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Naomi Osaka Withdraws From French Open, Says She's Suffering From Depression; As Vaccinations Climb, U.S. Begins A Return To Normalcy; Moderna Seeks Full FDA Approval For Coronavirus Vaccine; Tug Of War Between Democrats, Biden's DOJ Over Trump's Tax Returns; Major Meat Producer, JBS USA, Hit By Cyberattack. Aired 2:30-3p ET

Aired June 1, 2021 - 14:30   ET




VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN HOST: One of the world's biggest tennis stars has now withdrawn from the French Open. In a statement on social media, Naomi Osaka says she needs time away from the court to deal with her mental health.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, CNN HOST: Her decision coming a day after she was fined $15,000 for not talking to the media following her Victory on Sunday.

The 23-year-old star revealed she has suffered long bouts of depression since her first grand slam win in 2018.

BLACKWELL: Four-time tennis Olympian, Rennae Stubbs, she is now with us, a commentator for ESPN tennis.

CAMEROTA: Thanks for being in studio with us.

BLACKWELL: You are the first one. Congratulations.

So, when you read that she was backing away from the interviews and then dropping out because of some depression, some challenges, what did you think?

RENNAE STUBBS, FOUR-TIME TENNIS OLYMPIAN: Well, my first reaction, when she put the statement out originally that she wasn't going to do press was, well, I don't know if she should have done it that way.

And I think looking back on it, she would have rather not do it that way. She probably shouldn't have done it that way.

Because it put so much emphasis on it because you can go back channels, you can talk to the federations, you can talk to the WTA to maybe sort of massage around it a little bit.

But when she put it out there in the press, it was all eyes on her.

When I heard the news of her pulling out, my first reaction was sadness and shock, to be honest. CAMEROTA: So, after that statement, then she clarified with a

different statement and I just want to read a portion of it.

She says, "the truth is I have suffered long bouts of depression since the U.S. hope in 2018. I'm not a natural public speaker and I get huge waves of anxiety. I get really nervous and find it stressful to always engage and give reporters the best answers I can, so I thought it was better to exercise self-care and skip the press conferences."

I think a lot of people can relate to that. But you're saying that she should have said that earlier.

STUBBS: I think she should have -- I think she should have done it in a better way.

I think she should have done it in a way that her agents, the WTA, the federations are able to have conversations away from the press, away from people like us that like to get those quotes out there and talk about it. I think she could have done it a different way.

The second one that she put out was a little bit more explanatory, telling people that she was dealing with anxiety, she was dealing with depression, so then other players sort of backed her a little bit more after that.

Players were not on her side at the beginning because you have to understand, press takes about an hour to an hour and a half after a player wins a match.

They have to go to different various TV productions, they have to go to the press conferences, so it's an hour to an hour and a half out of the day that they've already spent six hours at the tennis courts playing matches, preparing, they would rather be back at the hotel.

They would rather not be doing press so that was a disadvantage for every other top star to have to go into press when Naomi was given the, OK, you can go home.

So, that's an unfair advantage for her given to her by the tournament if she was allowed to continue to do it.

But this is a watershed moment for the tours and the grand slams to say, how can we do better by the players? And how can we talk about mental health in a better way?

Because there's a lot of players who have had to deal with things like that.

Marty Fish comes to mind. A number of years ago, he had a lot of anxiety going on to the tennis court and he ended up leaving the sport, really, because of it.

He didn't play against Roger Federer. He didn't talk about at the time that he was having anxiety issues and heart problems because of it because that's seen as a weakness.

So I also know other players that have had issues with that as well, that don't talk about it in the public.

Naomi put it out in the public, and now it's really in the public. So it's a time and a watershed moment for me, for tennis, and for our media to step back and say, how can we do better, not only ourselves but for the players.

BLACKWELL: Yes. Not just a one-off because she is one of the biggest names on the biggest stage, one of the grand slam tournaments. So, what should happen then, if this is not just a one-off?

STUBBS: I think it's a long conversation. The WTA have and do have a sports psychologist, a psychologist, that can work with the players. The WTA do a great job with that, with the Health Department.

In this instance, I think Naomi sort of went off on a tangent on her own and that was a little bit of the problem. They weren't able to put their arms around her and helped her as much as they would have loved to.

Instead, as I said, she kind of went out on her own and did this and look, I've known Naomi for a long time. She is not comfortable talking to a lot of people in general. She's definitely not OK with talking in the public.

She's terrible at some of her speeches in the past. She's gotten much better.


But if you look back on her winners and conversations when she's had them, she's not being comfortable in the public eye.

Some players are OK. Serena was great yesterday in her post-match interview at the French when she said, look, some people have thick skin, and some people have thin skin.

And you know, Serena's had to really build up her thick skin through the years. And Serena's had to deal with a lot of press in her own right.

It's not been easy on her. But you learn those things. But Serena's a little bit of a different cat, you know? She's able to deal with those things.

Naomi's a very different person and I think this is a time for us to sit back and say, how can we do better by players that are really -- that really struggle with something like this and it's clearly obvious that Naomi struggles with depression and anxiety.

CAMEROTA: Right, absolutely. Because you could have -- you, perhaps, could have perceived it as, well, stress, or she's an introvert. This is a different category. And now she has called it for what she thinks it is.

STUBBS: Absolutely. And you know, she's been dealing with this for a while. I've seen her in a lot of press conferences over the last 12 months,

and you look at her and you think, there's something going on here, the little bit more than just, I don't want to answer a question about, why am I not a good tennis player.

So I'm really hopeful that she can get it together. I'm worried. I don't think she's going to play Wimbledon. I think we won't see her for a little while, trying to deal with all these ramifications.

CAMEROTA: Thank you very much. Thanks for being here in studio.

BLACKWELL: So, weeks after Pfizer put in its applications, Moderna says it wants to now see if it can get from emergency use authorization to full FDA approval for its vaccine. We'll have more on that ahead.



CAMEROTA: More than 50 percent of American adults are now fully vaccinated, and we're seeing more signs of normality returning across the country.

Today, Las Vegas is reopening. Casinos, hotels, restaurants, they're all allowed to operate at full capacity.

BLACKWELL: Right now, the seven-day average of new COVID cases is around 17,000. It's the first time this number has dropped below 20,000 since late March of 2020.

New COVID deaths are also down to the lowest level in almost a year, just over 600 a day.

Dr. Peter Hotez is the dean of the School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine. He is also the author of "Preventing the Next Pandemic."

Dr. Hotez, welcome back.

Let's start here. The slots are ringing in Vegas. People are back in offices. We saw the travel numbers over the weekend. Do you find that to be encouraging or does that worry you?

DR. PETER HOTEZ, DEAN, SCHOOL OF TROPICAL MEDICINE AT BAYLOR COLLEGE OF MEDICINE & AUTHOR: Look, we're definitely going in the right direction. And I think if we can fully vaccinate the American people into the summer, then I think we can look at a really high quality of life.

There's a couple of issues, though. One is there's still a considerable amount of transmission in the country, so we're about where we were at this time last year.

And then you remember what happened. We let down our guard and there was that massive surge across the southern states that produced that second big peak after the New York peak.

And quite honestly, we've got vaccination rates in the southern states that are literally one half that of the north. So, that's a huge issue.

So, I think there's a vulnerability there in the southern states that we could still see another fifth peak that could come in the summer, maybe not quite as bad because some people are vaccinated and some people are infected and recovered and therefore partially immune.

But there's still a lot of vulnerability in the country. This is not the time to go high-fiving ourselves and being self-congratulatory.

CAMEROTA: Doctor, I was really interested to read something that the researchers of the University of North Carolina came up with.

They ran some models and they determined they think vaccines alone will not end the pandemic.

But then you look at our graph that we just put up in terms of what's happened to cases since the vaccine has come on the scene, it does seem like a vaccine's going to end the pandemic, if everybody gets vaccinated.

So, what's that about?

HOTEZ: Well, I think -- so, we did a similar modeling exercise last year with Bruce Lee's group at City University of New York and I think the difference is they only looked at percentage of vaccinated adults.

I think they looked at 25 percent, 50 percent, 75 percent of adults and we looked at the whole population. So I think the key is when you have highly transmission variants like the B.1.1.7 variant.

What that means is we're going to have to achieve 75 percent, 80 percent of the entire U.S. population. That basically means all of the adults and all of the adolescents and that is a very high bar.

So, yes, I do think we can vaccinate our way out of this epidemic in the United States but it's a high bar and all the adults, all the adolescents need to be vaccinated.

And we're profoundly underachieving in the southern states. And that means that we're going to continue to see virus circulating there.

We're going to continue to see new variants emerge. This is the weak link right now is the south.

BLACKWELL: So, Moderna is now going to move, hopefully, they hope, from emergency use authorization to full FDA approval. We saw the application from Pfizer for their vaccine as well.

What's the significance of Moderna taking that step?

HOTEZ: Well, it's -- it was expected because that was the deal, right? We would do emergency use. Because the emergency -- the only -- I mean, one of the things the FDA did was really work hard to closely approximate the emergency use process to full approval.

The only difference was there was only a couple of months of safety and efficacy data.

Because if they were going to wait for a full year with losing 3,000 American lives lost every day, which is what we were -- where we were at that time, the loss would have been too catastrophic.

So that was the idea behind emergency use. It was always meant to be temporary to apply for full approval. And now we're going ahead and doing that.


And it's also important because of the optics in that what we're seeing is there are a lot of anti-vaccine groups making false claims that emergency use means that the companies are experimenting on people, which is ridiculous.

So hopefully, that will start putting some of that nonsense to rest.

BLACKWELL: All right, Dr. Peter Hotez, thank you.

HOTEZ: Thank you.

CAMEROTA: So, former President Trump may be out of office, but he's not out of the minds of House Democrats, especially when it comes to getting a copy of his tax returns. And their newest hurdle may be President Biden's DOJ. We'll explain that coming up.



BLACKWELL: Trump critics and opponents and some investigators have worked for quite a long time to get their hands on the former president's tax returns.

Now House Democrats appear to be closing in on their effort. The only problem is they need help from the Biden administration. And they fear they are not going to get it.

CAMEROTA: CNN's Evan Perez has been looking into this growing tension between the Biden administration and some Congressional Democrats.

What's the problem?

EVAN PEREZ, CNN SENIOR JUSTICE CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, for Democrats, Alisyn, the white whale, so to speak, that they're still pursuing is the Trump tax returns. That's something the Justice Department are not letting go of.

If you talk to people here at the Justice Department, part of the issue here is that they believe every moment that they spend litigating the Trump years is time that they are not spending on their own priorities.

And you hear from folks here who say that what you're seeing is a return to normal. This is what normal looks like, which is the Justice Department trying to make sure that Congress stays within their bounds and not intrude on the executive branch.

That's not to say they're not giving up certain things. For instance, the documents from Trump's D.C. hotel, which were being sought by another House committee. Those have been turned over quietly.

Of course, on Friday, we'll see Don McGahn, the former White House counsel is coming in for questions behind closed doors.

The one issue Democrats really, really want, which is those Trump tax returns, we're told that the negotiations are continuing and we'll see where that goes.

CAMEROTA: Evan Perez, thank you very much for keeping us up to speed on all of this.

Weeks after that cyberattack forced the Colonial Pipeline offline, another business is targeted. This time it's a major meat producer. Who the company thinks is behind this latest attack, next.



CAMEROTA: Another U.S. company victimized by a cyberattack. One of the largest meat producers in the country, JBS USA, says its servers were attacked on Sunday.

JBS is known for brands like Pilgrim's, Great Southern and Aberdeen Black.

BLACKWELL: Alex Marquardt, CNN senior national security correspondent, is following this for us.

So, what's the impact here?

ALEX MARQUARDT, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Hi, guys. It's not just an American company. It's a global company that's one of the biggest meat processors in the world. Here in the U.S., they have processing facilities that do chicken, beef and pork.

We're not being told too much about the attack from the company itself beyond the fact that this is what they called an organized cyberattack, but it is clearly having an impact.

We've seen the Facebook pages of a number of different production facilities of JBS around the country communicating to their workers that they have shut down production, not just yesterday but today as well.

There's a possibility this could continue in the days to come and affect the supply and the price of meat in this country and beyond.

We are probably getting the most amount of detail from the White House, which just a short time ago confirmed that this is a ransomware attack on JBS.

Let's remind our viewers, a ransomware attack is when cyber criminals take control of networks and hold them hostage simply asking -- usually asking for a simple payment in return in order to release the networks.

We don't know which ransomware group is behind this or what their demands are.

This is what the White House deputy press secretary said a few moments ago.


KARINE JEAN-PIERRE, WHITE HOUSE DEPUTY PRESS SECRETARY (voice-over): JBS said the ransomware came from a criminal organization, likely based in Russia. The White House is communicating directly with the Russian government.


MARQUARDT: Jean-Pierre also went on to say that the FBI is leading this investigation and that the president has instructed his administration to do what they can to mitigate the impact on meat prices.

Now, we learned on Monday that this attack had taken place and the attackers went after the I.T. systems of JBS in Canada, the U.S., north America, they said, and Australia.

Now, they are working, of course, to get these back up online. They said they were using backup servers. Ther was no data was compromised.

Part of this country's critical infrastructure is being targeted by cyber criminals. We just saw the ransomware attack on the Colonial Pipeline which resulted in gas shortages and gas prices spiking.

This is a major problem that is not going away. I was just talking to a significant -- a main cyber security expert over at FireEye. He was saying it is a gold rush right now for these attackers.

BLACKWELL: Yes. And we'll see what becomes of that ransom demand. We know colonial paid it.


Alex Marquardt, thanks much.

MARQUARDT: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: Top of the hour. I'm Victor Blackwell.

CAMEROTA: And I'm Alisyn Camerota.