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States With Low Vaccinations See Uptick in Cases; Huge Demand for Workers; New York City's Mayoral Election Day; Supreme Court Rules on Student Athletes; Nassib First Active NFL Player to Announce He's Gay. Aired 9:30-10a ET

Aired June 22, 2021 - 09:30   ET



JIM SCIUTTO, CNN ANCHOR: From the government. Is that the best path forward here?

DR. WILLIAM SCHAFFNER, PROFESSOR, INFECTIOUS DISEASES DIVISION, VANDERBILT UNIVERSITY MEDICAL CENTER: Well, it's a path forward, Jim. We have to keep doing what we're doing and doing it even more. You know, the eager beavers have been vaccinated. Every increment beyond that is going to take more work because if you've been reluctant up to now, your reluctance is pretty serious because we've given this vaccine in the United States to over 160 million people. We know it doesn't make your arm fall off.


SCHAFFNER: So, I mean, the vaccines -- I'm sorry I'm being facetious, but the vaccines really are very safe and the data show that they're very effective. So we have to reach out to these people, respect their concerns and then respond to that. And it's going to be one at a time now. One at a time.

SCIUTTO: I'm going to give you the forum here, Dr. Schaffner, because we've got a lot of people watching this show. Perhaps some of them are hesitant. Or if they're not hesitant for themselves, they might be hesitant for their children over 12 that now can get vaccines and maybe younger, you know, in the next couple of months. Speak to them for a moment.

SCHAFFNER: Well, as regards to children, my two grandchildren, which are -- who are in that age group have been vaccinated, just to let you know how convinced I am of the safety and the effectiveness of the vaccines.

These vaccines are safe. They're very, very effective. And given the new variants that are cropping up, the vaccines provide, without a doubt, at the moment, the best protection we have against these new variants that are showing up.

If you're living in an unvaccinated community, these variants, these viruses will find that community and continue to make your neighbors sick. Please, contribute to your own protection. That's a hugely responsible thing to do. Contribute to the protection of your family and your entire community. Please, get vaccinated. We have plenty of vaccine available.

SCIUTTO: Straight from the doctor. Dr. William Schaffner, thanks so much.

SCHAFFNER: Thank you.

SCIUTTO: Well, Delta Air Lines says that it plans to hire more than 1,000 pilots by next summer because of the huge and really unexpected jump in demand for air travel. This follows yesterday's announcement from American Airlines that it is cancelling hundreds of upcoming flights, partly due to a shortage of staff.

HARLOW: That's right. It's not just the airlines struggling to keep employees or fill open positions. I think this headline certainly sums it up, my life isn't worth a dead end job.


HARLOW: Our chief business correspondent Christine Romans is here.

Christine, good morning to you.


HARLOW: I think it's fascinating how much power workers have right now on wages, on the jobs they take, that the question is, how long does it last? What do you think?

ROMANS: Yes. And we don't know. There's just no blueprint for it.

But what I do know is, so many millions of Americans can't unlive and unlearn the last year and they're reordering their priorities for health, for work obligations, for family obligations. It's one of the reasons why you saw 4 million people quit their jobs in April. And the leading category was retail. What you're talking about right there.

The old normal that so many people think we want to get back to the old normal, well, that was really an army of low-wage workers working, you know, a couple of jobs, maybe more, to make ends meet. And after a year of jobless benefits and stimulus checks and caring for your family and worrying about your family losing maybe child care or elder care help, a lot of workers, especially women, but a lot of workers are kind of reordering their priorities and they're looking for new industries, they're retraining, they have breathing space now they never had before.

SCIUTTO: So, Jerome Powell, the Fed chair, he'll be testifying on Capitol Hill this afternoon. Big question about inflation. I'm curious, what portion of the inflation we're seeing is in higher wages, right, folks demanding -- and, by the way, employers raising wages to attract workers to fill these gaps?

ROMANS: Well, today, you know, he's going to be talking about the coronavirus response. And he's mostly going to talk about how inflation is up because the economy is growing. We have these supply disruptions. But he talks about this labor market and trying to figure out how to get that to work itself out in the next months. And he's hopeful that we will with these labor shortages as we move forward.

He sort of makes the point, too, that we've never kind of done this before, so there will be fits and starts both in the labor market, in the supply chain, and that should try to work itself out over time. And he's expecting that you're going to start to see steadier jobs growth in the months ahead.

HARLOW: Really interesting move by California, Christine, announcing that they're going to use part of this huge federal surplus, budget surplus, who would have thought, right, a year ago in California, but they benefit from a strong market. They're going to use it to pay back all unpaid rent accumulated by some during the pandemic. Can you explain who that applies to? And then I guess, is this a model for other states with these surpluses?


ROMANS: So maybe it could be a model for states with these surpluses. Remember, California is one of the top three, I think, high-cost states to live in. So you have all these folks, low-income folks with very big rent bills who have not been able to pay their bills. So this would pay their unpaid rent going all the way back to April last year. And this helps the landlords, too, because the landlords actually get the money. They also set aside a couple of billion dollars, you guys, for unpaid electricity and utility bills. So this is about making low- income people, low-income families whole, giving them a clean slate. I've never seen anything this ambitious, to be honest. It will be really interesting if other states follow suit.


HARLOW: We'll see.

Christine Romans, thank you, on all those headlines.

ROMANS: You're welcome.

SCIUTTO: Well, people in New York City, they're heading to the polls as we speak in what has already been just a wide open mayoral race. But this local race does have national, political implications. We'll explain.



HARLOW: It is election day in New York City. Voters are casting ballots for mayor and other key races. There are 13 candidates battling it out, two in the Democratic primary, for mayor.

SCIUTTO: But the city's new ranked choice voting system, as it's known, has made it difficult to determine who is really at the top of the field. You've got first, second, third, fourth, fifth choices. CNN's Athena Jones has more on the first test of this new system



MAYA WILEY (D), NYC MAYORAL CANDIDATE: Hope you'll consider voting me number one.

KATHRYN GARCIA (D), NYC MAYORAL CANDIDATE: Hopefully I'm earning your number one vote.

ERIC ADAMS (D), NYC MAYORAL CANDIDATE: I look for your vote for number one.

ATHENA JONES, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice over): Ranked choice voting.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hey, NYC voters, as you may already know, New York City is introducing ranked choice voting.

JONES: Seeing its first big test in New York City's Democratic mayoral race.

ANDREW YANG (D), NYC MAYORAL CANDIDATE: I think it's going to help our campaign.

JONES: Unlike past elections, instead of picking just one candidate, primary voters will be able to rank up to five in order of preference.

YANG: I love ranked choice voting. And I hope it's the future of democracy, not just in New York City but across the country.

ADAMS: It's a complicated process.

JONES: Here's how it works. If no candidate wins more than 50 percent of the vote of first choice ballots, the candidate with the least support is eliminated. Their votes reallocated to their voter's second choice candidates. The process continues until someone wins a majority of votes.

REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ (D-NY): Maya Wiley is our number one pick.

JONES: Supporters say this allows voters to have more say over who is actually elected while avoiding expensive and time-consuming runoffs.

WILEY: I'm a proponent of ranked choice voting. I co-chaired the campaign to bring it because I believe in democracy and I believe in empowering the voice of people.

JONES: New York City launched a $15 million voter education plan in April, including community outreach and TV ads in 14 languages.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (speaking in foreign language).

JONES: Some voters say they're ready. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think ranked choice voting is a phenomenal idea.

JONES: But --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You really have to read through -- you have to read up on it.

JONES: The new system has made assessing the state of the race challenging.

ERROL LOUIS, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: It's much harder because you have to go through multiple rounds in order to determine who would come out as the winner with 50 plus percent of the vote. The reason there are 13 people running for mayor right now is nobody has an incentive to drop out. Everybody thinks that there's some path to victory because if they're everybody's second choice, magically they could, in fact, end up placing respectively or even winning.

JONES: It also means having a strategy.

JONES (on camera): How are you handling the sort of strategizing around it?

GARCIA: Don't try and strategize. But we are going to be everyone's number one. And if we don't have your number one, we want your number two.

JONES (voice over): With such a crowded field and no one candidate expected to win a majority in the first round, being someone's second or third choice and so on matters.

ADAMS: If you decide -- if you desire to do other candidates, that's fine, make me your second choice. But I keep it simple, Eric Adams is your first choice.

If I'm not one, then two. I'm good with that.

JONES: The winner of this race is heavily favored in November's general election. Still --

LOUIS: This very large, unprecedented experiment in ranked choice voting is going to be handled by the New York Board of Elections, which has a reputation for screwing up big changes. So I think this is going to take a while.


JONES: And when it comes to strategy, this new voting system has led to some new alliances, like Kathryn Garcia and Andrew Yang campaigning together in recent days to encourage voter turnout.

Board of Elections officials expect to be able to release their first choices of early and in-person voters tonight. But it will likely be weeks before a winner is declared under this new rank choice voting tabulation system.

And I should mention, I'm wearing a mask here in this polling place. That's because it's one of the rules of the Board of Elections.

Jim. Poppy.

SCIUTTO: Goodness, imagine that in a national presidential race.

Athena Jones, thanks so much.

Well, crime and policing has been a huge issue in that mayoral race. Also a major point of concern in cities across the country as crime goes up in many of those cities. So my producer, photo journalist and I, decided to spend two nights overnight with members of the NYPD in one of the most dangerous precincts in the city to see what their jobs are like amid this surge. Next hour we will show you what we found and what local officials blame for the rise.

Stay with us.



HARLOW: College athletes are waking up to a new reality this morning after the Supreme Court handed down a unanimous ruling yesterday that student athletes can receive education-related payments. It is a decision that could reshape college sports by allowing more money from a billion dollar industry to go to the actual players and athletes.

In his concurring opinion, Justice Brett Kavanaugh writes, quote, nowhere else in America can businesses get away with agreeing not to pay their workers a fair market rate on the theory that their product is defined by not paying their workers a fair market rate.

Martin Jenkins is with me. He is a former Clemson University football player.

Your case against the NCAA in 2014 was added in to this case that went all the way up to the high court. Good morning and thanks for being with us.

MARTIN JENKINS, FORMER CLEMSON UNIVERSITY FOOTBALL PLAYER: Good morning. Good morning. Thank you so much for having me. I'm super excited.


HARLOW: In the majority opinion written by Justice Gorsuch, he acknowledged, and he writes, some will see this as a poor substitute for full relief. Because it's not that athletes can get paid anything. It's that they can get education-related payments.

Do you think it goes far enough?

JENKINS: I don't think it necessarily goes far enough yet. But you know, it's going to be a long fought battle and it's definitely 1,000 percent, in my opinion, a major step in the right direction at least. HARLOW: So when it comes to you, you, your brother, who also played

football, are, you know, two of the 98 percent of college athletes who never go on to the pros, right, and so who never make money off of this skill but give so much back to the university and make so much money for the conference and the university.

What is the next hurdle then?

JENKINS: Yes, so the next hurdle, who knows what's down the line. We can just hope that yesterday's decision can open the doors for future change so that we can finally see somewhat of a fair compensation system when it comes to players being benefitted economically for their extreme hard work, which is a lot of times in their prime earning years while they're at college playing their sports.

HARLOW: You talk about sort of what fairness is. And it was interesting because in the majority opinion, Gorsuch made a point of pointing out some of the astronomical compensation that some of the folks in all of this get. So whether you're talking about the head of the NCAA approaching 4 million, some of the conference commissioner, close to 5 million, some football coaches nearly $11 million.

And Justice Alito wrote -- or said, actually, in the oral arguments in this case, the argument that they, college athletes, are recruited, used up and then cast aside, some without even a college degree, how can you defend this in the name of amateurism.

I know you have talked about what the path forward is. What would it have meant to you and your brother, for example, to have gotten some of the compensation while you were playing?

JENKINS: It would have made an extremely big difference in, I think, all athletes lives. And as we know, you know, like you said, 98 percent of division one football and basketball players especially are not making it to the next level. So the prime earning years are while they're in college. And, candidly speaking, the majority of those are minorities who don't come from wealthy families as we all know. So, you know, this is their one shot at reaping the rewards from their effects for the -- from their college careers.

And, at least from to date, doing so in a way that will further their education in the future, which is a big deal. But down the line, there's maybe a fight for another day, but down the line hopefully we can see something compensation wise outside just the structure of educational benefits.

HARLOW: Well, I think that fight is to come for sure.

Let's just end on this, the comment -- the response to this decision by the NCAA head Mark Emmert, who said, this reaffirms the NCAA's authority to adopt reasonable rules and repeatedly notes the NCAA remains free to articulate what are and are not truly educational benefits. And then he went on to say, we're committed to working with Congress to chart a path forward.

What would you like to see Congress do?

JENKINS: I would just like to make the college compensation system just a little bit more equitable. I think we -- again, I think we made a major step in that yesterday. But just to see -- just to see a little bit more fairness. The game is not what it was 50 years ago. There's billions of dollars being flooded into the eco-systems. A lot of these towns of the college programs, they're built on the backs of the athletes and the backs of the football and athletic programs. And so seeing that money be dispersed just a little bit more eventually I think would be a major win. And I think we got a major win yesterday in doing that.

HARLOW: Martin Jenkins, it's great to have you. Thank you so much.

JENKINS: Thank you (ph).

HARLOW: Well, a defensive lineman for the Las Vegas Raiders makes NFL history, becoming the league's first active player to announce publicly that he is gay.

SCIUTTO: Yes, Andy Scholes has more.

And, Andy, I remember Michael Sam, you know, during the 2014 draft, as the first college player. That was a huge moment. This, even huger, you can argue

ANDY SCHOLES, CNN SPORTS CORRESPONDENT: Yes, definitely a huge moment for sports, Jim and Poppy. You know, this is the first time in the 100 year history of the NFL that it has an openly gay player. Michael Sam never played a regular season game in the league. But Carl Nassib has. Going on his sixth season, second with the Raiders. And he made his announcement on Instagram yesterday during Pride Month.


CARL NASSIB, LAS VEGAS RAIDER'S DEFENSIVE END: I just want to take a quick moment to say that I'm gay. I've been meaning to do this for a while now but I finally feel comfortable enough to get it off my chest. I'm a pretty private person. So I hope you guys know that I'm really not doing this for attention. I just think that representation and visibility are so important.


I actually hope that like one day videos like this and the whole coming out process are just not necessary. But until then, you know, I'm going to do my best and do my part to cultivate a culture that's accepting and that's compassionate.


SCHOLES: Now, reaction pouring in from all over the sports world just praising Nassib for having the courage to make this announcement. J.J. Watt tweeting, good for you, Carl. Glad you feel comfortable enough to share and hopefully someday these type of announcements will no longer be considered breaking news. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, meanwhile, saying in a statement, the

NFL family is proud of Carl for courageously sharing his truth. Representation matters.

Now, Nassib, in his video, also said he's donating $100,000 to the Trevor Project, which is a non-profit organization that provides crisis intervention and aims to prevent suicide within the LGBTQ youth community.

And the NFL tweeting this morning, you can be that person who saves a life, and they used what Nassib said in his post, that studies have shown in only takes one accepting adult to decrease the risk of an LGBTQ youth committing suicide by 40 percent.

And, Jim and Poppy, you know, Nassib said that could be a friend, parent, coach, teammate.


SCHOLES: You can be that person that helps make a difference.

And Nassib, like he said, he's not doing this for attention.


SCHOLES: He doesn't want to do a bunch of media interviews. He's doing it to try to help people that are in his shoes.

SCIUTTO: So heartfelt and meaningful to see that statement.

Andy, thanks so much for sharing that story.

And we'll be right back.