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New Day Sunday

U.S. Sees Summer Surge In COVID-19 Cases As Vaccinations Stall; CDC: 40 Percent Of U.S. Population Fully Vaccinated; Missouri Attorney General Threatens Lawsuit To Stop St. Louis Mask Mandate; Florida, Texas, Missouri Account For 40 Percent Of New Infections; Hospitalizations In L.A. County More Than Doubled In Two Weeks; Businesses Enforce Safety Measures As COVID-19 Infections Spread; School Districts Weigh Requiring Masks For Students; January 6 Select Committee To Hold First Hearing Tuesday; McCarthy Pulls All Committee Picks After Pelosi Rejected Two; Pelosi Considers Naming GOP Representative Kinzinger To The Select Committee; Committee To Hear From Police At Scene Of Mob Attack; U.S. Captures First Gold Of Olympics In Men's Swimming. Aired 6-7a ET

Aired July 25, 2021 - 06:00   ET



CHRISTI PAUL, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning and welcome to your NEW DAY. I'm Christi Paul.

BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm Boris Sanchez. Surging cases as COVID infections rise because of the Delta variant. There is new data showing just how much of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated. The numbers aren't great.

Plus, there is a legal battle brewing in one state set to reimpose mask mandates tomorrow.

PAUL: And reliving the riot. U.S. Capitol police officers who responded to the deadly January 6th insurrection are going to testify on Capitol Hill this week amid a lot of questions about which lawmakers will even serve on the 1/6 commission.

SANCHEZ: And striking gold. The U.S. finally winning its first Olympic gold medal of the Tokyo games and in a stunner one of the top athletes in the world is sidelined after testing positive for coronavirus.

PAUL: Also, a state of emergency in parts of the west as wildfires are burning out of control. We are on the front lines for you.

It is Sunday, July 25th, and we are always grateful to have your company. Thanks for being with us. Good morning, Boris.

SANCHEZ: Good morning, Christi. Always great to see you.

PAUL: You as well, thanks. So this summer surge of the coronavirus pandemic that we have been talking about seems to be worsening across the U.S. Cases are headed in the wrong direction while vaccination rates have stalled. SANCHEZ: Yes, it is not a pretty picture. Nearly every state is reporting an increase in infections as the more transmissible Delta variant of the coronavirus surges. Look at all the red on that map. New numbers showing just under half the population of the U.S. is fully vaccinated, 49 percent.

The rise in infections and hospitalizations is being driven by the unvaccinated as we've heard from experts over and over again. Communities are taking steps to curb the spread though. St. Louis City and County is going to require masks in indoor public places and on public transportation starting tomorrow. But Missouri's attorney general says he will sue to stop the safety measures from being enforced.

PAUL: His state is one of three that account for 40 percent of all COVID infections across the country. Florida and Texas are the others.

Now, the truth is vaccines are effective. They are widely available and they're free. But a dangerous mix of vaccine hesitancy and misinformation in pockets of the country is slowing efforts to end the pandemic.


DR. GREG POLAND, DIRECTOR, MAYO CLINIC'S VACCINE RESEARCH GROUP: We are a year and a half into this and they are still waiting for information that they don't really even understand.

You wouldn't ask your grocery store clerk what should you do about fixing your car's transmission. Why would you listen to a neighbor about what they think about vaccines?


PAUL: So CNN's Polo Sandoval is with us now. Polo, I know it's the areas with low vaccination rates that seem to be dragging down the rest of the country. What do we know about really people's mindset?

POLO SANDOVAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The mindset, Christi, sadly is that there really hasn't been this increase in the acceptance, obviously, of the vaccine among those that still have those hesitations to actually get the shot. When you look at the map, it seems that it just gets even redder here. And then also a lot of those metrics that we use to gauge more or less where the country is in terms of the coronavirus pandemic they don't seem to be improving.

Thirty states right now are yet to fully vaccinate at least half of their population. According to some of those fresh numbers, the daily average of people getting fully vaccinated a day on Friday, it's in its lowest level since January.


SANDOVAL (voice-over): The Delta variant driving new outbreaks this summer as vaccinations stall in the United States. Florida currently one of the most infected states in the U.S. REP. CHARLIE CRIST, (D-FL): If the governor would lead more strongly and really lean into this and say, you know, people, you have got to get vaccinated. It's so important. It's life or death. I don't know why he is not doing it more. I really don't understand it.

SANDOVAL: Florida, Missouri and Texas are three states accounting for 40 percent of all cases nationwide. Austin, Texas, Mayor Steve Adler now recommending masks for all residents even for those already vaccinated. But that's about all he can do.

MAYOR STEVE ADLER (D), AUSTIN, TEXAS: It's frustrating that the governor is attempting to limit our powers. It's even more frustrating that the message going to the community is mixed.


SANDOVAL: In Los Angeles County, California, COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are now again exploding. On Saturday the county reported 2,600 new cases. More than 60 percent of the county's eligible population has been fully vaccinated but some individuals are wavering on getting vaccinated at all.

BARBARA FERRER, L.A. COUNTY DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC HEALTH: There's a whole group of people who really are still struggling to understand how easy it is to get vaccinated. We'll provide anybody with transportation.

We also got questions about whether they had to show their papers, can they get vaccinated if they are Mexican. You know, no. You know, you don't need any papers to get vaccinated and of course you can get vaccinated here in L.A. County regardless of immigration status.

SANDOVAL: Local vendors taking matters into their own hands when it comes to vaccinations in some instances. A restaurant in Atlanta, Georgia, posting this photo -- quote -- "For the safety of our staff, guests, and community, no vax, no service."

Amid the rising number in infections some states and local leaders are again recommending the mask be worn indoors even by those who are vaccinated. And with the new school year just around the corner at least eight of the 20 largest school districts in the U.S. are making masks optional for students in school while another nine are requiring masks. Some districts like Shelby County in Tennessee are preparing for return to classes with mask mandates.

JORIS M. RAY, SUPERINTENDENT, SHELBY COUNTY SCHOOLS: Our parents are very supportive and they understand that in the state of Tennessee there's a 200 percent increase of COVID-19 specifically the Delta variant, 700 new cases per day. And, you know, I have said it before and I'm going to continue to say it, I am going to keep students safe.


SANDOVAL: And CDC data late last week shedding more light on the potential risk for the immunocompromised which make up a little over 2 percent of the U.S. population right now. And so some of those numbers showing that if they are infected the data showed that they would be more likely to be severely ill. And even if they are vaccinated then they would be potentially more likely to actually experience some of these breakthrough infections.

And the study finding that about 44 percent of the people of the breakthrough cases hospitalized right now are those people who are immunocompromised, Christi and Boris. And that's one of the reasons why the FDA, why the CDC considering a possible third booster for that segment of the population. We should remind our viewers that so far that emergency use authorization from the FDA that only allows two doses. So we will see if that changes, especially those -- for those who need it the most.

SANCHEZ: Yes, a very good point. And we should get some answers soon from the FDA on that full authorization. Polo Sandoval, we appreciate the report. Thank you.

Joining us now to discuss all things COVID is Dr. Saju Mathew. He's a primary care physician and a public health specialist. Doctor, always great to see you. Appreciate you getting up bright and early for us.

So you've seen the numbers. The U.S. now fully vaccinated 49 percent of the population. Vaccination rates at the slowest they have been since January.

Misinformation remains the single biggest barrier to getting shots in arms. So at this point what would be the most effective message to convince the unvaccinated, especially as we see these pockets of the country with very low vaccination rates suffer?

DR. SAJU MATHEW, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: Good morning, Boris. I am going to say the dreaded word and that's going to be mandates. I really think what we need to do is push the FDA to come up with full licensure as quickly as possible for these mRNA vaccines and that's going to do a couple of things.

Number one, it's going to give hospital systems like mine and corporations the leverage to go ahead and mandate these vaccines. If you mandate the vaccines, guess what? People will get the vaccines.

And then, secondly, there are a minority group of people that keep saying this is an experimental vaccine, which it's not, and that if it becomes a full licensed vaccine that I will get it. So I think that's part of it. But we have to keep educating people about the misinformation regarding the vaccines.

SANCHEZ: So I want to be as clear as possible about this. The vast majority of COVID hospitalizations and deaths are among people who are unvaccinated. Yet there are some vaccinated people that are still getting the virus. It's very rare, but, obviously, the highly contagious Delta variant with that spreading we're seeing these breakthrough cases more frequently. How would you rate the level of concern among vaccinated people about breakthrough cases?

MATHEW: I mean, definitely -- I'll be honest with you, Boris, I am a bit surprised that we have this many breakthrough infections. I seriously think that we are underreporting the number. CDC is not even officially reporting the number of breakthrough infections.

Listen, a lot of people are not getting tested like they did at the beginning of the pandemic. Secondly, if you have a cold and you are fully vaccinated you are thinking you don't have COVID, that it's just a cold.


But overall the breakthrough infections are milder. I've had a few patients that have had two weeks of like a bad flu-like symptoms. So for some patients it's severe. For other patients it's not. But overall, I am not worried about it. As we vaccinate more and more people, we are going to get these breakthrough infections.

But the bottom line is if we have a lot of viral transmission in the community and a lot of people that are still unvaccinated, Boris, they are going to apply pressure on the vaccine which is causing these breakthrough infections.

SANCHEZ: Yes, the unvaccinated essentially are dragging us all down. And just again to be clear, in some places it's 99 percent the new COVID cases that are among the unvaccinated. So it is extremely rare to get a breakthrough case.

I want to ask you about the debate over masking up. Because yet again the Missouri attorney general says that he is going to sue to block the new mask mandates in St. Louis City and County. Cases there are surging.

Where do you stand on masking for vaccinated people? Is it still possible at this point to sort of go back on the guidance that was put out there that the vaccinated don't have to wear masks?

MATHEW: You know, this is the way I think about this virus. It's a very smart virus. The WHO just categorized the Delta variant as the fastest and the fittest. These are not two good descriptions of this virus.

Whenever you have such high community transmission, you have to mask up. To me it makes common sense. And I'm not really sure why a lot of people are upset about how sometimes we have to go back. If there is a lot of viral transmission and you go into a grocery store, guess what? What you thought last week was safe or last month was safe is not safe now.

So I definitely think that in indoor spaces, congested areas, looking at your family dynamics -- do you have a lot of elderly people in your family? If that's the case, you've got to have these layers of protections, Boris, and that's what a mask is. It's an additional layer of protection.

SANCHEZ: Yes. And at this point as we watch the numbers start to fluctuate and start to move rapidly in areas with low vaccination rates, you have to do what you can to stay safe and to keep the loved ones around you safe as well. Dr. Saju Mathew, always appreciate talking to you. Thanks for the time. MATHEW: Thanks, Boris.

PAUL: Still to come, after some heated disagreements and delays the House select committee is holding its first hearing on the January 6th insurrection, that hearing on Tuesday. We're going to take you live to Capitol Hill for a preview of what we expect we'll hear.

SANCHEZ: Plus, COVID forcing two of golf's biggest stars out of the Olympics. More on that and a full day of competition after a quick break. Stay with us.



PAUL: Sixteen minutes past the hour right now. The select committee investigating the deadly January 6th riot at the U.S. Capitol is holding its first hearing on Tuesday. Now, this panel will hear from police officers who were on the front lines of that mob attack there.

SANCHEZ: Yes, Tuesday's hearing follows a showdown between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy over who will serve on that committee.

CNN congressional reporter Daniella Diaz joins us now live from Capitol Hill with the latest. Daniella, give us a sense of what we are going to expect during that hearing, what we're going to see.

DANIELLA DIAZ, CNN CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER: Well, it's exactly how you all painted it, Boris and Christi. We are planning to hear directly from police officers -- Capitol police officers and metro police officers who responded during that deadly attack on January 6th. And it will be, you know, one of the first time that people in the public get to see this deadly attack videos of this deadly attack in the body-worn camera footage of these police officers that will really paint this picture, this vivid detail of what happened on January 6th.

But there is a lot of things we don't know about what's going take place on Tuesday especially after, as you mentioned, this showdown between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi rejected two picks that McCarthy wanted to appoint to this panel. Of course, that being Congressman Jim Banks and Congressman Jim Jordan because of their relationship with the former president and their advocating for the former president. And as a result McCarthy pulled all of his picks from this committee. So it's unclear how this committee is going to shape out this week with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

I do need to mention, of course, that there is one Republican on this committee who was appointed by Pelosi, not McCarthy, and that is Congresswoman Liz Cheney who, of course, was ousted from House Republican leadership earlier this year because she refused to tout the big lie that the election was stolen from former President Trump. So she is the only person on this committee right now making it bipartisan. But still a lot of questions ahead on what will happen to this committee. PAUL: And, Daniella, I know one of those -- I know one of those questions has to do with whether Speaker Nancy Pelosi is going to appoint Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger to the committee. What are you hearing about that this morning?

DIAZ: Right, Christi. Well, sources have told CNN that Democrats are discussing adding Congressman Adam Kinzinger of Illinois to this panel. He is another Republican who also refuses to tout the big lie that the election was stolen from former President Donald Trump. And it's unclear whether this will be added by -- he will be added by Tuesday ahead of first hearing on this panel because, of course, this letter that Speaker Pelosi sent to her colleagues on Friday where she touted that this committee is bipartisan. But she did not make any additional announcements for this committee. So, unclear right now when he will be announced, if he's announced but we know that Democrats want to add him.

PAUL: Daniella Diaz, we appreciate it so much. Thank you.


We want to take a closer look at what we expect to happen at Tuesday's select committee hearing. CNN political analyst Alex Burns with us from New York right now. Alex, good morning to you. Good to have you here.


PAUL: So after listening to what Daniella said, I want to ask you about the potential appointment of Representative Kinzinger. What would the dynamics of that be? Would he add any legitimacy in terms of a GOP entering that space?

BURNS: Well, look, in the eyes of the House Minority, Kevin McCarthy, and the Republican conference, there is no appointment that Pelosi could make that would suddenly lead them to say, actually we are going to participate in this commission after all. They have drawn their line in the sand over Jim Banks and Jim Jordan and that's just the way it's going to be, and that's the way they're going to talk about the commission going forward. That's the political bet that they have made.

But for a wider national audience, the presence of a second Republican and a pretty well known Republican, not quite as well known as Liz Cheney, but Adam Kinzinger has not exactly been a shrinking violet during his time in Congress. Sure, I do think that that would be a useful stamp of approval, stamp of bipartisan legitimacy.

I do think it's really notable, Christi, that at this point Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger are two of the only Republicans who are still trumpeting the criticism of former President Trump that you heard from a lot of members of that conference in the immediate aftermath of January 6th, even the other Republicans who voted to impeach President Trump -- former President Trump, have not gone as far as these two in keeping up the drum beat of criticism. PAUL: We have seen a lot of video of what happened on January 6th. What do you anticipate or what do we know about some of the potential evidence that might be seen here, including new videos?

BURNS: Look, I think that it's hard to know exactly what the scope of unseen evidence, evidence previously undisclosed to the public in forums like the media and, more importantly, perhaps like the impeachment trial of former President Trump where the Democratic impeachment managers introduced an enormous volume of video that we had not seen before.

But I do think -- you know, Daniella mentioned that we are going to be hearing from some of the police officers who defended the Capitol that day. That is a kind of voice, a kind of experience that Americans have heard in bits and pieces, but seeing it and hearing it in a structured setting like a formal hearing could be pretty powerful. And this is an important moment, Christi, because there has been so much partisan back and forth over the creation of the commission.

This is an important moment for the commissioners and for their witnesses and for the House majority to show the public, explain to the public, this is why this is such an important enterprise. This is why you should pay attention, whatever you have heard in the partisan back and forth.

PAUL: So speaking of that, we have seen -- seen a shift in the Republican messaging when it comes to unvaccinating -- or unvaccinated people and the surge that we've seen in cases as of late particularly Alabama governor -- GOP Governor Kay Ivey targeting unvaccinated people saying, it is time.

Is there any indication how expansive these messages may be forth coming in the GOP camp, and are there concerns about repercussions politically?

BURNS: Look, yes. I mean, I would be -- I would be cautious about assuming that the party has sort of turned a corner in terms of vaccination campaign. It's a big deal that folks like Kay Ivey or Steve Scalise, the number two house Republican are now speaking up for vaccines as strongly as they are. Scalise just got vaccinated last week.

But it's pretty remarkable that it has taken this long in the first place. And the political pressures within the party mitigate pretty strongly in the other direction, that you see Republican candidates for governorships and other offices around the country coming out strongly against mask mandates and certainly against vaccine mandates as well.

And as long as there is that just sort of anti-government, anti- mandate constituency in the party, which is very strong, and as long as you have really powerful voices in conservative media and online pushing back against vaccination campaigns I think we have got to wait and see just how long this moment of courage lasts.

PAUL: Alex Burns, always good to have you with us. Thank you, sir. BURNS: Thanks a lot.

PAUL: Sure.

By the way, you can join Wolf Blitzer for our special coverage of the January 6th select committee's first hearing. It begins Tuesday at 9:00 a.m. Eastern. We will have it right here for you on CNN.

SANCHEZ: Do not want to miss that. Well, after being shut out of medals on Saturday for the first time in more than 40 years team USA more than made up for it this morning in Tokyo. We'll take you there for a live report just ahead.



SANCHEZ: It is day two at the Olympics and the U.S. is finally on the medal board. It took a little longer than usual.

PAUL: It did. We had a minute there, didn't we? We want to go live to Coy Wire in Tokyo.

I know it's pretty rare, Coy, that we had to wait this long. I say, "This long." It's day two. But, I mean, we have never gone through a first day without a U.S. medal.

COY WIRE, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, good morning, Christi and Boris, from Tokyo. For the first time since 1972 games in Munich actually team USA were shut out of medals on the opening day of competition at the summer Olympics. Well, things certainly changed on day two.

American men finishing one and two in the 400 meter I.M. Jay Litherland taking silver. But it was Chase Kalisz winning his first ever Olympic gold and the first for team USA at these games.


He won silver in Rio. And listen to this, when he was 8 years old he was put into a medically-induced coma for a week. He was on a ventilator and feeding tube for eight months as he fought an acute disorder of the nervous system. Kalisz says Michael Phelps is like a big brother to him. We caught up with a GOAT earlier in the day and asked about the events and how he feels about not competing in the game for the first time in a quarter-century.


MICHAEL PHELPS, FORMER COMPETITIVE SWIMMER: It was good to watch my little brother win gold this morning. I don't know if everything is sunken yet not being in the water, not being -- like, not competing. There were a lot of emotions that ran through my body walking into the pool this morning just watching the final in Florida. It's bizarre. It's really weird. Like, I felt like watching the prelims last night. I was getting excited. Like, I was almost like ready to -- like, ready to race.


WIRE: All right, the first-ever skateboarding competition at the Olympics. Six-time world champ Nyjah Huston said he thinks that skateboarding can bring great vibes, new energy to the games. We were there in person and it did. It was fun. It was edgy. There was great music playing while the skaters did their thing.

It was hometown hero Yuto Horigome pulling off an historic feat winning the first-ever gold in the Olympic sport of skateboarding. The 22-year-olds grew up just eight miles away from this park. He's the son of a Tokyo taxi driver. He battled the 20 best and brightest street skateboarding around the world, but he also had to persevere through some extreme heat. It was so hot. But he couldn't have looked any cooler still out there on the course.

Now, with all the competition being held, it's still hard to escape the impact that COVID is having on these games as positive tests are knocking out two of golf's biggest stars including world number one Jon Rahm testing positive again for COVID. This time, just ahead of departing for Tokyo, the Spanish star had to withdraw from the memorial tournament in June after testing positive as well. Two weeks later, he returned, won the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines. Rahm is fully vaccinated.

American superstar Bryson DeChambeau also being knocked out of the Olympics after testing positive for the virus before he left the states for Japan. Patrick Reed will replace him on the U.S. roster. So, two huge names and one sport being knocked out, a harsh reminder of this invisible competitive these athletes are facing.

Now, you may have noticed, Christi and Boris, that right now I'm wearing an outfit change here. This is the Nike metal stand here that Team USA is rocking, and they are certainly rocking now. Eight medals on day two after missing out completely on day one, including two golds. I'm feeling kind of fresh and fly, Boris. You want one? You want to wear a smedium. What do you wear?

SANCHEZ: Let's say -- let's say a medium. I don't know if I'd look as good in it as you. I don't know if I'd fill it out that well. But it looks great.


PAUL: What the -- hey, what am I, chopped liver?

WIRE: Well, I'm still working on it for you -- for you, Christi. I have something very special planned for you. Don't you worry. I'm here a long time and I've got a lot of work to do.

PAUL: Oh, I love it. Coy, thank you so much. And yes, you do rock it, Coy, you do. Thanks so much.

So, listen, we want to talk with that team USA women's volleyball player Foluke Akinradewo. Foluke -- this is her third Olympic Games, by the way, if you don't know with Team USA. But this is the first time, Foluke, that you're there as a mom. I know you gave birth to your son back in 2019. And you wrote something interesting on Instagram when you were talking about the training that you had to go through to do this, especially after you had your son.

You said, in those -- it's been a long arduous journey to get back here. And there were many times I debated calling it quits along the way. But I'm so glad I didn't. It was all worth it. You know, there are a lot of people fighting to stay in their own game, Foluke, whatever it is. In those moments when the weight was just crushing for you, what was it? What did you do? I think people would love to know, what did you do to keep pushing yourself forward?

FOLUKE AKINRADEWO, OLYMPIC VOLLEYBALL PLAYER: Yes, you know, I always told myself that I want to come back to do it for other women who want to have babies and want to come back as professional athletes. And so, in those moments where I had the self-doubt and I didn't want to do it on my thought about that. And I'd made that commitment and I wanted to follow through with it.

And actually, the other day I was looking at in my featured photos. It was a video of me working out Mother's Day at 2020. And I didn't know what the outcome would be with the Olympics, but I just wanted to keep working out and keep going for it. And it's been -- it's been a tough journey. I develop diastasis recti from the pregnancy, so separation of my abdomen. And it's been tough but I think, you know, just saying the small goals and staying committed to it and having a great support system has helped.


PAUL: So, what conversations do you have with other athletes? Because as I understand it, and correct me if I'm wrong, there at least 10 athletes there who are also moms, and many of them moms with young children. So, what kind of conversations do you have with each other in that realm?

AKINRADEWO: Yes, unfortunately, I haven't really had a chance to chat with them yet. But at least amongst my teammates, you know, they see me and I think that they're inspired to do the same. And I always say that it just takes a tribe. You can't do this without a great support system. And I know all the moms here competing probably say the same.

It's really tough, but I think also for any mom, motherhood is just difficult whether you're an athlete or working mom, a stay-at-home mom. It all has its challenges. But if you have other people to lean on and support you through it, you can get through it.

PAUL: That is some serious truth right there. It is true. How do you think and in what way has motherhood shaped you and how you move forward as an athlete, particularly in this moment?

AKINRADEWO: Yes, I think, you know, it's so easy for us to define ourselves by what we do. And as an athlete, whether you have a good practice, good training, great match, bad match, you kind of let that define you sometimes. And it's been so nice in those moments where things are tough, I get to go home and love on that sweet boy of mine and be a mom and realize that I'm so much more than just an athlete.

And he definitely keeps me grounded and keeps me motivated, but allows me to know that, you know, these moments are so small, and we can't define ourselves by these small moments when there's so much more to life.

PAUL: Such good advice. One quick question. How concerned are you about COVID? How are you feeling? I hope well, and you know, we know that -- I think as of today, there's about 137 people within the games who have tested positive.

AKINRADEWO: Right. Yes. I mean, all you can do is just, you know, take the precautionary measures. Our team role fully vaccinated and we've been finding obviously that that doesn't necessarily protect you from getting COVID. And so, we're doing our best to stay masked, sanitized, keep our distance from others and just do our best to protect ourselves and hopefully, we can go through the games unscathed.

PAUL: We hope that for you too. And we cannot wait to watch you play. Foluke, thank you so much for being with us. It's so good to have you here. Wishing you the very best of luck. We're cheering you on.

AKINRADEWO: Thank you so much. Thanks for having me.

PAUL: Sure.

SANCHEZ: Coming up, vaccine hesitancy not just confined to the United States. Thousands of people rallying in the streets in Paris Saturday protesting mandatory vaccinations. Some of the demonstrations are turning violent. We'll take you to France for a live update next.



SANCHEZ: An anti-vaccine protest in Paris turned violence on Saturday with police deploying tear gas and arresting at least nine people.

PAUL: Here, you're looking at some of what happened there. The protests are in response to a new law that would extend the use of a special health path. Now, it shows proof of a negative test, COVID recovery, or vaccination. And the new bill would make it mandatory in most public spaces. Jim Bitterman is live for us in France this morning.

Jim always good to see you. Are more protests expected today?

JIM BITTERMAN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Not expected but there could be some. Basically, the bill has not fully gone through the parliamentary process that's going to establish this new health pass. I'll just show you what it is. I printed by it up. You can also download it on your smartphone or whatever. And you have to carry it around and you have to show it.

Now, increasingly, in various locations, already it's gone into effect for large crowds and inside crowds, and you have to have proof that you've been vaccinated. And very soon, first of August, the government hopes if this legislation gets passed, you'll have to show up going into a cafe or a restaurant or anything like that.

Now, the reason, of course, is that the caseload here it has been going up dramatically. And President Macron who was not in France, he's out in (INAUDIBLE), but in any case, he questioned the logic yesterday of those refusing to get vaccinated in the name of liberty. He said, that's not freedom, that's called irresponsibility. That's called selfishness. Something that I think probably the protesters would vehemently object to.

But you have to remember there were about 160,000 protesters on the streets of France yesterday. The country is 66 million and already about half of the country has been vaccinated. So, it's -- they're protesting, but in fact they are not in the majority. Christi, Boris?

PAUL: Jim Betterman, we appreciate it so much. Thank you, sir.

So, as the White House scrambles to convince hesitant people to get them COVID-19 vaccine, prominent Republicans and right-wing media, some, simply shifting their messaging on vaccines. So, what is behind the pivot? We'll discuss next.



PAUL: So, you know, right now, there are a lot of places around the country with low vaccination rates. And those places, in particular, are seeing an alarming spike and COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.

SANCHEZ: Yes, and while health officials and state leaders push for more people to get vaccinated. Misinformation continues to worsen that rift between those who have gotten the vaccine and those who have not.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did anyone you know get COVID?




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wow. So, that's like pretty rare for like a young kid. What was that like?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's sick a lot. He's been sick a lot for a while and he's still sick. So, he's been getting looked at and see if there's further damage. I don't know. I mean, he's -- he got real sick, fever every day for weeks.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you guys going to get the vaccine? UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, no vaccine.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How come? I just don't trust the government.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you going to get the vaccine?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Absolutely not. Our kids are not going to get. None of us.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I mean, I figure out we'll just let the world work its natural ways.


SANCHEZ: Joining us now is CNN chief media correspondent and the host of "RELIABLE SOURCES," Brian Stelter. Brian, in recent days, it's been really surprising to watch Fox News. For months, they peddled lies about COVID. And in the last few days, they change their tune about the vaccine. What do you think that has to do with it? Is it a fear of lawsuits or maybe trying to fix some of the insecurities we saw in financial markets earlier in the week before they rebounded? Why?

BRIAN STELTER, CNN CHIEF MEDIA CORRESPONDENT: Well, there's been a lot of speculation about the root causes of this. My reporting indicates there was a real concern about the Delta variant, especially affecting Republican strongholds. The numbers do not lie, even though some people want them to. And so as a result, you saw Fox News for the first time in weeks, actually months, promoting, urging viewers to go to and get information about their shots.

But I want to be clear here, I think there was a slight change in tune. I don't think that this network does -- that Fox deserves a much credit on this. There are still lots and lots of irresponsible segments on the air about COVID and about vaccines. But it does seem like there's been this concerted effort even if it was subtle, and even if it was short-lived, among political leaders and television, right-wing leaders, in order to change messaging about the shots. Again, though, it's been subtle.

Look at what Trump said last night at his rally. He said, I recommend you take it, but I also believe in your freedoms. Of course, the vaccine is the key to freedom. Most viewers know that. The vaccine is a way to get to freedom and rid this country of the pandemic. But he presents it as a contrast or as a contradiction, right, that he wants to protect freedoms.

I think, frankly, this was the week that vaccinated America started to get really fed up. And that's why we're seeing more talk about mandates, and more questions about the vaccine resistance in the country. I think that unfortunately, this divide is going a lot more strong with every passing week.

SANCHEZ: Yes, I think that's the key. The vaccination is the gateway toward freedom. And it's so weird to see the president sort of leave this opening. It's arguably the greatest achievement of his presidency, and he still doesn't lean into it. Brian Stelter, thank you so much for the time, and of course --


STELTER: He doesn't lean into it. His PSAs or other messaging and that continues to be so strange. You saw President Biden give some credit to Fox, give some credit to GOP lawmakers this week. But I think the credit, you know, let's wait a month. Let's see if this becomes a concerted effort to actually encourage people to tune out that disinformation and get vaccinated.

SANCHEZ: Yes. So, you're going to hear a lot more from Brian on "RELIABLE SOURCES" today at 11:00 Eastern. Do not miss that. Brian Stelter, thank you as always. Great to see, Brian.

PAUL: Thanks, Brian.

SANCHEZ: So, dozens of wildfires are raging in the western United States. And one in Oregon is even creating its own weather system. The latest on the effort to bring this blaze under control when we come back. Stay with us.

PAUL: So, you know, cutting grass is a chore a lot of kids do not want to do. Well, there's one man now who's convinced hundreds of young people across the country to do so to mow lawns for people who really need the help. Here's this week's CNN Hero, Rodney Smith Jr.


RODNEY SMITH JR., TRAVELS THE U.S. MOWING LAWNS: 50-yard challenge is a challenge that we have issued to kids nationwide and worldwide to move 50 free lawns in their community. They'll make a sign saying I accept the 50-yard challenge. And in return, we will send them a T- shirt along with safety glasses and ear protection. And once they move 50 lawns, I drive to wherever they are, I present them a brand new mower (INAUDIBLE).

Today, we have about 2000 kids nationwide. Kids are responsible for finding their own lawn. So, that's another way they can go out into the community and meet people they probably normally wouldn't have met.

At a young age, I used to mow lawns as a chore and I disliked it. I took something I dislike and turn to something that I love to do. And every single day, I get to move free lawns and I get to encourage kids around the world to get out there and make a difference one loan at a time.


PAUL: What a great guy learn more or if you would like to nominate someone you know to be a hero, just go to We'll be right back.


SANCHEZ: The largest wildfire in the United States continues to grow. Oregon's Bootleg Fire has now scored more than 408,000 acres, 6000 more acres burning in the last day alone. And right now, it's only 46 percent contained. Firefighters on the ground say that dry and unstable weather conditions are making it harder for them to fight this fire.

And here's part of what's so alarming as well.