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Around 50,000 Fans Returning To Churchill Downs For Kentucky Derby; India Shatters Global One-Day Case Record With 400,000 Infections; China's Vaccine Rollout Faces Challenges As Pandemic Rages On; In Biden's First 100 Days, The U.S. Reaches 20 Million Goal But More Work Ahead; Critics Gather Enough Signatures To Force Recall Election Of CA Governor. Aired 1-2p ET

Aired May 1, 2021 - 13:00   ET




FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN HOST (on camera): Hello again, everyone. Thank you very much for joining me. I'm Fredricka Whitfield.

All right, we begin this hour with the U.S. hitting a major milestone in the battle against the coronavirus pandemic. The CDC says 100 million Americans are now fully vaccinated, a little less than a third of the country, but that isn't stopping new restrictions from taking place.

The U.S. is set to impose new travel restrictions from India as the country deals with a devastating outbreak. India setting a new global record, more than 400,000 new cases in a single day.

Meanwhile, back in the U.S., more incremental steps toward normalcy. The Kentucky Derby is set for tonight with limited capacity of about 50,000 people. CNN's Evan McMorris-Santoro is at Churchill Downs.

Evan, that's a lot of people in attendance for the derby, even though it's far less than what they're used to. What are organizers doing to keep people safe?

EVAN MCMORRIS-SANTORO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (on camera): That's right, Fred. You know, you mentioned at the top that there are other places in the world that are still really feeling this pandemic that we're all in. But here I am in Churchill Downs, they're not feeling it.

I realize last time that we talked, I didn't really illustrate for you exactly how the rules work, exactly, does that. So, you're here in this infield, you can walk around, you can talk to people, do whatever you want, and then, you have to wear a mask unless you're doing this -- drinking a mint julep. And then the mask is supposed to go back on.

But as you can see the crowd here --


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- talking, right? MCMORRIS-SANTORO: it is pretty big, but it's not as big as usual. Usually, give me 170,000 people, that's the maximum that they've had here before. This year only 50,000. They're only limiting things when you come in. They are doing temperature checks and they're checking on your -- they're giving you a hand sanitizer. (INAUDIBLE) for stuff like this.

But as you can see the crowd here is not thinking so much about the pandemic. They're kind of doing the derby like they used to do.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, yes, we're having some fun, guys. Oh, yes.

MCMORRIS-SANTORO: That guy is not really Kentucky's finest, I would say.

So, here too -- and people are traveling all over the country to come to the derby today. Let's be like talked to these few ladies. Excuse me, Hi.



MCMORRIS-SANTORO: Has we met before? Nice to see you again.

Do, you traveled here from Kentucky, for -- no, from Oklahoma for the derby today, Right?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: From Oklahoma, yes.

MCMORRIS-SANTORO: So, tell me about what it was like to travel here in the pandemic, what you were thinking, what you were thinking about before you came?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, it was -- it rained all the way, and we drove it.

MCMORRIS-SANTORO: Let me ask you. I notice -- I notice that both of you are very mask forward with your fashion today. You have a very beautiful mask, you have a very beautiful mask.

When you're thinking about coming here, obviously, masks are important. So, tell me about part of thinking about that.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, I'm hoping that we didn't open up the nation too soon, is what I hope, but hopefully, we didn't and they did limited capacity, and they required a mask. So, that was good news.

MCMORRIS-SANTORO: And do you feel like we're -- that we're back? Kind of back to normal right now today? I mean, I'm looking around, I'm seeing people milling around me. What does it feel like for you to be here?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm just so excited. We are so excited to be here and actually get to be around people again, and everybody seems happy. And they seem to be -- everybody seems to be kind of doing what they're supposed to be doing.

I mean, we're both E.R. nurses, so, we lived it for a long time. So we're very, very hopeful that everybody is going to get vaccinated and we can actually get back to life.

MCMORRIS-SANTORO: Well, thank you for all of the work you did for us as E.R. nurses. I'm glad you get a chance to relax a little bit today. And you look great.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, this is our bucket list.

MCMORRIS-SANTORO: Mine too, actually. So, -- nice to see you. Yes, thank you.


MCMORRIS-SANTORO: So, Fred, there you have it. You know, people are really trying to have this via vacation from this pandemic, even while they're thinking about it. Even while they're thinking about how good their mask can look with the rest of their outfit, even about these juleps.

The pandemic is still on their minds, but maybe in the back of our minds today here at Churchill Downs, Fred.

WHITFIELD: That one (INAUDIBLE) folks are trying very safely to have a good time. And if you're going to have, you know, a fab hat, or fascinated like that, you got to have a fab mask. And you're looking very dapper too, Evan.

MCMORRIS-SANTORO: Oh, I thank you, Fred. That's right.

WHITFIELD: With that mint julep in hand. I never had a mint julep, but I'm saving it for my first time to the derby. So, let's hope one day that actually happens. You lucky guy for being at the derby.

MCMORRIS-SANTORO: We'll hoping that bourbon keeps the disease from transmitting. I'm putting that to the test today.

WHITFIELD: OK. Well, you let us know. Continue to be safe out there. Have fun. Evan McMorris-Santoro, thank you so much in Churchill Downs.

All right, nearly 240 million vaccine doses have now been administered right here in the U.S. but the rate of daily vaccinations is continuing to fall. The average number of shots in arms has now dropped by nearly 25 percent over the last two weeks.

CNN's Polo Sandoval joining us now from New York. So, Polo, what are you learning?


POLO SANDOVAL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (on camera): Those kinds of pictures that we just saw, Fred, those are pictures that we definitely would have seen a year ago. So, it really does speak to the progress that we've made.

And really the comfort level that many people have, especially that confidence that they get once they're fully vaccinated. Of course, many people hopefully are, as they go out and enjoy some of these events, and these cities that are slowly reopening.

And then, if you just think about it, it was just about 4-1/2 months ago that we saw the first person receive that public COVID-19 vaccine. Actually, happened here not far from here in New Jersey.

Well, here we are now and over 100 million people now considered fully vaccinated, according to the Biden administration. It's a number that they want to see continue to grow, and a quick reality check, that is only about a third of the population. But it is still enough for, obviously, the Kentucky Derby to be held.

For Disneyland in California, to reopen again today for the first time to residents. But then, there's also this here, you can still see that we have a lot of work to do in terms of getting to herd immunity. So, that's one of the big priorities for officials to get people vaccinated as soon as possible.

And then, when you hear from expert including -- experts including Dr. Richina Bicette, she's very hopeful and concurs that if we do continue with these vaccination efforts then we're likely going to continue to see more of these re-openings, but there is a caveat.


DR. RICHINA BICETTE, MEDICAL DIRECTOR, BAYLOR COLLEGE OF MEDICINE: The way I like to think about it is this pandemic isn't over until it's over. There is no imaginary finish line that we're racing towards. What we're trying to do is to get as much of the population as vaccinated as possible so that we can fully reopen safely. We don't want to take two steps forward and then take five steps back.


SANDOVAL: And because the majority of Americans are still not vaccinated, the TSA is now going to extend that mass requirement for passengers aboard, public transportation like airplanes, buses, and trains, that you recall that was a mandate that was put in place back in February.

It was supposed to expire this month, Fred, but because we are still seeing transmission, still even seeing hundreds of people lost to the coronavirus today, they're going to extend that at least through September. Fred.

WHITFIELD: So, about third of the U.S. vaccinated but for herd immunity you need something like the 60 to 70 percent, right?

SANDOVAL: Up to 80 percent.

WHITFIELD: 80 percent.

SANDOVAL: Either vaccinated or at least have those antibodies through natural infections.

WHITFIELD: Yes, we got a long way to go. All right, Polo Sandoval, thank you so much.

So, Dr. Anthony Fauci is suggesting that officials in India implement a brief lockdown in order to slow the spread of coronavirus. Two trains carrying more than 100 metric tons of oxygen just arriving in India's capital city as the nation faces an ongoing oxygen shortage. India is now battling one of the world's worst COVID-19 outbreaks.

Crematoriums are overwhelmed and hospitals are running low on essential supplies, as India reports, more than 400,000 new infections in a single day, shattering the global record.

India is now taking China up on an offer to help combat the devastating second wave. Chinese leaders expressing a repeated desire to offer a helping hand, despite still struggling to vaccinate its population.

CNN's David Culver has more on the challenges Beijing is facing.


DAVID CULVER, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): On the streets of Beijing, China's effort to vaccinate its residents are on full display. Shops in the capital city using precious window space to advertise something other than sales and business hours.

CULVER (on camera): I'll show you what they're posting outside some of these places. You can see here, this is one sign that says 100 percent of the people that work inside this shop have been vaccinated.

CULVER (voice-over): Another sign says 93 percent of those working at this Beijing bank have gotten one of China's COVID-19 vaccines, as have 90 percent of this restaurant's employees.

Well, it's for my personal safety, this woman tells us. As well as for everybody's safety, for the safety of people's lives, she says.

CULVER (on camera): But there's another side of this, and that is to encourage others, perhaps, you consider it peer pressure a bit.

CULVER (voice-over): After the initial outbreak in Wuhan, China's centralized government mobilized into wartime mode to combat the virus. From lockdowns to mass testing, the strict measures seemingly effective and still very much part of our daily lives here. Especially contact tracing.

CULVER (on camera): And so this one for example, well, let me register, and it comes up, saying I have no abnormal conditions. I show that to the folks who work inside, they then let me in.

CULVER (voice-over): The same measures in place for some ride chairs. Before your car even shows up, the app tells you the driver's recent nucleic acid test results, and shows you if they've been vaccinated, not to mention the vehicle disinfected. CULVER (on camera): So, as soon as you get into a rideshare, you have to scan the Q.R. that they post right on the back of the chair here. The driver here showing me his, his is good.

All right, and that means I'm good to go.


CULVER (voice-over): But while China was ahead in stopping further spread of the virus, it has struggled to vaccinate its massive population of 1.4 billion people. Whereas by April 25th, the U.S. had given out nearly 230 million doses, vaccinating nearly 30 percent of its population, China had only administered about 225 million doses, far below the vaccination rate in the U.S. It has led to a propaganda push.

CULVER (on camera): Across Beijing, we're seeing posters like this one put up -- two, in fact, right next to each other. This one saying that people should get the vaccine so as to create the great wall of immunity as they put it. And then, to make it easy, they provide on this poster a Q.R. code that people use their smartphones to then scan, set up an appointment time. And to get to that appointment, some communities are even offering a free shuttle.

CULVER (voice-over): The effort to vaccinate now spreading to expats and foreign media living here in China, including us. This Beijing museum turned into a vaccination center, private room set up for each injection.

And covering the original outbreak in Wuhan to now, all a bit surreal.

CULVER (on camera): I'm feeling a bit nervous, uneasy.


CULVER: Yes, I think it kind of hits you after covering this for more than a year.

CULVER (voice-over): We received China's Sinopharm vaccine, though the company claims it's 79 effective, it's yet to publish detailed clinical trial data.

CULVER (on camera): So, that's it. That's the COVID-19 vaccine.


CULVER: We're done.

And after receiving our second dose for the vaccine, our health kit was updated. I can show you what that looks like. This is in our smartphone app, and you can see it shows that we have completed our immunization series as they put it, and allows us to show a certificate to officials should we be questioned about our vaccination status.

Meantime, the question is raised, why is it that the vaccine rollout is struggling a bit here in China? There are a lot of factors that play into that. For one, China has been dealing with some of the concerns over transparency, and a lot of skepticism with the vaccine makers not disclosing a lot of the clinical trial data.

Another factor is that for some of the folks here, they feel like why get vaccinated when it is almost near normal? It feels like life pre- covered, in fact, they, in many cases are living in this bubble that feels very safe.

And then, the third factor really that plays into all of this is the vaccine diplomacy. And that is China having prioritized early on to export a lot of its vaccines and not keep them for its domestic population.

All of that combined with trying to vaccinate 1.4 billion people is posing a challenge.

David Culver, CNN, Shanghai.


WHITFIELD: All right, and then as the United States celebrates a vaccine milestone, there's a big political divide threatening to derail our ability to reach herd immunity. Find out why some Republicans are against getting the shot? Period.

Then, later, California Governor Gavin Newsom is facing a recall election. I'll talk live with one of the candidates looking to replace him.



WHITFIELD: All right, the U.S. is racing to vaccinate as many Americans as possible. But officials are finding that there are millions who simply don't want it. A new CNN poll found that over a quarter of Americans say they will not try to get the vaccine at all, and that hesitancy is raising real concerns as the U.S. tries to achieve herd immunity.

CNN's Donie O'Sullivan is looking into why so many are against the vaccine. Donie, what did you find?

DONIE O'SULLIVAN, CNN POLITICS AND TECHNOLOGY REPORTER (on camera): Hey, Fred, yes, and those poll numbers are alarming and very stark when you break them down politically.

Take a look at these numbers, this is pretty incredible. It's at 44 percent, almost half of Republicans in the country say they will not try to get a vaccine. That's compared to only eight percent of Democrats who say they won't get vaccinated. We've been speaking to some Republicans, some Trump supporters over the past few weeks asking them why they're not going to get vaccinated. Have a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) O'SULLIVAN: Are you getting vaccinated?

ROB GREGORY, TRUMP SUPPORTER: No. I don't need a vaccine. I had COVID last March. Sick for all the five hours.


GREGORY: I don't need a vaccine for that.

O'SULLIVAN: The CDC recommends, even if you have COVID, you should get vaccinated.

J.P. WOODRUFF, TRUMP SUPPORTER: Well, they can recommend stuff.

O'SULLIVAN: Got emergency approval (INAUDIBLE).


WOODRUFF: Who's the emergency -- who's determining the emergency approval?

O'SULLIVAN: Do you think Trump was wrong on this one?

WOODRUFF: You know, I don't -- I don't know what the situation is on that, but I know I'm not wrong. And we're the independent freedom people of America, and we make our own decisions.

O'SULLIVAN: You're not getting vaccinated, are you?


O'SULLIVAN: Even though it's the Trump vaccine?

WALLIS: I don't -- I don't care.


DEBBIE WALLIS, TRUMP SUPPORTER: How can this vaccine -- it is. And something -- and I knew (INAUDIBLE) got it.


D. WALLIS: President Biden got it while President Trump was still in office. You know, so, yes, it is the Trump vaccine, I have no intention.

M. WALLIS: And we don't -- we don't blindly follow what President Trump did or didn't do. It's the fact that he promoted individual freedom and your ability to excel.


M. WALLIS: It's why we support the movement. It was a movement, he just happened to come along at the right time to help those who need it.


O'SULLIVAN: Now, of course, there has been a lot of talk that Trump should be doing more to encourage people to take the vaccine. We saw reporting over the past week that some former advisers of his have urged him to do a PSA, a public service announcement about this.

But there you see some really passionate Trump supporters, really big followers of him. And really, for them, the vaccine is a red line. They say they won't take this even if Trump was to plead with them directly, and that may be part of the reason why Trump isn't coming out doing things like PSAs because he knows that some of his supporters are really very against this, and he does not want to alienate his base going into 2022 and possibly 2024. Fred.


WHITFIELD: All right, Donie O'Sullivan, thanks so much for that.

All right, still ahead, President Biden is trying to bridge the economic divide by proposing free community college and free preschool. But does his proposal go far enough? An education advocate joins me live after this.


WHITFIELD: All right, President Biden is now planning to invest nearly $2 trillion in the American education system. The president laying out the American family's plan during his first address to the joint session of Congress earlier this week. Revitalize the nation and ensure a more equitable recovery.


WHITFIELD: The massive proposal includes making community college free, enhancing funding for recruiting, and developing the education workforce. It would also fund paid family and medical leave, universal preschool, and extend free summer meals for children.

Joining me right now to discuss is Salman Khan an educator and the founder and CEO of the Khan Academy, a non-profit educational organization focused on reaching students who are historically under- resourced.

Sal, so good to see you.


WHITFIELD: So, are you encouraged by this proposed investment?

KHAN: Yes, I've never seen anything as bold or these large dollars to tackle things that have historically been pretty arbitrary. You know, the fact that school starts at 5 years old, we already know from loads of research that the gaps already formed by the time kids are three or 3 years old, and you know, when high school was mandatory, a high school education is what you needed for the workforce. But now we know that people need more skills, so this move to make community college free or a lot more accessible, I think is a -- is a pretty bold step.

WHITFIELD: So, President Biden's plan would add four years of free public education and we'll break it down with the two years of pre-K, two years community college, yes, as a way to build a more inclusive middle class.

So, in your view, how would that shape up?

KHAN: Well, it's going to be interesting to see how it's implemented. There are some examples of that. Florida, for example, has universal pre-K, which was a bipartisan thing. So, I'm hoping that this doesn't get politicized. And they've been able to show some pretty strong gains.

But I think the important thing to realize it's really valuable to have the dollars, it's really valuable to have these extra years, but we also can't forget about innovation as well.

Are there ways that even in the years that we do have to have more learning happen, more supports? A lot of what we focus on at Khan Academy is giving teachers, giving students, all what they need to learn at their own time and pace, videos, exercises, there's another not-for-profit I just started called that allows free tutoring.

So, I think the combination of more resources, more years, and then, intelligent use of maybe digital tools or other tools to make the time we have more efficient, I think could go a long way.

WHITFIELD: And how do you see that combo, free -- you know, pre-K community college is really leveling the playing field, ensuring a more equitable recovery?

KHAN: Yes, what happens and we've seen this throughout -- I think we've all experienced is what happens in a typical system is that you accumulate gaps over time. You get an 80 percent on one thing, you didn't know 20 percent.

Ninety percent another thing, you didn't know 10 percent. And those gaps stick with you and accumulate, and then, when you get into high school or early college, they become debilitating. And those gaps start forming in pre-K.

And so, if we can start to reach kids earlier by the time they're five years old, if we can keep those gaps from forming. And then, if we can intelligently use tools like Khan Academy or to make sure that kids always have the opportunity and the incentive to fill in those gaps that teachers can personalize and differentiate for 30 kids in their classroom.

That we can move from a seat time model to a competency-based model where it doesn't matter how or when you learned it, but how well you learned it, I think we can make a lot of headway. WHITFIELD: President Biden says, you know, K-12 schools are likely to be open for in-person learning in the fall after more than a year. You know, students facing challenges remote learning all because of this pandemic.

There is, you know, there still remains some hesitancy about some schools safely being able to reopen. Where are you on this, how encouraged are you?

KHAN: Well, now that vaccinations -- I know your last segment, maybe they're not where they -- where they need to be, but most educators are vaccinated. We still don't see significant spread amongst younger folks.

I think the social-emotional harm and the academic harm that's been happening to kids over the last year, that is a larger risk on every dimension than the potential risk at this point if communities are vaccinated, and if proper precautions are taken from the -- from the virus.

Now, we don't know how that might evolve, what new strains there might be, but based on current understanding, I think we got to get kids in a classroom as soon as possible.

WHITFIELD: All right, Salman Khan, thanks so much. Good to see you, all the best.

KHAN: Thanks for having me.

WHITFIELD: All right, up next, President Biden's first 100 days in office were focused largely on coronavirus and getting Americans vaccinated.

Now, members of the administration are talking about what happened before, during, and after the transition?



WHITFIELD: The first 100 days of the Biden presidency are in the books. Already he's achieved some of his major goals. But his highest priority remains racing to vaccinate as many people as quickly as possible.

CNN's Gloria Borger takes a look at Biden's first 100 days.


JEFF ZIENTS, BIDEN WHITE HOUSE COVID-19 RESPONSE COORDINATOR: From day one, it's been about urgency. Overwhelm the problem. We're at war with the virus.

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST (voice-over): For the last 100 days, how to get vaccines into the arms of hundreds of millions of Americans and convince the hesitant to get a shot has been an immense historic undertaking, and also personal for those on the front lines.

ZIENTS: I'm worried that people have lost loved ones. People continue to lose loved ones. People's lives have been upturned. You know, this is hard. And people are tired, which means that there's a tendency to let down our guard, which we can't do.

DR. LEANA WEN, CNN MEDICAL ANALYST: If you had told us 100 days into President Biden's tenure that it would be open season for every adult American that wants a vaccine to be able to get one, I think we would have all said that's really incredible.

BORGER: A country with the highest number of confirmed deaths worldwide now vaccinating at a speed more than four times faster than the world average.

JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The progress we've made has been stunning.

BORGER: Donald Trump's Operation Warp Speed developed the vaccine.


PAUL MANGO, TRUMP HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES SENIOR OFFICIAL: It turned out to be the most significant medical discovery and manufacturing achievement in American history.

BORGER: Nothing short of a miracle.

DR. ANTHONY FAUCI, CHIEF MEDICAL ADVISER TO PRESIDENT BIDEN: Do you realize what a dire situation we would be in if we did those vaccine trials and, oh, my God, they were 20 percent effective instead of 90- plus percent effective?


BORGER: But in the beginning, the transition did not move at warp speed.

TRUMP: You know, we want Georgia --

BORGER: President Trump was preoccupied with finding votes, not shots.

FAUCI: There was much more of a concentration of the president on reelection and a dissociation from the fact that we were having an epidemic.

GOV. LARRY HOGAN (R- MA): I was somewhat critical --

BORGER: And governors were left wondering who would be running the show.

HOGAN: I raised the issue to Mike Pence several times about, hey, you know, regardless of whatever stuff the president is saying, we've got this vaccine thing that we've got to make sure that these guys know what's going on as soon as they get it. And he assured me that was going to be the case.

BORGER: And then --

ZIENTS: There was no plan to get shots into arms.

BORGER (on camera): No plan?

ZIENTS: There was no plan. Those early doses of Moderna and Pfizer were being drop-shipped to states and there were just not enough places for people to get vaccinated.

BORGER: They say that you were using their playbook on vaccine distribution.

ZIENTS: I just think that's just not true.

MANGO: I have to say it's frustrating when they spend all of their time disparaging what we did. They say we didn't have a plan?


MANGO: We had 65 plans.

BORGER (voice-over): Localized, not centralized.

MANGO: We had the fundamental belief that local leaders understood their counties, their townships, their states, their islands at a greater level of detail than we ever could.

FAUCI: It's complicated. There was not really a well-articulated long- range playbook to get the vast majority of the people vaccinated.

That's where I think the full-court press of the Biden administration really, really stepped up to the plate and did it well.

JOHN ROBERTS, CHIEF JUSTICE, U.S. SUPREME COURT: Congratulations, Mr. President.


BORGER: The new president inherited a surging pandemic, more than 3,000 deaths a day, only about 15 million vaccinated.

HOGAN: At the very beginning, the frustration was huge demand and no supply.


HOGAN: And so the anger and frustration everywhere across the country was why can't I get an appointment for a vaccine.

BORGER: Biden became the national vaccine pitchman, setting targets --

ZIENTS: And he ultimately decides.

BORGER: -- and announcing every milestone himself, eager to show any momentum, starting with what looked like an attainable goal.

BIDEN: A hundred million shots in the first 100 days.

HOGAN: We were already doing more than a million a day at that point. So if he did absolutely nothing, we would have done 100 million the first 100 days, even if he didn't show up.

BORGER: But he did show up, repeatedly.

BIDEN: One hundred million more Moderna, Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson. The vaccine supply for every American adult by the end of May. By my 100th day in office, I've administered 200 million shots.

BORGER (on camera): I heard early on, the president was very impatient.

FAUCI: He is, he is, and that -- that's the truth, he's impatient. Like, OK, is this is best we can do? He asks specific questions. Well, what about this and why aren't we doing this, and are we doing the best in that?

BORGER (voice-over): Biden could not control the delays due to winter storms or governors who eased restrictions.

And he abided by the decision from the FDA and CDC to temporarily pause the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, a move that some saw as overcautious and confusing.

BIDEN: These checks are providing a heck of a lot of needed relief --

BORGER: The president did jumpstart a substantial federal response -- a $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan.

BIDEN: America's coming back.

BORDER: Deployment of active-duty military and FEMA, a federal pharmacy program, a network of community health centers to increase vaccine access and equity.

DR. MARCELLA NUNEZ-SMITH, CHAIR, BIDEN COVID-19 HEALTH EQUITY TASK FORCE: We have to always start with access, making sure that people can get vaccinated in places where they are comfortable and where they trust the people who are vaccinating them.

BORGER: Many in communities of color are skeptical.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What about the side effects?

BORGER: Vaccinations of younger people and those in rural areas are lagging. And with the number of overall daily vaccinations wavering, appealing to the hesitant is crucial.

NUNEZ-SMITH: We always will meet people where they are. We always have to make sure that messages are tailored, so that's about saying what are your particular concerns?


BORGER: And politics, as always, comes into play.

(on camera): Fifty percent of Republican men say they are not likely to take the vaccine. What would you say to them?

HOGAN: I would say that's absolutely crazy because the -- you know, the people that say hey, we want to get rid of these masks, we want to open up all the businesses, the only way we ever get life back to normal is if we get enough people to get that vaccine.

BORGER (voice-over): So why not explain the rewards of vaccination earlier?


WEN: If what we're saying to them is get vaccinated, it's great, this is such a safe and effective vaccine but, by the way, you can't really change much of your daily activities, I don't think that people understand what's in it for them.

BORGER: And why not open schools sooner?

WEN: I think this was a major mistake at the very beginning was to not prioritize teachers for vaccination.

BORGER: The administration's answer has always been the same: Let the science lead.

ZIENTS: I think it's another example where we followed the science. The CDC put out guidance as to how to make sure to open schools safely and keep them open safely.

BORGER: Now a new phase in the effort, an immense get-out-the-vax P.R. campaign, a T.V. blitz.

ANNOUNCER: With vaccines, we can trust --

BORGER: Celebrities getting jabs.


FAUCI: It really is kind of a race between getting vaccinated and the virus trying to essentially surge up again.

Every day that goes by you get closer and closer to that virus really not being able to do anything. Because when you get an overwhelming majority of the population vaccinated, the virus has no place to go.

BORGER: The country is at a tipping point. With coronavirus variants on the rise, the next 100 days and beyond will be a tough race, with the final finish line not yet in sight.

Gloria Borger, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEOTAPE) WHITFIELD: Up next, California Governor Gavin Newsom is fighting to stay in office after a recall election is called. CNN goes one on one next.


KYUNG LAH, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: This is personal. This is about your job, Governor.

GOV. GAVIN NEWSOM (D-CA): Yes, it's about me, but it's also about all of us.




WHITFIELD: Critics of California Governor Gavin Newsom have gathered enough signatures to force a recall election. Under fire for his handling of the pandemic, the Democratic governor's fate could end up on the ballot as soon as this summer.

CNN's Kyung Law has the latest on this high-stakes recall.


NEWSOM: It is what it is. This is a Republican recall.

These live saving --

LAH (voice-over): That's the battle cry for Democratic California governor Gavin Newsom, as this recall takes a major leap forward.

The legal number of signatures on petitions now verified, Newsom has only months before voters decide if he should remain governor.

NEWSOM: There are certain things you can control, certain things you can't control.

All right. Keep up the good work.

LAH: What he can control, as the governor travels to vaccination clinic after clinic --

NEWSOM: We can do six million a day.

LAH: -- try to push the state past the pain of the pandemic in his own political peril, driving the recall as an effort by Trump Republicans.

NEWSOM: An RNC-backed Republican recall of white supremacists, anti- Semites, and people who are opposed to immigration is an accurate assessment who is behind this recall.

LAH (on camera): This is personal. This is about your job, Governor. NEWSOM: Yes, it's about me. But it's about all of us. It's about the

diversity of California. It's about immigrants. It's about the browning of California. It's about the things we hold dear.

LAH (voice-over): That progressive image took a beating this last year as the state struggled with COVID restrictions, Newsom was photographed dining at the French Laundry, an exclusive restaurant in California's wine country.

It helped fuel the sixth recall attempt against the Democrat.

And despite what the governor says about who is behind the recall --

TOM SOPIT, LOS ANGELES RESTAURANT OWNER: I voted for the guy, but I actually agree with the recall.

LAH: -- supporters are now potential voters, like Los Angeles restaurant owner, Tom Sopit.

SOPIT: I believe the governor should be fired.

LAH (on camera): I have interviewed you by Democrats across the state and they're judging you by one meal. Is that fair?

NEWSOM: No. Who among us, any of us, has not been anxious, fearful about the last year? It's been a hard year on everybody.

FORMER GOVERNOR GRAY DAVIS (D-CA): It brings back memories I would rather leave in the past.

LAH (voice-over): This upheaval is familiar to Gray Davis, the last Democrat recalled in California in 2003, anger over a statewide oil crisis.

But California has dramatically moved to the left since then. Registered Democrats outnumber Republicans in the state, 2-1.

FORMER GOV. ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER, (R-CA): All of you people here.

LAH: And so far, there's no Republican mega star like Arnold Schwarzenegger as a challenger.

DAVIS: If a governor could pick and own it, I would recommend you not get the global celebrity coming off a half a billion-dollar campaign to promote "Terminator 3."


NEWSOM: Thank you.

LAH: The governor is counting on Democrats like Ashley Guzman believes as she got her second vaccine shot.

ASHLEY GUZMAN, NEWSOM SUPPORTER: That is not on him. We were in a pandemic.

LAH: And remaining the only Democrat on what is expected to be a wide- open ballot.

NEWSOM: We anticipate -- this is California and there will be dozens, perhaps more than 100 people that I imagine fill out a form and put their name on this ballot.

LAH (on camera): Including Democrats?

NEWSOM: So we have a firm base, but there's always some. And that's what we can control, getting shots into people's arms and getting this economy roaring back.


WHITFIELD: Kyung Lah, thank you for that report.

With me now is Kevin Faulconer, the former mayor of San Diego and a candidate for governor in California.

Mr. Mayor, good to see you.

FORMER MAYOR KEVIN FAULCONER (D), SAN DIEGO: Thanks. It's a pleasure to be with you today. Thank you.

WHITFIELD: OK. So a recent poll shows the majority plan to voters, 56 percent, say they plan to vote no on Newsom's recall.


Tell me why you think that Governor Newsom should be recalled and why you believe you would be a better governor.

FAULCONER: Well, I will tell you, and I think what we're seeing in the recall out here in California is that folks from all walks of life and all demographics, who signed that recall petition, Democrats, Independents, Republicans, who know it is time for a change at the top of California.

And I will tell you, I'm looking --


WHITFIELD: What's it about?

FAULCONER: Well, it is about a lot of thing. It's certainly about the failed response to pandemic, and the fact that small businesses were hit so hard.

And, Fredricka, it is also about the failures statewide. Homelessness continues to explode throughout the state.

And the fact that our public schools in California are still, still not fully reopened. And I say that not just as a candidate for governor, but as a father with two kids in public schools.

WHITFIELD: That is the case for a lot of states across the country in the midst of the pandemic. And you heard from Governor Newsom in Kyung Lah's report that he believes that it is led by the Republicans and the RNC-backed white supremacists and anti-immigrants.

What is your response to that?

FAULCONER: Well, on the reality of the ground, it is the immigrant families and whose kids cannot get back into the classroom and the businesses shut four or five times.

And what is happening here in California, the people want the governor to roll up his sleeves and get the job done.

I'm a Republican who got elected in the second largest city with the Democratic majority. And it mirrors that of the state.

So it is time to bring the Democrats and the Republicans together for the best of California and a governor who can get things done. That is what I believe this recall is going to be all about.

WHITFIELD: Do you believe that if you were governor, would you be trying to lead a Democratically leaning state similar to how you led a Democratically leaning city?

FAULCONER: I would. I think that it is very analogous.

And if you treat people with dignity and respect, and even if you disagree on the issues from time to time, it is about getting the job done.

And what we were able to do in San Diego -- and particularly on the issue of homelessness, which is absolutely one of the top issues here in California.

And we were the only big city in California where we actually reduced it by double digits. And that type of effort and results that Californians are looking for.

WHITFIELD: So you are not always been a supporter of the former President Trump? And Gavin Newsom believes that Donald Trump is behind this.

So do you need Trump's base in order to win potentially a challenge to become the new governor of California?

FAULCONER: I think that to win in California, you have to get Republicans. You have to get Democrats. And you so get Independents that is just the reality.

And what I was able to do as mayor of San Diego, I got elected twice in a majority Democrat city. And why? I like to think, Fredricka, because I brought common sense to bear to the job.

And it is in short supply in the campaign that I am talking about which is again about common sense. It is bringing our state together after a difficult time, but really

focusing on, as I said, results on homelessness, and getting our small businesses back open, and getting our schools fully reopened which they should be now, not months from now.

WHITFIELD: And what about immigration, the crisis at the border? I mean, these are major issues facing California. And the state has 140 miles of a border with Mexico.

Where do you stand on what you think needs to be done? What is the fix?

FAULCONER: Well, I will tell you that I have had a lot of experience in that. And, obviously, as the mayor of San Diego, we have the largest land port of entry in North America. And we have spent a lot of time on the borders.

And no doubt we have seen a failure on the federal level. And we need to have a safe border issue.

And as governor of California, we will work with the fellow congressmen on all sides, because we have to fix this issue once and for all and not continue to put the Band-Aids on it.

WHITFIELD: All right. Former mayor of San Diego, Kevin Faulconer, thank you. Thanks for being with us this weekend.

FAULCONER: Thank you. My pleasure.

WHITFIELD: All my best.

Coming up, you have been vaccinated, and now what? Three doctors are standing by to break down what you can and can't do or shouldn't do or should do, straight ahead.

But first, here's a preview of what is coming up this season on the "UNITED SHADES OF AMERICA."




UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are going to have a conversation.

BELL: We're going to have a conversation.


BELL: That is all I do.

And you know that we got a lot to talk about.

And we are getting right into the details. (LAUGHTER)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And it does matter that you are not harming anybody, but also that you are proactively being anti-racist --


BELL: Oh, yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- and anti-transphobe.

BELL: Oh, yes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When I say white supremacy, I am not just talking about the white people.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I should not go out there with the pepper spray and baton preaching white lives matter.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And it needs to be stripped down to the bare bones.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're not just fighting against something. We're fighting for something.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So it is about research and collect evidence. Then how do you put that out into the world?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We have a Web site.

BELL: Oh, good.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are asking questions that people haven't thought about before.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm having some virtual reality and low self- esteem.

ANNOUNCER: A new season of the "UNITED SHADES OF AMERICA" with W. Kamau Bell premiers tomorrow night at 10:00 on CNN.