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Hamas Launches More Rockets Toward Tel Aviv; Reporters Flee Moments Before Gaza Building Is Hit By Airstrike; Americans As Young As 12 Now Eligible For Pfizer Vaccine; Interview With Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR); Mississippi River Bridge In Memphis Closed Due To Crack; U.S. Nears End Of Pandemic As States Drop Mask Mandates; Kobe Bryant Inducted Into Basketball Hall Of Fame. Aired 8-9p ET
Aired May 15, 2021 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JESSICA DEAN, CNN HOST: So they can see what a medieval jab was really like.
If you're in Transylvania, there you go.
When COVID-19 hit the race to develop a vaccine began. You can go inside the mission to give the world a shot. The new CNN Film "Race for the Vaccine" premieres tonight at 9:00 Eastern.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Breaking news in the escalating conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. Moments ago, an Israeli airstrike destroyed a 12-story building in Gaza that was housing several news outlets including the Associated Press and Al Jazeera.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The sirens are going off here right now. We're going to take cover behind the berm here. But when we can hear these sirens I don't know if you can hear them, that means there's attack rockets possibly coming in this direction.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why are you still wearing the mask?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I wanted to stay safe and keep all around me safe.
UNIDENTIIFED FEMALE: We're now exposing the two thirds of the country that are not yet fully vaccinated to potentially unvaccinated people.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Somebody knows where India's at. India's there. India's out there.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The Houston Police Department says they've received hundreds of phone calls, some of them tips, some of them alleged sightings of this animal.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You can't go down to pet smart and buy a tiger.
(END VIDEO CLIP) DEAN: Good evening. I'm Jessica Dean in Washington. We want to welcome our viewers in the United States and around the world. You're in the CNN NEWSROOM.
Right now, the conflict between Israel and militants in the Palestinian territories is escalating again. Hamas has launched several rockets toward the Israeli cities of Tel Aviv and Ashdod. This attack comes after a brief two hour cease-fire attack this evening.
No word yet on casualties but it follows an earlier Israeli air strike on a building in Gaza City that housed offices for the Associated Press and al Jazeera. Journalists from the Associated Press and Al Jazeera got an evacuation warning an hour before that building was reduced to rubble.
Tonight, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu saying his country's actions are a necessary response.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BENJAMIN NETANYAHU, ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER: Israel has responded forcefully to these attacks. And we will continue to respond forcefully until the security of our people is reinstated and restored.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DEAN: CNN's international diplomatic editor Nic Robertson is in Israel tonight.
NIC ROBERTSON, CNN INTERNATIONAL DIPLOMATIC EDITOR: Well, the Associated Press say they have appealed to the Israeli government for more information about why the building that journalists were working in were targeted. Complaints also from Al Jazeera, the Israeli government saying that they targeted the building because there were military installations belonging to Hamas' military intelligence operations. That's what Israeli officials are saying. They say that they go out of their way to avoid civilian casualties, that they gave advance warning so everyone could evacuate from the build.
Indeed, that was something that was repeated by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu when he had a phone conversation late in the day with President Biden. He said that he laid out the actions they'd taken against Hamas and other groups in Gaza and also other planned actions. Israel's defense minister, Benny Gantz, has also said that more actions are planned against Hamas.
Hamas from their point have threatened to respond to the targeting of that building housing journalists saying they will target Tel Aviv. During the day they targeted Tel Aviv with multiple rocket strikes. Most of those rockets taken down by iron dome defensive missiles, however, a couple of rockets did get through a 50-year-old Israeli man killed when one of those rockets came down in a residential neighborhood. Going into the night in Gaza, concerns there that there could be an
increased tit for tat because of this particular attack on the journalist building certainly going into the rest of the weekend, concerns that diplomacy is not going at a significant enough pace despite President Biden's increasing his involvement, speaking to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas as well that the pace of diplomacy not picking up.
The door does though seem to be open to Prime Minister Netanyahu and the Israeli government to continue their strikes against Hamas. The prime minister noting support from the United States to be able to retaliate two attacks coming from Gaza.
Nic Robertson, CNN, Ashdod, Israel.
DEAN: Nic, our thanks to you.
And between Israeli air strikes and Palestinian rockets, the threat right now is constant.
Earlier today, Nic was in the midst of a live report along the border between Israel and Gaza when the sirens rang out and he and his crew had to take over. Watch this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERTSON: Just what we're doing here right now is just taking cover. The sirens are going off here right now. We're going to take cover here but when we can hear these sirens, I don't know if you can hear them, that means there's attack rockets possibly coming in this direction.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DEAN: I'm very glad to see Nic and his team are all okay after that incident as you saw from his report from Israel just a moment ago. We're very grateful to them and we hope they stay safe as they continue to bring us the news.
In Gaza, the death toll has climbed to 139 and that includes nearly three dozen children. But one tiny infant miraculously survived an attack, northwest of Gaza. This five-month-old baby boy is now being treated at a hospital after being pulled from the rubble of his home. He was the only member of his family to survive the bombing. At least ten others were killed in that attack, including eight children.
Meanwhile a collective sigh of relief as the CDC announced this weekend that fully vaccinated people no longer have to wear masks in most situations. And while this appears to be the signal of the beginning of the end of this horrible pandemic, the CDC guidance is causing some confusion for states, for businesses and regular Americans. At least 19 states are lifting mask mandates. Others are not.
Walmart, Costco, Starbucks and other retailers are saying no more masks for fully vaccinated customers. You're on your honor system there. But the Home Depot, The Gap, Target, Walgreens, CVS and Macy's will continue to require masks for now.
CNN's Camila Bernal is in California where the new CDC guidance is coming face-to-face with conflicting local rules.
CAMILA BERNAL, CNN CORRESONDENT (voice-over): To take it off or to keep it on.
SAMANTHA PAXSON, MANHATTAN BEACH, CALIFORNIA: I don't mind the masks but I definitely feel like it's liberating to not wear them.
BERNAL: Trader Joe's, Walmart, Costco, Starbucks say no masks required in most of their stores for customers who are fully vaccinated. But many small business owners like Jay Spangler --
JAY SPANGLER, OWNER, PURA VITA RESTAURANT: I love taking this thing off.
BERNAL: -- still unable to make changes and unclear what they will eventually require from their staff and customers.
J. SPANGLER: I think that everybody wants to take their mask off. When people come in the restaurant and sit down, the first thing they want to do is rip their mask off.
BERNAL: But what makes it even more complicated states in red in this map didn't require masks before the CDC updated its guidance. States in blue updated their guidance. And others like California still reviewing their mask regulations.
DANIELLE SPANGLER, OWNER, BEACH LIFE FITNESS: I will continue to wear my mask around people that I feel are more vulnerable, and I think it's the responsible thing to do.
BERNAL: In the meantime, the Biden administration trying to answer questions.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What should I say when someone tells me they don't want to get vaccinated?
DR. VIVEK MURTHY, U.S. SURGEON GENERAL: It's important to understand what you're putting into your body, and this is especially important because we know there's a lot of misinformation swirling around. These are rigorously studied vaccines. Doctors and nurses across the country are not only recommending them but they're taking them themselves.
BERNAL: The experts have been on defense after the new CDC guidance saying fully vaccinated people can go without a mask in most cases cause of a great deal of confusion. The CDC says the change was based on new analysis of data from vaccinated health care workers. J. SPANGLER: The rules changed so much that we just wait until the day
of and then adapt on the fly.
BERNAL: Spangler believes there will still be confusion, changes and last minute notices, but overall --
J. SPANGLER: It's great to see peoples faces again.
BERNAL: And he's hopeful about the future.
J. SPANGLER: The more we could fit inside the better just because we've got a lot of recouping to do.
BERNAL: Camila Bernal, CNN, Los Angeles.
DEAN: Teenagers in the United States between the ages of 12 and 15 can now get the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine and that greenlight coming straight from the CDC. So this means nearly 17 million teenagers, that's about 5 percent of the U.S. population, can be vaccinated.
But not every teen and parent is totally onboard. A poll conducted in April found just over half, 52 percent of parents said they'd be willing to vaccinate their children against COVID-19.
Now, Juliet Daly, a 13-year-old from Covington, Louisiana, is working to encourage kids her age to get the vaccine. And for her it's personal. Last year when she was 12, Juliet spent days on a ventilator and her heart stopped twice after contracting the virus.
Juliet Daley, her parents Jennifer and Sean Daley are joining me now.
Hi to all of you and thanks for being with us on a Saturday night.
Juliet, I want to talk to you first.
I heard you got your first vaccine this week. Can you tell me more about that?
JULIET DALY, 13-YEAR-OLD COVID SURVIVOR, URGING KIDS TO GET VACCINATED: Well, yeah, I think the vaccine I actually got it right here, and it was -- I got like a whole pamphlet about it and it seemed like the right thing to do because it was the safe and it's best thing to do.
JULIET DALY: And they will die (INAUDIBLE)
DEAN: That's great. And how -- you have any side effects or anything? Is your arm sore?
JULIET DAY: It was sore for about a day, but it didn't cause any like really bad pain. It was a bit of annoyance for a day, wasn't really any bad side effects of it. DEAN: That's great. Now, Juliet, I was just telling everyone that you
experienced complications from COVID, that you had really severe COVID.
Can you tell us what that was like? Do you remember being in the hospital?
JULIET DAY: So, yeah. I felt extremely weak and it felt like I was just being spun in circles and like I couldn't really do anything. It hurt to just move.
DEAN: I'm so glad you're better now. Everybody is. And that you've recovered and you've gotten your shot.
I want to ask your parents, Jennifer and Sean, Juliet didn't have a typical COVID experience. She suffered from a condition specifically found in kids who contract the coronavirus.
Can you tell us about that and what it was like for you as parents?
SEAN DALY, DAUGHTER SURVIVED COVID: Turn to you.
JENNIFER DALY, DAUGHTER SURVIVED COVID: Okay, so, yes, she had a very highly unusual course. As you may have heard most children, if they get it, are asymptomatic or have very mild disease. They seldom have to go to the hospital.
But Juliet developed a sudden, severe inflammation of her heart and other body organs as well. Her -- the way her immune system responded to the virus was it attacked her heart, it attacked her liver, her kidneys and her pancreas. She was going through multi-organ failure. It's terrifying. She was in heart failure, and her heart could not control the beating and her heart stopped.
And she required CPR. She required intubation. She had to be airlifted by helicopter to the local regional hospital and was on a ventilator for four days in the ICU. She -- it was terrifying.
DEAN: I'm sure it was. Of course, it was terrifying. Again, I'm so glad that, Juliet, you're better now.
I'm curious, too, Jennifer, a lot of parents are skeptical questioning the severity of COVID in kids in the first place, and some may not want to get the vaccine for various reasons, maybe because it's so new. What do you say to fellow parents who are out there questioning, trying to make up their mind about what they want to do?
JENNIFER DALY: I understand the skepticism. A lot of people -- there's a lot of vaccine hesitancy right now. But the truth is no one can predict how their body is going to respond to the virus. You might be one of those people that recovers, but you might not, and perfectly healthy people have come down with very severe disease and have died.
My daughter almost died. She did die technically, but we were able to get her back. We're incredibly lucky we were able to save her. Things could have ended tragically. And that's why we're out her trying to let people know --
SEAN DALY: And now we have a tool to avoid it.
JENNIFER DALY: Yes.
SEAN DALY: So I'd highly recommend it.
JENNIFER DALY: On the off chance, you don't know if you're going to get sick and die of this, so you can get a vaccine that could save your life. I don't understand why people don't do it.
DEAN: Right. And, Juliet, you've gotten it. You've got the band-aid to prove it. We're so glad that you're doing well.
Sending our love to all of you. Juliet, Jennifer, and Sean Daly, thank you so much for being with us tonight.
SEAN DALY: Thank you.
JENNIFER DALY: Thank you.
JULIET DALY: Thank you.
DEAN: We have some incredible video to share with you this evening. Associated Press staffers somehow managing to stay very calm as they evacuated their office in Gaza City.
That was right before their building was leveled by an Israeli airstrike.
The CEO of the Associated Press is joining me in just a moment.
Also tonight, a moving moment for basketball as the late Kobe Bryant is inducted into the Hall of Fame.
DEAN: The fighting between Israelis and Palestinians reached horrifying new heights tonight. Just moments ago, Hamas launched several rockets toward the Israeli cities of Tel Aviv and Ashdod.
That's after the Israeli air strike on a building in Gaza City that housed the offices of the "Associated Press" and Al Jazeera.
And on the phone with me right now, Gary Pruitt. He is the president and CEO of the Associated Press, one of the news organizations with offices in that now obliterated building in Gaza City.
Gary, thanks so much for being with us.
I want to get to the most important question above everything else.
Are all of your people safe and accounted for right now?
GARY PRUITT, PRESIDENT & CEO, ASSOCIATED PRESS (via telephone): Yes, they are. We have 12 people in the building. We have one-hour notice. They grabbed all the equipment they could and got out, and fortunately they are all safe tonight.
DEAN: Well, I know everybody is thankful. I'm grateful for that.
I'm curious if you can walk us through how you found out what happened. You -- did you get a phone call? What was kind of the protocol, and how did you get everyone safely evacuated?
PRUITT: Right. So we did have one hours notice from the Israeli military that they were going to target that building with a missile strike. We didn't know any other details, but we knew to get out. And our folks did then get out and the missile strike ensued and leveled the building.
So we didn't get all our equipment out, but importantly we got all the people out. But our bureaus, our offices that we have operated for 15 years in Gaza were completely destroyed.
DEAN: And now, your people, your reporters and photographers have the job to keep reporting. Meantime, we're looking at video right now of this building that has been obliterated.
How do you begin to do that while you're saying your office of 15 years and a lot of your equipment now are rubble?
PRUITT: Yes, so our folks are doing their best to report from their locations at home but also the world's media has been incredibly generous and offering help and support and office space for us to operate on a temporary basis while we seek additional office space. But it's a difficult situation right now. It certainly impairs our ability to report. It doesn't silence us but it certainly hurts.
DEAN: You say it doesn't silence us. So I want to ask you, the acting director of al Jazeera says Israel's aim is to silence the media who's covering what's going on.
Do you -- do you agree with that?
PRUITT: We don't know the motivation, and we're the Associated Press. We don't speculate about things. We deal in facts.
I don't know the motive, but I can tell you the impact. And the impact is it will hurt. Reporting the world will know less about what's going on in Gaza as a result of this attack.
DEAN: Yeah. And Israel has said they had intelligence that Hamas had military assets inside that building, that they were essentially using it as a, quote -- they were using the media, your company, the Associated Press, and al Jazeera as, quote, a human shield.
Did you or your people have any indication Hamas was using it for military purposes? Do you think that is the case that Israel is asserting right now?
PRUITT: We were aware of Israel's claim. We've been in that building for 15 years. We had no indication Hamas was operating out of that building. We do check back to the best of our ability, because, of course, we would never knowingly endanger our journalists.
But can we say for sure? No, we can't.
But, you know, our goal is to report neutrally from Israel, from Gaza, report the facts, not take sides and try to stay out of the cross fire. Today, we did not.
DEAN: Right. Well, I'm glad that everyone is okay. I know it's been a long, long, long day for all of you. We send you our best.
And, Gary Pruitt, thanks for being on with us tonight.
PRUITT: Thank you very much.
DEAN: Cracked bridges, hacked pipelines and President Biden's plan to fix America's vulnerable aging infrastructure. I'll ask Congressman Peter DeFazio, the chairman of the House Transportation Infrastructure Committee if they can sell it to the Republican Party.
We'll be right back.
DEAN: The Colonial Pipeline is up and running again after a ransomware attack, but up and running is a kind of somewhat misleading term. The 5,500-mile long pipeline flows at just 5 miles per hour, so analysts say it could take days or even weeks for gasoline, diesel and jet fuel to get to many places and refuel the storage tanks.
Meantime, a lot of areas are simply running on empty. If you live anywhere in that red zone you might have a hard time finding a place to fuel up.
One of the hardest hit spots right here in Washington, D.C. According to GasBuddy, more than 80 percent of stations are out of gas, and I've noticed a lot of them in my neighborhood without gas.
A physical crack in a bridge that tons of cargo and goods cross under and over, a virtual hack in the pipeline we were just talking about it, that supplies half of the East Coast fuel. Those are just two repeat examples of how vulnerable the United States infrastructure is to bad actors, to time and to the elements.
And they serve as more evidence for President Biden's argument that his ambitious $2.3 trillion plan needs to be passed.
Here's how he described the pipeline hack this week.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) JOE BIDEN, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Let me say this event is providing an urgent reminder of why we need to harden our infrastructure and make it more resilient against all threats, natural and manmade.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
DEAN: The president has been meeting with Senate Republicans about a bipartisan deal to pay for the plan.
The White House is expecting a counter proposal from them by Tuesday of next week. And joining me now, democratic House congressman, Peter DeFazio of Oregon. He's also the chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
Congressman, that committee is where so much of the action is going to be. Thanks for being with us on a Saturday night. I want to start with the I-40 bridge over the Mississippi River that connects Arkansas and Tennessee.
Just yesterday, that massive line of barges was allowed to start passing under the damaged section, and it's still close to cars. It's a major artery for drivers as well as the transportation of goods. How many other bridges and roads in the U.S. could be in this potentially dangerous state of disrepair?
REP. PETER DEFAZIO (D-OR): We've got 40,000 National Highway System bridges that are either need substantial repair or replacement. Forty percent of the National Highway System is degraded to the point where you can just resurface it, you have to rebuild it, $100 billion backlog to bring transit up to a state of good repair.
We're living off the legacy of Dwight David Eisenhower. And actually, some of our most critical infrastructure dates back to Teddy Roosevelt and to Ulysses S. Grant. These things do wear out and when they fail, the economic costs are phenomenal. That's why we cannot not do this. I mean, it's like, oh, it's too expensive. You get this and what, no. It has to get done.
DEAN: So, you say it has to get done. And now it's about sorting out what the price tag is going to be and what exactly is going to get done. It's not just Republicans who balked at the price tag of President Biden's plan $2.3 trillion. We know that Democratic Senator Joe Manchin has said that he wants that bill to focus on traditional projects like roads, bridges, and that the price tag should be lower.
So, I'm curious how that reality is going to guide your work on an infrastructure bill, as you all start to put that together knowing it's going to have to pass in the Senate if they don't go with a reconciliation route.
DEFAZIO: Well, I have to reauthorize service transportation by October 1st, that expires. That is roads, bridges, highways, transit. You know, I'm also -- you know, we need -- my bill includes rail, it also includes the first significant federal investment wastewater. We haven't re authorized the federal wastewater program since 1988. And we have people -- sewers back up into people's homes. You know, water mains blast, open and flood streets, bridges crack or fall down even worse.
You know, this is essentially a crisis. But the opportunity here is phenomenal. We can rebuild it, rebuild it more resilient, to climate change, to sea level rise, rebuild it with new materials that are more carbon friendly. We can electrify it in terms of national highway network as we build it and deal with our largest source of carbon pollution. And we're going to create a couple of million jobs doing this. And, you know, people say, oh, the country's overheating. No, we're still eight million jobs below where we were before the COVID crisis.
DEAN: And but there's this debate going on -- well, a lot of debates on Capitol Hill, but particularly with the infrastructure bill, what is infrastructure, right? And I've talked to Republicans who are critical of the fact that if the Democrats and President Biden want this bill to include, you know, home care and child care, that that sort of thing, they want it more focused on roads, bridges, some of the things you were just talking about, where do you come down on what is infrastructure? What is infrastructure to you?
DEFAZIO: Well, I just talked about my jurisdiction, but it goes beyond that, it goes to broadband, it goes to drinking water. You know, it goes to -- I mean, the issue of childcare -- we've got a heck of a lot of single parent families out there, we use, you know -- women in the workforce are critical to the future of America. And, you know, if they can't afford childcare, or they can't find decent childcare, they can't get into the workforce.
So, that, I think, is a key component. My background happens to be in gerontology. And we're pathetic in the way we treat our seniors to tell the truth. You know, we'll pay to institutionalize them, but we won't pay to keep them in their homes. So, I think the President's plan would be an extraordinary benefit to the whole country, to all the American people.
But it also is very much focused on the things I talked about hard infrastructure that will move people and goods more efficiently and not have more failed bridges or, you know, pipelines that are locked up or, you know, watermains that blow up. I mean, wouldn't watermain seriously -- we still have some leaving into New York City. They'll be 18.
DEAN: They've hung on for a while. Before I let you go. I want to ask you quickly about the decorum in the House of Representatives. We have seen -- we saw Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene yelling at and chasing Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. I had senator -- former Senator Jeff Flake on a little bit earlier.
He talked about decorum in the Senate and the House. You've been there a while. What do you make of these, like -- these -- the yelling that's happening and the lawmakers going after one another so personally? It seems like that makes what your job -- you're not doing a lot of work if they're going back and forth to each other like that.
DEFAZIO: Well, Marjorie Taylor Greene has zero impact on those representatives. She doesn't even serve on a committee. She can make a spectacle of herself, she can tour the country with Matt Gaetz and talk to people who've fallen off the edge of the flat Earth. But she is not going to influence where this legislation goes.
But in terms of just decorum and serving in the House, like do you ever look around when you're on the floor? And is it different than how it's been in the past in terms of how you all relate to one another?
DEFAZIO: Sure. It's become way more partisan, in part, because the Houses redistricted in a very scientific way to create districts that either totally blue or totally red. And you don't have the intersections that we had when I first came here. I happen to represent one of the very few swing districts rated slightly Republican in the country.
And that's a problem and we passed a bill to deal with -- to have impartial commissions do redistricting. So, you don't have this gerrymandering. So, you don't have people who just got to cotton to the ultra-right or cotton to the ultra-left for their election. That would be a huge help in the House of Representatives.
DEAN: Oh, all right. Well, Congressman Peter DeFazio, thanks so much for your insight for being with us on a Saturday night. Have a great evening.
DEAN: Tonight, a new CNN film takes a special look into the race to develop a vaccine against the coronavirus. Sanjay Gupta gives me a preview and explains the new CDC mask rules when we come back.
DEAN: From the earliest stages of the COVID-19 outbreak, a desperate race was on to develop a vaccine that would protect every person on earth and in an historic global pandemic. The new CNN film, Race for the Vaccine, gives you an extraordinary behind the scenes look at the five teams of scientists on four continents facing the enormous challenge of developing a COVID vaccine. Here's a preview.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Dallas team gave the world the first glimpse of its new enemy. Each coronavirus particle filled with genetic instructions called RNA and covered in a corona or crown of protein spikes. Inhale one of these viruses, and the spikes latch on to cells in our airways. The spikes then change shape fusing the virus in the cell together. At this point, the virus can replicate and fast.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
Joining us now is CNN chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta. He's also the producer and narrator of Race for the Vaccine. We also have Caleb Hellerman. He's the codirector of Race for the Vaccine as well as the director and producer at the Global Health Reporting Center. It's wonderful to have both of you so timely to be and to have both of you here and be talking about this.
Sanjay, let's start first with masks. I think that's on a lot of people's minds, this new CDC guidance with vaccinated people being told they don't need to wear a mask anymore. I think a lot of people now are saying, well, is this it? Is this the end of the pandemic?
GUPTA: Right. No, I can understand that, but it's not the end of the pandemic. You know, as much as I'd like to say that. I think it's a really important moment in time, though. And, you know, frankly, worth celebrating and the vaccines have a lot to do with this.
I think, Jessica, they made this decision at this point because if you -- as you look at the data in the country and see what's happening overall with the number of cases, I mean, they've been coming down very steadily, you know, 30 percent lower than they were a few weeks ago and the numbers keep heading in the right direction. I think that sort of really tipped their hand.
But I think there was another important point here, the vaccines we know are really good at keeping you from getting sick. That was what the original trial showed. But over time, as we get more and more real-world data, we also recognize that the vaccines are good at preventing you from becoming infected, which just to be clear, you could be infected and not have any symptoms, those breakthrough infections.
But I think the most critical point really over the last couple of weeks, what they showed was that even if you had the vaccine, and you got potentially a positive COVID test, the likelihood of you then spreading the virus to somebody else was really, really low.
DEAN: It's truly remarkable. It feels incredibly significant, and it really comes down to these vaccines. So, Sanjay, let's talk about this special and the vaccines. How big of a challenge were the scientists working on this vaccine facing? And how groundbreaking is this accomplishment, the development of this COVID vaccine so quickly, and it's so incredibly effective?
GUPTA: Yes. I mean, I think that -- you know, somebody said to me early on, Jessica, that this was sort of the moonshot of medical science. And I thought, is that -- is that too much? Is that hyperbole or exaggeration? But I really think it is. I mean, it's an incredible accomplishment. I don't think anybody really and I mean it, anybody thought that this would be done this quickly, initially.
And on top of it, as we learned, you know, and Caleb can talk about this, but in the making of the film. There was obviously a lot of pressure on people, I guess maybe that goes without saying, but these labs, I mean, they're basically told in some ways, you know, the future of this pandemic is resting on your shoulders.
And so just the enormous amount of pressure the scientists felt and the fact that they delivered not only a vaccine, but such a highly effective vaccine. I mean, a flu shot in any given year, maybe 50, 60 percent effective, 90 percent plus effective for some of these vaccines. It's incredible. So, there's a lot of dark moments just over the last year, but there -- if there was a bright moment, it was this and it's worth celebrating.
DEAN: Absolutely. And, Caleb, the development as Sanjay was talking about, the development of the COVID vaccine was being watched by everybody all around the globe with bated breath wondering what would happen next. Why specifically did you want to tell this story? And how did you get this access? It's incredible access to these scientists that were working on the vaccine.
CALEB HELLERMAN, CO-DIRECTOR, RACE FOR THE VACCINE: Well, I mean, I think, you know, as Sanjay would say, I mean, from very early on in the pandemic, people knew that we were not going to get a handle on it unless we had a vaccine. I mean, that was really the only tool. Everything else that was done was really just to forestall this moment, when we would have an effective vaccine that could really protect a large number of people.
And it's absolutely true going back to the spring, everyone from Tony Fauci on down was saying, we'd be lucky enough to have a vaccine in a year and a half, two years, and the FDA was going to approve these for emergency use if they were 50 percent effective.
I mean, this has so overshot expectations, it's incredible. But that was -- we knew early on, this is what it was going to take. So, we knew this was going to be just an incredible story, an incredible challenge and, you know, succeed or fail or to whatever degree they succeeded it would be -- it would be a great story to follow.
DEAN: Now, we have these vaccines that are so effective and are saving so many lives.
Dr. Sanjay Gupta and Caleb Hellerman, thank you so much to you both. We look forward to seeing it.
HELLERMAN: Thanks, Jessica.
GUPTA: Thanks, Caleb.
DEAN: The all new CNN film, Race for the Vaccine, airs in just a few minutes at the top of the hour right here on CNN.
Up next, Vanessa Bryant gives an emotional speech as her husband, Kobe Bryant, is inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame. You'll hear what she had to say when we come back.
DEAN: Just moments ago, the late Lakers legend, Kobe Bryant, was officially inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame. Michael Jordan was there as a presenter. You see him there alongside Bryant's widow, Vanessa. And together, they enshrined the Black Mamba into all-time greatness.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VANESSA BRYANT, KOBE BRYANT'S WIDOW: I wish my husband was here to accept this incredible award. He and Gigi deserve to be here to witness this. Gigi would be so proud to watch her daddy get enshrined into the Basketball Hall of Fame.
There will never be anyone like Kobe. Kobe was one of a kind. He was special. He was humble off the court but bigger than life. To all of our close friends and family that have been in present for my girls and I, thank you. That list is long and it takes a village but know that your kindness and love does not go unappreciated.
I know that Kobe is thankful that you're all coming through for his girls. We love you all and are forever grateful for you.
I don't have a speech prepared by my husband because he winged every single speech. He was intelligent, eloquent, and gifted at many things, including public speaking. However, I do know that he would thank everyone that helped him get here, including the people that doubted him, and the people that worked against him and told him he couldn't attain his goals. He would thank all of them for motivating him to be here. After all, he proved you wrong.
Congratulations, baby. All of your hard work and sacrifices paid off. You once told me, if you're going to bet on someone, bet on yourself.
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DEAN: And joining me now is USA Today sports columnist, Christine Brennan. Christine, it's great to see you. I know you covered Kobe Bryant for years. What is your reaction watching this moment?
CHRISTINE BRENNAN, USA TODAY SPORTS COLUMNIST: What a lovely speech, Jessica, by Vanessa Bryant. And she really was -- it was so strong, as you would expect, a strong woman and dealing with the unspeakable tragedy now a year and four months ago almost. And the only time my voice cracked was right at the end when she said his name as if inducting him into that Hall of Fame at that moment.
I think the speech was just a masterclass in how to talk about someone who's gone and yet it still is very much with so many fans, obviously, that they think of him that Lakers fans, sports fans throughout also, of course, the family. Four daughters, one gone. Gigi was with Kobe that day. And I think one of the enduring legacies of the story, and one of the reasons why I think this hit people so hard. In addition to losing Kobe, there were three other basketball players who were on that helicopter three eight grade girls. One of them was Kobe's daughter, Gigi, two other teammates. And this was a dad and other parents going to watch girls' basketball. They were watching their daughter's play basketball.
And so, when Kobe is described as a girl dad, after controversy, obviously we cannot sugarcoat it is sexual assault charge back in 2003, very troubling times and I know his fans sometimes get angry that we talked about that. But no, that is the arc of Kobe's life and how he went from that horrible time and a civil setup --
BRENNAN: -- with the woman to as it turned out to, of course, becoming the girl dad and the person who was honored this evening.
DEAN: Right. It's so beautiful for you to lay it all out there for us. Christine Brennan, thanks so much for your perspective tonight. We appreciate it.
BRENNAN: Thank you, Jessica.
DEAN: And we round out tonight with some breaking news for you. That missing tiger, India, it's been on the run in Houston for nearly a week, has been found. Houston police just tweeted, quote, we are happy to report that the missing tiger scene in the Houston neighborhood last week has been found and appears to be unharmed. The tiger emoji has safely arrived. We'll figure out exactly what it means for the legal case surrounding all of that. But again, India the Tiger in Houston has been found tonight.
Thanks so much for joining me this evening. I'm Jessica Dean and I will see you again tomorrow at 6:00 p.m. Eastern. The CNN film, "Race for the Vaccine" is up next. Have a great night.