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Miami Beach Takes Drastic Measures To Control Revelers; Biden Addresses Reporters On Immigration; Hundreds Gather To Support Asian Communities, Demand Change; How Brazil Became A Global COVID Threat; C.D.C. Says Virtual Learning May Increase Risk To Mental Health And Wellness; Some Republicans Opposed Medal Over Insurrection Term; NY Rep. Tom Reed (R) Takes Full Responsibility Following Allegations Of Sexual Misconduct. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired March 21, 2021 - 19:00   ET



PAMELA BROWN, CNN HOST: And your next hour of CNN NEWSROOM starts now.


FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: The city of Miami Beach has declared a state of emergency.

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: People are partying like it's 2019 pre- pandemic. These are a lot of spring breakers. They've been cooped up for a long time, more than a year now.

MATT RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Rio de Janeiro authorities have closed this beach due to the surging number of cases and deaths from the coronavirus.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is a situation spiraling out of control. Kids are overcrowded. They are in situations you would never want your kid to be in.

DANA BASH, CNN ANCHOR: When are you going to be able to have facilities up and running so that no child is in these jail-like border protection facilities for more than 72 hours?

ALEJANDRO MAYORKAS, HOMELAND SECURITY SECRETARY: We established three new facilities just last week. We are working around the clock 24/7.


BROWN: I'm Pamela Brown in Washington on this Sunday. Welcome to our viewers in the United States and around the world. You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM.

And new tonight, the city of Miami Beach is extending an 8:00 p.m. curfew through at least March 30th. But it could extend as long as April 13th. Thousands of spring breakers have overwhelmed the city's entertainment district, most of them, as you see, are not wearing masks. The mayor has issued a state of emergency saying the crowds are more than they can handle. The crackdown is coming as Florida has thrown open its doors to tourists after a year of coronavirus lockdowns and restrictions.

CNN's Randi Kaye reports.

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Pamela. Yes, city officials here are saying that this is a spring break like no other. They said these are not your typical spring breakers here in the city of Miami Beach. And they're quite concerned. There are more than a thousand people in the streets on Friday night which caused a lot of trouble for police. They had to use those pepper balls to disperse the crowd. They had to do that again on Saturday night.

There were more than a dozen arrests on Saturday night, and again, they were not paying attention, they were not obeying the new curfew that is now in place. So police once again had to turn to those pepper balls to try and clear the crowd.

But the mayor has said that the crowd here has been wall to wall. He likened it to a rock concert. He says that there was a riot here. He said that there was somebody who was firing guns -- a weapon into the air, and he also described stampedes.

City officials are quite concerned so they put this new state of emergency into place, and this curfew, which, as you know, began on Saturday night. It goes into effect at 8:00 p.m. every night until 6:00 in the morning, and it also closes the causeways from the main land over to Miami Beach here, the entertainment district, and these streets here behind me, Ocean Drive, are also closed to people except for those who are going to businesses in the area, and residents and maybe as well who are staying in the hotels.

So we'll see how long they can keep the violence under control here. We did speak to some of the spring breakers in the area to get their opinion about what they think of this new state of emergency and curfew. And here's what they told me.


GIANNI DOMOND, MIAMI BEACH RESIDENT: I feel like it's needed because, you know, corona is still around. I feel like a lot of the spring breaker are just not thinking about, you know, the future and what could possibly happen if they keep coming, you know, to Miami for spring break.

SAMANA AUGUST, MIAMI BEACH RESIDENT: So they have shut down South Beach and I live closer to Fort Lauderdale. So when they shut down here there was just like a flux of people coming down the Fort Lauderdale. And it's just like, since South Beach is like the most like popular one, they just trickled it down towards Fort Lauderdale. And that's my home. So I'm even more worried about Fort Lauderdale.

TAHJAI BACOTT, SPRING BREAKER FROM NEW YORK: I came out here all the way from New York to be out here to have fun. Like 8:00 is OD. 8:00? Maybe 10:30 would have been fine. I'll be OK with that. Or even 10:00. But 8:00? That's so bad.

(END OF VIDEO CLIP) KAYE: And it's also worth noting that since the Super Bowl, since Super Bowl weekend, officials here say they have made more than 1,000 arrests and about 51 percent of those arrested are from out of state, which is why officials are so concerned. They don't know who's coming here to the state of Florida to cause so many problems for them.

There is also the concern, of course, Pamela, that the U.K. variant is so widespread here in the state of Florida, and these spring breakers are possibly coming into contact with that new variant, and then getting on airplanes, bringing that variant to other parts of the country. So, we'll see how it all shakes out after spring break is over here in the city of Miami Beach.

Pamela, back to you.

BROWN: All right, Randi Kaye, thanks so much.

And turning now to the border where an historic surge of migrants has boxed in the Biden administration. A short time ago, President Biden returned to the White House and took questions on the situation.


UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Are you thinking of going to the border?


UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Do you want to see firsthand what's going on in those facilities?

BIDEN: I know what's going on in those facilities.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Why do you think the message to the migrants telling them to stay home, don't come now, why do you think that hasn't resonated yet? What more can be done, sir?

BIDEN: A lot more and we're in the process of doing it now, including making sure that we re-establish what existed before, which was it can stay in place and make their case in their home country. Thank you.


UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: And when will you allow the media into those facilities?


BROWN: Well, according to documents and statements from officials, more than 15,000 migrant children are in federal custody right now. Some 1500 of those unaccompanied kids are at the Dallas Convention Center, recently transformed into an overflow site.

CNN's Priscilla Alvarez is on the scene for us.

So, Priscilla, what can you tell us about who these children are, how long they will be held, and what the conditions are like there? PRISCILLA ALVAREZ, CNN IMMIGRATION POLITICS AND POLICY CORRESPONDENT:

Pamela, this is an emergency intake site for children who cross the U.S.-Mexico border alone. So the administration is transferring kids to this site so they can work through the process of eventually relocating them with relatives in the United States.

This site is outfitted with cots. It also has a food hall, it has games and books for the minors, as well as an area where they can call family in the United States or internationally. All of this is very different from the conditions in Border Patrol facilities. In those facilities, that's a jail-like facility, imagine concrete benches, concrete walls. And that is where we know that more than 5,000 children have been held up because of a bottleneck in the system.

So the administration taking temporary measures here like popping up this emergency intake site here in the Dallas Convention Center to offer better services to these kids until they can find family for them in the United States -- Pamela.

BROWN: All right, Priscilla Alvarez bringing us the latest. Thanks so much, Priscilla.

And now let me bring in CNN's Stephen Collinson for more perspective on what is going on.

Stephen, great to have you joining us. What do you think, was the Biden administration caught flat-footed on the border situation? Should they have done more to make sure they had the capacity for these kids early on?

STEPHEN COLLINSON, CNN REPORTER: I think in terms of the actual situation on the border and in terms of the politics in Washington, you have to say that the Biden administration was caught flat-footed.

Look, this is a humanitarian tragedy. You've got children, young teenagers trying to get across the border to get a better life in the United States, to join family. But CNN has reported this weekend that the administration knew there would be a surge when they took the decision to reverse the Trump administration policy that would just send these back -- these children back to traffickers and camps in Mexico. They didn't expect it to be this big.

So clearly there was a sense in which the administration was outpaced by events. The fact that the president is willing to talk about this now in public after weeks of the White House insisting there wasn't a crisis, you saw Homeland Security Secretary Mayorkas out on four Sunday talk shows this morning, shows that the administration realizes that it's not just a border crisis it has here, but it has a political emergency that can really damage the fast start that the president's had in his first 100 days in office.

BROWN: Why do you think, though, that the administration is still so reluctant to call this a crisis? What do you think the politics are behind it? Because you have to wonder then if they're not calling this a crisis, how would they define a crisis? COLLINSON: I think you just have to see the response from the

Republicans to this. Immigration is an issue that's like glue in the Republican Party. Just this afternoon former President Trump has issued a statement saying the situation on the border is a disaster. This of course is the issue immigration that paved his way to the White House.

This is a great way for the Republicans to try and wound the new Biden presidency without having to engage on the COVID crisis, which a majority of Americans according to polls believe that the president is managing very well. And it's an issue that you can have a pro-Trump Republican and an anti-Trump Republican speaking the same message. So it's a unifying issue for Republicans who are already looking for issues as we look ahead to the midterm elections next year to bring their party together.

So, you know, the White House didn't want to admit and give the Republicans an opening. The fact is the situation is so complicated that that's what happened anyway.

BROWN: It is so complicated. And it should be noted that there were surges under Trump that kids were in deplorable conditions as well. We're seeing a lot of the same issues, but of course the focus rite now is on the Biden administration. He is the president now. This is under his control. President Biden and his Homeland Security secretary have told migrants not to come, that the border is closed.

But what else could they be doing to send that message and stem the flow? What else should they be doing?

COLLINSON: Well, you know, it's a difficult message to give because the smugglers and human traffickers that are taking these kids to the border are saying, look, there's a new president and he's going to let you in. The administration has been using Spanish language media in Mexico and in Central American countries to try to stop people coming from the border.


They blame the Trump administration for saying there's a pent-up flow of migrants who are waiting to come across the border because of the Trump administration's policies. In the short term, as you heard the president there, they're going to try and set up a situation whereby child migrants can make asylum claims and apply to join parents in the United States inside their home countries so they don't come to the border and cause this issue on the U.S. side of the front here.

Longer term, the administration is looking at giving billions of dollars in aid to Central American countries to try to stabilize them to make, you know, the situation less economic deprivation so people don't leave those countries in the first place. So that is very much a long-term solution. That's not going to do very much to handle the administration's short-term political problem here.

BROWN: Right. Because you have to mitigate the flow and then also what are you going to do capacity wise. Clearly these are two pressing issues facing the Biden administration.

Stephen Collinson, thank you for bringing your excellent analysis on the show.


BROWN: Well, in cities across the country this weekend, people are rallying in support of Asian American communities and demanding change. People of Asian descent are experiencing a sharp rise in physical attacks and other acts of prejudice, particularly in this past year of the coronavirus pandemic.

CNN's Jason Carroll reports from the rally in New York City today -- Jason.

JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Pamela, a crowd of people gathered here at Columbus Park to attend a rally to draw attention to the issue of violence against the Asian American community. Here in New York City the NYPD reporting a steep rise in the number of hate crimes against Asian Americans. The true scope of the problem oftentimes hard to quantify because they say these types of crimes oftentimes go underreported.

But here a number of people speaking out. We've seen community leaders, political leaders. The consensus being that there needs to be more police presence in some of these neighborhoods where they've seen some of these crimes happening. More education.

And the hope is that more lawmakers will get behind legislation to address the issue of hate crimes against Asian Americans. One woman who was out here put it to me this way. She said that the Asian American community has been silent on this issue for decades. And she says they will no longer be silent -- Pamela.

BROWN: All right, Jason Carroll, thanks so much.

And coming up this hour on this Sunday, the tens of millions of dollars being used to help stop the spike in teen suicides and depression.

Also, why some members of the Republican Party have an issue with giving medals to Capitol police heroes and condemning the coup in Myanmar.

And "Financial Times" columnist Tim Harford says that the trouble with conspiracy theories isn't what they believe, it's what they disbelieve. He joins me later with a deep dive on the misinformation virus.

But first, Dr. Leana Wen is live tonight. I'll ask her if the dire COVID crisis in Brazil is now a threat to all of us. I also want to know if she thinks the plateau in COVID cases here in the U.S. means we're on the brink of another surge. That's next.



BROWN: In Brazil, the sharp rise in coronavirus infections and deaths have left the country's health care system on the brink of collapse. That is no exaggeration. Despite the surge of vaccines, deliveries are well behind schedule there.

CNN's Matt Rivers visited a vaccination site in Rio de Janeiro.


MATT RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): There's a sense of desperation outside this Rio de Janeiro clinic.

"She didn't get one," says Silvia Silvia Santos walking out. "My 77- year-old mom can't get a vaccine." One of many that showed up that day waiting for vaccines that don't exist.

This woman says this is a disgrace, people waiting all day and night, who knows if there will be a vaccine tomorrow?


BROWN: With vaccines stalled and intensive care units nearly full, the mayor of Sao Paulo says that one town there will begin removing patients from ventilators tomorrow due to lack of supplies.

And joining me now to discuss is CNN medical analyst and former Baltimore health commissioner, Dr. Leana Wen.

Dr. Wen, great to see you, as always. Part of the reason Brazil is in such bad shape is this P-1 variant that originated there. The P-1 variant, that same one has now been found in Brooklyn, in New York. How much worse is this variant, and how much of a threat is it to the U.S.?

DR. LEANA WEN, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: The P-1 variant is certainly a variant of concern to us here as well. We know several things about it. One is that it's more transmissible and something that's more contagious could become dominant and crowd out other strains. We also know that this P-1 variant can cause reinfection so people who have had coronavirus before can become re-infected.

And it also appears there's some initial evidence that suggests that the vaccines that we have may work less effectively against this variant. And so I certainly think that it's something to watch out for.

Though I will also urge people that these are the variants, the variants from the U.K., South Africa, Brazil, et cetera, the ones that we've been talking about are the ones that we know of. There are other variants that may not have yet developed that we should also be concerned about, and that's why vaccination is so important.

BROWN: I want you to take a look at this video from Miami Beach where a state of emergency has been declared as spring break crowds overrun the city. You were the former health commissioner in Baltimore. What goes through your mind when you see these images?

WEN: Well, I'm obviously very concerned when I see these images. But I'm concerned not only for the people in that locale because of course they should be concerned when there are mass crowds that are gathering in particular indoors without masks. I'm also concerned about where these individuals are going to go because many of these are visitors from other places.


And I worry because Florida, the dominant variant there is the b.1.1.7 variant, the variant first from the U.K. That's very contagious and also is a variant of concern. So these are individuals who are going to get together. They're going to go back to their home communities and potentially fuel super spreader events there.

And so I hope that these individuals will try to be outdoors as much as they can, and when they return to quarantine and get tested because that will also help them to identify if they could be asymptomatic carriers and prevent from transmitting to other people.

BROWN: There's this real question about vaccine hesitancy, how it will impact reaching herd immunity. Here's what the White House senior adviser on COVID response told me last hour.


ANDY SLAVITT, WHITE HOUSE SENIOR ADVISER FOR COVID RESPONSE: One of the things that's promising, Pam, is that when we took office on January 20th, about half the people or so said that they were sure they wanted to get vaccinated. Two months later, not quite two months later, we've got close to 70 percent of the public now saying that they want to get vaccinated.

In large part that's because people are just looking around at them. They're looking around at the public, they're looking around at the people they know who have been vaccinated. They're seeing that nobody they know has had a safety issue.


BROWN: Do you agree with him?

WEN: I do agree with Andy Slavitt. I think that the power of your neighbor, your friend, someone that you know getting vaccinated is really important. And we shouldn't discount our own role in this. A lot of times we look at influencers, celebrities and politicians. But actually, polls tell us that the people who are the most influential in convincing those who are vaccine hesitant are their own doctor, their pharmacist, and their pastor. And also, people around us as well.

And so I think a lot more effort on this grassroots outreach will be really important. Also we need to be increasing vaccine availability because so much of what we're seeing or potentially blaming as hesitancy may actually just be lack of access. BROWN: And he did say that, you know, as we know all of the Americans

that want a vaccine can have a vaccine, they will be eligible May 1st. And then he thought by early June that everyone who wants one can have one. So that is encouraging in terms of the supply. But I want to ask you about those who are still on the fence, and pregnant women fit in that group.

In your view, should pregnant women be getting vaccinated? Is there enough research for us to confidently say whether it's safe for a pregnant woman or a woman who wants to get pregnant to get vaccinated?

WEN: I think it's important when we're talking about these vaccines that we talk about what we know and what we don't know. We know that pregnant women were not initially included in the vaccine trials for COVID-19. However, many thousands of pregnant women have chosen to receive the COVID vaccine, including many who are essential workers, who are at increased risk because of exposure or also individuals who have chronic underlying medical conditions, and therefore are at higher likelihood of having severe illness.

And there have been no ill effects in all these thousands of pregnant women who have received the vaccine thus far. And so this should still be a choice that each individual person weighs for themselves.

But I think the key if I were to advise patients, it's that whatever theoretical risk of getting the vaccine, you have to compare that to the very real risk of severe outcomes if you do get COVID-19. And so if it were me and I were pregnant, I would certainly get the COVID-19 vaccine right now.

BROWN: OK. Dr. Leana Wen, I know we're both moms, and that is something that would have weighed on our minds if we were pregnant during the pandemic. I know we both actually gave birth the very beginning of it. So thank you so much, Dr. Wen. I appreciate you coming on and sharing your expertise and perspective.

WEN: Thank you, Pamela.

BROWN: Well, millions of Americans have bought into an alternate reality about the coronavirus and the outcome of the election. Up next, we'll talk to an author with a theory of his own on how to bring conspiracy theorists back to reality.



BROWN: Well, polls show that no matter how crazy the conspiracy, millions of Americans will probably believe it. Theories about the coronavirus vaccine have health officials especially concerned as a growing number of Republicans now say they're resisting the shot.

CNN's Donie O'Sullivan talked to several at a rally in Ventura, California.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DONIE O'SULLIVAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Have you guys got your vaccine yet?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I will not get vaccinated.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, never going to take the vaccine.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why do I want somebody to push something onto me?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm perfectly health and fine. We're not going to die from it.

O'SULLIVAN: So you're not going to take the vaccine?


O'SULLIVAN: What if Trump came out and said please, please take this vaccine?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No. I don't believe he'll take it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Has the mask helped you? No. You're going to get sick with a bacterial infection.


BROWN: Our next guest has a theory of his own, his new piece in "The Atlantic," "What Conspiracy Theorists Don't Believe." It's about how to bring conspiracy theories back to reality.

And joining me now is "Financial Times" columnist and author Tim Harford.

Thank you so much for coming on, Tim. He is the author of a new book "The Data Detective." So, let's talk about this piece that you wrote. You write, "When someone has dismissed the obvious facts, repeating them will not persuade him to see sense. But when people are given time and space to explain themselves, they may start to spot the gaps in their own knowledge or arguments." Tell us what you mean by that exactly.

TIM HARFORD, COLUMNIST, FINANCIAL TIMES: Well, there's a fascinating set of studies into something called the illusion of explanatory depth. It's just that, we think we understand how the world works, you know, we understand how a flush lavatory works, we understand how a zip fastener works.


And then, when the researchers say, well, could you just sit down and here's a pen and paper and just explain to me how this stuff works. And people suddenly realize, actually, I don't really understand how it all fits together.

And it turns out the same is true of political theories. You sit somebody down with a strong idea about politics, and you ask them, not to justify their beliefs, but just to explain their beliefs, explain how it all fits together, people find it very difficult.

And at the point at which they realize, I didn't understand -- this all seem to make sense when the talk radio host was discussing it, or when I read about it on the internet.

But when I actually come to try and outline it in black and white, and explain that to somebody else, who is listening carefully and showing me some respect, it turns out, it is extraordinarily difficult.

And at that point, people can pull back, not guaranteed, but they can pull back and start to question their own beliefs a little bit more.

BROWN: That is truly fascinating, because I think there's been this real quandary, right? These beliefs aren't based in facts. So just presenting facts to them isn't going to do anything to sway them.

But you're saying, when you show some respect and say, explain it to me, when they see it doesn't make sense that could perhaps bring them out of the conspiracy theory. But what about in this environment we operate now, and when there's so much misinformation flying at you and there's the concern of deep fakes, videos being manipulated and so forth. Do you think that it will just get harder and harder to pull people out of these conspiracy theories?

HARFORD: Well, it's always going to be hard, but I'm worried that we are spending too much time focusing on misinformation, too much time on questions such as deep fakes, or can you create a fake image of Donald Trump? Or can you create a fake image of Tom Cruise?

Too much emphasis on Russian propaganda, and the collect -- I mean, all of these things are worrying. But when you focus exclusively on that, you create this environment where it seems that nothing is true. You can't trust anybody.

And when people are just used to routinely disbelieving whatever they're told, whatever evidence they see, that's when the conspiracy theories can take hold.

If you think about what a conspiracy theorist believes, we tend to focus on old flat earth or Donald Trump is going to be inaugurated President all over again, all this crazy stuff. But actually, we should focus instead on what their disbelieving. They are disbelieving all the major media sources. They are disbelieving the leadership of the key political parties.

When you start focusing on what they refuse to believe, I think that gives you a better insight into the real problem here.

BROWN: Again, fascinating. Tim Harford, Thank you so much.

HARFORD: Thank you.

BROWN: And this just in to CNN, New York Republican Representative Tom Reed says he takes full responsibility following allegations of sexual misconduct. Suzanne Malveaux is live at the latest for us tonight. Also, ahead as the pandemic amplifies the mental health crisis among

teens, I'll speak to the school joining forces with the healthcare system to turn the tide. That's next.



BROWN: A C.D.C. study published this week says virtual learning may increase risks to mental health and wellness compared to those doing in-person learning. It confirms what many parents already knew.

According to Mott's national poll on children's health, nearly half of parents say their teen has a new or worsened mental health issues since the start of a pandemic and that has families and school administrators scrambling to find solutions.


BROWN (voice over): In one town on Long Island, New York, school administrators like Assistant Superintendent Dr. Noreen Leahy recognized over the last few years, they had to help a rising number of students dealing with mental health issues.

DR. NOREEN LEAHY, ASSISTANT SUPERINTENDENT, PUPIL PERSONNEL SERVICES AND SPECIAL EDUCATION, RCV SCHOOLS: Rockville Center experienced some really tragic losses. In our case, we lost four students in a seven- month period, two of them; one recent graduate and one current student died by suicide.

BROWN (voice over): After our conversation Leahy had with a parent who happened to work at Northwell Health, New York's largest healthcare provider, school administrators teamed up with health professionals to work together on this issue.

LEAHY: Everybody seemed to exist in these silos and when we started this partnership with Northwell, we were able to break down those barriers of the silos and then get to know what one another does in the life of that student to address mental health concerns.

BROWN (voice over): Then in early 2020, their collaboration came to life. Five school districts on the south shore of Long Island joined forces with Northwell to open a behavioral health facility in Rockville Center to help address the increase in the number of teen suicides, as well as mental and emotional distress in young people.

LEAHY: This clinic allows us to immediately get what we call a warm handoff to a mental health professional that either could address a crisis and that's what we're dealing with or could address a long term or pervasive issue.

That clinic will not let go of that child's hand until they've placed them out to another mental health professional and that is so key in making sure that no child falls through the cracks.

BROWN (voice over): Dr. Vera Feuer, the Director of Pediatric Emergency Psychiatry at Northwell says the Rockville Center catering to students and young people accelerates the process of getting kids help and that's crucial to saving lives.

DR. VERA FEUER, DIRECTOR OF PEDIATRIC EMERGENCY PSYCHIATRY, NORTHWELL HEALTH: If they need something immediately they're in a crisis or if they have symptoms that need addressing and cannot wait the months that it takes to get into outpatient care, we provide that immediate temporary short term care until we can get them into care.

BROWN (voice over): President Joe Biden recently signed his sweeping $1.9 trillion COVID relief package into law. And the bill directs $80 million to pediatric mental health services.


BROWN (voice over): Resources like the Rockville Center facility will be directly impacted by this funding.

FEUER: The COVID Relief Bill, you know, has a very important element of moneys earmarked for mental health and within that, specifically for pediatric and school mental health, which I think is really, really important because our program is one example, but there's many great models and programs out there in the country that help support schools.

BROWN (voice over): Administrators like Leahy hope that their integration with Northwell, as well as the positive results they are seeing can be an example for other districts.

LEAHY: We're hoping this is the beginning of the end, and we start to see the light at the end of this tunnel and that's what we're really trying to promote with the students as well.

BROWN (voice over): The facility opened right before the pandemic hit. So a lot of its services turned virtual over the last year with online appointments and more of a focus on issues stemming from social isolation.

But the role of the facility takes on an even greater importance as schools reopen and young people begin to face this next chapter of their lives.

FEUER: We really have to be very mindful of this widening COVID gap, this gap that -- this disparity that existed before, but became wider with COVID, and that making sure that we have equity and we support vulnerable kids the way that they need support and pay attention to that.

BROWN (voice over): The schools are also understanding that kids coming back to school in person may need some extra support, and teachers and support staff are ready to work with the facility to refer kids if necessary, and help them along the way.

LEAHY: So, what do we have to do now and its aftermath? We have to be ready for the worst case. I think there's going to be a need for additional mental health staff, more partnerships such as this one. There's going to be a need to make up for lost time in terms of the academics which of course affect mental health and social and emotional functioning.


BROWN: The need is great, and if you or someone you know is struggling, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. The number is right there on your screen. It is 24/7, and it is completely confidential.

Well, here is a quick game of word association for you. Democracy, good; military coup, bad. Barely not so easy for a group of Republicans last week, and for the record, I'm calling them out on it when we come back.



BROWN: Well, there are some pretty simple straightforward things that all Americans tend to agree on. Democracy is good for example, insurrection, bad; military coup, bad. But a group of Republicans in Congress refuse to accept those statements last week through their actions.

First, the House voted overwhelmingly in favor of awarding the Congressional Gold Medal to officers who protected the U.S. Capitol on January 6th. Twelve Lawmakers voted against the measure, all Republicans, several of them opposed it because it described the attack as an insurrection. In other words, because it described the attack accurately.

Kentucky Congressman Thomas Massie said, quote: "I have a problem with the term 'insurrection.' It could have implications for somebody's prosecution later that if we give weight to the word 'insurrection,' that then that comes up in somebody's prosecution."

And here's how Congressman Louie Gohmert justified his opposition.


REP. LOUIE GOHMERT (R-TX): I'm all for the medals, but the Speaker's legislation contains language that was neither fair nor accurate. We now know there was no armed insurrection, nobody had arms. So just trying to keep it honest so that we only put out truthful things in the bill."


BROWN: Fact check, that is false. Some people were armed according to video and court documents. And then on Friday, 14 Republicans voted against condemning the military coup in Myanmar. Another apparent bipartisan slam dunk one would think.

You'll see some of the very same names on this list. Greene, Massey, Gaetz, Biggs. There is a through line and these two boats, a group of Republicans who wouldn't go on the record to denounce violent attempts to overthrow democracies, at least they're consistent on that.

And perhaps no Republican has been more consistent here than Senator Ron Johnson. Yesterday, he again downplayed and spread falsehoods about the January 6th insurrection attempt.


SEN. RON JOHNSON (R-WI): One of the reasons I am being attacked is because I very honestly said I didn't feel threatened on January 6th, I didn't. There was much more violence on the House side. There was no violence on the Senate side in terms of the chamber.


BROWN: Also, he had said that he didn't feel threatened because they love law enforcement and wouldn't do anything against them, which of course, isn't true and also what he said is false that that the Senate side wasn't threatened. Video from that day showed suspects breaking windows on the Senate side and storming the halls near the chamber.

Rioters eventually breached the Senate floor. When they approach the area where senators were sheltering in place. Officer Eugene Goodman, remember this? Well, he heroically led them away from there.

Johnson's comments and those two votes last week highlight an anti- democracy streak that appears to be emerging on the right and we are seeing it with the QAnon caucus. We are seeing it in the raft of voter restrictions being pushed by Republicans nationwide, and it's trickling down to the party's staunchest supporters.

Hundreds of them got the signals loud and clear on January 6th, and sadly, some of them recently told CNN's Donie O'Sullivan that a coup like the one in Myanmar should happen in the U.S.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This whole thing with Biden is just -- he's like a puppet President. The military is in charge. It's going to be like Myanmar, what's happening in Myanmar. The military is doing their own investigation, and at the right time, they're going to be restoring the Republic with Trump as President.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What's going on in Myanmar right now? The government took over and they're redoing the election.

DONIE O'SULLIVAN, CNN REPORTER: Would you like to see it happen?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'd like to see it happen.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You know why? Because the election was stolen from us.


BROWN: So for the record, that authoritarian coup has led to nearly 100 civilians being killed, more than 2,400 people detained, and hundreds of others missing according to the U.N.

Former President George W. Bush made a rare on-camera appearance recently, and pushed back against this creeping trend within his party. Here's what he said about the Capitol attack.


GEORGE W. BUSH, FORMER PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I was disgusted. I can't remember what I was doing, but I remember feeling a sense of -- I was sick to my stomach, and then to see our nation's Capitol being stormed by hostile forces and it really disturbed me to the point where I did put out a statement and I'm still disturbed when I think about it.

It undermines rule of law and, you know, the ability to express yourself in peaceful ways in the public square. This was an expression that was not peaceful.


BROWN: Democracy is not certain and I believe it there on that.

Well, some news just in to CNN this hour, Republican Congressman Tom Reed of New York says he won't be seeking re-election and is taking quote, "full responsibility" following allegations of sexual misconduct.

CNN's Suzanne Malveaux is live with the details and she joins us up next.



BROWN: Well tonight, Republican Congressman Tom Reed is taking quote, "full responsibility" for an allegation of sexual misconduct made by a former lobbyist. CNN's Suzanne Malveaux has the story. So Suzanne, how is the Congressman taking responsibility for his actions?

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN U.S. CORRESPONDENT: Well, Pam, initially the Congressman actually denied these allegations. They came out a couple of days ago in "The Washington Post" and CNN has not been able to confirm those details independently.

But now the Congressman, Tom Reed putting out a statement just moments ago apologizing and taking responsibility for this alleged sexual misconduct.

This happening with the lobbyists by the name of Nicolette Davis. Part of the statement I'm going to read to you here saying, "I hear her voice and will not dismiss her. In reflection, my personal depiction of this event is irrelevant. Simply put, my behavior caused her pain, showed her disrespect and was unprofessional. I was wrong. I am sorry and I take full responsibility."

Some of the details out of "The Washington Post" article, Pam, say that at the time, Davis had texted somebody while this sexual misconduct was going on. It was at a restaurant saying, "Help. Help," and then told the person next to her that this was taking place and that that person actually ushered the Congressman out of the restaurant from the table and away from the scene.

We should also let you know that Reed in his statement notes that the 2017 alleged incident took place at a time when he said he was struggling with alcoholism. Reed also says that he is not going to run again for office in 2022 for his current position or any other positions -- Pam.

BROWN: All right, Suzanne Malveaux live for us from Capitol Hill. Thank you.

Meantime, one in five children in the U.S. has a learning difference. They are more likely to be suspended, drop out or end up in the juvenile justice system.'

Well, this week, CNN Hero understands all of this because he has lived it. David Flink is now working to make sure that children don't fall through the cracks of the education system through his nonprofit Eye to Eye.


DAVID FLINK, CNN HERO: Eye to Eye provides a safe space that's constructed around what's right with kids, so they can talk about their experiences.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you get scared during tests are like nervous or no?

UNIDENTIFIED GIRL: I have anxiety, and like I shake a lot.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, that happens to me sometimes.

FLINK: People's hearts sing when they're seen.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is my shield.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My masterpiece.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Really cool. I like how you use duct tape as I handle.

FLINK: My moment that I am wishing for is when the problem of stigmatizing kids because they learn differently goes away.

I want them to know that their brains are beautiful. I want them feeling like they know how to ask for what they need and that they can do it. And that's what we give them.


BROWN: To learn David's whole story, go to right now and while you're there, nominate whomever you think should be a CNN Hero.

And thank you so much for joining me this Sunday evening. I'm Pamela Brown. I'll see you again next weekend.

Up next, two back-to-back episodes of "Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy."