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CDC: Fully Vaccinated People Don't Need a Mask Inside or Outside; Mob Violence Spreads in Arab-Jewish Neighborhoods; Punjab Joins COVAX as India Faces Vaccine Shortage; Pressure to Cancel Olympic Games Grows Within Japan as Cases Surge; Members of New York Yankees Test Positive Despite Getting Vaccine; Prince Harry Gets Personal on Podcast. Aired 4:30-5a ET
Aired May 14, 2021 - 04:30 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
KIM BRUNHUBER, CNN ANCHOR: And welcome back to all of you watching us here in the United States, Canada and around the world, I'm Kim Brunhuber. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM.
It's a major shift in how the U.S. is fighting COVID-19 with the CDC announcing that Americans who are fully vaccinated can now ditch the masks in most cases both outdoors and indoors. President Joe Biden celebrated calling it a great day for Americans as the new guidance was put into effect immediately. CNN's Kaitlan Collins has more.
JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It's a good day for the country.
KAITLAN COLLINS, CNN CHIEF WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For the fully vaccinated, the masks are coming off.
BIDEN: I think it's a great milestone, a great day.
COLLINS (voice-over): President Biden touting new CDC guidance that vaccinated people no longer need to wear a mask or social distance, even if they're inside.
BIDEN: If you are fully vaccinated, you no longer need to wear a mask.
COLLINS (voice-over): The president framing the new guidance as an incentive.
BIDEN: Get vaccinated or wear a mask until you do.
COLLINS (voice-over): Modeling the new guidance moments after it was issued, Biden enter the Rose Garden sans mask.
KAMALA HARRIS, VICE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: You've got a great smile.
COLLINS (voice-over): CDC Director Rochelle Walensky announced the milestone that many have been waiting for.
DR. ROCHELLE WALENSKY, U.S. CDC DIRECTOR: We have all longed for this moment. If you are fully vaccinated, you can start doing the things that you had stopped doing because of the pandemic.
COLLINS (voice-over): Biden was meeting with a group of Republican senators in the Oval Office when the news broke, and all shed their masks accordingly.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We had our masks off.
COLLINS (voice-over): Moments later, the White House told staffers who are fully vaccinated they can also take off their mask while on the complex.
The good news spreading throughout Washington quickly, lawmakers seen grinning as they removed their masks on the Senate floor. The new CDC guidance does come with some caveats.
WALENSKY: If you develop symptoms, you should put your mask back on and get tested right away.
COLLINS (voice-over): Dr. Walensky says those who are fully vaccinated still need to wear a mask while on a flight.
COLLINS: So, does this mean vaccinated people can take their mask off on an airplane?
WALENSKY: We still have the requirement to wear masks when you travel on buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation.
COLLINS: Now, when it comes to ending these mask mandates House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told CNN earlier today she is not ending the one on the House floor just yet. Pointing to how some of those lawmakers are not yet vaccinated saying they are not sure exactly which ones are and which ones aren't. Really, which is going to be a bigger question facing all Americans as they navigate these next few weeks with this new guidance.
Kaitlan Collins, CNN, the White House.
BRUNHUBER: The military battle between Israel and Hamas isn't the only crisis boiling over in the Middle East right now. Inside Israel cities and towns where Arab and Jewish neighbors have lived side-by-side for decades are erupting in violence, CNN's Hadas Gold has an update from Jerusalem.
HADAS GOLD, CNN INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): As Hamas and the Israeli military wage battle in the skies over Israel and Gaza, tensions are escalating, with the Israeli government downplaying the prospect of an immediate ceasefire.
LIOR HAIAT, ISRAELI FOREIGN MINISTER: If we cease the fire right now, Hamas will gain or will get to its goal and its objective of hitting Israel and not paying a price. We have, we will attack the Hamas infrastructure.
GOLD (voice-over): Back on the ground, an alarming level of rage spilling into the streets beyond Jerusalem. Mob violence spreading through mixed Arab and Jewish cities like Lod, Akko and Bat Yam.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): I saw death, death. Do you know what death is? People jumping at me with stones, throwing stones at me.
GOLD (voice-over): Arab citizens attacking a man they think is Jewish. Jewish citizens attacking someone they believe is Arab. The communal violence reaching such a fevered pitch, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu angrily warning rogue vigilantes to stop or face dire consequences.
BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER (through translator): I do not care at all if your blood is boiling. It's boiling. It's not interesting. You cannot take the law into your own hands. You cannot come and take a simple Arab citizen and try to lynch him, just as we cannot see Arab citizens doing this to Jewish citizens. This will not stand.
GOLD (voice-over): Police getting reinforcements on horseback, in riot gear, in cities like Lod to quell the unrest.
As sirens ring constantly, a warning from above of incoming rocket fire. The Iron Dome stopping 90 percent of the more than 1,800 rockets fired into Israel thus far, according to the Israeli military.
With Israeli air strikes targeting Hamas and Islamic Jihad militants in Gaza, the casualty count rising with each exchange. The displaced in Gaza growing, with every building reduced to rubble. The threat in the skies so grave that many western airlines have canceled airlines to Tel Aviv.
And, on a new front, Hamas releasing a slick propaganda video, launching what it says are suicide drones. Drones that Israeli forces say they have shot down.
Diplomatic efforts underway overseas, with nations weighing in on the conflict and urging calm. While in Tel Aviv and elsewhere, signs popping up urging peaceful coexistence.
SUBHI TALAIB, LOD, ISRAEL RESIDENT (through translator): We need to live here together. Coexistence. We need to be together, partners. To be partners to each other.
GOLD (voice-over): In the meantime, the barrage of rockets ongoing. While along the Israeli-Gaza border, tanks in position take aim and fire.
Hadas Gold, CNN, Jerusalem.
BRUNHUBER: A staggering 24 million confirmed coronavirus cases have now been reported in India since the pandemic began. Nearly 5 million of those posted just this month. Meanwhile, vaccines are in short supply. India's government says it's securing an additional 2 billion doses by the end of the year but until then at least one state is turning to the global COVAX program for help.
CNN's senior international correspondent Sam Kiley joins me now live from Delhi. Sam, I mean this is a surprising development, a state turning to the international community for vaccines given that India is the world leader in vaccine production.
SAM KILEY, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: And the biggest contributor to the COVAX vaccine campaign, Kim. But this was a campaign that was launched last year in order to get vaccines into the veins of people, some of the poorest in the word, and India was a very generous contributor to that. Prime Minister Nagendra Modi at the time was criticized for prioritizing others over his own nation.
But the assumption in this country was twofold. First, that they would continue to produce enough vaccinations for their own consumption and perhaps that they were already reaching some kind of level of herd immunity. And that's certainly led to him declaring victory over the whole pandemic. In January, this year a couple of months later and we started to see this catastrophic second surge. Which has also managed we're told by epidemiologists to bypass even the natural immunity that people who had been infected in the past might have got. Many doctors here seeing people being reinfected.
So as a consequence of all this one state at least is now applying to the COVAX system in order to get ahold of vaccines because they are a bit cheaper through COVAX.
But nationally this country has only managed to so far vaccinate about 2.8 percent, rising to 3 kind of as we speak, Kim, of population. Whilst the numbers of people being infected continue to rise, as does indeed the death toll. And both the infection numbers for some 350,000, 360,000 a day and a daily death toll of around 4,000, both of those are considered pretty woeful underestimates.
Again, no conspiracy at work there, it's just a factor of this country, a lot of people will die unrecorded, or their cause of death will not be recorded as COVID. So things are actually worse here even than they look in terms of the numbers -- Kim.
BRUNHUBER: All right, Sam Kiley in Delhi, appreciate it.
Hundreds of thousands of people are demanding the cancellation of the Tokyo Olympics. Their petition is going straight to the hands of officials. We will talk about whether it could make a difference.
And a little later --
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRINCE HARRY, DUKE OF SUSSEX: I was in my early 20s, I was a case of like just I don't want this job.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
PRINCE HARRY: I don't want to be here. I don't want to be doing this. Look what it did to my mum?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BRUNHUBER: Prince Harry opening up even more in a podcast about his royal upbringing and the troubles it caused him. We will take a look at that. Stay with us.
BRUNHUBER: The Tokyo Olympics are supposed to kick off in just over two months, but public pressure to cancel the games is growing as coronavirus cases spike in Japan. Hundreds of thousands of people have signed a petition to scrap the games, but the Olympic committee says they will go on for now.
Blake Essig is in Tokyo. Blake, every time we talk it seems that the headwinds against the Tokyo Olympics gets stiffer and stiffer. In the tease before the commercials I promised we would find out whether that petition could make a difference, so will it?
BLAKE ESSIG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: You know, Kim, let's be honest, probably not. But you're absolutely right, as we get closer to seems more and more people are speaking out.
Earlier today a petition with more than 352,000 signatures collected just this past week calling for the games to be canceled was submitted in-person to Tokyo's metropolitan government and by email to the IOC. Now recently tennis super stars Naomi Osaka, Kei Nishikori and Serena Williams have cast doubt that the games should even take place. At least 35 host cities have cancelled plans to welcome athletes from around the world and the (INAUDIBLE) up to the games.
But it's not just these host cities cancelling, it's also Olympic teams. Most recently USA track and field. They canceled their July training camp saying they don't see an end in sight to the pandemic and expressed concern for the safety of athletes. As several local governors have also recently come out and said that they will not free up hospital bed space for athletes.
And just yesterday the head of the medical doctor's union in Japan which consists of 130 doctors, said the Tokyo Olympics should not be held. He went on to say that having people from all over the world could make Tokyo a place where the virus continues to develop and variants spread, and even without spectators a safe and secure games isn't possible. All that being said, but the International Olympic Committee it's full steam ahead. They remain committed to hold these games on schedule this summer.
Now as for the current COVID-19 situation here in Japan, it continues to get worse. Cases are on the rise, the number of severe cases has, again, set a new record. Japan's Prime Minister within the next two hours is expected to announce if six prefectures will be added to the list of locations currently under a full or partial state of emergency order. And if they do that, Kim, the total number of prefectures with some sort of countermeasures put in place will be up to 19.
But again, to go back to your question, you know, the voices continue to come out day after day and according to the IOC and other organizers it doesn't seem to matter. They are moving forward with these games as scheduled.
BRUNHUBER: Yes, come what may. All right, we'll keep following that. Thanks so much Blake Essig in Tokyo.
Major League Baseball and health officials are closely monitoring the New York Yankees after eight members of the organization tested positive for the coronavirus. CNN's Miguel Marquez explains why their cases are raising so many questions.
MIGUEL MARQUEZ, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: These are all individuals the Yankees says had received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which is a one-dose vaccine. It's supposed to be 66 percent or so effective against getting the virus, but that does leave a pretty big window, about 30 percent, that you could still get it. But the important part is it doesn't make you that sick and it certainly doesn't kill you. And that seems to be the case with all of these different individuals.
It does raise some questions, though, about how they got it and who they got it from and what were the circumstances in which they got the virus. Were they in an enclosed space? Were they with somebody who had not been vaccinated and had coronavirus and passed it on to them? Or was it somebody who was vaccinated and give to it to them? Obviously if it's that last scenario that somebody was vaccinated and gave it to people who were vaccinated, that would be a great concern.
This is called essentially a breakthrough cases because they became positive even though they were vaccinated. Now, keep in mind as well the Yankees, unlike the rest of us, Major League Baseball and professional sports, they do a lot more testing as well so they may have just caught more cases as well.
But the department of health in New York state wants more information from the Yankees to figure out exactly where they got the virus from and how they picked it up. Back to you.
BRUNHUBER: All right, still ahead on CNN NEWSROOM -- (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRINCE HARRY, DUKE OF SUSSEX: The first time that Meghan and I met up for her to come and stay with me we met up in a supermarket in London, pretending as though we didn't know each other.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BRUNHUBER: Prince Harry gives us a new glimpse into his royal romance with Meghan and shares more about why he withdrew from the royal family. We will hear from him in a new interview. Stay with us.
BRUNHUBER: A bridge that local media call a vital piece of America's infrastructure will stand empty for now after inspectors found a crack in the structure. The Hernando de Soto bridge on Interstate 40 usually carries 45,000 vehicles a day and links Memphis, Tennessee, with eastern Arkansas. Trucks are being rerouted to another bridge but ships and barges on the Mississippi river are at a standstill. Temporary repairs could take two months. Tennessee's governor says people should be reassured that the safety inspections worked.
We're getting more insight into what led Prince Harry to leave his native Britain and move to the U.S. with his wife and young son. The Duke of Sussex spoke on a podcast where he talked about confronting his personal pain. As Max Foster reports he's once again, tracing those issues back to his royal upbringing.
MAX FOSTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Just when you thought Prince Harry couldn't lift a lid on British royal life any further comes this analysis of the pain he suffered as he grew up.
PRINCE HARRY, DUKE OF SUSSEX: I don't think we should be pointing the finger or blaming anybody. But certainly, when it comes to parenting, if I've experienced some form of pain or suffering because of the pain or suffering that perhaps my father or my parents had suffered, I'm going to make sure that I break that cycle so that I don't pass it on basically.
FOSTER (voice over): Appearing on actor Dax Shepard's podcast called Armchair Experts, the Duke of Sussex spoke of genetic pain, something he says he inherited from Prince Charles, and something he's coming to terms with during therapy.
HARRY: I never saw it. I never knew about it. And then suddenly, I started to piece it all together and go, OK, so this is where he went to school. This is what happened. I know this bit about his life. I also know that's connected to his parents. So that means that he's treating me the way that he was treated.
DAX SHEPARD, ARMCHAIR EXPERT PODCAST: Exactly. HARRY: Which means how can I change that for my own kids? And well, here I am. I've now moved my whole family to the U.S. Well, that wasn't the plan.
HARRY: Do you know what I mean? But sometimes you've got to make decisions and put your family first and put your mental health first.
FOSTER (voice over): Harry puts his wild partying days down to childhood trauma, joking about being photographed playing naked billiards. He compared royal life to a mixture between The Truman Show and being in a zoo.
HARRY: It's the job, right?
HARRY: Grin and bear it, get on with it. I was in my early 20s, I was a case of like, I just I don't want this job. I don't want to be here. I don't want to be doing this. Look what it did to my mum. How am I ever going to settle down and have a wife and a family when I know that it's going to happen again?
FOSTER (voice over): Harry recalls going on a secret supermarket run in the early stages of his relationship with Megan.
HARRY: The first time that Megan and I met up for her to come and stay with me, we met up in a supermarket in London, pretending that we didn't know each other. So texting each other from the other side of the --
HARRY: -- people looking at me, giving all these weird looks and coming up and saying hi, whatever.
FOSTER (voice over): They've since married, relocated to Los Angeles and had one child with another on the way.
HARRY: So living here now, I can actually like lift my head, and actually I feel different. My shoulders have dropped, so has hers. And you can walk around feeling a little bit more free. I get to take Archie on the back of my bicycle. Now, I've said that they're probably going to be -- but it's like I never had the chance to do that.
FOSTER (voice over): Prince Harry haunted by his past, but now rebuilding his future.
Max Foster, CNN, Hampshire, England.
BRUNHUBER: Well that wraps this hour of CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Kim Brunhuber. "EARLY START" is next.