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CDC: More Than 100 Million Fully Vaccinated Against Coronavirus; Trump Allies Worry Giuliani Raid Sent "Strong Message" To Ex-President's Inner Circle; Daily Beast: Associate's Letter Says Rep. Gaetz Paid For Sex With Minor; Interview With Rep. Nikema Williams (D- GA); Hospitals And Crematoriums Overflow As India's COVID Outbreak Worsens; Around 50,000 Fans Return To Churchill Downs For Kentucky Derby. Aired 3-4p ET

Aired May 1, 2021 - 15:00   ET



JIM ACOSTA, CNN HOST: You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Jim Acosta in Washington.

And right now, across the country, evidence that life is slowly returning to number, in part because of this number, 100 million. That's the number of Americans, according to the White House, who are now fully vaccinated, more than 100 million people.

Other signs things are returning to normal, no more open middle seats on airplanes. Today, Delta Airlines begin filling the middle seats. They were the last carrier keeping the middle seat open. Masks are still required for everyone on board.

After 412 days, Disneyland is finally open. The iconic theme park now welcoming a limited number of guests into the park. Only California residents for now.

The Kentucky Derby will run today, with 50,000 fans in the stand. Aside from those fancy hats, everyone is supposed to be wearing a mask unless you're actively eating or drinking, we're told.

And the CDC says U.S. crews could set sail in July if nearly all ship passengers and crew members are fully vaccinated.

And one note from the global fight against the pandemic, the United States will tightly restrict entry for people traveling from India starting Tuesday. Coronavirus cases and deaths are at record highs right now in India. The United States is sending more supplies like oxygen equipment there this weekend.

And joining me now is Paul Offit, director of the Vaccine Education Center at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

Dr. Offit, we're starting with some good news today. One hundred million adults in the U.S. are now fully vaccinated. You heard the various ways industries are returning to pre-pandemic life, no more airlines blocking middle seats, more fans at sporting events, cruise ships possibly sailing in mid-July. Are we moving at the right speed? DR. PAUL OFFIT, DIRECTOR OF VACCINE EDUCATION CENTER, CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL OF PHILADELPHIA: Yes. Now, there's every reason to be optimistic. You have three things working against this virus. One is that you have roughly 100 million people who are vaccinated. Two, you have people who've been naturally infected, which is about at least 25 percent of the country, and there is certainly overlap between those two groups, and they're going to be immune.

And then, three, we're moving to the summer. It is basically at its heart a winter virus. The only thing I would say here is you need about 100 million more people vaccinated. By the end of the summer, fall, we're around 80 percent population immunity, so when we hit next winter, there's not a surge.

That's the only thing I worry about, people get complacent, great, I'm through this, I don't need a vaccine any more. But we need about 100 million people vaccinated.

ACOSTA: Yeah, the next 100 million will be the trick, I think. The CDC director said when it comes to opening 100 percent July 1st is a reasonable date. You heard that earlier this week. That's what they're planning in New York City, which, you know, grabbed a lot of people by the shirt collars thinking New York City could get back to normal. What do you think about that? Do you agree with that?

OFFIT: I think over the summer, we're going to feel pretty good about the number of deaths that are occurring every day. I mean, not that -- one death is obviously awful but I think we're going to certainly come down from where we were. I do worry that think people are going to think we're past this when we're not.

And you're right. I think that the big challenge now is going to be, now that we have enough vaccinations for everybody, is that you're going to find out the percentage of the population that refuses to get a vaccine. If it's a high percentage in the fall, then we're going to have to decide exactly what we want to do about that.

ACOSTA: Right. The CDC says roughly 35 percent of Americans were infected with COVID. That's roughly four times what has been reported. That's a pretty staggering number.

What does that mean for herd immunity for the country to get to the point where we feel protected?

OFFIT: Well, we paid an enormous price for that, right? I mean, that's true. You do antibody surveillance study, you find the roughly 32 million number of people infected is off by a factor of three. It is close to 100 million people infected with this virus and they're immune. But to get to that immunity, more than 175,000 people had to die.

So, you prefer to get your immunity from vaccinations so you don't have to suffer from that. There was an article recently in something called the Public Library of Science that said something that I think is true, which is that, and it came out from the National Institute of Health, and it's that, over the next year or two or three, you're going to have two choices, either get vaccinated or get infected. So, vaccination is always the better choice.

ACOSTA: And CNN has a new poll out. And one number really stands out, we've been talking about this. When it comes to getting vaccinated, 26 percent said they will not try to get the shot. That is just amazing to me, consider that just this week, there was this uproar over comedian and podcaster, Joe Rogan, saying that young healthy people didn't need the vaccine. He later recanted that. Let's listen.


JOE ROGAN, PODCASTER: I'm not an anti-vax person. In fact, I said, I believe they're safe and I encourage many people to take them. My parents were vaccinated. I just said that if you're a young healthy person that you need it. Their argument was you need it for other people.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, you don't transmit the virus.

ROGAN: That makes more sense.

I'm not a doctor. I'm a (EXPLETIVE DELETED) moron. I'm not a respected source of information even for me.


ACOSTA: That's pretty incredible, Dr. Offit. How big is this battle against misinformation in, you know, places like the Joe Rogan podcast where a lot of people tune in and get their information that way.

OFFIT: He's influential. You can tell when someone is about to say something wrong about vaccines, they say, I'm not anti-vaccine. I mean, he should run a hospital (AUDIO GAP) that more than 3 million people, children, have been infected with this virus, more than 200 have died from this virus, children, and that there -- this disease called multi-system inflammatory disease which can be devastating and can have no doubt longer lasting problems.

So, I just -- those casual offhand comments that are incorrect by people who are influential is damaging. I feel in some ways this battle against this virus is a battle against ourselves in some manner.

ACOSTA: Absolutely. It's been -- it's been a disinformation pandemic as well. Dr. Paul Offit, thanks so much for joining us. We appreciate it.

And former President Trump's inner circle uneasy today, according to close sources. They say the FBI raid this week on the home and office of Trump's personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, has left a sense of fear and dread inside Trump's orbit what could be come down the pike.

CNN's Jessica Schneider reports.


JESSICA SCHNEIDER, CNN JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): New details about the investigation into Rudy Giuliani and what exactly investigators are searching for. "The New York Times" now reports at least one of the search warrants served Wednesday sought information related to the former ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch.

This same Marie Yovanovitch former President Trump fired in April 2019 and who testified as a witness in his first impeachment trial.

MARIE YOVANOVITCH, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO UKRAINE: Our Ukraine policy has been thrown into disarray and shady interests the world over have learned how little it takes to remove an ambassador who does not give them what they want.

SCHNEIDER: Investigators want to determine if Giuliani worked to get Yovanovitch ousted from her whether they sought to have her ousted to protect Trump or searching dirt on the Bidens. It's all part of the long-running criminal investigation into Giuliani and an inquiry to whether he worked as an unregistered foreign agent for Ukraine while also serving as President Trump's personal attorney.

Federal agents served a search warrant on his apartment and office Wednesday, seizing several electronic devices.

RUDY GIULIANI, DONALD TRUMP'S FORMER PERSONAL ATTORNEY: About 6:00 in the morning, there was a big bang, bang, bang on the door. And outside were seven, seven FBI agents with a warrant for electronics.

SCHNEIDER: Giuliani insists he has never acted as a foreign agent.

GIULIANI: I can't believe that these people would actually think I would do something like this. But obviously the U.S. assistant attorneys hate me. And they hate Trump, which is probably -- which is probably the whole thing. I mean, to believe that I'm some kind of Russian agent.

SCHNEIDER: Giuliani was a prominent figure on the 2020 campaign trail for Trump and repeatedly floated false information about the Biden's ties to Ukraine.

GIULIANI: The amount of crimes that Democrats committed in Ukraine are astounding. And when you say investigating Hunter Biden, I mean, Joe Biden was the guy who did the bribe. Joe Biden was the guy who took the bribe in order to protect Burisma.


ACOSTA: All right. Joining me now is former FBI special agent and CNN legal and national security analyst, Asha Rangappa.

Asha, first, on this new reporting from CNN that the raid ignited a sense of fear and dread inside the former president's inner circle and other things might be come down the pipeline, do you think some of those should be worried at this point?

ASHA RANGAPPA, CNN LEGAL AND NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: I think they should be worried in terms of Mr. Giuliani potentially deciding to cooperate with prosecutors if he ends up getting charged. I think with the FARA investigation itself, I don't see how the former president could directly be implicated in that, even if for example the firing of the Ambassador Yovanovitch was happening indirectly at the behest of, you know, foreign interests.

The president has wide latitude to hire ambassadors. But where he might get into trouble is if the Justice Department decides to charge Mr. Giuliani and he decides to talk and there are other things he knows about that might make them nervous.


ACOSTA: And "The New York Times" reports the Giuliani raid was looking for evidence of his campaign to push out the ambassador to Ukraine at the time, agencies, his cell phones and computers. Is it -- is it clear that's where the investigation goes next?

RANGAPPA: I think what they will be looking for, if this is an investigation under the Foreign Agent Registration Act, then what they will be looking for is evidence that Mr. Giuliani was working at the direction and control of a foreign principal. That could be a foreign government, it could be foreign intelligence, people related to foreign intelligence.

And if it concerns the firing of Ambassador Yovanovitch, what they might be looking for are communications that demonstrate that was a request coming from the outside and perhaps there was some quid pro quo, that in exchange for doing that maybe they would get dirt on Hunter Biden, or something like that. So, that's the kind of thing that would trigger a FARA violation.

Whether they may uncover or are looking for something else, another potential violation it's not clear from what we've heard based on what we've heard so far from the reporting.

ACOSTA: And Giuliani floated the strange conspiracy theory about the Justice Department on Fox News. Let's listen to that.


GIULIANI: The evidence is exculpatory. It proves that the president and I and all of us are innocent. They're the ones who are committing -- it's like projection. They're committing the crimes.


ACOSTA: Is that something they teach in law school?

RANGAPPA: No. I think in that clip, Mr. Giuliani wanted the FBI agents to seize some other laptop that he claimed had incriminating evidence about Hunter Biden. The Fourth Amendment requires something called particularity, which means when you get a warrant, you have to declare the specific items which you are going to see. So, federal agents can't go in and just, you know, take random things that they want.

I will also just note that the FARA enforcement division at the Department of Justice was beefed up in March of 2019. This was continuing under the former attorney general, Bill Barr. So, I think that his suggestion this is politically motivated would be misplaced given it was going on at least a couple years under Trump's own attorney general.

ACOSTA: All right. More twists and turns to come, I'm sure. Asha Rangappa, thanks so much for those insights. We appreciate it.

Coming up, the other Republican in legal jeopardy, Congressman Matt Gaetz, already under investigation for alleged sex trafficking and frustration is now denying the accusations that were in a reported confession letter written by one of his associates. Details ahead.



ACOSTA: New twists and turns in the federal investigator of Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz including a bombshell letter obtained by "The Daily Beast" in which Joel Greenberg, a friend of Gaetz, alleges he and the congressman paid for sex with multiple women, including a minor.

CNN's Paula Reid has the details.


PAULA REID, CNN SENIOR LEGAL AFFAIRS ANALYST: In this letter, Greenberg reportedly admitted he and Gaetz paid for sex with multiple women including a minor who was just 17 at the time. Now, Greenberg claims they thought this woman was 19, but later learned she was underage.

Now, CNN has seen this letter but over the past month, we have spoken with several women who were involved with these two guys. They have each told us how they were paid for sex. We've seen the receipts.

Now, CNN's own Chris Cuomo spoke to Roger Stone Thursday night. Stone says he doesn't recall a letter or Greenberg implicating Gaetz. He also says he never tried to get Greenberg a pardon.

Now, spokesman for the congressman issued a statement which said in part, Gaetz has never paid for sex nor has he had sex with a 17-year- old as an adult. And he also argued that this story shows how Representative Gaetz was long out of touch with Mr. Greenberg and had no interest in involving himself into Mr. Greenberg's affairs.

But that's not what this story actually reflects at all. And our reporting is that Mr. Greenberg, who's currently in jail facing 33 federal count, he's been cooperating with federal investigators since last year and he shared information about encounters he and the congressman have had and how they exchanged sex for money.

Now, we will likely learn more about what Mr. Greenberg has been sharing with investigators as he is expected to finalize a plea deal in the coming weeks.

Paula Reid, CNN, Washington.


ACOSTA: And joining us now, CNN senior legal analyst and former federal and state prosecutor, Elie Honig.

Elie, you learned of this letter as a former federal prosecutor, what are you thinking?

ELIE HONIG, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: First of all, after I pick my jaw up off the floor after seeing this letter, because this is insane. It makes no sense whatsoever why Joel Greenberg while under indictment and not yet convicted, he's still not yet convicted, to this point would put in writing that I Joel Greenberg have committed a very serious offense -- sex trafficking of a minor carries a 10-year mandatory minimum sentence -- and then send that into the government.


The only way I can make sense of this, Jim, is that Roger Stone and Joel Greenberg came up with this strategy of let's put it to Donald Trump this way. This guy, Joel Greenberg, has done really bad things he's willing to admit to and he's going to take down Matt Gaetz, your political ally, President Trump, so you better pardon him to save Matt Gaetz.

That's the only way this makes any kind of logical sense to me.

ACOSTA: And if the Justice Department ends up prosecuting Matt Gaetz, could this help the Justice Department, do you think?

HONIG: Oddly, it is, because if there comes a day where Matt Gaetz gets charged and if there comes a day where Joel Greenberg takes the witness stand and testifies against Matt Gaetz, the cross examination on Joel Greenberg will be, you just made this up after the fact. You were just trying to give prosecutors some big target in Matt Gaetz.

This letter could enable prosecutors to get back up, actually you were implicating Matt Gaetz since long ago. So, although the letter is a truly terrible idea, nobody should write out their own crimes like this. Oddly, it could aid in a prosecution of Gaetz down the line.

ACOSTA: And "The Daily Beast" also obtained a series of messages, exchanged over an encrypted app and messages Greenberg writes to Stone. And we can put this up on screen. If I get you 250,000 in bitcoin, would that help or is this not a financial matter?

Stone replies: I understand all of this and have taken it into consideration. I will know more in the next 24 hours. I cannot push too hard because of the nonsense surrounding pardons.

And then later, Stone went to say, quote, I hope you are prepared to wire me $250,000 because I am feeling confident.

Stone told our Chris Cuomo that these messages are taken out of context and that he did not help and never accepted any money. What do you make of all of this? How is Roger Stone involved?

HONIG: I'm not sure what the innocent context would be here. If I'm looking at that exchange as a prosecutor, my antennae are going right up. It is, of course, a crime to pay or issue a bribe in exchange for a pardon. And what really sort of jumps out of me is here the reference to bitcoin, right? That basically the main point of bitcoin is that it's encrypted, that it can't be traced.

So, why on earth are they talking about massive payments in bitcoin? Now, it's Roger Stone and he will say he's kidding, didn't mean it, or it's just the way he talks. But I think we have seen Roger Stone knows how to go right up to that line of legality and illegality and sometimes to cross it.

ACOSTA: And if a pardon had been secured, would it have been public knowledge, would we have learned that a sitting congressman would have been preemptively pardoned for something potentially as serious as sex trafficking?

HONIG: So, Jim, you hit this favorite topic of legal nerds out there, and I include myself in that, which is, could there be a secret pardon? The answer is we don't know. There's never been one in United States history, or at least that we've learned of. I guess there could have been a secret pardon that we've never heard about.

But there's a split in opinion here. Some people say, well, the pardon power is not limited in the Constitution. It doesn't say you have to announce it publicly.

On the other hand, I think the more prevalent view is it's not what was intended. They're supposed to be public. There has to be some level of transparency and accountability.

I think it's very unlikely that that happened. If it happened, we could find out when there's a day when Matt Gaetz gets charged but I think it's very unlikely.

ACOSTA: All right. Well, we keep an eye on that. Elie Honig, thanks so much.

Coming up, how one sentence in the Republican rebuttal sparked a heated nationwide debate.


SEN. TIM SCOTT (R-SC): Hear me clearly. America is not a racist country.




ACOSTA: There is more evidence that the big lie about the election is still with us. A brand new CNN poll shows a whopping 70 percent of Republicans think President Biden did not win the election fair and square.

That polling we learned the Republican lawmakers in the key swing state of Florida are on the verge of making it more difficult for many legal voters to cast their ballots with Republicans citing the big lie about the election. The provisions include new ID requirements for vote by mail and restrictions on ballot drop boxes.

Prior to Florida, it was the state of Georgia in the spotlight for its controversial new voting law that critics call Jim Crow 2.0, a topic that came up with Republican Senator Tim Scott delivered the GOP rebuttal to President Biden's address to Congress.

Take a listen.


SCOTT: If you actually read this law, it's mainstream. It will be easier to vote early in Georgia than in Democrat-run New York. But the left doesn't want you to know that. They want people virtue signaling, by yelling about a law they haven't even read.

Fact-checkers have called out the White House for misstatements. The president absurdly claims this is worse than Jim Crow.

What is going on here? I'll tell you. A Washington power grab.


ACOSTA: And with me now is Democratic Congresswoman Nikema Williams of Georgia.

Thanks so much for joining us.

What's your response to what Senator Tim Scott said about this new voting law in Georgia?

REP. NIKEMA WILLIAMS (D-GA): Jim, thank you for having me and having this conversation.


Tim Scott, as I listened to him, I was embarrassed for him to be reading the rhetoric he was given knowing he is a black man in the south, who did not even have the right to vote in this country if it were not for the federal government making sure everyone had the opportunity to vote in this country.

First and foremost, I think he needs to read a history book. I've read the law. But perhaps he needs to read the history on how he got the right to vote in this country.

Talking about New York or other states, I don't know what the laws are in New York. I don't know what the laws are in South Carolina. But what I do know is, no matter where you live in this country, Jim, you should have the same access to the ballot. That's why I am working in Congress to pass H.R.-1 and H.S.-1 to make

sure no matter what state you live in or zip code you have the same access to the ballot and it's standardized across the board.

That's one thing he said is right. It shouldn't matter where you live. We should all have the same access to the ballot.

ACOSTA: I want to ask you about something. Senator Scott said America is not a racist country.

You tweeted in response to that, "I bet Tim Scott's grandfather that came from," quote, "cotton, wouldn't say America isn't a racist country, just because he made it to Congress."

As you know, Congresswoman, President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, they seem to agree with Tim Scott when they were asked about it. What's the point you were trying to make there?

WILLIAMS: It's semantics. I think he's saying the country is not racist. Yet, during his speech, he went through an outline of the times he's been racially profiled. And he talked about his grandfather coming from cotton.

I don't know. It took me to believe he was talking about his ancestors picking cotton, coming from slavery in this country, which was absolutely rooted in racism.

Maybe the country is not racist. But it's clear to me every day that I'm operating in a system not designed by or for people who look like me.

I'm in Congress right now to make sure our government works for all of us. That includes Tim Scott.

ACOSTA: Let me ask you about Democratic strategist, James Carville, who made headlines saying Democrats have a problem with "wokeness." I want to ask you about it.


JAMES CARVILLE, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: In my view, if you want to -- in politics, you should speak the language of the people. Speak clear, direct English and address people as they address each other, not like the Humanities Department at Amherst wants you to address everybody.

The number of people that have contacted me or had people contact me after this has been enormously gratifying. Everybody wanted it to break. I get tired of being woke.


ACOSTA: What's your reaction to that? Do you think James Carville has a point about people tired of wokeness in America?

WILLIAMS: I don't know about tired of being woke or what he means by that, Jim. What I do know is we have to meet people where they are. We saw that

in the elections in Georgia. We have to go and meet everyday people on the ground, talking about issues that matter to them.

He might be onto something there because, yes, absolutely, we have to make sure that the things we're describing to people they understand.

We don't need to talk about an economic recovery check that is coming your way, a stimulus check. That's what people understand.

We absolutely have to meet the voters where they are and talk about the issues that matter to people. I agree with him on that.

Whether he wants to call me woke or not, that might be a badge I'm willing to wear with pride.

ACOSTA: You're woke, is that what you're saying, Congresswoman? You're woke and proud?

WILLIAMS: If it means I'm standing up for my people and for those most marginalized, yes, Jim, I guess you have to color me woke.

ACOSTA: Let's go too January 6th, coming up on the four-month anniversary of that. That was your third full day being a member of Congress if I'm not mistaken.

Right now, in Arizona, they're literally recounting ballots for a fourth time. I'm sure you heard about this because there are Republicans who still believe Trump could win by virtue of this additional recount.

What do you make of what's happening in Arizona? And what does it say about where things stand right now.

WILLIAMS: Jim, Republicans in Arizona are recounting the ballot. I think you had a statistic early on 70 percent of Republicans still don't believe Joe Biden won. The country knows Joe Biden won.

In the first 100 days, he has done so much for people. Two million people vaccinated and children are back safely. All Georgians received a $1400 stimulus check in lair bank account and there's more on the way.

Joe Biden has a bold visionary jobs plan and family plan and cutting poverty in half and making sure people get the money they need and while they're counting ballots we're doing the work of the people.


ACOSTA: And Republicans in more than 50 states -- I want to ask you about something that is really picking up across the country. More than 30 states have introduced bills targeting protesters.

In Indiana, GOP lawmakers want to penalize people for funding protests. Another bill in Minnesota would cut off many public benefits, like

state loans or assistance, to a person convicted of an offense during a protest.

Republicans in Iowa have proposed granting immunity to some drivers who hit protestors blocking roads.

I'm sure you've been following this. What do you think about this? And can anything be done at the federal level to counteract some legislation coming out of the state level?

WILLIAMS: Jim, as I told my colleagues in Georgia when I was arrested for standing with my constituents as they protested the aftermath of the 2018 gubernatorial election, today, it's my people protesting and, tomorrow, it might be your people.

Be careful of the laws you're passing. We all have a right to make sure our voices are heard and it doesn't necessarily have to agree with the party in power at that time. Be careful of the law you're passing because they will come back on you.

I believe in free speech in this country. What we saw on January 6th went way beyond the line of free speech.

I hope they're making sure we're holding those people accountable who literally had a domestic terrorist attack on the United States capitol. That's what they should be focused on.

ACOSTA: A lot of those state laws being passed right now do not appear to be targeting what happened on January 6th.

Congresswoman Nikema Williams, thank you so much for joining us. We appreciate it. Thanks for your time.

WILLIAMS: Thank you.

ACOSTA: Coming up, the COVID catastrophe in India having a ripple effect in the U.S., new travel restrictions, as bodies there are being burned in a mass cremation. Just look at that video. Incredible. We'll talk about this in just a few moments.



ACOSTA: The Biden administration will restrict travel from COVID- stricken starting Tuesday. Only U.S. citizens and permanent residents traveling from India will be allowed into the U.S.

They will still be required to show a negative COVID test or proof of vaccination and quarantine if they have not been vaccinated.

It comes as India shatters global records with nearly 420,000 new cases within a 24-hour period. That's staggering.

CNN senior international correspondent, Sam Kiley, has more on India's devastating COVID crisis.


SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A sensor reveals dangerously low levels of oxygen. Stifled by COVID-19, this canister of gas buys this patient time.

All of these patients arrive barely able to breathe. This isn't a medical clinic. It's a tent on the outskirts of India's capital, run by volunteers.

(on camera): Without the initiative being shown by these volunteers from the Hemkunt Foundation, who are providing oxygen on the street, on the outskirts of Delhi, they say many dozens, perhaps over 100 patients, would be in deep trouble medically now.

They already had one death, just over there, earlier on today. They treated over 100 people who are coming in, desperate for oxygen, unable to breathe.

And it's all about this, the supply of these oxygen cylinders. It's a 300-mile drive each way to get one of these filled and brought back to Delhi.

(voice-over): They cost about $25 when filled.

(on camera): How easy has it been to found oxygen?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, my God, trust me, this is the toughest thing, we have to say.

KILEY (voice-over): With COVID-19 infections and numbers of deaths breaking records daily in India, many patients in Delhi have given up on hospital treatment, where they know that oxygen is scarce and beds often shared.

Pankaj Chandrawal said he was turned away by three hospitals. He took off his oxygen mask, demanding to be heard.

PANKAJ CHANDRAWAL, COVID-19 PATIENT: They are just not entertaining anything and they're just refusing all things. I cannot tell whom I can believe. It is both government and the hospitals also.

KILEY: Bottled oxygen is mostly produced outside Delhi. Neighboring states are prioritizing their own needs. And so the city gasps. And many die, unrecorded, in their homes.


KILEY: Tijinder Gutji (ph) collects the bodies of patients who die at home. He'll pick up three in this one-hour run.


KILEY: Many are even afraid to take their dying loved ones to hospital. Prashant Sharma's family decided to keep his grandmother at home.

PRASHANT SHARMA, GRANDSON OF COVID-19 VICTIM: We were scared. (INAUDIBLE). So we got scared if we cannot do any nearby hospital, who's going to -- (INAUDIBLE)? You know, who's going to give us the information, exactly the information what is -- (INAUDIBLE) -- in the hospital?

KILEY: India's government has promised a vaccination campaign with renewed vigor. But with around only 2 percent of the nation inoculated so far, that's cold comfort here.

Sam Kiley, CNN, Delhi.


ACOSTA: For ways you can support India's fight against the coronavirus pandemic, check out


We're back in a moment.


ACOSTA: South Dakota's Republican governor, Kristi Noem, is suing the Biden administration for a permit for a July 4th event at Mt. Rushmore.

The Interior Department denied Noem's request to hold a celebration and fireworks show at the national monument, citing safety concerns as well as tribal opposition to the fireworks display.

Last year, when President Donald Trump's spoke at the monument for the Fourth of July celebration at that event, attendees clustered together in stadium seating and some sitting in chairs zip-tied together, preventing social distancing.

Although, a public safety official at the time said the zip ties were necessary to meet the fire code.


And it is Kentucky Derby day. And signs of progress at this year's race. Some 50,000 fans are expected at Churchill Downs after no fans were allowed at last year's run for the roses.

Those lucky enough to snag a ticket will be sipping their mint juleps six feet apart and will wear masks when not eating or drinking.

To put that in perspective, more 150,000 packed in the stands and the infield for the 2019 race. Times have changed obviously. But perhaps getting a little more back to normal.

CNN's Evan McMorris-Santoro is joining us live from Churchill Downs.

Evan, what are you seeing as race day gets into full swing? It's starting to look normal out there.

EVAN MCMORRIS-SANTORO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Jim, as you mentioned, it's a beautiful day in Kentucky. It's an exciting day in Kentucky. And it's an experimental day in Kentucky.

This is really a chance to see if we can get back to some of the outdoor events, some of the normalcy that we may have bought with some of these vaccinations.

Here at Churchill Downs, things are very different. You mentioned the numbers down, so many from what we are used to seeing in these stands being packed in.

The mask requirements, hand sanitizer being handed out, people being socially distant.

We were inside all day. People are trying to obey the rules as they can. Maybe match their masks with their hats, trying to look good.

But as the day went on, a little fewer people wearing masks, things getting a little bit different as people get lubricated with those juleps.

But we also talked to people, who came miles and miles to come to the Derby, and they all mentioned they're all excited to give this a shot, to try once again to do something normal like be outside for the Kentucky Derby.


BRITTANY OLSON, KENTUCKY DERBY SPECTATOR: This year, I think everyone seems to be a lot more excited. Also COVID. This is something fun we can do outside together and the weather has been beautiful. It's been great so far.

MEGAN HANSON, KENTUCKY DERBY SPECTATOR: I didn't feel it at all. Everybody's spaced out and masks, everybody is wearing masks as needed. I have been feeling pretty safe here.


MCMORRIS-SANTORO: So, Jim, we're still several hours from the actual big race everyone is looking forward to.

But people are going to be hanging out and drinking and eating and trying to mingle as best they can in the coming days. We will see how successful this was.

But organizers and fans inside are feeling very, very good about what they're able to accomplish here -- Jim?

ACOSTA: Evan, I saw earlier on CNN that, you were able to take part in some of the festivities by trying on some hats.

When you were talking to folks coming in and out, it looks as though people are really feeling like things are getting back to normal. MCMORRIS-SANTORO: That is really the sense they're having. The

pandemic is on everyone's mind still. It's not hard to find that. But putting it in the back of their mind, they want to come out and have a normal day.

This is also a test of the CDC guidelines that came out last week. When you're outside, do you have to wear your mask? So the venue made it easier with direct rules about wearing your mask if not eating or drinking. But these are hard to stay on top of.

As we've seen, moving forward, with vaccinated people and trying to open things up, how we're actually going to live in the next bit of this pandemic. And today is a big test how that's going to go down -- Jim?

ACOSTA: We hope you get to try a couple mint juleps while you're out there. And bring back some bourbon for us if you don't mind, Evan.


ACOSTA: All right, Evan McMorris Santoro --


ACOSTA: -- thanks so much. Not the hat, just the bourbon.

And as the vaccine rollout continues in parts of the U.S., loosening restrictions in some community's school reopenings are still in flux. As a result, many parents remain in a difficult position. Who will supervise their children while they go back to work?

That's where "CNN Hero" Jennifer Maddox steps in. She's turned her after-school center on Chicago's southside into a remote learning hub to provide students with the support they need and give families peace of mind.


JENNIFER MADDOX, CNN HERO: We don't want them to make the choice, earning a living versus my child getting an education. What type of choice is that?

Good morning.

If they have to go back to work, we're available for them to bring their kids every day so they can go to work.

We provide them with a safe space, making sure they're online every morning, on time, and making sure they're in class, they're engaged and able to complete their assignments.


MADDOX: We tried to make sure our door stayed open, that we're constantly staying involved and connected with the young people because they were really struggling trying to cope. (END VIDEO CLIP)


ACOSTA: To see the full story of Jennifer's work to support kids and their families during the pandemic, go to And while you're there, nominate someone you think should be a "CNN Hero."


ACOSTA: And you're live in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Jim Acosta in Washington.


We begin with the shock waves on Team Trump over the FBI raid of Rudy Giuliani.