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Iran's Next President; COVID-19 Delta Variant Becoming Dominant Strain; Western U.S. Facing Worst Drought in 20 Years; E.U. to Loosen Travel Restrictions for Summer; Ugandan Olympic Athletes Head to Japan amid COVID-19 Fears; U.S. Catholic Bishops Advance Communion Document Plan; U.S. Investigators Release New Videos of Capitol Riots; Scotland Holds England to 0-0 Tie at Wembley. Aired 4-5a ET

Aired June 19, 2021 - 04:00   ET




UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): This is CNN breaking news.

KIM BRUNHUBER, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Live from CNN World Headquarters in Atlanta, welcome to all of you watching here in the United States, Canada and around the world. I'm Kim Brunhuber. This is CNN NEWSROOM.

We begin with breaking news. Iran state media reports Ebrahim Raisi has won the presidential election in a landslide based on 90 percent of the votes counted so far. He was congratulated by his sole moderate opponent, current president Hassan Rouhani, whose term is ending.

And he also congratulated the president-elect before the official results were made public. Let's go straight to CNN's Fred Pleitgen live in Tehran.

So a landslide victory for the handpicked main candidate; no surprise, I guess, take us through what this means for Iran and for relations with the U.S.

FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, I think there are several factors, first of all, Kim, I do have to say this was really a very important and certainly most probably a pivotal election for Iran.

And I think we will see, we will see Iranian politics, move much further toward a conservative trajectory than it has been the past eight years.

And, of course, the past eight years, with the administration, a moderate government here in Iran and foreign policy and Western capitals, with the foreign minister Javad Zarif under the current administration, is a well-known commodity.

What you have in this election here is you have a victory by Raisi, as you pointed out, very much a landslide victory, he won 17.8 million of the votes counted so far. That's about 62 percent. That is a lot. And certainly, what that seems to indicate is two things. On the one

hand -- and it certainly seems as though the conservatives showed up to the election here, the moderates did not.

If you look at the other candidates in the race, you have another candidate, Abdolnasser Hemmati, who was really the highest polling moderate candidate. And he only won about 2.4 million of the votes, so much less, even coming in only in third place.

So, it really seems as though the hardliners, the conservatives were able to mobilize their candidate and the moderates were not. There seems to be several factors to that. On the one hand, Abdolnasser Hemmati, the moderate candidate is not someone who is a very well- known commodity before the election or the final days of the election campaign.

And there are a lot of people in the country who are quite disillusioned and disappointed in the policies of the Rouhani administration, given the economic sphere, the country very much suffering from the crippling sanctions put in place by the Trump administration.

And there are many people here who believe that situation was not managed the way it could have been or should have been by the Rouhani administration.

BRUNHUBER: So, then that's what it means for Iran. Let's see what it means for the U.S. and particularly for the nuclear deal.

PLEITGEN: Yes, that, of course, is a key factor. And it's interesting, because you know, obviously the economy was the main thing for Iranian voters. Everybody that we spoke to at the polls said the economy needs to improve.

But of course, many people believe the way to doing that or the main way to doing that is putting back in place the Iran nuclear agreement and getting sanctions relief. The Iranian government wants to sell oil as fast as possible and wants to make an investment here in this country as fast as possible and wants to get connected back to electronic and international payment.

And, of course, right now it is cut off by the U.S. sanctions. The Raisi administration is set to take a harder line in policy. That's what it looks like to the U.S. and Western nations as well and we have to keep in mind there is going to be a whole new foreign policy team that will be coming in.

And I think Western capitals and Washington, D.C., in particular is going to be looking at that very closely. However, as far as trying to get the Iran nuclear agreement back on track, it is a very important factor.

Just yesterday, actually at a polling station, by chance, caught up with the head of Iran's supreme national security council, who is very close to the Iran supreme leader. He said there are things in this country that go beyond which administration is currently in power. And certainly, the Iran nuclear agreement and relations with the U.S., with the U.S., they are very much one of those topics. The Iranian supreme leader, Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, he has said he wants the negotiations to get that agreement back into place.

And to continue, he wants the agreement to come back and he wants Iran to be back in full compliance.


PLEITGEN: But only if the U.S. comes into compliance and goes back into the deal. That is something that will be continued, at least as far as the top echelons of the Iranian leadership are concerned.

BRUNHUBER: All right, fascinating. Thanks so much for your reporting and analysis there. CNN's Fred Pleitgen in the Iranian capital, Tehran, appreciate it.

In the U.S., there's cause for celebration and concern. Officials say more than 300 million doses of COVID vaccines have been given across the country. But health officials are worried about the spread of the Delta variant. The World Health Organization's chief scientist explained why that strain of the virus is so dangerous.


DR. SOUMYA SWAMINATHAN, WHO CHIEF SCIENTIST: The Delta variant is well on its way to becoming the dominant variant globally because of its significantly increased transmissibility.


BRUNHUBER: The rise in cases caused by the variant is worrying health officials here in the U.S. as well. They stress the need for vaccinations as the Delta variant continues to spread. CNN's Nick Watt has more from Los Angeles.


JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We're heading into, God willing, the summer of joy, a summer of freedom.

NICK WATT, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): But will the Delta variant, which recently ravaged India, become the dominant strain here in the U.S.?

DR. ROCHELLE WALENSKY, CDC DIRECTOR: I anticipate that will be the predominant variant in the months ahead.

WATT: Over in Britain, this more contagious variant now accounts for 99 percent of new cases.

What does that actually look like?

Well, case counts there are rising but death rates are not. The increase is primarily in younger age groups, says a British health official, a large proportion of which were unvaccinated.

QUESTION: Could the Delta variant force us back into lockdown?

BIDEN: I don't think so because so many people have already been vaccinated.

WATT (voice-over): In the U.S., 65 percent of adults have now had at least one shot. The vice president is touring the country, encouraging more.

KAMALA HARRIS, U.S. VICE PRESIDENT: It's an extension of love thy neighbor.

WATT (voice-over): Meantime, Michigan opens up Tuesday, Ohio's COVID- 19 emergency declaration ended today.

GOV. MIKE DEWINE (R-OH): We have basically lifted almost all of the orders.

WATT: The president's goal is this: 70 percent of adults with at least one shot by July 4th.

Will we make it?

Federal officials still won't give a straight answer.

WALENSKY: We're doing everything we can.

WATT: The data suggests the country will not meet that ambitious Independence Day mark, but:

BIDEN: We've gotten 300 million shots in the arms of Americans in 150 days, months ahead of what most anyone felt was possible.

WATT (on camera): Here in California, when you get the vaccine, you get this little card as proof. I'm surprised I haven't lost mine already.

Today the state made it easier. There's a new website, myvaccinerecord. You can just type in all your details and it will store a digital proof of vaccination for you online. Now this is key: it is voluntary, not mandatory -- Nick Watt, CNN, Los Angeles.


BRUNHUBER: Officials are afraid the spread of the variant could threaten much of the progress that's been made in the massive vaccine rollout here in the U.S. CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta looks at the importance of getting the vaccine and the dangers posed by the variants.


DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: I think it is interesting to look around the world at these variants and see how much of an impact they're making. If you look at the U.K., for example, I think there is a story here that is important, that you can see in the graphic.

At the end of January, it was primarily the Alpha or the U.K. variant that was dominant in the U.K., understandably.

What happened over that time period?

The numbers came down, overall, which was good. But at the same time, the Delta variant started to enter the scene there. You saw the numbers pop back up and that was obviously primarily people who had not been vaccinated.

So that is the concern here. We know this is a much more transmissible variant. The U.K. or Alpha variant was 50 percent more transmissible than the strain before that. And this is 60 percent more transmissible than the Alpha variant. So you get an idea.

In Scotland, there was a study showing that those who were infected with the Delta variant were also more likely to be hospitalized. So this does appear to be more transmissible and more serious also.

So that is why there is so much attention on this. If you look at the effectiveness of the vaccines, if you take a look there, you can see that Alpha or Delta, you get a lot of impact, a lot of protection from these vaccines and that's why the message remains the same, to go out there and get vaccinated.

It is also worth pointing out that, as you can slow down the spread of the virus, overall, through vaccination, through immunity, you are going to be less and less likely to actually develop mutations that are problematic, that will create more variants that we continuously worry about.


GUPTA: So no matter how you cut it, whichever way, the message remains the same, to go get vaccinated.


BRUNHUBER: A study by Imperial College London finds that young people are causing, quote, "exponential growth" in COVID infections in England. But with some exceptions, the U.K. hasn't made vaccines available to those under 18. As Phil Black explains, the ethical factors involved are complex and the stakes are high.


PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Sixteen-year-old Thomas Crone is one of the very few school-aged children in the U.K. to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. It is only because he must cook, clean and care for his often sick family.

Mom Claire --

CLAIRE HASTIE, THOMAS' MOM: Anywhere more than a few minutes I would need this. BLACKWELL (voice-over): -- and her 12-year-old twin sons are still

suffering a wide range of long COVID symptoms more than a year after first falling ill.

JAMES CRONE, THOMAS' BROTHER: Not necessarily although I'm the one that restricts me but it's just so not nice to live with.

HASTIE: We know that children can be severely affected.

BLACK (voice-over): Government statistics show that 30,000 children aged 16 and under have reported experiencing long COVID in the U.K.

But Britain has yet to make vaccines widely available to adolescents, even as the highly contagious Delta variant surges through the country with growing evidence it is moving quickly through children and young people. British experts are still urging caution.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I would be reticent to suggest that (INAUDIBLE).


BLACK (voice-over): Their concerns are centered on the ethical calculation of benefit versus risk. Statistically, very few children suffer severe illness from COVID-19. While the vaccine is new and its side effects, though rare, are still being studied.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Until we have those final bits of evidence and data, I think it is reasonable to wait to vaccinate our adolescents.

BLACK (voice-over): It's a very different approach compared to the U.S., where over 5 million children under 18 are already fully vaccinated and U.S. President Joe Biden is using Britain's experience with the Delta variant to drive that number even higher, pointing out in a tweet, "It's spreading rapidly among young people in the U.K. If you are young and haven't gotten your shot yet, it really is time."

DR. ALISON MESSINA, JOHNS HOPKINS ALL CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL: The more children that are vaccinated, the more they add to that pool of immune people and thus they make the herd, as it will, bigger.

BLACK (voice-over): France, Germany, Israel are all pursuing a similar strategy. But experts in the U.K. are hoping the virus can be blasted (ph) by immunity in the adult population alone. Around 80 percent have had at least one dose so far.

BLACK: You are hopeful that it won't be necessary to vaccinate children?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I am optimistic. Yes. But I don't think that we would wait forever. I think that we just want to make sure we are doing the right thing. We're doing what is safe and in the best interest of our children and young people.

BLACK: Claire Hastie says she just hopes other children will somehow be protected quickly so they never know the suffering and uncertainty experienced by her sons. HASTIE: I don't really know what to do to help him. It's really


BLACK: The U.K. medicines regulator has approved the use of the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine for children aged 12 to 15. Now an independent panel of experts will advise the government on whether to hold off or proceed with the rollout.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organization has expressed a very strong view on this issue. It says no country should be thinking about vaccinating children right now, because there are so many older, more vulnerable people in countries around the world, who more desperately need those doses -- Phil Black, CNN, London.


BRUNHUBER: The E.U. is lifting travel restrictions for more than a dozen countries. Just ahead, we will find out who may be enjoying a summer vacation in Europe in the coming days.

Plus --


TYLER MAULDEN, AMS METEOROLOGIST: Meteorologist Tyler Maulden for CNN. Parts of the Gulf Coast are currently dealing with tropical storm force conditions. In just five minutes from now, I will let you know if this system still has a chance of getting named and if that even matters.






BRUNHUBER: Millions of people along the U.S. Gulf Coast are under warnings right now and being hammered by heavy rain and tropical storm force winds.



BRUNHUBER: So, well, as Tyler mentioned there, it's about 1:20 in the morning right now in Phoenix, Arizona, and it's still almost 100 degrees Fahrenheit. And along with the heat, water is in short supply. In fact, more than 25 percent of the Western U.S. is now facing a severe drought, the worst in 20 years.

Experts say it's all due to climate change causing extremely high temperatures and low amounts of rain and snowfall. Stephanie Elam has the story of how one rancher is trying to cope.


STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Living in southern Utah, cattle rancher T.J. Atkin is used to dry conditions.

T. J. ATKIN, CATTLE RANCHER: I can't control Mother Nature.

ELAM (voice-over): But the current dryness is more punishing than anything he's ever seen.

ELAM: How long has it been since you've had any meaningful rain here?

ATKIN: In the last 15 months, combined, we're barely at three inches of precip in 15 months.

ELAM: And what would you normally see?

ATKIN: Our annual for 12 months is 9 inches.

ELAM (voice-over): For generations, his family has raised cattle on the same 210,000 acres in northwestern Arizona.

ATKIN: I've either got to haul water or I've got to -- I'll take them to town and feed them for the next three months.

ELAM (voice-over): Atkin drove us out to the rugged arid terrain of his ranch. With temperatures well above 100 degrees, there were just a few signs of life until some of his cows came into view. But just some because there's not enough water out here to sustain them all.

ATKIN: I've relocated 80 percent already. I've sold some of them.

ELAM: Atkin's water woes aren't his alone. Take a look at this U.S. drought monitor map. The darker the color, the worse the drought. Atkin's ranch lies deep within that crimson red.

ATKIN: We have about 200 reservoirs and every one of them is dry right now.

ELAM: Like, dry.

ATKIN: Dry. Never -- we -- no --

ELAM: Nothing?

ATKIN: We don't have a drop in any one of them and we've never done that in 85 years. Never once.

ELAM (voice-over): Atkin's operation is in the Colorado River Basin, which is primarily fed by melting snowpack from the western Rocky Mountains. The river then winds down to the Gulf of California, supplying water to seven states along the way.

But the basin is now in its 22nd year of drought. This is clearly evident further down river at the end of the Nevada-Arizona border, where the river flows into Lake Mead, the largest reservoir in the nation, which 25 million people depend on for water.

ELAM: Has it ever been this low before?

MIKE BERNARDO, LOWER COLORADO BASIN RIVER OPERATIONS MANAGER: It hasn't, not since filling in 1937. So we are anticipating the lower basin to be in the first-ever shortage condition in history.

ELAM (voice-over): In fact, Lake Mead is 143 feet below full capacity and has shed a mindboggling 5.5 trillion gallons of water in the last 20 years. Those low water levels mean power generation at the Hoover Dam is down 25 percent.

BERNARDO: No one can really tell with any certainty but we can all hope that the future will be wetter.

ELAM (voice-over): For his part, Atkin is hoping for a wet monsoon season this summer to replenish his dry ponds and keep his cattle business afloat.

ATKIN: We could catch more water in one week than we've caught in three years.

ELAM (voice-over): But if not, he predicts the entire country will be impacted by this unprecedented western drought.

ATKIN: It's such a large area. I mean it's almost half of the United States now. If this goes one more year, it will have a huge effect on everyone.

ELAM: Scientists say that climate change is part of the problem here, that these punishing temperatures are causing the drought and that the drought is then leading to more of these super high temperatures -- Stephanie Elam, CNN, in the Colorado River basin.


BRUNHUBER: Joining me now is David Feldman, a professor at the University of California/Irvine and the director of Water UCI, a program to help solve water problems facing California and the world.

Thanks so much for joining us. We spoke a couple of years ago, when I was in California reporting on the last big drought. So here we are again, where many experts predicted.

Your colleague at UCI, paleoclimatologist, Kathleen Johnson, said this, quote, "This current drought is potentially on track to become the worst that we've seen in at least 1,200 years."

I mean that is terrifying, if true.

Do you agree?


[04:25:00] FELDMAN: The evidence is very strong that, in the last several decades, droughts, particularly here in the West, have become longer, more intense and with many damaging consequences. So it definitely seems to be the trend.

BRUNHUBER: Well, let's get to some of those consequences; as we saw earlier, in the piece, one of the most dramatic examples of the effects this is having is on our reservoirs, like Lake Meade.

I've been out there years ago, when it was hitting what was then record lows, now the deficit is about the size of the Statue of Liberty. You study the Colorado River, which feeds that reservoir.

What are you seeing?

FELDMAN: We're seeing the same thing. Basically, there's less snow pack in the winter in the Rockies, which means that there's less snow melt in the spring and the summer. And so that's diminished the inflow into Lake Meade and into Lake Powell.

And of course, our demands for water from the Colorado River are not diminishing. So you put those two things together and it means you're going to have a deficit.

BRUNHUBER: And then, we're seeing the other effects of this hot weather leading to a huge energy consumption; people across the West being asked to cut usage or face power cuts.

The hot, dry weather leading to more fires and now crews are facing water shortages as they try to fight those fires and it is forcing the state, once again, in California, to cut off water supply to farmers. And it is not even officially summer yet.

So what worries you the most when we're looking at the chain reaction of the effects this is having on our daily lives?

FELDMAN: I think there are two things that worry me the most. One is from an environmental standpoint. The intense droughts that we're having are leading to greater wildfires.

And of course, less water available locally to put out these wildfires, so that's a huge problem. Also environmentally less stream flow, which means more threats to fisheries. And then from a social standpoint, what worries me is the fact that our water demands are not really following water supply.

So unless we figure out some way of lessening our demands and finding, in very short order, ways of providing additional supply that do not involve dependency on the Colorado River and other streams, we're going to have very intense problems.

BRUNHUBER: How do you find additional supply?

You can't just manufacture it out of nothing.

FELDMAN: Right. So one of the things that we could be doing better in the West and throughout the United States is integrated water management, to stop thinking of water as in different pockets, such as wastewater and fresh water and drinking water and storm water.

But we need to think of all water sources as integrated. We need to re-use wastewater whenever possible. We don't have to necessarily drink it but we can re-use it and treat it to levels that are suitable for agriculture and for a lot of manufacturing activities.

We also need to look, where appropriate, at desalination. It may be an appropriate option in certain places. But we're going to have to address the problems of cost and public acceptability.

These are things that we will have to think much harder about than we have, I think, in the recent past. We look at these problems as technological. We need to look at them as people problems.

The other thing we can also be doing is very serious efforts at greater conservation. We've done a pretty good job in the West of conserving. But we're going to have to do an even better job.

We're going to have to think about our landscaping patterns. We're goes to have to think about more efficient end uses of water, low flow appliances. These things have to be required. And we're going to have to think about ways of incentivizing reductions in water use.

BRUNHUBER: No easy solutions. I guess the only good news is a lot of people are making that connection between these droughts and climate change and, hopefully, that will lead to some policy changes. David Feldman, thank you so much for joining us, really appreciate it.

FELDMAN: Thank you.

BRUNHUBER: Europe is getting ready to welcome back U.S. tourists.

But will it be like it was before the pandemic?

Just ahead, we will talk it a travel expert about what you should expect if you're headed overseas.

Plus, Joe Biden has often put his faith front and center as the first Catholic president in decades. And now that might be working against him. We'll explain. Stay with us.





BRUNHUBER: American travelers soon may be enjoying their favorite European destinations once again. The E.U.'s governing body is recommending lifting restrictions for the U.S. and many other countries. CNN's Cyril Vanier has been following this story and has more from London. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CYRIL VANIER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The European Union is moving a step closer to opening its doors to international holiday goers. The E.U. Council recommends rolling back travel restrictions put in place at the beginning of the pandemic for at least 14 countries.

On that list Australia, Israel, New Zealand, Japan, the United States and others. There's a major caveat, though. This should be read as a general statement of intent, not a detailed rulebook because, ultimately, border controls and travel policy depend on individual member states.

What that means is that check the rules that apply to your specific European destination because, even though the E.U. says it wants a harmonized travel policy, requirements vary.

For instance, holidaying on the French Riviera for Americans is already possible for tourists who can show proof of vaccination plus a negative COVID test; whereas, in Greece, unvaccinated Americans can go island hopping. All they need to show is the negative test.

And a word of caution: these rules can change on a dime. European borders can be shut quickly depending on the pandemic, especially on the emergence of possible variants of concern -- Cyril Vanier, CNN, London.


BRUNHUBER: So for more on this, let's bring in Simon Calder, he's the travel editor for "The Independent" and he's joining me via Skype from Bath, England.

Thanks so much for joining us.


BRUNHUBER: First, is this a surprise at all that Americans will be allowed, vaccinated or not, especially since the U.S. hasn't lifted its ban on nonessential travel by Europeans?

I guess it all comes down to the money?

SIMON CALDER, TRAVEL EDITOR, "THE INDEPENDENT": It does, yes, it's every country for itself. Every country in Europe, as around the world, is balancing public health with public finances.

And certainly, if you are looking at tourism-dependent countries such as France, Spain, Greece and Italy, they are absolutely desperate for visitors, as they are actually in the United Kingdom, although the United Kingdom is keeping the barriers up for Americans for a while longer.

Anybody from the U.S. who wanted to come here would need to self- isolate. And so Europe is getting ahead. And France is actually, as we heard in the report, easing its restrictions and things are going to get even easier from tomorrow; the curfew is over.

But it's really important to say that it isn't a Europe-wide policy. And, furthermore, when you get to Europe, every country has different rules.

So for example, here in the U.K., there's no mask wearing out of doors at all. But in countries such as Spain, open spaces, yes, it's absolutely the norm to wear masks.

And in the Netherlands, if you fail to wear a mask when you should do, that's a fine of over $100. So it's a real patchwork. And as Cyril's report said, you need to absolutely need to make sure you know the rules of getting into the country. And if you're combining multiple countries, well, you're going to have to do a lot of hard work.

BRUNHUBER: So you have this patchwork and the E.U. is urging countries to coordinate with nations around them so that you don't have this patchwork, especially, as they say, if you're traveling from country to country, that things won't be different.

Is there any chance that this harmonization will happen?

Or will it be, as you said before, sort of every country for itself?

CALDER: I can't see any harmonization happening this year, just as it didn't happen last year. It is a really interesting situation, in terms of the U.K., where we have, at the moment, unfortunately, pretty much the highest infection rates in Europe even though we had the most advanced vaccination program.

So a country like Spain just says, yes, you're absolutely essential, the U.K., for tourism here, so you can all come in, regardless of tests, regardless of having been vaccinated or not; whereas other countries like the Netherlands, like Germany, are putting up the barriers to British tourists, either saying you can't come in except for essential reasons or you will have to self-isolate when you get here.

So there won't be any coherent European policy because, ultimately, all of these countries want well-vaccinated travelers. And you need to bear in mind the Centers for Disease Control, they say you should not be traveling internationally unless you have been vaccinated.

But in quite a lot of Europe, having been vaccinated is a passport to, well, actually getting into some countries and certainly having an easier ride if you're going into others.

BRUNHUBER: All right, so good news for American travelers with a big asterisk or 27 small asterisks, I guess. Simon Calder, travel editor at "The Independent," really appreciate your time. Thanks so much.

Olympic athletes from Uganda are set to arrive in Tokyo next hour, although it's not clear how warmly they will be welcomed. Many in Japan are wary of letting in athletes from nations where coronavirus is raging. Selina Wang speaks to one of Uganda's top boxers, who says she knows how high the stakes are. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

SELINA WANG, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): For female boxers in Uganda, it's easy to keep a social distance in the ring. Days before setting off for the Tokyo Olympics, it is just Catherine Nanziri and her training partner. But Nanziri is used to going it alone. She's Uganda's first and only female Olympian in the sport.

CATHERINE NANZIRI, OLYMPIC BOXER: It's written and now history of course, my name, it will be the name that is announced that I was the first female boxer.

WANG (voice-over): Two male boxers will join Nanziri on the trip to Tokyo. More than half of the medals that Uganda has ever won at the Olympics have come in men's boxing events. Nanziri says, in Uganda, women have been shut out of a male-dominated sport.

It wasn't until 2012 that women's boxing was included in the Olympics at all.

NANZIRI: I have been bullied by some boxers and other people around me because I was a female.

As Nanziri prepares to take on the world, her home country has turned its main sports stadium into a COVID ward. Uganda is suffering a COVID surge with less than 1 percent of the population vaccinated. But the government has managed to set aside doses to fully vaccinate the 26 athletes on the Olympic team.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There has been a rush on the vaccines. Plan B was to take advantage of some of the regional hubs that the IOC has set up. For example, in Rwanda, our neighbors.

WANG (voice-over): Yet vaccines are not and many Japanese are wary of arriving Olympic teams, especially from hot spots like Uganda. At least 120 towns have withdrawn their invitation to host overseas athletes.

But not Izumisano city in Osaka prefecture, where the Ugandans are staying, after arriving in Japan and where they will also be COVID tested daily.

WANG: Why are you confident you can host this team safely?

"We spent more than three years preparing for the team," he says. "They're limited to the hotel and training places."

And Osaka has seen COVID surges and be under a state of emergency that may end shortly before the games begin. Nanziri says she will follow the rules to keep out of danger.

NANZIRI: If me, as a person, do test positive, my friends, too, the group of boxing, they also lose their chance because of one mistake I've made. WANG (voice-over): As Japan prepares to host the world's largest sporting event, the country is on high alert for the danger that can come from just one small mistake --Selina Wang, CNN, Tokyo.


BRUNHUBER: Bishops in the U.S. are going forward with a proposal that could restrict communion for President Biden, a Catholic. We'll bring you what he is saying about it next. Stay with us.




BRUNHUBER: The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is moving forward with a plan that could potentially deny communion to public figures who support abortion rights. And that includes President Joe Biden, who's now responding.

The bishops voted to draft a document on the eucharist, which is what Catholics receive during communion at mass. This measure is controversial and even the Vatican is reportedly against it.


BRUNHUBER: So here is the reaction from Joe Biden, the first Catholic president of the U.S. in six decades.


QUESTION: Are you concerned about the rift in the Catholic Church?

And how do you feel personally about that?

JOE BIDEN (D), PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: That is a private matter and I don't think that's going to happen. Thank you.


BRUNHUBER: Senior Vatican analyst John Allen joins me live from Rome.

The bishops targeting the most openly religious president in decades.

What's behind this.

And for those of us who aren't Catholics, how big of a deal actually would this punishment be?

JOHN ALLEN, CNN SR. VATICAN ANALYST: Hi, there, Kim. Well, the first thing to understand is this is the Catholic Church, where things are not always as they seem.

In this case, I think there's a bit of over-interpretation going about the significance of the vote. But let's be clear, the bishops were not asked to vote whether or not President Biden should be denied communion.

The vote was instead on what was drafted as a document on the eucharist, the sacrament where the church teaches that Catholics receive the body and blood of Jesus Christ.

However, recent polls -- in fact, one recent poll suggests that two- thirds of American Catholics don't believe that anymore. They think it is just a symbol. Now that is of concern to a vast share of American bishops.

And what they perceive themselves to be doing here was drafting a document on that subject. Now it will include a section on kind of the rules for receiving communion that could have implications for Biden or for Nancy Pelosi or other pro-choice Catholic Democrats.

But what that's going to say, we don't know and we won't know until November. As far as the Vatican goes, you are quite right, that Pope Francis and his team have made it clear that they are against what they call weaponizing the eucharist; that is, using it to kind of score political points.

Ahead of this vote, the Vatican sent a document urging the U.S. bishops not to do anything that would jeopardize the unity of the church in the States. Presumably, Kim, all of that will be taken into consideration as the bishops draft this document over the next several months.

BRUNHUBER: All right, so all of this seems to speak to a larger division in many Christian denominations, between conservatives and those who want the church to become more progressive.

So how likely is this to expose those cracks?

I mean is there a danger here that they could further alienate more Catholics, with declining mass attendance already a huge worry?

ALLEN: Well, those cracks are very real. And they're certainly real in the Catholic Church as well, Kim. I think this debate, to some extent, already has revealed them. And it will continue to do so.

Of course, the thing of it is, that, I think for the typical bishop, he can't really make decisions on the basis of what are the politics of this, because, for every Catholic who would be alienated, if you said, sure, it's fine for someone like Joe Biden to receive communion, there is probably another Catholic who would be ticked off by it.

I think, at the end of the day, they are trying to thread the needle here between a pastoral concern for fostering appreciation for the sacrament of the eucharist, without doing anything that is going to look overly political.

So far, they're not doing a particularly good job of avoiding that impression. I suspect that's one of the things they're going to try to work on over the course of the drafting process -- Kim.

BRUNHUBER: All right, interesting story. We'll follow the developments. Thanks so much, John Allen, appreciate it.

Coming up on CNN NEWSROOM, the hero cop who led senator Mitt Romney and others away from Capitol rioters in January gets a very special kind of honor. We will have the details after the break. Stay with us.





BRUNHUBER: The Capitol Police officer who may have saved the lives of lawmakers during the insurrection riot has been given a rare honor.


BRUNHUBER (voice-over): You can see Officer Eugene Goodman in this video from January 6th, running toward the camera. He was leading rioters away from the Senate chamber and even directed senator Mitt Romney to safety.

The Army veteran was hailed as a hero for his actions that day and received the Distinguished Public Service Award for his work. Well, Friday night, he received another honor. He threw out the ceremonial first pitch at the game between the Washington Nationals and the New York Mets.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Pitch is Kyle Shorter.

Officer Goodman, when you're ready, it's your pitch.


BRUNHUBER: All right, well, it may have bounced but it was right over the plate. A good job there by Officer Goodman.

First round play at Euro 2020 starts up again in about four hours, with Hungary taking on France in Budapest. But on Friday, soccer fans were treated to what's been dubbed the Battle of Britain. England and Scotland faced off in London and the match ended in a scoreless draw.



BRUNHUBER: And that wraps this hour of CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Kim Brunhuber. I'll be back in just a moment with more news. Stay with us.