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New Day Sunday

At Least 25 Dead As Kentucky Braces For More Flooding; President Biden Isolating After Testing Positive Again For COVID; GOP Blocks Bill Expanding Care For Veterans Exposed To Burn Pits; Russia's War On Ukraine; Police Departments' Staffing Shortages; Chinese Rocket Debris Enters Atmosphere. Aired 7-8a ET

Aired July 31, 2022 - 07:00   ET




BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: Good morning. Welcome to your NEW DAY. I'm Boris Sanchez.


Catastrophic flash floods ripped through parts of eastern Kentucky. Now some of the most devastated areas could get hit with more rain as a new flood watch goes into effect there.

SANCHEZ: Plus, President Biden tests positive for COVID again. What we know about his symptoms and we're going to talk to an expert about how rebound cases work.

SIDNER: Plus, anger, outrage, and sheer frustration after Senate Republicans block a bill to help veterans impacted by burn pits. We'll talk to a woman who lost her husband to a burn pit exposure. You'll hear her message to lawmakers.

SANCHEZ: And explosions rocked southern Ukraine. Some calling it the strongest shelling since the start of the war. Our CNN team is live in Kyiv with the very latest. We'll take you to Ukraine.

SIDNER: It is Sunday, July 31st, thank you so much for waking up with us.

SANCHEZ: Good morning, Sara. Grateful you're starting your week with NEW DAY.

We begin this morning with an update to the ongoing weather emergency in Kentucky. The death toll there continues to rise as search and rescue crews are making their way through flooded areas and as we're expecting yet another round of heavy rain and flooding today.

SIDNER: And the death toll rose from yesterday morning to at least 25 people now confirmed dead there, it is still hard to get an exact number of the dead and missing with one local mayor calling the death toll only the tip of the iceberg. Complicating the response, rushing waters washed away many roads and destroyed bridges making search and rescue efforts all the more difficult.

Those who are in their homes are facing the task of cleaning up with little help. More than 12,000 customers in these rural areas are still without electricity. And water treatment facilities have been knocked offline.


MAYOR DONALD MOBELINI, HAZARD, KENTUCKY: The main problem is, you know, the infrastructure, water infrastructure system has gone down. I mean, it washed away, the plant has broken down, we have no water. We really don't have any water coming out of our plant to go to any house in Perry County, that we all relied on bottled water and it is being, you know, just whoever can bring us bottled water, that's what we're distributing to 25,000 to 29,000 residents.


SANCHEZ: Amid so much destruction, we're hearing some amazing stories of rescues and inspiring efforts. Neighbors putting themselves at risk to help neighbors.

Look at this, a group of men heard a family was trapped in this home in Whitesburg, Kentucky. You can make it out near the center of the screen. There is someone in what appears to be chest high water, even neck high water. It had gotten so high, the family inside couldn't get out safely.

The only way was for these folks to break a window to get in the home, where 98-year-old May Amburgey, her son and brother were trapped when several feet of water rushed in. Look at the conditions inside their home.

SIDNER: Thank goodness for neighbors.

CNN's Evan McMorris-Santoro reports.


EVAN MCMORRIS-SANTORO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Boris and Sara, the floodwaters here have receded. That doesn't mean this tragedy is over. Crews here in Jackson staging from this parking lot of a shopping center went out all day finding people, trying to resupply people who might be trapped and recovering bodies that were killed in these historic floods.

There is still a lot of work to did and people in this county where I am are wondering what the historic impact of the storm will be and what the future might hold.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thinking of the devastation I've seen all over the county, there is some things that can't be rebuilt. Water had got in homes that had never been concerned with water issues. Now their homes are gone.

[07:05:00] Where are all these people going to go, where are they going to live, if they don't have a family member that they can go to?

MCMORRIS-SANTORO: Now, it will be a long time before this place sees anything like recovery. And before it can do that, it is going to need a lot of help. That help is come and working out of places like this. But it is going to need to keep coming to deal with just the scale of this tragedy -- Boris and Sara.


SIDNER: The Cajun Navy is in Kentucky this morning, helping with search and rescue efforts.

Last hour, I spoke with an air boat operator about the dangerous but really important work that he's doing in these rural communities.


GARY HANNER, THE UNITED CAJUN NAVY, TENNESSEE AIRBOAT LEADER: Just total devastation. I mean, floods are just, you know, the water is so powerful, it can just basically destroy anything. So we have been out there, at this point, it turned into just looking for missing people. It is a lot of -- it is chaos at times just trying to, you know, maneuver through the trees, the downed power lines, the power lines are probably the most dangerous thing we have to avoid.


SANCHEZ: Let's look at the forecast now with CNN meteorologist Allison Chinchar. The ground there is already saturated, but another round of storms is in the forecast, not just for today, but for the coming days.

ALLISON CHINCHAR, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Yeah. Unfortunately, Boris and Sara, for some of the communities it will get worse before it gets better. And part of the reason for that is you still have power outages. And now, we're throwing more storms at the same communities before they can finish up much of the recovery that they're trying to go through.

This is a look at the flash flood threat areas for today. That moderate risk across portions of eastern Kentucky, where they have that higher threshold for what we're looking at in terms of the rainfall amounts that are going to be in over the next couple of days.

We already have rain pushing back to Kentucky as we speak. The heavier stuff is located on the north side of the state and the western portion of the state. But all of these showers are going to start to fill in as we go through the afternoon. So, here is a look at what we're talking about. This is Sunday, early to late afternoon this is what we're looking at for eastern Kentucky. You see some of the heavier downpours beginning to set up across the eastern portion of the state.

I also want to emphasize, Kentucky is not the only one who has potential for heavy rain. Nashville, Memphis, Knoxville, Little Rock, all of these areas also have potential to get some flash flooding today. Then even when we push into Tuesday, yet another round of very heavy rain begins to push into portions of eastern Kentucky as well.

So as we mentioned, not just a one-day thing, this is going to be the next three days, having to contend with rainfall amounts. Most areas likely to pick up 1 to 2 inches, that alone may not sound like that much. But when the ground is saturated, it doesn't take much to exacerbate the already concerning flooding areas.

You have flood watches and flood warnings in effect. Keep in mind, Boris and Sara, flood watch means it is not happening yet but it will in the next 24 to 48 hours. Flood warning means it is happening, get to higher ground.

SANCHEZ: Difficult mission for those rescue crews out there. Allison Chinchar, thank you so much.

There are a lot of folks in Kentucky that can use some help right now and if you're in a position to lend them a helping hand, you can find out more about how to do that at There are verified links there, so you make sure that every dollar you send is going to where it needs to go.

SIDNER: And now to the White House, where President Biden is in isolation after testing positive for COVID-19 again. Mr. Biden's doctors say the president is likely experiencing what is known as a rebound case.

Mr. Biden addressed his diagnosis in a video on Twitter.


JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm working from home the next couple of days and feeling fine. Everything is good. But Commander and I got a little work to do.


SANCHEZ: Let's take you to the White House now and CNN White House reporter Jasmine Wright.

Jasmine, the president was supposed to spend the weekend in Delaware. Instead, he's back in quarantine.

JASMINE WRIGHT, CNN WHITE HOUSE REPORTER: That's right, Boris. Certainly not the result the president or the White House wanted. Remember, he was just released from isolation on Wednesday after testing negative Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning. And now as of yesterday he's back in isolation.

Now, after Dr. Kevin O'Connor released a letter on Saturday, alerting of the president's new diagnosis, he said the president wasn't experiencing any symptoms and therefore, he would not reinstate the prior medication. Now, of course, a part of that prior treatment that the president was first prescribed was that Paxlovid antiviral treatment, where folks have found that after a few days they have, again, tested positive and a two to eight-day window.

Now, the president fits in that window. Dr. Kevin O'Connor said it was likely a rebound case from that Paxlovid treatment. Now, of course, the White House did downplay in the past the potential for the president to test positive again, saying it only happened to a small amount of people. But just in case, they increased his testing cadence to try to catch any sort of rebound case and, of course, now here they caught it.


So, an example of just how much they weren't expecting this, just two hours before Dr. Kevin O'Connor's letter came on Saturday, the White House announced the president would be traveling to Michigan on Tuesday and he was scheduled to be in Delaware just this morning, to spend some time at home. Now, of course, that's not happening, instead he's here isolating at the White House.

Now, since the president tested positive yesterday, the White House has again tried to show the American people that the president is okay, and that he's working. We saw that video, of course. There have been more tweets and announcements the president has been facetiming.

So, this morning, we are waiting for an update on the president's condition, as well as any update to the contact tracing. That is under way here at the White House now that the president tested positive again -- Boris, Sara.

SIDNER: Jasmine Wright, thank you so much.

SANCHEZ: We want to get more insight on President Biden's condition and rebound cases of COVID in general. So we have Dr. Peter Hotez with us this morning. He's a professor and dean of tropical medicine at Baylor College of Medicine. He's also the co-director of the Center for Vaccine Development at Texas Children's Hospital.

Doctor, good morning. Always appreciate having your expertise on.

What do we know about rebound cases? How do they happen, and who is most likely to be affected?

DR. PETER HOTEZ, PROFESSOR & DEAN OF TROPICAL MEDICINE, BAYLOR COLLEGE OF MEDICINE: Yeah, no, it is happening a lot more frequently than we originally understood. You know, when the clinical trials were conducted, Boris, this was before the omicron variant, we saw rebound about 1 percent to 2 percent of the time on individuals who received Paxlovid. So, that's what we thought, this would be a pretty rare instance. It seems to be happening much more frequently.

We don't have real numbers yet. The number 20 percent is thrown around. It is still more anecdotal than hard numbers. And I think it is happening because these omicron sub variants, the amount of virus is so much higher, the viral load is higher than from previous lineages that may have something to do with it.

But it seems to be happening pretty frequently. So, what happens if you get treated with Paxlovid, you're improved, you're asymptomatic, you test negative, and four or five days later, what happens is you either have a recurrence of symptoms and test yourself and find yourself to be positive, that's what happened to me, that's what happened to Dr. Fauci, it is what happens to a number of other individuals now.

So, we're investigating the mechanisms of it, first, we were concerned maybe drug resistance had developed, but it doesn't look that way. The virus is still susceptible to the medicine so other things are going on.

SANCHEZ: Doctor, the White House says that President Biden is not experiencing any symptoms right now. But he continues to feel well. In that video, it didn't seem like he had any issues with his voice.

Is that common in rebound cases, that you feel fine, you just test positive?

HOTEZ: It -- it can be. What happens is once you're fine, after getting Paxlovid and this is what happened to me, I stopped testing, right? And all of a sudden you start feeling sick again and with congestion or headache, and then you do a test and in my case, it came up positive right away.

It looks like with the president, he's surrounded by so many individuals, they were doing this very regular testing and happened to notice that he's positive. We'll see if he becomes symptomatic or not. And I think if he becomes symptomatic, they may want to consider a second course of Paxlovid.

And, again, that's also debated by the scientific and medical community, whether it is warranted to start a second course of Paxlovid. Right new, he does not have symptoms, there is probably no reason to do that, but they'll watch him closely.

SANCHEZ: So major reason for concern, right?

HOTEZ: At this point, no. I think given the fact he looks well, he feels well, that he's working a regular schedule, though in isolation, those are all positive signs. But, of course, you know, he's got fantastic doctors and medical team and if he starts having that -- those rebound symptoms, that would be cause to put him on Paxlovid and watch him even closer.

SANCHEZ: Doctor, I want to get your thoughts on another viral outbreak that is in the headlines, monkeypox recently New York City declared a public health emergency, officials sounding the alarm, and warning that the window to get the virus under control is closing.

What should officials be doing and what should the general public be doing right now to limit the spread?

HOTEZ: Yeah, the numbers are really going up, Boris, more than 5,000 reported cases and the actual number of cases as we have seen with all of our epidemics is probably significantly higher. There is two big priorities that I can see, three big priorities. One,

to step up a level of testing, but also make our interventions more accessible. So the drug Tecovirimat, some have called it TPOXX, still has a pretty cumbersome red tape process to administer the medicine. We need to streamline that. That's going to be a priority.

That's one of the reasons you're seeing New York state, San Francisco, New York City call for emergencies to help with that cutting through some of the red tape, and also going toing the vaccine available. There are too few doses.

If you have to look at one mistake made, back in 2019, when the vaccine was approved, that should have been a wake-up call to start stockpiling it because it is much safer than the older vaccine. We have 100 million doses of the older vaccine, but it has a lot of problems with it. If we could have scaled up production, and stockpiling of the newer, safer vaccine, which is non-replicating virus, we would not be in this position right now. So, we're playing catch-up yet again.

SANCHEZ: Yet again. Not a great thing to hear at this point, but hopefully it will be under control soon. Dr. Peter Hotez, thanks for sharing part of your weekend with us.

HOTEZ: Thanks so much.

SANCHEZ: Of course.

SIDNER: Still ahead this hour, outrage and anger. Veteran advocates and their families are calling on Congress to act after Senate Republicans block a bill to help veterans impacted by burn pits.

Next, we'll speak to a woman who lost her husband to lung cancer from burn pit exposure.

Plus, a round of strikes in southern Ukraine. Now one mayor says his city is seeing the strongest shelling since the start of the war. We'll have the latest on that next.



SIDNER: Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer says he plans to schedule another procedural vote tomorrow after Senate Republicans blocked a multibillion dollar bill that would help millions of veterans who suffered toxic exposure to burn pits during their military service. Twenty-five senators who previously supported the legislation voted against it last week. Veteran activist Jon Stewart slammed lawmakers blocking the passage.


JON STEWART, VETERANS ACTIVIST: America's heroes who fought in our wars, outside, sweating their asses off, with oxygen, battling all kinds of ailments, while these (EXPLETIVE DELETED) sit in the air conditioning, walled off from any of it!


SIDNER: You know, he's on fire for good reason.

Joining me now is Danielle Robinson. She is the widow of Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson who died after battling lung cancer for three years. Robinson says doctors attributed his illness to smoke exposure. She says it was from the burning trash pits during his deployment to Iraq in 2006 and 2007.

First of all, thank you for coming on the show and thank you for sharing your story. And I'm really, really sorry that you had to go through this.


This was my husband's dying wish. He knew that when he was diagnosed that it was going to be too late for him. And right away when we found out that it was due to toxic exposure, the first thing we did was look at each other and just say, what about our military family and friends? What's going to happen to them?

And so his dying wish was to get legislation passed so that veterans do not have to go through a struggle to be their own advocate, their own lawyers, to get help from the V.A. for these toxic exposure illnesses.

SIDNER: Danielle, can you tell me what you thought. Initially the senators said they were going to support this bill and then they didn't. What did you think when that happened?

ROBINSON: It was a complete shock and devastating blow to the veteran community. You know, there is veterans waiting for years to get healthcare coverage through the V.A. We had veteran service organizations fighting for this for 13 years on Capitol Hill. And they finally saw light at the end of the tunnel from their fight and then something like this happened when it is so solid, June 16th and you get a majority vote and only a few weeks later you get it derailed by some veteran -- some senators deciding that they're going to change their mind and take their votes away because one sentence was deleted from a Senate bill.

SIDNER: I was going to ask you why, why you think they did this. It affects so many veterans and both Republicans and Democrats are always saying we should support our troops, we should support our troops. and here you are left, you know, to fend for yourselves.

Why do you think this happened?

ROBINSON: I think this was a political move, and it is disgusting. I'm wearing red and I'm in blue today because this has to be a bipartisan passage. This is a patriotic and American bill. It does not involve Republicans and Democrats and they're separation of parties. I need all of them to look at Arlington cemetery as they're coming

into D.C. on Monday and remember why those men and women are laying in the ground in that cemetery. It is just sickening.

SIDNER: The bill would expand eligibility for V.A. health benefits to burn pit victims and provide toxic exposure screenings to veterans at their medical appointments. It would also increase training and research into the issue for those who don't think this bill is necessary.

Can you just walk us through what you have been through what your husband went through, and the impact of these burn pits on his body?


ROBINSON: He actually went to about 12 different doctors to be diagnosed. A lot of physicians do not know about toxic exposure illnesses and it took ear, nose and throat doctor after about nine months of being sick, not breathing, having uncontrolled bloody noses to diagnose him by doing a chest CT scan finally and he did a lymph node biopsy that said it was cancer.

So it would have been earlier detected, he could have possibly made it. But because he was stage four when it was detected, we were given at the time four to six weeks for him to live and we were told to go home and prepare for end of life, and he ended up living for three years and it was not an easy three years. He had about a year of good quality of life, but those other two years he fought to breathe, he was hooked up to oxygen for the last six months, and seeing him decline from such a decorated, you know, healthy fit soldier to a pile of bones was very difficult.

But he was active duty when he actually was diagnosed, so Tricare and active duty, being active duty, you're taken care of. When you get medically separated and enter the V.A., you are not very well taken care of. And the V.A. is denying over 70 percent of toxic exposure related illnesses currently.

SIDNER: Danielle, this is so hard to hear and what you just said about him being this fit, decorated soldier, to a pile of bones, is really striking and I am sorry that you had to go through that and see that as a young woman. Can I lastly ask you, what would you say to the Republicans who just decided no to, to vote no o this bill?

ROBINSON: I want them to know we know a veteran who actually took his life because of the delay. He was denied from the V.A. and he lost his private health insurance. And when he found out the bill was going to be passed, he was just trying to hold on longer too because he would qualify under this new bill. And once he learned about the delay, he actually did take his own life because he wanted to spare his family of losing their home.

SIDNER: That shouldn't happen in this country. Danielle Robinson --

ROBINSON: Thank you.

SIDNER: -- thank you so much for coming on and sharing your story with us.

And we will be right back.




SANCHEZ: This morning, the southern Ukrainian city of Mykolaiv is under heavy shelling by Russian forces. And the mayor there is calling it the most intense shelling the city has endured since the start of the war.

SIDNER: Let's bring in CNN international diplomatic editor Nic Robertson in Mykolaiv.

Nic, in the early hours of the morning, your team heard the explosions, caused by the strikes.

Can you give me a sense of what is happening on the ground and to the people there?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Yes, you could feel those explosions. The last of the explosions, which came at 5:00 am in the morning, series of very heavy detonations, rattled the windows on this building.

People we talked to out on the streets here around some of the impact sites told us it is the worst of the bombing as far as they can tell since the conflict began.

You know, there has been a mixture of emotions. Some people we talked to have told us, look, I just feel that I can't stay here any longer. We found the people that were telling us that were right next to a residential building, a big mansion house, actually, in quite a fancy neighborhood in this city.

And they were telling us that they felt they were going to have to leave. One gentleman, the roof had been ripped off of his house. But the neighbor had become trapped in the basement with his wife after the shelling of their house. Their house had collapsed on them. The rescue workers were there when we got there this morning.

And there was -- it seemed at that moment that there was no way they could get this couple out of alive. It has turned out to be the case. Later in the day, we found out the businessman who owned that house, the richest businessman in the city, very well known, very well respected, both he and his wife had passed away.

The size of the impacts of these explosions, to give you a sense of that, I stepped into one of the craters and way above my head, several yards out either side, huge impacts on this city overnight.

SIDNER: It is terrifying what is happening there because there is a battle back and forth obviously with Russia. How far -- have you seen any Russian tanks?

How far have they made it to, when it comes to Mykolaiv?

ROBERTSON: It appears as if the front line is sort of about 25 to 30 miles away. This city is now sort of on the outer limit of Russia's heaviest artillery.

But it also has, you know, plenty of other weapons, rocket systems; the S-300 surface to air missile, which they're now using to target places on the ground, that certainly is well within reach. There were cluster bombs dropped over the city overnight. You could hear multiple, multiple impacts through the night.

SIDNER: Terrifying. Nic Robertson, thank you so much there, live from Mykolaiv, Ukraine.

SANCHEZ: Turning our focus back to the United States now, police departments are struggling to fill their ranks and it is having a major impact on public safety.

SIDNER: Critical staffing shortages are forcing many officers to work long hours and it is causing a delay in response times.


SIDNER: CNN's Ryan Young has more.


RYAN YOUNG, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): More shootings and more 9- 1-1 calls have police departments around the country struggling to meet the growing need, with departments stretched thin.

Heading into a busy summer, where calls for 9-1-1 emergency service spiked.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is she threatening or fighting with anyone right now?

YOUNG: So not only are you dealing with shortages out there in the field but in this room.

INTERIM CHIEF JOSEPH MABIN, KANSAS CITY POLICE: The people working here are working long hours, extra overtime to cover other shifts. But we have to have someone answering the call. So it is critical.

YOUNG (voice-over): The worker shortage is already disrupting public safety around the country by causing delays and law enforcement response times and a reduction in detectives working cases.

SGT. JUSTIN PINKERTON, KANSAS CITY POLICE: Where has the American workforce gone?

It is like they just vanished. And obviously police, we're not immune to it. YOUNG (voice-over): In Kansas City, Missouri, Mayor Quentin Lucas is

seeing a shortage across all open jobs but tells us hiring more recruits in this tough market is a top priority.

MAYOR QUENTIN LUCAS, KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI: Things will not be perfect tomorrow. We won't have enough officers tomorrow. But more than anything, we need to all try to make sure we're helping other folks know that policing is a good path. It is a good pursuit.

YOUNG (voice-over): Law enforcement departments are now offering hiring bonuses as high as $20,000. And some departments have started paying bonuses to keep current officers.

In Portland, Oregon, they're short 108 officers; in Dallas, they're short 550 officers. And in Kansas City, Missouri, they are short some 224 officers while, in Atlanta, the new mayor says he has immediate openings.

MAYOR ANDRE DICKENS, ATLANTA: I'm looking for 250 officers and we're finding them. People are answering the call. They're saying they want to serve their city.

INTERIM CHIEF DARIN SCHIERBAUM, ATLANTA POLICE: One of the challenges now is every police officer, every police department is looking for the same group of talented and motivated individuals that have the heart to serve.

LUCAS: So right now we're looking at military bases, always been a staff (ph) but also HBCUs. We can't just talk about getting more officers of caliber; we're going to the campuses, talking to them about policing, about the work that we do.

RYAN TILLMAN, INSTRUCTOR, CALIBER PRESS: But I think what we do sometimes is we like to wait around for the people at the top to change the culture.

YOUNG (voice-over): Caliber Press, a law enforcement training group, is helping teach police departments --

TILLMAN: So we're talking about recruiting today.

YOUNG (voice-over): -- to reach more applicants.

TILLMAN: I can legitimately go out there and be the change that the community wants to see without anybody even having to impress upon me what I need to do.

PINKERTON: That ripple effect of not -- of the workload and stresses being placed on police officers has increased to our current staffing as well as what is applying. So we're kind of in a perfect storm right now.


SANCHEZ: Our thanks to Ryan Young for that report. Remnants of what appears to be a falling Chinese rocket were caught on

camera as it re-enters Earth's atmosphere over the Indian Ocean. There is fallout and controversy within the space community as this thing hurtles toward Earth. That and more next.











UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I cannot believe it.



SANCHEZ (voice-over): Wow is right. This new video posted on social media appears to show remnants of a 23-ton Chinese rocket booster that's burning up as it re-enters Earth's atmosphere and streaking above the night skies over Malaysia.

SIDNER (voice-over): It is really cool. But kind of scary. Pieces of the massive Chinese rocket had been descending uncontrollably back to Earth after delivering a new module to its space station last week.


SIDNER: Joining us now, CNN aviation and aerospace analyst Miles O'Brien.

Miles, I'm super happy to see you. You are my favorite space geek. I love it.

MILES O'BRIEN, CNN AEROSPACE ANALYST: I should have worn my propeller hat or something.

SIDNER: You really should have. I would have done it with you.

But there is controversy here. As cool as it is to watch that come in, it is incredibly dangerous. And this marks the third time that China has been accused of not properly handling its space debris. What kind of issue is this creating in the world of, for example, NASA

and all of the other space programs?

O'BRIEN: Yes, it is pretty flagrant. This is the third time the Chinese have launched one of these big long rockets, pieces of their space station, without a specific ability to make sure that big piece doesn't get to orbit.

That's what you're supposed to do, put additional rocket motors and fuel on board that keep it from achieving orbit, so you can guide it into the ocean.

I don't get it, Sara, because the Chinese are trying to prove to the world they have all this great space prowess and don't put a little extra fuel and few motors on board to guide this market down rocket down safely.

The odds are you're going to get hit by lightning much more likely.

But why do it?

Why not just do it in a controlled way and not have us all worry about it and turn into Chicken Little?

SANCHEZ: Miles, we have seen these vessels come down and crash into neighborhoods in Africa, for example. So there is a real risk. I'm wondering what you think the international community should do to respond.

O'BRIEN: Well, they should pay for any debris cleaned up.


O'BRIEN: And they should insist that the Chinese take a more responsible approach to launching their rockets.

It is kind of baffling, actually. Interestingly, there has only been one person in the history of space that has been struck by a piece of a rocket, Lottie Williams in 1997, walking in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She said it felt like a tin can hit her shoulder; didn't cause any injuries.

So in spite of all our concerns, no one has been hurt, no one has been killed certainly. But that said, you don't want to keep doing this flagrantly, because eventually the odds will catch up to you.

SIDNER: You are the only person, I swear, on Earth that would know that there is one person and that person was in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and that it didn't hurt. You're just -- you just have all the thoughts in your head. Amazing. I'm going to. Google is going to help me out here.

Can I ask, though, what can be done?

You got a lot of -- there is already a lot of contention between the United States and China right now.

What can be done with the United States and other nations to pressure China to be more responsible?

O'BRIEN: Well, I think a little bit of shaming is a good idea here. Again, the Chinese -- this is part of their prestige program. They want to show the world that they are, in fact, a superpower in full.

If you're going to be a superpower in full, you control your boosters so they don't land willy-nilly all over the planet. Yes, statistically, it's a one in six or one in 10 trillion shot someone will get hit by this thing.

But why do it, why even have this conversation when it is simple to control the booster and put it in the drink like everybody else?

SIDNER: Miles O'Brien there, always bringing us all the good details. Thank you so much for joining us.

SANCHEZ: Appreciate you.

O'BRIEN: You're welcome.

SIDNER: A quick programming note, don't forget to watch another episode of CNN's original series, "Patagonia: Life on the Edge of the World," tonight at 9:00. Here is a preview for you.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): Exhausted but home at last, finally a chance to rest -- or maybe not. Her 6-week old chick is ravenous. Growing fast, he has an insatiable appetite. Mom needs to keep some food back for herself but her chick won't take no for an answer.


SIDNER: I could watch this every day, all day.

You can watch tonight at 9:00 pm, right here on CNN.

SANCHEZ: So Yankees all-star Aaron Judge is larger than life. He's a Goliath. And he's looking that way at just about every pitcher he's been facing, too. It is starting to look like he might challenge one of the most hallowed records in all of sports. Your Bleacher Report after a quick break.






[07:55:00] SIDNER: Thank you for starting the morning with us. "INSIDE POLITICS SUNDAY" is next.

SANCHEZ: That was a great weekend, Sara. Thanks for being with us.