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New Day Sunday
Death Toll In Florida Building Collapse Climbs To Five, 156 Unaccounted For; Interview With Mayor Daniella Levine Cava Of Miami- Dade County; Five Dead, 156 Still Missing After Condo Building Collapses; Interview With Mayor Daniella Levine Cava Of Miami-Dade County; Celebrity Edge Becomes First Cruise Ship To Depart From U.S. Port In 15 Months. Aired 7-8a ET
Aired June 27, 2021 - 07:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Be sure to tune in, the all new CNN Film, "Lady Boss: The Jackie Collins Story", premieres tonight at 9:00 p.m., only here on CNN.
BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. And welcome to your NEW DAY. It is Sunday, June 27th. I'm Boris Sanchez, coming to you live from Surfside, Florida, where officials say there is an aggressive search and rescue effort continuing this morning to locate those still unaccounted for following the deadly condo collapse.
PAUL: Yeah, Boris, so good to have you there and get the perspectives of the people there through you. Thank you.
I'm Christi Paul in Atlanta. Thank you for starting your day with us. We are always grateful for your company.
Here's what we do know this morning. More than 77 hours and counting now of searching for survivors and the people who love them, these people who are missing, these people are being asked to stay patient. They are being asked to stay hopeful as these rescue crews work against clock.
But, Boris, we know how hard that is right now.
SANCHEZ: That's right, Christi. They are in a very difficult limbo. The uncertainty of not knowing the fate of their loved ones and the desperate search now entering a fourth day with, sadly, no new signs of life yet. The number of people confirmed dead now up to five. Four of them have been identified, still 156 people remain missing, unaccounted for.
And in a moment, you're going to be hearing from a family member anxiously awaiting for answers and praying for a miracle. Crews are using every tool they have in this non-stop search and rescue effort. The mayor of Surfside saying yesterday, we don't have a resource problem, we have a luck problem.
As families wait with both hope and frustration for any kind of update, the mayor of Miami-Dade County says arrangements are being made for families who want to visit the site and experience it for themselves.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAYOR DANIELLA LEVINE CAVA (D), MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA: They have offered to go to the pile and dig. And I said, if I could dig, I would dig, because clearly, we all want to find these people alive. And that is how the fire rescue team is treating it. They live to find people alive in the rubble. So it's really just devastating to have to say we don't have news. They need to wait. They need to be patient.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SANCHEZ: CNN has a full team of reporters and experts on hand this morning following all of the latest developments. Nick Valencia is standing by at the family reunification center. But, first, Rosa Flores has been here in Surfside since this tragedy began.
Rosa, not many changes to the numbers and the updates as far as the status of this rescue effort is concerned. But it is notable that it remains a rescue effort and not yet a recovery effort at this point.
ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You're absolutely right. And, unfortunately, we could see the number of dead increase. Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava announcing yesterday that remains were found. Those remains have not been identified yet, but she also did mention the DNA samples have been taken from family members and also from those remains to try to identify them.
What we hear -- will he hear more today? We don't know yet. But we are hoping to hear more from officials as the day goes on.
The latest on the search, what we know from the fire chief is they are using a grid pattern. They are focusing on the top of the debris pile in a process called delayering. They've got to peel the layers of this concrete in order for them to look for people, for signs of life, for anything that they can do.
We're also learning, of course, that they are using every single tool that they have very aggressively. Cameras, dogs, any sort of tool. We know that they brought in equipment. They are doing everything that they can in order for them to get to the areas that they think could have voids, that could have signs of life.
We're also learning from the Miami-Dade Police Department that not only are trauma surgeons working alongside rescue crews, there are also homicide detectives and medical examiner personnel. And, of course, this is important for the families because they are going to want to know what exactly happened here, what went horribly wrong, what happened to their loved ones. And this is part of that process.
We are learning from the police that homicide detectives, whenever a body or remains are located, they take pictures of the scene.
There are DNA samples taken. The body and/or the remains are then transported to the medical examiner's office.
And this is important to note and understand, and the reason why DNA is also sampled here. We know from officials that loved ones provided their DNA at the reunification center so that when this time came, that those DNA samples could be compared. And so that is what's happening right now.
The mayor announcing yesterday that remains were found. The fire chief didn't say exactly where these remains were found other than in the pile of debris. And so that's the process that's happening right now, Boris, is DNA samples are being compared. There are family members who are anxiously waiting about their loved ones, hoping to get good news, not hoping to hear bad news.
But, unfortunately, whenever the remains are identified, you know, there will be officials going into that reunification center to give a family some bad news -- Boris.
SANCHEZ: Yeah, yeah. One family at least will be facing news that they likely did not want to hear.
One positive angle to these developments, that the fire that was burning in that debris has now been contained. So that is at least giving these families some hope that the work with progress a little bit more quickly.
Rosa Flores, thank you so much for that.
More than 76 hours after that condo collapse, the families of the missing 156 people remain hopeful even in the face of extremely difficult odds.
CNN's Nick Valencia is on the scene at the Surfside reunification center.
Nick, what are families sharing with you this morning?
NICK VALENCIA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Boris, good morning. So many of those family members and friends of the unaccounted that we have spoken to -- excuse me, are unwilling to accept any of the grim news -- I think I just swallowed a bug. Let me bring in Maggie here. Stop talking.
So you actually were a part of a briefing yesterday with family and friends, and it has been a very contentious back and forth between family and friends. There is a lot of high emotions here. I want to play a quick clip here if you speaking to the family. You were actually given a round of applause and I want to talk about it on the back end here.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAGGIE CASTRO, MAGGIE-DADE FIRE RESCUE: There are times that, obviously, things don't look like they are happening as quickly as we'd like them to, and that's understandable. You see us working on television or you see videos of what's happening. We understand that it appears it's very slow. But I want you to know that we are going as quickly as we possibly can to maintain the safety of your family members.
If there is any possibility that we have victims that are alive in the rubble, they're going to be in these void spaces and we can't rush the pile and collapse these void spaces and eliminate any possibility of finding people. So things have to be done methodically, things have to be done step by step. And that is the reason you see that we take the time to do things, because we're doing them right.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VALENCIA: So, Maggie, you were very well received by the family and friends. But, you know, you have heard it. You have been second- guessed. Your team has been second-guessed. What's that like?
CASTRO: We understand where the family is coming from. We're not taking it as them second-guessing us. We are taking it as this is an extremely highly emotional situation that these families are in.
I can't even imagine being in a position as the position that they are in, not knowing, feeling helpless as to not do anything themselves. So I believe that their emotions are just, they don't have anywhere to place these emotions right now because there is a lot of them. And it's okay. If they need to direct them at us, we're more than willing to handle it. We understand that they have to let this emotion out somewhere.
VALENCIA: They are looking for someone to blame, it seems.
CASTRO: It makes sense. On other occasions, other disasters that we have had in this country, we have had opportunities to blame other things. If it's been a terrorist attack or even an act of God, when it's something like this that just kind of happened, and we don't have someone to place our emotions on, it's normal that they were, they're going to take out their emotions on people that are around and we understand that. And we're okay with that.
VALENCIA: We are entering day four and there have been no signs of life. You guys -- you told me yesterday you are hoping for a miracle just as the family and friends are. At what point does this become a recovery mission and what goes into that decision?
CASTRO: For us the decision is made up above. There is representatives from all of the different agencies that are here that would go together and there is a lot that goes discussed way above my level.
And those decisions are made from above us.
But I know that we are not going to go into a recovery mode until we have exhausted every possible measure of finding anyone in this rubble. We're going to go through this entire rubble pile until there is nothing else to go through, and at that point, then we may have to consider going to recovery mode. VALENCIA: It has been exhausting with you. We were talking last night,
at 11:00 last night. You are up working around clock, so is your team.
Talk to us about the emotions for you guys as first responders. What it's like to be digging hour after hour and coming up empty-handed.
CASTRO: It is a very emotionally taxing for our crews. I know that lot of people think, well, that's their job, and it is. But at the same time we're human. And even though we nay have better coping mechanisms than some, we still have to deal with these emotions one way or another. So, in no way are we saying that our emotions are more important. We can't compare to what the families are going through. But we go through our own emotional process.
Like you said, we work hour after hour hoping, because this is what we do, we save people, and this is what we want to do, and we want to bring these family members back to their families. And when we come up empty hand, it's difficult for us as well.
VALENCIA: I only have a few seconds here and I want to ask you about ever you go, we had a report this morning that there is elderly couple whose land line is calling loved ones. What you tell us about that? You guys have investigated this.
CASTRO: We have heard the situation. We're not the resource that has investigated it. But I did hear that there is no power, there is no phone service coming from this building.
VALENCIA: What could it be?
CASTRO: We're not sure. Maybe there is something attached to their phone line, some type much an alarm system or alert system that might be sending out a signal. It's the only thing we can come up with.
VALENCIA: Yeah, so, you know, potentially they think that there is somebody alive under there. You guys think it could be a glitch, a technical glitch?
CASTRO: Yeah, that's what, you know, the resources are telling us, that it's potentially some type of a glitch.
VALENCIA: Maggie Castro, I won't take up too much more of your time. We are so grateful for your time this morning. Good luck this day, day four, entering day four.
And you could tell, Boris, that this is, you know, a really, really painstakingly slow task. It is a methodical task. They have no less than 50, 60 people at one time trying to find any signs of life this morning. They are back at it again -- Boris.
SANCHEZ: Yeah, Nick, really powerful statements from Maggie there. And one of the things that stood out to me as she was expressing that need for answers from families, that frustration that they have, the demand for accountability, a lot of times that frustration winds up being geared towards the folks that are here on the scene doing very important work. And she said, we're okay with that. It's part of the job, really powerful stuff.
Nick Valencia, thank you very much.
We are going to be having discussions about accountability later on this hour, but first, we want to hear from family members of those waiting for answers.
I want to bring in Michael Noriega. His 92-year-old grandmother is among the missing, Hilda Noriega.
Michael, I want to let the folks at home know you were on the scene not long after the collapse.
MICHAEL NORIEGA, GRANDMOTHER HILDA NORIEGA IS AMONG MISSING: Yes.
SANCHEZ: Your family is in law enforcement. As soon as you found out you were one of the folks running towards disaster as folks were trying to escape disaster. What did you see when you got here?
NORIEGA: When we first arrived it was about 2:30 in the morning. We didn't really know what to expect. We heard something happened to the building, that there was a very loud sound and that there was destruction. But we didn't know what to expect.
Let me tell you, when we arrived here, it was almost like a scene of a disaster movie. It's something that you just never think will happen in reality. Not even your wildest dreams.
And so, when I got here all I could do is just fall on my knees and start to pray in disbelief that my grandmother was in that building at the time that it collapsed.
SANCHEZ: Tell us about Hilda. She is 92 years old. And I heard her described as someone who is lively and who lives and acts much younger than her age.
NORIEGA: Yes. She is larger than life. She is 92 years old, going on 62 years old. She is so vibrant, full of energy, extremely independent. She is probably the most popular person that I know, just tons of friends.
And, you know, she lives her life with her faith first, her family second, and her friends third. She is so full of life, especially for her family. She really, really lived for us. So we're living for her right now.
SANCHEZ: When you were here sifting through the rubble, trying to locate Hilda, you actually found some belongings of hers. Can you share those with us now?
NORIEGA: Yes. Just to clarify, we were never in the rubble. That was cut off. But we were here on the street before the perimeter was expanded. There was just debris everywhere.
NORIEGA: And my father probably an hour or two after we got here, his mother who is in the building, he stepped on something and looked down and it happened to be this birthday card right here that was given to her by some of her friends just a couple of weeks ago.
And so when my father looked down he saw her name here, Hilda, and all the happy birthday wishes right here addressed to her. And we were just in disbelief that of all people that was underneath my father's feet.
NORIEGA: And then not too much later we had other family members, I believe it was my mother, find two other pictures spread out amongst the debris.
SANCHEZ: Show them to the cameras.
NORIEGA: Sure. So that right there. That's my grandmother and my grandfather in their younger years. That's my father right there in the middle.
We also found this one of my grandparents on vacation a while back. And so these were beautiful to find.
SANCHEZ: How did to make you feel being able to get these and knowing that things like this were important to your grandmother, are important to your grandmother? It must drive the impact of what we're watching here home?
NORIEGA: Yeah. It was definitely a message in the mess. And it just filled us full of hope. The only thing that I could say is we felt like it was a sign of God's love and God's mercy, that he is with her. And we haven't given up hope.
And it brought us so much comfort because it reminded me that I believe that God is not transactional, meaning he is not like a genie, but rather he is relational. He is with us. We felt God's love because of this in that moment. We were overwhelmed with it. And it was also overwhelming to know whether she is alive or not, he is with her.
SANCHEZ: Michael, that is profound. That's a message that I'm sure a lot of families who are in a similar situation are eager to hear.
I'm curious, when you see the visual, when you see the efforts that have been made in this community by rescuers and by law enforcement officials and by local sports teams and by others to lend a helping hand, how does that make you feel personally?
NORIEGA: The way the community has come together is nothing short of unbelievable. Starting with our first responders, the very first night that we were here when the perimeter was smaller, we got to see the first responders firsthand going into a building that may collapse at any moment at that time. They didn't know. That where fires were breaking out, where these people have been working day and night, our first responders are absolute heroes. They haven't stopped.
Just to see how our mayor, the county mayor, Mayor Levine Cava, she has done an amazing hands-on job and been so comforting to our family. And Governor DeSantis, the way he stepped up in such a huge way. It's so encouraging.
And like you mentioned, on level levels, I am part of a church here in Miami, and just to see the way my church has just flooded us with love, flooded this community with love, sent out so many servant leaders to come out here and be able to serve people who are homeless and pass out food and waters to the first responders and see so many in the community like that, as much as has been taken out emotionally, the community has given so much from an overflow of love.
So I think from all much this mess that's happened, the unity that's come together in such a divided world is a beautiful thing that has been happening despite all of this.
SANCHEZ: A silver lining in disasters that you get to see the best of humanity attempting to help and fix what may be unfixable, right?
SANCHEZ: What can people at home do to help the situation here?
NORIEGA: Yeah. I would say the number one thing would be to pray. I live my life believing that prayer should not be a last resort, but rather it should always be a first response. I think especially in this case.
So that's the number one thing that my family and I are asking for. Not just for our family, but for all the victims and victims' families at this time.
The other thing is to reach out to local organizations. I mentioned my church, we're starting a supply drive today, just to raise supplies to be able, to meet people's immediate needs. You know, if not a church, any local charitable organization or even sports team that they can team up with to help would make a huge difference here.
SANCHEZ: We would love to help any way we can. If there is some effort we can make, whether giving you a platform to expand your voice or offering any resources, we would love to.
I was reading this card that your grandmother got for her birthday. It says (SPEAKING SPANISH). She was beloved. She is beloved.
SANCHEZ: I can see that you have a beautiful family. I hate that we had to meet under these circumstances, Michael, but I'm grateful that you shared this story with us. It means a lot.
NORIEGA: Thank you so much. Thank you for having me. SANCHEZ: Of course.
Serious questions still being asked now by families like Michael's about the structural safety of the Champlain towers. If anything could have been done to prevent what happened.
Up next, you're going to hear from an engineer who actually worked on the tower a few years ago. I want you to stay with us.
CNN's special coverage continues after a quick break.
SANCHEZ: Back here in surfside, Florida. We have been working hard to get you and the families of those still accounted for answers. And right now, I want to bring in someone who has been updating the Mayor Daniella Levine Cava of Miami-Dade County.
Mayor, thank you so much for joining us this morning.
First and foremost, are there any updates that you can offer the community either on the search and rescue effort or the numbers, the 156 that are still missing?
MAYOR DANIELLA LEVINE CAVA (D), MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA: The numbers are the same right now. The good news was that the fire and smoke were brought under control as of about noon yesterday. So that really supported everyone in the efforts. So they've continued tirelessly throughout the night.
SANCHEZ: Any message for the community members? We saw video late yesterday of families that were frustrated and at different points in a meeting, things got a little bit tense.
What are you saying to folks that are in that situation where they're overwhelmed with anxiety?
LEVINE CAVA: Yes, exactly. So, we've worked really hard to bring information, timely, to family members. So, for example, if there is any news, we tell them first before we tell you. So we want to be sure they don't learn about it from the news.
And we've also talked with them about the developments, for example, with the body parts, finding body parts. Obviously, that's a very sobering bit of news, and they are understanding that that is a possibility. So, we're talking through what does that mean, how is the DNA evidence taken, what happens with the medical examiner, how will they be notified?
And I think, of course, nobody wishes for that terrible news, but we're helping them to understand the different possibilities.
SANCHEZ: What other questions or concerns have they brought to you in these meetings in your exchanges with these families? LEVINE CAVA: Yeah. Well, we had a meeting last night until about
midnight, and we talked about for those who are Jewish, the burial, and what -- what you need to do to prepare if you don't have a full body. We talked about the exact parts of the research where their loved ones might be and the different parts of the pile that have been gridded and so they can understand exactly what the challenges are in the search effort.
SANCHEZ: I do want to ask but a certain aspect of this, the international component. There were at least, by our last count, 31 people in the condominium complex at the time of the collapse that were from all over Latin America, Venezuela, Colombia, Paraguay.
Have those families had any issues getting here? Or is there any resource that we can offer them? How are they doing in all of this?
LEVINE CAVA: Yes, yes. Well, our family circle is growing as people come here to be waiting and watching for news. And we've integrated everybody into the circle of family assistance center. If anyone needs housing assistance, we have it.
So we have, with the Red Cross, also with FEMA, also from the donations that are pouring in. So if anyone is experiencing any difficulty, we need to know about it so we can support them.
SANCHEZ: We were talking just a moment ago before we came back into the show and you were sharing with me your admiration for these rescue workers and their incessant energy, and you said that many of them are working and striving into that debris as if it were their own that were trapped in there.
LEVINE CAVA: Yes, yes.
SANCHEZ: Give me your reflections on watching their work.
LEVINE CAVA: The heroism on this site is remarkable and my admiration for these people who put themselves in danger, you know. They are in dangerous situations with the rain. It's more slippery. Rubble could fall. They have debris falling on them.
They're -- if there's a way, they will do it. I feel very, very confident that their passion and their drive to save lives is what's making sure that we're doing the best job possible.
SANCHEZ: It is awe-inspiring.
It's emotional to see these folks act as selflessly as they do.
And speaking of acting selflessly, the community has come together in a really unique way, especially in a time where this country is so divided politically. I was speaking to a young man, Michael, who is waiting for news about his grandmother.
One of the things he told me off camera was it was refreshing to see so many people from so many walks of life come together, again, at a time where division is so rampant.
How does it make you feel seeing Surfside be the focus of so much compassion?
LEVINE CAVA: Yes, I do feel that the world has us in the palm of their hands, and that Surfside itself, the whole town, is here in solidarity with this activity. Surfside has been overrun. This is our command village.
People can't get through. Business has been disrupted. And the outpouring of support, we all feel it. It means so much to us.
SANCHEZ: And we're ready to lend whatever support we can.
So, Mayor, thank you so much for sharing the latest information with us. We'll be standing by for updates. If there's anything we can do, please let us know.
LEVINE CAVA: Thank you.
SANCHEZ: Thank you so much for your time.
Please, stay with CNN. We have plenty more to get to. We're going to be speaking to experts to get the latest on their impressions regarding accountability and potentially answers to how this could have happened, and we're also going to be hearing from family members get the latest how they are doing.
Stay with CNN.
SANCHEZ: Back here live in Surfside, Florida, rescue crews are desperately searching for any sign of life in the rubble of the building that collapsed on Thursday. Time, though, is critical. Five people now confirmed dead after a body was pulled from the rubble by search and rescue crews on Saturday, 156 others remain unaccounted for.
Questions though are mounting about unaddressed concerns of structural damage to the building following the revelation that in 2018, an engineer reported some serious issues.
Joining us now is Greg Batista. He's a structural engineering who's actually worked on collapsed structures in the past and who has experience actually inside the very building, the Champlain Tower, that collapsed.
Greg, I want to share with you part of the 2018 field survey that I mentioned just a moment ago, and says in part, quote, abundant cracking and spalling of various trees was observed in the concrete columns, beams and walls. Though some of this damage is minor, most of the concrete deterioration needs to be repaired in a timely fashion. I want to explain spalling. It's a term used to describe concrete that
has cracked or crumbled. I'm curious from your perspective, Greg, when you hear that, when you read something like that in a report, do you sense urgency? Is that something that can go unaddressed for three years?
GREG BATISTA, STRUCTURAL ENGINEER: Well, first of all, obviously, if an engineer says something is urgent, then you have to take his word for it. I have done probably thousands and hundreds of 40-year re- certifications up and down the coast, including from Dade County up until, you know, up through Broward County. I have been in many of the buildings that have the same structural composition and occupancy as this building.
So when an engineer says that there are significant structural deficiencies and cracks and spalling and I look at the report and the pictures then, that is something that I would expect to see in that kind of report just because I have seen so many buildings with that type of spalling and that type of cracking.
And let me expand a little bit on what spalling is. It's the reinforcing steel inside the concrete corroding. And when it corrodes, it expands up to seven times of its volume.
The concrete is, obviously, going to crack and break. You see that up and down the coast on buildings that are 20, 30, 40, 50 years old. That's why the 40-year certification has been instituted in Miami-Dade and Broward counties to come up with these kinds of -- to publish these findings so that people can go out and do something about it.
SANCHEZ: So, when you say you have seen this up and down buildings in the coast, I am guessing there is a component here that is really important, that is, water. What -- and I don't want to speculate about this situation, but generally speaking, water is potentially an issue when it comes to spalling and concrete and exposure to water over a long time, right?
BATISTA: It's not necessarily water. Because you can have concrete that's sunk under the ocean and it doesn't spall. It's actually more like the chlorides that are in the air. If you take a microscope and look at the concrete very closely, you will see that it's basically looks like a sponge. It has a bunch of holes.
So when you have little molecules of chlorides in the air, they go into these little voids and they eventually rust your steel much like it would rust the cars that you see next to the sea or a lawn chair next to the beach in much a similar fashion. So, it doesn't have to be water self or even seawater. It's basically in the environment, in the air, in the molecules that are in the air that get into the concrete.
SANCHEZ: The reason I asked the question is because there were reports that the pool deck and the shape of the pool could have caused some of the issues that were in that report.
[07:40:03] I want to step away from that for a moment and ask you about accountability. In that report, these issues, who would have been responsible in addressing them?
BATISTA: Well, I'm not an attorney. I'll just say from my vantage point right now we don't know what the cause is, and anything that anybody says at this particular point before the forensics come in is conjecture at this point.
I have my own theories. As a matter of fact, I am at a hotel in Orlando at an engineers' convention. I have had, you know, colleagues of mine, 30, 40, 50 years of experience looking at the plans, looking at the videos. You know, everybody has come up with a theory.
But until you find out what the actual cause is, then you can, you know, expand from there and the lawyers can do their job in finding who is culpable.
SANCHEZ: Yeah, and it will likely be some time before we get answers as to actually what caused the tower to collapse. Experts tell us that it could take several months, if not longer.
Greg Batista, we really appreciate your time and expertise. Thanks so much for sharing part of your weekend with us.
BATISTA: Thank you.
SANCHEZ: And, Christi, the uncertainty about what happened is part of the pain that these families are feeling. And they are caught in this extremely difficult limbo because they don't know what happened to their loved ones, 156 people still unaccounted for.
If they had some answers, perhaps even confirmation of what they do not want to hear, the worst possible outcome for their loved ones, they could at least begin the process of grieving and reach for some sort of closure. But right now, they are still holding out hope for a miracle, and that hope comes from the rescue workers here, who have experience in these situations and have seen miracles unfold in the past.
So we are waiting for more information. And, of course, we will bring it to you as we get it. Ultimately, we will find out if a miracle will happen here in Surfside.
PAUL: We absolutely hope that for those families because you are so right. That is a really important point, that until you have some sort of confirmation or answers as what is going to happen, you are stuck in a sort of hellish limbo because you don't know. You are struggling to hold on to the hope as it is, and at the same time you are just trying to reconcile something that can't be reconciled yet.
Boris, thank you so much. Incredible job from you down there to help us really understand what it's like for them. Our prayers are certainly going out to all of them.
We're going to continue to stay on this story. And also tell you about the pandemic that's crippled cruise lines. You know, for the first time in 15 months, the first cruise ships set sail from a U.S. port. Just yesterday, new precautions the cruise lines are taking and what this means coming up.
PAUL: It's been quite a long journey, hasn't it, to restarting cruise travel in the country. After 15 months, the first big cruise ship set sail out of a U.S. port. This was yesterday.
CNN's Natasha Chen is onboard to tell us what it's like.
NATASHA CHEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Moments ago, we pulled away from port here on the Celebrity Edge, the first cruise ship to depart from a U.S. port in more than 15 months. The last time this ship sailed was March of 2020. Of course, things are very different today. We are sailing at reduced capacity, 40 percent of the capacity when this ship can normally hold nearly 3,000 people.
Also, 100 percent of the crew is vaccinated. 99 percent of the passengers are vaccinated. We met passengers that are extremely excited to get back on a cruise ship. In fact, some couldn't contain themselves. Others told us that the vaccination policy is actually one reason why they felt comfortable coming back.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You miss my cartwheels, didn't you? I did cartwheels a minute ago. You missed me. That's how excited I am. I am excited to be back cruising. Nothing like it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The feeling today is hoping that they have it figured out. Okay? That's the feeling, is that I hope they have to figured out and he hope they keep us safe.
CHEN: Other cruises have been depart interesting the Bahamas. This is the first to depart from a U.S. port after going through stringent CDC guidelines. And if you're hearing the horn go off and passengers cheering, it's because, again, moments ago we pulled away from port and people are extremely excited to be back on a cruise.
This particular cruise is going to Mexico and the Western Caribbean. The captain, Kate McCue, the first and only American female captain, said today this was an emotional moment seeing all the crew come back after more than 15 months of saying the ships siding idle.
The next time you see us, we will be in Mexico.
Natasha Chen, CNN, on the celebrity edge in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
PAUL: Natasha, thank you. Can't wait to get an update again here.
Listen, there is more NEW DAY ahead for you. First of all, though, be sure to tune in to the new CNN Film, "Lady Boss". It's tonight on CNN. Take a look.
JACKIE COLLINS, NOVELIST: Hi, I'm Jackie Collins. I write novels.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She put female sexuality at the center of the world and people lost their minds.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She was very shy and never really told us what she was writing, but she was always scribbling away.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She wrote about strength and strong women.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Jackie was the first author to write about women who behaved like men.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She broke ground for all us women.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So, it very quickly made her very controversial.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: God forbid a woman should be writing about sex.
COLLINS: I am not claiming to be a literary genius. I'm claiming to be a terrific storyteller.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have a little taste, Jackie.
COLLINS: I probably will, of the wine.
Girls can do anything.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Girls can do anything.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That was her motto.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She was the best.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She was like a character from one of here books.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Of course, we all love that end line, justice for all females.
PAUL: Listen, it is hot in some places particularly in the Western United States. Twenty million people under heat advisories.
CNN meteorologist Tyler Mauldin is tracking it for us. It's the only thing I can think of without cursing (ph).
TYLER MAULDIN, AMS METEOROLOGIST: I said it's the perfect way to describe this, Christi.
MAULDIN: We have more record heat underway from the Pacific Northwest, too. From this weekend all the way through Friday, more than 300 high or low temperatures could be set. That's the kind of heat we are dealing with. Portland, Oregon, we hit 108. That was the all time record hot temperatures for Portland, Oregon.
Also in Seattle, Washington, where you think of some cooler weather, the average high in this time of the years about 73 degrees. Well, yesterday, we set a daily and monthly record for June at 102. That is one degree shy of the all time record of 103 in Seattle, which I do expect us to be at some point in the days to come.
We have heat alerts up for all of Washington, Oregon and everyone else shaded here, because temperatures are going to be dangerous, 115 over the next couple of days in Portland. And then, Seattle, you are going to top out 109 on Monday. And, Christi, we are looking at heat advisory for New York City and Boston, too, and surrounding areas of the Northeast where it could feel like 105.
PAUL: Tyler Mauldin, we appreciate you, thank you.
MAULDIN: All right. You got it.
PAUL: Have a great day.
And thank you so much for making us part of your morning. We appreciate you, too. "INSIDE POLITICS SUNDAY WITH ABBY PHILLIP" is up next. We hope that you make some good memories today.
First, though, this week's "Staying Well" talking about tennis.
DR. SAJU MATHEW, PUBLIC HEALTH SPECIALIST: Tennis has really changed my life.
I think when we talk about tennis it is a physical game. Tennis also has a psychological component to it. It works on your body fitness. It works on your health and it works on your mind.
There are a couple of studies, one from Copenhagen, that it has actually shown that tennis adds about 9.7 years to your life. It works on your mental help. It requires the ability to communicate and talk to people. So, it's also a social sport.
Tennis lowers your blood pressure, agility on the court. You have to lunge, you have to move forward, backward. You have to squat. You've got to jump. You've got to run fast. It's a total body workout.
You can burn 400 to 1,000 calories in just one hour of playing the game. As a physician, I had so many people coming to me and talk about back pain and difficulty and flexibility, blood pressure, bone health. Tennis helps with all of that.
That's why I like this game. We have people with Parkinson's disease where it helps you with stability and hand/eye coordination.
Anytime you pick up a new sport, my advice is check with the doctor, really go out there and find a local court and enjoy this game that you can play for a lifetime.