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Iran Election; Western U.S. Heat Wave Raising Drought And Fire Concerns; Policing In America; Well-To-Do Community Residents Seek Secession From Atlanta; COVID-19 Delta Variant Becoming Dominant Strain; Ugandan Olympic Coach Tests Positive For COVID-19; Tokyo Olympics Considering Cap On Spectator Numbers; U.S. Federal Holiday Celebrates The End Of Slavery. Aired 4-5a ET

Aired June 20, 2021 - 04:00   ET




KIM BRUNHUBER, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Iran's next president is considered a hardline conservative. What that will mean for the country's future and the nuclear agreement.

Plus severe storms tear through the southern U.S. leaving a trail of damage.

Also tracking COVID-19's Delta variant and the dangers it poses.

I'm Kim Brunhuber, this is CNN NEWSROOM.


BRUNHUBER: Washington has acknowledged Ebrahim Raisi as the next president of Iran but denounced Friday's elections as fundamentally undemocratic.

In a statement, the U.S. State Department said, "Iranians were denied the right to choose their own leaders in a free and fair electoral process. Our Iran policy is designed to advance U.S. interests, regardless of who is in power.

"We would like to build on the meaningful progress achieved during the latest rounds of talks in Vienna. We will continue discussions along with our allies and partners on a mutual return to compliance with a joint comprehensive plan of action."

The Iranian government says the conservative chief justice won more than 60 percent of the vote but with few alternatives on the ballot many Iranians didn't bother to vote, leading to the lowest turnout since the 1979 revolution. CNN's Fred Pleitgen has more.


FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): Conservatives celebrating a major victory that could shape the political direction of this country for a long time. Ebrahim Raisi, a man very close to Iran's supreme leader, will soon

take over as president.

"With the help of God and with the help of Sajid Ebrahim Raisi, he we will do a good job," this man says.

While turnout was historically low, Raisi managed to garner more than 60 percent of the vote, the interior ministry says.

PLEITGEN: Raisi won his landslide victory in the presidential election. His followers are putting on a show of force. (INAUDIBLE) not everyone is celebrating after moderates suffered (INAUDIBLE).

PLEITGEN (voice-over): While some shops in this market have already hung up Raisi posters, others questioned the election after many candidates were disqualified by Iran's guardian council in the run-up to the vote.

"Before the voting, everyone knew the new president would be Raisi," this woman says.

And this one adds, "All the four candidates are the same. It makes no difference to me. The elections have no effect."

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He will be pushed to move toward lift the sanction. Our people are in the very high pressure of economic pressure.

PLEITGEN (voice-over): The transfer of power is already being prepared. Raisi has already met outgoing president, the moderate, Hassan Rouhani, and said he is focused on the task ahead.

"I hope I can live up to the trust that the people have placed in me during my term," he said.

For many, that means getting the Trump-era sanctions lifted and reviving the Iran nuclear agreement, all to jump-start the ailing economy.

TRITA PARSI, QUINCY INSTITUTE FOR RESPONSIBLE STATECRAFT: There is a tremendous amount of continuity and very important foreign policy issues, such as the JCPOA, are not set by the president alone or the foreign minister. It requires much greater degree of systemic buy-in.

PLEITGEN (voice-over): One thing both moderates and conservatives agree on is that Iran's struggling economy is the country's top issue. Now Ebrahim Raisi will get his shot to bring it back on track -- Fred Pleitgen, CNN, Tehran.


BRUNHUBER: International reaction to Raisi's victory ranges from congratulations to condemnation. Two of Iran's most immediate neighbors offered words of support for the incoming president.

Turkey's president, sending a letter saying, he wished "for the spirit of cooperation between our countries to continue to strengthen." And Iraq's leader said, quote, "Iraq truly looks forward to

strengthening its relations with Iran and works to have even closer brotherly and friendly ties that link the two nations through their historical, cultural and social bonds."

But Amnesty International wants Raisi investigated for crimes against humanity.


BRUNHUBER: They say, "As head of the Iranian judiciary, Ebrahim Raisi has presided over a spiraling crackdown on human rights, which has seen hundreds of peaceful dissidents, human rights defenders and members of persecuted minority groups arbitrarily detained."

And Israel condemning him as the most extremist presidential figure yet and said his election, quote, "makes clear Iran's true malign intentions."

Tehran and Washington are current locked in negotiations over the U.S. rejoining the 2051 Iran nuclear deal. Other parties to the agreement -- China, France, Germany, Russia, the U.K. and Iran -- are set to resume talks in Vienna with an eye toward the U.S. possibly returning to the deal.

Tropical depression Claudette is drenching the southeastern U.S. as we speak. It caused multiple tornadoes, including one that ripped through a town in Alabama Saturday. The twister left three people injured.

One survivor said she rode out the tornado by hunkering down at home. When she came out, she was stunned by what she saw. Listen to this.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All of a sudden, the trees over this way behind the houses over there, they just kind of -- it was just like they imploded. They just fell over. I was in shock really. I didn't -- I mean, I didn't really know what to do. It was just really a helpless feeling because I knew that we were fine, I knew that the inside of my house was fine.

I knew that we were fine. And then when I walked out on the front porch and saw that, it just -- you know, it was really upsetting to see.


BRUNHUBER: It caused flooding across the region and forecasters say more tornadoes are possible. Claudette has weakened from a tropical storm since rolling in from the Gulf of Mexico but it is expected to pick up steam again.


BRUNHUBER: The other side of the country dealing with the opposite problem, the heat and drought. The problem on the West Coast is it's so hot in the Southwest, the temperatures in some cities hit 100 degrees Fahrenheit at 8:00 in the morning. As Camila Bernal reports, the scorching heat wave is coming hand in hand with extreme drought.


CAMILA BERNAL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: What makes the situation worse is that, year after year, California and many other states are getting less and less water and, yes, you can come out to the beach and enjoy the good weather.

It's a little bit cooler here in comparison to other parts of the state, where you see 100 plus degree temperatures. But the problem doesn't go away. State officials are telling people to conserve both water and energy and some people are making small changes. But others telling me it's impossible to deal with the heat without AC.


BERNAL: There are about 30 million people under some excessive heat warning. Nearly one in three Americans in the continental U.S. are living under some sort of drought condition. So this is just the beginning. All of these statistics could get worse over the next couple of days, weeks or months -- Camila Bernal, CNN, Santa Monica.


BRUNHUBER: America's gun violence is only getting worse. The disturbing new statistics.

And a grassroots efforts to become a new city, how a spike in crime in gun violence is reigniting a breakaway movement here in Atlanta. Stay with us.




BRUNHUBER: The number of mass shootings surged across the U.S. last year and, so far, this year is even worse. The country is now losing an average of 54 people per day to gun violence. CNN's Evan McMorris- Santoro has a closer look.



EVAN MCMORRIS-SANTORO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Another deadly weekend in the U.S., with even more mass shootings and gun violence incidents.

Overnight, a shooting in Minneapolis left five people injured. And in Colorado Springs, two separate shootings less than a mile apart Friday night. One shooting erupted in a Mall Carnival and the other outside a restaurant. Five people total, including three young people ended up in the hospital.

The specifics of each incident vary but all three tell the same story, the terrifying normalcy of gun violence.

CNN defines a mass shooting as four or more people shot excluding the shooter. That's happened more than 280 times across the country since the beginning of 2021. According to the Gun Violence Archive, that's about 40 percent more than this point in 2020 and 65 percent more than in 2019.

JILLIAN PETERSON, FOUNDER, THE VIOLENCE PROJECT: That type of violence has been surging through the pandemic. And now in 2021, we are really seeing those numbers rise and we can think about how the pandemic has increased stress, increased frustration, added to things like job loss and trauma and isolation and we know all of that has an impact on gun violence.

MCMORRIS-SANTORO (voice-over): In Chicago, a mass shooting early Tuesday morning left four people dead and another four injured. Among those killed, 19-year-old Shametria Williams who was supposed to attend our high school graduation.

MAYOR LORI LIGHTFOOT (D-IL), CHICAGO: Unfortunately, Chicago is not unique. We are part of a club to which -- of cities to which no one wants to belong, cities with mass shootings.

MCMORRIS-SANTORO (voice-over): Across the country in Arizona, a single suspect was arrested in connection with eight different shootings in the Phoenix metro area that left one person dead and at least 12 others injured by gunfire or hit by shrapnel.

A warning, the following video is disturbing to watch. We usually see only the aftermath of the terrifying incidents but in the Bronx, surveillance cameras captured an attack on Thursday and children caught in the crossfire, though the children were not shot and the victim is in stable condition, it serves as a stark reminder of the violence and increasing number of Americans are confronting.

MCMORRIS-SANTORO: There's no indication the number of gun violence incidents and mass shootings will slow down any time soon in this country. That means a lot of Americans are hoping that the rest of 2021 looks a lot better than the year has so far when it comes to gun violence -- Evan McMorris-Santoro, CNN, New York.


BRUNHUBER: Works after a deadly mass shooting in San Jose, California, city leaders passed a new gun control law. Late last month, a shooter killed nine people before turning the gun on himself. The San Jose City Council passed a new law that requires retailers to videotape all gun purchases.

The mayor says it's aimed at stopping so-called straw purchasing -- when someone buys a gun for another person, who isn't allowed to have one.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just about every gun store I know already has a video camera somewhere in the store, like many retail outlets do. So this isn't a huge intrusion. I think we all know we're on video when we go into retail stores.

The point of recording a transaction, of course, is to crack down on straw purchasing and that is a common way for gangs and criminal organizations to get guns. And if you're going to violate the law to get a gun, you're almost certainly going to violate the law with the gun.

So we need -- the first thing we need to do is make sure the guns don't get into the hands of those who we know are going to violate the law.


BRUNHUBER: A well-to-do district in Atlanta is pushing to break away and become its own city. Many residents of Buckhead have wanted to secede for decades. As Natasha Chen reports, a recent surge in crime reignited their cause.


NATASHA CHEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The city of Atlanta, like many across the U.S. right now, is experiencing an uptick in violent crime that has shaken residents and left them wondering why.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At the end of the day, people are in fear.

CHEN (voice-over): Now some people in Atlanta's upscale neighborhood of Buckhead think they have the answer: breaking up with the city all together. The idea of Buckhead seceding from Atlanta is hardly a new one but it has caught steam as the violence unfolds.

The latest incident, two teens allegedly shot a security guard in an attempt to break into an Apple store last weekend.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I really support this whole idea of people starting to stand up and say, no, no, we have to fight for our homes here.

CHEN (voice-over): Those homes account for only about 20 percent of the city's residents but provide about 40 percent of the city's tax base.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think it would be good to have control over our own roads, to have control over our police force. I think it would be great to see our tax dollars staying kind of local and being used here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have been talking to all of our neighbors. They're all fed up.

CHEN (voice-over): Bill White's group, the Buckhead City Committee, is gaining funding and traction as it calls for cityhood. [04:20:00]

CHEN (voice-over): With leadership stronger than what White has seen with Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms.

CHEN: Why not just help elect a new Atlanta mayor who could help the issues in Buckhead?

BILL WHITE, BUCKHEAD CITY COMMITTEE: Yes, that would make a lot of sense, to try to work with whoever the new mayor would be. But the clinical definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result.

CHEN (voice-over): No one disagrees that there's a problem but there's a major rift in how to fix it. Bill Torpy, a long-time columnist for the "Atlanta Journal-Constitution," says a secession would set a bad precedent.

BILL TORPY, "ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION": This is 1861 all over again in the city of Atlanta.

CHEN (voice-over): And there are racial undercurrents: Atlanta is about 40 percent white while the Buckhead neighborhood is about 75 percent white, according to 2019 U.S. Census data.

TORPY: It's kind of an unsaid thing but also I think ultimately, you know, I think the bigger picture is that it was -- moving these people away, moving this big section of the city away from the city of Atlanta would just be a devastating impact.

CHEN (voice-over): A financial impact that would bring uncertainty to the whole area, according to the man leading the campaign to keep Buckhead in Atlanta.

ED LINDSEY (PH): It's just a lot of little details that have to be worked out, in this case.

CHEN (voice-over): Ed Lindsey (ph), a Republican who represented Buckhead in the Georgia legislature for a decade, says, without clear specifics on a tax structure, what police and fire services look like and what to do with thousands of children attending Atlanta public schools, the better way is electing new Atlanta leaders.

LINDSEY (PH): It's not a matter of simply carving things up. It's a matter of folks coming together and demanding better from our local elected officials.

CHEN: While the idea of a Buckhead secession is gaining steam, the process would still take a while. The Georgia state legislature would have to approve the idea and send the referendum to the voters, who live within the boundaries of the new proposed city to determine their fate.

And the earliest any of that can happen is next year -- Natasha Chen, CNN, Atlanta.


BRUNHUBER: The first sentencing of a U.S. Capitol rioter is set for later this week. It's been more than five months since a crowd of pro- Trump rioters stormed the building, trying to stop Congress from certifying Joe Biden's election.

Since then, hundreds have been charged in connection with the attack. As Marshall Cohen reports, it could be months or even years before their cases are wrapped up.


MARSHALL COHEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We are just a few days away from the first Capitol rioter getting sentenced. It's been more than five months since January 6th and nearly 500 people have been charged.

These defendants come from all across America, 43 states and Washington, D.C. They're from big cities and small towns; they include people that flew here on private jets and others that scraped together the money to pay for gas.

Now a few of these defendants have already pleaded guilty and, later this week, one of them will be sentenced. Her name is Anna Morgan Lloyd. Back on the day of the attack on January 6th, she posted online that it was the best day ever.

Now she's singing a different tune, apologizing for her actions, disavowing the rioters who got violent and she's asking her judge for a lenient sentence. And she'll find out her fate on Wednesday.

It's possible she gets no jail time and that's because prosecutors have even said that probation might be appropriate, because she's pleading guilty to one misdemeanor of non-violently demonstrating inside the Capitol.

But her case is really moving a lot faster than many of the other cases. One lawyer who represents about a dozen rioters said he wants to take his cases to trial and fight for acquittals. That could take months or years and prosecutors are still adding new defendants to some of the large conspiracy cases against right-wing extremist groups, like the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers.

All these months later, we're still finding out new things from January 6th and still seeing new footage from the attack. The Justice Department last week released about a half-dozen video clips after CNN and other news outlets filed a lawsuit, trying to get those publicly released.

More clips should be coming out soon in the coming days and weeks -- Marshall Cohen, CNN, Washington.


BRUNHUBER: Coming up, the Delta variant is spreading quickly and health officials are concerned another surge could be on the horizon, especially for the unvaccinated. Plus an Olympics unlike any other could get more unusual. Coming up,

the changes that could still be on the way for this summer's games. Stay with us.





BRUNHUBER: China has achieved an impressive COVID-19 vaccine milestone. Saturday it passed 1 billion doses administered. China's campaign got off to a slow start but the pace picked up in May with more than 500 million shots over the past month.

Top health officials around the world say the COVID Delta variant is on its way to becoming globally dominant. According to data from the World Health Organization, at least 80 countries reported cases of the variant.

And the transmissibility has health officials worried about areas with unvaccinated populations. In Missouri, for example, only 43 percent of the total population is at least partially vaccinated and the Delta variant is already on the rise there.

For more on this, I'm joined by Dr. Muhammad Munir, a virologist at Lancaster University in England.

Thank you so much for joining us. We've been warned about variants before; not that long ago doing segments about the U.K. variant and our top experts were warning it could trigger a fourth wave here in the U.S.

And that surge didn't really happen, not in any significant way. Obviously that was before we had as many people vaccinated as we do now.

But still from a public perception perspective, is there a danger here that people might tune out the warnings about this variant?

Compare the Delta variant to the others we've seen.

What makes this one so worrisome?

DR. MUHAMMAD MUNIR, VIROLOGIST, LANCASTER UNIVERSITY: Thank you, Kim, for having me on the show. I think one of the important things with the Delta variant is the unique mutations that haven't been seen individually in any of the other variants, making it more strongly to bind to our cells and internalize, which make it much more contagious.


MUNIR: And looking onto the current picture globally, with 80 countries reporting and becoming predominant in many countries, including the U.S., some 10 percent of the cases belonging to this variant, all these indicate that so far all the variants that we have seen, Delta variant seems to be more contagious and more dangerous.

And primarily one reason that makes it more dangerous is because it is escaping immunity and also becoming more transmissible in particularly unvaccinated population.

BRUNHUBER: So just from a U.K. perspective, as an example, the U.K. has been particularly hard-hit and it seems it's spread primarily by young people. Give us a sense of what's happening there.

What are you seeing?

MUNIR: Absolutely. If we look at the picture, in England, we have 315 counties; out of these 285 counties are the ones that are reporting cases. And all of them are belonging to the Delta variant. And in England, 80 percent of the country is having an increased number of cases.

And looking onto all the sequences of the positive cases, 99 percent of those positive cases belonging to the Delta variant. And this is more spread into poorer communities, communities where the vaccine hesitancy has been.

All in all population where the vaccine hasn't been rolled out at that scale, we're able to have some level of barrier against the spread of this infection.

Because of this Delta variant becoming more transmissible and covering wider communities, even if it is not dangerous, it would take a larger toll onto the death and that's what we're starting to see here in the U.K.

BRUNHUBER: I saw a study of cases in Scotland that found the risk of hospital admission with that variant was roughly double compared to the Alpha or U.K. variant. You mentioned the vaccine.

Basically for people, who have been vaccinated, who are watching this, are you essentially protected?

Is there nothing to worry about here?

MUNIR: Well, one thing is pretty clear, it's better to have vaccine than not having it because, if we look on to the number of people who've ended up in hospital in the U.K. or ultimately died, unfortunately, the majority of people are the ones unvaccinated.

For example, in the hospitalized people 806 are hospitalized recently. Out of those 65 percent are ones that are unvaccinated. So it really indicates that if you're not vaccinated, the chances for you to end up in hospital after getting the Delta variant in particular is extremely high.

So overall, getting the vaccine is much better than having COVID-19, particularly with the new variants like Delta variant. BRUNHUBER: And then there are so many communities who have been hard

to reach with these vaccinations. This comes in the context of opening up here in Georgia, for example. Everything's pretty much back to normal.

We've seen the E.U. now dropping the travel restrictions for many countries, including for the U.S. here.

So what's the fear as we are opening up more and more, as we're traveling more and more and this variant is becoming more and more dominant?

MUNIR: Absolutely. That is, Kim, the most worrying part of this moment because this variant, whenever it gets the chance to spread either by opening up the borders or to the unvaccinated communities, who cannot be vaccinated for another reason, this variant would have the potential to mutate more because there's always immune pressure within the community.

And any mutations that come make the variants more transmissible and dangerous. And I think one of the important aspects is the fact that we have to be sure. We've been saying this from the beginning of this pandemic, vaccines need to be rolled out quickly, because, earlier we can vaccinate the population around the world, 70-75 percent of the population better chances to have an open economy globally.

And Delta variant is particularly of concern as the number of countries, 80-plus countries are reporting in a relatively shorter time that clearly dictate how transmissible it is.

BRUNHUBER: We're a long way from herd immunity globally here. Thank you so much for speaking with us, virologist Dr. Muhammad Munir, really appreciate it.

MUNIR: Thanks for having me.

BRUNHUBER: As mentioned, in the U.S., concerns over the Delta variant are growing, with 45 percent of the population vaccinated, almost 150 million people. Those numbers could be higher but one group is consistently against COVID-19 vaccines, white evangelical Christians.

One prominent religious leader is speaking out. reverend Franklin Graham spoke to our Pamela Brown. Let's listen.




GRAHAM: And it can destroy your life and a vaccine could possibly save your life. And I don't know why people are afraid, Pamela. It says -- for me, it's an easy, easy question to answer; I took the vaccine.

But I tell people, this is your personal choice. I don't say people have to have it. This is a personal choice. Talk to your doctor, pray about it. And then you examine it and then do the right thing.


BRUNHUBER: Reverend Franklin Graham speaking to Pamela Brown.


BRUNHUBER: Brazil hit a somber milestone, more than a half million people there have died of COVID-19 since the pandemic began. The death toll is twice as high as it was six months ago, a sign the mortality rate is accelerating.

Thousands took to the streets across the countryside to protest president Jair Bolsonaro's handling of the pandemic. Journalist Stefano Pozzebon has more on the case surge and reaction inside the country.


STEFANO POZZEBON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: On Saturday, Brazil became just the second country in the world after the United States to cross the grim threshold of over 500,000 COVID-19 deaths.

The South American country reported over 2,300 new COVID-19 deaths on Saturday and over 82,000 new cases. That brings the total number of cases reported by the Brazilian health ministry since the beginning of pandemic to over 17 million cases.

And as Brazil marked this milestone, thousands of protesters took onto the streets to demand the impeachment of the president, Jair Bolsonaro over his handling of the pandemic. Major Brazilian cities such as Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Recife all reported large-scale and peaceful demonstrations as did the country's capital, Brasilia.

And Bolsonaro himself did not address either the COVID-19 deaths nor the protests when he attended an aid event (ph) earlier on Saturday.

But his communication minister, Fabio Faria, did so on social media, attacking the government's critics for not focusing on the millions of vaccine doses delivered, he said, by the government and even cheering for the virus, according to the communications minister -- and for CNN, this is Stefano Pozzebon, Bogota.


BRUNHUBER: For a second day in a row, Moscow has hit an all-time high of new COVID-19 cases. The government's coronavirus task force reported the highest number since the start of the pandemic.

Moscow's mayor said the Delta variant has been found in almost 90 percent of new cases in the city, according to Russia's news agency Tass.

In an effort to curb the spread of the virus, Moscow's mayor announced new restrictions and extended the closure of food courts and children's playgrounds until June 29th. And restaurants, cafes and clubs will continue to operate under restricted hours.

With little over a month to go until the Summer Olympics, just how ready is Tokyo to host the games?

The decisions still facing organizers as the clock ticks down to the opening ceremonies.

And later, Americans celebrate the new Juneteenth holiday with parades, go-go music and double Dutch contests. You're watching CNN NEWSROOM. Stay with us.





The coach of Uganda's Olympic team tested positive for COVID-19 after arriving in Japan. But he's not showing any symptoms. It's certainly the latest hurdle in the pandemic of the delayed 2020 games.

On Saturday officials canceled all public viewing event. Tokyo's governor says some of the venues will be used as vaccination sites instead. Olympics officials haven't decided whether to allow Japanese fans in the stands. CNN's Selina Wang has the latest.


SELINA WANG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We are about a month away from the Olympics and organizers are still struggling to decide how many spectators, if any, can attend.

The majority in Japan are still against holding the Olympics this summer and medical experts continue to warn that, even without any spectators, it is impossible to hold the Olympics in a completely safe bubble, considering it involves tens of thousands of participants from more than 200 countries.

WANG (voice-over): Japan's top COVID-19 adviser recommending that the Olympics be held without spectators.

"We believe that it is desirable to not allow spectators, as this will reduce the risk of infection," he said.

Even though overseas fans are already banned, medical experts worry that the Olympics will cause a rebound of COVID-19 cases in Japan and overwhelm the medical system.

But Olympic organizers still say they will try to have spectators but say they may have to cancel at the last minute.

"I want to make every effort to continue discussions until the very end, so that as in other sports, as many people as possible watch the games," she said. Olympic organizers also acknowledged that the Delta variant poses a

major risk, putting additional restrictions on athletes coming from India. They are required to quarantine and be tested every day for 7 days before their arrival in Japan. For 3 days afterwards, they can't train or test match with other countries.

In fact, all athletes will be tested daily, contact traced by GPS and socially distanced. Or, they risk getting kicked out of the games. In Tokyo and large parts of Japan, the state of emergency is finally lifting, shifting to a quasi-state of emergency until July 11th. And the government has said it will allow up to 10,000 speculators at events in places no longer under a state of emergency.

WANG: If that cap is applied, it would mean the opening ceremony held at this national stadium would have more than 80 percent of its seats empty.

WANG (voice-over): The prime minister is wary of how easily infections could turn worse again after restrictions are lifted, urging the public to watch the games at home.

The Japanese public is worried, too.

"I don't think the Olympics need to be held," he tells me.

"There will be so many coming into Japan that, will probably, go out and could give us infections."

And, for any spectators allowed, it won't be the usual celebration. Organizers said they should go straight to Olympic venues and back to their homes, with no drinking or partying in the streets and to eat alone or far apart from others.

So an Olympics like no other for all the athletes and participants but clearly for the spectators, too.

WANG: Another major concern is the low vaccination rate. Just about 6 percent of the Japanese population has been fully vaccinated.


WANG: And it is unclear what percentage of Olympic volunteers and staff will be vaccinated in time for the games.

Now the prime minister has vowed to reach 1 million vaccinations per day. But to put things in perspective, even at that rate, less than 20 percent of the Japanese population will be fully vaccinated by the time the Olympics begin.


BRUNHUBER: That was CNN's Selina Wang reporting.

In the in the coming hours, Taiwan is set to receive some 2.5 million doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine from the U.S. That is more than three times the 750,000 doses that Washington had promised earlier this month.

That shipment, expected to arrive late Sunday evening, local time. Taiwan's president, saying that the vaccines, quote, "will go a long way toward keeping Taiwan safe and healthy."

The vaccination rate there is still very low but a Taiwanese vaccine maker is hoping to change that. CNN's Will Ripley gets a look inside and files this exclusive report.


WILL RIPLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): At Medigen Vaccine Biologics Corporation --

RIPLEY: You must be so busy right now.


RIPLEY (voice-over): -- you can feel energy in the air. This company is the first in Taiwan to submit its COVID-19 vaccine to government health officials for emergency use authorization.

Taiwan's president, Tsai Ing-wen, hopes locally-made vaccines will be ready for the public by late next month.

Taiwan is battling its most severe outbreak of the pandemic. The government is struggling to get enough foreign vaccines, in a region where China often calls the shots. Cross-state tensions are high. Taipei accuses Beijing of blocking access to foreign vaccines, a claim China denies. That makes the work happening here crucial.

RIPLEY: This is the room with a package and label box after box of these single-dose syringes. Each box contains 100 of these. The company says they can scale up production and eventually produce 40 to 50 million doses a year.

CHARLES CHEN, CEO, MEDIGEN VACCINE BIOLOGICS: On one hand, I feel excited that our vaccine is coming. But on the other hand, I also feel very sad. One month earlier, maybe we would be able to save more people's lives.

RIPLEY (voice-over): This is Medigen CEO Charles Chen's first interview since his company applied for emergency use authorization.

RIPLEY: What would you say to people here in Taiwan who might be reluctant to take a domestically-produced vaccine?

CHEN: One is the data and the result is transparent and convincing. I think people are very much -- they've been convinced.

RIPLEY (voice-over): Chen says that data shows their vaccine is safe. It produces antibodies in 99.8 percent of patients. What they don't know is the efficacy rate. Taiwan had almost no active cases until just over a month ago.

RIPLEY: How do you develop a vaccine when you don't have active cases? PAUL TORKEHAGEN, OVERSEAS BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR, MEDIGEN VACCINE BIOLOGICS: This is a difficult question.

RIPLEY (voice-over): Overseas business development director Paul Torkehagen says Medigen just finished phase II clinical trials.

TORKEHAGEN: So what we did was we designed a really, really large phase II. Usually, a phase II is about a few hundred people. Our phase II was 3,800 participants. So we wanted a very large amount of safety data.

RIPLEY (on camera): Since you don't know efficacy, is it too soon to get emergency use and start vaccinating people?

TORKEHAGEN: What's the consequence of not vaccinating and being not protected?

RIPLEY: Will you be getting your vaccine, your company's vaccine --

CHEN: Yes.

RIPLEY: -- when it's available?

CHEN: Yes.

RIPLEY: No question?

CHEN: No question.

RIPLEY (voice-over): But there are questions. How effective is Taiwan's vaccine?

Here, it's a matter of life or death -- Will Ripley, CNN, Taipei.


BRUNHUBER: Just ahead on CNN NEWSROOM, Americans celebrate the first new federal holiday in 35 years. We'll explain what Juneteenth means and why some activists say it's just the beginning. Stay with us.






UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is a great start. This is a holiday, something that we all should come out and celebrate.


(END VIDEO CLIP) BRUNHUBER: It is a holiday weekend here in the United States. Around the country, people are marking the first national observance of Juneteenth as a federal holiday.

Juneteenth celebrates the end of slavery in the U.S. and the day, in 1865, when former slaves in Galveston, Texas, were finally told slaves in the U.S. were freed. President Biden signed the Juneteenth holiday bill into law on Thursday. He gave the first pen to 94-year-old Opal Lee, the woman known as the grandmother of Juneteenth.

She helped lead the fight to make the day a federal holiday.

Juneteenth celebrations have a special meaning in Washington, D.C. People turned ought for neighborhood cookouts, go-go music and double Dutch jump rope competitions. CNN's Suzanne Malveaux is there.


SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN U.S. CORRESPONDENT: It's a Juneteenth celebration here, in the nation's capital, an official national holiday. This is the holiday, of course. And the official day that it is happening, June 19th, 1865.

That is when the Union troops told those in Galveston, Texas, that in fact they were emancipated, two years after the Emancipation Proclamation.

This is the festivities you see at the center of 14th and U Street. Earlier, we were at Black Lives Matter Plaza, really, iconic locations for civil rights and for social justice. Many of the people, who I talk to, say this is a celebration.

But we, also, saw T-shirts that said "free-ish," meaning, there is so much more work to do be done when it comes to voting rights, housing rights, economic parity and, of course, fighting against police brutality. But this day, an acknowledgement of Black achievement and Black resilience. Take a listen.


JUSTIN JOHNSON, ORGANIZER, MILLION MOE MARCH: So that's what all this is about, us coming together, putting the culture on display but also infusing it in politics and getting our community more politically engaged and more politically motivated to participate in the political process essentially.


JOHNSON: Just like this man, Black Lives Matter Plaza, what does that really change for us?

Not much. You know, we still don't have justice around the world. We still don't have justice around the country. At the same time, it is cool to know this is a space of kind of belonging, though, it takes much more than that. You know, Juneteenth is the same thing.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What I love about it that it's Juneteenth, it's something that we can celebrate our freedom, something that we used to celebrate, being Black. And something that we use to embrace ourselves and embrace our culture.

And that's why we have chosen Double Dutch to just have fun and choose joy, no matter what.


MALVEAUX: So as you can hear uniquely, the go-go music in the background, that really originally, from here, Washington, D.C., a celebration but also, a message.

The many people that I talk to, Washington, official Washington to political Washington, that lawmakers must work harder, must work with the community, from the ground up, to change the laws and to make sure that, indeed, there is more progress, to make sure that African Americans are truly free in this country -- Suzanne Malveaux, CNN, in Washington.


BRUNHUBER: And New York City has unveiled a new statue of George Floyd just in time for Juneteenth. The six foot sculpture is a bust of Floyd, who was killed by police in Minneapolis last year. His death sparked nationwide protests for racial justice.

Floyd's brother, Terrence, unveiled the statue and local media report will be on display at Flatbush Junction in Brooklyn for several weeks before moving to Union Square in Manhattan.

That wraps this hour of CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Kim Brunhuber and be back in a moment with more news. Please do stay with us.