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CNN NEWSROOM

New Details Merge on 10 Victims of Boulder Shooting; Biden Tasks Harris to Lead Diplomatic Efforts in Central America to Address Immigration; Clinton Says U.S. Should Share Vaccines with Developing Countries; Putin Gets Vaccinated Behind Closed Doors; Brazil Records Highest Daily COVID Deaths Ever; Some Hard Hit Black Communities Lack Access to COVID-19 Vaccine. Aired 3:30-4p ET

Aired March 24, 2021 - 15:30   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


[15:30:00]

BROOKE BALDWIN, CNN HOST: The Boulder community is continuing to gather outside of that grocery store where ten people were killed and are now being honored.

These are just some of the faces of the victims and we're learning more about who they were from, of course, their own family. CNN's Stephanie Elam joins me now. And so Stephanie, we talked about that police officer, father of seven, Eric Talley. You're learning about some of the others. Do share.

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, and that's definitely true. A little more light and humanity coming to each one much these victims, Brooke, as we learn a bit more about them. We know that three of these people that lost their lives actually worked at that grocery store.

And one of them was also just really well loved. You can tell that by talking to her uncle. They actually had a press conference. Bob Olds spoke a bit about his niece and about what she was like. He said that he never knew what color Rikki's hair was going to be when she would come in the door because she would change it all the time, you'd always have a new tattoo, a new piercing. That's who she was. And she was working up the ladder as a manager at the grocery store. But listen to a little bit more about how Bob Olds described Rikki.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BOB OLDS, UNCLE OF COLORADO RAMPAGE VICTIM RIKKI OLDS: She would come to the house and we would joke around, and we'd laugh. And she would start laughing so hard, she would snort. She would probably, you know, like throw something at me or something for telling you guys that.

But she was a snorter when she laughed hard. And I will really miss her. I'll really miss that personality of hers. And just her being around. She has a little brother who's taking this really tough. Really tough. So, please remember him in your thoughts and prayers.

(END VIDEO CLIP) ELAM: And Rikki was the front manager, the front end manager at that King Soopers grocery store. And another person who was there speaking next to her uncle was Carly Lowe who actually worked at the grocery store and is also a basketball coach with Uncle Bob there.

And she said that she just had the perfect personality to interface with customers coming in and work it out. And she was just someone who was uplifting and a good colleague and someone you wanted to be around. And Uncle Bob also said that she was just someone that brought light to any situation. That she was bubbly and giggly. And you really couldn't be down when she was around.

BALDWIN: These stories matter, these details matter. Their lives matter. Stephanie Elam, thank you for that.

[15:35:00]

New today, President Biden is taking Vice President Kamala Harris to oversee efforts to Central American countries to stem the flow of migrants to the U.S. southern border. This is the first major issue the president has assigned directly to the vice president.

And CNN's chief White House correspondent Kaitlan Collins is with me now. And Kaitlan, tell us specifically what the vice president's role will be. What will she be tasked to do?

KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: So she's not going to be in charge of solving the entire border crisis that we're seeing happen right now with these record numbers of children, but what the president said earlier is that he envisions her role kind of similar to one he held when he was vice president.

And that is basically she is going to be in charge of overseeing those diplomatic efforts with these Central American countries to try to stem this flow of migrants that you were seeing happen at the southern border.

Of course, this is something you've often heard the White House talk about in recent weeks when we've pushed them and pressed them on the numbers that you're seeing, these thousands of children who are in federal custody. And they've said, you know, it's not just the immediate things we need to fix, getting space for these kids, getting them out of Border Patrol facilities, but, Brooke, it's also the root causes of this. Why is there such huge migration happening? Why are we seeing these spikes?

And so you heard that President Biden said earlier he's blaming a lot of this on the numbers happening under former President Trump and his immigration policies, but he did say, it's our responsibility now. We've got to figure out a humane way to deal with it.

So to be clear, this is going to be a really big challenge for the vice president to deal with. This is one of her really first big assignments we've seen in her portfolio. And so what she does going forward with this, how she uses her past experience at the president's side, and going forward, trying to use it in this, is going to be something to watch.

Because of course, it's been a problem that has not just plagued President Biden, it's plagued administrations for decades to come -- decades in the past. And so, that's going to be the new challenge for her that is on her plate.

BALDWIN: It's been an uphill battle, as you point out, for presidents both on the left and the right. We'll be following right along with you. Kaitlan, thank you, at the White House.

Coming up next, Hillary Clinton says the U.S. can and should do more to share vaccines with developing countries.

Plus, Russian President Vladimir Putin gets vaccinated, but not on camera, telling his country they will have to take his word for it.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[15:40:00]

BALDWIN: Hillary Clinton says the U.S. can and should do more in sharing vaccines with developing countries. In an interview with the Associated Press, the former Secretary of State pointed to China and to Russia as being ahead of the U.S. on this particular front.

She said, quote, they are using vaccine diplomacy. They are going into countries and saying, we'll take care of you, and that leaves the United States playing catch-up. But she did say she agrees, the entire U.S. population should get vaccinated as well but thinks we have plenty of supply to meet that goal.

For more coronavirus headlines, let's check in with our correspondents around the world.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

MATHEW CHANCE, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm Matthew Chance in Moscow. And President Putin of Russia has finally been vaccinated, at least partially, nearly eight months after the country became the first to develop and approve a COVID-19 jab.

The Kremlin says a Russian vaccine was used and that Putin will get a second injection in about three weeks. The whole procedure, though, has been shrouded in secrecy. There's been no video or photos that have been made public fueling suspicion in a country that according to opinion polls, he's already one of the most vaccine hesitant in the world.

KRISTIE LU STOUT, ANCHOR CNN INTERNATIONAL: I'm Kristie Lu Stout in Hong Kong, due to concerns over packaging problems, Hong Kong health authorities have suspended the use of two batches of the European-made BioNTech vaccine distributed by Fosun Pharma.

But the vaccine rollout here in Hong Kong has been slow. As of Tuesday, only 5.4 percent of the population has been inoculated. Medical experts say 70 percent of the population needs to be inoculated to reach herd immunity and it may take more than 300 days to reach that goal.

FRED PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm Fred Pleitgen in Berlin. The German government has walked back plans for tough new anti-pandemic restrictions and apologized to the population for wanting to implement them in the first place.

Angela Merkel had wanted to initiate a hard lockdown over the Easter holidays in the face of a surge in new coronavirus infections. Merkel now says that plan is not feasible and will not be implemented.

MATT RIVERS, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: I'm Matt Rivers in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Another brutal day for this country on Tuesday with health officials announcing yet another single day record for the most coronavirus deaths recorded. More than 3,200 deaths recorded by health officials on Tuesday alone.

And put another way, put into broader context of all the coronavirus deaths recorded worldwide on Tuesday, Brazil accounted for roughly one-third of them. And I've spoken to several epidemiologists recently who say that number, the single number death recorded will likely continue to go up because ICU occupancy rates in states across this country continue to be extremely high.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BALDWIN: All right, everyone, thank you.

Here in the U.S., some hard-hit African-American communities are lagging way behind in access to COVID-19 vaccine sites.

CNN's Amara Walker reports from Birmingham, Alabama, where heath officials there are sounding the alarm that the number of vaccines administered is disproportionate by race.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BRENDA HONG, LIVES IN BIRMINGHAM, ALABAMA: I know what racism is and I know what inequality is.

AMARA WALKER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Brenda Hong says she spent hours online trying to register for a COVID-19 vaccine.

[15:45:03]

HONG: It's ineffective, inefficient and very frustrating.

WALKER (voice over): The 75-year-old, who's a two-time breast cancer survivor with diabetes says she should have been first in line to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Instead, Hong resorted to calling her commission's office for help.

SHEILA TYSON, COMMISSIONER, JEFFERSON COUNTY, ALABAMA: This is a matter of life and death for a lot of us because we have seen our parents, our brothers, our church members, our neighbors, our coworkers die from COVID-19. WALKER (voice over): Jefferson County Commissioner Sheila Tyson helped

Hong register. She says her office has been fielding more than 200 similar calls a day and believes there are just too many barriers for some to get a coronavirus vaccine.

TYSON: But we still are willing to take the vaccine if they would give it to us because we are trying to live.

WALKER (voice over): A CNN analysis of data from more than a dozen states found white people on average are getting vaccinated at twice the rate of black and Latino people.

The most recent data from Alabama's Department of Public Health shows a noticeable difference in the number of African-Americans and white residents receiving vaccines.

Commissioner Tyson says the Jefferson County Health Department received roughly 500 initial doses of the vaccine while a neighborhood business, Ritch's Pharmacy, in an affluent neighborhood in Jefferson County received 1,200 first doses.

TYSON: In my heart I would think it was an oversight, but I don't think it is because we were never in the plan to receive them.

WALKER (voice over): The owner of the pharmacy tells CNN it had nothing to do with the zip code and everything to do with its readiness to store the vaccines and administer them.

HONG: The issue is availability, accessibility, even to the point of our commissioners providing transportation to go and get it.

WALKER (voice over): The University of Alabama at Birmingham says it has started identifying areas that do not have access to vaccine sites and it's addressing issues with its online vaccine registration.

DR. SARAH NAFZIGER, VICE PRESIDENT, CLINICAL SUPPORT SERVICES, UAB: We know we have more ground to cover. And so that's why we're focusing resources on making sure that we address equity, on making sure that we reach those communities, that maybe don't have access.

WALKER (voice over): Hong finally received her first dose. She refutes the perception that vaccine hesitancy amongst African-Americans is leading to lower demand.

HONG: It is absolutely not the fact that black people don't -- or people of color don't want to take it.

WALKER (voice over): Commissioner Tyson says there's a wait list of over so 100,000 people in Jefferson County.

TYSON: You will see that the majority of the people that's on the waiting list are black and brown people.

WALKER (voice over): Hong hopes others don't give up and get vaccinated.

HONG: I think that once more people are vaccinated, of course it will move the clouds over and let the sun come through.

WALKER (voice over): Amara Walker, CNN.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

BALDWIN: Amara, thank you so much for bringing us those stories. Appreciate it.

Still ahead here, what would you do if you opened up your breakfast cereal and found shrimp tails in your flakes? We're going to talk to a man who put down his spoon and set the internet on fire. The cinnamon toast crunch saga, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

[15:50:00]

BALDWIN: OK, it is a ritual for millions. You wake up in the morning. You reach for the box of cereal, pour it into the bowl. You're expecting to see beautiful golden glistening squares of Cinnamon Toast Crunch. But what if among those squares of goodness you spot, look at this picture, shrimp tails, like the actual tails of actual shrimp that are sea-dwelling creatures. What would you do?

Here's a comprehensive timeline of what Jensen Karp did. He's a comedian and writer in Los Angeles. He's married to actress Danielle Fishel Karp who played Topanga on "Boy Meets World."

But back to Karp, so he says he suffers from OCD, he'd already eaten a full bowl of the cereal, so he was horrified. He snapped this photo of said crustacean tails and sent it to his wife.

He then sent a message over to General Mills, the maker of Cinnamon Toast Crunch and then he posted the picture for all to see on Twitter. Everything started off pretty friendly. General Mills offered a replacement box of the cereal but then things took a turn when Cinnamon Toast Crunch tweeted this claiming that Karp wasn't seeing shrimp tails at all but that he was seeing, and I quote, an accumulation of the cinnamon sugar.

Karp quickly fired back with this tweet. OK. Well, after further investigation with my eyes these are cinnamon-coated shrimp tails, you weirdos. I wasn't all that mad now until now that you tried to gaslight me so this whole thing has gone viral.

We're at the point in the story where Karp has literally buckled hits box of cereal up to the car and take it over to the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles to be tested. And joining me now is Jensen Karp himself.

BALDWIN: Jensen --

JENSEN KARP, SAYS FOUND SHRIMP TAILS IN BREAKFAST CEREAL: Brooke, how many U.S. presidents have you met?

BALDWIN: A couple actually. A couple. BALDWIN: I ask because did you ever think you would be interviewing a guy about shrimp tails in a Cinnamon Toast Crunch box?

[15:55:00]

BALDWIN: No, no, of course not.

KARP: I'm as embarrassed as --

BALDWIN: No, no, but listen, don't embarrassed.

KARP: OK.

BALDWIN: Check your shame, brother, check your shame because this has happened and this is an issue because a lot of people enjoy their cereal, and you should get to the bottom of what the hell this is, so, first, take me back. So you finish your bowl of cereal. You know, it's good and you decide to go back for a second. What exactly did you find?

KARP: It's first super important to acknowledge that this is my favorite cereal in the world. I've loved Cinnamon Toast Crunch since I was a child. It's the only cereal I eat. I own the Kyrie Irving cinnamon toast Crunch Nikes. I'm a super fan, so I love them. And when I poured the second bowl which I was going to share with my 21-month- old I heard a plop. And I assumed it was a bunch of pieces stuck together.

I took a quick look, and it was very easy to figure out that this was a sugar coated shrimp tail. There was no question in it. I couldn't believe it was there. I looked in the bag and there was one more sitting on the top of that cereal.

I pushed it away. As you said, I'm medicated for OCD. This is not a fun thing for me. I was freaking out and picture to my wife and to their website entered a submission form and then to Twitter when I didn't hear anything. And then the world exploded.

BALDWIN: OK, hang on, hang on. Because I've got what General Mills is saying. Buy it's not just the shrimp tails, right, because you found, did I read like bits of dental floss and some specs of the Cinnamon Toast Crunch with the black and then the tape around, like, tell me everything.

KARP: Yes. Please, I will spare no details. I know you've like covered wars and stuff so nothing will make you sick.

Here's what happened. When they sent that tweet that made me very angry where I was like, your gas lighting me. This is very annoying. My wife and a friend were like you have to go through the rest of the bag. And it wasn't even something that crossed my mind because I'm trying to avoid it at all costs. I don't want to get anywhere near it.

And so when I went in it, I found a small piece of string, a small like peanut, like it looked like a pistachio nut that was also sugar coated and then on a majority, a lot of the actual Cinnamon Toast Crunch squares was a small black spot that's raised and it's on a lot of them and that black spot is also at the bottom of the bag. In the other bag --

BALDWIN: What do you think that is, like droppings?

KARP: I don't know what it is. I don't want --

BALDWIN: OK, OK. I live in New York City -- OK, OK.

KARP: Thank you, Brooke.

BALDWIN: I'm not trying to freak you out. But go ahead. Tell me about the tape because General Mills gets the point about, you know, did you think that the bag was tampered with because you saw tape and then I want to get on to the General Mills statement.

KARP: I have no idea who did it, so I just want that out there. I sent it to General Mills because that's who makes the cereal and I love them, so I was just like here's what happened.

The second bag that I looked into the box because it was a two-for, that had a piece of dental floss in it. I have not opened it and at the bottom it looks taped only because I really looked at it.

Like I wouldn't have known if I didn't think there was something amiss with it and when I looked at it, I was like I think there's tape here.That's the entire boxed contaminant. That's -- I don't know -- it could --

BALDWIN: OK.

KARP: I bought it from a Costco -- which I've been open about -- so that could have been contaminated at the Costco, it could have been a factory line. I have absolutely no idea where it came from, I just know that's what I got when I opened my cereal.

BALDWIN: OK, OK. So General Mills, says, quote, while we're investigating this matter, we can say with confidence that this did not occur at our facility. We are waiting for the consumer to send us the package to investigate further. Any consumers who notice their cereal box or bag has been tampered with such as the clear tape that was found in this case should contact us.

So Jensen, why not just send the Cinnamon Toast Crunch with the shrimp tails and the funky tape and who knows what else back to General Mills. Instead, why are you not taking it to the National History Museum?

KARP: OK, so two things about that. One is that we agreed on something together immediately where they were going to send a self-addressed stamped envelope to my P.O. box and I was going to send them pieces of it -- which was the agreement that we had.

The next day without any warning they immediately said, OK, we have to get it from your house which I wasn't into and we need to have a three-hour window to have it pick up. I have a kid. I have a job. I'm like a human being and I didn't have

that kind of time, so I wrote back, and I was like, no, you're being super weird. Why are you changing the goal posts? And then their next suggestion was that if I don't do that, I should take it to a local police station.

Which is like if I walk in with shrimp tails in a cereal box, I'm like a maniac. Like they should arrest me because I'm super weird. And so I have now -- right before I got on the phone, I understand that we've spoken with General Mills and the envelope is back on its way to me and I would love to give them pieces from it but it does make me a little concerned that the first investigation of the photo of shrimp tails was that they thought it was sugar.

So I'm a little nervous about the investigations, so that is why I'm keeping it on my own so I don't sort of get thrown under the bus.

BALDWIN: Ten seconds. What do you want from this at the end of the day? Ten seconds.

KARP: I want to love Cinnamon Toast Crunch again and I want everyone to, and I want them to just take the ones off the shelves of my Costco where I got it from and I want to just want to work on it and to investigate it and figure it out. And from what I understand, it's on its way there and I'm appreciative for General Mills for finally talking to me rather than just sort of doing those tweets.

But I think we're going to be okay.

BALDWIN: To be continued. Jensen Karp, thank you so much. And thank you so much for watching. The Lead with Jake Tapper starts now.

END