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New Day Sunday

Migrant Numbers Surge, With 3,700-Plus Unaccompanied Children In U.S. Border Patrol Custody; House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy To Visit Border On Monday; CDC: One In Five Americans Has Received At Least One Vaccine Dose; Biden Turns Focus To Touting And Implementing $1.9 Trillion Relief Package; New Wave Of Lockdowns For Italy As Virus Spreads; Small Change In CDC Data Tracking Causes Bump In Daily Vaccinations; How Broadway Looks To Stage A Comeback After COVID-19. Aired 7-8a ET

Aired March 14, 2021 - 07:00   ET



COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Georgia Tech coach Josh Pastner getting love from his team there. He's trending this morning, as his Yellow Jackets are turning it down for the first time in over a decade, technique and most of their trick to the ACC championship game after Virginia dropped out due to COVID with a 15th ranked Florida State.

Fifteen teams from coast to coast punched their tickets yesterday, Victor and Christi. Only five more guarantees pass can be won in conference title games today. Then, dozens of teams are sweating it out waiting tonight, hoping to be invited to the dance.


Coy Wire, thank you so much.


PAUL: Let's go to the next hour of NEW DAY.


JOSEPH R. BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I will not relent until we beat this virus. And I need you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Health officials also deeply concerned Americans are letting their guard down.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As I was walking down the street, I noticed the boards filling up, people wanting to get out and party.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: These are the faces of the immigration surge on the U.S.-Mexico border.

JEN PSAKI, WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY: There are more children coming across the border than we have facilities for.

GOV. GREG ABBOTT (R), TEXAS: There is a crisis on the Texas border right now.

This crisis is a result of President Biden's open border policies.



ANNOUNCER: This is NEW DAY WEEKEND with Victor Blackwell and Christi Paul.

PAUL: Beautiful shot of Capitol Hill there and the flags flying as we begin with what we have to tell you is a crisis at the U.S./Mexico border this morning. More than 3,000 unaccompanied children are in U.S. Border Patrol custody. This is a number that's risen to unprecedented heights.

BLACKWELL: Now, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas is directing FEMA to step in and help with the surge.

And tomorrow, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy will lead a group of Republicans to visit the U.S.-Mexico border in Texas.

CNN's Daniella Diaz is up on Capitol Hill for us this morning.

So, what do we expect to see?

DANIELLA DIAZ, CNN CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER: Victor, it's going to be an incredibly busy week in Congress this week. As you said, starting with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy leading a group of 12 Republicans to El Paso tomorrow where they will tour a migrant processing facility. This has been a major issue with Republicans. They have been hitting the Biden administration on this influx of migrants crossing the border in recent weeks, especially amid a global pandemic.

Here's what he had to say during his weekly press conference this week on the issue.


REP. KEVIN MCCARTHY (R-CA), MINORITY LEADER: So, on Monday I'm going to the border. I'm taking 12 members with me from the committees of jurisdiction, looking for ourselves, working on trying to find a solution. But we know the solution is quite easy because most of this is all caused by Biden's action.


DIAZ: So this has become a talking point with Republicans hitting the Biden administration the migrants crossing the border has become a major issue in this country in recent weeks. Immigration will continue to be an issue in Congress this week. The House will take up two votes on two separate immigration bills, the first being a bill that would allow Dreamers to apply for citizenship if it passed.

The second bill would reform the visa bill for agricultural workers. Both of these bills have already passed through the House in recent years, but they're passing it again now that the Democrats have a slim majority in the House and Senate and Joe Biden is president. So they are hoping they can get this legislation through Congress.

They are also going to take up a vote on the Violence Against Women Act and in the Senate, they will have a vote tomorrow on Deb Haaland being the secretary of interior, marking the 13th cabinet -- if she's confirmed, the 13th cabinet confirmation for the Biden's administration out of 15 spots for his administration. So, a busy week in Congress this week, guys.

PAUL: All righty. Daniella Diaz, thank you.

BLACKWELL: CNN's Ed Lavandera witnessed the wave of migrants crossing the Rio Grande. Watch.


ED LAVANDERA, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As the sun sets on the Rio Grande, our boat winds its way through the deep bend of the river that separates Texas from Mexico near the town of Hidalgo. That's when we stumble across a group of migrants loading into a raft.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hey, amigos, hey!

LAVANDERA: Our group eases the tension.

A few men appear to lead the raft full of parents and children to the U.S. side.

The Rio Grande valley has been ground zero of the latest surge of migration and here you see the operation unfolding right in front of us.


LAVANDERA: After the first raft crosses the river, the magnitude of this moment reveals itself.


Dozens of migrants emerge and walk down to the river's edge.

You can see that this is a serious operation. There are dozens of migrants. There are still some above the hills there. It is quickly moving a handful of guys moving people back and forth on these rafts. They have life vest for the migrants.

It's a highly organized system. We'll watch the raft make about six trips back and forth. Scenes like this are escalating in the Rio Grande Valley. There is the growing perception among migrants in Central America that the Biden administration is more welcoming, even though many are still being turned away.

CHRIS CABRERA, NATIONAL BORDER PATROL COUNCIL: These are really, really high numbers. I've never seen it this busy in 19 years. LAVANDERA: Chris Cabrera is with the National Border Patrol Council,

the union that represents border patrol agents. He warns the front line field stations like this massive tent facility are being pushed to the limit with migrants in custody.

CABRERA: We're crowded. We're overcrowded. We don't have anywhere to put people, but we have them in our custody and the system is bogged down, and there's no place for us to send them because the next level is not open yet.

LAVANDERA: This is a rare view of the field station set up about a month ago by the Border Patrol. The tents are used to handle the initial field processing for the tens of thousands of migrants apprehended in the Rio Grande Valley. There are bathrooms, first aid care and migrants are removed from the area by a steady stream of buses. While some migrants cross illegally, some are allowed to cross legally.

Sandra is overwhelmed as she recounts living in the tent city with her son for the last year on the Mexican side of the border. She worked as a teacher in the camp. She's allowed to wait out her asylum case in the United States. The 38-year-old mother said she fled Honduras after years of threats from a family member.

Then one day he finally showed up at her house with a gun and started firing into her house. And one of her older children and some others tackled the man and prevented him from killing her and that's the reason why she's seeking asylum.


LAVANDERA: She said she can't live in Honduras and she had to find someplace else to live.

That desperation is what we heard from the migrants on the rafts crossing the Rio Grande.

I'm a journalist. How are you?

Where are you from? Honduras.

How long have you been traveling?

Some tell me they're escaping crime, have lost their homes. The last father on the raft tells me he's here with his wife and daughter.

What will you do now?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're going to search for a new opportunity.

LAVANDERA: They're searching for a new opportunity, he says. Back on the other side of the river, another group waits their turn.

Ed Lavandera, CNN, on the Rio Grande.

(END VIDEOTAPE) PAUL: Thank you, Ed, for that report. That is eye opening, isn't it?

Okay. We have to talk about the race to end the coronavirus pandemic here because there's been real progress this weekend, as we are getting people in the U.S. vaccinated.

BLACKWELL: Yeah, one in five Americans has now received at least one dose of the COVID vaccine.

Yesterday, the CDC reported close to 3 million doses administered. That's a record. After all this progress, looms the concern that states are easing restrictions too soon. Too many people are traveling. That too many of us are letting our guards down as spring break kicks off.

CNN's Natasha Chen has the report from Miami Beach.


NATASHA CHEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: The U.S. is vaccinating more people every day, seeing lower hospitalizations, lower daily deaths, and lower new cases. But lower only relative to a few months ago. Late last week, there were three consecutive days of more than 50,000 new cases and 1,500 new deaths reported each day.

And it's coming as states continue to loosen restrictions and in some cases lift mask mandates.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Boy, is that the wrong time to do that. We have this slightly troubling, maybe more than slightly troubling variant called B.1.1.7 that is now about 30 percent of the isolates in the United States and we know it's more contagious. So if there is ever a time to put on a mask, this is it.

CHEN: The Texas attorney general has sued the city of Austin for continuing their mask requirement after the state lifted its mandate. The mayor of Galveston said he has to honor the governor's orders.

MAYOR CRAIG BROWN, GALVESTON, TEXAS: I think each community makes their own decision. I think Austin, Round Rock, that area there. They're one of the few areas in the state that has been pushing back on this. And we'll see how that plays out. We consulted with our attorney here in Galveston, and the consensus was that we do not have any flexibility with this order so we are honoring the governor's orders.


CHEN: In Florida, the state order doesn't allow local jurisdictions to fine people for not following the mask requirement. So all the Miami Beach authorities can do for spring break tourists is give out free masks in hopes people will wear them.

The mayor told me it's a problem of mixed messaging where leaders have different attitudes about COVID restrictions. MAYOR DAN GELBER (D), MIAMI BEACH, FLORIDA: When the hurricane comes,

we all stand up and point to the public, from the lowliest mayor to the governor to the president, it's exactly the same advice. And people when they see that, okay, I guess I have to evacuate. Or I guess I have to do something to be safer. But right now, I get emails every day from people still mad at me about the mask mandate.

CHEN: While some states like Florida have allowed businesses to be fully open for months, other regions are just now relaxing more restrictions. Los Angeles County, for example, will allow indoor dining and movie theaters to operate at reduced capacity for the first time in about nine months. And with more than 35 million people in the U.S. fully vaccinated and a stimulus package passed, there is hope including the teachers and families getting back to the classroom.

BECKY PRINGLE, PRESIDENT, NATIONAL EDUCATION ASSOCIATION: The smile you see on my face right now, Jake, it is the light at the end of this very dark tunnel.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get a mask, get a free mask.

CHEN: Natasha Chen, Miami Beach, Florida.


BLACKWELL: CNN contributor, Dr. Abdul El-Sayed, is with us now. He's an epidemiologist and former Detroit health commissioner.

Doctor, welcome back.

DR. ABDUL EL-SAYED, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Thank you for having me, Victor.

BLACKWELL: So, let's start here. We heard from the president in his first televised address on COVID. He said if everyone does what they're supposed to do, vaccinations continue, by 4th of July maybe you'll be able to get together with some other vaccinated people in the backyard. But if things change, restrictions may have to come back. As a public health official, how tough is it after what we just watched to get people to not go to the restaurants, put the masks back on, close down the bars?

EL-SAYED: It is a matter of mixed messaging as the individual in that package just stated. Once you start hearing differences of opinion, it seems like, well, the jury is still out. Well, the jury is not out. COVID is still out and the challenge here is if we are not serious about doing what it takes to bring this virus to its knees as we vaccinated more and more people and stop the spread of this thing, it very well could come back.

And the challenge with that is that we've got variants that we know are more transmissible and now evidence suggests are also more deadly. And so we've seen this horror show before, right. You try and choke the virus down just enough and it's not gone yet. So we've got to be patient with this.

Wouldn't it be lovely to get together during the July 4th holidays with our loved ones and enjoy the fact that we can be with them together. And, yes, there are a lot of things that are safer now with folks who are vaccinated than they were before. But willy-nilly opening up as the COVID is now gone, we should have learned this lesson far earlier, right around last year or a couple months from now it's not gone and we have to see this through.

BLACKWELL: Let's talk about vaccines and hesitation. We talked about some hesitation in black and brown communities. There are examples of implicit, sometimes explicit bias, history of exploitation. And that really is lessening, according to polls.

But one can understand why that happens, there is some hesitancy. Listen to Brian Kemp, Georgia governor, on some hesitancy in other communities.


GOV. BRIAN KEMP (R), GEORGIA: We are seeing vaccine hesitancy really as the pharmacist and I were talking about Macon south. A lot of that is white Republicans quite honestly.


BLACKWELL: Not the same history of exploitation, I would imagine, maybe you have a different perspective. How does the medical community fight that?

EL-SAYED: Well, you know, this really is about leaders like Donald Trump deciding that they're going to get their vaccine in public. Well, you know, Trump did get a vaccine, so did Melania. They did it in private rather than in public where people who pay attention to what they have to say could see them do it.

And this is the frustration. For a long time you had these politicians politicizing this pandemic, 530-plus-thousand people have died, what it shows is a disrespect and lack of care for people. These folks have been the victims of disinformation for a long time. Now it is compounded and accumulated and you see this vaccine hesitancy among folks who tend to be supporters of the president.

That really is a problem because those folks have bodies, too, and they deserve to be protected, too. The fact of the politicization of this thing has now made that more difficult, it continues to be a problem for all of us, right?


We know that we need to achieve this ideal of herd immunity where 70 percent of people have been vaccinated, already take 20 percent off the top of that because kids can't be vaccinated yet. And we need every single person to be a part of this.

Now, I'd like folks to remember it's like putting a blanket over a fire. If you put a little blanket, the fire will eat the blanket. We need to smother this fire. That means getting everybody vaccinated as soon as possible. BLACKWELL: OK. So, let's stay there and broaden it beyond U.S. borders

because with the announcement of the latest purchase of 100 million additional doses of the J&J vaccine, the U.S. has now at least announced 500 million doses, enough to vaccinate the eligible population almost twice.

The White House says that they want to be, quote, oversupplied and overprepared. Some hear that as a pharmaceutical America first. Let me read this from the director general of the world health organization who wrote that: A me-first approach might serve political interests, but it could lead to a protective recovery as people are asking the U.S. to potentially share some of those doses.

To share the 100 million -- the order that they have for 100 million doses of AstraZeneca that's not even been approved yet, what say you about sharing some of those doses as we are still in at this point of the pandemic in the U.S.?

EL-SAYED: First, for a long time we have cast ourselves as leaders in the global fight for justice and good. This is an opportunity for us to do exactly that. Estimates from the consumer rights organization, public citizens suggests vaccinating the entire world, everyone in the world, Victor, at $25 billion. To put that in perspective, that would have been 1 percent of the cost of $1.9 trillion COVID relief package that the president just signed. That's a great thing.

But to not add the responsibility to save the world by vaccinating everyone is a real miss on its own merits. But then there is also this. We know that this virus can evolve. We know that it can potentially take on the capacity to become fully resistant to our vaccines and we're missing the opportunity to stop that from happening by not vaccinating everyone in the world.

So, yes, we have to see ourselves as part of the truly global pandemic that has affected us quite hard. We need to vaccinate everybody in the U.S., but we also need to be part of vaccinating everyone in the world, and we can do it in the U.S. There was a time we can do that.

There was a time we would take that up. It's not expensive. It's a matter of political will and it's a matter of scientific evidence suggesting this is the right thing to do, and more evidence suggesting that it has always been the right thing to do.

BLACKWELL: The administration says in their defense, they would say that they have donated billions of dollars to or committed billions of dollars to COVAX for a global vaccine program, but there are many calling for the U.S. to do more.

Dr. Abdul El-Sayed, thanks so much.

EL-SAYED: Thank you.

PAUL: So, there are rising COVID cases in Italy and that is equating to another lockdown this Easter season. What is it in Italy that they can't keep up with the fast-moving virus? We'll talk about what's happening there. BLACKWELL: Plus, the high school sports announcer is blaming a blood

sugar spike for using a racist slur at a basketball game.



PAUL: Well, President Biden and his top members of his administration are taking their "help is here" message on the road this week. The first $1,400 relief payments as well, they're already starting to hit bank accounts.

That's just one piece of the nearly $2 trillion aid package the White House now needs to follow through on.

BLACKWELL: CNN's Jasmine Wright is with the president in Wilmington, Delaware.

Jasmine, good morning to you.

President Biden expected to be back in D.C. today. So, what's next as the administration focuses on implementing the programs in the COVID relief bill?

JASMINE WRIGHT, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: Well, Victor, this week it is who will president Biden pick to lead implementation of his massive COVID relief bill. President Biden had that role during 2009. He knows what it takes. Here in the Rose Garden on Saturday, he described that effort.


BIDEN: The devil is in the details. It's one thing to pass the American Rescue Plan. It's going to be another thing to implement it. It's go to require fastidious oversight to make sure there is no waste or fraud and the law does what it's design to do. And I mean it. We have to get this right. The details matter.


WRIGHT: Now, on Monday, the White House says it will hold an event focused on implementation, Victor. But as Christy said a little earlier, we are already starting to see some of the results from the COVID relief bill. Folks took to social media yesterday to talk about how they had those stimulus checks hit their bank account.

That happened quickly as the White House said it would and it's something that we expected to happen. Now comes the rest of the bill. That's not going to be as easy because they had those big ticket items to work through, including those child tax credits, that money for critical money for states. Also to reopen schools.

So that is what they have to worry about. That's what we'll hear about from them on Monday. Now, after that we are going to see President Biden go on a victory tour really to promote this bill. Right now, it's popular, they want to keep it that way, but also to educate Americans, having it come out of his own mouth how they stand to benefit from this bill.

So we will see President Biden on Tuesday in Delaware County, Pennsylvania.


We'll see Vice President Harris, the first lady, the second gentleman all out this week and President Biden, Vice President Harris will be in Georgia on Friday promoting it -- Victor, Christi.

BLACKWELL: Yeah, it's one of the things that the president says was a mistake after the Recovery Act in 2009, now going out to sell it to the American people, he's going to do it with this act.

Jasmine Wright for us in Wilmington, thank you.

PAUL: Thank you, Jasmine.

So, a high school basketball announcer in Oklahoma has apologized after hurling a racial insult during a live stream state tournament.



I hope Norman gets their (EXPLETIVE DELETED) kicked.


PAUL: In a statement obtained by CNN, announcer Matt Rowan said, quote: While the comments I made would certainly seem to indicate that I'm a racist, I am not, unquote.

BLACKWELL: He also said he is a diabetic and his sugar was spiking.

Rowan claims he doesn't believe he would have made the comment if that hadn't happened. The school, which was hosting the tournament, said it has terminated the contract with the broadcasting company.

PAUL: So a network of barber shops and beauty salons is working to get people in the minority communities vaccinated. Look at this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you tell me when it's over?



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You did it already?


PAUL: You can see how happy he is, even with that mask on. Why it's their mission to stop the spread of misinformation and fear about getting the shot. That's next.

BLACKWELL: In tonight's all-new episode of "LINCOLN: DIVIDED WE STAND," discover how President Lincoln struggled with the civil war and racial equality. Here's a look ahead.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There occurs the greatest battle of the war at Gettysburg, on July 1st, 2nd, and 3rd, 1863.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Pennsylvania is as far north adds as the Confederate Army had ever gotten. If the Union lost here, that cleared the way for Lee to continue marching into New York. They could cut off the northern states of New England from the Mississippi River, which would have been a huge disaster.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stakes were extremely high.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A first-day attack by the Confederate Army sends the Union Army fleeing through town and then up into the heights.


BLACKWELL: "LINCOLN: DIVIDED WE STAND", continues tonight at 10:00 right here on CNN.



BLACKWELL: People in Italy are preparing for another round of lockdowns starting tomorrow.

PAUL: Yeah, the country's prime minister says there is a new wave of infections sweeping across the country. These lockdowns are needed to stop the spread.

CNN correspondent Delia Gallagher has more from Rome.


DELIA GALLAGHER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Italians are bracing for a new lockdown beginning on Monday. Ten of Italy's 20 regions including cities like Rome, Milan, and Venice will be on full lockdown. Easter weekend April 3rd through 5th will see a national lockdown.

Authorities are saying these new measures are necessary because the rate of transmission has increased rapidly due to variants. The variant first identified in the U.K. is now prevalent in Italy, they say, and the variant first identified in Brazil is now showing small clusters in Italy.

Prime Minister Mario Draghi spoke to the country on Friday. Here's some of what he had to say.

MARIA DRAGHI, PRIME MINISTER, ITALY (through translator): The memory of what happened last spring is still vivid and we will do everything to prevent it from happening again. On the basis of scientific proof, the government has adopted restrictive measures today that we think are appropriate and proportionate.

GALLAGHER: And the prime minister adding he understands the effect this will have on children's education, on the economy and on the psychological well-being of Italians, but that these new measures, he says, are necessary to avoid a further deterioration of the situation in the country.

Delia Gallagher, CNN, Rome.


PAUL: There's a new space that's emerging in the fight against COVID- 19 conspiracy theory and distrust of the vaccine in black community. We're talking about beauty salons and barber shops. This is part of the program called -- the acronym is HAIR. That's for the Health Advocates in Research and Research initiative program.

It was founded by Stephen Thomas who runs the Maryland Center for Health Equity at the University of Maryland school of public health. It is intended to stop false information about the virus and encourage vaccinations.

So, Professor Thomas is with us now along with Katrina Randolph. She is a beautician participating in the program and owner of Trey Shades Hair Studio.

Katrina, Thomas, Mr. Thomas, thank you so much. Professor Thomas, we appreciate it.

I want to start with you, Professor Thomas. How does this problem work? Or this program work? Excuse me. We know how the problem works.

STEPHEN B. THOMAS, PROFESSOR OF HEALTH POLICY & MANAGEMENT, UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND: Indeed. It's a pleasure to be with you this morning. You know, it's a public health approach and public health runs on trust. So why not go where people already trust?

And in the black community, that's our barber shops and beauty salons. No self-respecting barber or stylist says I'll get you out in 15 minutes. It's a community gathering place and a wonderful demonstration of how to reach people where they are.

And for the past ten years, we've been building that bridge of trust in these communities and now in the midst of the pandemic, we need it now more than ever.

PAUL: Katrina, what are some of the rumors and myths you hear people talk about, you are because of your training and your education through the program, are able to correct?


KATRINA RANDOLPH, BEAUTICIAN, PARTICIPANT IN THE HAIR PROGRAM: Well, a lot of the topics in the salon today are just about like he said, mistrust in the health care community. So one of the ways I'm able to advocate for my clients is I just discuss with them the research studies that we have been going over with the health advocate group and I'm able to share that information with them and encourage them to do their research and go to CDC and read up on the vaccination before you take the approach of not wanting the vaccination because of misinformation.

PAUL: So, Professor Thomas, there is a reason for medical mistrust in the black community, and not everyone knows the frightening history of mistreatment by the health care system, the medical racism that exists. Tell us about that history.

THOMAS: Well, you know, the history of racism in medicine and public health would be easy to ignore if it wasn't so well-documented. That's the bright light COVID has shined, that the hesitancy in the black community doesn't mean no forever, but it does mean you have to recognize that there has been a history, a reason, a legitimate reason for the distrust.

And it can go from the legacy of the Tuskegee syphilis study to the Henrietta Lacks story. All of these things had an effect. But the most important thing is how my loved one was treated last week when they were in the hospital. The everyday racism and discrimination that people of color face also contributes to the hesitancy.

PAUL: Katrina, go ahead. Were you hesitant at all about the vaccine before you learned more about it through the program?

RANDOLPH: I was definitely hesitant about the vaccine. I'm still a little hesitant, but a little more hopeful now that I have more information, now that I've done my own research and even been a part of the health advocate group being able to learn a little more about the vaccination. So even myself and my clients are a little more hopeful now in getting the vaccination.

I hear a lot of my clients now saying, Katrina, where can I sign up? Do you have a list of places of the vaccinations? The conversation has definitely shifted to being more hopeful.

PAUL: Do you truly appreciate the power you have, Katrina, to, you know, right some of the misinformation that's out there? You're able to reach people professor Thomas wishes he could.

RANDOLPH: Yes, it's definitely a blessing to be able to reach people and encourage them, help advocate them. Yes, I truly enjoy being a part.

PAUL: Professor Thomas, go ahead.

THOMAS: It's important to note that the training we were doing with our barbers and stylists occurred before COVID. It's about those chronic diseases, those underlying conditions. It's important to note now Katrina has been certified by the state of Maryland as a certified community health worker because of the training that she completed with us here at the University of Maryland School of Public Health. So the barber shop and the salons can be a new home for health care on

the other side of this pandemic.

PAUL: Not just going in to get a hairstyle any more.

Katrina Randolph, Dr. Thomas, we appreciate you both of you so much. Thank you for taking time for us today.

RANDOLPH: Thank you.

PAUL: Best of luck to you.

THOMAS: Make it a great day.

PAUL: You as well.

BLACKWELL: Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan accused the palace of racism and neglect during their interview with Oprah Winfrey last weekend and more than 17 million people in the U.S. watched. So what happens now? Will anything change at Buckingham palace? We'll talk about it next.



BLACKWELL: That's world renown cellist Yo-Yo Ma. This is an impromptu concert at a vaccination clinic.

This happened after he received this second dose of the vaccine.

PAUL: Can you imagine? The musician used the 15-minute observation period to put on the show for everyone getting their shots. He's been known to deliver pop-up performances, most recently performing for essential and front line workers in Massachusetts.

BLACKWELL: Do you have to leave after 15 minutes though?

PAUL: I know.

BLACKWELL: If Yo-Yo Ma is playing, I'm staying.

PAUL: Exactly.

BLACKWELL: All right. Saturday, the U.S. reported 4.6 million vaccinations. Huge number. More than 50 percent higher than any previous daily report.

PAUL: Yeah, we need to clarify, though. That bump in vaccinations was due, in part, to a new change in CDC data input timing.

So, CNN's Brian Stelter is looking into this.

I know, Brian, under normal circumstances, this would still be a record breaking number of vaccinations yesterday, yes? BRIAN STELTER, CNN CHIEF MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Yes. That's why this is

so interesting. It makes me think about some of the many unsung heroes of this pandemic. The people that make sure the numbers are accurate so we know what's actually going on in the states, all the data scientists who are helping us get a clearer picture of what's happening. In this case the CDC took in too much data from the states, but it was sorted out last night.

Here's what White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain said about the actual numbers. If you look at this on a day-to-day basis, when they figure out the data, they found even with the accurate confirmed day to day numbers looking at apples to apples from Thursday to Friday to Saturday, yesterday the total would have been 2.98 million.


That's more COVID shots than any country has administered on any day in this crisis. Ron Klain there calling it a world's best record.

So, the number sounded even larger than they really were, but even the fact we're getting close to that 3 million figure is astonishing news. I think sometimes in the same way we became numb to all the bad news about COVID, we have to make sure we don't get numb to the optimistic news as more vaccinations rollout.

To me, it is importance of local news, because this is such a local and state-level issue rolling out in communities across the country, and local news outlets are helping people know and they are now able to get vaccinated.

BLACKWELL: Absolutely. Hey, Brian, about exactly a week ago we were talking about Oprah's interview with Harry and Meghan, about the hype, if it lived up to the hype. It certainly did. I mean, every commercial break I was thinking, this is groundbreaking.

So, huge fallout. What do you expect is going to happen now, any change?

STELTER: Right, the palace, of course, has to figure out and talk about can there be change systemically in Britain. We know there is going to be change in at least one area. We know Harry and Meghan are pitting their money where their mouths were last week asking donations, this weekend for several charities, several nonprofits who work on exactly this sort of thing Harry and Meghan were talking about, the importance of mental health, the importance of diversity in journalism.

So I think by the sheer kind of resources and celebrity status that Harry and Meghan have, they are going to make sure that this one interview, which burst like a fire work in the sky actually does live on. And I think their donations are going to lead the way to track that going forward.

BLACKWELL: All right, thank you, Stelter.

STELTER: Thanks. BLACKWELL: And be sure to continue to watch "RELIABLE SOURCES". That's

at 11:00 this morning. We'll be right back.



BLACKWELL: So it could be a while before most people are comfortable sitting in a dark room next to complete strangers for hours at a time again, or is it?


BLACKWELL: Or is it?

PAUL: I was going to say, what exactly are you talking about there, V?

BLACKWELL: Maybe not so long a wait.

PAUL: Well, we're talking about theaters around the world, they have been shut down due to the pandemic, and they're looking forward to the day, too.

Here's CNN's Richard Quest who has more from Broadway.


RICHARD QUEST, CNN BUSINESS EDITOR AT LARGE: When they closed the theaters in March of last year, no one really expected they would be shut for so long. But now, as the anniversary passes, and with no date in sight for reopening, Broadway and all the theaters around 42nd street, it's as if time has stood still.

GOV. ANDREW CUOMO (D), NEW YORK: Maybe by Easter. Maybe by May. Maybe by June, Broadway thinks June.

Broadway is a very important part of our economy. I get it. It's a lot of jobs. It's a big economic engine, but how can you say that?

MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO (D), NEW YORK CITY: We're going to work with Broadway. We're going to see if there's a way, but health and safety first.

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY), MAJORITY LEADER: The phantom of COVID has hit Broadway, maybe the hardest of all the live venues in America.

QUEST: Coronavirus hit New York early and hit it hard.

It halted the spectacular long run of hit shows like "Wicked", and scuppered new productions such as "Moulin Rouge" which recently made its debut hoping to form its way into the great American song book. All told, an estimated 97,000 jobs were suddenly gone.

Philip Birsh, the CEO of Playbill, says it's created a lost generation of talent on Broadway. PHILIP BIRSH, CEO & PRESIDENT, PAYBILL INC.: There's no one working

except the maintenance people maintaining them and keeping them ready to open, but Broadway is in complete ice.

QUEST: How are they surviving?

BIRSH: Some are not. I think that there's probably a whole swath of people who are now leaving New York. They're back in their parents' basements and patiently waiting for Broadway to reopen.

QUEST: The pandemic tamped out a Broadway that was booming. Tickets sales had never been higher. Now these theaters are figuring out how to reopen safely.

Economically, can you open these theaters and can you have productions with 30 percent capacity?

BIRSH: It's not possible. Broadway is a very low margin business on many levels. It's very expensive, very labor intensive, very talented people who have to be paid well. Broadway will open at 100 percent, or it probably will not be able to open at all.

QUEST: Annie sings the sun will come out tomorrow, and Philip Birsh says you can bet your bottom dollar that theaters in New York will thrive once again.

BIRSH: Broadway is the heart of New York City, and when Broadway reopens, it will send a national and international signal to the world that the pandemic has been beaten.

QUEST: Is the world's light switch on one jab as a time, Broadway remains dark for some months to come. But eventually, these lights will be switched on, returning Broadway to its proper place as the Great White Way.


Richard Quest, CNN, Broadway, New York.


PAUL: And from Broadway to Chicago, you know, Chicago's long held some of the largest St. Patrick's Day celebrations in the country. Parades obviously still canceled, but there's one tradition that's happening.

BLACKWELL: Yes, turning the Chicago River green for St. Patrick's Day. Yesterday, Mayor Lori Lightfoot surprised people in Chicago by dyeing the river that iconic shade of shamrock green. If it's a tradition, why is it a surprise?

Well, because it was unexpected, because she denied plans to color the river earlier this week. There it is, in Chicago.

Thanks so much for watching this weekend.

PAUL: Always good to have you with us. Go make good memories. BLACKWELL: "INSIDE POLITICS SUNDAY" with Abby Phillip is up next.