew during COVID. And he says the reset is what he sees in other people.
ANDRADE: I think we've learned how important it is to remain emotionally attached. I feel like now I embrace the moments better than I did before I got to the Amazon. I embrace the lack of Constance. You know, I embrace the fact that each moment is a moment. And we have to live the present without all that anxiety of what's going to happen and without any regrets of what already happened.
If I learned anything, and if there is a common thread between my experience in the Amazon and in New York, it's how resilient we are. How much we're able to adapt. And how we really can count on each other when things get really bad.
PAUL: "Unknown Amazon with Pedro Andrade," I mean, the conversation I had with him was really striking and highly encourage you to check out the five-part series, I think it is. But they take on everything.
SANCHEZ: Look forward to watching that incredible conversation.
We do have to talk about the severe weather that people around the country are facing from New York to Louisiana. Communities still trying to recover from the devastating effects of Hurricane Ida. We're going to take you to these places after a quick break.